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The Countess du Châtelet, of whom Voltaire had made an unbeliever, always called religion a superstition. On her deathbed, she asked the philosopher if after all it would not be useful to receive the last Sacraments. “Countess,” said Voltaire, “take the safest course.” So she sent for a priest, but when he arrived, he found only a corpse.
An atheist said one day to a practising catholic: “Poor cleric! how you are deceived, if heaven is a fable. – Poor freethinker! how you will be caught, if hell is not a fable.”
Prince Sfondrati, abbot of St. Gallen, met one day, during a trip to Rome, an unbeliever with whom he had already exchanged some letters. The freethinker immediately resumed his attacks on the belief in the existence of God. The abbot finally became impatient and said to him, “Either there is no God, and then you are in no danger, but if there is, you will have a bad time when you appear before Him to give an account of your unbelief.” With that, he went back in a very meaningful way to his occupation; this retort made such a deep impression on the unbeliever that from that moment on he ceased his attacks on religion.
Blaise Pascal had already said: “If against a million probabilities in favor of atheism there is only one in favor of hell, reason demands that I act as if hell really existed.”
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.