Sunday, 7 June 2009

Acts of Devotion for the Time of Death

It was revealed to St. Lidwina by an angel that the crown of merits and glory that awaited her in heaven could only be completed through the sufferings which she was to endure in the days which would immediately precede her death. The same thing happens to all devout souls when they depart from this world. It is certain that all good acts, and especially those of resignation in accepting death, performed with the view of pleasing God, are of great merit to every one who dies in the grace of God. Let us here set down certain acts of devotion, which may be very acceptable to the Lord at the time of death.

O my God! I offer Thee my life, and I am prepared to die at any hour that may be pleasing to Thy holy will. “Thy will be done;” ever, ever, may Thy will be done.

O Lord! if Thou willest to leave me in life for some time longer, blessed be Thy name; but I desire not life, except to spend it all in loving Thee and giving Thee pleasure. If Thou wilt that I should die of this sickness, still blessed art Thou. I embrace death to do Thy will, and I repeat, “Thy will, Thy will be done;” I only beg Thee to help all through this hour. “Have mercy on me, O God! according to Thy great mercy.” If, then, Thou wilt that I should leave this earth, I declare that I desire to die, because thus Thou wilt have it.

I desire also to die, in order that, by the pain and bitterness of my death, I may satisfy Thy divine justice for all my sins, through which I have offended Thee and deserved hell.

I desire also to die, that I may nevermore offend Thee, or cause Thee displeasure in this life.

I also desire to die in acknowledgment of the gratitude which I owe Thee for all the benefits and gifts that Thou hast given me, contrary to all my own deserts.

I desire to die, that I may show that I love Thy will more than my life.

I desire, if it pleases Thee, to die now, at a time when I trust I am in Thy grace, in order to be assured that I shall praise and bless Thee forever.

I desire, above all, to die, in order that I may come to love Thee eternally, and with all my powers, in heaven; where, through Thy blood, O my Redeemer! I hope to come, and to be sure of never ceasing to love Thee through all eternity. O my Jesus! Thou didst accept the death of the cross through love of me; I accept death, and all the pains that await me, through love of Thee. Therefore I say with St. Francis, “May I die, O Lord! through love of Thee, who, through love of me, didst not disdain to die.”1

I pray Thee, O my Saviour, my love, and my only good! by Thy holy wounds and Thy bitter death, make me to die in Thy grace, and through Thy blood suffer me not to perish. O sweetest Jesus! suffer me not to be separated from Thee.

O Lord! drive me not away from Thy face. I confess that, through my sins, I have deserved hell, and I mourn for them more than for any evil; and I hope to come to heaven to praise forever the great mercies Thou hast shown to me. “The mercies of the Lord I shall sing forever.”

I adore Thee, O my God! who hast created me. I believe in Thee, O Eternal Truth! I hope in Thee, O Infinite Mercy! I love Thee, O Supreme Goodness! I love Thee above everything; I love Thee more than myself, for Thou art worthy of being loved. And because I love Thee, I repent with all my heart for having despised Thy grace. I promise Thee to suffer every kind of death, and a thousand deaths, rather than displease Thee.

O Jesus! Son of God, who didst die for me, have pity upon me! My Saviour, save me; and let it be my salvation to praise Thee through eternity.

O Mary, Mother of God! pray to Jesus for me; now it is the time for thee to aid me. Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, do thou defend us from the enemy, and receive us in the hour of death. To thy protection we fly, O holy Mother of God! O Mary, holy Mother of God! pray for us sinners.

St. Joseph, my patron and father, help me in this hour. St. Michael the Archangel, deliver me from the devils who lie in wait for my soul. O my holy advocates, and ye saints of paradise, pray to God for me.

And Thou, my Jesus crucified, at the moment when I must breathe my last breath, receive my soul in Thy arms; to Thee I recommend it; remember that Thou hast redeemed me with Thy blood. “We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.”2 O my crucified Jesus! my love and my hope, whether I live or die, I declare that I desire Thee alone, and nothing more. Thou art my God and my all, and what else can I desire but Thee! “What have I in heaven or upon earth! Thou art the God of my heart and my portion forever.”3 Thou art the love of my heart; Thou art all my riches!

To Thee, then, I recommend my soul; to Thee, who hast redeemed it with Thy death. Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit:4 Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth! Trusting in Thy mercy, I therefore say, In Thee, O Lord! have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever. O Mary, thou art my hope; to thee, therefore, I say again, In thee, O Lady! have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever.5

1Moriar, Domine, amore amoris tui, qui amore amoris mei dignatus es mori!

2Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.

3“Quid mihi est in cœlo? et a te quid volui super terram? . . . Deus cordis mei, et pars mea Deus in æternum.” -- Ps. lxxii. 25.

4“In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum; redemisti me, Domine Deus veritatis.” -- Ps. xxx. 6.

5“In te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in æternum.” -- Ibid. 2.

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