In the Gospel Jesus was overhearing country people who were marveling over the beauty and grandeur of the temple, with even its walls imbedded with precious stones. He felt forced to tell them that object of their wonder would not last. When the Roman catapults were finished with the temple not one stone would be left in its place above the one below it.
The story is in the Bible to help us fix our sights on heavenly structures that would furnish us with unending happiness. But, I don’t think we are meant to give up on our love for the good things God gives us in this present life. Rather, by making the most of our earthy life, we enlarge our capacity for enjoying heaven. Let me tell of an experience from sixty-five years ago that started me thinking this way.
There was a very old priest who made his home with out seminary teachers, even though he could no longer teach or give a sermon. It struck me as odd that he made at least three visits a day to our library for Theology and Scripture books with which he would shamble off to his room. That thought had halted me half way down our main stairway, when our Scripture Professor stopped next to me, asking what was on my mind.
“It’s that old priest, Father. He keeps studying, when there is no way he can use what he is learning.”
“Well, Thomas, he isn’t just any old priest. He is Doctor Mee. And I once asked him about the same thing that has you puzzling over. Let me tell you what Doc Mee told me.
“Doc Mee explained to me that here below we must fashion a great capacity for enjoying heaven. If we have worked at knowing all we can about science we will be rewarded with a fathoms deep knowledge of science. If we have followed up on music appreciation, we will hear more than the harps up there. If we have gone out of our way for making deep friendships, a throng of friends will gladden our eternity.”
It’s worth a try.