by Fr. Roland Guilman, AA
What are the souls in heaven doing? Are they worshiping God all the time? Are they able to keep an eye on us on earth? —Mateo
Thank you for your question. It’s always good to be reminded of our final destination: spending eternity with God. To help us on this journey, I would like to present two guiding principles that we should keep in mind as we talk of heaven.
1. In his first letter, St. John writes:
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. (1 John 3:2)
In other words, there is no biblical text that reveals everything about heaven. Scripture, however, does provide us with some insights that encourage and guide us in our search.
2. Secondly, we should avoid depicting heaven as a perfect version of this life on earth, without sickness and abounding in good experiences. In heaven we will be in perfect union with God, who is infinite goodness and merciful love. It’s beyond our ability to even imagine how this glorious identification with God and one another will take place. In the meantime, we’re called to trust that God will be faithful to his Word:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so
that where I am you also may be. (John 14:3)
Just because we can’t fully imagine heaven, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. Many saints have written beautifully about this blissful encounter with our Father.
A perfect union
Time does not exist in heaven: There is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow. We will be living in an eternal now. Consequently, we won’t have to worry about being on time or about finding something else to do. Our perfect union with God cannot change. We will be totally absorbed by God.
Some saints have said: “God became man so that man could become God.” This perfect and permanent state means that we won’t get tired of worshipping God. How could we be bored when we are experiencing total happiness?
Heaven doesn’t occupy any space or territory. We won’t have to travel because we will have reached the goal of our human existence, which is perfect union with God. There will be no need for faith because we will see God and no need for hope because we will possess what we hoped for. Only love remains.
In heaven, will we be able to see what is happening to our relatives and friends still on earth? There’s no spy network, of course, but that doesn’t mean that there is no communication at all with them.
Who could ignore the presence of our Blessed Mother Mary who, through the centuries, has shown so much care and concern for our well-being?
I’m also reminded of St. Thérèse of Lisieux who wanted to spend her heaven doing good on earth by letting fall a shower of roses. Her example and that of so many other saints manifest their desire to lead us ever closer to our heavenly Father.
This communion of saints will reach its fulfillment in heaven at the end of the world. But this union already exists. It unites in Christ all those who accept him as Lord and Savior, whether they are in heaven, in purgatory, or on earth.
We can and should avail ourselves of the guidance and strength that the saints offer us. We don’t have to be alone as we strive to live as Jesus taught us. He offers us his help especially through his mystical body. All we have to do is to ask trustingly for what we need, and he will grant it to us.
We should also be ready to be surprised by the Spirit. St. Paul writes of a very special vision he experienced:
What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
We should rejoice that God’s merciful love is preparing a place for us in his kingdom. Let us not hesitate to ask, seek, and knock at the door of heaven, for Jesus is waiting for us with open arms.