A pre-taste of Heaven!

by Mother Angelica

Now I know what St. Francis de Sales meant when he told a rose to "stop shouting"!

I had to have surgery to remove the cataract in my right eye. For some time I realized that I wasn't able to see as clearly as I used to. But the change was so gradual, and over such a long period of time, that I'd become accustomed to the cloudiness. When the doctor said it was time for an operation, I expected to return to the old clear vision of years ago.

But the Lord surprised me.

After my eye had healed enough to begin removing the patch, I was amazed at what I saw. Suddenly I could see colors -- colors that I had never seen before in my life. Brilliant, shining colors in shades and hues which I'd never even imagined existed.

I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I'd lift up my patch to take a peek at whatever was placed before me, and I'd exclaim, "Well look at that! It's YELLOW!" when I'd always seen it as a pale beige. I looked at the Chapel, which we renovated three years ago, and I realized that none of the colors were what I had picked out. If I looked through just my left eye, I saw the same muted colors I'd always remembered. But through my right eye, they were so different. Only by the Grace of God does everything match.

When I walked through the courtyard, all the flowers seemed to be dark and brown and I knew it was Fall. But when I looked at them with only my right eye, it was still Springtime -- the browns and purples, and grays and muddy oranges were suddenly transformed into bright pinks, vivid purples and glorious reds. And there were so many different shades of green! I was stunned. And I couldn't hold back the tears.

If this bright vision caused by a physical healing could bring such intense joy to my soul, can you imagine the emotions we will experience when we behold the vision of Heaven?

For "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the Heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him." Those who have received, in some mysterious, mystical way, a glimpse of the Glory of Heaven, have found themselves hopelessly unable to express in words what they have seen. Their expressions always seem to fall far short of the mark, for such Glories cannot be contained in human speech.

But the Scriptures abound with incidents of such visions of Glory and images of light. In the Book of Exodus, the Lord's Presence took the form of a pillar of fire at night while in the daytime, It appeared as a pillar of cloud. The Prophet Ezekiel gave us images of fire and light with the sheen of bronze and flashes of lightening and a brilliant rainbow around the Throne of God. St John wrote of the Word of God as Light in the Prologue to His Gospel, and in the Book of Revelation he described his vision of the glorious brightness of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

And then, there is another kind of light. As St. Paul tells us, this is the light of Knowledge, the Knowledge of God's Glory shining on the Face of Christ. St Paul speaks of our souls being enlightened by God Himself, shining onto our minds to radiate the Light of Jesus. When this Light pours down on a soul that is straining to reach out and understand its Creator, their meeting becomes a kind of music which rejoices the heart. But such music is melody which cannot be expressed in tones or words ... it can only be seen on the face of the one who sings its melody.

Since we have not yet reached our final destination, Heaven, such glimpses of Glory and the light of Knowledge are rare. Here in this earth-bound life, our vision is clouded.

We see _dimly_, as in a mirror. And when we find ourselves in a long period of cloudiness, our sinful nature may hold back from us the hope of ever seeing the light again. Our unbridled selfishness can become a dark mist, a dense cloud through which the light can barely penetrate. Sometimes the Lord may have to perform a sort of "Spiritual Surgery" on us to clear away the clouds and mists of our soul. If we remain open to the operations of the Holy Spirit, we will be amazed and overjoyed at the result.

Family, I pray that you may someday experience the fullness of joy which God prepared for you. I pray that, in His Great Glory, His Light will dispel whatever darkness may cloud your soul, giving you a renewed hope in the Glory that is to come. And I pray that the Light of His Love will transform you and me into the brightness of the image of Jesus.

Let us always thank God for the beautiful things in our life that we do not see - His Protection, His Guidance and the little miracles we will be aware of only in eternity.

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