Death and Judgment
(The Ultimate in Computers)
Peace be to you.
Death and Judgment
Eventually, we had to come to the subject of death and judgment. But let us not plunge in immediately.
If there is anything that characterizes life, it is an intolerance of boundaries.
- We all want the infinite; that is why we are disappointed very often.
We realize the tremendous disproportion that there is between an ideal that we have conceived and reality itself. But still we go on searching, simply because we have an indefinite capacity for more. You cannot imagine yourself in possession of any good thing and not wanting more. Nature sets limits, however, to the more of our bodies. A boy’s eyes are bigger than his stomach. There is a limit to bodily pleasures. They may even reach a point where they become pain and we become sickened of their own too much.
But there are no limits to the desires of the soul. They never reach a point of satiety.
- There is no limit to a truth that you can know, to the life that you can live, to the love that you can enjoy and the to beauty you can experience.
If this were all, I mean what we have in this world, how we would be cheated. We would be frustrated, just like a woman mad about fashions might be put into a room where there were a thousand hats but not a single mirror.
Since you have a body and a soul, you can make one or the other master. You can make the body serve the soul, which is the Christian way, or you can make the soul serve the body, which is the miserable way.
It is this choice which makes life so very serious.
There would be no fun in playing games unless there were a chance to lose. There would be no zest in battle if crowns of merit rest suspended over those who did not fight. There would be no interest in dramas if the characters were puppets,
and there would be no point in life unless there were great and eternal destinies at stake in which we say, aye or nay to our Eternal Salvation.
Our Blessed Lord put it this way: “And fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
On another occasion our Lord said, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?”( Matthew 16:26)
There will come a time when this trial will be over. I know it is very difficult to convince modern minds about it; they do not like to hear that life will end. That is why death is so often disguised today by morticians. They would almost make you believe there was happiness in every box. They do not like to face the fact of man’s end. And have you noticed how much the modern mind feels awkward in the face of death? He does not know how to extend sympathy. He does not scruple at reading detective stories in which there are a dozen deaths or murders, but that’s because he concentrates on the circumstances preceding the death rather than on the eternal issues involved in death, namely heaven or hell. He never asks, “saved or lost”, but rather, “who killed Cock Robin?”.
There are those who think that death belongs to the purely natural or biological order and, therefore, that man dies just like pigs or roosters die, and for exactly the same reason, but this is not true. Man has a soul, which is spiritual and immortal, and the death of a man is not the same as the death of a beetle. An animal life is like a circle, unfolding from within and turning back upon itself.
Man’s life is like a trajectory that reaches out beyond time to Someone who comes to meet it.
Real reason for Death:
The real reason for death, therefore, is not in the natural order but in the historical order in the sense that, at the beginning of human history, man sinned and the penalty of sin is death. This is the way the scripture puts it: “It was through one man that guilt came into the world.” And since death came owing to guilt, death was handed on to all mankind by one man. It is, therefore, because of original sin that we die. (Ref Romans 5:12) (ref 5:19)
If there were no sin, there would be no death.
That is the reason why the Assumption of our Blessed Mother follows her Immaculate Conception.
- The Blessed Mother’s body did not become subject to corruption because she was preserved free from sin.
- Our Blessed Lord, in giving us the Eucharist, implied the Resurrection of the body thanks to the fact that we were united to His Body and Blood. As He put it, “The man who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood enjoys Eternal Life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:54)
- The Resurrection of our Lord, therefore, is the pledge of our own resurrection.
Mortification- died daily.
St. Paul tells us in rather a harsh and yet not stoical manner that we have to die daily. (Ref Romans 8:35-37 ) A happy death is a masterpiece, and no masterpiece was ever perfected in a day. Dubois spent seven years in making the wax model for his celebrated statue of Joan of Arc. One day the model was finished and the bronze was poured into it. The statue stands today as a ravishing perfection of the sculptor’s art. In like manner, our death at the end of our natural existence must appear as a ravishing perfection of the many years of labor we have given to it and given to its mold by dying daily, that is to say, by mortification.
The principal reason why we fear death is because we have never prepared for it.
Most of us die only once when we should have died a thousand times, aye, when we should have died daily. Death is a terrible thing for him who dies only when he dies, but it is a beautiful thing for him who dies before he dies, namely by dying daily to the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.
There was a very interesting inscription over the tomb of Duns Otis in Cologne, which reads, “ Semul sepultis bis mortis” (A double death preceded his burial). There’s not one traveler in a hundred who understands the mystery of love behind it.
- Now once death comes, there is no remedy for an evil life. But before it comes, there is a remedy, namely by dying to ourselves by which we follow the law of immolation, which is the law of the universe.
- There is no other way of entering into a higher life except by dying to the lower. There is no possibility of a man enjoying an ennobled existence in Christ unless he is torn up from the old habit.
To him who leads a mortified life in Christ, death then never comes like a thief in the night, taking one by surprise. We die daily, and thus we rehearse.
- But whether we rehearse or not, there is no escaping the Truth. “It is appointed onto men once to die, and after this, the Judgment.” Those are the words of Sacred Scripture. (Hebrews 9:27)
As relatives and friends gather around the dead person, they often ask, how much did he leave? But the angels will ask, how much did he take with him? The only thing we can take with us in death is what we can take with us in a shipwreck, namely our merits.
Then there comes the Judgment: Judgment is two-fold.
- We will be judged at the moment of death, which is the Particular Judgment, and
- we will be judged at the last day, which is the General Judgment.
* The first judgment is because you are a person and therefore you are individually responsible for your acts. Your works follow you.
**The second judgment will be because you worked out your salvation in the context of the social order and the Mystical Body of Christ.
Therefore, you must be judged with all men.
Now a word about this general judgment, when we take upon ourselves our bodies. This general judgment will be accompanied, as we said, by the Resurrection of the body. Now death, when the soul is separated from the body, it still retains its aptitude for the body. The soul has made an imprint on it, very much as if you left your hand on warm wax. One might almost say that, at death, the soul desires to have the body with it. Now this is because when the soul leaves the body at death, it does not leave the body forever. The soul does not become an angel. It remains a human soul. It contains all of its experiences, all of its happenings, all of its thoughts and all of its deeds, and at the resurrection of the dead, the soul will have a body corresponding to the spiritual condition of the soul.
- In other words, it will be glorious if the soul is saved and miserable if the soul is lost. Our salvation, therefore, is not just the salvation of the soul, but of our entire personality. Because our bodies have shared in the condition of our soul, they will also share in the glory or the shame of the soul.
If you pour water into a blue glass, it looks blue. Pour it into a red glass and it looks red. In like manner, on the day of Resurrection, our bodies will shine forth according to the virtues that are in the soul, or according to the foulness of vices that are in our soul.
We have already spoken at other times of the particular, the general judgment; here, another word about the particular judgment. What will it be like? It will be an evaluation of ourselves just as we really are.
As we live this life, there almost seems to be several persons in us. First of all, there is the person others think we are. Then there is the person we think we are. And then there is the person we really are. During this life it is very easy for us to believe our press notices, our publicity, to take ourselves very seriously, to judge ourselves by public opinion rather than by eternal Truth, and hence we may and do think ourselves good because we find neighbors who are so wicked.
We sometimes judge our virtues by the vices from which we abstain. If we made our money under a capitalistic system, we think labor organizations are wicked. And if we made our money organizing labor unions, we think capitalism is wicked. If we come from the city, we look down upon people from the country. We think because a person speaks with an accent, he is unimportant, that if he is black or brown or yellow, he is of less value. Our very enthusiasm for the common man may be because we hate the rich, not because we love the common man.
We are not, therefore, always seeing things straight. We are wearing smoked glasses. St. Paul implied that when he said,“We see things now in a dark manner, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
- When that split second of judgment comes, then what are we really? We are what we are, not by our emotions, our feelings, our likes, and dislikes, but by our choices, our decisions.
To change the figure, we are all on the roadway of life in this world, but we travel in different vehicles, some in trucks, some in jeeps, some in ambulances, others in 12 cylinder cars, others in broken down old wrecks, others in trucks, but each of us is doing the driving. Now the judgment is something like being stopped by a motor cop. So when we are stopped by God, He does not say to us, as the policeman does not say, “What kind of a car are you driving?” God is no respecter of persons. He asks, “How well did you drive? Did you obey the laws?”
At death we leave our vehicles behind, our emotions, prejudices, our feelings, our state in life, our opportunities, the accidents of talent, beauty, intelligence and position. Hence, it will make no difference to God if we were crippled, ignorant or hated by the world.
- Our judgment will be based not on our social position, but on the way we lived, on the choices we made, on the things we loved.
- Think not, therefore, that when you go before the judgment seat of God that you will argue a case. You will plead no extenuating circumstances. You will not ask for a new trial or a new jury. You will be your own judge. You will be your own jury. As scripture says, “We will be condemned out of our own mouths.” God will merely Seal our judgment. (Ref Job 15:6) (Matthew 12:36-37)
What is Judgment:
What, then, is judgment, first of all, from God’s point of view and then from our point of view?
First, God’s point of view. Judgment is recognition. Two souls appear before the sight of God in that split second after death. One is in the state of grace, the other is not. Remember, Grace is a participation of Divine Nature. Remember that, just as by nature you resemble your parents, so by Grace we partake of the Nature of God.
Now the Judge, the Blessed Lord, looks into the soul in the state of Grace. He sees there the resemblance of His Nature, and just as a mother knows her child because that child shares her nature, so, too, God knows His own children by resemblance of Nature. If we are born of Him, He knows it, and seeing in that soul the Divine Likeness, the sovereign Judge says to us, “Come, ye blessed of My Father. I have taught you to pray Our Father. I am the Natural Son, you the adopted son. Come into the Kingdom I have prepared for you from all Eternity.” (Matthew 25:34)
Now let us look at the other soul. It does not possess the family traits of the Trinity, and as a mother knows her neighbor’s son is not her own because there is no sharing in her nature, so, too, our Lord, seeing in the sinful soul no likeness of His own, can only say those words, terrible words, which signify non-recognition, “I know you not.” (Matthew 25:12) And it is a terrible thing not to be known by God. Such is judgment from the Divine point of view.
Now let us take it up from the human point of view, from our own point of view. Here, too, it is a recognition, but a recognition of unfitness or fitness. Just suppose that a very distinguished visitor is announced one day at your door. You are in working clothes and your hands and face are dirty. You are in no condition whatever to present yourself before such an august person, and you refuse, therefore, to see him until you can improve your appearance. The soul that is stained with sin acts very much the same way when it goes before the Judgment seat of God. It sees on the one hand, or gets some vague glimpse at least of His Majesty, His Purity, His Brilliance, and on the other, the soul’s baseness, its sinfulness, its unworthiness. It does not entreat nor argue nor plead a case. It sees, and from out of the depths, it says, “O, Lord, I am not worthy.” (ref Luke 15:19)
The soul that is stained with venial sins says, “Give me time to clean up”, and goes into purgatory to wash its baptismal robes. (Revelation 22:14) But the soul that is remedially stained, dead to divine life, casts itself into Hell, just as naturally as a stone which is released from my hand falls to the ground.
And the soul that is full of Divine Love and without any temporal punishment due to its sins, is like a bird released from its cage. It flies to its medium, which is Heaven.
Therefore, three possible destinies await you at death and judgment: hell, which is Pain without Love; Purgatory, pain with Love;, Heaven, Love without pain.
God love you.
1. In today’s lesson on – Death and Judgment what stood out the most to you?
2. Why do you think Bishop Sheen gave the subtitle “The Ultimate in Computers” to this lesson?
3. How would you explain to someone seeking a deeper understanding on Death and Judgment
4. Now that you have learned more about – Death and Judgment
what changes do you think this will have in your daily life?
1020. “The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world in the name of God the almighty Father, who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you. Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day, may your home be with God in Zion, with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with Joseph, and all the angels and saints….
May you return to (your Creator) who formed you from the dust of the earth. May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life….
May you see your Redeemer face to face. 589 ”
I. THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT
1021. “Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.[Cf. 2 Tim 1:9-10 .] The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul-a destiny which can be different for some and for others.[Cf. Lk 16:22 ; Lk 23:43 ; Mt 16:26 ; 2 Cor 5:8 ; Phil 1:23 ; Heb 9:27 ; Heb 12:23 .] ”
1022. “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification[Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 857-858; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304- 1306; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820.] or immediately,[Cf. Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000-1001; John XXII, Ne super his (1334): DS 990.]-or immediate and everlasting damnation.[Cf. Benedict XII, 8enedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002.]
At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.[St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64.] ”
V. THE LAST JUDGMENT
1038. “The resurrection of all the dead, ‘of both the just and the unjust,'[Acts 24:15 .] will precede the Last Judgment. This will be ‘the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear (the Son of man’s) voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.'[Jn 5:28-29 .] Then Christ will come ‘in his glory, and all the angels with him …. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left…. And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.'[Mt 25:31, 32, 46 .]”
1039. “In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare.[Cf. Jn 12:49 .] The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life: All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When ‘our God comes, he does not keep silence.’. . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . ‘I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father – but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence.'[St. Augustine, Sermo 18, 4: PL 38, 130-131; cf. Ps 50:3 .]”
1040. “The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvellous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death.[Cf. Song 8:6 .] ”
1041. “The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them ‘the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation.'[2 Cor 6:2 .] It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the ‘blessed hope’ of the Lord’s return, when he will come ‘to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed.'[Titus 2:13 ; 2 Thess 1:10.]”
681. “On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history. ”
682. “When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace. ”
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
ARTICLE 7 – “FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAlN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD”
I. HE WILL COME AGAIN IN GLORY
Christ already reigns through the Church. . .
II. TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
678. “Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching.[Cf. Dan 7:10 ; Joel 3-4 ; Mal 3: 19 ; Mt 3:7-12 .] Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.[Cf Mk 12:38-40 ; Lk 12:1-3 ; Jn 3:20-21 ; Rom 2:16 ; 1 Cor 4:5 .] Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned.[Cf. Mt 11:20-24 ; Mt 12:41-42 .] Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.[Cf. Mt 5:22 ; Mt 7:1-5 .] On the Last Day Jesus will say: ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'[Mt 25:40 .]”
679. “Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He ‘acquired’ this right by his cross. The Father has given ‘all judgment to the Son’.[Jn 5:22 ; cf. Jn 5:27 ; Mt 25:31 ; Acts 10:42 ; Acts 17:31 ; 2 Tim 4:1 .] Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.[Cf. Jn 3:17 ; Jn 5:26 .] By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.[Cf. Jn 3:18 ; Jn 12:48 ; Mt 12:32 ; 1 Cor 3:12-15 ; Heb 6:4-6 ; Heb 10:26-31 .]”
ARTICLE 4 – THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
VI. THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
IX. THE EFFECTS OF THIS SACRAMENT
1470. “In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.[Cf. 1 Cor 5:11 ; Gal 5:19-21 ; Rev 22:15.] In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and ‘does not come into judgment.'[Jn 5:24 .]”