Knowledge, we are told, is disclosed to those who are worthy in this present life ‘as in a mirror’ and ‘in a riddle’, but hereafter ‘face to face’. It seems absurd to me not to employ this analogy of other virtues because what has been prepared for in this life will be brought to perfection in the world to come. And chief of all the virtues, according to the divine Word, is love of neighbour. It must be, therefore, that the saints who are already dead love more than ever those what are still struggling in this life, much more indeed than those who try to come to the aid of their weaker brothers and sisters but who are themselves still subject to human weakness. It is not in this life only that the words of Scripture – ‘if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together’ – are operative. It is love that animates the body of Christ beyond this life.
On Prayer by Origen
We had a fascinating discussion about this passage this morning especially with regard to the concept that those who have already died now love more perfectly. It rational once you think about it, but I for one hadn’t thought about it in those terms before, in fact it is quite mind-blowing if you take it to its ultimate conclusion. Even those who in this life didn’t show us the love of Christ now are compelled do so in complete perfectness just by virtue of being in his presence and seeing no longer dimly but face to face.