27 August 2022

27 August, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Those Who Will to be Damned
1. There are many who are so steeped in vice that they never think of eternity and seek their happiness in sinful and worldly pleasures. They have grown deaf to God’s voice, although He instills in them remorse and restlessness and invites them by good inspirations to return to His merciful embrace. They are deaf, too, to the voice of conscience, which in spite of their degradation cannot fail to make them feel the attractiveness of virtue and their great need of their Creator. They are fundamentally unhappy, doubly so because in this life “there is no peace to the wicked” (Is. 48:22) and in the next life they will be damned forever. Only a miracle of divine grace can save them from the abyss into which they have voluntarily precipitated themselves.
There are others who want to have their heaven both in this world and in the next. They oscillate uncertainly between good and evil, today being full of good resolutions and tomorrow giving way to sin because virtue seems to demand too many sacrifices. They would like to be good, but they will not take the necessary trouble.
Indecisive and lukewarm, they think that they can serve God and the devil at the same time. Naturally, this is impossible, as Christ has told us. “No man can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt. 6:24) If people of this kind will not make up their minds, they are running the risk of eternal damnation.
To what category do you belong? Think about this and make a firm decision.
2. Only those who will it themselves are damned. God wishes all men to be saved. It was for this that He came into the world and shed His Precious Blood. Moreover, He has given us the means necessary for salvation. “God our Saviour wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4)
What can be wanting to us, therefore, in order to obtain salvation? Divine grace is certainly not lacking, for God gives it to us without reserve. “I come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Nor are we lacking in strength for as St. Paul says, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) We have the Sacraments, good inspirations, and the example of the Saints. All that we can be deficient in, then, is our own goodwill and co-operation with the grace of God. We must be prepared to play our part in our own salvation.
3. We cannot claim that we are too weak to fight our temptations. “God is faithful and will not permit you be tempted beyond your strength.” (1 Cor. 10:13) Neither can we complain that we have not enough time to think about such matters, for when God gave us time He intended us to devote it principally to the solution of the most important problem in our lives, which is our own salvation. It is futile, too, to insist that the devil is too strong for us, for, to quote St. Augustine, he is like a chained mastiff which can bark at us with all his might, but cannot bite us unless we approach too close to him.
Our first thought and purpose, therefore, must be our own salvation. The treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great price (Cf. Mt. 13:44-46) are symbols of the kingdom of God and of everlasting happiness. We should be prepared to sacrifice everything else in order to find this treasure and to acquire this pearl.

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