On All Souls Day and indeed throughout the month of November the Church asks us to remember in a special way those who have died. We think of our loved ones, remembering them in prayer , reflecting on their passing. We may ask questions: Will I ever meet my dead loved ones again? What will heaven be like? Do people face judgement when they die? Is there a hell? Where has limbo gone? And it’s questions like these that Jesuit theologian Brian Grogan tackles in his latest book Where to from Here? The Christian Vision of the Afterlife. He believes that questions like these about ‘the last things’ have been ‘closed for repair’ for quite some time and he wants to start the conversation again, and offer some fresh insights on questions that have troubled humankind since its beginning.
Though a well known academic and former President of the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dublin, his approach is, “ wise without being preachy, scholarly without being overly academic and hopeful without being naive- and he covers almost any question that a person might have about ‘life after death’.” (James Martin SJ, editor of America magazine)
In his book, Brian Grogan tells the story of the preacher addressing the congregation: “You all want to go to heaven, isn’t that true?” “Yes” they respond enthusiastically. “Well raise your right hand if you want to go there now” Silence. Heads down. And he notes that his own longtime interest in the topic has developed a certain urgency with the passing years. “And for any human being, believer or not, death and the possibility of life after death, is always a question to be faced sooner or later.”
The argument throughout the book from Brian Grogan is that God’s loving relationship with us, revealed in Jesus Christ, can never be broken. It’s a view he reasserts in a recent interview on life after death with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications.
Where to from Here? The Christian Vision of the Afterlife is published by Veritas and costs €14.99