Lately, for a myriad of reasons, my opinions about love and hope have been challenged and put to the test. It is a test I pray that I’m passing (I never was a failure in school…).
There are many questions that I keep coming back to, and chief among them sounds something like this: What am I hoping for? Is this false hope, or hope from God? When I find that the world around me and the dreams for which I am longing seem to be crashing down, I find myself clinging to hope. Hope that things will change, that the happy fairytale ending will still be mine, and that happiness and joy will return to my heart. As I keep hoping I can’t help but wonder how far this hope should go. At what point do I sound like a crazy person for clinging to this hope? Was there ever a point that I seemed insane for clinging to hope? Recently at Mass, I got my answer.
A few weeks ago in the fair Archdiocese of Denver, we celebrated the feast of the Ascension. Jesus was leaving us. Most of the time I see this as a joyous occasion; Jesus, after all, is finally ascending to heaven to be reunited with His Father. This year, though, I saw it as Jesus leaving us. Sure, the Holy Spirit comes and remains with us, but my focus this year preparing for this feast was the reality that Jesus was leaving us. In our lives we often find that people leave. Peyton on One Tree Hill used to say that people always leave. Family moves away, our friends change, loved ones walk out. The reasons may be as numerous as the stars, but people always leave. What I seem to have forgotten about, at least until that Mass, is that while people may leave, they also come back.
On the feast of the Ascension, the vocations director for the Archdiocese said Mass and he spent a great deal of time talking about heaven and the reality that heaven is more than just a nice idea or some lofty goal to attain. Heaven is real. What is more, in heaven we are all united. People may always leave. Whether they leave town or leave this world behind, they always leave (including Jesus), but the beautiful truth of our faith is that they are never truly gone. We are united to them through the Eucharist. We are united to them in the heart of Jesus. He holds us all in His heart, so by staying close to His heart we remain close to those who have left us.
But the story doesn’t end there. By staying close to Christ’s heart we are also invited to heaven where, at long last, we shall be eternally united to all who have left us and all we have left. We will be united with loved ones who have died, friends with whom we have lost touch, and more. In heaven, at the glorious feast of eternal bliss, we shall forever be united with the very people we have missed and longed for all of our earthly lives. So if people have left you, if you find that your heart is broken, take comfort in the fact that someday, when Jesus finally calls you home, not only will you be united with Him, you will be united with all those people you’ve been missing for so long.
Heaven is real. People never truly leave because they always stay in Jesus’s heart where we, too, are invited to find rest. Our hope, then, is not in vain, even if we may not always seem sane for clinging to it. Our hope is in You, God, the light of the world. Our hope is that one day, perhaps in this life, but for certain in the next, we shall be reunited to those we love. Let Him ascend into heaven, for He leaves us the promise that we, too, will join Him in the place where love never dies, in the the place where no one leaves, where there is no pain, only love. Eternally.Tags » heaven, hope, jesus, relationships
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