Destination: Heaven

by Fr. Blaise Berg, STD
Summer 2023

As a parish priest, on any given day, one of my favorite appointments is to meet with a newly engaged couple to discuss their wedding. As engaged couples know, it is important to confirm the date of the wedding ceremony so that the reception venue can also be confirmed. Depending on the size of the wedding, the planning of the wedding day demands attention to multiple details which require many decisions. Nonetheless, as the parish priest, I am always most concerned about the spiritual preparation of the couple, not just for the day of their wedding, but also their preparation to live marriage until “death do they part”.

When couples want to have a church wedding, I often ask them why. Frequently, the reasons couples give for desiring a religious wedding point to part of the picture, but not the whole picture. Still, it gives me the chance to help the newly engaged see that their desire for a religious ceremony speaks to something that is most profound, and that is, that marriage is not just something good for man and woman to live in this life, but also it is something very good for the life to come. You, see marriage is all about man and woman helping each other get to heaven. But, why should we want to get to heaven? The short answer is: because God made us for heaven. Our bodies and souls are created in such a way that they have a natural instinct to yearn for heaven. Anything that we describe as “heavenly” in this life is, ultimately, a foretaste of something much greater that awaits us in eternity. For example, some friends may enjoy a wonderful meal together marked not only by delicious food, but also by beautiful conversation. The occasion will later be remembered and cherished. In heaven, every encounter with each other and the Other will be most amazingly precious.

As I noted above, God created marriage “in the beginning” (cf. Genesis 1 and 2) so that husband and wife, with His help, can help each other prepare for heaven. Will every encounter that the spouses have during the course of their marriage be “heavenly”? No, of course not. Yet, every form of communication between spouses—including face-to-face conversations, text messages, voicemails, heart-to-heart talks, even “discussions” (i.e. arguments), non-verbal communications, and, above all, the renewal of their covenant in the marital embrace—are meant to be, certainly human, but also divine.

God wants to be a part of our lives! And, not just part of part of our lives, but a part of every part of our lives. Does that mean that God is controlling? No, because He leaves it to our free will to invite Him into our encounters with each other. But He wants to be a part of our lives because He knows and wants what’s best for us and He wants to guide us to Him so that we may be with Him in eternity. How does Natural Family Planning fit into God’s plan for marriage? As the other articles in this Special Edition for Engaged point out, NFP fits into God’s plan for marriage in the way that it teaches spouses to give of each other freely, faithfully, totally and fruitfully. By living NFP, spouses help each other to get to heaven! Our prayer at CANFP is that we will all meet each other in heaven some day. Until then, let’s help each other to get there.

“Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such” 2361 Catechism of the Catholic Church

About The Author

Fr. Blaise Berg, STD
Rev. Blaise Berg, STD, President and Treasurer of the CANFP Executive Board, is Assistant Professor of Dogmatics at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA. Fr. Berg earned a BA from the University of San Francisco, an MBA from California Polytechnic University, a Baccalaureate degree in Sacred Theology, S.T.B at the Pontifical Gregorian University Rome, a Licentiate Degree in Sacred Theology, S.T.L. from the JPII Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. and a Doctoral Degree in Sacred Theology, S.T.D. from Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He has served on the CANFP Board since 2003.

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