(Many of these essays here on this web-site are intended for our post_Christian agnostic, skeptical, humanitarian-believing brothers and sisters, who have had little knowledge, if any, of the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church.)
I believe many people see the Last Judgment as some kind of disaster movie where Our Lord appears as some great giant Godzilla-like or comet-like approaching figure bringing with His presence great physical disasters, disasters which may presage the coming. There are many disaster movies, but which end with man very much immersed in the same sins and life-styles as before the disaster. Man does not change much through suffering disasters.
At the Last Judgment it could well be quite the opposite: time and space of our universe stops instantly. The dead arise instantly. And all see at the same time, in the very front of each and every one of our consciousnesses, Our Lord, present to our eyes with a reality never seen before – a reality unavoidable. One’s eyes have nowhere to look, neither up nor down, nor sideways, but only gazing at the face of Our Lord and His wounds. There is nowhere to go, for there is no time and space in which to go to or to turn to. Eternity, Our Lord’s eyes and wounds are immediately present to all. The old world is gone.
The Judgment takes place instantly through the gaze of Our Lord’s eyes. There are only one of two responses to that gaze: of love or of hate. For those who hate, Our Lord said they would wish for the mountains to fall on them, because there is no way to escape from the eyes of Our Lord. We know in His life on earth, Our Lord’s relationships with us drew no intermediary responses: He was either loved or hated. There was no indifference of men to Him. He spoke by command and instruction and testing questions. There were no conversations and there will be no conversations in the Last Judgment, no appeals, for we will have judged ourselves by our response to His gaze and to His wounds which we each have caused.
In one instant, our hearts may reach out in sorrowing love for Him, sorrow for hurting Him so much for our sins; or sorrow for the horror of our rejection and the deliberate ignoring of Him and the consequences that brings. Those eyes of Our Lord are the eyes of Judgment. Instantly we see through His eyes the state of our souls and our hearts, our life, our works. No words need be spoken. Those eyes in the very front of our consciousness are the Judgment itself.
For those who love Him, in that one instant our purgatorial fire of sorrowing love is measured not in years but in the intensity of that love. We humans measure time in purgatory by being trapped into using time and space to explain events in eternity which has no time. So, the “time” between the Particular Judgment at death and the Last Judgment may be instantaneous – the only measure being the intensity of that loving sorrow for Our Lord.
And in the next instant, there is a new universe created for us, with a new kind of time and space and dimensions, with new kinds of bodies, impassible in time and space, perhaps even different times and spaces for everyone to live eternally. “There are many mansions” Our Lord said which are prepared for His followers. Endless bliss – a bliss proportioned to each – is promised for those who love Our Lord, even to the weakest of those who love Him.
The hope for many, who are ignorant or complacent regarding Our Lord and the Last Judgment, is commanded by Our Lady of Fatima that we pray after each Rosary decade: “Save us from the fires of hell and lead ALL SOULS to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”