Am I going to heaven?
“The Kingdom of heaven is within you,” Jesus taught. Life around me will not cease to be whatever it is, perhaps, but life within me always offers more. More depth of understanding. More of a sense of justice. More breadth of wisdom. More levels of gratitude. More layers of kindness. More grasp of God. Heaven is nothing but fullness of life and union with God. If I do not burst into heaven here, make heaven here for me, for everyone, I sincerely doubt that I will find it anywhere else. This life as I have been given it is my beaker of God who is in everything, everyone, everywhere.
Heaven is the criterion of our ideals, the measure of the awareness of Godness around us, and the appreciation of nowness become forever.
Indeed, I believe that God created “heaven.” I simply don’t believe that heaven is the Sugarcane Land that we present it to be. It is the Stream of Life that lives and flows through me as well as through the universe. It is the best of myself calling me to be even better. I believe I have it now and can have more of it, the closer my own life gets to the God-life.
And so, I search for God without ceasing. I search everywhere. In the cesspools of poverty that keep people from become fully human. In the confusions that reign in the human community as we thread our way from one insight to the next. In the uncertainties that mark the circumstances of my private life. In the great, grand miracles of human goodness and in the little gestures of a personal God so apparent in other persons. In the faces of God I see on the faces of those who love me. Am I “going to heaven?” No, I am already there, and it is getting more heavenly every day. The Creed is about who we are now. It is about the God in whom we live when we die. That I believe.
—from In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister (Liguori/Triumph)