Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The real St Nicholas and the secular counterfeit

St Nicholas was a priest, an abbot, and a Catholic bishop of Myra in the 4th century. He once helped a poor man who had three daughters that could not afford a proper dowry for marriage. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment would have to become prostitutes. Hearing of the poor man's plight, Nicholas decided to help him but being too modest to help the man in public, (or to save the man the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man's house and landing in a stocking hung up to dry. This is how the story of Santa Claus was born. He was known for his holiness, zeal, and astonishing miracles–even raising people from the dead. He was cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian but he was released after the accession of Constantine, and was present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 ad. He died on December 6 in 345 ad. His feast day is thus on December 6. He is the patron saint for mariners, merchants, bakers, travelers, and children.
Although the spirit of charity that St Nicholas role models is good, the secular culture has turned him into something contrary to the faith. The current St Nicholas (Santa Claus) is now someone with magical powers which is condemned in Deuteronomy 18:10. He is immortal (Hebrews 9:27 man is appointed to die once then the Judgment). He knows the lives of everyone and in a sense judges the heart of the individual for being good or bad (huh I thought God was the only one who could do that). He flies around with reign deer so fast that he reaches to be reasonable 3 billion houses in 24 hrs. That is 34722 houses per second. Not even superman could do that.  Now if anyone can explain to me why lying to you children that this fictional person is real, and this is a good thing, I would love to hear an explanation.
The best counter to this argument I’ve heard consists of this: “Jesus told stories that were not true. They are called parables.” This is how I respond: A parable is a story that pertains to real life so that the hearers can relate to them. Those stories could have actually happened or if they were a fantastic story the hearers knew it was fantastic. In the Santa story the hearer is led to believe the fantastic is real and is thus deceiving them. Having a fantasy story is fine but keep it a fantasy. This is how the Catechism defines lying:

2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."[280] The Lord
denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in
him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of
lies."[281]
2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth inorder to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie
offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.
2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances,
the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only
constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and
charity.
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the
purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a
neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity.
The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences
for those who are led astray.
2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his
ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord
and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears
apart the fabric of social relationships.

Imitate the example of St Nicholas and remember the saint but don’t get caught up with the secular counterfeit.


The Church does not have an official teaching on Santa Claus so this reflects my opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why is gay marriage impossible?

By definition gay marriage is an impossibility. Marriage is more than just a civil contract but is a sacramental covenant that god ordained to produce offspring. Since Homosexuals cannot produce offspring, it can’t be a marriage. Even just speaking on a natural level, the sexual act was designed to produce offspring. The purpose of the sexual act was to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:22). No where is scripture do you see that it can be for personal pleasure. In fact Onan in Genesis was killed by God because of that. The following are 3 related verses. The middle one explains the duty of a brother to bring up offspring to his brother’s wife if his brother would happen to die and not bring forth children. The first one is where Onan is killed by god for contracepting and the last verse shows that the penalty for not bring up children is his brother’s household was public humiliation not death which proves that contraception is such a moral evil that god had to kill Onan for.
Gen 38:9-10 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD, and he slew him also.
Dt 25:5 "If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.
Dt 25:9 then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.'
Now since homosexuals can only have sexual acts in a way that is opposed to life it is a grave evil.
Recall the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis19. God sent angels in the appearance of men to see if anyone was righteous. The men of Sodom tried to rape the male angels. The long and the short of it. God pulverized the city so badly that archeologist can’t find where it was. The word sodomy means an offensive term for anal intercourse.
Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Rom 1:25-27 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1 Cor 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Tim 1:10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,
People who have been given a homosexual disposition carry a heavy cross. Having this disposition isn’t sinful but acting out the disposition is. In a lot of cases the environment and culture have twisted the mind of the person towards the disposition. This has been successfully treated and cured by specialized psychologists.

What’s wrong with Embryonic Stem cell research anyway and why should we care?

What’s wrong with Embryonic Stem cell research anyway and why should we care?
Embryonic Stem cell research is where scientists either take an embryo (human being in its simplest form) from a donor or from taking sperm and an egg and induce fertilization in a test tube. Since embryos are at the simplest form of a human the cells within eventually grow into all of the different types of cells in the body. Brain cells, skin cell, liver cells etc. With this idea, the hope is that these cells can be implanted in the body and grow into cells such as nerve cells which could cure paralysis.
However, embryonic stem cells have yet to help a single human patient. “There is no evidence of therapeutic benefit from embryonic stem cells,” according to Marcus Grompe, M.D., Ph.D., of the department of molecular and medical genetics of Oregon Health Sciences University.[1] Dr. Bert Vogelstein, professor of oncology and pathology at Johns Hopkins University, states that the promise of embryonic stem cell research is “conjectural.”
Adult stem cells, in contrast, are currently being used to help patients who suffer from the following conditions: (1) cancer, including brain tumors, retinoblastoma, ovarian cancer, solid tumors, testicular cancer, multiple myeloma and leukemias, breast cancer, neuroblastoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and renal cell carcinoma; (2) autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis; (3) stroke; (4) immunodeficiencies; (5) anemias; (6) cartilage and bone diseases; (7) corneal scarring; (8) blood and liver disease; (9) gene therapy; and (10) heart damage.
The problem with Embryonic Stem cell research is in order to get the stem cells from the embryo they kill the embryo. That is the main reason why it must be stopped. The second is they create humans beings outside of the natural order. They make themselves god when they create life in a test tube. It separates the conjugal love of the parents cooperating in God’s creative plan.
Some like to argue that an embryo isn’t a human being. Then my question for you is when does it become a human being? Is it at day 40 when brain waves can be detected and recorded? Is it at week 10 when fingerprints are evident in the skin and the fetus starts moving its fingers and toes? Or is it at month 8 or 9 or at birth? It has been the constant teaching of the church that life begins at the moment of conception. Exodus 21:22 "When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,
Embryonic stem cells can be obtained in a non lethal way. There are embryonic stem cells in umbilical cord blood and tissue. There is also new research that they can make some adult stem cells mimic the properties of the embryonic stem cells.
We should care not only because they are killing human beings for research but also because they are using our tax dollars to do it. That’s right they are taking our money to support it. That means that we are indirectly helping the murder of thousands of people.
So my question is why do scientists have to kill to cure when they can cure by doing no harm?

Why shouldn’t we get tattoos?

It is a well-known fact that tattooing runs a risk of acquiring any number of deadly diseases, including Hepatitis C and AIDS. The reason is because the needle that is used to tattoo punctures the skin 3,000 times a minute. In an hour, that would be 180,000 times that puncture wounds provide a potential path to a deadly disease. Tattoos can cause many chronic skin disorders such as sarcoid, keloid scarring, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity reactions, psoriasis, and tumors.
Leviticus 19:28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” We were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen1:26). Why would we want to tamper with the perfection of God’s creation? Nothing man made printed on our bodies can enhance what God has already given us. Getting a tattoo would be similar to this analogy. Say I go to Louvre in Paris, France and I go up to the work of art of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “the Mona Lisa” and I decide that she would look better with lipstick and a hat and thus I paint those things in. A few people may think she looks better also but decide that is not the intent of the artist. Now I’m sure the authorities aren’t going to agree with me and will execute severe penalties on me because it would be graffiti on a masterpiece. The body is the masterpiece of God. How much more should we respect his art work than a 16th century artist. If we put a tattoo on ourselves it is like saying God didn’t do a good enough job on me. That I am incomplete in some way or I was intended to look better so I need to get this tattoo. It would be I think, I want, I, me, my when it should be want does God want. God already gave us what he wants. The whole christian message is denying ourselves and following Jesus (Mt 16:24).
The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Why would we want to desecrate God’s temple? Our resurrected bodies at the end of the world will not have any tattoos on them. They will be pure and glorified. To show the seriousness of purity when it comes to Gods temple look back to the old testament. The ark had to be made of the purest of gold and the purest materials because the mercy seat was on top of the ark which was where the cloud of God overshadowed (the Holy Spirit only they didn’t know it at the time) (Lev 16:2). This was placed in the holy of holies in the temple. Only the high priest could go into this place once a year. The priest had to go through purification ritual prior to entering. If the priest wasn’t pure enough he was struck down dead in the temple. It got to the point that the priest had to have a rope tied to their leg so the other people could pull him out if he was killed. The body becomes the temple of the holy spirit at baptism in the new covenant. St Paul says that our body is not our own for we were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20). On loan from God so to speak. If I would get a loaner car for a couple weeks while mine gets fixed and decide that it would look better with flames on the side, my opinion doesn’t matter because it is not mine to change.
St Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Rom 12:1). If you look any place in scripture when it mentions sacrifice there is always one thing in common. The sacrificial animal that was free from any blemish was preferred. A couple of examples of saints who went to great lengths to preserve there purity can testify to this. St Agnes, St Agatha are two that I am thinking of. They refused to lose their purity from rape and marrying pagan nobles in the 3rd century and were tortured killed for it. One more recently I’m thinking of I can’t remember her name. It was when Russia was in a revolution. A Russian revolutionary forced himself into a civilian home and the woman jumped out the window and to her death rather than having her purity taken from her. Now that is a specific type of purity but I can’t think of a specific example for tattoos.
What do you think Jesus would do? Would Jesus get a tattoo? What about Mary? Mary is the pure vessel, the ark of the new covenant which carried Jesus for nine months in the womb and raised him. I can’t picture either of them getting one. In fact if you look throughout history tattoos have been a part of pagan culture not Christian. Not until recent times do you find tattoos popping up on Christians.
Some of the arguments for Christians getting them is “I will use it to share the gospel”. My response is why don’t you share the gospel the way the apostles shared the gospel. They didn’t need to mortify their flesh to share the good news. None of the saints though out history who converted and baptized people by the tens and even hundreds of thousands in their life time did not need a tattoo. They shared the faith by the witness of their life. People could see the holiness of God shining through them and it attracted them.The religious orders like the Franciscans attracted thousands of people by their life of poverty, chastity and obedience. St Francis himself said “preach always, when necessary use words.” They converted people by fasting, and praying for hours upon hours in front of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament. They converted by doing penance and self sacrifice and offering it for them.
I know there are a well meaning Christians out there who love the lord and have tattoos. There are also well meaning Christians out there who follow the media and the culture and kill their babies through abortion. They don’t think they are killing their babies when they are doing it because the culture says it is not killing. The Catholic church speaking with the authority of Jesus (Lk 10:16, 1 Jn 4:6, Mt 16:18) does not say whether or not 1 tattoo is sinful but it does however say that excessive tattoos is indeed sinful.

How far back does your pastor's authority go?

How far can you trace back the authority that was passed on through the laying on of hands that your pastor received at ordination? The following is the line of authority starting at Jesus and continuing to the universal pastor and his successors with the years that they were in the Chair of Peter.

Jesus (30-32)
1. St. Peter (32-67)
2. St. Linus (67-76)
3. St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
4. St. Clement I (88-97)
5. St. Evaristus (97-105)
6. St. Alexander I (105-115)
7. St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I
8. St. Telesphorus (125-136)
9. St. Hyginus (136-140)
10. St. Pius I (140-155)
11. St. Anicetus (155-166)
12. St. Soter (166-175)
13. St. Eleutherius (175-189)
14. St. Victor I (189-199)
15. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
16. St. Callistus I (217-22) Callistus and the following three popes were opposed by St. Hippolytus, antipope (217-236)
17. St. Urban I (222-30)
18. St. Pontain (230-35)
19. St. Anterus (235-36)
20. St. Fabian (236-50)
21. St. Cornelius (251-53) Opposed by Novatian, antipope (251)
22. St. Lucius I (253-54)
23. St. Stephen I (254-257)
24. St. Sixtus II (257-258)
25. St. Dionysius (260-268)
26. St. Felix I (269-274)
27. St. Eutychian (275-283)
28. St. Caius (283-296) Also called Gaius
29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
30. St. Marcellus I (308-309)
31. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
32. St. Miltiades (311-14)
33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
34. St. Marcus (336)
35. St. Julius I (337-52)
36. Liberius (352-66) Opposed by Felix II, antipope (355-365)
37. St. Damasus I (366-83) Opposed by Ursicinus, antipope (366-367)
38. St. Siricius (384-99)
39. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
40. St. Innocent I (401-17)
41. St. Zosimus (417-18)
42. St. Boniface I (418-22) Opposed by Eulalius, antipope (418-419)
43. St. Celestine I (422-32)
44. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
45. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
46. St. Hilarius (461-68)
47. St. Simplicius (468-83)
48. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
49. St. Gelasius I (492-96)
50. Anastasius II (496-98)
51. St. Symmachus (498-514) Opposed by Laurentius, antipope (498-501)
52. St. Hormisdas (514-23)
53. St. John I (523-26)
54. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
55. Boniface II (530-32) Opposed by Dioscorus, antipope (530)
56. John II (533-35)
57. St. Agapetus I (535-36) Also called Agapitus I
58. St. Silverius (536-37)
59. Vigilius (537-55)
60. Pelagius I (556-61)
61. John III (561-74)
62. Benedict I (575-79)
63. Pelagius II (579-90)
64. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
65. Sabinian (604-606)
66. Boniface III (607)
67. St. Boniface IV (608-15)
68. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
69. Boniface V (619-25)
70. Honorius I (625-38)
71. Severinus (640)
72. John IV (640-42)
73. Theodore I (642-49)
74. St. Martin I (649-55)
75. St. Eugene I (655-57)
76. St. Vitalian (657-72)
77. Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
78. Donus (676-78)
79. St. Agatho (678-81)
80. St. Leo II (682-83)
81. St. Benedict II (684-85)
82. John V (685-86)
83. Conon (686-87)
84. St. Sergius I (687-701) Opposed by Theodore and Paschal, antipopes (687)
85. John VI (701-05)
86. John VII (705-07)
87. Sisinnius (708)
88. Constantine (708-15)
89. St. Gregory II (715-31)
90. St. Gregory III (731-41)
91. St. Zachary (741-52)
92. Stephen II (752) Because he died before being consecrated, many authoritative lists omit him
93. Stephen III (752-57)
94. St. Paul I (757-67)
95. Stephen IV (767-72) Opposed by Constantine II (767) and Philip (768), antipopes (767)
96. Adrian I (772-95)
97. St. Leo III (795-816)
98. Stephen V (816-17)
99. St. Paschal I (817-24)
100. Eugene II (824-27)
101. Valentine (827)
102. Gregory IV (827-44)
103. Sergius II (844-47) Opposed by John, antipope (855)
104. St. Leo IV (847-55)
105. Benedict III (855-58) Opposed by Anastasius, antipope (855)
106. St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)
107. Adrian II (867-72)
108. John VIII (872-82)
109. Marinus I (882-84)
110. St. Adrian III (884-85)
111. Stephen VI (885-91)
112. Formosus (891-96)
113. Boniface VI (896)
114. Stephen VII (896-97)
115. Romanus (897)
116. Theodore II (897)
117. John IX (898-900)
118. Benedict IV (900-03)
119. Leo V (903) Opposed by Christopher, antipope (903-904)
120. Sergius III (904-11)
121. Anastasius III (911-13)
122. Lando (913-14)
123. John X (914-28)
124. Leo VI (928)
125. Stephen VIII (929-31)
126. John XI (931-35)
127. Leo VII (936-39)
128. Stephen IX (939-42)
129. Marinus II (942-46)
130. Agapetus II (946-55)
131. John XII (955-63)
132. Leo VIII (963-64)
133. Benedict V (964)
134. John XIII (965-72)
135. Benedict VI (973-74)
136. Benedict VII (974-83) Benedict and John XIV were opposed by Boniface VII, antipope (974; 984-985)
137. John XIV (983-84)
138. John XV (985-96)
139. Gregory V (996-99) Opposed by John XVI, antipope (997-998)
140. Sylvester II (999-1003)
141. John XVII (1003)
142. John XVIII (1003-09)
143. Sergius IV (1009-12)
144. Benedict VIII (1012-24) Opposed by Gregory, antipope (1012)
145. John XIX (1024-32)
146. Benedict IX (1032-45) He appears on this list three separate times, because he was twice deposed and restored
147. Sylvester III (1045) Considered by some to be an antipope
148. Benedict IX (1045)
149. Gregory VI (1045-46)
150. Clement II (1046-47)
151. Benedict IX (1047-48)
152. Damasus II (1048)
153. St. Leo IX (1049-54)
154. Victor II (1055-57)
155. Stephen X (1057-58)
156. Nicholas II (1058-61) Opposed by Benedict X, antipope (1058)
157. Alexander II (1061-73) Opposed by Honorius II, antipope (1061-1072)
158. St. Gregory VII (1073-85) Gregory and the following three popes were opposed by Guibert (“Clement III”), antipope (1080-1100)
159. Blessed Victor III (1086-87)
160. Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
161. Paschal II (1099-1118) Opposed by Theodoric (1100), Aleric (1102) and Maginulf (“Sylvester IV”, 1105-1111), antipopes (1100)
162. Gelasius II (1118-19) Opposed by Burdin (“Gregory VIII”), antipope (1118)
163. Callistus II (1119-24)
164. Honorius II (1124-30) Opposed by Celestine II, antipope (1124)
165. Innocent II (1130-43) Opposed by Anacletus II (1130-1138) and Gregory Conti (“Victor IV”) (1138), antipopes (1138)
166. Celestine II (1143-44)
167. Lucius II (1144-45)
168. Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
169. Anastasius IV (1153-54)
170. Adrian IV (1154-59)
171. Alexander III (1159-81) Opposed by Octavius (“Victor IV”) (1159-1164), Pascal III (1165-1168), Callistus III (1168-1177) and Innocent III (1178-1180), antipopes
172. Lucius III (1181-85)
173. Urban III (1185-87)
174. Gregory VIII (1187)
175. Clement III (1187-91)
176. Celestine III (1191-98)
177. Innocent III (1198-1216)
178. Honorius III (1216-27)
179. Gregory IX (1227-41)
180. Celestine IV (1241)
181. Innocent IV (1243-54)
182. Alexander IV (1254-61)
183. Urban IV (1261-64)
184. Clement IV (1265-68)
185. Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
186. Blessed Innocent V (1276)
187. Adrian V (1276)
188. John XXI (1276-77)
189. Nicholas III (1277-80)
190. Martin IV (1281-85)
191. Honorius IV (1285-87)
192. Nicholas IV (1288-92)
193. St. Celestine V (1294)
194. Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
195. Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
196. Clement V (1305-14)
197. John XXII (1316-34) Opposed by Nicholas V, antipope (1328-1330)
198. Benedict XII (1334-42)
199. Clement VI (1342-52)
200. Innocent VI (1352-62)
201. Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
202. Gregory XI (1370-78)
203. Urban VI (1378-89) Opposed by Robert of Geneva (“Clement VII”), antipope (1378-1394)
204. Boniface IX (1389-1404) Opposed by Robert of Geneva (“Clement VII”) (1378-1394), Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), antipopes
205. Innocent VII (1404-06) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), antipopes
206. Gregory XII (1406-15) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417), Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), and Pietro Philarghi (“Alexander V”) (1409-1410), antipopes
207. Martin V (1417-31)
208. Eugene IV (1431-47) Opposed by Amadeus of Savoy (“Felix V”), antipope (1439-1449)
209. Nicholas V (1447-55)
210. Callistus III (1455-58)
211. Pius II (1458-64)
212. Paul II (1464-71)
213. Sixtus IV (1471-84)
214. Innocent VIII (1484-92)
215. Alexander VI (1492-1503)
216. Pius III (1503)
217. Julius II (1503-13)
218. Leo X (1513-21)
219. Adrian VI (1522-23)
220. Clement VII (1523-34)
221. Paul III (1534-49)
222. Julius III (1550-55)
223. Marcellus II (1555)
224. Paul IV (1555-59)
225. Pius IV (1559-65)
226. St. Pius V (1566-72)
227. Gregory XIII (1572-85)
228. Sixtus V (1585-90)
229. Urban VII (1590)
230. Gregory XIV (1590-91)
231. Innocent IX (1591)
232. Clement VIII (1592-1605)
233. Leo XI (1605)
234. Paul V (1605-21)
235. Gregory XV (1621-23)
236. Urban VIII (1623-44)
237. Innocent X (1644-55)
238. Alexander VII (1655-67)
239. Clement IX (1667-69)
240. Clement X (1670-76)
241. Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
242. Alexander VIII (1689-91)
243. Innocent XII (1691-1700)
244. Clement XI (1700-21)
245. Innocent XIII (1721-24)
246. Benedict XIII (1724-30)
247. Clement XII (1730-40)
248. Benedict XIV (1740-58)
249. Clement XIII (1758-69)
250. Clement XIV (1769-74)
251. Pius VI (1775-99)
252. Pius VII (1800-23)
253. Leo XII (1823-29)
254. Pius VIII (1829-30)
255. Gregory XVI (1831-46)
256. Blessed Pius IX (1846-78)
257. Leo XIII (1878-1903)
258. St. Pius X (1903-14)
259. Benedict XV (1914-22)
260. Pius XI (1922-39)
261. Pius XII (1939-58)
262. Blessed John XXIII (1958-63)
263. Paul VI (1963-78)
264. John Paul I (1978)
265. John Paul II (1978-2005)
266. Benedict XVI (2005—)

Friday, May 9, 2008

My conversion story

My story isn’t as extravagant as some converts. I grew up in the Mennonite faith tradition. It was about as far away from the Amish Mennonite you can get. We had TVs and tractors. I was happy there. What I experienced felt normal to me. Looking back I can remember sitting in the pew at the Kidron Mennonite church saying a little prayer like “thank you God for putting me in the right church”. “We don’t have any of the weird stuff like all the ritualistic tradition.” As I grew more I began to think well the Mennonite probably isn't the true church but such a thing probably didn’t exist anyway. This was about in the late intermediate school time period. When I was a sophomore my dad, mom and I decided that we would triple our dairy herd size. We went from 100 to 300 milking cows. We were farming about 420 acres at the time.  With everything going on we were so dead tired that by the time Sunday came around that we spent most Sundays sleeping. We didn’t have a church that said if you don’t go to church they you are sinning. So after a couple years of missing all but a few Sundays of worship, I had something in my mind urging me to read the bible again. This was about 1 or 2 years out of high school. I had read the whole bible once through before I got in high school but like many people it was boring, I was getting distracted when reading, and I didn’t get much out of it. After a month or so of this feeling to read the bible, I had an idea. I was too busy to read the bible and I never really liked reading but this idea was to download an audio bible. I had just gotten an mp3 player the Christmas before and I was sure with the technology around that I should be able to find something. I looked on the internet and I found one and it was at a very good price, free. I would listen to books at a time. It wasn’t boring and I was absorbing so much information. When I finally got finished with the audio bible I then thought. I have the bible now but now I need someone to explain it.
One night I got in late from working and I just turned on my tv for no reason. I didn’t plan on watching anything. I was tired and was going to go to bed but I decided to go through the channels anyway. That is when I ran across the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). I didn’t have cable so I didn’t get EWTN. I had been through all of the channels before and I never saw this station before. So I started watching a lot of pastors preach and I was getting fired up for Jesus. I knew that I couldn’t watch these pastors all day like I wanted to but I watched what I could. One day I was sitting in our feed mixer truck waiting for the silos to run out enough feed for the batch I was mixing. The feed was running unusually slow that morning. Sitting there listening to radio an idea came to mind. I wonder if there is something like TBN on the radio. So I started going through every station. I found one protestant station but it was playing music. I didn’t want to hear music I wanted to learn. So I kept looking and I went clear through the FM stations and then through the AM until I heard Catholic Answers Live for the first time. My first thought was ah Catholic, well, close enough. The questions they were asking weren’t all catholic anyway and I just loved the way the program was set up. I thought well maybe I can learn a little bit about Catholics since my aunt married one.
I really didn’t like the Catholic Church. I thought out of all the denominations that one should just cease to exist. They did such weird stuff. In my own words “the Catholic church is a whole other dimension of weird.” I got a call from an army recruiter one time and I just plainly said I’m not going to join the army. He asked why and I replied I’m a Christian I don’t believe in war. As a Mennonite that is what we believed. He replied well I’m Catholic. I just thought to myself, oh gee another one of those.
I never thought Catholics worshiped Mary but I knew they gave her way to much attention. I knew Catholics were wrong on confession because I thought at the time that there wasn’t anything in scripture even close to it. I never thought Catholics were going to hell. I never thought the pope was the antichrist. I never thought that the church was a cult or the whore of Babylon. I just thought they were Christian with a lot of stuff messed up.
As I started listening to Catholic radio I disagreed with a lot of things. I never intended to become Catholic. The thing that picked the church off the floor and put it on the table for serious investigation was John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." Right there in scripture, support for confession. Where was that verse the last time I read John?
That verse was just the beginning. Was there any other possible interpretation? That was when I was introduced to the fathers of the church for the first time. I never thought of using the writings of the early Christians to see how they interpreted scripture. In fact I didn’t even know they existed. I started to discover that confession was being taught in the second century. I began to understand by the writings of fathers of the church the importance of the chair of Peter, the pope, and apostolic succession.
Understanding covenant theology was also key in conversion. It was the understanding that so many things in the old testament were fulfilled in the new. I always knew the new testament was fulfilled from the old but I never understood how connected they are. Confession was done in the old testament in Leviticus 5:5-6. Baptism was the fulfillment from the old testament circumcision. The Eucharist was the fulfillment of the old testament Passover. Mary is the ark of the new covenant. The chair of Moses was fulfilled in the chair of Peter.
All of these puzzles pieces were starting to fall into place. Things were making sense now. In my Mennonite tradition we had baptism and communion but they were pretty much pointless. The only reason we did them was because Jesus is so insistent in scripture to do these things. Why would he be insistent in doing pointless things is what I wondered in the pew at Kidron Mennonite years before I found catholic radio.
Once I realized that the Catholic Church was the church from the beginning, the rest of the church's teaching fell into place. If I disagreed with it then I would say “well if the Catholic Church teaches it, it must be right”. They have the authority to teach from Jesus himself passed on through the laying on of hands from Peter and the apostles to the current pope and the bishops. Once I learned more about the things I disagreed about I was no longer in disagreement.
I joined RCIA in January of 2007 and was recieved into the Church on March 22, 2008. It was the best decision of my life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

After death experiences and visions of heaven and hell

After death experiences and visions of heaven and hell
Saint Faustina Is Shown Hell
Saint Mary Faustina, a holy nun from Poland was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000. Our Lord had her to visit Hell in 1936. Here is her awesome account of this horrifying and dreadful place: “Today, I was led by an angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is the horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin.”

Sister Josefa Menendez’ (1890-1923) Description of Hell
The following material is quoted verbatim from the book “Way of Divine Love” of Sister Josefa Menendez (1890--1923). It first appeared in 1938 in French and was quickly translated into numerous languages and spread throughout the world. Sister Josefa was a Spanish nun of the Society of the Sacred Heart and lived only four years as a religious, at the convent of Les Feuillants in Poitiers, France, where she died at the age of 33. “The Way of Divine Love” consists largely of her notebooks, that she wrote down under obedience from our Lord, with the revelations of his Sacred Heart, plus portions of her biography. This material was composed after Rev. Schouppe wrote his book on Hell. It is appended here, because it is similar to what he wrote in his book, and exemplifies still further the points he is trying to make.
This young Spanish sister, who had a short religious life of great suffering, experienced revelations throughout much of her life, compiled in The Way Of Divine Love. More than once, she was taken to Hell to witness and feel the suffering first-hand. Sister Josefa was reluctant to write on the subject of Hell, and did so only to conform to Our Lord’s wishes. Sister Josefa repeatedly dwelt on what she described as the greatest torment of Hell, namely, the soul’s inability to love. One of these damned souls cried out: “This is my torture...that I want to love and cannot; there is nothing left me but hatred and despair. If one of us could so much as make a single act of love...But we cannot, we live on hatred and malevolence...” (March 23, 1922).
She records, too, the accusations made against themselves by these unhappy souls: “Some yell because of the martyrdom of their hands. Perhaps they were thieves, for they say: ‘Where is our loot now?’ ...Cursed hands... Others curse their tongues, their eyes...whatever was the occasion of sin... ‘Now, O body, you are paying the price of the delights you granted yourself!...and you did it of your own free will...’” (April 2, 1922).
“I saw several souls fall into Hell, and among them was a child of fifteen, cursing her parents for not having taught her to fear God nor that there was a Hell. Her life had been a short one, she said, but full of sin, for she had given in to all that her body and passions demanded in the way of satisfaction...” (March 22, 1923).
“My soul fell into abysmal depths, the bottom of which cannot be seen, for it is immense. . . ; Then I was pushed into one of those fiery cavities and pressed, as it were, between burning planks, and sharp nails and red-hot irons seemed to be piercing my flesh. I felt as if they were endeavoring to pull out my tongue, but could not. This torture reduced me to such agony that my very eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets. I think this was because of the fire which burns, burns. . . not a finger nail escapes terrifying torments, and all the time one cannot move even a finger to gain some relief, not change posture, for the body seems flattened out and [yet] doubled in two. Sounds of confusion and blasphemy cease not for an instant. A sickening stench asphyxiates and corrupts everything, it is like the burning of putrefied flesh, mingled with tar and sulfur. . . a mixture to which nothing on earth can be compared. . . although these tortures were terrific, they would be bearable if the soul were at peace. But it suffers indescribably. . . All I have written,” she concluded, “is but a shadow of what the soul suffers, for no words can express such dire torment.” (September 4, 1922).
“It seemed to me that the majority accused themselves of sins of impurity, of stealing, of unjust trading; and that most of the damned are in Hell for these sins.” (April 6, 1922).
“I saw many worldly people fall into Hell, and no words can render their horrible and terrifying cries: ‘Damned forever... I deceived myself; I am lost... I am here forever... There is no remedy possible... a curse on me...’
“Some accused people, others circumstances, and all execrated the occasions of their damnation.” (September 1922).
“Today, I saw a vast number of people fall into the fiery pit . . . they seemed to be worldlings and a demon cried vociferously: ‘The world is ripe for me . . . I know that the best way to get hold of souls is to rouse their desire for enjoyment . . . Put me first . . . me before the rest . . . no humility for me! but let me enjoy myself . . . This sort of thing assures victory to me . . . and they tumble headlong into hell.’ “ (October 4, 1923)
“I heard a demon, from whom a soul had escaped, forced to confess his powerlessness. ‘Confound it all... how do so many manage to escape me? They were mine’ (and he rattled off their sins)... ‘I work hard enough, yet they slip through my fingers... Someone must be suffering and repairing for them.’” (January 15, 1923). (“Repairing,” that is, “making reparation” for them). [Redemptive suffering]
“Tonight I was transported to a place where all was obscure. . . Around me were seven or eight people; I could see them only by the reflections of the fire. They were seated and were talking together. One said: ‘We’ll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be discovered.’
“Tonight,” wrote Josefa, “I did not go down into Hell, but was transported to a place where all was obscure, but in the center was a red smoldering fire. They had laid me flat and so bound me that I could not make the slightest movement. Around me were seven or eight people; their black bodies were unclothed, and I could see them only by the reflections of the fire. They were seated and were talking together.
“One said: ‘We’ll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be discovered.’
“The devil answered: ‘Insinuate yourselves by inducing carelessness in them... but keep in the background, so that you are not found out... by degrees they will become callous, and you will be able to incline them to evil. Tempt these others to ambition, to self-interest, to acquiring wealth without working, whether it be lawful or not. Excite some to sensuality and love of pleasure. Let vice blind them...’ (Here they used obscene words).
“’As to the remainder... get in through the heart... you know the inclinations of their hearts... make them love... love passionately... work thoroughly.. take no rest... have no pity; the world must go to damnation.. and these souls must not be allowed to escape me.’
“From time to time Satan’s satellites answered: ‘We are your slaves... we shall labor unceasingly, and in spite of the many who war against us, we shall work night and day. We know your power!’
“They all spoke together, and he whom I took to be Satan used words full of horror. In the distance I could hear a clamor as of feasting, the clinking of glasses... and he cried: ‘Let them cram themselves with food! It will make it all the easier for us... Let them get on with their banqueting. Love of pleasure is the door through which you will reach them...’
“He added such horrible things that they can neither be written nor said. Then, as if engulfed in a whirl of smoke, they vanished.” (February 3, 1923).
“The evil one was bewailing the escape of a soul: ‘Fill her soul with fear, drive her to despair. All will be lost if she puts her trust in the mercy of that...’ (here they used blasphemous words about Our Lord). ‘I am lost; but no, drive her to despair; do not leave her for an instant, above all, make her despair.’
“Then Hell re-echoed with frenzied cries, and when finally the devil cast me out of the abyss, he went on threatening me. Among other things he said: ‘Is it possible that such weaklings have more power than I, who am mighty... I must conceal my presence, work in the dark; any corner will do from which to tempt them... close to an ear.. in the leaves of a book... under a bed... some pay no attention to me, but I shall talk and talk... and by dint of suggestion, something will remain.. Yes, I must hide in unsuspected places.’” (February 7, 8, 1923).
Again, she wrote: “Souls were cursing the vocation they had received, but not followed... the vocation they had lost, because they were unwilling to live a hidden and mortified life...” (March 18, 1922.
“On one occasion when I was in Hell, I saw a great many priests, religious and nuns, cursing their vows, their order, their Superiors and everything that could have given them the light and the grace they had lost...
“I saw, too, some prelates. One accused himself of having used the goods belonging to the Church illicitly...” (September 28, 1922).
“Priests were calling down maledictions on their tongues which had consecrated, on their fingers that had held Our Lord’s Sacred Body, on the absolution they had given while they were losing their own souls, and on the occasion through which they had fallen into Hell.” (April 6, 1922).
“One priest said: ‘I ate poison, for I used money that was not my own... the money given me for Masses which I did I not offer.’
“Another said he belonged to a secret society which had betrayed the Church and religion, and he had been bribed to connive at terrible profanations and sacrileges.
“Yet another said that he was damned for assisting at profane plays, after which he ought not to have said Mass... and that he had spent about seven years thus.”
Josefa noted that the greater number of religious plunged into hell-fire were there for abominable sins against chastity... and for sins against the vow of poverty... for the unauthorized use of the goods of the community... for passions against charity (jealousy, antipathies, hatred, etc.), for tepidity and relaxation; also for comforts they had allowed themselves and which had led to graver sins... for bad confessions through human respect and want of sincerity and courage, etc.
Here, finally, is the full text of Josefa’s notes on “the hell of consecrated souls.” (Biography: Ch. VII—September 4, 1922).
“The meditation of the day was on the Particular Judgment of religious souls. I could not free my mind of the thought of it, in spite of the oppression which I felt. Suddenly, I felt myself bound and overwhelmed by a crushing weight, so that in an instant I saw more clearly than ever before how stupendous is the sanctity of God and His detestation of sin.
“I saw in a flash my whole life since my first confession to this day. All was vividly present to me: my sins, the graces I had received, the day I entered religion, my clothing as a novice, my first vows, my spiritual readings, and times of prayer, the advice given me, and all the helps of religious life. Impossible to describe the confusion and shame a soul feels at that moment, when it realizes: ‘All is lost, and I am damned forever.’”
As in her former descents into Hell, Josefa never accused herself of any specific sin that might have led to such a calamity. Our Lord meant her only to feel what the consequences would have been, if she had merited such a punishment. She wrote:
“Instantly I found myself in Hell, but not dragged there as before. The soul precipitates itself there, as if to hide from God in order to be free to hate and curse Him.
“My soul fell into abysmal depths, the bottom of which cannot be seen, for it is immense... at once, I heard other souls jeering and rejoicing at seeing me share their torments. It was martyrdom enough to hear the terrible imprecations on all sides, but what can be compared to the thirst to curse that seizes on a soul, and the more one curses, the more one wants to. Never had I felt the like before. Formerly my soul had been oppressed with grief at hearing these horrible blasphemies, though unable to produce even one act of love. But today it was otherwise.
“I saw Hell as always before, the long dark corridors, the cavities, the flames... I heard the same execrations and imprecations, for—and of this I have already written before—although no corporeal forms are visible, the torments are felt as if they were present, and souls recognize each other. Some called out, ‘Hullo, you here? And are you like us? We were free to take those vows or not... but no!...’ and they cursed their vows.
“Then I was pushed into one of those fiery cavities and pressed, as it were, between burning planks, and sharp nails and red-hot irons seemed to be piercing my flesh.”
Here Josefa repeated the multiple tortures from which no single member of the body is excluded:
“I felt as if they were endeavoring to pull out my tongue, but could not. This torture reduced me to such agony that my very eyes seemed to be starting out of their sockets. I think this was because of the fire which burns, burns... not a finger-nail escapes terrifying torments, and all the time one cannot move even a finger to gain some relief, nor change posture, for the body seems flattened out and yet doubled in two.
“All this I felt as before, and although those tortures were terrific, they would be bearable if the soul were at peace. But it suffers indescribably. Until now, when I went down into Hell, I thought that I had been damned for abandoning religious life. But this time it was different. I bore a special mark, a sign that I was a religious, a soul who had known and loved God, and there were others who bore the same sign. I cannot say how I recognized it, perhaps because of the specially insulting manner in which the evil spirits and other damned souls treated them. There were many priests there, too. This particular suffering I am unable to explain. It was quite different from what I had experienced at other times, for if the souls of those who lived in the world suffer terribly, infinitely worse are the torments of religious. Unceasingly the three words, Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, are imprinted on the soul with poignant remorse.
“Poverty: You were free and you promised! Why, then, did you seek that comfort? Why hold on to that object which did not belong to you? Why did you give that pleasure to your body? Why allow yourself to dispose of the property of the Community? Did you not know that you no longer had the right to possess anything whatsoever, that you had freely renounced the use of those things?... Why did you murmur when anything was wanting to you, or when you fancied yourself less well treated than others? Why?
“Chastity: You yourself vowed it freely and with full knowledge of its implications... you bound yourself.. you willed it... and how have you observed it? That being so, why did you not remain where it would have been lawful for you to grant yourself pleasures and enjoyment?
“And the tortured soul responds: ‘Yes, I vowed it; I was free... I could have not taken the vow, but I took it and I was free...’ What words can express the martyrdom of such remorse,” wrote Josefa, “and all the time the jibes and insults of other damned souls continue.
“Obedience: Did you not fully engage yourself to obey your Rule and your Superiors? Why, then, did you pass judgment on the orders that were given you? Why did you disobey the Rule? Why did you dispense yourself from common life? Remember how sweet was the Rule... and you would not keep it... and now,” vociferate satanic voices, “you will have to obey us not for a day or a year, or a century, but forever and ever; for all eternity... It is your own doing... you were free.
“The soul constantly recalls how she had chosen her God for her Spouse, and that once she loved Him above all things... that for Him she had renounced the most legitimate pleasures and all she held dearest on earth, that in the beginning of her religious life she had felt all the purity, sweetness and strength of this divine love, and that for an inordinate passion... now she must eternally hate the God who had chosen her to love Him.
“This forced hatred is a thirst that consumes her... no past joys can afford her the slightest relief. “One of her greatest torments is shame,” added Josefa. “It seems to her that all the damned surrounding her continually taunt her by saying: ‘That we should be lost who never had the helps that you enjoyed is not surprising... but you... what did you lack? You who lived in the palace of the King... who feasted at the board of the elect.’
“All I have written,” she concluded, “is but a shadow of what the soul suffers, for no words can express such dire torments.” (September 4, 1922).
In 1926, after careful examination of the writings of Sister Josefa, a Consultor of the Sacred Congregation of Rites concluded his report with these words: “I pray God that these things may become known for the glory of God, and to strengthen the faith of diffident and timid souls, and also that the holy religious of the Sacred Heart who wrote them may be glorified.” (From the Italian.)
Without any intention of pronouncing judgment before Holy Church, to whom we submit unconditionally, we think that readers of these pages will be glad to find words of commendation from no less a personage than the Holy Father himself, who as Cardinal Pacelli, and Protector of the Society of the Sacred Heart at the time, gave his blessing to the first edition which appeared in 1938. A facsimile or this letter is reproduced, with his express consent, at the beginning of this volume.
JOSEFA’S MISSION
Only very gradually did Our Lord unfold it to her; several times He had told her that He meant to make use of her to “carry out His plans” (9th February 1921) for “the saving of many souls that had cost Him so dear” (15th October 1920). On the night of 24th February 1921 He gave her a yet more explicit call during her Holy Hour: “The world does not know the mercy of My Heart,” He said to her. “I intend to enlighten them through you.… I want you to be the apostle of My love and mercy. I will teach you what that means; forget yourself.” And in answer to the fears she expressed: “Love and fear nothing. I want what you do not want, but I can do what you cannot. It is not for you to choose, you have only to resign yourself into My Hands.”
A few months rater, on Monday, 11th June 1921, a few days after the Feast of the Sacred Heart, when she had received many graces, He said: “Remember My words and believe them. My Heart has but one desire, which is to enclose you in It, to possess you in My love, then to make of your frailty and littleness a channel to convey mercy to many souls who will be saved by your means. Later on, I will reveal to you the burning secrets of My Heart and many souls will profit by them. I want you to write down and keep all I tell you. It will be read when you are in Heaven. Do not think that I make use of you because of your merits, but I want souls to realize how My Power makes use of poor and miserable instruments.” And as Josefa asked if she was to tell Reverend Mother even that, He answered: “Write it; it will be read after your death.”
So by degrees Our Lord unfolded His plan: Josefa was chosen by Him, not only to be a victim for souls, especially for consecrated ones, but that through her Christ’s Message of love and mercy might reach the world. A twofold mission - Victim and Messenger - and between the two missions there is a close connection. If Victim then Messenger, and because Messenger, necessarily Victim.
How great must be the power of mediation of such souls! How efficacious their intercession, when they implore divine mercy, pardon and salvation for their brethren; when in them and through them, the Precious Blood of Christ, infinitely more powerful than that of Abel, cries to the Father!
The authenticity of her experiences
When she was carried off into hell, or when she returned to consciousness after an ecstasy, her Superiors were present; they watched with solicitous and maternal eyes her gradual return to life’s interests, noting carefully words that escaped her in those impressive moments.
When she had communications with souls in purgatory who came to ask for prayers, the name, exact date, and place of their death, if given, were always found on investigation to be correct.
No possible doubt exists concerning the forcible abductions of Josefa by the devil; they took place under the very eyes of her Superiors, who were powerless to prevent them. Likewise the effects of fire which burned her were seen on her garments and flesh; fragments of scorched linen are still preserved.
A number of both men and women saints have had visions of hell; few have actually gone down into its depths, and fewer still have done so frequently, as did Sister Josefa in order to atone for sinners. Saint Veronica Giuliani, born 1660 and died 1727, thus a contemporary of Saint Margaret Mary, seems, like Sister Josefa, to have been a victim of expiation, and had this same experience.






Fatima children shown a vision of Hell

In the July apparition at Fatima a vision of a Hell of fire was given to the three little children, and significantly, its existence was confirmed by the great public miracle on October 13th.

(Many people had visions of Hell. The most famous among them is the visions of Don Bosco and Josepha Menendez) Yet Hell is little spoken of in the pulpits of the sixties. And we have seen that many Christian ministers, including some Catholic priests, have “abolished” Hell as a place of physical pain. Because of this, the special intervention of Heaven, may, as at Fatima, be necessary to restore this sobering doctrine to its important place in Christian dogma. It is well to remember that the Hell spoken of here is the Hell which has a significant place in Catholic doctrine, the Hell described vividly by Christ Himself, the Hell seen in all its livid horror by the children at Fatima on July 13th, just 50 years ago.
The Blessed Virgin Mary told the three child seers that many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray or make sacrifices for them. In her Memoirs, Sister Lucy describes the vision of hell that the Blessed Virgin Mary showed the children at Fatima:
"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."

Emanuel Tuwagirairmana

Emanuel Tuwagirairmana lived as a Christian in Rwanda but was not faithful in his walk with God. During the Rwanda genocide of 1994, he was seriously injured and, together with ten other people, hid in a school. The wounds on his body grew worse and one morning his friends realized he had died. They could not bury him as it was very dangerous to move out of the school. They hid in Kabwai School in Gitarama town, about 45km from the capital Kigali. They wrapped his body in a bed cover and by now his body was smelling and fluids were coming out of it. This situation lasted for seven days!

Emanuel had a near-death experience and was taken to heaven. He says he did not know how he got out of his body; but, suddenly he just saw a man at a gate. The man told him that he was an angel and that they were standing at the gate to heaven.

He realized he was putting on a heavenly body which was far more beautiful than the earthly body. He was then taken through a beautiful and sweet-smelling flower garden. There, he met Christ who presented himself to Emanuel in two forms: first, with a body of scars, and second, with a perfect body.
Jesus brought Emanuel back to Rwanda in the very house where his dead body was. They stood up in the room and no one could see them. Jesus showed Emanuel his dead body. It looked terrible. Jesus told him that one day after his visit in heaven, he will go back in that body.
Emanuel could hear the conversation of people in the room where his body was. They were saying, “Oh, the saved man has died!”
Jesus took Emanuel back to heaven and showed him a beautiful city. Emanuel said this was a very beautiful city with houses he has never seen anywhere in the world. There was a lake there and he was told he could not go across it.
He was surprised to see, across the lake, some of his friends who had died in Rwanda including a Muslim. Emanuel was surprised he did not see some devout Christians with whom he had been serving God with. He asked Christ how a Muslim could be in heaven. Jesus told him that as this Muslim was dying, he called upon the name of Jesus, and Jesus saved him from hell. Then Emanuel asked him why a certain devout Christian lady who had served God with him in Rwanda was not in heaven. Jesus replied it was because of her refusal to forgive those who had refused to visit her in the hospital when she was sick. Emanuel mentioned another name and Jesus told him that the reason that person was not in heaven was that he stole money which Christians had contributed to assist the sick.
Emanuel then saw a very brilliant light across the lake. Jesus told Emanuel he could not approach the throne of God since his time to leave the earth had not yet come. Emanuel was then shown hell which he said was very filthy. Those in hell are made to work like slaves all the time.
Jesus then gave Emanuel something which looked like a big tablet of chocolate and told him to eat it. It tasted like chocolate! After he had eaten it, Jesus told him that he had eaten the whole Bible and that when he return to earth, he would be able to memorize all the verses without opening the Bible. A friend of Emanuel testifies that this is true. The man has all scriptures in his head.
After seven days since his death on earth, Jesus told Emanuel it was time for him to return to his body on earth. Jesus assigned him to go and testify to what he had seen and to ask people to repent and turn away from sin. Jesus gave him three guardian angels to protect him always.
Emanuel felt like refusing to leave heaven, but Jesus just touched him with a fingertip. Emanuel then found himself entering his earthly body which was full of maggots. He says he used his hand to get maggots out of his mouth.
His friends could not believe their eyes when they saw Emanuel’s rotten body shaking and the straps getting loose. Although most of the other ten were very sick, they crawled and ran out of the school room shouting they had seen a ghost. They returned after hearing Emanuel’s voice pleading for them to return.
One of Emanuel’s arms had a part that had been eaten a lot by maggots which was causing the arm to almost fall off. He was then taken to a hospital in Kigali. God told Emanuel not to worry and not to accept the doctors proposed surgery whereby his arm would be cut off.
In God’s supernatural working ways, God appeared in a vision to a doctor in Australia. God instructed the doctor to go to Rwanda to look for Emanuel and to take all the necessary tools which would enable the doctor to perform an operation to Emanuel’s arm still attached to his body. God gave the doctor all the details about Emanuel including the hospital in Kigali including his photo! This doctor flew to Rwanda and located Emanuel.
After healing, Emanuel started his ministry of testifying to what he saw in heaven. Everywhere Emanuel goes, there are miracles. For example, in Rwanda he prayed and a very powerful witch, feared all over Rwanda, lost all of his powers! In Tanzania, Emanuel was imprisoned for preaching to and converting Muslims. While in prison, he prayed and a powerful wind destroyed the prison. Prison officials set him free the following morning! Right now, Emanuel ministers in Kenya and South Africa. He travels to different countries to share his testimony with others.
Emanuel Tuwagaimana currently resides in
Eldoret, Kenya, Africa

Clara’s vision of Annette in Hell
Clara and Annette, both single Catholics in their early twenties, worked adjacent to each other, employees of a commercial firm in Germany. Although they were never very close friends, they shared a courteous mutual regard which lead to an exchange of ideas and, eventually, of confidences. Clara professed herself openly religious, and felt it her duty to instruct and admonish Annette when the latter appeared excessively casual or superficial in religious matters. In due course, Annette married and left the firm. The year was 1937. Clara spent the autumn of that year on holiday at Lake Garda. About the middle of September she received a letter from her mother: ‘Annette . . . Instead. She was the victim of an auto accident was buried yesterday at Wald-Friedhof. Clara was frightened since she knew her friend was not very religious. Was she prepared to appear before God? Dying suddenly, what had happened to her? The next day she attended Mass, received Holy Communion, and prayed fervently for her friend.
The following night, at ten minutes after midnight, the vision took place . . .
Clara, do not pray for me! I am in hell. If I tell you this and speak at length about it, do not think it is because of our friendship. We here do not love anyone. I do this as under constraint. In truth, I should like to see you too come to this state where I must remain forever.” Perhaps that angers you, but here we all think that way. Our wills are hardened in evil, in what you call ‘evil’. Even when do something ‘good’, as I do now - opening your eyes about hell, it is not because of a good intention.
Do you still remember our first meeting four years ago at . . .? You were then 23 and had been there already half a year. Because I was a beginner, you gave me some helpful advice. Then I praised your love of your neighbor. Ridiculous! Your help was mere coquetry. Here we do not acknowledge any good in anybody.”
“Do you remember what I told you about my youth? Now I am painfully compelled to fill in some of the gaps.” According to the plan of my parents, I should not have existed. A ‘misfortune’ brought about my conception. My two sisters were 14 and 15 when I was born.” “Would that I had never existed! Would that I could now annihilate myself! Escape these tortures! No pleasure would equal that with which I would abandon my existence, as a garment of ashes which is lost in nothingness. But I must continue to exist as I chose to make myself as a ruined person.” When father and mother, still young, left the country ‘or the city, they had lost touch with the Church and were keeping company with irreligious people. They had met at a dance, and after a year and a half of companionship they ‘had’ to get married.” As a result of the nuptial ceremony, so much holy water remained on them that my mother attended Sunday Mass a couple of times a year. But she never taught me to pray, Instead, she was completely taken up with the daily cares of life, although our situation was not bad.” “I refer to prayer, Mass, religious instruction, holy water, church with a very strong repugnance. I hate all that, as I hate those who go to church, and in general every human being and everything.”
“From a great many things do we receive torture every knowledge received at the hour of death, every remembrance of things lived or known is, for us, a piercing flame. In each remembrance, good and bad, we see the way in which grace was present the grace we despised or ignored. What a torture is this !” ‘‘We do not eat, we do not sleep, we do not walk. Chained with howling and gnashing of teeth. we look appalled at our ruined life, hating and suffering.” “Do you hear ? We here drink hatred like water. Above all we hate God. With great reluctance do I force myself to make you understand.” The blessed in heaven must love God because they see Him without veil, in all His dazzling beauty. That makes their bliss indescribable. We know this and the knowledge makes us furious.” “Men on earth, who know God from nature and from revelation, can love Him., but they are not compelled to do so. The believer I say this with gnashing of teeth who contemplates Christ on the cross, with arms extended, will end by loving Him.” “But he whom God approaches only in the final storm, as punisher, as just avenger, because He was rejected by him, such a person cannot but hate Him with all the strength of his wicked will. We died with willful resolve to be separated from God.” “Do you now understand why hell lasts forever? It is because our wills were fixed for eternity at the moment of death. We had made our final choice. Our obstinacy will never leave us.” “Under compulsion, I must add that God is merciful even towards us. I affirm many things against my will and must choke the torrent of abuses I should like to vomit out.” God was merciful to us by not allowing our wicked wills to exhaust themselves on earth as we should have been prepared to do. This would have increased our faults and our pains. He caused us to die before our time, as in my case, or had other mitigating circumstances intervene.” Now He shows Himself merciful towards us by not compelling a closer approach than that afforded in this remote inferno. Every step bringing us closer to God would cause us a greater pain than that which a step closer to a burning furnace would cause you.”
“You were scared when once, during a walk, I told you that my father, a few days before my first Communion, had told me: ‘My little Annette, the main thing is your beautiful white dress, all the rest is just make-believe.” “Because of your concern, I was almost ashamed. Now I sneer at it.” The important thing is that we were not allowed to receive Communion until the age of 12. By then I was already absorbed in worldly amusements and found it easy to set aside, without scruple, the things of religion. Thus, I attached no great importance to my first Communion.” “We are furious that many children go to Communion at the age of seven. We do all we can to make people believe that children have insufficient knowledge at that age. They must first commit some mortal sins. Then the white Particle will not do so much damage to our cause as when faith, hope and charity, these things! received in Baptism, are still alive in their hearts . “Marta K and you induced me to enter The Association of the Young Ladies”. The games were amusing. As you know, I immediately took a directive part. I liked it.” “I also liked the picnics. I even let myself be induced to go to confession and Communion sometimes.” “Once you warned me. Anne, if you do not pray, you go to perdition’. “I used to pray very little indeed, and even this unwillingly.”
“You were then only too right. All those who burn in hell did not pray or did not pray enough.” “Prayer is the first step towards God. And it is the decisive step. Especially prayer to her who is the Mother of Christ, whose name we never pronounce. “Devotion to her rescues from the devil numberless souls whom sin would infallibly give to him.” “I continue my story, consumed with rage and only because I have to. To pray is the easiest thing man can do on earth. And God has tied up the salvation of each one exactly to this very easy thing.” “To him who prays with perseverance little by little God gives so much light, so much strength, that even the most debased sinner will at the end come back to salvation.” “During the last years of my life I did not pray any more, so I lacked those graces without which nobody can be saved.” “Here we no longer receive graces. Moreover, should we receive them we would cynically refuse them. All the fluctuations of earthly existence have ceased in this other life.” For years I was living far away from God. For, in the last call of Grace I decided against God.” “I never believed in the influence of the devil. And now I affirm that he has strong influence on the persons who are in the condition in which I was then. Only many prayers, others’ and mine own united with sacrifices and penances, could have snatched me from his grip. And even this only little by little. If there are only few externally obsessed, there are very many internally possessed, The devil cannot steal the free will from those who give themselves to his influence. But in punishment of their, so to speak, methodical apostasy from God, He allows the devil to nest in them. I hate the devil too. And yet I am pleased about him, because he tries to ruin all of you, he and his satellites, the spirits fallen with him at the beginning of time. There are millions of them. They roam around the earth, as thick as a swarm of flies, and you do not even notice it. It is not reserved to us damned to tempt you; but to the fallen spirits. In truth every time they drag down here to hell a human soul their own torture is increased. But what does one not do for hatred?”
“Deep down I was rebelling against God. You did not understand it; you thought me still a Catholic. I wanted, in fact, to be called one; I even used to pay my ecclesiastical dues. Maybe your answers were right sometimes On me they made no impression! Since you must not be right Because of these counterfeited relationships between the two of us our separation on the occasion of my marriage was of no consequence to me. . Before the wedding I went to confession and Communion once more. It was a precept my husband and I thought alike on this point. Why not comply with this formality? So we complied with this, as with the other formalities.” ‘Our married life, in general, was spent in great harmony. We were of the same idea in everything. In this too that we did not want the burden of children. In truth, my husband would have liked to have one, no more, of course. In the end I succeeded in dissuading him even from this desire. Dresses, luxurious furniture, places of entertainment, picnics and trips by car and similar things were more important for me. It was a year of pleasure on earth, the one that passed from my marriage to my sudden death. Internally, of course, I was never happy, although externally at ease. There was always something indeterminate inside that gnawed at me. “Unexpectedly I had an inheritance from my aunt, Lotte. My husband succeeded in increasing his wages to a considerable figure. And so I was able to furnish our new home in an attractive way. Religion did not show its light but from afar off, pale, feeble and uncertain.”
“I used to give free vent to my ill humor about some medieval representations of hell in cemeteries or elsewhere, in which the devil is roasting souls in red burning coals, while his companions with long tails, drag new victims to him. Clara! One can be mistaken in depicting hell, but never can one exaggerate. I tell you: the fire of which the Bible speaks, does not mean the torment of the conscience. Fire is fire! What He said: Away from Me, you accursed ones, into eternal fire, is to be understood literally. Literally! How can the spirit be touched by material fire? you will ask. How can your soul suffer on earth when you put your finger on the flame? In fact the. soul does not burn; and yet what torture all the individual feels!” ‘Our greatest torture consists in the certain knowledge that we shall never see God. How can this torture us so much, since on earth we are so indifferent? As long as the knife lies on the table it leaves you cold. You see how keen it is, but you do not feel it. Plunge the knife into the flesh and you will start screaming in pain. Now we feel the loss of God; before we only thought of it. Not all the souls suffer to the same degree. With how greater wickedness and how more systematically one has sinned, the more weighs on him the loss of God and the more the creature he abused is choking him. The lost Catholics suffer more than those of other religions, because they, mostly, received and despised more graces and more light. He who knew more suffers more cruelly than he who knew less. He who sinned out of malice suffers more keenly than he who sinned out of weakness. But nobody suffers more than he deserves. Oh, if that were not true, I should have a motive to hate!”
“My death happened this way . . . “A week ago; I am speaking according to your reckoning, because according to the pain, I could very well say that it is already in years that I am burning in hell. A week ago, then, my husband, and I, on a Sunday, went on a picnic, the last one for me. The day was glorious. I felt very well. A sinister sense of pleasure that was with me all the day long, invaded me. When lo, suddenly, during the return, my husband was dazzled by a car that was coming full speed. He lost control.” Jesses! (misspelling of JESUS, used frequently by some people of German language) escaped from my lips with a shivering. Not as a prayer, but as a shout. A lacerating pain took hold of the whole of me. (In comparison with the present one only a trifle). Then I lost consciousness. Strange. That morning this thought had come to me in an inexplicable way: ‘You could go to Mass once more’. It seemed like the last call of Love.” “Clear and resolute, my ‘NO’ cut off that train of thought. You will know already what happened after my death. The lot of my husband and that of my mother, what happened to my corpse and the proceedings of my funeral are known to me through some natural knowledge we have here. What happens on earth we know only obscurely. But we know what touches us closely. So I see also where you are living.” I myself awoke from the darkness suddenly, in the instant of my passing. I saw myself as flooded by a dazzling light. It was in the same place where my dead body was lying. It was like a theater , when suddenly the lights in the hall are put out, the curtains are rent aside and an unexpected scene, horribly illuminated appears. The scene of my life.” My soul showed itself to me as in a mirror; all the graces despised from my youth until my last ‘NO’ to God. I felt myself like an assassin, to whom his dead victim is shown during his trial at court. Should I repent? Never! Should I feel ashamed? Never!” However I could not even stand before the eyes of God rejected by me. There was only one thing for me: flight! As Cain fled from the dead body of Abel, so my soul rushed from that sight of horror.” “This was the particular judgment: the invisible Judge said: ‘Away from Me’. Then my soul, as a yellow brimstone shadow, fell headlong into the place of eternal torture.”
Boy Raised from the Dead by St. John Bosco
A fifteen-year-old boy in Turin was about to die. He called for Don Bosco, but the saint was not able to make it in time. Another priest heard the boy’s confession and the boy died. When Don Bosco returned to Turin, he set out at once to see the boy. When told that the boy was dead, he insisted that it was “just a misunderstanding.” After a moment of prayer in the room of the dead child, Don Bosco suddenly cried out: “Charles! Rise!” To the utter amazement of all present, the boy stirred, opened his eyes, and sat up. Seeing Don Bosco, his eyes lit up.
“Father, I should now be in Hell!” gasped the boy. “Two weeks ago I was with a bad companion who led me into sin and at my last confession, I was afraid to tell everything . . . Oh, I’ve just come out of a horrible dream! I dreamt I was standing on the edge of a huge furnace surrounded by a horde of devils. They were about to throw me into the flames when a beautiful Lady appeared and stopped them. ‘There’s still hope for you, Charles,’ she told me. ‘You have not yet been judged!’ At that moment I heard you calling me. Oh, Don Bosco! What a joy to see you again! Will you please hear my confession?”
After hearing the boy’s confession, Don Bosco said to the boy, “Charles, now that the gates of Heaven lie wide open for you, would you rather go there or stay here with us?” The boy looked away for a moment and his eyes grew moist with tears. An expectant hush fell over the room. “Don Bosco”, he said at last, “I’d rather go to Heaven.” The mourners watched in amazement as Charles leaned back on the pillows, closed his eyes, and settled once more into the stillness of death.
Mary Baxter’s
Mary K. Baxter said that in 1976 the Lord Jesus appeared to her and gave her a tour of both Heaven and Hell. The Lord further directed that Mary write about what she saw and felt in a book so that others may know that Heaven and Hell are real places.
Jesus and I walked on down the pathway until we came to another pit. Cries of pain, unforgettably sorrowful sounds, were everywhere. My Lord, what is next? I thought.
We walked directly past some of the evil beings, which didn’t seem to see us, and stopped at another pit of fire and brimstone. In this next pit was a large-framed man. I heard him preaching the gospel. I looked in amazement to Jesus for an answer, for He always knew my thoughts. He said, “While he was on earth, this man was a preacher of the gospel. At one time he spoke the truth and served me.”
I wondered what this man was doing in hell. He was about six feet tall, and his skeleton was a dirty, grayish color, like a tombstone. Parts of his clothing still hung on him. I wondered why the flames had left these torn and tattered clothes and had not burned them up. Burning flesh was hanging from him, and his skull seemed to be in flames. A terrible odor came from him.
I watched the man spread his hands as if he were holding a book and begin to read Scriptures from the make-believe book. Again, I remembered what Jesus had said; “You have all your senses in hell, and they are a lot stronger here.”
The man read Scripture after Scripture, and I thought it was good. Jesus said to the man with great love in His voice, “Peace, be still.” Immediately, the man stopped talking and turned slowly to look at Jesus.
I saw the man’s soul inside the skeletal form. He said to the Lord, “Lord, now I will preach the truth to all the people. Now, Lord, I’m ready to go and tell others about this place. I know that while I was on earth, I didn’t believe there was a hell, nor did I believe You were coming again. It was what people wanted to hear, and I compromised the truth to the people in my church.
I know I didn’t like anyone who was different in race or color of skin, and I caused many to fall away from You. I made my own rules about heaven and right and wrong. I know that I led many astray, and I caused many to stumble over Your Holy Word, and I took money from the poor. But, Lord, let me out, and I will do right. I won’t take money from the church anymore. I have repented already. I will love people of every race and color.”
Jesus said, “You not only distorted and misrepresented the Holy Word of God, but you lied about your not knowing the truth. I visited you Myself and tried to turn you around, but you would not listen. You went on your own way, and evil was your lord. You knew the truth, but you would not repent or turn back to Me. I was there all the time. I waited for you to repent, but you did not. And now the judgment has been set.”
Pity was on the face of Jesus. I knew that if the man had listened to the Savior’s call, he would not be here now. O people, please listen.
Jesus spoke to the backslider again, “You should have told the truth, and you would have turned many to righteousness with God’s Word, which says that all unbelievers will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.
“You knew the way of the cross. You knew the way of righteousness. You knew to speak the truth. But Satan filled your heart with lies, and you went into sin. You should have repented with sincerity, not halfway. My Word is true. It does not lie. And now it is too late, too late.” At that, the man shook his fist at Jesus and cursed Him.
I heard a woman’s voice crying out in desperation. Cries of the dead were everywhere.
Soon we came to a pit where the woman was. She was pleading with all her soul for Jesus to take her out of there. “Lord,” she said, “haven’t I been here long enough? My torment is more than I can bear. Please, Lord, let me out!” Sobs shook her form, and such pain was in her voice. I knew she was suffering greatly.
I said, “Jesus, is there nothing You can do?”
Jesus then spoke to the woman. “While you were on earth,” He said, “ I called and called for you to come to Me. I pleaded with you to get your heart right with Me, to forgive others, to do right, to stay out of sin. I even visited you in the midnight hour and drew you by My Spirit time after time. With your lips you said you loved Me, but your heart was far from Me. Didn’t you know that nothing can be hidden from God? You fooled others, but you could not fool Me. I sent others to tell you to repent, but you would not listen. You would not hear, you would not see, and in anger you turned them away. I placed you where you could hear My Word. But you would not give your heart to Me.
You were not sorry, nor were you ashamed of what you were doing. You hardened your heart and turned Me away. Now you are lost and forever undone. You should have listened to Me.”
At this, she looked at Jesus and began to swear and curse God. I felt the presence of evil spirits and knew that it was they who were cursing and swearing. How sad to be lost forever in hell! Resist the devil while you still may, and he will flee from you.
Jesus said, “The world and all that is in it will pass away, but my word will not pass away.”
All along the pathway burning hands reached out to Jesus. There were only bones where the flesh should have been—a grayish mass with burning and decayed flesh hanging in shreds. Inside each frame of their skeleton form was a dirty-gray mist-soul caught inside a dry skeleton forever. I could tell by their cries that they felt the fire, the worms, the pain, the hopelessness. And their cries filled my soul with grief so great I cannot describe it. If only they had listened, I thought, they would not be here.
I knew that the lost in hell had all their senses. They remembered all that was ever told them. They knew there was no way out of the flames and that they were lost forever. Yet, without hope, they still hoped as they cried out to Jesus for mercy.
All at once, demons of all kinds were going past us. Imps growled at us as they went by. Demon spirits of all sizes and shapes were talking to each other. Out ahead of us, a big demon was giving orders to small ones. We stopped to listen, and Jesus said, “There is also an invisible army of evil forces that we do not see here—demons such as evil spirits of sickness.”
“Go!” the larger demon said to the smaller imps and devils. “Do many evil things. Break up homes and destroy families. Seduce weak Christians, and mis-instruct and mislead as many as you can. You shall have your reward when you return.
Remember, you must be careful of those who have genuinely accepted Jesus as their Savior. They have the power to cast you out. Go now across the earth. I have lots of others up there already and still have others to send. Remember, we are servants of the prince of darkness and the powers of the air.”

Clara’s Near Death Experience (age ten)
I was in the fifth grade when I became sick with extreme pain in my lower right side. My teacher thought it was only a stomach ache and ignored it. Two hours later I was rushed to the hospital. I was terrified and begged to go home. I was fighting the ether mask when it happened. One second I was awake, scared to death, the next second I was falling straight down a dark hole as if in a well.
There were loud sounds like buzzing and ringing and metal scraping together, then I was up by the ceiling looking down on myself. I felt as though I was spread out all over the room like vapor or a cloud. I watched as the doctor had a square green machine wheeled into the room by a nurse, and then worked on me using it. There were several nurses there.
Suddenly I was standing alone in a room with large, heavy doors leading into other rooms. Someone came to me. I didn’t see him; I only heard his voice. He led me up through what seemed like a tunnel. I seemed to be walking, but my feet didn’t touch a floor. Suddenly I heard what sounded like a city-sized playground full of kids, laughing and playing. Hearing them calmed me. Another man came to meet us. I didn’t see him either. He asked the one leading me who I was, then he went away. When he returned he told the man with me that I had to go back, that they weren’t ready for me yet.
I was led up a sidewalk to a large building with large doors. I walked inside and saw people all around working and doing things. I was taken to a huge iridescent white room and told to sit down on some steps that led up to a large white chair, and wait there for someone who was to talk to me. He came out a door at the other end of the steps, walked to the chair above me, and sat down. He was dressed in a white, long-sleeved, floor-length robe with a wide gold band around the mid-section. He wore sandals. His dark brown hair was shoulder length; he had a long face, broad chin, dark eyes with black around both eyelids, like eyeliner pencil, but it wasn’t. His skin was olive colored and his eyes were as liquid love. He communicated by looking at me. No words had to be spoken, as we could hear each other’s thoughts. He told me what I had to do in life and had me go to the other side of the room and look down into something like a TV set so I could see my future. What I saw made me very happy. This man, who I believe is Jesus Christ, said that once I woke up in the hospital I would forget what I was supposed to do in life. “Nothing can happen before its time,” he cautioned. As I was leaving the room he said I must obey his commandments if I wanted to come back.
When I revived, a nurse was sitting beside my bed and she said, “Thank God you finally woke up.” I told the doctor that I had watched him work on me and the color of the machine brought into the surgery room. He didn’t know what to say.
Howard Pittman
On August 3, 1979, Howard Pittman, a Baptist minister for 35 years, died while on the operating table during surgery and had a near-death experience. He was taken before the very throne of God where he was given a message to share with the world.
Like a flash of lightning, the main trunk artery in my body cavity ruptured causing a devastating, sudden, blood loss …So at midnight they carried me into ICU and at 6:00 a.m. the following morning, my vital life signs failed again. The chief physician came out of ICU and told my wife, “It is something else.” They took me into surgery where they worked on me for an additional seven hours ...
Somewhere in that period of time when the physicians were working on me, I came to myself and realized that I was dying …Knowing that only God could give me back my life and that only God could change this appointed time to die, I prayed a strange prayer. My prayer was that God would allow me to appear before His throne and pleaded for an extension of my physical life. In any other time and place this sort of prayer would be unusual, however, all of this was planned by God to ultimately serve His purpose. The thought to pray such a prayer was instilled in my mind by the Holy Spirit.
When the angels lifted my spirit from my body my escort told me to stand to one side of the Gates and present my case. He assured me that God would hear and answer my request. As I stood before the Gates, the sense of joy, happiness, and contentment radiated out from Heaven. I could feel the warmth it produced and as I stood there to plead my case. I could feel the awesome power of God. No being could possibly appear before Him, even separated by a gate as I was, without experiencing this awesome power, might and majesty. At first I had a sense of fear, sort of guilt feeling that is always produced in me when I believe I have imposed on others. In my mind’s eye I could just visualize a busy God who was annoyed with me for taking Him away from important things. Then, just as suddenly as this feeling came, it passed. I then found strength or boldness in my belief that I had served my God faithfully for many years. To me, I was convinced that this request of mine would be a snap!
Boldly I came before the throne and started out by reminding God what a great life of love, worship, and sacrifice I had lived for Him. I told Him of all the works I had done reminding Him that I was now in trouble and only He could help by granting me an extension on my physical life. God was totally silent while I spoke. When I had completed my request, I heard the real, audible voice of God as He answered me.
The voice I heard was not like the sweet voice that Satan had used to trick me before in the valley. You could put together the noise of all the storms, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes and they could in no way imitate what I heard. The sound of His voice was in no way like the sweet voice I talked about earlier. The sound of His voice came down on me from over the Gates even before the words hit me. The tone of His anger knocked me on my face as God proceeded to tell me just what kind of life I had really lived. He told me what He really thought of me and even others who did as I had. He pointed out that my faith was DEAD, that my works were NOT ACCEPTABLE, and that I had labored in VAIN. He told me that it was an abomination for me to live such a life and then dare call it a life of worship. Furthermore, He said to those who do it, they are in danger of experiencing His everlasting wrath. As God dealt with me, He displayed His wrath to me. Notice, it was not His everlasting wrath. He did say there are some who will experience His everlasting wrath.
I could not believe He was talking to me in this manner! I had served Him for years! I thought I had lived a life pleasing to Him! As He was enumerating my wrongs, I was sure He had me confused with someone else. There was no strength left in me to even move, let alone protest, yet I was panicking within myself. No way He could be talking about me! All of these years I thought I was doing those works for God! Now He was telling me that what I did, I did for myself. Even as I preached and testified about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I was doing that only for myself in order that my conscience might be soothed. In essence, my first love and first works were for myself. After MY needs and wants were met or satisfied, in order to soothe my conscience I would set out to do the Lord’s work. This made my priorities out of order and unacceptable. Actually, I had become my own false God.
He makes it plain in His teachings that He is a jealous God and will have no other gods before Him; flesh, stone, blood, or whatever. He will have no other gods before Him. God told me that He would not accept this kind of worship in the day of the Pharisees and He certainly was not about to accept it now. He put it to me as plain as words and actions could make it. In order for our works to be acceptable, we must work according to His command in Matthew 6:33 which empathically states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these other things shall be added to you.” As God told me about my true motives, the verse of scripture in Matthew 16:24-26 and Luke 14:26-33 became so clear to me. In Matthew 16 it states, “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him DENY himself and take up his cross, and follow me, for whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” In Luke 14 beginning with verse 26 it is stated, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and HIS OWN life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” In verse 23 of this same chapter Jesus makes the following statement which is the cornerstone of the two portions of scripture previously stated: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
Only now as I was here before Him being chastised did those two portions of scripture become crystal clear to me as to their true meaning. As God told me about my TRUE MOTIVES, I could see plainly for the first time how MY WORKS were DEAD. Because God was displaying His wrath toward me, I could not stand nor could I speak. No strength was left within me as I was nothing more than a wet rag lying there writhing in agony. It indeed, was fortunate for me that this was not God’s everlasting wrath, only temporary wrath. However, at this time I did not know this was only temporary.
It needs to be stated that at no time while God was chastising me did He say I was not saved nor did He say that my name was not in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He never mentioned salvation to me at all but only spoke about the works produced through my life. He told me the type of life I lived was an unacceptable life for a true Christian. As He spoke to me of my dead works, he indicated that there are some people who are not saved but think they are. These people will experience His everlasting wrath. He also made it plain to me that there are others of His children who will find themselves in my present condition on Judgment Day.
At that time he did not tell me I could not enter heaven. He only said that if I went in I could not come out again and that I would have to remain there until God brought me back with Him. Notice that I made the choice not to enter Heaven but to have my physical life restored. I was unaware that I had made that choice at that particular time. I thought I had been living in the Lord’s will and I was not thinking in terms of unfinished work. My choice was based entirely on SELFISH MOTIVES.
There are no words that can describe the pain I endured as God’s wrath was upon me for this life of so–called service. The agony was beyond the scope of the imagination and the remorse that I felt produced a very heavy burden similar to a physical weight pinning me down or an enormous stone crushing me. Growing weaker and weaker, my mind was frantically racing in an effort to grasp what the Lord was telling me while recalling each actual incident. God leaves no room for error and that includes whatever is in our minds.
The surprise was so overwhelming in its magnitude that it rendered me senseless. My strength left me immediately, just as though I had been hit by a bolt of lightning. Even if God would have ceased and allowed me to speak on word of protest, I would not have been able to do so. I had absolutely no strength whatsoever to utter anything or to project my idea. In my mind I was constantly DENYING the wrong in my life while acknowledging the fact that I had committed them. My conscience was asleep but my mind was NOT.
Slowly, it all began to be absorbed by me. Remember how the Bible tells us to have no other gods before us? I had thought that the Most High God was the only God of my life, but I was not fulfilling that part of scripture which tells us that if we allow anything to come between us and the Lord, (whatever it may be) it becomes our “God.” I realized that each day of my life was devoted only to MYSELF! My whole life I was preoccupied with MY needs FIRST and THEN I was concerned with what the Lord wanted. The money to help the church, the poor, or anything else was secondary because I was my OWN “god.” Naturally, the devil was contented with allowing me to remain in that condition because as long as I was in that condition, I was of no use to the Lord and His kingdom.
I allowed this to occur because I was really indifferent to the things of the Lord. It was too uncomfortable to change and I was convinced I could remain as I was without having to really DO anything (such as following the Lord’s commandment about DENYING myself and picking up my cross daily to follow HIM.) For this reason, my life was wasted and amounted to absolutely nothing in the Lord’s eyes.
I hope that you understand what it is that I am saying because it is the whole point of this chapter. The fact is we must prove we are really Christians by first examining our motives behind each deed in our lives, and then repenting and recommitting ourselves to follow the Lord daily. When we decide to serve Him FIRST, this decision must be followed by ACTION or it will be as useless as if we did not decide to do so in the first place.
When God was through with me the interview was over as suddenly as one would turn off a faucet. I was not allowed to linger or even reflect on what God said. The angels immediately carried me away as if I were as wet rag having no strength in myself. Totally annihilated, I could not even gather my thoughts.
The angels carried me back through dimension wall, and into the hospital room where my body was lying. It was not until I reached the bed upon which my body lay did I regain my composure. As I regained my composure, I vehemently protested, “No! No!” I told the angels, “God did not answer me! He did not say yes or no to my request! Please, oh please, take me back!” I pleaded with the angels.
God is a God of order and He never does anything haphazardly. Since all of this entire experience had been planned by God, the angels complied with my request to take me back. God was dealing with me gently and tenderly through His great LOVE knowing what was necessary for me to experience in order for me to have the scales fall off my eyes.
During the time God was displaying His wrath toward me, I thought this wrath was terrible and painful. I found out later that it was nothing compared to the pain the lost will experience when they receive His everlasting wrath.
While in route back to Heaven, I was beside myself trying to come up with a logical reason or legitimate basis on which to plead my case. God had already told me that my life had been a failure, therefore, I could not offer my past life as evidence of my intentions to serve Him. Somehow or another, the thought of Hezekiah came to my mind. When God sent word for him to put his house in order, he cried and prayed and God heard him. God extended his life for fifteen years. I remembered from my studies about him that Hezekiah was the “good–old–boy” type, similar to me. I remembered how he had good intentions in his heart but how he had trouble translating out those intentions into everyday living. Since this seemed to be the same kind of trouble I had in my life, I concluded that God dealt with Hezekiah based on the intentions of his heart. Because of this assumption, I concluded this reasoning would be the basis of my plea.
Upon my arrival back to heaven, I was brought to the same place from which I had previously pleaded my case. Not nearly so bold this time, I remembered how God’s wrath had floored me beforehand. Nevertheless, I had asked God for a favor and God had not answered. Wanting his answer no matter what it was, I timidly started pleading my case again.
This time God did not knock me down but let me talk. God did not talk to me in anger but started out answering me in a tone of pity. Before it was all over, God was speaking in sorrow.
Opening my plea by quoting scriptures to God, I began by telling him all about Hezekiah. I told God that I figured out that Hezekiah was the “good-old-boy” type, that the intentions of his heart were pure, but he seemed to be unable to translate out those intentions into everyday living. Here I was, an insignificant nothing and the smallest creature in all his universe, bartering words with this great and awesome God who had created it all.
I said, “Father, if You will grant this request, I promise you I will do better the next time.”
The Lord answered me thusly, “Howard Pittman, you have promised before.” God did not have to say another word. There they were, all the promises I had made to a holy God in my past entire life. Not one of them remained whole. Somehow, someway, I had managed to break them all. With nothing left to say, no words in all my vocabulary, nowhere to go, I fell on my knees before him. All I could say was “Amen” to my own condemnation. I knew that if at that moment God would banish me into the pits of hell, it would be just to say “amen” to my own condemnation.
At that moment God did not demand justice but showed me mercy. The scales fell from my eyes and my soul was suddenly filled with light. That powerful, awesome, all-consuming God was now not evident. There on that throne dealing with me was my REAL Father. God was no longer a distant God, but a real, genuine Father. The realization of his being my true Father and my best friend came to me for the first time in my life. The wonderful relationship I had enjoyed with my physical father and the wonderful love we shared for each other was suddenly brought to mind yet magnified a thousand fold. For now I was with my real Father, the one who loved me so much that God left all of his creation to deal with me, the prodigal son.
For the first time in my life, I saw in my mind’s eye who God really is. For the first time I met God as God truly is, my real Father, my very best friend. As the realization of who God is flooded my soul, great and painful sorrow also came. Sorrow came when I realized that through disobedience I had hurt my Father. This realization and sorrow produced actual pain which was not just a guilt feeling but actual pain similar to what one would experience in the flesh when one sustains a physical injury. At this point in time, God started dealing with me in sorrow and no longer did the tone of his voice express pity. Instead, the sound was of genuine sorrow. I suddenly realized that God was hurting too. God was hurting because I was hurting. Being a true and just God as God is, God had to allow me to suffer the pain and God could not lift it from me. Although God had to allow me to suffer the pain, God would not allow me to suffer it alone. God the most High, the most Supreme, the Creator of all, the Father of all would not let me suffer alone.
By this time I suddenly realized that my physical life was not so important after all. What I was really concerned about now was what my Father wanted. His will had suddenly become the first thing of my life and my physical life was no longer important. This is when God gave me back my physical life. Only when I reached a place that my life did not mean anything to me, did God give it back to me. Now that the prodigal son had returned, the Father could talk at last. God could tell me what my trip to heaven was all about and that God had a message God wanted me to tell people on earth.
Rev. Kenneth Hagin
My heart stopped beating. This numbness spread to my feet, my ankles, my knees, my hips, my stomach, my heart – and I leaped out of my body.
I did not lose consciousness; I leaped out of my body like a diver would leap off a diving board into a swimming pool. I knew I was outside my body. I could see my family in the room, but I couldn’t contact them.
I began to descend – down, down, into a pit, like you’d go down into a well, cavern or cave. And I continued to descend. I went down feet first. I could look up and see the lights of the earth. They finally faded away. Darkness encompassed me round about – darkness that is blacker than any night man has ever seen.
The farther down I went, the darker it became – and the hotter it became – until finally, way down beneath me, I could see fingers of light playing on the wall of darkness. And I came to the bottom of the pit.
This happened to me more than 60 years ago, yet it’s just as real to me as if it had happened the week before last.
When I came to the bottom of the pit, I saw what caused the fingers of light to play on the wall of darkness. Out in front of me, beyond the gates or the entrance into hell, I saw giant, great orange flames with a white crest.
I was pulled toward hell just like a magnet pulls metal unto itself. I knew that once I entered through those gates, I could not come back.
I was conscious of the fact that some kind of creature met me at the bottom of that pit. I didn’t look at it. My gaze was riveted on the gates, yet I knew that a creature was there by my right side.
That creature, when I endeavored to slow down my descent, took me by the arm to escort me in. When he did, away above the blackness and the darkness a voice spoke. It sounded like a male voice, but I don’t know what he said. I don’t know whether it was God, Jesus, an angel or who. He did not speak in the English language: it was a foreign language.
That place just shook at the few words he spoke! And the creature took his hand off my arm. There was a power like a suction to my back parts that pulled me back. I floated away from the entrance to hell until I stood in the shadows. Then, like a suction from above, I floated up, head first, through the darkness.
Before I got to the top, I could see the light. I’ve been down in a well: it was like you were way down in a well and could see the light up above.
I came up on the porch of my grandpa’s house. Then I went through the wall – not through the door, and not through the window – through the wall, and seemed to leap inside my body like a man would slip his foot inside his boot in the morning time.
Before I leaped inside my body, I could see my grandmother sitting on the edge of the bed holding me in her arms. When I got inside my body, I could communicate with her.
I felt myself slipping. I said, “Granny, I’m going again. You’ve been a second mother to me when Momma was ill.”
My heart stopped for a second time. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down, down. Oh, I know it was just a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity.
There farther down I went, the hotter and darker it became, until I came again to the bottom of the pit and saw the entrance to hell, or the gates as I call it. I was conscious that that creature met me.
I endeavored to slow down my descent – it seemed like I was floating down – yet it seemed like there was a pull that pulled me downward. And that creature took me by the arm. When he did, that voice spoke again – a man’s voice. It was a foreign language. I don’t know what he said, but when he spoke, that whole place just shook. That creature took his hand off my arm.
It was like suction to my back. I never turned around. I just came floating back into the shadows of darkness. And then I was pulled up, head first. I could see the lights of the earth above me before I came up out of the pit. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed. For a second time I stood there. I could see my body lying there on the bed. I could see Grandma as she sat there holding me in her arms.”
I left a word for each one of them, and my heart stopped the third time.
I could feel the circulation as it cut off. Suddenly my toes went numb. Faster than you can snap your fingers, my toes, feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach and heart went dead – and I leaped out of my body and began to descend.
Until this time, I thought, this is not happening to me. This is just a hallucination. It can’t be real!
But then I thought, “This is the third time. I won’t come back this time! I won’t come back this time!’ Darkness encompassed me round about, darker than any night man has ever seen.”
And in the darkness, I cried out, “God! I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water”
I waited for an answer, but there was no answer; only the echo of my own voice through the darkness. And the second time I cried a little louder, “God! I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water!”
I waited for an answer, but there was no answer; only the echo of my own voice as it echoed through the darkness.
I came again to the bottom of that pit. Again I could feel the heat as it beat me in the face. Again I approached the entrance, the gates into hell itself. That creature took me by the arm. I intended to put up a fight, if I could, to keep from going in. I only managed to slow down my descent just a little, and he took me by the arm.
Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was – I didn’t see anybody – I just heard the voice. I don’t know what he said, but whatever he said, that place shook; it just trembled. And that creature took his hand off my arm.
It was just like there was suction to my back parts. It pulled me back, away from the entrance to hell, until I stood in the shadows. Then it pulled me up head first. He then recovered from his condition.
Gerry
Then, as if I had eyes all around my head, I saw saints, souls that were in heaven - multitudes. There was no way to count them. Whether there were millions or billions, I have no idea. As far as I could see in every direction were people of all sizes dressed in white robes. The people were transparent; I could see through them. They were behind me, across from me, all around me. They were “floating” on what appeared to be a crystal mirror or cloud or smoke. It is hard to describe these things in earthly terms, but I am trying to show you what my spirit saw. Each person was holding a crown in his or her hand.
The saints were saying, “We were waiting for you.”
I looked at my body and realized I was one of them. When you look at yourself and can look through yourself, it is quite an experience. I was looking at a form of my body.
Then the clouds seemed to be separating (yet they were not actually clouds), and Jesus appeared. When he appeared, he showed himself to me on the cross as if he were in the flesh, still with his nail-pierced hands and feet, the wound in his side.
To me this signified that the cross will be remembered forever in heaven and that the salvation it brings is forever.
If I tried to describe what he looked like, the color of his eyes and all, my words would be inadequate. It would be like seeing a picture and then trying to describe what it was like to experience the person.
Then Jesus glanced at me with a look of compassion, full of love and caring. A glance similar, I imagine, to the look he gave his mother, Mary, and his friend, John, as they waited in agony at the foot of the cross. This glance was the essence of love. I understood the fullness of the love of God at that moment. This glance must have been like the one Jesus gave Matthew at the tax collector’s table.
Jesus probably just stopped, looked at him, and said, “Follow me.”
I also saw the perfect obedience that Jesus has for his Father. He obeyed him on the cross. He died on the cross for us because he loves his Father and he loves us. In love, he became a servant for us. All the things I had read in the Bible became real to me right then.
Jesus spoke with a voice that relayed the same love his glance transmitted to me - such gentleness and tenderness. Once you hear it, you will never forget it.
He welcomed me with, “Gerry, my peace be with you” - my first name, then peace be with you.
He said, “You are healed. You will feel no pain. You will have no anxiety. You will have no fears or guilt from the past. In one week you will be home from the hospital.”
When Jesus said, “You are healed,” I thought, Lord, it is wonderful in this place. I want to stay.
He also told me that all the prayers we had prayed that morning would be answered or were right then being answered.
And he said, “Go and tell your family, your friends, your fellowship, and everyone you come in contact with; tell them about my love. I want you to read the gospel of John, the first two letters of John, and all of Revelation.”
Lord,” I said, “Why do you want me to do this?”
He said, “John is my friend. He knows all about my love.”
I didn’t fully realize what was happening - that my heart had stopped for four minutes and that I was being brought back to life. When the Lord finished talking to me, I was aware that I was back in my body. I then entered a deep coma in which I was unable to communicate or move any part of my body for more than ten hours.
David G. Dawson’s mother
The accident was the result of my mother having a heart attack while driving home. She blacked out and the car she was driving veered off the road and struck a steel utility pole. The damage to the car was total. The front end was crushed in so badly that the engine was in the front seat with my mother.
As a result of the collision force on my mother’s frail body, she had broken every rib in her chest and crushed her sternum. This is where the steering column had hit her. The sac surrounding her heart had also been torn in the wreck.
Later, after recovering from her injuries resulting from the accident and returning home, my mother sat all of us down (seven children in all and my dad) around the dinning room table and told us of her experience immediately following the accident. All she knew was that she was driving down Eastern Ave in Cincinnati, Ohio (the town we lived in at that time), when suddenly she had a terrible pain in her chest. The next thing she recalled was seeing a bright light and knowing somehow that it was Jesus. He was communicating with her.
She asked, “What was going on?”
The reply was, “You can come home now.”
In her confusion she asked, “What do you mean? I am on my way home. That’s where my children are.”
Jesus told her, “No. You were injured and you are between life and death.”
Jesus told her to turn around, and when she did, she saw herself being pulled out of the wreckage. Then the paramedics began working on her. It was at this point my mother explained that she began to understand. She had been given a choice - life here on earth or in the hereafter.
She expressed her concerns for us, her children, and prayed that she be granted more time - time enough to see her children grown to adulthood.
Her prayers were answered in the blink of an eye.
The next thing my mother remembered was waking up two weeks later in the I.C.U. ward at Cincinnati General Hospital. Her attending physician, Dr. Sabian, was immediately notified as was my Dad. When my mother’s doctor told her what had happened to her, she was amazed that she was alive. Dr. Sabian told her it was nothing short of a miracle she survived. He told her that after doing all they could do, the medical team decided all they could do further was to just try and make my mother as comfortable as possible. No one believed at that point she would survive her injuries.
Dr. Sabian told my mother that, from the time she came into the emergency room, that fateful night, to the time she finally left the hospital 2 ½ months later, she had been in God’s hands because nothing the medical team had done could have saved her due to the severity of the injuries incurred in her accident. That and her previous medical condition should have proven to be fatal.
You see, my mother suffered form congestive heart failure due to damage to her heart as a result of rheumatic fever in her youth.
Valvita Jones
In 1974, Valvita Jones entered Kansas University Medical Center due to a serious infection after having a cesarean section. At the time of her NDE, Valvita was a woman of faith, a wife, and the proud mother of a young daughter. Here is her account:
Feeling so peaceful and free, I started moving upward. I realized my body was below me, and I vaguely remember observing efforts by the medical team to revive it. My main interest was that I was above the room. I was not even in the room but in the sky. I met a being. Or I should say, he met me. I recognized him as Jesus Christ, and he led me through heaven. When I think about Jesus’ physical presence, it almost fades away, because the predominant feature is that he is love through and through. As I recall, he had dark brown wavy hair and an olive complexion. I looked into his eyes. They were piercing but loving and as clear as blue water. You could almost see yourself mirrored in his eyes. When he looked at you, he looked straight through you and into you. You realized immediately that he knew all there was to know about you.
There now seemed to be a heavenly illumination that caused his hair to be light red and his eyes bluish, almost transparent, and his skin a light golden color. There is no way to fully describe his coloring. It is like another world’s color. It’s the Shekinah glory, iridescent golden light glowing through him. In his resurrection body, his coloring is uniquely different from anything on earth.
In a matter of seconds I found myself before the most High. The most High is the term I use because I recognized the presence of God the Father. In looking at him, I couldn’t really see him, but there was an awesome glory, an awesome presence. You could feel it everywhere, and I realized that he was on the throne. When I tried to see what the throne was like, I discovered it was invisible. I knew it was there; I just could not see it. It was so big that it extended all the way to earth; earth is part of that throne. This was an incredible awareness. Stunned by it all, I felt as small as a little ant, so insignificant. Trembling, I found myself prostrate. While I was lying there on my face, he spoke to me. It was unlike the mental speech between Christ and me, because the Father sounded like many waters rushing. I lay there a very long time, with God speaking to my soul. The words he spoke to me can’t be recalled, but they were about me and my life.
As I lay there, I relived every instance of my existence, every emotion and thought. I saw why I was the way I was; I re-experienced the way I had dealt with people and they with me. I saw where I could have done better. I felt emotions I was ashamed of, yet I realized there were things I had done well and felt good about.
As we looked at different scenes, I would respond, “Yes, I see how I could have done it another way, a better way.”
I wondered how anyone could feel worthy in God’s presence. I wasn’t condemned, but I didn’t feel worthy. It’s hard to explain. The whole time that was going on, for how long I don’t know, I kept praising God.
With the ending of my life review, I felt absolutely unworthy of being there in the presence of this magnificent light, unworthy in comparison to the grand scheme of things.
“It is all so beautiful, and what am I?” I said this to God.
Then Jesus’ hand touched me, and I was able to get back on my feet because I had previously had no strength. Taking me by the hand, he led me to the side of a main arena. He looked into my eyes, into my soul, and I knew he knew and understood everything I felt. When he looked into me, it was with more love than I ever thought possible for anyone to know. He smiled, one look letting me know everything would be all right.
With this reassuring look he led me to one side. He stepped away from me and went alone into the light. Where Christ’s light ended and God the Father’s began, I cannot say. They both gave off light and their light was the same light. I will never forget this as long as I live. When Christ had stepped away from me, he turned sideways and stretched out his arms as a bridge. One arm extended to me and one to the Father. His arms were extended as if they were making a cross and a bridge to cross over.
It was like a visual representation of the scripture:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:5-6)
God is on one side, and all people are on the other side. Jesus himself is between human beings and his Father to bring them to him. Christ made this possible by giving his life for all people. Everything I knew from scripture was flashing into my mind. Then I heard the Father and Son communing about my case. Jesus said, “My blood is sufficient. She’s mine.”
When he said that, all the doubts about my unworthiness disappeared. I jumped up and down, shouting and rejoicing. I have never been so happy in all my life! The kind of love I felt is beyond explanation. I kept saying, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God. This is my mediator. This is my advocate.” Just as I read in the Bible.
Jesus came back to where I was and looked at me again with comforting love. We rejoiced together. He went on teaching me and talking to me a lot, but I don’t recall the details. Now being so free and so loved, I never wanted to leave his side. I told him so, but a look in his eyes told me I had to return. I asked, “Must I really leave?” He looked at me with tenderness and said, “Yes, because there is a work I have for you to do.”
Coming back into my body in intensive care was as quick as my journey out had been. It seemed like the speed of light. Christ brought me back. I looked at his sweet face for the last time, a face I could have looked at forever. Next thing I knew, I was looking into the face of a friend who had gotten into intensive care by saying she was my sister. I didn’t realize where I was. When I saw her face, I was shocked because Jesus was gone so fast.

Lorraine Tutmarc

In 1928, Lorraine Tutmarc had blood poisoning. Because there were no antibiotics in those days, doctors sent her home and told her there was nothing more they could do for her. This resulted in the following NDE:
Lying there on the bed one morning, I realized the pain had left my body. I wasn’t thinking of anything, just looking up toward the ceiling, when I felt something strange happen. It felt like I was lifted out of my body, and I went right to the upper corner of the room, where I’d been looking.
Then I moved backward, going through the wall. Immediately I found myself up to my neck in a black river, black as black could be, and very cold. My physical pain, absent moments before, had returned. The water was whirling around me.
In my mind I asked, “Where am I?”
I heard a loud, loving voice say, “This is eternity. This is eternity. You are lost!”
It echoed, “You are lost!”
The strong voice came from behind me, so I didn’t see who it was, but I knew it was God’s voice.
“What is this?” I again asked in my mind.
He replied, “This is the river of death.”
His voice echoed, “This is the river of death.”
I didn’t know what “being lost” or what a “river of death” was all about. Jesus as savior was unknown to me at this time. When I was three or four years old, I had started going to Sunday school with my sister and brother. I liked going to the children’s activities, but we didn’t learn anything like salvation. And I hadn’t been to church since I was young.
I had terrible fear when I was enveloped by that black water; I can’t swim. When I saw all that water, I knew I was dying. And when this voice told me I was lost and this was eternity, then I knew God was revealing to me my lost condition. I started swirling around in this water, which became like a whirlpool. It kept on going around and around, faster and faster and faster, dragging me under. I was fighting to save my life. In pain, misery, and fear, I kept sinking down into this water. When I got down to the bottom, I couldn’t fight anymore. Completely exhausted, I gave up.
Then I saw light enter the water around me. The water turned warm. I looked up at the light and saw Jesus about four feet above me in an opening over my head. Everything else was black, but he was brilliant! The light coming from him was beyond description. His hair was an auburn color and wavy. He looked down at me. He had such beautiful eyes. I’ll never forget those eyes. They were so large and full of meaning - and kindness and forgiveness and compassion. Everything you would want to see in Jesus’ face was there.
I had to know I was lost before I could be saved. He had such a compassionate face. I’ll never forget that. Yet Jesus was not smiling, but sad. His eyes were so penetrating.
When looking at his pale ivory robe, I saw a big blotch of red on his chest and wondered what it meant. I couldn’t see what it was and was curious to figure it out. It was just a big blotch.
Instantly a voice spoke. Though I hadn’t asked, he knew what I wanted to know!
He said, “This is the blood that I shed on the cross for your sins.”
I understood his meaning: I knew I was in the wrong as the blood was explained to me.
Then Jesus said, “Follow me.”
I said, “I will!”
The minute I said, “I will,” the water was gone.
He had put his right hand down in the water, and when he said, “Follow me.”
All the darkness was gone out of my life, gone completely! A brilliance, but it wasn’t sunshine, came from Jesus. A transparent gold light came from him, from his body.
When I reached up with my left hand and took hold of his warm hand, I instantly felt the power of God come through my body. I had never heard of the power of God. Later I would use words from a hymn to describe the feeling of God’s power. It was like “sparks from smitten steel” coming right through my body from my head to my toes again and again. I grew stronger and stronger as the power went through me!
Finally I thought, “I’m well. I have no more pain. This is real! This is real!”
When I said, “It’s real,” I looked up to Jesus.
All he had said was, “Follow me.”
That’s all he would have to say to anybody!
Both of us seemed to float toward a wall. We stopped perhaps fifteen feet away from the wall. I was still holding his hand, and I followed his gaze. He was looking straight ahead. I looked up and saw a transparent wall, shining like pure gold, as far as I could see in either direction. I could see into it, eight inches or more, but not all the way through. Oh, I wanted to see behind that wall.
From behind the wall I heard much activity. Everything was alive behind that wall. It seemed like the dawn of a new day; day was just breaking! It was a beautiful experience. I heard little birds singing, tiny birds, and they got louder and louder. People have said there are no birds in heaven, but I heard them.
Then I heard what seemed like millions of little golden bells ringing, tinkling; they rang and rang. Many times since, I’ve heard those bells in the middle of the night. (And it’s not high blood pressure doing that!) Next I heard humming and then a choir singing. The singing got louder and louder, and it was in a minor key. It was beautiful and in perfect harmony. I also heard stringed instruments.
I knew there were flowers. I could smell them but couldn’t see them. Their fragrance was like perfume on a gentle breeze - a very gentle breeze.
Then because the light was so brilliant, it seemed to be getting around noontime. I stepped forward to search for a gate but didn’t see any. It just wasn’t time for me to go in there yet.
I turned around to look at Jesus, but he was gone. I didn’t see him go or hear him go. He was just gone! Then in an instant or so, I felt myself in my body and back in bed.
I never wanted to come back here, I thought. I was looking for the gates to heaven.
Don Brubaker
Don Brubaker was clinically dead for 45 minutes
There was a sudden whoosh, and I saw a large glowing red ball approaching me, almost like the light on the front of a train. In that instant, as the red ball rushed toward me, I knew terror like never before. As it approached, I realized that it was really a large, eerie red eye. It stopped when it got close to me, and then began traveling alongside me through the tunnel. I could hardly stand to look at it, its gaze was so piercing. It felt like it was looking right into my mind, into my very soul.
Still I was plunging into the depths of this horrible tunnel. I glanced at the walls of the tunnel, walls of deep black whirring past me like video footage on fast forward. Yes, I was still there, still falling millions of miles into some terrible pit. And yet, there I was, lying deathlike on a hospital bed. I could see myself there, and it panicked me all the more.
The eye - suddenly I realized that I was seeing the hospital room through the red eye. It was absurd to me that I hadn’t realized this before - and yet I could hardly process my thoughts. It was all too bizarre.
Panic started building in my mind as it began to dawn on me where I was, suspended in this dank tube. As the red eye glowed at me, the thoughts began to arrange themselves, coalescing slowly. Suddenly, the idea was undeniable.
I was in hell.
The realization swept over me like an ocean wave, unstoppable though I tried desperately to dismiss it. Hell! I didn’t even believe in hell! And here I was? This was it?
I had only the briefest moment to react to the thought when a deep, comfortable voice echoed through the tunnel.
”Have no fear, my son,” the voice said with a certain resounding nobility, “for I am with you. I have chosen you to write about the experiences you will go through.”
It was too unreal. I had never been given to believe in “missions from God” and the like anyway. And yet here was a voice that I knew was God’s telling me I had been selected for this nightmare!
But if this is God, why is God here, in this darkness?
Again, the voice responded to my unspoken doubts.
”You’ll first experience hell,” God said evenly, with a tone of complete control, “to prove to you the reality of evil. You’ve only believed that there was goodness. You must see for yourself that hell is real. And then you can tell others about the awful reality of hell, and about the beautiful glory of heaven.”
There was a low murmuring all around me, as if I were in the midst of a huge group of grumbling people. Before me, suddenly, stood a huge black door. The air began to glow and shimmer with oppressive heat.
I watched as the door opened upon a vast, flaming oven. I felt myself drawn like a magnet into the center of the flames - although I was terrified to go in. There were hundreds of others already there, roasting to death, but not dead. Once I was inside, the door slammed shut behind me. The worst, dreadfulest feelings sloshed around inside me, like so much poison.
”Is this actually what hell is?” I asked aloud.
I passed my hands through blue-tipped flames. The fire itself was cold, and it did not hurt me. From nowhere, a thought flashed through my mind: Death, where is thy sting? God, even in the midst of this holocaust, was truly in control of everything. I began to laugh, and the others laughed with me. Our laughter bounced off the walls of the oven and echoed over the roar of the flames.
And instantly, as if someone had flipped the channel selector, I was alone again in darkness.
I sighed, wearily. I could not regulate my feelings, and now I was feeling abandoned and lonely. I longed to be with my family. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them. I needed to tell everyone how much God loved them!
”You will tell others about me, Don,” the voice of God said, out of nowhere. “That is your mission. That is why you are going through these experiences.”
I listened patiently.
”You must learn to love others, to have compassion and to forgive them. You must live that others may see me in you.”
In a flash, I could recall every person I had ever held a grudge against, every quarrel I had ever left unresolved.
Suddenly I am enveloped and floating in a deep, electric blue sky. It is the most amazing and beautiful blue I have ever seen. It feels velvety soft. The air seems to sparkle with purity. I am at peace, feeling restful, serene.
I perceived a light moving toward me. It is bluish white and gives off small yellow flashes and sparks at the edges, growing in intensity until it is almost too intense to look into.
And there is a figure in the middle of the light. My very being leaps in recognition that this is Jesus Christ. It’s Christ coming toward me. I gaze at his extraordinarily handsome face. The eyes are full of love and acceptance. I am immersed in a feeling of joy and hope and all good things.
Christ’s voice rings gently, like the sound of tiny, pleasant silver bells.
”Don, do you want to stay here, or do you wish to go back?”
I hesitated to answer. I am wrapped in a warm sense of love and peace. The color is such a pleasure to see and feel. And Jesus indicates no impatience.
I realize that I am grinning like a little boy getting his first puppy.
I am seeing God’s own Son. This is the Lord. This is Jesus!
Suddenly, a soft sense of sadness creeps into my thoughts. I think of my dear family. I can sense the sorrow they would feel if I were gone. I know I must go back to them, that I have work to do.
I wonder about that. It was God who gave me my mission. Why, then, if God wants me to minister to others, is Jesus offering me an opportunity to stay here in heaven?
The answer surfaced from my own thoughts. This is a test. Again, Christ speaks: “Don, do you want to stay or go back?”
”I want to go back,” I answered immediately, knowing I made the right choice.
Jesus smiles.
”You have chosen well. Go. I am with you,” Jesus says gently.
Everything changes again, as if someone has turned a page in a book. I see myself in the midst of a huge crowd. It’s not a modern crowd. They are dressed in the clothes of Bible times. I look down at myself. So am I!
The crowd seems to be jeering at me. Why? Then I see more: I help a man, someone who has been brutally whipped and abused. The crowd is upset because I am offering assistance. But the beaten man has eyes that burn with love and compassion.
How could anyone want to hurt this man? I lift the man off of the dusty road to his feet.
The man turns, and from somewhere he lifts a huge wooden cross to his back. The man begins moving toward a hill. The hill is called Golgotha. With each new moment, I realize more and more clearly what I am seeing.
These people are going to crucify Christ.
I follow, stunned, I watch in horror as Jesus is nailed to the cross, the spikes pounded through his wrists and the sensitive insteps of his feet. I watch helpless as the cross is propped up and dropped into position with an ugly thud. I cover my face with my hands.
If only others could see what I’ve seen. The world would get on its knees ... The world would be at peace.