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From the “Vision of St. Laisren (Molaise), Abbot of Old Leighlin”, in Ireland (St. Laisren, +639AD):

The Angels and Demons Contend Over the Soul after Departing the Body


Once upon a time Laisrén went presumptuously from the monastery of Clúain in order to purify Clúain Cháin, a church which is in the territory of Connaught. He fasted thrice three days while purifying the church. At the end of the third three days’ fast sleep overpowered him in the oratory, and in his sleep he heard a voice saying to him: ‘Arise!’ The first time he did not move. When for the second time he heard the voice he raised his head and made the sign of the cross over his face. Then he saw the church in which he was, all alight, and yet there was still a part of the night. And between the chancel and the altar he saw a shining figure.

 Said the figure to him: ‘Come towards me!’ At that voice the cleric’s whole body from crown to sole shook. Then all at once he beheld his soul hovering over the crown of his head, and knew not which way she had come out of the body. And he saw the church open above towards heaven, and two angels taking the soul between them and rising into the air.

Thereupon he beheld a host of angels coming to meet her. And he saw another host of demons with fiery hair? about them and fire coming out of their every limb. On those demons he discerned three shapes. Some had a very black shape, and had fiery bulging spears in their hands; others had a dark brown shape and had fiery darts in their hands. A third number had a shaggy (?)shape, and fiery hair growing through them like the hair of a thistle, and fiery javelins in their hands.

Now these three bands formed a single array of battle to wrest the soul from the angels. And one of them, as long as his breath would last, and without change of speech, charged the soul in one charge with what she had done of misdeeds since she was born. That one charge seemed as terrible to the soul […] and the demon said nothing but was true, nor did he charge her with anything of which she had made confession to a confessor before leaving the body.

An angel of the great host answered the demon on behalf of the soul and said ‘Now thou hast charged thy whole charge.’ The demon answered and said: ‘I have not. I have not charged the greater part of it.’ The angel answered: ‘Thy charge can do us no harm, since before leaving the body it has been confessed and atoned for by penance according to the will of a confessor. Be off!’ said the angel, ‘You have no share in this man.’ ‘If God’s word be true,’ said the demon, ‘we shall not part this way; for this man has not made a little child of himself as God commanded him’ saying: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

‘God’s word is true,’ said the angel, ‘for this man has not come to stay with demons, for he will give warning before us to his friends.’‘Depart from us now!’ said the angel. Forthwith they departed from them.

 

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