I have read different anecdotes from saints - I have in mind St Therese of Liseaux and St Padre Pio - and from Fatima, that would suggest that Jesus experiences pain & suffering even in his present glorified state, because of the wickedness of men. Likewise, such at Fatima (I think it was Fatima but maybe it was also Lourdes) Mary shows herself covered in thorns and bleeding because of the lack of devotion that men give to her.
Is the current state that Jesus is in, in Heaven, not yet the final Beatific Vision that comes at the end of the world? Because otherwise how could Jesus & Mary (and presumably others) feel pain? Or are these signs not meant to be taken literally?
This is a difficult topic for me, and perhaps there is no absolutely certain answer. If anybody has some light to shed on this, please share.
Most of those apparitions and visions include explicit explanations that “this is a sign of how much your behavior offends God” or “this is the kind of stuff that sin tries to do, so unless you’re some kind of psycho who loves causing pain, you should straighten up and try not to sin so much.”
(Well, okay, maybe not that last bit…)
Sin “offends God,” which is to say that it is an attempted blow against God. God isn’t hurt by sin, and God the Father has never felt pain or emotion in the same sense that we do. But the attempted injury to God is a real attempt, however futile, and people need to understand that.
The saints in Heaven do have emotions. Although they are in bliss and cannot suffer or feel sad, they still realize the badness of these attempted blows against God.
The things seen in visions are supposed to teach us things like principles, not necessarily be documentaries of what is actually happening in Heaven. In many cases they are visual parables.
There is a difference between suffering from physical pain and having “pain of the heart.”
Scripture testifies that the resurrected, glorified body cannot experience corruption. Physical pain is a neurological signal that tells the body that corruption is occurring on one level or another, so in this sense the glorified body of Jesus does not experience pain.–1 Corinthians 15:42.
Can God love from Heaven? Of course! Being eternal God has always had and will always have the “heart” to love, in the respect that the “heart” is the symbolic seat of emotion.
But the events that play out in history do not occur in “real time” for God, since God transcends time. Past, present, and future are all transcended by God and therefore they are all present to God simultaneously in a manner we cannot fully comprehend. So when we offend God, it is not as if we pull God from the Divine eternal state to lower God to the mundane experience of linear time to force God to experience and “feel” the pain of sorrow from offense. That is not what is really happening from the transcending standpoint of God.
Just as the human heart is not scientifically the seat of emotions (as the Father and Holy Spirit do not have human hearts, yet they are reported to experience joy and offense in Scripture), the explanation that Jesus feels sorrow from our offenses is somewhere along the lines of literal yet figurative.
We cannot explain all about God anymore than human logic can comprehend the depths of mystery that is the Most Holy Trinity. Sometimes it is enough to have faith that God is so personally involved with us that God experiences the sorrow and disappointment that comes from seeing us, his own children, offend him in sin. This should also assure us of the opposite, that God rejoices when we are faithful.
There is no question that God experiences any of this, but there is no way to describe how this actually happens or precisely fits in with everything else we know from the Deposit of Faith. As with the time for the coming of the Kingdom of God, having some answers to certain things does not belong to mortals to know. (Acts 1:6-7) That is why faith is so important. We get glimpses of God by means of revelation, but much we have to accept by faith because modesty dictates that humans cannot fully grasp the Grand Mystery that is our God.