If I should forget you Jerusalem

Wednesday of Week XXIII in Ordinary Time

An excerpt from a Discourse on Psalm 83

How beautiful are your tabernacles! My soul longs to reach the courts of the Lord, the fullness of the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the Lord. He then explains why he desires to enter the courts of the Lord. It is because they are blessed who dwell in your house, the heavenly Jerusalem, Lord, God of the heavenly powers, my King and my God. It is as if he were to say: Who does not long to enter your courts since you are God, the Creator and King and Lord of hosts, and all who dwell in your house are blessed? For him courts and house are the same. When he says blessed, he means that they enjoy as much happiness as can be conceived. Clearly they are blessed because out of their devoted love they will praise you for ever, that is, for all eternity. For they would not offer praise for all eternity unless they were blessed for all eternity.

Now even though we may have faith, hope and love, none of us can attain this state of blessedness by ourselves. Rather, blessed is the man—he alone attains blessedness—whose help is from you in rising to the heights of happiness on which he has set his heart. In other words, he alone can be said to come to true blessedness who, having resolved in his heart to rise to this state of happiness by the many stages of the virtues and good works, receives the help of your grace. No one can rise up by himself as the Lord testifies: No one ascends into heaven, of his own power, except the Son of Man who is in heaven.

Thus he contemplates this journey, living as he does in a vale of tears, for this life is lowly and full of tears and sorrow. The life of heaven, by contrast, is called a mountain of joy.

But since the psalmist said: Blessed is the man whose help comes from you, someone might ask: Does God really help us in this? And the answer is that God does help the blessed. For our lawgiver Christ, who gave us the law, gives now and will continue to give his blessings, the abundant gifts of grace, by which he will bless his own, that is, raise them to beatitude. By these blessings, then, they will rise from strength to strength. One day in the heavenly Zion they will see Christ as the God of gods, as the one who, being God, will deify his own. Or, again, those who are to be the new Zion will see in spirit the God of gods—the Trinity. In other words, then their minds will see God, who cannot be seen in this life. For then God will be all in all.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen