Sunday, March 9, 2008

Imagining "The Last Things"

While working on my paper on "The Last Things", I recently came across this quote in the Catechism from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis:

"Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience...Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren't fit to face death today, it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow..."

Even on those days when my conscience is clear, as much as my heart desires the perfect peace and joy of eternity, the thought of going through physical death is still scary to me. When I consider my own death, I immediately find myself quietly seeking God's forgiveness, compassion, and friendship.

Particular judgement - me with my head hung low and my eyes closed saying "Yes, Lord, it's all true, I know it. I'm sorry - please forgive me."

Heaven - I love imagining what it's like, even though I know it will be infinitely better than anything my imagination could ever come up with.

Purgatory- I also spend a lot of time thinking about what this purification will be like. What do the souls in purgatory do? How much do they know about those of us who haven't died yet? We pray for their complete purification, but how do they receive those graces and how do they make reparation?

Hell - remaining turned away from God for all eternity - I can't bear the thought and I can't imagine it (I believe Hell exists and I believe it's possible for a soul to wind up there, but I don't like to imagine what it's like).

I'm re-reading parts of Von Balthasar's "Dare We Hope 'That All Men Be Saved'?" for my paper. Maybe I'll post a little something on that later.

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