Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Four Gifts of our Glorified Bodies

In the Second Reading for today (Second Sunday of Advent, Year C), we hear St. Paul say:
“Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the One who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the Day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the Day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ.” – Phil 1:4-6, 8-11
St. Paul talks about growing in knowledge and understanding so that we can become pure and blameless, and so prepare ourselves for the Day of Christ, in which the faithful will reach perfect goodness (the fruit of righteousness) through Christ. As mentioned in my previous blog, this is achieved ultimately in the Beatific Vision, where we are made to be fully like our Lord Jesus Christ because we behold Him as He is (1 Jn 3:2).
As we prepare for the coming of Christ in this Season of Advent, our hearts and minds should be drawn particularly to the final article of the Apostles’ Creed:

“I the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen”

I am busy reading through the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and I happened to be reading through the Catechism’s explanation of this final Article of the Apostles’ Creed, which is certainly worth the read if you have never read it. What I found particularly significant, is the Catechism’s teaching on “What Gifts the Bodies of the Blest shall be adorned after the Resurrection” (see Part I - Question XI).

The Catechism on this point is so profound that I had to share it. There are four gifts principally which our Resurrected bodies will enjoy in Heaven. They are:

1) Impassibility – the gift whereby our glorified bodies will be beyond the reach of suffering any pain or any inconvenience. 

2) Brightness / glory – the gift whereby our glorified bodies will be said to “shine like the sun” (Matt 13:43).

3) Agility – the gift whereby our glorified bodies will be able to go wherever the soul shall please without any hindrance. 

4) Subtility – the gift whereby our bodies will be in complete subjection to the dominion of our souls. 
Of all the above gifts, I’d have to say that my “favourite” is subtility. In our current weak bodies, the flesh and the spirit are at enmity against each other; we want to do good, but we struggle to; we want to avoid sin, but we find ourselves constantly falling (Rom 7:21ff). Or as Our Lord said, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41). With the great gift of subtility, our bodies will be in complete subjection to our souls, which in turn will be in complete subjection to God...and so we will be able to perfectly obey the will of our Heavenly Father.

As if to spur us on, the Lord God has left us examples of these great gifts in Our Lord Jesus and in His Blessed Mother. That is a whole different topic, but it is worth mentioning as something to meditate upon during these days of Advent. If we want to attain to these gifts, let us never cease to ask Our Lord through Mary for them. 

And with these amazing gifts in mind, promised by Our Lord to all those who persevere in faith, may we grow in our love for Him as we await the blessed hope and coming in glory of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.


  1. The Catholic concept of Advent is so profound. We spend the time leading up to the celebration of the Nativity contemplating the Second Coming of Christ in glory. Every year's observance of Advent deepens my longing for His soon return!

    I hadn't read that part of the Catechism - thank you for pointing it out! Impassibility, brightness, agility and subtility are really something to look forward to, all made possible by the Beatific Vision!!

  2. Very good and informative post. I have to say that my favorite of the gifts is agility. The thought of such freedom sounds so wonderful to me, as someone who for several reasons has had limited freedoms. What a glorious gift! I like your blog very much, and have been looking for other Catholic bloggers like you. I have my own site, Journey of a 21st Century Catholic, at If you care to, come and visit and share with me.

  3. Hi Becky

    Thanks for sharing...will definitely have a look at your blog.

    God bless