Finding heaven on earth this summer Print E-mail
Everyday Faith
Written by Julianne Nornberg   
Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

Children's laughter fills the air as dusk creeps gently over our backyard. Firelight flickers in the firepit, embers smoldering, perfect for roasting marshmallows.

Soft night sounds and fireflies spring up from the grass around us, and a cool breeze bathes our foreheads.

Truly this is a glimpse of heaven, I think, as I breathe out a deep sigh of contentment and thank God for the moment. What could be better than this?

Peacefulness ends

In a minute, though, one of my children cries out in pain as she steps on a sharp stick and needs a bandage.

The remaining three children make a run for the two swings, resulting in an argument about who got there first. And so, bedtime ensues.

My glimpse of summertime heaven has passed.

So short-lived are our moments of "heaven-on-earth" happiness because we are human and so easily distracted. Plus, earth is merely our temporary home as we pilgrims make our way toward heaven.

Heaven on earth

But there is one place here on earth that we can always find heaven: at Mass and with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

A few years ago, I read Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper and was astounded by what I found there. It was pure Catholic teaching, of course, but presented in a memorable way I hadn't encountered before.

At every Mass, Jesus comes down and is re-presented to us at Calvary, transcending all space and time, and at the moment the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come and turn the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, we are witnesses to the sacrifice of God's Son on Calvary.

There at Mass all the angels and saints and souls in purgatory -- though we can't see them -- are there with us. The Mass is heaven on earth, and nothing, not even a perfect summer night, can surpass it.

In the same way we can glimpse heaven each time we adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Even if we are just there with Him and He is there with us, we have the chance to rest with Him, to gaze at Him, to adore Him. Here, truly, simply, and openly is a glimpse into heaven on earth, so we need to look no further.

All our superficial moments of happiness, our perfect summer nights, our manufactured heaven-on-earth moments fall so short of the true heaven on earth, where God lays bare His love for the world in the Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament.

Contentment in Christ

So, when our superficial heaven-on-earth moments quickly become bandage moments, remember that our solace and contentment will only be found in Christ Himself in the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament, which reveals the true heaven on earth that is timeless and never-ending.

This summer, take time to witness heaven on earth by attending Mass more frequently. In addition to Sunday Mass, pick a weekday Mass you could attend regularly.

Plus, whether your family is vacationing at a campground or at Disney World, check out www.masstimes.

org to find Mass at the Catholic church nearest your destination.

God never abandons us. Amidst our summer vacations, let's make sure we don't abandon Him.


Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.