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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Heavenly Bodies




Sister, is Mary the only one in Heaven with her body? I think everyone has this vision of what they look like when they get to Heaven and it's never what you looked like when you died, but when you were young and at your most attractive. But in reality, does anyone but Mary have a body there? And if not, doesn't she feel weird being the only one with a body.

I was always taught that there were two bodies in Heaven. That would be Jesus and Mary. Elijah went to Heaven in a fiery chariot, but I think he burned up in the atmosphere because his chariot didn't have heat shields. I guess we'll find out one way or the other if we get there.

I'm not sure how Mary feels about being the only person with a body in Heaven besides Jesus. I am much more concerned about whether or not there are any chairs for her. Perhaps that's why she visits us so often. She did sit down while she visited with St. Catherine Labourre and at La Salette.

I don't think about any of that too much for a couple of reasons. For one thing, since Mary died before she went to Heaven, her body in Heaven would be like the one Jesus had after He rose from the dead. You may recall that He could walk through walls. But He could also knock on the door. What does this tell us? He wasn't a spook. He had a body, but it was very different than usual. Different enough for me not to understand what's up.

St. Augustine thought about what happened to Jesus' body after He rose from the dead and surmised what we might be like in heaven. St. Augustine thought that everyone will be 35 in Heaven, since that's when you reach your human peak. If you die at age nine, you'll be 35 and if you die at 105, you'll be 35 in heaven. Easier to calculate than dog years.

This is also good news for people who didn't look so good when they were younger and great news for the old and rickety. If you're 35 now and look like something the cat dragged in, this is your chance to pull yourself together. This is eternity we're talking about.

You'll have a body that can walk through walls or knock on the door. You'll be able to eat but you won't have to. All your organs will work but you won't need them.

The other reason I don't think too much about what goes on in heaven or what it will be like if I get there is because I don't understand it at all. I really don't understand how Mary can have a body in Heaven, since the Church teaches that Heaven isn't exactly a physical place. There is also a big debate about whether or not Hell is on fire. And why would it have to be on fire if there is no one there with there body yet? As far as I know, no one went bodily to Hell.

No, no...it all makes my head spin.

But that's okay. I'm not supposed to understand it. God has made things that are beyond our understanding and He doesn't care that we don't understand. He made us not understand on purpose. Why? We don't know. It's part of the 'He made us not understand on purpose' thing.

We have a name for that in the Catholic Church. These things that our beyond our understanding by God's own design are called 'Sacred Mysteries'. You may think of the term 'Sacred Mysteries' as 'Catholic' for: Just Let It Go.

We know that Mary is in Heaven with her body and therefore she is happy. I think she probably has a very nice chair from when she was crowned Queen of Heaven. The rest is a Sacred Mystery.

And you know what that means.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Jesus is "sitting at the right hand of the Father", they may have fashioned a few chairs.
I agree: it's a Sacred Mystery; a beautiful one.

Kevin said...

Thank you. I completely agree with the "Just Let It Go" policy.

It really annoys me to hear certain individuals discuss things that will happen in the future as fact, like it already happened. Most of the time it's a minister discussing the end times as though he were there for it and then hopped in his time machine to come back and tell us all how it went.

Have we been given certain clues about things that will happen? Yes! Has any consensus been reached about what these clues mean? No! Even within individual Christian denominations, people waste time arguing about petty things like this when they should just get on with the business of being the hands and feet of the body of Christ. "Just Let It Go." It doesn't matter anyway.

Lisa said...

So the catechist asks young Katie Rose, "Who are the three persons of the Trinity?"
And Kathie Rose replies, "The Fathew, the Thon, and The Howy Spiwit."
The catechist says, "I don't understand."
And Katie Rose replies, "You'we not thupothed to undewthtand; it'th a mythtewy."

Jennifer said...

Ha! Lisa, what a hoot! What is it about little kids with lisps talking about the Faith that's so hilarious?

It reminds me of a story Sister Mary Jeanne told me once: she was teaching catechism to a bunch of kids about to receive First Communion when the Bishop came to test them. She stood watching nervously in the back while the Bishop asked the children who the second Person of the Trinity was.

"Jethuth," said one little boy.

"Yes, but Who was He before He was a man?" asked the Bishop, honing in on the great mysteries.

Sister Mary Jeanne started sweating. The kid though for a second, then said seriously, "He wath a little boy."

Works for me!

Melanie said...

You all are so funny! You make me cry from laughing so hard.

Anonymous said...

Sister,

Kevin mentioned ministers preaching on "the end times".
If you ever have a moment, I'm sure we'd enjoy your take on "dispensationism" or whatever that wacky theory is about the state of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the faithful being taken up while everyone else is "left behind". "Faithful", of course, does not include Catholics, according to proponents. Where in the world - because it's not in the Bible - did this lunacy come from?

Shae said...

Sorry, but an awful lot of the wacky theorists include Catholics. As much as you might like to be detached from them.

What I'm wondering is doesn't it say that many of those who had died were resurrected with Christ? Wouldn't they have bodies in Heaven?

dan e. said...

I am a big believer in understanding that we aren't supposed to understand what went on before we were born or what goes on after we die because we are supposed to concentrate on being better people in the here and now.

I just occasionally like to take a break from the here and now and think on other things. :)

Elizabeth said...

Ooh--you forgot about Enoch! Enoch was in the Old Testament; I think he was the father of Methusela maybe. Anyway, Enoch never died...the Bible says, "And he walked with God." How beautiful!