Day 354 – The Beatific Vision

Today’s reading: Revelation 22

Today we reach the final chapter of the bible.  In this final chapter, we see two important apologetic points.

First, we see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a manner that sheds like on the filioque controversy. For those that don’t know what it controversy consists of it is basically a dispute between the Catholic and Orthodox churches regard the phrase “and the son” which was added to the Nicene Creed and reads,

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son, …

The controversy is a difficult point of theology but boils down to whether the phrases “through the son” and “from the son” mean essentially the same thing.  The orthodox argue that everything proceeds from God the Father and therefore “from the Father through the Son” is the correct formulation.  The Catholic Church argues that Jesus himself says that everything he does comes from the Father and with that in mind that “from the Father and the Son” is a correct formulation.  The Catholic Church’s position that both formulations, when considered in the context of all scripture, are both valid, seems to be supported by this verse of scripture:

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city…

Revelation 22:1-2

Here we see the “water of life”, which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit flowing forth from the Father and the Son.  Thus, as the Catechism says, “This legitimate complementarity [of expressions], provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed” (CCC 248).

The second point we see in this final chapter is what will be the ultimate joy of heaven:

There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. Rev 22:3-4

This is what heaven will be, it is called the Beatific Vision.  We will behold the actual face of God, we shall see him as he is.  Recall, that in Exodus, God said this is not possible for a mortal man:

And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD’, and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.”

And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Exodus 33:19-23

In heaven, we will have come full circle.  We will have completed the process of sanctification.  We will be able to see God face to face and know him as he truly is.


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