Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Glimpse Of Heaven

Angel showing John the heavenly Jerusalem, manuscript illumination from the Revelation to John, c. 1020; in the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg, Germany.

"And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb.  And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. " (Apocalypse 21:22~23)

I love the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation). In it, St John takes us with him on his journey in spirit into heaven. While I do not pretend to fully understand this book chock full of symbolism, every once in awhile a passage strikes a deep chord within me. This happened today at Mass as I was listening to the second reading. The above verses in particular.
Here on this planet, we seem to take for granted that the sun will rise each day and the moon will shine each night. St John describes the heavenly Jerusalem as not needing sun nor moon because the light will come from God Himself! When I heard this today, it was one of those moments that I wanted to tell the lector to just stop right there because I need a few minutes to let that sink in.
God Himself is the temple and His glory enlightens all of heaven! Now that is something worth striving for. Everything else literally pales in comparison. 
However, when I forget this awesome fact, I lose the peace that Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel. Jesus tells His disciples that He leaves them His peace, not worldly peace, but His. It is the peace that can not be taken away from us unless we allow it to be taken. Jesus also tells His disciples that He is going away but will return for them; He is telling us the same thing. He will return to take us to that place where His glory will illuminate everything and there will be no need of a temple because the Almighty is it and we will praise Him forever in the temple of the Beatific Vision. 
This is the place Our Lord has prepared for each one of us. May we keep His peace and continue the journey toward our heavenly home which for now we can only catch glimpses.


Colleen said...

Beautiful reflection. I had to smile when you said you wanted the lector to stop right there while you meditated on a verse. That has happened to me a "few" times, too.
Peace be with you!

Michael said...

Beautiful reflection. I, too, am fascinated by the Book of Revelation. Part of it is because it is so powerful, and part of it is because it is such a mystery and full of so many symbols (most of which are over my simple head).

Our Pastor today told us that, while the vision John sees is wonderful, it is important to remember that we have to work hard to earn the right to enter that city ... it wont simply come to us on a platter. Good advice!

God bless you!

Karinann said...

Thanks for your comments, Colleen and Michael.

Michael- wise advice from your pastor.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

Our pastor quoted someone today (not sure who...I think maybe Catherine of Siena) and said, "The journey to Heaven is Heaven"!

This speaks toward that beautiful and perfect peace that you so eloquently write about here.

We already HAVE HIS PEACE on earth for it is within those of us who believe and receive Him in the Eucharist!

Thank you for this lovely reflection.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.