Instruction Concerning Death
First a definition: death is the separation of the soul from the body, a phenomenon we can't know has happened with moral certainty until corruption has begun. "Death" does not mean the cessation of breathing or heartbeat, nor does "brain death" mean that death has occurred. The soul isn't "in" the heart, or "in" the lungs, or "in the brain, or "in" any particular part of the body. The treatment of the dying, the apparently dead, and their organs is governed by this Truth.
Now, a person confronting death should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (be informed that this Sacrament is no longer offered in the Novus Ordo and has been replaced by the Anointing of the Sick, which is nothing more than several communal prayers and is not a sacrament- The post- Vatican II Church has given up their Catholic identity and has fallen into the spirit of the world and the devil, which we were warned for centuries by various popes, saints and theologians, not to forget fully approved apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success, Fatima, and La Salette. Certainly no person on earth has the right to remove a sacrament given by Christ Himself, as the the New Church has done) for the possible restoration of body (His will be done) and, most importantly, soul. This is of prime importance and should never be neglected.
The Brown Scapular should be on the dying person, over their head, with each end on both sides of their chest. If oxygen tanks are on, cut the string and then tie them up after placing around ill person. Be sure to have the person invested into the Brown Scapular with the traditional rite by a valid tradition Catholic priest. Invoke the the Holy names of "Jesus., Mary & Joseph" in their ear so the last words they hear on this earth are those of their Savior, while invoking the intercession of Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.
Ways of Comforting the Dying and Encouraging Him to Focus on Christ and His Passion
Into Thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
Commending the Soul to God
As death approaches more closely, the sick person's soul should be commended to God. The following traditional form is most beautiful:
We commend to Thee, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) N.____, and we pray Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that as in mercy to him (her) Thou becamest man, so now Thou would be pleased to admit him (her) to the bosom of Thy patriarchs. Remember, Lord, he (she) is Thy creature, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only living and true God; for there is no other but Thee, and none can equal Thy work. Let his (her) soul rejoice in Thy presence, and remember not his (her) former iniquities and excesses, which he (she) has fallen into, through the violence of passion and the corruption of his (her) nature. For although he (she) has sinned, yet he (she) has always firmly believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; he (she) has had a zeal for Thy honor, and faithfully adored Thee as his (her) God, and Creator of all things. Remember not, Lord, we pray Thee, the sins of his (her) youth, and his (her) ignorance's; but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of him (her) in Thy Heavenly glory. Let the heavens be opened to him (her), and the angels rejoice with him (her). Let the archangel St. Michael, whom Thou didst appoint the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him (her). Let the holy angels come out to meet him (her), and carry him (her) to the city of heavenly Jerusalem. Let blessed Peter the apostle, to whom God gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, receive him (her). Let St. Paul the apostle, who was a vessel of election, assist him (her). Let St. John the beloved disciple, to whom the secrets of Heaven were revealed, intercede for him (her). Let all the holy apostles, who received from Jesus Christ the power of binding and loosing, pray for him (her). Let all the saints and elect of God, who in this world have suffered torments in the name of Christ, intercede for him (her); that being freed from the prison of his (her) body, he (she) may be admitted into the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
May Mary the most merciful Virgin Mother of God, kindest comforter of them that mourn, commend to her Son the soul od this His servant (handmaid), that through her maternal intercession, he (she) may overcome the dread of death and, with her as guide, joyfully reach his (her) longed-for home in the heavenly fatherland.
Prayer to St. Joseph
To thee I have recourse, St. Joseph, Patron of the dying; and to thee, at whose blessed death watchfully assisted Jesus and Mary, by both these dearest pledges I earnestly recommend the soul of this servant (handmaid) in the sufferings of his (her) last agony, that he (she) may by your protection be delivered from the snares of the devil and from eternal death, and may merit to attain everlasting joy. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Prayers Just after Death
After the soul has left the body, the following responses is said:
Courtesy of APOLOGIA
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING DEATH
Certain it is that we shall die, but uncertain the hour of our death. Would that we might never forget this truth; that we might earnestly think of it every day! How soon, then would our lives become different! For would not such thought fill us with salutary fear, restrain our passions, strengthen in us in temptation and insight us to virtue? Suppose there were locked up in prison several hundred persons, on whom sentence of death had irrevocably been pronounced, yet who knew not the day or hour of their execution; if one after the other, and often he who least expected it, were taken out to be executed; would not each one's heart tremble, whenever the prison door opened? Now the irrevocable sentence of death is pronounced on us all; we are all locked up in our bodies, as in a prison; (Ps. cxiv. 8.) one after the other is called hence, yet we do not regard it. We live as though we could live forever; we think only of the body, but for the soul nothing is done, except that we load it with sins and vices.
Is this rational? The body will be food for worms, but the soul (without knowing when) will travel into the house of eternity, to which place she must bring treasures of good works, in order to live happy for ever. Who would, therefore, be so foolish as to care only for the body during life, and neglect the salvation of the soul?
O man, says St. Francis of Sales, (Phil. part. i. chap. 13.) represent to yourself in lively colors, that at your death the world will cease to exist with respect to you. In that last hour the pleasures, the vanities, the riches, the honors, the friendships, and all that was dear to you, will disappear before your eyes as so many shadows. O fool that I am! You will then say, for what trifles and fooleries have I lost all! On the contrary, piety, good works, penance, etc., will appear pleasant to you, and you will exclaim: O, why did I not travel on this blessed road Then the sins which you now consider as mere trifles, will seem to you like mountains, and all that you thought you had accomplished as, great things, with regard to piety, will seem to you very little.
What terrible fear will then seize your soul, when she must travel alone into the bottomless abyss of eternity which, as St. Bernard says, devours all possible, imaginable ages, and of which St. Gregory says, that we can easier say what it is not than what it is. What terrors will befall him/her, when she must appear before the tribunal of that God whom he/she never really loved and honored in him/her life-time and before whom he/she must now give the strictest account, and hear an irrevocable and just sentence!
Should not these thoughts make an impression upon you? How can you escape this terrible future? By living now, as you would wish to have lived at the hour of death. Die daily with St. Paul by crucifying the flesh and its lusts and by voluntarily withdrawing your heart from the world, its pomps and vanities, before death will do this by violence.
RESOLUTION O world! because I cannot know the hour, in which I must leave you, I will not be attached to you. O you dear friends and relatives, you, too, I will in future love only with a holy inclination, directed to God, which will not cease with death, but remain forever. O Lord! help me, that I may die totally to myself and the world, and live only for Thee, and partake of eternal happiness.
INSTRUCTION ON THE CEREMONIES USED AT FUNERALS
Behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and a great multitude of the city was with her. (Luke vii. 12.)
Of these people who accompanied the funeral of the youth, we should learn to pay the last honors to the dead, and follow their bodies to the grave. This is a meritorious work, one pleasing to God, if it be not performed from vanity and self-interest, but for love of God and the deceased, with the charitable intention of assisting him by prayers. Therefore those do very wrong, who from worldly motives either omit this good work entirely, or during the funeral procession indulge in idle talk and deny the deceased even a short prayer.
Why is a cross carried before the corpse?
By this is indicated that the deceased during life professed Christ, died believing in Him, and hoping for resurrection through Him.
Why are lighted candles carried before the coffin?
To represent the desire of the Church that the deceased through the grace of God may be received into eternal light. This custom is very ancient; wax-candles and torches, together with prayer and great solemnity were made use of at the burial of St. Cyprian who was beheaded for Christ's sake, in the year 258 after Christ. (Ruinart.)
Why are the coffin and the grave sprinkled with holy water?
In order, as St. Thomas Aquinas (Lib. iii. art. 21.) remarks, to implore God, on account of the prayers which the Church says when She blesses the water, that the souls of the faithful may be cleansed from all stains, and may receive consolation and refreshment in the tortures which they may still have to suffer in Purgatory.
Why are the body and the grave incensed?
By this the Church indicates that the deceased by his Christian vocation was a good odor of Christ, (ii Cor. ii. 14, 15.) and admonishes the faithful that their prayers should ascend like incense to heaven for the deceased.
Why are Psalms and other sacred canticles sung?
This is done to remind us of the teaching of St. Paul, (i Thess iv. 12.) not to be excessively sorrowful for the loss of the deceased, like the heathens/faithless who have no hope of eternal life. We also signify, thereby, that we congratulate the dead for the peace which they now enjoy. (Apoc. xiv. 13.) This custom, as St. Jerome shows, (Ep. 53.) is derived from the apostles, who interred St. Stephen, singing Psalms and hymns of praise.
Why are the bells rung?
To invite the faithful to the funeral and to pray for the dead who, during lifetime, was called very often by the same bells, prayed with and for us during religious worship, and who is not separated from us by death. The bells mean for adults, that they may obtain eternal rest; for children, to thank God that He has delivered them from all dangers and temptations, and received them into His heavenly kingdom.
Why are the bodies of the faithful buried with the head towards the East, and those of the priests towards the West?
The faithful are buried towards the East, whence the sun rises, to indicate, that they are waiting for Christ who is called the Orient from on High, (Luke i. 78.) and whose voice they will hear at the end of the world, when He calls them to the resurrection; the priests towards the West, as a sign that on the day of judgment they will be placed opposite to the souls confided to them, to give an account of their charge and to bear judgment for or against them.
Why is a cross or monument erected over the grave?
To show that the deceased was a follower of Christ, the Crucified, to remind the passers-by to pray for him, and to remind us of the solemn moment of death.
Why is the body laid in consecrated ground?
1) Our bodies are members of Christ and of His Holy Catholic Church, and temples of the Holy Ghost. It is proper therefore, even after death to keep them sacred, and to guard them against any dishonor by men or by beast.
2) By this burial, men are reminded whence they came.
3) The lap of earth is the fittest place to lay the body, which, like the grain of corn, waits for the time of its rising again.
Why is the solemn funeral service of the Church denied to heretics?
Because they would not belong to the Church during life, and despised the holy customs and prayers of the Church for the dead. How should the blessing and prayer of the Church be useful in death to one who despised them during life.
Why does not the Church permit suicides to be buried on consecrated ground?
In order to express her horror for the crimes perpetrated by them, and to deter the faithful from committing similar actions.
Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's "The Church's Year"