With great earnestness recommend to His mercy the poor souls who are in their agony. What a dreadful hour, an hour tremendously decisive, is the hour of our death! Surround with your love these souls going to appear before God, and defend them by your prayers.
COMMENT: Today is the feast of St Joseph. We traditionally pray to St Joseph for many things – work, fidelity to one’s vocation, purity, the protection of the Church, even selling a house. But St Joseph is also regarded as the patron saint of a happy death, because tradition tells us that he died with Jesus and Mary at his side – a happy death indeed!
I chose a reflection on death today because today is the anniversary of Fr Doyle’s mother – Christina Doyle died at 7am on this day in 1915. Fr Doyle had just returned from a mission in Glasgow and was with her when she died, and was able to say Mass immediately for her soul. Fr Doyle’s parents are buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, very near Dalkey where they lived. I visited the cemetery a few days ago, and thanks to the assistance of the very kind staff there, I managed to find the grave where both of Fr Doyle’s parents are buried. We should remember her in our prayer today.
St Joseph is a powerful patron; many saints were greatly devoted to him. St Teresa of Avila tells us that he always answered her prayers. Blessed Pius IX proclaimed St Joseph as the patron of the Universal Church. We should have recourse to him for the needs of the Church, and of course in particular for the Pope, who was of course named after St Joseph by his parents.
Today is also the second anniversary of the Pope’s letter to the Catholics of Ireland. The text can be found here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20100319_church-ireland_en.html
Perhaps we should read this letter again today, and examine our consciences. As individuals, have we followed its suggestions? Have we offered up prayers and penances in reparation? How have we responded as parishes? As a country?
St Joseph, pray for us!