Sunday, 20 July 2008

Heaven (1)

We are required to meditate upon the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell)by our Faith. Indeed, Faith without eschatology is staggeringly one dimensional and of necessity utterly earth bound. It becomes living by the Golden Rule of "Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you", it goes virtually no further. Why then do so many seem reluctant to embrace the Four Last Things? Perhaps, one of the ironies of living surrounded by this suffocating culture of death (abortion, contraception, euthanasia, war & violence) is that we are becoming increasingly blind to the true nature of death and death as God intended.

My musings on Heaven are legitimate but I can in no way claim to have any real insights. My training as a physicist often leads me to think of different possibilities of different worlds with different laws. As someone often in the company of young people who ask me about heaven, it is something I feel I have to meditate on, it can be very hard to sell heaven to teenagers.

My main motivation however was a modern "doom painting" in a convent chapel in S Spain. The nuns had painted it themselves and the heavenly host were all lanky, androgynous types with short cropped hair. Personally, I don't want to be in a heaven where everyone looks like k.d lang in a nightie, it looked like a vision of hell! Am I missing something here?


Our most fruitful meditations on heaven surely come from our relationship with the Eucharist and by meditation on the Transfiguration. It is from these sources that I want to get to grips with questions like: What will our bodies be like in heaven? Will we eat? Will there be animals? What will we do? What will we feel?

I will write more later, but we're off dh's job interview this evening, say one for us..


Tom in Vegas said...

"[W]e are becoming increasingly blind to the true nature of death and death as God intended." This statement is so true.

Father Chris Corbally, the Vice-Director of the Vatican Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, wrote in an email he once sent me (btw, he's also Brit.) that it was possible that the new Heaven and the New Earth could arise as the old earth and the old universe continue. He was just hypothesizing, of coarse, but it does give you an indication of just how dynamic the whole discussion of Heaven can be.

Tom in Vegas said...

Almost forgot, I've prayed for the hubby's successful job interview.

Irene said...

Discussions on this topic always leave me frustrated.

We know that the afterlife is eternal -- which means that there is no time in the afterlife, and all souls are interconnected. This is a condition which simply is beyond both our imagination and our language. St. John did the best he could in Revelation. We probably should just accept what he said, because we really cannot know more until we get there.

MaggieClitheroe said...

Very interesting, I often get worried about Heaven because I can't imagine it - and I'm supposed to be an artist! But yes, some artistic representations do make one think more of Hell! I do have a laugh with my husband sometimes, because he likes the "sweeter" kind of Catholic imagery - sugary Italian stuff - and I get fed up, and tell him I don't want to join the "White nightie brigade" !!!
You are right, we need to meditate more on the 4 Last things.