Stewards of Heavenly Visions!
No one really knows what heaven is like. However, the Jewish and Christian traditions are all about living beyond this life. When we attempt to envision heaven, we must use the language and the experiences that we do know, inadequate as they are.
On this most sacred and holy “ween”, we plunge into the last month of the liturgical year. November is the month that we honor the dead. Actually, we celebrate the dead. Holy Evening (Halloween) is simply like celebrating Christmas Eve…We just can’t wait to get there!
“There”, is a place of love. “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.” (Saint John’s First Letter 3:1-3)
The first day of November is a celebration of ALL SAINTS, those who are in the Heavenly Vision. The second day of November is a celebration of ALL SOULS, those loved ones who are in the Heavenly Vision. And yes, there are animals in heaven!
This world that we live in is simply a reflection of heaven, God’s love.
There are 12 months of the year and 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. The four seasons dance like the 4 flying creatures encircling the throne of God. “Dance, dance, wherever you may be. I am the Lord of the dance said He. I’ll lead you all wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the dance said He.”
We spend about 40 weeks in our mother’s womb. Every 7 days we Catholics come to feast on the Lamb of God. In a way, the lion lays down with the lamb. The doe yearns for running streams. God raises us up on eagles’ wings. What I am attempting to say is that Heaven is in harmony with our Mother Earth. Earth is like our womb. Something most amazing and incomprehensible is happening. We are being birthed into Heaven. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it even dawned on us what God has prepared for those who love him.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.”
Beloved, when John uses the inadequate words to describe heaven in the Book of Revelation, we sometimes think it is static and boring. But Saint John is only and basically giving us a simple picture. This snapshot is awesome and filled with animals. But it is only a snapshot. It is like when we see a picture in a brochure of a beautiful place we are preparing to go on vacation to for the first time. We dream of going to this Paradise, but once we go through all the struggles to save up money and time to go there, the place is living and more beautiful than we could ever imagine by looking at the picture.
All of our senses; taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch make all the difference. Within the human being there is the “6th” sense that people have a hard time explaining or recognizing. This is like when we sense that a loved one has died when we are hundreds or thousands of miles away. It happened to me this week when Sister Josephine O’Leary died at 1:30 AM in Ireland. That night I couldn’t sleep and felt very restless in my bed. Sister Patricia called me later that day to tell me that she died peacefully with a smile on her face. What did she see? We had just visited her last May. She was and is a wonderful soul who served as a teacher and principle of Sacred Heart School for over 45 years. The last 3 years have been a struggle after Sister Regina died. The “6th” sense leads to the “7th” sense.
The 7th sense is life like you have never imagined. It is like an eternal vacation in the most beautiful and spectacular scenery in which we comprehend more and more like an infant who becomes more and more aware of the earth until she becomes an adult.
And so now I invite you to read the book of Revelation as a picture in a travel magazine. We cannot understand or comprehend it until the day we actually travel to our place of desire. And o, and please notice the animals in heaven!
A Picture of Heaven:
After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the lamb.”
All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed:
“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
Beloved, have a most wonderful November. Explore all of your “7” senses!
Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses+