Friday, March 6, 2009

Particular Judgment

Questions to be answered:
(1) Do the damned suffer the punishment of fire before the Last Judgment?
(2) Do the just see God before the Last Judgment?

If the saints do not experience the beatific vision before the Last Judgment, then what was the point of Christ's descent into the Limbo of the Fathers? Though deprived of the vision of the Uncreated Light [Ἄκτιστον Φῶς], they were in a state of hope and knew that Christ would free them. What difference would Christ have made for these holy men and women if He had not let them into Heaven so they could forever after experience the vision of God? Surely the saints experience an accidental increase in happiness at the Last Judgment, when they are reunited with their bodies, but that is not when they first see God face to face [1 Cor 13:12]!

1st Century

6th Century
West: Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome says in 593 [Dialogues 4:28],
If, by the testimony of Holy Scripture, you believe that the souls of holy and perfect men be in Heaven: by the same reason ought you also to believe that the souls of the wicked be in Hell: for as just men do rejoice and be glad at the retribution of eternal justice, so necessary it is that the wicked at the same justice should be grieved and tormented: for as Heavenly felicity doth glad the elect, so we ought to believe that, from the day of their departure, fire doth afflict and burn the reprobate.

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