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268

Part One

1026

By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened”

heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect

possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ.

He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have

believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the

blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into

Christ.

1027

This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who

are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture

speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the

kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise:

“no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him.”

603

1028

Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is,

unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate con-

templation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this

contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision”:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed

to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation

and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to

delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven

with the righteous and God’s friends.

604

1029

In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to

fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation.

Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for

ever and ever.”

605

III.

T

he

F

inal

P

urification

,

or

P

urgatory

1030

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imper-

fectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but

after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness

necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031

The Church gives the name

Purgatory

to this final purifica-

tion of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of

the damned.

606

The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on

603

1 Cor

2:9.

604 St. Cyprian,

Ep.

58, 10, 1: CSEL 3/2, 665.

605

Rev

22:5; cf.

Mt

25:21, 23.

606 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820;

(1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII,

Benedictus Deus

(1336): DS 1000.

793

959, 1720

1722

163

956

668

954, 1472