I have promised a reader I would provide the necessary resources on preparing for the care and eventual death of loved ones who are Catholic. Having experienced such deaths twice now in a 14-month span I am more conscious than ever of how essential this information is for the faithful. Thankfully I had all the prayers and devotions I needed when the time came, and the suddenness of my grandson’s death spurred me on to find additional resources to answer questions I could not find the answers for, even in my more-than-adequate library. The death of those we love opens a door to the future life that for us was previously closed, and if we are to follow our loved ones there to the best of our ability and maintain those precious relationships, we have no choice but to learn how to successfully make that journey.
When death is anticipated, the best thing we can do is to make our peace with our loved one who is seriously ill or in danger of dying. Praying with them of course is the most important thing we can do. Answering their spiritual questions, if they have any, and sensing and calming their fears is also a comfort to both the dying and their relatives. Praying for them is the best way to prepare them and ourselves for what is approaching and will give the assurance on their death that we have done all we can to help them reach Heaven.
To do this we need the right tools. Fortunately I found nearly everything I needed from one religious goods catalog, and to the best of my knowledge all but one of these resources are still available from that same source, found at https://www.traditionalcatholicpublishing.com (see Sick and Dying/Deceased). The other most important booklet to order is Instructions for the Sick, Dying and Deceased, available from https://canisiusbooks.com/pryrbk.htm. I recommend buying three of these at a time, one for home, one for every woman’s handbag and one for the glove compartment of the car(s). Death does not just happen in hospitals as everyone knows, and fortunately for me during this time of COVID madness I was able to be with my love one and say the beautiful official prayers of the Church found in this booklet.
Other useful sources I have gathered are unfortunately out of print, but for those who need these works I will be happy to copy them for anyone who asks. One should be read before a loved one dies and this I hope to make available on the site soon. It is entitled, How to Grieve for One’s Dead, and warns of the wrong attitudes and pitfalls of grieving. Works on Purgatory and the joys of Heaven help those left behind learn how to best help their loved ones and prepare themselves for the long-awaited reunion in Heaven. One little work I discovered recently is entitled, My Child Lives, and for those who have lost children (or grandchildren) it is indispensable in helping heal the heartache of those early days when that sweet little face and voice is so noticeably absent.
One of the most consoling devotions, mentioned previously on this blog, is the one to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. As explained before, we the Church Militant live as members of the Mystical Body in close spiritual union with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. Works on Purgatory explain that the greatest act of charity one can perform is to pray for the suffering souls, who have so few now to pray for them. This devotion comes most naturally following the death of a loved one who is probably suffering in Purgatory. Such souls so desperately need our prayers and good works to relieve that suffering and obtain their release, when and as soon as God wills. And if a soul prayed for is not in Purgatory, those prayers are used by Our Lady to help other souls in need. We know so much about how life on earth works, what is expected of us and what we must do to stay alive, and so little about what we must do now, while there is yet time, to save our own souls – if we wish to ever join those we love in Paradise. The Poor Souls can no longer ask pardon for their sins or make reparation. We must be their voices. And at the same time, we must do all we can to amend our own lives and do penance, as the world around us grows darker and darker.
Prayer, penance and sacrifice has been the constant refrain echoed by Our Lady in nearly every apparition to children and holy people on earth. I find it very disturbing that so much emphasis is placed on the triumph of the Church and the coming peace so many expect, when this world is so evil beyond all description and so few are making reparation for their own sins and the sins of the world. Such expectations are not only presumptuous but are totally without solid foundation unless such penance is done. It makes no sense to expect peace while sin prevails and there is no public outcry, far less public penance. In the next blog I will explain some of the confusion that exists regarding private revelations and commentaries on the Apocalypse, even regarding the more reliable commentaries and private prophecies. Until then, please pray for the souls of your dearly departed and the souls of Larry and Tristen Benns.