If ever there were an occasion to contemplate a single possibility, the deathbed would be it. And yet, at least right now, I am of two minds: I have (in the language of computers) a split screen. Because of the religious worlds I’ve traveled in, I foresee angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. Here are the saints in light, including (who knows?) a Grandma, a mother, a father and a Luis. There are flashes of lightning and peals of thunder. Ten thousand times ten thousand gather before the divine throne. I think of the most solemn of Baroque high masses, with clouds of incense and all my favorite music.
But because I am a child of our age, with a deep suspicion of fantasy’s smokescreen, the other portion of my afterlife screen is a complete blank. Whether all black or all white doesn’t matter: there is absolutely nothing to behold. Lights out. It is finished.
All or nothing? Right now it is a toss up, but at my end I am sure to make some version of Pascal’s wager. In this essay, moreover, I want to go for broke and opt for a single scenario. It won’t be some amalgam of John’s Revelation and Dante’s Paradiso; nor will it be nothing. I’ll refrain from anticipating anything that can be seen whatsoever, except with the eyes of the heart. Instead, I’ll put my life and my death into a single spoken line, which is, in fact, as close as I can come to preparing for the great adventure.
The rest of the article is long but worth reading and can be found here.
Just as beautiful, however, is Andrew’s own, brief reflection on the article. He writes, “For my part, I am absolutely convinced that there is a heaven. And I am just as convinced that I have no idea whatever what it will be like, and deep doubt that I will be worthy of it.”
Those two sentences are an amazing encapsulation of faith and humility – the certainty of the Kingdom to come and the humility to realize he can’t get there on his own. I don’t doubt that this is the kind of heart that pleases God.