Monday, August 23, 2010

When Shall I Die? Monday 23 August, 2010 Feast of St. Philip Benizi, C. Vigil of St. Bartholomew

When Shall I Die? by St Ignatius Loyola

- kindly submitted by Stephen


"It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father has put in His own power." ( Acts 1. 7). "Watch for you know not the day or the hour." ( Matthew 25. 13)

It is not for us to penetrate the secrets of God; but it is for us to watch that we are not surprised. For how many terrible uncertainties are there not in death!

(1) At what age shall you die? In old age, in middle age, or in youth?"Watch, for you know not."

(2) What kind of death shall you die?
Will it be a sudden death without time to prepare yourself? Will it be after a long illness, which will deprive you of the use of your senses, the use of time, of grace, of the sacraments? Will it be after violent pain, which will render it out of your power to attend to everlasting salvation? Will it be from a fall, from fire, from the weapon of an enemy? "

Watch, for you know not."

(3) In what place shall you die?

Will it be in your own place, or in that of a strangers? At table, at play, at the theatre, at church? Will it be in your bed, or in a prison, or on the scaffold?

"Watch, for you know not."

(4) What day shall you die?

Will it be in ten years? Why not this very year? Why not this month, this week? Why not even this day?

"Watch, for you know not."

(5) During what action shall you die?

There is not one action that may not be your last. You pray - why should not death strike you while you pray? You study - why should not death strike you in the midst of this study? You sleep - why should not this sleep be eternal? Not one of your words, not one of your movements, which may not be followed by the stillness of death?

"Watch, for you know not."

(6) In what state shall you die?

Will it be in the state of grace, or in the state of sin? Again, the same uncertainty. All that we know is that death is the echo of life, and that we almost always die as we have lived.

"Watch, for you know not."

[From - The Spiritual Exercises, p. 172 - 173]

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