What is the goal of our life? What is the final end which God wills for us? It is nothing other than the Beatific Vision, the face to face gazing at God. But if the very point of our existence, the very reason that God created us, was so that we could experience the Beatific Vision for the rest of forever when this earthly life has come to a conclusion, then should we not be trying to understand it better? Of course we should be. This leads to the question, do we have any inkling of what the Beatific Vision is?
In the Beatific Vision, man sees God Himself, not a mere image of Him, or some projection of Him, but we see Him as He is. And we see Him, not with our eyes, but with our mind. Our intellects are filled with various ideas, including the thoughts about those whom we love, and yet they in reality stand outside of our mind.
Not so with the Beatific Vision. In this gazing at God, God Himself will be the “idea” in our minds. But whereas before our ideas represented or stood for something outside of our minds, God Himself will be there, not a mere idea of Him! If this seems mind boggling to you, it should, for reflection on the Beatific Vision should leave us in wonder and awe of our Lord and what He has destined for us. Imagine conveying the joys of a rainbow after a thunderstorm to a man blind since birth. How could you explain the color spectrum to him? Such is the Beatific Vision of Heaven for us on a much more immense scale. We know that it is the end for which God called us out of nothingness, forming us in our mothers' wombs, but words, especially my words here, will ultimately fail to satisfactorily describe what we shall be, and what we shall see. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him...” (1 Cor 2:9,RSV-CE).
God, our Creator, does indeed possess the power to personally dwell within us, His creatures' own minds, and this He certainly will do. That is precisely the meaning of the Beatific Vision. In the Beatific vision we shall see God in totality. As Abbot Vonier points out in his masterpiece, The Human Soul, “...the Blessed behold intellectually not only all and every one of God's attributes, but also behold the Trinity of God; in one word; every elect beholds the infinity of God, though he does not behold that infinity with infinite intellectual keenness.”
And this gazing forth at God in the Beatific Vision shall never cease to amaze us, to fill us with happiness, for God is the source of all that our heart desires. All in this life that we have ever enjoyed is actually the enjoyment of God Himself, for He alone is the source of all joy. Peter Kreeft tells us in Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven...But Never Dreamed Of Asking! that “The Beatific Vision is also not boring because it is dynamic rather than static, exploring rather than staring at God, endless beginnings rather than merely the end.”
Nor shall we be outsiders simply witnessing all this wonderment. Father Michael Gaitley points out to us in The 'One Thing' Is Three that Heaven is not equivalent to being a spectator watching a game. Far from it. In Heaven our life will be one of participating in the Holy Trinity's own life and love. We ourselves will enter fully into the outpouring of Love between The Father and The Son, this eternal rush of love being the very person of the Holy Spirit. Heaven is the highest romance, the greatest dance imaginable. The Beatific Vision will be ecstasy without end, for Communion with the Holy Trinity, Our Godhead three in one will involve no intermediary whatsoever, the full light of God who has no beginning or end, but who is our beginning and our final end, will radiate upon us unfiltered, and we shall not be left feeling incomplete and restless, for the one place that our hearts were meant to find repose will at last be found, to our great delight and thrill. God Himself is ceaseless enthrallment. We are to be divinized, we are to enter into communion with the Eternal God, the Triune Communion of Persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in all Their majesty and wonder, in a completely unveiled, undimmed manner. We are to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4) Christ indeed did come to redeem us of our sins, but by so doing, He was opening back up Heaven for us, a fallen race, that we might see God face to face and enter into the everlasting Joy of God. Christ came not only to save us from death and sin, but to save us for the Beatific Vision, to glorify us by drawing us close, so close into His own life in the Holy Trinity that we enter into that very Blessed Communion.
Learning more about the Beatific Vision means that we come to know God and His plans for us better in the here and now, and knowing God more means that we can in turn love Him more, ever deepening our relationship with Him as we prepare our Souls in this life for the life to come. When we reflect on the life to come that God yearns to grant us, we can thereby more fully appreciate the gravity and horror of the reality of Hell, a lifeless afterlife freely chosen by the damned, separated from the vision of God, bereft of the only thing that could ever or would ever satisfy their hearts: God himself.
For this, and nothing less we were created: Everlasting Communion with God, seeing Him as He is. And creatures though we are, God will draw us close, so close that while we will always retain our individuality as persons, we will yet be transformed, and become part of the eternal outpouring of Love of the Holy Trinity. Man was created as the crowning pinnacle of the material universe, and all that God created in the Cosmos was meant to draw us to Him, so that we would ultimately gaze in wonder, in never ending fascination and joy at our God in the Beatific Vision. The Universe exists that we might come to the Beatific Vision. We anticipate the grandeur of the joys of the Vision of God even now, for with the eyes of Faith we rest in the blessed assurance of the tremendous life, the Beatific Vision that awaits us after Earthly Death. In the End, faith will be no more, for God Himself will be seen as He is. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). “Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).