The Way of Beauty
The Last Judgment
THEME: The final judgment
FOCUS OF THE MEDITATION: Our judgment has yet to come. With realism and faith, this meditation will help us consider our thoughts, words, and actions through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord will assist us, if we will him to do so, to align our will to that of our heavenly Father and to choose Christ with greater dedication and love.
Sistine Chapel altar wall
"The fresco The Last Judgment is an artistic rendering of the end times located on the altar wall in the Sistine Chapel. Jesus Christ is the centerfold of this composition, the whole vortex of movement toward whom some 400 figures are connected."
"It stands as a reminder to all of the dramatic moment when Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, for the Father has given all authority to the Son (John 5:22)."
"Notice the upper register of the fresco where Michelangelo has placed the symbol of Christ's passion to emphasize Jesus' victory, to be shared with Christians of all times. His loving sacrifice earned him the authority to judge the living and the dead, for Christ is the Just Judge."
"Acting with love by imaging Christ is the best preparation for a blessed final judgment. It is also the way to know true joy in this life. Jesus tells the faithful, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).
"Our Lord will also search our hearts for faith. Do we believe that Christ can and will heal us from our afflictions, our sins?"
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
"Christ has come that we might all have eternal life in God. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the life that God offers you, asking the Lord to enlighten your heart and mind, opening you to eternal things."
The comments above are taken from Meditations on Vatican Art by Fr. Mark Haydu. To truly enter into this Visio Divina, I suggest purchasing the book as each masterpiece comes with a complete description, prayer and reflection, and spiritual exercise.