Saturday, January 27, 2018

Terrible Omission

It is a terrible omission what many families do with their sick relatives, whom they do not conveniently dispose, in case of danger of death, to receive the holy sacraments.

Providing the last aid of religion to the sick is not only an act of meritorious charity in the eyes of God, but also a sacred duty that is not infringed without incurring a terrible responsibility. If one becomes guilty of homicide when he lets his fellow man die of hunger, what name to give to the horrible crime of letting a soul perish for not supplying the aid of our holy religion?

And yet, how many times does experience show us that this crime is committed even by Catholic families! Whether by terrifying terrors or by an inexcusable weakness, the priest is called as late as possible and sometimes when the patient has already lost consciousness. We are not speaking here of the families that wait until the patient is dying, and that make religion a vain formality of pure convenience. Let us look away at the sight of so much indignity! We speak here of the families, in which there is still enough faith to consider the sacraments as holy things to wish that the sick receive them with a Christian disposition and in which, however, there is no talk of confession until after they have lost all hope of healing. And what happens often in this case? They still hesitate, delaying the moment; the terrible symptoms are present; and then they hurry, they run in search of a priest, but they arrive late, everything is over! God forbid that you be treated like this in your last hour!

But what is stopping the fulfillment of this sacred mission? - "I dare not speak to them about a priest", you say, "I fear frightening them". -And even if they got scared, do you prefer to expose their soul to eternal damnation or to a long expiation in purgatory? Scare them! If they were sleeping on the edge of an abyss or in a house invaded by flames, would you hesitate to wake them up to avoid frightening them?

You say that you will call the priest, when the sick person asks for it. But do you not know that the sick rarely realize their seriousness? It is your duty to prepare the sick person so that he receives timely religious help. Come in time to your parish or the known priest, who will facilitate the fulfillment of this grave duty.

Dispel from your mind the false preoccupation that the sick person will be frightened if you speak to him of sacraments.

Experience teaches that the patient knows that the priest comes to fulfill at his side the sweetest and most beneficial of all the ministries, to purify and console his soul, to bring him, finally, in the midst of the most cruel anguish, the peace and the sweetness of Jesus Christ.

The first step that must be taken when a patient is in danger is to call the parish priest or confessor to administer the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Extreme Unction and apply the plenary indulgence in the article of the death (very few know about this great grace, ask for it to the priest).

Note: In some countries there are groups, whose members promise to notify each other in case of serious illness, in order to receive spiritual aid in time. We could form one of those groups among us. Or, commit to it with two or three relatives. Another aspect to consider is to always be in sanctifying grace (confessed) before any surgery, even if the risk is low. Let us not forget that the commands of the Holy Mother Church force confession at least once a year (minimum minimorum) or if there is danger of death. Finally, it must be noted that the patient must have his scapular on and if it has not been imposed on him, ask the priest who attends him to do so. Every Catholic should always carry it.

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O Mother of Mercy, listen to the prayers of Christian families, so that no one dies in their homes without receiving The Holy Viaticum!