The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life

The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life

The blessedness of heavenly affections, which are affections of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, cannot easily be described, because it is internal and rarely manifests itself with any one in the body,—that is rarely to the sense. For during his life in the body man has a distinct sensation of the things which arise in the body, but a very obscure sensation of those that arise in his spirit, because while he is in the body worldly cares are an impediment. The blessedness of the affections cannot flow down into the sense of the body unless natural and sensual things are reduced to agreement with interior things; and not even then except obscurely, as a certain tranquillity from the fact that he is contented in mind. But after death it manifests itself, and is perceived as blessed and happy; and then it affects both the interiors and exteriors. (AC n. 6408)

The Criterion of Character

All spirits are distinguished in the other life by this: Those who desire evil against others are infernal or diabolical spirits; but they who wish good to others are good and angelic spirits. A man may know which he is among, whether among the infernal spirits or the angelic. If he intends evil to his neighbour, thinks nothing but evil of him, and also actually does evil when he can, and finds delight in it, he is among the infernals, and even becomes an infernal in the other life but if he intends good to his neighbour, and thinks nothing but good of him, and actually does good when he can, he is among the angelic, and becomes an angel too in the other life. This is the criterion. Let every one examine himself by it. It is nothing that a man does not do evil when he either cannot or dare not; nor that he does good from some selfish reason. These are external motives which are removed in the other life. There a man is as he thinks and intends. There are many who, from habit acquired in the world, can speak fairly; but it is instantly perceived whether the mind or intention is in harmony with what is said. If not, the man is cast out among the infernals of his own kind and species. (AC n. 1680)

Every one may see what the quality of his life is, if he will but search out the nature of the end that he regards. Not the nature of the ends, for these are innumerable, being as many as his intentions, and nearly as many as the judgments and conclusions of his thoughts. These are intermediate ends, which are variously derived from the principal end, or tend to promote it. But let him search out the end which he regards in preference to all the rest, arid in respect to which the rest are as nothing; and if he has himself and the world for an end, he may know that he is infernal; but if he has for his end the good of the neighbour, the common good, the Lord’s kingdom, and especially the Lord Himself, he may know that his life is heavenly. (AC n. 1909)

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