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Where is heaven? (21C)

Louth, 22th August 2010

 

I’d like to say just two words, both about heaven.

1. The first word is “where”: Where is heaven?
Some people point at the sky and say: “it should be up there”. But we know, that the Earth rotes around its own axis and what we want now to be heaven in 12 hours can be hell.
So where is heaven?
Last Sunday Pope Benedict said “Heaven is not a location in the cosmos, but a place within God where those who believe in him will enjoy his love forever”.
Despite being convinced not to locate heaven in the cosmos, most people are quite sure that heaven should be far away. I’d like to emphasize this simply fact. If I point my finger at the sky to say “it should be up there”, I’m saying consciously or unconsciously “Heaven is not here”. Even I’m saying heaven is in God, most probably I make simple equation: “in God or prepared by God equals not here”.
Is it true? Where finally is heaven? Where finally is God?
I think it would be good idea to follow the intuition of Saint Augustine. He spent a dozen years to find the truth and eventually he said: “Noli ire foras. In interiore hominis habitat veritas” it means: “Return to within yourself. Truth dwells in the inner man”. The same we can say about heaven.
So, it would be better to point my finger at my mind or at my heart and say: “Heaven is here and could be only here”. In practice, it means I don’t seek heaven in the universe, I subject heaven neither to other people, nor to good times. I know, heaven is in me, could be only in me, and depends only on me.
We’ve heard the second reading. Somebody wrote to the Hebrews: “The Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons”. Do we think so? Do we agree? Usually we think: “They are lucky because they don’t suffer”, or  “They are unhappy because they have to bear a lot of suffering”. Gospel’s point of view is quite different. Heaven and Happiness doesn’t depend on the external conditions, it depends only on your mind. It doesn’t depend on the world but it depends on your attitude to the world.
Just two examples:
My former parish priest in Cracow talked me about one alcoholic. He was our parishioner. One day the priest met him on the street and asked him: “What happened  with you?” Why are you drinking”. He answered: “something broke down in my mind”.
The second example comes from Fr. Garry, who was here two weeks ago. One thought stroke me. When we were discussing about the people in Africa, he said: “I met a lot of people in Sudan who were happier than the people in West Europe.
A lot of things, I dare to say, everything depends on our minds. And frankly speaking that is a Good News!!! Saint Paul says:
Do not think in your heart, 'Who will go up to heaven? that is to bring Christ down; or 'Who will go down to the depths?' -- that is to bring Christ back from the dead. What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. 

2. The second word is one Greek verb: agonidzomai.
In today’s gospel Jesus trying to answer the question: “will there be only few saved” said: “Try your best to enter by the narrow door”. The Greek verb ἀγωνίζεσθε was translated  “Try your best”, but if we want to be precise, we see the Greek verb reflects the language of struggle or contest and it means ‘to fight/struggle/make every effort/strive/ strain every nerve’. The English words ‘agony’ and ‘agonize’ come from the seam Greek root.
Why is it important?
Let us come back to some alcoholics and not only to them but generally speaking to the people who are addicted. They struggle and make every effort to get aim. I think all these people are not only poor people. They are also an outstanding example for us how we should fight for heaven. And personally I admire them, because they have more courage to struggle for a beer than I have to struggle for heaven.

Don’t take heaven for granted because you are nice.
Don’t think” heaven is surely for you because you pray rosary every day. Don’t calculate: “I’m better than my neighbor so it couldn’t be bad”.

You know how to struggle for money and health, for friendship and for rightness.
Try your best it means struggle for heaven.
Because is not far from you.
Try to fight for heaven.
Now it is the time.

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