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  #1  
Old Oct 25, '10, 11:38 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

Okay, great spiritual theologians, here's your chance to shine. Help me with this dilemma.

I see an inherent contradiction in Church teaching about forgiveness, reparation, and accountability. And I could see how a sensitive/tentative believer could be driven to despair by this.

We are told that when we confess, sacramentally (with perfect or imperfect contrition), or alternately when we confess "on our death bed" for unconfessed or unrepentant sins, we are forgiven by God. Christ's redemptive love becomes available to us; we are drawn into it. We are also told via sacramental theology that -- regardless of lingering wounds that result from our personal sins (once confessed) -- God is not dredging up our past sins for us to make repeated accountings for.

This would also all seem to be in the spirit of the revelations to Faustyna about Divine Mercy.

Yet I hear often, including from the Church, about how our individual 'personal judgment' after our death will hold us accountable for every minute sin we have ever done in our entire lives, from the Age of Reason on. Is this not an invitation to despair? How many times does one need to regret and repent (for the same sin occasion)? I so look forward (not) to what I have seen and heard proclaimed about the Personal Judgment: Lucky me, I get to travel through my past sins and remember them, and explain to God a past that I now have no control over. Sounds like a real party.


I would rather forget them, not dwell in them, but move on, with a consciousness that those decisions are in my past, not my present reality or transformed self, and not something that I'll be required to "review" and re-explain, re-repent for at the end of my life. (Not that I'm "planning" on dying any time soon. )

Please reconcile these contradictions for me.
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Old Oct 25, '10, 1:40 pm
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doanli doanli is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

I wonder about the same things myself.

I like reading about Near Death Experiences and it seems the Lord is very loving in going through someone's past life--- just my thought.
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Old Oct 25, '10, 1:42 pm
Mijoy2 Mijoy2 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

"Okay, great spiritual theologians, here's your chance to shine. Help me with this dilemma"

Clearly, I do not qualify. So I have nothing to lose by an attempt at an answer.

I don't believe we will see our past sins at our PJ in the context of asking for, or once again, seeking forgiveness. We will see our past sins in the context of where they directed our life and for what reason.

In other words, the adulterer/adultress who never repented or seeked forgiveness will see first hand how his/her sins effected every aspect and every person in his/her life.

The adulterer/adultress who did repent and turned from his/her sin will see how his/her repenting effected every aspect and every person in his/her life.

Jesus will not be saying,"see the horrific things you did"? He perhaps will be saying,"see how you learned, how your actions effected others and see what you chose to do about this".

Horribly worded I know. Just my thoughts while we wait the "spiritual theologians".
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Old Oct 25, '10, 2:05 pm
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Scoobyshme Scoobyshme is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Originally Posted by Elizabeth502 View Post
Okay, great spiritual theologians, here's your chance to shine. Help me with this dilemma.

I see an inherent contradiction in Church teaching about forgiveness, reparation, and accountability. And I could see how a sensitive/tentative believer could be driven to despair by this.

We are told that when we confess, sacramentally (with perfect or imperfect contrition), or alternately when we confess "on our death bed" for unconfessed or unrepentant sins, we are forgiven by God. Christ's redemptive love becomes available to us; we are drawn into it. We are also told via sacramental theology that -- regardless of lingering wounds that result from our personal sins (once confessed) -- God is not dredging up our past sins for us to make repeated accountings for.

This would also all seem to be in the spirit of the revelations to Faustyna about Divine Mercy.

Yet I hear often, including from the Church, about how our individual 'personal judgment' after our death will hold us accountable for every minute sin we have ever done in our entire lives, from the Age of Reason on. Is this not an invitation to despair? How many times does one need to regret and repent (for the same sin occasion)? I so look forward (not) to what I have seen and heard proclaimed about the Personal Judgment: Lucky me, I get to travel through my past sins and remember them, and explain to God a past that I now have no control over. Sounds like a real party.


I would rather forget them, not dwell in them, but move on, with a consciousness that those decisions are in my past, not my present reality or transformed self, and not something that I'll be required to "review" and re-explain, re-repent for at the end of my life. (Not that I'm "planning" on dying any time soon. )

Please reconcile these contradictions for me.
Liz, I can tell you've been thinkin'!

Well, here's what I think. When we sin, we are due at that time, some temporal punishment. When we go to Confession, even without perfect contrition, we are forgiven our sins. We will not go to hell because of them. However, the temporal punishment we get due to those sins, remains. That's why we receive a penance from the priest. But, consider the following hypothetical Confession:

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned... These are my sins, 'I murdered twenty-three people, missed Mass for 20 years without sufficient reason, and told a thousand lies. That's all. " Father: "Okay, my son, are you sorry for your sins?" Penitent, "Yes, Father." Father: "Good. Then, for your penance, I would like you to say three Our Father's and three Hail Mary's. Now make a good Act of Contrition and I'll give you absolution."

Do you see a sort of imbalance/disconnect in this? He murdered a bunch of people, missed Mass for 20 years, and told 1000 lies, and all he gets is three Our Father's and three Hail Mary's?! That probably didn't even take much of an edge off the temporal punishment due to him! So, he's going to have to "answer" for that when Jesus judges him after he dies. And, unless he does a LOT of penance in this life before that time, he's probably going to spend a LOT of time in Purgatory working off his temporal punishment. (Provided he dies in the state of Sanctifying Grace, of course.)

Whatdya think?
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Old Oct 25, '10, 8:11 pm
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Originally Posted by doanli View Post
I wonder about the same things myself.

I like reading about Near Death Experiences and it seems the Lord is very loving in going through someone's past life--- just my thought.
Me too, doanli. I used to read quite a few firsthand accounts of NDE's -- often as whole collections in books, etc. This is part of my problem: I would even say that the experience reported by these people supports something closer to Faustyna's understanding than the awful segment I saw on EWTN several months ago. (Maybe 6 months ago?) This was some kind of filler which I guess was intended to be a motivator, but for me it was a turnoff. It depicted (dramatized) -- I think with three fictional examples of believers at the end of their lives -- what they would see. It was absolutely a duplicate of everything that these people probably already knew. Why do I say this? Because the actors/characters were also viewing kind and moral acts they had engaged in. It would be logical to assume that such fictional representations defined people with consciences, who, if Catholic, probably participated in the Sacraments, including Confession.

So the "review of life" was depicted as a fillm collage, with the embarrassed characters wincing (literally) through every single sin which were literally re-enated, and comforted by all the positive, compassionate acts.

The bigger point is, this is not the first time I have heard that this is what will greet us at our death. I heard theologians on EWTN radio say this recently (A few weeks ago.) I guess my big question -- in addition to the troubling contradiction I've already mentioned- is, How would these theologians know this definitively unless this is truly in the Deposit of Faith, or unless all these theologians have had NDE's themselves.

I will experience such a personal "film" as a form of torture, not a window into enlightenment. This is the problem I have with it. It does not seem compatible with the spiritual or sacramental theology that is part of Church teaching.
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Old Oct 25, '10, 8:37 pm
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Liz, I can tell you've been thinkin'!

Well, here's what I think. When we sin, we are due at that time, some temporal punishment. When we go to Confession, even without perfect contrition, we are forgiven our sins. We will not go to hell because of them. However, the temporal punishment we get due to those sins, remains. That's why we receive a penance from the priest. But, consider the following hypothetical Confession:

"Bless me, Father for I have sinned... These are my sins, 'I murdered twenty-three people, missed Mass for 20 years without sufficient reason, and told a thousand lies. That's all. " Father: "Okay, my son, are you sorry for your sins?" Penitent, "Yes, Father." Father: "Good. Then, for your penance, I would like you to say three Our Father's and three Hail Mary's. Now make a good Act of Contrition and I'll give you absolution."

Do you see a sort of imbalance/disconnect in this? He murdered a bunch of people, missed Mass for 20 years, and told 1000 lies, and all he gets is three Our Father's and three Hail Mary's?! That probably didn't even take much of an edge off the temporal punishment due to him! So, he's going to have to "answer" for that when Jesus judges him after he dies. And, unless he does a LOT of penance in this life before that time, he's probably going to spend a LOT of time in Purgatory working off his temporal punishment. (Provided he dies in the state of Sanctifying Grace, of course.)

Whatdya think?
You're right that I've been thinking, but also feeling, and it doesn't frankly feel good.

Your example of the horrendous criminal in confession, though, is not a good one, nor necessarily on point with my point, nor necessarily theologically accurate. We don't know that such a sinner will "have to asnwer" for great quantities of sin more than others will have to answer for smaller quantities or less serious categories. Mercy is mercy, and is a quality of an infinite God. By definition, mercy is always larger than the state or act or person it encompasses and embraces. (That's why it's called mercy. ) It is not parceled out in some quantitative way by a God who is focused on limits.

Yes, I get your point about the residual temporal punishment due to sin, and certainly that is on point theologically. But that isn't quite what I was talking about. Life-review or not, we will indeed in some form, in this life and/or in purgatory, fulfill any temporal effects of our sins, small or large, early or late in life, and confessed or not. So I do not see temporal punishment as included in the torturous review of one's life to which I refer. (I haven't heard any suggestion that an end-of-life review will also include a display of remaining temporal punishment.)

Second, no theologian who has asserted (and again, I can't yet verify how orthodox such theology is) that there is an end-of-life reivew, duplicating visions of sins we have already confessed & possibly liberally repented of, has said anything about a visual display of temporal punishment. And that wouldn't even make all that much sense, because we probably know even less, can predict even less, what form (and length) our individiaul temporal punishment(s) will consist of. Because perhaps we will do a heck of a lot before our deaths to address this.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful or blasphemous, but really: what good is confession if one is only sort of forgiven, and the real 'gotcha' (the accounting) is at the end of life, despite what and how one has confessed, and how one has made reparation? It sounds bizarre and uncharacteristically mean-spirited, to me. Particularly because at that point you are left only with helpless regret. Does this compute with a merciful God?

I would buy the proposition that it's only our unconfessed and unrepentant acts that are displayed shamefully before our faces at death, although even that is a little out of character for my reading. But that's not what was claimed on EWTN radio or TV, as I described the segments.

I would like the source(s) for this supposedly extremely unpleasant view of end-of-life. The theological support for such statements, in Catholic theology, not in terror theology.
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Old Oct 25, '10, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

JESUS forgives your sins, but the harm done by those sins still exist. You hurt someone and confess, your forgiven, but the person who was hurt, is still hurt. How do you mitigate the hurt and suffering you have caused others, even with the slightest unkind word? If you embrace JESUS and HIS sacrament of confession, does that alleviate the pain and suffering you have caused others, No!

You embrace penance, fasting, works of charity for the poor, tithing, offerings, special prayers of indulgence on very special occassions, you offer up your personal physical suffering (illness, unemployment etc) if you are experiencing such, double your prayer efforts on behalf of the party you injured especially calling upon the help of the Holy Souls of Purgatory to assist you in repairing and healing the damage and harm you have caused specific people.

One purpose of Purgatory is to cleanse us from the unanswered or ignored pain and suffering we have caused others in the course of our sin life. By doing the above suggested actions we can avoid purgatory by answering for the pain and suffering we have caused others, and by completly cleansing our sinful acts and applying the balm of healing to those we have injured, as JESUS has applied the balm of healing to us through HIS forgiveness.
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Old Oct 25, '10, 10:04 pm
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

Julian, I appreciate your effort, which is clearly sincere. However, again, what you are talking about is temporal punishment, which I've already addressed and acknowledged. Rather, I'm talking about having to re-live every single one of your sins which you have already confessed -- the particular acts, as opposed to the effects on others. The "parade" that I referenced earlier is not a parade of effect on others, or temporal punishment owed by oneself, but rather a re-enactment of the particular occasions of sins.

It seems contradictory to Catholic theology, to the revelations to Faustyna, and to some opposing phenomena as reported by those who have been at the deatbeds of others. For example, one of Fr. Corapi's talks is a very memorable episode in which he recounts the experience of a priest-friend just before death (I think the man's name was David)-- in that kind of twilight time between life & death -- wherein the dying priest is overwhelmed by the incomparable and unspeakably generous mercy of God. The priest, undoubtedly a sinner (at least somewhat) himself, does not have a picture of terror in front of him, nor a picture of regret, nor a picture of remorse and a rehearsal of sins, nor a picture of self-hate and loathing, but an overwhelming experience of divine mercy (which again, by definition) must always be compared to what is "deserved" on a human scale. God's scale is not our scale. We are told by the Deposit of Faith, tradiition, revelation, and scripture, that God's mercy is far more than we can comprehend. So when someone like Faustyna or this dying priest, relates (tries to relate) God's mercy, and can find no words large enough to describe it, clearly what is being expressed is imbalance -- God's mercy vs. what we "deserve."

Remember, St. Paul says we did not earn our salvation. Redemption is/was a free gift. It is not our actions which "justify" us, but the justice of God which is disproprotionate to what we truly "deserve."
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Old Oct 25, '10, 11:47 pm
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

Elizabeth,

I had a similar question.. I still don't know the answer for sure.

But here's how I approach it what do we know FOR SURE? Well we know that when we truly repent of our sins and confess them, they are forgiven forever. That means we won't go to hell for them. I don't know if we'll have to see them again, or not, and of course there's temporal punishment whether on earth or purgatory. But in any case, we are forgiven.

When you think of your past sins that you have confessed, do you feel despair? I think it's most likely that you just see them as memories of something you did, but something God forgave. Many people tend to view their sins differently after Confession.. not less serious (possibly they realize their seriousness even more), but they don't suffer from despair when thinking of them, because they have accepted God's mercy. If we die with all our sins forgiven, EVEN IF we'll have to 'review' them, I think God will help us to remember that He has forgiven us. Maybe seeing them again will help us to see the deeper implications of sin. But I think after this 'review', we would only be more thankful for God's mercy because we would understand how much He has forgiven us

In any case.. we simply don't know if such a 'review' will happen. But we DO know that God forgives our sins. Try to focus on that also the Divine Mercy message has been completely approved by the Church, and though it is private revelation, it is based on general revelation and teaching of the Church. No matter what we encounter after death, we don't have anything to fear IF: we have repented of our sins, confessed them, did penance, and tried to change our lives as best we can.

God bless
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Old Oct 26, '10, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Julian, I appreciate your effort, which is clearly sincere. However, again, what you are talking about is temporal punishment, which I've already addressed and acknowledged. Rather, I'm talking about having to re-live every single one of your sins which you have already confessed -- the particular acts, as opposed to the effects on others. The "parade" that I referenced earlier is not a parade of effect on others, or temporal punishment owed by oneself, but rather a re-enactment of the particular occasions of sins.

It seems contradictory to Catholic theology, to the revelations to Faustyna, and to some opposing phenomena as reported by those who have been at the deatbeds of others. For example, one of Fr. Corapi's talks is a very memorable episode in which he recounts the experience of a priest-friend just before death (I think the man's name was David)-- in that kind of twilight time between life & death -- wherein the dying priest is overwhelmed by the incomparable and unspeakably generous mercy of God. The priest, undoubtedly a sinner (at least somewhat) himself, does not have a picture of terror in front of him, nor a picture of regret, nor a picture of remorse and a rehearsal of sins, nor a picture of self-hate and loathing, but an overwhelming experience of divine mercy (which again, by definition) must always be compared to what is "deserved" on a human scale. God's scale is not our scale. We are told by the Deposit of Faith, tradiition, revelation, and scripture, that God's mercy is far more than we can comprehend. So when someone like Faustyna or this dying priest, relates (tries to relate) God's mercy, and can find no words large enough to describe it, clearly what is being expressed is imbalance -- God's mercy vs. what we "deserve."

Remember, St. Paul says we did not earn our salvation. Redemption is/was a free gift. It is not our actions which "justify" us, but the justice of God which is disproprotionate to what we truly "deserve."
Good, then you understand. Rely upon the Mercy of GOD and do not worry about reliving "anything". Live to receive the Mercy of GOD. St. Paul also advised us to run the good race and strive toward our salvation and judgement day. He anxiously looked forward to his judgement as life or death were the same to him. We need to make that our same goal
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Old Oct 26, '10, 8:15 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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When you think of your past sins that you have confessed, do you feel despair?
I feel deep regret and disgust. So much disgust that I prefer not to think about my past sins, because I assume/assumed that God also does not want me to focus on that, but to "put on the new man," as St. Paul says. I thought that God wants me to move forward. What I do know theologically is that the only thing "real" (operative) for God, in relation to the individual, is the present. The present is what matters. (Which is why, if you're sinning, hasten to repentance and the confessional.) It is the immanence of the present moment that God is continually calling us to, every moment, being present with him, in the moment of now. God makes himself known in the here and now. We may ask him, in prayer (many of us do) to help make sense for us of a past experience as it relates to today, for some constructive purpose, or some purpose of understanding & closure. But even that is a transforming of the past experience into the only actual reality: Now. The past cannot be recovered as a static moment, nor can it be changed. The Monica of age 12 no longer exists; she is now spiritually, emotionally, and physically evolved into a new composite human being. She can no longer act on what she did do or failed to do as a 12-year-old.

It seems to me that we either do or do not believe in grace being transformative. So Augustine of Hippo became sanctified even on earth (before any formal canonization). Once he became transformed in Christ his identity was no longer of a lecher lusting after women night and day, but of a man who shed that past, was released from his bondage to his bodily desires, and was a new being. His spiritual reality was radically different from what it had been.

Jesus was fond of using everyday examples of parenthood and friendship to illuminate his lessons to the crowds. He would often say things like, "Do you give your child a snake when he asks for a fish? So how much more does your heavenly Father want to give you..." etc. So I ask you, Monica, when someone who has wronged you comes and sincerely apologizes and is clearly regretful (and possibly also ashamed & embarrassed), are you a real jerk and rehash with the person who wronged you exactly what they did, so that they have the unpleasant experience of reliving that painful knowledge? (I don't mean someone as intimate even as a family member -- more like an acquaintance, friend, associate, co-worker)? Worse, do you dredge this up years later? I doubt it. You sound from the tone of your post like a caring, compassionate, sensitive person. And most people I know, even people with no religion, are decent enough to accept an apology and to move on and "forget" (i.e., never mention again) the incident. That's what it means to accept an apology. Would we not expect even greater magnanimity and graciousness from the First Giver and the Source of Grace?
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Old Oct 26, '10, 8:32 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Good, then you understand.
But I don't really understand (this business about "the final review"). I think I need to do a lot of praying about this, because it causes me much anxiety and intrudes into my relationship with God and affects my prayer life negatively. There are just some incompatible concepts here.
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Old Oct 26, '10, 8:51 am
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

While none of us really knows the details of one's personal judgment after death, it is reasonable to believe we must give our personal account to the Lord at that critical moment. Giving account means a total review of our life that includes every part, both good and bad.

Therefore, when we stand before the Lord, our life movies will show us everything we have done or failed to do. We will see our faults as well as our good deeds. It is not that God wants us to relive our mistakes but to reveal the truth to us that we didn't realize before.

For example, a person littered a banana skin on the street. He had no clue what that little misbehavior have led to. A violinist walked by, stepped on the banana skin, slipped, fell, and broke her arm. Therefore, she could not participate a critical audition the next day and lost a life time opportunity. Or a person habitually opened the door for a stranger and smiled at him. Little did the person knew her small kindness canceled the suicidal thoughts of that person being helped and smiled at.

God may reveal the unknown truth at the time of our personal judgment. The purpose of showing our past is not to despair us or to make us re-repent. It gives us a chance to review our life and find out the truth.

I believe when we review the sins have been confessed we will feel less painful than those sins have not been confessed. And while we see our mistakes, we also see our good deeds and kind behaviors.

That is why confession is so important. That is why showing our love to others is so important. God is a God of second chance. No matter how many sins one has committed during the past, we can always start fresh. Everyday is a new day to do good. If we sincerely work toward holiness, when we review our life films, the comfort from our goodness will out weigh the regrets of our sins.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 26, '10, 9:05 am
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

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Okay, great spiritual theologians, here's your chance to shine. Help me with this dilemma.

I see an inherent contradiction in Church teaching about forgiveness, reparation, and accountability. And I could see how a sensitive/tentative believer could be driven to despair by this.

We are told that when we confess, sacramentally (with perfect or imperfect contrition), or alternately when we confess "on our death bed" for unconfessed or unrepentant sins, we are forgiven by God. Christ's redemptive love becomes available to us; we are drawn into it. We are also told via sacramental theology that -- regardless of lingering wounds that result from our personal sins (once confessed) -- God is not dredging up our past sins for us to make repeated accountings for.

This would also all seem to be in the spirit of the revelations to Faustyna about Divine Mercy.

Yet I hear often, including from the Church, about how our individual 'personal judgment' after our death will hold us accountable for every minute sin we have ever done in our entire lives, from the Age of Reason on. Is this not an invitation to despair? How many times does one need to regret and repent (for the same sin occasion)? I so look forward (not) to what I have seen and heard proclaimed about the Personal Judgment: Lucky me, I get to travel through my past sins and remember them, and explain to God a past that I now have no control over. Sounds like a real party.


I would rather forget them, not dwell in them, but move on, with a consciousness that those decisions are in my past, not my present reality or transformed self, and not something that I'll be required to "review" and re-explain, re-repent for at the end of my life. (Not that I'm "planning" on dying any time soon. )

Please reconcile these contradictions for me.
The Divine Mercy is one of my favorite books. Although it is a lengthy writing I sincerely don't believe there are enough words in the human language to describe God's mercy. Something that struck me from the book which I think is similar in thought to your points is when St. Faustina was shown her judgment by God. Early in the diary it speaks of how she was before judgment, and God asked her if she wanted to suffer one day in purgatory or go back to earth and suffer. Amazingly she said that she wanted to throw herself into the flames immediately, to suffer anything she could to purge whatever imperfection was remaining in her. I take this passage to mean that although our sins will be forgiven through the sacrament of reconciliation, we will see our imperfectness before God, we will fully understand his holiness and goodness in comparison, and want to cleanse ourselves before being in his presence. I wouldn't go so far as to say that purgatory would be pleasant, but at that point we would gladly be willing to do anything to love God completely. We would know at that point we were safe, that we were in God's loving arms for eternity. I cannot describe it but I think the joy would still outweigh the suffering. That does not mean we shouldn't do everything we can not to sin and live a life that is pleasing to God while we are here on earth. But I don't think God wants us to worry. He knows your heart better than you do. Live close to Him here on earth and be assured then that you will be with Him forever. He would never give his children anything that was too much for them..
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Old Oct 26, '10, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Divine Mercy vs. The Personal Judgment

I see this as part of our purgation, or purgatory, if you will. I am no theologian, but it seems to me that seeing our sinfulness in it's entirety and in it's relation to to how it affects our brothers and sisters and even to the degree it offended God would have a purifying effect on our souls. Painful, yes, but all purification is painful. Most of us don't have the capacity, in this life, to realize the full effects of our sins, and most of us still have some attachment to sin when we die, thus by being made to understand and realize the true nature of sin, it will free us from our attachment and make us fit for heaven.

This, however, is purely my own musing on this, I don't think the Church has definitively come up with something on the subject, and what actually occurs in purgatory is unknown. But I do know that at some point we must be purified of that attachment to sin.
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Carolyn
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