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.
XIII. How the Blessed will go up into Heaven after the Judgment.
WHEN the earth has opened and swallowed up the lost souls, then the Angels and the blessed will exult and rejoice. They will extol the justice of God, and confess that the reprobates fully deserved their fate.
St. John, in his Apocalypse, gives a beautiful description of how the blessed will rejoice and magnify the justice of God.
"I saw an Angel come down from Heaven, having great power ; and the earth was enlightened with his glory. And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: and is become the habitation of devils. For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she also hath rendered to you, and double unto her according to her works. As much as she hath glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her. Rejoice over her, thou Heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath judged your judgment on her.
" After these things, I heard, as it were, the voice of much people in Heaven, saying: Alleluia! Salvation, and glory, and power, is to our God. For true and just are His judgments, who hath judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath revenged the blood of His servants at her hands. And again they said : Alleluia ! And the four-and-twenty ancients fell down and adored God that sitteth upon the throne, saying, Amen! Alleluia! And a voice came out from the throne saying: Give praise to our God, all ye, His servants, and you that fear Him, little and great. Alleluia! For the Lord our God, the almighty, hath reigned. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath prepared herself. Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
These words do, indeed, present a delightful prospect. How excellent will be the triumph-song of the Saints when they go in as guests to the marriage of the Lamb! How sweetly they will sing Alleluia ! How fervently they will thank God for having delivered them from eternal damnation, and numbered them amongst His elect!
The ascension into Heaven will next take place. Can one venture to describe this also ? The sweetest strains of music will fill the air. St. Michael will head the glorious procession, carrying the cross whereon Christ died. For the cross and all the other instruments of the Passion will be preserved in Heaven at least such is the opinion of several learned theologians.
Following upon these sacred relics will come the first choir of Angels, together with those members of the company of the saved, to whom the sentence of Christ has assigned a place in the lowest of the Angelic choirs. Children who have died in infancy, and souls who have persisted in sin unto the last, and yet have been saved through the infinite mercy of God and real contrition on their part, will be with the first choir of Angels. How fervently they will praise their God for His unspeakable compassion!
Next will come the choir of archAngels, and with them those Saints who have deserved a place in this second Angelic choir. God-fearing married people, devout widows, besides other pious persons who have lived in the world, will, adorned in marvellous beauty, laud and magnify God with the archAngels.
In the third place will come the choir of powers, amongst whom will be all priests who have led a holy life on earth.
The choir of the principalities will come next, with all the Saintly bishops and prelates who have ruled the Church to the glory of God and the salvation of those who have been subject to them.
The choir of virtues will come fifth with the doctors of the Church and all who, by their doctrine and preaching, have converted unbelievers, and brought them to the knowledge of the true faith.
In the sixth place will come the choir of the dominations, with the confessors who suffered great persecution for the faith, and died in misery and destitution for Christ s sake.
The choir of the thrones will follow next, with the holy martyrs who shed their blood, and gladly gave up their lives for the name of Christ.
The eighth choir is that of the cherubim, amongst whose ranks will be those holy virgins who have not merely kept their chastity unsullied, but who, consumed by Divine charity, have led a life of highest perfection.
The ninth and highest of the Angelic choirs is that of the seraphim. With them will be the holy apostles and servants of Christ, who, following in the footsteps of the Redeemer, have lived on earth an Angel s life.
In a word, every one of the blessed will have his place assigned him in whichever of the Angelic choirs for whose company his virtues render him most fit.
How glorious will be the procession of the choirs, and how melodious the celestial canticles they will sing ! Words fail us when we attempt to describe it. And to close the triumphal cortege the King of Heaven and earth comes, crowned with splendour, Christ, the first begotten Son of the heavenly Father, accompanied by His most blessed Mother the Virgin Mary. He is surrounded with such beauty and majesty, that Heaven and earth, Angels and men, are struck with amazement. In fact this ascension into Heaven will be in every respect attended with such grandeur and glory, it will be so inexpressibly sublime and beautiful, that the lips even of an Angel would fail to give an adequate idea of it.
Consider what will be the rapture of the redeemed when they soar aloft through the air, both soul and body, as if they were pure spirits, ascending ever and ever higher, beyond the shining orbs of Heaven with their golden refulgence, approaching nearer and nearer to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. And oh! what ecstatic joy will inebriate them when they enter through the golden gates, and be hold the splendour and magnificence of the city of God. When the Queen of Saba saw the magnificence of Solomon's palace, she was struck dumb with astonishment. But a greater than Solomon is there, and the majesty and loveliness of the palace of the King of kings is infinitely greater than that of any earthly monarch.
Hence we may surmise what the blissful rapture of the blessed will be, when it is granted them to behold what God has prepared for them that love Him.
Dost thou not desire, O pious Christian, to dwell with the redeemed and enjoy the unspeakable delights of the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem? Assuredly thou dost desire it. We all of us have within us a powerful impulse, an ardent longing for happiness and enjoyment. O, seek not after that happiness, strive not to secure the enjoyment for which thy soul thirsts in this valley of tears. Lift up thine eyes to the land that is above, let that be thy goal, and one day thou shalt ascend up on high with jubilant songs. God grant to thee and to me, reader, that by His grace, this happy lot may be our portion.