I wonder if you know the lyrics of this children’s song: “Heaven is a wonderful place / filled with glory and grace / I wanna see my Savior’s face / cause heaven is a wonderful place / I want to go there.” The song has a very catchy melody, so if you know it, there’s a good chance you’ll be humming it on and off all day.
There’s such a great sense of hope for heaven in that song. So much so that when I was leading a Eucharistic service at the correctional institution where I was a weekly volunteer before the pandemic, I would often sing it with the women. For a few moments, I would see smiles appearing on the faces of women who more often looked solemn or distracted.
I remember how one Sunday, LaSchell said to me with tears in her eyes, “I don’t know if I’ll get there.” She was wondering if her good deeds would outweigh her sins. I tried to comfort her by saying that through her baptism and Jesus’ mercy and grace, she could live with the sure hope of seeing Jesus face-to-face one day.
Think of the Things Above
These days the women spend more time restricted to their cells because of COVID-19. I pray that they can use this time to “think of what is above, not of what is on earth” (Colossians 3:2). I want them to remember that being with God for all eternity is what they were created for. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (1024).
I’ve been reflecting more often these days about heaven while I’m at Mass, even if I am just watching it online. When the Gloria is prayed, I imagine all the saints and angels worshipping and praising the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the priest offers the precious Body and Blood of Jesus to the Father, I try to picture God seated on his throne in the beauty of his holiness and perfection, extending his hands to receive this wondrous gift. When it’s time for the Lord’s Prayer, I especially dwell on the phrases “Our Father who art in heaven” and “Thy kingdom come,” and I pray that the Father’s heavenly kingdom of love, goodness, and power would come to every corner of the earth.
Another way I’ve been reflecting on heaven is by praying the glorious mysteries of the Rosary. How comforting it is to remember that our Mother Mary, the Queen of Heaven, holds us and all of our intentions close to her heart! I love what Dennis, an inmate in Illinois, wrote to me: “Saying a daily Rosary is like a ladder of hope. Interceding with Mary has been a powerful weapon for me against despair.” I can just imagine Dennis, accompanied by his heavenly Mother, climbing up rung by rung of each decade of the Rosary into his Father’s presence and experiencing his peace.
A Future of Hope
I believe that the Father is saying to all of us, “Keep thinking about your glorious eternal home.” I’d like to suggest that if you do this at least a few times every day, your faith and peace will deepen. You’ll become more thankful for your true identity as God’s daughter or son. You’ll also be greatly comforted as the Holy Spirit reveals to you more about heaven, especially in those times when you are suffering here on earth.
In heaven, there won’t be viruses, poverty, wars, racial injustice, or conflict of any kind. No one will ever be sick, sad, or lonely. Instead, together we will experience continuous worship, adoration, and praise of God as well as perpetual joy in his presence. May we all look with eager longing for that day!