In thinking about my own mortality and how it will be after I die, I usually abandon myself to Christ and fall upon the mercy of God to take care of me. John Chapter 17 is an unusually comforting Scripture that I enjoy reading repeatedly.
There is another dimension about Heaven that has crept into my consciousness lately, based on a perplexing question and answer that has eluded me for most of my life. Who goes to Heaven? Do only those who are baptized go to Heaven? Do atheists go to Heaven and get the same reward as those who have struggled their whole lifetime to “…have in them the mind of Christ Jesus?” (Philippians 2:5)
Learning what Heaven is like begins with Baptism when God accepts you as an adopted son (daughter) of the Father. You are a student of the great Magister Noster (Jesus) from that time to when you die. The kingdom of Heaven begins with your Baptism and acceptance of Jesus as the Christ Principle (your personal savior to be by your side as you walk whatever life brings to your table. This icon of Saint Charles de Foucauld says it all for me. Heaven has two dimensions. The first is learning what it means to love others as Christ loved me; the second is living what I have learned on earth about how to die to self to fill myself more with Christ and share that with others, now sharing that with all humanity in one great act of glory through, with, and in Christ to the Father, giving all honor and glory. This is the fulfillment of what it means to be human.
Proceeding from this hypothesis comes the idea that, like my time on earth, I live the results of my consequences on earth in Heaven, based on how much I have loved Christ while I could reason and choose. These must be degrees of Heaven, not based on the immutability of Heaven, but rather on my being closer to the way, the Truth, and the life than someone else. I don’t speak of being better than anyone else. Still, I do think that one of the ways Heaven and Purgatory make sense to me is that each one of us will stand before the Truth and be judged, not against each other, or even how much money we made or how well be can prove to others that Jesus is Lord. The totality of who we have become while on earth will be different. So our capabilities to share in the presence of God are shaped by the simplicity of my heart sitting next to the heart of Christ and being able to assimilate divine love into my being based on humility and the abandonment of self as Christ taught us.
To answer the questions I posed earlier, the only way this makes sense is if each human is judged separately based on how they used The Christ Principle to:
The key to all these questions is The Christ Principle. Each person stands before God to answer the question: What did you do with the life I gave you and the earth in which to find what it means to be fully human?
Although we are invited to the eternal banquet in Heaven, not everyone will be there, only those who do not hate or have made themselves into gods of their own choosing. There is only one Heaven, just as there is one Lord of Heaven. I am judged by God as to how many dishes I have the capability and capacity to eat. If the total is ten, for example, and I have the fulness of the Faith, I may be able to enjoy ten dishes. I may also only have the capability to eat one dish. We will be in Heaven if God deems us worthy to be there. I don’t judge others as to who will be in Heaven; let God be the judge of those who does not believe. After all, it is God’s playground we want to enter.
Each day, I seek to have a love of Christ in my heart. Some days are better than others.