VITA, DULCEDO ! HAIL, OUR LIFE, OUR SWEETNESS!
XXV .-MARY IS OUR SWEETNESS; SHE RENDERS DEATH SWEET TO HER CLIENTS.
When Father Emmanuel Padial, of the Society of Jesus, was at the point of death Mary appeared to him, and to console him she said : ” See at length the hour is come when the Angels congratulate thee, and exclaim : ‘ 0 happy labours, 0 mortifications well requited!’ ” And in the same moment an army of demons was seen taking flight, and crying out in despair : Alas ! we can do nought, for she who is without stain defends him. In like manner Father Gaspar Haywood was assaulted by devils at his death and greatly tempted against the Faith; he immediately recommended himself to the most Blessed Virgin, and was heard to exclaim : ” I thank thee, Mary, for thou hast come to my aid.”
St. Bonaventure tells us that Mary sends without delay the Prince of the heavenly court, St. Michael, with all the Angels, to defend her dying servants against the temptations of the devils, and to receive the souls of all who, in a special manner and perseveringly, have recommended themselves to her. The Saint, addressing our Blessed Lady, says : ” Michael, the leader and Prince of the heavenly army, with all the ministering spirits, obeys thy commands,0 Virgin, and defends and receives the souls of the faithful who day and night have particularly recommended themselves to thee, 0 Lady.
The Prophet Isaias tells us that when a man is on the point of leaving the world, hell is opened and sends forth its most terrible demons, both to tempt the soul before it leaves the body and also to accuse it when presented before the tribunal or Jesus Christ for judgment. The Prophet says : Hell below was in an uproar to meet thee at thy coming; it stirred up the giants for thee-(Is. xiv. 9). But Richard of St. Laurence remarks that when the soul is defended by Mary the devils dare not even accuse it, knowing that the Judge never condemned, and never will condemn, a soul protected by His august Mother. He asks : “Who would dare accuse one who is patronized by the Mother of Him Who is to judge ?” Mary not only assists her beloved servants at death and encourages them, but she herself accompanies them to the judgment seat of God..