In prayerful preparation for that fateful day in all of our lives.
Death remains in this world and none of us can escape it. However, the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus opened for us a new pathway, removing the sting of death, as Paul narrates in his letter to the Corinthians.
“Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
However, it is not always easy to see that victory here on earth and we daily tremble at the thought of our life coming to an end.
To help orient us in the right direction and dispel our fears of death, the Church has provided many different prayers for a “happy death” that invoke God’s powerful aid in reaching that eternal goal. We may still have to struggle daily against the temptations of sin, but God promises the reward of a beautiful death to those who follow him.
Here is one Litany for a Happy Death from the treasury of the Church’s prayers that summarizes the ultimate hope of our souls, invoking God’s boundless mercy.
4 Saintly prayers for a happy death
When the dark hour of death in its terrors draws nigh, And I’m summoned to quit earth’s diversions and glee,
When I take leave of all with a long farewell sigh, Then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.When the cold cloud of death has o’ershadowed my brow, When the friends that I love I no longer shall see,
When under the pressure of illness I bow, Then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.When dark, gloomy phantoms my soul shall infest, And endeavor to make it distrustful to thee,
When in body and mind I’m a stranger to rest, Then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.When the few that have ardently loved me below Shall weep, and, imploring forgiveness from thee,
Shall humbly beseech thee some pity to show, Then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.When the last tear of death shall bedew my pale cheek, When the sense of all objects forever shall flee,
When one glimpse of comfort in vain I shall seek, Then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.When at length I shall quit this sad valley of tears, And my soul from the bondage of life shall be free,
When heaven in all its true lustre appears, then, merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.Oh, exile me not from the mansions of joy,
Where the light of thy glory unveiled I shall see. But receive me where love is the only employ,
And, 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 deserve to quit this world in the peace of a good conscience, and in the embraces of your love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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