Saints Who Have Seen the Judgment Seat of Christ and Witnessed the Horrors of Hell

Saint Bridget of Sweden Witnesses a Priest Being Condemned at Christ Judgment Seat
The Son’s indictment of a certain soul who was to be condemned in the presence of the bride, and Christ’s answer to the devil about why he permitted this soul and permits other evildoers to touch and take or receive his own true body. God appeared angry and said: ”This work of my hands, whom I destined for great glory, holds me in much contempt. This soul, to whom I offered all my loving care, did three things to me: He averted his eyes from me and turned them toward the enemy. He fixed his will on the world. He put his confidence in himself, because he was free to sin against me. For this reason, because he did not bother to have any regard for me, I brought my sudden justice upon him. Because he had fixed his will against me and put false confidence in himself, I took away from him the object of his desire.” Then a devil cried out, saying: ”Judge, this soul is mine.” The Judge answered: ”What grounds do you bring against him?” He answered: ”My accusation is the statement in your own indictment that he despised you, his Creator, and because of that his soul has become my handmaid. Besides, since he was suddenly taken away, how could he suddenly begin to please you? For, when he was of sound body and living in the world, he did not serve you with a sincere heart, since he loved created things more fervently, nor did he bear illness patiently or reflect on your works as he ought to have. In the end he was not burning with the fire of charity. He is mine because you have taken him away suddenly.” The Judge answered: ”A sudden end does not condemn a soul, unless there is inconsistency in her actions. A person’s will is not condemned forever without careful deliberation.” Then the Mother of God came and said: ”My Son, if a lazy servant has a friend who is on intimate terms with his master, should not his intimate friend come to his aid? Should he not be saved, if he asks for it, for the sake of the other?” The Judge answered: ”Every act of justice should be accompanied by mercy and wisdom – mercy with respect to remitting severity, wisdom to ensure that equity is maintained. But if the transgression is of such a kind as not to deserve remission, the sentence can still be mitigated for the sake of friendship with out infringing justice. Then his Mother said: ”My blessed Son, this soul had me constantly in mind and showed me reverence and was often moved to celebrate the great solemnity for my sake, even though he was cold toward you. So, have mercy on him!” The Son answered: ”Blessed Mother, you know and see all things in me. Even though this soul kept you in mind, he did so more for the sake of his temporary than his spiritual welfare. He did not treat my most pure body as he should have. His foul mouth kept him from enjoying my charity. Worldly love and dissolution hid my suffering from him. His taking my pardon too much for granted and not thinking about his end accelerated his death. Although he received me continuously, it did not improve him much, because he did not prepare himself properly. A person who wishes to receive his noble Lord and guest should not only get the guest room ready but also all the utensils. This man did not do so, since, although he cleaned the house, he did not sweep it reverently with care. He did not strew the floor with the flowers of his virtues or fill the utensils of his limbs with abstinence. Therefore, you see well enough that what must be done to him is what he deserves. Although I may be invulnerable and beyond comprehension and am everywhere by reason of my divinity, my delight is in the pure, even if I enter the good and the damned alike. The good receive my body, which was crucified and ascended into heaven, which was prefigured by the manna and by the widow’s flour. The wicked do so likewise, but, whereas for the good it leads to greater strength and consolation, for the wicked it leads to an even more just condemnation, inasmuch as they, in their unworthiness, are not afraid to approach so worthy a sacrament.” The devil answered: ”If he approached you unworthily and his sentence was made stricter because of this, why did you permit him to approach you and touch you despite his unworthiness?” The Judge answered: ”You are not asking this out of love, since you have none, but my power compels you to ask it for the sake of this bride of mine who is listening. In the same way in which both the good and bad handled me in my human nature in order to prove the reality of my human nature as well as my patient humility, so too good and wicked alike eat me at the altar – the good unto their greater perfection, the bad in order that they may not believe themselves to be already damned and so that, having received my body, they might be converted, provided they decide to reform their intention. What greater love can I show them than that I, the most pure, will enter even the impurest of vessels (although like the material sun I cannot be defiled by anything)? You and your comrades despise this love, for you have hardened yourselves against love.” Then the Mother spoke again: ”My good Son, whenever he approached you, he was still reverent toward you, though not as he should have been. He also repents of having offended you, though not perfectly. My Son, for my sake, consider this to his advantage.” The Son answered: ”As the prophet said, I am the true sun, although I am far better than the material sun. The material sun does not penetrate mountains or minds, but I can do both. A mountain can stand in the way of the material sun with the result that the sunlight does not reach the land nearby, but what can stand in my way except the sinfulness that prevents this soul from being affected by my love? Even if a part of the mountain were removed, the neighboring land would still not receive the warmth of the sun. And if I were to enter into one part of a pure mind, what consolation would it be to me if I could smell a stench from another part? Therefore, one should get rid of everything that is dirty, and then sweet enjoyment will follow upon beautiful cleanliness.” His Mother answered: ”May your will be done with all mercy!”
Saint Vincent Ferrer Tells How Only a Few Among Thousands Were Saved at God’s Judgment Seat
The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, “Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.” Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, “When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.” O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of thirty thousand, only five were saved! And out of sixty thousand, only three went to heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered?… What do you say?… What do you think?…

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