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By Michael H. Brown

Do you see yourself as you really are? Or have you been viewing yourself through the eyes of others? It's an important question we must constantly address, for a key to the best eternity is entering it as you truly are.

Pray to see with the eyes of Heaven. And think of what this means. Pray to see with the eyes -- and Light -- of God. Mary did.

Especially, pray to see who you really are in His Eyes and what He created you for.

Pray to be in touch with your real self.

This is one subject, God willing, of our retreats this fall -- which we have announced for Cincinnati next month and are now announcing for South Florida (in October) and Nevada (in November): this concept of illumination.

We're living in a time when many speak of such.

There are those who have experienced a sudden enlightenment of conscience at shrines. There are those who have been illuminated during prayer -- seeing their whole lives as they never have. Send us your experiences. There are those who talk of events that will come to clear the air. In near-death episodes, they speak of how at death we see our entire lives in a flash (through God's Light). In society, we are seeing the clear battle between good and evil -- as we never have. God is "illuminating."

Is a veil lifting?

In certain ways, almost certainly yes. It is a time of enlightenment. Would you like to see the ramifications of every decision you have made -- on a cosmic scale? Would you like to know how you stand with God?

Daunting as that may seem, you can do that through prayer (especially the Eucharist; see how it lit St. Clare) and it is crucial if we are seeking direct entry into Heaven.

While on earth, our vision is obscured -- and it is especially obscured when we sin or fall into obsessions of the world.

Worldliness kills self-perception.

So does pride: where the truth sets us free, pride declares the truth as an insult.

Look at the seven capital sins and you'll see a list of those courses of life that distort or even block your view. When we act in a way that is not in accord with God's Will, we put brick upon brick on a wall that separates us from Him -- and from our true selves. I can't emphasize this enough.

If you are restless, if you can't attain peace, if joy is elusive, ask God to reveal who He made you to be and what He wanted you to do when in His love He formed you.

The Blessed Mother once reminded a seer that before God made the world He knew each one of us. He Himself named us before He created the world. The idea of you was so beautiful to God that He felt He had to make you, goes the saying. He needed you for His design. If you want to know who you are, ponder the Bible meaning (if there is one) of your name.

Upon death, said one seer (in the words of interviewer Jan Connell), the soul is "given the 'light' to see its whole life, from the moment it is breathed out of the Heart of God into its mother's womb until the moment when its freedom of choice is ended at biological death."

In such a light, said the visionary, "a soul can see the fruit of every choice and decision the soul has ever made. She says at that moment, the soul knows where it belongs." If not ready for direct entry into Heaven, it was said, allegedly, "the soul gratefully accepts purgatory, a place of some sort of reparation. Here a soul must wait until someone else among the people still on earth corrects, through God's graciousness, all the deliberate violations that soul has caused to God's loving plan for the universe and His beloved children who interacted, in His Plan, with that soul."

We have often spoken of the "life review." This is a deeper aspect:

Praying now to correct wrong choices is essential -- and takes that Light, which comes with prayer and especially Mass. The Blessed Mother can help us! It is a special week to ask for her help.

After death, we will understand every reason for everything we did in life. We will lose all pretense. There will be a self-illumination. We will not be able to put on "airs." We will also understand the impact we had on others. Joy will come when we look back at times we have loved.

In eternity, robes are worn that often reflect the inward spirituality -- or so we are told from a myriad of near-death experiences and alleged apparitions. Inner darkness sullies a robe. Murkiness will cause a smudge. Love causes it to be radiant white. Pride is a ton of bricks!

In eternity, we will wear who we actually are. It will be reflected by our surroundings.

There are no secrets in eternity, and so it is good, already, every day, and now, to prepare for where we will be forever. You do this by being always totally honest with yourself, which means praying for enlightenment to the Holy Spirit.

Forget about airs. Go to Confession. Cover up nothing. Repent for wrong choices. Especially, don't keep secrets from yourself. In the spirit world, you will be transparent; be transparent now. In the spirit a light will shine into the deepest part of your soul. Let it shine there now.

And let nothing discourage you. God knows you better than you know yourself, and loves all equally!

Who are you? Do you know? Have you prayed to "self-illuminate"? The Blessed Mother knows who you are. Ask her. The Lord knows. Ask Him for His Spirit of Enlightenment.

This is a lesson for our time: how to prepare for the eternal by reviewing our lives now and going with God through an illumination of conscience, so that He does not have to do it for us.

[resources: Ohio retreat, Michael Brown, September 20 and South Florida retreat, Michael H. Brown, October 11]

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