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Chapter 13. Our Eternal Destiny • 161

merciful love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers

for one another here and for the souls of the faithful departed.

The Communion of Saints also refers to “holy things,” above all

the Eucharist, by which the believers are formed into one Body

of Christ.

• “The dying should be given attention and care to help them live

their last moments in dignity and peace. They will be helped by the

prayer of their relatives, who must see to it that the sick receive at

the proper time the Sacraments that prepare them to meet the living

God” (CCC, no. 2299).

• “The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in

faith and in the hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is

a corporal work of mercy [cf. Tb 1:16-18]; it honors the children of

God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, no. 2300).

• Immediately after death, each person comes before God and is

judged individually (the particular judgment) and enters heaven,

Purgatory, or hell. Yet at the end of time, a final judgment will occur

when all are assembled before God and their relationship to God is

made public (the general judgment).

• The traditional designation of the four “Last Things” refers to death,

judgment, heaven, and hell.

• The soul is immortal; it does not perish when it separates from

the body at death. At the final resurrection, it will be reunited with

the body.

• Those who die in the state of grace and friendship with God but who

are not fully purified are assured of their eternal salvation. They must

undergo a purification to attain the holiness needed to enter heaven.

This process is called


.We pray for those in Purgatory, that

they may soon be with God in heaven.

• Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the

sad reality of eternal death, also called hell, which is brought about by

a person’s free and permanent rejection of God and his love.

• “The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. . . . The

Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the

injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger

than death” (CCC, no. 1040).