Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)
1. WHERE IS EAVEN?
Dante opened the Paradiso (Canto I) with these words:
"The glory of the One Who moves all things penetrates all the universe,
reflecting in one part more and in another less."
Heaven then is part of the invisible universe where those who live with God are penetrated by his presence and glory. Since God is the origin and gravitational destiny of all things, heaven may very well be at the "center" of the universe. It is indeed a real dimension of God's Creation. This view is further described in Rev. 21:1 where we read: "Then I saw a new heaven and the new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer."And in Rev 21: 23 "The city had no need of the sun or moon, for the glory of God gave it light...."
2. WHAT IS THE LIFE OF HEAVEN LIKE?
Pope Benedict XII defined the following: "Since the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ these souls [who are purified] see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature." It is a life of love, joy and peace with dynamic powers of movement, understanding and creativity beyond our present understanding. Dante again captures this vision when he cries out: O joy! O ecstasy ineffable! O life complete, Perfect in joy and peace! O wealth unfailing, that can never want! (Canto 27:9)
Another aspect of heavenly life will be a spiritual body. At some point of the heavenly life the soul's presence will inform and energize a body dynamically different from the earthly body. St. Paul says it will be a spiritual body, that is, a body energized by the Spirit of God. The characteristic of this spiritual body became manifest with Christ's Resurrection.
|Freedom from Suffering do to the complete harmony between body and soul. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out in pain, for the former world has passed away."
Subtility or the ability to penetrate matter. The body will have an atomic structure (if we can speak in such terms) capable of penetrating denser matter (e.g. light is able to pass through glass) In the gospels we read that Christ emerged from the sealed tomb and passed through closed doors.
By his Ascension Christ brought Earth to Heaven
|Agility or the ability of the body obedience with great ease, speed and movement. e.g. Christ appeared suddenly and just as suddenly disappeared.
Clarity which means a perfected body radiant with the overflow of the soul's glory."The saints will shine life the sun in their Father's kingdom."( Mt. 13:43) This is why the saints are usually portrayed in art with a halo around their head.
St. Augustine in the City of God raises this question: Will we see God with our bodily eyes in heaven? He explains: "Even though we have no power to see 'living' apart from 'living bodies' nevertheless we see with the eyes of our bodies and in no 'kind of obscure manner,' the life in the living bodies. In some such way, in heaven, wherever we shall turn the eyes of our spiritual bodies, we shall see the immaterial God, ruling all things, and we shall see Him by means of our bodies."( City of God, Book XX.)