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.