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MAILBAG: VIEWERS REPORT UNUSUAL HAPPENINGS AND MESSAGES FROM THEIR DECEASED RELATIVES
Several weeks ago, we ran an article on a new, credible, sober book that recounts cases in which deceased relatives seemed to send signs, materialize in dreams, or in some cases even appear in an effort to comfort or send a message.
That's the common thread -- helping those alive or seeking prayers for their own souls (when, it seems, they are in purgatory).
The consistency is astonishing.
In our mailbag are many cases like those presented so adeptly in the book, Whispers of God's Love (by Mitch Finley).
Famed monk Thomas Merton encountered an apparition, as have many saints; St. Thomas Aquinas reported a transcendental near-death experience. But we are never to initiate -- or obsess -- over such contact.
Nor are we to consult mediums (the sin of necromancy).
But does it happen spontaneously?
"A few days after my mom died, I awakened and, yes, I was awake, and went into the living room," says a typical e-mailer, Theresa Finck, from Oklahoma. "Mom was sitting in her regular chair but was young and beautiful. Standing behind her were her parents. She told me to never be afraid to die because God is our Father and when we appear before Him He reviews events and asks why we did what we did. She said to never be afraid of Him -- that the love in Heaven is unbelievable. All of a sudden Saint Thérèse appeared and motioned to mom and mom said she had to go -- since Thérèse is her heavenly guide. Then she was gone. Point of interest: my mother and I were both named after Thérèse."
Sometimes, the souls that manifest are in purgatory; sometimes, they have made it to Heaven; on occasion they appear to be on a "threshold" of some kind (almost ready to enter paradise).
"My mom passed away in 1985 from cancer," testifies Eric H. Johnsen, a systems analyst from Metairie, Louisiana. "We were very close and after she died, I prayed for her often. I wondered about my prayers and what effect they were having on her and where she was: purgatory, or Heaven.
"I was dreaming but not really dreaming one time -- I was almost awake -- and at a restaurant sitting on a high stool at a bar-type table. In the dream my mom walked up to where I was and pulled up a stool. It took me a moment to realize what was going on and once I did, I called out, 'Mom, how are you? Where are you?' She looked right at me and said, 'I am in the mist just outside Heaven’s Gate.'"
And when the deceased come to foretell or warn?
"My experience was in July of 2000," wrote Dr. Michal Gostkowski, DO. "I was working for a Catholic retreat center. I was at the retreat center with a group staying the night and I was sleeping in my room. Around five a.m. that Sunday, I woke up and felt the essence of my grandmother. I didn't see her, but I heard her clearly say to me in Polish: 'Loved one, you will grieve very much soon.' It seemed very strange.
"I was finishing my first year in medical school. The words she said seemed to have a real seriousness. Later that day I mentioned it to my mother and she said she had the same message from her mother as well. We figured it would be my maternal grandfather who was in his middle 80s.
"But one week later, my uncle -- who is a Catholic priest -- suffered a severe brain injury with coma while on vacation, which ultimately lead him to live with my parents. I was very close with my uncle, who also was my Godfather. And I believe that my grandmother came to prepare me for his injury and the effect it would have on my life. His brain injury lead to an interest in neurology which is my specialty training as a physician."
When she was dating her future husband Amy C. Cara of San Juan Capistrano, California, recalls how she was staying in the guest room at his mother's home -- in bed -- when a woman appeared to her.
"She was floating above my bed in a white, flowing dress," Amy says. "There was a lot of light. She didn't move her lips. She spoke to me from her heart. And I heard: 'It is good that you are with my brother.' I believed this to be my husband's sister and that she was telling me it was good that I was with her brother."
As it so happened, the sister had died in 1983; the guest room where Amy was staying had been her room. And when Amy told her husband about it years later, he said he had always sought his sister's approval for girls he would date -- all of whom she had disapproved, until Amy!
The communication is most often succinct and economic, with every word indelible and full of meaning (whether heard in the mind or the ear or during a dream).
Often, the communications are nearly mischievous. Certainly, mysterious. But always leaving room for faith.
"In 2001, my mother-in-law Charlotte was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer," says Karl Mainig of Gilbert, Arizona. "She passed away on January 15, 2002 -- just a mere 15 days passed her 66th birthday and two days before my wife Jennifer's birthday.
"Jennifer has a deep and profound love for her mother and when her mother passed she struggled and still does today. Also, my youngest son Zach was very close to his grandmother and was deeply affected by her passing.
"Christmas 2002, I decided to buy cell phones for my family -- four in all, each family member having their own phone line," Karl explains. "The following January, the family was celebrating my wife's birthday. We had all just gathered to sing 'happy birthday' and eat cake.
"After my wife blew out the candles, she received a message on her phone.
"On the front screen of the flip phone a message read 'To Jennifer' and there was a box image with a bow wrapped around it -- resembling a gift box or present. When she opened her phone to see who sent the message, the screen was blank.
"The phone had no record of the message.
"We thought that maybe the cell phone carrier knew it was her birthday and sent her the message, but we couldn't figure out how they knew which phone to send the message to (they were all registered in my name and there was no way they would have known what number was given to each family member).
"A month later, we were celebrating my son Zachary's birthday and in the same scenario, family and friends gathered to sing and have cake, and my son received a message on his phone identical to the one my wife received, reading 'To Zach' and the image of the gift box. When checking to see who sent the message, again there was no record of who sent the message!
"After researching a bit further, we found there was no functionality in the phone to create this type of message and send it to another individual and when talking to the phone carrier, they had no explanation. We all came to the same conclusion that it was Charlotte letting both my wife and Zach know that she was watching over them and was there to celebrate their special day."
Family members. So often family members. It is said they greet us upon our own deaths.
And what of pets?
"My beloved dog Zack died of cancer in January, 2004," penned a viewer named Ellen from Matthew, North Carolina. "His previous owners had abused him, so he didn't like to be touched on his head. When he got sick, he started sidling up to the couch where I was sitting, leaning against me for a comforting touch, and then would walk away.
"Two weeks after he died, I came home from work early due to illness and rested on the couch. Somewhere in between that time of awake and sleep, I saw Zack coming toward me. There was a liquidity to his appearance.
"He sidled up to the couch so I could pet him for the last time. Then he walked away and was gone. I believe the Lord let Zack come back to let me know he was okay and to also comfort others with this story. God is so good!"
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