Aching for Eternity
By: Rocio P
Do you remember growing up and being told you couldn’t have something you wanted, and you wanted it “reallyyyyy” bad. As you’re kicking and screaming for it, presenting your tantrum in front of the whole world in the grocery store, your mom tries to gently (or maybe not so gently) explain to you that there is no way you can have it right now. The promise of receiving this thing tomorrow or for Christmas was not enough. You wanted it and you wanted it now! Oh the ache, the agony! Waiting for the day to arrive seemed like an eternity. How could my mom, who says she loves me, not give me what I am crying for right this instant!? It just doesn’t make sense to the mind of a four year old. The best way to deal with this intense longing in their little hearts is to cry, and cry, and cry some more. Oh, and of course, to tell their parents how they’re so positively “mean!”
I’m sure everyone has had the experience of witnessing this a few times; or maybe, you remember your own tantrums. In a very real way, this childhood angst goes on in the spiritual life too. Oh, the ache! The agony of waiting for what we cannot yet have!
I was blessed to go on a Theology of the Body (TOB) course this past November, down south in lovely Miami, Florida. As a Jersey girl who loves the Autumn leaves and hiking in these beautiful parks up here, I nonetheless was looking forward to the sun, the beach, and of course, the gift of TOB. I knew this course was going to be something special for me. Yet, God blew my expectations out of the water. He gave me so much, and then some! When you hear people say, “God is not outdone in generosity”--it is an absolute truth, without fail. The Lord, our Loving Father, is so generous and so ready to envelop us in His grace.
The class was more of a retreat for me. God was breathing life into my heart and the embers were catching fire once more. This message, this Good News that God has spoken His plan into history through our bodies, is amazing! God wants to marry us. Those were the five words Christopher West stressed to us. Once we accept this, the ache, the eternal longing in our hearts that we are always looking to satisfy, finds an echo. This gives us the “why” behind our longings.
Little Therese of the Child Jesus always assured her sisters that God would never give us great desires unless He himself was going to fulfill them. Phew! That’s good to know! The yearning, this desire for deep intimacy and love, to be seen and known...it’s not in vain. God is going to satisfy me. We will drink deeply from these streams of love and mercy, and we will want for nothing.
Yet, this is what we will find only in heaven. Here on earth we will only catch glimpses of this eternal bliss. The moon, the sunsets, the butterflies, the way your husband looks at you, vistas from mountain tops, the feeling of peace when you hold a sleeping baby in your arms, the Spanish guitar, Milk chocolate, your father’s embrace...all of that, and so many other things we could list. These moments are “God moments”, as Christopher West would say. These moments of goodness, truth, and beauty, point us to the eternal joys of heaven where “God will be all in all” -1Cor 15:28.
So the next time you find yourself kicking and screaming, wanting the fulfillment of all your longings right now, take a deep breath and look around. The promise of its arrival is all around you.