To help the middle school youth understand the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding heaven, hell and Purgatory
What words would you use to describe heaven? Each person asked would probably give a different answer. However, heaven is not simply a place based upon our own individual idea of happiness. In fact, John Paul II said that heaven “is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity.” Heaven is perfection; the joy of the Lord is realized for all in heaven. Instead of our limited “vision,” we will have beatific vision – “eternal and direct perception of God enjoyed by those who are in Heaven, imparting supreme happiness or blessedness.” We will have all access to God! As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “this perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called ‘heaven.’ Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (1024). Although happiness on earth is often expressed in terms of the individual person and what makes him/her happy, heaven will be a supreme happiness because we are completely unified with Christ.