WHEN the earth has opened and swallowed up the lost souls, then the angels and the blessed will exult and rejoice. They will extol the justice of God, and confess that the reprobates fully deserved their fate. St. John, in Revelation, gives a beautiful description of how the blessed will rejoice and magnify the justice of God.
“I saw an angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was enlightened with his glory. And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: and is become the habitation of devils. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she also hath rendered to you, and double unto her according to her works. As much as she hath glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath judged your judgment on her.
After these things, I heard, as it were, the voice of much people in heaven, saying: Alleluia! Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God. For true and just are His judgments, who hath judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath revenged the blood of His servants at her hands. And again they said: Alleluia! And the four-and-twenty ancients fell down and adored God that sitteth upon the throne, saying, Amen! Alleluia! And a voice came out from the throne saying: Give praise to our God, all ye, His servants, and you that fear Him, little and great. Alleluia! For the Lord our God, the almighty, hath reigned. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath prepared herself. Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
These words do, indeed, present a delightful prospect. How excellent will be the triumph-song of the saints when they go in as guests to the marriage of the Lamb! How sweetly they will sing Alleluia! How fervently they will thank God for having delivered them from eternal damnation, and numbered them amongst His elect! The ascension into heaven will next take place. Can one venture to describe this also? The sweetest strains of music will fill the air. St. Michael will head the glorious procession, carrying the cross whereon Christ died. For the cross and all the other instruments of the passion will be preserved in heaven—at least, such is the opinion of several learned theologians.
Following upon these sacred relics will come the first choir of angels, together with those members of the company of the saved, to whom the sentence of Christ has assigned a place in the lowest of the angelic choirs. Children who have died in infancy, and souls who have persisted in sin unto the last, and yet have been saved through the infinite mercy of God and real contrition on their part, will be with the first choir of angels. How fervently they will praise their God for His unspeakable compassion!
This article is taken from a chapter in The Four Last Things by Fr. Martin von Cochem which is available from TAN Books.