Background image: Copyright Anglo-Australian Observatory

1. What is Heaven? Heaven denotes fullness of being, life, goodness, truth, beauty, harmony, joy and peace and as such we can say that God is Heaven. Heaven for creatures can only mean a degree of participation in this divine life.

Human nature participation in divine life took place perfectly at the Incarnation when heaven (God's Son) came down to earth (became Man). Now the mystery of divine life begins to unfold when God's eternal Son reveals his life with Father and sent the Holy Spirit to guide us into his kingdom. He came to earth to restore Paradise Lost. While dying on the Cross he told the repentant thief, "This day you will be with me in paradise." (Lk 23:43)

So, where does heaven begin? In the "human heart" at some moment in life. For the Christian it is the moment of Baptism when the Father, Son and Holy Spirit begins to dwell in the human soul. St. Basil wrote: "Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, lead back to the kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God 'Father' and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory." (Catechism of the Cath. Church) And all this incorporates us into the Mystical Body of Christ, a social order bound together by the Spirit's gifts of FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE.

Most people fear death and fail to see that it is a necessary transition into the life of glory. St. Frances expressed this most beautifully in the Canticle of the Sun:

"Praised be my Lord for our sister death, the death of the body, from which no man escapes. Woe to him who dies in mortal sin. Blessed are those who die in Your most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm."(clk image to hear: In Paradisum by Gina Demalijaj)