The Heav­enly Jerusalem

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LETTERS -

We started this month of Novem­ber with the feast of All Saints. In fact, the saints’ lives clearly tell you and me that, if we ar­dently be­lieve in Je­sus and do his work, there is the sure hope for us of eter­nal life with Him in Heaven.

Speak­ing about the All Saints and All Souls feast days, Pope Fran­cis said that both these days are “days of hope”. This is be­cause “hope is like a bit of leaven that en­larges your soul. There are dif­fi­cult mo­ments in life, but with hope you go for­ward and keep your eyes on what awaits us. To­day is a day of hope; our broth­ers and sis­ters are in the pres­ence of God.”

The Bi­ble never dis­ap­points our com­mon ex­is­ten­tial ex­pec­ta­tions. It is enough to look at the fol­low­ing pow­er­ful vi­sion, taken from the book of Rev­e­la­tion: “Af­ter this I looked, and be­hold, a great mul­ti­tude which no man could num­ber, from ev­ery na­tion, from all tribes and peo­ples and tongues, stand­ing be­fore the throne and be­fore the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and cry­ing out with a loud voice, ‘Sal­va­tion be­longs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the an­gels stood round the throne and round the el­ders and the four liv­ing crea­tures, and they fell on their faces be­fore the throne and wor­shiped God, say­ing, ‘Amen! Bless­ing and glory and wis- dom and thanks­giv­ing and hon­our and power and might be to our God for­ever and ever! Amen.’

Then one of the el­ders ad­dressed me, say­ing, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribu­la­tion; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. There­fore are they be­fore the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his tem­ple; and he who sits upon the throne will shel­ter them with his pres­ence. They shall hunger no more, nei­ther thirst any­more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorch­ing heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shep­herd, and he will guide them to springs of liv­ing water; and God will wipe away ev­ery tear from their eyes’” (Rev 7:9-17).

For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear such a read­ing gives them joy, com­fort and courage. Who of us does not have to with­stand life’s great tribu­la­tions and its scorch­ing heat? Who of us has not wept flood of tears be­cause she and he has acted rightly and paid the price of fac­ing the bit­ter­est of op­po­si­tions? Was this not the ex­pe­ri­ence of the Chris­tians who are, even to­day, greatly per­se­cuted due to their faith? Yet, hav­ing said so, this Bi­ble pas­sage from the Book of Rev­e­la­tion in­stils con­stant en­cour­age­ment and hope. Not only, of course, to John’s au­di­ence, but also to you and me who toil and face life chal­lenges on a daily ba­sis.

Per­son­ally speak­ing, I am greatly en­cour­aged by what St Faustina writes in her Di­ary re­gard­ing the Heav­enly Jerusalem: “To­day I was in heaven in spirit, and I saw its in­con­ceiv­able beau­ties and the hap­pi­ness that awaits us af­ter death. I saw how all crea­tures give cease­less praise and glory to God. I saw how great is hap­pi­ness in God, which spreads to all crea­tures, mak­ing them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this hap­pi­ness re­turns to its source. They en­ter into the depths of God, con­tem­plat­ing the in­ner life of God, the Fa­ther, the Son and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never com­pre­hend or fathom. This source of hap­pi­ness is un­chang­ing in its essence, but is al­ways new, gush­ing forth hap­pi­ness for all crea­tures. Now I un­der­stand Saint Paul, who said, ‘Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, or has it en­tered into the heart of man what God has pre­pared, for those who love him’.” ( Di­ary 777). Fr Mario At­tard OFM Cap

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