In the newer, post-Conciliar calendar we are focused on the end times in the Feast of Christ the King. In the older, traditional calendar there is no special festal liturgy for this Sunday. This is a poignant way to point toward the seamless cycle of the Church’s representation of the mysteries of salvation.
We simultaneously long for the Second Coming of the Lord – that is what Advent is about, by the way, the Second Coming in glory and judgment – and we dread it.
Early Christians prayed with longing “Come! Lord, Come!” In later centuries the sense of longing was replaced with sober realization of what we will endure on the day of His Coming. They prayed turned toward the East whence they believed the Lord would return. They prayed in joyful dread, confident fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.
Both of these attitudes can help us in our own day to be concerned with joyful dread, or joyful sobriety, sober joy, about the meeting we will have with the Lord when He comes.
The last day of your life is going to be an anticipation of the Second Coming. As Augustine wrote: Qualis in die isto quisque moritur, talis in die illo iudicabitur (ep. 199.2).
In death your life will be laid bare. In the Second Coming itself, the Lord will lay bare all things. That which we have endured in life with patient perseverance and sometime suffering shall be given explanations.
St. Augustine explained that the Lord’s judgments are obscure to us now, but later they will be made clear.
Justice in this life is imperfect. In the life to come it will be perfected.
All that which God has permitted to happen here and now, will be given reasons and explanations. We will finally see perfect justice even behind what now is hidden and challenging.
The Church’s year presents us anew with the unchanging mysteries of our salvation. But year year we are a little different and closer to the moment when the Lord’s hidden justice and judgments will be revealed.
Do not be content to leave yourself straying on your life’s path toward your judgment with the knowledge of your saving Faith as it was when you were fresh from catechism as a child.
Do not leave yourself cold on the this path without the warming effect of works of mercy.
Live in sober joy, or joyful sobriety about the state of your soul even as you follow your path toward the Coming Lord through our Holy Church’s mysterious years of waiting.