HEAVEN'S call for each one's conversion has so taken the tone of emergency that I frequently dwell upon, as has the Church over the centuries, a most important doctrine: the afterlife, that last part of the Credo declaring "life everlasting. Amen."
Faith that we continue to exist after death, in another plane determined by how we had lived as earthlings, should make anyone ponder whether the highest ambitions are in new cars, palatial homes, TikTok fame, political power, etc. Or even just plain providing abundantly for one's children so that past one's death, they'd also live on surrounded by what had been amassed, for them not only to savor and consume, but to use to gather some more in a chain of earthly pursuits whose meaning, however, is totally sundered in each family member who dies.
The need to believe in life after death being in my mind, I am sharing excerpts from the diary of Garabandal, Spain visionary Conchita Gonzalez, one of the four girls to whom the Blessed Mother appeared hundreds of times in the 1960s.
But before this, let me first share an observation posted by Garabandal disciple Glenn Hudson, a close friend of some of the visionaries over the years and who maintains a Facebook group called The Miracles of Garabandal which I am recommending to all, especially in these times that indicate the fulfillment of the Garabandal prophecies.
Mr. Glenn noted: "Yes, there are many known and unknown, Popes, Saints & Blessed's, and Church leaders who believed (in the Garabandal apparitions). I can’t think of another apparition with this resume of believers."
Then he went on to cite a long list of impressive Garabandal believers: Saint ( Padre) Pio, Saint (Pope) John Paul II, Saint (Pope) Paul VI, Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, Saint (Fr.) Jose Maria Escriva, Saint (Madre) Maravillas, Pope Benedict XVI, Venerable Marthe Robin, Venerable Fr. Ciszek, Venerable Padre Nieto, Cardinal Ottaviani (Vatican Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), Archbishop of Madrid, Casimiro Morcillo Gonzalez, Archbishop Carlos Sierra of Madrid, Spain, ArchBishop Manuel Lopez of Mexico, Bishop of Fatima Joao Venancio, etc.
And now for Conchita’s conversation with Jesus as she narrated in her diary dated July 20, 1963. (Note: I have taken the liberty to capitalize what I find to be the most significant part of the narrative. I have also dispensed with quotes, with paragraphs enclosing the observation of the author who published the diary.)
Conchita (C)- Will I go to heaven?
And He answered me:
Jesus (J) - You should love much and pray to Our Hearts.
C- When will You give me a Cross?
And He didn’t answer me.
J- 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?
And He told me:
J- 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.
And He told me:
J- 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.]
He said to me:
J- ONE NEVER DIES. (Conchita then commented later: 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 excerpts.)
So there. A very important quote from Jesus Himself: One never dies. It reminds me of what the Blessed Mother recently told a visionary: that consciousness survives earthly death and one is immediately transported to a plane with some kind of a spiritual body to face what the Catechism calls particular judgment that will determine each one's eternity: Heaven, hell or, in the meantime, Purgatory.
Recent messages from Heaven being conveyed to believable Catholic mystics have a common lament: so many on earth needs conversion. I suppose this lament is better understood when one reads Thomas a' Kempis, rather his old fashioned booklet The Imitation of Christ which is an upside-down version of the modern world. Yes, suffering can be ideal and many forms of materialism are unheavenly- which is what modern times would likely find insane.
But consider what our Blessed Mother said in Garabandal on October 18, 1961: "We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. "
Recall, too, that in 1945 Jesus told Sister Lucia, the seer of Fatima, thus: "The sacrifice and penance I now seek and require is the fulfillment of your state in life and the observance of my laws."
And let me add what St. Padre Pio said: "If you knew the value of suffering, you wouldn't give it up."
Thus, in the face of the pandemic and the tribulations yet to come as prophesied, hardships can be transformed into offerings, into prayers for favors or as amendments for sins, ours and of the rest of humanity, especially in our times. Catholics are specially tasked in this light, because we have in our disposition powerful instrumentalities, such as the Holy Rosary, that can bestow graces on all, including pagans, and even ease tribulations.
Conversion must set eyes on the brevity of being earthlings, and the eternity of what comes after, for ourselves and our beloved family, hopefully in blissful life everlasting. Amen.