Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Returning Home

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Death and Resurrection: Week 2

Returning Home
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I ask . . . that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You. . . . I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity. . . . Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am. . . . —John 17:20-24

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. —1 Corinthians 13:12

Two dear friends, Fathers Thomas Keating (1923–2018) and Joseph Boyle (1941–2018), lived many years in community at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, where they welcomed guests for contemplative retreats. A couple years ago, Lucette Verboven interviewed both of them. She asked Father Joseph if he expected at death to be transformed:

Yes, I expect death to be a transition. I think it is a movement into a space that is not limited by our body and our senses that are quite limited now. I like the phrase in St. Paul, that we will “see God face to face” [1 Corinthians 13:12] and we’ll relate to people and the beauty of who they are without the ego-agendas we have right now.

I see [life after death] as infinite love, as if the whole atmosphere of heaven is filled with God as a kind of vibration going through us. I think that we are going to see and know each other in God, whatever that word means. It strikes me as a homecoming, us returning home to where we come from. . . and all of our brothers and sisters are coming home as well. . . . I certainly have a very deep hope that it is a transition into an incredible related life. [1]

Similarly, Keating wrote:

Death is only a part of the process of living. If the Communion of Saints has become real for us, then every funeral is a celebration of eternal life. That is the great insight of the Mass of the Resurrection, the new funeral rite. Death is not an occasion only for sorrow, but an occasion of rejoicing that our friends or relatives have moved to a deeper level of union and that we will be with them again. [2]

We are all always connected to God and each other and every living being. Most of us just don’t realize it. Jesus prays that we could see things in their unity and wholeness.

Either we learn how to live in communion with others, or, quite simply, we’re not ready for heaven and are already in hell. We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live in the Communion of Saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ.

There is only One Love that will lead and carry us across when we die. If we are already at home with Love here, we will quite readily move into heaven, Love’s eternal home. Death is not a changing of worlds, as most imagine, as much as the walls of this world infinitely expanding.

[1] Thomas Keating and Joseph Boyle with Lucette Verboven, World Without End (Bloomsbury: 2017), 147-148.

[2] Thomas Keating, Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit (Lantern Books: 2007), 89.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Seeing Is Not Always Recognizing,” homily, May 8, 2016,; and

Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 206-207.

Image credit: Autumn Leaves (detail), Koan, 2018.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: As I’ve come to understand that life “composts” and “seeds” us as autumn does the earth, I’ve seen how possibility gets planted in us even in the hardest of times. —Parker Palmer
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.