THERE IS NO HEAVEN ON EARTH BUT THERE IS JOY AS WE TRANSCEND WITH PRAISE, CLOSENESS TO JESUS, SPONTANEOUS PRAYER, EUCHARIST
The beauty of falsity is the glamour of evil. To cloak oneself in wealth is to cloak oneself in false garments. The jewels of it are the lead of the world. It is gray. It weighs us down. It prevents joy.
You will never experience earth as paradise — no. It never can be. We can try — we can attempt to recreate Heaven here — but all such efforts are doomed to failure. Our scientists will be frustrated in attempting to recreate Creation. Heaven will always be in Heaven. Only in Heaven are we immortal.
But we can taste the joy now if we purge worldliness. We can begin to experience the joys of Heaven right now — on earth.
But first we must ask:
Where is our worldliness?
Sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and examine your conscience.
Is it in how we dress, what we drive, where we live, what we watch, how we judge others? Or in the sort of work we do — designed not for God but the eyes of men? Do we present before others a mirage? Where in our lives have we not shaken it?
Do we draw energy from the jealousy of others?
Do we accept the power of wealth? Do we care about awards?
Think that one through: How many things have you done or bought to luxuriate in the envy of those around you?
Worldliness is in making Sunday a day of football. It’s in replacing prayer with shopping. It’s in defining success by the numbers in the stock market. It’s waiting for the compliments of men. It is in praying for the wrong thing and being held in the hold of a good prayer that is not in the Will of God. We declaim worldliness while subscribing to it.
That parts us from the Lord.
How are you separate from Him? Do you really prefer His perspective over all others? When money comes your way, is that your vindication? Do you see blessings in materialism — affirmations in how humans should live and reward others?
Worldliness is a key error of modernism. It is when we try to buy Heaven. It is when we seek to build mansions here — instead of in the afterlife. The glamour of evil is the shining darkness. It shines from the silver screen (and from a credit card that is platinum). Dark brilliance. When we transcend that, we find true happiness.
The Lord gives us what we need. The devil gives us luxury (which entraps us).
Satan once appeared to a seer as an exquisitely handsome man who promised “success in love and life” if she followed him instead of the Virgin. He is a man of “wealth and taste.” He is also a sexy actress wrapped in furs. He is the veneer on a car that shines with extravagance.
Our society has become one that rewards evil and applauds the superficial. The Pope calls it “toxic garbage.”
That’s the bad news.
Now the good: We can begin to experience the joys of Heaven through what the Church affords us.
In Confession, we can cite the times we have been superficial. We can admit arrogance. We can recognize the ways we measure through the eyes of the world. Then we can reject the kingdoms of the world (as Jesus did on the desert) and fill ourselves with the Love of Jesus as we partake of pure Communion.
“He calls us to unite ourselves with him in the sacrament of the Eucharist, Bread broken for the life of the world, to together form the Church, His Body in history,” Pope Benedict recently said. “And if we say ‘yes,’ like Mary, in the same measure of this our ‘yes,’ this mysterious interchange will also happen for us and in us: We will be assumed into the dignity of the One who has assumed our humanity.”
Never mind the failings of the Church. Never mind the horrid scandals.
Keep in mind the Eucharist. Transcend the world when the Host is elevated.
There you will find the real glow and there you will encounter a mirror that will tell you who you really are and where you’re going.