Homework: Read links provided.
We went over some cool and scary stuff last Sunday. No, we’re not preparing for Halloween. In class, we focused on perhaps the most important things you might ever reflect on in your life, and that is, the life after this one.
We began by reading about Chiara Badano. Chiara was a contemporary of your parents and I. That is to say, she is about from our same generation. Take a look at her picture. She looks like she could have been one of your classmates in Marshall or Waterloo! Nice girl. Poor student. Suffered horribly, yet cheerfully. She died at the age of 18. She was remarkably average, and yet, is on her way to becoming declared a saint!
Even if you attended class, I invite you to read more about her. Why? Because the life that was lived will is worth reflecting on. It will help you on deciding what kind of a life you wish to live.
Do you know of someone who has died? Where might they be? Heaven? Hell? Purgatory? In most cases, we can never really know for certain. The surest exceptions we have is in the case of miracles. A miracle is an event that takes place on earth where both science and the Church says 100% could not have taken place by a natural means. This tells us with certainty that God intervened in a very special way. A young man was dying from a horrible disease, and his parents prayed for Chiara to intercede, or ask Jesus to save him. His recovery was immediate and miraculous. The Church uses the proof of highly scrutinized (or scientifically studied) miracles as a proof that the person who was asked to intercede is in heaven. A saint (small “s“) is someone who is in Heaven. A formally recognized Saint is someone who the Church has scrutinized and can declare to be in Heaven with absolute confidence. We are confident that perfectly average Blessed Chiara is in Heaven. With only one more miracle, she will be declared a Saint!j Not a bad accomplishment for an 18 year old!
There is a difference between our life and our existence. We worry much too much about our life, and not so much about our existence after this life. To illustrate the difference, we unraveled a very long ball of pure, white yarn. Then we cut 2 inches off the end. These 2 inches represent 100 years. Chiara’s life was cut much shorter. Snip! But her existence continues, and it continues in beauty and the greatest possible joy!
I shared a story about a man I met after he died. He was a postal worker and a father of 13 children. I shared his life after death experience with the class the best I could. You guys are pretty squirrelly. I hope you got something from it!
Even at 83 years old, Bob was a very big guy. He was taller than me, and that was even with old-age shrinkage! With the pressure that was on him, and from what I personally knew of him (as we shared about life with each other), he probably had a good number of cranky-dad moments. We’re not perfect. But instead of having a replay of his life, he experienced a sense of profound peace and love. He then heard a man’s voice. “Would you like to come to Heaven now, Robert?” “YES!!” he replied. But he heard his wife crying, and he had to come back.
Not all people who experience life-after-death share these stories – even with family. Some are concerned about being ridiculed about their very personal experience. Others may not remember what happened for months or years, and it suddenly all comes back clearly. Others have VERY BAD experiences and do not wish to share them. Not all life-after-death stories are good!!!
There are a good number of saints who were actually given visions of Hell. Ninety-nine years ago, three little children (9 years old and younger) in Fatima, Portugal, saw our Blessed Mother and were given a vision of Hell. I encourage you to watch the following video on Fatima.
Another saint, St. John (Don) Bosco, also had a vision of Hell. His experiences was very vivid and very scary. He was ordered by his superior to write them down. We began reading his experience in class but could not be finished. You are most welcome to read this account. If you are brave, you might consider reading this after your night prayers. Let me know how you did!
See you next week! We have another very cool class planned for next Sunday!