Friday, September 4, 2009

Prayers for a Happy Death

Older Catholics remember saying prayers for a happy death throughout their lives. Now we shudder at the thought, avoiding the very thought that we are mortal. We don't prepare for death, we avoid the very thought of it.
That leaves people like me who are preparing a loved one for their journey home to Jesus feeling very alone. Yet in the CCC 1020 we read:
"The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum [a final Eucharist] as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance [in this Prayer of Commendation]"

Thank God for my friend and fellow writer Pat Gohn, who has written this piece on Dying with the confidence of a saint on Catholic Exchange.

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pam j said...

Thank you for this post, Leticia. Even as a small child I was intrigued by the term "happy death."
When I first came upon it, I had loving devout parents and grandparents who explained it ( and also prayed for it) in such a way it is still one of the most comforting devotions I know. God bless and Our Lady of America, pray for us. St. Joseph, grant us all a happy death.

Pat Gohn said...


Our family prays for yours as we hear of your mother's happy death. You and your readers may be interested in the two follow on pieces on Our Ultimate Moment of Truth (in which I talk about a "happy" death) and Heaven.

They are here:
And here:

Hugs to you!