Theresa Thomas
Everyday Catholic
April 4, 2018 // Perspective

A reflection on heaven

Theresa Thomas
Everyday Catholic

Every person in the world who has ever been created not only has individual physical, emotional and psychological features, but also has a unique soul. Have you ever thought about dying and going to heaven, and realized that you will take your personality with you? There aren’t just a bunch of boring, same-personality duds in heaven, you know.

In heaven there will be pondering, educated thinkers (St. Augustine), simple sweet contemplatives (“Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude” — St. Thérèse, the Little Flower). There will be elegant, energetic wonder women who were stewards of great wealth and position while on earth (St. Margaret of Scotland), and generous, gentle, humble souls like St. Francis of Assisi. There will be saints who stood out famously, like St. Patrick of Ireland, who was captured by pirates, drove out snakes and explained the Trinity using a shamrock; and there will be saints less in the forefront, but equally strong and courageous, like St. Maximilian Kolbe, who quietly stepped forward to offer his life in exchange for a young father who had been chosen for death by the Nazis.

So many people. So many personalities. We will hang out with all of them in heaven. In heaven there will be a great diversity of souls and there is room for every one of us.

There will even be non-Church-declared saints in heaven. You know the ones I’m talking about: anyone in heaven is a saint, so let’s think about those in our circles — in our family, or in our circle of friends. What of those who equally struggled through hardship in faith to obtain the crown of glory, but are lesser known or known only to God? After purgatory and necessary purgation, we will meet others who have chosen God and His will too. People from our childhood who were dear to us, those we only knew in passing. We will all be there. With the same personalities we have here on earth. Cool, right?

Have you ever been indescribably attracted to someone without really knowing why? This person might look ordinary to anyone else, have common talents, but has cultivated virtue and possesses a strong, shining soul that attracts. All souls will have that natural attraction in heaven, and we will all be gazing not at one another but together toward God, and see Him in His great glory and goodness; which is totally incomprehensible and indescribable here, but will literally blow our minds.

Author, teacher, writer and philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft has said, “Everything smaller than heaven bores us because only heaven is bigger than our hearts.”

God is the perfection of everything good, true and beautiful that we have loved here. The physical and personality traits that attract us to a particular human being here are but a mere shadow of the full perfection God possesses. Those traits are completely and more fully His traits.

We are all saints in the making. But we are not blasé, cookie-cutter people. I suspect that there will be not just joy but laughter in heaven. Laughter that spills from relationship, and jokes. No misunderstanding there, all wounds healed, all intentions perfected. And the same people we are attached to and had relationships on earth with, we will be attached to and have relationships with in heaven, only in a deeper and perfect way.

It’s good to think about heaven, that destination we all desire, the ultimate place where we will finally know the mysteries of the world and meet our Creator face to face. It is there that our unique and individual souls will each be small instruments participating in the greatest symphony of all, the Communion of Saints glorifying God for eternity. We will still be “us” in heaven, and so will everyone else we love.

God’s love for us is so individual, that He would have sent His only Son just for us, if we were the only one who needed salvation. He knows us like no one else. He knows our struggles, our joys, our regrets, our temptations, our yearnings. He made us unique, different from every other human being. He made us. He made US.

Keep plodding on through life, toward heaven. And know that God loves you, in your uniqueness, in body, mind and soul. Heaven is just around the corner. Let’s help each other keep the faith, so we will have a joyous reunion (or first meeting) there!

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