When my youngest was in elementary school, she asked about heaven and “eternity.” As I explained our belief that we would one day be with God forever, I was surprised that her reaction was less than enthusiastic. Forever seemed a little too long as far as she was concerned. Although I chalked it up to a “kids-say-the-darndest-things” moment, I don’t think she was completely off base. Neither, it seems, does Scripture.
As Ecclesiastes tells us, God “has put the timeless into [our] hearts, without [our] ever discovering” it. In other words, we have eternity within us, but like my young daughter, we can’t really grasp it. Viewed from our human vantage point, it’s too overwhelming. In fact, we often use the term “like an eternity” when referring to long—and unpleasant—waits, at the doctor or bank or the Department of Motor Vehicles. Let’s all pray that eternity is not like the DMV!
While we may not be able to fully grasp eternity this side of heaven, can we glimpse it? Like the apostles in today’s Gospel, the answer is clearly yes. God does give us small glimpses of the glory that awaits us—in the mundane miracles of our daily lives, in the things that make us pause, smile, breathe deep with gratitude. Eternity may be hard to fathom, no matter our age, but God promises us that it will be ours . . . when the time is right and the timelessness that lives hidden within us becomes our eternal home.
Mary DeTurris Poust, from the September 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.