On the General Judgment

Last/General Judgment - by MICHELANGELO di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni - from Cappella Sistina, Vatican . . . . .
Our Lord Jesus, surrounded by the Twelve Apostles and other Martyrs of the Church, raises His Right Hand in Judgment, as our Lady Solemnly and Sadly looks away, not wanting to Witness the Fate of her Children who have Rejected God's Graces.

 

"And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the Clouds of Heaven
with much Power and Majesty" - Matthew 24:30.

 

On the General Judgment

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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At Present, God is not Known, and therefore He is as much Despised by Sinners, as if He could not Avenge, whenever He Pleases, the Injuries offered-to Him. The Wicked "Looketh upon the Almighty as if He could do Nothing" - Job 22:17. But the Lord has Fixed a Day, called-in the Scriptures "the Day of the Lord", on which the Eternal Judge will make-known His Power and Majesty. "The Lord", says the Psalmist, "shall be Known, when He Executeth Judgment" - Psalm 9:17. On this Text, Saint Bernard writes: "The Lord, Who is now Unknown while He seeks Mercy, shall be Known when He Executes Justice". The Prophet Zephaniah calls the Day of the Lord - "a Day of Wrath - a Day of Tribulation and Distress - a Day of Calamity and Misery" - Zephaniah 1:15.

Let us now consider, in the First Point, the Different Appearance-of the Just and the Unjust; in the Second, the Scrutiny-of Consciences; and in the Third, the Sentence, Pronounced-on the Elect and on the Reprobate.

 

First Point
On the Different Appearance of the Just and of Sinners
in the Valley of Jehoshaphat - (Joel 4.2)

This Day shall commence-with Fire-from Heaven, which will Burn the Earth, all Men then-Living, and all Things upon the Earth. "And the Earth and the Works which are in it, shall be Burnt up" - 2Peter 3:10. All shall become, One (1) Heap-of-Ashes.

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Resurrection of the Body - by Luca Signorelli -
from the Chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto

 

After the Death of all Men, "the Trumpet shall Sound, and the Dead shall Rise again" - 1Corinthians 15:52. Saint Jerome used to say: "As often as I consider the Day-of-Judgment, I Tremble. Whether I Eat, or Drink, or whatever else I do, that Terrible Trumpet appears to Sound in my Ears, 'Arise, ye Dead, and Come to Judgment'"; and Saint Augustine declared, that Nothing, Banished-from him, Earthly Thoughts so-Effectually, as the Fear of Judgment.

At the Sound-of that Trumpet, the Souls-of the Blessed shall Descend-from Heaven, to be United-to the Bodies with-which they Served God on-Earth; and the Unhappy Souls of the Damned, shall come-up from Hell to Take-possession again, of those Bodies, with-which they have Offended God. Oh! how different, the Appearance-of the Former, compared-with that of the Latter! The Damned shall appear 'Deformed' and 'Black', like so many Firebrands of-Hell; but "the Just shall Shine as the Sun" - Matthew 13:43. Oh! how Great shall then be the Happiness-of those who have Mortified their Bodies, by Works-of Penance! We may Estimate their Felicity from the Words addressed-by Saint Peter-of-Alcantara, after Death, to Saint Teresa: "O Happy Penance! which Merited for me such Glory".

After their Resurrection, they shall be Summoned-by the Angels, to Appear-in the Valley-of-Jehoshaphat. "Nations, Nations, in the Valley of Destruction, for the Day of the Lord is Near" - Joel 4:2. Then the Angels shall Come, and Separate the Reprobate from the Elect, placing the Latter-on the Right, and the Former-on the Left. "The Angels shall Go-out, and shall Separate the Wicked from among the Just" - Matthew 13:49. Oh! how Great, will then-be the Confusion which the Unhappy Damned shall Suffer! "What think you", says the Author-of the Imperfect-Work, "must be the Confusion of the Impious, when, being Separated-from the Just, they shall be Abandoned?". This Punishment alone, says Saint Chrysostom, would be Sufficient-to Constitute a Hell, for the Wicked. "Et si nihil ulterius paterentur, ista sola verecundia sufficeret eis ad poenam". The Brother shall be Separated-from the Brother, the Husband from his Wife, the Son from the Father, etc.

In the Heavens, Angels Display the Cross-of Crucifixion, the Crown-of Thorns,
and the Pillar-of Christ's Scourging      (Click to Enlarge)

"And then shall Appear the Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven;
and then shall all the Tribes of the Earth, Mourn"
- Matthew 24:30

But, Behold, the Heavens are Opened - the Angels come-to Assist-at the General Judgment, carrying, as Saint Thomas says, the Sign-of the Cross and of the other Instruments-of the Passion-of the Redeemer. "Veniente Domino ad judiciurn signum crucis, et alia passionis indicia demonstrabunt". The same may be Inferred-from the Twenty-fourth (24th) Chapter-of Saint Matthew: "And then shall Appear the Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven; and then shall all the Tribes-of the Earth, Mourn" - Matthew 24:30. Sinners shall Weep at the Sign-of the Cross; for, as Saint Chrysostom says, the Nails will Complain-of them - the Wounds and the Cross-of Jesus Christ will Speak-against them. "Clavi de te conquerentur, cicatrices contra te loquentur, crux Christi contra te perorabit".

Most Holy Mary, the Queen of Saints and Angels, shall Come-to Assist-at the Last Judgment; and Lastly, the Eternal Judge shall Appear-in the Clouds, Full-of Splendor and Majesty. "And they shall see the Son of Man coming-in the Clouds of Heaven, with much Power and Majesty" - Matthew 24:30. Oh! how Great, shall be the Agony-of the Reprobate, at the Sight-of the Judge! "At their Presence", says the Prophet Joel, "the People shall be in Grievous Pains" - Joel 2:6. According-to Saint Jerome, the Presence-of Jesus Christ, will Give the Reprobate, more Pain than Hell itself. "It would", he says, "be easier for the Damned to Bear the Torments of Hell, than the Presence of the Lord". Hence, on that Day, the Wicked shall, according-to Saint John, call-on the Mountains, to Fall-on them and to Hide them from the Sight-of the Judge. "And they shall Say-to the Mountains and the Rocks: Fall upon us, and Hide us from the Face of Him that Sitteth-on the Throne, and from the Wrath-of the Lamb" - Revelation 6:16.

Second Point
The Scrutiny of Conscience

"The Court was Convened, and the Books were Opened" - Daniel 7:10. The Books-of Conscience are Opened, and the Judgment commences. The Apostle says, that the Lord "will Bring-to Light, the Hidden Things of Darkness" - 1Corinthians 4:5. And, by the Mouth-of His Prophet, Jesus Christ has said: "I will search Jerusalem with Lamps - Zephaniah 1:12. The Light-of-the-Lamp, Reveals all that is Hidden.

"A Judgment", says Saint Chrysostom, "Terrible to Sinners, but Desirable and Sweet-to the Just". The Last Judgment shall Fill Sinners with Terror, but will be a Source-of Joy and Sweetness to the Elect; for God will then Give Praise to each one, according-to his Works - 1Corinthians 4:5. The Apostle tells us that on that Day, the Just will be Raised-above the Clouds, to be United-to the Angels, and to Increase the Number-of those, who Pay Homage-to the Lord. "We shall be Taken-up together, with them in the Clouds, to meet Christ, into the Air" - 1Thessalonians 4:17.

Wordlings, now regard-as Fools, the Saints who led Mortified and Humble Lives; but, then they shall Confess their own Folly, and say: "We Fools, Esteemed their Life Madness, and their End, without Honor. Behold how they are Numbered among the Children of God, and their Lot is among the Saints" - Wisdom 5:4, 5. In this World, the Rich and the Noble are called Happy; but True Happiness consists-in a Life-of Sanctity. Rejoice, ye Souls who Live-in Tribulation; "your Sorrow shall be Turned into Joy" - John 16:20. In the Valley-of-Jehoshaphat, you shall be Seated-on Thrones-of-Glory.

But the Reprobate, like Goats Destined-for the Slaughter, shall be Placed-on the Left, to Await their Last Condemnation. "Judicii tempus", says Saint Chrysostom, "misericordiam non recipit". On the Day-of Judgment, there is no Hope of Mercy for Poor Sinners. "Magna", says Saint Augustine, "jam est poena peccati, metum et memoriam divini perdidisse judicii". The Greatest Punishment-of Sin, in those who Live-in Enmity-with God, is to Lose the Fear and Remembrance-of the Divine Judgment. Continue, Continue, says the Apostle, to-Live Obstinately-in Sin; but, in Proportion-to your Obstinacy, you shall have Accumulated-for the Day-of Judgment, a Treasure-of the Wrath-of God. "But, according to thy Hardness and Impenitent Heart, thou Treasurest up to thyself, Wrath against the Day of Wrath" - Romans 2:5.

Satan Performs his Office-of-Accuser

Satan speaks-before the Throne of God -
from Petrus Comestor's 'Bible Historiale', France, 1372

"Most Just God, Declare him to be mine, who was Unwilling to be Yours"

Then, Sinners will not be able to Hide themselves; but, with Insufferable Pain, they shall be Compelled-to Appear-in Judgment. "To lie Hid", says Saint Anselm, "will be Impossible - to Appear, will be Intolerable". The Devils will Perform their Office-of Accusers, and, as Saint Augustine says, will Say-to the Judge: "Most Just God, Declare him to be mine, who was Unwilling to be Yours". The Witnesses against the Wicked shall be, First (1st), their own Conscience - "Their Conscience, bearing Witness to them" - Romans 2:15; Secondly (2nd), the very Walls-of the House, in which they Sinned, shall Cry-out against them - "The Stone shall Cry-out of the Wall" - Habakkuk 2:11; Thirdly (3rd), the Judge Himself will say - "I am the Judge and the Witness, saith the Lord" - Jeremiah 29:23. Hence, according-to Saint Augustine, "He Who is now the Witness of your Life, shall be the Judge of your Cause". To Christians particularly, He will say: "Woe to thee Chorazin; woe to thee Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been Wrought the Miracles that have been Wrought in you, they would Long ago have done Penance in Sackcloth and Ashes" - Matthew 11:21. Christians, He will say, if the Graces which I have Bestowed-on you, had been given-to the Turks or to the Pagans, they would have done Penance for their Sins; but, you have Ceased-to Sin, only with your Death. He shall then Manifest-to all Men, their most-hidden Crimes. "I will Discover thy Shame, to thy Face" - Nahum 3:5. He will Expose-to View, all their Secret Impurities, Injustices, and Cruelties. "Iwill Set, all thy Abominations, against thee" - Ezekiel 7:3. Each-of the Damned, shall Carry his Sins, Written-on his Forehead.

What Excuses can Save the Wicked, on that Day? Ah! they can Offer no Excuses. "All Iniquity shall Stop her Mouth" - Psalm 107:42. Their very Sins shall Close the Mouth-of the Reprobate, so that they will have no-Courage to-Excuse themselves. They shall Pronounce their own Condemnation.

 

Third Point
Sentence of the Elect and of the Reprobate

Saint Bernard says, that the Sentence-of the Elect, and their Destiny-to Eternal (∞) Glory, shall be First-declared, that the Pains-of the Reprobate, may be Increased-by the Sight-of what they Lost. "Prius pronunciabitur sententia electis, ut acrius (reprobi) doleant videntes quid amiserint". Jesus Christ, then shall First Turn-to the Elect, and with a Serene Countenance shall say: "Come, ye Blessed of My Father, Possess the Kingdom prepared for you, from the Foundation of the World" - Matthew 25:34. He will Bless all the Tears shed-through Sorrow for their Sins; and all their Good Works, their Prayers, Mortifications, and Communions; above all, He will Bless for them the Pains-of His Passion, and the Blood shed-for their Salvation. And after these Benedictions, the Elect, singing 'Alleluias', shall enter Paradise to Praise and Love God, for all Eternity (∞).

Despair of the Damned

The Judge shall then Turn-to the Reprobate, and shall Pronounce the Sentence-of their Condemnation in these Words: "Depart from Me you Cursed, into the Everlasting Fire" - Matthew 25:41. They shall then be Ever (∞) Accursed, Separated-from God, and sent-to Burn Forever (∞), in the Fire of Hell. "And these shall go into Everlasting Punishment; but the Just into Life Everlasting" - Matthew 25:46.

After this Sentence, the Wicked shall, according-to Saint Ephrem, be Compelled-to take-leave Forever (∞) of their Relatives, of Paradise, of the Saints, and of Mary, the Divine Mother. "Farewell, ye Just! Farewell, O Cross! Farewell, O Paradise! Farewell, Fathers and Brothers; we shall never see you again! Farewell, O Mary, Mother of God!". Then a Great Pit shall be opened-in the Middle-of the Valley; the Unhappy Damned shall be Cast-into it, and shall see those Doors-shut, which shall never again be Opened. O Accursed Sin! to what a Miserable End will Sin, One day, Conduct so-Many Souls, Redeemed-by the Blood-of Jesus Christ! O Unhappy Souls! for whom is Prepared, such a Melancholy End. But Brethren, have Confidence. Jesus Christ is now a 'Father', not a 'Judge'. He is Ready-to Pardon all who Repent. Let us then, ask Pardon-from Him.

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation

Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches. Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.

Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may Love none other, but You.

I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that belongs to me, as You Please.

I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.

I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to those who have done Evil to me.

Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.

Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary. Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.

Amen

 

Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls

This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it, or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.

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O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and Desires.

O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, Pray for us.

Amen

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Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .

 

Consecration to God thru Mary