What Happens After You Die?

Do you know what happens after you die? What does the Church tell us about what will occur after our death? Dave VanVickle and Michael Gormley take up these questions and explain the Church’s teachings. They explain how judgment works and why it is so important for those on earth to do penance for the dead.

Snippet from the Show
“Death proves also that life has meaning, because it reveals that the virtues and goodness practiced within time do not find their completion except in eternity.”
-Ven. Fulton Sheen


The Particular Judgment (CCC, Paragraphs 1021-1022)

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. 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.

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, — or immediate and everlasting damnation.

The Last Judgment (CCC, Paragraphs 1040-1041)

The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. 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.

The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them “the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation.” It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the “blessed hope” of the Lord’s return, when he will come “to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed.”

Fulton Sheen, Quotation 1

The principal reason why we fear death is because we have never prepared for it. Most of us die only once when we should have died a thousand times. When we should have died daily. Death is a terrible thing for him who dies only when he dies, but it is a beautiful thing for him who dies before he dies. Namely by dying daily to the temptations of the world, the flesh, and of the devil.

Fulton Sheen, Quotation 2 

We die daily, and thus we rehearse. But whether we rehearse or not, there is no escaping the truth: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” Those are the words of sacred scripture.

Fulton Sheen, Quotation 3 

The soul does not become an angel. It remains a human soul; it contains all of its experiences, all of its happenings, all of its thoughts, and all of its deeds. And at the resurrection of the dead, the soul will have a body corresponding to the spiritual condition of the soul. In other words, it will be glorious if the soul is saved and miserable if the soul is lost.

Fulton Sheen Quotation 4

To change the figure, we are all on the roadway of life in this world. We travel in different vehicles: some in trucks, some in jeeps, some in ambulances, others in 12-cylinder cars, others have broken down, old wrecks, but each of us is doing the driving. Now the judgment is something like being stopped by a motor cop. When we are stopped by God, he does not say to us, as the policeman does not say, “What kind of a car are you driving?” God is no respecter of persons! He asks, “How well did you drive? Did you obey the laws?” At death we leave our vehicles behind, our emotions, prejudices, feelings, our state and life are opportunities, the accidents of talent, duty, intelligence, and position. Hence, it will make no difference to God if we were crippled, ignored, or hated by the world. Our judgment will be based not on our social position, but on the way we lived, on the choices we made, on the things we did.


Meet Your Hosts


Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.

He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts three Catholic podcasts: Every Knee Shall Bow, Catching Foxes, and Becoming God.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.


David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.

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