St. John Chrysostom tells us that the person most to be pitied is the sinner who enjoys all the good things in life.
Some people are punished here only; others suffer no ill here, but receive the whole punishment hereafter; still others are punished both here and hereafter.
Which, then, of these three classes do you think is lucky? Without doubt, the first; those who are punished and purged from their sins here.
But which class is second in order? You, perhaps, may say, those who suffer nothing in this life, but undergo the whole punishment hereafter. But I should say not those, but rather the ones who are punished in both worlds. For whoever pays the penalty in this life will hereafter feel lighter pains; but whoever must undergo the whole infliction hereafter will have an inexorable doom.
And with respect to those who sin in this world, but suffer no ill, I pity them by far the most who, together with freedom from punishment, also enjoy here luxury and security. For as the freedom from penalty for sin in this world makes their future punishment more severe, so also when sinners enjoy here great repose and luxury and success, this prosperity becomes to them a means and cause of greater punishment and penalty.
While in a state of sin, whenever we, in the course of divine providence, receive honors, these very honors may the more surely cast us into the fire. If, for instance, any one should experience only God’s patience without making the right use of it, he will receive heavier punishment. When, besides patience, he enjoys the highest honors, and, notwithstanding, remains in his wickedness, who can save him from punishment?
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Am I making the right use of the patience God has shown me?
Father, in spite of the things of this world that stand in my way, grant that I may always acknowledge you as the one true God.
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