Pascha is coming, but Easter is today for billions of the world’s Christians. Easter is not just to empty a tomb, but to fill the City of God. Paradise is the end result of Easter: Jesus did not conquer death so we could get treats in this life, though God is happy to bless us when it is for our best, but so we could live in utter joy for all eternity. If the school of souls seems stressful, then graduation will justify all the work.
We must think and when we think we are done thinking, we should challenge everything and think again. This is the duty of man and there is good in it: the good of duty done. Isn’t it a bit futile? We walk by faith, reasonable truth, that is not certain. This is hard and the dialectic between doubt and knowledge is endless.
We are not in this life ever sure.
Yet there is time coming, not yet, when imperfect reasoning ceases, because love and experience is overwhelming and our logic is sound, our reasoning utterly persuasive. We will see truth with such a force that the vision is self-justifying, as Plato saw it could be, because the vision is so keen it became indubitable! We will grow in other ways, but in that place of heavenly clarity, all doubt of Love Divine will be gone. We will know, captured, delighted, joyful in Love sublime.
This life is harder, but only so greater love can be ethically obtained. God hides for a moment, the seconds of our earthly lives, so we can consent, say yes freely, to Him. He is overwhelmingly beautiful and so when God is at last revealed, nothing but wonder and joy is possible . . . Happiness passing the wit of Dante to tell!
Our yes will pay joyfully dividends.
And this is not ghostly, bodiless love! No. The jollification of the world to come will be fully human: body and soul. Dante, the geographer of Paradise, has the souls he meets in Paradise long for the day when they will be reunited with their bodies:
So sudden and alert appeared to me
Both one and the other choir to say Amen,
That well they showed desire for their dead bodies;
Nor sole for them perhaps, but for the mothers,
The fathers, and the rest who had been dear
Or ever they became eternal flames.
And Beatrice exclaimed: “Behold the hosts Of Christ’s triumphal march, and all the fruit Harvested by the rolling of these spheres!” It seemed to me her face was all aflame; And eyes she had so full of ecstasy That I must needs pass on without describing.
This is the message of Easter, the Pascha that is yet to come. Death is for eternal life. Evil remains evil in the particular, but good wraps around the particular evil and makes what is evil for a greater good. Eternity subsumes evil into a meaningful lesson. The death of Jesus, His time in the tomb, were all forerunners of this Divine resurrection:
Therefore I recommenced: “All of those bites Which have the power to turn the heart to God Unto my charity have been concurrent. The being of the world, and my own being, The death which He endured that I may live, And that which all the faithful hope, as I do, With the forementioned vivid consciousness Have drawn me from the sea of love perverse, And of the right have placed me on the shore. The leaves, wherewith embowered is all the garden Of the Eternal Gardener, do I love As much as he has granted them of good.”
We worship as lovers do: body and soul. We will have seen the True Light indeed and received the Heavenly Spirit perfectly. All the icons are made alive: seeing the saint, the Mother of God, and God Himself. We will be as drunken people without sin, because we will be awash in the music of Love.
“Glory be to the Father, to the Son, And Holy Ghost!” all Paradise began, So that the melody inebriate made me.
Quotes from Dante’s Paradise, Longfellow translation.