Saint Joseph dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary

The great, mystic, lover of Christ, lover of the Church and Doctor of the Church,  Saint Catherine of Siena says that the two most important moments in our lives are: right now and then even more important the moment of our death. This sounds very much like the last part of the prayer that Our Lady loves most, the Hail Mary:  “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The moment we die is so important because it will determine for all eternity(that means forever and ever and ever…)where we will remain, our eternal and immortal destiny! We will be there for ages on end!

Without hem or haw or beating around the bush, let’s say it bluntly: HEAVEN OR HELL!  Either we will be a permanent resident in our Heavenly Palace or in Satan’s torture chamber; we call this HELL!!!  True, this is a very sobering and stark reality.  There exists no other reality! Among the many tactics of the devil is a false concept of what happens after we die; we would like to renounce and reject this New Age idea!

As followers of Jesus Christ, we reject with a determined purpose and mind-set the reality of Reincarnation  or as the Greek philosophers called it the transmigration of the soul. This is to say, we believe in the reality that life is a battle and a testing ground .  The final test depends on whether or not we end our lives loving God and dying in the state of sanctifying grace or not. We reject firmly the false notion that we have many chances to make it to heaven. If you like  it is kind of like the lotto game, whereas  if you miss once you can try again, or like a Baseball batter who gets three strikes before he strikes out.  Reincarnation postulates that we have many chances and will come back in the next life as another being.

We do not want to strike out for all eternity!!!

As followers of Christ we believe in the following with respect to our final end!  God creates us out of love; He loves us with an infinite and unchangeable love. He wants to be loved in return. However, love is a two-way street that demands a response of love! This implies freedom or liberty. Now freedom can be either used to render God honor and glory and praise; or freedom can be abused. The nature of sin is simply that: the abuse of the freedom that God has given to us! God never coerces our will or forces us ever, but respects our freedom till the very end.

Love for God is not measured so much by feelings and emotions and sentiments. Rather, love for God can be measured by our willingness to obey God in all that He asks of us; this often implies the cross and suffering. Why? Because to deny our own will is exceedingly difficult due to our innate pride that we carry with us from the moment of our conception with the effects of Original Sin.  Jesus put it clearly:  “If you love me then keep my Commandments.”  Once again:  “Not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father.”  Satan denied God’s will saying: “I will not serve.”  Likewise, Adam and Eve said “no” to God by eating from the forbidden fruit. May we say “yes” to God in obedience and attain our ultimate goal---HEAVEN!

Three short suggestions that could prove invaluable in our spiritual life so that we can arrive safely home to heaven. The only thing that really matters in life is to get to heaven. Jesus said:  “What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul. What can a man exchange for his immortal soul?”

1.    NO TO SIN!!!  Our mortal enemy number one is SIN.  The two worst things in the world are the following and the last is by far the worst: committing a Mortal sin, dying in mortal sin! Saint Dominic Savio’s motto was” “Death rather than sin.” If you have the tragedy of committing a mortal sin, never despair but trust in the infinite mercy of God. However, run to the confessional as soon as possible and do not delay. It is so true that God’s mercy is infinite and it is His greatest attribute. Still to postpone, hold-off and procrastinate in renouncing our mortal sin is the sin of presumption. By presumption we mean we are presuming that God is going to give us a longer life. On this point there is no security!  We could die this day, this hour this very second—only God knows the day and the hour! A good confession is dying to sin and rising to new life. It is the celebration of the Paschal mystery in our own life: we die to sin by confession and rise to new life in the state of grace through repentance, confession, and absolution. Praise God for His infinite mercy!

2.    LIVE EACH DAY AS IF IT WERE OUR LAST!  The saints lived by this axiom! Listen to these wise proverbs.  “Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”—especially conversion from sin to the love and following of Christ.  The Rule of Saint Benedict exhorts us:  “Think about death twice a day.” This is a holy reminder of our mortality and the shortness of life. The Psalmist admonishes us with these words on the ephemeral character of the human plight with these words:  “Our life is like the morning flower that rises in the morning but dries up and dies in the evening.” Finally, a modern Chilean Jesuit Saint Father Alberto Hurtado coined this impressive adage:  “There are two places where we can rest: the cemetery and heaven.” Wow!!!  In other words, let us work hard now because we have all eternity to rest with God. Finally Jesus Himself in the Parable of the Rich fool, sharply rebukes the rich man for accumulating and saving and living it up because that very night he would be destined to die and where will all of his possessions go? Today, probably to Uncle Sam or Obama care! But “Who” cares about that!!!
Breathe forth from your soul the Hail Mary

3.    BREATH OF OUR SOUL: THE HAIL MARY!!!  Beyond doubt love for Mary is key to growing in love for Jesus, in growing in sanctifying grace, living purity, and persevering in grace and attaining to our eternal reward in heaven. Saint Louis de Montfort asserts:  “Mary is the quickest, shortest and the most efficacious path to Jesus.” In other words, she is the shortcut to the Heart of God and Heaven. As breath is essential for the functioning of the lungs; so prayer is essential for the life-breath of the soul. Now the prayer that Mary loves most is of course the HAIL MARY! Better yet, Mary loves the Rosary or even many Rosaries! The more we say the Hail Mary and the Rosary with love and devotion, the more Mary loves us in return.  Finally, in those last moments of our life, when often the devil launches his last attack upon our soul, the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there to defend us against the evil one so that we can die in the loving embrace of Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph.  Simply the name of Mary makes all tremble, as we are reminded by Saint Louis de Montfort! 

In conclusion, let us calmly look at the purpose and meaning of our life, our immortality which means that one day we will die, and humbly beg for the grace to renounce sin in all forms, colors shapes and types; let us live each day loving God totally and live each day as if it were our very last. Finally, let us live constantly in the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary praying the Hail Mary with our soul the way the lungs breath in and out air! If done, our eternal destiny will be HEAVEN!!!