IF ONLY I could find reason to encourage nothing but "positivity" in daily life so that the reality of suffering can be eased, even erased...but no. The virus epidemic is real and it is interplaying with assorted things with strings being played by no less, it seems, than the devil himself. And we find ourselves inevitably somewhere in the maelstrom.
Catholic mystics tell us that someday, after these times of apocalyptic tribulations, there will be a period wherein the earth would be literally heavenly but then the end of the world would still come and leave us with only two destinations; Heaven and hell.
In the meantime, we are to believe that when Jesus Christ said "Come, follow Me," He was referring to the Way of the Cross, not the way that billionaires are known to live the most luxurious of lives. Why, in some of her apparitions, the Blessed Mother never ever promised a life of earthly fame and wealth to seers. In Lourdes, the Blessed Mother told St. Bernadette: " I do not promise you happiness in this world but in the next.”
So some could be confused over appeals from no less than Jesus and the Blessed Mother asking us not to fear and be at peace while being told to follow the way of the cross. For Christians, however, this could only mean that bearing our crosses on earth can be done calmly and courageously. Although admittedly not always easy.
It helps, however, to think of our basic belief in the afterlife- in the reality of an everlasting Heaven. I have already shared in this space the experiences of some of the Medjugorje visionaries as they related what they saw in Heaven when the Blessed Mother physically took them there for some minutes.
But I am sharing more, this time from the Facebook group Apparitions in Garabandal, administered by Glenn Hudson who is a friend of visionary Conchita Gonzalez. Mr. Hudson cited the publication Memoirs of a Spanish Country Priest which contained an interview with Conchita regarding her locution with Jesus Christ on the subject of Heaven on July 20, 1963. (In parenthesis are comments from the publication's author.)
"Conchita (C)- Will I go to heaven?
"And He answered me:
"Jesus - You should love much and pray to Our Hearts.
"C- What will I be? [This is another of Conchita’s worries — her destiny. That is, to discern the designs God has for her life. For a while now, she has been questioning whether she has a religious vocation, and she frequently asks the apparition about it, but—according to her own words—the Virgin has never responded in the affirmative.
"In the same way, during this locution, Our Lord keeps his silence when asked the question “What will I be?” Conchita has always received confirmation of her suffering and of the cross, wherever she is.]
"He didn’t answer me. He only told me that everywhere that I would be, I would have much to suffer. I said to Him:
"C- Am I going to die soon?
"Jesus- You have to stay on earth to help the world. [This seems to be a clear announcement of a “concrete” vocation; it is a call to live in the world and not in a convent].
And I said to Him:
"C- I am very small. I couldn’t help in anything.
"Jesus- With your prayers and sufferings, you will help the world.
"C- When does one go to heaven? When one dies? [This question seems rather childish. Conchita’s lack of education makes some of her questions seem simple, as though they don’t correspond to her age. In contrast, the response is profoundly astonishing.]
"Jesus- One never dies. (I thought that we didn’t go to heaven until we were resurrected).
"C- I asked Him if St. Peter was at the gate of heaven to receive us. He told me 'no'.” (End of quote.)
On July 25, 2000, in one of her apparitions in Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother also reminded us of Heaven. She said: “Dear children! Do not forget that you are here on earth on the way to eternity and that your home is in Heaven. That is why, little children, be open to God’s love and leave egoism and sin. May your joy be only in discovering God in daily prayer. That is why make good use of this time and pray, pray, pray; and God is near to you in prayer and through prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call." (End of quote.)
In his locution to mystic Luz de Maria de Bonilla on February 16, 2021, Our Lord Jesus explained His way thus (excerpts) :
"My way is not a way of pain, but of expiation, of self-giving, of growth, of giving up saying 'I am', 'I want', 'I, I'... My way leads you towards My love, My devotion, My sacrifice, My self-giving, so that My peace, solidarity, serenity and forgiveness would abound within you. Beloved people, My People, each person is special before Me, therefore, everyone is a pearl that is precious and of infinite value, which is why you should love one another as brothers and sisters, reproducing My Love out of which I gave Myself on the Cross.
"...The enemy of the soul has managed to penetrate all areas of humanity; he has infiltrated My Church in order to lead you away from true Tradition, away from the infinite Mystery of My Self-Sacrifice for the Redemption of the world...
"I call you to stay by Me: praying, fasting, bringing charity to your brothers and sisters.
I call you to the penance that tells you to fulfill My Will and not your own. I call you to be charity, not with what is superfluous, but what is needed and is most fruitful. I invite you to pray with true repentance for the wretchedness that you are carrying within you.
"I command you not to look at yourselves, but at your brothers and sisters, and to see Me in them. I command you to pray with tears born from the pain of having offended Me and of continuing to offend Me.
"Look at yourselves, children: you are not shining stars... you are not a true witness to Me... you are not true disciples of My Mother... Enough now, My People! Time is passing, and with it, purification is growing fiercer, more painful, more constant, so that you would strengthen your faith and so that My People, My little remnant, would be steadfast. The earth continues to shake constantly; the plague is progressing, and evil joyfully welcomes it in order to take measures against those who are Mine.
"My People, beloved children: I am with you; My Mother will not forsake you....Come to Me, come to Me! Invoke Saint Michael the Archangel, the Celestial Legions, being witnesses to My Love and true children of My Mother. ... "