Time and Eternity

The Redemptorist Father Geiermann discusses time and eternity.

Time is the measure of duration. Time began when ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’, and it will terminate with the renovation of the world on the Last Day.”

“The mistakes of the past may be remedied in the present. . . . The priceless value of the present moment is evident when we consider time in relation to man’s final destiny. One moment sanctified by the tears of repentant love will unlock the gates of heaven to the greatest sinner. Every moment spent in God’s service will be a precious jewel in man’s diadem of glory. But even a single moment spent in sin may rob the longest life of its treasures of grace and merit.”

Eternity is the total and perfect possession of an interminable life. As time is the measure of change, so eternity is the measure of permanency. Though this permanency belongs primarily to God, it applies also to the immortality of angels and men.”

“In heaven ‘eternal rest’ emphasizes the security of happiness in this permanence of life. There the human mind will see God face to face, recognizing Him as the one necessary Being, the infinite Truth, the only real Good, and the perfect Beauty. In God man will contemplate the wonder and harmony of His works, and the love, mercy, and justice of His dealings with His creatures. At the same time the human heart will overflow in an ecstasy of delight in the possession of the infinite Good and Beauty, while every other faculty will enjoy the pleasure and security of this interminable life. The pleasures of the elect will be further enhanced by the friendship of all the children of God in the mansions prepared for them from the beginning of the world.”

“In hell, however, ‘eternal misery’ is stamped on the interminable life of the reprobate. There the mind will brood over the vast misfortune of losing God and heaven for ever. . . . Like Dives, the reprobate see the happiness of the blessed, and are consumed with remorse and despair because it will ever be beyond their reach. . . . As the blessed enjoy the variety and intensity of the happiness of heaven according to their merit, so the reprobate will endure the variety and intensity of the pains of hell according to the measure of their sin.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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