A DIRE WARNING FROM A CONDEMNED SOUL
The Last Sermon of Raymond Diocrès
Three days after the death of Raymond Diocrès in Paris a grand funeral mass was offered for the repose of his soul. Diocrès was a professor at the Sorbonne, and a man with a universal reputation for learning and apparent virtue.
Hundreds attended the funeral service; innumerable candles were lit and prayers were offered for him by those who had admired the great knowledge and virtues of the illustrious deceased. His coffin, beautifully adorned with the symbols of his profession, was brought into the cathedral with solemnity, accompanied by his fellow professors, by a large group of students and many priests. As the service progressed the choir came to the passage in the Office of the Dead: “How many are my iniquities and sins? make me know my crimes and offences.” which Holy Job asks in Scripture, suddenly the corpse, which was lying exposed on its bier, moved before their eyes, sat up, and cried out in a voice of desperation which matched the desperation in his eyes: ‘By the judgement of God, I have been accused, judged and condemned’.
Having said this, he fell back, never to move again. Thus the world-renowned professor had hidden vice under the appearance of virtue. But Our Lord God Almighty, who scrutinizes hearts, knew his sins and punished him for them.
Horrified by this ghoulish sermon St. Bruno of Cologne (1030-1101) went to great extremes in rejecting the pleasures of this world by founding a monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains, a home for the Carthusian Order. The Carthusians are, to this day, renowned for being the most rigorous and ascetic of all the cloistered orders.