Our Memories of Sister Lucia, by Sister Maria Celina de Jesus Crucificado, the recollections of the cloistered nuns at Coimbra of their famous colleague, Fatima seer Lucia dos Santos, with fresh insights and details about her life and an in-depth description of her final years, especially the last days she spent on earth -- how she handled her impending end, what occurred medically, and how in the end this sure-for-sainthood nun passed on.  click here 



Next week, we'll be carrying an article on a fellow who says he saw a battle between an angel and an evil spirit during a near-death experience.

He's a Protestant, and like a number of other non-Catholics who've had this experience, he encountered something that he interpreted as "hell" but may have been deepest purgatory. He saw it as an outer darkness. He felt an approach to a fiery region, in addition to a very dark place -- so dark you could feel the blackness -- and he came to the conclusion that there are "two hells," divided by a "chasm." This brings to the fore the mystery of "the bosom of Abraham."

The man, Shawn Weed, a Marine from Louisiana, states his case on YouTube -- an amazingly detailed account of what he saw (during eight minutes of "death," after strangulation while pulling a practical prank with a noose around his neck): the sobering journey toward one place that was doubtless hell as most people associate hell (with fire and brimstone, along with the demonic) and the second locale, across a divide, where he first found himself, that was not quite Heaven but that he depicts as substantially better than the fiery area.

He described it as two parallel planes that stretched on forever.

Recall Luke 16:20-26:

"And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’"

Recall that Abraham said, "Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us."

Is "Hades" also what we know of as hell and "Abraham's bosom" the place of purgation? The Bosom of Abraham was initially looked upon, it seems, as a place of imperfect happiness, later associated with an intermediate state of Heaven. Augustine of Hippo referred to the righteous dead who awaited Judgment Day, but there is confusion over whether this was a part of "Hades" or separate. Tertullian, on the other hand, described Abraham's Bosom as that section of Hades in which the righteous dead await the day of the Lord. "'Bosom of Abraham' refers to the place of comfort in sheol (Greek: hades) where the Jews said the righteous dead awaited Judgment Day," notes the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia (which must be dealt with cautiously but often has valuable research).

"The fiery part of Hades (Hebrew Sheol) is distinguished from the separate Old Testament, New Testament and Mishnah concept of Gehenna (Hebrew Hinnom), which is generally connected with the Last Judgment. Matthew 5:29–3018:9ff, Mark 9:42."

Orthodox believe the Bosom of Abraham is separate from Heaven.

We'll all find out one day!

Some believe it to be a part of hell, but better than hell. Others a part of Heaven, but more a foyer or place of preparation or an entrance.

Sounds like purgatory.

More on this when we explore Weed's actual experience.

[Note also: Michael Brown retreats: Connecticut! and Announcing two retreats in California]

[ Afterlife books and Michael Brown's books]

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