THE FOUR LAST THINGS ---- DEATH, JUDGMENT, HELL and HEAVEN
FATHER MARTIN VON COCHEM, O.S.F.C.
Father Martin von Cochem was born at Cochem, on the Moselle,
in the year 1625, and died at Waghausel in 1712.
“Remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”
HOLY REDEEMER LIBRARY
Nihil Obstat: Thomas L Kinkead, Censor Liborium
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine --- Archbishop of New York (New York October 5, 1899)
Copyright, 1899, by Benziger Brothers
PART II. THE LAST JUDGMENT.
IX. On the Manner in which the Final Judgment will be Commenced.
WHILST the Angels and Saints, besides all the company of the devils and the damned, are prostrate before their Judge in lowly adoration, He will open His lips, and with a loud voice utter these or similar words: "Listen, ye Heavens, to My voice; listen, O earth, to the words that I shall speak; listen, ye Angels, listen, ye demons, listen, also, all ye sinners, for I announce to each and all of you that I, Jesus Christ, the true Son of God and of the Virgin Mary, your Creator, your Redeemer, your sovereign Lord, am about to exercise my office of Judge.
"With infinite patience I have borne with your innumerable iniquities: the time of grace is now past, the time of justice has come. Every one shall be rewarded according to his works. Those who have done good shall presently go with Me into eternal life, and those who have done evil shall be cast into the abyss of everlasting torment and anguish. All creation shall see and acknowledge that I am a just God, that I judge not according to appearances, but according to the measure of that which each man has deserved."
Some such words as these will proceed out of the mouth of the Judge, and they will be pronounced with such majesty that all men will quake and tremble. All miserable sinners will begin to weep and wail afresh, so that the very earth might be moved with compassion. "Alas for us poor wretches," they will exclaim with one voice, "how can we stand before the face of our Judge! Mountains, fall on us, and rocks, cover us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?"
And since at every tribunal an accuser must be present, to bring charges against the individual who is to be judged, so at this general judgment the Angels and the devils will be the accusers of man kind. St. Michael will first stand forth and say : " Most just Judge, I bring an accusation against these millions of sinners, who defiled the earth to such an extent by their misdeeds, that Thou in Thy holy indignation didst see fit to purify it by fire; I call upon Thee now to punish these transgressors according to Thy justice."
Then Lucifer, speaking in the name of all the evil spirits, will raise his voice with a roar like that of a lion, and accuse all mankind in a body: "Most just Judge of the living and the dead, I bring a charge against all the human beings assembled here. Since it seemed right to Thy stern justice to banish me and all the Angels who joined with me from Heaven on account of one single sin, and to condemn us to everlasting damnation, it is only fair that Thou shouldst include all mankind in the same condemnation with myself, and cast all men here present into the abyss of Hell. For there is not one single individual here who has not committed sin, and trangressed Thy law."
Then Christ will answer the accusation in this wise: "It shall be done as you request, O ye Angels and ye demons; all men must appear before My judgment-seat, and each one shall receive that which is his due : chastisement to the wicked, recompense to the good."
When all those whom Christ has chosen to share with Him His office of Judge shall have taken their seats, His apostles having the precedence of all others, the judgment will commence. It appears from what the Apostle St. Paul says that no person, not even the Saints, will be exempted from this ordeal. "We shall all stand before the judgment- seat of Christ" (Rom. xiv. 10).
This standing before the judgment-seat of Christ will fill every one with fear. No one will be free from it; even the just will feel it to a certain degree, as well as the unhappy sinner. Even though the just may not be conscious of any sin, they will yet not be without apprehension. St. Paul says this, speaking of himself: "I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified, but He that judgeth me is the Lord" (i Cor. iv. 4). By this the Apostle apparently intends to say: "My conscience does not indeed reproach me, but this does not prove me to be one of the just; I must wait and see what sentence the eternal Judge will pass on me." In fact every man will be so terrified at the first sight of the irate Judge, that, like St. John, he will fall at His feet as dead.
It appears to me that judgment will be passed upon the good somewhat after this manner: The guardian Angels will lead those who have been committed to their charge to the judgment-seat of God, and then the just will fall before Him in lowly adoration. The evil enemy will then begin to accuse them, and bring forward everything that he can against them. But the guardian Angel will defend his client, he will produce all his good works, his penances, his virtues, and lay them in the scales of Divine justice. And if they are not too light, Christ will array him in the new robe, the garment of splendour, and crown him with the diadem of the eternal kingdom. Who can tell what the glory of that moment will be! How all the just will rejoice that their lot is among the blessed ! How kindly the choir of Angels will congratulate them, and exult with them in blissful jubilation. And how all who are yet waiting for their sentence will marvel at the glory that is theirs, and long to share it with them.
Most bountiful Jesus, in the name of all the Saints and elect, whom Thou dost destine to the enjoyment of eternal felicity, I beseech Thee of Thine infinite loving kindness, that I may stand amongst Thy Saints in the Day of Judgment. I am indeed unworthy of this favour, but for the greater honour and praise that will be ascribed to Thee, I pray Thee let Thy boundless mercy be manifested towards me; cast me not away, poor sinner that I am.
And I entreat you, Saints of God, to help me to attain to your blessed company. I know that your intercession is powerful enough with God to induce Him to look upon me with compassion, and be infinitely merciful to me in His judgment of my life. Amen.