Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pleased to Give You the Kingdom

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
St. Thomas Aquinas reads in this passage from the Hebrews a definition of faith.  Faith is the realization of things hoped for because it is the beginning of the life of grace.  Faith contains within it the full flowering of the beatific vision in the same way that a seed contains within it a mature oak tree.  What we believe by faith is the first glimpse of what is promised to us in Heaven.  By faith we see that in Heaven, we will have “an inexhaustible treasure.”  Also, the Master “will gird himself, have [his servants] recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.”  Faith reveals to us that Heaven is a place where, because we have served God well, God will serve us.  He will lift us up with Himself and share with us His glory.

Faith is evidence of things not seen.  Other translations say that faith is the assurance of things unseen.  Faith brings certainty that it knows the truth.  St. Thomas writes, “the intellect of the believer is convinced by Divine authority, so as to assent to what it sees not” (ST II-II q4 a1).  Faith brings certainty to what is believed because it is not simply another human perspective, but the divine perspective.  The man of faith is like Abraham who “thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.”  Our faith doesn’t rest on human opinion or reasoning.  Despite being able to confirm the truths of the faith, we have certainty because we have the assurance of God Himself.

Of what has God assured us?  Jesus says, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for you Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”  We have been promised that the Kingdom of Heaven will be ours.  Jesus says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.”  We have been promised that God Himself will provide a banquet for us in Heaven.  If here in this world, the Lord provides us a banquet of His body and blood, how much greater will be the feast in Heaven?  If here in this world, we commune with the Lord in faith, how much greater will be the communion in Heaven?  No longer will the object of our longing be unseen, but the Trinity dwelling within us by faith will be revealed in all His glory.  What will be given to us in Heaven, has already been given to us in its beginnings now.  Faith is the realization of things hoped for.  These beginnings like the Eucharist and faith are console us and are evidence of the future we eagerly anticipate.

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