by Ken Rolheiser
Seeing into the Window of Heaven

In 1999 Mary was kayaking in Chile when she got trapped underwater. Though having a fear of drowning, she found herself calm. “I was being held and comforted and being reassured that everything was fine, regardless of whether I lived or died,” she recalled.

She knew it was Jesus who was comforting her. She experienced a life review and came back to earth knowing without a doubt of God’s existence and love.

This skeptical scientist had a glimpse into heaven and came back knowing that Jesus is exactly who he says he is. “The reality of God is [now] part of every breath I take,” Mary said. “And God’s presence is part of every thought that I have.”

The window of heaven looks both ways. As rare an experience as was Mary’s, there are many instances of people seeing evidence of their loved ones who look at us through heaven’s window. We believe our loved ones in heaven can see us and intercede for us.

We believe in the presence of our guardian angels. God has given us angels to journey with us. Most of us can recall instances where our angel saved us from danger or even sure disaster.

We are closest to our loved ones at the time of their being born to eternal life. It is unimaginably painful to let go of their earthly presence and the memory of their love. It surely helps if we believe in their eternal joy and presence in heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). It is at this precise time that our loved ones are closest to us and may manifest their presence to us. There are several usual ways in which this occurs.

Dreams are most common. We see our loved ones in dreams, and this may happen for years. Memories are naturally recalled in dreams, but this does not diminish the reality of their presence. Thoughts are as closely related to experiencing their presence as dreams.

Objects may sometimes appear, seemingly at random, but often hold a significance to the memory of a loved one. A picture may fall or may move as a sign from a loved one. My sister experienced this after the loss of a sibling. A picture of the family member was turned around on the shelf.

Seeing the actual presence of a loved one, especially on a significant family occasion, is not that uncommon. I have shared the story of a friend whose image I saw during communion at Mass on the weekend of his son’s graduation.

I was assisting in communion distribution, and as the family approached for communion, I saw an image of the husband appear above and behind his wife. This happened mere weeks after his sudden death in a car accident.

I have often shared the sign our family received when my sister went to heaven. Her husband had asked her for a sign so that we would know she was there. As the family returned home from the hospital in the early hours of the morning a mysterious display of fireworks was seen in a field near their home.

Faith calls us to share our epiphanies and to be heralds of God’s love to the world. Being attuned to the little miracles and signs in our lives will make God an exciting reality in our lives.

(568 words)