Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Prayers for a Happy Death

During the month of November, we remember in our prayers and sacrifices the Poor Souls in Purgatory, those souls who can no longer help themselves gain heaven, but must either be purified in Purgatory or rely on our prayers offered in their behalf. With the thought of Purgatory and eternity in mind, then, November is also a fitting month to ensure we are praying for a happy death for ourselves.
In his book Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus Liguori spoke of the necessity to prepare for a happy death, saying,
"...Oh! hasten to apply a remedy in time, resolve to give yourself sincerely to God, and begin from this moment a life which, at the hour of death, will be to you a source, not of affliction, but of consolation. Give yourself up to prayer, frequent the sacraments, avoid all dangerous occasions, and, if necessary, leave the world, secure yourself eternal salvation, and be persuaded that to secure eternal life no precaution can be too great."
St. Joseph is the patron saint of the dying and the saint most often invoked for a happy death. The reasons for this patronage are primarily three: being the beloved foster-father of Christ, St. Joseph's intercession is great with Our Lord, our Judge, Who so loved him;  St. Joseph also is called “Terror of Demons,” a title given him by Holy Mother Church.  As the "Terror of Demons,"  St. Joseph is a powerful  protector to have beside us at our hour of death when hell tries frantically to obtain our souls at that last moment; and especially St. Joseph is the patron of the dying because he experienced a happy, holy death, dying in the arms of our Beloved Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. When we pray to be assured of a happy death, then, let us look to good St. Joseph.  In both of the following prayers, we turn to St. Joseph, asking for his help to lead holy lives and die a happy death.


Prayer to St. Joseph for a Happy Death

O Glorious St. Joseph, behold I choose thee today for my special patron in life and at the hour of my death. Preserve and increase in me the spirit of prayer and fervor in the service of God. Remove far from me every kind of sin; obtain for me that my death may not come upon me unawares, but that I may have time to confess my sins sacramentally and to bewail them with a most perfect understanding and a most sincere and perfect contrition, in order that I may breathe forth my soul into the hands of Jesus and Mary. Amen
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An Ancient Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Happy Death


O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.  St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

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"Iste, Quem Laeti"
ISTE, quem laeti colimus, fideles
cuius excelsos canimus triumphos,
hac die Ioseph meruit perennis
gaudia vitae.

O nimis felix, nimis o beatus,
cuius extremam vigiles ad horam
Christus et Virgo simul astiterunt
ore sereno.

Iustus insignis, laqueo solutus
carnis, ad sedes placido sopore
migrat aeternas, rutilisque cingit
tempora sertis.

Ergo regnantem, flagitemus omnes,
adsit ut nobis, veniamque nostris
obtinens culpis, tribuat supernae
munera pacis.

Sint tibi plausus, tibi sint honores,
Trine qui regnas Deus, et coronas
aureas servo tribuis fideli
omne per aevum. Amen.
"He, Whom the Faithful Joyously do Honor"
HE, whom the faithful joyously do honor,
singing his praises with devout affection,
won on his feast day, in eternal glory
life everlasting.

Blest beyond others, and exceeding blissful,
for when the moment of his death was nearing,
Jesus and Mary at his side were standing,
soothing his spirit.

Death he doth conquer, laying down his burden
calmly he slumbers, rest he gains eternal;
lo, round his forehead, bright with rays of splendor
shineth a garland.

Then, as he reigneth, earnestly beseech we
that he may utter fervent intercessions,
praying that pardon and the peace of heaven
may be our portion.

Glory we give Thee, hymns of praise and blessing,
One in Three Persons, who above art reigning,
God, who hast honored with Thy crown forever
this Thy true servant.  Amen.
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We may also seek help to obtain a happy death beneath the motherly protection of Our Lady's mantle, who loves us and wants us to gain our eternal reward in heaven. In the following prayer composed by St. Mechtilde, we pray to Mary, asking for her assistance at the moment of our own death, so it may be a happy death that leads us to heaven.


Prayer to Our Lady to Obtain Assistance in the Hour of Death
O my sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as God the Father in the greatness of His omnipotence hath exalted thee and given thee power above all creatures, be with me, I beseech thee, in the hour of my death, and drive far from me all the snares and craft of my enemies. Amen. (Recite 1 Hail Mary)

O my sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as God the Son in the excellence of His unsearchable wisdom hath endowed thee with such great knowledge, and filled thee with such great light that thou knowest the Most Holy Trinity more truly and intimately than all the saints, do thou so enlighten my soul in the hour of my death with the knowledge of the Faith, that no error or ignorance may lead it astray. Amen. (Recite 1 Hail Mary)

O my sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as the Holy Spirit hath poured into thee the sweetness of His love with such abundance, that thou art after God the sweetest and most benign of beings, do thou pour into my soul at the hour of my death the sweetness of divine love, that all its bitterness may be rendered sweet to me. Amen.  (Recite 1 Hail Mary)
"...And what will a Christian say, who knows by faith that at the moment of death eternity begins, and that moment he lays hold of two wheels, which draws with it either eternal joy or everlasting torments?"--St. Alphonsus Liguori

God bless!
+JMJ+

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