Category Archives: Judgement

Are You Prepared to Die?

As I said in my first ever blogpost here on The Four Last Things you will die.

An article from last year (that for some reason I didn’t blog about then) asks us this: Are You Prepared to Die?

(Via Archdiocese of Washington Blog.)

Well, are you? The reality of death is something many people avoid until it confronts them full on. And even then, some people attempt to shun it.

The inconvenient truth is that we are better prepared to face death when we do not wait to prepare ourselves for it when we are facing it.

The article gives some sobering consideration on preparing for death.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

St. Michael’s Lent

Earlier this month on Sober Catholic I wrote about “Second Chance Lent”, another period of penance and conversion not widely advertised in the Church but present nonetheless. After that post, I was introduced to yet another “Lenten” season by Michael Franzwa, of SFO Saint Francis Of Assisi Fraternity. He told me on Google+ that:

“Saint Francis of Assisi observed an annual ‘Lent of Saint Michael’, from the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (Aug. 15) to the Feast of Saint Michael The Archangel(September 29).
Francis had a special rapport with Mary and Michael from the early days of his conversion. He went to them often, for comfort and consolation, when things got rough. It was on one of these 40 day solitary retreats when, through meditating on the Passion of our Lord, Francis received the sacred stigmata, imprints of Jesus’ five wounds on his body.”

Tomorrow (August 15th) marks the Feast of Mary’s Assumption, and thus the beginning of this devotion.

The Our Lady of the Pearl Secular Franciscan Fraternity points out this:

“In the writings of St. Francis, such as the Volterra text (Letter to All the Faithful) which is included in The Rule of the SFO, we are reminded again and again that Franciscans are called to be penitents, to pray and fast. For these reasons this ancient tradition is important to us. St. Michael’s Lent is a period of 40 days, honoring Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. It begins on the Feast of the Assumption and ends on The Feast of the Archangels.

“[H]e wished along with the most faithful Brothers . . . to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15) and then prepare himself by a forty days’ fast for the Feast of St. Michael (September 29). In common with the rest of the people of the Middle Ages, Francis nourished a special devotion to this Archangel, signifer santus Michaelis, the standard-bearer of the Heavenly Host, and the one who with his trumpet was to wake the dead in their graves on the last day . . . .” (St. Francis of Assisi by Jorgensen)”

(Via Our Lady of the Pearl.)

And so we are made mindful of the facts of our own resurrection on the Last Day and also of our subsequent Judgment. No sense in waiting until then to worry about it. If you haven’t started some “Second Chance” Lenten period of reflection and penance, you have another opportunity to do so beginning tomorrow!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

“Rapture” 2011?

Matthew 24:36

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

(Via USCCB.)

Just what part of “no one knows…but the Father alone” did Harold Camping and his followers NOT understand? They say that clues hidden in the Bible pointed to this year as the End? The Father does not deceive nor contradict Himself. If God the Father alone knows when the End will come, He wouldn’t have planted clues pointing to a specific time.

Some people…!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Paid the last penny

In this excerpt from the Gospel Reading for the Mass for the Friday of the First Week of Lent, Jesus gives a pretty telling sign of the existence of Purgatory:

Matthew 5:26: “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

(Via USCCB.)

The Gospel prior to this is about reconciliation and paying debts while you can before you meet the judge. An indication that while you are alive you should work out your penance, forgive others and settle debts against people you have sinned.

And if you don’t? You shall have to pay for it in afterlife. But if that afterlife is an eternity in Hell, how is the debt to be paid? There must be an intermediary place, a place of punishment where your penance is completely fulfilled.

And only then will “you be released,” for we known that there is never a liberation from Hell.

This can only mean Purgatory, a place of expiation so that you can enter Heaven pure and undefiled from the stains of sin.

Work out your penance now, in the transitory place that is “Life.” Why wait until Purgatory? Granted, you know that you are saved if you should find yourself there, but why delay any longer your grand entry into Heaven? This “Life” is passing, it exists solely to determine where you’ll spend Eternity.

This is Lent, start making good use of it.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Things said at Funerals

From Matthew Archbold who blogs at the Creative Minority Report comes this reminder on the state of modern Catholic funerals:

Please Say This at My Funeral

He makes an excellent point. Perhaps the subject of what Mr. Archbold writes about is a sign of either political correctness or misplaced sensitivity, but it is also what I’ve witnessed.

There is no reason to assume that the deceased is already in Heaven. While that may be comforting to us, it may also be cruel to the deceased if they are in Purgatory, being there as a result of being insufficiently detached from Earthly desires and pleasures at the time of death. We as a culture dislike talking about sin, as if that makes us “judgmental” about other people’s behavior. We seek to avoid offending them. And in doing so behavior stands uncorrected and people perhaps wind up paying for it in the afterlife.

I have little idea what was said or done at funerals before, say, 1970. I do know that priests wore black vestments. Perhaps they focused less on Jesus’ Resurrection than is common today and more on the suffering and death of Jesus. I would imagine that Purgatory was referred to in a respectful and prayerful manner, so as to provide an awareness to the living about the reality of it, and some comfort to the loved ones of the deceased that people would be praying for their soul. I don’t know.

I echo Mr. Archbold’s request. At my funeral, I want the priest to wear black, and go on and on about Purgatory. Maybe the funeral home can have selected The Four Last Things blogposts printed out and stapled to my Holy Cards.

But don’t assume I’m in Heaven.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The days of adversity, prosperity and death

NOTE: this is a cross-post from Sober Catholic:

A reading from the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours has these interesting cautionary words:

Sirach 11:25-26: “The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity; the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity. For it is easy with the LORD on the day of death to repay man according to his deeds.”

(Via USCCB.)

Do you lead a balanced, grateful life? When things are good do you forget how things were during the bad times? When times are bad do you remember that they had been good, and can be so again (or do you sink into despair thinking that God has abandoned you?)

Do you thank God for the good times and rely on Him during the bad?

Just asking!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Coming of the Lord

The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. Although the obvious point of the season is the Nativity of Jesus, the Mass readings in the weeks leading up to Advent and then in Advent itself serve to remind us that there is not one, but two comings of Jesus Christ, Our Savior.

The First was when He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Second will be His Coming at the the end of time, the end of the Ages.

Advent is a time of Preparation. Just as the Lord God prepared the way of His only begotten Son by the Announcement to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, and later His arrival on the public scene by the preaching of John the Baptist, so to do we Catholic Christians announce the presence of the Lord to the World today.

Christmas is about His first Coming. His Birth and later Death as told in Scripture indicates that there will be a Second Coming. His first was that of an innocent babe destined to be judged and executed years later. His Second will be as glorious as the first was humble, and He will be the judge.

Jesus is coming. Are we prepared to meet Him? Are we ready for His Second Coming of Judgment, will He find Faith in our lives and hearts? For a more immediate basis are we even prepared to meet Him in the Blessed Sacrament when we go to Mass? We are not supposed to receive Him in the Eucharist if we knowingly have a mortal sin on our soul, or even a serious attachment to sin (we need to effectively amending our lives).

We all have “clean up our sides of the street”, to sweep up the messes of our past and recover a future and live as best we can in following His will.

Prepare for the Coming of Our Lord. Make room for Him in your heart, mind and soul.

Blogger’s Note: Welcome to The Four Last Things to reader’s of 2010 Catholic New Media Advent Calendar on Catholic Roundup. I hope you like this companion blog to Sober Catholic.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

All Souls Day

Today, November 2nd, is All Soul’s Day, the day the Catholic Church offers up Masses and prayers for the dead in Purgatory.

I was going to dig up old posts or grab excerpts from the Catechism to explain and/or defend this notion, but Taylor Marshall did it already in his blogpost:

What does the Catholic Church teach about Purgatory?

(Via Canterbury Tales.)

Read, learn and grow spiritually!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Tomorrow will take care of itself

The Gospel Reading for the Mass for this Saturday morning has a very lovely teaching by Jesus about trusting in Divine Providence. The Reading closed with the following:

Matthew 6:34: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

(Via USCCB.)

I my other blog I wrote that one reason why you shouldn’t worry about tomorrow is that it may never come.

This is true. It may never come. Are you so preoccupied with worries of the here and now that you may be blind to the hereafter?

Just something to ponder as you work things “one day at a time.”

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Our lives' actions effects revealed in afterlife

There is an excellent article in Spirit Daily : “THE ‘RIPPLE EFFECT’ OF WHAT WE DO IS THERE IN THE FINAL REVIEW BY THE LORD OF OUR LIVES”, that details revelations from near-death experiences about the effects of our actions, both positive and negative, have on each other and throughout creation.

Paragraphs 1021 and 1022 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church declare the following regarding the “particular judgment”, that is, the judgment before Jesus that everyone faces upon their own death:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. 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.

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 or immediately,—or immediate and everlasting damnation. At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.

(Via USCCB.)

It is interesting to note the CCC says: “Each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith”, and “at the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.” The article from Spirit Daily seems to affirm this. We will know at the moment of death the affects we had upon others. What did we work towards? Did our faith matter? (Was our faith manifested in our works?) Did we love?

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"