Heaven, Where the Narrow Road Leads
by Stephen Foglein, MS
(Extract from the book
"What Do We Know about our Future: Heaven, Purgatory, Hell.")
"The souls of the just who in the moment of death are free from all guilt of sin and punishment for sin, enter into Heaven."
Do you understand the above sentence? Most people who call themselves Christian do not. Even if some do understand it, to enter into Heaven is not their first and foremost priority. They know that eventually death reaches them, too, but they are not even sure about that, after all, death happens only to someone else, a friend, a relative, etc. but to me? What happens after death is even further from their minds, and they do not want to think about it.
One cannot call himself Christian if he does not know that the meaning and goal of life is to reach Heaven. This presupposes that we know we are on a journey with a definite destination. Thus, life here has no other meaning than to complete this journey in this valley of tears. The map of this journey can be found in our religion. Jesus Christ warned us that there are two roads with two different destinations. One road is a wide and smooth broadway paved with fun and where worldlings are traveling, and the other one is a narrow and rough path on which traveling is hard, difficult and challenging, and which only a few find and choose. The first road leads to perdition, while the rough narrow way leads to Heaven. Heaven must be the ultimate destination for all Christians.
In our days, even Christians believe that the goal of life is to make this journey as comfortable as possible, and they prefer the teaching of those theologians who reinforce this belief. In our days it is not emphasized that this is a very short journey, and we are flying at a greater speed than the Concorde. Compared to eternity, this journey lasts only a thousandth of a second. But this fraction of a second, because of the imperfection of our sensory systems, seems to us a long time.
A Christian must also know that this journey is also a test. All of us have free will, and this free will is a very sophisticated instrument that can change our destination, and this choice is in the hands of each of us. We are free to choose the fun filled broad way or the difficult winding narrow road, where we even have to carry our cross. Choosing this narrow road means postponing our happiness to the end of the journey. This choice would be easier if we knew something more about what is awaiting us in Heaven. But to find out something about heaven requires some work. In the Gospel, Jesus talks about Heaven. During the nearly 2000 year history of Christianity, the Holy Spirit revealed many things about Heaven to the saints, and these can be found in their writings. So for those who search for answers, they can be found, but it requires your decision to search. Only a few want to or are able to do this. Ask yourself what do you know about Heaven.
Heaven is an incomprehensible concept
St. Paul says about heaven. "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor. 2, 9-10). It is difficult for the human mind to understand heaven.
I asked my boys a couple years ago what they knew about Heaven. I was greatly surprised by their answer. "Heaven," they tried to put it into words, "is a cold place where you have to pray all the time on your knees," came the answer from the older one; the younger one nodded affirmatively. In their perception Heaven was a rather boring place, and in contrast to the fires of Hell, they thought that it must be cold.
The greatest thing emphasized by the Church about Heaven is that there the blessed will see God face to face. For many this does not promise much. To see only one person is a boring proposition. They would be right, if God were actually as He was portrayed in the Middle Ages, as an old man with white hair. But God is much more than this. The Creator of the universe is infinitely greater than the created universe.
What kind of happiness could be in Heaven?
Since the happiness in heaven is inconceivable to the human mind, the notions of my sons are valid and possibly shared by many marginal Christians who never bothered to look into the subject. Theologians writing about Heaven in previous ages always emphasized prayer, and could not write any delightful things about Heaven. If you read a treatise on heaven, most of the time it is sober, cool, and reserved and not much inspiring. One easily could conclude that Heaven must resemble a convent with all its rules and practices of mortification.
However, we get a faint clue from those who had near death experiences and who were sent back. Many of them tell us that they immediately fell in love with a Being of Light. Christians, even some children, identified this being with Jesus, who said: "I am the light."
Falling in love on earth means that we elevate the object of our love above all others; we see him/her as more beautiful than others; we feel we are in an elevated state when we are with the object of our love; we want to be with him/her all the time. We would do everything to please him/her. Multiply this feeling a million times, and you will get a faint idea what it means to fall in love with the living God.
Why is the true reality fading out of our life?
The belief in Heaven and Hell is eroding and fading, partially because one seldom hears about them in the churches, partially because of the incredible scientific and medical progress bordering on the "miraculous" that has been achieved in our days.
We should not wonder why an atheist, or secular humanist makes every effort to prolong life. After all, they believe they have only this life, and there is nothing after that. I don't condemn them. I pity them! They are very pitiable. I would not like to be in their shoes when they eventually cross over to the next life and will find out they were wrong! Many believing Christians are like this, and are reluctant to face death. Why? Because they are uncertain about what will follow. Their faith is weak, or bordering on doubt.
Jesus complained to Marguerite, a Belgian seer, that "even those who love Me are reluctant to join Me in Heaven, and do everything in their power to prolong life." A certain fear is healthy: even the greatest saints feared the day of Judgment. We are all humans and thus fallible.
To merit Heaven "is impossible for man," as Jesus said. We must trust the mercy of God in regard to our salvation. We must trust Jesus, who paid the price for us, and who is an infinitely understanding and merciful Judge.
Mr. Foglein's book may be ordered from: Two Hearts Books, P.O. Box 260, Orangevale, CA 95662 USA.
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