As we reach the 5th Anniversary of Mother Angelica’s death, I continue to be grateful for Mother’s efforts to stir up within us a desire for heaven. It is much too easy to lose sight of the fact that we are only pilgrims in this world and that what is most important is our relationship with the Lord. Heaven is our true home. Mother Angelica would remind us that “heaven is the fruit of a lifetime of struggle. And the pursuit of heaven begins here on earth with what Christians call holiness” (Answers Not Promises, 241).
If the thought of heaven at times seems boring, Mother suggests: “Think of it from this standpoint: everything you love about your life on earth has been a gift from God. Every grain of it is of His own making, including the making of you! Now if He gave you this life as a testing ground, and clearly stated that heaven was the reward of this testing ground, why would you doubt the reward? Why would God devise an eternal system that, in the end, would only bore you? Don’t you think He has better things to do” (248)?
The experience of heaven will actually be far greater and more joyful than anything we can possibly conceive of in this life, but that should not hold us back from thinking about the joys that await those who die in a state of grace and friendship with God. A reflection from Mother Angelica on some things we can look forward to in heaven might be of assistance in filling our hearts with a greater desire for our true home:
- We will learn why God permitted the trials and illnesses and heartaches of this life.
- We will see the Justice and Mercy of God, as the disadvantages of this life are rewarded by high stations in heaven.
- We will see all our faults and weaknesses fall away from our souls like scales from a fish.
- We will understand the mysteries of nature and the universe.
- We will be able to comprehend truths with ease. Nothing will be difficult.
- We will see the mysteries of God as they continue to unfold.
- We will love and be loved by everyone, and never have any aversion or antipathy toward anyone.
- We will always have something new to do and learn in heaven, something different to be joyful about.
- We will never feel worthless, lonely, slighted, discouraged, depressed, or stupid.
- We will never feel anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, or ambition.
- We will never experience hunger, thirst, or poverty.
- We will never again be afraid (249).
We thank God for the witness of Mother Angelica’s life and her inspiring teachings, and we pray for the grace to have a greater desire for heaven!
– Fr. Patrick Mary, MFVA