The Sacrament of Extreme Unction

811. THE DYING HERMIT.-----S. John Climacus, a celebrated writer, and one worthy of credit, relates a remarkable example of how persons are assaulted by devils at the hour of death. There was one Stephen, a hermit, he says, who, after he had lived a great part of his life in solitude, fasting, watching, and praying, at last fell sick; and when he was at the point of death, the devil set upon him, and objected many things to him. Sometimes he cried out: "So it is indeed, I confess I did it; but I have fasted and prayed so many years for it." Other times he cried out: "Thou liest, I did not do it;" and again he said: "It is so indeed; but I have shed tears for it; yet notwithstanding," said he, "there is need of mercy." This example ought to make you wary in all your actions, and fly sin, and all the occasions of sin, since this holy man, who had lived nearly forty years a retired and holy life, was so hard pressed by the devil at the hour of his death.

  812. THE YOUNG CHILD.-----At the beginning of Lent, 1850, a priest in Paris was summoned to a young boy's bedside, given up by the doctors. The priest gave him Holy Communion and then administered Extreme Unction, which the child received with great fervor and devotion: he afterwards tried to console the heartbroken mother, and then took his leave, never for a moment expecting to see the boy again in this life. The following day the doctor was surprised to find him still alive, and what was his astonishment to see that all fever had gone, and all the symptoms of death of the previous day. He was bewildered! Three days later, the boy was up and playing with his brother, and his health continued to improve. Such was one of the results of Extreme Unction.------Catechisme en Exemples

   813. KING LOUIS AND HIS SERVANT.-----The virtuous Dauphin, father of Louis XII, one day learned that an old servant of his house was in danger of death, and that he would not hear of regulating the affairs of his conscience. He was painfully affected, and thinking that he might do some good in behalf of a man who had spent his life in his service, he went to his house. "Well, my friend," said he, "I am coming to see you, to tell you how sorry  I am on your account. I have not forgotten that you always served me with affection; think, on your side, that you would give me, for the first time in your life, the greatest of all sorrows, if you did not employ the little while you have yet to live in preparing for death." The poor man, softened even to tears by this step of his good master, awakes from his fatal lethargy, prepares himself for the Sacraments, and receives them with great piety and devotion.------Reyre 

   814. S. MALACHY AND THE MIRACLE.-----S. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, having entered the house of a lady of quality who was dangerously ill, in order to administer to her the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the people who were there were of opinion that he had better postpone the ceremony till next morning. The holy Bishop acceded to their wishes and retired; but this poor woman died a little while after. S. Malachy was the more grieved at this, that he took all the blame to himself for having allowed her to die without receiving the last Sacraments. He passed the whole night praying and weeping. Whilst he persevered in prayer with his disciples, the Lord rewarded his faith in a very extraordinary manner; the dead returned to life, like a person awakening from a deep sleep. She raised herself on her bed, recognized S. Malachy, who was praying, and saluted him respectfully. Immediately the sadness was changed into joy, and all who saw this miracle were amazed. But the holy Bishop thanked and blessed the Lord; he anointed the resuscitated woman, well knowing, says S. Bernard, who relates this story, that sins are forgiven in that Sacrament, and that the prayer of faith saves the sick. When the holy Archbishop had repaired what he called his fault, he withdrew. The patient continued to grow better, and even recovered her health. She lived so for several days, as if to give time for everyone to be convinced of the miracle. At length, she died a second time in the Lord.-----S. Bernard


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