Saturday, November 21, 2009

What is Everlasting Life?

In the second reading in today's Office of Readings we find a selection from St. Thomas Acquinas in Credo in Deum speaking of everlasting life and the fullness of desire. I found this same passage doing a google search and thought I would share it, this being the last week of the church year we turn our attention on the last things.


We must first consider in this Article what is everlasting life. And in
this we must know that in everlasting life man is united to God. God
Himself is the reward and the end of all our labors: "I am thy protector,
and thy reward exceeding great."[3] This union with God consists, firstly, in
a perfect vision: "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then
face to face."[4] Secondly, in a most fervent love; for the better one is
known, the more perfectly is one loved: "The Lord hath said it, whose fire
is in Sion, and His furnace in Jerusalem."[5] Thirdly, in the highest praise.
"We shall see, we shall love, and we shall praise," as says St. Augustine.[6]
"Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of

Then, too, in everlasting life is the full and perfect satisfying of every
desire; for there every blessed soul will have to overflowing what he hoped
for and desired. The reason is that in this life no one can fulfill all his
desires, nor can any created thing fully satisfy the craving of man. God
only satisfies and infinitely exceeds man's desires; and, therefore,
perfect satiety is found in God alone. As St. Augustine says: "Thou hast
made us for Thee, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in
Thee."[8] Because the blessed in the Fatherland will possess God perfectly,
it is evident that their desires will be abundantly filled, and their glory
will exceed their hopes. The Lord has said: "Enter thou into the joy of the
Lord."[9] And as St. Augustine says: "Complete joy will not enter into those
who rejoice, but all those who rejoice will enter into joy." "I shall be
satisfied when Thy glory shall appear."[10] And again: "Who satisfieth thy
desire with good things."[11]


Whatever is delightful will be there in abundant fullness. Thus, if
pleasures are desired, there will be the highest and most perfect pleasure,
for it derives from the highest good, namely, God: "Then shalt thou abound
in delights in the Almighty."[12] "At the right hand are delights even to the
end."[13] Likewise, if honors are desired, there too will be all honor. Men
wish particularly to be kings, if they be laymen; and to be bishops, if
they be clerics. Both these honors will be there: "And hath made us a
kingdom and priests."[14] "Behold how they are numbered among the children of
God."[15] If knowledge is desired, it will be there most perfectly, because
we shall possess in the life everlasting knowledge of all the natures of
things and all truth, and whatever we desire we shall know. And whatever we
desire to possess, that we shall have, even life eternal: "Now, all good
things come to me together with her."[16] "To the just their desire shall be

Again, most perfect security is there. In this world there is no perfect
security; for in so far as one has many things, and the higher one's
position, the more one has to fear and the more one wants. But in the life
everlasting there is no anxiety, no labor, no fear.

"And My people shall sit in the beauty of peace,"[18] and "shall enjoy
abundance, without fear of evils."[19]

Finally, in heaven there will be the happy society of all the blessed, and
this society will be especially delightful. Since each one will possess all
good together with the blessed, and they will love one another as
themselves, and they will rejoice in the others' good as their own. It will
also happen that, as the pleasure and enjoyment of one increases, so will
it be for all: "The dwelling in thee is as it were of all rejoicing."[20]

4. I Cor., xiii. 12. "The blessed always see God present, and by this
greatest and most exalted of gifts, 'being made partakers of the divine
nature' (II Peter, i. 4), they enjoy true and solid happiness" ("Roman
Catechism," Twelfth Article, 9)

5. Isa., xxxi. 9. Note: This second consideration is found in the vives
edition Chapter XV

6. "Ibi vacabimus, et videbimus: videbimus, et amabimus: amabimus, et
laudabimus" ("There we shall rest and we shall see; we shall see and we
shall love; we shall love and we shall praise," in "The city of God," Book
XXII, Chapter xxx).

7. Isa., li. 3.

8. "Confessions," Book I, 1.

9. Matt., xxv. 21.

10. Ps. xvi. 15.

11. Ps. cii. 5.

12. Job, xxii. 26.

13. Ps. xv. 11. "To enumerate all the delights with which the souls of the
blessed will be filled, would be an endless task. We cannot even conceive
them in thought. The happiness of the Saints is filled to overflowing of
all those pleasures which can be enjoyed or even desired in this life,
whether they pertain to the powers of the mind or the perfection of the
body" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 12).

14. Apoc., v. 10

15. Wis., v. 5. "How distinguished that honor must be which is conferred by
God Himself, who no longer calls them servants, but friends, brethren, and
sons of God. Hence, the Redeemer will address His elect in these infinitely
loving and highly honorable words: 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess
you the kingdom prepared for you' " ("Roman Catechism." "loc. cit.," 11).

16. Wis.. vii. 11.

17. Prov., x. 24.

18. Isa., xxxii. 10. This is in the Vives edition, Chapter XV.

19. Prov., i. 33.

20. Ps. lxxxvi. 7.

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