MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. GOD. 35. THE BEATITUDE OF GOD.
The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
TREATISE I. GOD.
35. THE BEATITUDE OF GOD.
I. Following the order of our thought, we come at last, after describing nature, faculties, and action, to what we consider as their completion and fruition. This, both in God, in angels, and in men, is beatitude, or perfect happiness. This happiness requires 1. The possession of all that is good. Our experience is that, if anything remains unattained or unattainable, we are unquiet and unhappy. God has in Himself the totality of all good, and every perfection and virtue. 2. The absence of all drawbacks. Nothing is wanting to God. There is no imperfection or deficiency in Him, and sin cannot approach Him. Nothing of His can deteriorate, or be injured, or be taken from Him. 3. The attainment of all desires. God suffices for Himself. The infinite possession and enjoyment of Himself leaves no desire unfulfilled. The possession of God is the universal beatitude of all beings, it fills up the measure of their happiness. As the source and cause of all this, God possesses it infinitely in Himself. The miseries of this life, surpassing its good and happiness often, are a trial to us. It is a satisfaction to know that they are transient, and that the one thing which will survive all others and be predominant forever is infinite happiness. Many indeed will never enjoy it ; but it is there for all who care for it, and who will but stretch forth their hands to grasp it. This is the solution of all the mysteries of this life ; this is the remedy for all its evils.
II. The active enjoyment by God of supreme happiness consists not in material and sensible satisfactions, but in the perfect exercise and satisfaction of the divine intelligence and will. These faculties must of course be exercised upon the Divinity itself, which is supreme reality, truth and goodness, and independently of which no good thing exists. In order that the excellencies and perfections of a being may be a source of enjoyment to it, there must necessarily be this reflex action of the mind on itself and on its internal perfections. The contemplation and possession of an infinite object, Himself, is the source of the infinite satisfaction and beatitude of God. This same infinite object will be offered to your contemplation and love someday, and will be the source of a corresponding enjoyment. You will live with the divine supernatural life, and taste of God's own beatitude. " They shall be inebriated with the plenty of Thy house, and Thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of Thy pleasure. For with Thee is the fountain of life, and in Thy light we shall see light" (Ps. xxxv. 9, 10). None of the pleasures of earth are comparable to this. Desire this alone. Do not be so foolish as to barter it away for the sake of the brief, insufficient, and degrading satisfactions of sin.
III. The beatitude of God is infinitely beyond all the beatitude of creatures, even beyond that which they will receive from the possession of God. He indeed is infinite, but their capacity is finite, and they apprehend Him according to that measure. In God there is the double infinity; the object of the beatific enjoyment is infinite, and the subject the faculties which apprehend it are infinite. The Saints have sometimes been admitted, while on earth, to see, as it were, the skirts of God's glory as He passed by ; and the sight has ravished them out of their senses into ecstasy. The splendour of God's glory is so intense that man shall not see Him, in the flesh, and live. How great will be the happiness of those whose lives shall be such as to merit for them the full sight of God's face! And how much beyond this must be the happiness of God in the enjoyment of His own Divinity! Rejoice with Him that He possesses this supreme beatitude. He is worthy of it all for His infinite perfection in Himself and His infinite goodness to you. Pray earnestly to be admitted one day to the contemplation of this glory. Prepare yourself carefully so as to enjoy it in the fullest measure.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.