Understanding eternity

In Spain along St. James’s way (otherwise known as ‘El Camino’) there is a Monastery in Leyre. Once, long ago, there was an abbot named Virila. Abbot Virila was very interested in understanding the eternity of God.

With this question in mind, every day he went to walk along a trail until he arrived at a tree where he was alone and nobody could see him.  There he sat to think, meditate and plead with God to understand this mystery.

Once, while he was praying as he did every day, a small blue bird that he had never seen before, started to singalong with him. And the song was so beautiful that it seemed to him like a celestial song. And he said: “Oh, my goodness! This is what I have sought for my whole life. Now I can enjoy Your presence”.

This small blue bird made him feel like he was in heaven, far away from earthly things, and he was understanding the divine greatness that he had always sought to understand. When this experience ended, he looked around and he saw that everything was different. The trail was different. He was amazed, but he thought that it must have been because of his happiness. 

However, his amazement was even greater when he arrived at the Monastery and it was also changed.  When he entered the door, one of the monks asked him: who are you? Abbot Virila answered: “I am Abbot Virila.” To which the monk said: “I don’t know you, Abbot Virila.” The problem was solved when the archivist monk found that Abbot Virila had existed three hundred years ago. And so, Abbot Virila understood what eternity is like. Three hundred years for him was like one minute because he could contemplate the beauty of God. Eternity is to contemplate God forever.

This is why the prophet says: reflect carefully how things have gone for you. People do a lot to improve their earthly life, but little or nothing to ensure their eternal life.  However, the things that we do for earthly life have little value and for that reason the prophet says: you have sown much and harvested little; you eat but never have enough…

If I want to harvest much, I must do things for love of God rather than out of selfishness or love for passing things; if I want to have enough, I must live for eternity rather than for this earthly life.

Daily homily


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