Godtalk: Going to Heaven

POST BY PKnott

Jacob's Dream by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum, London)

Eternity has more kinds of rooms than this world does.  We may know, or at least know about some people whose way of life would seem so reprehensible that it’s hard to imagine that they could ever make it to heaven.

But as Christians, we believe that, as part of the Body of Christ, we have been given the power to forgive each other’s sins and that, because of that, indeed anyone’s love can pull their beloved into heaven whatever their faults and failures may be.

Our love for each other is a powerful vehicle of grace, powerful enough to open the gates of heaven. It has been said that to love someone is to say, in effect, ‘You at least will never die!’   Human love, even this side of eternity, has that kind of power. That’s also why we pray for loved ones who have died. Our love has the power to reach them,  even then.  We are always close to those we loved, they in God’s immediate presence, we in God’s presence in prayer. 

But what about those who are outsiders in this life and who die without anyone caring about the fact that they’ve gone or where they’ve gone? How do grace and forgiveness work then? Is human love then purely out of the picture leaving us only with the hope that God’s love can fill in where human love is absent?

Do not be afraid!  God’s love can and does fill in where human love is absent. In fact, scripture assures us that God has a special love, and tenderness, for those who find themselves outside the circle of human love.

So we need not worry about the salvation of those who died in less-than-ideal circumstances.  Human love, while generally directed towards very specific persons, is also ‘a symphony whose music circles wide and ultimately embraces everyone.’

Peter Knott SJ