Preparation for Death: Considerations on Eternal Truths

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9781490555423: Preparation for Death: Considerations on Eternal Truths
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SOME persons asked me to write a book on the Eternal Maxims, for the use of those who desire to establish themselves in virtue and to advance in a spiritual life. Others requested me to prepare a collection of matter for the sermons of the missions and of the spiritual exercises. Not to multiply books, labor, and expense, I resolved to compose the work in the present form, with the hope that it might answer both purposes. To render it useful as a book of meditations for seculars, I have divided the considerations into three points. Each point will serve for one meditation, and therefore I have annexed to each point affections and prayers. I entreat my readers not to grow weary, if, in those prayers, they always find petitions for the grace of perseverance and of divine love. For us, these are the two graces most necessary for the attainment of eternal salvation.

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"Death viewed according to the senses terrifies and causes fear; but when viewed with the eyes of faith it consoles and becomes desirable. It appears terrible to sinners, but lovely and precious to the saints."

~St. Alphonsus Liguori

In this popular abridgment of his monumental Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus teaches the proper attitude toward Death, which is one of readiness; of always having one's "debts cleared." He cautions against letting even one day pass without reflecting on the certainty of death, the shortness of time and the length of eternity. Each chapter is a short consideration on some aspect of death, divided into three points easily understood by people in every state of life. Each point is followed by affections and prayers to help one persevere in his efforts to lead a holy life. St. Alphonsus prefaces each chapter with a quotation from Scripture designed to touch the heart of every reader.

Death is the one journey every man must go through alone. This book demonstrates how only consistent, thoughtful meditation on this reality can set people on a more resolute path to Holiness.

"The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die; . . . but they are in peace." ~Wisd. 3:1

About the Author:

St. Alphonsus Liguori was born in 1696 to Neapolitan nobility at Marianella, Italy. He became a recognizable lawyer after going through law school at the age of sixteen, but later decided to leave law in favor of giving his salvation more attention. Alphonsus joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri as a seminarian and was ordained in 1726, when he was thirty. The homilies he gave had the special ability of converting those who had fallen away from the faith. He also founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and authored such works as The Glories of Mary, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Attaining Salvation, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Preparation for Death Abridged, What Will Hell Be Like?, The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation, and The Way of the Cross.

After being a bishop for over a decade, St. Alphonsus Liguori died on the first of August, 1787. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871. His feast is celebrated on August 1.

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St. Alphonsus Liguori
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