Man Who Was In 'Fast Lane' Of Hollywood And Drugs Finds God, Kidnapped In A Cave
There is an incredible story in an incredible book that details the life and conversion of one Marino Restrepo -- formerly of Colombia, now in California, whose life has a movie-like quality but emblazoned now with a touch that is ethereal -- and heavenly.
It is an intense book not only because of the story but because it is full of deep and unique spiritual insights. Perhaps "powerful" is the word: Restrepo, who is now a Catholic missionary, with an apostolate in 21 countries, started out as did so many of his era in a world of sex, drugs, hippiedom, and slavish devotion to entertainment.
Born in the highlands of the Andes mountains, he moved to Germany in his late teens, where he married and studied music before relocating to Hollywood and entering the music and film industries -- as well as debauchery.
It is not a pretty picture, although it is certainly a familiar one.
There were endless girlfriends, there was the pot, cocaine, hallucinogenic drugs, there was the alcohol and dabbling in the occult -- every stylish Sixties thing from Eastern religions to yoga and tarot cards.
Playing a guitar for a living, Restrepo became what he himself describes as "astrological, superstitious, spiritualistic, and alchemistic."
There was even voodoo.
It was the recipe that so many his age bought into; it was also a recipe for disaster.
When Marino's marriage came to a predictable and early end, Marino moved to the U.S. and continued the waywardness. In his own words his life "became immersed in a world of bars, cocaine, and women who were as decadent as I."
"The same spirit that had baptized me to the world of [a girlfriend who used drugs in Colombia], through the first marijuana cigarette in 1967, was still orienting my life in California," he writes in the book, From Darkness into the Light, which we could not put down. "It was no coincidence that coming from the same dark force, it would beckon me, giving one last shake before leaving me in perpetual darkness.
As a musician and later in the film-merchandising business, the former Colombian was to encounter "many evil characters [who] had infiltrated Hollywood as famous writers working for the most prestigious film studios, or as producers of the greatest movies ranging from Disney's productions for children to Warner Brothers' horror movies. This spirit began to grow in the 1960s when the 'love and peace' generation was born, and has grown ever since."
We get the picture: this young man was brushing up against dark spirits. And perhaps not coincidentally, his was a family of tragedy. By the early 1990s, Marino's youngest brother had died in a sea accident, and six months later, his father passed away from a brain hemorrhage. A few years after that, another brother shot himself to death during an argument with his wife. And two months after the death of his second brother, Marino's mother died. Intergenerational baggage?
It was here that the real drama began. Returning to Colombia to share the grief with his sisters -- and at the same time to party in the loose atmosphere of his homeland -- Restrepo left to spend the night -- Christmas -- at an uncle's farm in Anserma.
For the next six months, he would find himself in a hell of former drug lords who now made their money kidnapping the wealthy and collecting ransoms.
"When I arrived, I was surprised to find the gate closed, for my uncle would always leave it open when he knew I was coming," writes Marino. "One of my nephews was with me and I asked him to get out of the car and open the gate.
"The moment he opened it, a group of men holding guns, with their heads covered, jumped out of the darkness. A few seconds later, they put my nephew in the rear seat of my car. They opened all the doors, like hungry dogs, and looked for anything they could find. They forced me out of the car, tied my hands, covered my head, and took all my belongings."
The abductors were to turn him over the other criminals who thought he was rich and demanded payment or they would kill his sisters. This was the mean territory of drug cartels. It was the beginning of a hell that would involve his detention -- for endless weeks -- in a cave filled with vermin.
"I was surrounded by thousands of bats," Restrepo recounts. "The floor on which I had fallen was rotten and covered with bat excrement. At the same time, thousands of bugs came out of the excrement and crawled on my clothes, biting me from head to toe. Each bite produced a different itch. Some of them felt like electric shocks; others produced big skin inflammations."
It was like the evil spirits had manifested. It is what his "glamorous" life had been reduced to -- "a pile of ashes." He was bound with rope. Much of the time, there was that hood over his head. This went on for days -- then weeks. He was sure he was going to die -- that he was to be executed. Every day were moments -- listening to someone load a gun, hearing a knife being sharpened -- that he thought would be his last.
"An immense loneliness enveloped my being and a great desperation covered the whole universe around and inside of me," says the former musician. "I couldn't even express the turmoil and pain I felt. Tied up with my head covered in a hood, I was incapable of walking or making any type of movement that would give me a little air or add hope to my indescribable pain. Nothing could change the reality of this moment no matter how transcendental the experience could have been. Even money could not have solved this problem because after paying the ransom they were going to execute me anyway."
And that's when it happened, what Restrepo calls an "encounter with God."
The occultism had not helped. The magic failed. But then there was a crucial moment of clarity in which he suddenly began to see his entire life. It was like those who describe near-death experiences.
Images suddenly arrived with supernatural clarity. It was like Marino -- so sure he was about to be killed, devoid of hope -- was now "outside" of his body.
"I found myself lying face down on the grass immersed in the freshness of a very friendly field," he writes of the visions. "All that was visible to me was my mind to which I could not close my inner eyes no matter how hard I tried. I lifted my head and looked to the right and saw a mountain. On top of the mountain was a small but very lit-up city, filled with apparent life. It was not lit up because it was night as there was no sense of day or night.
"In that instant I heard an incredible Voice that transformed my very existence the moment it began speaking to me -- a Voice so majestic that not even a million words could describe it.
"If I took all the psalms that praise the Lord there wouldn't be enough beauty to do justice to describe such a voice."
Marino looked and saw his body as if through smoke. He was lying in that macabre room tied up with the hood on his head. "Yet, I didn't feel dead," says Restrepo. "On the contrary, I had never felt more alive than at that very moment. Gone were my aches and pains. No longer was I filled with fear or anguish. The Voice I heard was no human. It was the Voice of Our Lord. No one could speak that way. It seemed to come from everywhere and at the same time from with me. It filled everything around me."
Instead of death, there was the Lord ready to show him the exact moment in which he strayed from Heaven -- as well as how all of humanity had strayed.
This forms the crux of lessons in a book that is too deep to synopsize.
"The Lord conveyed to me that never in the history of humanity has the world been so far away from Him," says Marino. "The state of idolatry has surpassed every single human cycle of the past that might be registered in the history of the sacred Scriptures. Our spiritual bankruptcy is of alarming dimension."
Infused with knowledge from the Lord, Restrepo makes observations on everything from fallen humanity to why the devil and his evil minions attack us. There is power on every page. "The Lord showed me that our present times are worse than Babylon and Sodom and Gomorrah," writes the former musician, now evangelist, who lived the life of Babylon before an experience that puts us in mind of Saul. "Everything has been justified so that we can live totally unattached to the Ten Commandments."
As the world crumbles around us, there is however that Light, and the knowledge of God's Voice -- God's Mercy.
It was that mercy that entered the darkest cave.
Man Who Heard 'Voice' Of The Lord Claims He Was Told Why Demons Rage Against Us
A man from Colombia who was abducted in 1997 and experienced what he describes as a miraculous encounter with God during that kidnapping believes he was "infused" with the reason why evil spirits are at war with humanity.
It is presented here for your discernment -- as intriguing as it is bold. "By being thrown out of Heaven, they turned from light into darkness and were separated from the light at the beginning of Creation," says musician-turned-missionary Marino Restrepo, now of California, upon whom we reported earlier this week [see story]. "The fallen angels knew that man would occupy the spaces they lost in Heaven."
This, he writes in a book, causes extreme demonic rage -- the attempts at keeping us from attaining Heaven.
Claims Restrepo, who now preaches around the world, "If a saint occupies the place of a fallen angel, then that explains their ferocious battle not to be replaced. The celestial army, by Divine design and through the action of the messenger angels, is in charge of fighting the ongoing battles being waged shoulder to shoulder with the saints here on earth in order to help them achieve celestial glory."
"The spaces left empty by the fallen angels will be filled by the saints to complete the salvific plan of restoring paradise," Restrepo writes. "St. Paul states in the First Letter to the Corinthians (6:3): 'The saints will judge the angels.'"
It is one of many potent observations in a book, From Darkness into the Light, that details Restrepo's conversion after he was imprisoned in a cave for 15 days. Bound and hooded, the Colombian, who had worked in Hollywood merchandising and had lived a life in the fast lane prior to his abduction by former drug lords, suffered bites from insects and bats before he was released months after his conversion in the cave.
That occurred, he says, when the Lord came to him in an incredible Voice and showed him his entire life in a series of lucid visions.
While he says it would take "volumes" to describe all he was told, Restrepo has detailed much of it in his book -- with his insights on evil coming to us at a time of the year when we are especially attuned to the battles raging in spirit around us.
It is at the least a view worthy of consideration at this moment in history which the Colombian says he was told by the Lord is worse than the days of Sodom.
"Humans lack knowledge of the real presence of the devil in their lives," he states. And the Church does not properly teach about the workings of evil because it has sought to "please the world" and has become "protestantized due to fear of being ridiculed by the world which looks for what is politically correct rather than what is the right devotion," he observes.
"The teaching of Christ concerning the evil one is so extensive in the Gospel that the Lord says it is absolutely absurd that the Church could ignore these teachings," he argues.
"Satan knows how short and transitory our earthly life is. He knows he has to use the vital moments of our existence to exact the greatest damage so that when we reach a mature age, we no longer have the strength to change. In retrospect I can see the urgency of Satan using our youth and vitality to keep us active without rest day and night."
Restrepo says he learned that every unconfessed sin, every transgression for which there has not be reparation, "is guarded by demons," explaining how darkness builds around us and comes down through generations. "When we decide to confess our sins, we inadvertently arrest all the activities of the devil in our lives," he poignantly observes.
Satan's special target: priests.
"The soul that most appeals to the devil is that of a priest, religious, or consecrated layperson because bringing them down violates the sacred tabernacle of Our Lord," asserts Restrepo, who now ministers in 21 countries. "A great sacrilege is committed as if the spirit of evil has entered the tabernacle itself. By giving his life to the Lord, the consecrated soul is turned into a tabernacle of God. There are a lot of priests, religious, and consecrated laity who become trapped in the most abominable sins after having lived an exemplary life. The spirit of evil presents a brilliant argument of justification to the devotee who had previously been out of his clutches, making him believe that he needs to relax from such discipline since he is only human."
Though many priests were highly trained and well educated in philosophy and theology, held high degrees, and received the benefit of extensive teachings in Rome, the Holy Land, and in the best universities around the world, "sadly, many were, nonetheless, ignorant of the supernatural life," writes the author. "Seemingly, the more educated they were, the more estranged from God. According to the Lord, our Church is plagued with a record number of disloyal clergy in this day and age."
While exposing priestly transgressions that threaten our children is obviously crucial, Restrepo argues, however, that what priests do in their personal lives should not be a preoccupation. "Satan's trap is to entice Catholics to focus on the sins of the Church in order to weaken their faith until they become his slaves. If we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will be saved but if we concentrate on the sins of priests, nuns, or any believer for that matter, we will never be able to detect the Presence of God in our Church or any other church."
The sacraments of the Church, he was shown, are so powerful that "if they were performed with reverence, motivated by love of God, they would conquer a gigantic portion of the devil's territory."
No stranger to evil, Restrepo rubbed up against it first-hand, watching friends succumb to drugs and becoming involved in all sorts of occultism during his "hippie" youth and then later as a musician-turned-businessman in Los Angeles. Tragedy haunted his acquaintances and girlfriends.
We pay for our original association with Satan, Marino argues, "by walking in his territory as though married to the enemy, which is this material world. Our entire life is based on divorcing ourselves from that reality by rebuking the relationship that we contracted due to the devil's temptation of Adam and Eve."
"The Lord showed me intergenerational inheritance," he adds, "the strong force that binds those who walk in sin, who walk over the territory of evil. In addition to suffering the consequences of our own sins, we also carry additional baggage -- the sins of our ancestors."
The soul that no longer possesses sinful flesh recognizes the Creator as Lord and has rebuked the devil, he preaches. But if such a soul is not in a perfect state of purity nor illumination, it is not in a purely holy state. What we must strive for, says Restrepo, is rehabilitation of the "spiritual body that is impure because of the imperfect relationship between spirit and flesh during the period of grace."
In order to find the Divine, we have to achieve "maximum" purity.
What Jesus seeks, writes the former drug user and occultist, is for us to establish "a perfect communion between flesh and spirit and to understand first and foremost something basic about the wisdom of our spiritual existence.
"Heaven, hell, and purgatory and this material world exist at the same time on the spiritual plateau. Therefore, we have to be conscious that in this very moment and at the instant at which we were conceived in the wombs of our earthly mothers, we are standing in eternity."
It is writing like this that makes it more than a dramatic story of conversion. It is a book of unusual insights and writing like this -- with a tone that manages to be both admonishing and uplifting, tough and soft, as is God:
"I can testify to His infinite love, an immense love that would calcify our existence if we would receive it all at once," Marino writes. "That is why the mystery of the nearness to God is gradually unfolded and why He brings His creatures into His Arms dispensing His love little by little like a drop of water that trickles towards the sun and ends up evaporating before the incandescence of the heat by fusing itself in its rays."
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