What Will Heaven Be Like?

My 10-year-old self was even more specific in his questioning;

“Can I eat all the ice cream I want in heaven, and swim in the ocean without having to breathe?”

The question of ‘What will heaven be like?’ starts to be asked at a very young age, and continues to make us wonder throughout our lives.

Perhaps we compare it to a physical space on earth, or connect it with fond memories we shared with others. As we grow older, we come to realize that any comparison to Heaven will ultimately fall short.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description” (no. 1027).

We know some things for certain: People in Heaven are alive, for “He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Luke 20:27-28), and we also know that Heaven is perfect community.

Last week, we took part in Hallowtide, the annual tradition of reminding people that Halloween is not a pagan holiday, but rather All-Hallow’s eve, part of the three-day celebration to celebrate those in all realms of the Church. Those in Heaven, all Saints, are known as the Church Triumphant. Those in purgatory, all souls, are known as the Church Suffering. We on earth are called the Pilgrim Church. These three realms help us to understand the union we have with all members of the Body of Christ. It also helps us to focus on the fact that we, too, will pass away, and to be aware of the remaining time we have left.

Our Goal is Heaven!

Though we have no idea what that entails space- or time-wise, we know it exists as “the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ” (CCC, no. 1026).

Heaven is community, united in, and with, the Creator who is love.

It can be easy to see Heaven as merely a reward for a life well-lived; “You win an all-expense paid trip to Heaven and eternal life!”

However, when we consider what our Church teaches, and the celebrations that took place last week, it becomes clearer that Heaven is that ultimate connection with God. Heaven is communion.

So, to answer my 10-year-old self; maybe you can eat all the ice cream you want in heaven, maybe not; but in the end, we’ll probably too excited and joyful in communion with God to even care.

Daniel Quintero is a newlywed husband, writer, and avid karaoke singer. He currently attends Prince of Peace Catholic Church where he volunteers in the lector ministry and with faith formation. His favorite motto: “Awkwardness does not exist.”

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