The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Hell & Heaven By Father Martin Von Cochem (1630 – 1712)

The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Hell & Heaven By Father Martin Von Cochem (1630 – 1712)

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We are all going to die! Heaven is our ultimate destination. Sadly not all are bound for Glory. Many well intentioned people are of the belief that Heaven and Glory are automatic rewards for living on earth. The author of this book, Father Martin Von Cochem points out the fallacy of such thinking. He pulls no punches stressing the necessity of living our best lives for God. Sufferings on earth are part of the equation, He describes hell in frightening detail for all who think it is a non issue, We have to work to get a Heavenly reward. We get one chance – no do overs once we die. Father Von Cochem tells us how to get right with God for the rest of our days or else. I think this book has the potential of making you the best person you can be if you heed its advice!
Martin of Cochem was a German Catholic Capuchin theologian, preacher, and ascetic writer. While still young he entered the novitiate of the Capuchins. After his ordination to the priesthood, he was assigned to a professorship of theology. In 1666, he was involved in the care of plague victims, and began to compose short popular religious treatises. Martin then made a specialty of popular preaching and religious writing in the Archdiocese of Trier and Archdiocese of Ingelheim. He continued up to the time of his death, hearing confessions with the aid of an ear-trumpet.
A celebrated German theologian, preacher and ascetic writer, born at Cochem, a small town on the Moselle, in 1630; died in the convent at Waghäusel, 10 September, 1712. He came of a family devotedly attached to the Faith, and while still young entered the novitiate of the Capuchins, where he distinguished himself by his fervour and his fidelity to the religious rule. After his elevation to the priesthood, he was assigned to a professorship of theology, a position which for several years he filled most creditably. However, it was in another sphere that he was to exercise his zeal and acquire fame. Of the evils which befell Europe in consequence of the Thirty Years War, the plague was by no means the least, and when, in 1666, it made its appearance in the Rhenish country, such were its ravages that it became necessary to close the novitiates and houses of study. Just at this crisis, Father Martin was left without any special charge and, in company with his fellow monks, he devoted himself to the bodily and spiritual comfort of the afflicted. What most distressed him was the religious ignorance to which a large number of the faithful had fallen victims on account of being deprived of their pastors. To combat this sad condition, he resolved to compose little popular treatises on the truths and duties of religion, and in 1666 he published at Cologne a résumé of Christian doctrine that was very well received. It was a revelation to his superiors, who strongly encouraged the author to continue in this course.
Thenceforth Father Martin made a specialty of popular preaching and religious writing and, in the Archdioceses of Trier and Ingelheim, which he traversed thoroughly, multitudes pressed about him, and numerous conversions followed. The zealous priest continued these active ministrations up to the time of his death, and even when he had passed his eightieth year he still went daily to the chapel of his convent, where, with the aid of an ear-trumpet, he heard the confessions of the sinners who flocked to him. The intervals between missions he devoted to his numerous writings, the most voluminous of which is an ecclesiastical history in 2 vols, fol., composed for apologetic purposes and provoked by the attacks made upon the Church by Protestantism. However, the author brought it down only to the year 1100. Father Martin’s other works embrace a great variety of subjects: the life of Christ, legends of the saints, edifying narratives, the setting forth of certain points in Christian asceticism, forms of prayer, methods to be followed for the worthy reception of the sacraments, etc. These widely different themes have as points of similarity a pleasing, graceful style, great erudition, and a truly seraphic eloquence. They bespeak for their author sincere piety and deep religious sentiment, coupled with an intimate knowledge of the popular heart and the special needs of the time. But the best known of all the learned Capuchin’s works is unquestionably “Die heilige Messe”, upon which, according to his own statement, he spent three entire years, perusing Holy Writ, the councils, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the lives of the saints, in order to condense into a small volume a properly abridged account of the Holy Sacrifice. As soon as it appeared this book proved a delight to the Catholics of Germany, nor has it yet lost any of its popularity, and, since its translation into several languages, it may be said to have acquired universal renown.
While still in the midst of his labours he was attacked by an illness to which he soon succumbed, at the age of eighty-two.

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