Nothing should compete with heaven PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 August 2018 14:04

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

IT’S good if we can often revisit these words of St. Paul: “It is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2,9)

It is a good reminder and antidote to our strong tendency to be stranded and trapped in our own human and worldly ideas of heaven and everything that we can expect in heaven—endless bliss, joy, peace, ultimate self-fulfillment and perfection when we see God face to face, as mentioned in St. John’s first letter: “We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.”(3:2)

We need to often remind ourselves of these words of St. Paul and St. John. We are now in a world where heaven is either completely ignored or is replaced by our own idea of what it is or what it is supposed to be.

The other day, when I was in a two-hour boat trip, I cannot help but observe many people in all stages and forms of boredom, either struggling against it or simply succumbing to it. What could have been a wonderful moment to meditate on heaven and other truths of our faith was simply overtaken by ennui and efforts to deal with it.

There were those who tried to sleep. But since they could not sleep because of the noise, they tried to fight sleepiness by watching a movie on their gadgets or on the screen on board. I noticed that the movie on the screen was all action-packed with a plot that was completely ridiculous. But the movie caught their attention, at least for a while.

I felt that the movie was entirely calculated to tease and grab the sensual and emotional attention of the people. I felt that it was meant to keep the passengers in that level of life. That was when I thought that what was shown was meant to compete with heaven, or with some spiritual considerations which could have been done at that moment when hardly anything else could be done.

Of course, the problem, I imagine, is that people are not trained to pray, to meditate or to reflect on spiritual and religious matters. When they are separated from their usual work and routine, as when they are forced to sit out a two-hour boat trip, they become likely victims of boredom.

A saving feature was that I saw some old women holding on to their rosary beads, clearly praying and making signs of the cross. Bless them. We are not entirely a hopeless case yet. And yes, before the trip, some prayers were made in the public system, though it sounded more formalistic than real. Still, the fact remains that many do not know how to pray, or to make good use of their time.

We can argue, of course, that a boat trip is not a good occasion to do prayer. There is a lot of noise, a lot of movement and a lot of distractions. But these are challenges we have to learn to tackle. Truth is prayer should be a constant thing with us, whether we are in a very solemn, sacred place or in the hustle and bustle of our daily life.

And we should know what should attract us most. It should be heaven. It should be God and how we can be with him. But, as it is, God and heaven are not the priority at all. God is only considered in some special or extraordinary moments, like when there is some danger of death or some calamity, etc.

We should try our best that nothing should compete with God and with heaven at all times!