Presence of God – O Lord, You have created me for Yourself; grant that I may live and die for love of You.
… “Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die” (cf Isaiah 38:1-6). The Church wishes us to become familiar with this thought, “less being suddenly surprised by the day of death, we should seek time for penance and not find it” (Roman Missal). … Jesus spoke of death as coming like a thief in the night, when we least expect it; but for the watchful Christian who lives according to the words, “Be you then also ready” (Luke 12:40), death will not be a surprise, because it will always find him “with his loins girt and lamp burning,” like those faithful servants who were waiting for their master, “that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately” (Luke 12:35.36). At that moment there will be no complaint, no fear or anxiety, because one who has always lived in expectation of the coming of the Lord will not be afraid to open the door to Him at His arrival. He will go to meet Him with great joy, give Him a loving welcome, and with all the ardor of his soul pronounce his last “Ecce venio,” behold, I come (Psalm 40:8).
Although death is the last, it is not the only coming of the Lord in the life of a Christian; it is preceded by many other comings whose special purpose is to prepare us for this last. Death will then be for us in the fullest sense a coming of grace. From the moment of our Baptism until the end of our life, we experience a continual succession of comings or visits from our Lord; each Sacrament we receive, each inspiration, each increase of grace is a divine visit to the soul, by means of which God always possesses it more and more, dwelling in it more fully and intimately. One who has never hesitated to open his heart to all these visits from our Lord, who has always welcomed them faithfully and lovingly, who has followed all the impulses of grace with docility, has nothing to fear from this last coming. Then the words of Jesus will sound sweetly in his ears: “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
“O Jesus, agonizing on the Cross, be my model at the hour of death. Although You are the Creator and Restorer of life, You willed to undergo death and accepted it willingly in order to expiate my sins. Death had no claim on You; You are the fountain of life and immortality, in whom and by whom all creatures have life; yet You willed to subject Yourself to death in order to resemble me and to sanctify my death.
“O death, who will henceforth fear you, since the Author of life bears you in His bosom, and without doubt, everything in Him is life-giving. I embrace you, I clasp you in my divine Savior’s heart; there, like a chick under the wing of the mother hen, I shall peacefully await your coming, secure in the knowledge that my most merciful Jesus will sweeten your bitterness and defend me against your rigors.
“O Jesus, from this moment I wish to employ all my powers in accepting all the circumstances and pains of my death; from this moment I desire to accept death in the place, hour, and manner in which it may please You to send it. I know very well that I must suffer and be ground by the teeth of tribulations, sorrows, privations, desolations, and sufferings in order to become bread worthy to serve at Your celestial banquet, O Christ, on the day of the general resurrection. I well know that if the grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die, it brings forth no fruit; therefore, with all my heart, I accept the annihilation of death in order to become a new man, no longer mortal and corruptible, but immortal and glorious” (St. Francis de Sales).
Note from Dan: This post on death is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on death: El Angel de la muerte [The Angel of Death], Domenico Morelli, 1897, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.