Heaven and Earth

I found a great program called Journler the other day (for Mac OS X), which I’m now using for organizing everything from book summaries to projects to blog posts (and I’ll be using this software from now to post, but this time I needed to trackback so I haven’t). I browsed around the developer’s site, and I also found his interesting blog, and a post regarding Pascal’s Wager. I couldn’t quite agree with his statement that “suppose for a moment that life and death on earth alone is as sacred as an eternity in heaven, perhaps even more so for its here and now. Pascal’s wager becomes a debt.” So, I posted the following reply:

Hi,I love Journler, it’s so very useful and fun to use, not to mention being very much a Mac ‘app Thank you so much for your generosity :)Interesting ‘blog you have here too, some deep stuff. 😯

Regarding this post from a Catholic perspective (I’m a convert since 2003), I agree, life on earth is as sacred. We believe that this is why “sin” exists; to sin is to “miss the mark” about the ontological sacredness of our lives and that of others, thereby morally betraying our teleological nature.Acknowledging the existence of “sacredness”, and lack thereof, is also to acknowledge a standard from which such a quality is derived, for we cannot be a source of sacredness itself (because evil – which we also have – is a lack of the sacred, and not a thing in itself). That source is God, the all, through whom all good things and truths come, be it through general revelation (self-evident truths, and goodness available to all) or, as we believe, through special revelation (Christ).

Now, life in Heaven is in some ways not wholly seperate from “here and now”; because we are finite creatures, we can not exist in eternity (which has no beginning or end), but the space-time is mystically connected with it, in what is theologically termed aeviternity (which includes our beginning in time). This is why Christ declares, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54) – it is not a thing far away, but something we possess here on earth by being intimately united with the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ (who through Incarnation bridges time to eternity, and man to God). This is why Scott Hahn (a Presbyterian-minister-turned-Catholic-apologist) could describe the Catholic Mass – where the flesh and blood are consumed – as Heaven on Earth, and why Christ himself could say “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

As Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft explains, Heaven is at once the source and summit of all goodness and sacredness on earth which necessarily enriches it, and also without which the “here and now” necessarily suffers:

“People think heaven is escapist because they fear that thinking about heaven will distract us from living well here and now. It is exactly the opposite, and the lives of the saints and our Lord himself prove it. Those who truly love heaven will do the most for earth. It’s easy to see why. Those who love the homeland best work the hardest in the colonies to make them resemble the homeland. “Thy kingdom come. .. on earth as it is in heaven.

The pregnant woman who plans a live birth cares for her unborn baby; the woman who plans for an abortion does not. Highways that lead somewhere are well maintained; dead ends are not. So if we see life as a road to heaven, some of heaven’s own glory will reflect back onto that road, if only by anticipation: the world is charged with the grandeur of God and every event smells of eternity. But if it all goes down the drain in death, then this life is just swirls of dirty water, and however comfortable we make our wallowing in it, it remains a vanity of vanities.”

This is the case because in acknowledging its existence we can no longer be reductionists, but see all things through the eye of love:

“Since God is the Creator and since creation reflects and reveals the Creator, and since God is love, all creation somehow reflects and reveals love…. We can see the same principle at work on every level: gravity and electromagnetism on the inorganic level; a plant’s attraction to the sun and to water and nutrients in the soil on the plant level; instinct on the animal level; and love on the human level. And within the human sphere there is also a hierarchy beginning with the sexual desire (eros) and affection (storge) that we share with the animals up to the friendship (philia) and charity (agape) that we share with the angels. The universe is a hierarchy of love. This is not a myth. This is the splendid and glorious truth. Look! How can you miss it? It’s all around us.”

This being the case then, the no-longer-so-anonymous-reader :mrgreen: shall do his best to treat it as Heaven’s stepping stone, since earth is a saint-making machine and our present reality a school of love and therefore of “sacredness”.

Gratuitous Blessings,

Regia Ecclesia – TTM’s blog dedicated to all things Catholic Christian and more


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