And at the hour of our death

Have you ever thought about the hour of your death? Not just about your death in general, or how long you might live. But exactly when you’ll die?

This is the last chance for Satan to snatch you from the Lord. Unless you’ve prepared yourself by way of the Sacraments, prayer and a lifetime of “spiritual progress,” your final minutes on Earth will be The Enemy’s last chance to get you for Itself for all Eternity.

Worried? There’s a prayer for that!

It’s Mom to the rescue! Doesn’t Mom make everything better? Well, same thing for when you’re about to face the end of your mortal existence.

The venerable and ancient prayer of the Church to the Blessed Mother, said by millions of Catholics daily in the Rosary (totally perhaps a few billion “Hail Mary’s” every day), is the succor for such a worry.

“Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.”

See the last six words? “…at the hour of our death.”

Mary will watch over you. But not just you, when you say the “Hail Mary” on the Rosary or just by itsef in moments of need, offer it up also for other people. It does say “pray for us sinners” so you’re not just praying for yourself, but for other people, too. Now, and at the hour of their death.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The heinous yoke has been destroyed!

“O death! You separate those who are joined to each other in marriage. You harshly and cruelly divide those whom friendship unites. But your power is broken. Your heinous yoke has been destroyed by the One who sternly threatened you when Hosea cried out: O Death! I shall be your death. And with the words of the apostle we, too, deride you: O death! Where is your victory? O death! Where is your sting!

Your conqueror redeemed us. He handed himself over to wicked men so that he could transform the wicked into persons who were truly dear to him.” – St. Braulio, Bishop.

The above is from the Office of Readings in the Office of the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. I said that this morning instead of the usual Divine Office as today is the ninth anniversary of my Mom’s death.

I still haven’t gotten completely over it. Who really does “get over” death? I posted the above quote from St. Braulio to give comfort and to remind you that there is hope in the Resurrection.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things on social networks

NOTE TO SELF: “Self, maybe next year, and every year thereafter, remember to start posting interesting links on Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, Ghosts, Near Death Experiences, and other such things starting on October 29th and 30th, when they start being published, rather than ‘all at once’ when you finally get a Round Tuit. Keep that Round Tuit handy so that you don’t overload the blog’s Pages on Facebook and Google+.”

In case you’re wondering what that was about, this morning I posted, shall we say, “A Lot” of the above to this blog’s social network Pages. So that you can keep up, (if you didn’t know already) those Pages are here: The Four Last Things on Facebook and The Four Last Things on Google+. We’re also on You Tube: The Four Last Things on YouTube.

Please “Like” or “Follow (or “Circle”) those Pages on Facebook and Google Plus, for there is a lot more activity on them concerning this blog’s work than on the actual blog itself. Mainly, “interesting links on Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, Ghosts, Near Death Experiences, and other such things” that don’t really merit a blogpost, but that I think you might find fruitful.

Oh, by the way, for those who already follow those Pages, I think I’m done posting today. 😉

I think…

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Visits to the Cemetery

Portions of this post are reblogged from last year; this is an annual post on a fruitful pious devotion for November:

Catholic Culture has an excellent article regarding a very beneficial pious activity that can aid in your own spiritual progression. It also is a good reminder of where we’ll end up someday. (A grave. Morbid, true, but you wouldn’t be here unless you’re more aware than most people that you will die someday.)

Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences During November is something I blog about here annually. It is about the act of visiting a cemetery during the first 8 days of November. Half of the “Graves and Cemeteries” category are reblogs of it and this will probably be the last time I’ll post on it (at least on its own). The article is now a standalone link in the “Afterlife Links” section.

To summarize from the “Catholic Culture” site:Indulgenced Acts for the Poor Souls: A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest  is prayed. This is a good prayer to recite especially during the month of November:

 ‘Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.'”

The article explains the differences between plenary and partial indulgences.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima

Reblogged from Sober Catholic:

On October 13, 1917 the final Marian Apparition at Fatima, Portugal took place.

I know I’m a few weeks late with this, but upon reflection, I decided to push back writing this until today, the Feast of All Hallow’s Eve (a/k/a “Halloween”). I’ll explain at the end.

Seventy thousand people attended the event, which was supposed to have a miracle promised by the Virgin Mary so that all may believe.

Amongst those present were representatives of the Portuguese media, all socialist and all anti-clerical (theophobes who despised the Catholic Church, professed atheism, and who cooperated in what they hoped would be the eventual destruction of the Church in Portugal. The country had undergone a revolution in 1910 which deposed the Catholic monarch and imposed restrictions on the Church.)

Our Lady appeared as promised, but not alone. St. Joseph also appeared, holding the Christ Child.

Oh, yes: the sun also danced in the sky. Witnessed by all those in attendance, and by more hundreds of miles away, the sun whirled about in the sky, terrifying the witnesses.

It also appeared to hurtle towards the Earth, convincing people that the World was ending (and this part of the Apparition is why I decided to take advantage of my posting tardiness and write this today.)

One note on the sun dancing: for anyone who may be skeptical, one evidence that “something” happened lays in the fact that it had been raining heavily all day long, so much so that the ground throughout the area was drenched. Saturated with water, and combined with the foot traffic of 70,000 attendees, it was a horrific muddy mess.

Until the sun dried it. Nearly instantly. According to all those present, after the Apparition was over and the sun returned to its normal state, the ground was hardened as though it had not seen rain for weeks.

And another note for skeptics: this was all duly reported by the anti-clerical media. The reporters had gone there hoping (or rather assuming) that the whole event would be a non-happening; that the seers would be shamed,the Church embarrassed and once and for all the foolish belivers would have their religious superstitions exposed for what they are – nonsense.

But no, they couldn’t deny the event, their skepticism and non-belief didn’t prevent them from witnessing the Miracle of the Sun, nor acknowledging the effects on the physical environment.

So much for that.

Now, as to why I “reframed the situation” and took advantage of my lateness in posting this.

As the sun plunged to the Earth the believers were understandably freaked out. They thought the world was ending.

The liturgical calendar for the Catholic Church has tomorrow as the Solemnity of All Saints, and after that the Memorial of All Souls. All Saints is for all those in Heaven, officially canonized by the Church or not; and All Souls is for the Faithful Departed who are undergoing purification in Purgatory.

These two days are there (amongst other reasons) to remind us of our ultimate end. Someday we will all die. There is no escaping that.

Maybe this is something for you to consider, before God decides to hurl the Sun at you.

Note: I have been writing on the Marian Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal over on the Sober Catholic blog. See the link above for access to all the posts. (Basically, see the “Fatima” Category of posts on Sober Catholic.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Susan Tassone: “Apostle of Purgatory” (UPDATED)

Susan Tassone is an author of several books on Purgatory, notably prayerbooks to the Holy Souls suffering the fires of purgation. One of my annual rituals is to use her book Thirty-Day Devotions for the Holy Souls.every November, as that is the month dedicated to the dead. The book itself is very useful in discovering the importance of having a devotion to the Holy Souls, as well as learning more about Purgatory.

Another truly wondeful book is Praying in the Presence of Our Lord for the Holy Souls. That book contains prayers from across the centuries of the Church’s existence for the suffering souls in Purgatory. I oftentimes find many to be very consoling. It also has instilled a yearning to join the Elect in Heaven. This life on Earth is truly temporary, we are only on pilgrimage here.

With the exception of “Praying in the Presence of Our Lord for the Holy Souls,” you can find her books here: Susan Tassone at Our Sunday Visitor Catholic Publishing Company .

NOTE: This post was edited to correct links and availability.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Death is gain

The Second Reading from Today’s Mass for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philiippians:

Philippians 1: 20C-24: “Brothers and sisters:Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

via USCCB.

This is one of the two essential “missions” for this blog. One being to discuss certain things that don’t get much traffic in Twelve Step meetings; the other is a way to express my yearnings for the afterlife.

The latter is by no means a suicidal wish for I will remain on the Earth for as long as God wishes to keep me here.

But I do long to “depart this life and be with Christ,” for that is truly better. But, unless I am mistaken, I feel that He still has plans for me in this life, plans I continue to discern and carry out to the best of my ability. Which quite often seems very insufficient.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things on YouTube

Like its sister blog, Sober Catholic, this blog now has an “expanded presence” online: a YouTube Channel. See:

The Four Last Things – YouTube.

I have not, nor am likely to in the near future, upload videos. But I have added a number of videos that might be of interest to readers, mostly country music videos some very sentimental stuff. I do not have anything of a Catholic nature just yet. But I hope to start finding good Catholic catechesis on YouTube and add those when I find any. If you happen to know of good Catholic videos on the Four Last Things or grief, please post links to them in the comments section here or on the discussion area of the Four Last Things Channel.

So, wander on over there and see what’s available and perhaps you can not only subscribe to the Four Last Things Channel, but to any subscriptions that are there now or to come.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

The Second Reading from today’s Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is: I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me,but to all who have longed for his appearance.The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

via USCCB.

We must always “keep our eyes on the prize;” inasmuch as there are so many distractions and attempts to thwart our perseverance by the world, the flesh and the Devil. We must remain steadfast in our Faith.

This Reading is a good one to known and perhaps memorize portions of, for all those times we feel like quitting.

Saints persevere. We sin, but we get right back up and resolve to do better so that we can also attain the “crown of righteousness.”

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Many Dwelling Places

This excerpt from the Gospel Reading for today’s Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter is a favorite of mine. It is John 14:2-3.

“In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. If there were not, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will return again, and then I will take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be.”

via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.

I have often comforted myself by fantasizing what my dwelling place might be like, assuming I make it to Heaven. Some translations read “mansion” instead of “dwelling place”; I think the latter is more accessible and leaves things more open to one’s imagination. I don’t care what my abode in Heaven might be, a rundown shack would be fine. 😉

Home. Our true home, which we will always possess and never lose. Safety and security are not even worries. Our place, for all eternity where we can host and entertain loved ones and countless others.

Sometimes I wonder if the place is a combination home and, for lack of a better term, museum. If we make it to Heaven, will our homes there be also a sort of “museum” of our life on Earth? That the rooms may represent different distinct eras of our lives, filled with things from that era, as a sort of reliquary of “souvenirs” or “mementos” of our Earthly exile?

Not that it would be important, but it’s an interesting curiosity of mine, and probably means that I’m still too attached to things. 😉 But it would be fascinating to see such dwelling places from people of different centuries.

Just some odd thoughts that come to me when I think of Heaven…

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"