Category Archives: Heaven

Mary, Our Chief Cosmologist

St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her joyful greeting, called Mary the mother of my Lord [Luke 1:43] and St. Gregory Nazianzus called Mary “the Mother of the King of the universe,” and the “Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world” [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #11]  Ven. Pius XII sums up the corpus of theological writings and traditions when he states, The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #22].

coronationofmary_velasquez_cropped

Coronation of Mary, by Velazquez

Now here’s my experience.  I was out on a Rosary walk on Sunday, and while praying the Glorious Mysteries, and upon meditating on the 5th mystery, Coronation of Mary, I realized something immediately, and I chuckled because of all of the heartache surrounding cosmology in the Church during the 16th and 17th centuries:  Mary really is and has been the Queen of the Universe for nearly 2000 years now!  Because Mary is Queen of the Universe, then the Earth from which she and our Lord King of the Universe first appeared, must actually be at the center of the Universe, and all of the controversy surrounding Copernicus and Galileo must be just an unfortunate mishap!

Recall that Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Ptolemy (100-170 AD)  had their theory that the Earth is at the center of the Universe; this position was well-validated by the Book of Joshua which implied that Sun and Moon move in the sky around the Earth according to how God commanded:

‘Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai′jalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. [Joshua 10:12-13, RSVCE]

 

aristotelian-ptolemaic-universe

Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Theory of the Universe (Earth is center, circa 150 AD)

Copernicus then published his helio-centric theory in 1543 which placed the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the Universe.

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Copernican Heliocentric Theory of the Universe [Sun is center; circa 1543 AD]

Galileo then picked up that theory, and began to teach and write about it in the early 17th Century.  In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition to answer for his conduct and writings, having inadvertently embarrassed Pope Urban VIII, and being severely reprimanded and censured as a result.

galileo_facing_the_roman_inquisition

Galileo at Roman Inquisition, circa 1633

Note, however, that Galileo, who embraced the Copernican helio-centric theory, was never officially branded as a heretic by the Church.  Essentially, there was just a nasty misunderstanding.

So, all of this time, we should have known that Mother Mary is the Chief Cosmologist of the Church.  We needed only look to her, and to her title as Queen of the Universe, since her son is King of the Universe, to know where planet Earth truly stands in all of the Universe – in the center where God, the King of the Universe is ever-present to us, with her, the Queen of the Universe.

our-location-in-the-universe

Where the Center of the Universe is Presently Present to Us

 

 

 

 

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Healing Epiphany: Light From Light

Good morning cornfield South Dakota

Bright, sun-lit road in the corn field.

I had a dream this morning that I was riding a bicycle along a level road with sun-lit cornfields on my left and my right.  The sun was shining brightly in the clouds directly ahead of me.

 

And then, from the sun came light which began to form the shape of a brilliant, Light-Man in the clouds to the right of the sun and standing on the horizon, and that Light-Man was brighter than the sun itself.

In my heart, I knew that this was God.  Like the light which comes from the sun, so the Son is begotten of the Father, Light from Light, True God from True God, consubstantial with the Father – being of the same one substance with the Father, Who is all Merciful and Loving.  This was Jesus who affirmed:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12, NAB Holy Bible]

My heart began to swell with hope, and I began to feel giddy, praying to God with sentiments of love and desire.  I said, “Take me!  Take me now!”  for I had been feeling tired and ready for a life of peace and happiness with God, if that be His Will for me.

Sun Man in the Clouds

Surging, Healing Light of God

And then, knowing my weary condition, I asked Him to heal me, and at that moment, the Light-Man, like Christ Himself, surged in brightness before my face, engulfing me in His Light, and I felt His Power piercing deep into my soul, and my head was jolted as if something came out of me, and I began to feel joy, real Joy!

 

I have been in a very good mood this morning – filled with hope.  I told my wife about this, and she stated, choking back a sob, that she has no intentions of me going anywhere anytime soon!

But, this must be sort of what Saints Peter, John and James experienced at the Transfiguration.  St. Peter was obviously giddy, wanting Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay – He didn’t want to leave either!   Here is the account from St. Peter’s account of the Gospel (as penned by St. Mark):

The Transfiguration of Jesus [Mark 9:2-8, NAB Holy Bible]
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

When We Die, the Spiritual Life Takes Over

 

As if gazing through a mirror: St. Paul the Apostle

 
 I was trying yesterday to express my experience in Mass when I was praying the Angelus at noon, but my experience with Mother Mary led me in another direction.  What I remember now, the insight which came to me all of a sudden – yet simpler than I will express here – is the message that I needed to relay:  

 When we die, it is as if we fall asleep and then awaken to a new reality – the reality of our everlasting spiritual life which subsists and is hidden within our mortal life.  In our mortal lives, we “see” spiritual things as if looking at objects in a hazy mirror – indirectly, unclear and subject to interruption – just beyond our grasp.  But after we have fallen asleep, we shall awaken to a bright and refreshing change of venue where all things will be clearly manifested as they really are.

As St. Paul instructs:

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. [1st Cor, 13:12, NAB Holy Bible]

So, let us trust in God and His Plan.  

A Conversation in Purgatory

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

Souls receiving relief in Purgatory.

The Lord, Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 12:32:

And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

The above words leave open the possibility that sins are forgiven, not only in this world, but also in the world to come.  St. Gregory the Great [ b. 540 AD, d. 604 AD] comments as follows: “In this sentence it is given to understand that many sins can be remitted in this world, but also many in the world to come” [Dial. IV 39][cf,  Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma].  There are other Scriptural proofs for Purgatory, but I will not cover them here.

So, let us imagine a conversation in Purgatory, between one sinner who sinned against the other sinner, a state of existence where those with sin on their souls go to be purified.  Just what might be part of this process?

Wounder:  Now that I am so much nearer to God, I see and understand what I have done to you, and to others.  I am very sorry that I hurt you.  Can you ever forgive me?

Wounded:  May I show you my wounds?  Do you realize what I did to others because you first wounded me?  Look.  Look!  LOOK!!!

Observer:  he shows the wounds which are deep in his soul…a wound first inflicted by the other but which festered and went deeper as the wounded, in turn, repeated the sin on others without seeking healing through repentance, confession, and the balm of forgiveness.

Wounder:  Oh!  I see!  Oh my!  I am terribly sorry.  What can I do?  Will you please forgive me?  Even I am wounded by my own guilt which is ever more intense because I now see myself in the Light of God’s truth, holiness and utter purity.  Though my sin was only venial [not mortal, not breaking one of the 10 Commandments outright with intent], it is wholly incompatible with God in whose Light, we see our own standard for perfect holiness.  I am not fit to enter now.  I need your forgiveness…your love.  Help me!  I am so very sorry!  PLEASE forgive me.  Please!  I am so unfit for what I have done.  How can I ever pay you back for what I have done?!

Wounded:  I believe you, that you have repented and need my forgiveness.  In God’s Light, He gives me the ability to see the truth of your words.  You are really sorry.  I do forgive you.

Observer:  Immediately, upon receiving true forgiveness for his venial sin, the Wounder visibly showed signs of relief and healing.  His soul became brighter as God found more space to fill him with Love, and the Wounder found the strength to smile.  He could see the Light of God in the distance even better now but the brightness did not hurt his eyes so much now.  He became giddy and his anxiety began to lift.  He wanted nothing more now than to help the Wounded to heal, for the Wounded had also sinned against others…

Wounder:  Thank you!  I love you so much!  What can I do to help you to heal?

Wounded:  even now I am healing because the moment I forgave you, I felt lighter and stronger and my wounds began to close and feel better.  I immediately felt a desire to go to those that I hurt and to apologize for the harm I had done to them.  Can you help me to find them and receive their forgiveness?

Wounder:  Oh, yes!  I will.  I will help you bear the burden since, I, too am culpable for the sin which you committed because I first sinned against you.  We will find all of the wounded together, and after we have done justice, we shall finally see God and love Him and thank Him for His great Mercy and total forgiveness of us.  We are so very loved…so very loved.

Wounded:  There are 10 such souls from whom I must receive forgiveness: 5 are here with us in Purgatory, 4 are still living their lives on earth, and the other, poor soul, is…where is he?  I am having a hard time remembering him?  Wait a minute, I think there were only 9.  Why did I think there were 10?

Observer:  Now, rapidly becoming unbeknownst to both the Wounder and the Wounded, there was a 10th person, but that person refused the Mercy and help of the Holy Spirit, and totally rejecting God upon the final call, chose Hell.  Upon his entry into the state of Hell, all memory began to cease of the 10th person, except for this final link…which, having been acknowledged in true contrition,  had already begun to dissipate rapidly.  You see, when souls choose Hell by rejecting God, they reject the Creator of Justice and the gift of Justice itself.  Therefore all memory of sins  against these who consign themselves to Hell…that memory dissipates since it is no longer required for the sake of Justice.

Wounder:  No, I think there are only 9 now.  Let us run quickly to the 5 here with us and seek their forgiveness!  And, let us ask permission to do good works for those who are still alive on earth.

Wounded:  Yes!  Let us go now.  God is waiting to help us!

Given a Glimpse of the Face of a Child in Heaven

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face.  She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face. She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

In my waking thoughts in the morning, I tend to express gratitude to the Lord for all of His help.  Sometimes I don’t feel like expressing gratitude – when my body is complaining about waking up.  But there are times when my body cooperates quite well with my spirit, and gratitude flows more easily.  This morning, I was also thinking about my dear Great Aunt Bertha who died some years ago but with whom I was very close – she was my God-mother.  In the thinking of her, I was given a spontaneous glimpse of a little girl’s face in a calm and shaded place – a toddler who had a sweet baby face and her hair was all “done up” as if she had been to the hair dresser, just like my Aunt Bertha would do.  I could imagine that this was my Great Aunt Bertha, because she certainly lived the life of a saint, and she had her hair dressed as if this was a clue to me about her identity.  I believe she is there with God and that God wants me to know this.