Meditation for Thursday
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Consider that the soul will have no sooner departed from the body than it will appear before the tribunal of God to be judged. This judge is the Almighty, whose wrath is provoked by your sins. Your accuser will be your mortal enemy, the devil; the matter of your trial will be your sins; your sentence will be without appeal; and if found guilty, your punishment will be hell. You will not have the power of calling your parents, friends, and companions to your aid: all must be concluded between God and your soul. You will then see the deformity of your crimes, and will not be able, as at present, to excuse them. You will be examined upon all your sins of thought, of words, of actions, of omissions, of scandal; you will be weighed in the terrible scales of divine justice, and, if found wanting in a single point, you are lost. My Jesus and my Judge, pardon me before Thou dost judge me.
Consider that, at the end of the world, our bodies will rise again to participate in the reward or punishment of the soul according to our works, when all the nations of the earth will be assembled in the valley of Josaphat to be judged. If you are condemned, you will resume your body as an eternal prison for your unfortunate soul. At this sorrowful reunion the soul will curse the body and the body the soul, so that, although at present they mutually consent to pursue unlawful pleasures, after death, they will become each others tormentor. On the other hand, if you are saved, your body will arise beautiful, impassible, and glorious, and thus, both in body and soul, you will be judged worthy of eternal happiness. Thus will close the scene of this world: thus will terminate all greatness, all the pleasures, and all the pomps of the earth. Yes, all will be at an end; nothing will remain but two eternities, one of glory, the other of pain; one of joy, the other of torments: the just will dwell in heaven, the wicked in hell. Woe, then, to him that has loved the world! Woe to him that for the vain and fleeting pleasures of the earth has lost his soul, his body, heaven, and God!
Consider the eternal sentence which Jesus Christ will pass upon the reprobate and the elect. This sovereign Judge, turning towards the reprobate, will say: "Behold. Ye ungrateful wretches, the event of your crimes! My hour is come the hour of truth, of justice, of vengeance, and of wrath. Criminal souls, you have chosen my curse; let it fall upon you: be ye cursed for all eternity. Depart from me, despoiled of every good and laden with all evil, into eternal fire." Then turning towards the elect Jesus will thus address them: "Come, ye blessed children of my heavenly Father, come and take possession of the kingdom of heaven which is prepared for you. Come, no longer to carry your cross after me, but to wear a crown. Come to inherit my riches, and to be the companions of my glory. Come from the land of exile to your true country; come from sufferings to glory, from tears to joy." O my Jesus! I hope to be one of those whom Thou wilt then bless. I love Thee above all things. Bless me at this moment. O my Mother Mary, do thou also bless me.
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