Back in July of 1991, I sent an article to a good friend with a note “please return”. Well, my friend is a man of his word and yesterday he returned it to me…. with a chuckle. It was approximately 29 years after I sent it to him. I forgot to ask him if he enjoyed the article.
Well today, I actually reread it. It was an article by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit published on July 8, 1991 (page 11) in L’Osservatore Romano – the Vatican newspaper. It was very good !!!
There was one section that I underlined and highlighted and starred with a “WOW!” As I reread it, it was still a WOW. Pope John Paul II said,
“ one further point should be made: life’s earthly journey has an end which, if a person reaches it in friendship with God, coincides with the first moment of eternal bliss. Even, if in that passage to heaven, the soul must undergo the purification of the last impurities through purgatory, it is already filled with light, certitude and joy, because the person knows that he or she belongs forever to God. At this culminating moment the soul is led by the Holy Spirit….” He goes on to say that “this is the source of Christian optimism…in this perspective, the Christian can hold his head high and join in the invocation which, according to the Book of revelation, is the deepest cry…”The Spirit and the Bride say come! “ (Rev. 22:17)
Wow, our last moment in life coincides with the first moment of eternal bliss with God….even if we need purification, we are already filled with light, certitude and joy because we will know (really and fully know) that we belong to God forever.
I’m very encouraged by this. It touches something deep within my soul. It touches that deep longing of finally being home with God…finally home where there is no more uncertainty…. no more sorrow and tears and disappointment and sin.
When the pope wrote this he had already suffered much, including the attempted assassination attempt in 1981, but had yet to experience the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. It was another 14 years until he uttered his last words, “Let me go to the house of the Father”.
Wow, this is very good news for all of us who are friends with God. Let’s work hard to protect that friendship and let’s pray for our loved ones and others that we may all end our journey in friendship with God.