We don’t go to heaven; we learn how to live in heaven now. And no one lives in heaven alone. Either we learn how to live in communion with other people and with all that God has created, or, quite simply, we’re not ready for heaven. If we want to live an isolated life, trying to prove that we’re better than everybody else or believing we’re worse than everybody else, we are already in hell. We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ. This must be an almost perfect way to describe salvation itself.

Richard Rohr (part of a reflection adapted from Richard Rohr, “Seeing Is Not Always Recognizing,” homily, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 8, 2016.

I have long struggled with the Catholic concept/construct of Purgatory. But, this somehow made sense. One must learn to live in heaven and if that is not accomplished here in our walk on earth, it still must be learned.

How to do that? How to truly be connected with others and in full communion is difficult for me. I do feel left out often. And like most of us (I suspect) I wish to be accepted. It seems though that this is the wrong focus. First I must learn to accept and connect with others. First do what I want others to do. The ultimate Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or better, be for others what you would have them be for you.

Ouch. Be the Good Samaritan and reach out to help someone who is not “one of us.” Or, be the man in the ditch, and accept help from an unexpected, and perhaps unwanted, source. Be Jesus or Peter learning that the message of the Gospel is not just for the Chosen People but available to the Gentiles. Be the lily in the field who must bloom where planted or not grow at all.

I love the concept, true. But, I really have a problem with so many people. I agree that I need to love those who hold different ideals than I do. But, Lord! help me to see how to do so. I so cannot condone some of the things that they hold sacred. I react to the hatred and meanness as a human. How do I get beyond this?

Too many questions without sound answers. No, too many questions without concrete answers. I must take each instance as it comes to me and find the way through. It does seem that this might be an answer in itself: to recognise that what folks want is a concrete, single way through the messiness. So we are all in this together after all.