“Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
“I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”
“Father, I want them to see My Glory, the Glory I had with You before the world began.”
“Now we see as in a mirror dimly, then we shall see face to face.”
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Heaven is real. Heaven is life. God invites us, created and limited, to share in the fullness of His infinite and uncreated being – utter life, fantastic (that is, unbounded) freedom, perfect joy, bliss, truth.
People sometimes ask questions, and then try to answer them, which are inappropriate. The mindset, prevalent in the West, of asking questions and defining and exploring “possibilities” – however well it may do science – is not suited to thinking of God and of the real shape of reality, of His creative relationship with His creatures. Thus, people have asked questions such as, “Can the Blessed in Heaven choose to sin – leave Heaven?” and proposed answers, all of which are, at best, misleading and, at worst, blasphemy. In so many ways, so much is cast in a way which is wrong from start to finish, precluding even the possibility of not thinking wrongly, until we shed that way of thinking, of assuming, of dissecting, of analyzing.
God is life, ever-fresh, ever-new, creative, more than we could ever imagine, endlessly eternal, without change, for He possesses the fullness of truth and life, of love. He invites us into Himself, into life, into love. I believe His very act of creating is such an invitation. We are made for infinite bliss in intimate union with Love, to be fully created. That – infinite bliss that swallows up all that is antagonistic to itself and turns it into greater bliss – is Heaven. God has swallowed up death forever, and made it into life! All that is death in the life we know will be swallowed up and transformed into other as we know it – into life. All that is life in the life we know will remain life, truer and more alive than ever in the transforming, living bliss of creative Divine immutable Love Himself!
Thus, Heaven will not be a state of stagnation. It will not be a state in which we lose our freedom, our volition. Exactly what it will be like to be pure, without sin, to know perfectly the will of God, to be perfectly happy, forever and perfectly free to choose whatever we desire, we probably cannot imagine (how much can we imagine? So often, things turn out to be far different that we had imagined them, and different even than we remembered them). How time and Eternity will meet, so that the Final Completeness and the development and growth of created life will be one and indistinct, and revealed always to be so one, we cannot say. We will not lose personality or uniqueness in Heaven, but have it more truly, be what we were always meant to be and yearned to be, undamaged or marred, but rather aided to perfection, by our lives on earth, even those things which, on earth, seemed to scar and distort who we are. Life will be everywhere, and death nowhere. Restoration will reign, and destruction will be repaired.
Thérèse of the Child Jesus wrote this, while ill with her last illness: “Please say this little prayer for me each day; it sums up all my desires: ‘Merciful Father, in the name of Thy sweet Jesus… I beg Thee to consume my sister with Thy spirit of love, and to grant her the grace to make Thee greatly loved.’ If Our Lord takes me soon to Himself, I ask that you still continue this prayer, because my longing will be the same in Heaven as upon earth: to love Jesus and to make Him loved.” So it is.
We will remain forever a community, one Body whose Head is God the Son, the Incarnate. Perfection in Him will not be denied us. Eternity will not stagnate us, will not freeze us in some kind of imperfection; no growth, no development, which is good or which ought to be, will be denied us. Every good opportunity God, in His Goodness, will provide, both here and on the other side of Death. We will grow in the incomprehensible Love of Christ, which is wider than all width and deeper than all depth and higher than all height, forever and ever! That is what it means to be in Heaven, to be consumed by the perfect bliss of God, to attain the Beatific Vision – to grow forever into the Love which remains forever greater and wider than all we can know, to ever know Him more, to be one with Him, always completely satisfied and always more satisfied.
All that is good on earth will be in Heaven. All that is good will last and be brought to full fruition. Many say these things, even speaking about how in Heaven we will be more alive than we were on earth, yet in such a way, and with such statements about what that means and will be like, as to suggest that we will lose much of what life means. That is not true. All that is good will endure and be brought to fruition. Heaven will be the perfecting of all we know. Nothing will be lost there, neither knowledge nor relationships nor freedom, nor anything that is good.
“And on both sides of the river grows the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit in each season, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.”
Copyright 2020 Raina Nightingale