“All the effects which food produces materially in our bodies, the Eucharist produces spiritually in our souls. Thus, food strengthens our bodies and, up to a given age, makes them grow; the Eucharist gives strength against temptations, and makes the soul grow in virtue and justice.” – Father Arminjon
Our problem with heaven is that oftentimes, our idea of it is quite vague or incomprehensible; we cannot look forward to it as we look forward with excitement and anticipation on earthly things within our grasp and understanding.
We see heaven as a far off idea that may be good, but not as good and as tangible as the things of the flesh. We see heaven as a place of rest, but also of boredom, a place that does not make our hearts beat with life and vitality. We see heaven as a place where angels dwell, but we care not for angels as much as we care for imperfect beings that amuse us at the moment where we are.
And that is why many begin to search for heaven not through the perfect picture they imagine it to be but through repulsion with the image of evil that they have encountered some time in their lives. Fortunate are those who have thus been hungry for they may be filled, for those who mourned for they shall be comforted.
But for the many who are content with the things of this world, how would they even know what they are losing? Woe indeed to those who laugh now and pride themselves with what they think they have, for they shall know how naked they truly are. Woe to those who are filled now, for they shall thirst and hunger for that which could give them joy.
In this world, the absence and remoteness of God brings only – a mild regret to the majority of men. Captivated by the lure of the goods of this world, absorbed in the display of tangible objects, we comprehend God too imperfectly to realize how much the loss of Him means; but, when we die, the veil of the senses will be rent; all our human attachments will perish and the inanities which bemused us will have gone for ever. There will be no more amusements, pastimes and conversation. Then, our inclinations, aspirations and all our propensities will centre upon this divine Spouse, our sole and incomprehensible treasure. – The End Of This Present World And The Mysteries Of The Life To Come (Father Arminjon)
If death cannot change the mind of a sinful man, if his very end can’t make him turn to God, if at that very last moment, he still clings to evil and malice instead of considering what is good, what else would make him change his mind and repent? What he disposes himself to do at death is what he will dispose himself to do even for eternity.
For those who may argue that other people may die suddenly to their surprise and may have repented had they lived longer, consider the following quote from PADRE PIO:
“I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell. God loves us so much. He formed us at his image. God loves us beyond understanding. And it is my belief that when we have passed from the consciousness of the world, when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is. And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?” – PADRE PIO
On the other end of this grace is the strict justice that follows if even after being given a last chance between life and death, if after our eyes have finally been opened as to the true nature of evil and as to the true goodness of God, we still cling stubbornly to our sin and pride, what value would there be in prolonging our time?
Let us consider the angels who have been punished immediately after they sinned. Why were they not given time to repent? Maybe it’s because time is not always the factor we need to decide. In the case of angels, what they have is immense knowledge, knowledge of God Himself. If there is no additional knowledge that can be given us within the span of eternity that can change our minds and make us choose God, what good will there be in having God await for our decision for a longer period of time?
Giving us more time then will even be contrary to His mercy because obstinate people would probably use that time to sin more. An increase in sin will only result to an increase in punishment. And the more they sin, the more they will plunge into greater darkness. And if they are not isolated but joined with other sinners, they will only increase in evil and become the cause of even greater suffering for one another.
“As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.” – St. Gianna Molla