Does anyone else ever wonder about this? I know that if I make it to Heaven, I will be happy, content, at peace, joyful to be in the presence of our Lord. (I’m trying and that is my hope, but I am not saying by any means that I believe that that is a given AND I know that the ONLY way it is even a possibility is because God is so good, not because I am.) But, I wonder how that will be accomplished? It is likely that not every single person that I love will make it to Heaven. I have fallen away relatives, etc, and I know I am not to judge, but chances are high that not everyone that I love will get there. My husband says that since that is our ultimate goal and if we make it, that is all we need, that by attaining the Beatific Vision is the end all, that we will be joyous in Heaven without our loved ones who don’t get there. I agree but I wonder how. Will we just forget the person that we loved? Will there be no memory of them? How will He do this?
I wonder about this too and figure that we will just be so enthralled with love for God and all His majesty that we simply won’t think about those people. I don’t mean that we won’t care about them, just that God will, in His wonderful love for us, not allow suffering to be part of our experience of heaven. He must have a way that we don’t remember or don’t even think about those people – I don’t know how, but God is God and He can do anything!
In the meantime I just keep praying for them…
An interesting and good read on this subject is The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. He takes us to “purgatory” where people have to make the decision to embrace eternal joy or reject it. Lewis deals with the topic of how those who are in heaven feel about their loved ones who reject it. I haven’t read it for a while, but it is quite interesting and satisfying–at least it was for me.
Thanks Belle10 and Della for your responses. I am going to do a search at the library for the book you mentioned, Della. It sounds like something I’d find interesting and might satisfy my quest to understand.
I sometimes think that I cannot understand it because I am simply viewing it in human terms, that all will change once we are no longer mortal. But, still, I cannot comprehend “living” without some of the people that we love and not suffering over that. But, Belle10, you must be correct, God will not allow suffering in Heaven. And, until we get there (hopefully), only He knows the answer.
When someone dies, we often console ourselves with the thought that they are now at rest, that they are at peace and hopefully in Heaven (or Purgatory, so eventually Heaven) and that someday we will meet again. If that is not so, I know being in the presence of our Lord and God removes any need to see a loved one again. Even so, it is a difficult concept to fully comprehend. My little human brain and heart have trouble with it.
I asked a theology professor about this one time. His answer was that in heaven we will understand the necessity of God’s infinite justice and accept it with knowledge, instead of sorrow. . Also, because we will be enjoying the beatific vision, we will simply exist in a state of pure overwhelming love where nothing else matters. We will know and understand the need for prayers for the Church militant and suffering and will exist in an state of love and prayer, thanksgiving, adoration, worship and praise.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B
I think of this daily. My mother is a non-baptized, pro-choice atheist. I’m sure I have little chance of seeing her in heaven, though we pray for her conversion daily. I have a very hard time going to Catholic funerals because I know this is something I can never do for her, and that there isn’t much chance, outside of God’s merciful grace, that she will get to heaven on her own accord.
Yep - I think about this topic a lot.
Your mother will be in my daily prayers & intentions.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B
If I recall an episode of One True Faith on Hell. It was stated we’d see them in hell and praise God for his righteousness…
This same answer was revealed to me in prayer not that long ago. However it is not an answer that many will really understand or accept right now. It is an answer that required faith and acceptance of God’s will. It is also a call for me at least to help those I love to attain salvation so that they may have the opportunity to share in what I one day hope to share with God.
The only answer is to have faith. God will reveal what he will reveal to you when it’s time.
I always hated getting answers like that when I was younger, but now that I’ve adopted this as my only personal “philosophy,” I’m much less worried about things. Much more at peace with life.
I think that’s the case for all of us…
Beautifully put, and comforting. Thank you for sharing this.
Praying for your mom. :crossrc:
God is of Justice, but also Mercy. So how He works in the Eternal, and how we work in Time, are two different things. So ya never know who you will find “Over There”…
My Late, Great Aunt had some real problems with Catholicism. Although raised Catholic, my grandparents did not fully catechize her except to send her to CCD a few years, and one or two years in Catholic school. In her later years, she was a devotee of Joel Olsteen. She also made forrays into A Course In Miracles, Unity, Buddhism, New Age and Old Age (tarot cards and the like).
Because of her insurance, she had to go to a Catholic hospital for her inpatient needs. The priest chaplain was a nice guy, did not force anything on her, but when Aunt was conscious, came to talk and offer prayer. As it turns out she did register herself as Catholic. When she crashed the final time, she had been annointed, confessed and communed.
My husband is struggling right now with the deathof his mother, who unrepentantly rejected the Church, but not transendental meditation, German mysticism, and a host of other situations. She was an alcoholic and drug user before she took ill. She was very selfish. We don’t write her off, as she also lived through WWII in occupied Austria, and we don’t know why she was the way she was. We are trying to trust her to God’s mercy. When we die, either we’ll know or it just won’t matter.
This is what I have to live by. Thank you for saying this so well.
Seeing those we love choose to live without God or live with a very limited love for him is hard. It’s one of the hardest things we suffer in this world. But, they, like us, are free agents. They must make their own choices. If they understood the truth and the heartbreak they are causing it might move them to see things differently, but even that would be no guarantee. People can bury themselves in their own pride, their own pain, their own desires and so are not able to see the good things God would have for them if they would surrender themselves to him. It’s hard for us to comprehend how people can throw happiness away with both hands, but it happens all the time.
But, we have God’s grace and mercy on our side. He sees the reason for the pain–the pain that dominates their life, the reason why they can’t let go of their pride, the reason why they cling to their desires even though they do not produce lasting happiness. They are wounded (as are all of us, of course), and Christ is the cure. However if they never will humble themselves, never will let go of their pain or earthly desires, God will not force them to do so. I guess all my words come down to the fact that each soul must decide for or against God. At least those we know have our prayers, including the greatest prayer, the Mass, to offer to God on their behalf. I have to believe those prayers are not in vain. God’s love for us poor sinners compels me to hope.
Difficult thing to think about—especially if your loved ones are already gone.
I just reread Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”. It was written of its time and place and from an Anglican’s perspective. Also, it is not meant in any way to tell us anything dogmatic about Purgatory and Hell. Lewis simply used the concept of having to make a choice “on the other side” in order to show how people are capable of rejecting Christ and Heaven here on earth. That should be clearly understood when reading it.
This is very hard for me to think about too. My mother and her entire side of the family are Buddhists who also practice ancestor worship. My dear grandfather passed away 13 years ago and our mother always said he was in Heaven. Of course my father did not want to contradict her (it is possible) but now that I understand things a little better…I just don’t know. My grandmother is one of the saintliest people I know, Catholic or not. It is difficult for me to accept that she may not go to heaven.
My mother went to Catholic schools and says she believes in Jesus…unfortunately she also believes in the Mercy God too. I think she is drawn towards the Catholic Church but is afraid of what her family will think if she converts and can no longer participate in ancestor worship rituals. I pray that she will ask for baptism one day.
I think this is an excellent discussion. It is probably the greatest thing I fear as a Christian…the possibility that my loved ones who are not believers going to hell. In particular I worry about my brother, one of my sisters, and my mother, all of whom I love very much. Something that gives me great hope is the vision of saint Faustina, where Christ comes to the lost souls at the moment of death and calls to them three times, beckoning them to Him with patience, mercy, and overwhelming love. It is this hope in Christ’s mercy that allows me not to completely dispair, and is probably the main reason I converted to catholicism from protestantism 4 years ago. None of us know who, if any, are in hell, since none of us know for certain what last graces are offered by God to souls at the moment of death. God bless you all.
This is a topic that I have to admit, gives me great worry.
It is actually is a topic that upsets me greatly, all I know for
sure is that I have to trust Jesus as in everything else.