The death of sinners and saints

Friends in Christ, today our Lord explains the story of the poor man Lazarus, and the rich man. One goes to heaven, the other to hell. The rich man in hell, as we see, has many regrets.
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It is true, that for the person who has neglected his salvation, at his death, he will feel many regrets of all the wasted time. (See Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus, p. 84) Friends who visit him, who perhaps even sinned with him, will be reminders of the kind of life he led.
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The dying man will think: ‘I could have led a life of happiness in the grace of God.’ And when will he think these things? When the lamp is going out, when the flame of life is nearly extinguished: What would he not give for even one more month, to prove his love for God.
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But for the person who tried to love the Lord in this life – for this one, death is very sweet. The person with Faith in Jesus Christ – at his death, he will feel peace.
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At her death, St. Teresa was so happy, that she rejoiced every time she heard the clock strike the hour, closer to death. In her moment of death, St. Catherine of Sienna was heard to say: ‘Rejoice with me, for I leave to go to the place of peace.’ St. Bruno says, the death of the just should not be called death, but life.
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Those who live a bad life, nearly always will have a bad death. The man who loves sin in his life, will rarely ever repent at the end. St. Robert Bellarmine says that he once went to a dying man, and told him he had come to hear his Confession. But the man did not even know what Confession was. ‘Father, I do not understand what you are saying. St. Augustine says, the person who forgot God during life, will forget him in the end.
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But the friends of God will welcome death. St. Charles Borromeo had a picture in the house he had moved into, a picture of the grim reaper with a sickle in his hand coming at death – seeing this, he sent for a painter and ordered him to erase the sickle, and to paint instead a golden key; a reminder that death is the key that opens Paradise.
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We still have time. Lent is a time to turn from our sins, and walk again as children of the Light, and thereby not be afraid in the least of the day of our death.

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