Posted November 1, 2008
The old bromide that says “it’s always darkest before dawn” does not mean—as one comedian quipped—that it’s the best time to steal your neighbor’s newspaper. It’s a maxim that is mean to encourage us to expect ultimate relief from our inevitable troubles, pains, afflictions and misfortunes.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim.4:18). And for those who patiently sustain their life’s hardships, Jesus reminds them, “Great is your reward” (Luke 6; 23)
While “all creation groans in distress,” we—if we are authentically Christian—should “hope for what we do not yet have, as we wait for it patiently” (Rom. 8:22:25). With insistent exigency, Paul urges us to follow that advice, because he himself had experienced that dawn-after-darkness state in his celebrated vision of heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). It was so ineffable that he was frustrated in trying to describe that experience: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
That’s the awesome bliss Jesus refers to when he promises us that we “will have treasure in heaven,” if we “lay up treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:20; Luke 12:33). But to “lay up” treasure in heaven, Paul advises us to “set your mind on things above, not on things of earth” (Col. 3:1-2). That’ not easy when our faith is faltering and those “things of earth” seem to offer the only relief. That’s when we need the motivation to yearn for that magnificent and everlasting “inheritance reserved for you in heaven” (1 Pet. 1:4).
John H. Hampsch, cmf
If you are interested in listening to the entire teaching on this topic, please consider “From Here to Eternity-Our End Time Options” (6 CDs). This as well as all of Fr.’s teachings can be found at www.claretiantapeministry.org.