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.



Micaela Darr said...

What a great list, Annabelle. I look forward to reading/watching these. My Catholic friend gave me a book called Embraced by the Light. It's a near death experience book, but I just could not get into it. It seemed very new age-ey to me. Something about knowing people from the beginning of time because you were friends in Heaven first? Too odd for me.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Hi Micaela, I know what you mean about the new agey NDEs. As soon as your 3 things I love about Catholicism for April are up, I'm linking this.

gabrielgarnica said...

Hi Annabelle. I loved this post and thank you for helping me learn about the priest. Being Colombian, I knew of Polo and Restrepo. I hope you will check out my own Catholic blog and let me know what you think and, if you like it, recommend it to others. Thank you and God Bless. Gabriel

Anabelle Hazard said...

Hi Gabriel, thank you for visiting and commenting. I will go visit your site.