The End of the Present World (and the mysteries of the future life), by Father Charles Arminjon, an incredible and inspired lesson on how to look past the material world and toward the glorious eternal one! What a book for our times: The signs that will precede the "end." The coming of anti-christ. Biblical end-times prophecy. St. Therese of Lisieux commented that 'reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life.' CLICK HERE
APPARITIONS IN AFRICA INCLUDED ECSTATIC STATE AND 'JOURNEYS' TO HELL AND HEAVEN
During the Church-sanctioned apparitions at Kibeho in Rwanda, several of the visionaries experienced a unique phenomenon whereby they said the Blessed Mother took them to regions of the afterlife while it appeared to witnesses -- including observers from a diocesan investigating commission and the future bishop himself -- that the seers had actually died.
In fact, in one case -- that of Vestine Salima, a Catholic schoolgirl who "succumbed" at 3 p.m. on Good Friday in 1982 -- physicians and other medical observers were "dumbfounded," notes a book on these obscure apparitions. "The young woman simply stopped breathing; they couldn't hear her heartbeat or detect her pulse; and it was noted that her blood pressure had dropped to zero. The doctors sat staring at her for more than an hour, trying to decide if they should pronounce her dead and announce publicly that Vestine had passed away in her sleep." In the end, it was observed that the seer took a single long deep breath every hour or two.
"They waited forty hours," says the book, Our Lady of Kibeho, by Immaculée Ilibagiza. "Then, just after dawn on Easter Sunday, Vestine woke up." The catatonic state had lasted forty hours. When she arose, she was in a refreshed state, wished everyone a Happy Easter, and headed for Mass, after which a priest noted that a cross had formed on the seer's forehead.
While Salima was not among the three Kibeho seers formally approved by a Church commission (there were seven visionaries in all), the same strange deathlike state occurred to two -- Alphonsine Mumoureke and Anathalie Mukamazimpaka -- who were.
Alphonsine -- the first to go into such an ecstasy, and also the first to see Mary (on November 28, 1981) -- had her experience on her 17th birthday and likewise was observed to have fallen into a deep "slumber" with an impossibly slow pulse and breathing that was virtually non-existent. Before entering her state, Alphonsine had been told by Mary to inform authorities not to declare her dead and bury her, and though the seer carried this message to authorities, onlookers were nonetheless convinced that they were staring at a corpse.
When six men tried to move the slim seer, they were unable to budge her; the seer's body was stiff, mimicking rigor mortis. Abbot Augustin Misago, who would later become the bishop in charge of ruling on the apparitions, watched Alphonsine with two priests and a roomful of other eyewitnesses. Members of the press were also present.
Eighteen hours after the deathlike sleep, Alphonsine too awoke, livelier than ever.
What the visionaries encountered was awesome in the true use of that word. For they were brought to Heaven, hell, and purgatory. Or so they testified.
"The first place Mary took me was dark and very frightening," said Alphonsine -- whose authenticity passed muster with the Holy See. "It was filled with shadows and groans of sadness and pain. The Blessed Mother called it 'the Place of Despair,' where the road leading away from God's Light ends. We moved across the stars until we arrived in a place of golden light filled with happiness and laughter and songs sung by so many joyous voices that I thought the souls of all the people who once had lived were floating around singing praises to God."
In many instances, the descriptions are stunningly similar to so-called near-death experiences.
This is an apparition that was not only approved in a formal pastoral letter -- released in Vatican City -- but also visited by the papal envoy.
Meanwhile, there was Anathalie, whose "journey" lasted seven hours. When she awoke from her experience, the seer described an encounter with seven men in cloaks who she said were angels watching over the earth and saw millions dressed in white, all of them overwhelmingly happy. The area of the angels was identified by Mary as "Isangano" -- the "place of communion" (this was an extremely high region) while the "millions" were in "Isenderezwa z'byishimo" -- or what the Blessed Mother called "the place of the cherished God."
"The last place we visited was a land of twilight where the only illumination was an unpleasant shade of red that reminded me of congealed blood," testified Anathalie. "The heat that rose from that world was stifling and dry -- it brushed my face like a flame, and I feared that my skin would blister and crack. I couldn't look at the countless people who populated that unhappy place because their misery and anguish pained me so greatly. Mary didn't have to say the name of this place... I knew I was in hell."
It takes it, of course, a step beyond the known descriptions of hell from Fatima.
The place of heat, it was said, was for those "who never paid God any attention at all."
This is compelling stuff -- a narrative of an apparition that everyone should take a look at and meditate upon. It should also compel us to pray for the departed -- especially during the ashen season of Lent.
Are the atheists out there listening?
Or will they risk it all for pride?
Let's get back to Heaven:
"Jesus lifted me up to Heaven, but I can't describe it -- I don't know how to," said Vestine. "There were colors I'd never seen before and the sounded like music, and music like I'd never heard before that sounded like color.
"I don't know how to explain the feeling of being there because I've never felt anything like it. How would I describe what it's like to breathe water or drink air? But I can tell you this: I begged Jesus from the bottom of my soul to let me stay there. He said that it wasn't my time, so I must leave. There has never been a sadder moment for me."
Then why did she look so happy when she awoke, Vestine was asked?
"Because I know that I'll be going back to Heaven," she replied, "and when I do, I'll be able to stay forever."
[resources: Our Lady of Kibeho, The End of the Present World, and The Other Side]
[see previous stories: Remarkable book on apparition that claimed Second Coming and In deep Africa, Mary urged special 'sorrow' Rosary
[Michael Brown retreats, the afterlife, prophecy, spiritual protection: Tampa and Detroit]
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