Eastertide is upon us. Our Lord is risen indeed. The Gates of Heaven are once again open. Death is conquered. It is a season of joy and celebration.
There are many feasts inside Eastertide that we as Catholics celebrate. The celebration of Easter of course celebrates the resurrection of Our Lord, but it also celebrates the conquering of death. Saint Paul explains “And the enemy, death, shall be destroyed last: For he hath put all things under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:26, Douay-Rheims).
The conquering of death wasn’t something Jesus did for himself. It was something he did for all of mankind. Our bodies can now be glorified with our Lord. What does that mean? Let’s look at what Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C. (1634-1712) writes about the joys of Heaven.
When discussing the elect, or the Saints, and those who die in a state of Grace and paid every last penny,
“…the Last Day they will all have them again, and those bodies will then be so beauteous, that nothing in the world can compare with them.
And this will principally be because every member will be endowed with four qualities or attributes, namely : beauty, impassibility, agility, and subtlety.
By reason of its beauty or glory the body of each one of the elect will shine like a star, yet, as one star differs from another in glory, so the saints will shine with greater or less splendor, according as their lives upon earth have been more or less holy. “
We will see our bodies according to how we lived our lives on Earth. The holier and more saintly lives will be more glorified. The more sinful and wretched lives will be more foul and blemished.
How beautiful will the bodies of the elect be on the last day?
“In these glorified and radiant bodies the blessed will be so inexpressibly beautiful, that if a mortal man were now to behold one of these resplendent beings, he would be dazzled by its brilliance and be ready to expire for joy of heart.”
What about impassibility? Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C. writes:
“for the glorified body is incapable of suffering. It will never be sick or infirm, it will not grow old or unsightly. It will never again be inconvenienced by hunger or thirst, by heat or cold, by draught or dampness. It can nevermore be burned by fire, drowned in water, wounded by the sword or crushed beneath a weight ; it will be immortal, unchangeable, eternally endowed with perfect health and unfailing strength. If any one on earth could purchase this gift of impassibility, how gladly would he give all he possessed to obtain it!”
All suffering will cease, just as is was before the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.
What is agility? Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C. continues:
“The glorified body will be able to traverse the greatest distance with the speed of thought. In one moment it can come down from heaven to earth ; in one moment it can pass from one end of the heavens to the other, with out labor, without fatigue, without difficulty. We often wish that we could fly like the birds, that we could speed on our way like clouds on the wings of the wind, that we could follow thought in its rapid flight. If it were possible to purchase this power, every one would part with all his worldly wealth for it, if only to obtain it for one single year.”
Lastly, the fourth gift, the gift of subtlety, Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C. concludes:
“The fourth attribute of the glorified body is subtlety, which consists in the faculty of penetrating all matter, of passing in and out wheresoever it will. No wall is so thick, no iron gate so massive, no mountain so great as to form an obstacle to the glorified body. As the suns rays pass through glass, so the bodies of the redeemed as they are in heaven, penetrate all matter, however dense and solid it may be. They can also make themselves visible or in visible at will. What wouldst thou not give to be come possessed of such a faculty?
How great is Thy bounty, almighty God, towards Thine elect!”
This is what awaits us if we finish the race unblemished. This is the crown promised to us by Christ himself. Narrow is the gate. Let us pray to all the Saints in Heaven, to the Chruch suffering or the poor souls in Purgatory that we may die a happy and holy death so to be glorified both body and soul with the entire Heavenly Court on the last day!
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