Recently I had the pleasure of sitting on an apologetics panel for our 8th graders. Among other questions they brought to us, the students wanted to know more about Heaven. We answered that Heaven is where you can see God’s face. But I’ve been thinking maybe that promise doesn’t sound so appealing. I mean, we already know what God looks like, right?
Hmmm. Maybe this idea is worth some more consideration. Let’s try a story.
Once upon a time, I LOVED Billy Joel. I could have sung for you every one of his songs – even the more obscure ones like Rosalinda’s Eyes, All For Leyna, and the French one that I can’t even spell. I pored over album covers, plastered lyrics on my closet door, and read about him in magazines. Late in that phase of my life, to pass some time as we were driving through Somewhere, Illinois, my husband and I played a little game called “If money and reality were no object, what would we give each other for Christmas?” He said, in part, that he would give me a private concert with Billy. I still treasure that imaginary gift, because it speaks to the depth of my spouse’s understanding of my desires – and his willingness to meet them.
It also speaks to the power of a face-to-face encounter – how what we really want when we love someone passionately can be fed by reading his writings, listening to his love songs, studying his life, and even telling others about him. (Guess who my “Tribute” was about in college speech class.) But all that is truly not enough. When we really love somebody, we want to be in the same room with him, to be the object of his smile, to savor the way he moves, to laugh together. To know and be known. We want to see ourselves in His eyes. That’s Heaven.
Parish Catechetical Leader