Isaiah, chapter 35, verse 3-4
3 Strengthen hands that are feeble, make firm knees that are weak, 4 Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.
Remember prepare. Isaiah in this chapter is proclaiming the deliverance of Israel specifically but upon examining the wording in this verse it is referring to the day of our death. On that day our hands will be feeble but our hearts must remain strong. Will you be vindicated and what recompense will be due you. Honestly few will be due recompense but our Lords love is such that he wishes to save us at this final hour with the sacrament which was formerly called the “Last Rites”.
1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of "passing over" to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father.
1525 Thus, just as the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist form a unity called "the sacraments of Christian initiation," so too it can be said that Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute at the end of Christian life "the sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland" or the sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.
Such is the Love of our Lord that we should be delivered. His love is such that by receiving our Lord in the viaticum he delivers us to the Father saying here is blood of my blood and He transfers His recompense; His vindication to us. There is no greater love then this!
The Last Blessing
Let us pray. Most gracious God, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, Thou wish none to perish that believes and hopes in Thee, according to Thy many mercies look down favourably upon Thy servant (handmaid) N.____ whom true faith and Christian hope commend to Thee. Visit him (her) in Thy saving mercy, and by the passion and death of Thy only-begotten Son, graciously grant to him (her) forgiveness and pardon of all his (her) sins that his (her) soul in the hour of its leaving the earth may find Thee as a Judge appeased, and being washed from all stain in the Blood of Thy same Son may deserve to pass to everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost…to labor and not to ask for reward, except to know that I am doing your will. (Saint Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity)
Lord, let me not fear death with an empty fear, but with a wise and holy fear. An empty fear does not make men any better, but a wise and holy fear urges them to improve their lives. I will prepare for death by trying today to please you more and more in my thoughts, desires, words and actions. If I live this day as You desire, I shall be ready at any moment, and death will be nothing worse than Your loving call. Amen
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)
49 Godly Character Traits
During this Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:
Discernment vs. Judgment
The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)
801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism (an extraordinary power (as of healing) given a Christian by the Holy Spirit for the good of the church) is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good," so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good."
1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:
Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise. . . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.
2820 By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man's vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.
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