Friday, April 18, 2014

Fabienne's Near Death

Ready for another near death experience?

I just discovered the testimony of Fabienne Guerrero who converted from a new age lifestyle through near death illumination of conscience type experience to a new life in the Church. Her testimony on the demonic presence in the new age lifestyle is an eye-opener.  You can find her short FREE testimony, endorsed by several priests and a theologian, on her website New Age Dangers. (I always thought there was something fishy about them.)

If you are a Spanish, French or Portuguese speaker, she also has videos on youtube. And if you want the text of her interview conducted by Fr. Rene Laurentin (warning: yellow background may hurt your eyes), here it is.

Thank you, Fabienne for contacting me.  It’s my pleasure to share your story. Conversions are Our Lady of Mejugorje’s greatest miracles.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Flip Side of Heaven is for Real

This post is featured on Catholic Stand.

I’m not one of those twelve million readers who bought the book “Heaven is For Real” and torpedoed it to the New York Times bestseller list. But I did check it out from the library and enjoyed both the story and the accounts of heaven.  “Heaven is for real” is, in fact, only one among the many testimonies of  near death experiences I’ve heard about from both Christians and non.   With some suspect exceptions, most of the descriptions of heaven are fascinating and inspire me to work hard to aim for the ultimate prize.  But that’s just the good news.

On the flip side, I’ve come across near death testimonies of Catholics about the reality of sin and the judgment we face when we die with mortal sin.  These testimonies impacted my life more than Todd and Colton Burpo’s story.  I list them below, not with the intention of convincing you or debating with you on the truth or falsity of the testimonies.  I offer the perspective of Catholics who have had a similar near death experience, because they helped me understand that since we have been given so much through the Church, more will be expected of us on our particular judgment.

Heaven is real, and from what I’ve heard, it’s astounding. But in order to get there, we are also challenged to sanctify our souls and get an ego check in this life.

1. Fr. Steven Sheiers was interviewed by Mother Angelica on his near death experience.  After dying in a car accident, he returned to life and testified that he heard a conversation between Jesus and his mother.  Fr. Scheiers was judged not worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because he had been a priest for himself .  However, Our Lady interceded on his behalf.  She requested that he be given more years on earth and more graces to remedy his life. In the end, Jesus told Mary, “Mother, he’s all yours.”  The video is available on youtube.

2. Dr. Gloria Polo was a Catholic dentist living in Columbia when she was struck and burned by lightning.  During her injury, she was placed on the judgment seat, so to speak, and given insights on how the choices of her life almost led her to the abyss.  Her book details how the Divine Judge views chastity, purity, contraception and abortion among other moral issues.  Dr. Polo struggled with materialism, a critical attitude and indifference to motherhood but after her full recovery, she transformed her life.  Her testimony is also available on youtube.  She has a free book of her testimony online and an ebook  “Standing before God: the Judgment” is for sale on amazon.

3. Marino Restrepo was a Hollywood actor who was kidnapped by the rebels of the FARC (Revolutionary Arm Forces of Columbia) and held captive for six months.  During his ordeal, Mr. Restrepo testifies to a mystical experience similar to a near death experience where he faced Jesus unworthily with all his sins of impurity, selfishness, and new age beliefs.  He was also given a life review where he was showed how a brief compassionate act in his childhood meant the world to Jesus.  After Mr. Restrepo’s release, he immediately went to Confession, returned to the Catholic Church and reformed his life.  He has spoken to bishops and dioceses on invitation and his testimony is available on youtube.  Mr. Restrepo’s book "From Darkness into the Light” is on amazon.

If you liked “Heaven is for Real,” you will learn more from these Catholic witnesses.

P.S. Tomorrow's post a link to Fabienne Guerrero's testimony.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Promises Attached to the Way of the Cross

Other than the indulgences to be gained, there are promises attached to praying the Stations of the Cross. These are ten out of fourteen promises  given to Br. Estanislao, a member of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which have been favorably recognized by confessors and theologians. Taken from the book “Prayers and Heavenly Promises" compiled by Joan Caroll Cruz (available at Tan Publishers):

1. I will grant everything that is asked of Me with faith when making the Way of the Cross.

2. I promise eternal life to those who from time to time pray the Way of the Cross.

3. I will follow them everywhere in life, and I will help them especially at the hour of death.

4. Those who pray the Way of the Cross often will have a special glory in Heaven.

5. I will bless them at each Way of the Cross, and my blessing will follow them everywhere on earth, and after death, in Heaven for all eternity.

6. At the hour of death I will not permit the devil to tempt them; I will lift all power from him in order that they will repose tranquilly in My arms.

7. I will fix My eyes on those who pray the Way of the Cross often; My hands will always be open to protect them.

8. At the hour of death I will console them with My  presence, and we will go together to Heaven. Death will be sweet to all those who have honored Me during their lives by praying the Way of the Cross.

Our outdoor stations at the Abby

9. They will never be able to separate themselves from Me, for I will give them the grace never again to commit a mortal sin.

10. Even if they have more sins than blades of grass in the fields and grains of sand in the sea, all of these sins will be erased by the Way of the Cross (Does not eliminate the obligation to confess all mortal sins.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Parental Bragging and Legacy

This post is featured on Catholic Stand.

I tolerate a lot of parental bragging.  I think its great when children know they’ve made their parents proud. I’m happy for my friends and family when their children excel in school, sports, and extra curricular activities, knowing the humongous sacrifices parents made to give these children golden opportunities.  I’m excited that the world’s future rests in talented hands because someday, one of these child prodigies will cure hunger, solve crime, end war, and eliminate e-mail scams and tornadoes altogether. Someday, when these young people are all rich and famous, I’ll be able to flash some bragging of my own: “Why, I knew Billy Bob Junior way back when he used to eat the Cheerios off the floor!”

But to be brutally honest, I’m not impressed with Billy Bob Junior’s achievements per se. What impress me are the children that humble parents rarely brag about. For instance, the ADD diagnosed teenager who cooks for her handicapped grandmother;  the four year old who shares all her toys with friend, foe and stranger; the stuttering six  year old who prays the rosary without being told or threatened;  the shy modestly dressed lovely tween who skips random modern dating as she waits for proper courtship; or the nine year old altar boy who carries the groceries for his mother and helps his little brother with schoolwork.

Of course, I know these children aren’t perfect. They have their moments, too. But when a precious virtue is gifted by God to a child and honed by his parents and siblings, that makes me want to give the entire family a standing ovation.  

“How’d you do that?” I want ask because I don’t have my parenting act together.  I dream of raising future saints but I know (and my confessor will emphatically nod his head) that I fall short.

The majority of humble parents don’t have a slew of know-it-all parenting advice and rarely pretend that they’ve got it all figured out.  So I watch them like a hungry frog eyes a mosquito.  And you know what their secret is? They practice at virtue.  They try to take Jesus’ advice, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Diane McKelva wraps up’ parenting 101 succinctly: “Become the person you want your child to be…children remember what they see.” In short, role modeling.

On the morning Mass of February 6, 2014, at Chapel of Santa Marta, the Church’s Holy Father, Pope Francis, focused his homily on leaving a legacy as parents.  With David’s story as backdrop, He invited us to ask ourselves:  “What legacy will I leave to those who come after me? Will I leave a legacy with my life? Have I done so much good that people want me as a father or mother?”. Perhaps I have not “planted a tree” or “written a book”, “but have I provided wisdom in life?”. The real “legacy is that of David” who on the verge of death told his son Solomon: “You are a strong and capable man. Obey the law of the Lord, your God, proceeding in his ways and executing his laws”.

Parenting has often made me wonder: If God were to speak of me to His friends the saints, (and pride were allowed in heaven), would all He have to show is my trophy from 4th grade?  I would rather that He didn’t feel the need to brag because my life is a living testimony of obedience to His laws, an echo of His love and trust in His mercy.   

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Princesses and Photos for Lent

For a long time, I refused to get excited about the princess culture.  That was before I saw Frozen.  Since I fell in love with the songs and the self-sacrificing sisterhood theme, I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve come accept that little girls will always want to be princesses. So this Lent, my daughters and I are jumping into the princess bandwagon, crowns, gowns and everything.

We dug up some old scrapbook material, traced paper doll figures and created a gown, jewelry, shoes, crowns, veils and other accessories.   Every time the girls do a loving act in secret, they get to paste on their designs to their princess. I’m trying to instill in them that if they love and offer sacrifices for Jesus they are going to be saints who live like princesses with their own castles in heaven. The lesson is that their secret crosses on earth will be their crowns for eternity.  The objective is to do as many good things to create a sparkling, one of a kind dress.   I can’t tell you how much the girls love it and are counting down the days till Ash Wednesday.

Besides that, we are taking out some gift boxes and filling it up with a sparkly stone every time we receive Communion, spend time in Adoration or visit the Blessed Sacrament.  (You can also use any jar or basket to collect your stones.)  The message I hope we get is that any time we receive or adore Jesus, we give him a gift and we receive graces.

As for me, I’m going to take St. Faustina’s advice.

        Being a long-winded blogger that I am, I’m going to just take pictures for Lent and join the Catholic Sistas in their Lenten Photo a Day Journey on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. 

       I know, I know, pictures speak a thousand words. But knowing me, I won't be able to resist writing a brief saint quote or reflection on the pictures and turn them into memes. 

            I hope you have a blessed Lent.  I’ll see you in Easter and for the Catholic Stand monthly articles.