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The Wisdom of the Saints about the last things (part 2)

Just as seed, existing formlessly in the beginning, is shaped into a design and increases in bulk, prepared as it is by the indescribable skill of God, so too it is not at all absurd but entirely consistent that the material enclosed in tombs and which was once possessed of shape should be restored anew to its ancient structure, and dust become man again in the same way that man originally took his birth from dust.” St. Gregory of Nyssa (4th century)

He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves the resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were his own. Faith, therefore, in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great commandment and doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church; great and most necessary, though contradicted by many, yet surely warranted by the truth.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century, Doctor of the Church)

To the good man, to die is to gain. The foolish fear death as the greatest of evils; the wise desire it as a rest after labors and the end of ills.” St. Ambrose of Milan (4th century, Doctor of the Church)

Put this body away anywhere. Don’t let care about it disturb you…Nothing is far from God. I need not fear that He will not know where to raise me up at the end of the world.” St. Monica (4th century)

God will be the source of every satisfaction, more than any heart can rightly crave, more than life and health, food and wealth, glory and honor, peace and every good – so that God, as St. Paul said, ‘may be all in all.’ He will be the consummation of all our desiring – the object of our unending vision, of our unlessening love, of our unwearying praise.” St. Augustine of Hippo (4th-5th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

Wherefore I entreat and beseech, and lay hold of your very knees, that while we have this scant viaticum of life, you would be pricked in your hearts by what has been said, that you would be converted, that you would become better men; that we may not, like that rich man, lament to no purpose in that world after our departure, and continue henceforth in continual wailings. For though you should have father or son or friend or any soever who has confidence towards God, none of these shall ever deliver you, your own works having destroyed you.” St. John Chrysostom (4th-5th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

I see Paradise has no gate, but whosoever will may enter therein, for God is all mercy and stands with open arms to admit us to His glory. But still I see that the Being of God is so pure (far more than one can imagine) that should a soul see in itself even the least mote of imperfection, it would rather cast itself into a thousand hells than go with that spot into the presence of the Divine Majesty. Therefore the soul, understanding that Purgatory has been ordained to take away those stains, casts itself therein, and seems to itself to have found great mercy in that it can rid itself there of the impediment that is the stain of sin” St. Catherine of Genoa (15th-16th centuries)

Hence it is manifest that there is perversity of will, contrary to the will of God, where the guilt is known and ill will persists, and that the guilt of those who have passed with ill will from this life to Hell is not remitted. Nor can this guilt ever be remitted since these souls may no longer change the will with which they have passed out of this life, for in this passage the soul is made stable in good or evil in accordance with its deliberate will…After death free will can never return, for the will is fixed as it was at the moment of death.” St. Catherine of Genoa

After death faith will have its reward, because it will see that in which it has believed; but the virtue of faith will have no place in Paradise. After death, hope will have its reward, because it will possess that which it hoped in; but there will be no virtue of hope in heaven. After death, charity or love towards God will have its reward, and will reign eternally, because with infinite beatitude it will continue to love throughout all eternity that same God Whom it loved here on earth.” St. Alphonsus Liguori (17th-18th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“Of all the things of life, a happy death is our principle concern. For if we attain that, it matters little if we lose all the rest. But if we do not attain that, nothing else is of any value.” St. Junipero Serra (18th century)

Who can understand all the joy and consolation with which the saints are inebriated in paradise?” St. John Vianney (18th-19th centuries)

Don’t be afraid of death. Accept it from this day on, generously…when God wills it, how God wills it, where God wills it. Believe me, it will come at the time, in the place and in the way that are best – sent by your Father God.” St. Josemaria Escriva (19th-20th centuries)

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