St John's Q&A

Friday, August 18, 2006

What is Heaven like?

Friday night Adoration: All are invited to spend at least a few minutes with Jesus in the Eucharist tonight in the SAA Church from 7-8 pm.
To continue our recent discussion about Judgement, here are some of the notes I use when I give my talk about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. I've posted the notes on Hell (8/11, 8/14). Here are half of my notes on Heaven; I'll post the other half in the next few days, and then Purgatory. Hope it helps!

1. Does Heaven exist?

Gen 1:1 "In the beginning, God created heaven and earth" (Heaven is as real as earth)
Exodus 16: manna – "bread from heaven"
Mt 3: 16-17: – "And suddenly there was a voice from heaven…this is my beloved son"
Jn 1:33 – "I saw the spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him"

Jesus refers to Heaven about 170 times in the Gospels
(Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, Kingdom of God, Life, and Eternal Life)
-"how blessed are the poor in spirit: the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs" (Mt 5:3)
-"there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance" (Lk 15:7)

St. Paul
"God…gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6)

Acts of the Apostles
"This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way as you have seen him go to heaven" (1:11)

Revelation: "Then, in my vision, I saw a door open in heaven" (4:1)
" Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth
" (21:1)

Early Church
St Cyprian (3rd cent.) "to delight in the joy of immortality in the kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends

Magisterium of the Church
Pope Benedict XII (1336): "According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints…have been, are, and will be in heaven, in the heavenly kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ" (Benedictus Deus)

2. What is Heaven like?

Kingdom of heaven is like:
- " a buried treasure"
- "a great pearl" (Mt 13:44-46)
- "a wedding feast" (Mt 22:1; Mt 25:1); "wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7)

- "the upright will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father" (Mt 13:43)
- whatever we sacrifice for Christ in this life, we will receive " a hundred times as much…now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life" (Mk 10:30-31)

St. Paul
"what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9)

St. John
"see him as he really is" (1 Jn 3:2)

Revelation: 21: 1-4

Saints / doctors of the Church
St Catherine of Siena:"The indescribable sweetness of this perfect union cannot be told by tongue, which is but a finite thing"

St John of the Cross: " Were (the soul) to have but a foreglimpse of the height and beauty of God, she would not only desire death in order to see him now forever, as she here desires, but she would very gladly undergo a thousand singularly bitter deaths to see Him only for a moment"

Magisterium of the Church
- "perfect life with the most Holy Trinity – this consummation of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1024)
- "Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness" (CCC, # 1024)


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