St. Therese once said, “I will spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.”
That’s an intriguing thought. I wonder how I will spend my eternity. If I remain faithful until that last breath, what will I be doing with my Heaven? I think we can look into our deepest hearts and get a glimpse into what will be the focus of our prayers when we pass through the veil and, purified, stand before the Throne of God.
There are many possibilities.
In the month of January, we turn our attention to a number of things as Catholics. We remember the lives of the unborn, and we promise to intercede for them. We pray as one, but there are some who are so committed to this battle for life that I am sure they will be spending their eternity interceding for the most innocent and helpless among us.
We also pray for conversion and unity. We are reminded of the Holy Father’s missionary intention for the month of January 2015: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
And in this first month of 2015, we also remember the Holy Father’s general intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.
These are the prayer intentions this January. But the entire year is full of intentions. Prayers for social justice, for the preservation of the family, for healing of the sick, for peace, for freedom from persecution, for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life, for Christian educators and for the poor, the imprisoned, and the forgotten.
But what about me? What will I be praying for if I should be found faithful and one day stand before the Throne of God? For each of us, the answer is found deep within us. We know what God has written on our hearts. And we know that there is an ache deep within that causes the Holy Spirit to groan and speak to us when we are on our knees and through us when we get up from our knees and go into the world. That call is so demanding that it won’t end with our last breath – it can’t end with our last breath. There is a special prayer intention that simply must follow us into the eternal realm. We know it. And we know it deep within our souls.
Every once in a while, I read something or see something and there’s this kind of awakening in me. In that moment, I know that my heart’s desire points to one special intention:
Complete and full unity in the Body of Christ.
I felt that tug again today when I saw the movie The Hobbit 3. When all of the different factions came together and engaged the enemy as one, the desire for unity filled me again. Tolkien was on to something. We have an enemy. We do not fight against flesh and blood, but we are engaged in a battle, a spiritual battle. We cannot conquer that enemy if we are divided. We need to be one, working as one, fighting as one. We need to love one another with the love of Jesus Christ. And then, we need to spread the love of this same Christ to the whole world.
If Our Lord, in his goodness and mercy, gives me access to the Throne of God one day, I will have this prayer on my lips: let us truly be one with the kind of unity you prayed for on the night of the Last Supper.
Father, make us one.