IT'S not all frightening prophecies from Catholic mystics of our times. For example, through Austrian mystic Maria Simma, we learn from souls from Purgatory much about what happens after this earthly life, in the same manner that we enrich our knowledge of the afterlife from a nun's experience with a departed soul as found in the Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory.
One of my favorites is the account of Medjugorje visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez whose mother had died two months previous to her first apparition of the Blessed Mother in 1981. She asked where her mother was and the Blessed Mother replied, "She is with me." This, expectedly, was followed by Ivanka's request to see her mother. Then her mother appeared, approached and embraced her while saying "I am proud of you."
It wasn't the first meeting between daughter and departed mother, The two met at least five times since then.
Testimonies from souls in Purgatory and Vicka's meetings with her mother ought to be significant for us earthlings, as they confirm life after death.
Accounts of sorties to Heaven are also among my top favorites. On the much lower scale are testimonies of people who were allowed to see, even be in hell for a while. The latter serves only to remind me to be more cautious about my life.
The visionaries of Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia, now Bosnia- Herzegovina, are goldmines for interesting insights into spirituality, nay, Catholicism. Apart from Ivanka and her departed mother, many other most interesting information of various sorts have been provided by all six visionaries.
Let me share the words of visionary Vicka in her interview with Sr. Emmanuel during All Saints' Day at the Medjugorje cemetery.
But first, here's what Sr. Emmanuel noted before the interview: "Visiting the cemeteries of Medjugorje on All Saints Day at night is really moving since the multitude of vibrant, colored candles give them almost a fairy tale aspect. It is lovely to think that each candle represents a relative or friend who has come to the aid of a dearly departed soul, helping them cross the threshold of Heaven. However, it would be a pity to wait for someone to die before helping him with our prayers, since the choices we make on Earth hold immense consequences. We don't always realize this."
Then, Sr. Emmanuel asked Vicka what would be the best way to transmit such thought to others.
Vicka replied, "As the Gospa (Blessed Mother) has told us, it is already here on earth that we each make the choice of going either to Heaven, or to Purgatory, or to hell. After death we then continue to live what we have chosen on earth. Each one knows how they are living on earth.
"As for me, I try my best to do all I can to go to Heaven with all of my heart. I have a great desire to go to Paradise since I am a Christian.. On earth some people choose Purgatory, that is to say, they have not completely decided for God; they deliberately pick and choose with the Gospel.
"Other people here on earth choose to do everything against God and against the will of God. In doing so, they choose to live in hell. They start a hell in their heart and after death it is the same hell that continues for them. What we become after death depends on us, since God has given free will to everyone. It is we who choose our future in all freedom.
"After death, life continues, our life on earth is a short journey, a kind of a walk! The Gospa has said to us, 'Many live only for this world. They believe that after death everything stops, that it's all over, that there is nothing more.' 'No!' She said, 'this is a big mistake! Life continues and after death there is eternity!'"
Another Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana, also gave interesting insights in an interview on June 19, 2006 about the "secrets" revealed to her and other visionaries.
On this, Mirjana quoted the Blessed Mother to have said: "Do not think about the secrets. Pray, because the one who feels me as a Mother and God as a Father, that person has no fear of anything."
Mirjana went on in her own words thus: "Our Lady says that only those who have not yet come to know the love of God have fear. But we, as human beings, always talk about the future -- what, when, where will happen. But who among us present here can say for sure that we will be alive tomorrow?
"Our Lady has been teaching us that we should be ready this very moment to come before God. And in the future, God's Will will be done, and our task is to be ready for that. And I would really like to tell you not to bother yourself with the secrets, but you should worry about your soul, because Our Lady does not want our faith out of fear. She wants our faith out of our heart. And that is why... pray in order to get to know the love of God, and then you will not be afraid of anything."
Then Mirjana was asked about the "signs of the times" referred to by the Blessed Mother in her messages. She replied: " I'm so happy and glad you asked that question, because those messages are telling me a lot. Our Lady is addressing every single person individually.
"And now I'd really like to recommend you to take those messages from your guide in English and go to a quiet place where you will be alone to pray, and to try to understand through prayer what God is telling you through those words - because your 'signs of the times' could be completely different from mine. That is why I am not authorized or have the right to tell you the way I understand. You have to understand that through your own prayer on your own. It is definitely important because Our Lady mentioned it on March 18 and April 2 (2006) as well."
Mirjana said, however, that "When Our Lady gives me a message Our Lady does not explain that message to me. Same as everybody else, I have to pray so that through this prayer I can realize what God wants to tell me." (More in the next column)