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Monday, 12 September 2011


For Catholics, the only authoritative information we have about Heaven comes from Our Lord's parables, for example:

Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.

Mark 4:30-31 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? [It is] like a grain of mustard seed.

Luke 13:20-21 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?  It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

But He is not telling us what the experience of Heaven will be like. No one has returned and published a Rough Guide to Paradise. Of course, even if this had ever been permitted, we wouldn't understand it. God's Kingdom is not of this World – it is outside Space and outside Time. We do not have the tools even to imagine it. Well, perhaps the Mystics have insider knowledge.

Speculation is the best we can do. An eternity of beholding the most beautiful of conceivable Objects, of being in an intimate relationship with the epitome of Love. Works for me!

I'm greedy, though. Mathematics has always been a book whose pages have been largely undecipherable to me. I envy those who have got beyond basic algebra. Bach ravishes me – but to understand his compositions as he did is an ambition too far. Shakespeare, patriotism and experience and the consensus lead me to suppose, was sans pareil. No human being has ever appreciated WS as he deserves to be appreciated.

What if we get not only the most beautiful of conceivable Objects and the epitome of Love but also Maths, Bach and Shakespeare as bonuses? And an understanding of Quantum Mechanics – so far vouchsafed to no-one ("To think you understand QM, is proof that you don't.")?

Imagine (and pity) me, forever distracted from Love's epitome by my awe of humanity's achievements. Relax! That is not how it's going to be. Either my consciousness will be extinguished by my death; or my greed for Maths, Bach, Shakespeare and QM will be rendered irrelevant; or, somehow, my intellectual and aesthetic longings will be satisfied by Love's epitome. Don't pity me.

Catholics are enjoined to hope for Heaven. I'm an orthodox Catholic here. Are we permitted to be excited by the prospect of Heaven? I can't see why not.

Gabriel, Dai and others will be left cold by this. If you think I am simply an idiot – on the basis of other opinions expressed on this blog, you will be left cold too.

Deus vobiscum.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not so sure about Bill Shakespeare. But don't forget Mozart and Handel.