St. Therese once said, “I will spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.” That’s an intriguing thought. I wonder how I will spend my eternity. If I remain faithful until that last breath, what will I be doing with my Heaven? I think we can look into our deepest hearts and get a glimpse into what will be the focus of our prayers when we pass through the veil and, purified, stand before the Throne of God.
There are many possibilities.
In the month of January, we turn our attention to a number of things as
Catholics. We remember the lives of the unborn, and we promise to intercede for them. We pray as one, but there are some who are so committed to this battle for life that I am sure they will be spending their eternity interceding for the most innocent and helpless among us.
We also pray for conversion and unity. We are reminded of the Holy Father’s Missionary Intention for the month of January 2011: That Christians may achieve full unity, bearing witness of the universal fatherhood of God to the entire human race. There are some who are so committed to this work that they will be spending their eternity interceding for evangelization and ecumenism.
And in this first month of 2011, we also remember the Holy Father’s General Intention: That the riches of creation be preserved, valued and made available to all, as precious gifts from God to mankind. And, while we pray as one for this intention, there are many who are so committed to this unique form of stewardship that they will be spending their eternity praying for God to raise up more faithful administrators of God’s creation.
These are the prayer intentions this January. But the entire year is full of intentions. Prayers for social justice, for the preservation of the family, for healing of the sick, for peace, for freedom from persecution, for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life, for Christian educators and for the poor, the imprisoned, and the forgotten.
But what about me? What will I be praying for if I should be found faithful and one day stand before the Throne of God? For each of us, the answer is found deep within us. We know what God has written on our hearts. And we know that there is an ache deep within that causes the Holy Spirit to groan and speak to us when we are on our knees and through us when we get up from our knees and go into the world. That call is so demanding that it won’t end with our last breath – it can’t end with our last breath. There is a special prayer intention that simply must follow us into the eternal realm. We know it. And we know it deep within our souls.
Every once in awhile, I read something and there’s this kind of eternal epiphany for me. In that moment, I know that my heart’s desire points to one special intention.
Complete and full unity in the Body of Christ.
If Our Lord, in his goodness and mercy, gives me access to the Throne of God, I will have this prayer on my lips: that East and West will again hold hands at the Altar of Our Lord. No division. No two lungs. Not even sister Churches. Completely one. I’ll also be praying for our separated brethren, that an abundance of grace will lead them to the fullness of the faith.
If, by God’s goodness and mercy, these great events should occur before my death, then I will borrow a line from Simeon, saying, Master, you may let your servant go in peace. For I have seen with my own eyes the manifestation of your high priestly prayer. You, oh Lord, have made us one – with a oneness that mirrors the oneness You share with God the Father.
Until that day, I’ll keep on praying. Lord, hear my prayer.