Hope for Eternal Joy

You are created to know God, love God and serve God in this life so as to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Man is created to praise God, reverence God, serve God and by means of this to save his soul.

These concise and clear statements should motivate our thinking, our decisions, and our actions during the whole course of our life. This should be our philosophy of life: heaven. Our life has as its primary purpose to do all we can, at all times, places and circumstances to attain our goal—eternal life in God. May we long for heaven:  “As the deer yearns for the running waters so my soul longs for you my Lord and my God.

What is it Like?

Can we penetrate and plumb the depths of the reality of heaven?  Of course not!  However, we should try. St. Paul gives us a mere glimpse of the reality of heaven with these encouraging words:  “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man the great things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”   It goes beyond human imagination!   Still we should strive, calling to mind the words of St. Anselm: “Faith seeks understanding.”

A Helpful Exercise

This mental exercise could prove extremely useful in our longing for heaven our eternal destiny. Now call to mind the happiest day in your life. Now boil this down to the two happiest hours in your life! Got it?  Now multiply that immense joy that you experienced, maybe just once in your life, a million times over!   Then add to that ETERNITY!   Now “Eternity” is key to understanding the reality of heaven.   Eternity means forever and ever and ever.  St. Augustine says that our life in comparison with eternity is nothing more than a blink of the eye.

I personally can call to mind May 25, 1986. It was a Sunday, the Solemnity of the most Blessed Trinity. The place?  St. Peter’s Basilica!  The occurrence? My ordination to the holy priesthood. The ceremony started at about 9:30 in the morning. The many deacons to be ordained processed in—I was one of them. There was a line of priests, Bishops, and then, finally, Pope John Paul II arrived. During the course of the Mass-Ordination ceremony, Pope John Paul II prayed a prayer over all of us. Then he came down to place his hands on us individually and pray in silence.  He arrived at me and placed his holy hands on my head.  In that ceremony I was ordained as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Peace, joy, happiness, and boundless consolation flooded my soul, newly marked with the indelible character of Holy Orders. St. John Paul II ordained me to the holy Orders of the Priesthood. From then on I have been able to bring Jesus to countless souls through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass giving Holy Communion and reconcile countless souls to His Friendship through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What indescribable joy!

Why not undertake you own exercise now—the happiest day and two hours of your life and compare it to heaven and eternity!

Promise of Jesus

Jesus made several promises to His faithful followers. One was the reality of heaven and His desire to take us to heaven to be with Him and the Father for all eternity. Listen and pray joyfully over these words of immense consolation.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 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? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again to take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”(Jn. 14:1-4)

Carrying the Cross Valiantly and Joyfully

If we know why we are here in this short life and know our final goal and we know the true and everlasting joy of heaven, then that should help us immensely in living out our Baptismal commitment. This should help us to reject the temptations of the devil, the empty promises that the world constantly entices us with, and to strive to dominate the imperious and insistent promptings of our animal nature that we call the flesh.

St. Paul encourages us to lift up our minds and thoughts to the heavenly realm. He also reminds us that the present afflictions that we are going through cannot be compared to the glory that awaits the sons and daughters of God.

Therefore, contemplate on the reality of Heaven. This temporal, earthly, transitory state that we live is so short. Our life is like the flower that raises its head in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down. Our life is like a breath of smoke blown by the wind. Remember once again the expression of the great convert Saint Augustine: “Our life in comparison with eternity is a mere blink of the eye!”

The world promises us temporary pleasure that ends in sadness, confusion and a state desolation. Jesus offers us the cross, but the cross leads to victory. The great Venerable Archbishop Fulton J, Sheen asserted:  “There is no Easter without Good Friday.”  He said there are two philosophies of life: 1) The fast and then the feast; 2) the feast and then the headache!   As followers of Christ, we choose the way of the cross that will lead us definitely to the joys of heaven.

May Our Lady, the Queen of angels, the Queen of Virgins, the Queen of Martyrs, the Queen of the holy Rosary, and the Queen of saints intercede for us so that one day we might be a jewel in her crown so that we can contemplate and adore the Face of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all eternity. Amen.

image: Magdalena Paluchowska / Shutterstock.com

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

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Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

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