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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Light, Glory and Judgment

These days, as we approach the mystery of Advent, the Church invites us to think of the End of Time. The world looks upon this mystery with avoidant fear. The powerful see inevitable destruction. The rich certain misfortune. The comfortable, catastrophic hardship. The secure insurmountable insecurity. Christians look upon this same reality with hope.

In this final mystery, Divine Justice is at last unveiled. Not only will what's wrong with me be set straight, but what's wrong with the whole world will be too. Mysteries not yet known come to light. Things hidden shown forth. Those who fear the Lord will know His sheer goodness. The children of God will be made like Him, for they shall see Him as He is. The beatitude that haunts the heart of every man will show forth in sudden splendor. The dumb will proclaim what renders the eloquent speechless. The tears of the oppressed will wiped away. Liberty given captives. The blind sight. The deaf hearing. The lame dancing. The hungry filled with plenty. The poor flooded in abundance. Every form of injustice overthrown. The proud humbled while the humble raised up. All will fully realize the definitive victory of good over evil won for us on the Cross of Christ. There will be peace. Christians do not see this Day of Judgment as a remote future event, a "some day" that can be calculated. By faith we know that this inevitable moment comes crashing into human history even now, impregnating time with seeds of eternity. Each instant of this present life both points to and anticipates the consummation that awaits us. Every heartbeat and every breath relentlessly converges up to vanishing point that faith sees dimly as in a mirror. This is the point of ultimate encounter in which humanity stands unveiled before the Righteous One in all His glory. The Just Judge who comes for humanity is the Lamb that was slain. He intends salvation but this gift can be rejected by neglect no less than malice. He yearns for all that makes known the tenderness and wonder of humanity should be raised up on high while all that threatens its dignity and diminishes its glory should be destroyed. Those who seek out this Crucified God and who humbly ask for His mercy find it in astonishing superabundance. Savior of those who cry out to Him in faith, He confirms their every good work and brings it to completion. In Him, nothing that is good, noble or true is ever lost. Every self-contradiction and threat to one's own integrity is born away and consumed by His inexhaustible love. In the Sacrament of Penance, this final end of humanity is made present in the most saving way. His mercy fills the voids our failures in justice have caused our neighbors. Indeed, He gladly pays this price for us if we will only begin our journey home. Here, our penance is nothing more than a token thank you for a that healing goodness that flows forth from His Judgment Seat. For our homecoming and the final judgment are meant to coincide: at last, wrapped in new robes, rings on our fingers, in the embrace of our Father, and in our brother's realization that we must celebrate, we who were once dead are being now, and will be forever, brought back to life.

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