Monday, 2 January 2017

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 194.



All we have hitherto said relates only to the accidental glory of the saints, besides which there is another sort, called essential glory, infinitely beyond the accidental. This essential glory consists in seeing and enjoying God himself, which St. Augustine speaks of, when he says, "that virtue shall be rewarded with no less a price than with God himself, the giver of all earthly virtue, whom we shall see for all eternity, whom we shall love without ever being cloyed, and whom we shall praise without ever giving over." So that this is the greatest reward we can receive; for it is neither heaven nor earth, nor sea, nor any created being whatsoever; but it is God himself, who, notwithstanding his being free from all kind of mixture, contains within himself all that is good and perfect. For the understanding of this point you must conceive, that one of the greatest mysteries in this divine substance is, that it comprehends within itself, in an infinitely eminent degree, the perfections of all the creatures, though, at the same time, it is a most pure Being: because God having created them all, and directed them to their last end, he must of necessity possess what he gives to others. Whence it follows, that the blessed shall enjoy and behold all things in him, each in proportion to the glory he shall be partaker of. For as the creatures serve us now instead of a mirror, in which we may behold some part of God's beauty, so God himself will, at that time, be the glass wherein we shall see the beauty of the creatures, but in a much more perfect manner than if we saw them in themselves. Thus God will be the universal happiness of all the saints, he will be their complete felicity and the accomplishment of all their desires; he will then be a mirror to our eyes, music to our ears, sweetness to our taste, and a most pleasing perfume to our nostrils. In him we shall behold all the variety of the several times and seasons of the year, the freshness of the spring, the clearness of the summer, the plenty of the autumn, and the repose of the winter. There is nothing, in short, that can please all the senses of our bodies, or the faculties of our souls, which we shall not meet with in him. " It is in him," says St. Bernard, " we shall find the fullness of light for our understanding, tie abundance of peace for our wills, and the continuation of eternity for our memories." There the wisdom of Solomon will appear but folly, the beauty of Absalom deformity, the strength of Samson weakness, the long lives of" the old patriarchs a short mortality, and the riches of all the kings of the earth mere poverty and want.

If, as most certainly it is, all this be true, why do you stay to look for straws in Egypt, and to drink muddy water in filthy puddles, when you should be going on toward this spring-head of happiness, this fountain of living waters? Why do you beg by parcels, what you may find heaped up together, and more abundantly in this great all ? If you aim at pleasures, raise up your heart, and consider how delightful this good must be which contains in itself all goods and pleasures. If you are in love with this created life, how much greater satisfaction will you take in that life which has created everything! If the health you enjoy be a pleasure to you, how much more will you be pleased with him who is himself the Author of health ! If you are taken with the knowledge of the creatures, how much more will you be with &at of the Creator! If beauty charms you, he it is whose beauty the sun and moon admire. If nobility be what you seek after, he is the very source and origin of all that is noble; if you wish for long life, he is everlasting ; if plenty be your desire, he is the fullness of all riches; if you love music and charming voices, the angels are continually singing in his presence; if you hunt after company and conversation, you will there have the company of all the blessed, who have but one heart and one soul. If you aim at honorable employments and covet riches, they are both to be found in the house of God; if, in fine, you would be freed from all kinds of miseries and sufferings, it is there you will be happily delivered from them, and that forever. God commanded his people in the old law, to circumcise their children on the eighth day, giving us thereby to understand that on the eighth day, that is the day of the general resurrection, which is to follow the week of this life, he will circumcise and cut off the miseries of those persons who shall have circumcised themselves, and have put a stop to all their inordinate desires, who shall have retrenched all their superfluities and have overcome their failings for his sake. What can be happier than §uch a life as this, which is free from all misery and trouble, and which, as St. Augustine says, shall never be exposed to any fear or poverty, indisposition or sickness; where there never shall be any anger or envy, where we shall never stand in need of eating and drinking, never covet worldly preferments and honors, never be afraid of devils, never dread the pains of hell, nor apprehend the death either of the body or of the soul; for we shall live there with all manner of content and satisfaction, enjoying the delights of immortality, which shall never be interrupted or disturbed with divisions and factions; for there all things are in perfect and perpetual peace and concord.