“But Grandma, you’ll have your cell phone in Heaven, right…?”
His eight-year-old bright, shining eyes looked into mine seriously. We were discussing the passing of one of Grandma’s close friends. Ah, a teaching opportunity for my newly baptized grandson, Jeffrey. He worried about losing contact with me when it was my turn to answer God’s call into His presence. We’ve been closely bonded during his early years.
“You know what? We’ll have something even better! Grandma won’t need the super-tech kind of cell phones you and Daddy have—anyway, mine is a couple years old and doesn’t do all the stuff yours does—but for sure we’ll be connected.”
“But when your body goes into the ground, you won’t have your five senses working anymore. How can we be connected?”
Good thinking. Jeffrey learned in his classroom at school about our five senses and the marvelous mechanism that is our body. We are reinforcing the spiritual aspect with conversations at home ever since he was a little tyke about how God created all things including every detail about our bodies.
“Remember how we talked about every person having two parts? A body, which you can see, at some point quits working because it gets very old or worn out or has some disease or an accident and that part of us dies and is put into the ground. But God gave everyone a spirit which you can’t see. That’s the real you and never dies! Jesus said so. It lives forever.”
“I guess you don’t have to be old to die. I remember a couple years ago when a boy about my age whom I met at the SportsPlex had an accident and died.”
“You’re right. Gage is alive right now in Heaven with Jesus—He is there in his own spirit without his body. Someday when Jesus comes to earth again, Gage’s spirit will connect with his body again, but it will be a new kind of body, one that will never die again. People will be able to recognize who he is just like when they knew him on earth the first time.”
“Tell me how I can connect with you when you leave us, Grandma.”
“This is deep stuff, but I know you can get it. Remember what we call those things that are true but hard to understand?”
“Yes, but not the detective and looking-for-clues kind. Just things that God wants us to believe but only He can really understand. Like those of us who were once alive will always be alive and will always be connected. Our Catholic Church calls it ‘THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.’ We are all part of God’s big family. Actually, anyone who gets to heaven is called a saint. Those who were friends of God get to go to be with Him….”
“…to Heaven, yeah, and those who don’t want to be friends with God are separated from Him forever.”
“Right. God doesn’t make anyone go to Hell. Each person chooses for himself whether to be friends with Jesus or not. We can’t see inside people’s hearts and minds so we can’t judge. Only God can know where anyone is going after they die. Do you understand, Jeffrey?”
“I guess so. All but the part about ‘saints’. Tell me again, who are the saints?”
“The Bible calls all Christians saints, which simply means “holy ones.” Even on earth God wants us to live holy lives—that means clean and good lives and trying to love God with all our hearts and minds as much as we can. But “saints” also means every person who loves God and arrives in heaven. You’ll be a saint when you get there and so will I because we love Jesus and have Him in our hearts. We also use the word ‘saints’ for certain very holy people who lived extra special lives on earth. The Catholic Church asks us to give special honor to them.”
“So what does ‘Communion of saints’ mean then?” Jeffrey tried to get his mind around the concept.
“It means that all those who are friends of God and His Son Jesus, including those who are alive now, and those who have died, all stay connected together—forever. When someone dies who is a friend of Jesus, we don’t need to say ‘Goodbye forever’ and that’s that. That would be really sad. They are still family.”
“But Grandma, Jack who’s in my class at school and doesn’t go to our church, says we aren’t connected anymore to those who died. His grandmother died and he said his Dad told him they would see her in heaven someday, but she is having such a good time in heaven with Jesus now that she doesn’t have time to think about them anymore.”
“Many people have ideas about heaven that are not true; they just try to figure things out by themselves. That’s why we need the Church to teach us. For one thing, no human being who died has come back to tell us exactly what they do in heaven, right? We depend on what Jesus Himself said ‘cause He is God’s Son and He had been in Heaven with His Father God before He came to earth. He told us that those who believe in Him will never die so we can be sure that those in Heaven are alive.”
“I hope Jesus gave us more details about Heaven!”
“His disciples who traveled around with Him for three years heard Jesus teach a lot more. But it isn’t all written down in the Bible. John, one of his disciples, said that he couldn’t write down everything Jesus told them. John picked out certain important things. He said that Jesus told them so much more and did so many other wonderful things that if someone could write them all down, all the books on earth couldn’t contain them all.”
“Wow! I wish someone would have written down more of what Jesus said about Heaven.”
“Me too. Maybe Jesus wanted us to be really surprised when we get there! But Jesus’ disciples (who were called apostles because He sent them out to teach what He taught after He went to Heaven) went everywhere teaching even more of what Jesus said than what the Church collected into the one book we call the Bible. Guess what? We do have valuable writings about what the early churches believed from the apostles’ teaching! I’ll tell you more about that later. But that’s how we know we are all connected in “The Communion of Saints”—the apostles taught it!
“OK, so back to my question: Will I be able to talk to you when you leave for Heaven? How will I hear you if we don’t use a cell phone?”
“In a nutshell, you can ask Grandma to pray for you to Jesus just like you ask Grandma to pray for you to Jesus now. JESUS will be the one to answer your prayer though—I won’t be able to answer your prayer myself because when we are in Heaven, we are still just human people.
“I get it. Jesus is the only One who has power to answer my prayers. Can I ask any of those other “alive-saints-people” in Heaven to pray to Jesus for me too?”
“Sure, Jeffrey. It’s OK to have a lot of people praying for us and with us. Like when the listeners to our radio station join to pray for people during PRAYER TIME.”
“And can I still have a direct connection to Jesus?”
“Of course! And you can also ask Jesus’ Mother Mary to pray for you. She is close to Jesus now like she was on earth. Jesus honored her and His foster-Dad Joseph. Remember, Jesus’ mother, too, is still and always will be a human in Heaven. She is extra special but we don’t worship her like we worship God. She isn’t a part of the Trinity like ‘God, the Father, Jesus His Son, and The Holy Spirit.’
“The Trinity—that’s a ‘mystery’ too!”
“That’s for sure!”
“This is so cool. I’ll never really need to say a ‘Forever Goodbye’ to you, Grandma—if you get to Heaven before I do. Connecting with you by praying is way better than a cell phone anyway. You won’t need to worry where you can plug in a charger in Heaven!”
“Right on, Jeffrey!”
Part 1 of a Series “Conversations with Jeffrey” on Leona's BLOG