of God's Love: Touching
the Lives of Loved Ones After Death, by Mitch Finley, a remarkable, can't
put it down, quality book that looks at real cases of interaction with deceased
loved ones in the Catholic tradition: dreams, visions, apparitions, messages
from those who have passed -- including help at crucial times and the "scent of
flowers not there." A wonderful, uplifting collection complete with reflections
that heal hurts left by death! Highly, highly recommended.
PRIEST WHO SEES 'SOULS' BELIEVES PHENOMENA HAVE INCREASED BECAUSE 'VEIL' IS NOW THINNING
Why all the reports of spiritual phenomena? How come: the sudden, overwhelming public interest in spirits, ghosts, and apparitions? Why, in the Christian and non-Christian worlds, are there so many claims of the supernatural?
Angels. The deceased. And, yes, demons.
The reason, according to a gifted priest from St. Louis named Father Mark Bozada, is that the "veil" is "thinning."
As we approach special times, the supernatural, he says, is being made more manifest.
"In my own prayer I have been shown that the preternatural gifts lost in the Garden are being partly restored and part of the grace is having the veil lifted," explains Father Bozada, who ministers at three parishes (and is based at St. Mary of Perpetual Help in Villa Ridge). "It predicated, however, on obedience to God's Will, so as not interrupted by the evil one. The two ways we support that is to remain obedient to the Church community and Magisterium. The perfection of the Holy Spirit is revealed through the Church."
That admonishment comes at a time when many have strayed into questionable aspects of spirituality, and yet it also comes at a time when seers can face hyper-skepticism (and even persecution). The Church, says Father Bozada (who has visited the apparition site of Medjugorje fifteen times), acts as "mothers do at a ball field": making sure the kids stay within the boundaries (and recovering the ball when it's kicked astray). "The devil perverts gifts," says Father Bozada, who served as a consultant for an A & E program on spirit infestation. "That's what he does best."
The thinning veil, says this priest, "is because we're moving into the era of peace and the Lord is preparing us to live in a different way. Many saints in the past have foreseen this rebirth of the Church and mankind."
Much is about to change. We see the purification all around us.
Father Bozada is well-qualified to speak on the mystical because he is "supersensory" and has had the experience of sensing and even seeing spirits since he was five or six. The gift developed as he encountered the demonic -- including the smell of sulfur as a boy -- and learned to pray harder. That's the negative side. He also experiences -- and sees -- angels and poor souls doing their purgatory on earth -- something that was also associated with St. Padre Pio.
"My mother told me never to be afraid because the Blessed Mother was there to protect me," says this special priest, who was ordained in 1981. "The first time I encountered an angel was when I was six or seven. I was at our community swimming pool and started drowning -- in water over my head. I heard a voice say, 'I will help you.' The voice said to push off the bottom of the pool and then again and kept coaching me until I got to the side of the pool.
"I always had a sense of the presence because we were always told to pray for poor souls. My mother always said never to be afraid of souls but pray for them (if you catch them out of the corner of your eye). But it wasn't until Medjugorje in 1989 that I could distinguish dark purgatorial souls from demons."
While sometimes the priest sees them through his physical eyes, most often, allegedly, Father Bozada sees spirits in interior visions (as if through "the mirrors on a reflector telescope"). The darker a soul, he says, the lower is its purgatory -- and the more difficult to identify. He says souls can seem like mere outlines in gray and shadows.
Souls higher up in purgatory become recognizable and exhibit features. "I can see the faces of the ones closer to the upper levels of purgatory," he asserts, for our considered judgment.
"Sometimes souls do get 'stuck,'" he adds. "I did a house blessing in Kansas City. The home had a presence of children and it turned out that it was part of the 'trail of tears' -- Indian children where tribes went to reservations and passed through Missouri long ago."
This all sounds like "fringe" stuff until one meets this otherwise "down-to-earth," no-nonsense, orthodox priest.
"A lot of it has to do with intimacy," he counsels. "The gifts are contingent on how intimate we are with God. The farthest back I remember when I was about four and I saw the Face of Jesus and felt this intense love."
He sees earthbound spirits virtually every day -- especially in busy places like hotels, malls, or airports, he claims. For this reason, Father Bozada usually travels with the Blessed Sacrament. He says that souls not only attach to places but also specific people -- looking for help or remaining near relatives.
And for that reason he believes that freeing such souls often cause healings -- emotional and physical -- in families, that spirits attach to our lineages. He sees more of these souls that demonic ones.
"If there's a place infested, I would know the difference," he says. "The poor souls come like beggars. The demons come raging. A demon that is present makes you feel like you're falling into a dark hole -- cold and menacing and intense fear."
The most intense demonic activity, says Father Bozada, is often linked to places where there has been occult activity, prostitution, or the use of drugs. Although he doesn't like to specify locales -- and notes that every city has its positives and negatives -- he has felt special evil in two places many would expect: Las Vegas and parts of Manhattan.
As for the poor souls: they should be held up, in a special manner, during the Consecration. Small Masses for them, he says, are especially intense.
[resources: Prayer of the Warrior, Stories about Purgatory, and Spiritual Warfare Prayers]
[Announcing a retreat in Pittsburgh and Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat: afterlife, prophecy, and spiritual world around us, with Michael Brown]
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