prayer at the approach of death

Lord, because we take your death so lightly that we rarely even think about it, the thought of our own death is also strange and distant. Even when stern messengers forewarn us, we manage to stifle the thought of our death and to go on living as if our earthly existence would never end.

And yet one day we realize that we have to die; grant, Lord, that we will not be wholly unprepared. Let us understand our death in relation to your death: let us know that you died for us all and that when we die we have no choice but to be with you.

You have transformed the punishment of our death into the grace of the eternal life to come. You permit us to rejoice in this gift of yours. Even when the passage proves difficult, even when the pains become overpowering, while the anguish increases and uncertainty masters us, let all this agony happen if you will it so, so that you may get something from our life, a late fruit that is a last at your disposal.

Let us die just as you will, whether in fear or in absolute pain or in sleep or perceiving death approach hour by hour. But however it may turn out, let us not abandon the thought of you but rather know that every death, even death in darkness, is your property and has already been experienced in you on the Cross.

Let us die as believers whose faith also shines upon the others who assist at our death, brings them help now, and perhaps later, when their own hour comes, gives them consolation.

Lord, make known your presence to all who survive us; help them to weather their grief, be with them to the end of their days. Amen.

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 44-46