1. A day will come which will be the last of days, when this world will be no more. Before the coming of the Judge, fire will descend from heaven, and consume everything that is upon the earth: The earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up [2 Pet 3:10]. So that in that day everything upon the earth will be reduced to ashes. O God! what will all the vanities of this world then appear, for which so many now sacrifice the salvation of their souls? What appearance will all the highest dignities of this earth then make, its purple, its crowns, and its sceptres? O the folly of those who shall have loved them! And O the lamentations of those who for the love of such vanities shall have lost their God!
2. The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again [1 Cor 15:52]. This trumpet will call all men together from their graves to come to judgment. Oh how beautiful and resplendent will the bodies of the just appear! Then shall the just shine like the sun [Matt 13:43]. On the contrary, how ugly and deformed will the bodies of the reprobate appear! What a torment will it be to these wretched souls to be again united with their bodies, for whose gratification they have lost heaven and lost their God, to be cast with them forever into hell, there to burn together in eternal flames! Happy will they then be who have denied their bodies all gratifications displeasing to God; and who, in order to hold them in greater subjection, have mortified them by fasting and penance!
Jesus! turn not Thy face away from me [Ps 142:7], as I have deserved. How often, for the sake of gratifying my senses, have I renounced Thy friendship!
3. All mankind being assembled together, will be summoned by angels to appear in the valley of Josaphat, there to be publicly judged before all: Nations, nations in the valley of destruction [Joel 3:14]. O my God! and must I appear in that valley? In what place shall I stand there? with the elect in glory, or with the reprobate in chains? My beloved Redeemer, Thy precious blood is my only hope. . . . My Jesus! I will love Thee forever, in this life and in the next. Permit me not to be ever again separated from Thee by sin. Thou knowest my weakness; be Thou always my help, O Jesus! and do not abandon me. Mary, my advocate, obtain for me the gift of holy perseverance.
Text from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, ed. Eugene Grimm, 2d ed. (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1886).