Struck By Lightning, by Dr. Gloria Polo, the incredible account of a dentist from Colombia who went to hell after being struck by lightning in 1995 -- and came back with astounding insights into sin, Confession, Mass, the afterlife, the power of intercessory prayer, parenthood, immorality, and what we need to do to make sure that our eternity is a pleasant one. click here
OF THE MANY LEVELS OF PURGATORY MAY BE WHAT JESUS REFERRED TO AS THE 'OUTER DARKNESS'
“For me there was no blaze of radiance, no arms waiting to usher me into the Divine Presence,” says Angie Fenimore, a woman from Seattle who, as a young troubled mother, deliberately took a drug overdose.
Of her near-death episode:
“There was only blackness, as though I were suspended in outer space, unbroken by a single glimmering star.
“Where was I? I was immersed in darkness. My eyes seemed to adjust, and I could see clearly even though there was no light. I was aware that I was standing on what felt like solid ground, but nothing was there. The darkness continued in all directions and seemed to have no end, but it wasn’t just blackness, it was an endless void, an absence of light. I knew that it had its own life and purpose. It was completely enveloping."
As it happens, Angie lends us insight into the lower reaches of purgatory. Muc of it she recounts in a gripping book called Beyond the Darkness.
Many are those who even confuse that level -- because it is so difficult -- with hell.
There are many levels of purgatory.
Darkness is apparently one of them.
“Death was quite an adventure," said Angie in recounting her death on January 8, 1991. "I swung my head around to explore the thick blackness and saw, to my right, standing shoulder to shoulder, a handful of others. They were teenagers. ‘Oh, we must be the suicides.’
“Then came a whoosh! Suddenly, as if we had been waiting for a kind of sorting process to take place, I was sucked further into the darkness by an unseen and undefined power, leaving the teenagers behind. I was flying upright, moving at warp speed, like a comet shooting out of nowhere. I sensed that I was going faster than any man-made aircraft could fly, but without the physical effects of flight or the pull of gravity. Nor did I have any sense of the temperature, of the coldness you’d expect to find in deep space, or any way to judge time. I was probably flying for a fraction of a second.”
Suddenly she found herself on the edge of a shadowy plane, suspended again in darkness and shrouded in a black mist that swirled around her feet, that formed a barrier up to her hips, that held her prisoner.
She was in what Christ called the outer darkness. “The place was charged with a crackling energy that sparked me into hyper-alertness, a state of hair-trigger sensitivity,” she wrote (in a book called Beyond the Darkness). “The fog-like mist had mass – it seemed to be formed of molecules of intense darkness – and it could be handled and shaped. It had life, this darkness, some kind of intelligence that was purely negative, even evil. I knew that I was in a state of hell, but this was not the typical fire and brimstone hell that I had learned about as a young child. The word purgatory rose, whispered, into my mind."
That had come after she had gone through a process of reviewing her whole life with the Lord and even in this state – lowest purgatory, or one of the lowest levels of that in-between place – was the consolation that at least she was not in hell, which is for eternity. She was returned to life after Jesus came for her.
"Men and women of all ages, but no children, were standing or squatting or wandering about on the realm. Some were mumbling to themselves. The darkness emanated from deep within and radiated from them in an aura I could feel. They were completely self-absorbed, every one of them too caught up in his or her own misery to engage in any mental or emotional exchange. They had the ability to connect with one another, but they were incapacitated by the darkness.
"I gradually became aware of the sounds of a kaleidoscopic flurry of voices, and I realized that in this realm, thoughts were the mode of communication. Around me I could hear the buzz of thoughts, as if I were in a crowded movie theater with lights down low, picking up the sounds of hushed exchanges.
"Sitting next to me was a man who appeared to be about sixty years old. This man's eyes were totally without comprehension. Pathetically squatting on the ground, draped in filthy white robes, he wasn't radiating anything, not even self-pity. I felt that he had absorbed everything there was to know here and had chosen to stop thinking. He was completely drained, just waiting. I knew that his soul had been rotting here forever. In this dark prison a day might as well be a thousand days or a thousand years.
"I was sure that this man, like the middle-aged woman, had killed himself. His clothing suggested that he might have walked the Earth during Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. I wondered if he was Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed the Savior and then hung himself. I felt that I should be embarrassed that I was thinking these things in his presence, where he could hear me.
"As my mind reached for more information, I felt tremendous disappointment. I could feel and completely know about everything around me just by posing a question in my mind or by looking in any direction. The possibilities for learning were endless, but I had no books, no television, no love, no privacy, no sleep, no friends, no light, no growth, no happiness, and no relief - no knowledge to gain and no way to use it.
"But worse was my growing sense of complete aloneness. Even hearing the brunt of someone's anger, however unpleasant, is a form of tangible connection. But in this empty world, where no connections could be made, the solitude was terrifying.
"Then I heard a voice of awesome power, not loud but crashing over me like a booming wave of sound; a voice that encompassed such ferocious anger that with one word it could destroy the universe, and that also encompassed such potent and unwavering love that, like the sun, it could coax life from the Earth. I cowered at its force and at its excruciating words: 'Is this what you really want?'
"The great voice emanated from a pinpoint of light that swelled with each thunderous word until it hung like a radiant sun just beyond the black wall of mist that formed my prison. Though far more brilliant that the sun, the light soothed my eyes with its deep and pure white luminescence. I sensed that the light could not (or perhaps would not - I wasn't sure) cross the barrier into the darkness. And I knew with complete certainty that I was in the Presence of God."
[resources: The Other Side]
E-mail this link directly