The beatitude of heaven is the fulfillment of all our longings for happiness. — Echoing the Mystery


Echoing the words of Jesus, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7), St. Catherine of Siena said, “All the way to heaven is heaven.” Granted, these statements force us to pause, especially during challenging times. Yet they do express a profound truth for us to embrace.   

The symbol for the theological virtue of faith is an eye by which one is able to “see” in the spiritual sense. While we would all enjoy having this ability to “see” with ease, God, in His infinite wisdom, has gifted us with free will, by which we must choose and work for such a gift. Jesus, who became like us in all things but sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), always saw the Beatific Vision. Yet He experienced hardships and learned obedience by what He suffered. St. Catherine of Siena also endured suffering and, though they were not visible until after her death, she bore the stigmata of Christ. Why is this important? The trials and labors of our earthly existence increase our longing for heaven, where truly, the grass is always greener.   

Let’s make this a bit more concrete. Think about the people who you love the most. What events or situations increase the bond of love between you? Yes, the moments of bliss and happiness, but also those times of difficulty that force you to let go of yourself and see the other person. Those moments of compassion and empathy where you can “walk in their shoes.”  

Ultimately this is what it means to live as a disciple of Christ as we freely choose to walk where He has walked (1 John 2:6). In faith, our eyes are set on the Beatitude of heaven, our final resting place, which is the continuation of the foretaste we experience here on earth.  

Pope Benedict XVI expressed the pursuit of happiness found in discipleship this way: “It is proclaimed in the life and suffering, and in the mysterious joy of the disciples who gave themselves over completely to following the Lord.” 

Spot the Virtue

“He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1). Jesus responds by revealing His prayer to the Father – the “Our Father.” This was the only prayer that Jesus directly taught us to pray. His teachings on prayer relate more to inner dispositions, and we certainly learn the most from His example of prayer. 

The virtue of prayerfulness means being still, listening, and being willing to talk to God as a friend. This virtue encompasses all Jesus taught us about prayer and the essence of His relationship with God the Father, with whom He lives in constant communion (John 10:30). Thus, prayerfulness is the virtue of a disciple who follows Jesus, seeking the same communion.    

The more we live in communion with Him, the more we take on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and walk where He walked (2 John 6). Through grace, our participation in God’s life; we begin to see the world differently and partake more in His divine nature. In sum, we are more like God because we live in friendship with Him.   

Prayerfulness is the virtue that keeps us steadfast in nurturing our friendship with God, who constantly invites us to remain in His love (John 15:9). Therefore, may you actively strive to cultivate your friendship with God so that when He welcomes you to His household (Ephesians 2:19), He may say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). 

Name: Stephen, I noticed you were very prayerful during Adoration. 

Explain: You were able to sit still and focus. 

Express: You attention was an example to your friends. 

Spot the virtue in at least one person this week.


Meditate on the artwork Madonna and Child by the Master of the Winking Eyes (c. 1450). How does this image reflect the words of St. Catherine of Siena, “All the way to heaven is heaven”? How does it also manifest Pope Benedict XVI’s statement—the disciple’s mysterious joy? 

In the next few weeks, try to see an image that depicts your personal desire for the happiness of heaven and hold it within your mind’s eye when life is hard.   

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