Trust in Him

Monday, May 17, 2010

Destined for Heaven

It was Ascension Thursday morning, and the rays of the sun glittered in the blue sky like many clear pearls. The clouds drifted serenely on their distant travels, seemingly carrying the birds in their soft embrace. Yes, it was beautiful, and it was quiet. Looking out over the cliff, James viewed the world. There were the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the ocean; there were the towns, the horses, the deer, the children... ah yes, this was the world. This is what creation looked like, felt like, smelled like... this is what it meant to be. James sat down softly on his heels, just enjoying the quiet.

In a moment James could perceive a man sitting next to him. He opened his eyes, alarmed at first, then realized it was only aurorem, the name he had chosen for his guardian angel. Unperturbed, he stared out at the expanse of creation before him and asked: "is this it?" Aurorem had a peaceful look, and a gentle smile, that was never contorted by anger. He smiled at James now and set his hand on his shoulder. James held his hands out, palms upward, and stared at them: "when I die, will I no longer have hands?" Sighing, Aurorem took James by the hand and they walked down the mountain together.

The next moment, James realized that he was having a vision. He saw a group of men staring at the sky, where the unmistakable Body of Our Savior was ascending. In a moment Jesus, and the vision, faded away.. but that moment was enough for James to realize that His Body was not left behind. Then Aurorem said:

"The blessing of humanity will not pass away. It is for heaven that you were born, and it is for heaven that you will die. But you will not really die, for you will still have your whole person. You will think, you will feel, you will be. You will know, and you will love. When the Blessed One of heaven came down to earth, He made humanity sacred by donning flesh and blood Himself. He died, but when He rose it was not only in spirit, but in body as well. He is not a ghost to you, but He is perfect humanity. You too shall live with all your humanity after those final days... all that will be missing is evil. It will be the fullness of humanity without the negation of corruption. The He has shown you by dying and rising from the dead, and now ascending body and soul to the right hand of the Father, to prepare a place for you."

As Catholics and Christians, we believe in everlasting life. We believe in eternity after death, and a perfect haven not for the dead, but for those who are reborn in life. But most of all, we believe in Paradise in the presence of God. It will not be unfamiliar to you when I say that the purpose of life is to know, love, and serve God in this world and be happy with Him in the next. But what does this mean to us? How does this affect our lives? How do we perceive eternity while enduring the tedious passing of time?

God has granted us this life on earth in which to serve Him. You may recognize this quote from the bottom of my blog: "Yes, our life is in truth a field of battle. We lament on the banks of the rivers of Babylon. "How can we sing the song of the Lord on alien soil?" Yet sing we must. Our life must be a continual melody. At my death, when I shall see the good God who will shower upon me the tenderest love for all eternity, and when I shall never more be able to give Him proof of mine by sacrifices, this will be impossible for me to bear, if on earth I shall not have done all I could to give Him pleasure." St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Because earth is our method of serving God, and is not all there is, it should ever be treated as just a temporary home. While those things in this world that are forever, the souls of others and the better gifts of God, should always be a priority. Jesus left us an earthly commission to love Him, and bring others to love Him. The importance of love in life is keenly necessary, for this lasts into eternity. While we live on earth as sons and daughters of God, we also live a portion of our heaven... for our immortal souls are just as immortal now as they will be in the life to come.

The life of a religious prophesies eternity. She embraces a mystical marriage with the King of kings, a marriage that embraces all people in the same love that will be present in the next life. She frees herself of attachments to earthly things, attaching herself first to God and then taking simple delight in the things of this world which He has given to her. She does not allow herself to be ruled by the bodily passions that detract from the dignity of her soul, but rather disciplines herself so that her soul may be free to be royal in heaven. While she gives her time to labors and pleasures... she does not allow herself to become so immersed in the materiality and nothingness of world without spirit that the life within her, that life which will bring her through eternity, wilts and dies. Rather, she gives much of her time to prayer and holy things, and lives the rest of the time with holy purpose.

It has been said that love casts out all fear (
John 4), and when love is combined to the heavenly life, this must be true. Whatever sufferings we endure, and whatever evil besets us, we know will pass away. While we may be afraid in our guilt, or we may be afraid in our pain, if we love then our guilt is replaced by mercy and our pain ceases to be oppression, but rather a burden freely born. Perhaps we doubt eternity, we doubt that everything is anything, and are afraid of nothingness... but if there is love, then there is a substantial pedestal great enough for everything to stand on, for God is love. We should not be afraid of poverty, for if we love, we possess God, Who is everything. Where there is love, there will always be joy, even in the deepest sorrows.

Remember as you seek your vocation, remember when you find yourself impatient and afraid, remember when you are beset by doubts and temptations that this life is short and heaven is already at hand. Whenever we love, and act in this love, we are already living our eternity with Christ. For this is the little bit of heaven that we bring with us, and this is the little bit of Divinity that has been given to us. We are not doomed to emptiness during our lives, but instead we are already partaking of fullness. All we must do is identify where this fullness is found, and seek it with our lives. The road to sainthood is clearly shown by one great landmark, and that landmark is love. The world we live in and the person we are have been made sacred by the hands of God, and shall not pass away, but will accompany us to the sanctity and perfections of heaven at the end of time and the beginning of eternity.

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