"Now they come forward and they stand in the presence of God. They have come forward before the altar and have looked upon the mystery of the Saviour. ...I shall go into God's marvellous dwelling place, his house. The house of God is his Church, his marvellous dwelling place, filled with joyful voices giving thanks and praise, filled with all the sounds of festive celebrations."
DEEPEST DESIRES SATISFIED
Saint Thomas Aquinas told us that our deepest desire can only be satisfied in our heavenly home with the saints. He said, "Only God satisfies, he infinitely exceeds all other pleasures." Saint Augustine exhorted us to pray as the Master taught us for Christ shows us how to receive the desire of our hearts, through prayer.
We learn from Augustine that God's "gift is very large indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it." This desire does not enter into our hearts -- we enter that divine desire. What is that desire? God is the object of our deepest desire and longings. Therefore, to follow Saint Augustine's line of exhortation, God must be the Object of our our prayer life.
To enter God's glory is to enter an Ecstasy beyond human capacity to imagine. Prayer is intended to expand the Christian's capacity to anticipate and enter the glory of the Lord.
I believe an underlying and refining purpose of our brief time on earth is to expand our capacity to enter into the full joy of "God's marvellous dwelling place, a house." Again Thomas Aquinas tells us that "Since in our heavenly home the saints will possess God completely, obviously their longing will be satisfied, and their glory even greater."
Occasionally, we see the spiritual transformation from earthly to heavenly understanding. This was dramatically illustrated with the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7.55-56):
|Stoning of Stephen|
"But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heavenly and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, "Behold, I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witness laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Despite being robbed of his earthly life, Stephen's heavenly life came into full view. Things of earth grew dim and faded away.
Saint Paul referred to seeing indistinctly and partly here on earth but in the presence of Jesus Christ, standing face to face, then we will see clearly and understand fully, just as we are understood fully. (1 Corinthians 13.12)
At present we are incapable of seeing the full glory of what awaits
those who love Jesus Christ. The glory of God is too much for any of us to bear in our present states. At best, we can only grasp wisps and whispers of that glory. We do not understand. The holiest of people only understand in part.
Prayer is the mechanism God has provided to us to prepare and expand our capacity to experience His glory. Sublime Ecstasy will accompany divine desire fulfilled. There, beyond our our present experience, beyond nature, we shall eat of the tree of life in glorified and renewed bodies.
I must avert my thoughts from nagging doubts. That which is decaying here will dance there. The cross comes before the crown.
Through Christ I shall enter God's glory and will say, "It is this for which I was created." In God's dwelling, with the saints of the ages, I will understand that I am finally home -- my deepest desire and longing satisfied.