I am certainly no theologian, nor do I pretend to have special insight into things religious. But I do contemplate things prayerfully and deeply to understand further the ways of God and His very nature with the full knowledge that I will never come to a point where I understand even one iota. But I do have certain ideas about things.
Lloyd Smith, my father-in-law of whom I have written about over the last week or so, is very critically ill with a poor prognosis at this point. That isn't to say that something can happen and a complete reversal of the current course of his health won't take place. But, for now, things don't look good.
That led me to thinking about something. Heaven. Lloyd has received the Sacrament of the Sick in the Catholic Church. He is prepared to come into the presence of God when the call will go out for this faithful servant of the Lord to return home. In these moments, heaven has become far more real to me.
How many of us who believes in heaven, really has a concept of what it is or what it means? When we think of heaven, I 'm afraid that many of us keep it in the conceptualized form without really understanding its very existence. I am not about to explain what heaven is here but what I want to impress upon you is the very reality of heaven.
As I write this, Lloyd, only a few short miles from here, fights for his very life. He could be taken home at any time. As I was thinking about this, it suddenly hit me that some time soon, my father-in-law, a man that I have come to admire, respect, and love, may be ushered into the very presence of God our Almighty Creator. This is not fantasy. It is a reality. Let that thought sink in for a moment about a loved one of yours who may be ill or facing the possibility of death. Some time soon, they may be in the midst of God the Father. This is a reality far greater than any reality any of us ever encounter in our mortal existence.
What will that encounter be like? I have no idea! But I do know that there will be an immense and eternal peace the likes of which our poor human intellect cannot possibly fathom. The God Who created us all will one day greet us and it is a reality every bit as much as the reality of us getting up in the morning and starting our day.
There is great joy in this for it is the culmination of the promise of Jesus Christ. He has told us that there are many mansions in His Father's house and that He has gone before us to prepare a place for us. No more conflict. No more pain. No more jealousies. No more hurt. No more sinfulness. Only a Divine Love that none of us can even begin to describe or understand. This is true joy and the promise of all our futures.
Yes, there is a great sadness at the departure of a loved one. There is a void in our hearts and lives that cannot be filled by anything earthly. But the departure is only one aspect of life. The promise delivered to us through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ can and will overcome the painful loss of our loved one. My father-in-law, the patriarch of the Smith family will one day actually be in the presence of God! What more could we wish for one that we love so dearly? Our loss will only be temporary. For one day we, too, shall be at the edge of life, ready to cross over in death, with the sure knowledge that, as long as we have followed the will of God, we too shall be favored the unspeakable and eternal joy that Lloyd shall soon enjoy.
With this in mind and aware of the season of Easter fast approaching, our Alleluias may be far more different than in any year of our lives.