“All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, "I am the way." ― St. Catherine of Siena
Scripture Text: (RV 22:1-7)
An angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God
and of the Lamb down the middle of the street,
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month;
the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
Nothing accursed will be found anymore.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it,
and his servants will worship him.
They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun,
for the Lord God shall give them light,
and they shall reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true,
and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits,
sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.”
“Behold, I am coming soon.”
Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.
Today, on this the last day of the liturgical year, the Book of Revelation depicts what heaven will be like. The reading paints a picture—not a literal but a figurative one. It describes a river of life-giving water, the tree of life, the throne of God, and a heavenly multitude who will worship God day and night. What beautiful images to depict the glorious inheritance that awaits us!
In the present moment we can experience a "connectedness". We are connected to God's love, to others, and to the earth around us. As Jesus said, we all must strive to be vigilant. In being vigilant in the present moment, we can be aware of who we are, who God is, and the connection we have with God in all creation.
But these “glimpses of heaven” aren’t just pleasant little gifts from God to delight our hearts. We need them so that we can find the strength to press on in the face of opposition, both from our own fallen nature and from the temptations in the world. Without a sense of heaven, we would quickly lose our joy and gratitude.
Today, as another liturgical year ends, let’s remember our final destination and call to mind all the promises we’ve heard about it. Let’s also ask the Holy Spirit for the foretastes of it that will sustain us on our journey. May he continue to inspire us with images like those in the Book of Revelation!