My beloved friends,
Guess what happened this weekend in Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska?
About 150 campers got to peek at the beauty of Heaven. Let me tell you more of what we experienced…
Every summer across the U.S., Catholic Vietnamese Americans criss-cross the interstates. This year in the Midwest, friends in states from Michigan to Kansas, from Minnesota to Ohio, and even from Washington and Georgia, converged in the Cornhusker State for 55 hours of learning, praying, practicing and discovering friendship with one another and with Christ.
And there it was: a chance to catch a preview of Heaven.
I once heard some people say that they were afraid of Heaven, “It’s gonna be so boring! Who wants to pray all day, every day, for all eternity? The same thing — forever… what a drag!”
But that’s not Heaven. Instead, Heaven is where He makes all things NEW. ALL things (Rev. 21:5).
I love strawberries. I didn’t always love them as much as I do now, but I daydream sometimes about strawberries in Heaven… …
-Me: “Oh look, a strawberry! Don’t mind if I help myself!”
-Jesus: “So you like that strawberry, eh? Well… try THIS ONE!” (pulls out another berry from behind His back)
-Me: “Whoa… this one’s even better!”
-Jesus: “Yes, now try THIS ONE!!” (pulls out yet another berry)
-Me: “Whoa! This one is better than the last two combined!”
-Jesus: “Think so? Try THIS ONE!!!” (and this could go on FOREVER)
Christ. What a curious God He is. Who makes something that is already perfect, into something better… better than perfect! Always new! How could that ever get lame?!
It’s like the love we experience in this life: love makes every moment new, a new experience. The restaurant of your first date becomes special, not repetitive. The movie you first watched together, laughed through together, sniffled through together… that movie becomes a highlight, and every time you watch that movie or visit that restaurant with your beloved, it’s something new: you’re both a little older than the previous time, both in a different state of mind than before, in a different life-situation.
Now let’s go deeper.
There is one thing people never get bored of doing. NEVER.
Yes, I will get bored of strawberries.
Yes, you will get bored of _____________.
But think a moment before reading on. What do people never bore of doing? What is never boring?
The answer: meeting new friends and strengthening friendships. Sure — we’ll get tired of talking, dancing, dining, traveling, camping, playing games, etc. But after the tiredness goes away, we’re back at it again! We can get “tired” of making and strengthening friendships, but we’ll never be BORED of it to the point of thinking: “No more! I’m so bored of friends! Having friends is so boring!”
Don’t know about you, but I’d rather be exhausted and annoyed with my family/friends rather than be energetic and have no family/friends at all.
So that’s what I saw happen again this past weekend. So many of us stank for lack of showering. So many were exhausted for lack of sleep. So many were cold for lack of a summer. But we were with our friends.
In Heaven, you make friends. And you will never lose a friend. You will meet new persons forever, doing whatever activities that make friendships flourish. Every person is so rich in their specific personality — after all, nobody is identical to another on earth, why would they be redundant in Heaven where ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW?
And I specifically said “persons” because humans aren’t the only persons in Creation. Angels are persons too! Imagine that… meeting and making friends with the angels. I’d like Saint Michael to give me some jousting and samurai lessons, for sure!
And then, the ultimate person to meet… Holy God Himself.
THAT is the Communion of Saints. THAT is Heaven.
But remember, what I saw happen was only an itty preview: like merely being able to smell fresh baked cookies. But, in Heaven we will finally get to eat the cookies 🙂
[Now if that’s Heaven… then how is Hell like? Where all things are never new. Where you lose friends and are left to solitary confinement. Where time does not pass because there’s nothing that’s going to happen next anyway.]