Praised be Jesus Christ! Probably any list of the most provocative phrases one hears these days would have to include “don’t judge me” and “I’m offended.” The great thing about statements such as these is that they are almost completely subjective and make any response practically impossible. Now the fact of the matter is that we will be judged someday, and the One who will do the judging is, among other things, all-knowing and all-powerful. This is a matter of faith and we do well to admit that we could be wrong. But if the Bible is true and all Jesus did and said is true, then we can be sure that what we do in this life will echo unto eternity. A very good catechist used to teach her students that they will be judged based on what they knew to be true and how they lived accordingly. In other words, we won’t be held responsible for things we did not understand. As you can imagine, people are sometimes quick to conclude that ignorance is the way to go – after all, if we can’t be held responsible for what we were never taught, then please don’t tell us that illicit pleasures are sinful because they lead to selfishness and pride; what we don’t know can’t hurt us, can it? Oh, the games we play thinking that judgment is something we can control and basically have on our terms. I’m reminded of the story Father Steven Scheier told about his death experience that happened in 1985. To summarize, Father Scheier shared with Mother Angelica years later that he was in a terrible car accident. He was given little chance of survival and unsurprisingly, had an experience of judgment, a near-death experience. Jesus revealed to him that he had lived his priesthood only for himself. Jesus made a variety of judgments and Father Scheier recounted later that they were indisputable – he admitted that when Jesus spoke it was so true that no one would be tempted to dispute it. Jesus told Father Scheier that by the life he had lived he had chosen to be eternally separated from God, and the priest knew it was true. However, a female voice interjected and said, “My Son, I believe that if you give him another chance, he will choose You.” A pregnant pause followed, after which Jesus said, “Okay Mother, he is all yours.” As you can imagine, Father Scheier has been a very different priest ever since. I spoke with him over the phone once to confirm the story and he sent me a transcript of everything he experienced all those years ago. One thing that stands out is the tremendous influence Mary seems to have at the end of our lives. She is a creature like us, so in no way will she share in the judgment that is reserved to God alone. Just the same, given the veracity of Father Scheier’s experience and the fact that the Hail Mary ends with the words, “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,” many find consolation in Mary’s maternal influence. Michelangelo felt the same way, as his famous “Last Judgment” fresco in the Sistine Chapel makes abundantly clear (you can easily find an image on the Internet). For those who prefer a more interior image, Dante’s Divine Comedy is the most famous treatment of final judgment. Dante decided to call it a comedy in contrast to a tragedy, because the latter has a sad ending while the former a happy one. Jesus made a happy ending possible by His death and resurrection. As Saint Augustine sagely pointed out, “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.” If you want your judgment to go well, confess your sins to a priest; if you don’t, well then I’ll have no choice but to whine about how “I’m offended!” And, contrary to what Father Burish says about me, I really dislike whining!
May God help us to search our hearts so as to make a good and healing confession of our sins!
Your friend in Christ,
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Welcome from Our Pastor
Welcome to Christ the King Catholic Church! Ever since 1938 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Our mission statement is essentially found in the stained glass window above the main altar: “For Christ our King.” Insofar as God made us and we belong to Him, we have come to... Read More