Mary's Dolors at a Deathbed
60 Years of Sin
We read in the revelations of St. Bridget, that there was once a lord as noble by birth as he was low and sinful in his habits. He had given himself by an express compact, as a slave to the devil, and had served him for sixty years, leading such a life as may easily be imagined, and never approaching the sacraments.
Now, this prince was about to die and Jesus Christ, in His compassion, commanded St. Bridget to tell his confessor to visit him, and exhort him, to make his confession.
The confessor went, and the sick man told him that he had no need of a confessor, for that he had often made his confession. The confessor visited him a second time and that poor slave of hell persevered in his obstinate determination not to make his confession. Jesus again directed the saint to tell the confessor to go to him again. He obeyed, and this third time related to him the revelation made to the saint, and that he had returned so many times because the Lord, who desired to show him mercy, had directed him to do so.
On hearing this the dying man was moved, and began to weep. "But how," he exclaimed, "can I be pardoned, when for sixty years I have served the devil, made myself his slave, and have laden my soul with innumerable sins?"
"Son," answered the father, encouraging him, "do not doubt: if you repent of them, in the name of God I promise you pardon." Then, beginning to gain confidence, he said to the confessor: "Father, I believed myself lost, and despaired of salvation; but now I feel a sorrow for my sins, which encourages me to trust; and as God has not yet abandoned me, I wish to make my confession."
And in fact on that day he made his confession four times with great sorrow; the next day he received communion, and on the sixth he died contrite and entirely resigned.
After his death, Jesus Christ further revealed to St. Bridget, that this sinner was saved, and was in purgatory, and that he had been saved by the intercession of the Virgin, His mother; for the deceased, although he had led so sinful a life, yet had always preserved devotion to her dolors; whenever he remembered them he pitied her.
Oh my afflicted mother! queen of martyrs and of sorrows, thou hast shed so many tears for thy Son, who died for my salvation, and yet what will thy tears avail me, if I am lost?
By the merits, then, of thy dolors, obtain for me a true sorrow for my sins, and a true amendment of life, with a perpetual and tender compassion for the passion of Jesus and thy own sufferings. And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for me, obtain for me that I, who am deserving of hell, may also suffer something for love of you.
O Lady, I will say to thee with St. Bonaventure, if I have offended thee, wound my heart in punishment; if I have served thee, now I beg to be wounded as a reward. It is a shameful thing to see our Lord Jesus wounded, and thee wounded with him, and I uninjured.
Finally, oh my mother, by the grief thou didst experience on seeing thy Son before thy eyes bow his head and expire upon the cross, I entreat of thee to obtain for me a good death. Ah, do not cease, oh advocate of sinners, to assist my afflicted and struggling soul in that great passage that it has to make into eternity. And, because at that time it may easily be the case that I shall have lost the use of speech with which to invoke thy name, and that of Jesus, who are all my hope, therefore I now invoke thy Son and thee to succor me at that last moment, and I say: Jesus and Mary, to you I commend my soul. Amen.
This "Stories of Mary – Stories of the Rosary" is taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888