” From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead ”
Chapel of Bones in Alcantarilha, Portugal
As we begin to take a look at the Seventh Article of the Apostle’s Creed, I ask you to take a few minutes to meditate, or ponder the moment of your death, sitting, or standing before Almighty God, about to be judged, for how you spent your life here on earth. Just a couple of thoughts before we begin. First, we all will die and most do not know exactly when. Second, we ALL will be judged for how we lived our life, like it or not, we cannot evade this. We must accept that all of us are actually born to die in a sense, but it’s how we live, that will decide how we will spend our life in eternity.
I have just ended my 30 day Ignatian retreat with the Marian Catechist Apostolate. As a result of the spiritual exercises, I was able to ponder such subjects of life, death, heaven, hell and purgatory. One of the insights I acquired during these exercises is the relationship between free-will and time, curious. We are all taught that one gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours is that of our free-will. It occurred to me, that another gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours, is time. Both of these gifts, if used wisely, with Gods grace, should be gifted back to Our Lord, freely on our part. It also occurred to me, how I have abused this precious gift of time that God has so graciously gifted me with. Sometimes, I thank Him for the generous extension He has given me. A result of others prayers, I am certain, especially my dear mother. So, when thinking of the end it also occurred to me that our actual ETERNAL FUTURE, depends upon our present here in time. From the finite to the eternal. This is very serious business folks. Every moment matters and our eternal future is riding on our Yes to Gods will and the time He allows us here on this earth. Eternity is a long, long, long, long, long……..long time, eventhough we will be outside time, that is how long eternity is. Its even longer than that! So let us all stop wasting our time and give some of it at least, back to God, along with our wills.
So, on with the catechesis shall we. We have two kinds of judgement, and we will be taking a look at the first type in this post. The two types are called the Particular Judgement that happens immediately after we die, and we have what is called the General Judgement at the end of the world.
St Paul in the Book of Hebrews in Chapter 9: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”. We will be immediately judged according to how we lived our lives as soon as we die. It is very important to remember that our stay here on earth is limited, and is used to test our entrance into the heavenly kingdom. God, is so merciful! He sends us so many messengers, and so many graces. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven, but we also need to show that we want to be with Him in Heaven as well. All of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church are specifically God given, to help us to gain eternity with Him in Heaven. Not only that, but the Sacraments also give us a taste of Heaven on earth, especially in the Holy Eucharist.
When we die, in the most simplest terms, our souls leave our bodies. We will be judged according to our works, more specifically on our charity. Have we sacrificed our time and our lives for others, for God. Have we tried to pray for those who have offended, or hurt us. Have we turned away from temptations that would lead us away from God. Have we taken that extra minute to spend with family, with a stranger, with that annoying man or woman? Was I constantly picking away at how this or that person lived out their Catholic Faith? These are some of the questions I ask myself at times. Believe me, I fail at these questions many times, I’m just grateful for some bit of awareness.
This is our chance, actually, this is our Grace, not chance. This is our time here on earth, that God has specifically chosen for us to be in. This is nothing to complain about. We are here, right now, to give Glory to God! We are all called to be little “praises of Glory” as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity says. All the graces are available, right here, right now. The exact same graces are here now that were here during St Teresa of Avila’s time, as St Athanasius’ time, Saint Francis of Assisi’s time…… the Grace is available! We are called to be saints, here and now in this moment of time that God has graced us with.
So let us not fear death, but pray for a happy death ; a life lived for God, with His Grace, and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as my compass. Rest assured, if we are obedient to His will, to the best of our ability, we shall be eternally happy. If we live a life of selfishness and refuse His grace til the moment we die, we shall be eternally in misery. The choice is obvious, isn’t it? Lets stop wasting time and try and take part in Gods Holy Will. It is wise to remember what it reads in Holy Scripture, from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 7: “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin. “
May Almighty God protect us from the World , the devil, and ourselves
For the Greater Praise of Glory!