The Communion of Saints and Eternal Life

Authored by Fr. Richard Conrad in Issue #32.2 of The Sower

Heaven is exciting. I do not think this is always made clear. You have doubtless seen several pictures of the Last Judgement. There was often one on the West wall of Mediaeval Churches to remind the departing faithful to live in such a way that they would be among the sheep, not the goats. Many such paintings show the just being welcomed into Heaven, and the wicked cast into hell. Often you suspect that the artist enjoyed painting hell more than he enjoyed painting heaven!

One particular painting, for example, shows Heaven as a city wall, with Angels playing trumpets, while, below, hell is more interesting – a huge dragon breathing fire, inside whom the damned are being boiled in cauldrons, while demons push wheelbarrows full of the wicked into its mouth. You get the impression that the most interesting thing to do in Heaven is to look over the wall and watch what is going on in hell! A limited, even boring, picture of heaven is often seen in modern cartoons showing harps and clouds; a recent survey of children’s views of Heaven showed that they imagined things like endless ice cream. I wonder whether some artists and preachers of the past put too much energy into frightening people off hell because they found it hard to think of ways to attract them into Heaven; and I wonder how many modern preaches and teachers know how to speak excitingly about heaven.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!

This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Forming Disciples who Make Disciples
By Dr. James Pauley
Free It was yet another miraculous catch of fish. When Peter saw the fish and heard John say “it is the Lord!” he dove into the water in his zeal to be with the risen Jesus, rather than waiting to bring the boat to shore. After the meal, Jesus took Peter aside and asked, “do you love me more than these?” And then Jesus asked again. And a third time.... Read more
Freeing Up for Mission: Critical Steps for the Path Forward
By Jim Beckman
Free Early Memories I had a somewhat magical season of my life that has left lasting memories for me. I was only eleven or twelve. Up until that time, life had been marked by tragedy. My dad had been injured and left paralyzed, one of my sisters had tragically died, my mom had even suffered a nervous breakdown and was away from us for several months.... Read more
Multiplication: Passing on a Message and a Mission
By André Regnier
There is a growing trend within the Church, rightly so, toward mentorship or coaching of our leaders. The idea is that great programs are not effective without great people leading those programs. Associated with this focus on mentorship is a theory some people call “spiritual multiplication”, which attempts to go one step further in mentoring... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now