Mom, Is It Possible to Love Someone Into Heaven?

girls-campfire-st-featured-w740x493We gather around our fire pit often in the evenings. As warm flames are wont to do, they inspire us to speculative conversation. My kids are no more insightful than anyone else’s kids, but their frankness reminds me that even though I’ve wised in maturity, much of my dazed adulthood was spent trying to forget or deny the simple truths I knew as a child. My daughters’ questions are like conduits back to days of innocent clarity.

One wanted to know what happened to the babies we lost in miscarriage, and I explained how we pray for their salvation and never, ever lose hope in God’s infinite mercy. Another asked about the eternal destiny of our late hound dog Rufus, the family pet for all their lives until he died a few years ago. Then a baby toad hopped into the fire and evaded our shoo’s until he lost his pitiful battle to nebulous hot coals. Another asked about the worm, Debbie, corralled in yonder red bucket.

To varying degrees, whether for the sake of upstage-ment or sincerity, the girls expressed angst over losing these creatures forever. “How can we be happy in Heaven without Rufus, Debbie, and frogs to catch?” Then they thought of friends and family. “What about people we love? What if they don’t go to Heaven?” We talked about the Sacraments, venial and mortal sin, free will and grace. I’m comfortable discussing that, even speculatively.

Not long ago I avoided such topics too deeply because I thought if I ended a conversation by invoking mystery, I’d stifle their inquisitiveness or, someday when they are older, harm their faith. I’ve heard atheists complain their parents always resorted to, “Well, it’s a mystery.” I wanted to give these kids firm answers. But then I realized the fullness of truth does lie in the mystery. It’s good to guide kids as far as we can, and then allow them to ponder beyond for themselves.

“Girls, I don’t know if our lost babies, our Rufus, your Debbie, or that frog will go to Heaven, but I don’t worry about it. Christians are people of prayer. We are people of faith, hope, and love.”

Not surprisingly, weeks later my ten-year-old asked, “Mom, then is it possible to love someone into Heaven?”

“Maybe.”

It occurs to me still as I write these words, we simply do not know. We pray for grace. When we pray for someone else, I think of such prayers as inviting that person to our spiritual campfire, as asking Christ to surround that person with grace so that in the glow of communion, we see that person more luminously, as God sees him or her, so we then can know and love that person more perfectly, and so ultimately that person comes to see God with us. I think my daughter’s conclusion was wiser than anything I could have said though, “We’ll only know if it’s possible if we never stop trying, right?” Yes, that’s it.


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About the Author

Stacy Trasancos is a wife and homeschooling mother of seven. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State University and a MA in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She worked as a chemist for DuPont in the Lycra® and Teflon® businesses.

She teaches Chemistry and Physics for Kolbe Academy Online and Homeschool Program and serves as the Science Department Chair. She is teaching a set of summer mini-workshops titled "Science in the Light of Faith" for students, parents, other educators, or any Christian interested in the nuts and bolts of navigating science.

Similarly, she is teaching a "Reading Science in the Light of Faith" at Holy Apostles College & Seminary next Fall (2016). The course is funded by a John Templeton Foundation grant through John Carroll University for teaching science in seminaries. She is on the Board of Directors for ITEST (the Institute for the Theological Encounter with Science and Technology) where the essays from the course will be shared with the public.

Also in the Fall of 2016, she will teach a "Theological History of Science" course at Seton Hall University, where her mentor, the late Fr. Stanley L. Jaki was a distinguished professor. She is the author of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki.

Her new book, Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science is forthcoming with Ave Maria Press...

She teaches, researches, and writes from her family's 100-year old restored mountain lodge in the Adirondack mountains, where her husband and children (and two German Shepherds) remain her favorite priorities. Here is her website.

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