With this Gospel on Stewardship, we must know that all of us will one day have to render an account to God by receiving a two-fold judgment: A particular and a general judgment. This is the teaching of the Apostle, as well as the teaching of the Holy Fathers. St. Thomas says clearly, "Besides the particular judgment, which takes place directly after death, there will also be a general judgment." For as soon as the soul leaves the human body, it is irrevocably assigned to an abiding place. It receives its judgement-either life or for death, according to its works." All out thoughts, words, and actions during life will be judged in accordance with the way they presented themselves to God at the moment when they happened.
Consequently, this particular judgment takes place a the time when we depart from this life, at the very moment when the soul is separated from the body. For it is certain that at the moment of death, our soul will be judged in accordance with our merits, judged for all eternity. Eternal life or eternal death will be the unalterable decision. Oh, what a pivotable moment upon which the whole of eternity depends! Who would not tremble at this and keep it unceasingly in mind, as no one knows that day nor the hour of their death and therefore does not know how soon they will be called before this judgment. Our Future Judge admonishes us kind-heartedly, when He says, "Watch diligently for you do not know when the Lord of the house comes, in the evening, at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.
At our judgment, Jesus Christ shall appear as Judge, the soul as accused, the angle who was its guardian as advocate, and the devil as accuser. The latter will bring forward everything that the soul had committed during its life on earth in thought, in word, and in deed against God, against itself and against its neighbors, either in intent or reality. He will-and this should be borne well in mind-bring forward not only the evil which has been committed, but also the good deeds which the soul might have done and which it left undone or did badly.
When St. Charles Borromeo was on his death bed, he said to the priest who attended him, " Reverend Brother, I am afraid to appear before the judgment more on account of the good I have left undone, than the evil I have done." And yet, what a holy and pious life Borromeo had lead! How many good deeds this man had done during his whole life. Remember often, that we will be accused by the devil and condemned by Christ not only for sins committed and unforgiven, but also for good deeds omitted.
Against this accuser there is given to each soul an advocate, that angel, who in life was its true companion and guardian during its pilgrimage through life. He being on his side will bring forward everything good the soul has done. For every good thought, every sigh, breath, or step which was done with pure intention for the love of God or for our neighbor, will be recorded. He will try to cover the imperfections of these works with the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. and will to frustrate the efforts of the accuser and move the Judge to mercy, remind the Lord of the Most Precious Blood which He shed for each accused soul.
The witnesses at this judgment will be the clear and unerring perception which each soul will have in the most perfect degree. As clear as the sun will appear before its eyes the actions of a lifetime. All covering will be withdrawn and the soul will see all its words, its works, its thoughts, its good and evil deeds, in the true light as they appeared in the eyes of God. It will see, whether it is rich in merits or poor, whether it is worthy of Heaven or hell. In this clear self-recognition one's won conscience will give testimony either for or against, and convicted by its own conscience, the soul will not be able to offer excuses, but will make a complete confession.
Thereupon, the Most Just Judge, Who is none else but our Redeemer, will by virtue of His Divine Power, render without delay the irrevocable sentence, which will be eternal life or eternal death for all eternity. If we are declared as blessed, we shall also be deemed worthy of Heaven on the second and general judgment day, but if the verdict decrees our eternal perdition, we shall receive the same sentence at the Last Judgment.
Oh, how dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God! And with each minute this terrible moment comes nearer and nearer. Every minute may bring as the verdict, Eternal Life of Eternal Death-For we do not know whether we shall be in the next moment a prey of death. With great earnestness, St. James reminds us, therefore, "Behold the Judge that stands before the door." Yes, my Dear Friends, He stands before our door, before your door, and before my door! As soon as He enters, the time of merit will have passed and He will demand as accounting of our lives. What will be our fate?
In conclusion, I will mention to you three thoughts of the holy abbot Elias to ponder over. He used to say, "There are three things I am afraid of. The first is when my soul will separate from my body; the second, when I shall have to appear before God as my Judge; and, the third, when judgement will be passed on me." Remember will these three points. He who will think over them several times a day will lose all desire to do evil.