CCC 257 “O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!”1 God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the “plan of his loving kindness”, conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: “He destined us in love to be his sons” and “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, through “the spirit of sonship”.2 This plan is a “grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”, stemming immediately from Trinitarian love.3 It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church.4
CCC 1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.5 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.6
CCC 2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”7 The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.”8 In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”9
1 LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer.
2 Eph 1:4-5,9; Rom 8:15,29.
3 2 Tim 1:9-10.
4 Cf. AG 2-9.
5 Cf. 2 Tim 1:9-10.
6 Cf. Lk 16:22; 23:43; Mt 16:26; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; Heb 9:27; 12:23.
7 Jn 18:37.
8 2 Tim 1:8.
9 Acts 24:16.