Does heaven exist?

If a man or a woman, following God’s will in their lives, didn’t expect an endless and happy life beyond words, his(her) life here would have some after-taste of unsatisfaction: his(her) life would end as that of animals and his(her)love to God and brothers and sisters would dissolve in nothing. Evil and honest men would have the same destiny and God wouldn’t be fair. The aspirations to a happy and endless life would be like smoke, which is in contradiction with the innermost wishes of our hearts, when we state that in Nature, that has been created by God, every basic longing has its own actual fact that covers it: if we are thirsty, we have water to calm it down; if we are thirsty for an endless happiness, then, such and endless happiness must exist, because God gives no true wish that cannot be really accomplished.

The Word of God in the Bible and the teaching of the Church, as well as the testimony of the Saints come to help the light of our limited reason, which sunken in the mist, sometimes hides the sweet reality of eternal beatitude from us.

In the (universal) Catechism of the Catholic Church we can read the following on No. 1024: “Heaven is the last goal and the performance of the deepest aspirations of men, the highest and definitive stage of happiness”.

In heaven, we shall see God, who is Highest Love and Highest Goodness, as he is, face to face  (Catechism, Nb.  1023): In his First Letter, Saint John says to us (I, Saint John, 3,2):“Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like to him, for we shall see him just as he is”.But, since God is Love, as Saint John himself says, we can affirm, therefore, that when we are like him in Heaven, we shall be in a state of beatific, perfect Love:

We can imagine the most sublime love, the love which have filled us to the brim, the love to children, the highest and most captivating love of this world and multiply it to the highest degree and  think that it will last for ever and we shall only have a vague notion of Heaven’s beatitude (“Neither the eye saw nor the ears heart, nor has human’s mind conceived  what God  has prepared for then who love Him”-1 Co 2, 9): Let us suppose that this love is completely satisfied, free from any evil and as good as we can imagine and we shall have but a pale sketch of the eternal happiness in God.

Let us imagine we meet the most pure, most beautiful, most perfect, most loving, most wise and most mighty person who loves us beyond words and we shall not yet be able to describe what it is to see God, infinite in all his perfections, who looks at us with infinite love and before whom all the creatures turn pale. Let us think of the peace we feel after having acted well and if we multiply it by an astronomical figure we are far from approaching what the beatific peace of Heaven can be, from which nobody can take us away and which will last forever.

Some saints have written about their eagerness to see God, to be in Heaven, wishing to die for this purpose: So Saint Therese lets us know her feelings in a well known poem:

“I’m living without living in myself
and  I’m waiting in such a way
that I die because I don’t die
I’m already living outside of myself,
After dying of love;
Because I’m living in my Lord
Who wanted me for Him:
When I gave my heart to Him,
He put this label on me:
That I die because I don’t die

And, nowadays, Mª Benedicta Daiber,  a woman who lived and died like a saint, narrates in her private writings (25 March 1978): “ I wish eagerly to die… in order to belong definitively and for ever to God…When thou will it, yes, when thou will it and…I hope it will be soon.

What I feel is so intense that I can perfectly see that, if its intensity increases and God doesn’t sustain my soul, as a human being, I won't be able to stand it. As when the sun strikes and evaporates a water drop…I feel crushed and rushed by God in such a way that I don’t know how I can resist and at the same time I feel that I’m sustained by Him, by my Three (The Holy Trinity)…I almost feel physically the divine embrace and how I’m loved…Can a weak creature understand what it means to be loved by God, can we experience it without dying? If we don’t die, it is just because God sustains us …”

When we die, if we don’t need to purge any sins and we die in grace of God, we go directly to Heaven; Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1023:  “Those who die in the grace of God, in friendship with him and  perfectly purified, live with Jesus Christ for ever. They are like God evermore, because they see him “just as he is” (1 Jn 3,2), face to face (cf 1 Co 13,12; Ap 22,4)”

N. 1026 of the Catechism tells us that “Heaven is the beatific community of all those who are perfectly associated with him (Christ)” and No 1027: “This mystery of beatific communion with God and with everyone who is in Christ overpasses any understanding and any representation”: It cannot be otherwise, if God is Love, all the blessed in Heaven love each other perfectly in God and, according to the Catechism, they form a community and are in communion with each other and with God.

And the same No 1027 goes on as follows: “The Scripture tells us about it (about beatitude) through images: life, light, peace, marriage banquet, kingdom’s vine, Father’s home, celestial Jerusalem, paradise: “But, as it is written, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Co, 2,9)”

If we accept that blessed people form a community, as tells us Catechism, and communicate with each other and that, once they have resurrected, they will also be in Heaven with their body (a body with the features of glorious bodies), we can understand that besides a state -the state of beatitude- Heaven is also a place (a place in an analogue sense as a different from that we give to this term in our world), the place where they communicate with each other. Nevertheless, the most important is that Heaven is astateof infinite happiness (were our state unsatisfactory, it would hardly matter if the place were marvellous).

Old personal revelations speak about visions of Heaven as a wonderful place of happiness: Thus, in “Little Flowers” by Saint Francis of Assisi it is narrated how a monk has a vision in dreams of Heaven as a place with transparent walls and inhabited by blessed people that are magnificently dressed.

More recently, during the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima (1917), as Lucia tells us (the, at that time, little girl, who was living afterwards in a convent and has recently died) to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared the 13thof May, as well as to two other children, the little shepherds asked to the Blessed Virgin: “ -Is Maria de las Nieves in heaven?- and the Blessed Virgin answered to them: -Yes, she is. (She was about sixteen years old) -And Amelia? –and the Blessed Virgin answered: -Well,  she will be in Purgatory  until the end of the world “ (I think she was eighteen or twenty years old)”

And still more recently, during the apparitions in Medjugorge (which started in 1981 and have not yet been ratified by the Church, although she looks at them with sympathy) some of the young people which saw the Blessed Virgin lived through the experience of being transposed to Heaven, to Hell and to Purgatory:

The first of October 1983, the Blessed Virgin showed Heaven to all the people who saw her, excepting Ivan: Vicka, one of the girls, describes it as follows, after saying the words of Saint Paul “Neither the eye saw nor the ear heard…” “all is said with that”… “It is something wonderful and beyond words. All is full of people, flowers, angels, with a splendid light. Everybody is overwhelmed by an indescribable joy. My heart was about to stop, when I saw how beautiful it was (people there were walking, talking, chattering, they were not thin or thick, they wore long dresses, they had happy faces), Ivanka saw her mother and another well known person in Heaven.

Happiness in Heaven is eternal, blessed people are confirmed in grace and cannot sin anymore: see No. 1029 of the Catechism: “In heaven’s glory, blessed people go on following God’s will with joy in relation to the rest of human beings and the whole creation. They already reign with Christ; with Him ”they will reign for ever and ever” (Ap 22,5; cf. Mt 25, 21. 23).”