The Book of Three Dwelling-Places
By Saint Patrick
The knowledge of the blessed. Of the threefold vision: physical, spiritual and intellectual.
Therefore, the society of the angels and the saints, and the presence of God himself, in hand and in sight, as we said earlier, incomparably excels the kingdom of the whole world, even if this world were to last forever.
In the vision of God, three types of knowledge are born: that is, the human who discerns, and God who is discerned, and all the others who will see and will understand everything. For it is just like how a threefold vision is brought to us through a glass mirror, because we see us ourselves, and the mirror itself, and whatever is present. Thus, through the mirror of divine clarity, we will see God himself--as much as this is possible for a creature--and we will see us ourselves, and we will know the other truths and certain knowledge.
At that time, by seeing God, we will see the hidden things of creation and Hell itself. Then, it will be manifest to the just ones how God is invisible, unequalled, without beginning and without end, before all things and after all things. They shall understand the Trinity, whatever is different about God being born, which pertains to the Son, and whatever is different about his procession, which pertains to the Holy Spirit, who is one from a single nature, while proceeding from two other persons. And it will be clear how the Father does not come before the Son or the Holy Spirit in time, but in origin; and how all things of God are one in God, receiving that which pertains to the relation of the Trinity. For the wisdom and truth and eternity of God are not spread out among him, but they are one in all respects: for the wisdom of God is not greater than the truth is, and the truth is not greater than the wisdom, the eternity, or all the other things of God; for they are one in God, and not only these things are the same in God, but they are nothing other than God himself. And it will be revealed how goodness was in God, before it existed in itself, not good, but God; and how God is everywhere without location, how God is great without quantity, and how God is good without quality; and how God penetrates everything that is clean and unclean, without becoming polluted. For if light which is visible can illumine all places and even penetrate manure without smell or without being polluted, then how much more God, who is invisible and unchangeable light, can penetrate all things without any change or pollution? God penetrates all things, rules all things, sustains all things, surrounds all things and illumines all things, not only the things of Heaven and of Earth, but of Hell, as well.
Then, there will be a threefold vision of God for the elect, that is: 1) a physical vision, which will be seen by bodies, some of which will have brilliancy like the sun, some like the moon, and others like the stars. 2) And a spiritual vision, in the spirit, which resembles the physical vision and which will not see false ideas. And further, the spirits of the just take delight in this vision today, from behind the barrier of the body. 3) And an intellectual vision, in the spirit, through which the pure eye of the mind sees God, and God's souls, and the most profound virtues, and angelic spirits. Then, they will give double thanks to God, namely, thanks for their liberation from perpetual damnation and thanks for their reward of ineffable good. Then, all the public criminals and the devil's hosts will be damned in the sight of the elect of God; their damnation and intolerable punishment will stand out as a delectable spectacle to the elect. Then, with the most ardent love, they will love the giver of their liberation and of all good things, and without end and without pride, through the cry of the heart, they will praise God the omnipotent, the benign, and the merciful: to whom are the honor and the glory, both now and through all ages. Amen.