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The Flip Side of Heaven is for Real

April 14, AD2014 30 Comments

I’m not one of those twelve million readers who bought the book Heaven is For Real and torpedoed it to the New York Times\’ Bestseller List. But I did check it out from the library and enjoyed both the story and the accounts of heaven.  “Heaven is for real” is, in fact, only one among the many testimonies of  near death experiences I’ve heard about from both Christians and non-Christians.   With some suspect exceptions, most of the descriptions of heaven are fascinating and inspire me to work hard to aim for the ultimate prize.  But that’s just the good news.

On the flip side, I’ve come across near death testimonies of Catholics about the reality of sin and the judgment we face when we die with mortal sin.  These testimonies impacted my life more than Todd and Colton Burpo’s story.  I list them below, not with the intention of convincing you, or debating with you on the truth or falsity of the testimonies.  I offer the perspective of Catholics who have had a similar near death experience, because they helped me understand that since we have been given so much through the Church, more will be expected of us on our particular judgment.

Heaven is real, and from what I’ve heard it’s astounding. But in order to get there, we are also challenged to sanctify our souls and get an ego check in this life.

1. Fr. Steven Sheiers was interviewed by Mother Angelica on his near death experience.  After dying in a car accident, he returned to life and testified that he heard a conversation between Jesus and his mother.  Fr. Scheiers was judged not worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because he had been a priest for himself .  However, Our Lady interceded on his behalf.  She requested that he be given more years on earth and more graces to remedy his life. In the end, Jesus told Mary, “Mother, he’s all yours.”  The video is available on YouTube.

2. Gloria Polo was a Catholic dentist living in Columbia when she was struck and burned by lightning.  During her injury, she was placed on the judgment seat, so to speak, and given insights on how the choices of her life almost led her to the abyss.  Her book details how Divine Justice views chastity, purity, contraception and abortion among other moral issues.  Dr. Polo struggled with materialism, a critical attitude and indifference to motherhood, but after her full recovery, she transformed her life.  Her testimony is also available on YouTube.  She has a free book online and an e-book Standing before God: The Judgment is for sale on Amazon.

3. Marino Restrepo was a Hollywood actor who was kidnapped by the rebels of the FARC (Revolutionary Arm Forces of Columbia) and held captive for six months.  During his ordeal, Marino testifies to a mystical experience similar to a near death experience where he faced Jesus unworthily with all his sins of impurity, selfishness, and new age beliefs.  He was also given a life review where he was showed how a brief compassionate act in his childhood meant the world to Jesus.  After Mr. Restrepo’s release, he immediately went to Confession, returned to the Catholic Church and reformed his life.  He has spoken to bishops and dioceses on invitation and his testimony is available on YouTube.  Mr. Restrepo’s book From Darkness into the Light is on Amazon.

If you liked Heaven is for Real, you will learn more from these Catholic witnesses. The links to the suggested videos and books mentioned are available on my blog.

© 2014. Anabelle Hazard. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Anabelle Hazard is a practicing Catholic, non-practicing attorney, happy homeschooler, penniless novelist (of Catholic novels “Sand and Water” & “Fireflies Dance”), and long-winded blogger at Written By the Finger of God.

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  • Bonnie Engstrom

    Wow! I’ve never thought about this flip side before. Thank you for sharing these stories – this is definitely some good food for thought.
    And now I’d like to go to confession!

    • Anabelle Hazard

      Thank you Bonnie. I go to confession everytime I read one of these testimonies.

    • Niall McCormack

      I must go to confession very soon. We have to be careful with our souls.

    • Mary Margaret

      Mary Margaret
      What we ALL need to do is start PRAYING for one another, TODAY!
      That we all may be found WORTHTY of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!
      You and I could be taken suddenly. We need to be ready. There is the spirit of truth infused in all of us. If we search our conscience (if well formed), we know when we are not right with OUR GOD. REPENT and pray for me as I will pray for all of you and if and when we do come into HIS Kingdom, we will have a very long conversation about everything that we knew and didn’t know here in this fallen world. May God help, bless and protect us all from all the wiles of the enemy. ARCHANGEL MICHAEL PRAY FOR US!

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  • http://www.bringustolife.blogspot.com/ Scott Woltze

    Another good read is the “Letter from Beyond” authorized by the German diocese of Treves. A young nun recorded her conversation with a deceased, young female friend who explains why she was damned. The young woman wasn’t particularly evil, but she was selfish and had no place in her heart for God or other people.

    • Niall McCormack

      I have read that. Very frightening. I believe it is true. It sounds accurate.

  • bill b

    I believe no.3… not the others. 3 was non obsessed.

    • JohnnyVoxx

      What do you mean by non-obsessed?

  • David Peters

    Excellent article Anabelle. We don’t often like to hear about the flip side but we need to! Thanks for the encouragement. God bless.

    • Anabelle Hazard

      Thank you David. God bless and have a blessed Holy Week

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  • Tobesograteful

    GOD is not a Catholic—HE is far bigger than any religion or belief, that is why people’s near death experiences are vastly different! It doesn’t mean any of them are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong,’ it is the experience that GOD wanted them to have at the time.

    • JohnnyVoxx

      His Church is.

    • Gallibus

      Truly, one can’t become more Catholic than Jesus Christ.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      THAT’S the silliest thing I’ve read on this blog today.

    • Gallibus

      Jesus Christ, second person of the Trinity of God, is the head of the Catholic Church – can you get more Catholic than that? The Catholic or universal Church is the one He instituted on earth. The Pope is his representative or Vicar on earth. If you don’t know that then you are simply uninformed. Start with the Bible and then read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Sorry, Gallibus, but you are DEFINITELY “barking up the wrong tree ” as far as I’m concerned. (1): Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Head of ALL Christians, whatever designation they give themselves. The Scriptures do not divide God blood-bought into various “-isms”; that’s man’s doings. (2): the true “universal”Church has only one Vicar, the Holy Spirit. I unequivocally, and without apology, reject the bogus, contrived, man-constructed, pseudo-theological spin the so-called roman catholic church has put on Matthew 16 : 18, 19 [ among other verses], a spin that has trapped untold millions of souls throughout the millennia in what I regard as a sort of bizarre, quasi – religious ” Stockholm Syndrome ” to the point that like you, they simply echo the party line of their ecclesiastical masters, having long ago…”willingly submitted their wills and intellects”…to their captors the so-called”magisterium”, the collective body that comprises these masters.So, don’t kid yourself into thinking I don’t know the history of roman catholicism Gallibus; I know it only too well.Do you want to know what put the final nail in the roman catholic church’s”coffin” for me, Gallibus? The papal bull (an apt description! ) “Dum Diversas”. I’ll give you a clue : I’m African-American. So…look up the provenance of this bull, connect the dots, and get back to me, O.K?

    • Gallibus

      I will look it up but right now I don’t see the connection between being African-American and your feelings of antipathy towards Jesus’ Church. The do-it-my-way churches can’t agree on anything Bull or no bull.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Wow, Gallibus! Your reply doesn’t leave me with much confidence that you will be able to connect the dots with the bull Dum Diversas and my ancestry, but give it a try, and if all else fails, I’ll make it for you. As for the other, since I am a born-again, blood-bought child of JESUS’ Church, I have no antipathy towards my fellow Christians, none whatsoever. What I have absolutely no use for (and I’ll say again) is the bogus, contrived, man-constructed institution that calls itself the so-called roman catholic church. I can’t make it no plainer: No matter how many times YOU and your catholic co-religionists claim that Jesus Christ “founded”your man-centered religion, I REJECT THAT CLAIM, PERIOD.I have been a born-again, blood-bought child of Almighty God through Christ Jesus My Lord for 38 years,since I was 22 years old (I’m 60), and I assure you, your institution had NO part in making me so.As I said, I have studied roman catholicism for over 25 years, and I’ve seen nothing to recommend it; your own history testifies against you in ways you CANNOT overcome, you lofty claims notwithstanding.(Dum Diversas will show you that.) So…try again, and get back to me.

    • Gallibus

      Hi Laurence – I am wondering HOW you studied the RC Church – were you looking AT it or IN it? Because the evidence is against you. Check out a few of the articles on http://www.catholicbooksanddevotions.com because Jesus and His Mother don’t have your particular bias. May God bless you abundantly and bring you to His Truth. Oh, there are many paths to God but they all end up in Him and in His Truth.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      “God reigns and we should follow Him and Him alone”.Gallibus, that is the first thing you’ve said that has made any sense so far.(no offense.) I clicked on the link you directed me to, but I didn’t see any books, but I’ll try again later. Truth be told though, I don’t foresee anyone persuading me to embrace catholicism; I have embraced, and been embraced by the Lord and Saviour of my life, I don’t see the point of the empty rites, rituals, and ceremonies attendant upon any given”-isms”, so…there it is. I have already told you some of my conversion testimony, so we will have to leave it at that. I think when all is said and done it all boils down to two things: Authority and interpretations, and you and I will never see eye-to-eye from our perspective standpoints.I don’t know how much time you actually spent perusing the bull Dum Diversas, but I assure you, NOTHING will EVER make up for the Holocaust visited upon my ancestors, and frankly for you to imply that I am a Christian because of it is both insulting and asinine, but oddly enough I understand your sadly profound ignorance. I suppose you catholics really do think that you are in charge of God; at least that’s what that madman Boniface VIII believed when he wrote the bull Unam Sanctum. At any rate, I don’t really know if there is any point in carrying this line of thought any further; let’s just agree to disagree and may you be blessed with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!!–God bless!

  • sharon Freeman

    Marino has been a guest speaker at our Marian conference in Winnipeg three times now..If you would like to get any of the talks he gave on heaven Hell and purgatory or his testimony please call us 204 268-2046. Also if you are interested in attending our Marian Conference this Aug here is the website http://www.marianconference.com God Bless, Sharon

  • David Green

    most people ,evan athiest end up in heaven in NDE that i have studied. Also people of different faiths do as well , so what gives? The hell experience is almost non existent!

    • Gallibus

      Yet hell is where the people go that become to God ‘those that ceased to be’.

    • Smithgift

      This is selection bias. Very few people want to admit to going to hell.

    • Gallibus

      The selection process is carried out on earth – the judgement is given upon death – eternity is the ultimate apartheid – nothing imperfect shall ever enter Heaven – God’s eternal home.

  • Niall McCormack

    Thank you very much Anabelle. I must buy that book. I look forward to reading it.

  • RecoveringFeminist

    I was one of those who gleefully proclaimed that I would have lots of company in Hell. All my sinfulness started with the contraceptive mentality in high school and spiraled down from there. I had a near-death experience in my 30s when I suffered a ruptured appendix and septic shock. By the Grace of God and His Mother and a wonderful surgeon, I was spared death and sure damnation at that time. When I was released from the hospital, I began having many nightmares that were visits to the abyss of hell. When the nurse called to check up on me, I related the horrific life-like nightmares, and she said she’d check to see if it was an after-effect of the anesthesia. The nightmares continued. She called to say that the anesthesia that was used has never reported nightmares as a side effect. That was the moment when I knew it wasn’t anesthesia but a chance to get my soul right. I crawled my way back to the Light of the Catholic Church from the black abyss of hell. When asked if I had “seen the light” when I almost died, I respond, No, I saw the black pits of hell. Rarely does the conversation continue after the inevitable shock at those words. Deo Gratias.

  • Kuma

    Jesus with us.