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The Most Reliable Understanding of Heaven...

Today our guest blogger is Jim Van Vurst, OFM, coauthor of the popular free e-newsletter A Friar’s E-spirations. To subscribe, click here.

 have never been to heaven and returned to describe it. But God has given us an understanding of what it will be like. Of course, heaven will be infinitely better than anything we can describe. The key element is that love is the central concept that best describes our relationship with God. Therefore the most perfect description of heaven is perfect and eternal union with him. We can best understand God’s love by our loving relationships with each other—imperfect as they yet will be.

We know that heaven is not a place or location. It is, in essence, union with God. This union perfects us as humans, but in spirit. There remain no imperfections and nothing that could detract from that perfect union with God.

If we are all in perfect union with God, then we are all in perfect union with each other. We cannot comprehend that in terms of experience, but it definitely makes sense based on what we know of God and what Jesus has revealed to us. Heaven is perfection—no matter how we look at it. 

Love One Another 

I’ve talked with more than a few Christian fundamentalists. Their concept of heaven could best be described as “union with God—no one else.” Their rationale is that once we have completed our earthly journey, we don’t need anyone else to make us happy. Others would just get in the way and detract from our giving glory to God. Whenever I hear that explanation, I think they have created a rather insecure God who wants all our attention for eternity. It is such a shrunken image of the magnificence of heaven that God has prepared.

John spoke God’s word in a perfect statement that answers the question: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God” (1 Jn 4:7).

Amazing, isn’t it? God is telling us to love one another. We might automatically assume that our most important love should be directed to God. But no! God says that our love must be directed to one another!

And so it would appear that heaven will be union with God and with each other in perfect love. It means that eternity will be the revelation not only of all God’s love and goodness, but also of all that we have meant to each other. It pleases God when we love one another.

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Photo: Sergey Galushko/PhotoXpress

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."