The Catholic Defender: The Four Last Things Part II Judgement
At the end of time when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, he will judge the living and the dead. We will all have to face this judgment.
Psalms 1:1-6 states,“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, that yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor the sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish”.
I have heard many times people quoting Matthew 7:2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get”. Instead of this being a verse of warning to those who “judge”, it becomes for many a scapegoat or license to sin.
When you present something clearly shown in the scripture as sin, the response is “Do not Judge”. There is a fine line between judging a person to hell, from judging what is right and wrong in a person’s life.
If the people of Nineveh would have told Jonah not to “judge” them, they would have been destroyed.
In fact, in the Old Testament the prophets were killed by the people because they spoke the Word of God and the people rebelled.
The real purpose of this writing is more for self inventory, we need to look at ourselves and see how we measure up to the teaching of Christ.
We know there is a “Personal Judgment” when a person dies and then there will be the “General Judgment” at the Parousia when Jesus returns at the end of time.
Like Death, everyone of us will face Judgement from God. How do we prepare for this Judgement? Is there anything we can do to prepare for His Justice? Did Jesus provide a means that we can be ready for our eternal Judgement? The answer is Yes, Jesus did provide such a way to prepare for His Judgement! The answer is embodied in His holy Catholic Church!
Jesus came to set the captives free from bondage! This bondage is due to sin that is the cause of death. Jesus is our Deliverer and through His Mercy we are forgiven. Jesus told His Apostles:
[Jesus] said to them again,l “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Jesus would not have given this instruction without having the authority to back it up! St. Paul would refer to this authority Christ gave his Church:
And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
When you go to the Sacrament of Confession and receive Absolution, the Lord Jesus takes those sins you confess and throws them into the Sea of Forgetfulness and remembers them no more. In the Confessional, you receive a judgement from Jesus through the action of His Priest! You receive the Judgement of Mercy! This is the primary means God prepares you for that eternal Judgement when you die.
St. John in his 1st Epistle (1 John 5:13) about Venial (Non-Deadly) and Mortal (Deadly) sin describes that with Venial sins, prayer can resolve forgiveness, yet Mortal sins something else has to take place. St. John does not take Mortal sin on in this text, he expects that the Believers understand St. Paul's message of the Ministry of Reconciliation. Confession is the requirement to take away Mortal sin.
It is very common that I speak with those who have not been to Confession for years. The most I have personally seen was a woman who had not been to Confession for over 50 years. How wonderful it was to witness her return. When a person returns there is much joy in Heaven.
Many of you who are reading this article might be able to identify with family members, friends, co-workers who have been away from the Church for sometime. Maybe some of you fall into this category because you have accepted "Indifferentism"? Here's how you make a good Confession"
FOUR STEPS TO RECONCILIATION
Step 1: Contrition - Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."
Step 2: Confession - The Confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with an other.
Step 3: Absolution - The priest speaks the words by which “God, the Father of Mercies” reconciles a sinner to himself through the merits of the Cross.
Step 4: Satisfaction - An important part of our healing is the “penance” the priest imposes in reparation for our sins.
The Confession goes as follows:
Enter the Confessional
The Sacrament of Reconciliation may be face-to-face or anonymous, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
Begin your confession
When you enter the confessional, the priest will give you a blessing or greeting. He may also share a brief Scripture passage. Make the Sign of the Cross and say, "Bless me Father for I have sinned, It has been [X days, weeks, years] since my last confession."
Confess your sins
Confess all of your mortal sins to the priest in number and kind. Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful.
After you have confessed all of your sins
Say "I am sorry for these and all of my sins." The priest will then offer you advice to help you be a better Catholic, such as how to better work with the graces that God is giving you in your life, or ways to combat your weaknesses or habitual sin. He will then assign a penance.
Say an Act of Contrition
This is a way of expressing your sorrow for your sins.
Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.
STEP 3: ABSOLUTION
Restoration of friendship with God
When the priest absolves you, he will say these words:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and the resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, Reconciliation is usually followed by peace and serenity.
STEP 4: SATISFACTION
Completing the penance imposed by the priest
Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must "make satisfaction for" or "expiate" his sins.
This satisfaction is also called "penance."
When one finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession! - Pope Francis -
Jesus told St. Fastina to have an image painted of Him with the words "Jesus I Trust in You"! When you do place your trust in the Lord, we can build our Faith trusting we are forgiven when going to Confession.
This subject reminds me here of an old Midas Commercial, "you can pay me now or you can pay me later" known as the "Midas Touch".
Jesus states, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoesoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”.
From this scripture, it is a judgment of the heart. We must work towards forgiveness and that is not always easy. We must condition ourselves as this requires work. It requires surrender to God’s will, it requires our readiness to serve God with a clean heart. An upright heart. It is a condition of the heart.
What are going to be some issues that will bring down judgment?
Matthew 10:12-15 states, “As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town”.
What is the meaning here? It is obvious that judgment will be more severe for those who have more opportunity to hear and see the truth.
The more that a person is given the more accountability there will be. Jesus teaches this point very clearly Matthew 12:38-42, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you’. But he answered them,’An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three night in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three night in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here”.
We have the revelation of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church which is the voice of the Lord until Jesus returns.
The Catholic Church is graced with many signs and wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of his people, the Church.
Even so, many will refuse to obey the Church?
People will not obey the Word of the Lord. Many will reject the works of the Lord,
Matthew 11:20-21 states, “Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes”.
I have more than once, been told that someone would not believe unless Mother Mary would appear to them. They have abandoned Christianity for secular science.
In the last times a great deception would challenge many people to fall from their Faith. No question about it, secular humanism has had a terrible impact on our society and judgment is coming.
St. Peter warns about this scourge saying, “First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming” (2 Peter 3:3-4)?
The signs of the Lord are many, Marian Apparitions, Eucharistic Miracles, the Incorruptibles, Healing, and many many more.
We live in a perverse generation where children learn to imitate the foul language of their parents, the media in movies and music.
Rebellion is everywhere. Jesus warns of this Matthew 12:36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.
Foul language is condemned in the scripture.
St. Paul states, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Out of the heart, the mouth speaks! It is still a condition of the heart.
There are some serious signs that need to be understood as terrible reasons for judgment.
Apostasy is a very serious sin. St. John states, (1 John 2:18-20).“Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the anti-Christ is coming, so now many anti-Christs have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that they all are not of us”
Today, there are many millions of fallen away Catholics representing the second largest religious body second to only the Catholic Church.
Hosea 4:6 states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children”.
I had given a talk in Northern Texas (Canyon Texas St. Anne's) when I asked the people present if they knew of family members or friends who had abandoned the Catholic Faith. Practically everyone without exception raised their hands.
If I was to look at this as a disease, it would be an epidemic.
James 5:19-20 states, “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”.
The Prodigal Son who returns to the fold can be totally restored to the Church. The Lord would leave the 99 to find the one who had gone astray.
Sin has it’s consequences, especially if they are not confessed. There are Mortal sins and Venial Sins which all lead to death. Mortal sins being serious or damnable. There are the 7 deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony).
Galatians 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.
There is so much regarding warning to include those who are faithless, disobedient, traitors, apathetic, faithless and filled with heresy.
St. John states, “By this we know that we love the children of God. when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:2-3).
At the time of our death, we will receive a personal judgement, the soul will go to one of three places, Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. Those going to Purgatory are saved and will go to Heaven at the Parousia.
Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. The soul will be united with your glorified body that will live forever. Now is the time to prepare as we will all be held accountable for the works we did. Our faithfulness to our Lord.
St. John is given a glimpse of of what heaven will be like for those whose judgment brings them home:
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:22-27).