Over the past few weeks, as part of my contemplation on death, judgment, heaven, and hell, I have been reading Garrigou-Lagrange’s Life Everlasting. As it is in the public domain, it is online. This excellent and short book reiterates the truths of the Catholic Church concerning the above topics.
One of the most beautiful parts of this book is the reminder of the qualities of the risen, glorified body. As Catholics, we most likely learned these in high school, but a small reminder of these qualities lends hope to our journey here on Earth.
First of all, the author notes that the glorified body is one’s own body one had on Earth. It is not a different or new body, but one glorified. The first attribute of this risen body is “impassilibity,” which means that it will be completely free of pain and death. That is obvious to anyone to thinks about the resurrected body with which one lives for all eternity. Only those in hell with experience eternal pain, not those in heaven.
“Agility” is the second quality of the body in heaven. This means word means that the body and soul will be able to go anywhere, quickly, with ease. There will be no gravity to hold it down.
The third quality is “subtlety,” which indicates that the body will be able to penetrate other things easily. We see this is the post-Resurrection visit of Christ to the apostles when he came into the Upper Room through the closed doors. This is related in the Gospels.
The fourth quality of the resurrection body is “clarity.” This is a splendour, a brightness, a glory which shines through the person’s body, revealing the glory of the soul in God. Again, remembering Scripture, Moses had to cover his face when he came down from Mt. Sion, as the brightness of his countenance was too difficult for people to see. This glory is an overflowing, as Garrigou-Lagrange notes, of the glory of the soul. No one will share the same clarity and the greater saints will exhibit more glory than the lesser saints.
The authors relates a story, which is worth repeating here.
“Heretics, wishing to kill St. Dominic, waited for him on a road where he was to pass. But when he came near, such a brilliant light illuminated his features that they did not dare to touch him. This light was the sensible radiation of the contemplation which united him to God. With him was saved also the order which he intended to found.”
Sometimes on holy cards and statues of St. Dominic, one sees a star on his cloak or shoulder. This represents the glory he emanated while on alive, and which is the sign of his glory in heaven.
JMJ, pray for us!
God is good,