Death and Particular Judgment

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 1005-22, 1680-90:

  • Death – the separation of the soul from the body – was not part of God’s original plan, but only entered the world as a consequence of sin.
  • Yet God, not death, has the final word; by willingly suffering and dying for us, Christ has transformed death into a blessing, for through it we come to God.
  • Even before we physically die, Christians have already died sacramentally with Christ through our baptism; we mystically participated in His death and burial, and arose to new life in God’s grace.
  • Like Jesus, we too should embrace our own mortality in obedience and love for the Father.
  • In this way our physical death completes our incorporation into Christ, if we die in this state of grace, in right relationship with God.
  • At the moment of death, the soul immediately goes before God for the “particular judgment,” and learns its eternal destiny – either heaven (possibly after undergoing further purification in Purgatory), or hell.
  • We determine our own eternal destiny by the choices we make in our earthly life.
  • Each of us has just one life on earth; there is no reincarnation, for we are totally unique, unrepeatable creations.
  • We have only a certain amount of time to respond to grace and to grow in love for God and neighbor; our eternal life depends upon how we use this gift of time on earth.
  • Because death will come for us all, we should remind ourselves of our mortality and prepare for that inevitable hour; we do this in every “Hail Mary,” asking the Blessed Mother to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

Live Your Faith

We diligently strive to achieve our earthly goals, but how much effort do we put into the ultimate goal of all, the only one that really counts – our eternal destiny?

Getting to heaven is more important than any success we could possibly have in this life, but we are often tempted to put our spiritual life on the backburner.

Are we prepared to be judged by God instantly? If not, what do I need to do right now to change my life?