A fundamental fact of eternal life is the finality of divine judgment. Though we are given many years to repent of our sins and accept the invitation to prepare ourselves for eternal union with our Creator and Redeemer, we are nonetheless free to reject this invitation.
For those who choose this latter option, there comes a time when they realize their error, and it is too late to repent in earnest.
Our Lord explains to St. Catherine of Sienna how this happens, and how he in his justice and mercy must bar the door of heaven to such unrepentant souls.
When they see that they cannot escape from my hands, the worm of conscience (which, as I told you, had been blinded by their selfish love of themselves) begins to see again. And in the realization that their own sins have brought them to such an evil end, this worm of conscience gnaws away in self-reproach.
If such souls would have light to acknowledge and be sorry for their sins, they would still find mercy. But if they pass the moment of death without that light, grieving more for their own plight than for having offended me, then they have come to eternal damnation.
Then my justice reproves them harshly for their injustice and false judgment. And not simply in general terms for their pervasive habits of injustice and false judgment during their earthly lives, but even more for that particular unjust judgment by which at the very end they have judged their own wretchedness to be greater than my mercy.
This is that sin which is never forgiven, now or ever: the refusal, the scorning, of my mercy.
Strictly speaking, God judges us according to our judgment of him on the day of judgment.
In this life, there is always time for the sinful to repent, or for the just to fall. Being creatures of habit, however, we can never trust in the possibility that, having lived according to “pervasive habits of injustice and false judgment,” we will suddenly find the light to judge better at the unexpected moment of trial.
Instead, selfish habits may cause us to interpret our own folly in a narcissistic manner. In that case, we will (God forfend!) continue to offend our merciful Lord to the end, forcing him to close the door of his mercy upon us forever.
It is much wiser to begin today—at this moment—to cultivate the habits of justice and judgment which, by the merciful grace of God, will enable us to look lovingly upon the face of a Judge whom we will recognize as our lifelong friend.
What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!