What does it mean to be concerned for one’s soul? Let’s check the Catechism again:
I. The Particular Judgment
1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a destiny which can be different for some and for others.
1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, -or immediate and everlasting damnation.
At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love. (CCC 1021,1022)
Sobering words. Death is inevitable. We somehow know this. But we humans are very good at avoiding the reality of death, i.e., living as though it will not come for us. And even if we recognize the reality of death, even for ourselves, we seem to try to ignore the fact that our souls will live on. We hope that death will be the end of it all. Many people desire this. But we somehow know that it is not so. Our souls are immortal. They are made in God’s image, to live forever.
When we believe in our immortal souls, then we have to deal with what happens to us at death. And that is what Our Lady is getting at. She wants us to be concerned with our personal judgment. When we die, and our soul leaves our body, we will meet the Lord and we will recognize at that moment the state of our soul. We will see the sins we have retained, and the guilt we carry. We will see our souls, dirty or clean, in the gaze of Christ. The truth will be known.
Our Lady wants us to take care of business now, before that final moment. She wants us to be concerned with the state of our souls. We can take care of that business, through the Sacraments. Baptism is our most important step, where our original sin is cleansed and we are made children of God. Confession is the tribunal, the place where we can receive the salvation of Christ for all our subsequent sins, before we die, through the ministry of the priest. Holy Communion is the reception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, through which we are strengthened to live a life of love and holiness on our way to eternity. We have the tools we need to prepare for our personal judgment.
Mother Mary does not want us to freeze up in fear. But she also doesn’t want us to waste time. In the Hail Mary we say: “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” Our Lady wants us to be practical. We only have two moments for sure in life, this very moment and the moment of our death. Everything in between is unknown. To care for our souls, we need to live this moment with the intention to repent and be free of sin, and then place our last moment in Mary’s hands, when we will need her help to receive mercy.
Our Lady tells us: “You, my children, you should be concerned only for your soul, because it is the only thing on earth that belongs to you.” God has given us our lives, our living souls and we want to return ourselves to Him intact, as a gift of gratitude and love. With Mary’s help, we will be able to do just that.
Here is the Church’s prayer said over a dying person after viaticum. It contains the great hope and love that the Church has for each soul:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God, the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints….
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life….
May you see your Redeemer face to face.
May it be so for every soul!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2016