Saturday, December 6, 2014

"City of God" XXII.30

Chapter 30:
This chapter is truly Augustine at his best, which is appropriate after the slog of the first few books.
Who can measure the happiness of heaven, where no evil at all can touch us, no good will be out of reach; where life is to be one long laud extolling God, who will be all in all; where there will be no weariness to call for rest, no need to call for toil, no place for any energy but praise... Every fiber and organ of our imperishable body will play its part in the praising of God.
We cannot imagine the glories of our spiritual and physical state in heaven. Every part of our person will be perfected and put to use in the deepest joy of praising God. Our wills will be perfected and rooted--as they should have been from the beginning--in properly oriented natures defined by love of God, "ineradicably rooted in rectitude and love as in beatitude."
God will be the source of every satisfaction, more than any heart can rightly crave, more than life and health, food and wealth, glory and honor, peace and every good--so that God, as St. Paul said, 'may be all in all.' He will be the consummation of all our desiring--the object of our unending vision, of our unlessening love, of our unwearying praise. And in this gift of vision, this response of love, this paean of praise, all alike will share, as all will share in everlasting life.
Here will will finally have the perfect peace we long for on earth. We will not forget our sin, but it will exist only intellectually in our memories and have no further power over us. Just as we will know of those in hell, but not be pained by the justice of their situation.

In heaven, we will see that all our good works were, "in reality, His," and so have done us no good, other than as they have glorified the Lord by showing His work in us. That becomes the foundation of our Sabbath, which we are drawing ever nearer to.
I am done. With God's help, I have kept my promise. This, I think, is all that I promised to do when I began this huge work. From all who think that I have said either too little or too much, I beg pardon; and those who are satisfied I ask, not to thank me, but to join me in rejoicing and in thanking God. Amen.
Clever writer that he is, Augustine leaves us with the tantalizing mystery of who these people are who think City of God is too short, while at the same time praising God for this wonderful book. Which we should all do.

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