November 24, 2019 Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

HEAVEN

“There is the problem with finding good writing about Heaven: it is impossible to describe it. St. Paul writes that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2:9). We really cannot describe Hell or Purgatory, either, but we certainly find it easy enough to describe the pain and torments that will be inflicted upon the souls there. But we are not as good at describing consummate, lasting and holy pleasure, joy, happiness, contentedness, charity, prayer, or fulfillment.  Where to turn to, then? Plenty of people write about how to get to Heaven but far fewer write about it.” -(Fr Edwin Palka)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:

“Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:

“Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.”

This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,” but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, and their own name.

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.

By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened” heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.

This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision”:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends.

 In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for ever and ever.” -Fr. Keller

Author: editor

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