The greater we love God, the more we will desire Heaven.
Many times Heaven can seem abstract, and our thoughts about the afterlife do not motivate our daily actions. In this scenario, Heaven is more like a blank slate, and has no real substance to it.
However, Heaven is far from being abstract and is the fulfillment of all our deepest longings. Heaven is, above all, union with God, a real person who loves us dearly.
Once we can shift our mindset and begin thinking about Heaven as a union of persons, then our entire life can change. Instead of being a “destination,” Heaven becomes a “wedding banquet,” where we are finally united with our beloved.
Early 20th-century writer Rev. Bertrand L. Conway reflects on this topic in the Pulpit Commentary on Catholic Teaching.
We go to see him [in Heaven] because we love him, and enjoy the pleasure of his company … the devout soul sees God because it loves God perfectly, and finds its perfect contentment in His eternally blessed presence ….The true lover thinks constantly of the beloved…The true lover longs ardently for the presence of the beloved.
Furthermore, when love of God becomes our motivating factor in life, everything else changes.
The true lover is willing to do all things for the beloved. The faithful follower of Christ finds every burden easy, because love spurs him on … With love as the motive, and the kingdom of God as the end of your striving, let the world’s standards alone. Men may pity you for your ill health, look down upon you for your poverty, and avoid you for your over great sorrow, “esteeming your life madness, and your death without honor,” but God “has numbered you among his children, and your lot will be eternal happiness among his saints” (Wisdom v. 4, 5).
This is why love should be our primary motive for following the Ten Commandments. We do so not because of “obligation,” but because we love God and want to please him with our whole heart. Obligation is always the starting point, but it should always end in love.
Heaven, in this frame of view, becomes a much more exciting place to be as we will be united with our beloved for all eternity! Far from being a stale, abstract reality, Heaven is a deep and abiding union that is beyond anything we can imagine.
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