Thomas a Kempis tells of a pious person who one day fell into great anxiety in regard to his final perseverance. Prostrating himself before an altar, he raised his eyes, and exclaimed: “Oh, if I only knew that I was to persevere in good to the end!” He instantly heard an interior voice that replied, “Well, if you knew, what would you do? Do now what you would wish to have done in that hour, and you will be in perfect security.”
In the Lives of the Fathers we read of an old monk, who, when asked what exercise should be employed to attain perfection, made this answer: “From the day I left the world, I have said to myself every morning: ‘To-day thou art born again! Begin now to serve God, and to live in this holy place! Commence thy life each day as if the following one were to end it!'”
Monseigneur de Palafox, as we read in his Life, at the very beginning of his conversion had a light from on high, by which he understood that he ought to live day by day, that is, to take all possible care to live as if he believed each day that he was then to die, and render his account to God. He acted in this manner through the whole remainder of his life, and he confessed that a method so sure to give him satisfaction at the hour of death, had also been of great value during his life.
Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).