Eternal Heavenly Boredom

heaven“If you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with people you know” — so says a satirical post in social media. This implies that in eternal damnation, one’s thoughts and perception will be overwhelmed by the multitudes of acquaintances that ended up in the same fate. Most of the people one knows would probably end up in hell as much as you would and that would make hell more comfortable and more enjoyable. Forget about God then I wouldn’t exchange hell for anything else! If this were true, then the suffrage for souls in purgatory we have offered during All Souls’ Day would prove to be mistaken and futile as we wouldn’t let the souls of our loved ones go to such a boring place. Although it would be nice to think that our enemies would be eternally bored — for nothing maddens man more than boredom.

One saint, one who I couldn’t remember, however, would disagree with this delightful idea — that hell is enjoyable. He/she would however agree that the pains of hell would be overwhelmed by something — something much more worth lamenting. This saint who had the privilege (as if it was something enjoyable) of having a vision of hell had the chance to ask a soul in eternal damnation. The question he/she asked the soul was what their greatest suffering was. The soul replied that their greatest suffering was the never-to-be quenched thirst for God. Man, from his creation, was embedded with a deep nostalgia for God, so says Salvatore Canals in his book ‘Jesus as Friend’. This nostalgia for God is not something emerging from a collective human subconscious, as Carl Jung would argue, but truly from the depths of our hearts. As children yearn for their parents, so does our hearts long for God. The ultimate end of man would yield our often ignored nostalgia for God hence hell would be so horrible because those in it would be unable to satisfy their natural cravings for God.

It is important, however, to note that heaven and hell are not physical places but are states. These supernatural places are last states of being, for man, that is. This means that heaven wouldn’t be a night club with a bouncer preventing selected people from admission or that hell would be a barangay party that’s open to all, general admission. This would mean that heaven and hell are states of a person and that a person’s soul would be carrying heaven or hell in them as turtles carry their shell.

It is also important to note that God does not send anyone to hell. Souls who deliberately refuse to be united with God in His divine life hurl themselves to hell. Although this pains God so much, God respects man’s freedom and therefore respectfully withdraws himself from souls who refuse to be with Him out of His Love.

Given the thought that hell would be the least comfy place, it is important to ask about heaven. We hear of heaven in the soap operas as a really beautiful mountain paradise in which everyone would be smiling and wherein lovers separated by death would live their happy ever after. Reading the life of saints, we read that it is a place wherein we worship God endlessly; that we meet God face to face. This would seem like heaven is a boring place. Everyone will be singing twenty-four seven. And we’ll only see the face of God. It would be like an endless church service. How boring and predictable would heaven be! Everyone’s vocal chords would be inflamed due to the unending singing and praising. Better stay away from heaven… how unfortunate would death be.

This would be what follows if eternity was, as we perceive it, an endless succession of time. But such is not a case. Perhaps, God in his eternal wisdom has saved us too from eternal boredom. However, eternity is not an endless succession of time; it is an endless and everlasting today. Hell would be a never-ending moment of pain and would be terribly inescapable. Heaven would be a never-ending moment of glory, a never-ending moment of love. Heaven would be the best and most noble moment of our lives—prolonged but without the influence of face and time. Boredom wouldn’t be something conceivable in a place uninfluenced by space and time.

The beatific vision of heaven would be something inconceivable. Heaven would be a longed for thing. Given this idea of heaven, what beauty awaits those in purgatory! How little are our sacrifices to attain Eternal Life! How little have we done to inherit “What eye has not seen, nor ear has heard what God prepares for those who serve Him”! (1 Corinthians 2:9)” (Lance Patrick C. Enad)

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