They That Live In Sin Shall Die In Their Sin
by St. Alphonsus Di Liguori
Should any man in a state of sin be seized with apoplexy and be deprived of his senses, what sentiments of compassion would be excited in all who should see him die without the sacraments and without signs of repentance! And how great should be their delight, if he recovered the use of his senses, asked for absolution, and made acts of sorrow for his sins! But is not he a fool who has time to repent and prefers to continue in sin? Or who returns to sin, and exposes himself to the danger of being cut off by death without the sacraments, and without repentance? A sudden death excites terror in all, and still how many expose themselves to the danger of dying suddenly, and of dying in sin?
Weight and balance are the judgments of the Lord. We keep no account of the graces which God bestows upon us, but He keeps an account of them, He measures them; and when He sees them despised to a certain degree, He then abandons the sinner in his sin, and takes him out of life in that unhappy state. Miserable the man who defers his conversion till death. St Augustine says that “the repentance which is sought from a sick man is infirm.” St Jerome teaches that, of a hundred thousand sinners who continue in sin till death, scarcely one will be saved. St Vincent Ferrer writes that it is a greater miracle to bring such sinners to salvation, than to raise the dead to life.
What sorrow, what repentance, can be expected at death from the man who has loved sin till that moment? St Augustine says that by a just chastisement the sinner who has forgotten God during life shall forget himself at death.
Be not deceived,” says the Apostle, “God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall he reap corruption” [Galatians VI, 7-8]. It would be a mockery of God to live in contempt of His laws, and afterward to reap remuneration and eternal glory. But God is not mocked. What we sow in this life, we reap in the next. For him who sows the forbidden pleasures of the flesh, nothing remains but corruption, misery, and eternal death.
Beloved Christian, what is said for others is also applicable to you. Tell me, if you were at the point of death, given over by the physicians, deprived of your senses, and in your last agony, with what fervour would you ask of God another month or week to settle the accounts of your conscience! God at present gives you this time: thank Him for it, and apply an immediate remedy to the evil you have done; adopt all the means of finding yourself in the grace of God when death comes; for then there will be no more time to acquire His friendship.