We think about heaven and how magnificent it will be, and pray that by the grace of God we might be there one day. The idea of spending eternal life with God, the saints, angels, and our dear loved ones is greater than we can comprehend. But you might wonder, will the glory of heaven be diminished if our closest loved ones are not with us in eternity?
“I’m a cradle Catholic, 59 years old. And I’ve pondered this question recently—if I were fortunate enough and blessed enough to make it to heaven, and one of my loved ones didn’t make it there, what’s your opinion on the joy that we have being in heaven if a loved one isn’t there with us?” asked Jeff.
“I am almost exactly your age so it’s a good time for people our age to be meditating on such things—it’s a good time for all Christians to be thinking about heaven. If you ever go a day without thinking about heaven and meditating on the glories of heaven, I think it’s a mistake because heaven is the goal. We’re pilgrims; we’re just passing through this life. We have no lasting home here—our home is heaven, we were made for heaven,” responded Msgr. Swetland, host of Go Ask Your FatherTM on Relevant Radio®.
“Much like a football team focuses every day on winning the next game, that’s everything they’re focused on. They’re not looking beyond the next game, they’re focused on winning the next game and doing everything they need to do as individuals and a unit to win that next game. They keep their eye on the prize in that sense. So we, as Christians, should keep our eye on the prize which is union with Christ forever in heaven.”
Jeff’s question is a difficult one, but something that is important to consider. “You’ve come upon one of the great struggles that we can conceive … the best I can do in answering that is this: if someone is not in heaven, since all will be revealed to us at the judgment, the general judgment, it will be clear why it is just and good and right that that person isn’t in heaven. It will be clear that that person chose not to be there and that God respected their choice. Just like we who love someone should respect that they are free to make choices, even choices we don’t agree with. So, no one will be excluded from heaven who hasn’t freely chosen to exclude themselves from heaven. And it will make sense to us that that’s what they did.”
If you’re concerned about the salvation of your loved ones, it might be time for you to take a more active role in lovingly correcting destructive behavior or guiding them closer toward their Catholic Faith. Pray every day for the salvation of your spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, and other loved ones. Never cease praying for even the most hardened hearts!