The Grace to Live Prepared
Death fills the good man who has lived in the light of the Gospel, and who has walked in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and has satisfied divine justice by true repentance, with joy and consolation. The righteous consider death as the end of their sufferings, their sorrows, their temptations, and all their wants. They consider it as the beginning of their salvation….
When Saint Jerome was told by his friends that he was near death, he gathered all his strength and exclaimed: “Oh, welcome and delightful message! Come soon, 0 death! How longingly have I awaited you! Come and deliver me from all the troubles of this world !Come and reunite me with my Redeemer!”
What inexpressible joy a person experiences who was banished from home or led away into captivity, when told that he or she may return to their own country, to their families and friends! The same happiness awaits a soul which loves God and languishes in the ardent desire of seeing him in heaven in the midst of the saints, who are our real family and friends.
Death, my friends, is to the just man what sleep is to the tired labourer who is glad of the approach of night, which will bring him rest after the hardships of the day. Death delivers the just man from the prison of his body, as Saint Paul says: “Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” “Deliver me, my God,” said the holy King David, “deliver my soul from the prison of this body. Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest?
“Oh, how consoling it is,” says Saint Augustine, “to die with your conscience at rest.” “Tranquility of soul and peace of mind are the most precious gifts we can obtain,” says the Holy Spirit. “There is no pleasure which is comparable to the joy of an innocent heart.” “The righteous one,” says the same teacher, “does not fear death, because by it he is reunited to his Master and put in possession of innumerable delights.”
Saint John Vianney
Saint John Vianney, the Cure ofArs (1859), is the patron of priests.