Lenten Meditation 24: The Last Judgment

1. The last day is called in Scripture a day of wrath and misery [Zeph 1:15]; and such it will be for all those unhappy beings who have died in mortal sin; for on that day their most secret crimes will be made manifest to the whole world, and themselves separated from the company of the saints, and condemned to the eternal prison of hell, where they will suffer all the agonies of ever dying yet always remaining alive. St. Jerome, in the cave of Bethlehem, devoted to continual prayer and penance, trembled at the bare thought of the general judgment.

O Jesus! what will become of me on that day? Shall I be placed on Thy right with the elect, or on Thy left with the reprobate? I know that I have deserved to be placed on Thy left, but I know also that Thou wilt still pardon me, if I repent of my sins: wherefore I do repent of them with my whole heart.

2. As this will be a day of calamity and terror for the reprobate, so will it be a day of joy and triumph for the elect; for then, in the sight of all mankind, will the blessed souls of the elect be proclaimed queens of paradise, and spouses of the immaculate Lamb.

O Jesus! Thy precious blood is my hope. Remember not the offences that I have committed against Thee, and inflame my whole soul with Thy love. I love Thee, my sovereign good, and I trust that in that day I shall be associated with those loving souls who will praise and love Thee for all eternity.

3. Choose, my soul; choose now either an eternal crown in that blessed kingdom, where God will be seen and loved face to face in the company of the saints, of the angels, and of Mary the Mother of Jesus; or the prison of hell, where you must weep and lament forever, abandoned by God and by all.

“O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” O divine Lamb, who, to deliver us from the pains of hell, wast pleased to sacrifice Thy divine life by a bitter death upon the cross, have compassion on us.

Text from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, ed. Eugene Grimm, 2d ed. (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1886).

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