Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's It Like to Die?

From The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

The same Abba Theophilus [the Archbishop] said, “What fear, what trembling, what uneasiness will there be for us when our soul is separated from the body. Then indeed the force and strength of the adverse powers come against us, the rulers of darkness, those who command the world of evil, the principalities, the powers, the spirits of evil. They accuse our souls as in a lawsuit, bringing before it all the sins it has committed, whether deliberately or through ignorance, from its youth until the time when it has been taken away. So they stand accusing it of all it has done. Furthermore, what anxiety do you supposed the soul will have at that hour, until sentence is pronounced and it gains its liberty. That is its hour of affliction, until it sees what will happen to it…

That makes me want to go to confession and start living a life of penance and prayer in earnest. I wish I could maintain that level of concern about my immortal soul as a constant. I wish I didn’t forget about the Judgment. I wish I wouldn’t make excuses for my sins.

Sometimes I wish for death, always hoping that I will go to Heaven, of course. But the reality is that I know I’m going to need a lot of time in purgatory…assuming I make it that far. And that will be painful…I have no doubt about that. I suppose it will be more painful than anything we can imagine here on earth. Don’t believe me? Read Hungry Souls.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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