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The Flip Side of Heaven is for Real

April 14, AD2014 22 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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  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.