Consider well how terrible is the hour of death, and how appalling the remembrance of our evil deeds will be at that time. For the spirits of darkness will recall all the harm they have done us, and remind us of the sins which we have committed at their instigation. They will not go to the death bed of the godless only, but they will be present with the elect, striving to discover something sinful whereof to accuse them. Alas ! how will it fare with us hapless mortals in that hour, and what can we say for ourselves, seeing how innumerable are the sins to be laid to our charge? What can we answer to our adversaries, when they place all our sins before us, with the object of reducing us to despair? – St. Gregory
Each of us will face three final moments at the hour of our death. These moments will seem like centuries yet last less than a second, even less.
The first will be an awakening of the understanding of the Omnipotence of God Almighty. In this awakening, all will be revealed to us. The mysteries of the universe will come before us in all of their splendor and simplicity. It will be so simple that we will instantly realize how close it was to us all of our lives, yet, we were unable to see it. All will be revealed and all will be understood.
We will experience unspeakable wonder– an intolerable form of the most intense wonder we have ever had on earth: a first kiss; a wedding day; the birth of a child; their first day of school; Christenings, First Communions, First Reconciliation; receiving a driver’s license, high school diploma, college degree; the first paying job after graduation; the first car and the first home; the birth of a grandchild.
The next moment will be one of full and complete, but dire, self-awareness. Having now the complete understanding of Our Maker, the creator of the Universe, the Three Persons in One, we now see before us, our true lived life as God sees it – and we are terrified! We are terrified to realize that what we thought were of those most mundane and insignificant of offenses (we never thought to think of them in this way during our life) were truly horrible offenses to God. We are completely ashamed now with our new knowledge. And it is now the arrival of the last one whom we think we would see – Satan himself!
It is now Satan’s moment where we experience the greatest temptation ever. We will now know, if we haven’t ever thought of it before, what temptation really, really is and what sin, truly, truly, is. If we’ve never turned from temptation in the past, we are doomed.
Horrified, we realize we can’t do this on our own. We now wonder who will come to our aid at this most crucial moment. This is not the moment to have a reasonable hope that all men will be saved. Will we ourselves be in a state of grace which will arm us against the onslaught of Satan’s last all-out-attempt to transgress us into temptation? Will Jesus Himself come to your aid as a result of a loved one praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet at our bedside?
The final moment is one of eternity. It’s a moment of either eternal abandonment or eternal victory. It’s a moment of love or misery. There will be no guesswork about it. We will know which way we are going. There is no love in Hell; none. It is pure, unadulterated, misery, self-pity, and woe. In Purgatory, its intense suffering with hope. In Heaven, unspeakable joy!
Where will we find ourselves in this final moment?