“You may not see My face, for no one can look upon Me and live.” -Ex 33:20
Our reward is the promised “beatific vision”, which means the eternal and direct visual perception of God. It means seeing God face to face. St. Thomas Aquinas reasoned that one is perfectly happy only when all of one’s desires are perfectly satisfied, and this cannot occur until we are fully united with God. That complete union can happen not through human imagining nor even in the most deeply contemplative prayer, but only by the direct presence of God in heaven.
Hell is to be completely separated from God for beyond eternity: no hope, no life, the second death, and that is why it is suffering beyond eternity. God will grant us our heart’s desire. Like on Earth, He will not violate our free will. If our desire is to be separated from God, by will, or by action, without repentance in this life, He will grant that, too. I say this first of all to myself, and frequently I remind myself, “Repent!! And, BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL!!!” This IS LIFE!!
-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964
Presence of God – Give me light, O Lord Jesus, to see in the lowliness of the Child, the indescribable Majesty of the Son of God.
Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible … all things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17). This text from St. Paul summarizes the infinite greatness of Jesus. As the Word, He is the perfect, substantial image of the Father, having the same divine nature as the Father and proceeding from Him by eternal generation. As the Word He is the first-born of all creatures, begotten of the Father before all creation; furthermore, the Father created everything through Him, His Word, His eternal Wisdom. St John of the Cross teaches, “God looked at all things in this image of His Son alone, which was to give them their natural being and to communicate to them many natural gifts and graces…. To behold them … was to make them very good in the Word, His Son.” (St John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 5,4). But the Word is not only the first-born of all creatures. Possessing the same divine nature as the Father, He is also their Creator, for “without Him was made nothing that was made” (John 1:3).
All these splendors, which belong by nature to the Word, became the splendors of Jesus, the Man-God, by reason of His Incarnation and His hypostatic union. In fact, St. Paul declares that “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally” (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus was pleased to conceal all the infinite riches of His divinity in the obscurity of the manger; yet, guided by faith and love, we shall not be slow to recognize and praise Him in this lowly guise.
“Thou hast multiplied Thy wonderful works, O Lord, my God; and in Thy thoughts there is no one like to Thee” (Psalm 40:6). “It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High, to show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night. For Thou hast given me, O Lord, a delight in Thy doings; and in the works of Thy hands I shall rejoice. O Lord, how great are Thy works! Thy thoughts are exceeding deep.” (Psalm 92:2-3, 5-6).
What work could be more wonderful than the Incarnation of Your only-begotten Son? Is there any masterpiece more sublime than Jesus Christ, true God and true man, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3)?
O Jesus, You make me understand that You are really God made man and You manifest Yourself to my soul with such majesty that I can no longer doubt Your infinite greatness. O Lord, who can comprehend the depths of Your great Majesty, You who are the absolute Ruler of heaven and earth?
“O Christ, my God, my hope, lover of mankind, the light, the way, the life; the salvation, honor, and glory of all Your servants, You live eternally, reigning now and for all eternity…. You are my living and true God, my holy Father, my loving Lord, the great King, the good Shepherd, my only Teacher, my incomparable helper, my guide to heaven, my straight path … my immaculate Victim, my holy Redeemer, my firm hope, my perfect charity, my true resurrection, my eternal life. I long for You, my sweetest, most beautiful Lord!…
O splendor of the Father’s glory, who sit above the Cherubim and scrutinize the abyss, true light, shining light, unfailing light, on Whom the angels desire to gaze, behold my heart before You; drive away the darkness from it that it may be more abundantly inundated with the splendors of Your holy love.
Give me Yourself, O my God, give me Yourself, that I may love You; and if my love is not very fervent, make me love You more ardently.
“I cannot measure what is wanting in my love to make it what it ought to be, to make it run to meet Your embrace, and not to leave it until my life is hidden in the light of Your face; this I know, that all is a source of evil for me except You, O Lord, and not only what is outside of me, but also what is within me. All wealth which is not my God is poverty and misery for me” (St. Augustine).