I thought I’d share a final “Advent-ish” type meditation for these last few hours of Advent. It is traditional to preach in Advent on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. This particular meditation is about judgment.
The Advent season collect makes it clear that at the last day, Jesus will come in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead. He came quietly the first time. Next time he will come in such a way that no one will miss it. Next time he is going to judge the living and the dead. Next time we are going to find out who ends up in heaven and who ends up in hell.
It is a mistake to think of judgment as coming only at the end of the world. Judgment does come then, of course—the General Judgment of all the world, but judgment also comes at the end of our lives—the Particular Judgment, also called the Personal Judgment, when our lives will be weighed in a balance at the moment the soul separates from the body. At that moment we will be judged, and souls that are perfectly pure will be admitted to the Presence of God; souls that are in a state of mortal sin are sent to eternal punishment, and for most of us, it will be determined how much purgation our souls will need before we’re fit for heaven.
Judgment is not limited to the end of time or the end of life, however; judgment is coming this evening when you go to Christmas Eve Eucharist—the “ChristMass.”
The judgment that Jesus will bring at the end of the world will not be substantially different from the one you will experience this evening.
But perhaps you didn’t know that you are facing judgment in the Mass.