Did you know there is a way you or a loved one can receive a remission of the temporal punishment of their sins at the time of death? What incomprehensible mercy the Lord has for us! I think this just illustrates how our God loves us infinitely and does not want to lose any of us to hell. Let's check out this beautiful gift of mercy!
Well, like so many things in our AMAZING religion, this practice has unfortunately gone by the wayside. In fact, some priests are not familiar with this blessing at all. So here's what you need to know:
1. Last Rites and the Anointing of the Sick are NOT the same thing! In fact, the Anointing of the Sick is only PART of the Last Rites sacrament.
2. Another very important part of this sacrament is the "Apostolic Pardon" and, if given, is typically done so after absolution of one's final penance/reconciliation. The apostolic pardon is a blessing (which can only be recieved if one is in a state of grace), that forgives the temporal punishmment due to sins but NOT the sins themselves which is why you need penance also. The Apostolic Pardon (also known as the Apostolic Blessing or Apostolic Benediction) can be given by a priest during Last Rites at the time of death. BE SURE TO ASK FOR IT (or have a trusted family member ask for it at your bedside, some people have even put this specifically in their living wills, etc.) as not all priests know about it or maybe feel it is needed. If you want it, ASK!!!!!
3. Even if a priest is not available at the time of death, this gift of mercy is STILL available to the faithful, to those who "prayed regularly in some way during their lifetime"! But you must remember to desire this pardon as death approaches. Ask the Lord in your heart for this blessing and all the graces that come with it.
4. Remember also that if a priest does not make it time for Last Rites, we have a few wonderful gifts at our disposal: holy water (which washes away any venial sins), and the "perfect confession" (our personal confession to God followed by the saying of the Act of the Contrition). Please understand that the "perfect confession" does NOT take the place of receiving the sacrament of penance but still can and should be used daily as well as when death approaches if no priest is available.
Note: We also have the Chaplet of Mercy, which I will discuss it's benefits recited at the time of death in another blog post.
What exactly does the Church say on this matter? Well in the Handbook of Indulgences #28 it states:
“Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence. But if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence. In such a situation the three usual conditions required in order to gain a plenary indulgence are substituted for by the condition ‘provided they regularly prayed in some way'." (Reposted from here)
Ok, so what exactly does this blessing say? Well below is a copy of the two possible versions of this blessing a priest can say for you at the time of your death. I made them wallet-size so you can laminate them and carry in your wallet in case of any emergency. Print out the full page of copies and share with your friends and family!!! I added my website address on each card so if you run out you can refer others to this site to get their own copy.
This is such a WONDERFUL GRACE from our Lord! Let us share this information on our facebook pages, twitter, instagram, google+ and any other social media format you use. Let's help to save souls today!!!!
Blessings to you and yours,