HEAVEN by Fr.Jim Hobert
Mar 26, 2015
Heaven Part 1 March 29, 2015
At first thought, it might seem presumptuous to write about heaven. For sure, a certain modesty & humility is called for. Once we die, we pass from this material life we know, into the mysterious incomprehensible realm of God-which is not normal human experience! God is wholly "Other"! And humility is called for when we look at the Biblical testimony. In the OT we see that the idea of the afterlife is at best a developing concept. In the NT, the one book that gives the most information about the life with God-the Book of Revelation-is the most symbolic book of the Bible. The images there are metaphors drawn from human experience. They are not meant to give literal descriptions of heaven, but rather to give hints, suggestions of what will always remain mysterious for us. Paul writes: "What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Cor2:9) He seems to say that we cannot even imagine what heaven is like. He himself had an experience of heaven but he can't even talk about it. "And I know that such a person-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know: God knows-was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat." (2 Cor12:3f)
So who does Fr. Jim think he is to write about heaven? Only give me a chance. Why? Because heaven is basically about God. To study heaven, study God! And we have the ultimate study guides for this: 1. The Bible. 2. The Church's teaching of the afterlife, which comes from centuries long reflection on Scripture and the experience of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the saints.
Read the rest of this excellent piece by Fr. Jim Hobert on subsequent bulletins in English and Spanish beginning with Part 2 April 5, 2015