Prayers for the Hour of Death.

"Father! In your hands I place my spirit!" Luke 23:46

O merciful Jesus, stretched on the cross, be mindful of the hour of oue death. O most merciful Heart of Jesus, opened with a lance, shelter me at the last moment of my life. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of unfathomable mercy for me at the hour of my death, O dying Jesus, Hostage of mercy, avert the Divine wrath at the hour of my death. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 813.

It was a joy to me, Lord, in the midst of my struggles, to feel that in growing to my own fulfillment I was increasing your hold on me; it was a joy to me, beneath the inward burgeoning of life and amidst the unfolding of event that favored me, to surrender
myself to your providence.  And now that I have discovered the joy of turning every increase into a way of making--or allowing--your presence to grow within me, I beg of you: bring me to a serene acceptance of that final phase of communion with you in which I shall attain to  possession of you by diminishing within you.
    Now that I have learnt to see you as he who is 'more me than myself', grant that when my hour has come I may recognize you under appearances of every alien or hostile power that seems bent on destroying or dispossessing me.  When the erosions of age begin to leave their mark on my body, and still more on my mind, when the ills that must diminish my life or put an end to it strike me down from without or grow up from within me; when I reach the painful moment at which I suddenly realize that I am a sick man or that I am growing old; above all at that final moment when I  feel I am losing hold on myself and becoming wholly passive in the hands of those great unknown forces which first formed me: at all these somber moments grant me, Lord, to  understand that it is you (provided my faith is strong enough) who are painfully separating the fibers of my being so as to
penetrate to the very marrow of my substance and draw me into yourself.
    The more deeply and incurably my ills become engrained in my flesh, the more it may be you yourself that I am harboring as a loving, active principle of purification and of liberation from possessiveness. The more the future lies ahead of me like a dark
tunnel or a dizzy abyss, the more confident I can be-- if I go forward boldly, relying on your word--of being lost, of being engulfed, in you, Lord, of being absorbed into your Body.
    Lord, Christ, you who are divine energy and living, irresistible might: since of the two of us it is you who are infinitely the stronger, it is you who must set me ablaze and transmute me into fire that we may be wedded together and made one.  Grant me, then, something even more precious than that grace for which all your faithful followers pray: to receive communion as I die
is not sufficient; teach me to make a communion of death itself.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe,
"Pensees # 30", PP. 103-104. Submitted to Merton-L Discussion Group by Terry Miller.

Last updated: 2001/10/04
 

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