Day #29: Death
THE SOUL: I am full of life and it seems as if I will never have to die. Fantastic! I want earthly joys; however, without a doubt the day will also come for me when I will lie immobile and lifeless on my bed of pain and the scene of this world will forever disappear from me! … A few days of illness will prepare my last day … perhaps that day will also come upon me unexpectedly, maybe even violently … I don?t know. What I do know for certain is that this life will pass away and that I will find myself in the presence of God where I will give an account of everything, even of a vain or idle word!
What a terrible thing the moment of death will be for me: the body will weaken, oppressive anguish will take away my breath, memories of my life will upset me, the demon will assault me with great rage …
O Mary, my mother, will you come close to my bed of pain, will you soothe the terrible anguish of those moments? Oh, I await you because that hour will be too bitter for me when I remember nothing but the ingratitude and sins of my life!
The thought of death doesn?t have to be fruitless for me now that I still have time and can prepare myself for it from now on. I want to detach myself from all that can cause me suffering in death; I want to renounce all vanities; I want to live in a Christian way in order to have then a treasure of merits. Help me, O Mary, to live well so that I will not then be oppressed by my great responsibility.
MARY: My child, remember that Jesus has given you a treasure that should serve you precisely at death and it is the Holy Viaticum and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. When you realize that your life is declining, claim this Sacrament for yourself because it is too easy for the false and cruel compassion of your family members to deprive you of it. Live every day, then, as if you were to die and measure your desires and vanities against this thought. In this way death will find you prepared and you will draw your last breath in the Heart of Jesus and in mine and you will be safe forever.
ASPIRATION: From eternal death, deliver me, O Lord.
LITTLE WORK: Say a prayer for the dying.
About the Meditations
The daily School of Mary meditations come from the book, A Month with Mary, written by a holy Italian priest Father Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970). Originally written as spiritual thoughts to his spiritual daughter, the work is comprised of thirty-one meditations for the month of May.
Father Dolindo wrote A Month with Mary on pocket-sized pages joined into small fascicles of 8 to 12 pages. He sent them to Laura de Rosis every two to three days and later transcribed them with some modifications in volume III of his autobiography: The Story of My Life in the Plan of the Great Mercy of God, pp. 1140ff (cf. Epistolario 1:212n, 218n). This work is from 1912: one of those years which passed in the life of Father Dolindo with the cadence of a ?Way of the Cross? ? But he, serene as ever, loved Christ the more, loved Our Lady the more and reflected on this love in these few pages to which he wished to give the significant title: A Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary. These meditations are written in the style of the Imitation of Christ. (90pp. laminated gloss, saddle stitch)