Who are the Blessed?

The beatific vision is a gift of grace given by God where He reveals Himself through intuitive knowledge of His divine essence (Catholic Dictionary). Blessedness is associated with having the beatific vision. Blessedness is planted in the hearts of all human persons. “It is wonderful, however, since the will to obtain and retain blessedness is one in all” (de Trinitate XIII, iv).

To be blessed, one must will what God wills, knowing God, and knowing that God is good. “Therefore he only is a blessed man, who both has all things which he wills, and wills nothing ill” (de Trinitate XIII, v). Unfortunately, when human people cannot have both their own will and God’s will, they tend to prefer their own will over God’s will. “When they cannot have both, men choose, out of these two, to have all things that they will, rather than to will all things well” (de Trinitate XIII, vi).

Those who are blessed rejoice and desire all that is good, right, and true. The blessed do not desire evil; however, even in the midst of suffering or evil they are given the grace to persevere in desiring only what is good. “Who follows diligently, and attains as much as he can, with a prudent, temperate, courageous, and right mind, such good things as are possible in the present miserable life; so as to be good even in evils, and when all evils have been put an end to, and all good things fulfilled, then to be blessed” (de Trinitate XIII, vi).

This ability to persevere through evil and suffering is given to the blessed through the grace-filled virtue of hope. “For he expects, through patience, a blessedness which he does not yet grasp. Whereas he, on the other hand, who is tormented without any such hope, without any such reward, let him use as much endurance as he pleases, is not truly blessed, but bravely miserable” (de Trinitate XIII, vii). The blessed will willingly bear all suffering patiently. Suffering often entails enduring everything that they are unwilling should have happen to them. By bearing such unwanted suffering patiently, the gift of God’s grace is manifested through them.

In order to endure such suffering, the blessed must live completely immersed in the reality of eternal life. The gift of faith that assures the blessed of immortality is what sustains hope in the midst of suffering. “As, therefore, all men will to be blessed, certainly, if they will truly, they will also to be immortal; for otherwise they could not be blessed” (de Trinitate XIII, viii). No one becomes blessed against one’s will because God will not force His love upon anyone. The life of the blessed is a life that is treasured more for its sufferings than for its successes because it is through suffering that eternal virtues are grown whereas successes are only temporal.



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