Peace of the Just at the Hour Death.
" The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die ; but they are in peace."—Wis. iii. I, etc.
The Just have nothing to fear at the Hour of Death.
The souls of the just are in the hands of God. If God holds fast in his hands the souls of the just, who can snatch them from him ? It is true that hell does not cease to tempt and attack even the Saints at the hour of death; but it also true that God does not cease to assist, and to multiply helps to his faithful servants, whenever their danger is increased. There, says St. Ambrose, There is greater aid, where there is greater peril, because God is a helper in due time (De Jos. patr.. c. 5). David also assures us in the Psalms : A helper in time of tribulation (Ps. ix, 10). The servant of Eliseus was struck with terror when he saw the city encompassed with enemies; but the Saint inspired him with courage, saying: Fear not: for there are more with us than with them (4 Kings, vi, 16). He then showed him an army of Angels sent by God to defend the city. The devil will come to tempt the dying Christian; but his angel-guardian will come to strengthen him: his holy advocates will come—St. Michael, whom God has appointed to defend his faithful servants in their last combat with hell, will come; the divine Mother will come to chase away the devils, and to: protect her servant; above all, Jesus Christ will come to: guard against every temptation of hell, the innocent or penitent sheep for whose salvation he has given his life. He will give that confidence and strength of which the soul shall stand in need in that last struggle with its enemies. Hence, full of courage, it will say: The Lord became my helper (Ps. xxix, 11). The Lord is my light and my salvation ; whom shall I fear ? (Ps. xxvi, 1). God, says Origen, is more solicitous for our salvation than the devil is for our perdition; for the Lord loves our souls far more than the devil hates them (In Num. Hom. 20). God is faithful, says the Apostle; he does not permit us to be tempted above our strength (1 Cor. x, 13). But you will say: Many Saints have died with great fear of being lost, I answer: We have but few examples of persons who, after leading a holy life, died with fears for their eternal salvation. Belluacensis says that, to purify them at the hour of death from some defect, God sometimes permits holy souls to be disturbed by such fears (Spec. mor. 1, 2; p. 1, d. 3). But generally the servants of God have died with a joyful countenance. At death the judgment of God excites fear in all; but if sinners pass from terror to despair, the Saints rise from fear to confidence, St. Antonine relates that in a severe illness, St. Bernard trembled through fear of judgment, and was tempted to despair. But thinking of the merits of Jesus Christ, he drove away all fear, saying to his Saviour: Thy wounds are my merits. St. Hilarion also was seized with fear; but he said: "Go forth, my soul; what do you fear? For near seventy years you have served Christ; and are you now afraid of death?"' As if he said: My soul, what do you fear? have you not served a God who is faithful, and knows not how to abandon at death the Christian who has been faithful to him during life ? Father Joseph Scamacca, of the Society of Jesus, being asked if in dying he felt confidence in God, said: "Have I served Mahomet, that I should now doubt of the goodness of my God, or of his desire to save me ?
Should the thought of having offended God at some time of our life molest us at death, let us remember that he has protested that he forgets the iniquities of all penitent sinners. If the wicked do penance,—I will not remember all his iniquities (Ezek. xviii, 21). But you may ask: How can I be secure of having received pardon from God ? St. Basil asks the same question: " How can any one be certain that God has forgiven his sins?" "He can be certain of pardon," answers the Saint, "if he say: I have hated and abhorred iniquity." (Reg. brev. interr. 12). He who detests sin, can rest secure of having obtained pardon from God The heart of man cannot exist without loving some object; it must love creatures or God. If it loves not creatures, it loves God. And who are they that love God ? All who observe his commands. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me (John, xiv, 21). He then who dies in the observance of the commandments, dies in the love of God; and he that loves fears not. Charity casteth out fear (1 John, iv, 18).
Affections and Prayers.
Ah, my Jesus! when will the day arrive on which I can say: My God ! I can never lose Thee ? When shall I see Thee face to face, and be sure of loving Thee with all my strength for eternity ? Ah, my Sovereign Good, my only love ! as long as I have life, I shall be in danger of offending Thee and of losing Thy grace. There has been an unhappy time when I did not love Thee, but, on the contrary, despised Thy love. I am sorry for it with my whole soul, and hope that Thou hast already pardoned me. I now love Thee with my whole heart, and desire to do all in my power to love and please Thee. But I am still in danger of refusing Thee my love, and of again turning my back upon Thee. Ah, my Jesus, my life and my treasure ! do not permit it. Should this misfortune ever happen to me, take me this moment out of life by the most cruel of deaths; I am content to suffer such a death, and I entreat Thee to send me such a death, sooner than permit me ever to cease to love Thee. Eternal Father! for the love of Jesus Christ, do not abandon me to so great an evil. Chastise me as Thou wishest, I deserve and accept any chastisement Thou pleasest to inflict upon me: but preserve me from the punishment of seeing myself deprived of Thy grace and of Thy love. My Jesus! recommend me to Thy Father. Mary, my Mother ! recommend me to thy Son ; obtain for me perseverance in his friendship, and the grace to love him; and then do with me what thou pleasest.
The Just Die in a Sweet Peace.
The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die; . . . but they are in peace (Wis. iii, 1). In the eyes of the unwise the servants of God appear to die, as worldlings do, in sorrow and with reluctance. But God knows well how to console his children in their last moments; and even in the midst of the pains of death he infuses into their souls certain sweetnesses, as foretastes of Paradise, which he will soon bestow upon them. As they who die in sin begin to experience on the bed of death certain foretastes of hell, certain remorse, terrors, and fits of despair; so, on the other hand, the Saints, by the frequent acts of divine love which they then make, by their ardent desire and firm hope of soon possessing God, begin to feel that peace which they will afterwards fully enjoy in heaven. To the Saints death is not a punishment, but a reward. When He shall give sleep to His beloved, behold the inheritance of the Lord (Ps. cxxvi, 2). The death of the Christian that loves God is called, not death, but sleep, thus he shall be able to say less, In peace in the selfsame I will sleep and I will rest (Ps. iv, 9).
Father Suarez died with so much peace, that in his last moments he exclaimed: "I could never imagine that death would be so sweet." When Cardinal Baronius was advised by his physician not to fix his thoughts so much on death, he said: "Perhaps you think I am afraid of death. I fear it not; but, on the contrary, I love it." In going to death for the faith, the Cardinal of Rochester, as Saunders relates, put on his best clothes, saying that he was going to a nuptial feast. Hence at the sight of the scaffold he threw away his staff, and said: "O my feet! walk fast; we are not far from Paradise." Before death he intoned the "Te Deum," to thank God for giving him the grace to die a martyr for the holy faith ; and, full of joy, he laid his head on the block. St. Francis of Assisi began to sing at the hour of death, and invited the brethren to join him. Brother Elias said to him : "Father, at death we ought rather to weep than to sing." "But," replied the Saint, "I cannot abstain from singing; for I see that I shall soon go to enjoy my God." A young nun of the order of St. Teresa, in her last illness said to her sisters in religion who stood round her bed bathed in tears : " O God ! why do you weep ? I go to enjoy my Jesus. If you love me, rejoice with me."
Father Granada relates that a certain sportsman found a solitary infected with leprosy, singing in his last agony. "How," said the sportsman, "can you sing in such a state?" "Brother," replied the hermit, "between me and God there is nothing but the wall of this body. I now see that my flesh is falling off—that the prison will soon be destroyed, and that I shall go to see my God. It is for this reason that I rejoice and sing." The desire of seeing God made St. Ignatius the Martyr say that if the wild beasts should not take away his life he would provoke them to devour him. St. Catharine of Genoa could not bear to hear death called a misfortune. Hence she would say : "Oh ! beloved death, in what a mistaken light are you viewed ! Why do you not come to me ? I call on you night and day." St. Teresa desired death so vehemently that she regarded the continuation of life as death : hence she composed the celebrated hymn, I die because I do not die. Such is death to the Saints.
Affections and Prayers.
Ah, my supreme good, my God ! if for the past I have not loved Thee, I now turn to Thee with my whole soul. I take leave of all creatures, and choose Thee, my most amiable Lord ! for the sole object of my love. Tell me what Thou wishest from me: I will do all Thou desirest. I have offended Thee enough I wish to spend all the remaining moments of life in pleasing Thee. Give me grace to compensate by my love my past ingratitude, which has continued to this moment. I deserve to burn in the fire of hell for so many years; Thou hast sought after me, and hast drawn me to Thyself. Make me now burn with the fire of Thy holy love. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness ! Thou justly claimest all the affections of my heart; for Thou hast loved me more than all others have loved me. Thou alone deservest my love; Thou only do I wish to love. I desire to do everything in my power to please Thee. Do with me whatsoever Thou wishest. For me it is enough to love Thee and to be loved by Thee. Mary, my Mother! assist me; pray to Jesus for me.
The Just in Dying have a Foretaste of Celestial Joy.
And how can he fear death, says St. Cyprian, who hopes to receive a kingly crown in Paradise! " Let us not be afraid to be put to death when we are certain that we shall be crowned after death" (Epis. Ad Thibar.). How can he fear death when he knows that by dying in the state of grace his body will become immortal ? This mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. xv, 55). He that loves God and desires to see him, regards life as a punishment and death as a source of joy, says St. Augustine. And St. Thomas of Villanova says that death, if it finds a man sleeping, comes like a thief, robs him, kills him, and casts him into the pit of hell. But if it finds him watching, it comes as an ambassador from God, and salutes him, saying: " The Lord expects you to the nuptial feast: come ; I will conduct you to the happy kingdom for which you sigh."
Oh ! with joy does he expect death who finds himself in the grace of God, and hopes soon to see Jesus Christ, and to hear from him these consoling words: Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many (Matt. xxv, 21). Oh, what consolation will he then receive from his works of penance, his prayers, his detachment from earthly goods, and from all he has done for God ! Say to the just man, that it is well; for he shall eat the fruit of his doings (Isa. iii, 10). Then he who has loved God will taste the fruit of all his holy works. Hence, in hearing that a religious, his friend, died in sentiments of fervent piety, Father Hyp-politus Durazzo, of the Society of Jesus, wept not, but exulted with joy and gladness. But, says St. John Chry-sostom, would it not be most unreasonable to believe that heaven is eternal, and to pity those who go to that kingdom of delights? (Ad Vid. jun. tr. 1). What special consolation will the just man receive at the hour of death from the devotions performed in honor of the Mother of God, from the Rosaries he has recited, from his visits to her image, from his fasts on Saturdays, from his frequent attendance at her Confraternities ! Mary is called the faithful Virgin, Oh, how great is her fidelity in consoling her faithful servants at the hour of death! A certain person devoted to the Most Holy Virgin said in his last moments to Father Binetti: " Father, you cannot conceive the consolation which the thought of having served Mary infuses at the hour of death. O my Father! if you knew the happiness I feel on account of having served this Mother. I am not able to express it." How great will be the joy of him who has loved Jesus Christ—who has often visited him in the Most Adorable Sacrament, and has often received him in the Holy Communion, when he sees his Lord entering his room in the Most Holy Viaticum, and coming to accompany him in his passage to eternity! Happy he who will then be able, with St. Philip Neri, to say to his Saviour: " Behold my love! Behold my love ! Give me my love."
But you will, perhaps, say: Who knows what shall be my lot ? Who knows but I shall die an unhappy death? Of you who speak in this manner, I ask what is it that causes a bad death ? Nothing but sin. We should then fear sin only, and not death. "It is clear," says St. Ambrose, " that it is not death that is bitter, but sin; our fears ought not to be of death, but of life" (De bon. Mort. C. 8). If, then, you desire not to fear death, lead a holy life. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end (Eccles. 1, 13).
Father Saint Colombiere held it to be morally impossible that the man who has been faithful to God during life should die a bad death. And before him, St Augustine said: " He who has lived well cannot die badly. He who is prepared to die fears no death, however sudden.' (De Disc. chr., c. 12). The just man, if he be prevented with death, shall be in rest (Wis. iv, 7). Since we cannot go to enjoy God without passing through death, St. John Chrysostom exhorts us to offer to God what we are obliged to give him (Op. imp. In Matth. Hom. 25). And let us be persuaded that they who offer their death to God, make the most perfect act of divine love which it is in their power to perform; because, by cheerfully embracing that kind of death which God is pleased to send, and at the time and in the manner in which God sends it, they render themselves like the holy martyrs. He who loves God should desire and sigh after death; because it unites him forever to God, and delivers him from the danger of losing God. He who does not desire to see God speedily, and to be secure against the possibility of ever losing God, shows that he has but little love for God. Let us, during life, love him to the utmost of our power. We should make use of life only to advance in divine love: the measure of our love of God at death will be the measure of our love for him in a happy eternity.
Affections and Prayers.
My Jesus! bind me to Thyself so that I may never more be separated from Thee. Make me entirely Thine before I die, that I may see Thee appeased, O my Redeemer! the first time I behold Thee. Thou didst seek after me when I fled away from Thee : ah! do not cast me off, now that I seek after Thee. Pardon me all the offences I have given Thee. From this day I will think only of serving and loving Thee. Thou hast laid me under too many obligations; Thou hast not refused to give Thy blood and Thy life for the love of me. I would wish to be entirely consumed for the love of Thee. O God of my soul! I wish to love Thee ardently in this life, that I may love Thee ardently in the next. Eternal Father! draw my whole heart to Thee: detach it from earthly affections: wound and inflame my whole soul with Thy holy love. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, hear my prayers. Give me holy perseverance, and grant me the grace always to ask it of Thee. Mary, my Mother! assist me, and obtain for me the grace to ask unceasingly of thy Son the gift of holy perseverance.
Means of preparing for Death.
" Remember thy last end, and thou shall never sin."—Eccl. vii, 40.
Not to Wait till the Last Moment.
all confess that they must die, and die only once, and that nothing is of greater importance than to die well ; because on death depends whether we shall be forever in bliss or forever in despair. All know that our eternal happiness or our eternal unhappiness depends on leading a good or a bad life. How then does it happen that the greater part of Christians live as if they were never to die, or as if to die well or ill were of little moment! They live in sin because they do not think of death. Remember thy last end, and thou shall never sin (Ecclus. Vii, 40). We must be persuaded that the hour of death is not fit for settling the accounts of the soul, and securing the great affair of eternal salvation. In worldly matters prudent men take measures in due time to secure temporal gain—to obtain a situation of emolument. To preserve or restore bodily health the necessary remedies are hot deferred a single moment. What would you say of the man who should put off his preparation for a trial on which his life depended till the day of trial arrived? Would you not stigmatize as a fool the general who should not begin to lay in a supply of provisions and arms till the city is besieged ? Would it not be folly in a pilot to neglect till the time of the tempest, to provide the vessel with an anchor and a helm? Such precisely is the folly of the Christian who neglects to tranquillize his conscience till death arrives.
When sudden calamity shall fall on you, and destruction, as a tempest, then shall they call upon me, and I will not hear. . . . Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way," (Prov. I, 27). The time of death is a time of storm and confusion. At that awful hour sinners call on God for assistance; but they invoke his aid through the fear of hell, which they see at hand, and not with true contrition of heart. It is for this reason that God is deaf to their cry ; it is for this reason also that they will then taste the fruit of their wicked life. What they have sown they shall reap (Gal. vi, 8). Ah ! it will not then be enough to receive the Sacraments ; it is necessary at death to hate sin, and to love God above all things. But how can he, then, hate forbidden pleasures, who has loved them till that moment? How can he love God above all things, who has till then loved creatures more than he has loved God ?
The Lord called the virgins foolish who wished to prepare their lamps when the bridegroom was nigh. All have a horror of a sudden death, because there is no time to settle the accounts of conscience. All confess that the Saints have been truly wise, because they prepared for death during life. And what are we doing? Shall we expose ourselves to the danger of preparing for death when it arrives? We ought to do at present what we shall then wish to have done. Oh ! what pain will then arise from the remembrance of time lost, and still more from the remembrance of time spent in sin : time given by God to merit eternal life ; but now past, and never to return! What anguish will the sinner feel when he shall be told : You can be steward no longer! (Luke, xvi, 2). There is no more time for doing penance, for frequenting the sacraments, for hearing sermons, for visiting Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament, or for prayer. What is done is done. To make a good confession, to remove several grievous scruples, and thus tranquillize the conscience, would require a better state of mind and time more free from confusion and agitation. But time will be no more (Apoc. X, 6).
Affections and Prayers.
Ah, my God ! had I died on one of the nights known to Thee, where should I be at present ? I thank Thee for having waited for me; I thank Thee for all those moments which I should have spent in hell from the first moment that I offended Thee. Ah! give me light, and make me sensible of the great evil I have done Thee in voluntarily losing Thy grace, which Thou didst merit for me by the sacrifice of Thy life on the cross. Ah ! my Jesus, pardon me : I am sorry from the bottom of my heart, and above all things, for having despised Thee, who art infinite goodness. Ah! assist me, O my Saviour! that I may never lose Thee again. Alas, my Lord! if I return again to sin, after so many lights and graces which Thou hast bestowed upon me, I should deserve a hell to be made on purpose for myself. Through the merits of that blood which Thou hast shed for my sake, do not permit me ever more to offend Thee. Give me holy perseverance, give me Thy love. I love Thee, and I will never cease to love Thee till death. My God, have mercy on me for the love of Jesus Christ. O Mary, my hope! do thou too have pity on me; recommend me to God: thy recommendations are never rejected by that God who loves thee so tenderly.
Put Our Conscience in a Good State, and Regulate Our Lives.
Brother, since it is certain that you will die, go as soon as possible to the foot of the crucifix; thank your crucified Redeemer for the time which in his mercy he gives you to settle the affairs of your conscience; and then review all the irregularities of your past life, particularly of your youth. Cast a glance at the commandments of God: examine yourself on the duties of the State of life in which you have lived, and on the society you have frequented: mark down in writing the sins you have committed; make a general confession of your whole life, if you have not as yet made one. Oh ! how much does a general confession contribute to regularity of life in a Christian ! Consider that you have to settle accounts for eternity; and take care to adjust them as if you were on the point of rendering these accounts to Jesus Christ at judgment. Banish from your heart every sinful affection, and every sentiment of rancor ; remove every ground of scruple on account of the injury done to the property or character of others, or of scandal to your neighbor; and resolve to fly from all those occasions in which you should be in danger of losing God. Remember that what now seems difficult will appear impossible at the hour of death.
It is still more important for you to resolve to practice the means of preserving your soul in the grace of God. These means are,—hearing Mass every day, the meditation on the eternal truths, the frequentation of the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist at least every eight days, the visit every day to the Most Holy Sacrament, and to an image of the divine Mother, attendance at her confraternity, spiritual reading, examination of conscience every evening, some special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, along with fasting every Saturday in her honor Above all, resolve to recommend yourself frequently to God and to the Blessed Virgin, and frequently to invoke, in the time of temptations, the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. These are the names by which you will be able to secure a happy death, and to obtain eternal life.
The practice of these means will be for you a great sign of your predestination. And as to the past, trust in the blood of Jesus Christ, who now gives you these lights, because he desires your salvation; and trust in the intercession of Mary, who obtains these lights for you. Oh ! if you adopt this mode of life, and place great confidence in Jesus and Mary, what aid will you receive from God, and what strength will your soul acquire ! Dearly beloved reader, give yourself then instantly to God, who invites you, and begin to enjoy that peace of which you have been hitherto deprived through your own fault. And what greater peace can a soul enjoy than to be able to say, in going to rest at night. Should death come this night, I hope to die in the grace of God! How happy the man who, amid the terrors of thunder or of earth quakes, is prepared to accept death with resignation, should God be pleased to send it!
Affections and Prayers.
Ah, my Lord! with what fervor do I thank Thee for the light which Thou gavest me! I have so often abandoned Thee and turned my back upon Thee: but Thou hast not abandoned me. Hadst Thou abandoned me I should now be blind, as I have hitherto wished to be; I should be obstinate in my sins, and should not have the desire either to renounce sin or to love Thee. I now feel a great sorrow for having offended Thee, a great desire to be in the state of grace. I feel a hatred of these accursed delights which have made me lose Thy friendship. These sentiments are all graces which come from Thee, and make me hope that Thou wilt pardon and save me. Since, then, after all my sins, Thou hast not abandoned me—since Thou now wishest to save me, behold, O Lord ! I give myself entirely to Thee. I am sorry, above all things, for having offended Thee; and I propose to lose life a thousand times rather than forfeit Thy grace. I love Thee, O my sovereign Good ! I love Thee, O my Jesus ! who hast died for me; and I hope in Thy blood, that Thou wilt not permit me to be ever again separated from Thee. O my Jesus ! I will never more lose Thee. I wish to love Thee always during life. I wish to love Thee at death. I wish to love Thee for all eternity. Preserve me then, O Lord ! at all times, and increase my love for Thee. This favor I ask through Thy merits. Mary, my hope! pray to Jesus for me.
We must Detach Ourselves from the World.
It is also necessary to endeavor to be at all times in the state in which we desire to be at death. Blessed are he dead who die in the Lord (Apoc. Xiv, 13). St. Ambrose says that they die well who, at the hour of death, are found dead to the world; that is, detached from the goods from which death will separate us by force. We ought then, from this moment, to accept the spoliation of our goods, and the separation from relatives and from everything in this world. Unless we do it voluntarily during life, we shall have to do it through necessity at death, but with extreme pain and great danger of eternal perdition. Hence St. Augustine says, that to settle during life all temporal matters, and dispose by will of all the goods we shall have to bequeath, contribute greatly to a tranquil death; because when all worldly affairs are already adjusted, the soul may be entirely occupied in uniting itself to God. At that hour, we should think and speak only of God and of Paradise. These last moments are too precious to be squandered in earthly thoughts. At death is completed the crown of the elect; for it is then, perhaps, that they reap the greatest harvest of merits, by embracing, with resignation and love, death and all its pains.
But the Christian who has not been in the habit of exciting these sentiments during life, will not have them at the hour of death. Hence some devout souls, with great spiritual profit to themselves, are accustomed to renew every month, after being at confession and Communion, the Protestation of death along with the Christian acts, imagining themselves at the point of death, and to be near their departure from this world. Unless you do this during life you will find it very difficult to do it at death. In her last illness, that great servant of God, Sister Catharine of St. Alberts, of the order of St. Teresa, sent forth a sigh, and said, " Sisters, I do not sigh through fear of death, for I have lived for twenty-five years in expectation of it; but I sigh at the sight of so many deluded Christians, who spend their life in sin, and reduce themselves to the necessity of making peace with God at death, when I can scarcely pronounce the name of Jesus."
Examine then, O my brother, if you are now attached to anything on this earth, to any person, to any honor, to your house, to your money, to conversations or amusements; and reflect that you are not immortal. You must one day, and perhaps very soon, take leave of them all. Why then do you cherish any attachment to them, and thus expose yourself to the risk of an unhappy death? Offer from this moment all to God: tell him you are ready to give up all things whenever he pleases to deprive you of them. If you wish to die with resignation you must from this moment resign yourself to all the contradictions and adversities which may happen to you, and must divest yourself of all affections to earthly things. Imagine yourself on the bed of death, and you will despise all things in this world. " He," says Jerome, "who always thinks that he is to die, easily despises all things." (Ep. ad Paulin).
If you have not yet chosen a state of life, make choice of that state of life which at death you will wish to have selected, and which will make you die with greater peace. If you have already made choice of a state of life, do now what at death you will wish to have done in that state. Spend every day as if it were the last of your life; and perform every action, every exercise of prayer, make every confession and Communion, as if they were the last of your life. Imagine yourself every hour at the point of death, stretched on a bed, and that you hear that Proficiscere de hoc mundo which announces your departure from this world. Oh ! how powerfully will this thought assist you to walk in the way of God, and to detach your heart from this earth ! Blessed is that servant whom, when his Lord shall come, he shall find him so doing (Matt. xxiv, 46). He who expects death every hour will die well, though death should come suddenly upon him.
Affections and Prayers.
Every Christian ought to be prepared to say at the moment the news of death is announced to him : Then, my God, only a few hours remain; during the short remainder of the present life, I wish to love Thee to the utmost of my power, that I may love Thee more perfectly in heaven. But little remains for me to offer to Thee. I offer Thee these pains, and the sacrifice of my life in union with the sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered for me on the Cross. Lord ! the pains which I suffer are few and light compared with what I have deserved; such as they are, I embrace them as a mark of the love which I bear Thee. Provided I am to love Thee for eternity, I resign myself to all the punishments which Thou wishest to send me in this or the next life. Chastise me as much as Thou pleasest, but do not deprive me of Thy love. I know that, on account of having so often despised Thy love, I deserved never more to love Thee; but Thou canst not reject a penitent soul. I am sorry, O Sovereign Good! for having offended Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart, and place all my trust in Thee. Thy death, O my Redeemer ! is my hope. To Thy wounded hands I recommend my soul. Into Thy hands I commend my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of Truth (Ps. xxx, 6). O my Jesus, Thou hast given Thy blood for my salvation: do not suffer me to be separated from Thee. I love Thee, O eternal God, and hope to love Thee for eternity. Mary, my Mother, assist me at the awful moment of death. To thee I now consign my spirit; to thee I recommend myself. Deliver me from hell.
>>second part follows>>