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The Wisdom of the Saints about the last things (part 3)

“The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or hardship, in view of what is merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death.”St. Augustine of Hippo (4th-5th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“At the resurrection, the substance of our bodies, however disintegrated, will be reunited. We must not fear that the omnipotence of God cannot recall all the particles that have been consumed by fire or by beasts, or dissolved into dust and ashes, or decomposed into water, or evaporated into air.” St. Augustine of Hippo

“Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet, there must be a cleansing fire before judgment, because of some minor faults that may remain to be purged away. Does not Christ, the Truth, say that if anyone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven ‘either in this world or in the world to come’? From this statement we learn that some sins can be forgiven in this world and some in the world to come.” Pope St. Gregory the Great (6th-7th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“May you never know terror of darkness, hissing of flame, torment, or torture. May the foul fiend and all his minions reel back at your approach; as you advance encircled by angels, may he tremble and flee into the monstrous chaos of eternal night…May Christ Who suffered for you rescue you from punishment; may Christ Who was crucified for you deliver you from your cross; may Christ Who deigned to die for you redeem you from death. May Christ the Son of the living God set you in His verdant pasture of everlasting delight, and may the true Shepherd recognize you as a sheep of His flock…May you see your Redeemer face to face, and standing evermore in His presence, gaze upon Eternal Truth revealed in all its beauty to the eyes of the saints.” St. Peter Damian (11th century, Doctor of the Church)

“’The death of His saints is precious in the sight of the Lord.’ If death is precious, what must life be, especially that life? Do not be surprised if the glorified body seems to give the spirit something, for it was a real help when we were sick and mortal. How true that text is which says that all things turn to the good of those who love God. The sick, the dead and the resurrected body is a help to the soul who loves God; the first for the fruits of penance, the second for repose, and the third for consummation.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux (11th-12th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“God with patience and mercy awaits the sinner until his death in order to have pity on him, should he, even in this last moment, regret his evil ways and turn toward Him. For the Lord Who is merciful does not rejoice in the loss of the living.” St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century, Doctor of the Church)

“I don’t believe it would be possible to find any joy comparable to that of a soul in purgatory, except the joy of the blessed in paradise. For it is a joy that goes on increasing day by day as God more and more flows in upon the soul, which He does abundantly in proportion as every hindrance to His entrance is consumed away.” St. Catherine of Genoa (15th-16th centuries)

“We must fear this last passage, but without anxiety or inner disturbance. Let us rather have a fear which keeps us prepared and always ready to die well…let us say that the general rule for a good death is to lead a good life. It is true that even while living well you will fear death, but your fear will be holy and tranquil, relying on the merits of Our Lord’s Passion, without which death would certainly be dreadful and terrifying.”St. Francis de Sales (16th-17th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“Our home is – Heaven. On earth we are like travelers staying at a hotel. When one is away, one is always thinking of going home.” St. John Vianney (18th-19th centuries)

“O my Lord Jesus Christ, Who was born for me in a stable, lived for me a life of pain and sorrow, and died for me upon a cross, say for me in the hour of my death, ‘Father, forgive,’ and to Your Mother, ‘Behold your child.’ Say to me Yourself, ‘This day you shall be with Me in paradise.’” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (18th-19th centuries)

“O Lord, support us all day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in Thy mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at last.” Bl. John Henry Newman (19th century)

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