Life during earlier generations was much more simple. It did not take much for them to be content, because, unlike today, they did not have to contend with mobile phones, computers, television, and all the conviences of modern life. People then only concerned themselves with getting enough of an education to be able to work and settle down to raise a family of their own. Today, there are a thousand and one distractions that are available in every corner, ready to move us off track from what we are presently doing.
Progress is good. There are more options now than ever before. Life is easier and convenient. However, it is overdone. It has no end point, it just keeps on increasing, upping the ante. It's running creed is, "Get there on top, or just get out of the way."
"...You cannot serve God and mammon" (Mt. 6: 24). We might receive lots of pressure to be more successful from family, friends, and the environment, but only God suffices. Just be humble. The goal of our lives is to live in rejoicing over possessing the one thing that is most necessary: God, the almighty Father.
Let us always say to ourselves, "I am a Christian and God is the only thing that I need to be happy." It is because with Him, "The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them" (Mt. 11: 5).
Reflection About Our Lady
Our Lady has been watching over us since we were newly born in Baptism, therefore, we should also desire that she be at our bedside at our last hour. We ask this in every Hail Mary-- "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death." It is on our deathbed that the final battle which determines our eternal fate is fought. If we have Our Lady with us, we can be sure that then, as always, "she will crush the head" of the infernal serpent (Gen 3: 15).
The Saints have always practiced to pray and hope that they would have Our Lady at hand at the hour of death. St. Bonaventure wrote that "devoutly invoking the Virgin is a sign of salvation." A final prayer to Mary accompanied the passage of many Saints into the life hereafter. Nor can we forget that Jesus seems to have said "Mother!" in the cry He uttered on the Cross before expiring (cf. Mt. 27: 50 and Mk. 15: 37)-- a final, fond gesture of the sacred Humanity of the Son toward His sweet Mother.
Let us consider examples of some of the saints.
St. Francis of Assisi died at the friary of St. Mary of the Angels at the feet of the heavenly Queen.
St. Anthony of Padua died singing the Marian hymn O gloriosa Domina! Excelsa super sidera... (O glorious Lady, exalted above the stars).
On his deathbed St. Camillus de Lellis wanted a picture of Christ crucified with Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. With earnest he begged the Sorrowful Virgin to intercede for him!
St. Joseph Benedict Labre died after a final, lengthy prayer before Our Lady of the Mountains in Rome.
St. John Joseph of the Cross was pronouncing his last words during his final agony when he said to a confrere, "Be minful of Our Lady!"
Bl. Anna M. Taigi died while exhorting her family to have devotion to Our Lady and to recite the Rosary every day.
St. Bernadette died as she prayed, "Holy Mary, pray for me, a poor sinner..."
St. Vincent Gerosa, before expiring, said this final word, "Mary!"
Bl. Agostina Pierantoni and St. Bertilla Boscardin died with the final prayer on their lips, "My Lady, help me!"
St. Gemma Galgani wrote a letter to Our Lady. At a certain point, addressing Jesus, she said, "Take my poor soul, O Jesus. Entrust it to your Mother, and I shall not be afraid, even of hell." Just before she expired she said, "My Mother, I entrust my soul to you. Tell Jesus to have mercy on me."
As St. Pio of Pietrelcina died, even up to his final inaudible breath he kept muttering the two names he loved, "Jesus--Mary."
Happy is the death of one who is calling on Mary! When one loves Our Lady, the recollection of that love gives that soul a filial confidence that it will be saved. St. Maddalena Sophia Barat in her pleasing way said, "The death of one truly devoted to Mary is a child's leap into his mother's arms.