Back to Sample Legacies
Melchior Schwarz went on to describe what was really important in his life in his "Last Will and Testament." He originally wrote this document when he was about 75 years old, and felt the messages were still valid at the time he died in his early 90's.
To My Children
MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Money is a curse and the source of most evil. Therefore I do not want to be guilty of leaving too much of this evil. Instead, I want to leave you some good advice which, if you follow it, will bring you better returns in the Hereafter.
There is no real happiness on this earth. Earthly pleasures are only for the moment. Real happiness must be lasting.
The Soul will never be satisfied until it gets back to its Maker. Some happiness can be enjoyed when you realize that you have received Sanctifying Grace and have no mortal sins on your soul. More happiness can be attained when you accept all your trials, sickness, poverty, and family disputes as crosses sent for you to bear.
To nobody is sent more crosses than he can bear because there is always enough grace sent to bear them if you ask for it. If you bear all your crosses willingly and can even ask our Lord for more to bear, you have then derived a sense of happiness to which the best pleasures of this world cannot compare. Always bear your troubles willingly. Be good - do good, then you will always have peace and be on the right road to heaven.
We always forget that we are on trial on this earth. We were made to know God, to love God, and to try to get back to Him in heaven.
Much unhappiness is caused by family disputes. As soon as you notice you are not getting anywhere, you need not give up your point.of view providing you are sure you are right, but you must stop arguing - shut up. And you will be surprised how much quicker your argument is settled. It generally settles itself. I have always considered a man very smart if he has provided for his old age, but I would consider him a lot smarter if he has taken out good insurance for the Hereafter. To receive daily Communion is the best insurance for your eternal salvation.
Prayers and Distractions
Prayer is a conversation with God. Therefore, you must think of what you are saying while you are praying. You can say your best prayers when you are alone. The biggest cause of distraction is your eyes. That's why I would recommend the front pews of your Church. In the back rows you can see everybody and your eyes are not on the Lord.
Picture your Lord as standing before you and you can talk to him as one dear to you. Prayer should come from the heart. An original prayer from the heart is better than any prayer that you know by heart. It is also better than most prayers from prayerbooks. Remember, if you asked your banker for a loan, you would not read it to him from a book.
If your lawyer makes a plea to the jury, he would not read it to them from paper. When you propose to your best girl, you do not read it to her from a book. Speed is a handicap to prayer and leads to distraction.
Two Rosaries said in the time that it ordinarily takes to say one has less value. Our Lord is not satisfied with our meaningless mumble when we do not think of what we are saying, and we must be either hot or cold or He will spit us out of his mouth. Many a person when come to the end of his life has shouted, "Oh, if I only I had known
It is up to us therefore, to pray for understanding so that we are able to judge what is right and wrong for our salvation.
Love Of God
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, thy whole mind, thy whole soul, and thy neighbor as thyself. To be at peace with God is to love him above all things. You are at peace with God when you are ready to die any time, especially when you can say, "Rather today than tomorrow." We do not love God above all things when we forget him in our madness find a remedy for the trials he has sent us. A person who complains and cannot reconcile himself to God's will shows a lack of faith.
I have always maintained that crying at a funeral is sadly out of place. It shows a lack of faith in God Crying at a funeral does not help anything except to relieve your body. God knows what is best for us - He does what is best for us. Then what are we crying for? There is one thing that most parents and the teachers forget to impress upon their children. That you must love God more than your mother and even more than your sweetheart. This is most important but sadly neglected.
There is one question which is rarely talked about, seldom discussed. Why are we on earth? This brings us back to one of the first questions in our Catechism. Why did God make you? God made you to know him, to love him and to get back to him in Heaven. God has placed us here on trial, and if we can win out on this test then we have made it. God has created us with a free will, which we can exercise for good, or evil. Even the Devil with all his power cannot make us commit a sin, if we use strong will and a Determination not to do it. But without God's help we are unable to make it. So it is up to us to pray for graces and enlightenment. For our Lord said, watch and pray, so that you may not fall into Temptations. Temptation is necessary to see if we can stand the test. God never permits Temptation above our strength to resist.
It is always better to give than to receive. Charity should begin at home. A person might send all his money to foreign missions and be unable to see the daily need all around him would be sadly out of line. Charity does not necessarily mean financial assistance. A pleasant smile and a good disposition at all times, also a desire to do a good deed whenever you get the opportunity, is good charity. Try and do at least one good deed each day, but let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
I know a good old lady, mother of six children, who -always has a pleasant smile for everybody, never says a bad word about anybody. She does not have any money to spend, and if she did, it would first go to her children and the needs of others before she would think of herself Surely this is charity of the heart, which is better than the giving of riches.
If we believe that the Catholic Church is the one and only true Church, then we must also believe these plain facts. That we were put on this earth, as on trial to try and win Heaven. That our main efforts must be for spiritual things and less for worldly gain. This also applies to the education of children. A parent is reluctant to let his child miss a day in the public schools, but two weeks in a parochial seems quite a burden for them.
Never let your heart get attached to accumulating wealth, God has given you everything you have, to be used for your own salvation and you must some day give an account of it.
Never envy people for their ease and comfort of life. For those who have it nice in this world cannot have the same in the next. The road to heaven is not an easy one. It is destined for man to die but once. And after that the judgement.
Quo Vadis — Where Art Thou Going
It is a good and wholesome thought to think about your death occasionally. I really think that a person who thinks about his death at least once a day, would be unable to commit a mortal sin. The ambition of the soul is to be united with God. The best way to embrace our Lord is to receive Him in Holy Communion. We are all going to die once and only once. If we could live our life over again, there would, be no use for any commandments the second time.
The old Maxim — if I could live my life over again I would soon be rich, fades away at your deathbed when the only reason you would live life over again would be to advance your salvation. So why gamble the first time, when there is no second time. Try and live your life as you would, living it a second time and you will derive a sense of happiness, which cannot be compared to the pleasures you now get out of life.
Everybody should be glad to be on this earth and have a chance to attain the great happiness in Heaven. This life is only a preparation for the next. See that you make it. All the pleasures of this world seem as nothing when you arrive at deaths door.