Strictly speaking, God alone is not the ultimate end toward which we should direct our lives. That end is integral communal fulfillment in God’s kingdom, which will be a marvelous communion of divine Persons, human persons, and other created persons. Every human member of the kingdom will be richly fulfilled not only in attaining God by beatific vision but in respect to all the fundamental human goods.
When the truth of God as he is in himself falls upon the human intellect, the end is met and all other desires are thrust aside–or so Aquinas claims. Here is the ultimate end, beyond which satisfaction flows over the edges of the soul: God himself.
Grisez disagrees. As Christ, in flesh even while in glory, enjoys God and saints and creation, so we who are transformed into his image enjoy–even desire–these things. So, humanity’s ultimate end is not in God himself, but in God’s kingdom: that communal enjoyment of God and persons and creation. This is integral communal fulfillment.
- Assuming ICF is ultimate–or even penultimate–what must change in the structure and practices of your church to bring the community toward that end?
- What of our enjoyment from and blessing toward God? Persons? Creation?
- How do you live these out in your faith community?
- The many nations gathered around the throne, Revelation 7
- Blessings on the nations through Abraham, Genesis 12
- Links to critiques of Grisez thesis
- Wikipedia on “beatific vision”
- Wikipedia on Aquinas’ view of the goal of human life
- The Original Catholic Encyclopedia on “beatific vision”
- Theopedia on “kingdom of God”