You are all going to die. That’s not a threat, it’s a fact. Great AUDIO reflection on YOUR future.

I often write about the petition in the Litany that God preserve us from a “sudden” and especially “unprovided” death, that is, no time to repent and no opportunity for the last sacraments and, hopefully, Apostolic Pardon.

Ann Barnhardt, online might be likened to a hybrid of Hello Kitty and the Incredible Hulk, and I mean that with my most cordial respect.  Heck, I’ve been called, “A cross between Kung Fu Panda and Wolverine.”

In her Podcast #95, Ann has one of the best reflections on death, the reality that we are going to die, that I have ever heard, anywhere.  Start at 14:15.

In that podcast she also presents a position for which she is now well-known, namely, that Francis is an anti-pope.  Whether she is right or wrong is not, in this case, the important thing.

Her reflection on offering personal suffering, offering sufferings, aging, illness, and death is really good.

It is the sort of thing that I hope ALL of you think about, ponder – really weigh, every day or at least often.

The Four Last Things are not optional in our catechesis or our reflection or our prayer or in the preaching from the pulpit by priests and PLEASE bishops.  They merit attention just as other articles of Faith merit attention.

There are Three Divine Persons in One Godhead.  You are going to die.  Jesus is God and man.  You are going to die and be judged.  Christ died for our sins and rose again.  You are going to stop breathing one day and you will go to your eternal judgment.  Christ founded the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and gave it His own authority.  Your heart will cease to beat, and soon.  The Seven Sacraments, instituted by Christ as the ordinary means of our salvation.  You just might be closer to the end than the beginning.

Get it?  When did you last hear a BISHOP talk about the Four Last Things?  A PRIEST?

But here is a lay woman getting this right.

You know the classic reasons for attending Holy Mass, namely, petition, adoration, atonement and thanksgiving.  The overarching reason that gives all of those their substance is the fact that we are all going to die and face judgment.

Want an reason to go to Mass?  You are going to die, my friend.   You don’t have to look farther than that.

What should we do with this final and firm realization that death is inescapable and judgment comes on right away?

Embrace it, dear readers.

There is a moment in the podcast when they talk about their friend, dying of cancer, called the priest to ask permission to let go.

WHOA!   Way to go dead friend!  Pray for us!

I would add that in my years as a priest, many times it occurred that when I began the final “commendation” beginning, “Go forth O Christian soul…”, the poor dying person died at that moment, breathing his or her last, at the commanding release of the priest, alter Christus.  Nurses will relate that sometimes they will whisper to a moribund person that their loved one’s have left the room and that it’s okay to let go.

Death is mysterious.   But it is unavoidable.  Start getting ready.   Like all aspects of “situational awareness”, running through scenarios in your head in preparedness for earthly challenges, how much more ought we to run through the scenarios about the most important moment of our life?

Fr. Z kudos to Ann for that.  For her podcast, click HERE. Start at 14:15.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jdt2 says:

    Thank you for this post, Father. As always, your clarity is so very helpful. I wonder and struggle with what of the poor souls who do not have access to this (and similar) blogs, who show up in Church every Sunday facing pastors who simply refuse to address 3 of the less than pleasant 4 things. How difficult for many of them to search for other resources, perhaps not fully understanding how dangerously those they have been entrusted to are arming them for what is ahead. But thank God you do, so thank you again.

  2. Julia_Augusta says:

    Thank you for posting this timely reminder. You are doing what every priest should be doing – urging people to examine their consciences, go to Confession, meditate on the Four Lsat Things.

    In 2 weeks, we will be celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We pray for the souls of our dead relatives and friends, and contemplate the Four Last Things. It’s autumn, and therefore a perfect time to meditate on our own demise and the necessity for repentance.

  3. Rob83 says:

    This explains the post seen at Ann’s place today.

    I have only ever been present for a last breath once. The person had been unconscious and although they lingered a few hours following the priest’s administration of the sacraments, they had something of an unearthly beauty following that which contrasted greatly with the ravages inflicted by the final illness.

    Do be prepared to help your loved ones get the last sacraments as depending on where you are the hospital may either be indifferent to this necessity or actively impede the effort if there are women religious with delusions of sacerdotal character on the scene.

  4. TRW says:

    With all due respect, if Ann Barnhardt denies that Francis has any juridical authority and is not Pope, does that not mean she is a schismatic? [With all due respect, read the top entry and reflect on the FACT that you are going to die. And then read the top entry again.] If all the bishops of the church publicly acknowledge Francis as the Supreme Pontiff(with the exception of Bishop Gracida) then how can a layman employ the power of private judgement to determine that we currently have an Antipope? I’ve read through her arguments; none are convincing. Granted, neither she nor I have the expert competance required to make a judgement on such a matter. St. Augustine states “…by iniquitous dissensions schismatics deviate from fraternal charity, although they believe what we believe.”
    There is a very interesting and informative interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider titled “Catholic Church : Where are you heading? It contains some very sober and intelligent responses to questions about the possibility of invalid papal elections.

  5. davidjmccormick says:

    Thanks for not being adverse to listening to Ann, and for the courage to share her thoughts. I follow her as well and find her reasoning nearly impenetrable, as well as very spiritually edifying. I know you’re probably going to take a lot of flak for giving her kudos, so again thank you for your boldness. The day can’t arrive soon enough where the good priests and bishops aren’t afraid to stick their necks out for the true faith, perhaps endure some kind of martyrdom for doing so, and in the process lead thousands of souls to heaven.

    Also, was Benedict’s abdication done in complete conformity to the governing canons?

  6. The Cobbler says:


    Gotta love women in any case, and as a rule I oppose lowering ourselves to the level of our opponents, but if ever one of those women tries to get in the way of a means of grace for me or mine, she’s going to end up drowning in her own medicine: accused of dehumanizing and hating for not affirming the feelings of the patient, denounced as a denier and a troll if she tries to defend herself, etc.

    Fortunately I expect this problem to go away by the time I am aged; either the world will whiplash back to normalcy (even if exaggerated), or it will become even more insane and such women will be hounded out by the transgender movement (even if that means last rites could require choosing between clandestine priestly care and open medical care – but that’s a no-brainer, when you’ve been through so much in this horrid world).

  7. The Cobbler says:

    When I was a wee lad, my father once put me to bed by telling me to “Remember the four last things: stay in bed, be quiet, close your eyes and go to sleep.” I asked why they were called the four last things (clearly ignoring “be quiet”). He answered that it’s a play on the real Four Last Things: death, judgement and Heaven or Hell. I don’t recall whether this convinced me to behave at night, but the catechetical value is obvious: I remember the Four Last Things a couple decades later.

  8. catholiccomelately says:

    My nightly prayer as a (Lutheran) child:
    Now I lay me down to sleep,
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
    If I should die before I wake
    I pray the Lord my soul to take.

    Amen and amen.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

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