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Monday, 9 July 2012

On the Four Last Things

Hieronymus Bosch "Death of a Sinner"
The Four Last Things form a topic which has been the subject preached from the pulpits of the world, that is, until recent times. Now, it is both politically incorrect and indecent, apparently, to speak of Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. These four last things have been avoided as subjects by priests and deacons for many reasons, the first, as I noted in my previous post, because death is too scary and not to be discussed.

A second reason is what I consider the most common heresy in the Church, "universal salvation". A just and merciful God, to many priests and laypeople would never damn anyone, and therefore, all people go to Heaven.

A third reason is that we are told we are not allowed to judge. Recently, Michael Voris pointed out the possible future storm in New York if a certain lady who claims to be a practicing Catholic, who is pro-abortion and who is married to her lesbian lover gets elected the next mayor of NYC. A friend of mine's mom, on seeing the video said, "Well, he is judgmental." Dear me. We cannot call sin sin and we are not allowed to be objective about public sin, even when that sin cries out to heaven (see Fr. Z for a long discussion on THAT subject.)

It is politically incorrect to talk about punishment. 

We have now one, maybe two, generations of parents who have not punished their kids about anything.

So, God is not present in these young and not-so-young people's lives as a Judge and, oh boy, we cannot hurt anyone's feelings, now, can we?

The Teaching Magisterium of the Church includes a branch of theology called "eschatology" from the Greek ta eschata, meaning of the last things.

In that teaching, the definition of a "personal" or "individual" eschatology emerges, referring to my death, my judgment, my being sent to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory.

That individual eschaton happens on the day I die, on the day you die.

In the teaching, there is also a definition of a "universal" eschatology, which deals with the Final Judgment of the world. At the final coming of Christ, the parousia, the final judgement of all people will occur. This is commonly called the "general " judgement and the final destruction of the earth, the "general consummation". 

The Four Last Things prepare you and I for our particular judgment. When was the last time you heard a priest speak on these things? The art of objectivity is dying and objectivity is a sign of personal holiness.