Helpful distinction from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

"'Eternal life' is not--as the modern reader might immediately assume--life after death, in contrast to this present life, which is transient and not eternal. 'Eternal life' is life itself, real life, which can also be lived in the present age and is no longer challenged by physical death. This is the point: to seize 'life' here and now, real life that can no longer be destroyed by anything or anyone.

This meaning of 'eternal life' appears very clearly in the account of the raising of Lazarus: 'He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die' (Jn 11:25-26). 'Because I live, you will live also', says Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper (Jn 14:19), and he thereby reveals once again that a distinguishing feature of the disciple of Jesus is the fact that he 'lives': beyond the mere fact of existing, he has found and embraced the real life that everyone is seeking. On the basis of such texts, the early Christians called themselves simply 'the living' (hoi zontes). They had found what all are seeking--life itself, full and, hence, indestructible life."

HT Joy


  1. This is beautiful. It reminds me of how Elizabeth of the Trinity affirmed that she lived her heaven on earth - because she was so aware of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Like Br. Lawrence - one can acquire the 'recollection' unceasingly - as Benedict said "'Eternal life' is life itself, real life, which can also be lived in the present age..." Every Communion envelopes us in this reality, and trains us to remain in the same recollection.

    I'm thrilled with this quote. Thanks!

    1. I thought so too. Very Benedict-esque.


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