“ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THY LORD.”
It will be the very Paradise of the Blessed to rejoice in the joy of the Lord. Thus he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy for all eternity, can say that even here below on earth, he enters into the joy of the Lord and begins to share in the bliss of Paradise.
Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord! (Matt. xxv. 21). When the soul enters the Kingdom of the Blessed, and the barrier which hinders its sight is taken away, it will see openly and without a veil the infinite beauty of God; and this will be the joy of the Blessed.
Every object that the soul will then see in God Himself will overwhelm it with delight. It will see the rectitude of His judgments, the harmony of His regulations for every soul, all ordained to His Divine glory, and the soul’s own good.
The soul will especially perceive, in respect to itself, the boundless love God has entertained towards it in becoming Man, and sacrificing His life upon the Cross through love of it. Then will it know what an excess of goodness is comprehended in the Mystery of the Cross; in the sight of a God become a servant, and dying condemned upon an infamous tree; and in the Mystery of the Eucharist, God beneath the species of bread, and made the food of His creatures!
In particular the soul will perceive all the graces and favours shown to it, which, until then, had been hidden from it. It will see all the mercies God bestowed on it, in waiting for it, and pardoning its ingratitude. It will see the many calls, and lights, and aids that had been granted to it in abundance. It will see that those tribulations, those infirmities, those losses of property or of kindred, which it counted punishments, were not really punishments, but loving arrangements of God for drawing it to His perfect love.
In a word, all these things will make the soul know the infinite goodness of its God, and the boundless love He deserves. Wherefore, as soon as it has reached Heaven, it will have no other desire but to behold Him in His blessedness and content; and, at the same time, comprehending that the happiness of God is supreme, infinite, and eternal, it will experience a joy that is not infinite only because a creature is not capable of anything that is infinite. It will enjoy, nevertheless, a pleasure extreme and full, which inundates it with delight, and with that kind of delight that belongs to God Himself; and thus will be fulfilled in it the words: Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
The Blessed are blessed not so much through the delight which they experience in themselves as in the joy with which God rejoices; for the Blessed love God so immeasurably more than themselves that the blessedness of God delights them immeasurably more than their own blessedness, through the love which they bear Him. Their love of God makes them forget themselves, and all their delight is to please their Beloved.
And this is that holy and loving inebriation which causes the Blessed to lose the memory of themselves, to give themselves wholly to praise and love the dear object of all their love, which is God. They shall be inebriated with the fulness of thy house (Ps. xxxv. 9). Happy from their first entrance into Heaven, they continue, as it were, lost, and, so to say, swallowed up in love, in that boundless ocean of the goodness of God.
Wherefore every blessed soul will lose all its desires, and will have no other desire but to love God, and to be loved by Him; and knowing that it is sure of ever loving Him, and of being ever loved by Him, this very thing will be its blessedness, filling it with joy, and making it throughout eternity so satisfied with delights that it will desire nothing more.
In a word, the Paradise of the Blessed will be to rejoice in the joy of God. And thus, he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy through eternity, can say that even in this life he enters into the joy of God, and begins to enjoy Paradise.
Yet, O my sweeet Saviour, and my soul’s Love, in this vale of tears I still see myself surrounded by enemies, who would separate me from Thee. O my beloved Lord, suffer me not to perish; make me love Thee for ever in this life and in the next, and then do with me what Thou wilt. O Queen of Paradise, if thou prayest for me, assuredly I shall be with thee eternally, to be in thy company, and to praise thee in Paradise.