by Rev. William G. Most
In commenting on the judgment, we spoke of Purgatory and Hell. Now we consider Heaven.
The Second Epistle of Peter 1:4 says by grace we are "sharers in the divine
nature." We learn from John 1:1 that the Father speaks a Word. It is not a vibration
in the air, but it is substantial, it is the Second Divine Person, coming from the Father
by as it were an infinite stream of knowledge. Between Father and Son arises love, which
again is substantial, is the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, coming forth by a stream of
infinite love. Only a being that is part divine could as it were plug into these infinite
streams. Grace in this life gives us the basic ability to do that.
As we saw in speaking of hell, death breaks the bond between our spiritual intellect
and the material brain. Then the lights go on, and one knows God greatly even without
seeing Him. The soul, if properly purified, and if all debts to the objective order are
paid, will finally reach that vision, that seeing of God. We are all finite, limited
receptacles, trying to take in the Infinite. In this life our capacity for that can grow
indefinitely, with increases of sanctifying grace. In heaven, whatever capacity the soul
has will be completely filled, fully satisfied. Since the vision is infinite, it can never
become dull. Further, St. Augustine says (City of God 10:7) that the angels participate in
God's eternity. Eternity for God is timeless. Things do not just go on and on, He takes in
everything in one view, as it were. Similarly the soul in that vision does not just go on
and on: it simply is unbelievably fulfilled, happy, satisfied. St. Augustine said well
(Confessions 1:1): "You have made us for yourself, and restless are our hearts until
they rest in you."
When the glorified body at the resurrection is joined to the soul, it too will share in
its own way in the reward the person has earned. It will be as we said, on the pattern of
the glorified body of Christ.
The Blessed too will be united with others there, especially those close and dear to
them in this life. Thus, as a secondary source of blessedness they will have eternal
fellowship with Our Lady and all the saints.
Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism
PART FIVE: The Apostles' Creed IX - XII
Twelfth Article of the Creed: "And life everlasting. Amen."
By William G. Most. (c)Copyright 1990 by William G. Most
Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1997. All rights reserved.
Continue on to Q&A on Heaven