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Brian wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about Confession and the Particular Judgment every person will have to undergo when they die.

From a Catholic perspective, when we confess our sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God but when we die will have to render an account for what we have and have not done.

  • If God has forgiven these sins in Confession how will He judge us?

God bless,

Brian

  { If our sins have already been forgiven in the sacrament of Confession, how will God judge us? }

Paul replied:

Dear Brian,

God basically offers us two things that were won for mankind by Christ's sacrifice:

  1. forgiveness of our sins
  2. a share in His Divine Life so that, in union with Him, we may grow in virtue and goodness

Hell is for those who reject God and these two salvific gifts.

If one goes to Confession, truly accepts God's forgiveness, and dies in the state of grace, then one either goes straight to Heaven or is first purified in Purgatory, the Holy Hospital of Heaven.

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi Brian,

I wanted to add to Paul’s answer.

The Catechism tells us:

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. (cf. 2 Timothy 1:9-10) 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. (cf. Luke 16:22; 23:43; Matthew 16:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 9:27; 12:23)

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 (cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 857-858; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304- 1306; Council of Trent)
  • immediately, (cf. Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000-1001; John XXII, Ne super his (1334):DS 990.) — or
  • immediate and everlasting damnation. (cf. Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002)

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.

(St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64)

So if we are in a state of grace at our particular judgment, we will be judged according to our works and faith.

If you share my answer with others it’s important that you affirm to them that any works or faith we have chosen during out earthly pilgrimage, are not done by ourselves, but rather by allowing Jesus to work in and through us through the Eucharist.

We have free will during this earthly pilgrimage to allow Jesus to work through us or not.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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