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
POINTS FOR MEDITATION ON MT. 25:31-46
VIGILANCE! Be always prepared for your own death because
it will come like a thief in the night.
JUDGMENT. Jesus is the Judge. We pray in the Creed,” He (Jesus) will come to judge the living and
the dead.” Upon death, judgment
ONE CHANCE! No reincarnation! One chance! Upon death,
Jesus will judge us individually—the particular judgment.
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!
SEPARATION. The sheep will be separated from the goats---
meaning, the saved will be separated from the damned.
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.”
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.
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.
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
HELL. Our Lady showed a graphic
vision of Hell to the children---July 13, 1917.
DEATH. The two little ones, Jacinta and Francisco,
would die within a relatively short time after the Apparitions--- dying as mere
JUDGMENT. Upon death they went before the Judgment seat
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.
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!