Happy New Week Peoples!
So last Sunday we watched completed season 1 of Symbolon which is on knowing the Faith with the episode on THE 4 LAST THINGS…DUH DUH DUMMMMM (lol). Basically the 4 last things are death, judgment, heaven, and hell. We all want to know what happens after we die and according to the church, there is light at the end of the tunnel. So this weeks CCC reflections will cover those 4 things so we can all meditate and pray about.
Remember these reflections are written by our lovely volunteers of the session who want to further their study/meditation on the episode we watch every Sunday. We share it here so we can all benefit :-).
1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 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.593
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 purification594 or immediately,595 — or immediate and everlasting damnation.596At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.597
Paragraph 1021 speaks of Death. It is not mentioned as a tragedy, but rather, a judgment. It also qualifies this judgement directly to Jesus Christ. This means Death, according to the CCC here, is all about Jesus. “Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ…” (CCC 1021).
Beginning with this, we can all begin to recall any death we have had to bear in our lives; whether the death of a loved one or a stranger, whether the best of persons or the worst of persons. Death comes for us all. But it does not come as a random event, where an unexpected tragedy befalls us, because Death, as the CCC describes it, does not act on its own accord. It is rather a summoning by God for the living to meet and reflect on all our deeds as to whether we accepted or reject the Divine Graces manifested to us through Christ.
This shows us the perspective of death from the eyes of God. When much sorrow is felt in losing a loved one, we ask ourselves with heavy hearts, “Why?!” We feel tremendous pain and inexplicable anguish. We are consumed by an end of a relationship so dear and so loved. We are struck by the finite nature of people we have grown so attached to.
Putting our experiences in the light of death as a summons by God for judgment pierces a light into our darkness reminding us where we are today is not our final destination. Our lives are actually centred on our death, or rather, the result of our “Particular Judgment.”
CCC 1021 tells us that this judgment is immediate. There is no waiting before receiving the findings on our lives. The reference shown is Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Both died, or rather, met with their “particular judgement” at the end of their human life. The rich man received an eternal suffering, where he was unable to gain any respite. Lazarus received an eternal consolation and joy, and knew suffering no more.
This leads us to CCC 1022, which speaks of the two possible outcomes of death, or Particular Judgement. “…either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 — or immediate and everlasting damnation.596” (CCC 1022). This means that at death, our actions of love will either lead us to heaven, or the lack of those actions of love will lead us to everlasting damnation.
Our life, therefore, is not ours to do as we will. This is clearly the case because we will not be our own judges on the day of Particular Judgment. Jesus will be the judge, regardless of what we do with our lives from our birth to our death. As Jesus has power over every life, and He has shown us that we will not be judged based on wealth, nor power, nor glory, but by our acts of love to God and to Man, we henceforth need to set out each day to love.
This is a contrasting message from what we see day to day. Society almost conditions us to seek and establish ourselves as ‘Somebody’ so that in whatever arena we choose, we are idolized. But He, whom has power of Judgment, has giving us the simple rule to love. It is our response to this command that will determine our Forever. We need to reflect on whether we are focused on promises of this finite and passing life, or if we are focused on the Particular Judgment that awaits us at a time we do not know.
We can end this reflection with a quote shared from the CCC, “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.597”
It is my prayer that the Good Lord will assist us all in this journey of life to hold fast to the hope that is Heaven. Amen.