On Heaven


"The Transfiguration of Jesus" - by RAFFAELLO Sanzio (Raphael) . . . . from Pinacoteca, Vatican
Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a High Mountain where they were alone.
There before them, He was Transfigured; His Face shone like the Sun.

 

Lord, it is Good for us to be here - Matthew 17:4

 

On Heaven

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

In this Day's Gospel we read that, Wishing to give His Disciples a glimpse-of the Glory of Paradise, in order to 'Animate' them to Labor-for the Divine Honor, the Redeemer was Transfigured, and allowed them to Behold the Splendor of His Countenance. Ravished with Joy and Delight, Saint Peter exclaimed: "Lord it is Good for us to be here". Lord, let us Remain here; let us never-more Depart-from this Place; for the Sight-of Thy Beauty Consoles us, more-than all the Delights-of the Earth. Brethren, let us Labor during the Remainder-of our Lives, to-Gain Heaven. Heaven is so-Great a Good, that to-Purchase it for us, Jesus Christ has Sacrificed His Life on the Cross. Be Assured, that the Greatest-of all the Torments of the Damned in Hell, Arise-from the Thought-of having Lost Heaven through their own Fault. The Blessings, the Delights, the Joys, the Sweetness of Paradise may be 'Acquired'; but they can be 'Described' and 'Understood', only by those Blessed Souls that enjoy them. But let us, with the Aid-of the Holy Scripture, explain the 'Little' that can be said of them, here below.

Human Body

Body/Passions/ Inferior
Will/Senses/Imagination

Five External Senses -
Hearing/
Smell/
Sight/
Touch/
Taste

According to the Apostle, no Man on this Earth can Comprehend the Infinite (∞) Blessings which God has Prepared-for the Souls that Love Him. "Eye hath not Seen, nor ear Heard, neither hath it entered into the Heart of Man, what things God hath Prepared for them that Love Him" - 1Corinthians 2:9. In this Life, we cannot have an Idea-of any other Pleasures, than those which we Enjoy, by-means-of the Senses. Perhaps we Imagine that the Beauty of Heaven, resembles that of a Wide Extended 'Plain', covered-with the Verdure-of Spring, interposed-with Trees in full-Bloom, and abounding-in Birds Fluttering-about and Singing on every side; or, that it is like the Beauty-of a 'Garden' full-of Fruits and Flowers, and surrounded-by Fountains in continual-play. Oh! what a Paradise, to Behold such a 'Plain', or such a 'Garden'! But, oh! how much Greater are the Beauties of Heaven! Speaking of Paradise, Saint Bernard says: O Man, if you Wish-to Understand the Blessings of Heaven, know that in that Happy Country, there is Nothing which can be Disagreeable, and Everything that you can Desire. "Nihil est quod nolis, totum est quod velis". Although there are some things here-below, which are Agreeable-to the Senses, how many more are there which only Torment us? If the Light-of-Day is Pleasant, the Darkness-of-Night is Disagreeable; if the Spring and Autumn are Cheering; the Cold-of-Winter and the Heat-of-Summer are Painful. In addition, we have to-Endure the Pains of Sickness, the Persecution of Men, and the Inconvenience of Poverty; we must submit-to Interior Troubles, to Fears, to Temptations of the Devil, Doubts of Conscience, and to the Uncertainty of Eternal (∞) Salvation.

But, after entering-into Paradise, the Blessed shall have no-more Sorrows. "God will Wipe-away all Tears from their Eyes". The Lord shall Dry-up the Tears which they have Shed-in this Life. "And Death shall be no more, nor Mourning, nor Crying, nor Sorrow shall be any more, for the Former Things are Passed Away. And He that sat on the Throne, said: Behold, I make all things New". - Revelation 21:4-5. In Paradise, Death and the Fear of Death are no-more; in that Place of Bliss, there are no Sorrows, no Infirmities, no Poverty, no Inconveniences, no Vicissitudes of Day or Night, of Cold or of Heat. In that Kingdom, there is a Continual-Day, always Serene, a Continuous-Spring, always Blooming. In Paradise there are no Persecutions, no Envy; for all Love each other with Tenderness, and each Rejoices at the Happiness of the others, as if it were their Own. There is no-more Fear of Eternal (∞) Perdition; for the Soul, Confirmed-in Grace, can neither Sin nor Lose God.

"Totum est quod velis". In Heaven, you have all you can Desire. "Behold, I make all things New". There, everything is 'New'; new Beauties, new Delights, new Joys. There, all our Desires shall be Satisfied. The Sight shall be Satiated-with Beholding the Beauty of that City. How Delightful to Behold a City, in which the Streets should be of-Crystal, the Houses of-Silver, the Windows of-Gold, and all Adorned-with the most Beautiful Flowers. But oh! how much more Beautiful shall be the City-of Paradise; the Beauty of the place shall be Heightened-by the Beauty-of in Inhabitants, who are all clothed-in Royal Robes; for according-to Saint Augustine, they are all Kings. "Quot cives, tot reges". How Delightful-to Behold Mary, the Queen of Heaven, who shall appear more Beautiful than all the other Citizens-of Paradise! But, what it must be to Behold the Beauty of Jesus Christ! Saint Teresa once saw One of the Hands of Jesus Christ, and was Struck with Astonishment, at the Sight-of such Beauty. The Smell shall be Satiated-with Odors, but with the Odors of Paradise. The Hearing shall be Satiated-with the Harmony-of the Celestial Choirs. Saint Francis once heard for a Moment, an Angel playing on a Violin, and he almost Died through Joy. How Delightful must it be to hear the Saints and Angels, singing the Divine Praises! "They shall Praise Thee for ever and ever" - Psalm 83:5. What must it be to hear Mary praising God! Saint Francis de Sales says, that as the Singing-of the Nightingale in the Wood, surpasses that of all other Birds, so the Voice-of Mary is far-Superior to that of all the other Saints. In a word, there are in Paradise, all the Delights which Man can Desire.

But the Delights of which we have spoken, are the least-of the Blessings of Paradise. The Glory of Heaven consists in Seeing and Loving God, Face-to-face. "Totum quod expectamus", says Saint Augustine, "duae syllabae sunt, Deus". The Reward which God Promises to us, does not Consist-altogether in the Beauty, the Harmony, and other Advantages-of the City-of Paradise. God Himself, Whom the Saints are allowed-to Behold, is, according to the Promise made to Abraham, the Principal Reward of the Just in Heaven. "I am thy Reward, Exceeding Great" - Genesis 15:1. Saint Augustine asserts that were God to show His Face to the Damned, "Hell would be Instantly Changed into a Paradise of Delights". And he adds that, were a Departed Soul, allowed the Choice-of Seeing God, and Suffering the Pains of Hell, or of being Freed-from these Pains, and Deprived-of the Sight of God, "She would Prefer to See God, and to Endure these Torments".

The Delights-of the Soul, Infinitely (∞) Surpass all the Pleasures-of the Senses. Even in this Life, Divine Love Infuses such Sweetness into the Soul, when God Communicates Himself to Her, that the Body is Raised-from the Earth. Saint Peter of Alcantara once fell into such an Ecstasy of Love, that taking hold of a Tree, he drew it up from the Roots, and Raised it with him on-High. So Great is the Sweetness of Divine Love, that the Holy Martyrs in the Midst-of their Torments, felt no Pain, but were, on the contrary, filled-with Joy. Hence Saint Augustine says, that when Saint Lawrence was Laid-on a Red-hot Gridiron, the Fervor-of Divine Love made him Insensible to the Burning Heat of the Fire. "Hoc igne incensus non sentit incendium". Even on Sinners who Weep for their Sins, God Bestows Consolations which exceed all Earthly Pleasures. Hence Saint Bernard says: "If it be so Sweet, to Weep for Thee, what must it be to Rejoice in Thee!"

How Great is the Sweetness which the Soul experiences when, in the Time-of Prayer, God, by-way-of His Own Light, shows to Her, His Goodness and His Mercies towards Her, and particularly the Love which Jesus Christ has borne-to Her in His Passion! She feels Her Heart 'Melting', and as it were Dissolved-through Love. But in this Life, we do not see God as He Really is; we see Him, as-it-were, in the 'Dark'. "We see now through a Glass, in a Dark Manner; but then Face to face" - 1Corinthians 13:12. Here below, God is Hidden-from our View; we can see Him only with the Eyes of Faith; how Great shall be our Happiness, when the Veil shall be Raised, and we shall be permitted-to Behold God, Face-to-face! We shall then see His Beauty, His Greatness, His Perfection, His Amiableness, and His Immense Love for our Souls.

"Man knoweth not whether he be Worthy of Love, or Hatred" - Ecclesiastes 9:1. The Fear of not Loving God, and of not being Loved by Him, is the Greatest Affliction which Souls that Love God, endure-on this Earth; but, in Heaven, the Soul is Certain that She Loves God, and that He Loves Her; She sees that the Lord embraces Her with Infinite (∞) Love, and that this Love shall not be Dissolved, for all Eternity (∞). The Knowledge of the Love which Jesus Christ has shown Her in offering Himself in Sacrifice for Her, on the Cross, and in making Himself Her Food in the Sacrament of the Altar, shall Increase the Ardor-of Her Love. She shall also see Clearly, all the Graces which God has Bestowed-upon Her, all the Helps which He has given Her, to Preserve Her from Falling into Sin and to Draw Her to His Love. She sees that all the Tribulations, the Poverty, Infirmities, and Persecutions which She regards as Misfortunes, have all Proceeded-from Love, and have been the Means employed-by Divine Providence to bring Her to Glory. She shall see all the Lights, Loving Calls, and Mercies which God had Granted-to Her, after She had Insulted Him by Her Sins. From the Blessed Mountain of Paradise, She shall see so many Souls Damned-for Fewer Sins than She had Committed, and shall see that She Herself is Saved and Secured against the Possibility-of ever Losing God.

The Goods of this Earth do not Satisfy our Desires; at First (1st), they Satisfy the Senses; but when we become Accustomed-to them, they Cease-to Delight. But the Joys of Paradise constantly Satiate and Content the Heart. "I shall be Satisfied when thy Glory shall appear" - Psalm 16:15. And though they Satiate, they always appear to be as-new-as the First (1st) Time they were experienced; they are always Enjoyed and always Desired, always Desired and always Possessed. "Satiety", says Saint Gregory, "accompanies Desire". Thus the Desires-of the Saints in Paradise do not Beget Pain, because they are always Satisfied; and Satiety does not produce Disgust, because it is always accompanied-with Desire. Hence the Soul shall be always Satiated and always Thirsty; She shall be Forever (∞) Thirsty, and always Satiated with Delights. The Damned are, according-to the Apostle, Vessels full-of Wrath and of Torments, "Vessels of Wrath, fitted for Destruction" - Romans 9:22. But the Just are Vessels full-of Mercy and of Joy, so that they have Nothing-to Desire. "They shall be Inebriated with the Plenty of Thy House" - Psalm 35:9. In Beholding the Beauty of God, the Soul shall be Inflamed and so Inebriated-with the Divine Love, that She shall remain Happily-Lost in God; for She shall Entirely-forget Herself, and for all all Eternity (∞) shall think only of Loving and Praising the Immense Good which She shall Possess Forever (∞), without the Fear of having it in HerPower, ever to Lose it. In this Life, Holy Souls Love God; but they cannot Love Him with all their Strength, nor can they always Actually Love Him. Saint Thomas teaches, that this Perfect Love is only given to the Citizens-of Heaven, Who Love God with their Whole Heart, and never cease-to Love Him Actually. "Ut totum cor hominis semper actualiter in Deum feratur, ista est perfectio patriae".

Justly then, has Saint Augustine said, that to Gain the Eternal (∞) Glory of Paradise, we should Cheerfully Embrace Eternal (∞) Labor. "Pro aeterna requie aeternus labor subeundus esset". "For 'Nothing' ", says David, "shalt Thou Save them" - Psalm 55:8. The Saints have done but 'Little' to-acquire Heaven. So many Kings, who have Abdicated their Thrones and Shut themselves up in a Cloister; so many Holy Anchorets who have Confined themselves in a Cave; so many Martyrs, who have Cheerfully submitted-to Torments - to the Rack and to Red-hot Plates - have done but Little. "The Sufferings of this Time are not Worthy to be compared with the Glory to Come" - Romans 8:18. To gain Heaven, it would be but 'Little', to Endure all the Pains of this Life.

Let us then, Brethren, Courageously Resolve-to 'Bear' Patiently with all the Sufferings which shall come upon us during the remaining Days-of our Lives; to Secure Heaven, they are all 'Little' and 'Nothing'. Rejoice then; for all these Pains, Sorrows, and Persecutions shall, if we are Saved, be to us a Source-of never-ending Joys and Delights. "Your Sorrow shall be turned into Joy" - John 16:20. When then, the Crosses of this Life, Afflict us, let us Raise our Eyes to Heaven, and Console ourselves with the Hope of Paradise. At the End of her Life, Saint Mary of Egypt was asked by the Abbot S. Zozimus, how she had been able to Live for Forty Seven (47) Years in the Desert, where he found her Dying. She answered: With the Hope of Paradise. If we be Animated-with the same Hope, we shall not feel the Tribulations of this Life. Have Courage! Let us Love God and Labor for Heaven. There the Saints expect us, Mary expects us, Jesus Christ expects us; He holds in His Hand a Crown to make each of us a King, in that Eternal (∞) Kingdom.

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer

O Jesus, my Redeemer, I return Thee Thanks, for not having Taken me out of this Life whilst I was Thy Enemy. How many Years have Passed, since I Deserved to be in Hell! Had I Died on such a Day, or on such a Night, what would have become of me for all Eternity? My God, I return Thee Thanks. I Accept-of Death, as a Satisfaction-for my Sins, and I Accept-of it the Manner in which it may Please Thee, to send it to me; but since Thou hast Waited for me until now, Oh, Wait for me yet a little longer. Suffer me, therefore, that I may Lament my Sorrow a little. Give me Time to Weep over my Offences against Thee, before Thou Comest to Judge me.

I will no longer Resist Thy Calls. Who knows, but these Words, which I have just Read, are Thy Last Call to me? I Acknowledge that I do not Deserve Mercy: Thou hast Pardoned me so often, and I have again Ungratefully Offended Thee. A Contrite and Humble Heart, O God, Thou wilt not Despise. Ah, Lord, since Thou canst not Despise a Humble and Penitent Heart, Behold the Traitor who, Humbled and Repentant, has Recourse to Thee. Cast me not away from Thy Face. Thou hast said, Him that cometh to Me, I will not Cast-out. It is True that I have Offended Thee more than others, because I have been Favored, more than others, with Light and Grace; but the Blood Thou hast Shed for me, gives me Courage, and Proffers Pardon to me, if I Repent. Yes, O my Sovereign Good, I do Repent with my Whole Soul, for having Insulted Thee. Pardon me, and give me Grace to Love Thee for the Future. I have long enough Offended Thee. As for the Remainder of my Life, no, my Jesus, I will not Spend it in Offending Thee; I will Spend it Wholly, in Weeping over the Displeasure I have given Thee, and in Loving Thee with all my Heart, O God, Worthy of Infinite Love.

O Mary, my Hope, Pray to Jesus for me.

Amen

 

Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls

This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it, or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.

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O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and Desires.

O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, Pray for us.

Amen

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Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .

 

Consecration to God thru Mary