We thank God, O Saint Alphonsus,
for the tender devotion
with which He inspired you
for His Holy Mother.
We ask you to obtain for us
a filial love for our Lady of Perpetual Help,
so that she may assist us
in our last agony as she did you,
and that we may die
under her mantle a happy death.
Category Archives: Prayers for the Dying and the Departed
We thank God, O Saint Alphonsus,
RAISE YOUR EYES TO THE REGIONS OF INFINITE LOVE: THERE YOU WILL FIND THE SECRET OF YOUR TEARS
Alas! we always forget that the object of our love is beloved also by another, and that God is called in the Holy Scriptures a jealous God. In our affections we forget Him Who loves more than all creatures together, and Who, lest they should find any reason to complain of Him, has willed to die for them, eternal as He was by His nature. Raise your eyes to the regions of infinite love, there you will find the secret of your tears. You will see wrapped in the embrace of God the soul which divided itself so equally between God and you, that not even the attractions of Heaven would have torn it from you, if it had not received an indisputable order. You will see the reason of this command, which seems so cruel, and understand how the beauty of a Christian soul enraptures Him Who became its Spouse by baptism.
DEATH IS THE PORTAL OF LIFE
Unhappy that we are, we do not believe these divine mysteries! We call birth and life by the name of death; we make a tomb of the portal of heaven, we weep there, like men who have no hope?
– Lacordaire, from Laverty & Sons (eds), Leeds, 1905
My Crucified Jesus, mercifully accept the prayer which I now make to thee for help in the moment of my death, when all my senses shall fail me.
When, therefore, O sweetest Jesus, my weary and downcast eyes can no longer look up to thee, be mindful of the loving gaze which now I turn on thee, and have mercy on me.
When my parched lips can no longer kiss thy Most Sacred Wounds, remember then those kisses which now I imprint on thee, and have mercy on me.
When my cold hands can no longer embrace thy Cross, forget not the affection with which I embrace it now, and have mercy on me.
And when, at length, my swollen and lifeless tongue can no longer speak, remember that I called upon thee now.
Jesus, Joseph, Mary, to you I commend my soul.
[Indulgence of 300 days, once a day. Plenary twice a year. – Pius X, September 4th, 1903.]
– From St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons, Leeds, 1916
This new website has been set up by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Sections include: What is dying well? Talking about death. Facing death personally. Losing a loved one. Caring for the dying. The address of this new website is http://www.artofdyingwell.org (external link).
What joy when the soul, freed from the bonds of the flesh, rises triumphant above the clouds, and, passing the starry barrier, presents itself at the gate of heaven!
What joy to cross for the first time the sacred threshold of the heavenly home! The angels and saints going forth to meet the soul, pressing around it, offering it glad congratulations.
What joy to recognise in this happy company so many friends and dear relatives, our glorious patrons, our holy protectors, and, above all, Jesus and Mary!
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905
In her beautiful prayers in the Mass for the Dead, the Church with maternal solicitude places the souls of her departed children in the hands of St Michael, that he may lead them into the kingdom of everlasting light. If St Michael is so solicitous for the welfare of souls during their lifetime on earth and at the hour of death, we may be certain that he will also befriend them during their stay in Purgatory and will hasten to bring them consolation.
St Michael helps the Holy Souls in Purgatory
A Cistercian monk appeared to a priest friend soon after his death and told him he would be delivered from Purgatory if during Holy Mass the priest would recommend his soul to St Michael. The priest complied with this desire, and he, together with others who were present, had the consolation of seeing the soul of his friend taken to Heaven by the Archangel.
It is related that a certain priest, one day while offering the Holy Sacrifice for the dead, recommended some souls in a particular manner when pronouncing the words: “May the Prince of Angels, St Michael, lead them into the glory of Heaven.” At the same time he saw the glorious Archangel descend from Heaven into Purgatory to deliver those souls and to conduct them into Paradise.
St Michael conducted the Holy Souls into Paradise
“The prince of the heavenly militia,” says St Anselm, “is all-powerful in Purgatory, and he can assist the Poor Souls whom the justice and sanctity of the Almighty retain in this place of punishment.” “It is incontestably recognised since the foundation of Christianity,” declares St Robert Bellarmine, “that the souls of the Faithful Departed are delivered from Purgatory through the intercession of St Michael the Archangel.” Let us add to these authorities the words of St Alphonsus Liguori: “St Michael has received the care of consoling and helping the souls in Purgatory.”
– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962
We heard faintly from the lips of a dying religious a few stanzas which she murmured while her tearful eyes were fixed on the crucifix in her hand.
We give them, just as we found them in a book belonging to one of the pious sisters.
They were, without doubt, written for the cloister, but why not bring into families from time to time a little of the calm, peaceful, loving atmosphere of religious houses?
To My Crucifix
Come, let me hold thee to my heart, my hope divine/ Thou blessed sign of heavenly happiness/ Thou whom I hold in live ne’er to resign/ Since the vows I profess.
Yes, let me hold thee close; for art thou not my all?/ Art thou not my treasure till my last hour is near?/ Art thou not of the Spouse, whose image thou dost recall/ The tenderest souvenir?
On thee, on thee alone, my fervent hopes I base/ Than sceptres thou more precious dost appear/ And beyond the empire of the world I place/ My crucifix most dear.
For thou dost take the place of riches and of home/ All that I’ve left thou dost become for me/ My love, my only good, wherever I may roam/ My family ‘this thee.
Beyond the nails and tears naught wish I to possess/ What are the world’s most dazzling favours worth?/ One sigh breathed at thy feet for me doth more express/ than loud songs of mirth.
Thou ne’er wilt leave me when the last hour’s at hand/ My dying glance thy holy face will seek/ For the mute prayer thou sure wilt understand/ I am too weak to speak.
When this poor frame lies motionless and cold/ My rigid fingers still will clasp my all/ When friends have left, thou still thy watch wilt hold/ Beneath my funeral pall.
Ah! yes, come to my heart, thou holy, wondrous sign!/ Speak of my God, whose love is ever high/ May I love Him, and follow, suffer, ne’er repine/ To my last earthly sigh.
– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889