Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: August 11th

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Consider first, that as the body and soul are individual companions and partners in this life in the good or evil we do, so shall they be in the rewards or punishments of the next. Hence, besides the essential beatitude of the soul, consisting in the eternal sight and enjoyment of God and the happy exercise of all the powers of the soul employed eternally about him, the body also of the servant of God shall meet with its eternal reward in heaven, and so happy a reward as no human understanding can be able to conceive. These bodies of ours, at the resurrection, shall be most wonderfully changed. ‘This corruptible,’ says the apostle, 1 Cor. xv., ‘must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.’ And again – ‘It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory; it is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power; it is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body.’ Spiritual, not in its substance, (for it is still a body,, and not a spirit,) but in its qualities; like the body of Christ after his resurrection, penetrating through the doors that were shut and all other obstacles, clothed with perpetual health, strength, vigour, and youth – swift as thought, immortal and impassible.

Consider 2ndly, the glory and beauty of these heavenly bodies, far exceeding all earthly glory and beauty. ‘The just,’ saith our Lord, ‘shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father,’ Matt. xiii. 43. Yet the very least of God’s servants in that eternal kingdom shall be far more resplendent and beautiful than anything that can be seen by mortal eye here below or represented by man’s imagination. But O how happy then shall the eyes of the blessed be that shall be eternally entertained with the sight of all these heavenly beauties, every one of which is so charming and ravishing to behold! O how happy shall those eyes be which shall be eternally entertained with the sight of all these heavenly beauties, every one of which is so charming and ravishing to behold! O how happy shall those eyes be which shall be perpetually fed with the view at once of all that is delightful in the new heavens and the new earth! And what, again, is all this in comparison with the happiness of their eternal contemplation of the great king of beauty himself and king of glory, Jesus Christ, whom they shall always see in all his beauty and in all his glory?

Consider 3rdly, that the other bodily senses shall also have their reward in heaven, not by their enjoying there any of those gross or brutal pleasures which carnal and worldly-minded men are so fond of – which are so apt to defile the soul and can give her no true satisfaction – but the eternal experience of pleasures of quite another nature, pure and immortal, which shall affect all the senses and fill them with unspeakable delight, from the most delicious sweets of the heavenly paradise. And as for the hearing in particular, it shall be ever entertained with an unspeakable harmony, formed by the melodious concerts of all the celestial choirs, and the united voices of millions of millions of heavenly citizens, all sweetly singing together divine hymns of eternal praise and love to their ever glorious and ever loving king. O my soul, the hearing of any one of these heavenly voices, could it be allowed us here, would certainly be enough to ravish any mortal with inexpressible delight! And what must it be eternally to hear them all?

Conclude to admire and adore the infinite bounty and goodness of thy God, who, not content with giving the soul so great a reward as the eternal enjoyment of the sovereign good, which is himself, has been pleased to prepare such excellent gifts and endowments for the body, to make it also eternally happy. But then thou must remember, that if thou wouldst secure to thy body these heavenly endowments and all this happiness for endless ages, thou must keep it pure and holy during this mortal life, and ever mortify its disorderly appetites and carnal inclinations.

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