On the Queen of Heaven’s birthday, a secular queen dies

Catholic News Agency on Queen Elizabeth II's encounters with five Popes.

By Chris Sparks

Every year, the Church marks Sept. 8 as the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. And this year, many people around the world will remember Sept. 8 as the day the British royal family gathered around Queen Elizabeth II as she passed into the next life.

Whatever you thought of Her Majesty, her country, or her church, we devotees of the Divine Mercy have a special obligation to pray for another who is dying or has died. It’s what Our Lady would want for her birthday.

The next step
The Church has always considered death as the next step on the journey for Christians. After all, death has been changed by the Passion and death of Jesus from simply being a horror and a curse to the path home to God. That’s why Holy Communion, when given as part of the last Sacraments of the Church, is called “Viaticum,” or “provisions for the journey.”

Saint Paul explains:

If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet” (1 Cor 15:19-27).

Death, then, is the path to eternal life by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Supernatural assistance
But it’s still beset with dangers. It’s a hard, dangerous road, and can often feel incredibly lonely. The devil and his forces will make their final assault on the soul in the last moments, if they possibly can. The flesh fails on the deathbed. Grace becomes more important than ever. That’s why the Church has always encouraged the faithful to visit the sick and pray for the dying and the dead. Our prayers can go where we can’t, and provide supernatural assistance in the hardest times.

And in the Divine Mercy message and devotion, God has given us especially powerful ways to assist the dying. Jesus told St. Faustina, “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 Savior” (1541), and, “Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will” (1731).

So give Our Lady, the Mother of God, a birthday present by performing a work of mercy. Take up your Rosaries and pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Include in your intentions the Queen of England, the land that was once known as the Dowry of Mary, as well as all her friends, family, and even her enemies; pray for peace in the world, and for our Holy Father; pray for the swift Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, and the reign of the Sacred Heart. Ask for every need and good intention of your own family, friends, and enemies, for we are summoned by God to pray for all of them (see Mt 5:43-48).

And Intercede especially for everyone most in need of God’s mercy.

Happy birthday, Mother Mary! Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for Queen Elizabeth and all who love her, as well as all of us in need of your prayers and intercession. Saint Faustina, pray for us.

Photo by Gerald Thomas/Wikicommons
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