Prayer Before the Crucifix

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech Thee that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, with true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment, while with deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself, and mentally contemplate Thy five Most Precious Wounds, having before my eyes that which David, the Prophet, spoke of Thee, my Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."

*The faithful who recite this prayer devoutly before an image of Jesus Christ Crucified, may gain: an Indulgence of 10 years.







Prayers and Devotions for the Sick
Act of Resignation to the Will of God

Prayer for Speedy Recovery

Prayer at the Beginning of an Illness

Litany of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor

Litany of the Sick

Prayer of Supplication

Prayer for an Unconscious Invalid

Prayer for the Sick who cannot assist at Holy Mass

Prayer in Illness of Long Duration

Prayer to Obtain Assistance in the Hour of Death

Hail Mary Paraphrased for the Sick

Aspirations on the Way to Visit the Sick



Instruction for those who assist the sick and the dying
Instructions for those who assist the Sick and the Dying

Prayers for the Sick and Dying

Resolutions of the Sick

Thoughts which may be seasonably suggested to the sick

Some Points to be Particularly Attented

Instructions for the Sick

Mary the Health of the Sick

Consolations and Advantages of Sufferings

Instructions for the Sick, against different Temptations and Impatience

Fear of Death

The Best Dispositions for a Departing Soul

Short Acts for the Sick

The Sufferings of this Life

Special Instructions for the Sick and the Dying

Recommendations about the Sick

The Administration of the Blessed Eucharist and Extreme Unction to the Sick and Dying

Readings: The Sickness of the Body is a Blessing
to the Soul and The Fever of Sin




Act of Resignation to the Will of God


" My Father, if if be possible, let this chalice pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt " (Matt. xxvi. 39). "For what have I in heaven? and besides Thee, what do I desire upon earth? . . . Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever" (Ps. lxxii. 25, 26). As the Lord willeth, so be it. "I will take the chalice of salvation and I will call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps. cxv. 13). "My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready" (Ps. cvii. 2). Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Illness, pains and death do I accept from Thy hand, O God, willing as I am to suffer for the love of Thee. "Cut, burn, in this life, O Lord, only spare me in the next" (St . Augustine). If Thou wilt, O my God, that I should continue to live longer, let me live only for Thee; if Thou wilt that I die, let me die in Thy peace. O Jesus, to Thee I resign myself; into Thy hands do I commend myself, as Thou didst commend Thyself to Thy heavenly Father. I give myself up to Thee, and all that is mine; dispose of it as Thou pleasest. I am ready to suffer as much and as long as Thy divine wisdom has decreed. My only wish, O Jesus, is that Thy divine will be accomplished; I will live and die according to this will. Amen.




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Prayer for Speedy Recovery


O My God, Whom every creature obeys, at Whose command every kind of infirmity or illness is removed, hear my prayer; hold out to me the hand of Thy mercy and cure me of every disorder of body and soul. Send me Thy Holy Spirit, that He may at all times protect, enlighten, visit me, and preserve me from evil of body and soul. Place Thy holy angel at my side, that he may heal me as he healed Tobias of old. May God the Father, Who created me, bless and heal me; may God the Son, Who suffered for me, bless and heal me; may God the Holy Ghost, Who sanctified me in Baptism, bless and heal me! Let the cross of Christ bless me; the cross of Christ heal me; the cross of Christ preserve me, that I may obtain life everlasting. Amen.



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Prayer at the Beginning of an Illness:
Morning Prayer



Almighty and eternal God, from my innermost heart I return Thee thanks for having preserved me this night. I commend myself once more to Thy paternal protection, resigning myself entirely to Thy divine will, whether I live or am soon to die. I offer Thee all the discomfort, all the sufferings and pains which I shall have to endure this day. For the love of Thee will I bear all sufferings and unite them with the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. As often this day as I shall sigh or breathe, or speak, or open and close my eyes, as often as I shall take food or drink or medicine, so often do I desire, O my God, to adore, to praise, and to love Thee. Accept, O Lord, the good will for the deed if, overpowered by the weight of my sufferings or weakness, I should neglect to offer Thee all. If Thou vouchsafest, O almighty God, to grant me another day, let Thy most holy name be praised. But shouldst Thou please to call me hence this day, let Thy most holy will be done.

O Mary, health of the sick, after God my only refuge, I implore thee, intercede for me with thy beloved Son, that through thy most powerful intercession I may obtain either health or the grace of a happy death. Protect me against the enemy of my salvation; obtain for me the grace that I, thy faithful child, may one day enjoy thy company in heaven. O most beloved Mother, to thee I entrust the care of my soul and body. With the help of thy protection, O most powerful Lady and tenderest Mother, I firmly hope to obtain my salvation.

O my holy angel guardian, I thank thee for having so carefully watched over me this night. I beseech thee and all the other holy angels to guard me during this day and until the end of my life.

And you, O saints of God, especially my patron saints, help me with your intercession this day and do not abandon me in the hour on which all my eternity depends. Incline in my favor the divine Judge, that I may become an heir of everlasting bliss. Amen




Prayer at the Beginning of an Illness:
Night Prayer


All love and praise be to the Most Holy Trinity, God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! I render Thee, O Lord, infinite thanks for all the benefits and sufferings Thou hast bestowed upon me this day. I humbly crave Thy pardon if I have not borne my pains with due patience. I commend myself to Thy divine patronage this night. I am heartily sorry for all my sins, because thereby I have offended Thee, O supreme Good, Whom I love above all things. Would that I had not offended Thee! I firmly purpose to amend my life. In reparation of my sins, I offer Thee, O heavenly Father, the infinite merits of Thy divine Son, Jesus Christ. Do not let the merits of His most dear sufferings and death be lost for me. Jesus, for Thee I sleep; Jesus, for Thee I wake; Jesus, for Thee I live; Jesus, for Thee I die; Jesus, I am Thine in life and in death. Amen.

Most holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, assuage my pains this night. Shield me in the hour of temptation, be my powerful intercessor with Jesus, thy divine Son.

Holy angel guardian and all ye saints of God, protect me this night and preserve me from all evil.

Merciful God, have pity on the souls in purgatory; give them eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.



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Litany of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor


Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin, conceived without sin, pray for us.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, pray for us.
We sinners call to thee, pray for us.
O Mary, ever help us,
O Mary, ever help us. *

That we may love God with our whole hearts, *
That we may be conformable in all things to thy Divine Son Jesus, *
That we may have a tender and heartfelt devotion to thee, most holy Virgin, *
That we may hate with all our strength, sin, the only evil, *
That we may frequently remember our last end, *
That we may often and worthily receive the most Holy Sacrament, *
That we may avoid with all our strength, proximate occasions of sin, *
That we may not neglect prayer a single day of our lives, *
That we may have recourse to prayer in the hour of temptation, *
That we may generously forgive our enemies, and wish well to all men,*
That we may not defer our conversion from day to day, *
That we may zealously labour to overcome our bad habits, *
That we may live and die in the grace of God, *
In all concerns of soul and body, *
In sickness and pain, *
In persecution and dereliction,*
In sorrow and affliction of all kinds, *
In time of unholy war, and infectious diseases, *
In struggles against the inclinations of corrupt nature, *
In assaults of evil spirits, *
In temptations against the holy virtue of purity, *
In all danger of sinning, *
When we have reached the end of our earthly course, *
When lying on our death-bed, *
When the thought of our approaching dissolution shall fill us with fear and horror, *
When in the hour of final separation from all, evil spirits shall try to drive us to despair, *
When the priest of the Lord shall have given us the last absolution and blessing. *
When our relations and friends surround our bed, weeping and praying for us, *
When our eyes have grown dim, and our hearts have ceased to beat, *
When we have breathed forth our spirits into the hands of our Creator, *
When our poor souls appear before our Divine Judge, *
When the terrible judgment is about to be passed, *
When suffering in the flames of purgatory, and pining for the vision of God, *


Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.


Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, who hast willed that the Mother of thy only-begotten Son should be the Perpetual Succour of Christians on earth, grant us grace to call on her with confidence in all our necessities of soul and body, so that, saved through her protection and assistance, we may be brought to the everlasting vision of thy glory in heaven: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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Litany of the Sick
(For Private Devotion Only.)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us. *

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, *
God the Holy Ghost, *
Holy Trinity, one God, *
Jesus, Who art near to all those who invoke Thee, *
Jesus, Who through mercy helpest all who confide in Thee, *
Jesus, Who didst go to seek and cure the sick, *
Jesus, Who didst stay up the weak and suffering, *
Jesus, Who dost refresh those who labor and are heavily burdened, *
Jesus, Who didst console the stricken hearts, *
Jesus, Who didst raise the dead unto life, *
Jesus, Who didst bear all our pains, *


Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful, hear us, O Jesus.
From all evil,
Deliver us, O Jesus. **

From all sin, **
From all diseases and infirmities, **
From impatience and despondency, **
From the snares of the devil, **
From a sudden and unprovided death, **
From eternal damnation, **
Through Thy toils and hardships, **
Through Thy affliction and tears, **
Through Thine agony and bloody sweat, **
Through Thy holy wounds, **
Through Thy precious blood, **
Through Thy Passion and cross, **
Through Thy bitter death, **
Through Thy glorious resurrection, **
Through Thy marvellous ascension, **
In the Day of Judgment, **


We, poor sinners, beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst spare us,
We beseech Thee, hear us. ***

That Thou wouldst pardon us, ***
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance, ***
That Thou wouldst give us a contrite heart, ***
That Thou wouldst strengthen us in our weakness, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us in patience, ***
That Thou wouldst relieve our pains, ***
That Thou wouldst restore us to health of body and soul, ***
That Thou wouldst grant us perseverance in good, ***
That Thou wouldst grant us a happy death, ***
That Thou wouldst receive our spirit into Thy hands, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us from the fire of purgatory, ***
That Thou wouldst bring us to the joys of heaven, ***
Son of God, ***


Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Our Father (secretly).

V. And lead us not into temptation,
R. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
V. Save, O Lord, Thy servants.
R. Who hope in Thy mercy.
V. Lord, hear our prayer.
R. And let our cry come unto Thee.


Let us Pray:

O Heavenly Father, have mercy on Thy servant, who is sick. Confirm him [her] in faith, strengthen his [her] hope, fill him [her] with the fire of Thy love. Give him [her] enduring patience, that he [she] may victoriously go through the fight and suffer everything for Thy greater glory and the salvation of his [her] soul. Lessen his [her] pains, forgive him [her] his [her] sins, and bring him [her] to life everlasting. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.



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Prayer of Supplication
(To be said by another for the sick or to be said by the sick person)

May the Lord bless and guard thee [me].
May the Lord turn His face to thee and be gracious to thee.
May the Lord give thee His peace.
I bless thee [myself] in the name of the Lord.
May the Lord, Who has made heaven and earth, bless thee from Sion.
May God have mercy on thee and let the light of His countenance shine upon thee and be gracious to thee.
May the angel of the Lord assist thee.
May the Lord relieve thee on thy [my] bed of suffering.
May the Lord be merciful unto thee, and not take into account thy sins, and heal thee from all thy weaknesses.
May the Lord avert everlasting death from thee, and crown thee with mercy and abundance of grace.
The Lord guard and preserve thy soul now and forever. Amen.

The Lord Jesus Christ be with thee to defend thee, within thee to refresh thee, round about thee to guard thee, before thee to guide thee, behind thee to protect thee, above thee that He may in every way shelter and bless thee.

May the Holy Ghost descend and dwell with thee.
May the Blessed Trinity fill thy heart with every good forever and ever. Amen.



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Prayer for an Invalid who is in a state of Unconsciousness


Almighty and eternal God, heavenly Father, sovereign Master of life and death, mercifully look down on this sick man who is in such great need. Is he not Thy child and has he not honored and loved Thee? and if at times he has offended Thee by sin, has he not made expiation by his contrition and penance?

Unable to console and exhort him, because Thou hast deprived him of speech and hearing, we humbly beseech Thee to give him so much more interior consolation and strength against every temptation of Satan. Bountiful Father, look mercifully down upon this sick man; do not abandon him who in this hour of utter helplessness is in such need of Thy assistance.

Forgive him all the sins by which he has ever offended Thee, that they may not trouble him at his departure from this world and prevent him from seeing Thy divine face. Do not let him fall into any grievous temptation, but uphold him by Thy powerful grace that neither the pain of illness, nor the fear of death, a want of confidence on account of past sins, nor the wiles of Satan may induce him to fall away from Thee.

Make haste to deliver him from this most distressing state, and let his soul be commended into Thy hands. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.




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Prayer for the Sick who cannot assist at Holy Mass
From the Beginning of the Mass to the Offertory

In the name of the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I wish to draw near Thy altars, O Jesus, and participate in all the holy Masses which are said this day and especially at this hour. It is by Thy will, O my Lord and God, that I should pay Thee homage, not at church, but in this my sick-room. So then I will consider in my heart. "Blessed is the man whom God correcteth; refuse not therefore the chastising of the Lord. For He woundeth and cureth. He striketh, and His hands shall heal" (Job v. 17, 18). "Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear Him: and on them that hope in His mercy. To deliver their souls from death: and feed them in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: for He is our helper and protector" (Ps. xxxii. 18-20).



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Prayer in Illness of Long Duration


O My beloved Jesus, I most willingly accept and offer to Thee this illness, which Thy divine Heart has sent me as a token of Thy love. I do so with a love similar to Thine and through thankfulness to Thee. Into Thy most sweet Heart I lay all my sufferings and pains, imploring Thee to unite them with Thy sacred Passion and to perfect them through its infinite virtue. Being unable to praise Thee as I ought, owing to my afflicted state, I beseech Thee to praise God the Father for my suffering with the same praise as Thou didst extol Him in Thy bitterest pains while hanging on the cross. I pray Thee offer to Thy Father my interior and exterior distress in union with Thy sacred Passion and with the same love with which Thou didst offer to Him all the torments and ignominies Thou hast endured. Amen.




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Prayer to Obtain Assistance in the Hour of Death
by St. Mechtilde

We read in the book on spiritual graces, written by St. Mechtilde: "A person who thus recommends her faith to God, will at the end of her life obtain the grace to remain free from every temptation against the true faith."

O My sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as God the Father in the greatness of His omnipotence hath exalted thee and given thee power above all creatures, be with me, I beseech thee, in the hour of my death, and drive far from me all the snares and craft of my enemies. Amen.

Hail Mary, etc.


O my sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as God the Son in the excellence of His unsearchable wisdom hath endowed thee with such great knowledge, and filled thee with such great light that thou knowest the Most Holy Trinity more truly and intimately than all the saints, do thou so enlighten my soul in the hour of my death with the knowledge of the faith, that no error or ignorance may lead it astray. Amen.

Hail Mary, etc.


O my sovereign, holy Mary, Mother of God, as the Holy Spirit hath poured into thee the sweetness of His love with such abundance, that thou art after God the sweetest and most benign of beings, do thou pour into my soul at the hour of my death the sweetness of divine love, that all its bitterness may be rendered sweet to me. Amen.

Hail Mary, etc





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Aspirations on the Way to Visit the Sick

O my Savior, through love of Thee I am about to visit this sick person; make my heart overflow with charity. I will visit Thee, O Jesus, in this sick person; Oh, that my cold heart were inflamed with the fire of Thy love! O Jesus, in Thy Sacred Heart I enclose the soul of this sick person. O Jesus, do not let Thy infinite merits be lost upon this soul. O Jesus, come to help Thy servant, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. Mother of Dolors, who didst stand at the foot of the cross, assist this soul! Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, Health of the sick, console this sick person and commend him to thy Son. Holy angel guardian of this sick person, assist me, that I may guide his soul to heaven, where thou wouldst have it to be.



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Instructions for those who assist
the Sick and the Dying



There is no work of charity more acceptable to God, none more conducive to the salvation of souls, than to assist those about to depart out of this life, to die in a holy manner; for at the hour of death, on which the eternal happiness of each one depends, the attacks of hell are stronger, while the weakness of the sick is greater. Our Lord, to signify how pleasing the attendance on dying persons is to Him, frequently showed to St. Philip of Neri, Angels suggesting words to those who assist them.

One of the principal cares of those attending the sick, should be, to have supernatural motives: that they may thus draw the blessing of God on the sick person as well as on themselves. If there be pain, disgust and danger in this exercise of charity, there is surely encouragement, consolation and joy in the reflection, that we are relieving the distress of poor sufferers. We should call to mind the eternal reward promised by Jesus Christ: "Come ye blessed of my Father . . . . I was sick and you visited Me." The motive which should influence us above all others, is this: our dearest Lord considers as done to Himself, whatever we do to any one for His sake. How delighted should we be, to have it in our power to give some proofs of gratitude and love to our Jesus, our God, our All! We should also remember that we have entered a school in which we are to learn the exercise of Charity, in the practice of patience and contempt of this life--being ready to sacrifice repose, health and life itself, for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.



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Prayers for the Sick and Dying


One who often thinks of his last end, and prepares in health for a happy death, will be prepared for sickness, whether a temporary one, or that sent by God as a preparation for his last passage into eternity. The first care should be to repair any neglect in arranging his temporal and spiritual affairs. His will should be made, if not already executed, and his family, matters arranged so as no longer to harass his mind. He should, too, send for his confessor, and reconcile himself to God speedily, that he may be the better prepared for any event.

Receive your sickness as coming from the hands of God, with a perfect resignation to His holy Will, and as a just punishment of your offences. Frequently offer yourself up to Him, and beg that He will grant you patience, sanctify your sufferings, and accept them, in union with those of Jesus Christ, your Savior, in satisfaction of the punishment due to your sins.

Repeat at times the Rosary, Penitential Psalms, or other prayers, and procure some friend to read to you' such prayers as are most affecting and proper for your condition´┐Żas the Litanies, Acts of the Love of God, of Patience, Resignation, etc. Place a crucifix, or figure of Christ crucified, always before your eyes, in order to think often upon His Passion.

Commend yourself to the Blessed Virgin, and turn to her with great confidence, begging her to obtain for you the graces you most need´┐Żpatience, love of the cross, a desire of suffering to atone for sin, and to partake of the Passion of our Lord.

Enter into a spirit of compunction, and endeavor to gain merit by all the little pains and trials which sickness brings, as well as from the greater sufferings.



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Resolutions of the Sick

To be used by him, or suggested to him,
from time to time, as ejaculations.


1. I gratefully receive this sickness from the hand of my God.
2. I shall constantly beg God's grace that, by His aid, I may soon be equally ready to die or live.
3. I will be patient in my sufferings.
4. I pardon all who have offended me.
5. I beg pardon of all I have in any way offended.
6. I grieve with all my heart for having offended Thee, O God, my sovereign Good!
7. I firmly believe all that God proposes to my belief, through His Holy Church.
8. I hope for the remission of all my sins, and life everlasting.
9. I love Thee, O Lord my God, above all things, and with all my heart.
10. I wish to gain all the indulgences of which I am capable.
11. From this moment, and especially in the hour of my death, I wish to give token of sincere sorrow for my sins, to be absolved of them, and if my disease increases, and it is possible, to receive the most holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and make Christ, my Savior, heir of my soul and body.




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Thoughts which may be seasonably
suggested to the sick



How good is our God, to give us the means of doing penance for our sins in this life! Sometimes, when He sees we have not resolution enough to do voluntary penance, He sends us sickness.

Sickness is a time of great merit; for, although all our pains of body and mind could never of themselves merit eternal glory, yet each moment of suffering, borne patiently, and united with the sufferings of our Savior, merits for us that eternal glory. Our Lord often deprives us of health, because we have made a bad use of it; or to avert the evils that would befall us, if we still possessed it.

Our good God will not punish us as our Judge, after having punished us as our Father. If we receive our Father's chastisements with gratitude and love, we shall never receive the chastisements of our Judge. If we do not abuse His mercy, we shall never experience the rigors of His justice.

When we are attacked by sickness, we should, at the very beginning of this trial, humbly and lovingly submit; not desiring to come down from the cross, to which we are attached, until such is the will of God, whether it be for life or death.

We should not let the sickness which God intended to be the means of our effectual conversion to Him, and of union to our suffering Savior, become, through our own fault, the occasion of sin and separation from Him.

St. Gregory says: "Our pains of mind and body are the torments of mercy. The chastisements of God are marks of His love."

St. Bernard says: "Time passes, and our pains pass with it; but the glory which follows these pains passes not--it is eternal.

St. Felix, martyr, exclaimed: "O how pleasing in the sight of God, is a Christian suffering with patience!"

Sickness is often a message from God, to remind us that we are shortly to leave our dwelling here below, and go to our eternal habitation.

We must not look on the dark side of our condition, but consider the many comforts we enjoy. Would it be well to lie always on the side which pains us most?

To bear our sufferings without complaining is a great deal; but to suffer in silence all the inconveniences the providence of God may make use of to sanctify our sickness, is true patience.

One drop of the blood of our Savior, applied by an act of loving submission, is an efficacious balm in the bitterest extremity.

In our severest sufferings, let us measure our cross with the cross of our Jesus. To those who suffer a great deal, say: You are on the cross; remember that our Lord, through excess of love for you, did not ask to come down from His. In the burnings of fever, speak to them of the fire of purgatory--in the thirst, which generally torments the sick, remind them of the drop of water refused to the rich man, and which shall eternally be refused--of the vinegar and gall given to Jesus in his extreme thirst on the cross : and in the sadness and weariness of long and painful nights, speak to them of the eternal night of the reprobate.

The Prayer Book should remain on the table beside the bed, and some of the acts for the sick should be frequently read for those who are unable to read for themselves, especially acts of patience, contrition, of perfect resignation to the will of God, of oblation or offering themselves up entirely to the divine will--of faith, hope and charity ; these acts should be frequently repeated, as they tend more directly to unite the soul with God; and virtually contain in themselves all the dispositions necessary to defend the soul against the usual attacks of the enemy in her last moments.



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Some Points to be Particularly Attented to


1.) Speak but little at a time, and in a low voice, with a mild and compassionate manner.

2.) Keep from the sick such objects as might affect them too much.

3.) Frequently suggest acts of contrition, faith, hope and love of God and of our neighbor.

4.) Remind them to renew often their oblation by saying: I offer thee, my God, my pains, my agony, and my death, in expiation of my sins, in union with the sufferings, agony and death of my Savior.

5.) Frequent use of the sign of the cross, and of holy water, should be made. Often remind them of Indulgences.

6.) To prepare the sick for the news of approaching death, suggest it, by dwelling on the Lord's prayer, thus: My God, my Father, my sickness is from Thee--are these the last days of my exile? Wilt thou now call me to Thyself? Our Father, who art in heaven. It is for the glory of Thy name I live or die. Hallowed be Thy name, whether in my life or in my death. Let Thy kingdom come to me, whether for this world or the next. Thy kingdom come. Let all that is within me be subjected to Thy will. May thy adorable will be accomplished in my life or my death. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me my daily grace in this time of trial. Give us this day our daily bread. Pardon me the sins I have committed against Thee, as I pardon every one that has ever offended me. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. I rejoice in the hope of being so soon released from the danger of offending Thee--and I beseech Thee to preserve me from yielding to temptation, during the few days of probation that may yet remain to me. Lead us not into temptation. I do not ask for a long life; but I beg and implore to be delivered from an ill end. Deliver us from evil.

7.) The preparations for Viaticum, Extreme Unction, and the last benediction, should be read to the sick at the very beginning of a serious illness, and more than once if they desire it. They should be read slowly, with short pauses now and then: it is in this manner all readings should be made, that the sick may have an opportunity to follow with mind and heart. As their weakness would not allow them to hear much at a time, you should return frequently reading small portions each time.

8.) As soon as symptoms of death manifest themselves, the dying should be immediately, though prudently, apprized of their condition. When assisting dying persons, watch and pray continually, suggest one aspiration at a time, because the weakness and distress of the body; the confusion of the mind, when the soul is fluttering between time and eternity; the temptations of the enemy, who, at this time, redoubles his attacks, and all the circumstances that usually attend the state of dying persons, make them stand in need of every assistance that can be given.

9.) Continue to watch and pray, even when they speak no more and give no sign that they hear you; because, many who, having, to all appearance, passed through their agony, and, for a considerable time, seemed to be actually dead, have afterwards revived, and declared that they heard all that had been said around them, and of them, though they were utterly unable to give the least sign of life.



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Instructions for the Sick


We must suffer and die. Death is a debt which must be paid--none can escape it. By disobedience we all became subject to sickness and death. Who are unwilling to die?-- they, who do not know God,--they, who do not love Him.

We have given ourselves wholly to God, we have become His children in a special manner; and we profess to be strangers on earth, looking continually for His kingdom. How generous then should be our dispositions! How spiritual and detached from the senses, our lives, which being separated from the world, should be no longer conformed to its spirit!

Instead of seeking anxiously for relief in our sufferings we should rather be humbled by the care that is taken of us. It is true, we have to conform to the practice of the house; but, at least, let us try to preserve, in our hearts, the spirit of penance, while charity grants us the indulgences offered alike to the weak and to the strong.

In order to cultivate and preserve this spirit, we should take the remedies given us, in the disposition of submission and obedience; neither seeking nor refusing them, nor showing vexation or impatience when we are to take them or do without them. We should use them as if we did not use them, and not with solicitude and anxiety, as worldlings do. For whatever advantage is expected to be derived from the use of them, we must look to the hand of God for their virtue and effect; since God is the Physician, of whom all other physicians are only the instruments: and whether they cure us or increase our malady, we may be sure they do only what He ordains for us.

The best remedies and the most skillful and experienced physicians fail, when He sees their success would not be for our good: therefore, we should entertain an entire indifference for the event of our sickness. Still we must obey the orders of the physician, with the utmost exactness; for while the sacred Scripture says:

All healing is from God, the same Scripture says, Honor the physician, for the need thou hast of him; for, the Most High hath created him . . . . The Most High hath created medicines . . . and a wise man will not abhor them . . . . The virtue of these things is come to the knowledge of men, that He may be honored in His wonders. By these He shall cure, and shall allay their pains . . . . Give place to the physician, for the Lord created him, and let him not depart from thee; for his works are necessary.--Ecelus. xxxviii.

If we would bear our sickness in the spirit of true penance, we must consider ourselves as criminals, condemned to punishment by our Sovereign and just Judge; or as disobedient children, on whom a most tender Father inflicts a salutary correction, that, by it, we may be brought back to our home, and restored to His bosom. Far then from being vexed by any neglect, were it even in our greatest want, we should rejoice in the occasion of adding to our penance. And, while we are grateful for the acts of kindness we receive, we should be ready to excuse every neglect. If we are true children of God, we will be glad, that the very means proposed for our relief should augment our sufferings.

We would be unworthy the name of His children, were we to complain, either of the words or humor of those who take care of us; and if we refrain from complaining ourselves, we should not wish others to complain for us; nor should we ever desire that others would represent the greatness of our sufferings, and thus procure sympathy for us. Such weakness may be pardonable in children, who, led by the movements of nature, desire to be petted, and who are indeed caressed, that they may not fret and be troublesome. But would it not be a shame for servants and followers of a crucified God to require such treatment, go unsuited to their profession of mortification and penance, and to that divine life, so far above nature, which they have embraced?

When we are pitied and soothed in our sufferings, we should be humbled, fearing, that by impatience or exaggeration of our pains, we may have caused these marks of compassion to be given to us. We should try, by our patience and silence, to prevent this repetition of what we are sensible is so opposed to the spirit of penance. The silence of our Savior in His passion, should be our model in the time of suffering; for, then especially, we are most liable to use inconsiderate expressions: and when the impatience is expressed, often we would excuse it, by telling the worst of our pains, and thus increase the evil, instead of remedying it.

On the other hand, if we show courage and fortitude, we betray our vanity. And, indeed, we often would not wish to be believed while we deny the extent of our suffering. Silence is the only remedy for both these evils; for if we are patient and mortified, it renders these virtues worthy of the eye of God, in proportion as we conceal them from human eyes: and if we are disposed to give way to impatience, by observing this silence faithfully, we are kept under a salutary restraint, and insensibly we gain the victory over our impatient and unmortified spirit, by thus stifling and suppressing it. Besides this, we converse more easily with God, when we converse less with creatures. And we merit much if we tell our pains only to God, beg His grace to bear them well, and offer them to Him as our penance. We must remember that in time of sickness, we should show great charity to others, since we require so much at their hands. We ought to receive the care they bestow on us as a favor we are unworthy of, instead of noticing their omissions or neglects. Indeed it is a much greater advantage for us to bestow our patience on them, than to receive the fruits of theirs; what we gain from them being but a passing comfort or assistance, while what we give, is given to God, who will return a hundred fold in heaven.

If we have companions in our sickness, we must remember that we never can know what they suffer and whatever the appearances may be, we must never judge to their disadvantage. Nothing would render us so unworthy of the grace of God, through which alone we can hope to bear our sufferings with merit, as judging disadvantageous of another.

We must not endeavor to seek out the cause of our sickness, whether it is place, employment, food, watchings, penances, &c., because this only feeds self-love, and weakens the spirit of penance. The true source of our maladies is always to be found in our sins, and in the visitations of the justice of God; or in His mercy, which gives us the means of doing penance and purifying ourselves; or in His bountiful providence, which draws His glory from our infirmities and trials, while we are securing new accessions of eternal glory.

In our trials, we cannot fail to see how necessary a patient and loving conformity to the good pleasure of God is; for, without it, the soul, which should be purified and strengthened by the sickness of the body, becomes more diseased than the body itself; and we, far from gaining merit, would be rendered more guilty, and deprive ourselves of the special help and consolation of God, at the very time we most need them.

Let us attend to the voice of our dying Savior, who, from the height of His cross, to which He remained fastened until His last breath, tells us to suffer with Him, that we may reign with Him. He assures us that our patient sufferings will extinguish the eternal flames which our sins have deserved, consume our chaff, and purify us for eternity, where we will receive a weight of eternal glory, in exchange for the light and momentary pains of this short life.

St. Cyprian, speaking of a penitent soul about departing this life, says: She may see, with consolation, the kingdom of God opening to her, the world passing, with all its sorrows and miseries, and giving place to an infinite, eternal happiness. No longer subjected to the temptations of the enemy, the soul finds her true peace: leaving the port of this life of turmoil, she enters her eternal dwelling; she passes from sufferings and death to a blissful immortality.

Who would not desire to quit the snares and dangers of our present condition, and go to Him who said, when about to die: Your sadness shall be turned into joy. I will come again to you: your heart shall rejoice, and your joy shall not be taken away. It is sickness and death which call us to God, and open our way to eternal life. How courageous then should we be in these painful trials, (through our bright hope of futurity) which St. Paul calls corrections, not afflictions, trials of our faith, and proofs of God's love. We should accept, with our whole heart, the good occasion of gaining our eternal reward, and give thanks to Him who supports us in all our pains, who lights up and gives constancy to our faith, which is tried like gold in the furnace. When we remember that this narrow way is traced by the very blood of our Savior, we are encouraged and animated. What are we in this world but probationers and exiles! Can we then see the end of our probation and banishment approaching without joy? Who approaches his home, the dwelling of his family and friends, with a reluctant heart? Is not heaven our true home, and is not our true Father there, and with Him the myriads of the blessed, who are waiting for us.

Let us hasten, says the divine word, to enter into this rest. Let us hasten to be united with Christ our head, free from the danger or fear of losing Him. Oh! how we should cherish this thought in our hearts! because our glory will be proportioned to our desires of being united to Him.

The day of our death should be the happiest of our lives. Our holy Mother, the Church, commemorates the departure of her children out of this world, rather than their entrance into it--their deliverance from this Babylon of misery and sin, where salvation is never secure; from the prison of the body, in which so many enemies are enclosed. O day of our death, thrice happy day! O the blessed impossibility to offend God! Eternal liberty with the children of God, and everlasting repose and rest in Him!



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Mary the Health of the Sick
by Alexis Henri Marie Lepicier, 1922


"And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odor is as the purest balsam." (ecclus. xxiv, 21.)


The sin of our first parents not only deprived man of original justice and of all the gifts consequent thereon; it reduced him furthermore to a state of great weakness, so that it is impossible for us to accomplish works of supernatural value, without a special grace. Fallen man is like one sick, who has no relish for any nourishment whatever. He is deficient in vital energy, and his actions are wanting in that vigor which naturally belongs to a healthy person. He is strongly inclined to vice, and finds the practice of virtue tedious and difficult.

This natural incapacity regarding the performance of good works is further increased by actual sin, whether mortal or venial. The former, by depriving the soul of divine grace, which is the principle of spiritual life, hinders man from doing anything pleasing to God, so as to merit eternal happiness. The latter, by diminishing the fervor of charity, makes the practice of virtue laborious, since charity has for its effect precisely to facilitate the performance of what is good. Sin is therefore a great evil, because, if mortal, it saps altogether the spiritual energy of the soul, and if venial, it notably weakens it. If from individuals we pass on to nations, we perceive that sin, like a subtle poison, eats into the heart of them, weakening and preparing their ruin.

Divine bounty, which for bodily ailments, has procured us efficacious remedies, is not less industrious in providing the means to heal our spiritual maladies. With the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ to restore our souls to grace or to augment it within us, God has also been pleased to grant us, in Mary's aid, a potent remedy for our spiritual infirmities. In fact, Mary has not only given us Jesus Christ, the Pastor and Physician of our souls, but furthermore, she watches over us as a tender mother does by the cradle of an ailing child.

Besides this, Mary's example encourages us in our conflict with the devil. For she is the Immaculate Virgin, who never was defiled by sin. Her sweet soul was always filled with the perfume of the noblest virtues.

Mary never ceases also to hearken to the voice of our supplications and to present them before the throne of God, often anticipating our requests, and obtaining for us, through her own merits and those of Jesus Christ, all the helps necessary to us in our spiritual needs.

And what Mary does for individuals, she also does for whole nations. As a pitiful Queen, she succors them in their distress; she raises them from their bed of sickness, and is for them a bulwark of defense (Cant. VIII. 10).

Mary's power and motherly care not only embrace spiritual miseries: they also extend to the ills of the body. How often do we see Mary restoring health to the sick, who have recourse to her with filial confidence!

In Mary's readiness to alleviate bodily ailments, shines forth most splendidly God's love for her. It seems as if the Most High had placed no limit to the efficacy of His Mother's intercession. While other saints are invoked only in particular cases of corporal infirmity, Mary's power, on the other hand, is exercised over every kind of malady. Hence we may say that, at her word, as once at the word of Jesus, the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear (Matt. XI, 5). The sole difference is that Jesus Christ, being God, wrought these miracles of his own personal authority, while Mary obtains for us, of the Divine Clemency, the graces she asks, by virtue of the efficacy of her intercession with God.

However, though Mary is so powerful in healing all bodily ailments, yet she does not always deliver her clients from every such trial, because God sees best to exercise them in patience, that they may thereby win the reward prepared for them in heaven. But when Mary does not restore bodily health, yet, for all that, she never ceases to act the part of a tender Mother toward us, watching over us, and obtaining for us, in place of bodily strength, resignation to the divine will and interior peace: two sovereign means of sanctification and salvation.


Example: The Recovery Of Pope Innocent VIII.

Among the wonderful pictures through which God has been pleased to show Mary's power in helping the poor children of Adam, must be mentioned that of the Santissima Annunziata at Florence. The marvelous cures and other graces obtained through Our Lady's intercession by means of this picture are numerous enough to fill many volumes. One of the most miraculous and worthy of special mention is the cure of his Holiness Pope Innocent VIII.

This Pope had been lying ill for a long time in great agony and the doctors could not in any way appease his sufferings. Already he had given up all hope and was awaiting death from hour to hour, when there came to visit him the Cardinal Protector of the Servite Order, John Micheli, who began to narrate to him the marvelous favors granted by the Santissima Annunziata at Florence to her devout servants. The Cardinal then encouraged the Pope to trust in Mary, who is truly called the "health of the sick" and to ask her to deliver him from his painful malady. When Innocent heard this, the hope of recovery revived in him and he felt in his heart a lively trust in the protection of our blessed Lady. He vowed to dedicate himself especially to her service, if she should be pleased to free him from his grievous sufferings.

How great was the amazement of the doctors and the joy of Rome when, after a short time, Innocent was found to be perfectly cured. Full of gratitude for this unexpected deliverance he ordered a skilled artist to depict the tragic scene of his mortal illness and he sent this painting to Florence in testimony of the grace granted to him. Moreover, the Pontiff, as a token of his special devotion to this miraculous picture, extended to all the principal churches of the Servite Order the privilege of celebrating with great solemnity a Mass in honor of the Mother of God on the afternoon of Holy Saturday. He also granted to these Religious the celebrated Bull, known as Mare Magnum, by which all the privileges granted previously to the other Mendicant Orders were extended to the Order of the Servants of Mary (From the Annals of the Order of the Servants of Mary).


Prayer: O Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our salvation lies in thy hands. Cleanse our souls, we beseech thee, from the leprosy of sin, and assist us in our corporal infirmities. And if it be the will of God that we must be acquainted with sickness and suffering, obtain for us, at least, perfect patience and resignation in whatsoever God may dispose. Amen.



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Consolations and Advantages of Sufferings


We may be sure that, when God afflicts us, it is to instruct us; and when He strikes, it is to heal us. It is the Lord who chastises; let Him be blessed for ever: He knows what is best: my trust is in His infinite goodness. Without this disposition, how pitiable our case would be! We would bear all the weight of the cross, without any alleviation--experience all its bitterness, without any of its sweetness.

O God! strengthen us; give us grace to suffer in the manner most agreeable to Thee, and then send us what sufferings Thou pleasest.

What would we think of a person who, being happily driven, by a very favorable wind, towards the port to which he is bound, would choose rather to be left in the midst of rocks, where there is every danger of shipwreck? Now is it not just so with us? The wind of trials and sufferings will certainly drive us to the port of salvation, if we would but help to press on by a loving submission; and yet we shrink from the favorable gale: we prefer rather to be the sport of those dangers which threaten us with eternal ruin.

Are our pains and trials too high a price to pay tor the possession of God? While we suffer, we must remember that we are purchasing heaven. It is only by suffering we can become like our crucified Master, and receive a pledge of our share in His glory.

The cross, if carried with patient and loving submission, is a certain mark of our election. The cross is the seal with which the mercy of God now marks us; so that, when the ministers of His justice come, we may be distinguished from those over whom they are to pour the chalice of the divine wrath. This seal of the cross will rank us among those whose robes are washed in the blood of the Lamb--the Lamb that was slain for us. This divine Lamb will become our good Shepherd, in His heavenly Jerusalem, during a glorious and happy eternity, and lead us to the fountain of living waters: then He will wipe away all tears from our eyes; and sorrow and pain shall be no more.






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Instructions for the Sick, against different Temptations and Impatience


To die in the greatest pains in this life, and pass to the most dreadful torments of the next, was the case of the bad thief. And what was the cause? Was it solely the enormous sins of which he had been guilty? No: it was his want of faith, patience and contrition. For the accomplice of his crimes, and the companion of his torments, went to heaven from the very arms of the cross; his faith, patience and contrition drew from his Judge this promise: This day thou shall be with me in Paradise.

Let us consider that God puts a crown of thorns on us in this life, that we may merit a crown of glory in the next. The more painful the one is on earth, the more glorious will the other be in heaven. The suffering soon terminates, but the recompense will be eternal.

They who think much of the pains of this life think too little of the pains of the next: one or the other must be endured. When we are well persuaded that tribulations and sickness suffered here with patience stand in the place of purgatory in the next world, we soon enter into the dispositions with which the souls of the just suffer there; and, far from desiring that our pains should be diminished, we desire even that they may be increased, that we may satisfy, in the fullest manner in our power, for our sins. Let us consider the bed in which we suffer as our purgatory.

If we compare our pains with those of hell--that hell we have so often deserved; if we weigh and measure our sufferings with those of a lost soul,--the very greatest we can endure will appear as nothing, and we will cry out with gratitude and love: Let the mercy of my God be blessed for condemning me to these fevers and pains. How light is this punishment compared to my sins! St. Bernard says: If we descend in spirit into hell, and see with the eyes of faith what is suffered there, our severest pains would seem as nothing, in comparison with the eternal torments of the reprobate; and that which, without this consideration, seems insupportable, would be endured with gratitude and joy.

A religious of the order of St. Bernard was visited in his sickness by St. Agatha, who said to him: "Sixty days of pains, which you will suffer, will perfect you in the merits of the sixty years you have been serving God." He died sixty days afterwards. Impatience will neither ease our pains, nor cure our maladies; but patience will both mitigate and render them meritorious.






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Fear of Death


Since I must die some day or other, why not die at this very time? I can easily be mistaken, but God can never mistake the best time for the end of my earthly course. After death, there is no more danger of offending God--no more sin. Though I live no longer here below, I shall live with my God for ever; I shall love and praise him for all eternity. "Jerusalem, my happy home, how do I sigh for thee," &c.






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The Best Dispositions for a Departing Soul


Several of the Fathers of the desert, having assembled together, conferred on the best manner of preparing for the last passage. The last that spoke, said, that he believed an humble and loving conformity to the divine will was most conformable to the spirit of our dying Saviour. And in truth this disposition includes every other: it perfects contrition, disposes the soul to receive the sacraments worthily; it tends to strengthen our faith, support our hope, and perfect our charity. This disposition is comprised in our dying Saviour's own words, which we should appropriate: Father--a title of love--into Thy hands I commend--an act of resignation--my spirit--that is my soul, my life, and all that I am. I commend my spirit into those divine hands, which, I know by faith, are filled with mercies and which are ever ready to apply the merits of my Jesus to my soul.

After we have received the Viaticum and Extreme Unction, the securest and best disposition is that of an entire abandonment of ourselves to God, both for the time of death, and after death; for time and eternity, with only one desire--that God may glorify Himself in us, in whatever way He pleases.



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Short Acts for the Sick


When the sick are no longer able to read for themselves, these acts should be read for them, slowly--voice and manner as before suggested. Read only a few of them at a time, but suggest them frequently.

My God, I accept this sickness from Thy hands, and I entirely resign myself to Thy blessed will, whether it be for life or death. Not my will, but Thine, be done. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. I submit to all the pains and uneasiness of this my illness: my sins have deserved infinitely more.

O Lord, I offer up to Thee all that I now suffer, or may have yet to suffer, to be united to the suffering of my Redeemer, and sanctified by His passion.

I adore Thee, O my God, and my all as my first beginning and last end: and I desire to pay Thee the best homage I am able, and to bow down all the powers of my soul to Thee.

I desire to praise Thee forever, in sickness as well as in health. I desire to join my heart and void with the whole church of heaven and earth in blessing Thee forever.

I give thee thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for all thy mercies and blessings, bestowed upon me and thy whole church, through Jesus Christ thy Son, and, above all, for having loved me from all eternity, redeemed me with His precious blood, called me to the true faith, and to a life of special consecration to Thee.

My God! I believe all those heavenly truths which thou hast revealed, and which thy holy Catholic Church believes and teaches. Thou art the sovereign Truth, who neither canst deceive nor be deceived. Thou hast promised the spirit of truth, to guide Thy Church in all truth. I believe in God the Father Almighty, &c. In this faith I resolve, through Thy grrace, both to live and die. O Lord! strengthen and increase this my faith. O my God! all my hopes are in Thee; and, through Jesus Christ my Redeemer, through His passion and death, I hope for mercy, grace and salvation from Thee. In thee, O Lord! I have put my trust: oh! let me never be confounded!

I love thee, O my God! with my whole heart and soul, above all things: at least I desire so to love thee. Oh! come now, take full possession of my soul, and teach me to love Thee forever. I wish to love my neighbor with perfect charity, for the love of Thee. I forgive, from my heart, all who have in any way offended or injured me; and I ask pardon of all whom I have in any way offended or injured. Have mercy on me, O God! according to Thy great mercy, and, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my iniquities.

Oh! who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes, that, night and day, I may bewail my sins! Oh! that I had never offended so good a God! Oh! that I had never sinned! Too late have I known thee, O eternal Truth! Too late have I loved thee, O Beauty, always ancient, and ever new!

O God! be merciful to me, a sinner. Jesus, Son of the living God! have mercy on me. Jesus, infinite goodness! have mercy on me.

I renounce, from this moment and for all eternity, the devil and all his works, and I abhor all his suggestions and temptations. Suffer not this mortal enemy, O Lord of my soul! to have any power over me, either now or at my last hour. Let thy holy Angels defend me from all the powers of darkness.

My whole confidence, either of living or dying well, is grounded on the infinite merits of my Redeemer's death and passion. Receive, O eternal Father! His precious merits, in satisfaction for all my sins.

Thou hast, in Thy justice, decreed that I should die: I most humbly submit to and readily accept the sentence of death in the spirit of penance; I desire to honor Thee by the sacrifice of my life, and to give a proof of loving obedience to Thy just decrees.

I desire that the destruction of my mortal existence should honor Thy immortality. I wish to die, to expiate by my sufferings and death all the sins which I have ever committed. I wish to die, that I may no longer offend thee--that I may love Thee, possess Thee, praise Thee, bless Thee, and glorify Thee forever in heaven.

I wish to die for Thy glory, and to testify that I love Thee better than myself. Heaven is my true home, and death is the path that leads to it. O heavenly Jerusalem! O beautiful city of God, my happy home! When shall I arrive at thy sacred tabernacles!

Take courage, my soul: thy hour approaches; thy miseries and sorrows will soon have an end. Thou art going to the nuptials of the Lamb: thou art going to the land of the living.

My divine Redeemer, I depend on Thy merits, and take shelter in Thy bleeding wounds. I trust that Thou wilt not suffer me to be forever miserable, because Thou art infinitely good and merciful. Since I have Thy blood to plead in my behalf, why should I fear? Why should I tremble at the thought of death, when I consider that Thou hast satisfied for my sins, and paid down Thy life for my salvation?

I am not afraid of hell, though I have deserved it; because my dear Jesus has purchased heaven for me. I hope in His mercy; and all the artifices of the enemy shall never induce me to relinquish my hope.

In spite of them all, I will sing eternal praises to Thee, O blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! I will adore Thy mercies, and possess and love Thee forever. I will now say what, perhaps, I shall not be able to say at my dying moments. O Father of mercies, and God of all consolation! into Thy most merciful hands I commend my soul, both for time and eternity.

Now, instead of then, (when, perhaps, I may be deprived of the use of speech or reason,) I offer Thee, O Lord! my heart, my life, my agony, pains, anguish and distress, and my death, to be united to the bloody sweat, agony and death of my dear Saviour Jesus Christ: I now declare my abhorrence of whatever evil thoughts the enemy shall then suggest to me.

O God of my heart, my portion and my inheritance forever! I desire to love Thee with my whole heart, mind and strength. Oh! how good hast Thou been to me! and how ungrateful have I been to Thee! I grieve, from the bottom of my heart, that I have ever offended Thee. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord God of hosts! I love the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. The eye hath not seen, the ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what good things God hath prepared for those who love him.

O holy Mary, Mother of God, who didst assist at the death of Thy beloved Son Jesus, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Hail Mary, &c.

Glorious St. Michael, prince of the heavenly host, intercede for me at the hour of my death.

O holy Guardian Angel, to whose care God, in His mercy, has committed me, stand by me at the dreadful hour; protect me against all the powers of darkness; defend me from all my enemies, and conduct my soul to the mansions of bliss.

O all ye blessed Angels and Saints of God, assist me by your intercession in this last and dreadful passage.

O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, be Thou then to me a powerful Redeemer and Advocate with the Father.

O sweet Jesus! receive me into Thy arms in that day of my distress: hide me in Thy wounds: bathe my soul in Thy precious blood.

Let Thy passion and death stand between my soul and Thy justice.

O sweet comforter of desolate and distressed souls! let me then experience the multitude of Thy tender mercies, when my soul shall be in conflict with the pangs of death.

Be mindful of Thy poor creature, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.

Remember Thou hast bought my soul at a dear rate: oh! let not Thy precious blood be shed for me in vain!

Thou hast promised to save all who invoke Thy name with faith and confidence: I now invoke Thy sacred name, O Jesus! with my whole heart; and with all possible respect and devotion, I supplicate Thee to have mercy on my soul at the moment of its departure from this world, and admit it to life everlasting.

O my divine Jesus! grant me grace to unite my sufferings with Thine; may my agony and death be sanctified by Thine; and may I participate in the sacred dispositions of Thy holy soul, in Thy last moments: to these dispositions I now unite myself with my whole heart, to supply what will be wanting in me. I abandon myself entirely to Thee, O my Jesus! Thy will, not mine, be done: Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus, I beseech Thee by Thy sufferings on the cross, especially at the hour when Thy blessed soul left Thy sacred body, to have mercy on my soul at the time of its departure. Call me to Thyself, and receive me into the number of Thy elect, that I may praise Thee eternally. Our Father, &c.

I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Sweet Jesus! receive my soul. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, &c.



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The Sufferings of this Life


It is related that when St. Peter was leaving Rome in the time of persecution, he met our Lord Jesus Christ, who was carrying a heavy cross upon his shoulders. St. Peter asked his Lord whither He was going in that sad condition, and our Lord answered him: I am going to Rome to deliver myself up to be crucified for you, because you refuse to suffer for Me. St. Peter, ashamed of his weakness, and penetrated by a lively sorrow, returned to Rome, where, with great courage and joy, he suffered martyrdom for the name and honor of his Divine Master.

We have imitated St. Peter in his weakness; when shall we imitate him in his generosity? Alas, how often might our Lord Jesus Christ say to us: I am going to give myself up again to death for you, because you refuse to bear my cross! We would like to have nothing to suffer; we complain and murmur at the least trouble. Only the sound of the word sufferings, nay, even the thought of it, makes us tremble. Is this to be a Christian, is this to be a disciple of a God who died for us on the cross? O suffering Savior, teach us to suffer! help us to suffer! sanctify us through our sufferings, united with Thine, and receiving all their merit from them! Let us then be a little more considerate, and instead of bewailing our sufferings, let us praise God who gives us the means to atone for our sins.

A soul that cannot suffer cannot love. True love only shows itself in suffering. Jesus Christ has planted the cross in order to show us the way to heaven; He holds it before the soul to guide him there.

Many Saints would have been lost without suffering, and many lost souls would have been great saints through suffering. It is better to weep than to sin. Weep now with the penitent, that by and by you may rejoice with the elect.



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Special Instructions for the Sick and the Dying

When any one is in danger of death the first duty is to tell them so. It is a cruelty and a crime not to let them know their danger, whatever the doctor may sometimes say to the contrary. If the danger is not immediate, get them first to settle their affairs; to arrange their family matters; to pay their debts, and to be reconciled to their enemies, if they have any. Send for a priest as soon as possible. Read or say prayers with the sick person; especially Acts of Contrition. School-children ought to be taught to do these things. When taught, they can often do them better than grown-up people. Sometimes friends and neighbors can do them better than near relations. When the priest is coming to give the last Sacraments, prepare for him as directed on the following page. When the sick person is actually dying, and the priest is not present, some one should read the Prayers for a Departing Soul.






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Recommendations about the Sick


Be always patient, kind, and generous with the sick. Let nurses tend them with careful modesty. Let none but good people come near the dying. Let there be in their hearing no foolish or worldly talk. Let a Crucifix or pious picture hang before them. Take care not to catch their disease. Take care not to breathe their breath. Keep the sick room always neat and perfectly clean. Keep it warm, with a fire if need be, but open the window sometimes to let in fresh air. As to food and medicine, do exactly as the doctor orders.






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The Administration of the Blessed Eucharist and Extreme Unction to the Sick and Dying

First, The sick-room ought to be clean and well ventilated, the bed provided with clean covering and the patient washed and dressed as becomes the dignity of the holy sacraments.

Second, A table ought to be placed in the sick-room near the bed in such a way that it may be seen by the patient. Let the table be covered with immaculate linen and upon it placed a crucifix between two wax candles, and a vessel of holy water with a palm branch or any convenient sprig.

Third, Let the candles be lit before the entrance of the priest into the dwelling of the sick person.

Fourth, The family should be present as far as possible during the administration of the sacraments and offer their prayers for the sick person.

Fifth, Let there be placed on the table a glass or a cup of pure water and a piece of clean linen, the latter to be under the chin of the sick person immediately before receiving holy communion.

Sixth, As soon as the priest arrives in the sick-room with the blessed sacrament, all kneel down in reverence, and let them continue in this position until the close of the sacred act, unless the sick person has not yet received the Sacrament of Penance. In this event all will leave the sick-room after the priest has blessed the patient with holy water, and return to their kneeling position after the confession.

Seventh, If time and the condition of the sick person will permit it, the preparatory prayers for Holy Communion may be recited by one of the attendants before the arrival of the priest.



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Hail Mary Paraphrased for the Sick

Hail Mary.--O Mary, Star of the sea, all the needy and oppressed look up to thee! And so do I from my bed of sickness, lifting up my imploring eyes to thee and asking thee for help. O Mary, my Mistress and my Queen, let thy power and goodness be made manifest in me. O Mary, with all the faithful, all the holy angels and all the heavenly host I salute thee, saying: Hail, Mary!

Full of Grace.--God has raised thee to the greatest dignity, and wills that through thy hands abundant graces should flow down upon mankind. O Mary, Virgin full of grace, thou who art the comforter of the afflicted, the help of Christians, the health of the sick, obtain for me, poor creature, health of body and soul.

The Lord is with Thee.--The Lord has done great things in thee! The eternal Father has chosen thee to be His Daughter; the only-begotten Son to be His Mother, and the Holy Ghost to be His Spouse. Thou art therefore all powerful with God, O Blessed Virgin; implore Him that His grace may never depart from me.

Blessed art thou among women.--Thou art most blessed among thy sex. Thou art free from the curse of original sin and as a virgin hast given birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world. O Mary, the one chosen Mother of the Redeemer, all the nations of the earth call thee blessed. Never shall thy praise die on my lips; at all times will I extol and glorify thee, in order to make myself worthy of thy help and intercession.

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.--through Whom we obtain assistance in life, consolation and strength in suffering, peace and rest in death. O Blessed Virgin, would that I were happy enough, with thee and all the saints, to praise for all eternity Jesus, the blessed fruit of thy womb. Help me to attain thereto.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.--Mother of God, Mother of Christ, Mother of mercy and my Mother!

Pray for us sinners.--Look upon me, thy poor helpless child, calling out to thee from this valley of tears.

Pray for me now, who am weak, sick and miserable; pray for me who in this vale of pilgrimage am surrounded by numerous foes striving to wrest from me the possession of the heavenly inheritance; obtain for me a lively faith, a firm hope, an ardent love, an invincible patience and the grace of final perseverance.

But especially pray for me at the hour of death; commend me to Jesus, thy Son; present me to Him, that I may die happily and possess Him forever. Amen.




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