FROM THE MAIL to SpiritDaily.com: IN THE DEPTHS OF PRISON DESPAIR, MARY CAME WITH LESSON OF FAITH
The times we live in are fascinating, although they share much with periods in the past. As always, there is that great divide between the spiritual and the "worldly." The world continues to ignore signs from God (manifestations of His love) while concentrating on politics, economics, technology, and carnality (which in the current era goes by the name of Hollywood). It's one reason we present what seem like examples of such manifestations (few others do), while warning that these accounts must be individually discerned. Exaggeration? It certainly can occur. There may even be outright fabrications. Is it really a manifestation of Mary on a window -- or just a coincidence of dew, or paint, or defective glass?
We take the stand of believing before disbelieving, and our viewers are always sending us intriguing accounts, all of which we read. To report your own, click here, especially accounts of encouragement.
Let's start with a writer from Ireland.
"In 1981, when I was 26 years old, I was captured by the British Army and thrown into Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast, in the North of Ireland," writes viewer Paradigm Caughey. "At the time I was extremely bitter and full of hate, not believing in God at all and very angry at the Catholic Church, which I considered to be pro-British."
"The years of rage and violence during the ‘troubles’ had taken their toll on me and I was increasingly suicidal. The only thing that stopped me from killing myself at once was the knowledge that it would bring great pain to my family.
"One night as I entered my cell I found a newspaper photo of Padre Pio bearing his stigmata lying on the floor. I don’t know how it got there, as neither myself or my cellmate were believers.
Anyway as I looked at the marks of the Passion on Padre Pio’s hands I thought, ‘The old man did it with a screwdriver!’ But I wondered how he had never gotten blood poisoning and had not been caught cheating over such a long life.
night as I was going to sleep I said in despair, 'Padre Pio, go
to God, ask Him to prove to me He really exists in the space of one Hail
Mary, for if He doesn’t I will know for certain that He does not
exist and I can go ahead and...'
"As soon as I said ‘Hail Mary,’ my eyes flooded with rivers of tears, for there standing at the end of the bed in great glory was the Mother of God herself. Extraordinary holiness, and beauty, and majesty, and motherliness and love and kindness; indescribable!!
"She said, ‘Now you believe.' I could only nod and say, ‘Yes, I believe.’ Then she said, ‘Faith without love is vain. You must forgive; do you forgive?”
"Then I saw before
picture forms of all who I had hated, while Mary’s voice gently kept
asking me, ‘Do you forgive, do you forgive, do you forgive, ...’ as
each one passed before me.
She then said, ‘Now is there anyone, anyone at all, to whom you bear hatred?’
"There was no one; I forgave them all; it was as though the weight of the universe was lifted from my soul.
"For the first time Mary smiled, 'Now you have faith and now you loved; now you must pray, for prayer is the food of faith. Pray, pray the Rosary,' and she held a set of beads towards me.
"But I was embarrassed and said, ‘I am sorry I have forgotten how to say them.' Then Mary said with great firmness, ‘I myself will teach you!' And she was gone.
Well anyway I cannot tell the joy I felt; it was as though I was reborn. I found it hard to say the rosary at first but then I came to love it. Eventually I ended up saying it all the time, the way Mary taught it was not at all as we prayed it as a child. It was slow and thoughtful.
When in prison I wrote to my old Spiritual Director. Father Bernard and after leaving prison I went down to see him. He said that I had entered contemplative prayer and recommended that I enter a Monastery, which I did for a period of three and a half years. My prayer life there was intense, following the path that Our Lady had shown me. But to-wards the end of my time there I was thrown into a period of great inner darkness. It was as though God; who had come to mean everything to me had fled. This left me wondering if I had done something to offend God, or if I was imagining things, or if I was going mad.
Father Bernard explained that this was the Dark Night of the
Soul which lasted for a period of some four years. My prayer life
great darkness. Eventually the Dark Night
did not "end"; better to say that it became luminescent.
Anyway I went back
to my usual trade of taxi driving. At the same time doing
a degree in Psychology and diplomas in counselling.
Today I still drive taxi. My love for God and His Mother is deeper than ever. But it has changed profoundly
But still I often revisit, in my heart that night in prison many years ago, when Mary visited me. And my heart takes fire!
I believe that there is a veil between this side and the next. Most of us go through life happily enough without truly ever seeing the veil torn or lifted, happy enough to see the glories of heaven through the eyes of faith. This is fair enough since as Christ Himself says, happy are those who have seen and believe yet even more happy are those who have not seen and believe.
A wide variety of experiences may, however lift or tear this veil of faith, sometimes forever and permit us to see or glimpse with startled eyes the glory and the terrors that lurk beyond. Experiences such as grave sickness, intense suffering and near death experiences may be the roads to high graces in prayer, a vision of eternity, sudden revelation...
In fact I suspect that there are few who have not seen beyond the veil on more than one occasion even if they do not realise it, for we are surrounded as Saint Paul says with a great crowd of witnesses on every side and our poor Earth shivers and shakes with the glory of God. It is, simply that our western, scientific and materialistic culture has very little place for the mystical vision. We are afraid of being laughed at or derided. So even if we see, we see not, ...afraid of the consequences of sharing our vision with others.
I would like to share a few things I have seen behind the veil in the twenty odd years since I saw the Mother of God in great glory in my prison cell. These are simply personal insights, I share them simply as a brother in Christ, they are not public revelations nor do I think the good God intended them to be. But time grows short. The spiritual battle around us grows daily more intense and if I can help even one sister or brother by sharing these lifting's of the veil I am very glad to do so.
I had a dream. I rose in spirit from my bed far high into the starry night and looked down over my home City of Belfast, the tiny lights glimmering below. I heard a huge sound like a mighty explosion but as though the very ground itself was torn asunder from the very bowels of the earth. I looked up the Lough towards the sea. A great darkness rushed towards the city. Below me the lights winked out. A mighty wave had submerged the city.
The city vision fades. I now stand in a great Basilica crowded with people. High in the apse I see what I take to be a beautiful mosaic of Our Lady with the child Jesus in her arms. I float high up the Church and stand before Our Lady who gazes at me sadly. This dream was repeated many times.
In dream I stood in a city street in London. I look up and see what I take to be three stars falling to the earth. Steam rises from the ground, the pavement melts... All around me buildings explode. The heat is intense. All turns white. The dream ends. This dream was repeated many times.< style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153); font-weight: bold;">One night as I was lying in bed praying the devil appeared. He seemed to be like a darkish man of middle years. He exuded a great and terrible hate and rage. Though he talked relatively normally his every word seemed a scream, so great was his hate. I realised he had come to kill me. A bolt as though of electricity went through me but it was far worse than this, as though every atom in my being was being individually destroyed, my very soul itself being destroyed. It stopped and an angel, I believe St Michael stood between myself and Satan. The devil said to him,
Michael raised his hand and they both disappeared. I had this dream once.
Anyway I have a sense of the signs of the times which I wish to share. A very great battle is raging in heaven and upon earth between Our Lady and Satan. Both Mary and Lucifer travel the earth summoning their armies to battle. More and more there is no middle path between good and evil. People must choose sides. There can be no more drifting.
Both Mary and Satan are often loci specific. By that I mean that Satan was actually present with many of his court at Rwanda, at Serbia, at Cambodia and Mary is very often in Jerusalem and Italy.
On the side of Satan he chooses particularly the great ones and powerful of the earth as his own. So powerful has he become that more and more of these poor souls actually know consciously whom they serve and have readily given their souls to him. So they have become dwelling places of devils.
On the other hand Mary has chosen the poor, the unknown, the needy and despised. Each of these, Mary's children and Satan's army, will more and more instantly recognise each other as the tide of battles builds to a crescendo.
The Church is
about to endure a vast martyrdom, the greatest in history.
Only those who follow Mary faithfully will endure. The signs of the
as follows: Devotion to Mary and the Rosary.
A hunger for daily mass and the Eucharist.
An abiding love for the rock of scripture.
A humble and regular reception of the Sacrament of Confession.
A humble obedience to the teachings of the Church.
In the end as the war progresses there will be but one Church and one faith. The world will be wracked by great wars, natural disasters (including an impact from the sky). Scourges of new diseases will afflict mankind. A pope will be martyred a great Pope will arise and declare the last Marian Dogmas. Mary's Immaculate Heart will triumph.<>A new age for the Church and the world will dawn, cleansed and restored in holiness and the truth.