Read this sentence again: the essence of a human being is in participation in the essence of the divine being. Think about what Thomas Aquinas's teaching means to you and for you. In what ways to you particpate in the life of God? In what ways does this participation define your existence as a person?
This is such an interesting quote to me because I believe that life exists in Jesus Christ alone. Those outside of his redemption are not really living - they look like it in a physical sense, but I have a hard time believing that the physical is really the foundation to what life really is. So, to 'be' is really to be a participant in the divine being; those who do not particpate, never really are.
However this has consequnces towards the future (infinity, eternity). It would seem to support the resurgence of the doctrine of limited time in hell, where being burned and and destroyed is equated with a ceasation of existence. I still have a hard time with that, because I am not satisfied with their dealing with scriptures that stand in opposition...which leaves me out there wondering what it really means to 'be'.
Alas...khobi is crying and I will cease to think through this post...