28 April 2023

The Raccolta - Section XXV - For a Good Death


In order to implore the divine assistance in the last moments of our life, Pius VII., by a Rescript of May 12, 1802, granted -
i. An indulgence of 100 days, once a day, to all the faithful who with contrite heart shall say these following prayers.
ii. A plenary indulgence to those who say them every day for a month, on any one day in the said month when, after Confession and Communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and offer up prayer to God according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
The grant of these Indulgences was renewed by Pope Leo XII., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 11, 1824. The original decree is preserved in the Archivium of the Pious Union of St. Paul, of which mention has already been frequently made above, the priests of the said Pious Union being the petitioners for this grant.


O Lord God of goodness, and Father of mercies, I draw nigh to Thee with a contrite and humble heart; to Thee I recommend the last hour of my life, and that judgment which awaits me afterwards.
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my feet, benumbed with death, shall admonish me that my course in this life is drawing to an end,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my hands, cold and trembling, shall no longer be able to clasp the crucifix, and shall let it fall against my will on my bed of suffering,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my eyes, dim with trouble at the approach of death, shall fix themselves on Thee my last and only support,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my ups, cold and trembling, pronounce for the last time Thy adorable Name,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my face, pale and livid, shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay; when my hair, bathed in the sweat of death, and stiffening on my head, shall forebode my approaching end,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my ears, shall to be for ever shut to the discourse of men, shall be open to that irrevocable decree, which is to fix my doom for all eternity,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my imagination, agitated by dreadful spectres, shall be sunk in an abyss of anguish; when my soul, affrighted by the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of Thy judgments, shall have to fight against the angel of darkness, who will endeavour to conceal from my eyes Thy mercies, and to plunge me into despair,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my poor heart, oppressed with suffering and exhausted by its continual struggles with the enemies of its salvation, shall feel the pangs of death,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When the last tear, the forerunner of my dissolution, shall drop from my eyes, receive it as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins; grant that I may expire the victim of penance; and then in that dreadful moment,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my friends and relations, encircling my bed, shall be moved with compassion for me, and invoke Thy clemency in my behalf,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When I shall have lost the use of my senses, when the world shall have vanished from my sight, when my agonising soul shall feel the sorrows of death,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my last sighs shall force my soul to issue from my body, accept them as the children of a loving impatience to come to Thee.
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my soul, trembling on my lips, shall bid adieu to the world, and leave my body lifeless, pale, and cold, receive this separation as a homage which I willingly pay to Thy Divine Majesty, and in that last moment of my mortal life,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When at length my soul, admitted to Thy presence, shall first behold the splendour of Thy Majesty, reject me not, but receive me into Thy bosom, where I may for ever sing Thy praises, and in that moment when eternity shall begin to me,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

Let us pray.
O God, who hast doomed all men to die, and hast concealed from all the hour of their death, grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice, and that I may be made worthy to quit this world in the peace of a good conscience, and in the embrace of Thy love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


See above for the prayers themselves, and the Indulgences attached to them.


Pope Pius VII, by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, March 2, 1816, granted -
i. An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful every time that, praying to God for this intention, that shall with contrite heart and devotion say the following prayers and antiphons, first collected by the blessed Cardinal Joseph Mary Tommassi, by order of Pope Clement XI., and published in the two languages, Latin and Italian.
ii. A plenary indulgence to all who say them every day for a year to be gained on the two Feasts of the holy Cross, viz. May 3 and Sept. 14, on Holy Thursday, and on Good Friday, provided that on those days, being penitent, and after Confession and Communion, they pray according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff in any church where there is the Blessed Sacrament: for the Indulgence on Good Friday, the Confession and Communion required may be made on the preceding day.


1. Exaudi nos, Deus salutaris nostri, et ne dies nostros ante finiri jubeas, quam peccata dimittas: et quia in inferno superflua poenitentia est, et nullum spatium corrigendi; hinc te supplices rogamus et petimus, ut ubi das spatium supplicandi, jubeas et peccata dimitti. Per Dominum, &c.

2. Averte Domine, quaesumus, a fidelibus tuis cunctos miseratus errores; et saeventium morborum repentinam depelle perniciem, ut quos merito flagellas devios, foveas tua miseratione correctos. Per Dominum, &c.


3. Anima mea cessa jam peccare; cogita de subitanea transpositione ad aeterna tormenta. Ibi enim non suscipitur poenitentia, lice lucrifaciunt lacrymae. Dum tempus adest convertere, clama dicens: Deus meus, miserere mei.


4. Media vita in morte sumus: quem quaesumus adjutorem nisi te, Domine, qui pro peccatis nostris irasceris? Sanctus Deus, sanctus fortis, sanctus misericors, Salvator, amarae morti ne tradas nos.

5. V. Ne subito praeoccupati die mortis quaeramus spatium poenitentiae, et invenire non possimus.
R. Attende, Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

6. Populum tuum, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ab ira tua ad te confugientem paterna recipe pietate: ut qui tuae majestatis flagella in repentina morte formidant, de tua mereantur venia gratulari. Per Dominum, &c.

7. Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, placatus intende conventum, et misericordia tua nos potius quam ira praeveniat; quia si iniquitates nostras observare volueris, nulla poterit creatura subsistere: sed admirabili pietate, qua nos fecisti, ignosce peccantibus, ut opera manuum tuarum repentia morte non facias interire. Per Dominum, &c.

8. Exaudi, Domine, preces nostras, et ne velis cum servis tuis adire judicium: quia sicut in nobis nulla justitia reperitur, de qua praesumere valeamus; ita te fontem pietatis agnoscimus, a quo et a peccatis nostris ablui, et ab infirmitatibus, ac repentina morte liberari confidimus. Per Dominum, &c.

9. Deus, sub cujus oculis omne cor trepidat, et omnes conscientiae pavescunt, misericordiam tuam effunde supplicibus; ut qui de meritorum qualitate diffidimus, non judicium tuum in repentina morte nostra, sed indulgentiam tuam sentiamus. Per Dominum, &c.


1. Hear us, O God of our salvation, and issue not the decree for the completion of our days before Thou forgivest us our sins; and because penance avails not in hell, and there is no room for amendment in the pit, therefore we humbly pray and beseech Thee here on earth, that giving us time to pray for pardon, Thou wouldst give us all forgiveness of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

2. Take away, merciful Lord, all errors from Thy faithful people, avert from them the sudden destruction of the wasting pestilence; and those whose wanderings Thou dost justly chastise, do Thou mercifully pity when corrected. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


3. Sin no longer, O my soul; think upon the sudden change from sin to endless torments. There, in hell, penance is not accepted, and tears profit not. Turn, then, whilst thou hast time; cry out and say, Have mercy upon me, O my God.


4. In the midst of life we are in death; but to whom can we look to be our helper save Thee, O Lord, who art justly angry with us because of our sins?
O holy God, holy and strong, holy and merciful Saviour, deliver us not over to a bitter death,

5. V. Lest, overtaken by the day of death, we seek time for penance, and be unable to find it.
R. Hearken, O Lord, and have mercy on us; for we have sinned against Thee.

6. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, receive in Thy fatherly pity Thy people who flee unto Thee from Thine anger; that those who fear to be chastised by the rod of Thy majesty through unprepared death, may be made worthy to rejoice in Thy pardon. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.

7. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, graciously incline Thine ear to the assembly of Thy Church, and let Thy mercy to us anticipate Thine anger; for if Thou shouldst mark iniquities, there shall no creature be able to stand before Thee: but in that same admirable charity whereby Thou didst create us, pardon us sinners, and destroy not the work of Thine own hands in an unprepared death. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.

8. Hear our prayers, O Lord, and enter not into judgment with Thy servants; for, knowing that there is no justice in us on which we can dare to presume, We acknowledge no other fount of mercy whereby we can he washed from our sins, delivered from our infirmities, and espcially from unprepared death, but only Thou, O Lord. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

9. O God, before whom every heart trembles and ever conscience is awed; show forth Thy mercy upon us Thy suppliants, that we who trust not in the excellence of our own merit, may never experience unprepared death, but may receive Thy pardon. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.


Most merciful Lord ,Jesus, by Thy agony and bloody sweat, and by Thy death, deliver me, I beseech Thee, from sudden and unprepared death. O most gentle Lord Jesus, by Thy cruel and ignominious scourging and crowning with thorns, by Thy cross and bitter passion, and by Thine own great goodness, I humbly pray Thee, let me not die unprepared, and pass from this life without the Holy Sacraments. Jesus, my best beloved, my Lord! by all Thy travails and all Thy sorrows, by Thy Precious Blood, and by Thy most holy wounds, and by those last words spoken by Thee upon the cross, - "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" and again, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” - most ardently I pray Thee, free me from unprepared death. Thy hands, O my Redeemer, have wholly made and formed me; O suffer not death to take me unawares; grant me, I beseech Thee, time for penance; vouchsafe me a happy passage in Thy grace, that in the world to come I may love Thee with My whole heart, and praise and bless Thee for ever and for ever. Amen.

Then say five Pater noster’s and five Ave Maria’s in memory of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and three Ave Maria’s to the Blessed Virgin Mother of Sorrows.


At the prayer of the priests devoted to the instruction of the poor in the church of St. Galla here in Rome, Pope Pius VII., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 19, 1815, granted -
i. An indulgence of 100 days once a day to all the faithful who say with contrite hearts and devotion the following ejaculation of resignation to the will of God.
ii. A plenary indulgence, once a year, to all who say it daily; to be gained on any one day when, after Confession and Communion, they shall pray according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
iii. Lastly, a plenary indulgence in articulo mortis to those who during life shall have frequently recited this ejaculation, provided they accept death with resignation from the hands of God.

Fiat, laudetur, atque in aeternum superexaltetur justissima, altissima, et amabilissima voluntas Dei in omnibus.

May the most just, most high, most adorable will of God be in all things done, and praised, and magnified for ever.


The origin of this Plenary Indulgence is most ancient, as appears from the thirteenth letter of St. Cyprian, martyr, written in the latter half of the third century of the Church; mention is also made of it by Baronius in the year 878 of his history, when speaking of John VIII., who granted it to those Christians who died in the war against the Saracens. It was granted also by Clement VI., created Pope in time year 1342, on occasion of a pestilence; and by Gregory XI., who was created in the year 1370. In after ages, bordering upon our own times, Paul V., Alexander VII., and all other succeeding Popes, have with pious liberality granted this Indulgence, in order that the faithful, by the acquisition of it at the end of their lives, may be able to satisfy the justice of God for the temporal punishment due to their sin, and so pass at once to eternal bliss. [P. Theodore de Indulg. pars ii. cap. ii. art. v. $$ 1 et seq.]
This Plenary Indulgence, which may also be gained by any one who receives in articulo mortis the benediction given by the Sovereign Pontiff, by bishops, parish priests, or others who have the necessary faculties) having been frequently mentioned in these pages, it will be well to observe here, that in order to gain it, the faithful, besides being in the grace of God, ought - first, to have fulfilled, or to be fulfilling, the good works enjoined in the grant of this Indulgence, as, for example, they ought either “to have frequently said such and such a prayer as above," or "to invoke at the moment of death with their mouth and with their heart the most Holy names of Jesus and Mary,” or, "do so at least internally with contrite hearts," &c.; and secondly, it is requisite that the dying person should accept deaths from the hands of God with resignation and  in conformity to the divine pleasure. See the thirty-fourth Constitutions of Benedict XIV., Pia Mater, April 5, 1747; and note that this Plenary Indulgence in articulo mortis is not suspended in the year of the Jubilee, according to the special declarations of Benedict XIV., of Clement XIV. and of Leo XII., in their respective Bulls above named on the suspension of Indulgences during the year of the Jubilee.



His Holiness Pope Pius IX., by a Rescript of March 11, 185;, granted -
100 days indulgence, to be gained once a day by all the faithful who, with contrite heart and devotion, say the following prayer to obtain a good death.


O Maria, sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis, qui confugimus ad te. O Refugium peccatorum, Mater agonizantium, noli nos derelinquere in horâ exitus nostri, sed impetra nobis dolorem perfectum, sinceram contritionem, remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, Sanctissimi Viatici dignam receptionem, Extremae Unctionis Sacramenti corroborationem, quatenus securi praesentari valeamus ante thronum justi sed et misericordis Judicis, Dei et Redemptoris nostri. Amen.


Mary, conceived without stain, pray for us, who fly to thee. Refuge of sinners, Mother of those who are in their agony, leave us not in the hour of our death, but obtain for us perfect sorrow, sincere contrition, remission of our sins, a worthy reception of the most holy Viaticum, the strength of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, in order that we may be able to stand with safety before the throne of the just but merciful Judge, our God and our Redeemer. Amen.

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