A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Heaven in Stained Glass

by Glen McCullough

November 1st and 2nd are celebrated in the Church as All Saints' and All Souls' Days. That might cause you to think about Heaven.

Many years ago I had an image of heaven, in which I was just one of millions of  little golden beans, just like the beans in a bean bag. All we were doing was giving glory to God forever, and that was all we wanted to do. That image


has stayed in the forefront of my mind ever since, and there is no way I want to miss out on being there when the Lord takes me.

This window (marked [1]) in St John’s Church, Trentham, is based on Psalm 150:6 and is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It brings my image to life, albeit in human rather than bean form.

Hell, on the other hand, is to be avoided at all costs. The window above [2], from Sacré-Coeur Church, Moulins, France, shows Hell very graphically, and brings to mind the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), with Mary and Jesus in place of Lazarus. But
the message is the same: there is a huge divide between comfort and agony.


The concept of the narrow road to heaven is very well illustrated in the window [3] from Sts Peter & Paul Church, Pievesestina, Northern Italy. The few figures on the road are carrying hearts, and the significance is obvious.


The extraordinarily complex window [4] from St Matthew's Church, Hastings, NZ, shows Jesus in heaven surrounded by saints and angels on both sides, with the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, poised above, with the hand of the Father. Above, there is a host of angels with the Latin inscription Dominus Deus Saboath, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Surely there is no better illustration of what we celebrate on  All Saints' Day.








Finally, harking back to my image of heaven, these two extraordinary windows of the choir [5] and orchestra [6]  from St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide, also echo Psalm 150. The earthly choir and musicians are but a shadow of the heavenly choir and the musicians above. When, by God's grace, I get to heaven, I will be enabled to play a clarinet perfectly, something I was never able to do on earth!



Father, accept our earthly praise and help us into your kingdom today.

Tagged as:

Comments are closed.