Commentary of Saint Gregory the Great on today's gospel
"The evil spirits lay siege to the soul, as it goes forth from the body, for being seized with the love of the flesh, they caress it with delusive pleasures. They surround it with a trench, because bringing all its wickedness which it has committed before the eyes of its mind, they close confine it to the company of its own damnation, that being caught in the very extremity of life, it may see by what enemies it is blockaded, yet be unable to find any way of escape, because it can no longer do good works, since those which it might once have done it despised. On every side also they enclose the soul when its iniquities rise up before it, not only in deed but also in word and thought, that she who before in many ways greatly enlarged herself in wickedness, should now at the end be straitened every way in judgment. Then indeed the soul by the very condition of its guilt is laid prostrate on the ground, while its flesh which it believed to be its life is bid to return to dust. Then its children fall in death, when all unlawful thoughts which only proceed from it, are in the last punishment of life scattered abroad. These may also be signified by the stones. For the corrupt mind when to a corrupt thought it adds one more corrupt, places one stone upon another. But when the soul is led to its doom, the whole structure of its thoughts is rent asunder. But the wicked soul God ceases not to visit with His teaching, sometimes with the scourge and sometimes with a miracle; that the truth which it knew not it may hear, and though still despising it, may return pricked to the heart in sorrow, or overcome with mercies may be ashamed at the evil which it has done. But because it knows not the time of its visitation, at the end of life it is given over to its enemies, that with them it may be joined together in the bond of everlasting damnation."