YOUR 15 MINUTES OF FAME
Andy Warhol once said, “In the future everyone will be famous, for 15 minutes.” Well, he didn’t know how right he was. For you see, we will all be famous. That is, our every action will literally be viewed by the whole world. To make it even more astounding, every action we have ever done will be viewed by every human being who has ever lived. That includes your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. Everyone, even your neighbors will get to see everything you have ever done. To make this more incredible everyone who has ever lived will also know every thought of your heart that you ever had or ever will have!
When will this revelation take place? At the general judgment of course. When we die, we will immediately be judged by God. This is the “particular judgment”. At that time we will be individually judged by God. Those who die in God’s friendship (with sanctifying grace in their hearts, free of unrepentant mortal sin) will eventually go to heaven to enjoy seeing God face to face forever. (CCC1023) Some may spend some time in Purgatory getting rid of those pesky attachments to sin, but they will eventually get there. Those who die in a state of mortal sin will go to hell (Do not pass Go; Do not collect $200) where they will stew in misery forever. (CCC1033)
So far, this is just the standard understanding most Catholics have. But, there is more. You see, we will actually be judged twice. The second judgment will come at the end of time. At the end of time, Christ will return to unite himself with the Church. (CCC 769) Remember the line from the Creed we say every Sunday: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” At the end of time Christ will separate the sheep from the goats, that is, the good from the evil. (CCC 1038) At that time the “truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare”. (CCC1039). “Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.” (CCC678) “Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts. .” (CCC682).
At the culmination of history, we will know “the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which His Providence led everything towards its final end.” (CCC1040). This quote from the Catechism takes a little reflection. Since everyone who has ever lived will be there, and since every action and thought will be “laid bare”, God will show us how each person fit into His plan. Every action will be shown as either benefiting or hindering His divine will.
It will be the ultimate reality show. We will all be able to see how, not only our own actions, but everyone else’s leads to the stunning conclusion. Will we be bored and want popcorn to tide us over until we get to the lives of someone we know? Hardly! We will see how the lives and actions of those who lived before us reverberated down the ages. We will see seemingly insignificant acts of charity or sacrifice that will lead literally to the salvation of souls. Conversely, we will see petty acts of cruelty lead to the destruction of many. We will see how utterly interconnected the spiritual lives of millions were. We will actually see prayers sustain priests in their ministry, married couples in their vocations, and families in their relationships. It will all become clear. There will be a lot of forehead slapping. “Why did that guy do that? Why didn’t it occur to him that ten years later it would result in this?”
We will all get our 15 minutes of fame. We don’t know and can’t predict the future. But we can get ready for it by realizing that our 15 minutes is really right now. In the future people will be looking at what we are doing right now. Get ready. You’re on!
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Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, 2008.