Coffin Routine

An iRot

Here’s a spiritual exercise for you to try at home. It’s probably best to do it  last thing at night.

First say your night prayers, and add a sincere act of perfect contrition: apologise to God for having offended against His Goodness, and state that with the help of His Grace, you will not sin again.

Then climb into your (pre-warmed) bed and get nice and comfy in whatever position you like. Shut your eyes, and remove any other distractions you can. You want darkness and silence around you.

Now, imagine you are in your coffin, dead, all alone. Your earthly life is all finished with, no more appointments, no more wage slavery, no more worries about anyone or anything, ever again. No more pain or suffering. You very smartly made that act of perfect contrition, so there is no damnation awaiting you either.

The next thing to happen will be Judgement Day. You will finally meet God.

Are you looking forward to it? Why not? Will you be alone up there? Do you know anyone who has gone on ahead of you?

Any disturbing thoughts or images? Remember, you are dead, and such things have no home in the coffin. Your coffin is carrying you silently, like a wedding sedan, to your meeting with the Bridegroom. So handsome, so kind, so strong, He is. Your ecstasy is guaranteed upon His arrival.

Oh, but He is such a tease, he will keep you waiting, just to heighten your anticipation! No one knows the day or the hour. Still, time is something you have plenty of, now that you are dead.

Are you in Eternity yet, or is Eternity in you now?


Try some coffin routine tonight. The worst that can happen is you will fall peacefully and soundly asleep. Perhaps, with enough practice, you will lose your fear of death.

Or perhaps, you will hear Him or glimpse His face.

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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12 Responses to Coffin Routine

  1. teresa says:

    Dear Burro, perhaps the following picture will also suit this article:

    by Marianne Stokes: Young Girl and Death


  2. teresa says:

    Slightly off topic, but a very interesting video:

    New Stamps on Cardinal Newman and Pope Benedict XVI:


  3. Gertrude says:

    I think it was St. Augustine that said if we live well, we will die well (my words paraphrasing), and it is a worthwhile practice at the end of the day to look back on that day, what we did or didn’t do, what we could have done better, and what we really ought not to have done – and prepare to make amends! A thought provoking post BB, death is something most of us wish not to think about too much, and yet the only inevitability, that ought to be a ‘homegoing’ not a horror for us.


  4. Brother Burrito says:


    I am privileged, by the means by which I make my living, to see people dying, most days. The initial shock and horror has faded. I now see it as a perfectly natural part of life. I advise the call for the pastors when appropriate, or when the relatives forget to in their grief and confusion. Death, like everything, should be sanctified.

    Looking back to when Christians were only a tiny corpus, in this big wide world, I feel sure that they prayed like mad for their dying and dead pagan contemporaries. So, thus, should we.

    This taboo about death must really be faced up to, and abolished. Why can’t Britain have a Carnival/Danse Macabre/Day of the Dead?



  5. teresa says:

    Well said Gertrude. And I read once that Bernard of Clairvaux asked his monks to stay everyday for an hour in a sarcophagus, and doesn’t it also belong to the practice of the Jesuits, that the Novices, who will make their profess, should stay a night alone in a coffin, as far as I can remember.


  6. teresa says:

    Burro, isn’t the Feast Day All Souls for the remembrance of the dead?

    And in the Mass we do pray for the dead.

    But in the secular society the death has become a taboo.


  7. Brother Burrito says:


    As far as I know, for the British people, death is still taboo. We still place all our trust in medical science and its miraculous discoveries. The great god SCIENCE will bring us onwards and upwards!!!!

    Poor us!


  8. mmvc says:

    What a fascinating post!
    My version of your coffin routine is slightly different in that it’s more of a death-bed routine. Once I’m in my coffin/incinerated/scattered over the river Dee or whatever, I hope to be – please God – at best rejoicing in the beatific vision or at worst in the nether regions of purgatory expiating my many sins. So I tend to meditate on the moment of that last breath, when the soul parts from the body and journeys towards its encounter with the heavenly Bridegroom. Always hoping and trusting in Divine Mercy. What an adventure we have in store! Meanwhile the challenge (sigh!) is to do the utmost in the here and now so that as many souls as possible will come to enjoy eternal bliss.


  9. hopeful62 says:

    Reminds me a little of the advice in the old Penny Catechism about how to finish the day, after one’s night prayers, – by pondering the Four Last Things.

    What concerns me is that fewer and fewer, it seems, are praying for the dead. There now seems an assumption that we pass directly from this world to Heaven. Funerals that I have attended are all about how the deceased is ALWAYS with God in Heaven. There is never any doubt. Never any need for us to call on Our Lady or other saints to intercede on the deceased’s behalf to beg for mercy towards the soul that now stands before God. Never a need to pray or offer up anything for souls of the departed. Dare I say it, the God of Justice has been replaced completely by the God of Mercy.

    Now what can be wrong in that, you might ask? Very little if it were true that Mercy has replaced Justice. A great deal if it is false.

    Reminds me of one other quote from the Penny Catechism about the sins that offend the Holy Spirit. Wasn’t ‘Presumption’ one of those listed?


  10. Brother Burrito says:


    Very conscious of presumption, I am! This is why I mention the Act of Perfect Contrition before coffin time.

    The Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation would be far better, but how many of us can receive that before bedtime, every night?

    I forgot to emphasise how much the blessed Soul in the coffin must look forward to meeting the Saints and Angels who have been performing a ‘watching brief’ over their life.

    No earthly joy can match the joy of entering Heaven. I am more than sure of that.


  11. Mimi says:

    Oh dear, I feel another poem from my favourite prayer-book coming on!

    Afraid, dear Lord? No; not afraid of Thy Judgement’s just decree.
    But ashamed, my God, ah! yes, ashamed to lift my eyes to Thee.
    When the sands of life are drifting out and I stand on death’s lone pier,
    My heart may sink with an honest shame, but never a thought of fear.

    Ashamed of One Whom I dearly love, Who gave me a work to do,
    Who coming at evening findeth me to my noble Friend untrue.
    But fear, my God! Why should I fear? You formed and fashioned the clay,
    You knew the feeble thing I was when You gave me the light of day.

    The small, mean gifts that are mine to give other eyes would not deign to see,
    But You stoop to take with a loving smile, well knowing ’tis only me.
    If I feared Thee, Lord, I could not go on, so I’ll choose the better part—
    I will hide myself and my broken life in the depths of Thy Sacred Heart.

    I will kneel at Thy feet and with head bowed low in shame at the waste of years,
    But hopeful still, for my crucified God yet waiteth my penitent tears.
    With life’s page all blurs and blots throughout I will trust Thee on to the end,
    For there waits at the lonely pier of death my kindest, truest Friend.


  12. mmvc says:

    Thanks for this beautiful poem, Mimi.

    For anyone who might be interested, I recently found this:

    Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death

    My Lord God, even now resignedly and willingly, I accept at Thy hand, with all its anxieties, pains, and sufferings, whatever kind of death it shall please Thee to be mine.

    By a decree of the Congregation of Indulgences of 9 March 1904, His Holiness Pope Pius X, has granted a plenary indulgence at the moment of death to all the faithful who, on any day they may choose, will receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist and make this act for the love of God.


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