What are your deepest desires? What is it you truly long for? Are these easy questions to answer without hesitation, or are you surprised to learn that you have little to no idea what the answers to these questions are.
Sadly, many Christians grow up believing that to want or desire too much is to be selfish. This could not be further from the Christian truth of desire. God wants us to be deeply in tune with the desires and longings of our heart, because we are made in His image and likeness. Our God is the God of desire and longing. He desires a relationship with you and longs to become one with you. God longs for you so much he sent His only Son Jesus to lay down His life for you on the Cross. Our God is the God of desire and longing.
Fulfilment and Emptiness
If we are honest with ourselves, the deepest desires of our hearts are more than fast cars, fancy homes and private jets. If we really look to our hearts, we would see that we long for much more than material goods and earthly pleasures. Material goods and earthly pleasures are not evil in themselves, but if they become our ultimate focus they will destroy our joy. They will never satisfy.
What we really want is happiness, intimacy, relationship, ecstasy, joy and bliss. We don’t only desire these things here and now; we want an eternal, infinite portion of them! We have all had experiences where we were laughing so hard with our friends, only to be struck with a deep internal emptiness that screams, “Is this all there is? There must be more!” These moments pierce me often, and at the strangest times. They used to scare me. Now, I welcome them as God-given reminders that I was made for Heaven. These piercing moments of emptiness are nudges from God reminding me of what awaits those who love Him (2 Cor 2:9).
I remember one night meeting a young man who seemed to be forcing himself to laugh harder and harder after every joke that was told. It became obvious to me that he was encountering this emptiness in his heart, but rather than letting it guide him to Heaven, it terrified him. Rather than entering into the ache, he simply tried harder and harder to experience a new level of finite happiness. I could see the disquiet in His soul, and it scared him. Have you experienced this? I have.
When I got married I kept saying to myself that I didn’t want the day to end. There is a deep yearning in the human heart not just for happiness, but infinite unending happiness. Not just to be in a possibly temporary relationship, but a permanent relationship. For a joy and bliss that literally never ends. The human heart was wired for eternity. Heaven is only Heaven because you will never be asked to leave once you get there. This is a wedding reception that never ends!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 221 says, “God Himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange.” God Himself exists in relationship. The Father gives Himself as a gift to the Son. The Son receives that gift and returns Himself to the Father completely. This reciprocal gift of perfect love is so profound, that the Holy Spirit bursts forth from their union! But this is only half the story! The more exciting half is that we have been destined to participate in that love! This is our ultimate destiny, to be in an intimate, joyful, blissful, ecstatic union with the Blessed Trinity forever.
To help us pursue this profound gift we are being offered, the Lord blesses us with spousal desires. Spousal desires are the desires and longings we all have in our hearts that we identified earlier; happiness, intimacy, bliss etc. But God is a gentleman. He will never force you to love Him or respond to this call. But He does leave clues. When God created you and I He carved a God-sized hole in our hearts. It is from this hole that we ache for unending love. I like to explain it this way. God carved the God-sized hole in your heart to be His future home in you. If you listen attentively to your heart’s desires, they will lead you to God.
Our Bodies Reveal Our Destiny
However, God does not merely provide us with spousal desires, he goes a step further and stamps this calling into our bodies. Through sexual differentiation, as male and female, our bodies are inscribed with a call to Holy Communion. Our bodies echo the desires of our hearts. Our hearts long for intimacy and love, and our bodies were designed to give and receive intimacy and love!
The marital embrace serves as an earthly icon or sign of the great mystery of the Trinity. Sex is sacramental, in that it is an earthly sign of Trinitarian love. Just as the Father gives himself to the Son and the Son gives Himself to the Father, the Husband gives himself to the wife who in turn gives herself to him. Just as the Holy Spirit bursts forth from the Father and the Son, a new life has the possibility of coming forth from the mutual self-gift of husband and wife.
Let me be clear. I am not saying that we will be married to God in Heaven in a sexual way as husband and wife are. The union with God in Heaven, though (eventually) bodily, will utterly transcend the union of husband and wife. Yet the union of husband and wife is a foretaste of the type of union that will be experienced with God in Heaven.
The Vocation of Celibacy for the Kingdom offers us and the world a powerful witness to the reality of our destiny. The celibate does not reject marriage or sexuality because it is evil, but rather passes over the sign pointing to Heaven, to live the union with God in Heaven here and now. A married couple expresses the sign of the Heavenly marriage. The celibate has entered into the reality the sign points to!
The Eternal Wedding Reception
No matter what your earthly Vocation is, all of us are called to the eternal marriage with God in Heaven. The Bible speaks of the Wedding Feast (supper) of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), which is our wedding reception with the Lord. In the end, all of us who remained faithful to the end will form the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, and will be wed to Christ our Bridegroom. At last every desire will be fulfilled in our hearts. We will never force ourselves to laugh harder again. We will bask in the unending intimacy, love, communion, ecstasy, bliss and joy of the wedding reception that literally never ends!