In my 63 years on this earth, I have had many people I know move on to the next life. Until recently I have not always been to clear on what exactly the next life is. Since my journey back to God it has become more clear. It comes down to two options: Heaven or Hell.
We can’t be sure where we will go, we can hope and pray it will be Heaven, but then it will be in the hands of God on Judgement Day, He’ll decide. We can try to do all the right things to get to Heaven, increase the odds so to speak, but we never know for sure. We are also taught we will never know if those who have gone before us will end up. Even the worst sinner could go to Heaven if they repent and declare Jesus as their Saviour. The only one we know for sure has gone to Hell because we are told by Jesus himself, is Judas Iscariot.
There are some however that we do know will go to Heaven and these are the Saints who have been martyred. As far as others who have been declared by the Church to be Saints, I’m pretty sure that they got it right. After all the Holy Spirit guides them.
But what about the rest of us? Yesterday I attended the funeral of an old friend of mine’s mother. Although it has been years since I have been close to her I think I can be pretty sure she is going to Heaven. Here is one example. One of the granddaughters gave a eulogy before the Mass. Listening to this person speak, they had a difficult time during their teenage and early adulthood years. It sounds like there was a struggle with addiction of some kind and all the associated problems. This person related how the grandmother was always there, any time, day or night, to talk, to listen, to just be there. Knowing some other history of the family, this was just one of many struggles this family had over the years.
Through it all, the mother, grandmother, wife, was always there. She was the one who was able to steer the ship through troubled waters. She was the one who calmed the seas. I have been to another funeral in the past few months, one of my uncles, and I got the same feeling. He was going to Heaven.
We will all leave a legacy of some kind when we die. It may be good, it may be bad, but there will be one. Some of us will be remembered for a long time, some of us only until the last shovel of dirt is put on top of us. It is our choice which one we leave. What will be said at your funeral?
For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.Romans 2:6–8, RSV2CE