“Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”
Is the second part of the “Hail Mary” and was officially included in the Catechism of the Council of Trent in 1556.
You know how the devil tempts you in life? Have you ever had a very violent temptation where it seemed like you had no control at all?. Well, the “hour of death” is the final struggle the devil has to put up for your soul. It is the fiercest battle you will ever engage in. This is why we repeatedly ask for succor for that moment as it is very decisive for the final destination of our souls.
Objectively speaking: If we have led a life of devotion, and finally, at the hour of death, deny God’s mercy and light, we will lose our souls. And if we have led a horrible life, and at death embrace God’s love, we can hope for salvation. But the problem with these is, they rarely ever work this way. A person who has been with God steadfastly cannot be abandoned by God. And someone who has rejected God all their lives find it hard to succumb to his love in death.
A Habit, an outlook.
Do you know faith is a gift? It takes over your whole being. Do not think it’s some psychological ability you summon and say “i believe”. Faith is a supernatural gift that enlightens the eye of reason and makes you able to stare God in the face. Yes, you begin to see God in the world, in human beings, in the suffering and the pained. In those losing hope and dying. You will see him in his Church and follow her motherly counsel. This is what faith does. You will begin to move as Christ would, talk and heal as Christ would. Healing everywhere the effects of sin and discord among people. That is what faith does.
When, on the other hand, you have not believed in God all your life. You have not shown your love for him by constantly struggling to please him and avoid sin. Not only by avoiding sin but to seeking his face and doing his work on earth. You will be over taken by a certain outlook, one which totally negates faith. One which compels you to chose doubt over faith, fearful regret over hopeful remorse. You cannot believe unless you know, and you cannot know better unless you have believed.
The Devil: the spirit of ‘tomorrow’
It is presumptuous to believe that at death, everything will fall in place and you’d be fine. It is very dangerous to hold this view. The devil makes people promise themselves tomorrow. He himself always talks about “tomorrow”, never allows one to cease the moment; to use the present. When he tempts he says “you WILL be like God, WHEN you eat”. However, when you ask for fulfillment of the promise he keeps saying “tomorrow you will have it, take more and eat”. He keeps on postponing the satisfaction yet we keep eating and eating more forbidden fruit.
Why? Because we do not perfectly grasp the sweeping speed by which time passes. We keep basking in the euphoria of tomorrow and other false hopes. We cannot, like St Augustine say:
“to-morrow, and tomorrow?” Why not now? why not is there this hour an end to my uncleanness?
The Lord’s last words were “Father, into your hands i commend my spirit”. Jesus said this at the hour of his death. It wasn’t like he was very bothered about his spirit or anything but this shows there’s a sruggle, and he needed the aid of the Father to be safe.
You spend your entire life preparing for that hour, because then there would be many many things to distract and tempt you.
- What if one dies sudenly without any chance of repentance?
- Consider if one loses his consciousness and is unable to think or speak?
- Or suddely loses the use of his senses and is unable to feel sorry or say anything?
- One could be overcome by grief, having the image of their entire lives flashing in front of their eyes that they feel so ashamad to approach God that they die without asking for pardon. Or asking without believing in his mercy?
- Others could be tempted to glory in their sins at death by wishing they had another life to relive them.
- The possibilites are endless, all scenarios where one loses his balance and falls into despair or presumption and faces the high risk of eternal loss.
What to do
The preparation for death begins in life not at the last hour. We need God’s grace for everything. Everything that leads to God is received as gifts; we cannot manufacture any of them. Even real contrition is achieved by the help of God’s Spirit in us. That is why i usually pray for such graces before going to confession. You must have to begin now. The devil wants us to keep putting it off because he knows how much tougher it will be at the last hour. He knows then we’d depend on God’s mercy whilst fighting all of hell and even our own nature. But if we have believed in God all our lives, we will know he is Love, and will confidently approach him through Christ.
The time is now !
Keep these prayers, memorize them:
To Mary at each visit to the Blessed Sacrament. By St Alphonsus Liguori:
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, it is to you, who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today, I, who most of all am deserving of pity. Most humbly do I offer you my homage, O great Queen, and I thank you for all the graces you have obtained for me until now, and particularly for having saved me from Hell, which, by my sins, I have so often deserved.
I love you, O most lovable Lady, and because of my love for you, I promise to serve you always and to do all in my power to win others to love you also. In your hands I place all my hopes; I entrust the salvation of my soul to your care. Accept me as your servant, O Mother of Mercy; receive me under your mantle. And since you have such power with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather, obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of you I ask the grace of perfect love for Jesus Christ. Through your help I hope to die a happy death. O my Mother I beg you, by the love you bear my God, to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Do not leave me, I beseech you, until you see me safe in Heaven, blessing you and singing your mercies for all eternity, amen. So I hope, so may it be.
To St Joseph:
O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close my life, come with Jesus and Mary to aid me. Obtain for me this solace for that hour – to die with their holy arms around me. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen.