- Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - February 1, 2015 - 12:00am

This is one of the challenges we have in life. How can we reflect heaven here on earth? How can we make everything in our earthly life a preparation, an anticipation, an occasion and means, a path toward heaven, our final destination, our definitive home?

These are not useless questions, or so abstract, theoretical and impractical an issue to be bothered about. They are very important matters to be attended to and to derive the corresponding duties we have, for tremendous duties and responsibilities we actually have in this regard.

Truth is, if we look around, our common sense will readily tell us that we are not yet in heaven. In fact, we are still very far from heaven, or worse, we seem to be developing instead the opposite of heaven, what with all the crying situations of injustice, inequality, thefts, deception, scandals around.

This world, as it is now, is, of course, not heaven. But it plays a very important and crucial role in our journey to heaven. It is where God, our Creator and Father, has placed us to see if we want to accept the designs he has for us. He does not impose his will, full of wisdom and goodness, on us. He wants us to freely accept it.

And the world, our earthly life in all its aspects, levels and dimensions is where we make our choice, our decision either to accept or reject God's will for us. The love and goodness God has toward us should also be corresponded as much as possible with the same love and goodness on our part to God and everybody else.

This is how we can expect to reflect heaven here on earth. It's to enter into the dynamics of God's love and goodness for us, repaying love with love, learning everything he is showing and giving, like his wisdom, his patience and compassion, and sharing them with everybody else.

We need to, at least, show aspects of heaven here on earth, even if we have to contend also with our own weaknesses and sins, and those of the others. From here, we can readily understand that this business of reflecting heaven on earth is a dynamic, never-ending affair, with its ups and downs, its ebb and flow.

 Reflecting heaven on earth definitely involves purifying ourselves, others and the world in general. And what a task this is going to be! Just at looking at ourselves, we already have a tremendous, formidable challenge before us. We have to be concerned about others and the things around us.

We need to understand that our interest in heaven should not just be a private and personal affair of ours. That personal interest in heaven should cover everyone, for the simple reason that our life can never just be too personal as to be individualistic, but rather correctly personal that is inherently linked with the lives and concerns of everybody else.

We have to clearly see that as persons, that as someone and not just something, we are by definition linked knowingly and freely with God and everybody else. We should not forget this basic truth.

We are all in the same boat. We sail in the same sea. We live in one world. We are meant to head toward the same destination. We just have to help one another. May our differences, caused either by natural and legitimate factors or even by mistakes and sins, lead us not into division but rather to a greater concern, understanding and love for one another, as shown by Christ himself.

 Let's always be hopeful. While each one of us should try to avoid mistakes, sins and other forms of evil, and proceed to build a good and just society, we should also be quick to be understanding and forgiving when mistakes and sins are committed. Given our weakened human condition, these mistakes and sins seem unavoidable.

 The way to heaven, the effort to reflect heaven here on earth, can never be a bed of roses, an easy time, a lap of comfort and luxury. It will always involve suffering, the cross in short. But if we have the mind of Christ as we ought to have, then we will also know how to convert this suffering and contradictions into occasions for purification and joy.

 The way to heaven involves struggle not only in the personal level, but also in the social and global level. We just have to make sure that this struggle is a struggle of love and truth, without involving violence on one another.

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