Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Heaven. What a poor, battered word! And yet, it is our home, our goal – and the place where our true family lives. For the only fully realized Christians are those who have “run the race” and are with Our Lord in Heaven – in the places He has prepared for them.
We live in a world which has decided the only reality is that which can be measured by tools, by instruments. If it can’t be measured, it isn’t real. Sadly, this infects everything in the world, attacking anything of quality by insisting that only quantity is real. No wonder so many people are immense! Only bulk seems to count! CS Lewis once observed that the world won’t return to sanity until what we call “the sky” can be seen as “the Heavens” once again. And we won’t return to normal as people until we can stand outside and gaze in “awesome wonder” at the vast Heavens above us – an image of that vast order of the spiritual Heaven where the angels and saints dwell, eternally aglow with the love of the God who made Heaven and earth.
Meanwhile, ah, we stumble along in this poor, battered world. A rocky road, a fallen world. This world is not Heaven: this world wants to forget Heaven. Heaven is very far indeed from the fallen world, but Heaven has come close, very close, in the God who became Man, in Jesus. He is present in every tabernacle of the world, the outpost of Heaven – and as in His Body and Blood He was lifted up, He has promised to lift us up, far above all the heavens. “Through Him, with Him, in Him” – to the home of all glory and honor. Amen.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.