What We Believe: Part 25 – Life Everlasting
This is the final article of this series. It also concludes the articles from Apostles Creed with belief in Life Everlasting. The New Catechism begins an explanation of the Particular Judgment for each individual that occurs at the very moment of a person’s death. The result is entrance into the blessedness of heaven, or a period of purification of impediments to perfect union with God, or immediate and everlasting damnation for those who don’t want to be with God.
Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified and will live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see Him as He is” face to face.(1023)
Those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but are still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (1030) The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love Him If we gravely sin against God, or against our neighbor, or against ourselves, .we then remain separated from God by our own free choice. That state of definite self-exclusion from God is called hell.
Besides one’s Particular Judgment there is the Last Judgment. This will take place after the resurrection of all the dead. All who have died will be assembled before Christ for the truth of each person’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death. (1040).
We conclude with a brief reflection on what we can call a new Garden of Eden which will replace this present universe as the place for all of God’s friends to live for ever with their resurrected and glorified bodies. Pope Paul VI in his Credo of the People of God stated definitely that our souls will be reunited with our own bodies. Also, the Catechism assures us: “At the end of time the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be ‘all in all’ (1Cor15:28) in eternal life.” (1080)