life after death
marypicco@..., a user from metacrawler.com, asked this question on 8/14/2000:
When we die and get buried is that all there is to life.? do we just go in the ground and that's where we stay forever? or is there something else to it.?
mscperu gave this response on 8/15/2000:
Dear sister in Christ, dear Mary.
The joy of the risen Lord be in your heart.
The answers you have received are very good. But as one post said it’s a question of faith. It’s the question of knowing Christ. If there was a person near you that shows you everyday his or her undeserved love would you go on theorizing about the possibility if love exists? Surely not!
Who invented sunsets, babies, friendship, music, love, humor, waking up to a smile, forgiveness, the view from a high mountain, mud to wallow in, springtime drizzle, hot and cold days, a new beginning…
All this beauty will it wilt and go away forever? The human heart expects more and dreams of a state when things don’t go into the trash can anymore.
It’s really about heaven. What is heaven?
When Jesus talks about heaven he uses imagery of the most glamorous happenings of His time. He talks about the wedding banquets of kings. That was most wondrous thing His contemporaneous had heard of.
Saint Paul writes in 2 Cor 2: 9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."
There are speculations and explications:
The body is not a shell; it’s the temple of the Holy Ghost. Man is body and is soul. There are really no parts apart. That’s Hellenistic and platonic. The Bible when it talks about body means the person. So when we receive the Body of Christ we receive Him. The theologians are in a straight to explain how it can be that the soul lives apart from the body even in heaven. Because man is man. He is not part soul and part body. If you take one element away he isn’t human any more. They help themselves suggesting that "on the other side" there is neither time nor space.
Eternity is an eternal now. So universal resurrection of the body is immediate after you death. Anyway death entered through man into human existence and that means the annihilation of his-her existence. We have learned from the Greek philosophers to think in categories of matter and spirit. Regarding man it’s a way to distinguish what really can’t come apart. It’s useful but it’s nor real. So we will have some surprises when we get there.
But I would like much more to have you think not in theoretical dimensions. They are interesting but don’t save anybody nor give hope or consolation. If you have experienced the love of a wonderful person so that your whole existence gravitates toward this person. And suppose that person has gone far away. Suppose that to meet this person again you would have to abandon everything. That hurts, it makes you feel insecure but in the end the hope and the joy of meeting again the reason of your happiness overwhelms all qualms, doesn’t it?
That’s why Saint Paul would like to die just in the moment he is writing to the Philippians
"1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me".
So what is really the answer to your question? You have to meet, you have to know Jesus Christ and then your question is answered. Heaven is to be with Christ, with God eternally. If you experience His salvation now, if you experience His presence in the Church, the Liturgy, the Sacraments in the routine everyday life then you’ll have a foretaste, anticipation. It’s very very slight, very "light" but it makes you yearn for fullness. You can’t imagine God so you can’t know what means to be in heaven.
That hasn’t been a hindrance for Christians to dream about it. There is an enchanting legend about the joy of heaven. Two young friends had passed together all the school years. Getting employment one had to got north and the other had to go south. They promised each other that the first to die would tell the other how is heaven. The one who went north met a girl and married her. The wedding day sitting with his new bride at the table of the banquet he saw his friend opening the door and beckoning him to follow. He asked to be excused for a moment and went after his friend. The comrade of youth told him: "Look, I have died. God has given me permission to show you something of heaven. You can only look through the keyhole so you will not die." The bridegroom glued his eyes to the keyhole. He didn’t see much but what he saw had him in ecstasies. His friend urged him to go back to the wedding because they were all looking for him but he asked one minute more. At last his friend dragged him away and told him to go back. Reluctantly he went back to the house but found it in darkness. He knocked at the door. A very old woman opened him. He asked for the wedding party. The aged person answered: "Wedding party? In this house there hasn’t been a wedding for 60 years. My bridegroom got up, excused himself for a moment and never came back!"
But there is some historical witness too: One of the British martyrs was being hanged because he refused to swear the oath of loyalty to Henry VIII. The rope snapped and the martyr fell to the ground. Recovering consciousness he jumped up and hurried up the ladder to be hanged again. The official of the court asked him: "Why the hurry?" "If you had seen what I saw you would hurry too!"
So, you get to know Jesus Christ and then you will believe in afterlife. You will even wish it would hurry up.
How you get to know Jesus Christ? That’s another question
Perhaps you care to read 1 Thes 4:13 – 5:11?