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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

End of the World II

We've heard from readers who have weighed in on yesterday's post. I always welcome everyone's two cents, because together with mine, we have four cents and before we know it we can buy candy.

I thought the judgement after you die is the "personal judgement" and at the end of time is the "general judgement" at which all people (the quick and the dead) will be united to their glorified bodies (which will be doubly great if you then go to heaven and doubly bad if you go to hell).

Yes, there is that.  I thought I would keep it simple, since the next thing you know, once you start talking about Judgment Day, people start selling their houses and walking off into the wilderness.  It has been a personal pet peeve of mine that whenever there is talk of the "End Times", people in every era since the death and resurrection and Ascension of Christ into Heaven were completely certain that THEY were living in the End Times.

The run up to the End Times has the peculiar distinction of applying to every age: wars, famine, evil and crazy weather.  Wait! That's happening now!  Must be coming tomorrow!

I try to point out to people that things were much, much worse at other times in history than there are now, but, having not personally experienced any of that for themselves, even though they watch "Downton Abbey" and watched the History Channel before it turned into "What Hillbillies Are Up To Today", they don't believe me.

I try to not point people in the direction of reading up on it, as they inevitably walk away scared to death with their hair on fire.  But here we are.  Let's skip the build up for how we know the End Times are coming since, although there is a list of 'signs', the Bible also tells us we will never know the hour.  Here is what the Catholic Church has to say about the Judgment itself (and may I suggest you grab a soothing cup of tea, take a deep breath and open both ears so the information can just flow right back out again):

The Roman Catechism thus explains why, besides the particular judgment of each individual, a general one should also be passed on the assembled world: "The first reason is founded on the circumstances that most augment the rewards or aggravate the punishments of the dead. Those who depart this life sometimes leave behind them children who imitate the conduct of their parents, descendants, followers; and others who adhere to and advocate the example, the language, the conduct of those on whom they depend, and whose example they follow; and as the good or bad influence or example, affecting as it does the conduct of many, is to terminate only with this world; justice demands that, in order to form a proper estimate of the good or bad actions of all, a general judgment should take place. . . . Finally, it was important to prove, that in prosperity and adversity, which are sometimes the promiscuous lot of the good and of the bad, everything is ordered by an all-wise, all-just, and all-ruling Providence: it was therefore necessary not only that rewards and punishments should await us in the next life but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment."

I know. "Blah, blah, blah", right?  What are you to glean from this?

1. What I said yesterday.

2. What I left out yesterday: that if you are already dead and in Heaven OR Hell, you will be reunited with your physical body.  Which I believe is a very good incentive to stay in shape. This is eternity we're talking about.

What are we to make of this "general judgment" stuff?  A few years ago I had jury duty.  We sat in the jury pool room all day. They had told us that once the clock struck four, we would have missed out on being called up and we wouldn't have to come back, that our obligation would have been met. At 3:45, they called us in to begin the process.

It was too late in the day to do anything but nail us all for duty the next day. We were instructed to come back in the morning at 9am sharp OR ELSE.  There was a young man and his lawyer and maybe his mother in the courtroom.  He looked like what people would call a "gang banger".

So, at 9Am the next day, back we were.  The boy was not there.  The judge informed that a deal had been struck and we were done.  On the way out, we all packed into the elevator, expressing our relief and speculating about what had happened.  Referring to the young man, one lady said, "Well, he must have done something or he wouldn't be there."

And I said, "That's exactly what the Dutch said about Ann Frank when they led her family out of the attic."

I believe it gave her pause.

What are we to make of the General Judgment?  Let's not be the Dutch.


abandonedsouls said...

wonderfully written. love the jury duty story.

mph said...

Food for thought, that our actions have a ripple effect that could affect far more than we realise, long after we've forgotten them...

Anonymous said...

You make me joyful to be Catholic and to be able to read. Gadzooks.

Dual Role Grandma said...

Loved that comment about History Channel. I've been thinking it for some time.

Judith said...

Sister, it wasn't "the Dutch" but the Nazis who killed Anne Frank and her family. The Netherlands was occupied by the Nazis. Sure, there were collaborators, but there were also Dutch who opposed the Nazis and protected Jews. Dutch people sheltered the Franks for two years at risk of their own lives. You are criticizing the wrong group.

Nenai'sMom said...

Sister, I am new to the blog, but I am enjoying it. Thank you for your insights.