Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man--Lk. 16

ESCHATOLOGY.   Is a branch of theology that studies what we call “The Last things”: death, judgment, heaven and hell (also Purgatory).  One of the best tricks of the devil is to convince us that we have a long life ahead of us, that we have a right to enjoy our lives, and that we can put off our conversion until tomorrow.  (Read “Screwtape Letters” of C.S. Lewis).

An excellent Biblical passage that incorporates the four last things in their entirety is Mt. 25—the Parable of the Last Judgment.  This Biblical passage, falling right before entering into the Passion account, presents an excellent Parable of Jesus beckoning us to vigilance, to be ready and prepared for we know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man will come.

DEATH’S UNCERTAINTY???  With respect to death, nobody has an exact idea as to the day, the hour, the minute, the second, the manner, the form, the circumstances of his own death.  That is up to God Himself. However, we must be prepared!

Jesus separates the sheep from the goats

1.    VIGILANCE!  Be always prepared for your own death because it will come like a thief in the night.

2.    JUDGMENT.  Jesus is the Judge. We pray in the Creed,” He (Jesus) will come to judge the living and the dead.”  Upon death, judgment follows immediately.

3.    ONE CHANCE!  No reincarnation! One chance! Upon death, Jesus will judge us individually—the particular judgment.

4.    JUSTICE!  As St. Paul reminds us, “What we sow is what we will reap. He who sows in the flesh will reap a harvest of corruption; in the spirit, a harvest of eternal life.”  Jesus is merciful and just. Upon death we enter into the Justice of God—mercy is over!  Take advantage of His mercy now while we still live!

5.    SEPARATION.  The sheep will be separated from the goats--- meaning, the saved will be separated from the damned.

6.    JUDGEMENT: THE CRITERIA?   We will be judged on love in concrete. Jesus said that not all who say, “Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom, but those who do the will of His Heavenly Father.” Also Saint James asserts, “Faith without works is dead.”  Finally, Saint John of the Cross, with his poet flare recalls, “In the twilight of our existence we will be judged on love.”

7.    LOVE AND WORKS OF MERCY. Our love is manifested in concrete by giving to thoxe in need: food, drink, clothes, welcome, visiting the sick and the imprisoned.

8.    PRAYER AND ACTION.   St. Teresa of Avila says that the acid test to verify an authentic prayer life is a holy active life of the practice of virtue. Our contemplative life should lead us to a rich active life.

9.    Jn. 15.  THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES.  Jesus said that we are called to bring forth fruit and fruit in abundance. The branch that does not produce fruit will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
The stairway to heaven
10. MEDITATE ON THE FOUR LAST THINGS! Pray over the following thoughts. My life is short and uncertain. Eternity is forever and ever and ever!!!! As St. Peter reminds us, “For God one day is one thousand years and a thousand years like one day.”  DEATH!  I must go before the Judgment seat of God--- Jesus will be my judge!  I must present to Jesus the book of my life, the movie of my life, the DVD of my life.   Only the two of us will be watching it. Only two possibilities: UP!!!! Or DOWN….. Either I will be saved for all eternity or I will be damned for all eternity. I only have one chance to make it or break it! Hell is eternal separation from God and eternal torment! Heaven is ineffable joy with God, Mary and the angels and saints for all eternity.  The meditation on the LAST THINGS--- death, judgment, heaven and hell—should be a powerful contemplation/meditation to motivate me to reevaluate my short life and do an inventory of what I have done, what I am doing, and what I plan do now. Saint Ignatius challenges us to pray over these words:  “What have I done for Jesus; what am I doing for Jesus; what will I do for Jesus.”  For a more fruitful response Saint Ignatius challenges us to respond to these questions which encapsulates my whole life in front of the most eloquent depiction of love--- Jesus hanging on the cross!

SUPPLEMENTARY READING AND PRAYER TO PLUMB THE DEPTHS OF THE FOUR LAST THINGS---- Read and meditate on OUR LADY OF FATIMA  and her apparitions, her message and words to the three Shepherd Children, Lucia, Jacinta an Francisco.  This message most clearly illustrates the four last things and even Purgatory!

July 13, 1917  Fatima vision of Hell
1.    HELL. Our Lady showed a graphic vision of Hell to the children---July 13, 1917.

2.    DEATH.   The two little ones, Jacinta and Francisco, would die within a relatively short time after the Apparitions--- dying as mere children!

3.    JUDGMENT.  Upon death they went before the Judgment seat of God.

4.    HEAVEN.  Mary promised to take them to heaven, but Francisco would have to pray many Rosaries first. Both Francisco and Jacinta were beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II. This great Pontiff presented Jacinta as a Model as a “Victim soul”—one who offers her sufferings for the salvation of sinners.  The saintly Pope called Francisco a “Little Mystic”—meaning a chosen soul dedicated to silence, reflection and prayer.

5.    PURGATORY. Lucia asked about a friend of hers who had died--- Amelia—known to be a good girl. Our Lady said that she would be in Purgatory until the end of the world!


Therefore, let us invoke the Fatima children and Our Lady of Fatima so that we can meditate with great concentration, fervor, attention and love the Four Last things. The positive fruit will be a renunciation of sin, hatred for sin and a great love for God!