The Joys of Heaven

Written By Thomas à Kempis

Consider, my friend, the infinite and unutterable joy which shall arise from the pure and direct perception of the most Holy Trinity! This is the mystic and unfathomable wonder referred to as the “beatific vision.” For this Holy Trinity, mysterious and beyond all conception, is the perfect archetype and ultimate epitome of all that is beautiful, all that is good, and all that is delightful. In beholding this glorious Trinity, you will know all there is to know, and you shall possess all that your heart desires—rather, even more than your heart desires and could ever desire, and even more than your mind could ever conceive! For you will be united with the infinite beatitude, the boundless power, the infinite glory, and the perfect immortality of the Godhead itself.

Reflect, too, upon the humanity of Christ, our Savior. For our sake, He descended from His native realm of unapproachable light to assume the wretchedness of our mortal condition, to become one poor, persecuted, and despised, a “Man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering.” But now that He is throned at the right hand of the Father and crowned with ineffable glory, His holy humanity remains, but it is now exalted and made divine. And this humanity which the glorified Christ possesses and has made immortal, glorious, and pure is one and the same as the humanity which is your very own nature too, O Reader! And by Christ’s mysterious union with human nature, your own nature shall be united with that of God.

Imagine the joy which you will derive from the wonderful company with which you will be surrounded in heaven. For there will be the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, adored by the angels, and radiant with the perfection of  her immaculate, maidenly beauty! There will also be all the saints—the noble apostles, the white-robed martyrs, the chaste and graceful virgins, and the wise and holy confessors. And the whole company of heaven—the countless multitude of holy angels and saints—will all share one and the same limitless joy. And this joy will be continually augmented by the very act of sharing it, as each will delight ecstatically in the beatitude of the other. Your resurrected body, freed from all corruption and taint of sin and mortality, will also participate fully in the delights of this realm, no less than your soul. Immortality, impassibility, complete and unimpaired liberty and agility, and celestial beauty—all of these will be yours forever! And your mind will be enriched with the all the plenitude of knowledge, righteousness, and contentment, such that it will know no disturbance or limitation or anxiety whatsoever—no, not even the shadow or memory of these shall remain.

Moreover, all of this you will enjoy with absolute and perfect security. You will no more need to flee from any temptations of sin, nor resist any impulse to sin or evil. And no foe shall ever attack you, no misfortune will ever befall you, nothing whatsoever will be able to harm you or to threaten your perfect happiness! Thus there will prevail forever uninhibited liberty, unassailable well-being, unimaginable pleasure, pure and glorious love, and splendid honor and peace.

As Saint Anselm has said, whatever you wish for, you shall immediately have, and whatever you do not wish for, will never befall you. May we all, by the grace and mercy of God, attain to that most blessed state! Amen.

This article is taken from a chapter in Meditations On Death: Preparing For Eternity by Thomas à Kempis, which is available from TAN Books.

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) was a German-Dutch author and theologian of the late Medieval period.  He is best remembered for his classic on the devotional life known as The Imitation of Christ, available from TAN Books.