"What's wrong mom?" Stella asked as I lay sick on the couch with tears rolling down my face. "O mommy just feels so sick and tired. I'm overwhelmed right now and I'm worried about baby Gia getting sick." Stella stroke my cheek and replied, "Don't worry mom, God has you. God has Gia too. He's holding you in His hands. And the saints are here praying for you. And the angels are here. Heaven is here. Don't worry mom, you and Gia are going to be fine. Get some rest." She then pulled the blanket on me and patted my hand.
Stella's words still ring clearly in my head. They carry much more weight then most of us realize. Heaven surrounds us. This is not just a "pleasant" thought or something nice to remember once in awhile. This is serious. This is a reality many of us, including myself, don't choose to live in enough through out our day. When Jesus assumed into Heaven, He promised He would not leave us alone. He promised to send His Spirit, the Holy Spirit upon the earth. The Holy Spirit was made from the love between the Father and the Son. That love was so strong it created a whole other being, the Holy Spirit. This is who we have constantly surrounding us, if we choose and invite Him. He then can unlock many treasures of Heaven to us.
Heaven is as close to us as a breath. I must learn to start to turn to it much more. Strengthening my spiritual senses is necessary. This takes practice. It takes training. Can an athlete wake up one morning and decide he\she wants to compete in the Olympics for a gold medal that day? No. They center their whole lives to obtaining such a goal. Everything they do or don't do is based on the training to succeed for such a lofty desire. With heaven as the goal, I too must not be a fool and think I will be able to wake up and just be "spiritually in-tuned". It takes practice, patience, and endurance. However, we like an Olympian athlete can receive help and coaching as well. We have the Holy Spirit! He can guide us to people, books, situations, etc. so our training will progress. St. Paul speaks about life as competing in a race, with Heaven as the finish line. St. Peter also refers to this kind of training. I Peter 1:3-7 says, "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He who in His mercy gave us new birth, a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: a birth to an IMPERISHABLE INHERITANCE, INCAPABLE OF FADING OR DEFILEMENT, which is kept in heaven for YOU who are guarded with God's power through faith. A birth to a salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days. There is a cause for REJOICING here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may PROVE to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
My goal in writing about this is to encourage myself to center my day, the moment, around the reality of heaven, in all of its routine and monotony. How can I do this, I think? I know I can't sit down and pray all day long. I think there are some simple ways to start. Actually, the simplest practice I can think of is to speak about it. I believe in order to start to "walk the walk", I try to "talk the walk". It helps me get into a mindset. This talk has been elevated in our home since our Stella is in heaven now. We verbally affirm each other who is around us, who goes with us. We speak about what we think and have heard what heaven is like. We talk about those who have gone before us. We ask them to go before the thrown of our glorious, triumphant King and pray for us and our petitions. I even try for a few seconds throughout the day, in the midst of children, laundry, errands, cooking, cleaning, to stop and set my soul in Jesus' hands. I close my eyes for a few seconds and ask Him to just hold my soul.
By talking about it in our home, the more aware we are of the ways God works in our every day. And if no one is home or around me, even better. I talk out loud to heaven itself. I even greet Heaven out loud in the morning right as I wake up. I say "Good Morning" to the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Stella, my Papa, the angels, and other saints. I then ask John if He has greeted heaven as well. He usually sums all of it up in, "Good morning, Heaven."
What begins to take place when I do these things is a transformation in my soul, my life, my home, my family. My load is lightened a little as my spirit is reminded it carries no cross alone. Grace is poured over me. The crosses of life, when we invite heaven and all of its goals for us, become offerings to the thrown of God. And because of His infinite goodness, He then takes our efforts of carrying out His will and transforms it into grace for another soul to carry his\her cross with heaven's help. This is redemptive suffering. We are then joined with Christ's Cross and RESURRECTION. Our symphony continues. The most important thing to remember while doing this, because I continually fall short and fail is this: HIS MERCY COVERS ALL! So today, for it is all we have, let us choose to charge forward for the Kingdom to Come, the Kingdom that is present around us. The Kingdom our royal souls are absolutely, positively MADE for.