Eternal Life!

John 17:3
And this is eternal life, that they know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

Many modern people, when they speak of “eternal life” really mean something more like “continuing life.”  That is, they have the notion that heavenly life is pretty much just earthly life stretched out for millions upon millions of weary years.  Not surprisingly they have more than half a mind that Heaven might be nice, but it will certainly be boring.  All the drama seems to be going on in Hell, what with all the screaming and flames and pitchforks.  Sure it would be a painful place, they think, but at least it would be interesting.  Heaven mostly sounds like puffy clouds, harps and blissed-out smiles.  In reality, this is to get things exactly backwards.  In Hell, people have lost the use of the intellect as much as all the other gifts God gave them.  They have, says Dorothy L. Sayers, nothing to do or think about and all eternity in which to do it.  In Heaven, those who have eternal life have not merely everlasting life, but a whole new kind of life: the ecstatic life of the Blessed Trinity Himself coursing in their veins.  Eternal life does not merely last forever, it transforms us into glorious creatures whose life is a small image of the God Man Jesus Himself in all His joy and power.  It is every peak experience, every Christmas morning, every first kiss in the world, every child’s joy at the sound of the surf, every Easter trumpet ever sounded, all rolled up into one.  When we get there we will smack our foreheads and say (before running into the heart of our joy), “How could I have ever thought this would be dull?”

Mark Shea

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Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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