OUR REAL HOME
Our earthly existence is misery filled. We look for the weaker beauty of the night: we delight in the society of fools and weak and sinful persons; we laugh at sin, and contrive mischiefs which affect the eternal destiny of our soul: the body rebels against our soul's admonitions to do good; we do not think of God; our soul refuses its affections: our hearts are hard to the soft whispers of love and mercy, having no love for anything except strange flesh, heaps of money and popular noises, for misery and for folly. Here on earth we are a huge way off from God, whose excellencies, whose designs, whose ends, whose constitution is spiritual and holy, and sublime, and perfect, and eternal.
It is only death that can close the door of all these worldly cares and worries behind us and introduce us to a whole new way of life that is both never ending and soul satisfying. It is no wonder then, that the Apostle proclaimed "We know that we have passed out of death into life," when he thought of what awaited the faithful Orthodox Catholic after departing this life. Every member of the Church agrees with this exultation which provided the inspiration and the courage which imbued the Apostles to preach Christ and Him crucified. They firmly believed Isaiah's prophecy that the Lord "will swallow up death in victory and will wipe away the tears from all faces." Death is man's triumph, death is the door to Christ, and to the kingdom He prepared for us.
In heaven, in that place of God, there is no want, there is no deficiency, no ending, no failure, no death, no termination, no old age. There is neither hatred nor wrath, nor envy, or weariness, nor toil, nor darkness, nor night, nor falsehood. There is not in that place any want at all; but it is full of light, of life, and grace, of fullness, and satisfaction, and renewal of love, and all the good promises that are written by God. In heaven, there is that "which eyes hath not seen and ear hath not heard, and which hath not come up into the heart of man, that which is unspeakable and which a man cannot utter." The Apostle Paul has revealed to us — "that which God hath prepared for them that loved Him."
In heaven, men shall be like angels, that soul shall be empowered with new senses, the body will become spiritual, the eye shall perceive the glory of God; the mouth will feed upon hymns and glorifications of God: the stomach shall be satisfied only by the fullness of righteousness, and the tongue shall speak nothing but praises and wisdom. Our society there will be a choir of singers, chanting to God's eternal glory. Contemplation of the holiness of God will be our food; love will be the wine of God's holy ones. There will be no earthly desires, the appetite will not want; it will be only a faculty of delight.
In heaven there will be understanding surpassing everything we know today, love, wonder, joy; everyday shall be the same forever. This shall be the state of those who are accounted worthy of resurrection to eternal life; where the body shall no longer be a servant, but a partner of God, to live with Him forever, where it shall not have work of its own, but shall rejoice with the soul, where it will bask in the presence of God's infinite beauty, where the soul shall rule without resistance. In this great place where we shall be fitted to see and enjoy His unlimited beauty, our countenances will be radiant because we shall have the company of our loved ones as well.
The pious Orthodox Catholic is drawn towards this unending existence. The soul of man yearns to be united with its Master. That is why we do not fear death, but patiently await it. We live each day as if it were our last. We not only prepare ourselves to successfully graduate from the high school of life to the university of God, but do our best to guide others. By our lives we show others our love for Christ. It is God's wisdom, then, that urged St. Paul to proclaim, as we should with him:
"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America