Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Unhappy in Heaven

I've heard that people who learn to love the most on earth are happiest in heaven because they have a greater capacity for love.  Everyone is "filled up" in the Presence of God, just some vessels are larger than others.  This makes sense to me.

However, I've never thought about someone being unhappy in Heaven until this morning when I read what Blessed John Henry Newman had to say about it.

Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter...were a man to come hither, who had suffered his mind to grow up in its own way, as nature or chance determined, without any deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity, he would find no pleasure here, but would soon get weary of the place; because, in this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies...

I don't want to be that man!! 

We have a fixed, but unknown amount of time to accomplish this "maximum capacity" to love in our souls.  This inspires me to do everything possible during my time on earth to increase my capacity to love God, to be one of the "happiest" in Heaven.  I will do this by loving others and having constant recourse to Him who made us.  What will this look like in my soul?

Blessed Angela of Foligno marks out the phases of our souls:

1.  It grows tender.
2.  Then it pines and grows weak.
3.  It finds strength.
4.  Love grows and pines in the absence of the Beloved.
5.  It is perfectly united to God.
6.  Wisdom and maturity are established.
7.  The soul becomes ordered and strengthened so it can face death.
8.  It possesses God to the fullness of its capacity.
9.  God expands the soul so it may hold all He wishes to place in it.

Dear God, Thank you for the time that has passed to learn how to love You.  Thank you for the time still to come to learn how to love You more.  You tell us that we love You by loving those around us.  Please help me to do this better every day.  Please help me to make great deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity.  I want You to expand my soul so that it can hold all You wish to place in it.  Help me to see and remove the things that I have put there instead.  I love you and I want to be happy in Heaven.  Thank you for sending Your Son to prepare a place for me.  Amen.

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