Kitchen Catechism: Words of Wisdom
You can't have heaven on earth.
When, finally, I came to understand 'you can't have heaven on earth' I advanced ten giant steps forward on my spiritual journey through life. I realized only death would deliver me to the Gates of Heaven and only if I had earned the right to enter, by the life I lived while on earth, would the gates be opened wide and all heaven rejoice and embrace me. No heaven on earth - was a very hard concept to accept, much less embrace, because it went contrary to my ambitions, as well as deep desires to have what I envisioned as a 'most wonderful life' for my loved ones and myself.
Even though there were many places in the Bible where Jesus said - heaven on earth is not going to happen - I still found it hard to live with a purely spiritual mindset. I think that may have been because I thought the message, of living just for the next life, was meant for saints and I was insignificant in the whole scheme of things and incapable of living such a holy life.
Then the day came when I realized that when Jesus said - "You are chosen" - He was speaking to me. The trouble was I didn't want to be one of the chosen. I wanted to just be one of the 'called,' as in "Many are called but few are chosen". But for sure I wanted to be one of the called who in the end made it to heaven - even if just by the skin of their teeth.
Accepting that Jesus had really chosen me, I came to understand it wasn't for the extreme vocation of martyrdom or living as a hermit in the desert but for something simpler and easier. (God never places a burden on you more than you can handle.) He just asked me 'always to obey His will'.
Finding it hard to accept that 'I was chosen', I found it even harder to understand how I would ever know what God's will for me was. But then when I attempted to 'Live the Words of Jesus' - to the best of my ability, one day at a time - I found that His will for me just naturally became apparent. Things would pop into my life, with no foreknowledge or effort on my part, and I would know that was what God wanted me to do. The best part was they were always things more fulfilling and interesting than anything I would have dreamed up, and usually they went so smoothly without any stress or friction.
'Usually they went so smoothly' - but that seemed to be on the big things on the small everyday things there was still plenty of stress, friction, frustration and even pain. As I look back on the past I can see why God let some of the hard times happen. He was forming me into the person He wanted me to be and after all I, with the free will He had given me, chose Him. Still, in the throes of it all, there were times I lamented "Why God? Why is this happening?" Many Christians, through the ages, have voiced this same lament and one of the best answers, I like, came from C. S. Lewis who wrote the very popular book "Mere Christianity" in the 1940's. Lewis discovered in his conversion that "the hardness of God is kinder than the softness of man". This just means that when you look at the big picture - through all eternity - your fellow being would smooth the bumps in your road while God, in His greater wisdom, knows you need them to reach heaven.
Another aspect I wanted to touch on is how the Jews of the Old Testament were looking for a worldly messiah, a great warrior and leader who would destroy their enemies and build their kingdom to be the greatest, most powerful on earth. When Jesus entered history and told them they must turn the other cheek, they must love their enemy, His kingdom was not of this world - it was so foreign to their vision of the purpose for the messiah that they couldn't accept Him. They rejected Jesus, as the messiah, and we all know the consequences that ensued.
So now I close hoping my commentary is beneficial to you on your road to heaven and that when the times get tough and dreary God's blessings will be showered upon you in such abundance that you will 'stay the course' knowing the day will come when you will be securely sealed in the Beatific Vision.