The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, expounded by St. Paul to the faithful of Corinth, has as its setting the grandiose liturgical ceremony which will follow the terrible day of Judgment. “Eternity, in fact, will begin with a liturgical ceremony of infinite greatness” and the beatific vision will be, for all eternity, the yearned-for reward of the elect.
We will rise again because Christ arose. This doctrine summarizes, in a certain way, the whole of Christianity.
Baptism is the insertion of each one of us into Christ and from the moment in which we enter into the unity of His Life and form with Him only one Body, Mystical and actual at the same time and with the same interest, our condition is bound to His, and that which happened in Him must happen also in us: death, burial, resurrection, ascension and eternal life in God.
The members will have the same destiny as the Head and we could say, strictly speaking, that we have already arisen in Christ Jesus, because His Resurrection is the cause, motive, example and absolute assurance of ours.
Christ did not rise for Himself alone, for His sake, but for all of us. Under the Ancient Law, ripened wheat was offered to God in the name of the whole harvest. The Lord, if He is an individual Being, is also the second Adam, a living Being, Who comprises in Himself the multitude of those who are born of Him and therefore, if He is risen, then all are risen, but each in his own time; Christ, first, and then all of those who are of Christ will rise at His coming. After that, it will be the end.
BEGINNING OF ETERNAL LIFE
It will be the end. The end of the laborious period, during the course of which Our Lord will gather the number of His elect, establish His Reign and destroy His enemies. It could also be called the start of the new life, the fulfillment of the Plan of God with the return to Him of all that we have delivered to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, after having triumphed over all the hostile powers, weakened every authority, and demolished every power hostile to His own, He will bring to God, His Father, all human nature of which He is King, and, having worked only for the Father as a Son, He will again return [to the Father] command over all His conquest. Yes, we know it, all will bow before God in Heaven, upon earth and in Hell; all will be submitted, except for [Christ] Who has submitted to Himself all things.
Eternity will begin with a liturgical ceremony of infinite greatness. The Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, the predestined King, surrounded by Angels and by men born through His grace and living His Life, will place Himself at the head of the army which His Father has given to Him and will guide and lead it towards the eternal sanctuary. Together with them, He will present Himself to His Father and will present and offer to Him the immense harvest of the elect which was germinated from His Blood and He will submit Himself, together with them, to the paternal domination of the One Who gave all and submitted all to Himself. Our Lord Jesus Christ will return to His Father the sceptre and the royalty of creation conquered by Him, which, together with Him, will enter into the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity. The family of God will then be complete and God will be all in all.
GOD IS ALL IN ALL
God is All in all: the expression has something prodigious and wonderful about it… God is not everything to me and I am not in direct relation with Him, there is always tiresome creation between us and I always reach God at the price of a slow and painful journey constantly wrapped in obscurity. My thought does not see God and Faith itself, it hides Him from me. I am not an intelligent being, and I will not be so until God offers Himself as the object of my intelligence which will finally awaken the day He shows Himself to me and unites Himself to my intelligence – so that I am able to know Him. How can this be explained? God will then be in the very depths of my thought, that I may see Him in the depths of my will, that I may possess Him in the depths and in the centre of my heart, that I may love Him. He will then be the beauty that I love and will also be the heart in me that loves beauty. He will be the end and the object of my actions and will also be my beginning.
My union with Christ on earth prepares for this glorious belonging of my soul to God. In eternity, we will enter totally into the life of God, as long as here on earth we are entirely conformed to Christ. This is the fundamental ideal of Christianity: to be with Christ in time, in order to be with God in eternity.
From De Vita Contemplativa – Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy. (Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana)