Heaven Is Not Customizable

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Or Why Purgatory, the Dark Night, and Union With God Are Necessary

Yep. That's it, in one sentence. Heaven isn't customizable. When we get there our preferences in anything simply will not matter, nor I suspect will an awful lot of the preferences we had here on Earth. Latin Mass v. vernacular, holding hands v. not holding hands, chanted Mass v. spoken Mass, egg salad or tuna, white shoes after labor day (sorry to scandlize y'all) or not--none of these will be options--whatever is there is there and is right.

The reason for all the way stations before heaven--however they may undertaken, is that Heaven is one-size-fits-all. That is, the great joy of heaven will not be in our individuality, which will still be celebrated, but celebrated within the coherent whole of heaven. We will not become one mass organism all exactly the same, but we will worship and rejoice in our ability to fit in rather in those things that make us distinct. We will delight in making our distinctiveness blend with and support those around us. We will rejoice in worshipping God not in private prayer or as completely separate isolated pockets, but as a community in which there is no choice one way or another. As they say, in Heaven it's God's way or the highway.

So, the dark night of the soul--as I understand it now, and that is quite imperfectly is purgatory here on Earth. We pass through those cleansing fires that root out all traces of our rebellion of our need to define ourselves with nose-rings, belly-button piercings, and boxer-shorts with little pink hearts on them. We stand naked in spirit before the Lord and we are gradually molded to "fit in" to the spirit of Heaven.

The sooner we can choose to let go of those preferences on Earth, the easier it shall be for us when it comes time for the purification that precedes entry into heaven. A lucky few might get through the whole course while still on Earth and go directly to heaven. What a truly awe-inspiring thought. But so long as we insist upon our own ways--no matter what those ways are--we are not humble enough to cross the threshhold. Neither should we hold to the ways of any man here on earth , but only choose the Way of the One Man who came to save us all. Only in this is there the proper orientation that begins to fit us into heaven. Detachment from insistence upon our own and acceptance of what is around us. Thus in the comments below, I point out that I love the symbolism of holding hands during the Our Father. On the other hand, it little matters what I love. What matters is that I take pains not to scandalize my brothers and sisters--that my thought takes in those outside of me before it considers my own preference. In a place where this is custom, I conform to custom gladly. Where it is not, I conform to what is right and proper there, again rejoicing in the Lord and His people.

This is one of the reasons why I think that, while they have their hearts in the right place, those who think that worship arrangements should be by democratic vote are so far off. This creates a church of chaos here on Earth and it does not mirror the perfection of heaven. Heaven is not run by vote, nor does it offer options to those who "don't quite fit in." Those that need something else in heaven suffer from a sin called pride and its motto is, "Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven."

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i have it on good authority that only gregorian chant is sung in heaven.

(*i did enjoy this post, even if it made me so nervous, i insist on being wily.)

What, no harps?


Thank you for cutting more to the core of things than most.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 21, 2004 4:38 PM.

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