May it please His Majesty to give us His love before He takes us out of this life, for it will be a great thing at the hour of death to see that we are going to be judged by the One whom we have loved above all things. We shall be able to proceed securely with the judgment concerning our debts. It will not be like going to a foreign country but like going to our own, because it is the country of one whom we love so much and who loves us. [In this love — besides everything else — there is greater security than with earthly loves; in loving God we are certain that He loves us.] Remember here, my daughters, the gain there is in this love, and the loss in not having it. Such a loss puts us in the hands of the enemy, in hands so cruel, hands so hostile toward everything good, and so fond of everything bad.
What will become of the poor soul that, after being freed from the sufferings and trials of death, falls immediately into these hands? What a terrible rest it receives! How mangled as it goes to hell! What a multitude of different kinds of serpents! What a terrifying place! What a wretched inn! If it is hard for a self-indulgent person (for such are the ones who will be more likely to go there) to spend one night in a bad inn, what do you think that sad soul will feel at being in this kind of inn forever, without end?
Let us not desire delights, daughters; we are well-off here; the bad inn lasts for only a night. Let us praise God; let us force ourselves to do penance in this life. How sweet will be the death of one who has done penance for all his sins, of one who won’t have to go to purgatory! Even from here below you can begin to enjoy glory! You will find no fear within yourself but complete peace.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, ch. 40, nos. 8–9
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.