The Smoking Priest

What is Heaven?  Without a doubt, Heaven is a place difficult to describe.  We cannot begin to understand it because Heaven belongs to the mystery of faith.

In the Gospels, Jesus speaks of this mystery through images.  He calls it the kingdom, a place of life, light and peace.  He refers to it as a wedding feast, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem and paradise.  St. Paul tells us that “no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).   And St. John tells us that in Heaven “we shall see him as he really is” (1 John 3: 2).

St. Paul’s awe is echoed in the words of a child taking an evening walk with her father. Wonderingly, she looked up at the stars and exclaimed; “Oh, Daddy, if the wrong side of Heaven is so beautiful, what must the right side be!”

Life confined to the boundaries of time and space without the promise of eternal life would be cruel and unbearable to live.  Without the certainty of an eternal paradise, the trials and tribulations of this present life would have no meaning and purpose.

The judgments of time will be corrected by the judgments of eternity.  The injustices of this world will be replaced by the justice of the world to come.  The tears shed now, will be replaced by the joy lived forever in eternal life.

One day each of us will stand before God for judgment.  We will stand before God without a lawyer and without family or friends to support us.  We will stand alone before Almighty God.  Each day could be our last day on earth.

We should ask ourselves each day, if I were to die today, how would God judge me?  Is there any particular sin, attachment, or attitude that might keep me from getting to Heaven?  If we really want to get to Heaven, we can’t be making excuses for our behavior.  Life is not a dress rehearsal.  Life is like a bus ride.  We move forward with our bags packed, hoping that when the bus stops and the door opens, we will be at the right location.

By the way, my new book Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics gives you all of the steps that you need to take to live a happy life here on earth and the steps that you need to take now  to get to Heaven.



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