Reflecting on Luke 20: 27-38
What awaits us after death? Will heaven be so radically different from earth that even the greatest joys of our existence here will fade to nothing once we are in the presence of the Beatific Vision? That image of heaven makes me uneasy.
We cling to this life because it’s all we know. Of course we hold close to the loves and friendships that make our lives so rich and full. Why on earth would we willingly leave them for an eternity of the unknown? The ancient author of the book of Ecclesiastes reflects on this in my favorite passage in all of scripture: God has made everything beautiful in its time, and yet has set eternity in our hearts (3:11).
Yes. We embrace and love this life, and yet we carry a deep intuition that this is not the end, that we are made for eternity, where every tear shall be undone, and death will be no more (Revelation 21:4).
I somehow sense that heaven will be more and more of all the things we built on earth. As C.S. Lewis suggests in The Great Divorce, if we demand to cling to our resentments and pettiness and selfishness, heaven can’t give us more than what we consistently chose throughout our lives. We will flee from heaven because it’s too solid, too real, and too wonderful for us.
But, as the great John Kavanaugh, S.J. wrote: Those who cast themselves into the arms of the living God, no matter what their shame or sorrow, will find what their hearts desired.
I choose to cast myself into those arms, and to trust in the God of the living.
What do you think heaven will be like?