Wisdom of the Saints about the last things (part 4)

“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb’.” St. John the Apostle and Evangelist (1st century)

“For this body shall be raised, not remaining weak as now, but raised the very same body, though by putting on incorruption it shall be fashioned anew…it shall abide not such as it now is, but an eternal body; no longer needing for its life such nourishment as now, nor stairs for its ascent, for it shall be made spiritual, a marvelous thing, such as we cannot worthily speak of. Then, it is said, shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, and the moon, and as the brightness of the firmament…We shall be raised therefore, all with our bodies eternal, but not all with bodies alike: for if a man is righteous, he will receive a heavenly body, that he may be able worthily to hold converse with Angels; but if a man is a sinner, he shall receive an eternal body, fitted to endure the penalties of sins, that he may burn eternally in fire, nor ever be consumed. And righteously will God assign this portion to either company; for we do nothing without the body. We blaspheme with the mouth, and with the mouth we pray. With the body we commit fornication, and with the body we keep chastity. With the hand we rob, and by the hand we bestow alms; and the rest in like manner. Since then the body has been our minister in all things, it shall also share with us in the future the fruits of the past. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century, Doctor of the Church)

“Two criminals were crucified with Christ. One was saved; do not despair. One was not; do not presume.” St. Augustine of Hippo (4th-5th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“Christ is the morning star Who when the night of this world is past, reveals to His saints the eternal light of life.” St Bede the Venerable (6th-7th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” St. Francis of Assisi (12th-13th centuries)

“Although Christ will show Himself [at the Judgment] in His glorious form, the marks of the Passion will appear in Him, not with disfigurement, but with beauty and splendor, so that at the sight of them the elect, who will perceive that they have been saved through the sufferings of Christ, will be filled with joy.” St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century, Doctor of the Church)

“Do you not know that death is no longer ignominious but precious since Our Lord and Master allowed Himself to be attacked by it on the tree of the Cross?…Death is so sweet and so desirable that the angels would consider themselves happy if they could die. And the saints have rejoiced to suffer death, which gave them consolation, because our Divine Savior Who is our Life had abandoned Himself as a prey to death.” St. Francis de Sales (16th-17th centuries, Doctor of the Church)

“How quickly the thin line that separates us from eternity is crossed!…How insignificant our sufferings and struggles must be when seen from the other side of the Veil! It seems to me that there one must regret not having suffered enough, not having loved enough here below, having offered so little for all that one receives…Let us look for these beloved dead close to God and let us tell ourselves again that separation is only apparent. That assumes lots of sorrow, I know, but behind this veil that hides eternal realities from us, these beloved ones are alive, nearer to us than our weak minds can imagine.” Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur (19th-20th centuries)

“For all of us Mary is guide, refuge, and strength…and on the last day of our earthly life, which is also the first day of eternity…it will be an infinitely precious consolation to be able to turn to such a gracious Mother, and feel her near us in that grave hour.” Pope St. John XXIII (19th-20th centuries)

“Once God gives freedom He never takes it back; that is why hell is eternal. Hell is the guarantee of human freedom, a place in which man with a clenched fist may thrust forever in the sight of God his ‘Non Serviam (I will not serve)’.” Ven. Fulton Sheen (19th-20th centuries)

“Heaven is love without pain; Purgatory is pain with love; Hell is pain without love.” Ven. Fulton Sheen