Tag Archives: Last

Thoughts On Death

EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES WE STAND ON THE BRINK OF ETERNITY. TWELVE ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH

1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches? No one is to accompany us out of this world; why then are we so fond of creatures? The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin show us the folly of carnal pleasures. In our narrow cell beneath the earth among the meanest things of creation, when our very blanket of soil may be trampled upon by the meanest beggar, then we shall be freed of the vanity of seeking distinction and preference over others.

2. It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity: it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.

3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.

4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.

5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.

6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.

7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. “In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.” [Eccl. 7: 40]

8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.

9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world. Thus the prince who once placed a jester in a crazy chair over a large fire told him very justly, seeing the jester’s uneasiness, that life should be considered like a defective chair, which at any hour, at any moment, might fall to pieces; and the fire beneath the prince represented as the fires of Hell which everyone should hold in dread.

10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.

11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.

12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.

Taken from the Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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The Last Gospel Lesson 10

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men….

…He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world knew Him not. He came into His own, and His own recieved Him not.

But to as many as received Him He gave the power of becoming sons of God…AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US…(St. John, 1-14.)

Immediately after the Last Blessing the priest goes to the Gospel side of the altar. There he says, “Dominus vobiscum,” and makes the Sign of the Cross on the altar, and then on his forehead, lips, and breast. This is just as he did at the first Gospel.

As we make the Sign of the Cross on our forehead, lips, and breast, we can have the same thoughts as we did before the first Gospel. We want our minds to know about Our Lord and His teachings. We want our voices and tongues to make them known. We want our hearts to love them. We know we prove our love for the teachings of Our Lord by putting them into practice in our everyday life.

On most days, the Last Gospel is the same. It is the first fourteen verses of the Holy Gospel written by St. John. Parts of the Last Gospel are given at the beginning of this lesson. Sometimes there is a special Last Gospel. You can tell when this special Last Gospel is being read. The altar boy moves the Missal from the Epistle to the Gospel side of the altar. The priest always reads a special Last Gospel from the Missal . The first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John are printed on the card on the Gospel side of the altar.

These fourteen verses from the Gospel of St. John speak about Our Lord. They tell that He is God. They also tell that He became man. The priest and people bend their knees to adore Our Lord, God made man. They do so at the words of the Last Gospel, “And the Word was made flesh.”

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God, has been made flesh again.

At the end of the Last Gospel the altar boy says, “Thanks be to God.” He is saying it for the people. With the priest they have been thinking of Our Lord, Who is God. They know how He came again upon earth in Holy Mass. He has been the victim of the Holy Sacrifice just offered. He has been our gift to God. He became our food. Yes, He became food for our soul. For these reasons we say, “Thanks be to God.”

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Last Blessing Lesson 9

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The Dismissal: Before the Last Blessing

After the Postcommunion, the priest goes to the center of the altar. Then he faces the people and prays. “The Lord be with you.” The altar boy answers for the people, “And with your spirit.”

The dismissal is next given. The priest, still facing the people, says: “Go, the Mass is over.” Sometimes the Latin is put into other English words – “Go, you are sent forth.” or “Go, you are dismissed.” The altar boy replies: “Thanks be to God.” In the name of the people he is thanking God for the graces they have recieved during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

During Advent and Lent the priest says: “Let us bless the Lord,” instead of “Go, the Mass is over.” At Masses for the dead the people are dismissed with the prayer, “May they rest in peace.”

After making the short dismissal prayer, the priest turns and bows before the altar. Silently he prays:

May the tribute of my worship be pleasing to Thee, most Holy Trinity, and grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered in the presence of Thy majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy obtain forgiveness for me and all for whom I have offered it.

This prayer speaks of some things about Holy Mass that Catholics desire always to remember.

The Mass is, first of all, an act of worship of the Most Holy Trinity.

An act of worship tries to give to God the honor that is due Him.

Holy Mass is a sacrifice.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the all-perfect sacrifice. In the Mass Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the priest, offers Himself to God under the appearances of bread and wine.

The priest is speaking for himself. He says how unworthy he is to have offered the Holy Sacrifice.

The words of the priest remind the people to have the same thought. They know how unworthy they are to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They know how poorly they have done so.

The priest asks for forgiveness for himself, and for all those for whom he has offered the Holy Sacrifice.

Many times during Holy Mass the priest and people pray for two things. The first is forgiveness or pardon. The second, not mentioned in this prayer, is God’s grace and help. Priest and people pray for these blessings for themselves and for others.

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The Last or Final Blessing

When the priest has finished the prayer that he says bowed over the altar, he kisses the altar. Then he raises his eyes and hands toward heaven. Next, he turns to the people and blesses them. He makes the Sign of the Cross and says: May God almighty bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The altar boy answers, Amen.

The words of blessing seem to speak to the people of two things. First, they remind them of the blessings received from the Most Holy Trinity during Holy Mass. Then they seem to tell the people that they have new grace. They have help from God for all they shall do and think and say, as they go forth from Holy Mass.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

The Last Sacraments (Confession, Holy Viaticum, & Extreme Unction), & Holy Communion Calls

But the children of the murderers he did not put to death, according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying: The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: but every man shall die for his own sins.”
4 Kings (2 Kings) 14:6

What are the Last Sacraments? They are the sacraments administered to a person dangerously ill. The sick person first makes his confession, then receives the Holy Eucharist in the Viaticum, and Extreme Unction.
Extreme Unction is a remedy; and as medicine is for the living, not the dead, so those dead in sin will not profit from this spiritual remedy. However, if the patient is physically unable to confess, the Church accepts the intention and administers Extreme Unction with confession.
The sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Our Lord as a true sacrament of the New Law (Council of Trent, 14, 4). It confers grace, remits sin, and comforts the sick. In administering Extreme Unction the priest anoints the Christian who is in danger of death with the holy oils upon the organs of his five senses, and prays over him; by means of which the spiritual and not infrequently the bodily malady of the sick man is cured.
We have a serious obligation, if we are taking care of a sick person, to call the priest the moment there is danger of death. It is very wrong to delay calling the priest until the person is already on the point of death. While his mind is clear, he can prepare for the Last Sacraments better, and profit more from them. Some people do not call the priest to administer the Last Sacraments because they fear the patient would be frightened and become more worse. This is a great mistake, for actual observation has provided that a sick person is always more calm and peaceful after the visit of the priest.
Extreme Unction strengthens the sick because it confers on him grace to bear more easily the inconviences and pains of sickness,  and enables him more readily to resist temptation of all kinds. It is for the healing of the soul, and oftentimes the body; it effects the remission of mortal sins, which through infirmity of mind or body the sick man has not been able to confess, as well as the remission of some temporal punishment. And besides, at times it obtains bodily health, when expedient for the welfare of the soul. Extreme Unction compensates for all that, through no fault of his own, the sick man left incomplete in the Sacrament of Penance. It is thus the completion of the Sacrament of Penance, or the penance of the sick.
In common with all the other sacraments, Extreme Unction imparts a higher degree of sanctifying grace. This is of more importance to us at our death than at any other moment, for the degree of our future felicity depends on the degree of sanctifying grace we possess.
And the greater our love of God, the more capable shall we be of the enjoyment of eternal bliss. Thus this holy sacrament cleanses away all that is an impediment to our eternal salvation.
He, who enters upon the journey from time to eternity without fortifying himself with the last sacraments, is like a traveler who starts on his way with an empty purse. Nor can there be contempt of so great a sacrament without heinous sin and an injury to the Holy Ghost Himself (Council of Trent, 14, 9).

Note:

  • Those who have not yet received the Sacrament of Penance cannot receive Extreme Unction since it is the completetion of penance.
  • To this class belong idiots and children who have not yet attained the age of reason. It must not be supposed that this includes all children under seven, for children of five years of age have been known on their death-bed to ask for a priest, because they were conscious of having dinner against their parents.
  • Extreme Unction can only be administered to the sick once in the same illness; but if the sick person recovers temporarily, and then has a relapse, he may be anointed again.
  • Every priest who has been duly authorized by the bishop, may give the Papal benediction with a plenary indulgence, provided he makes use of the prescribed formula. The sick man must call upon the holy name of Jesus (the priest usually repeats some ejaculatory prayer to him, in which the name of Jesus occurs) verbally, if he can still speak; if not, mentally, otherwise the indulgence is not gained, and the crucifix is offered to him to be kissed.

How should we help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments?

We should help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments both spiritually and corporally.

  1. Before the priest arrives we should help the patient get ready for his Confession. Let us say with him acts of contrition, and ejaculation to keep him united with God.
  2. The patient’s face, hands, and feet should be sponged with a wet towel.
  3. There should be ready towards the foot of the bed, to the right, a table with a clean white cloth. On it should be the following:
  • A crucifix,
  • 2 lit blessed candles
  • Some holy water, and
  • A glass of fresh water with a tablespoon.
  • A clean napkin,
  • A saucer with six balls of cotton, and
  • A piece of soft bread, or one or two slices of lemon for the hands of the priest, for wiping off the anointing.
  • A basin of water and a towel should be nearby, so the priest can wash his hands after anointing.

4.  Upon the priests arrival, if he is carrying the Blessed Sacrament, we should meet him with a lighted blessed candle, in silence.

5.  The priest himself brings the corporal, on which he lays the pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament.

6.  While the sick man makes his confession, let all leave the room, as the priest may have to speak above a whisper.

How can we help a dying person?

1. We should kneel near the patient’s bed and recite the prayers for the dying, which may he found in most prayer books. We should suggest to him short ejaculations that he can easily repeat, at least in his mind. We should recite with him especially those prayers which are enriches with plenary indulgences for the hour of death.

2.  The following prayer is enriched with a plenary indulgence at the hour of death: “O my God, I now at this moment readily and willingly accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death Thou latest wish to send me, with all its pains, penalties, sorrows.”

If we reflect that a plenary indulgence gained with proper disposition means that the soul will go straight  from death bed to Heaven, we would be more zealous in helping the dying gain one.

3.  During the agony, we should sprinkle the bed and the dying person with holy water. Those around should pray, instead of fussing, or showing too extreme grief. The first thing that we can offer immediately to God in relief of the soul of a loved one is an act of resignation to His holy will. Let us humbly say, “Lord, Thy will be done!”

In case of sudden or unexpected death, should a priest be called?

 If a person is apparently dead and has not received the Last Sacraments, we should immediately call the priest. A person may continue to live two or three hours after has apparently taken place, especially if it is sudden. In that case, Extreme Unction will avail his soul.

I highly recommend reading St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s Preparation For Death. All information excerpted from: The Catechism Explained, p.p. 640-643 and My Catholic Faith, pp. 326, 327.

God Bless BJS!!