Malaysian Airlines 17, Death and You

The black boxes from Malaysian Airlines 17 might indicate that the pilots attempted a vain evasion. I doubt it. I suspect that exploding death was sudden. Who knows who may have survived the initial blast and remained conscious for some seconds that followed?  Only God.

Adequate time for an Act of Contrition? For an Act of Charity?

Adequate time to say “Jesus!”, “Mary!” … “Forgive!” …?

We do not know when death will come.

It will come.

A sudden death can be a blessing.

If you are in the state of grace, sudden death can be a blessing.

A sudden death can be eternal disaster.

If you are not in the state of grace and sudden death strikes you down… eternal disaster.

Eternal, personal disaster.

When was the last time you examined your conscience thoroughly and went to confession?

When was the last time you heard the priest say the words, “I absolve you of your sins…”?

Catholics have for centuries prayed in the Litany:

“A subitanea et improvisa morte… From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

What is an “unprovided death”? One by which you die – and you will die – without the Last Rites from the priest or a chance to repent of unconfessed sins even with a perfect act of contrition.

You want to have your temporal affairs in order. How much more should we have our spiritual affairs in order? You don’t know the place or the hour.


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.

Reverend Fathers, please… go to confession and hear confessions.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike says:

    Thank you, Father, for this. We don’t hear it enough these days.

  2. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I wonder whether the mind that is embedded in the daily grind or simply totally occupied with self, never having learned any other way to live, can even think about the possibility of eternal damnation. May God have mercy on us all. One begins to get an inkling of why our Lord said, “From those to whom much has been given, much will be demanded.”

  3. Pingback: Malaysian Airlines 17, Death and You | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  4. Joseph-Mary says:

    Thank you for this prayer: I prayed it for myself and for my family. Ave Maria!

  5. pfreddys says:

    The shortest form of the Act of Contrition that I know of is said: “O My God, I am very sorry for having offended Thee, because I love Thee”.
    I always tell people it might come in handy if they are stuck on some train tracks and an engine is bearing down on them.

  6. wanda says:

    Thank you, Father Z. Prayed it for myself and all our family members. Thank you for the steady prompting to go to confession. It has helped me and hubby get on the ball.

  7. Meli says:

    As a family before we make any journey we go to confession. My husband’s godfather taught him to seek confession before any journey or serious undertaking. Thankfully my children now help us remember and ask about it.

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