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Summa Theologica
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Whether the damned see the glory of the blessed?

Objection 1: It would seem that the damned do not see the glory of the blessed. For they are more distant from the glory of the blessed than from the happenings of this world. But they do not see what happens in regard to us: hence Gregory commenting on Job 14:21, "Whether his children come to honor," etc. says (Moral. xii): "Even as those who still live know not in what place are the souls of the dead; so the dead who have lived in the body know not the things which regard the life of those who are in the flesh." Much less, therefore, can they see the glory of the blessed.

Objection 2: Further, that which is granted as a great favor to the saints in this life is never granted to the damned. Now it was granted as a great favor to Paul to see the life in which the saints live for ever with God (2 Cor. 12). Therefore the damned will not see the glory of the saints.

On the contrary, It is stated (Lk. 16:23) that the rich man in the midst of his torments "saw Abraham . . . and Lazarus in his bosom."

I answer that, The damned, before the judgment day, will see the blessed in glory, in such a way as to know, not what that glory is like, but only that they are in a state of glory that surpasses all thought. This will trouble them, both because they will, through envy, grieve for their happiness, and because they have forfeited that glory. Hence it is written (Wis. 5:2) concerning the wicked: "Seeing it" they "shall be troubled with terrible fear." After the judgment day, however, they will be altogether deprived of seeing the blessed: nor will this lessen their punishment, but will increase it; because they will bear in remembrance the glory of the blessed which they saw at or before the judgment: and this will torment them. Moreover they will be tormented by finding themselves deemed unworthy even to see the glory which the saints merit to have.

Reply to Objection 1: The happenings of this life would not, if seen, torment the damned in hell as the sight of the glory of the saints; wherefore the things which happen here are not shown to the damned in the same way as the saints' glory; although also of the things that happen here those are shown to them which are capable of causing them sorrow.

Reply to Objection 2: Paul looked upon that life wherein the saints live with God [*Cf. SS, Q[185], A[3], ad 2], by actual experience thereof and by hoping to have it more perfectly in the life to come. Not so the damned; wherefore the comparison fails.

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