Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Lenten Series (II)

On the eternal joys of the heavenly kingdom

Thou shalt think of the joys of the heavenly kingdom, and speak thus within thy soul:

My soul, how great and what priceless happiness will it be for thee to see the God of infinite beauty face to face, and to be a partaker with Him in the depths of his sweetness. What will it be to possess for ever, the All-High God, our only and changeless good! In Him, happily to hold and to possess, in overflowing measure, the fulness of all beauty, and of all that can be wished: yea, and safe in eternity to have thy heart's wish; ah! think what it will be! To taste a peace that is of God and made by Him: to plumb the depths of the sweetness of his love! What will it be, o my soul, to be caught up by the love of thy Creator, to be made a partaker in the Godhead–how thrilling–how much to be longed after! And then, to be close locked in God's most loving arms, so that no one shall nor ever can tear thee away from before the glowing gaze of his joyous countenance, nor from the embrace of his love!

And consider, o my soul, what undreamt of joy it will be to gaze with lightsome and piercing eye, on the uncreated bliss of the ever blessed Trinity; to look up into its majesty, its glory and holiness; to see how it is that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost love each other with a burning flame of love: and envisage one another in a sea of light and sweetness. Then, to understand how in Christ ours and the divine nature, or Word Eternal, are united in one person: and how He is raised above all creation, with the fulness of light and glory in soul and body. What too, will it be to see the most blessed and most sweet Virgin Mary, girt about with glory and loveliness; to see the whole circle of the elect and blessed in their true home, – the choirs and orders of the angels, the holy patriarchs and prophets, the glorious company of the Apostles, the army of martyrs, confessors and virgins! Ah! think how wretched are they who for the sake of the pleasures, well-being or comforts of this passing miserable body, deprive themselves of so great felicity, or long not after it hourly.

My soul, what infinite joys lie hid in these things, and what will it be to praise God without end in Heaven with all the blessed! Deprive not thyself then, of all this glory for the sake of the world's pomps, its vanities and riches. Go not into the danger of losing such glory, but rather, do with a will whatsoever may bend thereunto; for "the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared" with such a weight of glory.

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