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68. Work of the Second Day of Creation

1. The firmament was made on the second day. Some say that the firmament means the starry heavens; others say it means the skyey mass of clouds and air.

2. At all events, the firmament lies between "the waters above and the waters below." And the term waters may mean bodily matter, or transparent bodies, or watery vapors.

3. Whatever the nature of these waters, the firmament is the dividing element between the upper and lower kinds of them. Scripture says (Gen. 1:24-27), "And God said: 'Let therebe a firmament made amidst the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament."

4. Scripture speaks of a plurality of heavens. For instance, in Psalm 148, we read: "Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens". And St. Paul (II Cor. 12:2) "was caught up to the third heaven." The word heaven may mean the heaven of the blessed, or the starry firmament, or the space beyond the stars; it may mean any real or imaginary region in what we call outer space. And the word heaven may be used by metaphor for God himself, as in the expressions, "Heaven bless you," "Pray to heaven for guidance." St. Augustine says there are three types of supernatural visions-visions manifested to the eye, visions manifested to the imagination, visions manifested to the intellect-and these are three heavens. This is one explanation of the "third heaven" to which St. Paul was caught up.

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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