"We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this tenth decade in honor of Thy Crucifixion on Mount Calvary, and we ask of Thee, through this Mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, a great horror of sin, a love of the Cross, and the grace of a holy death for us and for those who are now in their last agony."
St. Louis de Montfort assigns three distinct graces to pray for within the Crucifixion, but these graces are so intertwined, they flow seamlessly from one to the next as they progress. We begin with a horror of sin.
All nine previous mysteries of the rosary have prepared you for this moment by generating self-knowledge and insight into the gravity of sin. The Crucifixion is the end result of the selfish choices we have made in our lives. Our sins are the direct cause of the grotesque deicide – a fact that should cause us to recoil in horror at what we have done.
This is a holy and healthy horror, and necessary to help keep us from offending Our Lord in the future. And yet, as we continue to look at the Crucifixion, we begin to see something more. What is He telling us through this horrific mystery? Through all the suffering He endured, could He also be telling us that this is the way to joy? When we meditate on this, we begin to move from a horror of sin to a love of the cross.
It is far easier to love the Cross Our Lord died upon than it is to love our own crosses, probably because we did not have to suffer what He endured; yet we reaped such great benefits from it. But our crosses are different. Imagine loving the disease invading your body, the family member bent on your emotional destruction, or loving the hunger from not having enough to eat! But what may sound ridiculous now might make more sense the more you meditate upon it. For believe it or not, whatever crosses you bear, they are a loving gift to you from your Father.
Most people would not understand such a statement. But it is true. God loves you so much. He created you specifically because He wanted you to be with Him in Heaven forever. You would not have been created if He didn’t want you with Him. And because He loves you so much, He has blessed you with the very means necessary for your sanctification: your crosses. Without them, there can be no Heaven for you.
Learn to love the troubles in life that challenge you to grow in virtue. And hold your cross close to your heart, accepting all tribulations it may bring, as though it were a ticket into Heaven. For that is precisely why it has been given to you – that one day you might die a holy death and live with Him forever in Heaven.
To pray for the grace of a holy death is no light matter. If you have ever been at the side of another as they expired, you might have some insight into how important this is. At no other time in the lives of humans are souls more at risk of losing their salvation than at their last agony. It is Satan’s last attempt to snatch souls from Our Lord through fear, despair, or a loss of faith. It is the final battle we all will face someday – and hopefully we will not fight alone.
How many souls have passed alone, without the aid of the Sacraments, prayer, or Our Lady at their sides? What turmoil and anxiety do these souls face as they are confronted with all the things they had done and did not do in life? How many souls are in desperate need of our help at this moment? How could anyone carry such a cross on his or her own?
No one can. But Our Lord has a plan! Our crosses, while purifying our souls through suffering, also have the power to help deliver other souls safely to Heaven. Gaze upon a Crucifix and see what love Our Lord has for you. He embraced His cross for love of you. And now, in your pain, He asks you to take your own cross and use it as an instrument of love for others.
Use your cross to help these souls in their last agony, to ward off their private demons and prepare them for their Particular Judgment. It is our duty and our privilege as Catholics to assist souls in their last agony any way we can. And by offering up our crosses for others, we become a powerful ally to them at the moment of their death, while honoring the sacrifice Our Lord made for us as well.
"Grace of the mystery of the death and passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, come down into my soul and make me truly holy."
Copyright 2010 Cassandra Poppe
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