The Lord does not wish us to be lost; and therefore, by the threat of chastisement, He unceasingly exhorts us to a change of life. Except you will be converted, He will brandish His sword. (Ps. 7:13) Behold, He says in another place, “How many, because they would not cease to offend Me, have met with a sudden death, when they were least expecting it, and were living in peace, secure of a life of many years.” For when they shall say: Peace and security: then shall sudden destruction come upon them. Again He says: “Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (Lk. 13:3) Why so many threats of chastisements before the execution of vengeance? It is because He wishes that we amend our lives, and thus avoid an unhappy death. “He,” says St. Augustine, “who tells you to beware, does not wish to take away your life.” (Serm. 22 E. B.) It is necessary, then, to prepare our accounts before the day of account arrives. Dearly beloved Christians, were you to die, and were your lot for eternity to be decided before night would your accounts be ready? Oh! how much would you give to obtain from God another year or month, or even another day, to prepare for judgment? Why then, do you not now, that God gives you this time, settle the accounts of your conscience? Perhaps it cannot happen that this shall be the last day for you? Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day; for His wrath shall come suddenly, and in the time of vengeance He will destroy thee. (Eccles. 5:8) My brother, to save your soul you must give up sin. “If then you must renounce it at some time, why do you not abandon it at this moment?” says St. Augustine. Perhaps you are waiting till death arrives? But, for obstinate sinners, the hour of death is the time, not of pardon, but of vengeance. In the time of vengeance He will destroy thee.
When any one borrows from you a large sum of money you take care to get a written security for it. Who knows, you say, what may happen? Why are you not equally careful about the salvation of your soul, which is of far greater importance to you than all the riches of the earth? When eternity is at stake, why do you not say: Who knows what may happen? If you were to lose a sum of money, all would not be lost; and although in losing it your entire property would be lost, you would have to hope to regain it. You are careful to keep an exact account of all the goods you possess, lest, by dying suddenly, any of them might be lost; and if you meet with a sudden death, and find yourself at enmity with God, what will become of your soul for all eternity?
An excerpt from the Preparation for Death by St. Alphonsus Liguori