The Last Judgment

Father Pegues continues his discussion of the events which are expected to take place at the end of the world. Here he describes the Last Judgment, as portrayed in the Treatise on the Last Things (Summa Theologica III Suppl., 87-99).

Father Pegues states that when the dead are raised at the end of the world they will “immediately be in presence of the Sovereign Judge,” Who is Jesus Christ. And He will present Himself “under the form of His sacred humanity in all the glory which is due to His union with the Person of the Word.” Every human person will see the Judge, but “only the elect whose souls enjoy the beatific vision” will see “the glory of His divine nature.”

Those who have had the use of reason during their earthly lives will be judged. “The good will be placed on the right hand of the Judge to hear His sentence of benediction; and the bad on His left hand to receive His sentence of malediction.”

This judgment will “bring confusion to the lost.” The event will be an “inexpressible torture for them, because behind every sin, especially mortal sin, there is hidden pride; and on the day of judgment they will be forced to confess all before the Sovereign Judge, who will leave nothing hidden.” All the evil they have done “will be brought to light: all that was committed in their individual and private life, or in the family or in the society. . . . All consciences will be laid bare to the gaze of all instantaneously.” The consciences of the just and all their life will also be made manifest to all, “but this will be a triumph for their humility in life.”

“To those on His right Jesus Christ will say: ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, and possess the Kingdom prepared for you from the constitution of the world.’ To those on His left He will say: ‘Depart from Me, ye accursed, into hell fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.'”

The happiness of the elect will be “increased by the fact that their bodies are now united to their souls.” There will be “distinct places for the elect in heaven”; and “the degree of charity or of grace” will determine their “degree of glory.”

Humans have something angels do not have: a human nature, as does Jesus Christ. “The elect therefore will have certain intimate relations with Jesus Christ which the angels have not.”

Quotations from Thomas Pegues, Catechism of the “Summa Theologica” of Saint Thomas Aquinas, trans. Aelred Whitacre (New York: Benziger, 1922).

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