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What Is the Internal & External Glory of God?



Dear Mr. Guimarães,

I was just looking in your "Search" section for information on the End Times and came across a letter regarding them to which you gave an edifying response. Reflecting upon your words has inspired me with a hope that has been badly shaken in these terrible times. I will take to heart your recommendation to read St Louis de Montfort and pray his "Fiery Prayer".

In answer to the person with the question this was one of your points:

"1. God created the universe and man within it for His glory. He did not need it for His internal glory, which was already complete and perfect. He only created the universe for His external glory."

Please be so kind as to explain what God's glory is; external and internal. I am ashamed to say that there are many things about the Catholic Faith that I do not understand. I am a convert but I find this is just as prevalent (perhaps even more so) among my friends who were raised as Catholics.

This is the link to the page I am referring to.

    Yours sincerely and with much gratitude,

    D.M.G.
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The Editor responds:

Dear D.M.G.,

I am very glad to know that my previous answer triggered in you hope and inspired you to read the works of St. Louis Grignon de Montfort. It is rewarding for me to receive this news.

Entering the topic of your question: the Catholic doctrine on this subject matter, as far as I know, is that God has perfect intrinsic glory – which, speaking in a simplified way, I had earlier called internal glory. His intrinsic glory is composed of the perfect relationship of the Three Divine Persons among themselves and the glory that each one gives to the other. That is, always forever and ever the Three Persons give, have given and will give to one another the perfect glory. This is a consequence of the fact that God is most perfect. This is what we call intrinsic or internal glory.

God is also absolute, that is, He does not need anyone. He is self-sufficient.

His being and His glory are sufficient for Him to be infinitely happy forever.

Nonetheless, God resolved to create the universe in order to open to others a participation in His Divine Life and a sharing of His eternal happiness. So, this action was motivated by love for those who would accept His offer.

As a consequence, after the creation He made, there is another type of glory that God receives. It is the adoration that rational creatures – angels and men – give to Him, recognizing Him as God. This is what is called the extrinsic glory of God, which in that first answer I simply called exterior glory, in order to make things easier to understand.

So, in brief, God receives two types of glory: the intrinsic glory, which the Divine Persons give to one another; the extrinsic glory, which rational creatures give to Him.

Is this all? There is still another type of extrinsic glory.

It is the glory that other creatures incapable of reasoning give to Him by the simple fact of existing. Since God is perfect, everything He creates bears a reflection of His perfection. The manifestation of this perfection per se glorifies Him.

The whole created universe has an order that in itself is a reflection of God. So, His glory is manifested in the laws that command the maintenance of the universe – the routes of the planets, the balance of the stars, the tides of the oceans, the formation of the winds, the roles of the fires, the irrigation of the waters – as well as in those rules that propitiate the birth, development and death of the living creatures. Everything in creation, in a way or another, manifests the glory of God as the Church sings in the Te Deum Laudamus.

St. Augustine says that the Wisdom and Grandeur of God is as equally manifest in the plan of the entire universe as in the figure of a simple leaf.

A butterfly glorifies God as it flits in the air performing elegant movements, movements that will never be reproduced again. A school of shrimp that swims in the ocean and is hit momentarily by a ray of sun on the waters, making it shine in a particularly beautiful way, glorifies God.

We know that the Angels contemplate these fleeting reflections of God and give glory to Him, but even if the Angels were not there, the simple manifestation of those reflections in irrational beings would give a glory to Him by analogy.

Here you have an idea of what the intrinsic and extrinsic glories of God are. I hope it may help you for the purposes you indicated.

    Cordially,

    Atila S. Guimarães


Posted January 24, 2019

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