Mary our Sweetness; she renders Death sweet to her Clients.
Of St John of God, who was tenderly devoted to Mary, it is related that he fully expected that she would visit him on his deathbed; but not seeing her arrive, he was afflicted, and perhaps even complained. But when his last hour had come, the divine Mother appeared, and gently reproving him for his little confidence, addressed him in the following tender words, which may well encourage all servants of Mary: “John, it is not in me to forsake my clients at such a moment.” As though she had said: “John, of what were you thinking? Did you imagine that I had abandoned you? And do you not know that I never abandon my clients at the hour of death? If I did not come sooner, it was that your time was not yet come; but now that it is come, behold me here to take you; let us go to Heaven.” Shortly afterwards the saint expired, and fled to that blessed kingdom, there to thank his most loving Queen for all eternity.
O my most sweet Mother, how shall I die, poor sinner that I am? Even now the thought of that important moment when I must expire, and appear before the judgement seat of God and the remembrance that I have myself so often written my condemnation by consenting to sin, makes me tremble. I am confounded, and fear much for my eternal salvation. O Mary, in the blood of Jesus, and in your intercession, is all my hope. You are the Queen of Heaven, the mistress of the universe; in short, you are the Mother of God. You are great, but your greatness does not prevent, or rather it inclines you to greater compassion towards us in our miseries. Worldly friends, when raised to dignity, disdain to notice their former friends who may have fallen into distress. Your noble and loving heart does not act thus, for the greater the miseries it beholds, the greater are its efforts to relieve. You, when called upon, do immediately assist; and more than that, you anticipate our prayers by your favors; you console us in our afflictions; you dissipate the storms by which we are tossed about; you overcome all enemies; you, in fine, never lose an occasion to promote our welfare. May that divine hand which has united in you such majesty and such tenderness, such greatness and so much love, be forever blessed! I thank my Lord for it, and congratulate myself in having so great an advantage; for truly in your felicity do I place my own, and I consider your lot as mine. O comfortress of the afflicted, console a poor creature who recommends himself to you. The remorse of a conscience overburdened with sin fills me with affliction. I am in doubt as to whether I have sufficiently grieved for them. I see that all my actions are sullied and defective; hell awaits my death in order to accuse me; the outraged justice of God demands satisfaction. My Mother, what will become of me? If you do not help me, I am lost. What say you, will you assist me? O compassionate Virgin, console me; obtain for me true sorrow for my sins; obtain for me strength to amend, and to be faithful to God during the rest of my life. And finally, when I am in the last agonies of death, O Mary, my hope abandon me not; then, more than ever, help and encourage me, that I may not despair at the sight of my sins, which the evil one will then place before me. My Lady, forgive my temerity; come yourself to comfort me with your presence in that last struggle. This favour you have granted to many, grant it also to me. If my boldness is great, your goodness is greater; for it goes in search of the most miserable to console them. On this I rely. For your eternal glory, let it be said that you have snatched a wretched creature from hell, to which he was already condemned, and that you have led him to your kingdom. O yes, sweet Mother, I hope to have the consolation of remaining always at your feet, in heaven, thanking and blessing and loving you eternally. O Mary, I will expect you at my last hour; deprive me not of this consolation. Fiat, fiat. Amen, amen.