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September 20, 2005

Ch. XXXI. Q. 168. What is the Final Reward of the Righteous?

THE FINAL Reward of the righteous is everlasting life; which is made possible through our union with Christ, and which is accompanied by many joys in heaven and by the coming of God's everlasting kingdom.1

2. Everlasting life cannot be defined as to its internal essence, but is described externally as the contemplation and enjoyment of God, in and by means of the glorified human nature of Christ.2 Baptism ushers us into life (Q. 144. 2); and the life thus inaugurated will continue forever, unless stifled by mortal sin without repentance. Its stages are three: (a.) the earthly state of probation, during which it is maintained by the Blessed Sacrament and by Faith3: (b ) the Intermediate State, which is transitional and abnormal (Q. 161): (c.) the final and everlasting state, in which the saints will be able to enjoy, in their glorified bodies, the beatific vision of God and Divine companionship forever.4

3. The abode of the glorified is called heaven and paradise. Its locality is not revealed, except relatively. Where Christ is visibly present, there is heaven and paradise5; and the locality of His visible presence is determined by the locality of His glorified Flesh.6 The Flesh of Christ is the transparent veil through which the fulness of the Godhead is revealed openly to the saints, and the means whereby they contemplate God forever.7 The earthly Eucharist is a sacramental anticipation of this to the eye of faith (Qq. 148. 9: 150. 5: 151.5).

4. The joy of heaven arises (a.) primarily from the Beatific Vision, or contemplation of God, made possible by our union with Christ, Whose mediatorial offices will be discharged forever (Q. 113): also from (b.) being made friends of God in Christ, Who, as man, will satisfy in Himself everything lacking to earthly friendships8: (c.) mystical communion and fellowship with the saints, and a revival of such earthly ties as are capable of being transplanted to heaven (Q. 162. 1, 2): (d.) perfect activity in a perfect life, fulfilling personal and predestined vocations, and calling into blissful exercise the faculties which have been developed by previous discipline and grace: (e.) cessation of pain and weariness—not of activity, but of all that renders activity a burden to the flesh. This is the rest of paradise9: (f.) victory over evil and a sense of perfect security10: (g.) personal glorification and perpetual advance in spiritual greatness by the exhibition of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in increasing splendour (cf. Qq. 346. 5: 164: 4, 5): (h.) consummation of the Kingdom of God, and establishment of the new heavens and the new earth (Q. 123).11

1 Pearson on the Creed, XII: Grueber's Church Militant, pp. 164-171: Forbes' N. Creed, 325-334: Percival's Digest, 182, 183: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., XI. 6: Webb's Pres. and Office of the H. Sp., II, ii: Maclear's Introd. to the Creeds, 292-299.

2 S. John XVII. 3: Col. II. 9: cf. S. John I. 4: V. 26, 40: XIV. 69: Acts XVII. 28: Rom.VI.23: Col. III. 3, 4: I. John I. 2: IV. 9: V. 12, 20

3 S. John VI. 26 et seq.: Hab. II. 4: Rom. I. 17: Gal. III. 11: Heb. XI. 1, 13, 14, 27

4 S. Matt. V. 8: I. Cor. XIII. 8-12: Heb. XII. 14: Rev. XXI. 3: XXII. 4: cf. John I. 14: XIV. 3, 33. Pearson, 692: Maclear, 293-295.

5 S. Luke XXIII. 43

6 Q. 160. 3: Matt. XXIV. 28: John XIV. 2, 3: Col. II 9: I. Thess. IV. 17: Rev. XIV. 4. cf. Gen. I. 8: XXVIII 10:11. Kings II. 11: Psa. CXXXIX. 8: Isa. XIV. 12: Matt. XXVIII. 2: Mark XVI. 19: John III. 13: Acts 1.11: Acts VII. 55:1. Thess: IV. 16: Rev. XXI. 10, etc., which imply that heaven is above the earth.

7 Col. II. 9: I. Tim. II. 5: Heb. X. 19, 20

8 John XV. 14: Phil. I. 23: Heb. II. 11-15: Jas. II 23

9 Rev. VII. 15-17: XIV. 13: XXI. 3: XXII. 3

10 I. Cor. XV. 55-57. Rev. XVIII 20

11 Pearson, 693, 694: Forbes, 326-328: Schouppe, XIX. 219-221: S. Thos., III. sup, 91 vel 93-95 vel 96: Pusey's Sermons at a Mission and Retreat, XIV-XVI.

Posted by Trevor at September 20, 2005 11:59 PM