Aquinas says (forgive me; I can’t remember exactly where but I believe it was in the Summa Contra Gentiles) that Christ, in His human nature, was both a viator- that is, one who is capable of merit- and a comprehensor- one who possesses the Beatific Vision. Now, in Heaven, the Beatific Vision makes it impossible to experience pain; however, it is of faith that Christ suffered during His earthly life. How can we maintain that all those that see God are perfectly happy, that Christ as Man was a comprehensor before his Resurrection, and that the Passion was meaningfully real?
This is a very interesting question, Jimmy. We know of the tears Mary sheds at times during apparitions. I don’t know, I’m just taking an initial stab at the question here, but there are different types of pain. Pain experienced apart from God, and pain experienced in cooperation with God. The latter I think can be wrapped into the joy of the beatific vision much the same way as the pain of a mother during child birth is all part of the experience of that union.
Hmmm…you may be onto something. The childbirth analogy is a good one, and the notion of pain in cooperation with God seems especially appropriate in this case. I think that this response sheds some light on the subject…thank you.