REFLECTION: Setting our hearts on heaven PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 11:15

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

With the recent celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we have to strongly remind ourselves that our thoughts and desires should somehow start and end with heaven.

This much, at least St. Paul tells us in very clear terms:

“Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth.” (Col 3)

It’s not that we ignore or disdain the earthly things. The most obvious and undeniable reality is that we are here on earth, and we just cannot and should not be indifferent to its affairs.

What we are rather reminded of is that we learn how to relate everything to heaven, and not get entangled with our merely earthly and temporal affairs. Everything is meant to start and end with God who is the Creator of everything and the very foundation of reality.

Our problem that we often do not realize is that we live our life as if everything is just a matter of our concerns here. There’s hardly any reference to heaven. We need to wake up from this lethargy, make the necessary changes in our attitude and actuations, and get to conforming our whole life to this truth of our faith.

We have been told that our worldly and temporal affairs only have a relative value. They are only means and occasions for us to work out our duty of reaching our ultimate end which is heaven, or our eternal life with God, our Creator and Father.

What has absolute value is to be with God, with whom we can start to be with while here on earth and going about our temporal concerns. As the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “We have not here a lasting city. But we seek one that is to come.” (13,14)

We need to disabuse ourselves from the thinking, often unarticulated but is quite ingrained in us and in our culture, that we can build a permanent city here on earth. We rather have to be clear about this basic truth—the ‘terra firma’ is not in this world; it is in heaven.

But how can we relate everything to heaven? First of all, by exercising our faith that tells us that being our Creator, God is always with us and is actively governing everything through his providence.

With the revelation of his mind and will already fully done in Christ and perpetuated till the end of time through his Church, we already know what it takes to relate things to him and to heaven.

We are asked to pray, to be generous with sacrifices, to study and thoroughly know the doctrine of our faith, and to realize that our earthly concerns always have some connection with God and with heaven that we need to discover and to apply ourselves to.

We have to learn to undertake a continuing struggle, both interiorly and exteriorly, both spiritually and materially, so that while being immersed in the things of this world, we don’t lose sight of our real goal which is heaven, a state that transcends our material and temporal dimensions.

It’s truly a big challenge for us to learn how to be both in the world and yet to have our mind and heart in heaven. St. Augustine gives us an idea of how to go about this task. It’s a matter of growing in our desire for it.

“Such is our Christian life,” he said. “By desiring heaven we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world.”

How important, therefore, it is to always rectify our intentions! That is, we should see to it that whatever we may doing, even if in the end, what we do could be considered wrong or deficient in some sense, should be done out of faith and love for God and for others.

This is to live out what St. Paul once said: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10,31) It’s in this way that we can somehow live with the great mystery of heaven. This is how we can set our hearts on heaven.

Let’s remember that heaven is so mysterious that “eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2,9)

We have to learn to live with the mystery of heaven now.