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Death Is A Good Counselor, My Child...

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue


(7 minute read…enjoy)

 

1. The Voice of Jesus

My Child, remember, thou must die: because it is appointed for all men once to die.

Do whatever thou wilt; thou canst by no possible effort escape the grasp of death. The Almighty Himself has fixed the bounds, beyond which none can pass. When thou hast reached them, no matter what may be thy condition, thou shalt die the death.

Whilst life endures, there is naught more certain than death: yet there is naught more hidden in uncertainty, than the time of death, and its attendant surroundings.

Thou knowest not, indeed, when thou shalt die: yet, hold this for certain, that thou shalt die, when thou thinkest not.

Whether thou shalt see the end of this year, or even of this day, of that thou art wholly ignorant.

Many, counting on a long life, and regardless of making preparation for death, dream of much to be done in the future; when suddenly death puts an end to all their plans, and drags them away into eternity.

Whether thou shalt die at home, or abroad; of sickness, or by violence, whether strengthened with the Sacraments, or deprived of their soothing comforts, all this lies hidden in the mysterious unknown.

 

2. However, My Child, thou shalt die only once: if once thou diest well, thy everlasting bliss is secured; if once thou diest ill, thy destruction is endless and irreparable.

O inconceivable stupidity of the heart of man! Very many fear not to live in a state of damnation; and yet it is certain, that they shall die unexpectedly. The unchangeable declaration remains firm: The Son of man will come, when He is not expected.

For a reason worthy of God’s Wisdom, the time of His coming remains hidden, that men may keep themselves in the state of grace ever ready. But, as many disregard this, it happens that not a few die without being prepared, and in a twinkling are buried in hell.

Woe, therefore, to them whom death shall overtake in a bad state! When they are dead, hope shall be no more; because from a death in time, they fall into the death of eternity, and from finite evils they pass over to those which are infinite.

Most wretched is the death of sinners: frightful is the death of the lukewarm; but precious, and filled with consolation, is the death of them that have sanctified themselves.

Blessed are they who end a saintly life with a holy death! They reach the end of their labor, their afflictions, their trials, and of all dangers, and they enter into a bliss secure and complete.

 

3. How differently are different persons impressed at the moment of death! Some are terror stricken at the thought of the past, of the present, and of the future; others are filled with comfort: these feel their hearts dilating; those feel them compressed with anguish: but all wish that they had lived piously.

To be well prepared to die, is the greatest consolation of him that sees the near approach of death.

To how great a danger of dying unprepared is he exposed, who thinks of making ready only when death is at the door! Then, either time is wanting, or the pangs of sickness hinder the use of the souls powers, or passions still have their wonted sway, whilst the habit of neglecting to correspond to grace still prevails; and, meanwhile, the devil’s assaults are greater than ever before.

Look forward, then, My Child, before the night overtakes thee, wherein no one can securely work, but when everyone begins to garner, what he has sown.

A good life is the best preparation for death. It is generally true, that he that lives well, dies well.

Daily, before retiring to thy nightly rest, put thy soul in order, as if, the same night, thou hadst to set out for eternity.

 

4. Death is a good counselor, My Child; wherefore, before thou undertake, or leave off, aught of importance, ask advice of death, that thou mayst know, when it calls thee, what thou wouldst like to have done, what thou wouldst regret to have left undone.

By perfect purity of heart thou canst make thy death most safe and consoling.

Take no counsel of the flesh, when there is question of securing a happy death; but, even in spite of its murmurings, pursue what is good, that, in the end, thou mayst save both the body and the soul.

After death thy body shall become the food of worms, and whatever remains of it, shall be the prey of corruption.

Yet, thereafter, it shall arise again, whether thou art willing or not, to share the everlasting destiny of the soul.

Let death be most familiar to thee, My Child. If thou be faithful in asking its advice, and in following it, it will be thy solace in adversity, it will keep thee in due bounds in prosperity, it will be useful to thee in all things, it will not cease to do thee good; and, in the end, it will free thee from this place of exile, and introduce thee into thy blissful country in heaven.

 

5. The Voice of the Disciple

Is it possible, Lord, that any one will hold himself unprepared, when at any moment he may have to meet death?

My conscience bears me witness, what I shall wish for at the approach of death: then my sole desire shall be that I had led a life of innocence; that for Thee I had kept my heart undefiled that I had sanctified my soul.

But, alas! Should death overtake me now, I should wish for all this in vain; since, as yet, I possess no sign of holiness, but rather many marks of lukewarmness.

O, compassionate and merciful Lord, bear with me a little while, that I may weep over my neglectfulness, and that I may do what I would desire to have performed, when death comes.

 

6. O my soul, soon time shall be no more. Let others do as they list: let us, whilst yet there is time, devote ourselves to the work of our salvation.

Each one for himself. When death comes no one can take our place; nor can any one, in our stead, go into eternity. Whatever, therefore, others may say or do, let us place our everlasting destiny beyond all danger.

And what means, Lord Jesus, can be better, and safer, than a true love for Thee, disengaged from every thing besides; since this both cleanses us from our faults, and renders us holy?

If I love Thee truly, I will not fear death, nor aught of all that follows thereafter. Thy love will drive away fear: Thy love will enable me to approach Thee with confidence.
Thou, then, Jesus, my love, be Thou henceforth my life. If Thou art my life, to die shall be my gain.

For love of Thee, let me daily die to sin, to the world, to myself, that I may live for Thee: let me become free from things created, and be made wholly pure, so that, when death opens the door, I may appear before Thee rejoicingly.

 


“Voice of Jesus” is taken from Arnoudt’s “Imitation of the Sacred Heart”, translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 19, 2019

It is better to say one Pater Noster (Our Father) fervently...

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November 19

 

It is better to say one Pater Noster (Our Father) fervently and devoutly
than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction.

St. Edmund the Martyr


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Nerses I of Armenia

King Arshak mixed poison with the Lord's Holy and Divine Bod...

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St. Nerses I of Armenia

Born of royal descent, Nerses was the son of At'anagenes and his mother was the sister of King Tigranes VII and a daughter of King Khosrov III. His paternal grandfather was St. Husik I whose paternal grandfather was St. Gregory the Illuminator, who converted the Armenian king to Christianity and became the first Patriarch of Armenia.

Nerses spent his youth in Caesarea and married a Mamikonian princess named Sanducht, who bore him a son, St. Isaac the Great. After his wife's death, he was appointed chamberlain to King Arshak of Armenia, but entered the ecclesiastical state a few years later. In 363, despite his protest of unworthiness, Nerses was consecrated Bishop of Armenia.

He was greatly influenced by St. Basil and, in effort to bring better discipline and efficiency to his diocese convened the first national synod in 365. He encouraged the growth of monasticism and established hospitals. His good deeds and promotion of religion angered the King, who was later condemned by Nerses for murdering his wife Olympia. It is said that Arshak mixed poison with the Lord's holy and divine Body, the Bread of Communion, and administered it to her, killing the queen in church.

Arshak died in battle against the Persians shortly thereafter. Nerses discovered that Pap, the king’s successor, was more ungodly than his predecessor. On account of his sinfulness, the holy man forbade Pap from entering the church until he repented of his ways. Angered, Pap feigned repentance and invited Nerses to dine at the royal table where he poisoned and killed him in 337.

Photo by: Adelchi

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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