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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE SEVENTH ARTICLE: "From thence He shall come to judge the living and the
    • THE FEAR OF THE JUDGMENT
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THE FEAR OF THE JUDGMENT

 

The judgment ought indeed to be feared. (a) Because of the wisdom of the

Judge. God knows all things, our thoughts, words and deeds, and "all things

are naked and open to his eyes.17 "All the ways of men are open to His

eyes."18 He knows our words: "The ear of jealousy heareth all things."19

Also our thoughts: "The heart is perverse above all things and

unsearchable. Who can know it? I am the Lord, who search the heart and

prove the reins; who give to every one according to his way and according

to the fruit of his devices."20 There will be infallible witnesses -  men's

own consciences: "Who show the work of the law written in their hearts,

their conscience bearing witness to them; and their thoughts between

themselves accusing or also defending one another, in the day when God

shall judge the secrets of men."21

 

(b) Because of the power of the Judge, who is almighty in Himself: "Behold,

the Lord God will come with strength."22 And also almighty in others: "The

whole world shall fight with Him against the unwise."23 Hence, Job says:

"Whereas there is no man that can deliver out of Thy hand."24 "If I ascend

into heaven, Thou art there; if I descend into hell, Thou art present,"

says the Psalmist.25

 

(c) Because of the inflexible justice of the Judge. The present is the time

for mercy; but the future is the time solely for justice; and so the

present is our time, but the future is God's time: "When I shall take a

time, I shall judge justices."26 "The jealousy and rage of the husband will

not spare in the day of revenge. Nor will he yield to any man's prayers;

nor will he accept for satisfaction ever so many gifts."27

 

(d) Because of the anger of the Judge. He shall appear in different ways to

the just and to the wicked. To the just, He will be pleasant and gracious:

"They will behold the King of beauty."28 To the wicked He will be angry and

pitiless, so that they may say to the mountains: "Fall upon us and hide us

from the wrath of the Lamb."29 But this anger of God does not bespeak in

Him any perturbation of soul, but rather the effect of His anger which is

the eternal punishment inflicted upon sinners.

 




17. Heb., iv. 13.

 



18 Prov., xvi. 2.

 



19. Wis., i. 10.

 



20. Jerem. xvii. 9-10.

 



21. Rom., ii. 15-16.

 



22. Isa., xl. 10.

 



23. Wis., v. 21.

 



24. Job, x. 7.

 



25. Ps., cxxxviii. 8.

 



26. Ps., lxxiv. 3.

 



27. Prov., vi. 34-35.

 



28. Isa., xxxiii. 17.

 



29. Apoc., vi. 16.

 






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