Here is the quote:
460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:78 ”For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 ”For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 ”The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”81
I am going crazy, because I have looked at this question somewhere on my blog, but I have been looking for an hour and cannot find what I wrote in the 5,000 plus posts that I have put up. Arrrggh!
Oh well, the Lord had you write me so that I could answer this question all over again, so I think it is an important question and an important answer.
In the Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches, entering God’s life and taking on the image of Christ in glory, is not something that begins to happen in heaven. Already, on earth, the Christian who grows in holiness is absorbed already into a heavenly, godly, divine life and becomes “divine” in a certain sense. This is called “theosis.”
In the Catholicism of the Latin Church, this new life of being god-like is called “divinization.” But the term that Jesus “makes men gods” has to be understood carefully, and not in the Mormon sense that someday you will be a God in your own universe. Rather, “becoming gods” for the Catholic means being transformed and elevated in our spirits by the supernatural life first given in baptism.
Becoming Christian, and being joined to Christ, is not just a change, for a Catholic. It is not just like joining a club. It is like getting that weird spider bite that made Peter Parker into Spider-Man. It is like that dose of radiation that helps Dr. Bruce Banner turn into the Incredible Hulk. The Bible says that after baptism, a person is never the same, but raised up and elevated to the dignity of a son or daughter of God, a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Supernaturalization, or divinization of the human soul is not superficial and worldly. It is more sublime and radical than if an ant were transformed into a human being. By this transformation into heavenly glory already here on earth, the soul is marked indelibly with the holiness of Christ so that when the Father sees us, He sees Christ in us.
Human flesh of itself is not worthy or capable of holiness and the supernatural life of the holy Trinity. God must enter the soul and completely infuse a radical change (grace) in the core and inner being of a person. This is what theosis or divinization is about. Divinization means you are capable of union with God, as if you become an angel of light. You may not feel this way, but this is what you are as a baptized Christian.
You are not literally being turned into a god, because only God is God, but you are being changed into a supernatural being whose inner life is heavenly and spiritual. You are “god-like”, with a life not of this world:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Divinization or theosis is helped by entering into the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church. When Christians celebrate the sacramental life, they are joined to God when God takes their flesh, their human life and nature. They are crucified when their Savior is crucified in the liturgy of the passion of Christ. And when the Savior rises and is exalted in the liturgy, His faithful rise with Him and take their place before the throne of God, for through the Mass, Jesus pulls us into heaven.
Dying and entering the life of heaven is the final crown of divinization, because we finally embrace and walk into the Light that on earth we could only grasp by way of anticipation in the liturgy.
I know this sounds very heady and theological. I don’t know if it makes sense. But that is what #460 of the Catechism is saying. Yes, we become “gods” not in the literal sense of being equal to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, but in the spiritual sense of being absorbed by God into His supernatural life and becoming creatures of glory and light, while still here on earth. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel
Thank you Fr. Angel — Your answer gave me a great foundation on how to read this!