When a family member passes, it is comforting to hope that we will one day be reunited again in heaven. But what does family in heaven look like? Will we maintain our family bonds or will those pass away in our life after death?
Recently on The Inner Life™ a listener called in whose father-in-law recently passed away, and she found herself pondering these very questions. She asked:
I know, based on the Bible, that a husband and wife are no longer married in heaven – but does that apply to every family member? Is my father-in-law still my husband’s dad? What is our relationship when we all pass away?
Father Daniel Schuster, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Green Bay and a regular contributor on The Inner Life, responded:
“I like your question, because I think a lot of people have in their mind that heaven is when all the relatives are together – we’re all back together. And there certainly must be an element of that.
There is a line from Pope Benedict that really opened up my heart to take this to prayer. He said, ‘Heaven is God.’ So, is it a reunion? Is it an event? Is it a place? There might be elements of all that, but just imagine heaven as God, and then pray with that.
Is there an element where we will know each other? I think so. In fact, I know so. You see that with the Lord on the Mount of the Transfiguration, Elijah and Moses were there. They were prophets and they were there. So there are people there, you will recognize each other, but not with our eyes – with our spiritual senses.
We just don’t know. Something so great that supersedes marriage is going to be there, and that just blows your mind to think about that. Of course we’re going to love one another in a perfect kind of love, but God will be all in all, says the Scripture. God will be all in all.
So we don’t have the answer, but we can’t limit our understanding of heaven to the family all being back together, my wife and I getting along perfectly. Those are all good things, but it says in Scripture, what about the one who married seven times, legitimately? What happens then?
It kind of makes you chuckle because the Lord uses such a drastic image for it, but take that to prayer. Take to prayer that ‘heaven is God.'”
Listen to the full conversation below: