Rorate Caeli

Reaching the end of the Liturgical Year:
The liturgy of the last day

By Dom Paul Delatte (1848-1937)
Abbot of Solesmes

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, expounded by St. Paul to the faithful of Corinth, has as its setting the grandiose liturgical ceremony which will follow the terrible day of  Judgment. “Eternity, in fact, will begin with a liturgical ceremony of infinite greatness” and the beatific vision will be, for all eternity, the yearned-for reward of the elect.

We will rise again because Christ arose. This doctrine summarizes, in a certain way, the whole of Christianity.
Baptism is the insertion of each one of us into Christ and from the moment in which we enter into the unity of His Life and form with Him only one Body, Mystical and actual at the same time and with the same interest, our condition is bound to His, and that which happened in Him must happen also in us:  death, burial, resurrection, ascension and eternal life in God. 

The members will have the same destiny as the Head and we could say, strictly speaking, that we have already arisen in Christ Jesus, because His Resurrection is the cause, motive, example and absolute assurance of ours.

Christ did not rise for Himself alone, for His sake, but for all of us. Under the Ancient Law, ripened wheat was offered to God in the name of the whole harvest. The Lord, if He is an individual Being, is also the second Adam, a living Being, Who comprises in Himself the multitude of those who are born of Him and therefore, if He is risen, then all are risen, but each in his own time; Christ, first, and then all of those who are of Christ will rise at His coming.  After that, it will be the end.


It will be the end. The end of the laborious period, during the course of which Our Lord will gather the number of His elect, establish His Reign and destroy His enemies.  It could also be called the start of the new life, the fulfillment of the Plan of God with the return to Him of all that we have delivered to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, after having triumphed over all the hostile powers, weakened every authority, and demolished every power hostile to His own, He will bring to God, His Father, all human nature of which He is King, and, having worked only for the Father as a Son, He will again return [to the Father] command over all His conquest. Yes, we know it, all will bow before God in Heaven, upon earth and in Hell; all will be submitted, except for [Christ] Who has submitted to Himself all things.

Eternity will begin with a liturgical ceremony of infinite greatness. The Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, the predestined King, surrounded by Angels and by men born through His grace and living His Life, will place Himself at the head of the army which His Father has given to Him and will guide and lead it towards the eternal sanctuary.  Together with them, He will present Himself to His Father and will present and offer to Him the immense harvest of the elect which was germinated from His Blood and He will submit Himself, together with them, to the paternal domination of the One Who gave all and submitted all to Himself. Our Lord Jesus Christ will return to His Father the sceptre and the royalty of creation conquered by Him, which, together with Him, will enter into the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity. The family of God will then be complete and God will be all in all.


God is All in all: the expression has something prodigious and wonderful about it… God is not everything to me and I am not in direct relation with Him, there is always tiresome creation between us and I always reach God at the price of a slow and painful journey constantly wrapped in obscurity.  My thought does not see God and Faith itself, it hides Him from me. I am not an intelligent being, and I will not be so until God offers Himself as the object of my intelligence which will finally awaken the day He shows Himself to me and unites Himself to my intelligence – so that I am able to know Him. How can this be explained? God will then be in the very depths of my thought, that I may see Him in the depths of my will, that I may possess Him in the depths and in the centre of my heart, that I may love Him. He will then be the beauty that I love and will also be the heart in me that loves beauty. He will be the end and the object of my actions and will also be my beginning.

My union with Christ on earth prepares for this glorious belonging of my soul to God. In eternity, we will enter totally into the life of God, as long as here on earth we are entirely conformed to Christ. This is the fundamental ideal of Christianity: to be with Christ in time, in order to be with God in eternity. 

From De Vita Contemplativa – Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy. (Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana)


  1. Ferraiuolo6:09 PM

    Rorate Caeli never ceases to fascinate me. Always posting the greatest things. Greater than any other Catholic blog out there. This was very spiritually significant for me. You have no idea how much it is helpful!

    Thank you!

    In Christ Our Lord

  2. When I was a young altar server I imagined eternity is as a magnificent High Mass with all the necessary elements making it fitting for infinitesimal joy and awe of the sublime. I still imagine this now. Anyone who has sung Mozart's Mass in C minor will understand this.

  3. WilfriedB6:33 PM

    Indeed, Ferraiuolo, and I wish to add; with such dignity, solemnity, and reverence. Informed, honest,and sincere. Extraordinary actually, unlike anything else in the world.

    It is so reassuring that there are true and real people in this turbulent world.

  4. A sincere question to Adfero & Chris Paulitz on the Purgatorial Society souls. I remain eternally grateful for the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial society and entered in all the faithful departed souls I know of very early on last year when the society was first established. So I am very grateful for it.

    2 weeks ago I noticed that one of the entries was "Souls of aborted children".

    And I have to confess, I have struggled with that entry since then.

    I would humbly accept correction if I am wrong on this. Because a holy NO priest I talk to also said I was a little stingy on this count. But I am not sure and wondering if some good brethren might elucidate for me.

    A child aborted is not baptized. And therefore is not saved and according to Church teaching will spend eternity in the limbus infantium. As such, there is no point to praying for these sad little souls. ANd if there is no point, then why do it?

    Another priest - also a NO - told me that it is good to pray for these souls because maybe just maybe GOd has found a way to save them as they were being aborted.

    Okay, although God gave us no reason to hope in such a thing, presuming one of these little souls is graced as St John the Baptist was with an infusion of saving grace in his mother's womb, and is thus saved, then there is no point to praying for such a soul, because it is in heaven. In fact, if such a soul is indeed saved, then there can be no purgatory for such a little innocent. And if no temporal punishment, then no need for prayers.

    In either case, the souls of aborted children either have no use of prayers or cannot benefit from them.

    If so, should not this entry be removed from the Purgatorial Society?

    Since this posting is in some ways reflecting on the last Mass of the year, there is a natural connection to the four last thing (novissimi) and I thus felt it appropriate to ask such a question here.

    I mean no offence and respectfully hope for a holy response.

  5. Anonymous7:12 PM


    Just this week, I deleted two references to deceased unborn children. With so many names coming in, I don't always read them for anything but formatting purposes, and some slip through.

    First, you are correct that unborn children, either aborted or naturally passed, do not go to Purgatory. So their listing in our Society isn't correct.

    While I personally believe in Limbo, we do have to be careful, because it's not official Church dogma. So people can pray that those children are with God in Heaven.

  6. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Very timely, MKT -- I just received another listing for an unborn child.

    Maybe we need to post something about the theology on this, as it appears that even many traditional Catholics are confused.

  7. Dear Adfero,

    Thank you for your respectful response.

    I was filled with some trepidation at asking as one can only imagine the pain of a mother, any mother, much more so however of a traditional Catholic mother who loses an unborn child and feels compelled through a bond severed prematurely to want to care for her deceased little one.

    I was born at the end of the Second Vatican council. It would be interesting to hear from some old enough to remember what a traditional Catholic response in say 1955 would have been when a woman miscarried.

    Did Catholics back then pray for the deceased baby? Was the funeral a funeral mass, or was any funeral held to bury the child? This would provide some good circumstantial evidence of the sensus fidelis on this topic.

    Sincerely yours.

  8. Anonymous8:40 PM


    I can only tell you what I've been told by numerous traditional priests. Frankly, I needed to know, as my daughter was born 9 months ago today at 1lb 7 ounces and 3.5 months early.

    I know that, even if there's a miscarriage and you think the baby is born dead, we have no idea how soon the soul leaves the body, so you baptize the baby anyway. Since you still baptize, and there's still hope, you should and, frankly, must pray that child is with God.

    But again, while Limbo has been taught by most popes, it is not official Church dogma. So one is free to believe all babies who die in utero go to Heaven. It's not certain of course, but one is free to hope and pray.

  9. A Loyal Reader1:33 AM

    Isn't it written that the Church knows of no other way of salvation but through water baptism?

  10. Brian3:04 AM

    “Eternity, in fact, will begin with a liturgical ceremony of infinite greatness”

    What a day that will be.

    In the mean time, thank God for the Traditional Latin Mass; and that He has given us the grace to find it and to love it.

  11. Anonymous3:41 AM

    For the anon that just tried to post about pushing limbo, please post again and use a name.

  12. The lack of solid doctrine on aborted souls and indeed, on unbaptised neonates occupied me for many years, for a personal reason.

    Eventually, I said to myself, just trust in the love of Our Divine Lord for His Creation.

    Quite a few in SPX disagree with me – and I with them.

    There is room for differing.


  13. In the past it was held that one of the things that makes abortion so grievous a sin is that it forever deprives the murdered baby of the Beatific Vision. Note what Pope Sixtus V wrote in 1588:

  14. A Loyal Reader11:06 PM

    Jordanes551, Exactly! If a person thinks that by aborting their baby, the baby goes to Heaven and then, after confession, they also can go to Heaven, in their mind it makes for a win-win situation. It would make murder salvific! Why don't we just stick to what we know- abortion is murder and water Baptism is necessary for entrance into Heaven.

  15. Anonymous11:23 PM

    We don't stick to that because we not "know" that.

    Yes, it would hurt the arbortion arguement if the Church taught those children went to Heaven. But it is not dogma that aborted children go to limbo, it's just an opinion. One I share, but an opinion nonetheless. To pretend to know oherwise is foolish.

  16. A Loyal Reader2:53 AM

    Adfero, We don't know that water baptism is necessary for entrance into Heaven? We have Jesus' Word for it! John 3:5.

  17. Anonymous3:35 AM

    I've read that. Didn't see where it says anything about that requirement for unborn children. You may also want to remember God's infinite mercy. He has brought even Jews to Heaven whose converted children have pled to Mary for it to be so. Could he not do the same for a murdered child? For you to say there is no reason for a mother to pray that her stillborn or miss carried child go to heaven is irresponsible and prideful. Limbo is opinion, not dogma. When it becomes dogma, feel free to say what you're saying. Until then, you may want to add some humility to your theory.

  18. Limbo is not infallibly defined dogma, but neither is it merely opinion -- it's somewhat more than that. It is dogma that unless original sin is remitted, an unbaptised soul will go to hell. The ordinary means for remission of original sin is Baptism. The only question is whether or not God ever provides some extraordinary means of remission for some or all unbaptised babies. Some theologians are of the opinion that He sometimes or always does remit their original sin extraordinarily, but throughout most of the Church history the teaching (not mere opinion, though not necessarily infallible) has been that such souls go to the limbus infantium of hell, a place apart from the Beatific Vision but without the pains of hell (because such souls committed no actual sin) and thus a place of natural happiness (not supernatural happiness, which is heaven).

  19. This is not to say that I would object in any way to praying that a miscarried or stillborn child might be with God and not be deprived of heaven. . . .

  20. Anonymous12:45 PM

    I wasn't undermining the weight of the opinion. As I said early on, it's one that I agree with. And while it can be said it's more than an opinion, which I can agree with, it's also clear that it's not dogma.

    I used to be much more rigid on this myself before I had children. Not that that changes theology. It just made me dig a little further. I've seen people called heretics for not agreeing on limbo. People just don't understand what is dogma and what's not anymore, even on the trad side of things.

  21. I do not wish to add fuel to fire but feel I need to speak to defend infallible dogma.

    Catholics MUST NOT forget that God is not obliged to save any creature.

    And in light of Adam's original sin, all his seed, from the least to the greatest, are justly condemned by the all-just Judge of Mankind.

    In providing a Saviour to us in the fullness of time, God shewed His infinite mercy to us. But He was never obligated to do so - He could easily have desired to dispense his judgment against Adam's as He did to the Fallen Angels: once and for all.

    This is an infallible dogma of the Church. Not an idea or an opinion.

    All the Church Fathers have agreed that human innocence aside, the stain of Adam's sin on our tiniest babies merits damnation. And this is seen in the Apostolic Tradition of baptizing infants.

    From this follows the singular grandeur of the grace poured out upon the precursor and the Immaculata.

    Where the opinions flow and the dogma has not been formalized is to what extent such innocents in their particular damnation merit suffering if any at all.

    StThomas Aquinas posited that not even the slightest shred of suffering at all was experienced, whereas St Augustine opined that a certain sense of loss does pervade these souls. The Church has leaned much more favorably towards the Thomastic view, a damnation consisting strictly of the loss of beatific vision.

    While we are free to posit on this count, I would humbly state that we are not free to question the dogma that Adam's original sin damns all his human seed who perish unbaptized.

    As you state, a child stillborn might be saved if baptized before the soul has lost the body.

    Also, Catholic parents can pray profusely for the protection and salvation of their unborn children throughout the pregnancy, whereas after the miscarriage, may have faith that their prayers prior to the death of the child were efficacious towards a certain "baptism of desire" at the death of the child.

    But a child who is aborted, likely, does not have parents praying for that child's salvation. It could be that pro-life Catholics, praying generally for the all the unborn at risk of being aborted or miscarried, may somehow procure a "baptism of desire" for those unborn as well.

    But this in fact does not bear at all on a notion of PRAYING for the deceased souls of aborted unborn POSTMORTEM.

    For if they had been supernaturally graced, through the prayers of the faithful, to receive a salvific "baptism of desire" at the moment of their demise, they would have gone straight to heaven, being innocent of personal sin, and thus would not be in need of prayers. And if they had not been graced with salvific grace they would be barred from the beatific vision for eternity and thus cannot avail any benefit from our prayers.

    In either case, there is simply no point to praying for the deceased unbaptized.

    As such, I cannot see any reason to pray for the souls of aborted or miscarried pre-natal souls who either way could not have been guilty of *personal* sins and thus could never have incurred temporal punishment to be remitted through the prayers of the faithful.


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