Face to Face with God
Face to Face with God
"When it comes time for a face to face with God
In our world of voice mail, video conferencing, chat rooms and cell phones can make communication instantaneous and worldwide. Yet the best form of communication is face to face. When we see someone, we communicate most directly—using voice, expression, gesture, inflection and even touch. It's the closest we can get to another.
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus promises the"clean of heart"that"They shall see God" (Mt. 5:8).
This is one of the scripture texts from which we derive the concept of the beatific vision, or heaven. The beatific vision means seeing God face to face...
In 1336, Pope Benedict XII set down clearly the teaching on the beatific vision: "These souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature clearly and openly..." (Benedictus Deus).
Paul, in the Letter to the Corinthians, written about 20 years after Christ's resurrection, put it in more picturesque terms: "At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face." (1Cor 13:12)
And the First Letter of John states plainly that"We shall see him as he is" (3:2).
But what does it mean to see God"As he is?"
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says," The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing wellspring of happiness, peace and mutual communion" (no. 1045)...
"The concept of beatific vision is best understood if we think of it in terms of a living, personal exchange between God and the human person," explains theologian Fr. Zachary Hayes, OFM."God offers the mystery of the divine presence to the creature. The human person, on the other hand, is freed from self-seeking and stands before God in total openness."...
Abp. Daniel Pilarczyk, retired president of the USCCB, explains this knowledge of ourselves as true fulfillment."The potential that God created for each of us will not be lost, but will be actualized and brought to terms in the glorious humanity of Christ. Our capacity for loving and being loved, for intellectual achievement, for appreciating God's works and for communicating with others, the things we might have been but never got the chance to be, the things we started but never got the chance to finish—all will be brought to completion in the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit manifested in us."
With the promise of this beatific vision, we strive now to better know Christ, who is"God with Us."Through him, we draw ever closer to that perfect communication which the beatified, the saints in heaven, now fully share— with God and with all who live in God."
Patricia Kasten, Compass Associate Editor
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