19th November 2023

It barely seems possible that we are over halfway through November already. Many of us have lost dear family and friends in the last year, some expected, some shockingly quick. Our parish family has lost some of its oldest and most faithful people during this last year. You hear some people say that the one thing we all have in common is that we shall all die one day. It’s a bleak thought and it’s true in part; but actually, it’s not the only thing we have in common. We can only die if we have first lived and been present in this world and so, in common, we all live and we all die. But FIRST, we live.

Too many people spend too much time worrying about fending off the inevitability of death. It’s going to happen and Jesus, who knows what it is to die (and even to die in awful circumstances) assures us that we don’t need to worry as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him and our trust in God’s mercy. That established, we can get on with the sometimes tedious, sometimes exciting prospect of being a (wo)man fully alive. St Iranneus said that “The glory of God is a human-being fully alive”. We can only be fully alive if we are fully in the present moment and don’t spend too much time worrying about the manner of our death. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why the Church used to promote prayer to St Joseph, the Patron of a happy death. I say ‘used to’ because the insidious evil of Relativism has ensured that our community and especially our children should fear death, unless of course it’s commercialised at Halloween. This is bound to happen when you insist on removing the fullness of God from as much of life as possible. Well, I can assure you it aint happening in any parish placed in my care, not even over my very dead body! Below are two prayers for a happy death, one seeking the intercession of St Joseph and one seeking the comfort of the Holy Family. Pray them, shock your trendy neighbours, send the politically correct into spasms of objection and then stop worrying about the end of your life and get stuck into enjoying your life as it is right now because right now, just like the Holy Souls, you are in God’s hands and you will be at the moment of your death and way beyond as long as you are prepared to trust Him.

O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary.
When the seal of death shall close my life, come with Jesus and Mary to aid me.
Obtain for me this solace for that hour – to die with their holy arms around me.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breath forth my soul with thee. Amen.

Last Laugh: And God said: “Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me. And let there be politicians, so people don’t blame everything on Satan.” George Burns

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