“A lot of Christians … assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place where you go when you die — if you’ve been good. But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically contradicts it when he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter — some more subtle quality or dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it: you awaken into it” — Cynthia Bourgeault in ‘The Wisdom of Jesus”.
This has tremendous implications.
For me this hit home almost immediately on my Grief Journey. The Kingdom of Heaven is here, now and within me! Combine this with Christ’s words on the cross in Luke 23:43 and Paul’s in I Corinthians 5:6-8, Philippians 1:23, and I Thessalonians 4:15-16 which tell us that when we die our soul is immediately with Christ in Heaven. It means your beloved spouse upon death goes immediately to heaven which is within us here and now and we feel her through Christ within us now and forever.
When Pat visited and kissed me the day after she died, it was REAL! She was already with Christ and within me; so, appearing to me and kissing me was an out of body experience for both of us. It was also a confirmation that the sacrament of marriage had united us as one entity forever.
You would think that grasping all this would take away the sorrow and the grief. Obviously it didn’t. The depression and sorrow keeps periodically returning and I so miss her physical presence. WHY, when Christ promises she is with me though himself? My niece had a ‘truth most true answer’; she wrote: “Because it does – you don’t exist exclusively on a spiritual plane (yet). This is the rest of you (physical, emotional) processing the loss of her physical and emotional presence on a daily basis. Perfectly normal for this to roll over you and for you to feel those losses in a day to day existence.”
“You don’t die into it: you awaken into it,” also hit home. For me it means you grow into heaven by meditation and searching within yourself. For me the proof of this is my feeling closest to Pat and Christ when I meditate during the mass. I appreciate a priest who allows long periods of silence during the service for meditation and thinking on your loved ones. Jesus is calling us to awake and hear him speaking from within “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mathew 13:9 KJV) Christ is the true word of God and He is within you now.
You don’t have to wait to see your departed loved one because Heaven is within you and she is also (in the arms of Christ) within you. You do have to listen to that voice within and use your mind’s eye. “… blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” Matthew 13:16 KJV.
Serene light shining in the ground of my being,
Draw me to yourself.
Draw me past the snares of the senses,
Out of the mazes of the mind,
Free me from symbols, from words
That I may discover the signified:
The word unspoken in the darkness
That veils the ground of my being.