According to Catholicism do humans have levels of these emotions?

According to the official facts laid out by the Pope and his Magesterium, as God is unending love and joy, does that mean that these emotions can always ‘rise’ in their intensity? For instance, we know the beatific vision is joyous beyond anything to be had or imagined here but in experiencing God would we be loving and happy to this degree because He is many, many, many good things or because our actual ability to enjoy is able to be increased? Water cannot get wetter than water…are emotions the same? Can love be more loving than the best kind of love?

It is important to realise that not every question has been definitively answered in an authoritative way by the Magisterium.

I suspect this is one of the may questions the Magisterium has not attempted to make any binding declarations on.

St. Theresa of Avila, who is a Doctor of the Church, clearly indicates in her works that she perceived the experience of encounter with the Divine, and with the ecstasies which manifested themselves through her mystical experiences, that the capacity of the Human heart & mind to Love and to experience Joy and Sorrow was greatly increased.

I assume from your question that you are fairly inexperienced in the world of “Love”.

Firstly from a Catholic Perspective, Love is not a feeling, it is a verb, it is “Charity”, it is an Act. one which requires dedication and perseverance.

Joy is of course a feeling. and it is certainly possible to feel loved, and to feel a strong desire to care for another person. However the romantic idea of “I want that person”, is a selfish feeling, and does not equate to the christian concept of Love. That feeling is something different.

In terms of a persons capacity to love being able to increase just talk to any parent. they can tell you how the arrival of a baby totally changes you, and your ability to Love that baby bears no relationship to any previous form of love they had ever experienced. That ability then grows with each new baby added to the family.

The experience of Joy which union with God brings is something greater than the simple human mind can contain when in this earthly life. but as a person grows deeper in love and union with God their capacity massively increases if they allow it to.

I hope that helps.

I would recommend reading “The Story of a Soul” and “Interior Castle” if you would like to know more about this type of mystical encounter.


Church teaching is that there are definitely different degrees of blessedness in heaven. (Council of Florence and Council of Trent)

I’m unaware of any Church doctrine that gives some sort of “emotional” analysis of what constitutes the different personal experiences of those in varying levels of blessedness. Don’t know if Aquinas goes into any analysis of such a thing or not. Mostly, I’ve come across the concept that it’s dependent on our capacity to receive. (Eg. Wouldn’t work to send 250 watts of electricity into a bulb capable of receiving nothing more than 60 watts. :slight_smile: )

(I wasn’t absolutely sure if you were talking about those in heaven or those still living on earth. But because you mention the beatific vision I made the presumption you were referring to those in heaven.)

This isn’t about love but the water statement is incorrect. By adding soap to water the hydrogen and oxygen molecules become loose and the water becomes wetter and doesn’t stick to a surface as much.

Haha wish there was a ‘like’ button on this site!

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