Catholics may sometimes find Catholic rules a bit harsh, but if it can be hard to live in this world as a good Catholic, it is surely better and more comforting to die as a Catholic. Thanks to what are called the Last Rites. Sadly enough, not every Catholic can even define what these Rites are. They are the four elements comprising The Last Rites: the Last Confession, the Last Communion, Extreme Unction, and the Apostolic Blessing.
First, there is the Last Confession. Imagine going to confession for the last time, knowing it is your very last! With what fervor, what contrition would you confess your whole life to this priest holding the place of the Sacred Heart! And a fervent confession can send one straight to heaven!
Then, the Last Communion. Great importance is given to the First Communion, but the Last Communion is also extremely special. So special, in fact, that this communion has a special name: the Viaticum—the last food for the last bit of road remaining in life. And it has a special formula: “Receive, brother/sister, the Viaticum of the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may He protect you from the wicked enemy and lead you to eternal life. Amen.” Only an infinitely loving God could have thought of this gift, like a mother running to the death bed of her child and giving him all the love she can at his last moments. And such communion can send one straight to heaven, too!
Then, there is Extreme Unction, as it has been explained at length in Q/A p. of this issue of The Angelus. A third ‘free ticket’ to heaven!
And, as if these three sacraments were not enough, Holy Mother Church even adds a special blessing called the Apostolic Blessing, which grants a plenary indulgence. Imagine St. Pius X standing at the foot of your death bed. He has the keys of heaven, and he can grant plenary indulgences at will. That’s the Apostolic Blessing. Extraordinary. A fourth ‘free-pass’!
God is, indeed, “infinitely rich in His mercies.” Let us realize that we ask to receive all of the above Last Rites whenever we say fervently, “and at the hour of our death.” Another great reason why Our Lady urges us to say the Rosary!
It is a great gift and consolation to die “comforted with the rites of Holy Mother Church”!
Go and do likewise!
Fr. Daniel Couture