"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."

St Philip Neri

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."

St Augustine

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "

Thomas á Kempis

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Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.  (1877 - 1964)  taught at the Angelicum in Rome from 1909 to 1960, and served for many years as a consulter to the Holy Office and other Roman Congregations.

 
  LIFE EVERLASTING
   

By Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange,OP

 

PREFACE


We propose in this book to speak of life everlasting, to show what light falls on our life here below from the life there beyond.

Our chief concern will be the immensity of the human soul, first in our present life, then in the particular judgment at the moment when the soul is separated from the body.

Thus we shall attain a better understanding,

first of what hell is: that boundless void which can never be filled; the unmeasured depths of the soul forever deprived of that sovereign good which alone could fill those depths.

Secondly of what purgatory is: the state of the soul which cannot as yet possess God, which is deprived for a period short or long of the vision of God, because by its own fault it was not ready for its appointed meeting.

Thirdly of what the moment of entering heaven is, an instantaneous moment which will never pass away: the unchanging possession of life everlasting, of God who alone can fill the boundless depths of the human will.

This soul-depth, as we shall see, is explained by the truth that already in the natural order our will is illumined not merely by sense and imagination but by the intellect which, grasping universal reality, grasps likewise universal and boundless good, a good which, speaking concretely, is found in God alone, the infinite good.

Life everlasting then throws great light on our life here below. It draws us up out of our superficiality and drowsiness. It reveals the immensity of our soul, which either must remain eternally in a desert waste or then be completely filled with the eternal possession of God, Truth supreme and Sovereign Good.

The mystics, Tauler [1] above all and Louis de Blois, often use the term soul-depth in a metaphorical sense, in contrast to the exterior sense world. Similarly they use the term soulheight, in contrast to the same sense world as inferior. Less known is the teaching of St. Thomas, who in language less metaphorical explains the immeasurable depths of the will. His doctrine on this point illumines the solution of many great problems and prevents us from resting in a superficial attitude of mind.

We endeavor in the following pages to maintain theological preciseness in the use of terms. In the rare cases where we have recourse to metaphors we note explicitly that we do so of necessity, when proper terms are lacking. Our book is to be a theological treatise on the last things (de novissimis).

Our purpose is to enlighten souls, to arouse conscience and responsibility. Our book would recall those who may be on the road to perdition, would instruct those who often commit deliberate venial sins, who take no pains to expiate mortal sins already remitted in the tribunal of confession. Above all we would give the reader a high idea of heaven, of eternal happiness, in its opposition to hell, in its retardation by purgatory, in its infinite elevation. To attain heaven is to reach our ultimate and supernatural goal, to see God as He sees Himself, to love Him as He loves Himself, to possess Him unfailingly forever.

A handmaid of God once heard these words: "I gave you a religion of life, and you have made it a religion of formulas. I am the Creator of good, and you have made me a tyrant, since in my precepts you see only what displeases you."

We pray our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother to bless these pages that they may bring to many, many souls a benefit that will last for all eternity.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

LIFE EVERLASTING is a translation of L'eternelle vie et la profondeur de l'ame, published by Desclee de Brouwer & cle, Paris.
 

 
 

 
  1. The Sermons of Tauler, translated by Hugueny, 1935, 1, 76 ff., 201-3; III, 52.