How does confession effect what happens on Judgement day?
The Church teaches there are two judgments, the Particular Judgment is the judgment you received shortly after death. It is there that the decision of where your soul goes, Heaven, Purgatory or Hell, will be made.
At the “consummation of the age”, the end of time, there will be a Final Judgment. This occurs after the general resurrection when your body is restored to your soul in a glorified state. All people, saints and sinners, will be resurrected. At that time, there will be only two places to go; the Eternal Marriage Supper of the Lamb or “outer darkness where there is grinding and gnashing of teeth”, separated from the presence of God forever.
Where you go depends on whether you are in a state of grace when you die. Confession allows you to have your sins absolved and forgiven. Without confession, your soul would go to Hell when you die and after the General judgment, you would be cast bodily into outer darkness.
Also, it is through the sacrament of Confession (or “Penance” or “Reconciliation”) that we can improve ourselves, learn from our mistakes and help grow closer to God.
One final point. Receiving absolution for our sins in confession is not automatic. We must both be genuinely sorry for our sins and we must honestly resolve to do our best not to repeat them. Additionally, we must confess all our serious sins, no matter how embarrassing. (Believe me, priests have heard it all!)
So, if one confesses a sin to a priest, is absolved by the priest, and has a genuine desire to amend his / her life, does this sin need to be accounted for on judgement day? Is it not Church teaching that each and every sin, whether venial or mortal, will need an accounting?
I absolutely agree with your statement about the fruits of confession…
I’m reading the diary of St. Faustina, and its really stirring me!!!
Thanks for reading and responding to my post…
The sin is forgiven by the priest, yes. However, some temporal punishment is also required to purify yourself before you can be in God’s presence. While the penance a priest assigns can help, it is not intended to substiture for this temporal punishment.
This temporal punishment can include your soul spending time Purgatory after your death. It can also include suffering in this life. In fact, Catholics have the best answer to the eternal question, “Why do the good suffer?” To be purified in this life.
So when things go bad, when you feel pain, physical, mental or spiritual, offer it God as a penance for your sins. This is how saints are made.
This is where we get to the subject of indulgences. An indulgence is the partial or complete forgiveness of the temporal punishment for sin because you have engaged in some activity the Church deems worthy. But there are many conditions involved with indulgences and they are, in fact, quite difficult to earn. That is mostly because in general one must not have any attachment to (that habitual) sin, even venial sin. A state most of us are not in very often.
By the way, I understand that Pope Benedict goes to confession every other day, as did Pope John Paul II. There must be something to the idea of frequent confession.
Yes, plenary indulgences are that. But we should still try to get as many as possible because even if we don’t receive full remission of sins, by the grace of God we can make some very good progress anyway.
This is a good question from the OP and I wish more Catholics would really think about this. It would really transform lives and build the Church in a significant way.
(I believe also the indulgence granted on Divine Mercy Sunday does not have as many conditions as a normal plenary indulgence. That’s really a gift for sinners in great need – as we all are.)