Sunday, January 11, 2004

On January 11, 1850....
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. gave a catechetical instruction, of which the following notes survive.

Vitam Eternam- XIX
" 1. INTROD.-The Creed begins with God, it ends with ourselves; the last articles have reference to us.

2. Eternal life. Life means more than existence, for the lost live.

3. It means blessedness or beatitude; and this is called life, because there is no word which can fitly describe it; so we must use such words as occur.

4. By blessedness is meant our greatest good, and this from the nature of man can be nothing temporal, but must be something eternal. If a man thought his happiness to end, or were not sure, he would not be happy.

5. It consists in seeing God; not only seeing His glory, or a likeness of Him, but Himself. Since it is His nature or essence which will be seen, no likeness will do, for no likeness is there of His essence.

6. It is seen by means of the lumen gloriae, which raises the soul above itself-'In Thy light shall we see light.' It is by an immediate union to God, and our intellect is raised above itself in order to it.

7. This light of glory raises the soul above itself. It [the soul] is what it is, but it is bathed and flooded with a heavenly light; it puts on a divine form, so that men are called gods. A red-hot iron, etc.

8. Such is essential blessedness-consisting in the possession of God. The soul ever sees God present, wherever it is-the rapturous nature of this privilege. We (most men) know so little of intellectual joys here, that few illustrations can be given. Most intense, yet continuous. (Happiness in itself-happiness of convalescence-happiness of tears; soothing, etc.-happiness of coming before the Blessed Sacrament-not happiness merely of success, etc., as on earth, i.e. of having gained, at possessing-saints' raptures.)

9. So much so that the soul could dispense with everything else-the blessed would not want friends from the earth. Each could well bear to lose the memory of everything else for God.

10. But God has added these additions: all the blessed will see each other, and rejoice in each other's glory,

11. And the honour of each other.

12. The glories of the heavenly palace.

13. Let this thought comfort us in the troubles of this life, and the prospect of purgatory. "


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