Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Aquinas's Prayer for the Attainment of Heaven


The theme of heaven, naturally, is nothing new in the Christian prayer life. Even in the most basic prayers, we say things like "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", "Have mercy on us", and "Pray for us sinners". They are, essentially yet implicitly, asking for heaven.

The Angelic Doctor's prayer, however, seems rather bold: he goes one step further and actually makes a list of honest requests. He does not shy away from enumerating specific things he hopes to attain in heaven. I'm sure he does not write it out of selfishness; he simply believes in Jesus's promise in Matthew 7:7 and asks with child-like hope and faith. After all, it is God Himself who planted the seeds of dreams and desires within each one of us.

St. Thomas's description of heaven is refreshing and inspiring, especially in a world where our image of heaven is dominated by fluffy clouds and baby angels playing lyres—a very secular picture! St. Thomas once again reminds us that heaven is not a cute place with pink unicorns and magical bowling alleys, but rather, being face to face with the Creator, a Beatific Vision that grants our entire being the immediate knowledge (in its deepest sense of word) of God, and thus perfectly and fully satisfied with Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. He must have understood that a clear aim is important: any human action that doesn’t keep sight of its goal is bound to fail.

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Prayer for the Attainment of Heaven
[English]

O God of all consolation, you who see in us nothing but your own gifts, I entreat you to give me, at the close of this life, knowledge of the First Truth and enjoyment of your divine majesty.


Most generous Rewarder, give to my body also the beauty of lightsomeness, responsiveness of flesh to spirit, a quick readiness and delicacy, and the gift of unconquerable strength.

And add to these an overflow of riches, a spate of delights, a confluence of all good things, so that I may rejoice in your consolation above me, in a place of lowliness below me, in glorification of body and soul within me, in delight of friends and angels all around me.

Most merciful Father, being with you may my mind attain the enlightenment of wisdom, my desire, the fulfilment of its longing, my courage the praise of triumph.

For where you are is avoidance of all danger, plentitude of dwelling places, harmony of wills.Where you are is the pleasantness of spring, the radiance of summer, the fecundity of autumn, and the repast of winter.

Give, Lord God, life without death, joy without sorrow, that place where reigns sovereign freedom, free security, secure tranquility, delightful happiness, happy eternity, eternal blessedness, the vision of truth and praise, O God.

Amen.
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Doa untuk Mencapai Surga
[Indonesian]

O Allah dari segala penghiburan, Engkau yang melihat dalam diri kami karunia-karunia pemberian-Mu, aku memohon dengan sangat, pada saat ajal kami, anugerahkanlah pengetahuan akan Kebenaran Pertama dan nikmatnya keagungan ilahi-Mu.

Pemberi Ganjaran yang paling murah hati, berikanlah juga kepada tubuhku cahaya yang indah, daging yang tanggap pada roh, kesiapan dan kesigapan, dan karunia kekuatan yang tak terkalahkan.

Dan tambahkanlah juga limpahan kekayaan, luapan kebahagiaan, kumpulan dari segala yang baik, sehingga aku boleh bersukacita akan naunganmu di atasku, akan kematian di bawah kakiku, akan kemuliaan tubuh dan jiwa di dalam diriku, dan akan para sahabat dan malaikat di sekitarku.

Bapa yang penuh belas kasih, bersama Engkau, semoga akal budiku memperoleh terang kebijaksanaan, hasratku memperoleh kepenuhan atas kerinduannya, keberanianku memperoleh madah kemenangannya.

Karena Engkau berada di tempat yang terbebas dari segala marabahaya, yang kaya akan tempat kediaman, yang segala kehendak menemukan keselarasan. Tempat di mana Engkau berada, ia penuh dengan keindahan musim semi, binar musim panas, semarak musim gugur, dan jamuan musim dingin.

Anugerahkanlah, ya Tuhan Allahku, hidup tanpa kematian, sukacita tanpa ratapan, tempat yang dikuasai oleh kebebasan yang berdaulat, keamanan yang merdeka, ketenteraman yang kokoh, kegembiraan yang berseri-seri, kekekalan yang bahagia, kekudusan yang abadi, dan penglihatan akan kebenaran dan keagungan, ya Allah.

Amin.

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Image: "Rosa Celeste", by Gustave Dore.
Paradiso, Canto XXXI: Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven, The Empyrean, from the illustrations to The Divine Comedy (1866).

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