Heaven is heaven only for the holy 

BLESSED JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN

Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter...

Supposing, then, instead of it being said that no irreligious man could serve and attend on God in heaven (or see him, as the text expresses it), we were told that no irreligious man could worship, or spiritually see him in church; should we not at once perceive the meaning of the doctrine? viz. that, were a man to come hither, who had suffered his mind to grow up in its own way, as nature or chance determined, without any deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity, he would find no real pleasure here, but would soon get weary of the place; because in this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies.

If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked or despised, nothing which bound him to aught else in the universe, and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon.

He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cutaway by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart. Nay, he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him.  Ah! he could not bear the face of the Living God; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You?" is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge his majesty.  None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Heaven is heaven only for the holy." excerpt from Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997).

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in June 2012.

THE AUTHOR

Blessed John Henry Newman was born in London, 21 February 1801, and died Birmingham, 11 August 1890. As Vicar of St. Mary's Oxford he exerted a profound spiritual influence on the Church of England. Joining the Catholic Church in 1845 he founded Oratories of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham and London, was the first rector of the Catholic University in Dublin, and was made Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879. Through his published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world. He was declared Venerable on 22 January 1991. John Henry Cardinal Newman is the author of many books including, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Difficulties of Anglicans, The Idea of a University, Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, and Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

Copyright © This book is in the public domain




Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter

 

 

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.