The Gift of Miracles,  Fr. Robert DeGrandis (with Linda Schubert), a book that finally addresses the miracles available to us, that have happened to others, with testimonies and pointers on unleashing the power of God. What are miracles? What are their characteristics? What are the "action steps"? Have miracles occurred in places like Medjugorje? How do we pray for them? CLICK HERE



A few years back we carried the extraordinary account of a South American man named Marino Restrepo -- a fast-lane music producer who made it through Europe to Hollywood and was immersed in a life of constant partying and worldliness until he was kidnapped for ransom. This occurred as he was held by robbers in Colombia.

Unlike many who enter into the dark charisma of rock, Marino escaped -- thanks to Heavenly intervention.

Restrepo, who is now a Catholic missionary, with an apostolate in 21 countries, started out as did so many of his era in a world of sex, drugs, hippiedom, and slavish devotion to entertainment. Born in the highlands of the Andes, he moved to Germany in his late teens, where he married and studied music before relocating to California and entering the music and film industries -- as well as debauchery. (His story is here in our archives and is also in a remarkable, can't-put-it-down book, From Darkness into the Light).

As a musician and later in the film-merchandising business, the former Colombian was to encounter "many evil characters [who] had infiltrated Hollywood as famous writers working for the most prestigious film studios, or as producers of the greatest movies ranging from Disney's productions for children to Warner Brothers' horror movies. This spirit began to grow in the 1960s when the 'love and peace' generation was born, and has grown ever since."

To recap: returning to his homeland in 1997 to share grief with his sisters (after a death in the family) -- and at the same time to party in the loose atmosphere of his homeland -- Restrepo had gone to spend Christmas at an uncle's farm in Anserma when he was abducted by former drug lords who now made their money kidnapping the wealthy and collecting ransoms.

He was held for six months -- including in a cave filled with vermin. "I was surrounded by thousands of bats," Restrepo recounted. "The floor on which I had fallen was rotten and covered with bat excrement. At the same time, thousands of bugs came out of the excrement and crawled on my clothes, biting me from head to toe. Each bite produced a different itch. Some of them felt like electric shocks; others produced big skin inflammations."

But in the midst of his captivity -- when he thought he was going to be executed -- Marino  had a mystical experience in which he saw his whole life in review, like those who have near-death experiences. It was the beginning of his powerful conversion (and further happenings of the spiritual kind). He was released months after his conversion in the cave. That occurred, he says, when the Lord came to him in an incredible Voice and showed him his entire life in a series of lucid visions.

Our original stories on him ran three years ago. Recently we caught up with with this truly anointed man (and masterful speaker) as he was ministering in Ireland, asking him a few follow-up questions. How did the Lord first arrive? Did he see angels? Does he now? Deceased loved ones? Did he have an apparition of Mary -- and any since?

Responded Marino via e-mail:

"During my mystical experience in the cave while in captivity I was placed inside a lake and I had the water up to my waist.

"I observed a great rock in front of me and I immediately knew that the Lord Jesus was going to appear to me -- I could say that even though I had already gone through my illumination of conscience a little before that same night.

"I had only heard the Voice of the Lord, but now I knew I was about to see Him and I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to look at Him due to the state of mortal sin I was in.

"It was right at that instant that I was made aware of the presence of thousands of spirits of evil that were in the lake where I was.

"Each one was related to me. I knew each personally. I was intimately in communion with them. They were my sins of 33 years.

"I understood then the seriousness of my acts committed against God. They were all present before the Lord. It was an accusation of a life time lived away from God and every action was alive -- every sin was alive, every spirit related to that sin was active in me and had a space within my heart and soul.

"I was absolutely devastated," he recalls.

"I was crushed and I felt the evil, the immense darkness over me -- like a big shadow that was enveloping my whole life like a blanket from hell.
"But on top of the rock that was in front of the lake, my guardian angel appeared. He was dressed in a pale ivory tunic, a color that seemed to be the same as his face -- as if it was part of his body.

"I knew everything he was saying (without "hearing"). It was perfect knowledge. The angel said: 'You are standing in the territory of all of your sins. You lived all your life against the commandments of God Almighty.' He stared at the spirits of evil around me and his eyes were like torches of fire.

"I was able to see his presence during my whole life and how his actions had been negated by my sinful life.

"I could also see the presence of many other angels -- those who were the guardians of my relatives, or people I hurt. I saw the spiritual warfare, throughout my life -- the struggle between them and the fallen spirits.

"So much life with them and so little awareness of it!

"It was a very sad moment: to see how so many graces had been wasted.

"It was very painful...."

In the midst of that, however, was the consolation of Mary, who appeared to Restrepo as "the most precious young woman with the most regal authority of purity and humbleness, such that I was not able to stare at her.

"I looked away towards the water of the lake. I had the same experience at first that I had with my guardian angel. I was able to understand everything she was saying to me, though  it wasn't with words.

"She was saying: you have to trust in your Lord Jesus. You have to open your heart to let him in. Accept his love and forgiveness. Jesus loves you. He forgives you. It was nearly impossible for me to accept her words. I was not accepting of the Lord's forgiveness because I was not able to forgive myself.

"She showed me instances where I received great blessings as a child during Holy Week in my home town when I was a trumpet player in my school and would play during Good Friday processions. She showed me the blessings I received while staying with a very sick relative when I was seven years -- times at home when my brothers and sisters and myself were still innocent and enveloped in beautiful light.

"Then she showed me when we lost our innocence and how dangerous it became."

In the cave, those dangers became starkly apparent. Restrepo eventually was released. Infused with knowledge from the Lord, he makes observations on everything from fallen humanity to why the devil and his evil minions attack us. There is power on every page of his book. "The Lord showed me that our present times are worse than Babylon and Sodom and Gomorrah," writes the former musician, now evangelist, who lived the life of Babylon before an experience that puts us in mind of Saul. "Everything has been justified so that we can live totally unattached to the Ten Commandments."

As for the world -- and its future -- Marino says the Lord told him it will become even more industrialized: "a Godless world centered in materialism."

"Religions are going to be a private activity that can not be  publicly exhibited and will be watched and controlled by the governments," he claims. "The true Church will live practically as in the beginning of Christianity. He told me that the conversion of Israel has to take place before Jesus will come again. 

"That conversion will happen overnight and there is going to be much confusion among the Jews. Many of them will kill each other once the conversion starts. The Lord said that the same way the Berlin Wall fell, so it will be the conversion of the Israelites. He said that the time was not very far. But I learned something about His time: It has absolutely nothing to do with human time at all."

As for Christians, says Marino: 
"Many will fall away from the faith within the next years. The Lord is cleaning up the house. A lot of dirt is going to be uncovered. All that was hidden is going to come to light. Many will lose their faith. Our Church may become smaller, but it will become a Church of real believers. The times we are facing will not be possible to endure without a faith that is radically centered [as with the apostles; praise God!] in perfect obedience."

[resources: From Darkness to Light and The Other Side]

[video: short Restrepo testimony]

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