Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Our Lady Defends Her Devotees Especially At The Hour of Death

Saint Bonaventure claims that, to defend her dying clients, Mary sends the Archangel Saint Michael, together with his host of angels. Moreover, she commands Saint Michael to receive the souls of all who had constantly recommended themselves to her.

Addressing Our Blessed Lady, the saint says:

"Michael, the leader and prince of the heavenly army, with all his ministering angels, obeys your commands, O Virgin, and defends and receives the souls of the faithful departed who day and night have particularly recommended themselves to you."

The prophet Isaiah tells us that when a man is about to die, hell is opened and sends out its worst devils, both to tempt the soul before it leaves the body and to accuse it when it is presented before the tribunal of Jesus Christ for judgment.

The prophet says: "Hell below was in an uproar to meet you at thy coming; it stirred up the giants for you" (Isa 14:9). But Richard of Saint Lawrence says that when Mary defends a soul, the devils dare not even accuse it. They know the supreme judge never has condemned, nor ever will condemn, such a soul.

Saint Jerome wrote to Eustochius that Mary not only helps her servants at the hour of death; she even comes to meet them on their way to eternity, so that she can encourage them and accompany them to the divine tribunal.

This is in line with what Saint Bridget heard from the Blessed Virgin. Speaking of the death of those who are devoted to her, Mary said: "Then will I, their lady and mother, fly swiftly to them to console and refresh them."

Saint Vincent Ferrer writes:

"This loving queen takes the souls of the dying under her protection and presents them to the judge, her son, and most certainly obtains their salvation." This was verified in the case of Charles, the son of Saint Bridget, who died on the field of battle, far from his mother.

The Blessed Virgin revealed to Saint Bridget that Charles was saved because of his love for Mary, and that she herself had aided him at death and suggested to him the acts of faith, hope, love, and contrition that should be made at that hour. In the same vision, the saint saw Jesus seated on his throne as the devil lodged two accusations against the Blessed Mother.

The first was that Mary had prevented the devil from tempting Charles at the moment of death; the second, that without giving any reason for claiming him as her son, she herself presented Charles to be judged and thus saved him. Saint Bridget saw the judge drive the devil away in confusion and Charles's soul carried away to heaven.

By Saint Alphonsus of Ligouri

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