When A Virginia Woman 'Died', The Lesson Was In Reality Of An Obscure Scapular
A Virginia woman says she has experienced three brushes with death and that both Jesus and the Blessed Mother, as well as the Green Scapular, figure into the "near-death" experiences.
The woman, Chiemi Lynn Haman, a Catholic convert, asserts in a book that her first occurred during college in 1986 and her second in 1990 after undergoing exploratory surgery.
On the way to that operation in Fairfax, says Miss Haman, she heard a woman's voice say, "Turn around and get your scapular." Chiemi, who had been given one during Catholic schooling -- but like so many had since strayed -- returned to retrieve the old sacramental, a green version, and drove back to the clinic, where, as it happens, she nearly died from a reaction to sodium pentathol, an anesthetic that is now outlawed.
As always, we can not vouch for every aspect of such a case. It is reported for your discernment. The cases do bear remarkable similarities.
As she faded from consciousness, recounts the woman, she saw black with stars. "Suddenly the stars all accumulated together into a tunnel of light, with the stars whizzing by me and I was staring intently, quite alive, at the center of this tunnel of light," she writes in Walk of Faith. "I thought, 'Where am I going?' Suddenly, from the center of this brilliant light appeared an image, which was moving closer and closer to me. 'What is that?' I thought as I strained to see. When the image reached within an inch of my eyes, I realized that it was the very same image of the Virgin Mary on the Holy Scapular that I was wearing! At the same time I felt a shot go into my arm, and slowly my hearing came back. I realized I had been hooked up to a heart machine, for I could hear my heart slowly start to beat again. Then, I felt the air around me, and realized that I was lying down on a stretcher."
Chiemi had "died" from the reaction, the doctor told her, but they had revived her with a shot of adrenaline. "Upon reflection, I realized that it was Holy Mary who had spoken to me on the way to the operation, and that it was she (and God, of course, for Holy Mary never does anything without God), who had given me a message of the afterlife, and given me a message to think of the afterlife."
And so it is food for all of our thoughts. Often we report on "near-death" experiences, and often such experiences challenge us to discernment. Are all the angels good ones? Are all the experiences really transcendental? We are cautious with them because, like other alleged mystical revelations, there is often a mix: both authentic spiritual experiences and deception that on occasion has swayed those who return into a new age-style spin on what they have experienced, if indeed it was not a deception to start with.
We must always be cautious and take from such accounts what is good and what rests comfortably with our spirits. It was after Chiemi's first brush with death, during college drug use, that she encountered a backward motion to what she describes as hell, an experience that had led her to urgently seek baptism. She describes a muddy atmosphere. Chiemi's third brush with death -- and another encounter with the tunnel -- came during a car accident in Reston Town Center -- when she says she saw Jesus, Who would then appear to her in subsequent years as the Sacred Heart, and, allegedly, still does.
Again, we urge discernment. But we take from it some lessons. One, says Chiemi, is to pray slowly, from the heart -- a message we also hear from such places as Medjugorje. When we pray with the heart, says Chiemi, such a prayer "will become as gold in the Father's eyes."
When we are making a sacrifice, she says, we should never focus on ourselves but rather on whomever it is we are sacrificing for. More gold in that. She came back with a message that we must receive Communion in the most "relational" way.
And as we have previously reported, there is the lesson of the Green Scapular -- more obscure than the famous brown version, but perhaps no less powerful.
It's a sacramental that has been approved by a Pope and the revelation leading up to it arrived during a vision to a nun named Justine Bisqueyburu in the same novitiate as the one where St. Catherine Laboure received the famous Miraculous Medal apparitions.
"On January 28, 1840, during her first retreat, the young sister was favored with a celestial vision," notes a history of the Green Scapular. "Our Lady appeared to [Justine Bisqueyburu] clothed in a long white robe over which hung a bright blue mantle. In her hands she held her Heart, from the top of which issued brilliant rays. The same apparition was repeated four or five times during her novitiate. This favor seemed to have no other end than to increase in the sister herself tender devotion to Mary Immaculate."
But it was bigger than that. It was meant, apparently, for the world. The following September 8, on Mary's official birthday, Justine -- now clothed as a nun -- was favored by an actual eyes-open apparition.
It was the Blessed Mother again, and in her right hand was her Heart surrounded by flames -- while her left held a scapular consisting of a single piece of green cloth suspended from a cord of the same color.
Striking it is how the promises so long ago -- and unknown to Chiemi -- tied in to the Virginia woman's later near-death experience.
"On one side was a picture of the Blessed Virgin as she had shown herself in the apparitions; on the other, a Heart all inflamed with rays more brilliant than the sun, and clearer than crystal," notes one website devoted to the scapular. "This heart pierced with a sword was surrounded by an oval inscription, surmounted by a cross. The inscription read: 'Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.' At the same time an interior voice revealed to the Sister the meaning of this vision. She understood that this new scapular, through the medium of the Sisters of Charity, would contribute to the conversion of those who have no faith, and above all, procure for them a happy death, and that it should be distributed with confidence. As the scapular was distributed, wonderful conversions and some bodily cures were produced."
[see also: Revelation of Green Scapular]
Return to Spiritdaily.com