Meditation On Death III ~ Luis De La Puente
Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo
Of the Properties of Death
The III. Point.
1. The third property of death is, that it happeneth but once, according to that of the Apostle St. Paul: Statutum est ominibus hominibus semel morti. It is appointed to all men to die once, whereupon it ensueth, that the hurt, and error of an evil death (being the worst of all hurts) is irremediable throughout all eternity: as likewise to die a good death, is throughout all eternity durable. So that if I once die in mortal sin, there is no means to remedy this hurt. For (as Salomon saith) If the tree shall fall, when it is cut, to the south, or to the north, in what place soever it shall fall, therein be.
2. If by obstinacy in sin it falleth to the north of hell, there is no remedy to recover grace, nor to escape from pain. But, if by perseverance in grace, it falleth to the south of heaven, there is no fear of returning again to sin, nor of the loss of glory. With he lively consideration of this, and of the former verities, I am on the one side to be astonished at myself, that believing this with such certainty of faith, I do yet live so careless of my salvation, and so forgetful in a matter, that so much importeth me: and on the other side to animate myself to procure, with greatest speed penance,and amendment of life, and service therein, humbly beseeching our Lord to cut the tree of my life in such time, and place, and in such an occasion,that it may not fall to the side of hell, but of heaven. And with all, I will examine (as St. Bernard sayest) to what side I should fall, if almighty God should now cut me off, and will endeavor to assure my good success, doing fruits worthy of true repentance, with the which the tree inclineth to the part of glory, and being then cut off, shall be transplanted there into.
The experienced deceits that men suffer concerning these three verities, that have been declared, shall be set down in the twelfth Meditation.