I pray this each morning, and refer to it merely as my “morning reminders” prayer. Through it I strive to recall to mind (and beseech God to continue to remind me throughout the day) a compilation I put together of those most striking, demanding, fundamental, all-consuming realities that need to be considered in the attainment of salvation.
Eternal Father, grant throughout this day that I may be ever reminded….
- That my love for you is measured by my love for the one in this world whom I love least.
- That very soon, every thought, word, deed, and omission of each and every moment of my life will be judged by You in the presence of all creation.
- That I must prefer to suffer the greatest pains until the end of time than to commit even the smallest venial sin.
- That every interaction, no matter how mundane, I today have with any soul will help to determine if she becomes “a creature I would now be strongly tempted to worship or else a horror and a corruption I could now see only in a nightmare.”
- That You so highly regard my prayers and sacrifices that You have deigned to hinge, upon their being said and made, the very salvation of souls created by You and for whom You died.
- That the smallest sufferings of purgatory far exceed the worst torments possible in this world, and yet need not be endured if I now choose to pursue perfection.
- That the forgiveness and mercy you grant to me on Judgment Day will be determined by the measure of the same that I grant to the least of your children; by my willingness to forget their sins, and my loving desire to spend eternity with even those who now vex me.
- That the “angels envy me for one thing only: my ability to suffer for Christ.”
- That above all the First Commandment must be obeyed, and that whatever I think of most, that might be “my god.”
- That if I do not now live as I ought, then even temporally, the regret that will immerse me at the moments preceding death far exceed any trial I must now undergo to do good and avoid evil.
- That worldly and secular things, even when good in themselves, do distract from eternal matters of infinitely more importance, and any attachment to or affection for them is dangerous and harmful.
- That if I am ashamed of You before men—if I am embarrassed of, cowardly about, or indifferent to You and Your Truth—then You will be ashamed of me before Your Father on Judgment Day.
- That Christian life is this: to deny one’s self, to take up one’s cross, and to follow Christ.
- That love is measured by sacrifice, and ever seeks to pour itself out without any expectation of repayment—and “at the evening of our lives, we will be judged on our love”
Take a minute to plot out how to best practice these lessons and most effectively use this day to build up treasures in Heaven. Make specific resolutions.
Along with this is the “Eschatological Reminders,” which, like the Morning Reminders prayer, I read through regularly to remind myself of those hidden mysteries about the last things that we ought to keep always in our mind’s eye:
If the immensity of the reality in which we are inescapably immersed, and the magnitude of the consequences of the choices we make in it, were to dawn in the slightest upon our comprehension, we would die. And yet, we so rarely permit this immensity to determine our behavior. Therefore let us ponder the following truths in our hearts so that we may act in accord from this day forth.
- If every human who has ever lived, except one, were guaranteed to reach heaven, it would still be worth the utter dedication of every moment of your life to ensure that you are not that one damned soul. And yet we know that many souls go to hell.
- A long life of the greatest torment possible would be like nothing but a “night spent at an inconvenient hotel” from the viewpoint of heaven.
- It would be better to endure torture until the end of time than to commit one venial sin
- Every thought, word, and deed of your life will be displayed before God and before every soul who ever has or ever will live, at the General Judgment. By viewership, your reading of this sentence will dwarf the climax of the most successful Hollywood blockbuster.
- The least pains of Purgatory far exceed the greatest pains that may be endured on this Earth, and if you die with any attachment to any sin, even venial, you will go there. If you would not readily accept the flaying off of all of your sin in order to maintain, for example, your gossip, then do not overlook this fault of yours by saying “I can still get to purgatory with it at least.”