Drop everything and think of heaven

You’re busy. You’re being pulled in a million different directions, distracted by a million different hopes, worries and fears. Maybe your health isn’t great. Maybe your job isn’t thrilling. Maybe you’re worried about the economy or gas prices or the state of the Church.

You get the picture.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the whirlwind of daily life that we forget why we’re even alive.

So, today, I encourage you to try something different. Turn off social media. Turn off the TV. Go find a quiet place where you can block out the noise. Pause. And think of heaven.

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I mean really, think about it: Unending happiness. Rest. Light. Peace like you’ve never known it before. The constant thrill of being in the presence of an all-loving God — a God who created you specifically to live with him forever. The joy of hearing the angels singing music so beautiful that all the pain and sorrow you felt in life is long forgotten.

All this, and unimaginably more, is your inheritance. God wants this for you. That’s why you exist. If you win heaven, you win everything. If you lose heaven, you lose everything.

Yes, the stakes are high. Yes, the road is long and difficult. But you’re not alone. The saints in heaven passed through this world, and they met with every kind of trouble imaginable. They were hated. They were ridiculed and laughed at. They were treated with utter contempt. Many of them were even tortured and killed. But they stood firm. They didn’t give up.

And now?

Now, they’re at rest. Now, they have everything. Now, they’ll be happy forever. And they’re cheering you on. They fought the good fight, and now they’re enjoying their eternal reward — a reward that will never end.

Right now, at this very moment, there’s a crown waiting for you in heaven. That’s a fact.

So don’t let your daily sufferings go to waste. Use them. Give them to God so that he can transform your pain into joy.

Put hardships in an eternal perspective

When I’m looking for words of comfort, this passage from Luke never fails to help: “As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides” (Lk 12:29-31).

It’s so human to worry. I worry too. But we have to remember we’re just passing through this world. Everything we spend so much time working on and thinking of is temporary except our eternal destination.

I’ve lived on two different continents, and though I’ve felt welcomed and at home in both places, there’s always something missing. No matter where I go, I’m always separated from people I love. And to me, that’s a great reminder to not get too comfortable here on earth. We haven’t arrived just yet.

I like to think of it like this: Every one of us is at the airport: Some of us will be taking the next flight, and some of us have hours and hours of waiting before our gate gets called. But all of us, without exception, have a plane to catch. We don’t live at the airport, so spending all our time focusing on the airport instead of on our final destination is a waste of time. Our job is to be ready when our gate gets called so we can fly home.

The takeaway

We’re told to seek the kingdom of God and everything else — what we’ll eat, what we’ll wear, etc. — will be taken care of. It makes me smile to read that passage because it reminds me of how well God knows us. He cares so much that he takes the time to gently remind us that all our worries — even seemingly small details of daily life, like what we’re going to eat for dinner or wear to work tomorrow — aren’t worth obsessing about.

I don’t know about you, but worrying has never done me any good. Trusting God, on the other hand, has been a game-changer.

Ultimately, we all need something to live for when life gets particularly difficult. And as Catholics, we have the greatest thing imaginable to hope for and look forward to: heaven.

So, here’s your mission for today: When you’re feeling tired or discouraged, take a few minutes to block out the noise and the worry, and think about where you’re headed.

You’re not home yet. But one day, if you’re ready when your gate gets called, you will be.

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