Nature reminds us of the changing patterns in the foliage, the end of summer and the coming of autumn.
Traditionally November is the month of the Holy Souls and is celebrated in many parts of the world in remembrance of those departed this life. Belief in life after death is intricately woven into the fabric of our faith, Liturgy and prayer practices. Universally religious ceremonies are held for all those who preceded them in death but in the belief that another form of existence awaits them. Yet when we begin to describe what lies ahead of us we become a little tongue tied. One time a famous actor when asked if he believed in after life, his reply was ‘I cannot say but I am intrigued by the idea’.
Trying to depict our futures affords a little more than an approximation of images. The Scriptures had apocalyptic symbols and images in an attempt to imagine what follows death. What we do know about future life it is vastly superior to our present lifestyle and also beyond what the human mind can imagine. St. Paul reminds us ‘eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those who serve him’.
The central joy of heaven is a life in union with God. Second Thessalonians assures us that we will be fully united with those who have gone before us.
While that has been a source of considerable discussion as to what that union might be, there is no discussion about the basic fact that death is an entrance to a new form of existence. Eternal life is a Gospel given. The Psalmists say ‘Our homeland is in heaven’. With St. Paul we simply pray to be strengthened with the firm conviction that God who in his fullness of love, will welcome us home.