"The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is that the Sacred deposit of Christian Doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously" and that "the Church must never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers
THE BEATIFIC VISION
“And if sons, heirs also”. (Rom. viii, 17).
The Church has always taught this, “As the souls of the just, before Christ, were received into Abraham's bosom and dwelt there in the serenity of peace, joyfully looking forward to the coming of Our Lord and their own transference to heaven; so also, in much the same manner, the fervent Catholic should live consciously with the Son of God and the Holy Ghost and all the children of God, known and unknown, visible and invisible, (Communion of Saints) in the bosom of the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him (1 Cor. viii, 6). Therefore, by the demands of VAT2, we must believe as the opening quote ended.
The Fervent Catholic dwells there contentedly, lovingly and consciously, though still in the darkness of his present condition, awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom, and the lifting up of the veil, and the grand revelation of the Father. "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us," said St. Philip, the Apostle,
Now we know as we are taught the whole Catholic Christian life is ordained to one end, and it is the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision by predestined man. This is the thought of salvation which existed in the Paternal mind when he thought of us at the moment of out creation. That is His will for us. Everything that exists in the economy of Providence is for the furthering of that sublime design, that creative thought of God for us. The whole supernatural order of grace is for the purpose of making man both worthy and capable of the Beatific Vision. It will therefore enable us the better to understand those means of grace we find in Prayer, the Sacraments and all the details of a fervent Catholic, mystical life, as well as the great works of God, His Creation and the Missions of the Son and the Holy Ghost, Redemption by the Cross, the mystery of Holy Church. Let us here and now take a proper view of that end in itself, what the Church calls the Beatific Vision.
What is the Beatific Vision? What is it exactly? In what does it precisely consist? What does it mean, and what does it imply? Let us proceed and examine this difficult subject, meditating and contemplating in our sinful worldly way, this most beautiful picture
The Beatific Vision is the vision of God. But what sort of vision? It is the vision of God, even as He is; the vision of God, even as God Himself enjoys it; the vision of God, as He granted it to His blessed Angels immediately after their trial. The vision, the vivid perception, the real absorption of the Absolute Good, that is to say, of all beauty, sanctity, loveliness and other infinite perfections and attributes as they are in God. “I will show thee all good”, says He to Moses (Exodus; xxxiii, 19).
It is called Beatific, because God being the Absolute Good, the effect of such a vision is to make absolutely happy, as well as unfailingly good, whosoever enjoys it. Beatific Vision is the name the Church gives it. Now, as we contemplate through this article, we should know that it is a direct, immediate vision of God, without any go-between, without anything intervening, whether as an obstacle or as a help. Nothing can help one to see God as He is in Himself. The Beatific Vision is not in the soul by way of representation or image as are the things of this world in our senses and imagination and in our intellect; there can be no image of the Infinite. It is a direct intuition of God on our parts that has perhaps only seen it at our creation and filed away in our soul’s memory as the shadow of the fall obliterated in our memory. It is perhaps the grace we retain that drives us all in search, need and longing for the spiritual and sublime.
Philosophically it might be better to call it by a name describing its very nature rather than its manner or its effect: this would be "Essential Vision." Not because it is essential to our salvation but because this expression really describes what it means the perception of God of His very essence; or, in other words, in the union of the very essence of God with him who perceives it. I would believe it is not essential for our eternity, but it is our eternity. Thus we see that the Beatific Vision will be a most intimate communion with God, sharing with Him and formed by Him as a supernatural act and we are formed in Him May I write the Beatific Vision is caused through nothing else but an immediate union of the Divine Essence with the beholder of it. The Beatific Vision, then, will not be a dead thing, merely spectacular and outside us, as the Universe and the World is and under the prince of this world. It will be I think an intellectual act of the Divine Intellect absorbing us into as it were His Essence. There will be no unsympathetic coldness of our nature; it will be an existence that throbs in us taking hold of our whole being, inside and out, uniting with bonds unseverable with every fiber of our soul and making us one with God. He lives in us and we in Him eternally
It is obvious that God alone has a natural right and aptitude to the Beatific Vision. It is identical with Himself. It is all His own, His property, His personal good, His naturally unalienable and unapproachable privilege, His fenced around and sealed Kingdom of bliss and glory. Would you agree that it is the original of the canticles of canticles sung to us by Our God in His happiness? Neither man, nor highest angel, nor yet any other more exalted being that God might create, could lay claim to the Beatific Vision or be naturally capable of it. The Beatific Vision, as it is in God, as it is experienced by God, is one and the same thing with God Himself, one and the same thing with His very life, with His Divine operations ad intra, and the Trinity of His Persons. To speak in a human way, it is consequent upon, or rather concurrently with, the vision or perception of His infinite goodness that God utters His Word, a true, living, perfect, infinite expression of His very self; establishing between Him Who utters His Word and the Word which is' uttered, the relations of Father and Son. And as both the Father and the Son have mutually the intuition of their infinite loveliness, they love each other with such a perfect, infinite, essential and substantial love, that it constitutes a Third Person in God, namely, the Holy Ghost1, thus completing the cycle of the Divine life, and the fullness of the Beatific Vision as it is in God.
Now, what a stupendous condescension on the part of God to have called His intelligent creatures, the angel first and then man, to share with Him the delights of the Beatific Vision! But, (again speaking in a human way), what a tremendous effort of His will it must have required to raise the creature to a level with God Himself, especially in the case of man after the original fall! But I say what an equally tremendous effort of His will it will be to dismiss us from His presence if he would deign to allow us this vision. Consider the Love involved when so mighty a power condescends to give us this view of His love for all eternity. None can see God but God Himself; then man must be somehow made God, the term is Theosis. That is to say, the creature’s soul must be raised to a Divine state. He must be constituted into a Divine manner of being. The Divine essence must be infused into him, and so penetrate his whole personality as to make of him in a way a wholly Divine being. He must have the very life of God in him; then he will be capable of the Beatific Vision and have a right to it in the next world, although the scripture does mention those who have seen the awesome throne of God. A man in the state of sanctifying grace, a new born infant just baptized, is very nearly capable of the Beatific Vision; in the words of St. John: He hath eternal life abiding in him (I John iii,15); that is to say, the very life of God. Thus it will be seen that "supernatural" does not only mean something above the level of created or creatable beings, but
“SOMETHING ON A LEVEL WITH GOD”.
This effort (the work of deification) has been made on the part of God in the connected works of Creation, Incarnation, Redemption, the institution of the Church and the application of the merits of Jesus Christ to all men of good will, through the seven Sacraments. Now, this mighty effort on the part of God calls for a corresponding strenuous effort on the part of man to co-operate with God; and that is made when a man lives the Christian life in its utmost fullness, (free from sin and possessing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) that is the fervent Catholic mystic life as we are trying to describe it here. Christian life, then, is a sort of deification of man, is the making of man into God; and fervent Catholic mystic life is, on the part of man, his really acting his God-like part, being His image and likeness.
Fervent Catholic mystical life, by the attention rendered to God present everywhere; present in one's very self, by the intense, if dim, perception of one's active relations with each of the Three Divine Persons through the efficacy of the Sacraments, present by the laying of oneself more and more open to all the divine influences, by a contemplation assiduous, keen and pure, of the Divine perfections, present in the tasting, under the veil of faith, of the Divine sweetness, then we can say fervent Catholic mystical life is an apprenticeship to the Beatific Vision; nothing short of that. Fervent Catholic mystical life is a most fitting preparation of man for the Beatific Vision; a training and a raising up of all the faculties to the coming glory, a fusing of all his being into the Being of God; a foreshadowing of the Beatific Vision and a prelude to it.
With the Beatific Vision in prospect, deeply fervent Catholics of all ages and professions have found nothing too arduous, no apostolate too exacting, no martyrdom too cruel, no self-restraint too protracted, no desert or solitude too horrible, no humiliation too great, no service too low or repulsive. In all hardships and tribulations they go about repeating with the Apostle: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us” (Rom; viii, 18).
The fervent Catholic bears in mind that the degrees of his Beatific Vision will be according to the degree of charity he has achieved whilst on earth, that is the merits he has earned; he considers that time is given him for no other purpose than to work up to his own rank in the grand hierarchy of perfect charity and Divine happiness; and therefore he is very careful not to lose a single moment of time, not to let pass a single opportunity of enlarging his capacity of seeing and loving and enjoying God for evermore. Indeed, the measure of our state of grace when we die will be the measure of our “Light of Glory” throughout the blessed Eternity.
Other words of St. Paul in the same Epistle to the Romans are to the point here. He says: "For the expectation of the creature waits for the revelation of the sons of God” (Rom; viii, 19). It seems as if the whole creation had been taken into the confidence of God and informed of what He had planned for man and was actually in a fever of expectation to see it accomplished. And why, if not because the whole material universe finds its perfection in man, and is raised in him to a share of the glory of supernatural life. Hence, the whole creation will, in away, be thrilled with joy when a creature shall be admitted to the Beatific Vision, even as it is said that “the stars with cheerfulness have shone forth to Him that made them” (Baruch iii, 35) It is clear that all of this material universe which is without rational knowledge or free-will has been made distinctly with a view to the bringing about of the Beatific Vision in man. It helps him in his ascent to the Beatific Vision. The material universe, itself is destined, through him, in some way, to be assumed ultimately into the glory of the Beatific Vision on the day of the General Resurrection and Last Judgment, when sea and land will give up their dead, and then will take place the grand, public, solemn "revelation of the sons of God”, and a new heaven and a new earth will be inaugurated, Then, indeed, we shall understand the full meaning of the words: And if sons, heirs also.
And a deep personal thanks to my teachers who spent and made such efforts to introduce me to Catholic Writers
1.St John Eudes’ book, “The Admirable Heart of Mary”,
describes the union of the Hearts of the Father and the Son as the Holy Ghost, the Third Person, with the love “the Holy Spirit” proceeding from it (the Third Person)
Labels: Beatific Vision, deification, Theosis
corruption of the word
I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
1 Cor. 4:14
So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
2 Cor. 13:10
It is my view that in today’s world many scriptural writings are corrupted. Words today have lost their meanings. Two years ago, I wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger about my fears of how words that were used in our catholic lives and our daily lives have changed. The meaning of romance today makes it commonplace, insipid and more or less a ‘one night stand’. Love means a temporary sexual attraction. Class no longer mean a higher form of character, of style and behavior. I could go on with many more. These new meanings of words show up in scriptures and coupled with the corruption of linguistic pride in today’s interpreters Christ and Paul quote an Old testament that never existed in their times. Let me explain.
The Apostle Paul is hard to understand and perhaps we can claim that Paul as his words were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit he may have had trouble with comprehending them himself.
We have made the problem even more incomprehensible today by using the Jewish Masoretic text of the middle centuries, changing the Septuagint and therefore misquoting Paul and Christ. St Justin Martyr wrote in his “A Letter to Typho the Jew”. “You have already changed your teachings to remove the prophecies of Christ from your books.” Today man’s pride in his intellect and dismissing the learnings of many of the early church as inferior to those of today, even to the point of claiming we understand colloquialisms better than those who used them daily all those years ago. I say Paul’s words are changed into an incomprehensible jumble of words which men pick over promoting their egos and beliefs.
We can neither know Paul nor understand his teachings unless we understand Paul as a man of those early times that came at the start of the age of the Holy Spirit. Saul the pre-Pauline Jew was a doctor of the Jewish scriptures and used the Septuagint, the Jewish Old Testament to justify to the Jews and to the Gentiles the reasons for the advent of Christ. To understand Paul best is to look upon his writings in the words of Ezekiel 18:4 “Know that all souls are mine; the soul of the parent as well as the soul of the child is mine: it is only the soul who sins that shall die”. Seeking a meaning in this quotation tells us what Paul meant by the words Resurrection, Dying and Living when the Spiritual Life or Holiness is contemplated.
We must put aside our personal desires the egotistical need to show our greatness and knowledge. This may be mistaken as a driven desire to be right, causing us to dismiss or consider facts without an open mind. There seems to be in the Apostolic Christian Church today a great desire for the esteem of others, to be seen as spiritual, thus forgetting holiness. Reading Paul’s quotation of Ezechiel we can say we are only spiritual when we have a soul quickened by the Holy Spirit, the supernatural Love and sanctifying grace of God. It would be better if we desired the Holiness of Perfection. I hold myself to equally prideful in this way. We or I should not write to tell others we know our truths are correct; and to say yours are a dreadful error and are wrong. It is only the Church, who from the beginning of the Age of the Promised Paraclete can confirm, authenticate and reveal the truth in what we see is the Word of God.
It is allowable to reproach others and to claim so many do not understand Paul and never see his horror at those who he is bringing and brought to the new Church, the community of the New Law. A law founded in and taught by Christ. Paul was scandalized by many of his converts strange beliefs which they retained. He was lost for words at times on how to defend his teachings, contradicted by the personal animus of others. His agitation is noticeable at the adopted teachings of his newly converted flock. These teachings, which Paul did not see in Christ’s words nor in the Old Law, were taught by charismatic newcomers to Christianity. We must see that Apollo for example taught but had to be corrected Acts:18:26: This man therefore began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Whom when Priscilla and Aquila had heard, they took him to them and expounded to him the way of the Lord more diligently. (DRV)
This Apollo was baptized by the Baptist in a baptism of penance and had not received the Holy Spirit. Like many today he is an example of those who eloquently comment on the scriptures without the authority of the Holy Spirit. Are his or their comments acceptable?
End of Part One
Labels: 1 Cor. 4:14, paraclete
State of Grace
I often spend my day wondering why the Church has become so different since Vatican 2. It was never supposed to change. Pastoral Councils do not change the doctrines and beliefs of the Church. How do I know? The opening homily said so the closing homily said so. JP2 said so Cardinal Ratzinger said so and Benedict said so a month or two ago. The change has become very apparent for me in the Pentecostal cult, the natural inheritors of the mystery religions which the Apostle Paul railed against. They do not know or cannot answer this statement John 4. 10. “If thou didst know the gift of God and who he is that saith to thee: Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (DRV) So I ask you to read this thought of mine, remembering it is a paraphrase, a précis of book that has an imprimatur.
In this thought of mine let us proceed to state and understand the distinctive part played by the Third Person in our spiritual life. It is a matter of fact, the Holy Ghost is the one of the three Divine Persons with Whom we have most to do in our present condition. We are in reality in the age of the Holy Spirit, the ‘remembrancer’ promised , who is to help the Apostles and Disciples remember the teachings of Christ, the Word of God.
From the moment of our Baptism, provided we commit no mortal sin, the Holy Ghost is in us all the time, day and night, without so much as a single moment's interruption of His presence. He it is by whose operation we are to be changed into a Divine being: so that the whole secret of the spiritual life consists in allowing the Holy Ghost to do in us and with us what He wills. He is, moreover, the Divine Person Whom we may and ought to enjoy most during our pilgrim state, whilst we enjoy the other two Persons only through Him.
God the Father, Who is the Prime-mover of our mystical life acts upon us not directly and by Himself, but through His Divine Son Whom He sent on earth for this very purpose. In His turn, Our Lord, the Son of God made man, acts upon us in two ways: first by Himself; secondly, by His Holy Spirit. He acts upon us, directly, by Himself, through the instrumentality of His Sacred Humanity, under the veil of the Sacraments, and He also acts upon us, and indeed much more, indirectly, through His Holy Spirit. In fact, this is even the very first way, in order of time, in which God the Father and God the Son, do act upon anyone they want to draw to the Divine union: they act upon him by the agency of the Holy Spirit, they first of all give him their Holy Spirit. This is what makes St. Thomas say that the Holy Ghost is the first gift. We therefore know, God first loved us, and then created us. We also know, God first loved the world, and then He gave it His only Son.
God first sent out His Holy Spirit upon the turbid elements of what was to be the world, and then He sent out His Word, His Fiat, to organize it into the beautiful Cosmos. He made the world, the Garden of Eden for His Creation and all were to serve them, His creation mankind.
In the first explicit revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, when the Angel Gabriel announced unto Mary that she would be the Mother of the Redeemer, the Holy Ghost is first mentioned: His being infused into Mary is the first Divine fact, paving the way, so to say, for the coming of the Son of God. He was the first gift to Mary.
And so it is likewise, not only in the mystery of the Incarnation proper, but also in that extension of the Incarnation, the mystery of the Church, and in the mystery of the union with Christ, of every individual soul.
The Holy Ghost is the first gift we receive, given perfectly and perfectly, without any previous merit that is any effort on our part; so real a gift that He is never to be recalled or taken away from us, but to be ours throughout all time and all eternity.
It is through His indwelling in us that we enter upon the supernatural life, and that we shall do the supernatural acts it calls for. Gal:5:25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (DRV). We live in the Spirit when we are in the state of grace; we walk in the Spirit when attending to the demands of the Holy Ghost for the purposes of the mystical life. It is through His operation that we are united to Jesus Christ in His mystical body of the Church. We are first baptized in water and the Holy Ghost, and, then only, are we admitted to the other Sacraments, and especially to the partaking of the Flesh and Blood of the Savior in Holy Communion.
Now, this pouring out of the Holy Ghost in us, this extension of the great event of Pentecost, is not done with great noise as of a whirlwind and with visible tongues as it were of fire, but all silently, secretly, and yet as powerfully and efficaciously, if only the Holy Ghost finds clean and empty vessels, quite free from self-love and the disorderly affections of creatures.
Then, indeed, will He fulfill His office of Parac1ete or Consoler. The Holy Ghost is the very gladness of God, the very Joy of God, the mutual, eternal, infinite Love of God the Father and of God the Son. How could such a Person, such a Gift, such a Guest not bring gladness to the fervent soul who sets herself to enjoy Him? He teaches the soul "all things" she ought to care for: the ways of purity, simplicity, goodwill to all, solid and cheerful piety, the beautiful ways of God Prv:3:17: Her ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are peaceable. (DRV). The soul is always a her and is through the actions described becomes the spouse of Christ if not in this world at least in the next Rv:19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb is come: and his wife hath prepared herself. (DRV).
When you experience joy in your Christian life, in your mind, clinging well nigh desperately at times to the truths of faith, and in their contemplation; in prayer and the receiving of the Sacraments; in the practice of the Commandments and of the evangelical Counsels according to your state in life, it is the gladness of the Holy Ghost making itself felt; the very essence of mystical life is being imparted to you. But if, on the contrary, the performance of your Christian or religious duties affords you no joy; if you have no relish for them; if you find them irksome and tedious, it may be that the Holy Ghost has not found the vessel of your heart clean and empty, and His sweetness cannot take effect in you until disorderly affections have been all thrown out and washed away from the heart. This is called tepidity and unfortunately if you examine behavior in the Church today it might well be that they can reproached for they have journeyed far beyond tepidity to indifference
Finally, let us consider for a moment the case of the Christian in mortal sin. When, after the Holy Ghost has been given to a man He ceases, on account of mortal sin, to be in that man, we can only hope or he or she can only hope that the Holy Spirit of God lives on him. It has become a dwelling on as opposed to a dwelling in the soul. It is not that God has withdrawn His Gift, the gifts of God are never taken back. In the case of Saul we see 1 Sam 15:10. The word of the LORD came to Samuel:1 Sam 15:11 "It repenteth (regret) me that I have made Saul king: for he hath forsaken me, and hath not executed my commandments. And Samuel was grieved, and he cried unto the Lord all night. (DRV).
What has happened is this: the man has made himself unfit for the further indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When the light of day is streaming through the windows into a room and filling it with brightness and warmth, if you close all the shutters tightly, there will be darkness in that room. Is it that the sun has withdrawn its rays? The sun has withdrawn nothing: its rays are still besieging this room and shedding their kindly light and warmth all around it. As soon as the shutters are thrown open, the light will flood the room again. It is even thus with the Holy Ghost who is sent to illumine and to inflame our souls.
We open the shutters with repentance, we crack the hard black exterior of our soul, just as St Teresa of Avila described when it was given to her to see a soul in mortal sin. We crack this barrier to give grace to the smoldering candle that our soul became.
Labels: paraclete, priests bishops state of grace sentinels lahey, Teresa of avila