AND AMAZING GRACE
Saturday, May 2, 2015
There is a "chasm," Scripture tells us, in that account of the
rich man and the beggar Lazarus
a separation between Heaven and hell. But what about other levels?
That question takes us to an experience reported by RaNelle Wallace,
a television reporter who had a near-death journey after a horrid plane
crash in central Utah that scorched most of her body. During her
encounter with the other side, RaNelle claims, she ran into her dearly
loved grandmother, who was in a heavenly state, but also was able to see
and communicate with a friend named Jim who had been killed in a car
crash a few months before.
in a Heavenly state. Yet, because he was purifying, he was
"What about Jim?" RaNelle said she'd asked her grandmother,
little tour of the other side.
Immediately, RaNelle says she saw him in the distance, walking toward
them. (In the afterlife, questions are answered instantly.)
"I wanted to run and embrace him, but my grandmother put out her arm
and said, 'No, you cannot.' I was startled. There was a power in her words,
and I knew I couldn't oppose them. 'Why not?' I asked.
"'Because of the way he lived his life,' she said."
Jim, as it turns out, had used and sold drugs, damaging himself and
others. Yet, knowing that one day he would be whole, he was content.
"He smiled and I could feel his happiness," says RaNelle in a written
account. "Although he didn't possess the same kind of light or power
that my grandmother did, he seemed content. He gave me a message to
give to his mother, asking that I tell her to stop grieving over his death, to
let her know that he was happy and progressing. He explained that he
made certain decisions in life that had hindered his growth on earth.
had made the decisions knowing they were wrong, and now he was
willing to accept their consequences."
All for our pondering only. It does sound like a purgatorial state. But
Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory
, a Church-approved revelation
from a deceased nun, we get this: "It is beautiful in Heaven. There is a
great distance between purgatory and Heaven. We are privileged at
times to catch a glimpse of the joys of the blessed in paradise, but it is
almost a punishment. It makes us yearn to see God. In Heaven, it is
pure delight; in purgatory, profound darkness."
"I looked at my grandmother and asked why she had prevented me
from embracing him," wrote RaNelle of her presumed encounter with Jim.
"She explained that it was a part of his 'damnation.'"
In accounts of purgatory, souls suffer but are described as happy
knowing that one day they will be in Heaven.
Most important were the lessons RaNelle learned about life on earth
from -- allegedly -- her grandmother, who said, "We grow by the force
of our desires to learn, to love, to accept things by faith that we cannot
prove. Our ability to accept truth, to live by it, governs our progress
in the spirit, and it determines the degree of light we possess. Nobody
forces light and truth upon us, and nobody takes it away unless we let
them. Jim chose darkness over light often enough that he would not
choose light again. And, now, to the degree that he became spiritually
dark, he is consigned to a similar degree of darkness -- or lack of light --
in the spirit. The Lord never gives more challenges in life than can be
Rather than jeopardize someone's spiritual progression or
cause more suffering than can be endured, He will bring that spirit home,
where he or she can continue progressing."
For our discernment.
"No one can imagine what purgatory is like," said the nun.
"Be kind and take pity on the poor souls."
As for RaNelle, she says she saw how in her own life she had sinned
when she ignored responsibilities such as visiting lonely people.
"I had founded my charity on conditions of repayment," she wrote.
"I had served people when it served me to do so. I had founded my
charity on conditions of repayment, even if the repayment was merely
to stroke my ego. Some people had been helped, however, by the
small acts of kindness, a smile, a kind word, little things I had long
forgotten. I saw that people were happier because of my actions
and in turn were kinder to others." Our acts of kindness, even small
ones, can be our salvation.
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