Cardinal Manning offers these words of counsel: “Meditate every day of your lives upon this great and awful truth—how easy it is to fall from God; and say to yourselves, ‘God is my end; for Him I was created.’ . . . A ship steered by a confident and cunning hand, if it miss the light, is wrecked, be it never so near the port: and a soul that does not attain to union with God here in a state of grace will be separated from God to all eternity.”
“Next say to yourselves, ‘If I do not correspond with the grace which God has given me, I shall miss my eternal end.’ . . . God is co-operating with every creature. . . . ‘God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’ . . . God is always drawing souls to repentance, and through repentance to perfection, and from one degree of perfection to another, raising them higher and higher to union with Himself. This is always going on, but we must correspond with it. Listen to Him, respond, answer, lay hold of that grace which is offered to you.”
“If a soul that is already in eternal death could once more return, what would be the fervour of such a man through all the time granted him on earth. What humility, what hatred of sin, what holy fear of its occasions, what piety, what self-denial, what self-sacrifice, would mark a soul that once had tasted eternal death, if it could return, and have one more opportunity of salvation. . . . You are still in life, still surrounded by the light of truth, you have yet the graces of the Holy Ghost in abundance, you have time, you have opportunity, you have the seven Sacraments. . . . You are like the Prodigal Son before he left his father’s house—you have not yet tasted that far country, and the misery and condemnation of falling from God. Therefore say to yourselves: ‘God be praised! I am still in life, and my day of grace is not gone by.'”
Quotations from Henry Edward Manning, Sin and Its Consequences, 2d ed. (London: Burns and Oates, 1874).