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THE CONSOLATIONS OF THE GENERAL JUDGEMENT

“Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven” (Matt. 24:30)

The pagan theory, held by more than one Government in our days, that the State as such knows no master, either in the heaven above or on the earth below, that it is a law unto itself, and is wholly independent of the moral order which binds individuals, is as untrue as it is blasphemous.

…as untrue as it is blasphemous

And its further contention that there is no sanction in this world or in another for what men may be pleased to call its misdeeds is equally false and contrary to facts.

…contrary to facts

That there is a punishment even on this earth for the collective crime of a nation or people is made apparent for all time by the tragic events of years past. But over and above the downfall of a guilty country and its ruin at the hands of an outraged world, there is awaiting it a further and more terrible, though less immediate, retribution of which we are reminded in the words quoted at the head of this conference, and that is the sentence that will be passed at the General Judgement. Let us betake ourselves in thought to that day of awful consummation, when right will be vindicated for ever, and wrong finally dethroned and cast into the burning.

The General Judgement

In imagination, helped out by the words of the Gospel, let us envisage the scene. The world then has grown old: its course is wellnigh run. The Gospel has been preached to all nations, and the abomination of desolation is standing in the Holy Place.

The day of consummation when right will be vindicated for ever…

False prophets have gone abroad and seduced many, and unless these days had been shortened even the elect would have been perverted. Nations have arisen one against another and murderous wars have laid waste the land; pestilences and famines and earthquakes have exercised their sway over the face of the earth. A mighty persecution against all that is holy and good, against Christ and His Church has broken out.

…and wrong will be finally dethroned and cast into the burning

There have been signs in the heavens: the sun refused to give its light, and the moon has turned to blood, for a conflagration of unexampled proportions has sprung up and spread far and wide and threatens to consume the world.

The Gospel has been preached to all nations, and the abomination of desolation is standing in the Holy Place

And suddenly there is a sound, the like of which never was heard before: it is the trumpet of Judgement summoning the quick and the dead before the tribunal of God.

At that piercing blast the countless generations of the dead start from their graves as if they had been but sleeping, and the sea gives up those that were buried in its depths. All are there, those that inhabited the earth before the Deluge, the five empires of Daniel, Jews and Greeks and Romans, Christian and heathen, rulers of States and their subjects, the rich, the poor, the learned, the ignorant.

And suddenly there is a sound which has never been heard before: a piercing trumpet blast

And then “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens,” a wail will arise from all the tribes of the earth, and they shall see the Son of Man coming “in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty”, with Blessed Mary at His side, and the apostles around Him, and an innumerable multitude of angels forming His retinue.

The trumpet of Judgement, summoning the living and the dead

The most solemn and awe-inspiring moment in the history of the world has arrived. It is a generally accepted theological opinion that each one of that immense assemblage will have been already judged after death in private fashion and that his state will have been sealed for evermore. None the less is the General Judgement of the last day a final and fitting complement to the dispositions of divine governance; in no sense a superfluous pageant or scenic display but the necessary epilogue of the bloodstained annals of mankind.

The Son of Man is coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty

Man is not merely an individual who can sin against his Maker in his private capacity: he is associated with others, he is the member of a state, or community, or family; he has friends who have come under his influence or by whom he has himself been influenced, and it is only right and proper that the sins of these aggregate bodies, and the guilt of each individual in relation to his neighbour should be exposed before the world and meet with the overwhelming reprobation of men and angels, of Christ and of God.

The most solemn and awe-inspiring moment in the history of the world has arrived

Then at length shall the ways of Providence, so often mysterious and hidden, be revealed and justified in the eyes of all creatures. Then shall nations, the proudest and mightiest, rulers first and subjects after, stand arraigned for judgement in the fierce light of day, humbled to the dust and held up to universal condemnation not only for the unjust wars they have waged, the rivers of blood they have shed to satisfy an insensate ambition, and the atrocities they have perpetrated in defiance of every law, divine and human; but also in many instances for their national apostasy, their loudly advertised irreligion, their persecution of the Church, their oppression of the poor, the countenance they gave to vice and corruption.

Man is not merely an individual who can sin in his private capacity, he sins in his public role 

These are crimes calling to heaven for vengeance; and yet God often delays, they are not always visited by Him in the lifetime of the evildoers. Sometimes even iniquity seems to prosper in the high places, and an unrighteous cause may succeed and prevail.

At the Last Day, however, “the people will be seen to have devised vain things” and “He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall deride them and speak to them in his anger and trouble them in his rage” (Psalm 2). Shame unutterable shall be their portion. There shall be “gnashing of teeth and the call for mountains to cover them,” but all in vain final humiliation and utter discomfiture will be public and irretrievable.

Man’s public and hidden misdeeds will be brought to account in public and in full view of whom they have wronged without anybody having apologised to them, without having even tried to put it right and without having done penance before God and His Church

The General Judgement, moreover, besides bringing fit retribution to States and Peoples for their manifold crimes will also expose and avenge those innumerable sins which are not merely private and personal to men, but in which others are involved, scandals which have led them into evil, false teachings which have sapped and endangered their faith, wicked examples which they have been induced to imitate, malicious slanders that have assassinated their character, cruel deeds that have embittered their life.

Transgressions in regard to neighbour

It is only just that the workers of evil should answer to God in private for their more hidden misdeeds, those against themselves and against Him, but that they should be brought to account in public and in presence of those they have wronged for their other transgressions in regard to their neighbour.

And hence it is not a little remarkable that the sentence of the Judge on that day will make no mention of secret sins, but only of such as may have hurtfully affected others.

Depart from me, for I was hungry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink; I was a stranger and you took me not in; naked and you covered me not, sick and in prison and you did not visit me – and: As long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you it to me (Matt 25:41 et seq.)

We do not take consolation or joy in the thought of the punishment that the wicked will suffer at that great Day of Judgement; we do not find pleasure in another’s pain, however much he may have deserved it. But we may well be consoled to think that at the Last Day God’s ways will be justified and all His claims upon the worship and service of His creatures will be vindicated, that all wrongs will be righted.

At the Last Day all wrongs will be righted

We may secure that the General Judgement will be to each of us individually a day of consolation, for according to Our Lord’s own words the final sentence passed upon us will depend upon the manner in which we have acquitted ourselves in the observance of God’s first and great commandment of charity.

God’s first and great commandment of charity

If in spite of many other sins and imperfections of which we had repented during life, we have always steadily striven to exercise charity, then to us will be said before that mighty host of all our fellow beings those consoling words:

Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger and you took me in: naked and you covered me: sick and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me (Matt 25:34 et seq.)

At the final day of reckoning God’s ways will be justified

What an incentive this is to all of us to practise charity in the many and sundry ways that are offered to us every day, so that at the final day of reckoning we may stand up unafraid and consoled at that Great Judgement of Our Lord.

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, S.J., The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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FOR YOUR DIARY: NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND FASTING

“GOOD COUNSEL NETWORK

• MONDAY 23rd JUNE 2014

is a National Day of Prayer and Fasting for the end of Abortion & Euthanasia.

÷ Please remember to pray and to fast in any possible way. This could be fasting on bread and water or it could be fasting from a particular thing, i.e. alcohol, cigarettes, TV, etc. ÷

• For details see: http://www.goodcounselnetwork.com [external link].”

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in For your diary

 

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“NOBODY IS FORCED TO BE CATHOLIC. WE’RE CALLED BY CHRIST AND HE’S CHOSEN US”

“The Bishop of Portsmouth has reportedly said that Catholics who support abortion and same-sex marriage should not receive Holy Communion, according to a pro-life website.

LifeSiteNews.Com [external link] quoted Bishop Philip Egan as saying: ‘When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life on the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.’

IT IS NOT A PUNISHMENT, BUT AN ACT OF MERCY

Bishop Egan told the website that denying someone Holy Communion is not a punishment but ‘an act of mercy’, and ‘with the hope and prayer that that person can be wooed back into full communion with the Church’.

He said: ‘Nobody is forced to be Catholic. We’re called by Christ and He’s chosen us, it’s a free choice. We live under the word of God. It’s not my truth, it’s God’s truth.

‘One would hope that in that case it would encourage someone to come back and seek communion with the Lord, with the truth and say: ‘I’m sorry I got lost.”

WE WILL, BEING CHRISTIAN, HAVE TO SUFFER

Bishop Egan said Catholics should not seek a fight but at the same time, ‘we will, being Christian, have to suffer, and have to go to the Cross’.

‘This is one of the ways, particularly as a priest or a bishop, in which that cross is going to come out, because you have to witness to the truth,’ the bishop said.

He added: ‘A relationship with Christ is essential where we are truly united in the heart of Christ… With prudence, wisdom, praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we support each other in that and in our suffering.’

Bishop Egan said that the witness to truth is made in love for ‘all persons, especially those of same-sex attraction’.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue March 21 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 

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“TRUTH IS NOT BASED ON THE SWING OF PUBLIC OPINION OR HOW PEOPLE FEEL”

WE CATHOLIC CHRISTIANS DON’T GO BY FADS AND FASHIONS THAT COME AND GO, BUT WE BELIEVE IN UNSHIFTING, ETERNAL VALUES.

“When Jesus said to Pilate, ‘Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’, Pilate answered, ‘What is truth?’ (John 19:38).

‘What is truth?’ is the question of our time especially. Truth has come to be seen as something subjective, relative, based on the swing of public opinion or how we feel.

Whereas truth is not something shifting, subjective and relative.

We build our lives on the immutable and unchanging truths of God’s revelation contained in the sacred scriptures, the teaching authority of the Church and the natural law.

Pilate asked: ‘What is truth?’ Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.'”
– The text in inverted commas was published in “A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2013” by AlivePublishing. For information on their booklets please visit http://www.alivepublishing.co.uk (external link).

 

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“MY UNMARRIED FACEBOOK FRIEND ANNOUNCED SHE IS PREGNANT – IS IT OK TO CLICK ‘LIKE'”?

QUESTION: “If an unmarried friend on Facebook announces that she has moved in with her boyfriend I don’t click ‘Like’ because it seems to be a form of approval. But if an unmarried friend announces that she is pregnant, is it hypocritical to congratulate her?

ANSWER: Your raising this question is commendable because it demonstrates an awareness of the responsibility that we have to avoid co-operating in the wrong done by another person. Traditionally theologians have identified nine general ways to co-operate in evil: by counsel, by command, by consent, by provocation, by praise or flattery, by concealment, by being a partner in the sin, by silence and by defending the wrong done.

Although clicking ‘Like’ for a Facebook status is fairly trivial it can be a way of praising something wrong and so I agree with your decision to avoid clicking “Like” when an unmarried couple announce that they have moved in together. It is not always necessary to comment negatively on a person’s status but it might be necessary to say something if others draw an inference from our lack of comment. Even here we do not need to respond if people are simply attempting to draw us into an online fight.

In the case of an unmarried friend announcing a pregnancy, there are other considerations. In many cases an unmarried mother will be asked whether she wishes to continue with the pregnancy – in other words, whether to opt for the killing of the baby through abortion.

For someone who is young and in difficulties, considerable pressure may be brought to bear. In such cases we are right to congratulate a young mother on making the courageous choice of life for her unborn child.

In the case of a mother who is in a long-term cohabiting relationship we can still congratulate her on the conception of a child, though we may be in a position where we should encourage her to marry. Facebook is probably not the place for such a conversation to take place, and simply clicking ‘Like’ does not imply that we approve of all the circumstances of the pregnancy.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published as part of the feature “Catholic Dilemmas” in the “Catholic Herald” issue March 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 

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PRAYER TO ST JEROME EMILIANI

O St Jerome Emiliani, our country is in such need of your powerful intercession before the throne of God. So many children are orphans of broken homes, some are missing and others have been used for evil purposes on our city streets. Even worse, people are killing children before they are even born.

Inspire parents to adopt orphans. Help us to have your fervour for all children, especially those in most need. Finally, we ask you to intercede for us to be transformed into children so that we may one day enter the Kingdom of Heaven and with you praise the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.

 
 

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“YOU CAN FIND A BOOK STUPID, POORLY WRITTEN, DISHONEST – BUT WHY BAN IT?”

ST PAUL: “HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, JUST AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER.”

TRUE JOY FOR ALL WIVES: “LOSING HERSELF TO BRING TO LIFE THE PEOPLE SHE CARES ABOUT”

“When the Italian writer Costanza Miriano wrote a book on marriage she could not have imagined the kind of controversy it would cause across the Mediterranean in Spain. The country’s main Left-wing parties condemned the work, ‘Sposati e sii sottomessa’ (‘Marry him and be Submissive’), with some claiming that ‘it encourages violence against women’ and ‘degrades the image of woman’. Condemnation rolled from the Spanish parliament, notably from members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and the United Left (Isquierda Unida), and there were even attempts to ban the book.

The title, of course, is taken from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: ‘Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church.’ Costanza is a mother of four and a national television reporter… In the eyes of some non-Catholics, Miriano doesn’t look like a typical Catholic woman. She is tall, blond, athletic and always elegantly dressed…

COSTANZA’S BOOK SEEMS MERELY A PRETEXT TO ATTACK THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her first book was a great success in Italy, with more than 20 reprints. Yet it seems that almost no one protesting against the work in Spain has actually read the work, judging it merely on the basis of its title. She learned from a Spanish journalist who interviewed her that the main reason the book sparked protests is that it is published in Spain by Nuevo Inicio. The publishing house is owned by Archbishop Javier Martinez of Grenada, who has clashed repeatedly with the Spanish Left over abortion. So Costanza’s book seems merely a pretext to attack the Catholic Church.

THE BEAUTY OF TOTAL LOVE

Costanza is a clever, funny and humble woman who has written a book addressed to women who are scared of getting married, and also for wives who have forgotten the true meaning of Christian marriage.

‘Submission’ for the Italian writer, as for St Paul, does not mean slavery but service. ‘Men tend towards egoism,’ she says, ‘and women can overcome this negative inclination of men not by complaining, shouting or beating her fists, but by showing him the beauty of a total love, the sacrifice of his own selfishness.’

WOMEN ARE TO REGAIN THEIR VALUABLE POSITION IN SOCIETY

The book has earned plaudits at the Holy See. The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ hailed it as a ‘little manual of evangelisation’. In the book, Costanza attempts to reassert the true value of woman in the world, starting from her role in the family. Her capacity to be ‘submissive’ corresponds to her ability to sustain the world by succouring and supporting her children and husband. Without women and their role of wife, mother and worker, the family – and therefore society – could not flourish. In order to rediscover this truth, Costanza argues, women need to focus on the service they are called to in marriage, ‘to be welcoming, but not because a man forces her, but because that’s what we love to do.

Even women who believe that abortion is a right, if they are mothers, and if you ask them what was the happiest day of their lives, do they not say: ‘When I became a mother’?’ Costanza asks. So what should women do to regain their valuable position in society and in the world, ‘losing herself to bring to life the people she cares about’? And what is a husband’s duty?

AND WHAT ABOUT A HUSBAND’S DUTY?

Costanza has written a second book, which should be published in Spain imminently. It’s called ‘Marry Her and Be Ready to Die for Her’. This nods, of course, towards another phrase of St Paul: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.’

Costanza says: ‘At the bottom of every human being there is a sense of emptiness that is filled only by giving oneself completely to someone. This is the way to happiness.’ A wife submissive to a husband, ready to give his life for her: that’s the message of Costanza’s two books. Surely this is hardly an outrage to women.

Commenting on the negative reaction to her book in Spain, Costanza reflects: ‘Nobody is obliged to buy a book. You can find them stupid, poorly written, dishonest, but why ban them?’

The efforts to ban the book have, of course, backfired. Costanza has not only fought off attempts to restrict her free speech, but also has a new bestseller – this time in Spain – on her hands.”
– This article by Laura Gotti Tedeschi entitled “The world’s most ‘dangerous’ Catholic writer” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue January 3 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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