When God touches his soul man learns to see aright. Even if he had all possible possessions in heaven and earth, what would that be? The happiness of mere success, of mere power, of mere wealth, is always an illusory happiness; a glance at the world of today, looking into the tragedies of those powerful and successful people who have sold their souls for wealth, will show us how true this is. For those great fits of despair, against which all the refinements of desire and of its gratification are deployed in vain, do not occur among the poor and the weak but among those people who seem unacquainted with the troubles of life. Everything in heaven and on earth would be empty were it not for God, who has made himself our portion forever. “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”, says the Lord in the Gospel of John (17:3). This is exactly the discovery expressed in Psalm 73. The supplicant sees God and discovers that he needs nothing more, that in his contact with God everything has been granted him, true life. “Nothing in heaven or on earth gives me joy without you, even though my flesh should fail—my happiness is to be in your presence.” Wherever such an encounter takes place, there is eternal life. The dividing line between temporal life and eternal life runs right through the midst of our temporal life. John distinguishes bios, as the passing life of this world, from zoē, as contact with the true life that wells up within us wherever we truly encounter God from within. This is what Jesus is saying in John’s Gospel: “He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he … has passed from death to life” (5:24). The saying from the story of Lazarus runs along the same lines: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25 [emphasis added]). The same experience is expressed in various ways in the letters of Paul, as for instance when Paul the prisoner, in chains, writes to the Philippians: “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He would prefer to be released from the flesh and to be with Christ, but he recognizes that it is more important for him to remain for his congregations (Phil. 1:21–24). “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8).
Ratzinger, J. (2003). God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life. (H. Taylor, Trans., S. O. Horn & V. Pfnür, Eds.) (pp. 139–140). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.