The masterpiece in the series is certainly the Vision of St Augustine. The Saint is caught in the instant in which the voice of St Jerome distracts his attention from a letter he was writing to him, to advise him of his imminent death and ascent to heaven.
Litany For A Happy Death.
O Lord Jesus, God of Goodness, and Father of mercies, I approach to thee with a contrite and humble heart: to thee I recommend the last hour of my life, and the decision of my eternal doom.
When my feet, benumbed with death, shall admonish me that my mortal course is drawing to an end,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When mine eyes, dim and troubled at the approach of death, shall fix themselves on thee, my last and only support,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my face, pale and livid, shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay ; when my hair, bathed in the sweat of death and stiffening on my head, shall forebode my approaching end,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When mine ears, soon to be for ever shut to the discourse of men, shall be open to hear the irrevocable decree which is to cut me off from the number of the living,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my imagination, agitated by dreadful spectres, shall be sunk in an abyss of anguish ; when my soul, affrighted with the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of thy judgments, shall have to fight against the angel of darkness who will endeavour to conceal thy mercies from mine eyes and to plunge me into despair,— merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my poor heart, yielding to the pressure, and exhausted by its frequent struggles against the enemies of its salvation, shall feel the pangs of death,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When the last tear, the forerunner of my dissolution, shall drop from mine eyes, receive it as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins; grant that I may expire the victim of penance, and in that dreadful moment,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my friends and relations, encircling my bed, shall shed the tear of pity over me and invoke thy clemency on mybehalf,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When I shall have lost the use of my senses, when the world shall have vanished from my sight, when my agonizing soul shall feel the sorrows of Death,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my last sigh shall summon my soul to burst from the embraces of the body and to spring to thee on the wings of impatience and desire,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my soul, trembling on my lips, shall bid adieu to the world and leave my body lifeless, pale, and cold, receive this separation as homage which I willingly pay to thy Divine a Majesty, and in that last moment of my mortal life,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When at length my soul, admitted to thy presence, shall first behold the splendour of thy Majesty, reject me not, but receive me into thy bosom where I may for ever sing thy praises; and in that moment, when eternity shall begin to me,—merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
O God, who hast doomed all men to die, but hast concealed from all the hour of their death, grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice, and that I may deserve to quit this world in the peace of agood conscience, and in the embraces of thy love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.