Death: Our Greatest And Last Spiritual Struggle – 2

Death: Our Greatest And Last Spiritual Struggle – 2


If we have been troubled with doubts concerning the Faith, they recall to our mind the article of belief which we had difficulty in accepting, representing it to us as untrue, whereby we deny the Holy Spirit Himself. If we have a tendency to despair, the evil spirits encourage it, that they may rob us of any hope of salvation.

The person who has sinned through pride, and boasted of their good works, they seek to ensnare by flattery, assuring that they stand high in the favor of God, and all they have done cannot fail to secure them their place in Heaven. Again, if in our lifetime if we have been given to impatience, allowing ourself to be angry and irritated by every trifle, they make our illness appear most undeserved to us that that we may become impatient, and rebel against God for having sent upon us so painful a malady, doubting His Mercy. Or if we have been tepid and indevout, without fervor in prayer or perseverance in our religious exercises they try to maintain in our soul this state of apathy, suggesting to us that our physical weakness is too great even to allow us to join in the prayers of our friends. 

Also they tempt those who have led a godless life, and repeatedly fallen into mortal sin, to despair, representing their transgressions to be so great as to be past forgiveness. In a word, the spirits of evil assail our soul’s at the moment of death most fiercely at this most vulnerable point, just as a skilful general will storm a fortress on the side where he perceives the ramparts to be weakest.

But the devils do not confine themselves to tempting us in regard to our chief failings and predominant faults, they frequently tempt us to sins of which we have not even been guilty. For these devil’s spare no pains to deceive the dying, and if they fail in one way, they attempt to succeed in another. These temptations are of no ordinary character. They are sometimes so violent that it is impossible for weak mortals to resist them without supernatural assistance. If it is all that any one in good health can do to withstand the assaults of the devil, and even such a one is more often overcome by them, how difficult must it be for one who is weak by sickness to struggle against foes so formidable! On this point a pious writer says: 

“Unless the dying person has, previous to their last illness, armed themselves against these attacks, and is accustomed to do battle with their spiritual adversaries, they stand a poor chance of prevailing against them at the moment of death. If we do so, it will be only through the assistance of almighty God, of our Blessed Lady, of our guardian angel, or of one of the saints. For our merciful God and His angels and blessed saints do not abandon the Christian in the hour of our direst need they hasten to help, that is, provided we are deserving of their aid.”

Another horrifying tactic is the terrible appearance of the evil spirits which makes death more unbearable and alarming to us. It is the opinion of many of the Church Fathers, that every one, when expiring, sees the evil enemy in all his horror at the moment of drawing their last breath, if not a while before. How terrifying this sight is, and with what terror it must inspire in the dying, it 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 StFrancis of Assisi, 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.”

StCyril also, writing to StAugustine, says that one of the three men who were raised from the dead told him: 

“As the hour of my departure drew near, 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 succor.”

Jesus speaking to Saint Catherine of Siena regarding Satan said to her:

“The sight of the Devil revive these wretched ones to torments, because in seeing him they know themselves more, that is to say, they know that, by their own sin, they have made themselves worthy of him. And so the worm of Conscience gnaws more and more, and the fire of this Conscience never ceases to burn. And the sight is more painful to them, because they see him in his own form, which is so horrible that the heart of man could not imagine it and if you remember well, you know that I showed him to you in his own form for a little space of time, hardly a moment, and you chose (after you had returned to yourself) rather to walk on a road of fire, even until the Day of Judgment, than to see him again. With all this that you have seen, even you do not know well how horrible he is”.

Veronica Giuliani describing Satan, Here it is sitting, ghastly, horrible. O God! What can describe such horror! More horrible and ugly than all other demons!!!!

Saint Frances of Rome said this when she saw Satan: 

“The most horrible site that ever was or will be — the great Devil chained down in the middle of Hell. Already you hear the rattling of the tremendous chains of the great monster! See! there he is — the most horrible and abominable of all monsters, the Devil. His size is immense! He shall fill the length of the land. He was sitting on a long beam which passed through the middle of Hell. His feet went down into the lowest depths of Hell. They rested on the floor of Hell. They were fastened with great, heavy iron chains. These chains were fixed to an immense ring in the floor. His hands were chained up to the roof. One of his hands was turned up against heaven, to blaspheme God and the saints who dwell there. His other hand was stretched out, pointing to the lowest Hell. His tremendous and horrible head was raised up on high, and touched the roof. From his head came two immense horns. I saw another beast having two horns. From each horn smaller horns, without number, branched out, which, like chimneys, sent out fire and smoke. His enormous mouth was wide open. Out of it there was running a river of fire, which gave no light, but a most abominable smell. Flame cometh out of his mouth. Round his neck was a collar of red hot iron. A burning chain tied him round the middle. The uglinesses of his face was such that no man or devil could bear it. It was the most deformed, horrible, frightful thing that ever was or will be. His great fierce eyes were filled with pride and anger, and rage, and spite, and blood, and fire, and savage cruelty. There was something else in those eyes for which there is no name, but it made those on whom the Devil’s eyes were fixed tremble and shake as if they were dying.”

Here we have the testimonials of them who have actually seen how frightful the appearance of the evil enemy is, and who declares that nothing can be more horrible than the site of the Devil.

What can be done about this since we all will have to face the same battle in our final moments? We must turn to prayer now and ready ourselves for a good death and invoke our Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary to appear before us with the Saint’s and Angels to turn the horror of death into the Sweetness of Eternal Life in our Lord Jesus Heavenly Kingdom…Concluded. 


Taken Primarily from The four last things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven by MartinVon Cochem.

Nihil Obstat: Thomas L Kinkead,  Censor Liborium Imprimatur: Michael Augustine — Archbishop of New York.

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