Heaven Is/Will Be Wonderful

What the kingdom of God will be like we cannot even think, let alone say or write. But this I know, that nothing at all will be missing that you would wish to be there, and nothing will be there that you would not wish to be. So there will be no mourning, no weeping or pain, no fear, no sadness, no discord, no envy, no tribulation, no temptation, no variable weather, no overcast skies, no suspicion, no ambition, no adulation, no detraction, no sickness, no old age, no death, no poverty, no darkness, no need to eat, drink or sleep, no tiredness, no weakness.

What good then will be lacking? Where there is no mourning or weeping or pain or sadness, what can there be but perfect joy? Where there is no tribulation or temptation, no variable weather or overcast skies, no excessive heat or harsh winter, what can there be but perfect balance in all things and complete tranquillity of mind and body? Where there is nothing to fear, what can there be but total security? Where there is no discord, no envy, no suspicion or ambition, no adulation or detraction, what can there be but supreme and true love? Where there is no poverty and no covetousness, what can there be but abundance of all good things? Where there is no deformity, what can there be but true beauty? Where there is no toil or weakness, what will there be but utter rest and strength? Where there is nothing heavy or burdensome, what is there but the greatest ease? Where there is no prospect of old age, no fear of disease, what can there be but true health? Where there is neither night nor darkness, what will there be but perfect light? Where all death and mortality have been swallowed up, what will there be but eternal life?

What is there further for us to seek? To be sure, what surpasses all these things, that is the sight, the knowledge and the love of the Creator. He will be seen in himself, he will be seen in all his creatures, ruling everything without anxiety, upholding everything without toil, giving himself and, so to speak, distributing himself to one and all according to their capacity without any lessening or division of himself. That loveable face, so longed for, upon which the angels yearn to gaze, will be seen. Who can say anything of its beauty, of its light, of its sweetness? The Father will be seen in the Son, the Son in the Father, and the Holy Spirit in both. He will be seen not as a confused reflection in a mirror, but face to face. For God will be seen as he is, fulfilling that promise which tells us: ‘Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and show myself to them.’ From this vision will proceed that knowledge of which our Lord says: ‘This is eternal life, that they should know you the one God, and him whom you sent.’ (From A Rule of Life for a Recluse, by Aelred of Rievaulx)

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Those who will have the grace to reign in the kingdom of heaven will see the realisation of everything that they desire in heaven and on earth, and nothing that they do not want will be realised in heaven or on earth. The love which will unite God with those who will live there, and the latter among themselves, will be such that all will love one another as themselves, and all will love God more than themselves.

Hence, no one will have any other desire there than what God wills; and the desire of one will be the desire of all; and the desire of all and of each one will also be the desire of God. All together, and as one single person, will be one sole ruler with God, for all will desire one single thing and their desire will be realised. This is the good that, from the heights of heaven, God declares he will put on sale.

If someone asks at what price, here is the response: the one who offers a kingdom in heaven has no need of earthly money. No one can give God what already belongs to him, since everything that exists is his. Yet God does not give such a great thing unless one attaches value to it; he does not give it to one who does not appreciate it. For no one gives a prized possession to someone who attaches no value to it. Hence, although God has no need of your goods, he will not give you such a great thing as long as you disdain to love it: he requires only love, but without it nothing obliges him to give. Love, then, and you will receive the kingdom. Love, and you will possess it.

And since to reign in heaven is nothing other than to adhere to God and all the saints, through love, in a single will, to the point that all together exercise only one power, love God more than yourself and you will already begin to have what you wish to possess perfectly in heaven. Put yourself at peace with God and with others – if the latter do not separate themselves from God – and you will already begin to reign with God and all the saints. For to the extent that you now conform to the will of God and to that of the others, God and all the saints will concur with your will. Hence, if you want to rule in heaven, love God and others as you should, and you will merit to be what you desire.

However, you will not be able to possess it to perfection unless you empty your heart of every other love. This is why those who fill their hearts with love for God and their neighbour have no other will than that of God – or that of another, provided it is not contrary to God. That is why they are faithful in praying as well as in carrying on a dialogue in their minds with heaven; for it is pleasing to them to desire God and to speak of someone whom they love, to hear that one spoken about, and to think of the beloved. It is also why they rejoice with those who are joyful, weep with those (From A letter of Anselm to Hugh the Recluse)

Source: Celebrating the Seasons, by Robert Atwell

 

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