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The "Ask Father" Forum

What is there awaiting one who poses a question to that forum here on CatholicismRocks? An answer, and hopefully one that satisfies even as it sparks more questions. At least that is how I learned as a child and continue to discover as an adult. Why am I shamelessly promoting myself online? I'm not; now that I'm retired from parish work, writing about the faith is becoming my new ministry, here and elsewhere. I'm not selling myself; I'm promoting Catholicism. And that, I hope, is what you can expect when posing a question on CatholicismRocks' forum, a faithful Catholic priest's answer to a question about faith or morals. Here, let me offer an example of an answer you might expect from me, for this is something I wrote on Reddit's ask a priest forum only a few moments ago:


Question: I'm having trouble understanding heaven.

Im going to shamefully admit this: Im scared of Heaven. There I said it, im not proud of it, but its true. I am terrified. I know that heaven is supposed to be MULTITUDES better then earth. But I just dont see how that can be. For example, Rev 5:13-14 says " Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” This is just one instance where it is mentioned that all we do is stand before the throne and sing. What do I do in this life? I explore the eath, I make music, I hang with friends, I can go on adventures, I can go car racing, I can watch movies, I can go on trips, I experience vast cultures. What do we do in heaven? Stand and sing. See what im getting at? I love the Lord with all my heart, and I love to worship him, but not FOREVER. When laid out like this...heaven seems...boring? And I hate that I see it this way. But I just dont see any other way to see it. I have to be viewing this wrong, right? I HAVE too. There has to be more. Ive prayed and prayed for understanding, but nothing comes. I really dont know what to do.


Pardon the edit here. I debated whether to add my reason for writing this on the spot, and the edit won. Because the answer I saw from another priest not only failed to satisfy, it seemed lacking honesty and depth. Here's the answer I read.

Heaven… we don’t know. But eternal life isn’t heaven. Heaven is a happy death. Everyone in heaven (except Jesus and Mary) are physically dead. Eternal life is what comes after heaven. Eternal life is life after life after death. That may sound surprising. Eternal life happens when death ends and we live again. Eternal life is what we do on earth after the resurrection of the dead in the life of the world to come. My plan has something to do with a woodworking workshop and building furniture. That may or may not happen but that’s what I’m hoping for. Remember eternal life is what happens when we get our glorified bodies back and we will live in the renewed world. --A Priest.


Instead, I offered the reader a different answer, which follows. (And this is why I write: truth deserves to be fairly represented!)

Heaven is better than we can imagine, as St. John tells us what we will be there, what will take place, we have no idea, but such will be the blessings God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9). C.S.Lewis pokes fun at unbelievers (Mere Christianity, I think) when he says that they will be bored in heaven with all the incense and worship and chanting Hosannas. That's why he concludes, tongue in cheek, that only those who enjoy church will enjoy heaven. There's some truth to this. In the practice of religion, we are weaned from the promises of this world, which are ultimately vain and purposeless, only to be returned in Jesus' words, a hundredfold what we sacrificed for love of God. But look out at the stars, the countless galaxies filled each with billions of stars, many larger and brighter than our own sun bursting with energy, or gaze on the loveliness of a simple flower, unfolding with petals and aromatic scent, drawing us in more closely to satisfy our senses and spark our wonder--only to ponder more seriously this point: if the Creator can make all this natural beauty which you now prefer over the thought of being with Him who is Beauty, Goodness, Strength, Truth and Love, what is He preparing for you when you meet face to face? St. Thomas Aquinas says that God is like a sparkling jewel, infinite in facets, which will tantalize and satisfy us perfectly for eternity. I agree with you in this: none of us can fully imagine the good things God prepared for those who love Him, but my friend, your imagination is quite poor when figuring that the creatures here on earth, the world and all it holds, is in any way the least bit comparable or desirable to the majestic awe and delight we will experience in the Creator.

What can you do about this? 1. Don't discard the following suggestion as trite or meaningless. 2. Take your concerns to God in prayer. Why? 3. Religion, prayer, all these acts of faith we offer God increase our desire for Him, as St. Augustine says. Increasing desire for the things of heaven will help you readjust your attitude about what the earth holds out for you.

A final thought: my mother would tell us children the following. If I live forever here on earth, after 200 years I'd be a blob, helpless and practically unable to live in a satisfying way. My nature would have to be scientifically re-engineered to keep body parts from failing, and then I wouldn't be me, but what would change my view of material goods after living with the prospect of having only them for countless years? I'd become jaded, bored and disgusted that this is only what life brings. What I am suggesting is this: The world here is all we know, but faith points to the perfection of wonders and delights that only God can give. And give He will, of Himself...the source of all that is good, wonderful and delightful. Primed with that thought, go now, back to prayer, and thank God for the wonders He is preparing for you even now.

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Deacon Schwerdt
Deacon Schwerdt
Nov 30, 2022

Being afraid of or bored at heaven never crossed my mind. All of my Catholic catechesis from first grade in 1956 until now has led me to believe that heaven will be better than anything my feeble mind can imagine. As soon as I read your blog, the first thing that came to mind was 1 Cor. 2:9. Now that we have been on the surfaces of the moon and of Mars, we can appreciate our own planet’s beauty with all its intricacies: mountains, forests, lakes, flowers of all colors, humans, animals, tiny insects. As beautiful as these are, I think they will seem drab and dull in comparison to what we see in heaven. We will be outside o…


Nov 19, 2022

Might I add the following comment? St. Thomas says that God adds our goodness to His, compounding the benefits of heaven so to speak, such is the goodness of God! His quote is taken from today's Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours:

"Again, eternal life consists of the joyous community of all the blessed, a community of supreme delight, since everyone will share all that is good with all the blessed. Everyone will love everyone else as himself, and therefore will rejoice in another's good as in his own. So it follows that the happiness and joy of each grows in proportion to the joy of all."

One of my younger sisters who has preceded me in…

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