Monday, December 20, 2021

Preparing to be called to account--Maria Von Trapp

 Last night we watched the movie, "Sound of Music" the fictional account of the Trapp Family singers starring Julie Andrews. Christopher Plummer who played the father, died this past year, and I looked up the actors who played the children.  Two of them have died within the last 6 years. The music is charming and has aged well.

Movie vs. Reality: The Real Story of the Von Trapp Family | National Archives

'The Sound of Music's von Trapp kids: Where is the cast now? (

The November 2021 Magnificat magazine featured an essay written by the real Maria who died in 1987.

"I was alone in the hospital in Vienna, my family hundreds of miles away.  As I lay there with eyes closed, waiting for death, I heard the doctor say to the nurse that it wouldn't make any sense to try to contact the family.  It was definitely too late for them to reach me.  Although the doctor talked in a whisper, I could hear him very clearly.  All my senses seemed to merge and concentrate into the one sense of hearing.  I noticed that while I was opening my eyes wide, I could see nothing, although it was 10 in the morning.  Sight was gone.  I heard the rustle of the sheets as the nurse removed them from the foot of my bed, and I heard her hand gliding over my feet and her voice when she said, "Her feet are already cold," but I couldn't feel it.  touch was gone.

"Am I dying?" I wanted to ask, but I couldn't move, couldn't speak.  And then hearing also stopped, and there was a silence more intense than any silence I can remember.  The body might have been helpless, but the soul was wide awake and in full possession of its faculties.  Undisturbed by the outside, memory was keener than ever before.  And in this anguish of a last agony the soul passed once more through its past life, seeing everything so much more clearly.  Although nothing is to be seen, the soul senses very sharply the presence of an evil power which wants to influence it to give up: the sins are too many and too horrible to allow any hope.  But it also senses another spiritual power present.  It may be the guardian angel soothing the soul, reminding it, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: reminding the soul of the bottomless mercy and love of the heavenly Father whom it is to meet very soon now.

And then?  Well, I did not die.  But for the rest of my life I shall be grateful for those most precious moments.  Afterwards I found out that this seems to be a general occurrence and not just my private experience.  They say the sense die slowly, one by one.  Therefore, we should take great care what is said and done in the presence of the dying.  While they are fighting their last decisive battle, it would mean such a help if they could hear us talk to them about the mercy of God, about having trust and confidence.  One day we shall have to take that same step too.  This might be the best preparation.  And when everything is over and one of our beloved has died, we should remember the words of the Revelation of John:  I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord henceforth." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them." (Rv14:13)."

Maria von Trapp (from Let Me Tell You about My Savior, New Leaf Press, 2000)

Update:  When I posted a link to this on Facebook, the "fact checkers" placed a warning label on it!  

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