St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Catholic belief, prayers and spiritual teaching
St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
|TREATISE ON THE LOVE OF GOD|
By St Francis de Sales
Book III. Of The Progress And Perfection Of Love.
Ch 15. That There Shall Be Different Degrees Of The Union Of The Blessed With God.
Now this light of glory, Theotimus, shall be the measure of the sight and contemplation of the Blessed; and according as we shall have less or more of this holy splendour, we shall see more or less clearly, and consequently with more or less happiness, the most holy Divinity, which as it is beholden diversely so it will make us diversely glorious.
All the spirits indeed in this heavenly Paradise see all the divine essence, yet it is not seen and cannot be seen entirely by any one of them or by all of them together. No, Theotimus, for God being most singularly one, and most simply indivisible, we cannot see Him without seeing Him all: but being infinite, without limit, without bounds or measure at all in His perfection, there neither is, nor can be, any capacity out of Himself which can ever totally comprehend or penetrate the infinity of His goodness, infinitely essential and essentially infinite.
This created light of the visible sun, which is limited and finite, is in such sort all seen by those that behold it that it is never totally seen by any one of them nor by all together. It is in a manner so with all our senses. Amongst many that hear excellent music, though all of them hear it all, yet same hear it not so well, nor with so much delight as others, according as their ears are more or less delicate.
The manna was all tasted by each one that ate it, yet differently, according to the different appetites of those who ate it, and was never wholly tasted, for it had more tastes of different kinds than the Israelites had varieties of tasting power.
Theotimus, we shall see and taste in heaven all
the Divinity, but no one of the Blessed nor all
together shall ever see or taste it totally. This
infinite Divinity shall still have infinitely more
excellences than we sufficiency and capacity; and we
shall have an unspeakable content to know that after
we have satiated all the desires of our heart, and
fully replenished its capacity in the fruition of the
infinite good which is God, nevertheless there will
remain in this infinity, infinite perfections to be
seen, enjoyed and possessed which His divine Majesty
knows and sees, it alone comprehending itself.
Ah! Theotimus, our souls shall freely and according to the full extent of their wishes swim in the ocean and soar in the air of the Divinity, rejoicing eternally to see that this air is so infinite, this ocean so vast, that it cannot be measured by their wings, and that enjoying without reserve or exception all this infinite abyss of the Divinity, yet shall they never be able to equalize their fruition to this infinity, which remains still infinitely infinite beyond their capacity.
And at this the Blessed Spirits are ravished with two admirations, first for the infinite beauty which they contemplate, secondly for the abyss of the infinity which remains to be seen in this same beauty. O God! how admirable is that which they see! But, O God! how much more admirable is that which they see not!
And yet, Theotimus, since the most sacred beauty
which they see is infinite, it entirely satisfies and
satiates them, and being content to enjoy it
according to the rank which they hold in heaven,
because God's most amiable providence has so
determined, they convert the knowledge they have of
not possessing and of not being able totally to
possess their object, into a simple complacency of
admiration, in which they have a sovereign joy to see
that the beauty they love is so infinite that it
cannot be totally known but by itself. For in this
consists the Divinity of this infinite beauty or the
beauty of this infinite Divinity.