Catholic Activity: Prepare for Death
Now during the Church's Harvest Time it is very appropriate "to prepare Christ's throne" by making provisions for a happy death. The Church has a series of very special helps to aid one's passage through death's dark door, viz., the Last Anointing, holy Viaticum, the Apostolic Blessing, the Commendatio Animae (Commending the Dying Soul to God). This last rite is too little known among the laity and too seldom made accessible to them. Mother Church wishes to be present at the death of her children in the person of the priest and by prayer to brighten their last moments.
There is depth and beauty to the prayers forming the Commendatio, and there is purpose to their length; moreover, they may be extended if death is slow in coming. Why not read meditatively through one or the other of these prayers today, e.g., the Proficiscere, "Depart from this world, O Christian soul, in the Name of the almighty Father who created thee, in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered for thee, in the Name of the Holy Spirit who is poured forth in thee...." To comfort and encourage the dying Christian a whole galaxy of Old and New Testament personages are invoked, saints whom God once helped in need. While still in good health we ought become familiar with these prayers so as to grasp them easily when the occasion actually arises. In this way prepare the throne for the Lord!