Heaven: the destination of our journeys Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 -- 12:00 AM
Under the Gospel Book by Bishop Robert C. Morlino
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

As we enter this great and holy week, we are very much aware of the absence of Bishop Bullock, Bishop Wirz, Msgr. Wil Schuster, and Msgr. Tom Campion, all of whom have been called within recent months to see the face of Christ. I miss them all very much personally, and without going into detail, the passing of each one can be seen as the end of a different era in the Diocese of Madison. Their passing reminds us that, as the Scripture says, “the world as we know it is passing away.” The truth of that mystery includes each one of us as well.

There is so much to be grateful for in the lives of our two fine bishops and two fine priests, who have gone to see the face of Christ. We remember them with hope and even with joy, in terms of the wonderful journey for which they all lived and died. That destiny, of course, is none other than heaven.

For each of us, heaven is likewise the destination of our Lenten and Holy Week journeys, as our Holy Father pointed out so beautifully on Palm Sunday, to the youth of the whole world. Through our recreation in Jesus Christ, all of us are made for heaven; all of us are made so that our hearts might be lifted up to the highest heavens as we sing out the triumphal cry of, “Hosanna!” Our heavenly destination is opened to us only because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus gave up His life on the cross on Good Friday, we hear that the veil in the temple was torn in two and that many who were help captive in their graves were enlivened.

The veil in the temple torn in two is a symbol of Christ’s body, which was also “torn in two” upon the cross. And once the veil in the temple was removed, the barrier between heaven and earth was likewise removed, so that Jesus might take each of us by the hand, with Him, to a reopened heaven where, purified from our sins, our hearts are finally, completely lifted up, and where we might sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” together with all of the angels and saints, and the souls in purgatory. The mystery that we celebrate during Holy Week is no less complete than that.

The Psalmist says, “You will show me the path of life and fill me with joy in your presence.” The Lord has done this in His call to our bishops and priests, William, George, William, and Thomas, to see the face of Christ.

It is a beautiful destiny, filled with hope for you and for me. It may be the case that many do not think about heaven and the afterlife quite frequently enough. When we are traveling, we tend to keep our minds and hearts fixed very much on our destination; and if the destination is wonderful, then the anticipation is almost as good as the arrival — that’s our common, ordinary, human experience. That anticipation is the special gift those of us who are still alive, in the flesh, have been given by Christ in a most profound way. The one who eats His Flesh and drinks His Blood has eternal life.

All of these wonderful mysteries come together for us during Holy Week as we remember, with great love and gratitude, our bishops and priests who have more recently gone to see the face of Christ and, indeed, all of our loved ones who have been called to claim their citizenship in heaven.

May the hope, the joy, and the blessed peace which Christ Himself spoke to the world on Easter Sunday be with you and all of your loved ones. May that joy and hope and peace be your energy every blessed day into the future, which Christ wishes to be a blessing for each one of us.

Thank you very much for reading this. God Bless each one of you! Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!