JUDGMENT AFTER DEATH
It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. ix. 27).
It is of Faith that, immediately after death we shall be judged according to our works in this life. And it is also of Faith, that upon this Judgment will depend our eternal salvation or perdition. Imagine yourself in your agony, and having only a short time to live. Think that in a short time you would have to appear before Jesus Christ to give an account of your whole life. Alas! how alarming would the sight of your sins then be to you!
Jesus, my Redeemer, pardon me, I beseech Thee, before Thou judgest me. I know that I have many times already deserved to be sentenced to eternal death. No, I desire not to present myself guilty before Thee, but penitent and pardoned. O my sovereign Good, I am grievously sorry for having offended Thee.
O God, what will be the anguish of the soul when it shall first behold Jesus Christ as its Judge, and behold Him terrible in His wrath? It will then see how much He has suffered for its sake; it will see what great mercies He has exercised towards it, and what powerful means He has bestowed upon it for the attainment of salvation; then will it also see the greatness of eternal goods, and the vileness of earthly pleasures which have wrought its ruin; it will then see all these things but to no purpose, because then there will be no more time to correct its past errors. What shall have then been done will be irrevocable. Before the Judgment-seat of God, no nobility, nor dignity, nor riches will be considered; our works alone will be weighed there.
Grant, O Jesus, that when first I behold Thee I may see Thee appeased; and for this end, grant me the grace to weep during the remainder of my life, over the evil I have done in turning my back upon Thee to follow my own sinful caprices. No, I desire never more to offend Thee. I love Thee and desire to love Thee forever.
What contentment will that Christian enjoy at the hour of death who has left the world to give himself to God; who has denied his senses all unlawful gratifications; and who, if he has on some occasions been wanting, has at last been wise enough afterwards to do worthy penance for it! On the other hand, what anguish will that Christian experience who has continually relapsed into the same vices, and at last finds himself at the point of death! Then will he exclaim: “Alas! in a few moments I must appear before Jesus, my Judge, and I have not yet even begun to change my life! I have many times promised to do so, but I have not done it. Now in a short time, what shall become of me?”
O, my Jesus and my Judge, I return Thee thanks for the patience with which Thou hast hitherto waited for me. How many times have I not written my own condemnation! Since Thou hast thus waited to pardon me, reject me not now that I am prostrate at Thy feet. Receive me into Thy favour through the merits of Thy bitter Passion. I am sorry, O my sovereign Good, for having despised Thee. I love Thee above all things. I desire never more to forsake Thee.
O Mary, recommend me to thy Son, Jesus, and do not abandon me.