"I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven…"
In the history of great opening lines, this one truly gives one pause. The ensuing passages from Revelations are, of course, dazzling, powerful and awe-inspiring. Weaving a tapestry of visions both personal and inspired by sacred texts, John brings us into a world where the God of All reigns supreme; the pettiness of human daily life, worries, shortcomings and even successes, have all fallen away. There is only the power of the Almighty Mystery that is God.
I find myself coming back, after several readings, to that single opening statement and really trying to take in the magnitude of it: "I…had a vision of an open door to heaven." What a concept! What a possibility, what a comfort, what a breath of fresh air, fresher and more life-giving than anything one could ever imagine or adequately describe…
For me, much of life is lived in the details of daily existence. Many of them are beautiful and wonderful "details" of course – cherished moments of closeness with family and friends, laughter over the silly things that happen, meaningful work, even the acceptance of best efforts that somehow go awry – but a large part of our faith is a belief in, and a preparation for – the transcendent.
As Christians, our belief in Christ is our pathway to the door to heaven. And the door is open to each of us. Our way to God is not barred or hidden; the magnificence of all time and eternity is not beyond our reach. It has been given to us in Christ, with a free hand, a loving heart, through an open door.
I cannot describe my vision of heaven. I leave that to the prophets. But I feel extraordinarily loved to know that I am invited, welcomed even, to let the fresh air from God’s open door sweep over me, comfort me, sustain me.
Nancy Nickel is the Director of Communications for Holy Cross Province.