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Tyler Kirsch wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm Catholic and I'm wondering something. I went to a Funeral Mass for my grandpa today and the priest basically said, the goal of life was the Eternal Life . . . that is the after life.

The questions I have about what the priest said is:

  • What is the point of the eternal life or the after life?
  • Is it just to have fun and talk to dead relatives for the rest of eternity?
  • Maybe there is something else that happens?

I don't know so if you could give me an answer or refer me to someone who could help me it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Tyler Kirsch

  { What is the point of eternal life or the after life; is it just to have fun and talk to dead people? }

Mike replied:

Dear Tyler,

Well, you are asking a limited, mortal man, who is prone to sin, to answer a question about Eternal Life and Our Eternal Savior Jesus Christ.

Like our understanding of the Trinity, this is a subject we can partially comprehend, (through Written and Oral Tradition via the Magisterium of the Church), but not fully comprehend until we all enter Eternity.

From the Oral Tradition of the Church:

I searched through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and came across three portions of the Catechism that address your specific questions.

You said:

  • What is the point of the eternal life or the after life?
  • Is it just to have fun and talk to dead relatives for the rest of eternity?
  • Maybe there is something else that happens?

Since our goal is to be saints, I thought it would be best to start with this portion:


Paragraph 5. The Communion of Saints.

954 The three states of the Church."When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is': (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 49; cf. Matthew 25:31; 1 Corinthians 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439):DS 1305)

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together. (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 49; cf. Ephesians 4:16)

955 "So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 49)

956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 49; cf. 1 Timothy 2:5)

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.
(St. Dominic, dying, to his brothers)

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102)

957 Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 50; cf. Ephesians 4:1-6):

We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples! (Martyrium Polycarpi, 17: Apostolic Fathers II/3,396)

958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she offers her suffrages for them." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 50; cf. 2 Maccabees 12:45) Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959 In the one family of God. "For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 51; cf. Hebrews 3:6)

II. Heaven

1023 Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they see him as he is, face to face: (1 John 3:2; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelation 22:4)

By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ's holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into Heaven - have been, are and will be in Heaven, in the Heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.

(Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000; cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 49)

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called Heaven. Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

1025 To live in Heaven is to be with Christ. The elect live in Christ, (Philippians 1:23; cf. John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name. (cf. Revelation 2:17)

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.

(St. Ambrose, In Luc.,10,121:PL 15 1834A)

1026 By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has opened Heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his Heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.

1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the Heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his Heavenly glory the beatific vision:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of Heaven with the righteous and God's friends.

(St. Cyprian, Ep. 58,10,1:CSEL 3/2,665)

1029 In the glory of Heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God's will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5; cf. Matthew 25:21, 23)

III. "Our" Father

IV. "Who Art In Heaven"

2794 This biblical expression does not mean a place (space), but a way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but majestic. Our Father is not elsewhere: he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart.

Our Father who art in Heaven is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them. (St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2,5,18:PL 34,1277)

Heaven could also be those who bear the image of the Heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5:11:PG 33,1117)

2795 The symbol of the Heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in Heaven, his dwelling place; the Father's house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant, (cf. Genesis 3) but conversion of heart enables us to return to the Father, to Heaven. (Luke 15:18, 21) In Christ, then, Heaven and Earth are reconciled, (cf. Isaiah 45:8; Psalms 85:12) for the Son alone descended from Heaven and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. (John 3:13; 12:32; 14:2-3; 16:28; 20:17; Ephesians 4:9-10; Hebrews 1:3; 2:13)

2796 When the Church prays our Father who art in Heaven, she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated with him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus and hidden with Christ in God; (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:3) yet at the same time, here indeed we groan, and long to put on our Heavenly dwelling. (2 Corinthians 5:2; cf. Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 13:14)

[Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on Earth, but are citizens of Heaven.

(Early Church writing: Ad Diognetum 5:PG 2,1173)

In Brief

2797 Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.

2798 We can invoke God as Father because the Son of God made man has revealed him to us. In this Son, through Baptism, we are incorporated and adopted as sons of God.

2799 The Lord's Prayer brings us into communion with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. At the same time it reveals us to ourselves (cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes 22 § 1).

2800 Praying to our Father should develop in us the will to become like him and foster in us a humble and trusting heart.

2801 When we say Our Father, we are invoking the new covenant in Jesus Christ, communion with the Holy Trinity, and the divine love which spreads through the Church to encompass the world.

2802 Who art in heaven does not refer to a place but to God's majesty and his presence in the hearts of the just. Heaven, the Father's house, is the true homeland toward which we are heading and to which, already, we belong.

From the Written Tradition of the Church (The Scriptures):

And . . . From my Scripture Passages web page:

A Biblical defense for Catholic teachings
https://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

The existence of Heaven.
Isaiah 65:17
"I am about to create new Heavens and a new earth."
Matthew 5:18-19
"until Heaven and earth pass away . . . least in the kingdom of Heaven."
Luke 15:7
More joy in Heaven over one repentant sinner than 99 righteous.
Luke 15:10
"Rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Luke 16:19-25
Parable of the rich young man and Lazarus.
John 3:5
"No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit."
John 3:18-21
Whoever believes will not be condemned.
Hebrews 9:24
Christ entered Heaven to appear on our behalf.
1 Peter 1:3-4
"New birth to a living hope . . . inheritance that is imperishable."
2 Peter 3:13
"We await new Heavens and a new Earth."
Revelation 21:1
"I saw a new Heaven . . . the former Heaven and the former earth had passed away."
See also:
Isaiah 66:22, Revelation 14:13
Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.
The Joys of Heaven.
Psalms 16:11
"Abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand."
Daniel 12:3
"Wise shall shine brightly . . . shall be like the stars forever."
Matthew 5:12
"Your reward will be great in Heaven."
Matthew 13:43
"Righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
John 12:26
"Where I am, there also will my servant be."
John 14:3
Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for us so we can be with Him.
John 17:24
Jesus tells his Father that he wants us to be with Him and see His glory.
1 Corinthians 13:12
"See ... face to face . . . then I shall know fully, as I am fully known."
Revelation 7:16
No hunger or thirst in Heaven, no sun or heat shall touch the saved.

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.
You may also find this posting helpful:

Finally, there are no dead people in Heaven. Many clergy and lay people reference the dead only in contrast to those living out their pilgrimage here on Earth (the dead, only refers to those who have finished their Earthly journey; the so-called dead are truly alive in Eternity!!)

Sorry it took a while to get back to you.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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