A false #missilethreat is NOTHING compared to this REAL DEATH THREAT

It’s 8:08 Saturday morning. You’ve slept in on a day off. Your phone has awakened you with a PING. With a measure of resentment you check The Precious™ for its message.

You read it once. And again. And – with the strange feeling that marks the arrival of adrenaline – again.


How much time do you have? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? Where do you go? Do you try to call people? Go somewhere?

When did you last…


You realize that it has been a … how long? … long time, since you’ve been to confession and the memory of a bunch of things floods your mind.


Unless you are across the street from the parish, you are pretty much out of luck.

What do you do?

Do you… start praying?  Say you’re sorry to God?

People develop habits of prayer and thought through their lives that don’t suddenly change in the face of a catastrophe.

We have to practice for dying, just as athletes and soldiers practice drill endlessly to win.

How many times have I written about a sudden and unprovided death?

We don’t know the day or the minute when we will go before our Judge. Whether it is a natural event like a storm or meteor, or a man-made event like a drunk driver, a nutjob with a rifle, or a ballistic missile, we just don’t know.

Avoid the trap of thinking that these things only happen to other people. YOU are other people. It’s always someone else… until it’s you.

So, examine your consciences and …


I would also add as a regular feature of your daily prayers that important petition in the Litany of Saints:

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

Sudden is one thing. Unprovided is another.

An “unprovided” death is a death without access to the last sacraments, especially absolution from a priest.

That’s a scary thought…. especially if you haven’t been to confession for a long time.

What happened with that false alarm in Hawaii was dramatic and pretty awful.

This post is NOT a false alarm.

You. ARE. Going. To. DIE.

When did you last go to confession?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    My first thought when I read this story was “How many priests ran to the confesssional or into the street to hear confessions?” And my second thought was “How many people availed themselves of the opportunity?”

    Also, this is a textbook example of general absolution being necessary and appropriate.

    [General absolution… right. For those who are present.]

  2. Kansan says:

    I went to confession yesterday. It took an effort to arrive early enough to receive the Sacrament. The FSSP priest announced before Mass that he would hear confessions after Benediction, until all were heard. My husband and I pray daily for all priests . . . especially those we don’t like so much. Deo gratias!

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Deo Gratias, a false alarm. Go to Confession indeed. (“…The Precious”… *chuckle*)

    A friend sent this great quote from the Associated Press:

    “In Honolulu, hair salon owner Jaime Malapit texted his clients that he was cancelling their appointments and was closing his shop for the day.”

    Not being sarcastic toward that fine Hawaiian citizen here: that is one way of staying calm when dealing with an “inbound ballistic missile” alert.

    From what the news is saying this alert wasn’t Mad Dog Mattis sounding Saturday morning reveille on the fine citizens of Hawaii. The news is saying a Hawaii state employee pushed the wrong button. Well, that unfortunate employee may want to call in sick Monday morning. Or maybe move to Atlanta and accept a quiet job with their Snow Removal Department.

  4. Christ_opher1 says:

    Saint Padre Pio said that we should not leave going to confession for longer than 8 days between each confession.

    Pity for those who fill the communion lines but keep the confessional empty, I don’t know at which point in the history of our faith the making of a frequent confession became a choice and communion became obligatory.

    Having recently read about Saint Joan of Arc and if the information is true she would take communion every Easter but would make her confession at every available opportunity.

  5. Psallite says:

    We have a great aid and consolation in Our Lady’s ever-faithful maternal care in hora mortis nostræ: every Hail Mary we have ever said, ended with “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” – how many thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of Aves have we said all the days of our lives? A daily Rosary of five decades said faithfully for sixty years would amount to over a million of them! The benefit of each of those prayers, all together, will be focussed together at the hour of our death. Our Lady will not fail us.

  6. APX says:

    The news is saying a Hawaii state employee pushed the wrong button.
    And I thought accidentally calling 911 as a Probation Officer was bad mistake to make.

    I don’t get on a plane or drive a long distance without going to confession, and if possible attend Mass and receive communion as if it could be my last. You just never know.

  7. MundaCorMeum says:

    Hawaii resident here. We did not see the emergency alert when it was first sent to our phones, but found out when our high school daughter called saying that her morning air riflery match was stopped because of the inbound missile and that she would be taking shelter in the auditorium. It was quite scary to think that we might have only 10 minutes or so to live. My wife told me she had been planning on going to confession in the afternoon and was quite distraught. Fortunately I had gone the previous Wednesday. My wife did end up going to confession on Saturday afternoon at the local Novus Ordo parish and she said it was the first time she had ever had to wait in line there. Usually it is completely empty for confession. Also, we had what seemed to be twice as many people than usual at our local TLM this Sunday morning. I suppose there is nothing like the fear of impending death to shake things up and set your priorities right. It truly is wisdom that Mother Church teaches us to keep the four last things ever present in our minds.

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