Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meditation for Ember Wednesday: Denys the Carthusian

A Meditation for Ember Wednesday

I’ve taken the following from this website. Go there for the whole thing. I find these meditations to be very powerful prompts to examine one’s conscience and amend one’s life.

A Devout Exercise of the Purgative Way
Appointed for each day of the week

by Denys the Carthusian

[From the prologue:]

If then, you desire to become wise and pleasing to God, spurn the discretion of this world, nor desire to please it. No rational creature, not excepting the angels, can or could be saved, except by laying aside his own will, and by conforming it and subjecting it to the Divine Will. And the more truly shall he so do, so much the mightier grace shall he gain.

Therefore, the more fully and completely, for God's love you shall forsake yourself, the more perfectly you shall subject your will to the direction of another's – apt for the matter – by so much shall you be dearer to God, and attain to loftier perfection. The proud are likened to hills, the humble to vales, and God's grace is like to rain. Now, just as rain does not lodge nor gather on the mountain tops, but in the hollows: and the deeper the vales the greater the store of rain there: even so, the Holy Ghost with His grace, abides not in the hearts of the proud, but of the humble; yea, in greater measure the lowlier those hearts.

And because in sinning, man prefers his self-will and fleeting good to the Divine unchangeable Will, the uncreated and supreme Good, which choice mounts up to contempt of God; contrariwise, for such contempt, the sinner must first of all contemn himself with all his heart, and count himself worthy of all confusion and punishment. Again, since man, who should take no delight save in his Creator, in sinning, delights in creatures inordinately and corruptly; so ought the sinner take to himself hearty sorrow for such delectation, and bear due punishment for his guilt.

Wednesday: On the terrors of the last Judgment

Behold, o my soul, how terrible will be the last Judgment when the whole world shall be wrapt in flames blazing up higher than the loftiest peak by many an ell. Then shall come down from Heaven attended by the whole company of angels and saints, Christ, the stern judge. The dead shall rise again and stand before the face of Christ the Lord. The bodies of the damned, weighed down like so much lead, shall lie prone on that earth they have loved too well. They shall be more horrible that when they lay rotting in the tomb as loathsome food for worms; sheets of flame too shall light upon them.

O my soul, how shall not those wretched creatures be pressed on every side: above them, their Judge, all mercy gone and full of wrath; below them Hell, yawning open; on this side and that the devils ready to accuse them. Yea, and all the angels and saints and the whole of mankind too, stirred up against them! At that moment every one of their sins shall be made plain to the whole world. The judge will sum up their record of sin and pronounce sentence: "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire". What awful fear shall seize upon them as He forms these words, and as they see the earth open to swallow them up. Yes, they know the next moment shall see them amidst eternal flames, captives forever with the devils in the prison-house of Hell. While in the same instant looking upwards, they may see the blessed climbing Heaven's heights in a very ocean of delights.

Think too, o my soul, of your own particular judgment. As soon as you shall have passed from this body, you shall be hauled before the bar of Christ and strictly judged by Him. Yea, tremble at this judgment; walk in holy fear and watchfulness before the all-seeing eye of your judge: pray without ceasing that in the day of account, your lot shall be not with the damned, with whom is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Other Lenten meditations on this blog:

A Sacrifice to God is a Contrite Spirit
Temptation: St. Francis de Sales

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