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Kempis on the 4 Last Things: The Final Judgement



2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

 

(I selected two of the strongest passages I know, intentionally. They weren't selected for you, the reader, but for me, a reminder that I am a follower of Christ. They are a remembrance of what I will face when I die. This is why I examine my conscience daily, and make an Act of Contrition, at the very least, nightly... all of this in addition to regular (monthly confessions.))


 

Now that we have considered our individual deaths we turn our focus on each of our judgements. When we are judged by our Lord, He will show us our souls as He sees them. Frankly, this will be the most frightening time of my humble existence. I may deem my soul to be in pretty good shape, but what about those 'secret things' mentioned in Ecclesiastes? What about forgotten sins? This why I want to make sure I have done everything I could have done to make myself worthy of Heaven. For some, seeing their souls as God sees them could be the most frightening thing they'll ever experience. I don't want to be them.


Thomas Kempis paints a vivd picture:


"My friend, reflect next upon how much terror and anxiety there will be at the great scene of the Final Judgment! The miraculous trumpets of angels shall then sound a deafening fanfare. Great bolts of blazing lightening will illuminate the earth and the sky with a blinding luminosity. Tumultuous thunder will roar, penetrating into the very depths of each human heart. The earth, the sea, and heavens themselves will all tremble! Consider the enormity of the wrath of the most just Judge, which will blaze against those who have offended Him through disobedience and disbelief. From this wrath, an abject and paralyzing fear will engulf the minds of all those who are guilty and terrify even the innocent." (my emphasis)

The one comment that disturbs me is, "But you're/they're a good person." Look, there are many "good" people in Purgatory.In fact, Bernard Of Clairvaux said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Yes, the purgative process will allow me heaven, but how long will it take? I've made it clear I wish no delays in my journey to Heaven. But if I don't go straight to paradise, I'll know it was in my hands and have only myself to blame. Every time I open my mouth, a mouth that got me in so much trouble in the past, I consider this a transgression I will regret. When I fail, and I still do fail, I make sure that I repent.



The issue with Purgatory, many have, is they consider it a punishment. Granted, trying to recognize the joys of heaven through a translucent plate of glass, for example, is a punishment. We want to be with God and, in Purgatory, we aren't allowed. We want to feel His Love, but we won't be allowed. (As a lighter-side example, consider being in the dental chair you can't wait to get out of.)


Kempis continues:

"For those who are righteous, humble, and meek will be directed to the right hand of the Throne of Judgment, whereas the proud, envious, uncharitable, and wicked will be sent away to the left. Those on the right will rejoice, knowing that they are destined for eternal bliss, while those on the left will quake and quail, realizing the horrendous fate that awaits them. And none will know with certainty in advance to which side they will be sent—neither pope nor bishop, nor king, nor beggar, nor even convicted criminal." (my emphasis)

I am confounded, daily, regarding the evil that permeates and traverses our society, even those in the Catholic Church. How the sinful can place the consequences of judgement on the back burner: I can't comprehend this. Again, if some saw their souls as God sees them, they very well could drop dead from terror. Have our minds gone so completely insane that we no longer think about the ramification our actions?


Kempis:

"Thus there will be two standing together [apparently similar in their conduct, beliefs and morals], and one will be taken away and the other left behind. How shocked and taken aback will be many of those who were proud and elated in this vain and deceptive world! For the Lord God shall exalt above such presumptuous people the poor, the wretched, the rejected, and the lowly. The proud and haughty will then declare in their hearts, “These are the ones whom we held in derision and ridicule. We considered their lives as foolishness and believed that their ends would be without honor. But, behold, now they are numbered amongst the children of God!'"
"My friend, it is wise to call to mind this Final Judgment very frequently! Whenever you have to decide upon a course of action, reflect for a moment upon how you will account for it on that last day. Will it cause you to be ashamed or to feel regret, or to fear the retributions due to it? Or will it be counted joyfully to your credit before that omniscient tribunal?" (my emphasis)

James 5:12

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.


As Kempis wrote: "Always remember that each one of your deeds is done in the full sight of Christ and His angels, and shape your actions accordingly."


God Bless you


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