Ven. Louis de Blois: Thoughts on Paradise

Below you will find a compilation of quotes on the topic of Paradise. These have been taken from different works by Ven. Louis de Blois (principally ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois, Abbot of Liesse,’ R & T Washbourne, 1903).

As a preliminary consideration, it will be worthwhile to reflect on a spiritual light given to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. She learnt that, whereas earthly pleasures, being less than man, enter into him, the joys of Paradise, conversely, are so much greater than man, that he enters into them. Earthly joys, she writes, are like a glass of water; heavenly, like a limitless ocean. St. Thomas concurs with this thought, as do all other theologians, at least implicitly; impelled, as they are, by the inexorable laws of sound philosophy. ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’ (Mt. 25:21).

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THOUGHT ON PARADISE:
Putting Things in Perspective: The Depths of Mary’s Joy
In fact, if all the joys of the world, all peace, all delights and pleasures were gathered into one, they would appear mere bitterness compared with the least joy that the Blessed Virgin possessed.

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The Company of Countless Angels and Saints
We shall enjoy for ever the society of Mary, the Mother of God, most beautiful, most sweet, most kind, most lovable, of the holy angels and the other citizens of heaven, and we shall know them all right well as our friends… Each one distinctly and perfectly knows every one of the citizens of heaven, and abounds with every sort of riches, delight and joy… [We shall be blessed to] behold the most Blessed Mother of God, to join the chorus of Angels, to have perpetual fellowship with the holy Patriarchs and Prophets, with the holy Apostles and Martyrs, with the holy Confessors and Virgins: to know all the citizens of heaven, and to rejoice with each of them in their eternal happiness.

‘Better is One Day in Thy Courts Above Thousands…’
Truly, that blessed heavenly country is our only fatherland; where an everlasting day always shineth forth, better far than a thousand days here below.

The Hour of Death: Man’s “Hour”
Happy is the hour, and most desirable the moment, when the heavenly Spouse joyfully meets the holy soul coming forth from the prison of the body with gentle words, and invites it, saying, “Arise, make haste, my love. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. Flowers have appeared in our land; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (Cant. ii. 10, 11, 12). Come forth with joy, most dear daughter: tremble not, nor be afraid; thou art brought out of exile, thou leavest the miseries of the calamitous world. For “nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more” (Apoc. xxi. 4). Henceforth, the corruptible body shall not weigh down the soul: for when thou art admitted into the joy of thy Lord, thou shalt rejoice for ever in the gift of immortality.

No Need for Food and Drink
They who shall possess God will not need corruptible food and drink, for they will be full of God. God will be to them, food and drink, and whatsoever they can desire; they will have all things in Him, with whose vision they will be filled.

Endless Desire, Endless Satisfaction
They will ever see Him, and ever be satisfied; and they will desire ever to see Him, and ever to be satisfied. They will desire without anxiety, and they will have their fill without satiety.

Beauty Incomparable
Thy gates shine with choice pearls; thy streets are paved with the purest gold; thy walls are bright with most precious stories. In thee, delicious gardens and pleasant vales are ever fresh; in thee, perennial flowers and violets continually flourish; in thee, the cinnamon and balsam incessantly breathe forth an ineffable odour of sweetness; in thee, all kinds of beautiful things abound without fading, remain without passing away, exist without corruption, are eternal without change. In thee is a climate temperate and serene, beyond all human conception; in thee, are peace and repose surpassing all imagination; in thee, is eternal day, and one life in all; in thee, is certain security, and secure eternity, and eternal tranquillity, and tranquil happiness, and happy sweetness, and sweet joy: in thee shall the just shine as the sun (Matth. xiii. 43).

Absolutely Nothing is Lacking
No one can seek, or desire, or love anything, which he will not find in thee. That only which is nothing worth, is not in thee. Oh, what an ocean of unalloyed bliss, what a torrent of unmixed joy, what an abyss of purest delight is it to see the God of gods in Sion (Psalm Ixxxiii. 8), to discern that incomprehensible glory of the Most Holy Trinity: clearly to contemplate that surpassing fairness, perfectly to taste that ineffable sweetness, from whence flows out all the beauty and sweetness of created things…

A Land Free of Every Affliction
… there is no infirmity, no corruption, no fear, no thoughts, no anxiety, no grief, no poverty, no affliction, no sorrow or misery (Apoc. xxi. 4). There wilt thou most happily enjoy that supreme and unchangeable Good, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of mortal man (1 Cor. ii. 9).

Like Iron Cast into the Fire
For thou shalt clearly see the glorious Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the One supremely desirable God. Thou will be in God and God will be in thee in a most excellent manner. Being thus united to God, thou wilt perfectly taste the sweetness of His goodness, and wilt be utterly inebriated with the torrent of divine delights (Psal. xxxv. 9). Thou wilt then most fully know and feel, with what immense love He has loved thee from all eternity.

The Lamb is the Lamb Thereof
Filled with unspeakable and incomprehensible joy, thou wilt behold the Human Face of thy Beloved Jesus, which is verily all gracious, glorious, and sweet; for His beauty and fairness far surpass all that can in this life be wished for or desired.

Beauty, Peace, Truth
There, all are adorned with incorruptible beauty, and enjoy an imperturbable peace. There all are ever glorified by the serene light of the Godhead, and obtain full knowledge of the truth.

God Possesses All Perfections Perfectly
Thou needst not fear lest any of those things which please thee here should be absent. For all the beauty, elegance, sweetness, grace, perfection, and excellence that can here be found in all creatures, exist there most exuberantly and superessentially. In short, there is the influx of every good.

33 Forever
We shall all rise again at the age at which the Lord Jesus was when He died for us. The old man of a hundred years and the infant of one night old will be of the same stature. And although the good may now be lame, or blind, or deformed; yet they will then rise again sound, whole, fair, beautiful, and free from every blemish.

The Glory of the Risen Body
The bodies of the elect will then emit a most sweet odour, and will be seven times more brilliant than the sun, since the glory of their souls will penetrate them. They will also be impassible, so that they can suffer no injury. And they will be endowed with such agility that wherever the soul may wish to be, thither it will in a moment transport the body. They will moreover be so subtle that they will penetrate solid and thick substances with less difficulty than the light of the sun penetrates glass.

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Justice at Last
Then, indeed, the Saints, who during the winter of this exile, like trees stripped of all adornment, appeared lowly and were esteemed barren, will be clothed with unspeakable glory and beauty, and will flourish like palm-trees for ever and ever.

Why did God make us, knowing that we would sin? (And Various Other Revelations Given to St. Hildegard)

The following words were revealed by God to St. Hildegard von Bingen (taken from her ‘Scivias’):

29. Why God made Man such that he could sin

“Therefore listen and understand Me, you who say in your hearts, “What are these things and why?” Oh, why are you so foolish in your hearts, you who have been made in the image and likeness of God? How can such great glory and honor, which is given to you, exist without testing, as if it were an empty case of nothing? Gold must be tested in the fire, and precious stones, to smooth them, must be polished, and all things of this kind must be diligently scrutinized. Hence, O foolish humans, how can that which was made in the image and likeness of God exist without testing? For Man must be examined more than any other creature, and therefore he must be tested through every other creature. How?
Spirit is to be tested by spirit, flesh by flesh, earth by water, fire by cold, fight by resistance, good by evil, beauty by deformity, poverty by riches, sweetness by bitterness, health by sickness, long by short, hard by soft, height by depth, light by darkness, life by death, Paradise by punishments, the Heavenly Kingdom by Gehenna, earthly things by earthly things and heavenly things by heavenly things. Hence Man is tested by every creature, in Paradise, on earth and in Hell; and then he is placed in Heaven. You see clearly only a few things among many that are hidden from your eyes. So why do you deride what is right, plain and just, and good among all good things in the sight of God? Why do you think these things unjust? God is just, but the human race is unjust in transgressing God’s precepts when it claims to be wiser than God.

30. Man should not examine the highest things since he cannot the lowest ones

Now tell me, O human: What do you think you were when you were not yet in soul and body? Truly you do not know how you were created. But now, O human, you wish to investigate Heaven and earth, and to judge of their justice in God’s disposition, and to know the highest things though you are not able to examine the lowest; for you do not know how you live in the body, or how you may be divested of the body. He Who created you in the first human foresaw all these things; but that same most gentle Father sent His Only-Begotten to die for the people, to deliver humanity from the power of the Devil.”

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Some Further Revelations Given to St. Hildegard

An Admonishment (one that is very relevant for our times)

“A man who sins with another man as if with a woman sins bitterly against God and against the union with which God united male and female… And men who touch their own genital organ and emit their semen seriously imperil their souls, for they excite themselves to distraction; they appear to Me as impure animals devouring their own whelps, for they wickedly produce their semen only for abusive pollution.”

Instruction on Spiritual Reading

“But now the Catholic faith wavers among the nations and the Gospel limps among the people; and the mighty books in which the excelling doctors had summed up knowledge with great care go unread from shameful apathy, and the food of life, which is the divine Scriptures, cools to tepidity.”

How to Remain Chaste

“When a person feels himself disturbed by bodily stimulation, let him run to the refuge of continence, and seize the shield of chastity, and thus defend himself from uncleanness. How? Let him cast out the tares from the wheat, which is to say, let him separate the clamor of lust from the sweetness of chastity. And whoever thus casts out of himself the taste for lust is very sweet and lovable to Me.”

The Delights of Paradise

“But Paradise is the place of delight, which blooms with the freshness of flowers and grass and the charms of spices, full of fine odors and dowered with the joy of blessed souls, giving invigorating moisture to the dry ground; it supplies strong force to the earth, as the soul gives strength to the body, for Paradise is not darkened by shadow or the perdition of sinners.”

Some Remarkable Revelations About Heaven

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Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem (‘The Last Things’):

“On one occasion, when the devil was speaking by the mouth of a person who was possessed, he said :

‘If the whole heavens were a sheet of parchment, if the whole ocean were ink, if every blade of grass were pen, and every man on earth a scribe, it would not suffice to describe the intense, immeasurable delight which the vision of God affords to the blessed.’

And at another time he said that if God would but vouchsafe to grant him the privilege of beholding His divine countenance for a few moments, he would, if it were possible, gladly bear in his own person all the torments of hell until the Day of Judgement. This teaches us that if a man spent his whole life in works of most severe penance, and after his death were permitted only for one instant to gaze on the face of God, he would have received an ample recompense for all his mortifications.”

Rev. Martin von Cochem is right. In fact, the truth of his words are confirmed by a revelation given to a holy Visitation nun, Sr. Marie–Catherine Putigny, to whom a deceased sister appeared, saying:

 “What are all the sorrows of earth compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!” 

How to Attain Lasting Peace

“It is impossible to explain the abundance of this peace in the soul altogether given to God and seeking Him alone.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

“Souls that do not wish to give all to Our Lord,” writes Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, “and to bring all their desires to unity by this total donation, cannot taste this true peace. They are divided, tossed to and fro between themselves and God, between the satisfaction of their self–love and obedience; they are the prey of trouble and disquiet. (Like St. Augustine, we should cleave to God, the immutable good).”

If we desire true peace, we must seek God with a pure heart. He has loved us first; let us love Him in return.

“One night while I was praying,” writes St. Veronica Giuliani, “I beheld issuing from the side of Our Saviour a liquid which exhaled a heavenly perfume, and it filled up a kind of fountain which stood before the Lord. I saw many souls plunge into it. The Lord gave me to understand that these were the pure souls who had given themselves absolutely to Him.”

“The more I am faithful to this little way of love,” writes Sr. Consolata Betrone, “the more is my soul flooded with joy and true peace that nothing is able to disturb, not even my continual falls. For, when I bring these to Jesus, He makes me remedy them through acts of humility, and these in turn increase the peace and joy in my heart.”

Ponder in your heart the profound truth of these words: “Our souls are made for God; unless they are set towards this end they are perpetually in agitation and trouble. Now St. Benedict wishes that we should have but this one and universal intention: That we should seek God… By the unity of this end, he brings unity to the manifold actions of our life, and especially into the desires of our being; and this is, according to St. Thomas one of the essential elements of peace… Our souls are troubled when they are torn by desires that bear upon a thousand different objects… when we seek God alone by an obedience full of abandonment and love, we sum up all things in the one thing necessary; and it is this that establishes strength and peace within us.” Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

If we simply do our duties for the love of God, seeking always to purify our intentions, then we will surely taste the sweetness of Our Lord’s yoke. He is the Way: let us follow Him; He is the Truth: let us trust Him; He is the Life: let us unite ourselves to Him, Who will lead us safely to Paradise. The more sinful we have been in the past, the greater right we have to trust in His infinite love, which is the source of all our good desires. If we desire Him, He desires us still more (as He revealed to St. Margaret of Cortona).

In 1809, the Divine Precursor [St. John the Baptist] appeared to His humble servant, Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora. Showing her the Promised Land, He said: “Look! There the Divine Paraclete awaits you, to celebrate with you celestial espousals. I will be your guide and conductor. O fortunate soul, what a happy fate is yours!” At these words, the Angels introduced her into the kingdom of Glory, and the Saint pointed out to her the Heavenly Palace, and began to describe its magnificence. Then he added: “But the door of this Palace is narrow: those who enter must be humble and lowly.” (p. 116 of her biography)

Jesus to Marie–Dominique Moes (on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1859): “O blinded men, what has become of you? Have I not shed all My Blood for you, and given Myself to you for food? And all that was not enough to awaken a return of love in you? Ah, what sorrow for My loving Heart!”

Why Holiness Brings Unspeakable Joy to the Soul!

“It is certain that your happiness consists in perfect renunciation of yourself. I will fill you with My grace in the same degree as you empty yourself of your will.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena

I die daily, says St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31).  The death of which he speaks is the death of self-will and self-love. 

Self-will is a form of pride; it elevates our own will above God’s will (which is love, mercy, truth and wisdom itself). By self-will we frustrate (to some extent) God’s almighty plans. We hinder our own happiness. 

Self-love refers to our self-seeking or selfishness, which often taints our actions. A true lover of God seeks God’s glory in all things; she accepts everything as coming from God’s loving Providence, which wills only her sanctification and happiness. Subsequently, the humble soul (one who truly loves God is necessarily humble) bears everything with patience, serernity and love. God is the sole object of her desires.

I die daily. If we are empty of self, God will fill us with Himself. A soul full of selfishness and sinful attachments cannot fully appreciate the joys of union with God, Who is the Source of all joy, all life, all happiness. The saints, who were united intimately with Jesus, experienced His joy as if it were their own. This is a forestaste of Heaven, in which the soul will be united with God like a drop in the ocean.

One day, Mary, the Mother of God, revealed to St. Bridget these beautiful words with which Our Lord addressed a faithful servant of His, upon entering Paradise:  

‘O My friend, you have come to present to Me the vessel of your heart empty of yourself, and you have desired to fill it with Me. Come then and I will fill it with Myself. Be in Me and I shall be in you and your glory and joy will have no end.’

When we seek God above all things, He fills our hearts with peace and joy!

The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of perfect souls): ‘Observe that these souls always possess Me in a sensible manner; the more they have rejected pleasures and desired to suffer, the more they have lost sufferings and found joy.’

Jesus said to St. Jane de Chantal: ‘In all this [humiliations, mortifications and rebuffs] My great design is to make them [souls] progress in My love; and if they did this they would infinitely please Me, and I should always be working to please them. My Heart is filled with sweetness and kindness for the souls that love Me and sincerely give themselves to Me; and I give Myself to them with the abundance of My favours; for they are My spouses whom I love tenderly.’ (p. 235)

The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi: ‘Suppose, My child, a man to possess every imaginable riches and to be the idol of every creature. If he does not possess Me who alone am true peace, his heart will never be at rest, for I alone can fill the heart of man, because I am Who am, and I fill up the void of whatever is not, and I fill it all the more when the void is greater and creatures better realise their nothingness.’

The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of those who live by and for God’s will):

‘Even in her mortal life she tastes the delights of immortality, and in spite of her mortal body she becomes as light as spirit… it is a greater miracle for the soul not to leave the body in this union that it is for several dead bodies to be raised to life.’

(This seems to explain why some of the saints levitated during prayer e.g. St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani etc.)

I could add many similar revelations, but these few are sufficient.

Pax Christi!