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O THAT love of God and contempt of the present life were so strong within thee that thou mightest truly say with the Apostle St. Paul, “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ!” (Philip. i. 23). There is nothing which more exhilarates the faithful and loving soul, than the hope that, having fulfilled the appointed course of this life, it will attain to that blessed haven of eternal peace; where it will no more be stained with any sin; where no fear, no danger, no anxiety, no vicissitudes, will afflict it; where, full of charity, it will praise God without impediment; where it will most perfectly please Him, and will love nothing besides Him; where, at length, it will entirely possess God, and be possessed by Him. Since, in this present life, these things cannot be fully and permanently enjoyed, death itself is desirable, or at least, tolerable to the just. For they feel how severe is the winter of this mortal life, and on that account they long for the summer of the life eternal.

This life is, indeed, a gloomy winter, pinched by the frost of our own corruptions, clouded over by the darkness of ignorance, laid waste by the rushing storms of so many calamities, labours, and sorrows. Those who sigh under the afflictions of the winter, will be consoled and rejoice when the summer shall have come.

Happy is the hour, and most desirable the moment, 92when the heavenly Spouse joyfully meets the holy soul coming forth from the prison of the body with gentle words, and invites it, saying, “Arise, make haste, my love. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. Flowers have appeared in our land; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (Cant. ii. 10, 11, 12). Come forth with joy, most dear daughter: tremble not, nor be afraid; thou art brought out of exile, thou leavest the miseries of the calamitous world. For “nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more” (Apoc. xxi. 4). Henceforth, the corruptible body shall not weigh down the soul: for when thou art admitted into the joy of thy Lord, thou shalt rejoice for ever in the gift of immortality.

But some sensual man reading this, who has been used to delight in visible things, or even in carnal pleasures, may perchance say to himself: And what joy can there be where feasts and banquets and all the pleasures of the flesh are absent? Alas, wretched man! the appetite for those carnal delights denotes, not health, but sickness. Thou art sick, thou art consumed by an evil thirst; and if thou couldst satisfy it, thou wouldst esteem thyself happy. But when with thy body thou shalt lay aside thy disease, then will be extinguished that fatal thirst, under which thou unhappily labourest. In the life to come, those who shall attain to God, shall enjoy true and solid delights. They who shall possess God will not need corruptible food and drink, for they will be full of God. God will be to them, food and drink, and 93whatsoever they can desire; they will have all things in Him, with whose vision they will be filled. They will ever see Him, and ever be satisfied; and they will desire ever to see Him, and ever to be satisfied. They will desire without anxiety, and they will have their fill without satiety.

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