Q : 
If a person passed away suddenly leaving his/her family on earth, would the departed miss the family if he/she is in heaven? If the departed knows his/her family member(s) will head towards spiritual death, would he/she be sad and concerned in heaven? If yes, is there any sadness in heaven?
【 Question from 】 Toronto, Canada

Fr. Francis : 

For souls who are in heaven now, there are a number of things that are going on:

  1. They see God face to face, what we call the beatific vision. This seeing of the Perfect itself transforms and glorifies the soul so completely that it enjoys total fulfillment and is made into be like God. They will come to know and love the Infinite.
  2. Because the soul is finite, this knowing and loving of the Infinite will take eternity.
  3. They will come to know all people as God knows them. They will know the perfect reason for what happens to each soul: how God ceaselessly pour out His will and mercy, and the free response the person makes.

Souls in heaven, the saints, therefore, are more intimately aware of our journey than ourselves, and at each decision point, they are rallying for us to make the right choice. They are not only longing to see us in heaven, but they are very much more yearning to see us cooperate with God’s grace, to choose life and salvation.

However, this longing and yearning is not the same as anxiety, for they do not worry as we do. They know and see perfectly clearly how everything is in God’s plan.

In fact, they see clearly that each time we choose right, how God is magnified and how many others also will experience good from the right action. And every time we choose wrong, how it is just that we should have our way and suffer from the consequences since it is God’s gift of free will, without which we cease to be able to love and to be human. And even though some of these mistakes will lead to harm, they also see how God already has planned greater good to emerge from it..

And even when a soul chooses to reject every opportunity of God’s mercy, and so condemns himself to hell, they too will see clearly that it is justice, for it would be cruelty to force one’s will.

I suppose there would be sadness to know souls are going to hell, especially those they once knew. We know this because Mary at her apparitions in Fatima expressed such sadness. But this is a sadness for the loss of others, not the sadness of unfulfillment or want, both in oneself or God’s Kingdom, for the joy of seeing God and the multitude of saints and angels, and the fulfillment of living God’s perfect justice and mercy far outweighs it.