The Paschal Mystery

Authored by Fr. Richard Conrad in Issue #29.2 of The Sower

Fr. Richard Conrad gives us key points for our catechesis on the paschal mystery.

When catechising, it is good to approach the mystery of our redemption from the perspective of the glorious destiny to which we are called. This enables us to see the big picture.

The New Testament promises that we shall know God as He is, we shall ‘see’ God (John 17:3; I John 3:2). St. Thomas Aquinas claims that, apart from the visions of Moses and St. Paul, and apart from the special case of Christ, we cannot know What God is while we are still in this life. For now we know things through concepts, which are drawn from sense experience, and we employ them with the help of the imagina­tion. While all things reflect God's good­ness and beauty in their own ways, none match up to it; so although re­flection on the world can show that God exists, it cannot tell us What God is. At death, the soul leaves this earthly way of knowing behind, and God can reveal Himself to her through a higher way of knowing.

A truly supernatural way of knowing is required if any creature is to know What God is. As St. Thomas understands it, this way of knowing involves God Himself being present to the mind in an unmediated way. God is the Truth itself, and is infinitely knowable. The problem is that He is too knowable, rather as the Sun is more visible than a candle – which is why we cannot look at it. Rather as a stronger eye might look at the Sun, so the creature's mind must be strengthened if it is to know God. Angels, and the souls of the Blessed, are en­dow­ed with a ‘light of glory’ which ‘enlarges’ them so that they can receive, not a more powerful concept, but God Himself. We can put this simply by saying that in Heaven God gives Himself to the soul, at the same time streng­thening her to receive so great a Gift. Only this possession of God can bring fulfil­ment, beatitude – that is why it is called ‘the Beatific Vision’. Our goal, then, is that God the Father, and His Son and Their Spirit, should give Themselves to us to be known and loved, possessed and enjoyed!

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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