Once a month, we keep a Day of Commemoration of those of the Order and relatives, friends and associates who have died.
This evening, I learned, of the death of Adrian, a member of a family associated, and we will remember him especially .
In the Vigil Reading, Romano Guardini deepens our faith in the vision of heaven
OFFICE OF THE DEAD-11
from a Book by Fr. Romano Guardini*
WHEN is Heaven truly and completely present?
When all heaviness is gone. When all sluggishness has been overcome, all wickedness, coldness, pride, irritation, disobedience, covetousness. When there is no danger any more of falling away. When grace has made one's whole being open up, body and soul, to the ultimate profundities. When there is no further danger that it will all close in again, become hardened in ways of evil. When all work to be done on earth is finished, and all guilt has been paid by repentance. What all this means is: After death.
After death - when time is no longer; when everything is in the everlasting Now; when nothing can change any more, but the creature is standing illuminated by the light of eternity, before God - at that time, everything will be open, and will remain so. That is being in Heaven.
The day He left this earth Jesus went to Heaven, His body and His soul.
All earthly heaviness vanished. All limitations of being in this place or that place dropped away. Every burden of earthly need fell away. There was nothing more closed off; not even for the body. Everything was open. Everything about Him made its way in the overmastering presence of His Father.
But here is the mystery: the very moment that He leaves us, He returns (Jn 14, 28): "I am going away" to the Father; but He added immediately "and coming back to you." And in Matthew (28, 20), He told them: "Behold I am with you all the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world." And the one statement is made true by the other. He went away from us, His body also, to Heaven, to the pure and open presence of His Father which He has directed towards us. He Who was the intermediary between the Father and ourselves, "the way, the truth and the life," has entered completely into this love. Now He is everywhere the Father's love is, and so He is with us. He is gone from the visible, transient here and now. But not from there, and because He is there, He can, through the love of the Father, be with each of us and with the Father also. He is within us, closing in upon us, bringing with Him the Presence of the Father, Heaven.
"See where I stand at the door, knocking; if anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will core in to visit him, and make my supper with him, and he shall sup with re" (Ap. 3, 20). "Supper" is the extravagant superabundance of God's accessible Presence bursting in, blessed, satisfying, making drunk with all the drunkenness of love.
This is how we properly understand Heaven:
It is that close Presence wherein the Father stands in relation to Jesus Christ. And Heaven for us will be participation in this intimacy of love.
This condition is already beginning; it approaches closer; now in peril, it is fought over, lost, won back again. So it goes with our Christian life.
*Jesus Christus, Chicago 1959, 109-111.