Earlier today and last night, I spoke to you about the first of the four last things death, the first experience that all of us will share whenever the end of our life comes, whether it's the end of time itself, when Christ comes again and glory, or if it's just most likely our particular death that that individual day and the church teaches correctly, as our Lord has revealed, that there are two judgments and that's the tonight's topic. Judgment after death, every one will be judged by the king. And there are two judgments. The one that we hear today in the gospel is called the universal judgment. This is after Christ comes again in glory when he he will gather all the nations for him of all of time, and he will judge them all in the presence of all. That will be the final judgment. But we also have a particular judgment that belongs to each individual. That means when I die, when you die as an individual, you will have to go before that same judgment seat, before the king, before the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and your life. My individual life will be judged and I will receive a sentence. Now, what our Lord is telling us in this gospel is a begin a particular explanation of the final judgment or the universal judgment. But this also applies to anyone's particular judgment. It's not like our Lord is going to maybe change some of His decisions in the final judgment. There will be many souls who are already in heaven or already in hell because their particular judgment has taken place, but they will still all be gathered again at the end of time so that everyone will be judged in the sight of all. But we can still learn from this that the nature of what we would call our particular, our individual judgments. This is why being ready for death is so important, right? We need to always be ready because the moment my soul separates from my body, I will be taken before the judgment seat of God. The moment that happens, do not pass. Do not collect 200. Right. You're there and if God has anything against you at that moment, at that final moment, it will be brought forward. I thought I would begin by telling you a story.
Some of you may have heard this before, but I'd say I think it was maybe the second year I was ordained. I got called to the hospital and a man was dying and so I go there, I don't know this man. I just get called. I go. and when I when I get to the floor and I'm heading towards the room, there is a police officer standing outside the room. I'm like, That’s a little strange. That's a new one for me. I go inside the room and the gentleman, probably in his thirties, was handcuffed to his bed and I thought, that's another new one. Okay. So, what I realized was he was a prisoner who was in jail, but he was dying and so they had rushed him to the hospital, and he had called for a priest. And so, of course, he was handcuffed to the bed because they didn't want him trying to escape. The moment I walked into this room again, I was a little unsettled by the police guard and the handcuffs and everything. But I'm a priest. I'm here to give them the sacraments. From the moment I walked into that room and looked into this man's eyes, I could see that he was going to hell. It was obvious there was such a darkness and despair in his eyes that if he had died at that moment without the sacraments, he would have been damned. Just like that. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit. I don't know. But it was so clear to me he hadn't even said anything. All I had to do was look into his eyes. So I sat down beside him. And of course, I'm praying Hail Mary’s to myself in my head. Blessed Mother, tell me what to say. This is a strange situation. This is new for me. And he proceeds to tell me, you know, he's dying and he knows he'll be lost. He knows he'll be damned because of the evil things he's done in his life. And he's never repented of it. He's never gone to confession for it. And he's terrified. He is absolutely terrified. And I will tell you, that was an appropriate terror.
He should have been afraid and he was right. But I could see there was something deeper. There was something more, because he kept kind of furtively looking around the room. It was just the two of us. Right? The police officer was outside. There were no nurses or doctors in there. I asked him, what do you see? Then he looked quickly back at me. You could tell by his expression he was surprised that I noticed he says, there are these three dark figures like living shadows, pacing around this room I know they're waiting for me to die. That, again, was a new one for me. Never experienced that before. Still praying. Hail Marys in my own head. Blessed Mother. What do I say? I had an inspiration, and in that moment, I realized it must have been the Holy Spirit who these three demons were. I just knew and I said to him, I'm assuming that you would need to confess this, this and this pointed out the three demons connected with three specific grave sins that he must have committed in his life again, you should have seen the surprise in his face. How did you know? I don't know how the Holy Spirit must have told me, but it's just obvious to me. And he hung his head, and he was like, I don't I don't deserve to be forgiven. So of course, you don't deserve to be forgiven. Nobody does. But if at this moment right now, when God has provided to you a priest before your death, he's offering you forgiveness. Our Lord didn't have to let me be here. He could have let you die in sin. But I'm here. And he wants me to prepare you for your judgment. And I can fix this as a priest if you tell me your sins. And if you are sorry, I can absolve you and these demons will leave. And you could see the hope in his eyes. He wanted to believe me. But again, he was scared. He was very scared. I began to help him through a confession. It wasn't a short confession. You know, he's born and raised Catholic, but a very young age as a teenager, clearly taken a bad turn in his life drugs, alcohol, all that stuff, and turned to crime and had done many, many serious evils in his life. Obviously, three in particular, those three demons that were waiting for him. And the moment I gave him absolution, that darkness that I could see in his eyes just disappeared. This peace came over him and he said, they’re gone. The demons aren't here anymore. I proceeded to again anoint him, give him the holy anointing. I gave him Holy Communion, which he hadn't received in decades and then I gave him the apostolic pardon, which is the removal of all temporal punishment due to send. Basically get out of purgatory free card. He was perfectly ready to die at that moment and go to heaven. We talked a little more. I encouraged him to pray, gave him a rosary, and then I left. Now, at the end of our life again, when it's time for our death, when your soul separates from your body, there will be people waiting for you to take you before the judgment seat of God.
Who these people are is dependent upon what your final judgment is going to be. For most Catholics and Christians that I've been with at their deathbed, they will often see not all the time, but most of the time they will see deceased relatives present in the room with them. Basically, our Lord, what he does is to help you pass from this life to the next. He sends your loved ones who are already with him in heaven. He sends them back to you so that when you pass, you're comfortable. You don't have to be afraid. Because I'm with family. These people know me. I remember this one woman who was dying, and she kept talking to her grandfather, who had died when she was very young. But he was very old, and she kept saying, wow, you look so young. I've never I don't remember you ever looking so young. Now, some of the family just thought she was crazy and hallucinating. But I told them, no, he's probably here right now because our Lord is preparing her for this crossing. He's showing her. You don't have to be afraid. Come to me. I will judge you mercifully. But this criminal, when he was on his deathbed, who was there waiting for him? The demons that he had served in his life. And do you know what they would have done if he had died at that moment? They would have grabbed his soul and carried it to the throne of God and say he deserves to be with us. We own him. And they would lay out all the reasons why, and then our Lord would pronounce judgment. And if that soul was worthy of damnation, he would hand them over to these demons and they would drag him to hell for the rest of eternity. It's a terrifying truth, but because of the love and mercy of God, this young man no longer had to fear his judgment. But it will come to each one of us. Now, our Lord tells us very clearly in the Gospels that the ultimate way in which He is going to judge us worthy or unworthy of salvation is not. Which are you Catholic? Are you Christian? Are you a Muslim or Buddhist? Right. Which church or denomination or religious belief system do you belong to now? How did you treat the least of my brothers and sisters? That is the final arbiter of where we end up Heaven or hell. How do you value the weakest and most lowly of persons? How have you treated them? The ostracized those that the rest of the world places no value in. Do you see their value? Have you treated them the way you would want to be treated if you were in their place? That is the final judgment for each one of us. Yes, believing in Jesus Christ is important and necessary, but our church teaches very clearly that that our judgment, if through no fault of your own, you never came to believe in Jesus Christ. But if in God's mind you had learned about Jesus, you would have been baptized. He can save you.
Our Lord knows everything when he judges. Again, that's an important phrase. If through no fault of your own, you are not baptized. Our Lord will do everything in His power to save you. But He will still judge you based on these parameters, as he said, separating the sheep from the goats. The goats? Where do they go? As Matthew records our Lord, saying to eternal hellfire, eternal punishment. We'll talk a little more about hell tomorrow night. But the sheep to everlasting life, to peace, joy and happiness in God's presence. All of us have sin. And unless we die right after receiving the last rites and the apostolic pardon, we're probably going to have some sins that come up during our judgment. Our Lord is merciful. He wants to forgive our sins. Look at how much he was willing to do in order to bring about that forgiveness. What would he not do to save you from the eternal punishment? But he needs to see some effort on your part. He needs to see that, at least on some level, each one of us is trying to love and not just love anybody or any way to love the way God loves. The reason our Lord judges us based on how we treat the least of the people around us is because of a very simple theological reason. Our Lord has created human beings in His image and likeness. So how you treat human beings reflects on your belief in God and your belief about human dignity. If you treat them poorly, then you clearly don't think highly of God in whose image these creatures were made of. You treat them well. You do that obviously, out of respect for God, not because they deserve it themselves. I mean, if somebody is in prison for a good reason, they should be in prison. But our Lord says, visit them, visit them. Imagine always imagine yourself in their shoes. If I was in their shoes, what would I want you to do for me? Do unto others as we're taught, as you would have them do unto you. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. The degree to which you love and show mercy and kindness is the degree to which you will receive the love and mercy and kindness of God Himself. This is what you have to know about God. He is always just. Even when he's merciful, he's always just. He says, look, I will show you all the mercy you need so that in your judgment, you need not worry. However, since he's just he demands that you then show that same mercy to others who don't deserve it. That's fair. It's a simple rule. I try to remind you all the time. You don't love your neighbor. You don't show mercy to your neighbor because they deserve it. You do it because God deserves it. He shows you love and mercy when you didn't deserve it. You have an obligation. Which means when I show mercy and love to you, it's not actually an act of mercy and love. It's an act of justice. That's one of the beautiful things about our Lord. Everything he does is just. And everything he does is merciful. It doesn't always look that way to us, but it's true. And the more we're conformed to Christ, you'll begin to see that in your own lives when you do the right thing. Because it's the right thing. Because it's just. You'll learn that that was the most loving and merciful thing you could have done. I want to read you one more passage from the Scriptures. This is an important one in regard to our judgment. Saint Paul. In his letter to the Corinthians, he tells us, quote, if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw, the work of each will come to light for the day and the day is capitalized. The day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire. And the fire itself will test the quality of each one's work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss. The person will be saved, but only as through fire, but only as through fire. Whatever Saint Paul uses the word day or the day. He's always talking about the day of judgment, basically the day of death. Whether that's your own particular death and particular judgment or the final judgment, the final death of the world itself. So on the day of judgment, that's what he's saying. Again, Christians in the early world just said the day everybody knew what they meant. On the day your deeds as a follower of Christ will be judged and how will they be judged by fire? He says. Now, whether he's speaking literally in some type of mystical sense, or this is just figurative language, we don't know. But he says, our deeds will be judged by fire and the quality of your deeds, the quality of the actions you performed in the name of Jesus Christ throughout your life will be determined by what survives the flames and what gets burned up. Whenever Saint Paul talks about building, right, he's always talking about building the body of Christ because we are the living stones, he says. And as living stones, the things we do in our life either build up the body of Christ, the Temple of God, the church, or they tear it down. But if you know anything about this language and how Paul describes it, there are different kinds of building materials, right? I mean, if you're going to build a house, especially one for God, you want to use the best materials. Now, if I was going to tell you that I was going to test the construction of your house by burning it, what kind of materials would you use? You're going to use wood, straw? No way. And I huff and puff and I blow that house down and so Paul is telling you, what do you what do you aim for in the Christian life? What are the best materials that you could build a house worthy of God that would survive fire itself? He tells us gold, silver, precious stones. If you know anything about how fire works with gold, silver, and precious stones, it is it purifies them more. It makes them more precious. The longer and the hotter the flame. That's how they purify these precious metals, as we call them. You put them in the fire, in the crucible, right? That's an actual physical object that you use to put metal in and heat up until it melts. This this time of fire after death corresponds to the judgment. Now, I have a personal theory, but don't know if this is true or not, but on some level, this is what seems to be, at least in my eyes, what purgatory is like. This place of fire in the traditional imagery of the church. After you've been judged and you are worthy to go to heaven, your deeds will then be tested. Now, why is that most likely the interpretation? Well, Paul tells us, but if someone's work is burned up, meaning its wood, its straw, It doesn't pass through the fire intact, one will suffer loss. Let's say all the good things you tried to do were just tainted by selfishness and self-centeredness and complaining and a lack of virtue. Well, there may be a tiny little bit of gold and silver that will get through, but there's a lot of wood and straw there that's going to burn up. Does he say you're going to go to hell for that? No. He says that person will be saved. They will be saved, which means they have followed the Lord. They have either been baptized, striven to to to be a sheep in his flock, but only as through fire he's not talking about the damned. This fire is not going to test the deeds of those who were judged to go to hell. They don't need the fire. They're unworthy. So they're just sent down with the demons to hell. But those who are worthy by the first judgment, which is, Are you a sheep or a goat? The cheaper than going to be tested by fire. This is, in a sense, still part of your judgment. Now you've been judged as saved, so you're going to be saved. You don't have to worry about that. But there's a further judgment, so to speak. There's a further point that we have to consider. That's why I like to view this as purgatory. Basically. I've got to pass through the flame.
Now, I personally like to think of this fire as purgatory itself, but also as the gate of heaven. You know, traditionally we say that Saint Peter is there with the keys of the kingdom, Right? And he opens the gate of heaven and lets you in or says, No, you're not allowed and locks it on you. I like to believe that this gate is not made of precious stones or silver or gold or metal. I think it's made of fire. It's the fire of God's love. And you are worthy to enter into God's presence. But your love has to be tested. Is it pure love or is are there impurities? So you have to walk through this wall of fire. Now, anything in us, even after we've been judged worthy of salvation that is not worthy to enter heaven has to get burned up. You can't take that with you. It's not pure and holy enough in the presence of God. And so this firewall that you're going through, I like that technology example to this firewall that you're going through is going to purify, polish you up, so to speak. So that you're shiny and perfect for the Lord. If there's a lot of wood and a lot of straw in my building process, it's clearly going to take longer to burn, isn't it? The more wood or straw you have, the longer the burning process, the less you have, the faster it burns. So when the church talks about length of time in purgatory, I believe that corresponds simply to that fact. This fire, if you've got a lot of wooden straw, which you can't take with you, it's going to take a while. Church says the average length of time in purgatory is 40 Earth years. That's a long time. 40 Earth years. So that means 40 years after you've died and been judged, the average Catholic is going to need 40 years to get through purgatory. That's why we pray for the poor souls in purgatory, to get them out as quick as possible. Nobody wants to be stuck there, but the Saints even have to pass through this fire. In essence, on some level they have to pass through, at least if my interpretation is correct, purgatory. But if their deeds have already been purified to a perfect degree in this life, they don't even feel the flames, Right. They just walk right through. Not affected at all. Not slow down at all. You go right into heaven. They're good to go. Purgatory is, in fact, part of the judgment. It's important that we consider this because it's not just about going to heaven or hell. Yes, that's the big question. Am I going to be a sheep or goat? That's far more pressing than the purgatory question. Definitely. But for those of us who do strive to follow Christ, to follow his teachings, to love as he has taught us, to love right, to receive his sacramental grace, to pray, we have a greater surety that we are going to be judged as sheep. We shouldn't presume upon it. We have more surety. Now, you have to ask yourself, What kind of sheep am I going to be? Am I going to be a glorious one? Great, because I've built so much out of love for God in this world throughout my life and the things that I've done, I've done them with the mind and heart of Christ, truly selflessly enduring every cross patiently without complaint. Offering all things to God through Christ our Lord. I mean, that's a tall order, but that's the goal for us.
Once you've answered the question of saved or not saved in regard to your judgment, you do have to ask What will my degree be in heaven? Now, most of us will say, rightly so, that, hey, look, as long as I get there, I don't care. Right. Isn't that really the point, though? You know, if I get through the gates, eventually I'm going to be happy. That's 100% true. Definitely no doubt whatsoever. Yeah. So that's okay. However, you have to ask yourself this question when you're aiming at a target, depending upon the point at which you aim, you're probably going to miss the target a little bit at least, right? It's possible. But if you're aiming at the wrong point, what if you miss that? You miss the target altogether. And that's why the church has always used the word sin to refer to things done that are not pleasing to God. Go against nature, go against his laws and his teachings. So the word sin, as you should remember, is actually an archery term. It's an archery term. It's an ancient archery term, thousands of years old, archery. You know, bow and arrow was the first real weapon along with spears. If you want to be good at using a bow and arrow, you have to practice. They would set up a target and they'd put a middle, you know, like a dot in the middle of the target. Call that the bull's eye, right? And the goal was you aim at the bull's eye. Now, depending on how good you are, you know, you may get close, you may hit somewhere around the outside of the bull's eye. But let's say if you're not even aiming at the center, at the bull's eye, let's just say you're aiming for the edge of the target. I'm just trying to get the edge of the target, just on the target at all. Well, what if you miss there's actually a greater percentage that you're going to miss the target altogether. And guess what? Fail. You know, if if our focus if our goal if the thing we're aiming at in our lives of faith is just scraping by, just trying to just make it into heaven, you might miss the mark. You might sin with that kind of goal. then you actually don't even get judged as a sheep. You're found to be a goat and cast out. The fire is then meaningless to you in regard to purgatory. You go to the eternal fire. There's a reason that our Lord Jesus Christ sets up for us in the church. This is why the church encourages us to what?
To achieve or to strive for sanctity, holiness of life. Not. I'm just going to make it, you know, mediocre as long as I can skirt by the skin of my teeth. No, the higher I aim, the higher my goal in my life of faith, the more likely I'm going to not only achieve greater holiness, a greater position in heaven, but just getting into heaven. It's just the prudent judgment that each one of us should make. If just getting into heaven was the job, then Jesus wouldn't have given us all of these high expectations, like the Beatitudes, Saint John Paul, the second used to speak of this so frequently. He used to encourage us to strive for greatness, not just, okay, nice, decent, nice, barely minimal mess, but greatness. Calling us. You should want to be sick. You should strive to be a saint, even if you never get declared a saint in this world. That's okay. That is the only goal we should strive for. That's why Purgatory matters. That's why, in the end, don't just set that minimal goal in your life because, you know, you're probably not even going to hit that. It's unlikely I'm going to hit the bull's eye, but that's okay. That's the goal because that's the goal that Christ set for me. He says, Don't just strive to be saved. Strive to be a perfect saint. And that's important because on the day of your judgment, when our Lord judges you, he is not going to take you and compare you to the rest of the people you knew in your life your parents, siblings, coworkers, that that person who sits beside you at church that costs so much and irritates you. Our Lord is not going to take you and say, okay, well, you're not bad as her or you're not as bad as him. So clearly, you're okay. No. On the day of your judgment, there is only one person to which you will be compared, and that is Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father will look down on you on the day of judgment and He will look at his son. He will look at you. And then he will determine, based on how much you imitate, how much you look like, how much you have striven to conform to his perfect boy. What parent would do differently? You know, as parents, if you had a perfect child, you judge the rest of your children by that person, even if you tried not to. If you had a perfect child, you would judge all other children by this child. What else do you expect other father to do? He's got a perfect kid. So he's going to compare us to Christ himself. Every single one of us falls short in regards to that judgment. So if I'm going through life saying, well, at least I'm not as bad as him, or at least I'm not as self-centered as her, what does that matter? That's irrelevant. God doesn't care. God only cares. How do you compare to his son? And that is a weighty judgment. Because even the blessed mother herself, who was perfectly conformed to the image of her son, is certainly not equal to him. But there is something important that she shows us in her perfect conformity to Christ that in regards to degree, no one can be like the Son of God, not in regards to quantity or degree, but qualitatively.
She is equal to his son. Why? Because Jesus gave all of himself in love. Now that all was divine, as well as human, so infinite. Mary gave all of herself in love, comparatively small in comparison to Jesus, but it was still all of herself. Qualitatively, it was the same amount. Jesus teaches us this when he calls his apostles over one day in the temple and he says, do you see all these wealthy people putting large sums of money into the Treasury, into the Temple Treasury? You know, you can imagine the wealthy people walking up these big bags of gold and silver shaking them everybody here is dropping them loudly into these containers. Everybody see, look how virtuous they are. Look at the large amount of money they gave. And she says, no, no, don't pay attention to them. You see that old lady? You see how she walks up so humbly and drops two small coins. Smallest coins. They were like half a penny, like two small coins. Nobody even noticed her. And Jesus says she has given more than all of the others combined. How is that possible? I mean, I'm sorry. Jesus. Don't you know math? Right. Have you ever, you know, worked with money before? Lord, clearly more is better, right? That's not how God judges. God doesn't judge based on amounts is the amount that I loved. The same amount that you loved. That's irrelevant. It's qualitative, meaning these rich people that gave hundreds, thousands of dollars at a time were so wealthy that amount of money was meaningless to them is what chump change? I think they call it chump change, right? There's no big deal. This was the only money this poor old woman had, and she gave it all for those wealthy people to qualitatively equal her gift. They would have had to sell their homes, all their property and possessions, give all of it to the temple. That's the nature of judgment for God.
We don't have to worry about the quantity. God doesn't care. Don't compare yourself to anyone else in your family, at work, at church. None of those matters. It's the quality of the gift that matters based on your particular life, your circumstances, what God is asking of you, only in comparison with his only son. That is the judgment we're preparing for and I can, by the grace of God, through prayer and the sacraments, get to a point at which I can learn to give all of myself in love to God and my neighbor the way Christ does, the way Mary does. My gift may be much smaller in comparison to them, but God doesn't care as long as it's all of me.
When you reflect and we should do this often upon your particular judgment, whenever that may come, keep in mind the, shall we say, parameters of judgment. You need to keep in mind how you will be judged, to whom you will be compared, and what exactly Christ is looking for when he judges you. Because if you can keep that in mind each day, you're going to find it much easier to motivate yourself to love the way Christ loves.
Now, I wanted to wrap up tonight with a beautiful quote. Took me a little while to find it online. I didn't have time to go get it from my my own books. So many of you should know of C.S. Lewis. Not Catholic, sadly, but amazing Christian writer. If you don't know him, I'm sorry, but he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and tons of other awesome things as well if you're familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and that's the first one and the rest of them in the last book called The Final Battle, it's a long story. I'm not going to go into it. The main characters die, and they go, don’t worry, I'm not rooting for you. And they go to Aslan's country now. Aslan in Narnia is a giant lion that can talk. He's a real person, but he's a lion. He is the embodiment, according to see us, Lewis's explanation of Jesus Christ himself. So just think. Aslan. Jesus Christ. Okay, so that means Aslan's country is heaven. The good main characters have gotten into Aslan's country, right? They were good. Aslan blessed them and rewarded them, so they get to go to heaven. All of a sudden, this soldier goes through the gates of heaven and is amazed by this beauty and glory. Now, this soldier, very importantly, is called a tell Marine soldier. Now, tell me there was another nation in Narnia, but they were the baddies. Okay, Tell Marines where were the baddies? They worship to God named Tash. He was basically humanoid with a with a with an animal head, like a bird head. And he was not good. He was a demon, but he did not inspire virtue and holiness and people. This Marine soldier had striven to follow Tash his whole life, but here he is walking into heaven and suddenly he encounters Aslan, who is Christ for all intents and purposes.
And this is the encounter, as C.S. Lewis describes it. And one of the most beautiful things about this imagery, this language that he uses, and this particular text helps us to see how Christ judges, especially those who do not know him by name, especially those who do not know him by name. So again, this is from the The Last of the Chronicles of Narnia, the Last Battle. This is the Marine soldier speaking. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death for the lion who is worthy of all honor, will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the lion and die than to be tis rock of the world and live and not have seen him. But the glorious one bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash, He answered Child, all the service thou have done to Tash, thy account as service done to me. Then, by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the glorious one and said, Lord, is it then true, as the ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The lion growled, so that the earth shook, but his wrath was not against me and said It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites.
I take to me the service which thou have done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service, which is vile, can be done to me and none which is not vile, can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swears by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not and it is I who reward him. And if any man does a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name of Arslan, it is Tash, whom he serves, and by Tash, his deed is accepted dust. Well, understand child, I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also for the truth constrained me. Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days, Beloved, said the glorious one, unless thy desire had not been for me, I would not have sought so long and so truly for all, find what they truly seek.
There will be many people you meet and know in your life that seem to serve demons because of their ignorance of Christ the Lord. Don't be afraid for them. Just pray for them. In the end, our Lord himself will judge. And that's not our job. We should be concerned only with our own individual judgment. Even the judgment of our spouses and our children is not within our power. Ours alone is our worry and concern. The rest of the world, even the ones that you love and trust them to the merciful judgment of God. As you hear C.S. Lewis put it so clearly, as long as they seek the truth, even if they never find it in this life, as long as they continue to persevere in following to the best of their knowledge, the Lord, even in their misguided on his true name, you don't need to worry for them. Our Lord desires the salvation of every one of His creatures. He desires no one to be lost. Why should I worry about your salvation when God loves you more than I ever could? Never underestimate, know, never overestimate your importance in the salvation of others. Trust me, you're far less necessary than you realize. They only need the Lord. They don't need you, your spouse, your children, your friends, your siblings, your pastor, your parishioners. They don't need you. They need Christ alone. But if us as individuals are humbly seeking our own salvation, humbly trying to follow Christ, then what you'll find is our Lord will be able to use you more effectively for their salvation. Put that in his hands. Strive for holiness yourself and the rest will be taken care of by the Lord.