Over the past few weeks with the Deacon's help we have been going through a series of homilies on the last things: Death, Judgment, Purgatory, Hell. This week and Next week I will spend a few moment reflecting on Heaven.
We have all or at least most of all of us have been bombarded with books about heaven. The most recent is the book entitled Heaven is for Real. I have not read the book. I have read commentaries about the book, though. I have read other books about people having the so called "near death experiences" and describe what they saw and heard in their metaphysical romp through heaven.
It has been fascinating to read. Over the next few weekends I will be reflecting on heaven. The four main resources I will be drawing from is scripture, the Catechism, CS Lewis and Peter Kreeft. None of what I write will be original, besides how can one be original abut heaven. Heaven is the only thing that is original and everything we had or subtract is just a cursory footnote for as scripture points out, "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love him… "1 corinthians 2:9
Psalm 16:11 states pretty clearly, "You will show me the path of life, abounding joy in your presence, the delight at tour right hand forever."
But we hold firmly to the words of Paul his letter to the Colossians, "we give thanks to the Father, who has made us fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light…" Colossians 1:12
Heaven is joy and light.
So we begin.
What difference does heaven make? If something doesn't make a difference then it is a waste. What difference does heaven make? It seems to make a difference between hope and despair or as some say 'chance or the dance.' Does it all go the down the drain or do all the loose threads final get tied together into a perfect tapestry to be revealed?
Heaven is the meaning of earth! Heaven is ultimately about reality. Heaven reveals just how is reality.
Our greatness dépends on the greatness of reality.
Take the sum total of all past and present human experiences, the entire universe, all of time and space and history of matter and mind. Add everything that anyone and everyone has ever experienced, the future possibilities, all creature can or may experience; think about other planets, billion of years and universes. Add all of that together. Ask the question: Is that all there is?
Heaven is the negative answer: no, there is more. This is the reality of heaven.
What we learn here, what we do here we freely create in time the baseline of our eternal identities. We shape our souls here and a dimension of eternity is added to that shape in heaven.
Heaven matters not because we desire it but because it is real. This is the first step in understanding heaven: it is reality, the ground of reality because it points to God.
Heaven is the definitive completeness of our human existence. We finally get to find out what we become. We do not float free like a balloon in a enthusiastic fantasy. We come to know the hidden presence by whose gift we truly live.
Jesus makes space for human existence in the existence of God himself.
Heaven is personal. We will see God in our own proper way because each of us represent an irreplaceable uniqueness a irreplaceable uniqueness that received the love of God.
What will do in heaven?
Heaven isn't so much about doing as it is about being. Normally the first question we ask when we meet someone or are introduced to someone: what do they do? What we do is not as important as who we are. It is an error to think God only wants actions of a particular kind, rather most interested in a people of a particular sort.
We will finally be who we are created to be in heaven!
The beatific vision is dynamic not static, exploring not staring, endless beginnings rather than merely the end.
Religion for us is like the diving board. God is the pool.
What will we possess in heaven?
We will possess nothing and everything all at once.
Will we be free? 90 percent of life we get it backwards. We associate freedom with rebellion, doing things our own way, sticking it to the system or to the man. We even sing songs about doing it my way. We associate obedience with the lack of freedom. Freedom is fully revealed in heaven. We will be free from sin, and it is sin that make sue not ourself. Heaven we will be free to our true selves.
Will we be bored in heaven? We will be with God. God is eternal. We will never come to the end of exploring him. Boredom requires the passing of time and there is no time in heaven. There is no waiting. On earth the only people who are never bored are lovers. God is love. God is a lover. We will be with him. Boredom is not an option.
Next time we will look at a few questions: what will we wear? will we have bodies? Is there sex in heaven? How big is heaven? Are there animals in heaven? Is there music in heaven? Is there humor in heaven?