St. Theodore on the Judgment

St. Theodore the Studite ca. 759-826

Are you not afraid of death, which we shall all face in a little while? How are we to look on the fearsome angels, as they come to take us from the body? How are we to journey on that long and unending road, if we have not obtained the necessities for the journey? How are we to take our stand at the judgment seat of Christ, to Whom ‘every knee shall bow and every tongue confess’, if we have a bad conscience? Will we not inevitably be sent away from there to the place ‘where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die’, where there is ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’. But, brethren, so that this does not happen, ‘Come, let us worship and let us weep to our good God. Let us come into His presence with confession’, supplication, compunction, tears, prayers, fasts, purity and every form of good conduct. ‘He is expiation for our sins’, and He has not shut the doors against us, He has not turned away from someone who turns back, but He lets them approach like the harlot, the prodigal and the thief. Yes, brethren, I beg you, let us stand up, let us rouse ourselves and let us compete, so that, like school children, who are ready learners, when they are dismissed, go home rejoicing, we too, as genuine disciples of the Gospel, when we have been dismissed from life here, may depart with joy for the everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom belong glory and might, with Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen. (Catechesis 103, On Keeping God’s Commandments and the Just Threat Against Those who Neglect Them)