By Ken Rolheiser
A young man approaches a woman and asks, “Do you love me?” “I don’t know you,” replies the woman. “Who are you?”
If Jesus were to ask us today, “Do you love me?” How many of us would have to honestly respond, “I don’t know you. Who are you?” St Catherine of Sienna said knowledge of God precedes love of God. We are ready to embrace God after we get to know him through scripture and prayer.
When we were children heaven was an easy concept. In heaven we could have all the candy we want. We could eat all the lumps of brown sugar we wanted and still want more. Ice cream was available in abundance, and you know the rest.
As Adults heaven became less attractive. Who wants to pray and worship all the time? That kind of love is hard to imagine for mortals. We need to become little children again. Children love and don’t hold grudges. Children play and laugh everyday, even in war-torn areas of the world.
If we were to draw up a plan to get to heaven, we would need to keep it simple so our inner child could accept it. Father Ed Broom gives us a formula for achieving heaven so our Lord Jesus will be there to greet us when we die.
Number 1, live each day as if it were the last. Indeed, it could be. Number 2, say “No,” to sin and “Yes” to God. Sin brings sadness. Our feet should be happy carrying good news.
Number 3, continue to do what you are doing. Live your present life as a sign, doing your duty and obligations for the honour and glory of God. Number 4, if you fall, get up quickly. We are all sinners, so get back into grace again today.
Number 5, love. Love God; love your neighbour. In the end we will be judged on how we have loved. Number 6, bring others to heaven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “If you want to get to heaven, take somebody with you.” It is that simple.
Number 7, Think of Heaven! What is heaven like for adults? Broom suggests: Think of the happiest two hours of your life, multiply that by a million times and then add eternity to it. This is a mere taste or glimpse of the Heaven we cannot imagine!
Number 8, tell Jesus what you want – “that you want to grow to love Him more and more each day – God created us to share all eternity with us. Tell Jesus every day that you long for this. Ask your Guardian Angel to come to your aid!”
Number 9, purgatory and suffering. Ask God to give you purgatory on earth. We need to perfect ourselves to be in God’s presence. Why not offer our work, our sufferings and our dying in this world to atone for our sins and the sins of others? God wants us to go straight to heaven when we die.
Number 10, Mary: Queen of Saints and Angels. Mary is the quickest way to Jesus and heaven. Mary will intercede for us. We stand with John at the foot of the cross when Jesus tells us, “She is your Mother.”
How many times do we say the Hail Mary… “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”