Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
THURSDAY, May 6th Jn. 15: 9-11 “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”
HOPE FOR ETERNAL JOY by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
You are created to know God, love God, and serve God in this life so as to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Saint Ignatius of Loyola states:
These concise and clear statements should motivate our thinking, our decisions, and our actions during the whole course of our life. This should be our philosophy of life: Heaven. Our life has as its primary purpose to do all that we can, at all times and in all places and all circumstances to attain our goal—eternal life in heaven with God. May we long for heaven: “As the deer yearns for running waters, so my soul longs for you, O my God.” (Ps. 42:1)
What is it Like?
Can we penetrate and plumb the depths of the reality of heaven? Of course not! However, we should try. Saint Paul gives us a mere glimpse of the reality of heaven with these encouraging words: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man the great things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Cor. 2:9) It goes beyond human imagination! Still we should strive, calling to mind the words of Saint Anselm: “Faith seeks understanding.”
A Helpful Exercise
This mental exercise could prove extremely useful in your longing for heaven, your eternal destiny. Call to mind the happiest day in your life. Now boil this down to the two happiest hours in your life! Got it? Now multiply that immense joy that you experienced, maybe just once in your life, a million times over! Then add to that ETERNITY! Now “Eternity” is key to understanding the reality of heaven. Eternity means forever and ever and ever. Saint Augustine says that our life in comparison with eternity is nothing more than a blink of the eye.
I personally can call to mind May 25, 1986. It was a Sunday, the Solemnity of the most Blessed Trinity. The place? St. Peter’s Basilica! The occasion? My ordination to the holy priesthood. The ceremony started at about 9:30 in the morning. The many deacons to be ordained processed in—I was one of them. There was a line of priests, Bishops, and then, finally, Saint Pope John Paul II arrived. During the course of the Mass-Ordination ceremony, Saint Pope John Paul II prayed a prayer over us. Then he came down to place his hands on each one of us individually and pray in silence. He arrived at me and placed his holy hands on my head. In that ceremony I was ordained as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Peace, joy, happiness, and boundless consolation flooded my soul, newly marked with the indelible character of Holy Orders. Saint Pope John Paul II ordained me to the holy Orders of the Priesthood. From then on, I have been able to bring Jesus to countless souls through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass giving Holy Communion, and through reconciling countless souls to His Friendship through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What indescribable joy!
Why not undertake your own exercise now—think of the happiest day, the happiest two hours of your life, and compare that to heaven and eternity!
Promise of Jesus
Jesus made several promises to His faithful followers. One was the reality of heaven and His desire to take us to heaven to be with Him and the Father for all eternity. Listen and pray joyfully over these words of immense consolation.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again to take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (Jn. 14:1-4)
Carrying the Cross Valiantly and Joyfully
If we know why we are here in this short life, we know our final goal is the true and everlasting joy of heaven, this should help us immensely in living out our Baptismal commitment. This should help us reject the temptations of the devil, reject the empty promises the world constantly entices us with, and particularly strive to dominate the imperious and insistent promptings of our animal nature that we call the flesh.
Saint Paul encourages us to lift up our minds and thoughts to the heavenly realm. He also reminds us that these present afflictions we are going through cannot be compared to the glory that awaits the sons and daughters of God in heaven!
Therefore, contemplate the reality of Heaven every day! This temporal, transitory, earthly state that we live in is so short. Our life is like the flower that raises its head in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down. Our life is like a breath of smoke blown by the wind. Remember once again the expression of the great convert Saint Augustine: “Our life in comparison with eternity is a mere blink of the eye!”
The world promises us temporary pleasure that ends in sadness, confusion and a state desolation. Jesus offers us the cross, but the cross leads us to victory! The great Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen asserted: “There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.” He said there are two philosophies of life: Either the fast, then the feast; or the feast, then the headache! As followers of Christ, we choose the way of the cross that will lead us to the joys of heaven!
May Our Lady, the Queen of angels, the Queen of Virgins, the Queen of Martyrs, the Queen of the holy Rosary, and the Queen of saints intercede for us so that one day we might be a jewel in Mary’s crown, so that we can contemplate and adore the Face of the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all eternity. Amen.