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What Will Our Resurrected Bodies Look Like?

Crown Copyright 2013

One of the thousands of graves of British and Commonwealth soldiers at the Tyne Cot cemetery in Belgium.

Msgr. Charles Pope - published on 04/26/15

4. Impassability

We will be immune from death and pain. Scripture states this clearly: The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (1 Cor 15:52-53). And again, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev 21:4). St. Thomas goes on at some length and you can click on the word “impassibility” to read more.

5. Subtlety

Our bodies will be free from the things that restrain them now. Subtlety refers to the capacity of the resurrected body to be completely conformed to the capacities of the soul. St. Thomas says of this quality, The term “subtlety” has been transferred to those bodies which are most perfectly subject to their form, and are most fully perfected thereby. … For just as a subtle thing is said to be penetrative, for the reason that it reaches to the inmost part of a thing, so is an intellect said to be subtle because it reaches to the insight of the intrinsic principles and the hidden natural properties of a thing. In like manner a person is said to have subtle sight, because he is able to perceive by sight things of the smallest size: and the same applies to the other senses. Accordingly people have differed by ascribing subtlety to the glorified bodies in different ways (Summa Suppl. 83.1).

In other words, the body is perfected because the soul is. And the body is now fully conformed to the soul. Currently, in my lowly body, I may wish to be able to go to Vienna in a few moments to hear an opera, but my body cannot pull that off. My body is not able to instantly be somewhere else on the planet. I have to take time and exert effort in order to get there. Jesus, however, could appear and disappear in a room despite closed doors. Before His resurrection, He had tolong physical journeys; now He can simply be where He wants immediately (cf John 19:20, 26). This quality is very closely related to agility, which we consider next.

6. Agility

We will have complete freedom of movement. Our souls will direct our bodies without hindrance. St. Thomas says, The glorified body will be altogether subject to the glorified soul, so that not only will there be nothing in it to resist the will of the spirit. … from the glorified soul there will flow into the body a certain perfection, whereby it will become adapted to that subjection: … Now the soul is united to body not only as its form, but also as its mover; and in both ways the glorified body must be most perfectly subject to the glorified soul. We have already referred to Jesus’ ability, in His glorified body, to be anywhere immediately, without regard to locked doors or other hindrances. Consider, too, these description of the agility of the resurrected body:

1.
As they [on the road to Emmaus] talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them (Luke 24:15).

2. 
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, and he disappeared from their sight (Luke 24:31).

3.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36).

7. Clarity

The glory of our souls will be visible in our bodies. We will be beautiful and radiant. It is written in the Scriptures, The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43). And again, The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds (Wisdom 3:7). And again, The body in sown in dishonor, it shall rise in glory (1 Cor 15:43).

So, rejoice! The Lord is going to take these lowly bodies of ours and change them to conform with His own body. You’re going to upgrade to an improved model to be sure. And in your glorified body you won’t have to take all this time to read a post like this; you’ll just know it.


Msgr. Charles Pope
is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, DC. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and holds Masters degrees in Divinity and in Moral Theology. 
He was ordained in 1989 and named a Monsignor in 2005. He has conducted a weekly Bible Study in Congress and in the White House, for two and four years, respectively.  




Reprinted with the permission of Msgr. Pope. Originally published on his blog on the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

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