When is heaven truly and completely present?

It is when all heaviness is gone; when all sluggishness has been overcome, all wickedness, coldness, pride, irritation, disobedience, and covetousness; when there is no danger anymore of falling away; when grace has made one's whole being open up, body and soul, to the ultimate profundities, when there is no further danger that it will all close in again, become hardened in ways of evil; when all work to be done on earth is finished, and all guilt has been paid by repentance. What all this means is: after death.

After death – when time is no longer; when everything is in the everlasting now; when nothing can change anymore, but the creature stands illuminated by the light of eternity, before God – at that time, everything will be open, and will remain so. That is being in heaven ...

This is how we properly understand heaven. It is that close presence wherein the Father stands in relation to Jesus Christ. And heaven for us will be participation in this intimacy of love. This condition is already beginning; it approaches closer; now in peril, it is fought over, lost, and won back again. So it goes with our Christian life.




Romano Guardini. "Heaven." excerpt from The Inner Life of Jesus: Pattern of All Holiness (Manchester NH: Sophia Institute Press, 1959).

Reprinted with permission of Sophia Institute Press.


Romano Guardini (1885-1968), a professor of philosophy and theology at the University of Munich, lectured at universities around the world. He helped shape Catholic theology between the two world wars and after, as well as the thinking of many non-Catholics of the period. His influence contributed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and it continues to be felt through Pope Benedict, who, as a theologian, a cardinal and now as Pope, has drawn extensively on Guardini for inspiration.

Indeed, Guardini was a major theological mentor of Benedict XVI, influencing the Pope from his understanding of Jesus to his writings on the sacred Liturgy, from his view of faith to his perspective on the modern world. His books – those available in English – are The Inner Life of Jesus: Pattern of All Holiness, The End of the Modern World, The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer, The Lord, The Essential Guardini: An Anthology, Proclaiming the Sacred in a Modern World, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Living the Drama of Faith, Learning the Virtues: That Lead You to God, Romano Guardini: Spiritual Writings, The Death of Socrates, The Inner Life of Jesus: Pattern of All Holines, and The Rosary of Our Lady.

Copyright © 2011 Sophia Institute Press

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