Now and at the Hour of Death
last part of the Hail Mary prayer says, "pray for us sinners, now and
at the hour of our death. Amen."
When you think about it, it speaks of the two most important
moments of one's life. "Now" is the only moment one has to work with:
it's the moment in which one lives! What's past is gone, and what's
the future may not come. One may have another "now," and one may not.
We may be certain that the gap between the "now" and the "hour of
death," is ever narrowing. Closer and closer the one draws toward the
other. The time will come when when the two will merge: when the "now"
will become "the hour of death."
Unlike a train or plane trip, where one is closing on the
destination, and has an arrival time, in our journey of life we don't
know our arrival time--when we will come to the last hour. Even in
certain circumstances, with a medical opinion of the approach of
death, how certain can we be of the time? At best it's an ETA.
And the state of one's soul, with regard to whether it possesses
sanctifying grace or not, is what is of supreme importance, because
that is what determines eternity for it, when the hour of death
comes–and earthly time ceases.
To whatever degree, we are
sinners and it makes sense to have someone as important as Mary speak in our
favor at the final moment. We ask others in life to help us, to intercede on
our behalf, and, yes, even pray for us. Why not Mary?
Detail of a stained glass window, depicting the
death of St. Joseph, in the chapel of OSF St. Francis Hospital, Peoria,