When Our Lord comes again in judgment – and He is coming, and with Him a great and terrible wrath – His coming will break the world: it will shatter the universe and all that is in it, into pebbles.
It will not be His judgment, however, which blasts creation into dust; it will be His glory; as quiet and meek as was His first coming into the world, in a hovel, in a manger, in a hamlet, so great will be the glory of His second coming, that the world shall break at it.
Creation shall not have strength to withstand the coming into it of the Creator a second time, and all shall be undone.
Jean Bellegambe’s Last Judgment, 1523
This is no hyperbole, but mere fact, a plain and even prosaic statement of what the cognition of faith tells us must be.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 40:4-5
Hans Memling’s Las Judgment, c. 1470
Dies irae, dies illa,
solvet saeculum in favilla,
teste David cum Sibylla.
Some of us – my hope and the hope of the Church for each and every one of us is that we be counted among these – shall find that we have been carrying this glory inside of us (unbeknownst to the world, and even unbeknownst to us), and so shall be caught up in it, suddenly ourselves for the very first time, even as all that is and all that ever has been shudders and is wasted in an instant.
Luca Signorelli’s Resurrection of the Flesh, c. 1500
Some of us are very blessed, indeed, for we have been fed on this Uncreated Glory in secret: body, blood, soul, divinity, hidden under the species of bread and wine, though real and substantial in their presence. He shall make all things new. We wait in joyful hope.