I read a reflection today that was centered around children’s questions about what heaven was like and was there a purgatory. It made me stop and think for a while about what I believe heaven will be like and how we get there.
For believers, the existence of heaven is a very basic belief that is well supported by Jesus’ statements in the Gospels. He compares this beautiful existence with God with feasts and wedding receptions among other comparisons. While I do not claim to have special knowledge of what it will be like in heaven I have some basic thoughts. First and most wonderfully we will be united with God and immersed in God’s love for eternity. How we will spend that eternity I have no idea. For some, especially when reading the Book of Revelation, worshiping God forever in heaven may sound a bit boring but I believe once there and in the presence of God it will not matter and the concept of time will melt away.
We as humans always try to do like Jesus does and relate heaven to experiences that are familiar to our lives. For me, heaven is like those moments when time stands still and you are simply caught up in the present totally. Moments where hours can go by in what seems like minutes. Moments that you are aware of how special they are and you never want them to stop. I can remember some special family meals where I was suddenly aware of how everybody was really getting along and enjoying themselves. There have been many moments in nature with others that make time stand still and I was aware I was in a moment that transcends time and connected me to the universe. If you are like me there are many moments that come to mind and there is one thing they have common, community. Being with other people in these moments makes them even more unique and special.
For me, the most exciting and special thing about heaven will be that we will be reunited in a deeper and pure way with those that we loved. There will be no pretenses or partial love, only full and unconditional love. I also believe that we will be a bit shocked who is in heaven and the sure magnitude of people.
How do we get to heaven? Simply put, loving God and loving others. Does that mean we will be in a perfect state of being to stand face to face with God when we die? Most likely not. After struggling with the concept of purgatory early in my journey into the Catholic Church I finally came to an understanding of this concept. It makes sense that there would be a time of coming to terms with our lives and preparing ourselves to be fully united with God. How long this is I have no idea but believe God will use it for our benefit.
We as disciples of Jesus trust in his many statements about heaven and we truly believe:
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2
Peace, Love, and Blessings