GUEST POST: “I was hit from behind by a 26 ft truck…” or “Sudden Death and You!”

From a reader:

Dear Father,
I discovered your blog in April 2013. I am Catholic, but I never
learned Latin. In fact, the only good, solid catechesis I had was
first and second grade, which looking back, I believe was based on the Baltimore Cathechism. [Figures!] After that, every single year I was taught by lay people and the theme year after year was “God loves you. God is love. God is everywhere.” I got it after the first session. So I have been trying to educate myself over the last twelve years. Your blog has been great for me. But here is something amazing. After the Boston Marathon bombings, you posted a prayer about the Lord sparing us from an untimely death. [RIGHT! HERE.] I usually go to confession at least once a month and more often as needed. On the morning you posted that prayer, I prayed it. I couldn’t make it to confession the prior Saturday because I had to work in our store. But usually when that happens, I call one of our priests and go to confession during the week. The day I read the prayer, the problem was that all the priests in our diocese were at a convocation. Later that morning I drove to an outlet mall to buy some pants for my teenage son who had a growth spurt. As I was walking back to my car, I had this vision that something dangerous would happen to me. I immediately thought, I will go to the Church in this town and go to confession, but then I remembered the priest I knew was at that convocation. So as I walked to my car I confessed all my sins to the Lord. Then I said “Lord, you know how much I love you. I am ready to be with you if that is Your will. But if I stay here I will continue to evangelize.” ( I run an evangelization series at several churchs which over 2,000 people taken and we have seen hundreds and hundreds of conversions). By the time I got to my car, I was at peace. Forty five minutes later, when I was only a short distance from my home I was hit from behind by a 26 ft truck while I was sitting at a stop light. I have severe whiplash from the impack, but as soon as the accident happened in my mind all I could sing over and over again was “Thank you God for saving me.” That went on in my mind for days. I am still healing from the accident, but I am alive and evangelizing. The Lord sent His angels to protect me. I want to ask you to send me that prayer again please becuase I would like to print it out and read it and have my family read it every day.

Thank you Father Z. I read your blog every morning now.

Thanks! And here it is again:


Hear us, O God of our salvation! and issue not the decree for the completion of our days before Thou forgivest us our sins; and because penance avails not in hell, and there is no room there for amendment, therefore do we humbly pray and beseech Thee here on earth, that, giving us time to pray for pardon, Thou wouldst grant us also forgiveness of our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Take away, merciful Lord, all errors from Thy faithful people, avert from them the sudden destruction of the wasting pestilence; that those whose wanderings Thou dost justly chastise, Thou wouldst vouchsafe in Thy tender pity to cherish when corrected. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Antiphon: Sin no longer, O my soul! Think upon the sudden change from sin to endless woe. There, in hell, penance is not accepted, and tears profit not. Turn, then, whilst thou hast time; cry out and say: Have mercy upon me, O my God!

Antiphon: In the midst of life we are in death: whom, then, O Lord, shall we seek to be our helper, save Thee, O Lord! although Thou art indeed angry with us because of sins? O Holy Lord, holy and strong, holy and merciful Saviour! deliver us not ever to a bitter death.

V. – Lest, overtaken by the day of death, we seek time for penance, and be not able to find it.

R. – Hearken! O Lord! and have mercy on us; for we have sinned against Thee.

We beseech Thee, Almighty God, receive in Thy fatherly pity Thy people flying to Thee from Thine anger; that they who fear to be chastised by the rod of Thy Majesty in the suddenness of death, may be made worthy to rejoice in Thy gracious pardon. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We beseech Thee, Almighty God, graciously to incline Thine ear to the assembly of Thy Church, and let Thy mercy prevent Thine anger in our behalf; for if Thou shouldst mark iniquities, no creature shall be able to stand before Thee: but in that marvellous charity, through which Thou didst create us, pardon us sinners, and destroy not the work of Thine own hands by sudden death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God! in Whose sight every heart trembles and every conscience is awed; show forth Thy mercy upon us Thy suppliants, that we, who trust not in the excellence of our own merit, may never know Thy judgments in the suddenness of our death, but may receive Thy pardon. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Most merciful Lord Jesus! by Thine agony and bloody sweat, and by Thy death, deliver me, I beseech Thee, from a sudden and unprovided death. O most gentle Lord Jesus! by Thy cruel and ignominious scourging and crowning with thorns, by Thy cross and most bitter Passion, and by Thy goodness, I humbly pray Thee, let me not die unprepared and pass from this life without the Holy Sacraments. Jesus, my best Beloved, my Lord! by all Thy labours and sorrows, by Thy precious Blood, and by Thy most holy Wounds, and by those last words spoken on the cross by Thee: “Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me?? – “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” and again: “Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum,” – “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” most ardently I pray Thee, save me from a sudden death. Thy hands, O Redeemer! have wholly made and formed me: ah! suffer not death to take me unawares; give me, I beseech Thee, time for penance; vouchsafe that I may pass from this life happily in Thy grace, that I may love Thee with my whole heart, and praise and bless Thee forever and ever.


Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be To The Father…

My dear people… dear readers… GO TO CONFESSION.

Parents of small children… teach your children their Faith and make sure they are making good confessions and good Communions.  Give them a good example.

Fathers, please… go to confession and hear confessions.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, GO TO CONFESSION, HONORED GUESTS, Semper Paratus, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mamajen says:

    What a tremendous, inspiring story. This reader sounds like a very good person. Somehow I missed the prayer the first time around, so I am glad for the reminder.

  2. Peggy R says:

    I plotted to go to confession and mass after some morning errands. My car wouldn’t start at all. Husband came home to help. I got back from errands. Car died again….got new battery this p/m.

    I pray for the chance tomorrow.

  3. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I love the prayer, and I am filled with gratitude at the author’s deliverance from near death, but I want to hear more about the evangelization program the author mentions and their involvement in it. “Hundreds and hundreds of conversions.” Not only Zowie, but Whoot! That would be something to hear about.

  4. Speaking of the Sacrament of Penance, I have a Catholic friend of mine, a U.S. citizen, who lives in a smaller diocese. Her Bishop has taken it upon himself to personally hear confessions at specifically designated times per month, and she regularly makes use of these opportunities. I think that’s such an amazing way for a Bishop to lead his local Church into the religious habit of making frequent confessions, and coming to Christ the Priest in the Sacrament of Confession. If more Bishops did this regularly, even for a brief amount of time, I think it would set a great example for his Priests to follow.

  5. lmgilbert says:

    Fr Z, you write:
    “Parents of small children… teach your children their Faith and make sure they are making good confessions and good Communions. Give them a good example.”

    When I was about 18 I fell away from the Church, but when I was 20 the roof fell in on me in a very big way, and I returned to the faith . . .by going to Confession, first of all.

    So, when we married and my son was born, immediately he was my Augustine and I was his Monica. In other words, since my parents had prayed me back into the faith I decided to pray for him as much, as if he had already fallen away- so that he would never fall away. He hasn’t by the way, and at age 35 is still a strong Catholic, now with children of his own, thanks be to God.

    After he made his first Confession, I brought him to Confession every other week for years. Practically my entire point in doing this was that he would be so familiar with the ritual that if he ever did fall away, he would nevertheless be so familiar with the ritual that no ignorance or awkwardness would stand in the way of his returning to the faith.

    This practice had a couple of good fruits. Until that point I myself had drifted away from frequent confession and was only going three or four times a year. Now with the practice of going every other week I quickly discovered what a slob I had become, which in itself was a great mercy, for I discovered I had a great deal to confess- and confessed it.

    Secondly, my son never lost the habit of frequent confession. It is built in to him, as it were.

    Interesting sidelight. We don’t ordinarily have very spiritual conversations around the dinner table, but once we found ourselves discussing good books and habits that build up the spiritual life. My son had only this to say: “Confession, confession, confession!”

    So you could say that biweekly Saturday afternoon trip to the parish church paid off very well indeed.

  6. Lin says:

    We have a Catholic chapel at our local mall and they schedule confessions two days each week for a couple of hours! It makes it so easy and convenient to get to confession. Most of the churches in our area schedule them once a week and all at about the same time. If you miss one, you miss them all! Our priest does not wait in the confessional and hence no one wants to go if they want to remain anonymous. I have never heard him recommend confession in his sermons. The good news is I went to confession this week and I try never to go to sleep without a good Act of Contrition!

  7. Priam1184 says:

    One thing I have found is that to pray every day for the grace to make a good Confession as need requires. This seems to help those times when the need is there but I really don’t want to go, which is pretty much every time. We all have need of God’s grace to assault with confidence the wall that the evil one builds between us and the Confessional.

    Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum.
    Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et Benedictus
    fructus ventris tui Jesus; Sancta Maria
    Mater Dei ora pro nobis nunc

  8. Priam1184 says:

    Once again left our a very crucial word:

    Ave Maria gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
    Benedicta tu in mulieribus et Benedictus
    fructus ventris tui Jesus; Sancta Maria
    Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
    nunc et in HORA MORTIS NOSTRAE.

    Deo gratias!

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    This man has seen “hundreds and hundreds of conversions” due to a program he runs at his church. And I think I’ve done God a favor by being kind to someone. Huh. No wonder the Good Lord spared him, he’s done such good work! I may be expendable though. I congratulate this man on the seriousness with which he takes his faith, and I’m so glad he was spared. Clearly, we still need him.
    The prayer is beautiful. Thank you Fr. Z.

  10. VARoman says:

    Father Z,

    As always, your message is dead on (pardon the pun). I am currently the Catechist for my daughter’s 4th grade class.

    With the exception of my daughter, only one other child has been to Confession since before receiving the Holy Eucharist for first time (two years ago!)

    Less than a third attend Mass even semi-regularly.

    Instead of being disheartened, I see this as a real opportunity to help save some souls! I have gone so far as to ask one of our parish priests to visit our class, talk about the importance of the Sacraments and hear Confessions!

    As a little bonus, I’m teaching them some basic Latin. Brick-by-brick!

  11. Matt R says:

    Franciscan University regularly has 100 people, 150 people in the line for Confession. 4 hours a week for scheduled Confessions is pretty good considering that there are 3-5 friars every time. It’s amazing, actually. The Franciscan charism is not specifically priestly, and there is no separation between priests and lay brothers (TORs are mostly priests, but the point remains I think). But the priest-friars are priests first, even as they give of themselves in non-sacramental ways (teaching, administration, etc.) on this campus. Salvation of souls first! Also, it’s become quite legendary that one of the friars hears Confessions on the bench in front of his dorm, often with a cigar, and he has “office hours” too for help with homework.

  12. cwalshb says:

    I could be misguided here, but for this reason, I am not really a fan of these convocations–it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to pull all the priests of the diocese away from the faithful who need them like that.

Comments are closed.