Tag Archives: eternity

Traces of Heaven and Hell in the most meaningful and painful experiences of life

What’s Heaven like?

I believe we already know. Well, we’ve inklings of what it’s like in our flesh, in our deepest and most meaningful human experiences.

As far as I’m concerned all the important stuff foreshadows eternity.

So what’s the best thing that ever happened to you?

Most people will say; love… when it’s true of course!

Or they’ll say; my children.

Before the birth of our children we were living – the only life we knew – but it was a life of a much lower quality.

Sometimes at weddings I ask the couple to think of their individual lives before they met.

You can almost see the emptiness registering!

Before meeting they had a life but it was life of a much lower quality.

Before your children you had a life too… but of a different quality altogether. Few want to go back.

The quality of life after the experience of true love or after the birth of your children – the deep and deeper meaning – is a reflection of gaining or stepping-up to the life of Heaven.

The life of Heaven is a step-up in quality again. In fact, it’s the ultimate quality of life.

After death nobody ever wants to come back except the souls in trouble. They want to come back to undo so much but can’t… that’s their suffering.

Imagine if you had to go back to your life before true love or to your life before your children.

Can you imagine it?

Do you ever really get back? Are you not always bereft?

Evening falls over the River Slaney… can you see the path of your life condensed into a single day?

That’s reflecting the soul’s loss of Heaven.

The loss of true love or of a child and it’s impact on the quality of life is actually a reflection of what it’s like for the soul to lose Heaven.

In the most meaningful and painful spaces of our lives we’re always reflecting eternity… glimpsing eternity.

Trust life knowing that it’s Heaven breaking into our small lives.

Twenty Ninth Sunday.

Mark 10:35-45 “You do not know what you are asking… Can you drink the cup that I must drink…”

I can almost hear Jesus: Omg 😱 look at these two. They haven’t a clue what they’re asking.

Jesus could be alluding to the cost to himself of opening Heaven to us.

Remember if you ask God to hug sinful humanity it’s similar to you or I hugging the person who has offended or hurt us. For God it’s a similar emotional, psychological and spiritual experience.

But Jesus could also be alluding to how much it’ll cost James and John themselves.

Remember too that you and I share in the cup that Jesus “must drink” through the Eucharist and we share in the baptism that he is “baptized with” through our baptism.

Sometimes though it’s all just words! But the really chosen souls don’t just share in this cup and baptism sacramentally, at a distance so to speak; they share it in their flesh. It becomes their flesh.

Suffering is never a punishment. Never.

Sometimes suffering is intended to get us off the wrong road.

Sometimes suffering is intended to bring those on the right road even closer to Jesus.

But both have the one aim; to bring us to Heaven.

One point is very clear; entry into eternal life is costly!

There is always some level of suffering.

The suffering that’s part of life, aging, serious illness, bereavement – there’s no need to go looking for it because it’s just part of living – shatters our illusions and breaks down the ego. It puts jealousy, envy, indignation, the need to make our authority felt, all that stuff, the stuff that’s not fit for Heaven in perspective. Remember, envy and all that stuff, so much that’s part of our lives, can’t enter Heaven because it’ll turn Heaven into hell. Suffering breaks all that stuff down. It makes all that stuff irrelevant, unimportant, trivial.

As the years take their toll you’ll often hear it said: It’s easy talk to him or her now!

Life has built-in levelers that conspire to make us fit for Heaven.

We need to be able to trust life, especially all that comes uninvited, knowing that it’s Heaven breaking into our small lives and preparing us for big life, for Heaven, nothing more, nothing less.

The demands of justice never disappear

The demands of justice remain into eternity because they originate in eternity.

Justice brings peace, harmony, calm, stability, balance…

But when justice is contravened there is hurt, discontent, distress, conflict, discord, peace is disturbed and sometimes peace disappears altogether.

It affects individuals and then reaches out into the wider community, sometimes a whole community or society can be disturbed, distressed, unbalanced…

This is how ghettos are created, civil unrest, riots, wars…

Injustice is a horrific reality that many people are forced to live with.

Injustice doesn’t fall on stones, it falls on real people, just think of the victims of crime.

Too often we hear their cries for justice.

When I do not honour justice there’s always somebody paying the price of my decision and my subsequent actions, namely the victim of my actions. From there the distress, the discord, the conflict moves outward and drags in family, friends, neighbours…

Why are we like that? Why is reality like that?

Because we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Because we’re reflecting eternity.

In eternity and in Heaven justice must be placated, satisfied, it never disappears. Where can it disappear to? Somebody is always carrying the demands of justice, always.

So, may I appeal to you, never willingly engage yourself in injustice no matter how insignificant it seems to you because sooner or later you’re going to have to pay the price, and if it’s collective injustice, we’re going to have to pay the price. The demands of justice never disappear, unless of course, some Good Samaritan like Padre Pio, or even Jesus himself pays the demands of justice for you, for us!

But why should they do that for you or for any given generation or generations? Why?

Can we make any sense of our uninvited suffering?

Try to receive your suffering as a privilege, or as the Medugorje visionary Vicka who suffers so much herself has said, as a gift from God.

Try. It’s easer said than done! But it doesn’t have to be something big, it might be nothing more than having to endure several failed attempts to insert a cannula. Or an everyday difficulty.

Don’t waste your suffering as Pope St. John Paul once said.

We struggle to understand this because we do not have a deep connection with the person of Jesus, his life and teaching, and with the true meaning of Christmas and Easter.

We pay more attention now to mindfulness and various other spiritual practices – good in themselves… as far as they go – but we do not have a deep connection with Jesus born of Mary, the son of the living God.

Jesus born of Mary is Heaven torn open, exposed… the mystery revealed, waiting for us to jump in, he is God who came down, lived among us, attempting – and still attempting – to reach us, leaving us a rather detailed understanding of eternity, how it works, what it’s like, what to expect…

We have been formed by divine teaching… but you’d hardly know it. He has revealed so much of the mystery.

He taught us there’s a definitive standard – love – by which we will be judged.

He taught us that within this love there is ultimate justice and judgement.

He taught us that what we do to others we do to him… ouch 😣. Imagine the joy and the sorrow of that! Everything that happens on earth arrives into the heart of God.

He taught us that mercy costs, that forgiving an offense and embracing an offender is painful 😓. On a universal scale he illustrated this on the Cross.

Every time God forgives, the struggle and the suffering of the Cross continues… until the end of time.

Every sin creates a piece of hell on earth.

Every time there’s love – true love – the resurrection continues to happen on earth.

How much sin – offensive hurt – can a person endure before he turns? How much could you endure? Now apply the question to God.

For example, abortion alone – executed as a human right and which the majority have now decided is our choice – is horrendous suffering in the heart of God, beyond all human imagining.

Still, God remains gracious. It is grace beyond all human comprehension – a love so merciful that it astonishes even the angels – that prevents God turning, that prevents the partial and even the complete destruction of the earth 🌍.

At times it is Our Lady who is holding the line which is why she’s repeatedly asking for prayer and sacrifice – help me here! Sacrifice has a similar value to suffering in Heaven – provided each is freely offered.

The earth survives through the pure graciousness of God – but do not underestimate the cost.

When suffering comes our way we are given the opportunity to work intimately with God in the work of salvation, in sharing the burden of saving humankind.

When that suffering is borne or carried out of love for the Saviour – I want to help you Lord because I love you – we’re already well advanced in the communion of saints.

Sadly, for many it’s the deep connection with Jesus that’s missing when suffering comes our way and we’re left “like sheep without a shepherd…”