Adoration during the Octave of Corpus Christi – Czyszki, June 6, 1915
“And behold, I am with you all days, until the end of the world”
When Judas the traitor came with a team of soldiers into the garden of olives to take the Lord Jesus there, the Savior came out and asked, “Who are you looking for?” They answered him: “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus said to them, “I am”. So when he said to them, “I am,” they moved back and fell to the ground.” (Jn 18:5-6).
If the Lord Jesus had now spoken from the Most Sacred Host to us with the same words: “I am,” we would probably face the earth with fear and reverence for His Divine Majesty. However, he does not do so, Christ the Lord does not speak to us. Because we believe in Him, we recognize in this Most Holy Sacrament our God and Lord, so Christ does not need to miraculously convince us of his presence among us. “Miracles, says St. Gregory of Nazianzen, are needed for doubters, not for the faithful.
True, we all believe in the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, but how many times do we somehow forget. Our faith becomes lethargic, and even when we kneel in the church in front of the altar, thoughts run somewhere outside the church, into the field, into the house. Perhaps it comes from weakness, human frailty. But in order not to become guilty of this lethargy ourselves, we must deepen and revive our faith. If we want to honor the Blessed Sacrament and please God, we must firmly take on the faith that the Lord Jesus is here, he remains with us until the end of the world.
All people who live well among themselves, love each other, like to converse with each other, interact, visit each other. Likewise, the Lord God loves and wants to be with people. But because man being in the flesh is unable to see Divinity, and that is why God has revealed himself to men in visible, human form. And so, Abraham looked at God in the form of three travelers, Moses heard the voice of God from a fiery bush, the Jewish people looked at the power of God and His goodness in the form of a cloud or a flaming pole. But all these revelations, though numerous, were momentary – the Lord God appeared and disappeared. However, this was not enough. Therefore, the second Person of the Trinity became man, and lived among people for 33 years, worked with them, spoke, suffered, and celebrated with them.
It is true that many people could see and hear Him, they could even touch Him. But, that happened in only one corner of the world, within one nation, so only the Jews living 1900 years ago could enjoy the sight of God incarnate, and the rest of humanity, would not be able to experience that great joy. And we, too, could have regretted that God was so good to those people, and not for us. But that would not be the case.
Saint. Paul says: “The gifts of grace and the call of God are irrevocable (Rm 11:29). The Lord Jesus gave himself once for the people in order to give himself constantly and more and more. Therefore, the Lord Jesus must stay with us in order to be one with us for the good of all, and must constantly remain, for we need him. Look! The sun has been shining and heating the earth for so many centuries, and when it hides only in the evening for a few hours, the cold is about to come, everything cools down. Likewise, it would not have been enough for our souls if the Lord Jesus had only been on the earth in the past, and if he were not here now, our faith would have cooled quickly and the love would have died out in our hearts.
Christ therefore remains with us, but not in a visible human form, and not in one place on earth, for if we had seen him, we would have no merit in faith. He, meanwhile, wanted to be with us everywhere. Therefore, he is in the form of bread, and although he is in the form of bread, he is a true God and a living man like everyone, although he is now concealed by the image of bread. But he looks at us, sees us and hears us, reads our thoughts and penetrates our hearts.
The Lord Jesus is our friend, and a friend would like to stay with their companion for as long as possible, so the Lord Jesus remains with us for a long time, until the end of the world. The Lord Jesus is our Father, yet no Father wants to leave his children. The Lord Jesus did not leave us orphans. Parents must one day die and after death they will no longer be with their children. The Lord Jesus died, rose, and continues to be with us.
And if the Lord Jesus is so good to us that he is always present in our churches, with what reverence and love should we offer Him. Our first thought when we enter the church should be: here in the tabernacle is the living Lord Jesus.
A certain priest, traveling abroad, once out of curiosity wanted to observe a Protestant church, a Lutheran church. When he entered the threshold of this church, he took off his hat. Seeing the sexton who greeted him, he said: Why take your hat off, there is no one in the church now. So, there was no one in the Protestant congregation, and hence this church servant did not value his church as a house, but only as a hall or a meeting place, where you can walk with your head covered.
But in the Catholic Church it is completely different. Here always, whether there are people or not, the incarnate God dwells, Jesus Christ. This is the first teaching of the presence of Christ the Lord in church, in the tabernacle: that we cherish and respect our churches.
And further, the presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament encourages us to behave accordingly in the church, to focus and to pray. Unfortunately, there is neglect among us in this regard.
Who would have imagined that people, even in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, could dare to sin? And yet it is so.
A pious man entering the church saw at the door the devil with a huge piece of paper. He asked: Why do you have such a big paper? The devil replied: I will write down the sins committed in the church on them. And where do people sin so much in the house of God– the man replied. But maybe even this paper isn’t enough” – the devil said. And indeed, at the end of the devotion, he saw the same man, as the evil spirit stretched a piece of paper in his claws, for he had already run out of space to write down his sins.
Let us beware, dear brothers and sisters, that our evil enemy may not boast that even in the church he catches us in his snares. Let us avoid all conversations, unnecessary glances, vain thoughts. In addition to behaving appropriately, the Lord Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament requires us to talk to him, to pray to Him. A sad sign would be if we were bored with the Lord Jesus. It’s easy for us to talk to people for an hour or more, and is it so hard with our Savior? You don’t know what to say to Christ the Lord? And don’t you have any needs? Maybe you are afflicted by some concern? Maybe trouble at home, maybe poverty, maybe the disease is affecting you. All this should be brought before the Lord Jesus!
Sometimes you want to lament to others so as to feel better, don’t you desire this? Behold, Christ, who is hidden on the altar, is our best friend. Don’t you have any temporal needs? Or is your soul in a pitiful state? Maybe you are in addiction to sins? So, when you come to church, speak to your Lord Jesus! Save me, for I am wretched, heal me, lift me away from sin! If you do not have any needs yourself – pray for others, for the abandoned, for the whole world. In this way you will not be bored in the church and the Lord Jesus will be pleased with your presence.
“Behold, I am with you… (Mt 28:20). When St. John Chrysostom once presented to the faithful the happiness of those people who lived and interacted with the Lord Jesus, they complained, saying, “And we too would like to see the Savior, enjoy His presence, touch his robes.” This great Saint rightly told them, “And you see him, and you touch Him.” The Lord Jesus is with us, God wants to be with us, but not in human form, so as not to handicap us, but under the veil of bread, and for us it is better, because we have easier access. Let us benefit, let us behave with dignity, let us pray. When we are able to benefit from the Savior’s presence, then undeniably after death the Lord Jesus who wants to be always with us will take us to himself.
Here on earth he comes to us, after death we will go to him, never to be separated again.
Beloved in Christ the Lord!
When Peter saw the great miracle fulfilled by Christ the Lord, the miracle in which the Apostles caught a great lot of fish he was overwhelmed. For he knew clearly that in the person of the Lord Jesus he had before him the true, almighty God. The Lord Jesus reassures St. Peter, saying to him: Do not be afraid. May Christ the Lord relieve us of our fears. There are a variety of things that can cause fear. People are afraid of losing their wealth, their good name, of suffering, and most fear death on this earth. And rightly so, because whoever loses his life has lost everything in this world, no longer has the value of neither wealth, nor honors, nor clothing, nor any pleasures. We Christians, however, should restrain this fear of death, because we know that with death everything ends on this earth, but instead another life begins, better in eternity.
In order to take on this Christian courage in the face of death, we will consider today, by the grace of God, how we are to respond in dangers of life, and first: 1) We have come to know that it is necessary in such danger to have confidence in God; 2) That one should not put one’s life at risk without need; 3) Finally, in times of danger, we are to awaken perfect contrition for sin perfect in order to secure eternal salvation.
I will admit to you, Dear Brothers and Sisters, that I was going to speak about something else today, and it was only yesterday, when the blasts of cannons were heard louder than before, that I changed my mind. However, I have not done so because we are in some serious danger – because these terrible guns are not directed at us, the soldiers are not fighting against us – but by chance a civilian could be hit by a stray bullet, and over a defenceless population sometimes bombs thrown from airplanes explode, as you probably had the opportunity to read in the newspapers, so we should all now remember this and be prepared for death. Moreover, what I will tell you is always needed, because always – not only during the war, our lives can always be easily interrupted – like a cobweb. What I will tell you is not meant to terrify you, but to encourage you with courage. Hence, we will first consider the truth that God takes care of us, that we must trust in Him.
We all believe that there is one God who created everything and governs everything. God rules the sun and the stars, directs the movement of the wind – without His will we could not take a step, without His will the leaves on the trees would not move, without His will one hair would not fall out of our head. And the bullets and mortars fall that spread death on the battlefield– where God wants or allows. Hence our proverb says: Man shoots, and the Lord God directs the bullets. So, if God does not want us to encounter harm, nothing will happen to us.
We sing in the Psalm 113 that the Lord God ” who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” And he sees us, but not only sees us – but takes care of us. From here we speak again to Him in the song: your eyes are watching day and night in this direction, where man awaits your rescue. As a hen gathers and protects her chicks when a crow or hawk appears, so God takes care of us even more so when we are in danger. If a mother would not have left her child alone if a fire had broken out in the house, or if an animal had come near, and so would the Lord God not have left us when we were in danger or threatened by evil? Never! After all, he says in the scriptures: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! So, we can feel safe when we have such a powerful caregiver. Trusting in God, we can fall asleep peacefully, for He watches over us at night. Let us be aware that unnecessary fear is insulting to God, for by such fear we show Him, in a sense, that either He does not take care of us or he cannot protect us from danger. Let us remember, then, the words of the song: Whoever gives himself in care to his Lord, and with all his heart sincerely trusts in Him, dare I say, I have a protector in God, no terrible threat will come to me, since God: Will keep you forever in the shadow of his feathers, under His wings you will find refuge.
But by trusting in the Lord God, we should not put ourselves in danger. If, for example, there was fighting in our area, it would be our duty to take refuge in some hideout or basement, or at least remain in the house and not go outside. The Lord God is our guard and our shield, says the proverb. Anyone who recklessly puts himself in danger does not deserve the care of God. God himself says in the sacred scriptures: Whoever loves danger will perish by it.
Therefore, woe to the farmer, who at the time of the fiercest battle plowed his field, and when the soldiers warned him to protect himself from bullets, he replied: I owe nothing to anyone; therefore no one will shoot at me. A miracle would be needed to escape death in this case – but God does not do miracles for the foolhardy.
No reasonable person leaves the door open at night so that thieves can sneak in, no honest woman gets into conversations with suspicious people, so as not to put their virtue at risk – so that every person wanting to avoid death, should avoid danger. And so when we trust in God, and when we do not put ourselves unnecessarily in danger, we will protect the life of the body – if it is God’s will – and if God decides otherwise – then and no protection will help us, the Lord God can take our lives without arrows.
We are afraid of death – but why, will it be so bad – after all, death frees us from earthly sufferings and misery. Many people want death so that their afflictions would be over.
So, you do not have to be afraid of death, just do not die in grave sin, so as not to stand on the judgment of God as the guilty one. Then our death would be terrible– for it would not be the end of suffering, but the beginning of eternal torment.
So, what must be done to avoid an evil death, in grave sins. To partake of the Sacrament of Penance. In this Sacrament all sins are taken away, the Lord God forgives them. Whoever has committed a slight offense, is momentarily angry, has committed a small lie or theft, even if he has died without confession, will be saved – but those with grave sins, mortal sins on their conscience – must be quickly reconciled with God.
If one of us offended a judge, and if he were to go before at a certain time – he would probably try to come to terms with him before the deadline, otherwise he could angrily issue a verdict condemning him. So, all those with grave sin on their souls have angered the Divine Judge, and their time of death could soon arrive – they must, for this matter, be reconciled as quickly as possible with God.
But what should be done by those who feel the weight of serious sin but are not able to confess, if there is no priest on hand to absolve them? Isn’t there salvation for them when death comes suddenly? There is! They should arouse sorrow for their sins, perfect contrition, let them not only repent because they deserved hell and lost heaven, but especially because God so good, so gracious, the best Father who has been terribly offended. And if they have the opportunity, they should confess at the earliest opportunity, the Lord God will readily forgive them, without confession because of their sorrow.
How can this perfect contrition be aroused? It is possible, for example, to say with one’s lips and heart: My God I regret with all my heart – all my sins, not only because I have earned your righteous punishment in this and in the next life, but even more so because I have offended You who are my best Father, whom I should and desire to love above all else. With your grace, O Lord, I promise to improve my life and never sin again. In the absence of time a short sigh is enough, i.e.: O, I am sorry for my sin, above all because of your love.
However, in order not to forget to have sorrow for our sins at the hour of death, we must now become accustomed to this act now in our lives. Especially if we have the misfortune to commit a grave sin – we should immediately ask God for forgiveness, since we do not know when we be able to confess. – In a certain house a father suddenly fell ill, he haemorrhaged blood, and the priest was sent for. Meanwhile, the little son, who had recently received his first Holy Communion, took the cross in his hands, showed it to his father and said the words: O, I am sorry for my sin, above all because of your love. – Before the priest came his father passe on, but probably reconciled with God. Similarly, it is necessary to arouse perfect contrition every day, in the evening, because it may happen that death will occur during sleep, when we will not be able to think about sorrow.
Jesus said to Simon: do not be afraid. And Christ the Lord says to us in our afflictions: Do not be afraid of anything, and do not be afraid of death, for it depends on my all-powerful will, do not be afraid, for I care for you. Do not expose yourself to danger, and in danger repent of your sins.
The Lord God is infinitely merciful, he is not relentless in his anger towards us, he is ready to forgive. Let us only apologize to Him and loath our transgressions, and He will give us His grace and blessing now and forever. Amen.
May the words of the Psalmist be the motto of our spiritual exercises:
“… your youth is renewed like an eagle.” (Ps 103,5b)
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor requite us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
so the Lord pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
upon those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
We know what retreats are, and sometimes we have already conducted them – a collection of spiritual exercises usually lasting a few days – a retreat – as the name suggests are days spent gathering, in spiritual recollection, spent in private, away from people, and in the company of God.
Do we necessarily have to take part in them? If we conduct it well, we will be at a great advantage, if poorly, it will be a great loss to our soul.
Each of us is surely fears that we do not cause harm to our soul, thus everyone desires to do it good. In order to be better encouraged in this godly exercise, it is necessary to consider at the outset: 1. The need for a retreat; 2. How it should be conducted.
We have to renew our spirits. Of course, it is necessary. How many people are attached to life, good looks and attractiveness of the body and would like to be rejuvenated in their later years. We spiritual people do not have such desires, but we yearn for a greatly renewed spirit.
For renewal, it is necessary to know yourself. And it is the retreat that helps to know yourself most effectively. Although we do meditations every day which enlighten our soul, often this enlightenment is too superficial. Only once have we gathered thoughts and begin to penetrate deeply within our hearts, have we begun to find the causes of our falls, and this is the second point of meditation – our meditation is interrupted. Other times we have the best intentions for recollecting, but soon we give in to things, various concerns, we forget everything, and so this understanding ourselves, knowing God – like the seed in the gospels that fell by the wayside, is sometimes trampled.
We celebrate during the year various exercises: the examination of conscience, we go to confession, we receive Holy Communion, but we perform all these sacred activities very hastily, because we do not have time, because thousands of things are waiting for us. And so we deceive ourselves with this lack of time, the urgency of things to do – it seems impossible for us to know ourselves and renew ourselves.
But during the retreat we do have time, a pleasant time according to the words of the Apostle – “Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). We are not under pressure, things to do have been completely taken away from us, you can give yourself a self-examination. For this, the grace of God helps. Which is abundantly poured out by God during these days – he enlightens our paths – enlightens our intentions – heaven and salvation.
Retreats are necessary to renew one’s spirits, because they are only way of more deeply shaking the soul (of a religious). Over the years, various promptings have been used to arouse us: admonishment, examples, remarks, musings, spiritual readings – but these promptings, because they are daily, they have saturated us, and no longer impress us. Hence the need for: more silence, more enclosed cloister, more prayer, so that the soul (of the religious) can actually be encouraged to be renewed, to change one’s life for the better, to work more vigorously on himself. And this is all that is needed for the retreat which makes it easier for us and stimulates us together with God’s grace to renew our spirits.
Retreats are needed as a preparation for death. We do not know the day or time when the Son of Man will come, we do not know when the Son of God will call us before your Judge – we must therefore be ready as servants of the gospels. And it is not enough here to count on God’s infinite mercy that he will have consideration for us. God has consideration for great sinners, living in a world which often offers grace for conversion, repentance at the last moment of life, and he truly able to spare us, but his judgement will be harsher than with others.
A servant who knew the will of his Lord and did not prepare accordingly will be punished greatly. Not only are we to leave this world in a state of grace, not only with great poverty are we to squeeze through the gate of salvation, but we should also stand before the judgment of God cleansed and whitewashed with the snow of repentance, stand with our hands full of merit.
And when do we think seriously about this repentance, gaining merits, truly, if not at retreats? This is why retreats are so necessary for us.
What should I do to have a good retreat? Three factors make for a good spiritual exercise: 1. God; 2. The soul of the retreatant; 3. A guide or book from which themes of meditation are drawn.
So, to be assured of God’s help during a retreat, it is necessary to pray as much as possible. The Lord God indeed always has open treasures of his graces, but if we ask Him ardently, request perseveringly for His mercy, then this heavenly Father lavishly showers us with such great graces, so precious that we could not even imagine that this merciful God would be so gracious to us. When we pray fervently, then we will come out of the retreat undoubtedly sanctified. In spite of until now living a cold, sinful life, we can turn into saints. Only let us not fear any sacrifices, let us have confidence in God, and certainly our youth will renew like an eagle.
Let us pray, let us fervently take part in all common exercises, let us pray privately – continuously. This does not refer to constantly praying with one’s lips, but a frequent sigh to God.
The second factor in the retreat is the retreatant himself. Let us not care too much about what guide, what book for meditation – this is a tertiary thing – we ourselves, first of all, have to put our hand to work on ourselves. Teachings, readings, even if they are beautiful, will not help us when we do not penetrate into ourselves, if we do not examine the causes of our sad state, if we ourselves do not turn to better ourselves. So, we need to work. And how? Here we must first remove the obstacles to this work, and therefore seclusion and silence are necessary. Let us not worry about the world during these days, we are only to be concerned with God and our soul. Next, we must meditate. On what? On what you have heard or what you have read.
And finally comes the third factor, the retreat director. You do not need to and should not take him into account – let him be what he is: wise or unwise; old or young; holy or sinner – it doesn’t matter – we should only look upon his as a messenger of God – let us listen to his words as the voice of God. His advice, demands, admonitions – it is God himself who advises, demands, admonishes.
Taking part in a retreat in this way will renew our spirit. We will sail on to the roads of perfection and rest in Heavenly Father’s embrace. Don’t our heart and soul seem to burst with better gifts, a better life, not desire to rise to the heights of perfection? Oh, this is the essence of the depths of our wonderful elation. Just don’t let us stifle it, but develop it. Let us listen to the admonition of the Apostle: “… welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. ” (Jas 1:21b-22).
Homily preached on the 2nd Sunday of Lent
Czyszki, Feb. 28, 1914
“Then Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, it is good that we are here…”
(Mt 17, 4)
The Lord Jesus foresaw, sensed, that the horror of his suffering and death on the cross was approaching. He knew well that his disciples’ faith and love for him would be shaken during this ordeal. He saw clearly how these disciples would abandon Him and not defend him from the attack of the Jews. The Lord Jesus felt all this, and desiring that His apostles would not lose faith, he was transfigured before them on Mount Tabor. He showed them his glory: for his face was bright like the sun, His garments became white as snow, and Christ the Lord showed them that he was not an ordinary man, but truly the Son of God.
The apostles were not able to see all the glory and majesty of the Lord Jesus, but only a small part of it, merely a veiled portion, and yet they felt such joy, pleasure, and elation that St. Peter exclaimed, Lord, it is good for us to be here! What joy would have engulfed them if they had been able to see heavenly glory in all its fullness. Surely this would comfort them and strengthen them in spirit, and they would not have feared anything from then on, they would have gladly endured all, just to attain eternal joy in heaven.
And it would be very useful for all of us to see at least a little bit, albeit a small portion of heaven, the place where holy angels reign with God. But who would reveal heaven to us? With our bodily eyes we are not able to look into the heavenly sanctuaries, but with the help of faith we can see not only a portion of heaven, but fortunately to see all of heaven.
With the help of faith, we look to heaven, that is we ponder heaven, contemplate according to our holy faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. This reflection on heaven will be particularly useful to us so that in these sad times we can persevere, and that we can valiantly endure all these afflictions as Christians.
With God’s help, let us first think about this, first: What is heaven? And secondly: What heaven is not and what will make us happy forever.
You may be surprised that what I want to talk about first is what heaven is not. And yet I cannot do otherwise, because as St. Augustin writes: “it is easier to say what is not there than what is in heaven.” Moreover, having learned what is not in heaven, we will already have a good idea of eternal happiness.
Well, the chosen in heaven are free from all evil. Here on earth, there are many misfortunes, many various difficulties. Some experience poverty and misery who at times must reach out and ask for alms.
In heaven, everyone is rich, no one suffers poverty. St. John the Apostle likens heaven to a great city: the walls of this city of precious gems, gates of pearls, streets of purest gold and like transparent glass (Rev. 21).
On this earth, the body has many needs, demands for its sustenance, food, drink, rest. Meanwhile, it cannot always have it all, which is why we suffer hunger thirst, fatigue. This year (it was 1914) especially, many find themselves without a piece of bread, many mothers and fathers with heart wrenching grief hear their children crying for food, and even here with not a spoonful of food at home. In heaven it is completely different. The Scriptures say that there: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7, 16-17). There is no need for any sustenance in heaven, neither for the soul nor for the body. Moreover, the soul does not use any food in this world, and our body, if it ever gets into heaven, will be spiritual, refined, immortal, so without it will be able to be satisfied any food.
There is also no arduous work in heaven, no diseases, no death. St. John writes: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away”. (Rev 21,4). Here on earth, one suffers from illness, another suffers harm from neighbors, and finally another suffers humiliation and derision from his own wife or children. “In a heavenly homeland,” writes a scholar (Hugo?) – there is life without death, youth without old age, health without weakness, rest without work, joy without sorrow, agreement without dispute, light without darkness, beauty without diminishing, delight without bitterness …, in a word, an ocean of happiness.”
There are so many difficulties on earth because people sin. Sins are the cause of war. Through sin, one another lose their good name, it exposes them to shame and disgrace. Also, from sin come all anger, quarrels and arguments. “This is not in heaven, for there is no sin there,” says St. Augustine – neither temptations nor lusts, there is no punishment or uncertainties.” When someone is doing well and is happy, there are soon to be hostile people, envious, jealous of their joy. So, no one can say that they are doing well in this world, because even if it were so, they the are not entirely happy, because they are envied by others.
There is no jealousy in heaven, although there one’s happiness differs from the other depending on their merits, but there is no jealousy. St. Francis de Sales made this comparison: Two children get a dress from the same material from their father, but the younger child does not envy the older one, because she has a larger dress, and rightly so because the larger one would not be useful to her for anything. It is the same in heaven, where everyone loves each other and everyone is satisfied with their happiness, and does not desire greater joy than the other, because he knows that that joy is inappropriate for him. Earthly happiness is too fragile. It can easily be lost, but whoever gets to heaven no longer has to fear being expelled from there someday. “The righteous will enter into eternal life,” says the Lord Jesus, so they will live forever in happiness, and no one can take away their joy. Great men, princes and kings pay a lifetime of wages to those who have served them for many years, and even reward them when they have ceased to serve them. The Lord God, the most high of all kings, pays even more generously – he gives an eternal reward.
“Lord, it is good for us to be here,” says St. Peter to the Lord Jesus on Mount Tabor. How much more rightly can the blessed in heaven cry out to God: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” It must be very good in heaven, for there is neither poverty nor hunger, nor any suffering, nor death, nor jealousy, nor anxiety or fear.
How greatly then should we crave heaven! When we have pondered how good it is in heaven, we should not follow earthly pleasures. Thus, one should distain every sinful pleasure, for in every sinful pleasure there will be only a drop of sweetness, and a whole river of poison. Every sin is like a forbidden fruit in paradise, it seems nice, but as soon as you taste it, a guilty conscience, shame and worries come.
So happy is this soul, who avoids the bitter delights of the world, and longs for heaven, where there is no trace of evil but goodness and happiness itself.
A wealthy Englishman promised the famous painter a great reward if he painted the sun. The painter took a long time to think about it, selected various paints and finally painted the sun. But when the painter brought the painting to this rich man, he said to him, “This is the sun? What did you paint? It’s not like the sun in the sky at all. I can look straight at your sun, but if I looked at the sun in the sky, I would be blinded. Paint again, but brighter, let the canvas shine as it does in the sky.” The painter knew the eccentricity of the man, so he said to him, “Well, lord, I will paint it, but I must soak my brush in sunlight, if you give me such paint, I will paint you the real sun. But in the meantime, unfortunately, you need to accept this painting, painted with earthly paints.
Just as this painter could not paint the sun, so I cannot describe what is in heaven. Any human description of heaven can similarly be compared to the sun being painted. For you must be in heaven to say what is there.
What is in heaven? What makes angels and saints happy? We can only have an indistinct idea of this, when we look at how beautiful the earth is in the summer, the brightness, serene day, flowers blooming in meadows, flourishing gardens and forests. How beautiful it must be in heaven! The Saints will not need the light of candles or the sun: “And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 22, 5). Moreover, Jesus himself says, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Mt 13, 43). The bodies of the saints will be extremely beautiful, and they will be able to move quickly and easily moving from one place to another. The ears which here on earth hear so many languages and grumblings will be filled, beyond any notion, with the beautiful and soothing singing of angels, and the blissful smell of holiness will surround everyone as the air surrounds us. And so writes St. John in Revelation: “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,” (Rev 19, 1), and the sound was like the voice of a multitude and the holy city was filled with the aroma of the most precious flowers.
From this beauty that we see on earth we can have some notion of heaven, but this concept is very inaccurate and weak. If, for example, cows could think, they would probably think that their master must eat particularly good hay, because it looks so good. Often, we exiles of this earth determine heavenly happiness on the basis of earthly happiness and pleasure, and sometimes we are like this cow, the delight we see in very good hay. Meanwhile, there is a great difference between earthly and heavenly happiness, as well as between human food and hay. Saint Paul the Apostle, who had the revelation of eternal happiness, could not explain it to the people: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2, 9).
Happiness in heaven is all the greater because we will not be there alone, but in the company of the angels and saints. There we will find those dear to us who have passed on before us. Parents will meet there their child, whom they now bitterly mourn on earth, children will connect with their parents, the husband will find his wife, a friend of a friend.
In this world, although we live among the best and most beloved friends and family, we will never, without exception find perfect love, for we all have our flaws that weaken and dampen our love for one another. There are no defects or imperfections in heaven, which is why everyone always loves each other fervently, and as a certain holy monk said, in our heavenly homeland even complete strangers love each other more than parents tenderly love their children.
Everything I have said so far does not truly present heaven. The essence of the happiness of the blessed is contained, according to St. John. Alphonse in this one short word: God. I experience great pleasure at times looking at creation, for that which will be we must look to its Creator. If it is enjoyable to interact with good and pleasant people, how much more enjoyable it will be in the company of the best, and most holy Father, our God. Think of any pleasures and enjoyments, and you will find each to some degree infinite perfection. God is an ocean of happiness. So, we will be able, in the words of the sacred scriptures, to delight in the generosity of God’s house, the generosity of heaven, and to be immersed into streams of delight. God introduces us to heaven with the words he once said to Abraham, “I am you’re your shield and your great reward”, and gives us possession of this forever.