Summary: Which home are you listening for today?
Voices of Home
“We regard paradise as our country…There, a great number of our dear ones is awaiting us, and a dense crowd of parents, brothers, children, is longing for us, already assured of their own safety, and still solicitous for our salvation. To attain to their presence and their embrace, what a gladness both for them and for us as well! What a pleasure there is in the heavenly kingdom, without fear of death; and how lofty and perpetual a happiness with eternal life! There the glorious company of the apostles-there the host of the rejoicing prophets-there the innumerable multitude of martyrs, crowned for the victory of their struggle and suffering-there the triumphant consecrated virgins, who subdued the lusts of the flesh and of the body by the strength of their self control-there are merciful men rewarded, who by feeding and helping the poor have done the works of righteousness-who, keeping the Lord’s precepts, have transferred their earthly inheritance to the heavenly treasuries. To these, beloved brethren, let us hasten with an eager desire; let us crave quickly to be with them, and quickly to come to Christ.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage
There are times in our lives, when we can become so tied up in the concerns of daily routines, activities and chores, that we forget that we are not truly destined for this temporal existence. We sometimes wonder what are we going to be doing next year at this time, or perhaps we say to ourselves “next week I’ll go see so and so and do this or that.” We become so tied up in the processes of time and this reality that we somehow forget that the true reality is the eternal one. In the eternal kingdom there will be no need to wonder what will be a year from now, or hoping a loved one recovers from sickness, or even wondering how we are going to pay next months rent. In that kingdom, there shall be no more tears, no more darkness, no more pain; instead it will be replaced with unending joy, eternal glory, and perpetual love and affection both to each other and to our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture speaks about how we are to look at ourselves as though we have traveled from afar to this place we call earth. With all its terrors, strife, prejudices, hardships, and so much more, it can seem as if this is all that will ever be. Scripture says something a bit different than this. I would like to begin by reading from the book of Hebrews 11:11-16:
11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
In this passage we read that those who lived godly and righteous lives before the coming of Christ and took it by faith that there would be a heavenly kingdom to inherit. Once Christ arrived, through God’s personal intervention in the history of mankind, we were assured that not only do we look ahead towards a future kingdom and city in which we shall reside eternally, but also that God himself resides in each of us, abiding with us, while we sojourn in this alien country called earth.
There is an old hymn I am reminded of which says “this world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through, if heavens not my home, then Lord, what will do, the angels beckon me to heavens golden shore, Oh, I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
This past week I have thought about those who have gone before us and are currently enjoying the serenity of Paradise itself. Praying for us, asking God to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes I smile and think of it as a heavenly cheerleader team of our loved ones and brethren. They may say something like, “Lord be with them in this time of struggle, show them your love and mercy, be kind to their inadequacies, and give them strength to make it through their trials.”