Bible offers hope to those hoping to see relatives in heaven

Reflections on Life
By Father Jerome LeDoux, SVD
Within minutes after I had completed emailing my latest column, “How many souls do you hope to take with you?,” longtime friend Cherrie Boykins McClelland emailed me back from Vicksburg.
Father LeDoux, thanks so much for the reflections. I truly look forward to reading with joy. My family and I were talking about when we die will we know one another hereafter? All of my siblings and I went to St. Mary’s Catholic school in Vicksburg. We were taught to believe that we would.  However, my son and nieces who were in school at other catholic schools in the 80’s- 90’s were taught differently. Can you tell me which is correct?
Thanks and God continue to bless you,
Cherrie Boykins McClelland
What a dreary thought, that we would not know our mother, father, siblings, other relatives and friends in heaven! Heaven would not be much fun at all without knowing them. And heaven by definition has to be the most fun place ever – far beyond the likes of Disneyworld or even the best and most beautiful nature offers.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says it all, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
True, the beatific vision of God is the pièce de résistance of heaven, as the dazzling, all-engrossing Transfiguration of Jesus prefigures for us in Matthew 17:2, Jesus “was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and clothes became white as light.” When Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with Jesus, Peter, James and John recognized them and called their names. Jesus obviously intended this overwhelming event to be a preview of even more astounding things to come.
It is neither a fluke nor an accident that Jesus associates in a beatific vision atmosphere with “saints” who know him and know one another. The incident infers strongly that all the saints, including us, will be able to converse with Jesus singly and as a group in such a way that we are acting in unison with folks who know us.
Knowing our dear relatives and friends in heaven has to be part of knowing God through the gifts he has given us, of which God’s grace/goodness is shared in and through our loved ones. The Transfiguration of Jesus is clearly giving us a foretaste of what we will experience forever in heaven and likewise a strong image of how we will not be passive in heaven but in communication with Jesus, Moses, Elijah, all the saints of the Old Testament and New Testament with each one of us.
“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”
Just in case you do not understand the analogy Paul is using in 1 Corinthians 13:12, mirrors in his day were not clear like our mirrors, but rather distorted and dim, because they were made of polished bronze. Paul is not touting his solitary joy in heaven, but his ecstasy that will be shared by the Corinthians and all of us who, just as Paul, will know God, Jesus et al fully as we are fully known by them.
Heart-stopping Revelation 7:9-10 presents a throng with evident awareness both of themselves and of each other, “I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb… They cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!’”
Do we have to bring back the revered Baltimore Catechism? It seems that some modern religion teachers with new-fangled teaching methods are teaching a lot of nothing or, worse, a lot of nonsense and plain garbage. Teaching that we will not know one another in heaven is distinctly not Catholic/Christian at all.
Certainly, strongest of all is our role as vital members of the Mystical Body of  Christ, as Paul explains in Romans 12:4-5, “As in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.”
And 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”
We find the same intoxicating reality in Ephesians 4:1-6, 15-16. The best way of knowing one another in heaven will be as joyful members of the Mystical Body of Christ, totally engaged as “one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.”
(Father Jerome LeDoux, SVD, lives at Sacred Heart Residence in Bay St. Louis. He has written “Reflections on Life since 1969.)