I am now in a retreat house in Tagaytay. From my window I can see Taal lake and volcano. I can also see verdant mountains, sinuous clouds, and other things that make me think of heaven.
But what is heaven? Is it a place? An experience? A relationship? A mystery? A state of being? There had been numerous attempts to explain what heaven is but none of them seems to be simple, clear, and adequate enough. Jesus himself never defined heaven, but only described it vaguely through parables. He said heaven is like a man who discovers a treasure in a field or a woman who finds her lost coin. Christ also said that heaven is like a banquet, a wedding feast, or some other everyday experience that make you think of heaven as one endless celebration of life, happiness and love.
The only reason I can think of why heaven is so difficult to grasp is that the words needed to define it have not been invented yet. Jesus had to employ parables because that would be the best way to explain something that is absolutely beyond our finite human experience and the limits of our collective vocabulary. Defining heaven is like explaining HyperText Markup Language (HTML) to a cat. It’s simply impossible to do so.
Right now I don’t see the need to find an encyclopedic elucidation of heaven. I am content to know that the God who dwells in the highest heavens humbled himself and came down to be with us. I may never be able to fully understand and experience heaven until I get there (presuming I’ll end up there), but for now it is enough for me to know that God is preparing for me a place so beautiful and perfect that he is keeping it as a surprise. And how much I love surprises!
I’m now in a retreat house in Tagaytay. From my window I can see Taal lake and volcano. I can also see verdant mountains, sinuous clouds, and other things that make me say – if these things around me are this beautiful I can only try to imagine the ultimate perfection and absolute beauty that is heaven.