There Is No Heaven

sGXGLk4All right, we finally admit that our charade is finally over.  It was centuries of fun while it lasted but as the Wizard of Oz realized, the curtain was drawn and we all saw the levels and smoke that created a place of eternal bliss and peace.  It is that distant place where you would see all the people you knew and loved in this life including that aunt who always criticized you and now is blissfully seated next to you for eternity.  (And you still don’t measure up!)

Heaven.  It’s the far off place that the here is supposed to prepare you for the there which no one knows about but seems to know a lot about.  Heaven.  It is full of candy if you’ve died young or it has handrails all around the clouds if you’re older.  Heaven.  In our minds we’ve created and recreated it.  When you’re older that destination takes on a new importance because you realize the train is about to leave the station but you’re not sure when it will.  That “ready, set” part of your life is ready to set itself and then “go.”

What did your hopes and dreams of heaven produce here during your lowly time among the rest of us?  What was withheld in this earthly journey and what was yearned for in a place known but unknown to you?  The “produce” of your time here is innumerable as long as you talk to people instead of reading the newspaper.  The “produce” was kindness extended when it wasn’t called for or offering your chair to an older person or that summer in Africa to see what it’s like to be not only poor but utterly.  If these and many others were done in preparation for this imaginary heaven then, still, kudos to you for the effort regardless of your heavenly motives.  The “withheld?”  If withheld was an angry statement toward someone – rethought and then forgotten, a company scheme that would hurt people which you bowed out of, stopping at that yellow light to safely get to work, taking the effort to address your lethargy at work; how many other “withhelds” in preparation for what might not occur when you die.

I’ve always liked the Jimmeny Cricket line, “doing good for goodness sake.”  It can be said two different ways with emphasis either on the first or second phrase.  I like “for goodness sake.”  Reversed it says, “for the sake of goodness.”  No other reason.  If there is a heaven then so be it and if there is not a heaven then what a great creation it was to make living here in this difficult world a little more livable and friendly and gracious and loving and caring and kind.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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