The first of the Fathers of the desert, “St. Antony the Great”, says: “We must keep ever in our mind what we should be concentrating on if we in this given day were not to live to its end.” St. John Climacus writes, “Remember your last day and you would never sin.” And again he enjoins us to remember always our death. “St. Isaac the Syrian” said: “Always carry in your heart, man, the remembrance of your departure from this life.” And all the saints personally always did the same and enjoined on others, who also were eager for salvation, to be attentive to this. And not only the saints but also the wise, secular philosophers agree that the remembrance of one's death is very important for moral perfection. But how can we, who are bound to our passions and so weak, learn to keep this: thought ever present?
St. Isaac taught: “For perfection and integration the remembrance of our death and judgment is a gift and a supernatural grace from God.” Our inconsistency, our distractions, cause a great impediment. We plainly forget to recall death, judgment, hell, and eternal happiness. We often think of these; sometimes we converse with others about death. But deep within our heart we cannot seem to deepen this thought and remain rooted in its reality. But even with our good will and unceasing efforts, only with God's help and our work and in time can we make progress in this matter.