Treatise on the Light of Glory

christ_glory.jpg (112320 bytes)
Christ in Glory - by PRETI, Mattia - from Museo del Prado, Madrid


CCC-1028: "Because of His Transcendence, God cannot be seen as He is, unless He Himself opens up His mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in His heavenly glory the 'Beatific Vision': How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of Heaven with the righteous and God's friends.

"It will be granted to the eyes of the human mind, strengthened by the Light of Glory, to contemplate the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in an utterly ineffable manner, to assist throughout eternity at the processions of the divine Persons, and to rejoice with a happiness like to that with which the holy and undivided Trinity is happy."( Mystical Body of Christ #80)


Treatise on the Light of Glory

by Saint Francis de Sales,
Doctor of the Church

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

10trans.jpg (52866 bytes)

The Transfiguration of Christ -
by  RAFFAELLO Sanzio -
from Pinacoteca, Vatican
[The transfigured Christ floats in an Aura of Light and Clouds above Mount Tabor, accompanied by Moses and Elijah. Below are His Apostles astonished by the Miracle and His Glorious Radiance. Peter kneels in amazement and John and James fall dazzled by the Light of Glory.]

The Created Understanding then shall see the Divine Essence, without any medium of species or representation; yet not without a certain excellent light which disposes, elevates, and strengthens it, to raise its view so high, and to an object so sublime and resplendent. For as the owl has a sight strong enough to bear the sombre light of a clear night, but not strong enough to stand the mid-day light, which is too brilliant to be borne by eyes so dim and weak; so our understanding, which is strong enough to consider natural truths by its discourse, yea even the supernatural things of grace by the light of faith, is not yet able, by the light of either nature or faith, to attain unto the view of the divine substance in itself. Wherefore the sweetness of the eternal wisdom determined not to apply His essence to our understanding till He had prepared, strengthened and fitted it to receive a sight so eminent, and so disproportionate to its natural condition as is the view of the Divinity.

sunshine.gif (5039 bytes)So the sun, the sovereign object of our corporal eyes amongst natural things, does not present itself unto our view without sending first its rays, by means whereof we may be able to see it, so that we only see it by its light. Yet there is a difference between the rays which the sun casts upon our corporal eyes and the light which God will create in our understandings in heaven: for the sun's rays do not fortify our corporal eyes when they are weak and unable to see, but rather blind them, dazzling and confounding their infirm vision: whereas, on the contrary, this sacred light of glory, finding our understandings unapt and unable to behold the Divinity, raises, strengthens and perfects them so excellently, that by an incomprehensible marvel they behold and contemplate the abyss of the divine brightness in itself with a fixed and direct gaze, not being dazzled or beaten back by the infinite greatness of its splendour.


Lights of Reason, Faith, and Glory

In like manner, therefore, as God has given us the light of reason, by which we may know Him as Author of nature, and the light of faith by which we consider Him as source of grace, so will He bestow upon us the light of glory by which we shall contemplate Him as the fountain of beatitude and eternal life: but a fountain, Theotimus, which we shall not contemplate afar off as we do now by faith, but which we shall see by the light of glory while plunged and swallowed up in it.

Divers, who, fishing for precious stones, go down into the water, take oil, says Pliny, in their mouths, that by scattering it, they may have more light to see in the waters where they swim. Theotimus, a blessed soul having entered and plunged into the ocean of the divine essence, God will pour into its understanding the sacred light of glory, which will enlighten it in this abyss of inaccessible light, that so by the light of glory we may see the light of the Divinity. For with Thee is the fountain of life; and in Thy light we shall see light. (Psalm 36:10)