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95. The Endowments of the Blessed

1. When the blessed, or the saints-for the names mean thesame here-are brought to the glory of heaven, they are dowered withsuitable gifts.

2. These endowments do not constitute beatitude. Beatitudeis perfect happiness in the beatific vision; this happiness orbeatitude is what the soul has merited through Christ and by hisgrace. But endowments are gifts that are not merited in anysense.

3. Christ our Lord as man has all possible perfections andevery gift and endowment, for his humanity is united to Godhead.Still, strictly speaking, it is not proper to say that Christ asman is adorned with gifts and endowments. For Christ is God as wellas man; endowments are his to give, not to receive.

4. Now, an endowment is a dowry, and a dowry suggests awedding and a bride. Human nature is wedded to the divine nature inChrist; Christ himself is wedded to the Church. Hence, whenspeaking of human beings, we may use the term dowry or endowmentwith propriety to indicate the perfections of the blessed. But thisis not the case when we speak of angels, for the metaphor ofmarriage and bride does not apply in their case. Of course, angelshave all the perfections that can adorn a rational being in heaven.The point we make here is merely that the term dowry or the termendowment is not suitably employed to express angelicperfection.

5. The dowries or endowments of the blessed are: vision,love, and fruition. These gifts may be said to correspond,respectively, to the theological virtues of faith, hope, andcharity. Faith is fulfilled in vision; hope, in loving possession;charity, in the fruition or full enjoyment of what is loved.

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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