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How It Will Be In Paradise

August 24, 2023 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe is rightly famous for his outstanding devotion to Our Lady and for his heroic virtue crowned with the glory of martyrdom. He offers a meditation appropriate in this season of the Assumption as we meditate on Our Lady and her place now in Heaven where she intercedes for us, the reward of a most humble and obedient life here on Earth by which she guides us.
“On the 15th day of this month, the Holy Church, celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sings with exultation: ‘Mary has been assumed into Heaven, the angels rejoice, praise and bless the Lord’.”
Spontaneously on that day we make an effort to reproduce in our imagination the long-awaited Paradise; however, despite all our efforts, we are still not satisfied. We tell ourselves that up there it will have to be, in a certain way, different from what they tell us or from what we read in books. And rightly so; in reality, things in Paradise will not be different only “in a certain way,” but, it can be said, in a completely different way from what we can imagine. And why?
“Because we draw all our concepts from the things that surround us, from the material realities that we see here on this Earth of ours or in the midst of the spaces of the firmament, and only starting from all this do we form ourselves, through the concepts of resemblance and causality, some idea about Heaven. It is, however, a very, very inaccurate idea. However, everything that surrounds us, even if it were the most beautiful and most attractive things, is always and from every point of view limited. There is no infinite or immutable beauty here. Everything we see, hear or feel does not fully satisfy our desires. We want more, but this ‘more’ does not exist. We want it to last longer, but here inexorably and always comes the end. In Paradise it will be quite the opposite.
“There is Good, Infinite Beauty: God and Endless Happiness. The difference, therefore, is absolutely infinite. In Holy Scripture and in the works of the Fathers of the Church we find many similarities drawn from our earthly knowledge. Thus, for example, St. John compares Paradise to a happy city and writes: ‘The city does not need the light of the sun or the light of the moon, because the glory of God illuminates it and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk in the light of him’ (Rev. 21:23-24). He continues imagining that it is built with the most precious and most beautiful materials imaginable, with gold, therefore, and with the most diverse precious stones.
“Often, then, in the sermons the priests try to sketch a depiction of Paradise. We collect what is most beautiful and best around us to compose the picture with it, but all of this is only a distant, very distant image, since we are dealing with infinitely different similarities. In an even better way, he described Paradise who, already in this life, was raptured to it for a short time, that is St. Paul, who affirms: ‘Those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor ever entered the heart of man, this God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Cor. 2:9). It is a description even closer to the truth, as it shows the infinite difference between the ideas we have about Paradise and reality.
“Either way, they can get an idea of what it will be like in Heaven those who already on this Earth have had the opportunity to foretaste a small anticipation of Paradise. And everyone can experience it. It is sufficient to approach Confession sincerely, with diligence, with deep sorrow for sins and with the firm intention of amending oneself. One will at once feel a peace and happiness in comparison with which all the fleeting but dishonest pleasures of the world are rather a hateful torment.
“Everyone try to approach to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with a good preparation; never allow your soul to remain in sin, but purify it immediately; perform all one’s duties well; raise humble and frequent prayers toward the throne of God, above all for the hands of the Immaculate Virgin; may you also embrace the other confreres with a charitable heart, enduring for the love of God sufferings and hardships; does good to everyone, including one’s enemies, solely for the love of God and not to be praised nor much less thanked by men, then he will realize what it means to have a foretaste of Paradise and will be able to find peace and happiness even in poverty, in suffering, in dishonor, in sickness.
“This foretaste of Paradise is also a sure announcement of eternal bliss. In reality, it is not easy to dominate oneself in the way described above, in order to conquer this happiness, but let us remember that whoever asks the Immaculata for it with humility and perseverance, will surely obtain it, since she is not capable of refusing anything to us, nor is the Lord God able to refuse her anything. At any rate, we will shortly know exactly what it will be like in Heaven. Surely in a hundred years none of us will walk this Earth anymore. But what are a hundred years compared to what we have gone through?. . . And then, who will wait so many more years?. . . In a little while, therefore, provided that we prepare ourselves well, under the protection of the Immaculate Conception” (By St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe [1894-1941], published for the first time in 1924 in the journal Rycerz Niepokalanej [(The Knight of the Immaculate Conception) SK 1065: “How it will be in Paradise,” Rycerz Niepokalanej, VIII 1924, pp. 146-148 VIII 1931, pp. 226-227].)

The Immaculata Prayer By St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe:

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and Earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
R. Give me strength against your enemies
Amen.

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