By Father Stephen Battey
Q. What is heaven going to be like?
With so many different depictions of heaven in popular culture, it’s easy to see how some might want a little more clarity about what eternal life will be like. If I had to choose one word that best describes the Church’s understanding of heaven, it would be vision. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship, and are perfectly purified, live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they ‘see him as he is,’ face to face.” (CCC 1023) Our heavenly encounter with God is one that will be far more intimate and direct than what we are used to here on earth. Though even in heaven we will not be able to comprehend the full glory of God, we will certainly enjoy an extraordinary vision of God that will reveal more than we can hope to know about Him in this life.
Perhaps the closest thing that we have to this vision on this side of heaven is Eucharistic adoration. In the Eucharist we find the true body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. He is truly made present among us at Mass on every altar throughout the world.
That presence is not diminished in any way at the conclusion of Mass. When we place the Eucharist in a monstrance for the purpose of extended adoration, we have the opportunity to see Jesus face to face — right here and right now. We are able to spend time with Him and grow in friendship with Him. We are able to reflect about just how great the gift of the Eucharist is, and to give thanks for this chance to simply be in the presence of God.
It is precisely by setting aside a little time from our busy schedules to gaze upon our Lord in this life that we have the encouragement needed to continue on our path to eternal life in heaven where we be blessed with a vision of God that endures for all eternity.
“Ask the Newly Ordained” features Fathers Brian Morris, Joseph Brice and Stephen Battey — who respond to questions about the faith from Rhode Island Catholic readers.
Have a question? Ask the Newly Ordained! Readers may submit questions by sending them to Editor@thericatholic.com.