We use the word "death" when speaking of the end of our earthly life. However, 'passing' would be a more apt choice of word. Our bodies die and return to dust but not so our souls. The soul is immortal and will spend eternity either in heaven or hell. The cover of this issue of MICHAEL, taken from the Illustrated Catechism, depicts Christ's Particular Judgment during which each person will be judged according to their deeds. We will then hear the judgment that will seal our happy or miserable eternal fate.
In the depiction, the judgment of the righteous person is illustrated on the left and the judgment of the sinner is shown on the right. The righteous soul is brought before Christ by his Guardian Angel who stands behind the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. In one hand, the Angel holds the scale of justice where the man's merits will be weighed. In the other, he holds a crown. Our Lord evaluates the righteous soul's love and rewards him with heaven. The sinner also appears before our sovereign judge. He is unable to sustain the gaze of Christ and hides his face, perhaps in shame. The damned soul is escorted by demons and bound to Lucifer by a chain. Evil prevailed more than love in this man's account and the Lord sentences the man's soul to hell for all of eternity.
In this manner, each man will be judged according to his works, after drawing his last breath. St. John of the Cross tells us: "In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone." In Matthew 25: 35-40, Jesus tells us "I was hungry and you gave me food... Every time you do this to the least among you, you do it unto Me." Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus identifies with the poor.
Hell is both a mystery and an article of our faith that we must take seriously. Jesus spoke of hell in the Gospels many times but the concept is foreign to the modern mind set. We ignore hell or contend that everyone will go to heaven automatically. How could a loving God allow souls to be separated from Him for all of eternity and be banished to the flames of hell? The key to our understanding is the fact that God gave us free will. Because of His love, He gave us the tools to avoid hell: prayer and the sacraments. Particularly in the sacrament of Reconciliation, there is an acknowledgement that Christ's death on the cross for us was not made in vain (Hell is real). Many saints were given the grace to see hell. See the striking testimony of St. John Bosco, the "Apostle of the Youth".
Each of us is called to respond to God's will for us in the vocation that will build His Kingdom. We must make use of the talents we are given and be joyful and courageous witnesses of Christ in the world (warriors for the Gospel), a pagan world that denies the existence of God (Was the World Created by God?) One of the Second Vatican Council's documents, the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, teaches how the faithful can be sanctified and create a social order that conforms to God's will and the Gospel teachings. Pope Francis reminds us that the greatest enemy of God is the love of money. If money is idolized, we fail to see the poverty in our midst. In Matthew 6:24 we are told: "You cannot serve two masters, God and money."
The vocation of the Michael Journal, and the Pilgrims of St. Michael, is to combat the 'golden calf' and to put money at the service of mankind. We offer Social Credit, a "philosophy of Christian brotherhood" that will put 'money in its place'.
We will need God's help and grace to accomplish this huge task. St. Padre Pio wrote a beautiful prayer to ask for this grace which begins with the words: "Stay with me, O Lord". Happy reading!