You Will See Heaven Opened

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Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels


John 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be like your disciple Nathanael, having no duplicity in me. Instill in me a love for the truth, so that, in large ways and small, I may always be truthful with those around me. Amen.


Encountering Christ: 


  1. Where Do We Rest?: Scripture tells us that Nathanael had been spotted by Christ under a fig tree. What was he doing there? Praying? Enjoying nature? Having some alone time? In our electronic age, “rest” never seems to happen. There is always one more post, email, tweet, text, video, comment. When was the last time we took a moment to find a quiet spot, “under a fig tree,” where perhaps the Lord can touch our heart in a new way?
  2. A Heart That Is Pure: This encounter with Nathanael is but one example of how Jesus treats his followers as individuals. He knows each of us by name; he knows what is in our hearts. As Psalm 139 says, “Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar…Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.” Since Our Lord knows all of our thoughts, including those that may be keeping our heart from being pure like Nathanael’s, let us do a thorough examination of conscience, looking for attachments that may be drawing us away from our all-knowing, all-loving God. Jesus is ready and waiting to purify us through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
  3. Why Do We Believe?: Nathanael’s spontaneous burst of faith must have delighted Jesus. Jesus promised that Nathanael would “see greater things than this.” Nathanael’s faith would need strengthening as he grew from a new convert to an Apostle martyred for his belief in Jesus. Each of us has had moments of spontaneity when faith seemed easy as we followed the Way. But, in difficult times, our faith can be tested. Why do we continue to follow Christ—out of love, out of fear, out of habit?


Conversing with Christ: Jesus, strengthen my faith! I want to be a diligent worker, full of faith and ready for any trial. I know my heart is not pure, but I trust in your grace to continually transform me.


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will seek rest for my heart. I will remove all distractions and focus on your word, if only for a few minutes.


For Further Reflection: “God moves the human spirit to good; nevertheless, it could resist. It is God’s doing, then, that a man prepares himself to receive grace. If he lacks grace, then the cause of the failure lies in him, not in God” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica).


Dorothy Warner is a Washington, D.C., area writer, who also works in technology and has a family. When not gardening, volunteering, or baking artisanal breads, she enjoys spending time with her husband, grown children, and a large collection of family pets.

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