Prayer of Preparation for Death
The Crucifixion - by MONTÁÑEZ, Juan Martínez
Prayer at the Foot of the Cross,
as a Preparation for Death
by Saint Joseph Cafasso -
Professor of Moral Theology, Renowned Confessor
and Priest of the Gallows
Great God, Prostrate before Thee, I Accept and Adore that
Sentence of Death which Thou hast Pronounced over me. I Stand Awaiting the Coming of my
Last Hour and, knowing that it may Come Upon me at any Moment, I Carry Myself in Spirit to
my Deathbed to Bid Adieu to this World and to make now, for that Occasion, a Clear and
Solemn Protestation of those Sentiments and Affections with which I intend to Terminate my
Mortal Career and Enter into my Eternity.
I have Sinned. I Confess it with all the Bitterness of my
Soul. I Detest with my Whole Heart, all the Faults that I have Committed during My Life.
For each of them I would be Ready to Die in Reparation for the Offense to God, and I would
Wish to have Died a Thousand Times rather than have Offended Him. I ask Pardon of God and
of Men for the Evil that I have done, and I will ask it until the Last Moment of my Life,
in order that I may Find Mercy on the Day of Judgment.
Since my Wretched Body has been the Cause of my Offending
my Dear God so much, with my Whole Heart I make a Total Sacrifice of it to my Lord, as a
Just Punishment for it. Not only do I Resign Myself to Descend into the Tomb, but I
Rejoice and Thank God Who has given me this Means of Paying my Debt. Through these Ashes,
which will remain from me in the Sepulcher, and by these Bones which will speak for me, I
will Confess until the Day of my Resurrection that the Lord is Just, and Just also the
Sentence which has Condemned me to Death.
I Thank my Parents, Companions and Friends for the
Charity they have shown me in putting up with all my Defects, and I thank them for all the
Favors and all the Assistance which in their Goodness they have given me. I ask Pardon of
them for having given such a Poor Return, and for the Scandal I have given them. I ask
them to Continue to give me the Charity of their Prayers, and, when I am Separated from
them, I Firmly Hope that I will see them again One Day in Paradise.
As God in His Inscrutable Providence has wished that I
should have the Disposal of Temporal Interests, I ask Pardon if I have not made the Use of
Them that He Expected of me. As He Alone is Lord of All, I again Place Everything in His
I Intend that the Disposition that I have Made, or that I
shall Hereafter Make, may be for His Greater Glory, and, in that Portion of Life that
Remains for me on Earth, it is my Firm Will and Determination to Spend all that Remains to
Me, when my Needs are Satisfied, for the Work of the Lord, being Disposed and Indeed
Desirous to Strip Myself of Everything, whenever God Wishes it of me.
With Regard to the most Important Point, which is the
Spiritual Preparations for that Day which will be my Last, I Render the most Sincere
Thanks to God for having thus Disposed of me and taken me out of the World. I Salute and
Desire and Bless that Day that will Put an End to my Own Sins, and take me away from the
Midst of so many Sins that are Committed on the Earth. I now in advance Thank that Person
who will give me the Consoling Message, and, until that day Arrives, I shall Regard it as
so Dear to my Heart, that I would not Exchange it for the Greatest Day of this World.
I Entrust my Death to the Love and Care of my Heavenly
Mother. In her Tender Heart I place my Last Hour and my Last Sighs. It is in the Arms of
this Mother that I wish to Leave this World and Enter my Eternity. I intend that every
Sigh which I shall give at that Moment, every Breath and every Look, shall be Voices which
Call her, which Solicit her Help for me from Heaven, so that I may Soon see her,
Contemplate her, Embrace her and may be able to Die with her Help. But if, by Special
Favor of her Tender Heart, she wishes to Call me on a Day Consecrated to her, it would be
a still Greater Consolation for me to be able to Present to her the Offering of my Life at
a Time when Heaven and Earth Celebrate a Feast in Honor of her Name, and of her Great
I Recommend in a Special Manner my Passage to Eternity,
to Saint Joseph, the Spouse of Mary, whose name I Unworthily Bear, to my Guardian Angel,
to my two Special Protectors, Saint Ignatius and Saint Alphonsus Liguori, to all the
Angels and Saints of Heaven, and to those Souls in Paradise who remember me. I Salute them
all from this Valley-of-Tears, and I Appeal to each one of them to Pray for me that the
Happy Day will soon come when I shall meet them Face-to-Face and Enjoy with them that
Feast that will have no End.
For everything concerned with the Time and Circumstances
of my Death, after the Example of my Divine Redeemer, I Resign myself Fully to whatever
the Heavenly Father has Arranged for me, and I Accept the Death that God in His Eternal
Decrees, considers Best for me. To Fulfill His Will, I Accept all the Pains that He Wishes
me to Suffer at the Time of Death. In this Dardest Sacrifice and in my most Painful Agony,
I Wish and Intend that His Holy Will be Always Done.
With my Whole Being I give Thanks to the Good God Who, by
His Special Mercy, has Willed to Call me to the Faith at my Birth and Place me, Unworthy
that I am, as a Son in the Arms of the Church. I today Renew those Promises that were made
for me at the Sacred Font. I Grieve for and Detest whatever there has been in my Life not
in Conformity with those Promises. I Condemn and Regret anything that During my Life may
have been Wanting in Obedience and Respect to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Today and
Always, I Formally Declare that I Wish to Live in the Closest Communion with that Good
Mother. To Her I Entrust my Ashes that She may Bless them and Keep them in Her Custody
until the Day of Judgment.
I Desire and Ask for all the Sacraments and Comforts
which our Holy Religion has Reserved for Her dying Children at the Hour of Death; and when
the Lord shall Demand the Sacrifice of my Life, I Intend to Unite it to that which so many
Confessors of the Faith have made, and to Breathe Forth my Spirit in Homage of and for the
Support of our Holy Faith.
As I am about to Finish my Mission on Earth, I Give back
and Consign to God that Grand Vocation with which He has Willed to Adorn me. I have no
Words here below to Thank Him Worthily for it, and I Await Eternity to do so. I Thank with
all my Heart all those who have Employed themselves to This End for me, and I Recommend
myself to each of them, in order that I may Obtain Mercy at the Great Moment in which I
shall be Called Upon to Render an Account of my Earthly Career. I shall Die, and the
Thought Consoles me that with my Death there will be One Less Unworthy Minister upon the
Earth, and that Another more Zealous and Fervent Priest will come to make up for my
Coldness and other Defects.
As I am Certain with the Certainty of Faith that God can,
and that He Wishes, to Pardon all those who Repent of their Sins, relying on that Firm
Confidence which cannot be Deceived, and Penetrated with the Most Lively Sorrow for my
Past Faults, I Protest that I Hope most Firmly for Pardon of all my Failings and for the
Attainment of my Eternal Salvation. Whatever be the Assaults that my Enemy may Launch
against me in Life or in Death, I will repeat that I Believe in my God, that I Hope in Him
and that He will Save me.
Now that my Days are about to Finish, and that Time is
about to Vanish for me forever, I Know and Understand better than in the Past, my Duty on
Earth, which is to Know and Serve my God. As long as Life Remains I will Lament that Time
in which I have not Loved Him, and I will Repeat continually from now on, "Either to
Love or to Die". Whatever I shall have to Do or Suffer in this Miserable Life, I
Intend that it be a Proof of love for my God, so that Living, I shall Live Only to Love,
and Dying, I may Die in Order to Love still more.
The Sorrow which I Experience, O Lord, for not having
Loved Thee, the Desire which I Feel to Love Thee ever more, Renders this Life Burdensome
and Distasteful, and makes me Pray Thee to Shorten my Days on Earth, and to Pardon me my
Purgatory in the Next Life, so that I soon may arrive at Loving Thee in Paradise. I ask of
Thee this Grace, O Lord, not through Fear of Punishment ----- which I Confess that I
Deserve a Thousand Times more ----- but from the Sincere Desire to Love Thee Much, to Love
Thee Soon, and to Love Thee Face-to-face in Paradise. Let the Anguish which I Feel, O God,
for not having Loved Thee, and the Danger which I am Running of Offending Thee, and not
Loving Thee more, Serve as my Purgatory!
Finally, when I shall have Departed to the Grave, I
Desire and Pray the Lord to make my Memory Perish on this Earth so that no one shall any
longer Think of me, except to Pray for me ----- a Favor which I ask from the Charity of
the Faithful. I Accept as Penance for my Sins all that shall be Said Against me after my
Death. I Condemn and Detest all the Evil that may in the Future be Committed because of
me. I wish that I could Prevent all the Sins of the World by my Death and so I would be
Ready to Die as many times as they are Committed on the Earth. Oh! May the Lord accept
this Poor Sacrifice so that when Dying, I may have that Sweetest Consolation of Sparing
One Offense to my Lord on that Day.
This is my Firm Will and Testament with which I intend to
Live and Die in each and every moment that God may Wish to Dispose of me.
I place the Moment of my Death in the Hands of my Dear
Mother Mary, of my Good Guardian Angel and of my Special Protectors, Saint Joseph, Saint
Ignatius and Saint Alphonsus Liguori, all of whom I expect to Assist me at the Hour of my
Death and in my Voyage to Eternity.
Come then, Welcome Death. Come, but Conceal Thy Coming,
so that the Hour of my Death may not Give Life Back again.
It will be no longer Death for thee, my
Soul, but a Sweet Sleep if, when thou art Dying, Jesus Assists thee, and if
when thou art Expiring, Mary embraces thee.