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).

800px-COSTA_REI_SARDEGNA
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.

800px-Os_Quarenta_Mártires_do_Brasil_(1855)_-_Giuseppe_Baguasco_-_Casa_Professa_da_Companhia_de_Jesus,_Roma
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.

800px-Glory_of_The_Saints_-_fresco_in_the_apse

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.

The Value of a Fervent Communion

Santa_Maria_degli_Scalzi_(Venice)_-_Miracolosa_comunione_du_santa_Terese_di_Gesu_-_Niccolò_Bambini

‘Miraculous communion du Saint Teresa of Jesus’ by Niccolò Bambini.

‘Deus Cordis Mei: Thou art the God of my heart’
The graces of a fervent Communion are incalculable. One Communion was sufficient to cause Bl. Imelda (d. May 12, 1333) to die of love, so great was her longing for the God of her heart (Ps. 72:26).  “Tell me,” she would sometimes say, “can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?” ‘My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!’ (Ps. 41:3; Ps. 107:2).

“No tongue can express,” writes the Venerable Abbot Blosius, “no heart can comprehend how boundless are the spiritual goods which come to the soul from the devout reception of this sweet Sacrament of the Eucharist.” (‘A Spiritual Mirror’) ‘He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32)

Four Fruits of a Fervent Communion
Listen to the words of “the devout Blosius” (St. Alphonsus), “a great Benedictine mystic” (Bl. Columba Marmion). The following words are from his work, ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’:

“O most worthy and most sweet Sacrament, in which, under the species of bread and wine, we receive the whole Christ, namely, the Body, the Blood, the Soul and the Godhead of Christ; we receive the whole Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. For the three Persons of one Godhead and essence cannot be separated from one another. The whole Trinity, therefore, dwells in the Body of Christ, because the whole Godhead is in It. The fruits, therefore, of the most Blessed Sacrament are many and precious.

(1) He who receives the Lord’s Body with due devotion is cleansed from all sins, even from those mortal sins of which he is not conscious or does not remember to have committed, provided only that he is in the disposition of mind to confess and do penance for them if he did know that he had fallen into them.

(2) He is made partaker of all those good things which Christ has merited for us in His Life, Passion and Death.

(3) Yea, also, he becomes a sharer in all the good things that have been done since the time of Adam, and will be done until the end of the world.

(4) Lastly, he is united to Christ and incorporated with Him, and therefore receives force and power to resist vice and to persevere in good works; and now, adorned with a more pure and excellent life, he is transformed and changed into God, and filled with all the grace of the most glorious Trinity.”

Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Elevation_of_the_Host_2

‘Elevation of the Host’ by Wenceslaus Hollar

‘Thou hast prepared a Table before me against them that afflict me.’
– Psalm 22:5

Amend Your Life and You Will Be Saved!

“… know for a certainty that if anyone of you wills to correct himself, amend his life, and humbly turn back to Me, then like a loving shepherd, I shall joyfully run out to meet him, lifting him onto My shoulders and personally carrying him back to My sheep. For by My shoulders I mean that if anyone amends his life, he will share in the benefit of My passion and death, which I endured in my body and shoulders; and he will receive with Me eternal consolation in the kingdom of Heaven.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden

“Who can be mad enough,” says Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius) “not to wish to be saved? What can be easier than to obey a most loving Father, commanding nothing except what promotes our happiness?” (p. 160 of ‘Comfort for the Faint-Hearted’)

“Mercy is, accordingly, pronounced to anyone who repents of his sins and resolves to sin no more, for My Spirit shall inspire him to perform good works. Whoever freely desires to be separated from the vanities of this world is made more fervent by My Spirit.
The person who is even ready to die for me will be so inflamed by My Spirit that he will be wholly in Me and I in him.” (Our Lord to St. Bridget) 

“Likewise, if any sinner were so rooted in diabolical deeds that he was standing at the very brink of destruction, he could still obtain forgiveness and mercy, if he called upon God with contrition and a will to improve.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget

***
“Peace to men of good-will!”

***

Encouragement For Those Tried By Unwanted Thoughts.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.

– James 1:12

Thoughout the day – especially during prayer – we might encounter unwanted thoughts. It is very important for those with some form of religious OCD/scrupulosity in particular, to know that God permits everything (including our weaknesses and involuntary imperfections) for our good. It may be that God wishes us to be more humble, trusting or faithful; perhaps He wishes us to sympathise with others; perhaps He is preparing us for future combat; perhaps He is cleansing us of past faults. Whatever the reason, God always acts in our best interest i.e. He arranges everything for our salvation. We can trust Him wholeheartedly.

Even if our current state is due in part to God’s justice, we can rest assured that His loving “chastisements” are tempered with mercy, and that He can draw a greater good from our trials; furthermore, that He allows us to be tried here is evidence that He wishes us to be spared hereafter. Deo gratias!

St. Francis de Sales assures us that, even if our prayer were to consist entirely of repeated attempts to drive away distractions, that prayer is pleasing to God. Why? Because God is pleased with love, which is evident in such good-will, faith and perseverance. The same principle is revealed in the following revelations, which will be of great consolation to many.

Some Relevant Anecdotes

+ When St. Bridget was harassed by temptations in prayer, Mary the Mother of God said to her: “The devil with malicious watchfulness seeks to hinder the good from praying. But do thou, daughter, whatever temptation may assail thee in prayer, persist in thy desire or good will, and in thy holy endeavours, as best thou canst; because thy pious desires and endeavours will be reputed as effectual prayer. Even if thou art not able to cast out the base and evil thoughts that come into thy mind, yet for those endeavours thon shalt receive a crown in heaven; thus these troubles will profit thee, provided thou consentest not to the temptation, but art displeased with whatever is unbecoming.” (pp. 226 –227, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ The Lord Jesus said to St. Bridget: “Wherefore, daughter, art thou anxious and disquieted?” She answered, “Because I am afflicted with many unprofitable and evil thoughts, which I cannot drive away, and the fear of Thy judgments oppresses me.” Then the Lord said, “This is true justice [remember that God permits trials because He loves us; also, His justice is tempered with mercy: He will always give us the strength to remain faithful to Him] ; that as thou hast formerly taken delight in the vanities of the world against My will, so thou shouldst now be molested by various perverse thoughts against thy own will. Do thou, however, fear my judgments with moderation and discretion, ever firmly trusting in Me, thy God. For thou must know, for certain, that evil thoughts, which the mind resists and detests, are the purification and crown of the soul. If thou art unable to avoid them, bear it patiently, and let thy will strive against them. And, although thou consent not to them, fear lest thou take pride in that and fall; for whosoever stands, it is by the power of God alone that he stands.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ Again, the Lord said to St. Bridget, “In order that man may understand his own weakness, and the strength he receives from Me, it is necessary that he should sometimes be allowed to be attacked by evil thoughts; and if he consents not to them, they become the purification of his mind, and the safeguard of his virtues. And although they are hard to be borne, they heal the soul, and conduct it to eternal life, which cannot be gained without sufferings. The soul should, therefore, labour diligently, lest it consent to them, or take any pleasure in them.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

Why does God permit temptation?

“One can distinguish five reasons why God allows the devils to attack us:

first, so that from attack and counter-attack we may become practised in discerning good from evil;

second, so that our virtue may be maintained in the heat of the struggle and so be confirmed in an impregnable position;

third, so that as we advance in virtue we may avoid presumption and learn humility;

fourth, to inspire in us an unreserved hatred for evil through the experience we thus have of it;

fifth, and above all, that we may attain inner freedom and remain convinced both of our own weakness and of the strength of him who has come to our aid.” – St. Maximus the Confessor

In a word, God permits temptation for our greater good. The more we are tempted, the more right we have to trust in Him, without Whom it would be impossible to overcome even the slightest temptation. God rewards our efforts generously in Heaven.

To Inspire us with hope for Heaven:

“If when visions [of Heaven] are shown to thee, thou wert to see the beauty of the blessed souls or of the holy Angels as it is, thy heart would be broken with excess of joy.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden