“Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moments depends on your prayer.” (Diary, entry #1777)

“I saw someone dying.. and just then, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘Say the Chaplet which I taught you’.. I knelt by the dying person and, with all the ardour of my soul, I began to say the Chaplet. Suddenly, the dying person opened her eyes and looked at me; I had not managed to finish the entire Chaplet when she died, with extraordinary peace. I fervently asked the Lord to fulfil the promise He had given me for the recitation of the Chaplet. The Lord gave me to know that the soul had been granted the peace He had promised me. That was the first soul to receive the benefit of the Lord’s promise. I could feel the power of mercy envelop that soul.” (Diary, entry #810)

 


The Dying: 1.8 every second | 6,316 every hour | 151,600 every day | 55.3 million every year


 

It is a good and holy practice to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Church and the Saints repeatedly encourage us to do so. These Souls cannot help themselves – they rely on our prayers, sacrifices and good works offered on their behalf. Although these Souls are in a state of purgation, their eternal salvation is assured; they will go to Heaven.

It is also a good and holy practice to pray for the dying, but this is a practice we perhaps think of less often. For these souls, their salvation is not assured; what will happen to them depends on them – and on us.

In her Diary, Saint Faustina notes that the Lord told her that the eternal salvation of many souls depended on her faithfulness to the mission entrusted to her; elsewhere in the Diary, He tells her that the salvation of particular souls in their last moments depends very much on her. She notes that this intention is dear to her heart and is requested of her by the Lord –

“The Lord Jesus makes it known to me in a special way when someone is in need of prayer. I especially know when my prayer is needed by a dying soul.. 

..Especially now, when I am in this hospital, I experience an inner communion with the dying who ask me for prayer when their agony begins..

..My contact with the dying is, just as it has been in the past, very close..

..They ask me for prayer, and I can pray, as the Lord grants me an extraordinary spirit of prayer.” (Diary, entries #820, #835, #935 and #971)

The Lord tells St Faustina precisely why He so desires prayers for the dying, that they might trust in His mercy in that singular moment –

“Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with my divine peace at the hour of death.. Write that when they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge, but as the Merciful Saviour.” (Diary, entries #1520 and #1540)

And so here it is laid out clearly, as it is elsewhere in the Diary; we must pray for souls who are near death in order that they are granted the grace to trust in the Lord, so that they experience His mercy rather than His justice. The Lord tells her –

“Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moments depends on your prayer.” (Diary, entry #1777)

Although these words are directed in a special way at St Faustina, they apply to us all – for her life is set before us as an example of living the message of Divine Mercy fully, and her Diary is a way of life for all of us to follow.

These words also echo the call of the Gospel and resonate with the admonitions of the Church, who tells us that it is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the living as well as the dead.

May all of us take to heart the call to pray for the dying; may we pray, too, that when we are dying, similar souls might pray for us.

 

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now – and at the hour of our death.