It is a pity that for such various reasons, beneficial knowledge about death is thus shelved. For example, the words of Jesus Christ Himself about death, as conveyed to mystic Maria Valtorta, could be good for contemplation, a source of courage in the face of the inescapable.
First, on Maria Valtorta, a mystic who passed away in 1964 and is now up for beatification. For most of her life, she was given the grace to travel in time and witness the days of the Old and New Testaments, largely the times of Jesus Christ, from his birth to resurrection. She wrote all she had witnessed, plus explanations from Jesus Christ Himself. Her writings, consisting of several volumes, was later titled by her followers as Poem of the Man-God.
In the history of the Catholic Church, her work was the only publication to get a papal order to publish. A high-ranking prelate personally handed Pope Pius XII a 12-volume typewritten copy of Valtorta’s writings in 1947. The Pope then met with Valtorta’s spiritual director in February of 1948, in which he ordered the publishing before three priests: Fr. Romualdo M. Migliorini, Fr. Corrado Berti and Fr. Andrew M. Cecchin.
In her book, Valtorta quoted Jesus as saying the following about death:
“They fear death who know not love and whose conscience is not tranquil. And they are the majority! These, when they feel themselves threatened by death from sickness, or age, or from whatever other factor, become frightened, affl icted, and they rebel. They try too, with all their strength and every means, to escape it. –Uselessly, because when the hour is marked, no caution avails to ward off death.
“Always just is the hour of death, because it is given by God. I alone am Proprietor of life and of death, and if certain means of death are not Mine, [but] used by men through demonic instigation, the sentences of death are always Mine, given to take a soul away from too much earthly torment or to prevent greater faults of that soul.
“Now note: why would I give the gift of life, of a long life? For two reasons.
The first: because that creature who enjoys it is an enlightened spirit who has the mission to be a beacon for other spirits still wrapped in the clouds of materialism. Many of My saints have reached old age just for this [purpose]. And only I know how anxiously they yearned instead to come to Me.
“Second: I give long life to furnish an unformed creature with the means, every means, to be formed. Studies, friendships, holy encounters, sorrows, joys, readings, chastisements of war or of sickness, all comes from Me, and I give them seeking for a soul to grow in My Age, which is not like your [physical ages]. For to grow in My Age means to grow in My wisdom, and there can be adults in My Age who have the age of children, as you reckon age. Or, conversely, they who are a hundred years old, as you reckon age, can be childish in My Age. I do not look at the age of your flesh which dies: I look at your spirit, and I want you to become spirits who know how to walk, to talk, to act surely, and not be stuttering, tripping and incapable of doing things, as children are!
“That is why I speak My ‘Enough’ more swiftly for creatures whom I find to be adults in Faith, in Charity, in Life. A father always desires to be reunited to his sons, and once their education or military service is finished, with what joy does he not clasp them to his heart! And will your good Father Whom you have in Heaven act differently? No. When He sees that a creature is adult in spirit, He burns with the desire to take it [to be] with Him. And if, out of pity for the people, He sometimes leaves His servants on earth so that they may be a magnet and compass for others, at other times He does not restrain Himself but gives Himself the joy of setting a new star in Heaven with the soul of a saint.
“Here [on earth] where you are, the soul draws God to itself, and God descends to find His delights near this loving creature which lives from Him. The soul yearns to climb up to where it may be without veils eternally with its God. And God, from the center of His burning ardor, draws the soul to Himself, just as the sun attracts the drops of dew. And He yearns to have it near Him, a gem enclosed in His triple Fire which gives Bliss.
“Maria, the upraised arms of the soul meet the outstretched arms of God. When they touch, if they [merely] graze each other quickly, on earth it is ecstasy; when they clasp each other continually, it is the endless Bliss of Heaven: –of My Heaven which I have created for all of you, My beloved ones, and which will give Me a superabundance of joy when it is filled with all my beloved ones. What an eternal day of immeasurable joy [will be] ours, for us who love each other: We, God, One and Triune; and you, God’s children!
“But those who through their own misfortune have not understood My Love, have not given Me their love, have not understood that only one science is useful: that of Love, for them death is dreadful. They are afraid. They are still more afraid if they feel they have done little good, or all evil.
“Man’s lying mouth , for rarely does man’s mouth speak the truth, so beautiful and blessed: the truth which I, Son of God and Word of the Father, have taught you to speak always – rather, in order to deceive and comfort himself and to deceive others, man’s lying mouth says: ‘I have done well and I do well.’ But conscience, which stands like a double-sided mirror under your ego and under God’s Eye, accuses man of not having done well and of not at all doing well as he proclaims.
“Then a great fear troubles them: the fear of the judgment of Him to Whom the thoughts, the actions, the affections of man are not hidden. But if you fear Me so much as Judge, O poor wretches, why do you not avoid having Me as Judge? Why do you not make Me your Father? If you fear Me, why do you not act according to My orders? You do not know how to listen to Me when I talk to you with the voice of a Father who guides you, hour by hour, with a hand of love? But at least obey Me when I talk to you with the voice of a King. It will be a less rewarded obedience, because less spontaneous and sweet to My Heart. But it will always be obedience. So then why do you not do it?
“Death is not dodged. Blessed are they who will come to that hour with a garment of love to meet Him Who arrives. The death of these will be serene as the passing from the earth of My father,8 who did not recoil [from death] because he was a just man who had nothing to reproach in his life. The end of these who love Me will be joyous as the sleep of My Mother who closed Her eyes on earth upon a vision of love, since her life which knew not sin was all love, and She reopened Her eyes in Heaven, awaking upon the Heart of God.”