Mary's last words



"Mother," said a dying girl in Ireland, "it's a dreadful thing to die."

"It is that, my darling," the mother said as she fondly gazed, with tearful eyes, upon the fading cheek of her child; "it is that. Oh, that I could die instead. But you have confessed, so why are you still afraid?"

"Yes, I have confessed every sin I could remember and I have absolution, and I shall have the holy oil when I am just at the last, mother. But then, I must be in the fires of purgatory soon and you are very poor."

"Leave that to the priest, darling," said the mother, "and say the prayers to the Virgin that he bade you say. That will bring peace to your heart."

"No, it's all dark. And I want to know where I am going -- and more, a great deal more than the priest would tell me.

"Mother," she added quickly, "I am thinking of the death of Cousin Cathleen; she had no absolution, no unction, no masses, yet she died happy."

"She was a heretic, daughter dear, and she knew nothing, so she died in her sins."

"Some words she said come over me now, mother; 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me' (Psalm 23:4). what did she mean, mother? I have no comfort, no staff. I am trembling in the dark, and see only great fires beyond, and am full of fear. Cathleen did not believe in purgatory."

"Hush, now, Mary dear," the mother said. "Go to sleep and forget her, and trust in the Blessed Virgin."

"Well, mother, I'll try; but I can't help thinking it must be a happier thing to go straight to Heaven at once. I wish I could remember all Cathleen said about it."

"Now here's Patrick; he will sit beside you till I run to your grandmother's and back."

Patrick had come in and overheard part of the conversation, and now sat down by his sister's side with a heavy heart; for the doctor said she could not recover and he had traveled from another part of the country to see her before her death.

"Mary," said he, when their mother had left them alone, "what was that about Cousin Cathleen?"

"Ah, Pat, I was wishing I could die as happy as she did; and I can't believe her soul is in hell, just because"

"Because she believed what God says in His Word?" exclaimed Pat. "No, Mary, that's just the reason she could die happy, because she had heard God's Word and believed what He said and knew where she was going. When she knew what God said she didn't need to listen to anybody else."

Mary stared at her brother: "Sure, brother, you've turned heretic, too!"

"Well, never mind that. I've been reading the Bible, Mary, full of such good news to sinners."

"But how did you get it? Does the priest know?" said the dying girl.

"Sure, I didn't stop to ask him. I just read and read; there were so many precious things that I couldn't stop even if I am burned for it."

"Well, Pat," said she, "what is it about purgatory you've read in the Bible?"

"Just nothing at all, and I have searched from one end to the other. You can't go to a place that isn't in God's creation. I found only two places in the Bible, Heaven and hell, and everybody goes to one or the other when he dies."

"But, Pat, did Cathleen know she was going to Heaven? How could anyone know he was going there?"

"Yes, Cathleen knew and I know where I'm going, and you may know, too, if you do what she did."

"What is it, Pat? Oh, what is there that I wouldn't do if I could? Tell me quick," said the dying girl.

"Just nothing at all, Mary," replied Pat, drawing from his pocket the precious volume that had enlightened him. "God says in this Book that Christ 'hath once suffered for sins, the JUST for the unjust. that HE might bring us to God.' There is not one thing that you can do; the Lord Jesus has done everything. He finished it all on the cross."

"But does that Book tell how I can be saved and how I can know that I am going to Heaven?"

"Yes, indeed, Mary; just let me read you one verse: Jesus said, 'He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life'."

"Oh, Pat, do read some more; how good it sounds!"

Pat read some other passages from his Book, which tell how God loved us when we were lost in sin, and how He provided a perfect salvation in the death and resurrection of His own Son; and now offers it as a free gift to all who will receive Him as their Savior.

Pat closed the Book and sat in silence.

"Mary," he said, after a moment, "I know I am saved, for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me."

"Oh, I see now; all I have to do is just to believe God and He will take care of all the rest. How precious it is to rest in such promises as these! I am not afraid to die now, for I know I shall go straight to Heaven and see HIM who loved me and gave Himself for me. Since all my sins are washed away in His Blood, I don't need to go through purgatory."


From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date