The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds


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Heaven is a place we all aspire to reach one day - but not too soon. I’m sure we all have our own ideas of what heaven must be like, perhaps some beautiful garden filled with exotic flowers or a white sandy beach fringed by palm trees, perhaps even a cathedral filled with choirs singing our favourite hymns. The best description I have heard came from a somewhat harassed teacher who led a junior school orchestra. She told me that, “Heaven will be a place where everyone can play the same tune using the same notes, at the right time and at the correct tempo and will produce a sound like The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and that would be my idea of heaven.”

There is a story told of a man who who spent all his life ignoring the beauty of the world around him. He never married, had no friends, hated children, animals and most of the people he met. He was content to live a solitary and lonely existence with no purpose to his life and couldn’t understand how so many people seemed to find happiness in their lives. Eventually at a ripe old age, he died and was met by an angel who offered to take him on a conducted tour of his new home. The angel showed him majestic mountains, sparkling streams and rivers, fern filled forests and green meadows filled with colourful wild flowers. Children were laughing and playing on the grass and music filled the air, mixing with the sound of birdsong. “So this is heaven,” said the man, “This is better than my wildest dreams, it’s a wonderful place and I’m sure I’ll be very happy living here.” “No,” replied the angel, “This isn’t heaven, this is the world you have just left and lived in all your life... but you closed your eyes to its beauty and never saw any of it.”

This of course is just a story, but I’m sure it must have a simple message for all of us, to open our eyes and our hearts to the beauty of the world in which we all live.

Published Fri 16th Mar 2012 11:33:11

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