Guidelines for those who are dying


Translated by Br Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap

This translation is taken from I Frati cappuccini, documenti e testimonianze del primo seolo, a cura di Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap, Edizioni Frate Indovino, Perugia, III/2, pp. 3449-3497.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap

Gregorio di Napoli’s work, which was published many times. is nothing more than a brief summary of the volume by Josse Clicthove, Doctrina moriendi, that was published in Paris in 1520 and reprinted many times in the early sixteenth century. However, some aspects of Gregorio’s work were original. These include its format. It was written in the vernacular and its style was simple and popular making use of examples taken from the personal experience of the learned friar from Naples. It seems that this work is the first work, in the order of time, to be published by a Capuchin that deals with the subject of “the art of dying.” As is usually the case whatever appeared in writing followed on from what had been learnt from life experiences.

Following a presentation on death, which is presented as not being something to be afraid of, but to be desired, since it is the gateway to eternal life, Gregorio di Napoli insists on the traditional reasons for frequently meditating on the fragility of bodily life and of death “from which no man alive can escape”, because it detaches us from earthly things when we consider that the time, the place and the manner of death are uncertain. It follows that the main thing that this teaches about living happily is that we should try to live a good and honest life. Because life is a struggle between good and evil, between sin and the grace of Christ, a struggle that intensifies at the close of life, Clicthove emphasises the diabolical temptations than can assail somebody who is dying. There are at least about ten of these temptations and they include the temptation of not telling sins in confession, temptations about the way the last will and testament is made out, not abandoning yourself to God’s will, not supporting your suffering with patience, being unhappy to leave things behind, looking for comfort from relatives and the glory of the world, whereas the sick person should have no doubts concerning the faith and about remaining in the Catholic Church, not despairing of God’s mercy, not be satisfied with his past life, not be afraid of death knowing that the soul is immortal and should overcome the fear of the last judgement trusting in God’s mercy. Finally, do not be afraid of hell nor of more appearances of the devil since those who retain the simplicity of their faith will not be troubled when they come to their agony. Do not submit.

Using an approach that was characteristic of Capuchin spirituality, he placed his trust on moral fortitude and commonplace Christian experience to remove the anxiety that accompanied the final agony and the dismay at the loss of physical strength that characterised traditional literature concerning the art of dying and thus he filled the soul with trust in the practice of virtue when life was ebbing away and tried to lead the soul away from what was causing it to be disturbed. As one of the ancient pieces of evidence, Gregorio da Napoli cited the brilliant and poignant example of the saintly brother, Felice da Cantalice, who had observed the Franciscan Rule to perfection.


The necessary guidelines for the eternal salvation of a poor sick person

6989 [555] As we had written about meditations for Christian prayer earlier in the second part of our Enchiridion so too now, I thought that it might be useful to very briefly set down a set of guidelines to help my brothers when they are called to visit a sick person, so that in a short space of time we could present some points and ideas taken from Scripture which we could expand with a few suitable words to console and promote the salvation of the brother and of the sick person. It is necessary, first of all, to supply the sick person with information so that he does not leave this world deceived by what he is suffering or because of the absent-mindedness of his confessor […].[1]

[558] See whether the sick person is one of those who has not administered justice properly, or who was a master with servants under his control. Make sure that he is not deluding himself and is dying without having made restitution and make sure that he recalls what is in the Memoriale […].[2] If something had not been mentioned in the Memoriale this did not mean that a baron was not bound in foro conscientiae or by natural law to make restitution and reach a settlement with the servants who were assigned to him.

6990 In addition to this, when the person now accepts that he has become innocent of the fault and of the punishment that his fault deserved, he is in the same situation at the above-mentioned fortunate Br Felice [di Cantalice], the Capuchin, who realised that he was a genuine and not counterfeit observer of the above-mentioned Seraphic Rule. When he had gone to receive the eternal glory of those who are blessed, the Lord of the world wanted to show how he loved a sincere religious who observed the promises that he had made with respect to the Rule, and he favoured him not only with performing miracles that went beyond the powers of nature by means of the mere touch of the sleeve of his habit, but also by means of the celebration in Rome of the canonisation of the glorious St Diego d’Alaclà, from Spain, who was a professed lay brother in the Regular Observants of our seraphic Father St Francis. He passed from this life to eternal glory about one hundred years ago. This was before anyone had even thought about reforming the Franciscan Order as took place with the Capuchins. When a celebration took place because of the feast of St Felice, wanting the world to know how pleased he was about this, the Lord allowed liquid that healed many sicknesses to flow from his tomb.[3]

However, returning to the subject, my brothers are under a personal obligation, because of their profession [560] of a Christian and monastic way of life, and are also bound to educate their neighbours about what will happen when they become dangerously ill, so that it will help them to heal their souls by not holding out a false hope of sanctity, and by not seriously considering the obligation that is placed on their conscience and thus be led to certain damnation.

Therefore, wishing, with the help of God who is merciful, to provide both the friar and the sick person with thoughts about the reason for which God created them. I thought of briefly offering them guidelines that I took from a book by the theologian Iudoeo Clichtoveo.[4] […].

Guideline 1 which is an explanation of death

6991 Death means departing from life. Death of the soul is a parting brought about by God because of sin and because of a person not wanting to perform works of mercy, as chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthew puts it: Esurivi et non dedistis mihi manducare etc. (Mt 25:34-36: I was hungry, and you did not give me anything to eat.)[5] The Prophet is speaking about death when in Psalm 72 he says: Quia ecce qui elongant se a te, peribunt; perdidisti omnes qui fornicantur abs te. (Ps 73:27: They that who go far from thee shall perish, thou hast destroyed all those that are disloyal to thee.)[6] Ezekiel says in chapter 18: Anima quae peccaverit ipsa morietur. (Ezekiel 18:4,20: The soul that sins shall die.)[7] In chapter 1 of the Book of Wisdom it says: Os quod mentittitur occidit animam; (Wis 1:11: the mouth that tells lies, kills the soul); and in chapter 16 it says: Homo quidem per mali-[564]tiam occidit animam suam. (Wis 16:14: A man kills his soul through malice.)[8] Chapter 15 of Ecclesiasticus says: Deus ab initio constituit hominem et relinquit illum in manu consilii sui. Adiecit mandata et praecepta sua, si volueris mandata conservare, conserbabunt te et in perpetuum per fidem placitum servare.[9] Apposuit tibi aquam et ignem et ad quod volueris porridge manum tuam. Ante hominem vita et mors, bonum et malum, quod placuerit ei, dabitur illi. (Sir 15:14-18: God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hands of his own counsel. He added his commandments and precepts. If you keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity forever, they shall preserve thee. He has set water and fire before thee: stretch out your hand to which you will. Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him).[10] Chapter 18 of Ezekiel says: Vir si fuerit iustus et fecerit iudicium et iustitiam, vita vivet. (Ezekiel 18:21: If a man was just and did what was right and just, he would live.)[11] In Chapter 2 of Genesis we read: “Dominus ad Adam dicit: In quacumque die comederis ex ligno scientiae boni et mali, morte morieris. (Gen 2:17: In what day soever, you shall eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall die the death.)[12] Concerning those who live a wicked life Psalm 54 has this to say: Descendunt in infernum viventes. (Ps 55:16: Let them go down alive into hell.)[13] In his First Letter to Timothy St Paul says: “Quniam vivens mortua est. (1Tm 5:6: She who lives in pleasures is dead while she is living.)[14]

Bodily death does not bring about disgrace or shame, even though no one welcomes it. But the soul’s death comes about through the evil way a person has lived and this is disgraceful, because it was within his power to avoid it. Therefore, if after his soul has passed from this life to eternal death and is condemned [565] this has not come about because his body has died, but because of the wickedness and sinfulness that preceded bodily death. This happened because the devil had persuaded him that life would last a long time and not be so short, so that his conscience would not make him aware of what was happening. With regard to this see guideline 14.[15]

Guideline 2. This treats of how we should not be afraid of bodily death in itself, but should rather desire it because of the many benefits it makes available to us

6992 There is a difference between these two propositions in as much as in one death is said to be something that is evil, since here what is sinful is joined to a way of dying that brings ruin and corruption upon the soul. The second proposition says bodily death is not something that is evil that is due to a fault, even though it is something evil that has been justly imposed because of the fault that was committed by our first parents. Because of this, death should not frighten a prudent person, but something that ought to be expected and endured with a resolute presence of mind. Nobody should fear what the law of nature prescribes since this has been designed by God. This is one of the laws and stipulations [566] laid down by nature. Everyone who was created and generated within nature shares in this.

Chapters 40 and 41 of Ecclesiasticus say: “Omnia quae de terra sunt, in terram convertentur et atque omnes in mare convertentur. (Sir 40: 11; 41: 19 (13): All things that are of the earth, shall return to the earth again, and all waters shall return to the sea.)[16] Since, when you come to think about it, man’s body is made from the slime of the earth, then, following the sentence that God laid on Adam and all of his descendants, it has to be dissolved into the dust from which it came as it says in chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis: Ut revertaris in terram de qua sumptis es, quoniam pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris, (Gn 3:19: Till you return to the earth out of which you were made: for dust you are and to dust you shall return.)[17] Chapter 14 of the Second Book of Kings says: Omnes enim morimur et quasi aquae dilabimur in terram, quae non revertuntur. (2 Samuel 14:14: We all die, and like waters that return no more, we fall down into the earth and do not return.[18] It says in chapter 2 of the Letter to the Hebrews: Statutum est hominibus semel mori; (Heb 9:27: It is appointed to man to die once.)[19] and in the Book of Wisdom chapter 7: Uomo est introitus omnibus ad vitam et similis exitus. (Wis 7:6: All men have one entrance into life and likewise one way of leaving it.)[20] Thus this is something that should not give rise to great fear nor be the reason for long prayers since there is no way that anyone can escape from it. It says in the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 7: Melior est dies mortis, die nativitatis et melius est ire ad domum luctus, quam ad domom convivii; in illa enim finis cunctorum admonetur hominum et vivens cogitate, quid futurum sit. (Eccles 7:2: The day of death is better than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting: for in that we are put in mind at the end of it all and the living person thinks of what is to come.)[21] Death puts an end to the cruel and wicked circumstances and the adversity to which we are subject in this life.

6993 In addition to all of this, whoever is thinking correctly ought to be concerned that our soul is free [567] from the many dangers that come with temptations and which are accompanied by a thousand hazards that beset a person while he is living this life and also consider the gifts and benefits that death brings to a person in bringing to an end the attacks of the enemy against his soul and in making him safe from falling into sin once more. It is certain that while a person is in this life, no matter how much he knows about a holy and perfect way of life, he will never be free from the danger of falling into sin and vice. This is why chapter 11 of Ecclesiasticus warns: Ante mortem ne laudes hominem quemquam. (Sir 11:28 (30):Praise not any man before death.)[22] During life it is uncertain whether what will come about will be good or evil and we will be amazed at the hour of death, tremble and turn away when the time has come for the fury of the battle with the enemies of the soul and with the world to subside, and the flesh will no longer crave and use deceitful words to lure us into doing what is wrong with her caresses and other wiles.

Death transports us from the stormy sea of this life to the peaceful repose of the next life. Therefore, St Paul wrote to the Hebrews: Non enim habemus hic manentem civitatem sed futuram inquiriimus, (Heb 13:14: For we have not here a lasting city,)[23] and he said to the Philippians: Mihi vivere Christus est et moti lucrum. Desiderium habens dissolve et esse cum Christo, multo magis melius, (Phil 1:21-22: To me to live is Christ: and to die is gain. I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better,)[24] and Psalm 119 says: Heu mihi, [568] quia incolatus meus prolongatus est; (Ps 120:5: Woe is me, that my sojourning is prolonged)[25]and Psalm 41: Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarium, ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus; sitivit anima mea ad Deum fortem vivunm, quando veniam et apparebo ante faciam Dei? (Ps 42:2-3: As the hart pants after the fountains of water, so my soul pants after you, O God. My soul has thirsted after the strong God, when shall I come and appear before the face of God?)[26] Writing to the Philippians St Paul says: Nostra conversation in caelis est; unde et Dominum expectamus Iesum Christum qui transformabit corpus humilitatis nostrae, configuratum corpori claritatis suae; (Phil 3:20: Our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowliness, made like to the body of his glory.) [27] In chapter 6 of the Gospel of Matthew it says: Non Possumus simul deus servire et mundo. (Mt 6:24: You cannot serve God and the world)[28] and we read in chapter 2 of the First Letter of St John: Nolite diligere mundum, neque ea quae in mundo sunt; si quis dilecerit mundum, non est charitas Patris in illo, quia omne quod in mundo est, concupiscentia carnis est, concupiscentia oculorum et ambition mundi. (1 Jn 2:15-16: Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life.)[29]

6994 Seeing that the world hates the genuine Christian, why do you treasure what hates you instead of eagerly following Christ who loves you and has redeemed you? We should do what is right for us and through dying move ahead to our heavenly homeland and not be frightened of dying by means of which we are being led into restfulness. St Cyprian says: “Let us embrace the day that has been assigned to each one of us in our home when we will be stripped of the heavy bonds of this world and reinstated in paradise and the heavenly kingdom.”[30] Why do we not hasten and run so that we can see our homeland and meet our dear relatives and friends who are waiting for us and who are safe in happiness and wishing us to be saved. How happy both we and they shall be when they greet and embrace us. There will be no fear of death as we live an eternal life without anxiety or trials but with the utmost eternal happiness. Thus, the death of those who are good is a guide and should not inspire alarm or fear.

Guideline 3, which deals with the way in which continual meditation on death is beneficial and recommended for our higher nature and a great help for mortification or attachment to bodily things

6995 Those who are continually thinking about how they have to die find it easy to despise earthly things. When Moses saw that the people of Israel were careless and not very worried and oblivious to what was to happen in the future, he admonished them in chapter 32 of the Book of Deuteronomy saying: Gens absque consilio et sine prudential, utinam saperent et intelligerent ac novissima providetent. (Deut 32:28-29: They are a nation without counsel, and without wisdom. O that they would be wise and understand, and would provide for their last days.)[31] Chapter 7 in Ecclesiasticus says: In omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua et in asternum non peccabis; (Sir 7:36 (40): In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.)[32] And in chapter 14 it says: Memo resto quoniam mors non tradat. (Sir 14: 12: Remember death is not slow,)[33] When he wrote to [570] St Cyprian, St Jerome responded to this, “Remember your death and you shall not sin. If you continually remember that you must die, you will despise the things that are present and hurry towards the things that are to come.”[34] Thus we read in chapter 25 of Job and in chapter 10 of Ecclesiasticus: Quid extollitur in altrum homo putrendo et filius honinis vermis, qui mortus iaculo formans hoie, aut cras humi prostermendus est? (Job 25:6; Sir 10: 8-11: Whoever takes advantage of another and puts him down, will be struck down either today or tomorrow.)[35]

In his book de natura et gratia[36] St Augustine says: If you boast and promote yourself because of your wealth, honours, actions, land of birth, bodily beauty and the tributes people pay you in public, remember that you are mortal, that you are dust and will return to dust. Can you remember those who received similar honours, emperors, kings, prelates, princes and lords with all their servants and attendants? Where are all of their celebrations? Where are their festivals and similar enjoyments? All of them are certainly in dust and ashes, with their lives written in a few lines on their graves so that they will be remembered by what is on their tombs. Can you tell the master from the servant, those who were wealthy from those who were poor, those who were strong from those who were weak, those who were beautiful from those who were ugly? See if you can find any sign of their being superior and then think about what comes with our nature and do not promote yourself, or lift yourself up high when your soul is moved and makes you think about acquiring gold, [571] silver, wealth, property, houses and beautiful clothes and things that will immediately close out thinking about the coming death.

You should extinguish the fire of avarice by looking at what is written in Scripture: chapter 27 of Job says: Dives cum interierit, nihil secum auferet, aperit oculos suos et nihil inveniet nisi peccatum; (Job 27:19: The rich man when he shall sleep shall take away nothing with him: he shall open his eyes and find nothing)[37] and Psalm 75 says: Dormierunt somnum suum et nihil invenerunt omnes viri divitiarum in minibus suis; (Ps 76:6: They have slept their sleep, and all of the men of riches have found nothing in their hands;)[38] and Psalm 38 says: Thesaurizat et ignorat, cui congregabit illi; (Ps 39:7: He stores up, and he knows not for whom he shall gather these things);[39] and chapter 10 of Ecclesiasticus says: Cum morietur homo, haereditabit serpentes et bestias et vermes. (Sir 10:13: For when a man shall die, he shall inherit serpents, and beasts, and worms.)[40] This is why St Paul said in chapter 3 of his Letter to the Colossians: Mortificate membra vestra quae sunt terram; (Col 3:5: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;)[41] and in chapter 8 of his Letter to the Romans: Si spiritus facta carnis mortificavertis, vivetis. (Rom 8:13: If by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.)[42] In chapter 5 of the Letter to the Galatians he said: Qui autem sunt Christi, carnem suam crucifixerunt cum vitiis et concupiscentiis. (Gal 5:24: They that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh, with the vices and consciences.)[43]

Because of this whoever has separated his soul from bodily attachments, from objects of the senses in this life and has continually given himself over to the exercise of virtue, when death comes, will accept it gladly, without feeling bitter or being threatened by it. But the one who is still bound by some emotional ties to wealth, honours and things of the flesh will regard being separated from the body as something that is evil and bitter. Concerning this chapter 41 of Ecclesiasticus says: O mors, quam [572] amara est memoria tua, hominis pacem habent in substantiis suis. (Sir 44:1: O death, how bitter is the remembrance of you to a man that has peace in his possessions.)[44] Finally, for anyone who thinks about death every day, it will become so familiar that he will wait for it without being disturbed by its approach. To someone like this death will never appear to be something that happens suddenly since it has always been on his mind, without causing dismay, fear or being something that was unexpected, if I may express it like this.

Guideline 4. How continually thinking about the fragility, brevity and loss of the present life is beneficial to a person

6997 Frequent consideration on the frailty and brevity of the present life, so that he does not place great store on living for many years, leads a person to concentrating on salvation, or as Psalm 38 expresses it: Verumtamen universa vanitas omnis homo vivens; (Ps 39:6: Indeed every living man is just vanity;)[45] and Psalm101 says: Dies mei sicut umbra declinaverunt et ego sicut foemun arui; (Ps 102:12: My days have declined like a shadow, and I am withered like grass.)[46] Psalm 143 says: Homo vanitati similis est, dies eius sict umbra praetereunt. (143:4: Man is similar to vanity, his days pass away like a shadow.)[47] Job is agreeing with this when he says in chapter 14: Homo natus de muliere, brevi vivens tempore repletur multis miseris. Qui quasi flos egreditur et conteritur et fugit velut umbra et numquam in eo [573] dem statu permanet; (Job 14:1-2: Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries. He comes forth like a flower, and is destroyed and flees like a shadow, and never comes in the same state.)[48] Psalm 102 says; Recordatus est, quoniam pulvis sumus, homo sicut foenum, dies eius tamquam flos agri, sic efflorebit; (Ps 103:14: He remembers that we are dust. A man’s days are like grass, like the flower of the field so shall he flourish;)[49] and Psalm 36 says: Quonia tamquam foenum velociter arescent, et quemadmodum olera herbarum cito decident. (Ps 37:2: For they shall shortly wither away like grass, and as the green herbs shall quickly fall;)[50] and Psalm 89 says; Mane sicut herba transeat, mane floreat et transeat; vespere decidat, induret et arescet, (Ps 90:6 In the morning man shall grow up like grass, in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry and wither;)[51] and in chapter 1 St James says: Quod homo sicut flos foeni transibit, exortus est sol cum ardore et arefecit foenum et flos eius decidit et décor vultus eius deperit. (Jm 1:10-11: Like the flower of the field shall he pass away. For the sun rose with burning heat and parched the grass and the flower fell off, and the beauty of its features perished.)[52] In Isaiah chapter 40 we read: Omnis caro feoni et omnis gloria ut flos foeni; aruit faenum et flos decidit, verbum autem Domini manet in aeternum. (Is 40:6-8: All flesh is grass, and all its glory as the flower of the field. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen, but the word of the Lord remains forever.)[53] Psalm 128 says; Sicut herba foeni quod pius quam evellatur arescit. (Ps 129:6: Like grass which withers before it is plucked up.)[54] It is the same with hoping for and relying on a long life and the number of years that people expect to live. They give no thought to death and then if it comes suddenly while they are still young it will cause them pain and upset because of what it brings with it.

Guideline 5. Concerning the uncertainty of the time, place and the circumstances of death and the hope of having a happy or unhappy death in the mind of the one who is dying

6998 Although we are uncertain[55] about the state of our health, we can be certain that death will come [574] to us, but uncertain about the time, the place, the way it will happen and unclear about the frame of mind of the person at that time, as regards to if he will experience abhorrence or love. In Sacred Scripture chapter 5 of the Book of Ecclesiastes states that the time of death is uncertain: Nescit homo finem suum, sed sicut pisces capiuntur homo et aves laqueo comprehenduntur, sic capiuntur homines in tempore malo. (Eccles 9:12: Man does not know his end, but as fishes are taken by the hook and birds are caught with the snare, so men are taken in evil times.)[56] There is an example of this kind of sudden death in chapter 12 of the Gospel according to St Luke where a rich man says: Anima habes multa bona posita in annos plurimos; requiesce, comede, bibe et epulare. Dixit autem illi Deus: Stulte, hac nocte animam tuam repetunt a te, quae autem parasti, cuius erunt? (Lk 12:19-20: I will say to my soul, you have much laid up for many years. Take your rest, eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do I require thy soul of three. Whose things shall these be which you have possesssed?)[57] Chapters 7 and 19 of the Book of Genesis speak about the flood at the time of Noah and the fire in the city at the time of Lot. Chapter 17 in the Gospel according to St Luke says: Sicut factum est in diebus Noe, ita erit et in diebus filii hominis. Edebant et bibebant, uxores ducebant et dabantur ad nuptias, usque in diem qua intravit Noe in arcam, et venit diluvium et perdidit omnes. Similiter sicut factum fuit in diebus Loth: edebant et bibebant, emebant et vendebant, plantabant et aedificabant, qua die exit Loth a Sodomis, pluit ignem et sulphur de coelo et omnes perdidit. Secundum haec erit, quia die Filius hominis revelabitur. (Lk 17:26-30: And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did ate and drank, they married wives and were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it came to pass in the days of Lot. They did eat and drink, they bought and sold, they planted and built. And in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed.)[58]

6999 In view of this, because the Lord, who has the salvation of the human race at heart, wanted [575] us to be on guard and alert concerning the approach of death, he often whispered into our ears what is said in the Gospel where it says: Vigilate et orate, nescitis enim quando Dominus domus veniat, sero, media nocte an galli cantu, an mane, ne cum venerit repente, inveniat vos dormientes; quod autem vobis dico, omnibus dico: Vigilate. (Mk 13:35-37: Watch ye therefore (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning. Lest on a sudden, he will find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.)[59] When Theophilus explained this passage he said: God hid and concealed the time of our death from us because it was right to do so. The reason was that if we did not now know when we were going to die, we would not worry about it as much as we would if we knew the time. We would certainly put off any thought of sickness to the end, but by not knowing the time we would be on watch each day and not put things off to the end which would be a dangerous thing to do.[60]

7000 St Gregory has this to say on the subject in the twelfth book of his Moralium[61] where he says that our Creator wished to hide our end, and keep the day of our death unknown to us so that we would not know when it would happen so that we would always think that it was coming soon and be more fervent about doing good works and because we were uncertain [576] when we would be called in death, we would be continually preparing for it to happen. The Lord gave us a warning in chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthew and in chapter 12 of the Gospel according to Luke where is says; Vigilate itaque, quia nescitis diem neque horam. (Mt 25:13: Be watchful, because you know neither the day nor the hour.) Again, it says: Si sciret pater familias qua hora fur venire, vigilaret utique et non sineret perfodi domum suam; et vos estote parati, quia nescitis qua hora Filius hominis veniet. (Lk 12:39-40: If the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not the Son of man will come.)[62] These documents do not intend to speak only about the day that the Lord will come for the universal judgement, at the end of the world, but to also indicate the day when the Lord will come at the particular judgment that will take place for each person at the time of his death, when the Lord will demand an account concerning the use of the talent that was given. Those who are wealthy will be asked how they administered their wealth to promote the salvation or damnation of their souls, justice officials will be asked how they administered justice, that is did they provide justice indiscriminately to those who were masters and to those who were their servants. Among other matters we have dealt with misdeeds in public administration in the first part of our Enchridion.[63]

7001 If he has acted like this to provide greater consolation for his soul, there would be a favourable balance in his account. But unfortunately, the balance is just the opposite. He has spent a ducat a year on consoling his soul, and a hundred ducats on giving consolation to his body. He has done the same thing with other expenditure. Thus, when he comes to die, he will find that he is in debt and deserves punishment. With regard to sudden death, we should believe what is said in Scripture rather than what is said in some bogus prayers.[64] These promise a gold mountain and then provide a speck of dust, because they say that anyone who says these prayers before a Crucifix, or to the glorious Virgin Mary, or to some other designated saint, will not experience a sudden death. Indeed, he will be made aware from heaven of the day and of the hour of his death. This is a diabolical trick. Therefore, anyone who thinks that he will not die an unexpected sudden death will be taken [578] by surprise and die swiftly bringing about the ruin of his soul.

7002 In chapter 4 of his Letter St James brings to our attention the uncertainty of human life and death when he says: Ecce nunc qui dicitis: hodie aut crostino ibimus faciem: qui ignoratis quid erit in crostino. Pro eo ut dicatis: Si Dominus voluerit et si vixerimus, faciemus hoc vel illud. (Jm 4:13-15: Behold, now you that say; today or tomorrow we will go and do something. What you ought to be saying is: if the Lord wishes and if we shall live, we will do this or that.)[65] Now, is there anyone who is so stupid, so ignorant and who is as foolish as when he was only young, that when he is asked what he wants to do or whether he will still be alive tomorrow, would say yes because he thought that he was not going to die? Chapter 10 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus has this to say about any ruler: Rex hodie est et cras moretur. (Sir 10:10: A king is today and tomorrow he shall die.)[66] We often see this in what happens to some people who were alive and well in the morning and who died when night came on. St Bernard[67] says that it is certain that a man has to die, but how, when and where this will take place is uncertain, because death is waiting for you everywhere. However, if you are clever you will always be ready for it. However, there are many who losing sight of their duty when they should not do so, put off thinking about it for many years, and thus provoke God’s anger against themselves. God [579] gave them time to do penance and sometimes he suddenly pronounces the sentence of death without affording them time for sacramental reconciliation, which is the best remedy for the wounds of the soul. Chapter 8 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus has this to say: Quia non profetur cito contra malos sententia, absque timore ullo filli hominum perpetrant mala. (Eccles 8:11: Because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evils without fear.)[68] Chapter 24 of Job says: Dedit et Deus locum paenitentiae et ille abutitur eo in superbia. (Job 24:23: God has given him place for penance, and he abused it unto pride.)[69] In chapter 2 of his Letter to the Romans St Paul says: Existimas autem, o homo, quia tu effugies iudicium Dei. An divitias bonitatis eius et patientiae et longanimitatis comtennis. Ignoras quoniam begignitas Dei ad poenitentiam te adducit? Secundum autem duritiam tuam et impoetenitens cor thaurizas tibi in die irae et revelationis iusti iudicit Dei, qui reddet unicuique secundum opera eius. (Rom 2:3-6: Do you think, O man, that you shall escape the judgement of God? Do you despise the riches of his goodness and patience and longsuffering? Do you not know that the benignity of God leads you to do penance? Because of your hardness of heart and impenitence, you treasure up to yourself wrath on the day of anger and the revelation of God’s just judgement. He will render to every man according to his works.)[70]

7003 With respect to the uncertainty of death, the only remedy is frequent, daily prayer to God so that he will not permit us to have a sudden and unprovided death and to say what the Prophet said in Psalm 38: Notum fac mihi Domine finem meum et numerum dierum meorum, quis est ut sciam quid desit mihi? (Ps 39:5: O Lord, make me know my end. And what is the number of my days, that I may know what is wanting in me.)[71] Psalm 101 says: Paucitatem dierum meorum nuncia mihi. (Ps 102: 24: Declare unto me the fewness of my days.)[72] By saying this holy prayer we are not demanding that God should send a message from heaven to inform us of the day of our death [580] before it happens, since this would certainly be temerarious. Rather by saying this prayer we are asking that by means of grace and his decree and through sickness which is the natural messenger of death and how close it is, we acknowledge that we are being warned.

Another remedy that will preserve us from the uncertainty of death, (which is more useful that all the others), is the continual change from committing faults to living a way of life as if we were close to death in order to become continually occupied in doing good because we are keeping death in mind and desire to present ourselves to God as St Hilarion did; “Oh my soul you have served God for so many years in times of suffering, depart willingly in obedience to your Lord who is calling you.”[73] This is how death will never overtake us suddenly since we will always be prepared and so it will never come surprisingly like thunder since we foresaw it as it says in he first chapter of the Book of Proverbs: Frustra enim iacitur rete ante oculos pennatorum, facile laqueos aucupois effugit avis quae praevidit illorum insidias. (Prov 1:7: But a net is spread in vain before the eyes of them that have wings.)[74] For certain, if we are always prepared and live [581] apart from the world, death will never take us by surprise or without our knowing it. Indeed quandocunque (whenever) it happens it will find us ready, and because of this sudden death will never overtake us, or if it comes suddenly, we shall be able to cope, and its sudden onset will mean nothing to us since we have foreseen it for so long and been prepared for its assault.

Guideline 6. Deals with the basic thing to learn about a happy death and that is to try to live a good and holy life which will often lead to experiencing a happy death

7004 The first and main thing to learn is that someone who wants to experience a happy death should cherish a good and holy life full of virtue and justice, fear of God and obedience to his commandments. This rule is enough for obtaining a pious and devout death in so far as an honest life involves the practice and the implementation of the virtues and doing good while there is still time because we have come to know from daily experience that the way a person lives his life is the way that he will die.

In the first book of his de civitate Dei[75] St Augustine says that it is unthinkable that an unhappy death would follow on from a good life.[582] He says in his book on Christian teachings[76] that it is impossible for any one who has lived well to have an unhappy death and the it is difficult for someone who has lived a bad life to have a happy death. Because of this Psalm 115 says: Pretiosa est in conspectus Domini mors sanctorum eius. (Ps 116:15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.)[77] Certainly there is nobody among those who have read about the pious lives and what the saints did who would not ask this from God, saying: Moriatur anima mea morte iustorum et fiant novissima mea horum similia. (Num 23:10: Let my soul die the death of the saints, and my last end be like theirs.)[78] What could you possibly desire that was more beneficial to your salvation? What could you ask of God that was more valuable than a happy and glorious death that was like the peace of mind of the saints?

7005 Those whose lives are full of immorality and depravity without any feeling of shame before God or man, are directed like horses without bridles towards acts of concupiscence and sordid desires while they are in this world and therefore, they tremble with fear about the approach of death and become like those who have to be forcefully dragged before the tribunal of the severe judge to receive payment for what they have done. In chapter 6 of his letter to the Romans the Apostle has this to say about them: Stipendia peccati, mors. (Rom 6:23: The wages of sin are death.)[79] Because they are aware of their wickedness, they certainly feel dumbfounded when they think about the gravity and multitude of their [583] faults and sins, they reject suffering or being separated from the body and try various ways of not being parted from it and of being taken before the strict judge and sentenced to damnation. The Prophet described this in Psalm 33 when he said: Mors peccatorum pessima. (Ps 34:22: The death of the sinner is very evil.)[80]

Sometimes we see situations in those who are about to die, that are like this. When that time comes, they say that they can see a horrifying dragon who, with divine permission, wants to devour them because of their sins. I often listen to the experiences of the friars,[81] who had been assigned to caring for sick lay people, who said that they had seen a black pig leap on top of the sick person and stay there with his mouth open until the sick person had died and expired. I heard things like this from more than six friars who were worthy of belief. Other sick people had seen their room filled with horrible black beasts and their whole life, sins of deed, thought and omission, written in very ugly lettering so that they were able to see and read when they did the deed. Others said that like St Stephen who had seen the heavens opening to receive him, they saw hell opening to receive them and show them their places.

7006 So if your find that you have committed a sin [584] wash it away with tears of contrition and cancel it in the Sacrament of Penance while you have time, since you have been given the opportunity, become accustomed to doing works of charity, always dispensing justice to your servants and your family in conformity to what is said in Scripture in chapter 6 of the Letter to the Galatians: Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum. (Gal 6:10: While we have time let us do good,)[82] and in chapter 9 of Ecclesiastes: Quodcumque facere potest manus tua, instanter operare, quia nec opus, nec ratio, nec sapiential, nec scientiae runt apud inferos, quo tu prosperas, (Eccles 9:10: Whatever the hand is able to do, do it earnestly for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be in hell, whether you are hastening,)[83] and in chapter 14 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus: Ante obitum tuum operare iustitiam, quoniam non est apud inferos invenire cibum. (Sir 14:17: Before your death work justice for in hell there is no finding food.)[84] Let us open our ears to these warnings and move our soul to putting them into practice so that when we come to die, we shall not tremble with fear nor be overcome with anxiety or confusion. Rather, having been helped by the divine presence and by our angel guardian we will be at peace as we face death, all worry gone and all dread, and with the experience of past apprehension put behind us we shall be immediately carried to the dwelling of the heavenly Jerusalem. [585].

Guideline 7. Deals with the confessing of sins that ought to be done with prudence and at the proper time, before the illness reaches its final stages. It also deals with the making of the last will and testament

7007 At the beginning of the illness, before it becomes worse, tell the sick person to call a priest and confess all of his sins of thought, deed or omission and whatever was the cause of him committing other sins in accord with the nine points given on folio 74 of the introduction to these guidelines and also later in the fifth guideline.[85] When he has identified those that are mortal, by adopting this remedy he is able to wash the stains away from his soul and wipe out the wounds made by injustice and be reconciled with God. This process should not be delayed till the moment of death, because that would make it seem to be motivated more by fear than by free choice. He should not wait till the physical pain becomes severe because then, because of his suffering and the approach of death, he will not be able to perform his penance promptly, completely or in a proper manner. At the outset the body [586] is not racked with serious pain and the mind, since it is not afflicted by pain, is thinking calmly. Ecclesiasticus says: Ante mortem confitere; a mortuo quasi nihil perit confessio; confiteberis vivens, vivus et sanus confiteberis. (Sir 17:26-27: Give glory before death. Praise perishes from the dead as nothing.)[86]

7008 Because of this, the great negligence and carelessness of those who are seriously unwell is to be strongly condemned because in postponing the confessing of their sins it could mean that in the end, they will be overcome by a sudden death without having been cleansed and without confessing their sins. There are others who when it is known that they are seriously ill have been advised and counselled by their friends to go and confess their sins and urge them to do so with such so demandingly that they appear to be placing more value on material things other than death for they say: Dispone domus tuae quia morieeris et non vivens. (Is 38:1: Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.)[87]

In spite of this, sacramental confession produces healing rather than death. Sometimes God sends illness as a punishment for sins that have been committed, cleansed and washed away from the soul and also heals the sickness, as happened to the paralytic in chapter 9 of the Gospel according to Matthew where it says: Remittuntur tibi peccata tua, and then, Surge tolle lectum [587] tuum et vade in domum tuam. (Mt 9:2,6: Your sins are forgiven you – take up your bed and go into your house.)[88] He said this to show that his sins were the cause of his illness and it was necessary to first remit the sins and then the sickness. The same thing happened at the pool called Probatica where Christ said to a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years: Vade et amplius noli peccare, ne deterius tibi contingat. (Jn 5:14: Go and sin no more, lest some wore thing happen to you.)[89] This meant that sin had preceded the lengthy illness. Because of this you should have you sins cleansed from you soul in a pious and devout way and health will be restored. This is why doctors are told both in the chapter headed Cum infirmitas de poenit et remisis,[90] and in the third constitution of Pius V, as well as in the seventh constitution of Pope Gregory XIII, not to go back on the third day to attend to a sick person who has not been to confession during his illness. As we read in the Papal Bulls doctors were forbidden to attend infidels.[91]

7009 After he has cured his soul, let him calmly go ahead with the distribution of his goods to those who will outlive him, prior to him becoming too ill, while he is healthy, and while his mind is undisturbed. He should make his last will and testament according to his wishes and to what he has been advised while his soul is healthy and free, taking care of what he is bound to leave in restitution, especially if he is a master who has servants, as I said in the first part of my work on folio 133,[92] [588] in the seventh proposal and on folio 139 fifteen, teachers and doctors of sacred theology and various canonists have come to the conclusion without any disagreement about this being an obligation in foro conscientiae.[93] In this testament he should also declare all of his debts and whether he is holding anything that belongs to someone else. He should leave something for prayer for his soul as was said above in guideline five,[94] and something for those who have served him and those who are serving him at present whether they are Christians or infidels who became Christians. Let him not forget that he will have to render a strict account to divine justice concerning what he leaves, as I said in the first part on folio 7.[95] With regard to what remains, let him leave things in such a way that we will have no reason to be concerned or upset or complain and he will have no reason to shed tears in the next world.

Guideline 8. This deals with how the person who is dying ought to yield to the divine will by enduring and suffering death freely and by spontaneously uniting himself to the will of God without complaining about God

7010 Because it is more likely that the ancient enemy will be there at the hour of death than he was in the rest of his entire life, [589] in order to trick him by what he suggests and to take his soul by force as it says in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse: Vae terrae et mari, quia descendit diabolus ad vos, habens iram magnum, sciens quod modicum tempus habet’ (Rev 12:12: Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time)[96] this means that he will use all his cunning and craftiness to harm and inflict injury in the short time that heads up to death, and extend all of his claws to grab the soul as soon as it leaves the body and drag it off.

This is the main way in which our enemy usually comes from hell in order to prompt our memory to dwell on the prospect of a long life. This is how he instigates sadness and melancholy over having to leave the gift of the present life and bring an end to enjoying as we did while we are still young and youthful and were at a productive age, whereas now, as if we are old, we are about to lose this beauty and well-being. He uses these and similar thoughts to being on despair. Next our enemy lures the sick person with similar considerations until the sick person begins to complain about the divine decree that he has to die, and to complain about the cruelty of God and his lack of compassion, saying that he is a severe judge, who would gladly command that he depart from here and so turning away from what God wants the person dies grudgingly.

7011 However, you ought to fortify [590] the mind of the sick person against the dangerous suggestions of the enemy and, first of all, help him be determined not to oppose what God wants, nor to act like a rebel, but to submit promptly and freely to willingly embracing all that divine providence has ordained. Secondly, help him to give thanks to his divine creator who controlled so much of his life in giving him more than he gave to others, such as children and grandchildren, who love him and treat him kindly, in making him live for such a long time so that he could practice the virtues and perform good works to make up for his sins and make satisfaction through suffering. This has not been granted to everybody and is due to a boundless gift of grace. Thirdly, the sick person should feel very indebted to God that he is not being taken from this life by a sudden and unprovided death, but has been given a short period of moderate suffering by way of a message that death is coming so that he could provide for its arrival.

7012 A young person who is confronted with the end of life should give glory and thanks to God who is taking him out of this dangerous life in good time before he was enticed to commit sin by the lures of this world and thus become wicked, which could have happened had he lived [591] a long life when he might have lost both his soul and his body. This is what is said in chapter 4 of the Book of Wisdom; Iustus si morte praeoccupatus fuerit, in refigerio erit. Senectus enim venerabilis est, non diuturna, neque annorum numero computata. Cani autem sunt sensus hominis et aetas senectutis vita immaculata. Placens Deo factus dilectus et vivens inter peccatores translatus est. Raptus est ne militia mutatet intellectum eius, aut ne fictio deciperet animam illius. Fascinatio enim nugacitatis obscurat bona. Et inconstantia concupiscentiae transvertit sessum. Sine militia consummates in brevis explevit tempora multa, Placita enim erat Deo anima illus. Propter hoc properavit educere illum de medio iniquitatum. (Wis 4:7-13: But the just man, if he is stopped by death, shall be at rest. For, venerable age is not that of long time, not counted by the number of years, but the understanding of a man is grey hairs. And a spotless life is old age. He pleased God, and was beloved, and living among sinners, he was taken away from them. He was taken away, lest wickedness should alter his insight, or deceit beguile his soul. For the bewitching of vanity hides what is good, and the wandering of concupiscence darkens the innocent mind. Being made perfect in a short space, he endured for a long time. For his soul pleased God so he hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquities.)[97] For a child or a young person who was being called by God from this life these words must have been a comfort and a consolation. Before he could be corrupted by vice he was being called to be saved. His life and death meant salvation for his soul though his body had to suffer in the short time he had to live.

7013 Do those who are innocent lose any grace or holiness by confessing Christ morendo et non loquendo[98] or questioning him? Was it unfortunate for St Agnes, who suffered in the thirteenth year of her life, [592] to lose her bodily life and find eternal life? Was it not the same for many martyrs, confessors and virgins who died in a physical way during their tender years but were born to life in heaven? The one and only Saviour of us all calls us into the next life at whatever age he pleases. If we try to rebut or disobey his command, whether we like it or not, do we not still have to obey?

Because of this let us willingly accept what we do not want to happen and thus convert what is inevitable into being a virtue and a great prize. Let us leave this life willingly while saying along with holy Job: Si vitam de manu Domini suscepimus, morten etiam quare non substineamus? Dominus dedit vitam, Dominus vitam abstulit, sicut Domino placuit, ita factum est. Sit nomen Domini benedictum; (Job 1:24; 2:10: If we have accepted life from the hand of God, why do we not also accept death? The Lord gave life, and the Lord takes life away, as it pleases him, so let it be done. Blessed be the name of the Lord.)[99] Let us always say what the Our Father says: Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra. (Mt 6:10: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.)[100] Let us say what St Martin the Bishop said when he saw his disciples crying because of his death: “O Lord, if I am still of use to your people, I do not refuse the work. May your will be done.”[101] [593]

Guideline 9. Concerning the patience and willingness with which a dying person should appropriately endure the sufferings with which he is being tormented

7014 Because the enemy could not find anyone in hell who was willing to complain against God, he tempts the sick person with a second variety of trickery by causing the person to become impatient about the excessive amount of his sufferings. He has a bad headache. He has pains in his stomach and in all the other members of his body and he might say with Isaias; A planta pedis usque ad verticem capitis non est in eo sanitas. (Is 1:6: From the sole of the foot to the top of the head, there is nothing that is healthy.)[102] Then the enemy forces him to suffer great melancholy and, as if it were a friendly gesture, makes him feel sorry for his body which is suffering so much for no good reason, all of which he thinks is irrational and intolerable. After this the enemy forces him to feel indignation and impatience accompanied with continual outbursts of anger stirring and provoking him to complain and to curse God, whom he thinks is being cruel, unjust and unmerciful in giving him so much to torment him when nobody deserves to be treated that badly. It is necessary to arm the sick person [594] again these tricks with the sword and amour of patience, so the he will not be seduced by the tricks and fetters of the devil.

7015 As if he had been speaking to his apostles and to us as those who are called Christians, Christ, the true teacher of heavenly discipline, often said in chapter 21 of Luke: In patientia vestra possibebitis animas vestras; (Lk 21:19: In your patience you shall possess your souls.);[103] in chapter 10 of St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews; Patientia vobis necessaria est; (Heb 10:36: Patience is necessary for you;)[104] or chapter 17 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus: vasa figuli probat fornax et homines iustos tentation tribulationis. (Sir 27:6: The furnace tests the potter’s vessels, and the trial of affliction men who are just.) [105] In chapter 12 of his Second Letter to the Corinthians St Paul says, Datus est mihi stimulus carnis meae angelus sathanae qui me colaphizet, ut non extoller; propter quod ter Dominum rogavi ut discederet a me; et dixit mihi: sufficit tibi gratia mea. Nam virtus in infirmitate perficitur. (2 Cor 12:7-9: There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me, so that I would not boast. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity.)[106] In chapter 4 of the same Letter he says: Id enim quod in praesenti est momentaneum et in leve trubulationis nostrae, supra modum in sublimitate aeternum gloriae pondus operator in nobis; (2 Cor 4:17: For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation works for us above measure, exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;)[107] and in chapter 12 of the Letter to the Hebrews we read: Omnis autem disciplina in praesenti quidem videtur non esse gaudii, sed maeroris; postea autem fructum peccatissimm exercitatis per eam reddex iustitiae. (Heb 12:11: Now all chastisement for the present indeed seems not to bring with it joy, but sorrow; but afterwards it will yield to them that are exercised by it the most peaceful fruit of justice.)[108]

For certain the disturbance and bitterness that comes before death is part of the generous correction that God has imposed on us to assist us with gaining our salvation. Although this was not widely acknowledged, it was stated in the Letter to the Hebrews chapter 12, the Book of Proverbs chapter 3 and the Apocalypse chapter 3 where it is said: Obliti estis consolationis quae fatigeris dum ab eo argueris. Quem enim diligit Dominus, castigat; flagellat autem omnem filium quem recipit. (Heb 12:5-6; Prov 3:11-12; Rev 3:19: You have forgotten the consolation and become weary while being rebuked by him. Whoever the Lord chastises he loves; he scourges every son whom he has.)[109] To find an example of this go the Book of Job chapter 2, who when he was afflicted by serious wounds, sat in ashes and scraped himself with a potsherd after he had lost his belongs and his children. Look at the holy martyrs who were afflicted with the greatest pains and sorrows, but who rejoiced later because by means of this they received what the Apostle describes in chapter 8 of his Letter to the Romans: Non enim sunt condignae passions huius temporis ad futurum gloriam quae revelabitur in nobis. (Rm 8:18: The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.)[110]

Guideline 10. The sick person should not be worried or upset at leaving his possession behind nor at relinquishing worldly pleasures and glory

7016 When the ancient enemy has seen that he cannot conquer the sick person by suggesting that he become impatient, he causes him to experience inner sadness and depression by reminding him of the pleasures that he has to forego [596] and of the things that gave him sensual delight and that his body is now being deprived of its usual pleasures, and that he is about to lose the work and the wealth that he earned with great sweat and labour, his honours and titles and the benefits and positions that he obtained after making such a great effort, and how he has to leave the good things he enjoyed in his young days to someone else.

The sick person should not feel that this is difficult or unjust. He should return what he borrowed to the one from whom he borrowed it. Our soul lives dressed in the garment of the body which we have received from God with this stipulation that when the garment of the soul, that is the body, becomes worn out because of age, sickness or anything else, it has to be given back,[111] and then it will be returned to the same dust from which it was made by decaying and decomposing in the grave. This law is sure, and it applies to everyone. Because of this Psalm 145 says: Exibit spiritus eius et revertetur in terram suam, in illa die peribunt omnes cogitations eotum. (Ps 146:4: His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return to his earth: in that day all their thought shall perish.)[112] Thus, a person should not be upset at this loss at the end, which is not because of any fault of his nor should he regard it as being unjust or wicked, because this bodily garment was given on loan and has to be returned to its owner, the Lord. To refuse to give it back or to cause it to be taken by force would be going against the will of God.

2017 In the same way God allows us to have wealth so that we may enjoy it and distribute it provided that when the period of our temporal administration is over, we allocate and leave it to others who, in turn, will distribute it prudently and honestly because we cannot take any assets or temporal things from here. What we have at present is meant to be distributed, as I said above in the fifth guideline. In chapter one of his book Job reminded us of this obligation: Nudus egressus sum de ventre matris meae, et nudus revetar illae. (Job 1:21: Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.)[113] In chapter 5 of the Book of Ecclesiastes it says: Sicut egressus est nudus de utero matris suae, sic revertetur et nihil aufert secum de labore suo. (Eccles 5:14: As he came forth naked from his mother’s womb, so shall he return, and shall take nothing away with him of his labour.)[114] In chapter 6 of his First Letter to Timothy St Paul confirms this: Nihil intulimus in hunc mundum, haud dubium quia nec auferre quid possimus. (1 Tim 6:7: For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly, we can carry nothing out.)[115] Because of this, seeing that our time for distributing our wealth and the goods at our disposal and sharing them with others has been set down, it will end at the moment of our death, because we then shall have to reluctantly relinquish the office of administrating its distribution which we have carried out with anxiety, dispute and contention.

7018 If we want to take what we have not earned and carry it over to the other side, we shall be immediately convicted of being unjust [598] because of taking what we had not been given us and carrying it off. If we desire to live for a long time in this world in order to distribute it, we are showing that we are temerarious and insolent in that we want to distribute temporal goods more than God wants us to distribute them, although we have received them from him. It is certain that the administration and distribution of temporal goods is a heavy and dangerous burden not only because it can kill the body, but also because it may kill the soul because there are many who because of an exaggerated desire for wealth incur many disasters and fall into the grip of the temptations of the devil. In chapter 6 of his First Letter to Timothy the apostle Paul says: Qui voluit divites fieri, incident in tentationem et in laquem diaboli et desideria multa inutilia et nociva quae merunt homines in interitum et perditionem. (1 Tim 6:9: For they who will become rich fall into temptation and into the snare of the devil and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.)[116] Why do we wish that such a heavy burden be imposed on our shoulders when it is often more dangerous than helpful? Why not more readily give thanks to God who is freeing us from the great and dangerous burden of administration through the arrival of death?

7019 Our ignorance and lack of prudence is amazing. When God is offering us the opportunity to be thankful, [599] we go in the opposite direction, with our minds being blinded and full of regret as if we had been hurt. Therefore, since everybody knows that the possession of this world’s transitory goods is of no use after death, why do we not aspire to the riches that cannot be taken away, or stolen, or destroyed by fire, that is the virtues of the soul and her works which, if we possess them, will make us happy and followers of our patrons? In Psalm 36 the Prophet tells us what to do while we have the time: Custodi innocentiam et vide acquitatem, quoniam sunt reliquiae homini pacifico. (Ps 37:37: Keep innocence, and behold justice, for the future of these is peace for men.)[117] The Prophet uses the word reliquiae to signify the virtues that accompany a person after death. That person loved them in this life and now they intercede for him.

Because of this in chapter 6 of the Gospel according to Matthew Christ has something to say about these true riches: Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesaurus in terra, ubi aerugo et tinea demolitur et ubi fures effodiunt et furantur. Thesaurizate autem vobis thesaurus in coelo, ubi nec aerugo, nec tinea demolitur et ubi fures non effodiunt, nec furantur. (Mt 6:19-20: Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither rust nor moth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.)[118] In chapter 6 of the First Letter to Timothy we read: Divitibus hu [600]ius saeculi praecipite non sublime sapere, nec sperare in incerto divitiarum, sed in Deo vivo qui praestat nobis omnia abunde ad fruendum, bene agere; divites fueri bonis operibus, facile tribuere; communicare, thesaurizare sibi fundamentum bonum in futurum, ut apprehendans bonum vitam. (1 Tim 6:17-19: Charge the rich of this world not to be high-minded nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living God, who gives us abundantly all things to enjoy. To do good, to be rich in good work, to give comfortably, to share with others. To lay up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may hold onto the true life.)[119] But if he finds himself naked and void of these things, he will sincerely regret his negligence in not knowing that this had to happen, not having loved like this in his past life, for not having recourse to the merciful Father of the Prodigal Son and asking him to adorn his soul with true riches, that is with virtues.

Guideline 11. The sick person should dismiss all doubts concerning the Christian faith that the ancient enemy presents to him and firmly persist in adhering to the Catholic faith

7020 When the ancient enemy has given up hope of conquering the sick person by means of the above methods, he comes up with another more dangerous tactic by provoking those who are inquisitive to want to delve by means of human reasoning into what they believe in through faith. To achieve this, he suggests and presents them with many doubts concerning the basis [601] of Christianity, which is faith, so as to at least make (accapare)[120] the sick person have doubts through the use of sophisms, so that later on he may be easily led to reject the faith and ruin the spiritual mixture of virtues that works for the purification of the soul. In conjunction with other virtues, faith brings the work of salvation to its conclusion. Faith is so necessary that if it is lacking it is impossible for anyone to be saved. In chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews the Apostle confirms this: Sine fide impossibile est placere Deo. (Heb 11:6: Without faith it is impossible to please God.)[121] In the third chapter of St John’s Gospel we read; Qui non credit, iam iudicatus est. (Jn 3:18: He who does not believe is already judged.)[122]

The devil never ceases to set various, hidden traps in order to destroy the foundations of faith, or at least to undermine the strength of such foundations by employing his usual tricks and suggesting difficult questions regarding the mysteries of faith that involve the Blessed Trinity, predestination, the divine Incarnation and the most holy Sacrament of Communion. He raises difficult questions in the soul which make it hard to believe and impossible to comprehend as far as human experience is concerned. Using sophistry, he entices hatred for truth [602] which soon makes things look different from what we believe they are. Sometimes he brings on disputes and disruptive discussions and after these have caused damage, he raises questions about the truth of some beliefs or how are they to be believed. These tricks serve no other purpose than to tire someone out and to lead him to uncertainty about things that are the bases of the faith and to have doubts concerning things that nobody is allowed to doubt. In this way he leads the person to lose everything.

7021 However, by dismissing and rejecting all discussions, ambiguity and doubts about the faith, the Sacraments and the matters mentioned above, the fearless and strong Christian who is plagued by temptation will not argue the point about matters that were put before him by way of a trick. If he had thought about these disturbing matters, they would certainly have led him into error and doubt. Whereas now they will not disturb him or cause him to hesitate about what constitutes the Catholic faith. Thus, the sick person is able to dismiss these arguments and queries concerning our faith with one remedy and publicly profess all that Holy Church has commanded and decreed should be believed as thousands of saintly martyrs [603], confessors and virgins have done with earnest steadfastness at their death. Then so that his determination can be known, he will publicly recite a short version of the Creed and armed with that he will reject the devil and dismiss him and very eloquently profess the delicate points of the faith.

Having done this he will very humbly ask for help from God to preserve and strengthen his faith to such an extent that it will not be taken away either by the craftiness or trickery of the enemy, nor by straying either to the left or to the right from the narrow path of the faith at the suggestion of the father of lies, nor abandon the royal road and travel along the twisted paths near the precipices. The Apostles speak about this. In chapter 17 in the Gospel according to Luke it says: Domine, adage nobis fidem, (Lk 17:5: Lord, increase our faith,) and in chapter 9 of the Gospel according to Matthew we read where it reports the words of the father of the lunatic: credo, Domine, adiuva incredulitatem meam. (Mt 9:23: I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.)[123] If the devil returns to tempt him again let him cry out with Ezekiel: Domine, vim patior, responde per me. Quid dicam, aut quid respondebo, cum ipse fecerim. (Is 38:14-15: Lord, I suffer violence, answer for me, what shall I say, he himself has done it.)[124] The Lord, who will never abandon his faithful ones in time of need, sends his help as St Paul said in chapter 10 of his First Letter to the Corinthians: Fidelis est Deus, qui non patietur vos tentari supa id quod potestis, sed faciet etiam cum tentatione proventum, ut possitis substinere. (1 Cor 10:13: God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.)[125]

7022 Stay away from investigating and enquiring about the most veiled mysteries of faith, such as predestination, foreknowledge and free will, and arguments concerning why God created man when he knew from all eternity that he would die in his sinfulness and malice. Do not be worried over why God created the angels when he knew that some would fall because of their pride and unrepentance, or why he told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as he knew that he would disobey, or other things like that. Such discussions are not concerned with becoming educated but are undertaken to destabilize and destroy the soul. The wise man says in chapter 25 of the Book of Proverbs: Sicut qui mel multum comedit, non est et bonum, sic qui scrutator est maiestatis, opprimetur a gloria. (Prov 25:27: As it is not good for a man to eat much honey, so he that is a searcher of majesty, shall be overwhelmed by glory.)[126] In chapter 7 on the Book of Ecclesiastes it says: Quid necesse est homini maiora se quaerere, cum ignorat quid conducat sibi in vita sua, numero dierum peregrinationis suae, aut tempore quod velut umbra praeteriit? Aut quis et poterit indicare quid post eum futurum sit sub sole? (Eccles 7:1: Why does a man need to seek things that are above him, when he knows not what is profitable for him in this life, in all the days of his pilgrimage, and the time that passes like a shadow? Or who can tell him what shall be after him under the sun?)[127] Chapter 3 in the Book of Ecclesiasticus says: Altiora te ne quaesieris, et fortiora te ne scrutatus fueris, sed quae tibi praecepit Deus, illa cogita sem [605] per et in pluribus operibus eius ne fueris curiosus. Non est enim tibi necessarium ea, quae abscondita sunt, videre oculis tuis; in supervacuis rebus noli scrutari multipliciter et in pluribus eius operibus ne fueris curiosus. Plurima enim super sensum hominis ostensa sunt tibi. Multos enim supplantavit suspitio illorum et in vanitate detinuit sensus illorum. (Sir 3:22-26: Seek not the things that are too high for you, and search not into things above your ability, but the things that God has commanded, think on them always, and be not curious about many of his works. For it is not necessary for you to see with your eyes those things that are hidden. In unnecessary matters be not over curious and about many of his works be not inquisitive for many things are shown to you that are above the understanding of men. And suspicion about them has deceived many and detained their minds in vanity.)[128]

7023 It is amazing how God cries out in the chapter 24 of the Book of Isaiah: Secretum meum mihi, secretum meum mihi, (Is 24:16: My secret is mine, my secret is mine,)[129] and in Psalm 35: Quod iudicia Domini abyssus multa, (Ps 36:7: Thy judgements are a great deep,)[130] and in chapter 11 of his Letter to the Romans St Paul says: O altitude divitiarum sapientiae Dei, quam incomprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius et investigabiles viae eius. Quis enim cognoscit sensum Domini, aut quis consiliarius eius fuit? Aut quis prior dedit illi et retribueretur ei? (Rom 11:33-36: O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgements, and how unsearchable his ways? For who knows the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?)[131] Chapter 19 in the Book of Exodus says: In lege praeceptum esse quod bestia quae tetigerit montem, lapidibus obduratur. (Ex 19:12-13: The law laid down that any beast that touched the mountain should be stoned to death.)[132] Concerning those who have no fear of putting a foot on the lofty mountain of God’s judgements, St Paul says in chapter 2 of his First Letter to the Corinthians: quod carnalis homo non percipi ea quae Dei sunt. (1 Cor 2:14: The sensual man does not perceive the things of God.)[133]

This is how the devil approaches educated men who, during their life, were accustomed to engaging in discussions that questioned predestination, God’s foreknowledge and similar matters and, now when they come to die, he disturbs them in various ways by presenting different questions [606] and problems that were a concern to them during their lifetime, questioning them if they were one of those whom God had predestined or one of those who had been condemned. The devil keeps his tricks hidden so that he can snatch the soul. He never ceases to attack until he has captured it in his noose or net, unless help arrives by way of the activity of divine mercy, especially as the devil is trying in a subtle way to rob the strength from our soul in order to break our resistance and become the victor.

7024 However, for those who passed through life with simple faith and did not try to know what God did not want us to know and had kept hidden, because they did not want to know about these things during their life, the devil will not bother them now that they are about to die. No matter how much they are being bothered, God will not allow them to be overcome. Because of this the devil, when they are about to die, pesters the hearts of those who were concerned about such things while they were alive, more that those who were not concerned about them. For the same reason, never talk about wealth, [607] beauty, education, honours, children and relatives in the presence of somebody who is dying so that it will not provide the devil with the opportunity to bother the person about such things. Simply speak about the mercy of God and about dying in God’s grace.[134]

Guideline 12. At the end the sick person should never despair about the mercy of God, either because of the sins that he has committed, nor because of the evil life he has lived

7025 When the enemy cannot lead the sick person to doubt the articles of the faith, he will try another trick, he will try to make him lose hope of being saved because of his evil and wicked life, because he had not carried out his resolution of doing real not false penance, making him remember all his serious sins and the wicked acts he had committed and the good things that he had failed to do for the good of his soul. When he committed these things, he made it seem to be nothing, or that they were venial sins. Now at the hour of his death he thinks that it would be easier to measure the ocean that to count the number of his sins. While he was alive, he cut the number in half and did not consider that it was any higher. [608] It is now too late to calculate them, or to do penance as the tongue can no longer function and death is approaching, and his misdeeds do not deserve to be forgiven or remitted, according to what the Gospel says: Si vis ad vitam ingredi, serva mandata. (Mt 19:17: If you wish to enter life, keep the commandments.)[135] In view of this he is convinced that there is no hope of receiving mercy, or of asking God for forgiveness since he cannot obtain it.

7026 This boundless, dangerous precipice of despair should be counteracted by the consideration of the infinite possibilities of God’s mercy, which is a wide ocean with no end or limit. Therefore, no matter how great the number of our sins is, etiam (even) if they stretched from the beginning of the world to the day of judgement, with serious sins being committed every day every moment, all of them could be forgiven and their punishment removed, because God’s mercy cannot be measured,[136] since it is infinite, endless and incalculable similar to a great endless cascade of cool water that no matter how much is poured out it will never be enough to stop the flow.

This is what the abundant [609] fountain of divine mercy is like. It always abundantly spills the grace of his generosity on people, and it never stops flowing abundantly, nor does it diminish, and it is like the sun that sheds its light every day on the whole world without any loss or reduction of its brilliance. For certain this spiritual sun which illuminates everyone who comes into the world[137] is the sun that contains the wealth of his grace which he shares generously with men, lavishly spreading the splendour of his mercy, without lessening the light. Therefore, I beg whoever does not hurry to approach this light so that he can wash away his sins, whether mortal or venial, in this fountain to jump in and wash himself completely, when he is chased by dogs from hell in order to drive him to despair, so that he may receive mercy from that source because it is available to all who ask. He will then find peace, enjoy happiness and share in the mercy that never turns anyone away.

7027 In chapter 7 of the Gospel according to Luke, Mary Magdalene, who was a sinner, went to the Lord, who is the flowing fountain, while she was shedding a quantity of tears and obtained the forgiveness of her sins. It says that [610] she left in peace.[138] Following his third denial, St Peter had recourse to the abundant spring shedding bitter tears in order to wash away the stain of the sin that he had committed.[139] The thief who was hanging on the cross had recourse to this spring and merited to hear: Hodie mecum eris in paradiso. (Jn 23:43: Today you shall be with me in paradise.)[140] As we read in the lives of the saints, Mary of Egypt, and many other sinners, received mercy, because here we have a gushing spring of water for everyone that surges towards eternal life.[141]

We are gently invited to share in this where it says: Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos. Si quis sitit veniat ad me et bibat. Omnes sitientes venite a aquas. (Mt 11:28; Jn 7:37; Is 55:1: Come to me all of you labour and are overburdened, and I shall give you rest. If you are thirsty come to me and drink. All you who thirst, come to the waters.)[142] In chapter 18 of the Book of Ezekiel we can see just how prepared and ready God is to show mercy to everyone when it says: Numquid voluntatis meae est mors inpii, dicit Dominus Deus, et non ut convertatur a viis suis et vivat? (Ezek 18:23: Is it ever my will that a sinner should die, says the Lord God, and not be converted from his ways and live?).[143] It says in the same place: Convertimini et agite poenitentiam ab omnibus iniquitatibus vestris et non erit vobis in ruinam iniquitas. Et quare moriemini domus Israel? Quia nolo mortem morientis, dicit Dominus Deus. Revertimini et vivite. (Ezek 18:30-32: Turn away and do penance for all your iniquities and your iniquity will not lead to ruin. Why do you want to die, O house of Israel? I do not want you to die, says the Lord God. Return and you shall live.)[144] In chapter 3 of the Book of Jeremiah it says: Tu autem formicata es cum amatoribus multis; tamen revertere ad me, dicit Dominus et ego suscipiam te. (Jer 3:1b: You have prostituted yourself to many lovers: nevertheless, return to me, says the Lord, and I will receive you.)[145] It says [611] in chapter 33 of the Book of Ezekiel: Quacumque hora peccator conversus fuerit, vita vivet et non morietur. Quia non venit vocare iustos, sed peccatores. (Ezek 33;14-15; Mt 9:13; Mk 2:17: Whenever the sinner returns, he shall live and shall not die. For I have not come to call the just, but sinners.)[146] This is why he took your place on the cross with his arms wide open to embrace you, with his mouth open to kiss you with a kiss of peace and with his feet nailed to wait for you. Because of this, while the soul remains in the body, it can do penance and be converted to the Lord by means of genuine, not false, contrition.

7028 Nevertheless, it would be difficult for someone who has become accustomed to sinning over a long period of time during his entire life, to experience a fruitful conversion at the moment of death, even though God could cause this to happen. However, because it is difficult it should not be postponed till the last minute. When commenting on the chapter headed Si quis potius in Graziano’s Decree De penitentia, St Augustine has this to say,[147] and it can also be read on folio 111:[148] Nullus expectet agere paenitentiam, quando amplius peccare non potest. Arbitrii enim quaerat libertatem, ut delere possit commissa, non neccessitate. Qui prius itaque a peccatis relinquitur, quam ipse relinauat ea, non libere, sed quasi in fine de omni crimine, non tamen dedit baptizatis peccandi et perseverandi authoritatem.[149] However, Graziano says in the same place that even if the sinner’s conversion takes place at the last minute, he should not despair of having his sins forgiven. However, because this is rare and almost not a real conversion and considering that it is sickness that has brought it on, there is some risk in a late conversion if the sick person is motivated by fear of punishment and when it would be difficult to make satisfaction for what was done and pressure is being applied on him by the family and friends who are present.

Still God is powerful and wants to be kind to those whom he loves especially at the time of their death and the inspiration to do penance does not come from men but from God, out of his mercy he can forgive them when he wishes even when justice would have seen them condemned. Thus, the opportunity should not be greeted with deaf ears and we should listen to what is said in chapter 3 of Jeremiah: Misericordiae Domini, quia non summus consumpti, quia non defecerunt miserationes eius. (Lam 3:22: The mercies of the Lord are not consumed, because his compassion cannot fail.)[150]

Guideline 13. At the moment of death nobody can be satisfied with having a clear conscience about having lived his past life in accord with the virtues, nor pride himself at having exercised a particular virtue

7029 The devil does not plunge those who have lived a life of evil, and wickedness and depravity in the past, into a state of depression or reduce them to having doubts about the faith. He adopts another method of attack that is quite different, he buffets them with the strong wind of pride, lifting them up in order to cast them down into more serious error. To do this he presents them with secret hidden propositions in which he praises them for loving virtue and righteousness, especially during their illness, for what they have innocently endured in this life without complaining, for their generosity towards the poor in their moment of need and for their humble regard for God, for the proper and irreprehensible life they have lived, a life resplendent with virtue and worthy of praise, even happily enduring the present illness as though they had endured such adversity to please God in word and deed [614] and other similar deeds of virtue. Therefore, they deserve to be given the kingdom of heaven. They are already standing in front of the open gates of heaven ready to enter through them after their death. Because of this they feel pleased that they have endured all kinds of adversity and are worthy because of their exceedingly good life for the angels to take them by the hand and lead them to their room where they will be honoured with heavenly applause.

This is what the ancient serpent proposes as he tries to lift a man up to the pinnacle of the temple so that he can violently throw him down from the high point and from that height into hell. We ought to arm ourselves against all of the enemy’s tricks by having the love of God take possession of our heart, by thinking of his future judgement that is about to take place when all our deeds are to be reviewed and consider what the holy Church says in the sequence during the Mass for the Dead:

What shall I, poor wretch, say,
Which patron shall I entreat,
When even the just can hardly be sure?

7030 Moved by fear, remember what the Sacred Scripture says in chapter 15 of the Book of Proverbs: Declinat omnis a malo. (Prov 15:27: Everyone turns away from evil.)[151] In chapter 25 of Ecclesiasticus we read: Si non timore Domini teneris te instanter, cito subvertetur domus tua, (Sir 27:4: Unless you hold yourself diligently in the fear of the Lord, your house shall quickly be overthrown,)[152] and in chapter 9 of the Book of Ecclesiastes: Neminem scire an amore vel odio dignus sit. (Eccles 9:1: No man knows if he is worthy of love or hatred.)[153] Nobody ought to consider [615] himself to be one of the members of the elect by trusting in his virtues, but be afraid in the sight of God of being honestly judged to belong to the crowd of the damned, as it says in the first part of folio 111.[154] Nobody ought to think that because his conscience does not reproach him that he is regarded as just in the sight of God. In his First Letter to the Corinthians St Paul says: Nihil mihi conscius sum, sed non in hoc iustificatus sum. (1 Cor 4:4a: I am not conscious to myself of anything. Yet I am not hereby justified.)[155]

Because of this a person is frightened of the scrutiny by the divine judge in which many of his deeds will be evil which he presumed to be good and acceptable to the divine Majesty. In the Scriptures we read in chapter 14 of the Book of Proverbs: Est via quae videtur homini iusta, novissima autem eius deducunt ad mortem. (Prov 14:12: There is a way that seems just to man, but in the end, it leads to death.)[156] This confirms what is said in chapter 9 of the Book of Job: De Deo rerum omnium conditore, quantus ergo sum ego, ut respondebo et loquar verbis meis cum eo? Qui etiam si habuero quippiam iustum, non respondebo, sed meum iudicem deprecabor; si iustificare me voluero, os meum condemnabit me; si innocentem ostendero, pravum me comprobabit. Etiam si simplex fuero, hoc ipsum ignorabit anima mea. (Job 9P14-15, 20-21: Who am I then, that I should answer God who make everything and have words with him? Although I was innocent, I could not answer him. I would beg mercy of my judge, and see if he would have mercy on me; although I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me. Though I were blameless, it would prove nothing. Even if I were innocent, I do not know myself.)[157] Remember that nobody can judge his own case and assess its reward. This is why St Paul said in chapter4 of his First Letter to the Corinthians: Qui enim iudicat me, [616] Dominus est; (1 Cor 4:4b: It is the Lord who judges me)[158]; and in chapter 10: Qui se existimat stare, videat me cadat, (1 Cor 10:12: whoever thinks that he is standing, should be careful that he is not falling,)[159] because of vain glory. In chapter 6 of his Letter to the Galatians he wrote: Nam qui se existimat aliquid esse, cum nihil sit, ipse se seducit. (Gal 6:3: If a man thinks himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he is deceiving himself.)[160] We read in chapter 5 of the Book of Isaiah: Vae qui sapientes estis in oculis vestris, et coram vobismetipsis prudentes, (Is 5:21: Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes,)[161] and in chapter 5 of the Letter to the Romans: Nolite esse prudentes apud vosmetipsos. (Rom 12:16b: Do not be wise in your own opinion.)[162]

7031 In much the same way chapter 15 in the First Book of Kings speaks about Saul’s pride: Cum esses parvulus in oculis tuis, caput in tribubus Israel factus est, (1 Kgs 17:12: when you were small in your own eyes, you were made head of the tribes of Israel,)[163] as if to say “When you were regarded as being a child, I, who am the greatest of all, made you into being someone; now that you think that you are great, I think of you as if you were a child.” Doing just the opposite, David belittled his kingship by leaping in the presence of the Ark of the Lord saying: “I shall dance and make myself worse than ever and demean myself in my eyes.”[164] Thus, to ward off the danger of vainglory and the very wicked and serious sins that he had previously committed, as the means of doing sufficient penance to atone for them, he called to mind the warning that was issued in chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus that says: De propitiato peccato noli esse sine metu, (Sir 5:5: be not without fear about sins forgiven,)[165] and in chapter 28 of the Book of Proverbs: Beatus homo qui semper est pavidus; (Prov 28:14: blessed is the man who is always fearful;)[166] and in chapter 3 of the Letter of St James: Quod in multis offendimus omnes. (Jm 3:2: in many things we all offend). We can conclude from what we have just seen that there can be no reason [617] for a person to think that his actions are acceptable to God because some evil thought might be concealed in his mind or have been put out of his mind but carried out later on and God will not accept this.

For certain many think that what they are doing is offering a sacrifice to God, but they are mistaken, and they are offending God. Because of this we must not congratulate ourselves for our actions since among them there may be something that is wrong because we have been negligent or afraid. Therefore, we can join with Isaiah when he says: quod facti summus immundi omnes, et quasi pannus mestruatae universae iustitiae nostrae. (Is 64:6: We are all become as one unclean, and all our just deeds as the rag of menstruation.)[167] Because of this the sick person ought to abandon relying on his good actions and rely on God’s mercy and place his confidence in that to bring about his salvation.

Guideline 14. The fear of death and the immortality of the soul and apprehension about imminent judgement as this is presented by the devil as he wants to combat divine mercy and try to make it seem futile

7032 In addition to this, our adversary uses another lance and new weapons to overcome the sick person who [618] is passing from this world by causing him to experience uneasiness about death. Nature recoils from death and drags him away from facing it since what it sees in the mirror is alarming. The enemy turns his mind away from his situation making him think of other things that are much worse, such as terror and fear of the final judgement that will occur when he leaves this life and when during the examination that he will undergo he will have to give an account for all that he did in the past by way of deed, thought or omission, and account for all the talents that God gave him every moment of his life that he lost by misusing them. He will then have to await the irrevocable sentence of life or death, from which there is no appeal; it will last for eternity without any hope of it being removed.

Our enemy will suggest all of these things to the one who is dying. While the person was in full life his enemy would have kept them out of the person’s mind, not allowing him to think about them so that they would not stop him from freely sinning or frighten him when he had sinned. He puts such things before his mind’s eye while he is sick and worried so that he can startle him and fill him with anxiety and make him reluctant and cold-hearted about dying.

7033 To combat these temptations of the enemy it is necessary to fortify the sick person with weapons that equip him to cast off these diabolical manoeuvres. These weapons include the exercise of stable and correct reasoning which will show that there is nothing frightening about death since it is a universal law that applies to everyone that lives under the orbit of the moon and who, following a momentary existence of a short space of time, must undergo death and be obliged to suffer the putrefying corruption of his mortal flesh. Thus, it is not something unusual, or contrary to our nature when corruption comes about because it is non solum (not only) imposed on us as a heavy burden, but something that comes to every person, no matter how illustrious or noble he is, for the same lot awaits all.

Thus, our life is like the life of a sailor, because those who are at sea, whether they are standing, sitting or tied down are carried where the boat is going, and, in a similar way, we are being carried [620] each day, whether we are awake or asleep, standing still or walking, whether we like it or not, to our end, that is death, which is the end of our imprisonment, a conclusion or rather an arrival at a gate, the end of a journey, the unloading of a very heavy burden, dismounting from a wild horse, rescue from a ruined house, the end of all sickness and escape from all danger, the termination of all that is evil and an entrance into glory. Therefore, who in all honesty could be afraid of this? How could something that brings so many good things and benefits upset us? Many martyrs, confessors and virgins worked very hard because they wanted to win these goods and benefits.

If someone were to ask us if death were a good or bad thing, we should reply that this depends on how we have been living. For someone who has lived a virtuous life, death will be a good thing. It will be something that is miserable for those who have lived in sin and wickedness. The kind of death we are to experience is based on our past life. For someone who spent their life in serving God and living a religious way of life, death will not be something that is evil, because it will mean moving on into immortal life. For someone who has spent his life in committing sin, it will be something that is evil [621], because it will mean moving on into eternal punishment. Regarding this subject see above in the second guideline.[168]

Let us move on to the next temptation, which is concerned with discussing the divine judgement. Given that the time when he must leave the world is pressing upon him, he begins to feel anxious and afraid because when he considers how fresh and fruitful his life was, how safe and robust when he was free from the problems of illness, it is only right that he now becomes frightened and thinks about what James said: Ecce iudex ante ianuam adsit. (Jas 5:9b: Behold the judge is at the door).[169] When we think of this we should judge and examine ourselves each day and condemn ourselves so that we can escape from God’s judgement as we say what the Apostle says in chapter 11 of his First Letter to the Corinthians: Quod si nos Ipsos diiudicaremus, non iudicaremur. (1 Cor 11:3: But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.)[170]

7035 Therefore, I readily admit that we ought to be afraid of the day of judgement, not only the judgement that will take place at the end of the world, which will be the general judgement for all, but also the judgement that will take place at the time of our death because it is then that each person will receive the final sentence that will last forever and which cannot be changed [622], and which will be confirmed on the day of the last judgement and ratified by public proclamation. Those who pass from this life should certainly fear this day of judgement because the situation in which they find themselves at that time is how they will be judged for eternity as is stated in chapter 18 by the Prophet Ezekiel: Cum enim averterit se iustus a iustitia sua et fecerit iniquitatem, morietur in eis. In iniustitia quam operates est, morietur, Et cum averterit se impius ab impietate sua, quam operatus est et fecerit iudicium et iustitiam, ipse animam suam vivificabit. Considerans enim et avertens se ab omnibus iniquitatibus suis, quas operates est, vita vivet et non morietur. (Ezek 18:26-28: When the just turns himself away from his just deeds, and commits iniquity he shall die. In the injustice he has wrought he shall die. When the wicked man turns himself away from his wickedness, which he has done, and performs judgement and justice, he shall save his soul. Because he stops and turns away from all his iniquity, he shall live and not die.)[171]

7036 Therefore in short, when, at the time of your death, you are upset or frightened by recalling your sins and wrongdoing, you should be truly sorry for having offended God and make a firm resolution not to do it again and commit yourself more strongly to God’s mercy so that you will be saved. Say what the Prophet says in Psalm 50: Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnum misericordiam tam; et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meum. (Ps 51:3: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity.)[172] Say with Psalm 6: Miserere mei, Domine, quoniam infirmus sum; sana me, Domine, quoniam conturbata sunt [623] omnia ossa mea. (Ps 6:3: Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.)[173] Say with Psalm 40: Ego dixi, Domine, miserere mei, sana animam meam, quia peccavi tibi. (PS 41:5: I said: O Lord, be merciful to me: heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.)[174] Say with Psalm 102: Domine, non secumdum peccata nostra facias nobis, neque secundum iniquitates nostras retibuas nobis. (PS 103:10: He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.)[175] Say with Psalm 78: Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum, cito anticipant nos misericordiae tuae, quia pauperes facti sumus nimis. Aiuva nos, Deus salutaris noster, et propter gloriam nominis tui, Domine, libera nos, et propitious esto peccatis nostris propter numen tuum. (Ps 79:8-9: Remember not our former iniquities: let your mercy speedily prevent us, for we have become exceeding poor. Help us, O God, our saviour: and for the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us, and forgive us our sins for your name’s sake.)[176] Say with Psalm 142: Non intes in iudicium cum servo tuo, Domine, quoniam non iustificabitur in conspectus tuo omnis vivens, (Ps 143:2: Enter not into judgement with your servant, Lord, for in your sight no man living will be justified.)[177] Says Psalm 129: Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine quis sustinebit? Quia apud te propitiatio est, quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio. Peccavi, Domine, cum Petro, cum Maria Magdalena, cum latrone, (Ps 130:3-4,7: If you, O Lord, should mark out iniquities, who could stand it? For with the Lord there is merciful forgiveness and abundance of redemption. I have sinned, O Lord, like Peter, like Mary Magdalen, like the thief.)[178] I hope that in your mercy you will forgive me as you forgave the others.

Guideline 15. Fear of the eternal pain of fire that is caused by the devil in hell should not shock or upset the sick person

7037 Because he was unable to shock the sick person with the things mentioned above the devil adopts new methods of disturbing and bringing him down [624]by causing him to see the horrible pains of hell in his mind and with his eyes, including the endless fire, outer darkness, the cries and lamentations, the gnashing of teeth, the scattering of fire mixed with sulphur, the stench of the sulphur rises and falls over those who are damned in saecula saeculorun (for ever and ever).[179] Using these images to produce panic in the mind of the sick person in order to make him feel dumbfounded and afraid and become dejected, he makes it hard for the person to regain his confidence and meditate on the things that pertain to his salvation. He tells him that these punishments will, because of his sins, attack his soul when it leaves his body and later also attack his body and that they are waiting to plunge him into the infernal abyss that he will never leave. He tells him other similar things to make him despair of receiving God’s mercy so as to give him no hope of being saved. His only objective is to lead him to becoming frantic and to having doubts about the divine mercy by showing him various examples of the severity of divine justice. He reminds him of how when he was healthy, he had regarded such stories as being poetic fables having nothing to do with the advancement of the salvation of the human race and having been written as a help to avoiding such torments. It says in chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah: Aut quis poterit habitare de vobis cum igne devoren [625] te? Aut quis habitavit ex vobis cum ardoribus sempiternis? (Is 33:14b: Which of you can dwell with the devouring fire? Which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings?)[180] It says in chapter 66: Vermis eorum non morietur et ignis eorum non extinguetur, et erunt usque ad satietatem visionis omni carnis. (Is 66:24: Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be a loathsome sight to all flesh.)[181] St Matthew, St Mark and chapter 16 of the Gospel according to St Luke [Lk 16:22-24]say the same thing when speaking about the rich man who dressed in fine clothes, was accustomed to banquets and to having good food but was buried in hell and tormented by the flames of the fire. This story was related by Christ our teacher,[182] in order to strengthen our faith by persuading us that after death there were cruel torments the thought of which would restrain us from committing sin.

7038 These thoughts should definitely be entertained while we are still with our body and are active and possess a strong mind so we can practice the virtues and do what is just to avoid the torments. Nevertheless, such meditation is not always fruitful, profitable or productive towards salvation when the body is almost dead, and it occupies the mind of the sick person because he is close to death since then he does not have the ability or the time to think about doing good in future.

However, let the sick person who is tempted by these thoughts, place all his hope and trust in God and in his mercy [626] and confidently reply to the devil who is placing these punishments before him that they come from the devil and his followers as it says in chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthew [Mt 25: 41-46].[183] They do not come from those who believe in God, or who piously adore him or observe his commandments and precepts. The sick person should rely on God’s generosity and his great mercy because of which he will receive the great gift of the kingdom of heaven which is available to those who are just since the beginning of the world as it says in chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel.[184] This is the inheritance that is shared among the children of God in virtue of the shedding of Christ’s precious blood which has been kindly shared with the saints and those who serve God [Mt 13:43].[185]

7039 Then, let him cast away the ugly and wicked image of the infernal abyss of Gehenna with all his remaining strength and raise his mind to thinking about the heavenly city, the Jerusalem that cannot perish and of its delights and joys. This should cheer him up and bring him back to being completely happy. Fulgebunt iusti et tamquam scintillae in arundineto discurent, (Wis 3:7: You shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds).[186] In chapter 21 of the Apocalypse it says: Et civitas non eget sole, neque luna, ut luceant in ea; nam clatitas Dei illuminabit illam et lucerne eius est agnus. (Rev 21:23: And, the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For, the glory of the Lord has enlightened it and the Lamb is the light thereof.)[187] It says in chapter 51 of the Book of Isaiah: Laetitia sempiterna super [627] capita eorum, Gaudium et laetitiam obtinebunt, fugiet dolor et gemitus. (Is 51:11: Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and mourning shall flee away.)[188] In chapter 33 it says: Oculi tuis videbunt Hierusalem habitationem opulentam, tabernaculum quod nequaquam transferri poterit, nec auferentur clavi eius in sempiternum; et omnes funiculi eius non rumpentur, quia solummodo ibi magnificus est Dominus noster. (Is 33:20-21: Your eyes shall see Jerusalem, a rich habitation, a tabernacle that cannot be removed, neither shall the nails be taken away forever, neither shall any of the cords be broken.)[189] Chapter 7 of the Apocalypse says; Quod sancti caelestis regionis cives non esurient, neque sitient amplius, neque cadet super illos sol, neque amplius aestus; et absterget Deus omnem lachrymam ab oculis eotum. (Rev 7:16-17: They shall no more hunger or thirst, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat. God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.)[190] In chapter 14 we read: Amodo iam dicit Spiritus, ut requiescant a laboribus suis. (Rev 14:13: Henceforth they shall rest from their labours.)[191] In chapter 7 it says: Copiosa est electorum turba, quam dinumerare nemo posset, nisi is qui numerat multitudinem stellarum. (Rev 7:9a: Nobody can count the number of the elects, but the one who can count the stars.)[192] It says in Psalm 146: Et omnibus eis nomina vocat, amicti stolis albis et palmae in manibus eorum, ac coronae in capitibus ipsorum repositae, (Rev 7:9b: : There was a multitude from every nation clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands and crowns on their heads,)[193] and it says in chapter 21: Structura muri civitatis illius erat ex lapide iaspidis; ipae vero civitas aurum mundum simile vitro pretioso ornate. Et singulae portae errant ex singulis margaritis, et platea civitatis aurum mundum tamquam perlucidum. (Rev 21:18-21: The building of the walls thereof was of jasper stone; but the city itself pure gold decorated with clear glass. Each gate was made of pearls and the streets were of pure gold and very beautiful.)[194]

My very dear brothers, in what we have just presented we wanted to quickly bring to your attention what Christ desires and what you should do.

Guideline 16. The very distorted vision of the multitude of devils in gloomy shapes that appears to those who are dying. When this appears, one needs to make the sign of the cross, dismiss it and accompany this with devout prayer

7040 Our enemy wages another battle against those who are going through the process of dying by making use of the ugliest and most terrifying forms that have brutish faces that belong to animals that are half cat and half horse or half dog and half snake or half horse and half lion or bear. They have alarmingly ugly faces[195] that would horrify and disturb the sick person as they pass before him.[196] He becomes alarmed, frightened and anxious especially if by a wicked life and willingly submitting to the wishes of the ancient serpent he had fallen into his traps when he whispered to him. This will make him feel more disturbed on account of the control and dominion that the devil had over him which upsets and crucifies him with more anxieties.

However, for those who offered valiant [629] resistance during their life and firmly repelled the enemy when he tried to persuade them to do what was wrong and evil, and who never gave in to his false suggestions to offend God, these frightening visions will mean little and will not bother him, because as he had often overcome the devil, he will not allow him to pester him whenever he wants to pester him and the sick person will be defended by divine assistance by reducing the strength of the devil.

7041 Nevertheless, often the sick person should be fortified against these horrific images by the sign of the life-giving holy cross being traced on his forehead and eyes to get rid of the images. He should embrace the cross warmly as it is a unique weapon against the attacks of the devil. Sometimes it is fitting for the priest to sprinkle the entire room with holy water[197], so that during this final battle with the cruel visions sent by the devil, the Father of mercies will assist him when his soul invokes his pity asking to be freed from the cruel tricks of the lion from hell and to be set free and defended while he says with his lips and from his heart what is said in Psalm 69: Deus in adiutorium meum intende; Domine ad adiuvandum me festina, (Ps 70:2: O God come to my aid; O Lord make haste to help me,)[198] and in Psalm 123: Adiutorium nostrum in [630] noine Domini, qui fecit coelum et terram, (Ps 124:8: Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth,)[199] and in Psalms 29 and 37: Ne derelinquas me, Domine, Deus meus ne discesseris a me, (Ps 27:9: turn not away from me. Lord, my God do not depart from me,)[200] and in Psalm 26: Deus salutis meae, adiutor meus esto Domine, ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meae, (O God my Saviour, O Lord help me, do not forsake me, do not despise me, O God my saviour,)[201] and in Psalm 7: Ne quando rapiat, ut leo, animam meam, dum non est qui redimat, neque qui salvum faciat, (Ps 7:3: not when he seizes upon me soul like a lion, while there is no one to redeem or to save me,)[202] and in Psalm 142: Eripe me de inimicis meis, Domine. Ad te confugi; doce me facere voluntarem tuam, quia, Deus meus es tu. Spiritus tuus bonus deducet me in terram rectam; propter nomen tuum, Donine, vivificabis in aequiiate tua; educes de tribulatione animam meam et in misericordia tua disperdes omnes inimicos meos. Et perdes omnes qui tribulant animam meam, quoniam ego servus tuus sum. (Ps 143:9-12: Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord to you have I fled. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your good spirit shall lead me into the right land, for your name’s sake, O Lord, you will quicken me in your justice. You will bring my soul out of trouble. In your mercy you will destroy my enemies, you will cut down all who will afflict me soul for I am your servant.)[203] Psalm 30 says: In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, redemistit me, Domine Deus Veritatis. (Ps 31:5: Into your hands O Lord, I commit my spirit, you have redeemed me, Lord God of Truth.)[204]

7042 Following that he recites the devout office of The Passion of the Lord, or has it recited for him, as it is set out in the first part of our Enchiridion ecclesiasticum on folio 239.[205] He then focuses his mind completely to the glorious Virgin Mary, the Mother of mercy and says with the Church: Sub tuum praesidium confugimus sancta Dei Genitrix, nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris, sed a periculis cuntis libera tu nos semper, Virgo benedicta, Maria mater gratiae, mater miseri [531] cordie, tu nos ab hoste protégé et in hora mortis suscipe. In omni tribulatione et angustia succurre nobis, Virgo Maria. (We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin, Mary Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, protect us from the enemy and help us at the hour of death. Help us in all our tribulations and difficulties, Virgin Mother.)

He also prays to the holy angel whom God sent to guard him and begs him very humbly that at this moment as he is experiencing anxiety about undergoing separation to help him against evil and the attacks of the disgraceful and untrustworthy enemy, devoutly reciting Psalm 33: Immittet angelus Domini in circuitu timentium eum, et eripiet eos scut liberavit Tobiam (cap. 6) a pisce qui adnatavit ad devorandum eum. (Ps 34:8: He sends the angel of the Lord to encamp around them that fear him, to deliver them [Tob 6:2]as he freed Tobias from the fish that was coming to devour him.)[206] Now with firm trust in God he waits for help as promised in Sacred Scripture in chapter 10 of the First Letter to the Corinthians: Fidelis Deus est qui non patietur vos tentari supra id quod potestis, sed faciet etiam cum tentatione proventum, ut possitis substinere. (1 Cor 10:13: God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted above what you can cope with, but together with the temptation he will make it possible for you to bear it.)[207] Trust in him who bore our sins in his body on the cross and wanted to heal us as St Peter says in chapter 2 of his First Letter and as we read in chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah: Et mortem ipsam acerbissimam acceptavit in satisfactionem omnium peccatorum nostrorum. (1 Pet 2:24; Is 53:4-5: He accepted a most bitter death to make satisfaction for all of our sins.)[208]

7043 Because of this the sick person should not be afraid or anxious about the remission of his sins but should hope in God and trust in his compassion and mercy. The sick person’s hope should be strengthened by the thought that when Christ hung on the cross, he prayed to God the Father with exclamations and tears not only for the sins of those who were crucifying him, but for all who believe in him, as it says in chapter 5 of the Letter to the Hebrews [Heb 5:7-9].[209] Et facta caena novissima cum discipulis suis, post insignem et preclarum sermonem ( After he had eaten dinner with his disciples, he spoke to them) he lifted his eyes up to heaven and prayed to God the Father for their salvation adding, as we read in chapter 17 of the Gospel according to St John: Non eis tantum, sed per omnibus qui credituri sunt per verbum eorum in me, ut omnes unum sint, sicut tu Pater in me, et ego in te, et ut ipsi in nobis unum sint, ut credat mundus quia tu me misisti. (Jn 17:20-21: Not for those only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as you Father in me and I in you; that they also may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.)[210]

Finally, give the sick person hope just as God the Father gave us Christ to be our redeemer to make satisfaction for our sins, not only for our sins but for the sins of the entire world [1 Jn2:2].[211] After that, when the sick person is about to pass away, and is unable to speak, those who are assisting him should say with holy Church: Domine Iesu Christe rex gloriae, libera animam huius fidelis defuncti de poenis inferni et de profunda lacu; libera eam de ore leonis, ne absorbeat eam tartarus, ne cadat in obsecurum, sed signifier sanctus Michael rapraesentet eam in lucem sanctam. Quam olim Abrahae promisisti, et semni eius. (O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, free the soul of your faithful departed from the deep lake; free him from the lion’s mouth, so that he may not be consumed by the depths of hell, nor fall into the darkness, and have your standard-bearer Michael lead him into the holy light that you once promised to Abraham and his descendants.)

7044 After that, until he dies, recite the litanies given above with the response pray for him, in addition to the prayers in the Breviary. Then seven Ave Ma [633] rie are to be said with the following short responses in memory of the joys of the Virgin Mary.[212] This is to take place in order to assist the poor soul as it is entering the dreadful pains of Purgatory. While giving abundant alms, have prayers said for his poor soul in the hope that God will do the same for us. Amen.

Rejoice, Virgin Mother of Christ, who conceived through the message of Gabriel. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, you, who when filled by God, gave birth without pain. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, you, who out of respect for his kingdom showed him to the world with devotion. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, you who gave him birth, saw him suffer death and shine in resurrection. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, you who. after he had ascended, Christ brought up to heaven. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, because the Paraclete was sent to you from heaven. Ave Maria.
Rejoice, because of the honour you received in his palace. Ave Maria.
Where the fruit of your womb, whom you gave to us, will live in joy forever. Amen.

Pray for me so that the Lord will grant me the grace of persevering in his grace until the end.

  1. The author goes on referring to his Enchiridion ecclesiasticum, sive praeparatio pertinens ad sacramentum poenitentiae et sacri Ordinis, Venetiis 1588, ff. 34v-35v, 36v and 58r-62r where he explains the obligation of the confessor to have the sick person receive a plenary indulgence in articolo mortis, as well as the dying penitent’s obligations with regard to the matter of social justice that he had spoken about (ibid., ff. 100r-103), in connection with the social status of the individual.
  2. The Memoriale is a lengthy writing by Gregorio da Napoli that was aimed at the civil authorities, barons and officials and it had been written in order to defend the rights of the poor as they were contained in common law and the laws of Naples. What followed, which is very interesting, can be read in the Enchiridion ecclesisticum, f. 135v-138v, with a comment on f. 139v-140r.
  3. This is one of the first testimonials to St Felice. It was from his tomb in 1588 that liquid flowed on the occasion of the canonisation of Diego di Alcalà, a lay brother who belonged to the Friar Minor Observants, and was the first brother to be raised to sainthood. He died in 1463. The miraculous flow of liquid is mentioned in his process. Cf., Processus sixtinus Fratris Felicis a Cantalice, published by Marianus ab Alatri, Romae 164, 334-336.
  4. Josse Clichtove (= 1543) who was a humanist and theologian, and who was one of the most famous teachers at the Sorbonne, published a work in Paris in 1529 which was entitled Doctrina moriendi. It was published again about ten times first in 1559 in Paris and Antwerp, and translated into French in 1553. Concerning this author cf. F. Van de Haeghen, Bibliographie des cevreus de Josse Clichtove, Gand 1888; A. Tenenti, Il senso della morte e l’amore della vita nel Rinascimento (Francia e Italia), Torino 1978, 100, 102, 194. Gregorio da Napoli’s text continues stating that the Biblical citations will always be given in Latin, as Pius V decreed. He also promises a “summary” of the entire work.
  5. Mt 25: 34-36
  6. Ps 72: 27 (Vulg.)
  7. Ezek 18: 4,20
  8. Wis 1: 11; 16: 14.
  9. Cf., S. Augustinus, Enarratio in ps. 48, sermo II, 2 (PL 36, 556)
  10. Sir. 15: 14-18
  11. Ez. 18:21
  12. Gen. 2: 17
  13. Ps 54: 16
  14. 1 Tim. 5: 6. In the Venice edition of 1589 the numbering of Biblical citation is quite incorrect.
  15. See below nn, 7032-36.
  16. Sir. 40: 11; 41: 19 (13).
  17. Gen 3: 19
  18. 2 Sam 14: 14.
  19. Heb. 9: 27
  20. Wis 7: 6.
  21. Eccles. 7: 2.
  22. Sir 11:28 (30).
  23. Heb 13: 14
  24. Phil 1: 21-22.
  25. Ps 119: 5 (Vulg.).
  26. Ps 41: 2-3 (Vulg.)
  27. Phil 3: 20.
  28. Matt 6: 24.
  29. 1 Jn 2: 15-16.
  30. Cf., S. Cyprianus, Liberde mortalitate, n. XXV (PL4, 624).
  31. Deut. 32: 28-29.
  32. Sir. 7: 36 (40).
  33. Sir. 14: 12
  34. Cf., S. Hieronymus, Ep. 140 ad Cyprianum, n. 16 (PL 22, 1177).
  35. Job 25:6; Sir. 10: 8-11. The passages are not quoted literally. Their meaning is summarised.
  36. S. Augustinus, De natura et gratia (PL 44, 247-290). However, after carefully looking through this work the quote could not be identified but the meaning was conveyed indirectly.
  37. Job 27:19; cf. Ps 48:18.
  38. Ps 75: 6 (Vulg.).
  39. Ps 38: 7 (Vulg.).
  40. Sir. 10: 13.
  41. Col 3: 5.
  42. Rom 8: 13
  43. Gal 5: 24.
  44. Sir 41: 1
  45. Ps 38: 6 (Vulg.)
  46. Ps 101: 12 (Vulg.)
  47. Ps 143: 4 (Vulg.)
  48. Job 14: 1-2.
  49. Ps 102: 14 (Vulg.)
  50. Ps 36: 2 (Vulg.)
  51. Ps 89: 6 (Vulg.)
  52. James 1: 10-11
  53. Is 40: 6-8.
  54. Ps 128: 6 (Vulg.)
  55. Illiciti = incerti
  56. Ecclesiastes 9: 12
  57. Lk 12: 19-20.
  58. Lk 17: 26-30; Gen 6-8; 19: 1-29.
  59. Mk 13: 35-37.
  60. Teofilatto, Enarratio in Evangel. Marci, cap. XIII, vv. 32-37 (PG 123, 642s)
  61. S. Gregorius M., Moralium lib. XII in cap. XV Joh., c. 38, n. 43 (PL75, 1006s).
  62. Mt 25: 13; Lk 12: 39-40
  63. Cf. Enchridion ecclesiasticum cit. Venetiis 1588, f. 133r where he speaks about the just wages to be given to servants and vassals. He uses strong words against those in charge and against Barons who cannot be absolved if they do not pay just wages to their workers and who continue to oppress the poor. This is what he said: “It is wrong when those who do not have much are made to have less. The Gospel says that those who have should give to those who do not have anything and not the opposite. Barons should increase the wages. This should happen because they are living a Christian way of life and want to practice mutual charity. The poor should not be hurt as they usually are. In accord with justice, they should be given what is required to sustain a person for a day and allowed access to public funds.”
  64. He is speaking against superstitious prayers and devotions.
  65. James 4: 13-15.
  66. Sir 10: 10
  67. S. Bernardo, Ep. 105 ad Romanum Rom. Curiae subdiaconum (PL 182, 240s).
  68. Ecclesiastes 8:11.
  69. Job 24: 23.
  70. Rom 2: 3-6.
  71. Ps 38; 5 (Vulg.)
  72. Ps 101: 24 (Vulg.)
  73. Cf. S. Hieronymus, Vita S. Hilarionis eremitae, n. 45 (PL23: 54)
  74. Prov 1: 17. The second part of the quote indirectly reflects what is said in Prov 6: 5; Amos 3: 5.
  75. S. Augustinus, De civitate Dei, lib. I, cap. XI (PL 41, 25s).
  76. S. Augustinus, Libro de doctrina christiana, lib. I, cap. 15, n. 14 (PL 34, 25).
  77. Ps. 115: 15.
  78. Num. 23: 10.
  79. Rom. 6:23.
  80. Ps. 33: 22 (Vulg.)
  81. This personal testimony which seems to be strange to modern people, increases the value of similar personal experiences that are related in the ancient chronologies of the Order.
  82. Gal 6: 10
  83. Ecclesiastes 9: 10.
  84. Sir. 14: 17.
  85. Cf. Enchridion ecclesiasticum cit., f. 74v, where he quotes Summa Theol. II-II, q. 62, art. 7; for the other quotes see Regola unica cit., 555-557 and above note 1 and n. 7000.
  86. Sir 17: 26-27.
  87. Isaias 38: 1.
  88. Mt 9: 2. 6
  89. Jn 5: 14.
  90. Cf. Decr. Greg. IX, lib. V, tit. 38: De poenit, et remiss., cap. 13: Qumm infirmitas (CIC II, 888)
  91. Cf. Pius V, Breve Supra gregem (8 marzo 1565), n. 3; Gregorio XIII, Breve Aliae piae memoriae (30 maggio 1581), n. 7 (BRVII, 430; VIII, 371-373).
  92. Cf. Enchiridion ecclesiasticum cit., f. 133v.
  93. Ibid., f. 139v.
  94. See above, nn. 7000-7001.
  95. Cf., Enchridion ecclesiasticum, f. 7rv.
  96. Rev. 12: 12.
  97. Wis. 4: 7-13.
  98. Words taken from the Collect of the Feast of the Holy Innocents. (by dying without saying anything).
  99. Cf. Job 1:24; 2: 10.
  100. Mt 6: 10.
  101. Mt 6: 10.
  102. Is 1: 6.
  103. Lk 21: 19.
  104. Heb 10: 36.
  105. Sir 27: 6.
  106. 2 Cor. 12: 7-9.
  107. 2 Cor 4: 17.
  108. Heb 12: 11.
  109. Heb. 12: 5-6; Prov. 3: 11-12; Rev. 3: 19
  110. Rom 8: 18.
  111. The idea of the body being the garment of the soul is very beautiful. It comes from the Bible and the writings of St Paul and it captures the imaginative style that is used in Sacred Scripture to describe the glory of the just who are clothed in rich while garments, etc., Sir 14: 17; 1 Cor 15: 50; Col 2: 11 etc.
  112. Ps 145: 4 (Vulg.)
  113. Job 1: 21.
  114. Qo 5: 14.
  115. 1 Tim 6: 7.
  116. 1 Tim 6: 9.
  117. Ps 36: 37 (Vulg.)
  118. Mat 6: 19-20.
  119. 1 Tim 6: 17-19
  120. An antiquated expression that means to bring to an end, to achieve.
  121. Heb 11: 6.
  122. Jn 3: 18.
  123. Lk 17: 5; Mt 9: 23.
  124. It is not Ezekiel but Isaias 39: 14-15.
  125. 1 Cor 10: 13.
  126. Prov 25: 27
  127. Ecclesiastes 7: 1.
  128. Sir 3: 22-26.
  129. Is 24: 16.
  130. Ps 35; 7 (Vulg.)
  131. Rom 11: 33-36.
  132. Exod. 19: 12-13.
  133. 1 Cor 2: 14.
  134. Note the wide pastoral experience express by these words.
  135. Mt 19: 17.
  136. Cf. Ps 19: 11; 107 :5 (Vulg.)
  137. Cf. Jn 1: 9.
  138. Cf. Lk 7: 37-50.
  139. Cf. Jn 22: 61-62
  140. CF. Jn 23: 43.
  141. Cf. Jn 4: 14
  142. Cf. Mt 11: 28; Jn 7: 37; Is 55:1
  143. Ezek 18: 23
  144. Ezek 18: 30-32
  145. Jer 3: 1b.
  146. Ezek 33: 14-15; Mt 9: 13; Mk 2: 17.
  147. Cf. De penetentia. Dist. VII, c. 2: Si quis potius (CIC II, 1245)
  148. Cf. Enchridion ecclesiasticum cit., f. 111.
  149. “Let nobody leave doing penance until he can no longer commit sin. Let him make a free commitment to cancelling his sins and not be forced to do so. He who is prevented from sinning before he has decided to do so is not acting spontaneously but is being forced to do this. Those who have been baptised are not authorised to sin or to continue sinning.” Cf. De penitentia, dist. VII. C. 6: Nullus expectet (CIC II, 1246).
  150. Lam 3: 22.
  151. Prov 15: 27
  152. Sir. 27: 4.
  153. Eccles 9: 1.
  154. Cf. Enchridion ecclesiasticum cit, f. 111.
  155. 1 Cor 4: 4a.
  156. Prov 14: 12.
  157. Job 9: 14-15; 20-21.
  158. 1 Cor 4: 4b
  159. 1 Cor 10: 12.
  160. Gal 6: 3.
  161. Is 5: 21.
  162. Rom 12: 16b.
  163. 1 Kgs 17: 12.
  164. 2 Kgs 6: 22
  165. Sir 5: 5.
  166. Prov 28:14.
  167. Is 64: 6.
  168. Cf. above nn. 6992-6994.
  169. James 5: 9b.
  170. 1 Cor 11: 31.
  171. Ez 18: 26-28
  172. Ps 50: 3 (Vulg.)
  173. Ps 6: 3 (Vulg.)
  174. Ps 40: 5 (Vulg.)
  175. Ps 102: 10 (Vulg.)
  176. Ps 78:8-9 (Vulg.)
  177. Ps 142: 2 (Vulg.)
  178. Ps 129: 3-4. 7 (Vulg.) The last sentence has been added by the author.
  179. Cf. Mt 8: 12; 13: 42-50; 13: 24, 51; 25: 30; Lk 13: 28; Apoc. 20: 9-10.
  180. Is 33: 14b.
  181. Is 66: 24.
  182. Cf Lk 16: 22-24.
  183. Mt 25: 41-46.
  184. Ibid.
  185. Mt 13: 43.
  186. Wis 3: 7.
  187. Apoc. 21: 23.
  188. Is 51: 11; 35: 10.
  189. Is 33: 20-21.
  190. Apoc. 7: 16. 17.
  191. Apoc. 14: 13.
  192. Apoc. 7: 9a; Ps 146: 4a (Vulg.)
  193. Ps 145: 4b (Vulg.), Apoc. 7: 9b.
  194. Apoc. 21: 18-21.
  195. This is the traditional way of presenting the vision as it was used in the “artes moriendi” and in paintings. It is dealt with at greater length in the Doctrina moriendi by Josse Clichtover, which was the inspiration behind Gregorio da Napoli. (Cf. Doctrina moriendi, c. 21, f. 78: A. Tenenti, Il senso della morte e l’amore della vitacit., 118, note 53.
  196. Cf. Lk 22: 31
  197. The use of holy water during the final illness was prescribed by the ancient ritual.
  198. Ps 69: 2 (Vulg.).
  199. Ps 123; 8 (Vulg.)
  200. Ps 26: 9; 37: 21, 12 (Vulg.)
  201. Ps 26: 9 (Vulg.)
  202. Ps 7: 3 (Vulg.)
  203. Ps 142: 9-12 (Vulg.)
  204. Ps 30:5 (Vulg.)
  205. Cf. Enchridion ecclesiasticun cit. f. 239-250v. This is the Office of the Passion that contains a brief version of the one composed by St Bonaventure. Cf. Decem opuscula ad theologiam mysticum spectantia, ed. 4, Ad Claras Aquas (Quaracchi) 1049, 388-408.
  206. Ps 33: 8 (Vulg.); Tob 6: 2.
  207. 1 Cor. 10: 13.
  208. Cf. 1 Pet 2: 24; Is 53: 4-5.
  209. Heb 5: 7-9.
  210. Jn 17: 20-21.
  211. Cf 1 Jn 2: 2.
  212. Gregorio da Napoli’s booklet on assisting the sick and the dying ends with this Marian devotion which is characteristically Franciscan.