John Paul II has some wonderful passages in his discussion of Mathew 22:30, “In the resurrection they take neither wife nor husband, but are like the angels in heaven.” According to his analysis, this is not an annulment of the body or of sexuality but the fulfillment. For him, the beatific vision is individuals absorbed so in God that they rediscover everything and themselves in Him.
As he writes in Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body (p. 395-6):
The human gift to God is the response to God’s own self-gift, and “in this reciprocal gift of self by man, a gift that will become completely and definitively beatifying as the response worthy of a personal subject to God’s gift of himself, the ‘virginity’ or rather the virginal state of the body will manifest itself completely as the eschatological fulfillment of the ‘spousal’ meaning of the body, as the specific sign and authentic expression of personal subjectivity as a whole.” In knowing God face to face, we will experience “a love of such depth and power of concentration on God himself . . . that it completely absorbs the person’s whole psychosomatic subjectivity.”
Such a concentration of love on God is “full participation in God’s inner life, that is, in trinitarian Reality itself,” and is not only a discovery of God but “the discovery in God of a whole ‘world’ of relations that are constitutive of the world’s perennial order.” Above all, man will rediscover himself in God, not only in his own person but also “in that union that is proper to the world of persons .” Communion in the Trinity “can find a beatifying response in those who will become sharers in the ‘other world’ only through realizing reciprocal communion commensurate with created persons.” The beatific vision is simply the fulfillment of the communion of saints, which involves a “new, perfected subjectivity of each person and at the same time the rediscovery of a new, perfect intersubjectivity of all.” In this, the spousal meaning of the body is fulfilled.
It is in this fashion that “the eschatological reality will become the source of the perfect realization of the ‘trinitarian order’ in the created world of persons.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8:31 am
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