Litany for a Good Death

There is a prayer that you should add to your inventory of prayers, especially during November. This one is courtesy of Joseph Karl Publishing’s Blog and is entitled Litany For A Good Death.

Litany For A Good Death

O Lord Jesus, God of goodness and Father of mercies,
I draw nigh to Thee with a contrite and humble heart;
to Thee I recommend the last hour of my life,
and that judgment which awaits me afterwards,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my feet, benumbed with death,
shall admonish me that my course in this life is drawing to an end,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my hands, cold and trembling,
shall no longer be able to clasp the Crucifix,
and shall let it fall against my will on my bed of suffering,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my eyes, dim with trouble at the approach of death,
shall fix themselves on Thee, my last and only support,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my lips, cold and trembling,
shall pronounce for the last time Thy adorable Name,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my face, pale and livid,
shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay;
when my hair, bathed in the sweat of death,
and stiffening on my head,
shall forebode my approaching end,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my ears, soon to be for ever shut to the discourse of men,
shall be open to the irrevocable decree which is to fix my doom for all eternity,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my imagination, agitated by dreadful specters,
shall be sunk in an abyss of anguish; when my soul,
affrighted with the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of Thy judgment,
shall have to fight against the Angel of darkness,
who will endeavor to conceal from my eyes Thy mercies,
and to plunge me into despair,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my poor heart, oppressed with suffering
and exhausted by its continual struggles with the enemies of its salvation,
shall feel the pangs of death,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When the last tear, the forerunner of my dissolution,
shall drop from my eyes, receive it as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins;
grant that I may expire the victim of penance;
and then in that dreadful moment,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my friends and relations, encircling my bed,
shall be moved with compassion for me,
and invoke Thy clemency in my behalf,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When I shall have lost the use of my senses;
when the world shall have vanished from my sight;
when my agonizing soul shall feel the sorrows of death,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my soul, trembling on my lips,
shall bid adieu to the world, and leave my body lifeless, pale and cold,
receive this separation as a homage in that last moment of my mortal life,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When at length my soul, admitted to Thy presence,
shall first behold the splendor of Thy Majesty,
reject it not, but receive me into Thy bosom,
where I may for ever sing Thy praises,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who hast doomed all men to die,
but hast concealed from all the hour of their death,
grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice,
and that I may be made worthy to quit this world,
in the embrace of Thy love.
Through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Trinity Sober Homes

I recently received an email from Tim Murray, of Trinity Sober Homes. They are “America’s first and only Catholic sober-living residences. Our mission is to provide quality housing and Catholic faith-based support to recovering alcoholics of all faiths” and are located in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Please check out the link in the above paragraph, as well as listen to an Interview with Tim Murray on Soundlcoud. 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

About Me Page update and email address change

Hi. Just some minor bookeeping: I updated the About Me Page and noticed that I had incorrect email addresses and like the idiot I am sometimes forgot to update it. I had changed to Yahoo, but have since gone back to using Gmail (temporarily until I finally, after all these years, activate my domain name email.) I just went through my Yahoo inbox and have flagged a few important emails I need to reply to. (Most are spam or subscriptions.) 

Also, on that Page I updated some places where you can find me online. 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Are You Prepared to Die?

Someday you will die. Me, too. No one is exempt. It will happen, guaranteed. If you have been recently exposed to death because a loved one has passed away, the possibility was brought to your attention. Most everyone is uncomfortable with it and will routinely brush it off. 

An article from long ago asks us this: Are You Prepared to Die? Quote: “The Scripture often emphasizes the suddenness of death and judgment.”

(Via Archdiocese of Washington Blog.)

Well, are you? The reality of death is something many people avoid until it confronts them full on. And even then, some people attempt to shun it.

The inconvenient truth is that we are better prepared to face death when we do not wait to prepare ourselves for it when we are facing it.

The article gives some sobering consideration on preparing for death. November is an opportune time to contemplate it. 

I posted this because yesterday was the anniversary of my Mother’s death in 2005. I was subjected to some serious psychological abuse from members of my family. One in particular, the rest were guilty of ‘sins of omission,’ as in their failure to come to my aid given my vulnerable position. A few did, and for those I am grateful. Nevertheless, the consequences of the antagonist’s actions lead me to contemplate suicide. So, I approached death. I have since been keeping in mind preparations for it (frequent confession, and meditating on if ‘I am ready’ for when it’s time.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Dying, One Day at a Time

Quite often you read or hear about how we Christians are supposed to keep our “eyes on the prize.” In other words, be mindful of death. (In Latin, that is “Memento Mori.”)

We should try to keep our minds on our ultimate goal, Heaven, and remember that we will be judged upon our death. Doing this may help us become focused and get our act together concerning whatever it is that God placed us here for. This month of November, dedicated by the Church to the dead, is an opportune time to contemplate this.

Any day may be our last. Today, even. But we all probably fall into the trap of thinking that death is far off. And so the urgency to “become focused and get our act together” may not always be there. There is a way, however, to keep it in mind every day. Borrow a powerful tool from the Twelve Step movements and combine it with the realization that death may come at a moment’s notice.

So, taking that “powerful tool from the Twelve Step movements,” which is the philosophy of “One Day at a Time” and merging it with the possibility that each day may be our last, may help us to realize that sense of urgency. We each have a specific mission that God placed us here for, a mission that we are each uniquely qualified to do. We do not have all the time in the world to do it. “One day at a time” helps us cope with that falsely satisfying feeling that we have years ahead of us. We may only have today. This sort of turns around the 12 Step basis of “one day at a time,” which is intended to help people in recovery with the idea that they have to be clean and sober for the rest of their lives, which may be for a long time. That may be hard to fathom, but just focusing on today is do-able. “Just for today, I can stay away from the drinking or the drugging.” So, “Just for today,” is all that I may have left. What can I do?”

So, each day when we wake up, we should think, “Today may be my last day alive. What must I do today in case that were to become true? What can I do to mitigate any accounting I may have to make before the Lord?”

And then we should, to borrow a phrase from Pope Saint John Paul II, “Arise, and let us be on our way,” and set out to achieve something.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Reflecting on a funeral chanced upon

Several years ago when my wife and I went to a Daily Mass we were delayed due to a funeral being said before the regular Mass. We had to wait for a while in the Adoration Chapel adjacent to the Church proper, when the final hymn was sung (“On Eagle’s Wings”) we moved over to a rear pew and waited.

Anyway, while we waited for the hymn to finish and the mourners to leave, I pondered what was going on. Reflecting on the fact that my Mom had died nearly 3 years ago (at the time this post was originally written in early 2009, please see the NOTE at the end), and that event deeply and sharply impacted my life, I wondered about the people there.

A number of them will deeply miss the deceased. A few will miss the deceased in a profound way, perhaps requiring counseling.

At least one will consider themselves crazy for being (at least for the time being) unable or unwilling to move on.

There is a hole in a number of people’s lives, and some healing that needs to be done.

Perhaps the person who died left some unfinished business with others, and that can now no longer be done. Opportunities for reconciliation gone.

Makes you think. As I chanced upon a funeral, one day I could chance upon death. Will I be ready? Will you?

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed sometime by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

What happens when you die?

What happens when you die?

A lot of hopeful people assume that you go straight to Heaven. Hell is a fantasy to scare people into being good, and that God would never send anyone to Hell (This is true, God would never send anyone to Hell. But people send themselves to Hell by the choices they’ve made in life that have as their consequence the ultimate rejection of God.)

But since not everyone goes to Hell, do the rest go straight to Heaven? What about people who by the choices they’ve made are destined for Heaven, but have not fully repented for the sins they committed before converting? What about people who make “deathbed conversions”, is it fair that they enter into Heaven with sins not fully remitted through Earthly penance? What about us alcoholics and addicts who think that “Well, I did my Step 4* and Step 5**, that’s enough.” Since according to Ephesians 5:5: “Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God,” (Via USCCB.) what about those who just fall short of perfection? Who dies perfect? We all die with stains on our soul and junk in our trunk. One small impurity and we’re banned from Heaven?

Well, there is hope for those of us that are not perfect. That hope is “Purgatory”

(Via New Advent.)

Purgatory is that place where we go where we are finally and completely purged of any attachment to selfish and sinful inclinations. I strongly recommend that you read that linked article from New Advent, it explains a lot and includes Scriptural passages supporting the idea, along with excellent human reasons for Purgatory’s existence, even if there was no Scriptural basis.

I envision Purgatory to be a place and a process. As a place, perhaps some domain outside of Heaven (“Heaven’s foyer”) in which we see the glory of God and the beauty of Heaven, but our sinful attachment to ourselves and to Earthly pleasure prevents us from entering. The pain we feel at this separation is our “purgation”. It is the process by which we are cleansed of all impurities so that we can finally enter into our true home.

This cleansing is a suffering, and if we accept and not reject the Earthly suffering that we experience, we can begin our purgatory now.

* and ** : Steps 4 and 5 for the unknowing are those of the 12 Steps of recovery programs in which the recovering addict does a “fearless and searching moral inventory” of their lives and then afterwards “admits to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

The pain of waiting for Heaven

Our true home is Heaven. Our life on Earth is an exile, the time we spend here prepares us for our arrival home. If we misuse this time to an extreme (consistently rejecting the will of God and working against His Will) we will banish ourselves and be eternally damned. Damnation is the natural consequence of our poor moral choices on Earth.

However, even if we exercise right judgement, we may still be denied entry into the fullness of Heaven and perfect union with God for a time. This time is referred to as Purgatory. Those who die in a state of grace but yet still retain the stain of sin on their souls need to be purified. The unclean cannot enter into the vision of God in this state. See: Catechism of the Catholic Church – Purgatory

(Via Vatican.)

We can begin our purgatory here on Earth. A longing for our true home and the pain of separation from it is a purifying experience. This longing is a prayer.

The blog The New Theological Movement has a great post entitled “Prayer, purgatory on earth”. It explores the idea that through a prayerful longing for Heaven, we can offer up this suffering for the expiation of our sins and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

This prayerful longing for Heaven is a detachment from our exile, and therefore a little death. Gradually we are better prepared for our own death and no longer fear it.

Personally, I feel this longing. Daily I pray for this “going home,” and not in any worrying suicidal way, but just like anyone who wishes to be home, I would rather be there than here. Nevertheless, I do realize that I may have to remain here for God only knows how long to continue working out whatever His plans are for me. 

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima

Note: this was originally posted in different form long ago here at Sober Catholic:

On October 13, 1917 the final Marian Apparition at Fatima, Portugal took place.

I know the anniversary was a few weeks ago, but I decided to post this today, the Feast of All Hallow’s Eve (a/k/a “Halloween”). I’ll explain at the end.

Seventy thousand people attended the event, which was supposed to have a miracle promised by the Virgin Mary so that all may believe.

Amongst those present were representatives of the Portuguese media, all socialist and all anti-clerical (theophobes who despised the Catholic Church, professed atheism, and who cooperated in what they hoped would be the eventual destruction of the Church in Portugal. The country had undergone a revolution in 1910 which deposed the Catholic monarch and imposed restrictions on the Church.)

Our Lady appeared as promised, but not alone. St. Joseph also appeared, holding the Christ Child.

Oh, yes: the sun also danced in the sky. Witnessed by all those in attendance, and by more hundreds of miles away, the sun whirled about in the sky, terrifying the witnesses.

It also appeared to hurtle towards the Earth, convincing people that the World was ending (and this part of the Apparition is why I decided to take advantage of my posting tardiness and write this today.)

One note on the sun dancing: for anyone who may be skeptical, one evidence that “something” happened lays in the fact that it had been raining heavily all day long, so much so that the ground throughout the area was drenched. Saturated with water, and combined with the foot traffic of 70,000 attendees, it was a horrific muddy mess.

Until the sun dried it. Nearly instantly. According to all those present, after the Apparition was over and the sun returned to its normal state, the ground was hardened as though it had not seen rain for weeks.

And another note for skeptics: this was all duly reported by the anti-clerical media. The reporters had gone there hoping (or rather assuming) that the whole event would be a non-happening; that the seers would be shamed,the Church embarrassed and once and for all the foolish belivers would have their religious superstitions exposed for what they are – nonsense.

But no, they couldn’t deny the event, their skepticism and non-belief didn’t prevent them from witnessing the Miracle of the Sun, nor acknowledging the effects on the physical environment.

So much for that. How the whole thing happened is a mystery; how only those in the vicinity witnessed this but for people all over the rest of the world the Sun operated normally is known only to God, who is not subject to the laws of Nature. (That’s why certain events are called ‘miracles.’ Perhaps someday, when our science progresses to a more sophisticated level, someone can postulate a theory. But until science catches up with Faith…)

Now, as to why I posted this today:

As the sun plunged to the Earth the believers were understandably freaked out. They thought the world was ending.

The liturgical calendar for the Catholic Church has tomorrow as the Solemnity of All Saints, and after that the Memorial of All Souls. All Saints is for all those in Heaven, officially canonized by the Church or not; and All Souls is for the Faithful Departed who are undergoing purification in Purgatory. These two Feast Days kick off the Month of November, dedicated by the Catholic Church to the dead. (This is why there will be an uptick in the number of posts here regarding death, Purgatory, and all that over November. (Apart from my finally finishing the migration of posts from my old death blog, “The Four Last Things.” Many of these posts are reblogs from there. See the ‘Additional NOTE’ at the end. There is no link to that blog as the posts are being unpublished as they get transferred to here or In Exile.)

These two days are there (amongst other reasons) to remind us of our ultimate end. Someday we will all die. There is no escaping that.

Maybe this is something for you to consider, before God decides to hurl the Sun at you!

Note: I have written before on the Marian Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. Please see—> Fatima Posts Archive.

Additional NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, some edited, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

November is almost upon us!

Note: A reblog from a previous year and slightly edited.

November is my favorite month. Mainly because of The Feasts of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd and the general trend in the Church’s liturgical readings in the Mass and Divine Office on Christ’s Coming (First and Second). 

This leads to November being considered the “month of the dead”. While some may find that rather gruesome and macabre, I do not. I like November and its focus on the dead because of the reminder that what is around us is not the whole story, and that something greater lies beyond our reach. But not forever. We too, shall cross over to what lies beyond, and we should always be mindful of our death.

November and its associations with the dead also help me to connect with my loved ones that have died. They do not seem so far away. My Mom died in November (2005) and her death shattered my life, but out of that wreckage came a new life for me. My Dad died years earlier in 1995, and I find that I am becoming more like him in some ways (namely Catholicy). There are others hopefully in Heaven or Purgatory, and I think about them often.

Anyway, with November here there shall be a slight change in focus here at this blog. I mentioned this before: Slight change in direction for Sober Catholic. This is one of a number of posts from my old “death blog” that I edited and republished here. I recently completed the migration of posts from ‘4LT’ to here or my other blog. Many of you observant readers will notice a ‘retropost’ notice at the bottom of the migrated posts. Some were backdated, others postdated, some edited, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. If I recall, I chose the term ‘retropost’ because it implies ‘retroactive’ for those that were backdated, or to ‘retro,’ or ‘old’, ‘back in the day’ posts. 

So, have a Good November, everyone. (May that salutation be likened to a wish for a happy death. (A “Happy Death” in Catholicism is a death in which you end up in Heaven.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.