Meditation Eight – Paradise

We continue our meditations taken from “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales to prepare ourselves to make a worthy General Confession before Easter.

Chapter XVI: Eighth Meditation – On Paradise

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Preparation.
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God.2. Invoke His Aid.

Considerations.
1. Represent to yourself a lovely calm night, when the heavens are bright with innumerable stars: add to the beauty of such a night the utmost beauty of a glorious summer’s day,—the sun’s brightness not hindering the clear shining of moon or stars, and then be sure that it all falls immeasurably short of the glory of Paradise. O bright and blessed country, O sweet and precious place!
2. Consider the beauty and perfection of the countless inhabitants of that blessed country;—the millions and millions of angels, Cherubim and Seraphim; the glorious company of Apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and saints. O blessed company, any one single member of which surpasses all the glory of this world, what will it be to behold them all, to sing with them the sweet Song of the Lamb? They rejoice with a perpetual joy, they share a bliss unspeakable, and unchangeable delights. php_heaven_03

3. Consider how they enjoy the Presence of God, Who fills them with the richness of His Vision, which is a perfect ocean of delight; the joy of being for ever united to their Head. They are like happy birds, hovering and singing for ever within the atmosphere of divinity, which fills them with inconceivable pleasures. There each one vies without jealousy in singing the praises of the Creator. “Blessed art Thou for ever, O Dear and Precious Lord and Redeemer, Who dost so freely give us of Thine Own Glory,” they cry; and He in His turn pours out His ceaseless Blessing on His Saints. “Blessed are ye,—Mine own for ever, who have served Me faithfully, and with a good courage.”

Affections and Resolutions.
1. Admire and rejoice in the Heavenly Country; the glorious and blessed New Jerusalem.
2. Reprove the coldness of your own heart for having hitherto so little sought after that glorious abode. Why have I so long lingered indifferent to the eternal happiness set before me? Woe is me that, for the sake of poor savourless earthly things, I have so often forgotten those heavenly delights. How could I neglect such real treasures for mere vain and contemptible earthly matters?
3. Aspire earnestly after that blessed abode. Forasmuch, O Dear Lord, as Thou hast been pleased to turn my feet into Thy ways, never will I again look back. Go forth, my soul, towards thy promised rest, journey unweariedly to that hoped-for land; wherefore shouldest thou tarry in Egypt?
4. Resolve to give up such and such things, which hinder you on the way, and to do such others as will help you thitherwards.
Give thanks, offer, pray.

 

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3 Responses to Meditation Eight – Paradise

  1. toadspittle says:

    “They are like happy birds, hovering and singing for ever within the atmosphere of divinity, which fills them with inconceivable pleasures.”

    “Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly…”
    Judy’s always worth a re-run, isn’t she?.

  2. kathleen says:

    No description of Paradise (Heaven) can ever give us more than the tiniest of tastes of the true wonders and happiness of Heaven; we know that. However some of the holiest of saints sometimes do give us morsels of their own illumination.

    From St. Padre Pio:
    “Heaven is total joy, continuous joy. “
    “It is useless to try to figure out exactly what Heaven is like, because we can’t understand it. But when the veil of this life is taken off, we will understand things in a different way.”
    “…at night when I close my eyes the veil is lifted and I see paradise open up before me: and gladdened by this vision I sleep with a smile of sweet beatitude on my lips and a perfectly tranquil countenance…”
    “What kind of heaven would be if we didn’t have with us those whom we love?”
    To a woman about her deceased dad: “Comfort yourself. He is not dead. He lives a life of joy that will have no end. He lives in heaven. He lives in the midst of his dearest ones.”
    To a woman about her deceased two years old child: “Your child is in Paradise, watching over you, assisting you, smiling on you, and preparing a place for you.”

    Little St. Dominic Savio lay dying as prayers were being intoned by his bedside. He suddenly sat straight up with a radiant expression on his face, his eyes fixed on a spot far beyond the confines of the room, and cried out: “Oh, what beautiful things I can see!” He then fell back dead onto the bed.

    In his Catechism, St. John Vianney states:
    “To dwell in the house of the good God, to enjoy the presence of the good God, to be happy with the happiness of the good God – oh, what happiness, my children! Who can understand all the joy and consolation with which the saints are inebriated in Paradise? St. Paul, who was taken up into the third heaven, tells us that there are things above which he cannot reveal to us, and which we cannot comprehend…. Indeed, my children, we can never form a true idea of Heaven till we shall be there. It is a hidden treasure, an abundance of secret sweetness, a plenitude of joy, which may be felt, but which our poor tongue cannot explain. What can we imagine greater? The good God Himself will be our recompense: Ego merces tua magna nimis – I am thy reward exceeding great. O God! the happiness Thou promisest us is such that the eyes of man cannot see it, his ears cannot hear it, nor his heart conceive it.”

    Even the saints are unable to do more than ‘stroke the surface’, but we know, in the innermost part of our soul, that there is a heavenly home awaiting all who faithfully follow the Cross of Christ to the bitter end.

  3. toadspittle says:

    “Who can understand all the joy and consolation with which the saints are inebriated in Paradise? “

    Good question, St Francis de Sales.
    Nobody, I suggest. And how can anybody be sure the saints are are all inebriated with joy and consolation?
    How can anybody ever “understand” such an extraordinary circumstance? Where do we get our information?
    …Though how even saints (or sinners, come to that) can be “inebriated with consolation,”…. totally defeats Toad.

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