Consideration on Death.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
Consideration on Death.
I have to die, then; I must leave relations, friends, goods, every thing, and even this body. My abode, henceforth, will be a sepulchre full of worms. My home, henceforth, of an eternity, good or evil, I know not which. This is a truth which it needs not faith to believe. I see it every day with my own eyes. The old die, and the young die; the poor die, and the rich die; the saints die, and sinners die; MARY died, and Jesus died, and so shall I also die.
But where? but how? Will it be at home, in church, in bed, in the street? I know not. Will it be of a slow fever, of a rapid decline, of an accident, of a fall? I know not. But at least I can say when? Perhaps thirty years hence; perhaps twenty, perhaps in this month; who knows if it may not be this night? I know not. God only knows, and He has told us that death will come like a thief in the night, when one least expects it.
And yet I am living as if I was never to die, and never even wish to think of death. If I were to die this moment, I have my conscience in such a confusion, that perhaps I should pass from this place to hell. I know it, I fear it, and yet do not look for a remedy for it. I keep putting off from month to month, from day to day, and am always drawing nearer to death, but always am a sinner. But if I were to die now in sin, of whom should I have to complain?
A child of ten years old, who was devout to Mary, will exemplify the assistance she gives at the point of death. When he went to school (Auriem. t. ii. p. 235), by God’s will he fell in with a good master. Once speaking about devotion to Mary, and in particular how useful it was to render her propitious at the hour of death, by offering her daily some act of homage; he, who from his age probably would not have had much thought about death, nevertheless, moved by his master’s exhortation, made a firm resolution to say often to the Blessed Virgin words to this effect: Hail, Mother of Mercy; and he kept to it. He repeated it when he got up, when he went to bed, when he played with those of his own age, this short but devout ejaculation: “Salve, Mater Misericordiæ;” “Hail, Mother of Mercy.” The Blessed Virgin wished to shew this mercy to him; and this was, that the little lad should have an illness of which he should die, in order that, as he grew in years, he might not fall short in devotion. So, whilst he was dying, MARY appeared to him, and with a look of Paradise, she said to him: “Son, do you not know me? I am she whom you have so often saluted. I am the Mother of Mercy.” At these words, the child lifted up his head, and stretched out his hand to heaven, to which he took his flight. Oh, what great progress he made at school in a short time! This teaching of his master was more use to him than a hundred lessons.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Kiss the earth thrice, repeating to yourself the same words: “Quid superbis terra et cinis?”
“Tu nos ab hoste protege, et mortis hora suscipe.”
“Mary, when I shall come to die,
Be thou, thy spouse, and Jesus nigh.”
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.