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The Sinner's Guide - Ch 10. The Tenth Motive for Practicing Virtue: The Thought of Hell
Catholic ^ | 16th cent. | Ven. Louis of Granada - With Imprimi Potest and Imprimatur

Posted on 02/09/2010 8:58:26 PM PST by GonzoII


Ven. Louis of Granada
With Imprimi Potest and Imprimatur


Ch 10. The Tenth Motive for Practicing Virtue:
The Thought of Hell, the Fourth of the Four Last Things


The least part of the happiness we have endeavored to portray should be sufficient to inflame our hearts with a love of virtue. Nevertheless, we shall also consider the terrible alternative of misery reserved for the reprobate. The sinner cannot comfort himself by saying, "After all, the only result of my depraved life will be that I shall never see God. Further than this I shall have neither reward nor punishment." Oh, no; we are all destined to one or the other-----either to reign eternally with God in Heaven or to burn forever with the devils in Hell!

This happiness and misery, either of which must inevitably be our portion, are represented by the two baskets of figs which Jeremias saw in the vision, one containing "very good figs, like the figs of the first season, and the other basket very bad figs, which could not be eaten." [Jer. 24: 1-2] God willed thus to represent to His prophet the two classes of souls, one of which forms the object of His mercy, and the other of His justice. The happiness of the first is unequaled, and the misery of the second is also incomparable; for the just enjoy the perpetual vision of God, which is the greatest of all blessings, while the wicked are forever deprived of this vision, and thereby suffer the greatest of all evils.

If men who sin so rashly would weigh this truth, they would know the terrible burden that they lay upon themselves. Those who earn their living by carrying burdens first estimate the weight they are to bear, that they may know whether it is beyond their strength. Why, then, O rash man, will you-----or a passing pleasure-----so lightly assume the terrible burden of sin, without considering your strength to bear it? Will you not reflect on the heavy weight you thus condemn yourself to bear for all eternity? To help you do this I shall offer you a few considerations which will enable you to realize in some measure the greatness of the punishment reserved for sin.

Let us first reflect on the almighty power of God, Whose justice will chastise the sinner. God's greatness is apparent in all His works. He is God, not only in Heaven, earth, and sea, but in Hell and in every other place. He is God in His wrath and in the justice with which He avenges the outrages offered to His Divine majesty. Therefore, He Himself exclaims by the mouth of His prophet, "Will you not then fear Me, and will you not repent at My presence? I have set the sand a bound for the sea, an everlasting ordinance, which it shall not pass over; and the waves thereof shall toss themselves, and shall not prevail: they shall swell, and shall not pass over it." [Jer. 5: 22]

In other words, will you not fear the almighty power of that Arm Which controls the elements, which sustains the universe, and which no power can resist? If the works of His mercy excite us to love and praise Him, we have no less reason to fear the greatness of His justice. Hence the prophet Jeremias, though innocent, and even sanctified in his mother's womb, was deeply penetrated with this salutary fear. "Who," he cries out, "shall not fear Thee, O king of nations?" [Jer. 10: 7] And again: "I sat alone, because thou hast filled me with threats." [Jer. 15: 17] Doubtless the prophet knew that these threats were not uttered against him; yet they filled him with terror. The pillars of Heaven, we are told, tremble before the majesty of God, and the powers and principalities prostrate themselves in awe before His throne. If these pure spirits, confirmed in bliss, and in no manner doubting of their happiness, but only through admiration of the Divine Perfections, tremble before His power, what should be the terror of the sinner who has made himself the object of His wrath? It is the power of our Sovereign Judge which is most appalling in the punishment of sin. Speaking of God's punishments, St. John says, "Babylon's plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be burnt with fire, because God is strong, Who shall judge her." [Apoc. 18: 8] The great Apostle, filled with awe of this power, exclaims, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." [Heb. 10: 31]

We have not such reason to fear the hands of men, from whom we can escape, and who at least cannot thrust the soul into Hell. Hence Our Savior tells His disciples, "And fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him Who can destroy both soul and body in Hell." [Matt. 10: 28] The author of Ecclesiasticus, impressed with the might of this power, thus warns us: "Unless we do penance we shall fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men." [Ecclus. 2: 22] This united testimony proves, as we have said, that as God is great in His mercy and rewards, so will He be great in His justice and punishments.

This truth is still more apparent in the terrible chastisements inflicted by God which are related in Scripture. Witness the punishment of Dathan and Abiron, who, with all their accomplices, were swallowed alive into the earth and thrust into the depths of Hell for rebelling against their superiors. Who can read unmoved the threats against transgressors recorded in Deuteronomy? Among others equally terrible, here is one which the sacred writer puts into the mouth of God: "Thou shalt serve thy enemy, whom the Lord will send upon thee, in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put an iron yoke upon thy neck till he consume thee … And thou shalt eat the fruit of thy womb, and the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God shall give thee, in the distress and extremity wherewith thy enemy shall oppress thee." [Deut. 28: 48, 53]

We can scarcely imagine punishments more dreadful than these; yet they, as well as all the sufferings of this life, are but a shadow when compared to the terrible torments of the life to come. If His justice be so rigorous in this world, though always tempered by His love, what will it be in eternity when exercised without mercy? For the sinner who has despised God's mercies in this life will feel only the effects of His justice in the life to come.

Another consideration which may help us to appreciate the rigor of these sufferings is the greatness of the mercy of which the sinner has despised. What is there more astonishing than that mercy which caused God to clothe Himself in human flesh, to endure innumerable sufferings and humiliations, to take upon Himself the transgressions of the world, and for these transgressions to expire as a malefactor on an infamous gibbet? God is infinite in all His attributes; and, therefore, the justice with which He will punish man will equal the boundless mercy with which He redeemed him.

When God first came upon earth there was nothing in us to excite His mercy; but at His second coming our every sin will be an additional reason for Him to exercise His justice. Judge, therefore, how terrible it will be. "At His second coming," says St. Bernard, "God will be as inflexible and as rigorous in punishing as at His first coming He was patient and merciful in forgiving. There is now no sinner living who is cut off from His reconciliation; but in the day of His justice none will be received." These words of St. Bernard are confirmed by the royal prophet,. who tells us, "Our God is the God of salvation: and of the Lord, of the Lord are the issues from death. But God shall break the heads of his enemies: the hairy crown of them that walk on in their sins." [Ps. 67: 21-22] Behold, then, how great is God's mercy to those who are converted to Him, and how great is the rigor with which He punishes obdurate sinners.

The same truth is manifested by God's patience with the world, and with the vices and disorders of every sinner in particular. How many there are who, from the age of reason to the end of their lives, continually offend Him and despise His law, regardless of His promises, His benefits, His warnings, or His menaces! Yet God does not cut them off, but continues to bear with them, unceasingly exhorting them to repentance. But when the term of His patience will come, and His wrath, which has been accumulating in the bosom of His justice, will burst its bounds, with what terrible violence it will be poured out upon them! "Knowest thou not," says the Apostle, "that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God, Who will render to every man according to his works." [Rom. 2: 4-6]

The meaning of these words is not difficult. A treasure of wrath is a terrible figure. Just as the miser adds coin to coin, riches to riches, so the wrath of God is daily and even hourly increased by the transgressions of the sinner. Were a man to let no day or hour pass without adding to his material fortune, consider what an immense amount he would have accumulated at the end of fifty or sixty years. Alas, then, for thee, unhappy sinner, for there is hardly an hour in which thou dost not add to the treasures of God's wrath which thy sins are accumulating against thee. Thy immodest glances, the evil desires of thy corrupt heart, and thy scandalous words and blasphemies would alone suffice to fill a world. If to these are added the many other grievous crimes of which thou hast been guilty, consider the treasure of vengeance and wrath which a long life of sin will heap up against thee.

If to the considerations already given we add a brief reflection on the gratitude of men, it will help us realize, in some measure, the severity of the punishment inflicted upon the sinner. Contemplate God's goodness to men; the benefits He has heaped upon them; the means He has given them to practice virtue; the iniquities He has forgiven them; the evils from which He has delivered them. Consider, moreover, the ingratitude of men for all these blessings; their many treasons and rebellions against God; their contempt of His laws, which they trample underfoot for a paltry interest, and often through malice or mere caprice. What, then, can he expect who has thus outraged God's mercy, who, in the words of the Apostle, has "trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified?" [Heb. 10: 29] God is a just Judge, and their punishment will be proportioned to their crimes. Remember the majesty of Him Who has been offended, and consider the sufferings of that Body and Soul which must offer satisfaction for such an outrage. If the Blood of Christ were needed to make reparation for man's offenses, the dignity of the Victim supplying what was lacking in the severity of His sufferings, how terrible will be those sufferings which sinners must endure, and which must supply by their vigor what is wanting in the merit of the victim!

If the thought of the Judge impress us so deeply, what ought to be our feelings when we consider who it is that will be the executioner! The executioner will be the devil. What, then, may we not expect from the malice of such an enemy? If we would form some idea of his cruelty, consider his treatment of the holy man Job, whom God delivered into his hands. He destroyed his flocks; laid waste his lands; overthrew his houses; carried off his children by death; made his body a mass of ulcers, and left him no other refuge but a dunghill and a potsherd to scrape his sores. In addition to his suffering he left him a scolding wife and cruel friends, who reviled him with words which tortured him more keenly than the worms which preyed upon his flesh. Thus was Job afflicted by Satan, but it is impossible to describe in human language Satan's treatment of our Blessed Savior during the night in which He was the victim of the powers of darkness.

Seeing, then, how cruel are the devil and his Angels, will you not tremble with horror at the thought of being delivered into their hands? They will have power to execute upon you the most terrible inventions of their malice, not for a day, or a night, or a year only, but for all eternity. Read the appalling picture of these evil spirits given by St. John: "I saw a star," says the Apostle, "fall from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and the smoke of the pit arose as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit. And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth. And power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who have not the seal of God on their foreheads. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should torment them five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man. And in those days men shall seek death, and shall not find it; and they shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them. And the shapes of the locusts to were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold; and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and they had breastplates as breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails." [Apoc. 9: 1-10]

Does not the Holy Ghost design to teach us by these terrible figures the fearful effects of God's justice, the awful instruments of His wrath, and the appalling tortures of the reprobate? Does He not wish that the fear of these evils should save us from the lot of the sinner? What is that star which fell from Heaven, and received the key of the bottomless pit, but that bright Angel who was precipitated from Heaven to reign forever in Hell? Do not the locusts, so well equipped for battle, represent the ministers of Satan? And are not the green things which they were commanded to spare, the just who flourish under the dew of God's grace and bring forth fruits of eternal life? Who are they who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads but men who have not His Spirit, which is the mark and seal of His faithful servants? It is against these unhappy souls that the ministers of God's vengeance will work.

Yes, they will be tormented in this life and in the next by the devils whom they willed to serve, just as the Egyptians were tormented by the various living creatures which they had adored. What terrible pictures are given us in Scripture of the monsters of this eternal abyss! What can be conceived more horrible than the behemoth, "that setteth up his tail like a cedar, whose bones are like pipes of brass, who drinketh up rivers and devoureth mountains?" [Job 40: 10-19]

The considerations already given are certainly sufficient to inspire us with a horror of sin; but to strengthen this salutary fear let us reflect upon the duration of these terrible torments. Try to realize what a comfort it would be to the damned if at the end of millions of years they could look forward to any term or alleviation of their sufferings. But no; their suffering shall be eternal; they shall continue as long as God shall be God. If one of these unhappy souls, says a Doctor of the Church, were to shed one tear every thousand years, and if these tears accumulated to such a flood as to inundate the world, he would still be as far as ever from the end of his sufferings. Eternity would only be at its beginning. Is there anything worthy of our fears but this terrible fate? Truly, were the pain of Hell no more than the prick of a pin, yet if it must continue forever there is no suffering in this world which man should not endure to avoid it.

Oh! That this eternity, this terrible forever, were deeply graven in our hearts! We are told that a worldly man, giving himself to serious reflection upon eternity, made use of this simple reasoning: There is no sensible man who would accept the empire of the world at the expense of thirty or forty years spent upon a bed, even were it a bed of roses. How great, then, is the folly of him who, for much smaller interests, incurs the risk of being condemned to lie upon a bed of fire for all eternity! This thought wrought such a change in his life that he became a great Saint and most worthy prelate of the Church.

What consideration will be given to this by the soft and effeminate, who complain so much if the buzzing of a mosquito disturbs their night's repose? What will they say when they will find themselves stretched upon a bed of fire, surrounded by sulfurous flames, not for one short summer night, but for all eternity? To such the prophet addresses himself when he says, "Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? Which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" [Is. 33: 14] O senseless man! Will you continue to allow yourself to be deceived by the arch-enemy of your soul? How can you be so diligent in providing for your temporal welfare, and yet be so careless of your eternal interests?

If you were penetrated with these reflections, what obstacle could turn you from the practice of virtue? Difficult as it may appear, is there any sacrifice you would refuse to escape these eternal torments? Were God to allow a man to choose whether he would be tormented while on earth with a gout or toothache which would never allow him a moment's repose, or embrace the life of a Carthusian or a Carmelite, do you think there is anyone who would not, purely from a motive of self-love, choose the state of a religious rather than endure this continual suffering? Yet there is no pain in this life which can be compared to the pains of Hell, either in intensity or in duration. Why, then, will we not accept the labor God asks of us, which is so much less than the austerities of a Carthusian or a Carmelite? Why will we refuse the restraint of His law, which will save us from such suffering?

What will add most keenly to the sufferings of the damned will be the knowledge that by a short penance and self-denial upon earth they might have averted these terrible pains which they must fruitlessly endure for all eternity. We see a figure of this awful truth in the furnace which Nabuchodonosor caused to be built in Babylon [Dan. 3], the flames of which mounted forty-nine cubits, but could never reach fifty, the number of the year of jubilee, or general pardon. In like manner the eternal flame of this Babylon, though it burns so fiercely, filling its unhappy victims with pain and anguish, will never reach the point of mercy, will never obtain for them the grace of pardon of the Heavenly jubilee.

Oh! Unprofitable pains! Oh! Fruitless tears! Oh! Rigorous and hopeless penance! If borne in this life, the smallest portion of them might have saved the sinner from everlasting misery. Mindful of all these, send forth your tears and sighs, remembering the prophet who "lamented and howled, who went stripped and naked, making a wailing like the dragons, and a mourning like the ostriches, because her wound was desperate." [Micheas 1: 8-9]

If men were ignorant of these truths, if they had not received them as infallible, their negligence and indifference would not be so astonishing. But have we not reason to wonder, since men have received them on the word of Him who has said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away"? [Lk. 21: 33] Yet behold in what forgetfulness of their duty and their God they continue to live.

Tell me, blind soul, what pleasure you find in the riches and honors of this world which is a compensation for the eternal fire of Hell. "If you possessed the wisdom of Solomon," says St. Jerome, "the beauty of Absalom, the strength of Samson, the longevity of Henoch, the riches of Croesus, the power of Caesar, what will all these avail you at death, if your body becomes the prey of worms, and your soul, like the rich glutton's, the sport of demons for all eternity?"

TOPICS: Catholic; Prayer
KEYWORDS: catholic; fourlastthings; hell; thesinnersguide

Apostolic Brief of Pope Gregory XIII

To our well-beloved Son, Louis of Granada, of the Order of Friars Preachers

Dearly Beloved Son, Health and Apostolic Benediction:
Your arduous and incessant labors, both for the conversion of sinners and for the guidance of souls to perfection, together with the valuable assistance you render those who are earnestly engaged in the work of the ministry, have always afforded us great consolation.

Your sermons and writings, filled with sublime doctrine and practical piety, are unceasingly drawing souls to God. This is particularly gratifying to us, for all who have profited by your teaching [and their number is very great] may be considered as so many souls gained to Christ. You have thus benefited your fellow creatures more than if you had given sight to the blind and raised the dead to life. For the knowledge of the Eternal Light and the enjoyment of the heavenly life, according as they are given to man on earth to know and enjoy, are far above the knowledge and enjoyment of the transitory goods of this world.

The charity with which you have devoted yourself to your great and important labor has gained for you many crowns.

Continue, then, to devote all your energies to the prosecution of your undertakings. Finish what you have begun, for we understand that you have some works yet incomplete. Give them to the world for the health of the sick, for the strength of the weak, for the delight of God’s servants, and for the glory of the Church both militant and triumphant.

Given at Rome the 21st of July, 1582, of our pontificate.



Venerable Louis of Granada His Life and Work

The life of Venerable Louis of Granada [1504-1588] paralleled to a remarkable degree the greatest era of the Spanish Empire-----that empire known as "the evangelizer of half the world, the hammer of heretics, and the light of the Council of Trent." Louis himself is known as "the writer of the Spanish empire." He was born only shortly after the famous year 1492, when Spain had, under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, defeated the Moors after eight centuries of Moorish occupation and oppression in Spain and financed Christopher Columbus' momentous voyage to America. These were the times of Spain's intense exploration and missionary activity in the New World, of the Council of Trent [1548-1563], and of the great Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto [1571].

The end of this glorious era is marked by the great defeat in 1588 of the "invincible" Spanish Armada off the coast of England, an event which signaled the beginning of the end of Spain's brief but glorious reign as a world power. This was also the very year of Louis' death. But during the early and mid-16th century, Catholic Spain gave to the world many priceless gifts; not least of these were the books of her renowned son, Ven. Louis of Granada.

In the aftermath of the surrender of the Moors in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella were faced with the task of making Granada a Spanish city once again. In order to hasten the influx of Spanish influence into the city and the blending of the Moorish and the Spanish people, Ferdinand and Isabella granted free entrance to the city of Granada to any Spaniard from the provinces who wished to settle there. One young couple who took advantage of this opportunity was Francis Sarria and his wife [whose name has been lost to history], a couple who in 1504 became the parents of a son named Louis, later to become famous as "Louis of Granada." Unfortunately, Francis died in 1509, and Louis and his mother were reduced to poverty, being supported by alms from the Dominican Monastery. After a few years of destitution, there occurred an event whereby Louis de Sarria's fortunes changed suddenly and dramatically. While engaged in a street fight with a boy who had insulted his mother, Louis was discovered by the Count de Tendilla, Mayor of the Alhambra, who was impressed with his courage. The Count took Louis under his patronage. Thereafter Louis spent many hours on the balconies of the Alhambra; thus, in addition to his other education, his soul was fed by the magnificent beauty of the surrounding countryside, fueling that deep love for the beauty of nature which was to be a hallmark of his thought and writing for the rest of his life. When Louis de Sarria reached young manhood, he turned his path toward the religious life. At the same Dominican Monastery where he had begged alms as an orphaned child, the Convent of the Holy Cross, he received the habit of a Friar Preacher on June 15, 1524, to the joyful tears of his beloved mother. A year later he made his religious profession. At the Convent of the Holy Cross, Friar Louis, or Fray Louis, as he was called, undertook the rigorous Dominican ratio studiorum: a review of Latin and then three years of Philosophy and three years of Theology. Among the the texts used were the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Louis de Sarria was brilliant in scholastic disputations; he had no equal in mental capacity, application to study, and exact observance of the monastic life.

After some time, he was awarded a scholarship to the celebrated College of St. Gregory in Valladolid. Arriving there in 1529, he spent the designated eight days in preparation for taking the oath to uphold the statutes of the College; thus Louis de Sarria became formally invested in the College of St. Gregory, taking on both the honors and the obligations thereof. In the mind of the young friar, his first duty was worthily to represent Holy Cross Convent of Granada. Grateful for the confidence placed in him by his fellow religious of Holy Cross, he changed his name from Fray Louis de Sarria to Fray Louis of Granada. With such great seriousness did the Spanish ecclesiastical student of the 16th century hold his exalted position as a knight of Thomistic truth.

But there was more than learning in Louis' heart and soul. By prayer and penance, as well as study, he was preparing for a future apostolate of preaching.

In the year 1534, at the age of 30, because of his ardent longings for the apostolate, Louis stepped forward and generously offered himself as a missionary to Mexico. Although he had not yet completed his eight-year course of studies, he was willing to abandon the lecture halls. He was all prepared to leave for the Americas; but when his departure was imminent, Fray Louis' superior commanded him to cancel his trip and let another go in his place.
This was a tremendous disappointment for Fray Louis. In fact, although he obediently accepted the sacrifice, the longing for the mission field remained a thorn in his soul all his life. This event ushered in a deepening in the soul of Louis of Granada. More and more he realized that prayer, rather than study, is the way to true spiritual knowledge of Christ. He saw more clearly that his goal should be to live the life of Christ within his own soul, and then to preach Christ to others. He even began to have a distaste for study. In this regard, the writings of the famous Master John of Avila also had a great influence in j the changing of Fray Louis' attitude. At this time there also awakened in him his vocation as a spiritual writer. He desired that the riches of the spiritual treasure should be imparted to and shared by all, and the means by which he intended to diffuse them were preaching and writing. In 1539, at the age of 35, he wrote a small tract on the method of prayer for a student at St. Gregory in Valladolid who had written to him for advice: this little tract is spirituality pure and simple. It is the first lecture of Fray Louis from the chair of Spanish spirituality. This same tract was later to be transformed into a work that would make Fray Louis' name immortal:
The Book of Prayer and Meditation.

In 1544 the Dominican Order gave Louis the title of Preacher General. In 1546, he was granted the privilege of going anywhere in Spain to preach, in the company of a companion of his choosing, and no superior could prevent his preaching. During this period, Fray Louis spent much of his time traveling and preaching. He was in demand everywhere as a preacher and spiritual director-----even among the royalty. He became widely known as a holy friar, a preacher, and a man of great administrative ability.

About the year 1552, Queen Catherine of Portugal, the sister of Charles V, selected him as her confessor and advisor. Practically the rest of his life was spent in Portugal, with occasional visits to Spain. Because of his great knowledge and his practical talents, Fray Louis was frequently called upon to help settle problems arising among the royalty-----important problems upon which might hang the welfare of entire nations. But all such dealings with worldly affairs were painful to him, and appear to have constituted the greatest cross of his later life.

In addition, in 1556 he was elected Provincial of the Dominican Province of Portugal. A year later he turned down Queen Catherine's offer of the archbishopric of Braga, which would have made him Primate of Portugal. In the midst of such preoccupations, Fray Louis never forgot his apostolate of spiritual writing.

In 1554 The Book of Prayer and Meditation was published. Its success was a complete surprise, especially to Fray Louis, but it confirmed him in his vocation of spiritual writer. From that time forward he dedicated himself with a divine impatience to writing on spiritual themes for all. He led the left of an ascetic; his cell was poor and possessions meager: a wooden bed, crude table, a few books, some paper and and instruments of penance. He received quite a lot of money for his writings, all of which went to the poor. His chief virtues of excellence were meekness, humility, and good counsel.

This affable and simple religious, entirely given to the things of God, was very active and even dynamic. He rose at four in the morning and spent two hours in prayer. At six o'clock he celebrated Mass with remarkable solemnity and devotion. In those days priests were not accustomed to celebrate Mass every day, but Fray Louis never omitted it, and stated that the best preparation for the celebration of Mass was to celebrate daily. After Mass he devoted himself to a lengthy thanksgiving and then returned to his cell to begin the labors of the day.

The 16th century was a most turbulent time in the history of the Church, a time whose terrible legacy of heresy and apostasy is still with us today. [It was also a century of many, many great Saints.] There was a crying need for true Catholic reform, but many heretics had arisen to feed the faithful with stones and scorpions instead of bread. An un-Christian humanism was spreading its contagion of rebellion against God; and in 1517, when Fray Louis was 12 years old, Martin Luther took the step that was to launch the tragic heresy of external justification, a doctrine which smothered the true supernatural life of the soul and thus led to the most man-centered form of humanism. Another error which was spreading at the time was a false form of spirituality which claimed that religion should be something completely interior. A fourth error was Quietism, which discounted the effort required for the Christian soul to grow in grace and virtue. A goodly number of spiritual writers of the time fell into one or another of these traps.

Louis of Granada, on the other hand, was a voice of true orthodox Catholic reform. Although, in the confusion, he was for a time accused of heresy, this false charge was disposed of at Trent and Rome. Louis presented life in Christ as the life proper to all Christians, and he showed the essential role which the virtues play in the growth of this life. He showed how grace is essential to life in Christ, and how the Christian must receive the Sacraments and pray in order to obtain the necessary grace of God. Thus, by reading Fray Louis' true picture of the Christian life, the 16th century Catholic-----as well as the Catholic of today-----is protected against many errors and given true and powerful spiritual food. His soul is protected against man-centered humanism, against the error of external justification without an inner transformation into holiness in the soul, the error of religion as being something entirely interior and independent of laws and ceremonies, and the error that the christian need not expand an effort to grow in grace.  The teaching in his works is firmly orthodox, completely Catholic.

In his 35 years of writing, Fray Louis produced 49 works. These can be classified into five categories: spiritual theology, apologetics, hagiography, sacred oratory, and translations. Some of his books are masterpieces of spiritual theology. These are The Book of Prayer and Meditation, a book that laments the miseries of life and manifests spiritual contempt for the world-----this is the one of his books that Louis loved best, and one that has served as a manual of prayer for countless souls; The Sinner's Guide [first published in 1556], a masterwork of Aristotelian symmetry and the most scholastic work of Fray Louis, a book which covers from myriad angles the virtues of the Christian life, proving that this life is the only way to true happiness [even on earth]; Introduction to the Creed, a gigantic work written in Louis' old age, but which breathes the spirit of youth. This work shows Louis' preoccupation with the conversion of the Jews and Mohammedans; he knew the Oriental mind very well, and in this book he shows, among many other things, that only Catholicism can give God due worship. This is undoubtedly his most admirable book, and modern critics never cease to be amazed at the genius that produced it.

Louis' books have been translated into 25 different languages, including Syrian, Arabic, and Japanese, in addition to the European languages. There have been some 6 thousand editions of Fray Louis' works. In fact, it is known from tales brought back by missionaries that the Japanese version of The Sinner's Guide was one of the bulwarks that sustained the faith of the Japanese Catholics during two centuries of terrible persecution, when both in Europe and Japan, Japanese Christianity was believed dead. In 1865, when missionaries were again allowed into Japan, missionary Father Bernard Petitjean was astonished to find in the hills around Nagasaki thousands of Japanese Catholics who had kept the Faith, hidden but vital, without priests, for over 200 years! Immense was the joy of these faithful ones at once again having a Catholic priest among them. The Sinner's Guide had played a providential role in sustaining the Faith in their souls during that trying time.

The works of Fray Louis were included in the precious cargo brought to the New World by the Spanish missionaries; these missionaries even translated some of Granada's works into the native Indian languages. St. Rose of Lima, too, loved the books of Fray Louis; she had them always at hand. Her favorite was The Book of Prayer and Meditation. In one of her struggles with the devil, she protected herself by reading this book; the devil became furious, snatched the book from her, and threw it onto a rubbish heap. Rose remain unmoved, certain that the Lord would return it to her-----as indeed He did.

Other famous Catholics who have read and loved the works of Venerable Louis include St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Francis de Sales, Cardinal Berulle and Bossuet (all French); St. Charles Borromeo (Italian), Louis of Leon (Spanish), and the Jesuit and Barnabite Orders. St. Teresa read Louis' books and commanded her nuns to do the same. She credited The Sinner's Guide with having converted over a million souls. In some religious rules and constitutions the works of Louis were mentioned as almost obligatory spiritual reading for the novices. There was no bishop in Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries who did not eulogize, recommend, and even grant indulgences for the reading of the works of Fray Louis.

St. Francis de Sales urged a Bishop-elect of his acquaintance to read the works or Louis of Granada, and to treat them as a second breviary. He advised this man to read them slowly, beginning with The Sinner's Guide.

In Advent of 1588, when he was nearly 84 years old, Louis' health was unusually poor. Nevertheless he prayed more, fasted more, and took his discipline. In December he began to have attacks of nausea and vomiting which left him extremely weakened. By December 30 all hope for his recovery was abandoned. On December 31, 1588, in the bare and humble cell at Santo Domingo where monarchs of the world had visited him, it was obvious that Fray Louis' lamp of life was almost extinguished. With tears of joy he received the Last Sacraments. The novices knelt at the door to his cell for a last farewell. Fray Louis sensed the approach of death, and asked that they place him in his coffin. Then, at nine in the evening, he breathed his last and exchanged the counting of years for eternity.

1 posted on 02/09/2010 8:58:26 PM PST by GonzoII
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To: All

The Sinner's Guide

Chapter 1: The First Motive which Obliges us to Practice Virtue and to Serve God: His Being in Itself, and the Excellence of His Perfections
Chapter 2: The Second Motive which Obliges us to Practice Virtue and to Serve God: Gratitude for our Creation
Chapter 3. The Third Motive which Obliges us to Serve God: Gratitude for our Preservation and for the Government of His Providence
Chapter 4. The Fourth Motive which Obliges us to Practice Virtue: Gratitude for the Inestimable Benefit of our Redemption
Chapter 5. The Fifth Motive which Obliges us to Practice Virtue: Gratitude for our Justification

Chapter 6. The Sixth Motive which Obliges us to Practice Virtue: Gratitude for the Incomprehensible Benefit of Election
Chapter 7. The Seventh Motive for Practicing Virtue: The Thought of Death, the First of the Four Last Things
Chapter 8. The Eighth Motive for Practicing Virtue: The Thought of the Last Judgment, the Second of the Four Last Things
Chapter 9. The Ninth Motive for Practicing Virtue: The Thought of Heaven, the Third of the Four Last Things
Chapter 10. The Tenth Motive for Practicing Virtue: The Thought of Hell, the Fourth of the Four Last Things

2 posted on 02/09/2010 8:59:26 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

“terrible pains which they must fruitlessly endure for all eternity.”

Nothing personal Gonzo, but this is not what God is about.

3 posted on 02/09/2010 9:31:21 PM PST by Rennes Templar ("Though the wrong be often strong, God still rules this earthly throng")
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To: Rennes Templar
"Nothing personal Gonzo, but this is not what God is about."

You'll need to take it up with Him.

You might want to ask why He used such terminology as "where the worm dieth not"... "into unquenchable fire"...."I never knew you depart from me you that work iniquity"...."hell fire".

4 posted on 02/10/2010 7:46:18 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

You sre working with the old Piscean dispensation teachings, based on fear and trembling. Accounts of many near death experiences over the last twenty years, when the Aqaurian age started to emerge, show absolutely no reports of a physical hell fire. Now there certainly is a “hell” that is a level of experience in the astral plane that individuals create through sinning. But the concept of physical burning in hell fire forever is just such a ...scam.

5 posted on 02/10/2010 8:41:16 AM PST by Rennes Templar ("Though the wrong be often strong, God still rules this earthly throng")
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