Sunday, March 29, 2009

THE FOUR LAST THINGS ---- DEATH, JUDGMENT, HELL and HEAVEN

THE FOUR LAST THINGS ---- DEATH, JUDGMENT, HELL and HEAVEN

FATHER MARTIN VON COCHEM, O.S.F.C.

Father Martin von Cochem was born at Cochem, on the Moselle,
in the year 1625, and died at Waghausel in 1712.

“Remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”

PART I. ON DEATH.

III. On the Apparition of the Spirits of Darkness.

BESIDES what has been already mentioned, the terrible appearance of the evil spirits makes death yet more alarming to us. It is the opinion of many of the Fathers, that every one, when expiring, sees the evil enemy, at any rate at the moment of drawing his last breath, if not before. How appalling this sight is, and with what terror it must inspire the dying, exceeds the power of words to declare. It is related of Brother Giles that one day, when he was praying in his cell, the devil appeared to him in so frightful a shape, that the Brother lost the power of speech, and thought his last hour had come. As his lips could not utter a sound, he raised his heart in humble supplication to God, and the apparition vanished. Afterwards, when relating what had befallen him to his brother-monks, he trembled from head to foot as he described the hideous aspect of -the adversary of mankind. Then going to St. Francis, he asked him this question: "Father, have you ever seen anything in this world the sight of which was so horrible that it was enough to kill one to behold it?" And the Saint replied: "I have indeed seen such a thing; it is none other than the devil, whose aspect is so loathsome that no one could gaze upon it even for a short time and live, unless God specially enabled him to do so."

St. Cyril also, writing to St. Augustine, says that one of the three men who were raised from the dead told him: "As the hour of my departure drew nigh, a multitude of devils, countless in number, came and stood about me. Their forms were more horrible than anything imagination can conceive. One would rather be burnt in the fire than be compelled to look upon them. These demons ranged themselves around me, and reproached me with all the misdeeds I had ever done, thinking to drive me to despair. And in fact I should have given way before them, had not God in His mercy come to my succour."

Here we have the testimony of one who actually had learnt by his own experience how frightful the appearance of the evil enemy is, and who declares that nothing can be more horrible than the form the devil assumes.

O my God! how overwhelming the terrors that will take possession of the hapless individual who lies at the point of death when the infernal dragon appears, full of rage, and threatening to swallow him up in his fiery jaws.

In this hour of supreme distress, send my guardian Angel to me, O God, I pray Thee, that he may drive away the evil enemy, otherwise I shall infallibly fall into despair and lose all hope of my salvation.

O most blessed Virgin Mary! who didst crush the head of the serpent, be with me in the hour of my death and do not permit the presence of the cruel adversary to cause my eternal perdition.

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