[ WordBytes on FAQs & Teachings of the Faith ]

I’m dull-witted. So are you. Even if we live to be 150, no matter how old and wise we get, we are all stupid compared to what we will see and understand when we’re in heaven.

Photo of old man, by Tony OquiasI’ve been thinking about how extremely limited our understanding of heaven is, and of God, and of everything here on earth as well. Perhaps my thoughts are on this because, in 2012, Ralph and I opened our home to my parents for their final years. One day, when I took my dad to see a neurologist about the health of his brain, I heard him tell the doctor (and not for the first time), with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, “Can you help me live to be 150? There’s a lot I want to do yet!”

Each time I hear that, I think, “Not me! I want to get to heaven a lot sooner than that!” And I love what I’m doing for the Lord so much that I don’t want to quit working when I die. There’s a lot I want to do yet but I won’t be able to do it until I’m in heaven!

I grew up Protestant. As a young adult, I became Catholic because my dull-witted understanding of Holy Communion was anointed, one day, by the Holy Spirit who opened my eyes to see that the Eucharist that’s consecrated during Catholic liturgy is really and miraculously Jesus, not a piece of bread symbolizing Jesus.

Another mind-expanding eye-opener came when my spiritual director gave me a book about Padre Pio, which started an interest in reading about the lives and beliefs of Saints. Both times, I began to see things differently than my childhood faith had revealed, especially in regards to the supernatural activities of God on earth and the totally supernatural lifestyles we will all have in heaven.

Sometimes, once in awhile, when I am really paying close attention to the presence of Jesus in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, my mind seems suddenly, albeit briefly, expanded to realize that there is much more about the presence of God than I can see or think about. It’s moments like these that make me feel quite dull-witted and dumb in normal life. Thus I’m looking forward to heaven when my very limited brain will no longer be in control of my body and my thoughts. Even while undergoing the purging of earthly sins (which we call “purgatory”), our physically small brains will no longer hold us back from the fully expanded awareness that awaits us in heaven (which is why we finally understand the need for purgatory and we gladly do the purging and we rejoice that we have left our earthly lives behind).

And so, as long as God wants me here on earth to do what he wants me to do for your sake and for my family’s, I am happy to be here, but I just know that someday I will be looking back at my life from death’s door, exclaiming, “How dumb could I be! Wow. There’s so much I didn’t know, and so much I failed to understand, and so much sin I fell into because I didn’t think about how harmful it was. What a dull-witted illusion to think I could do more on earth than I can do in heaven!”

© 2013 by Terry A. Modica


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Who wants to live to be 150? Not me!

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