Follow by Email

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Afterlife according to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Medjugorje

As I've said before, after Christmas my son decided to read the Gospels. His main objection to Jesus' words is that they introduce the idea of Hell. I understand his point of view. As a matter of fact I've struggled with the concept of eternal punishment myself, finding a way out in the fact that Jesus' language was appropriate for an eschatological prophet.

Of course His words can be interpreted in different ways, and unfortunately I must admit that I don't like the Christian interpretation, where our only chance to be saved is to behave and convert during our earthly life. What about a good boy who does not believe in God (as you know I'm related to one)? Or what about an evil person who became evil because was abused as a child?  For this reason I believed in reincarnation even after I returned to Catholicism. I found hints in the Gospels about the possibility of reincarnation: Jesus, for example, tells His apostles that Elijah had already returned but had not been recognized, and they realize that He's referring to John the Baptist. This may very well mean that Elijah reincarnated into John the Baptist, doesn't it?

However, I was never completely at ease with this mix and match of religions I was doing. My Catholic friends, and even my atheist son, wanted me to fully adhere to one faith, accusing me of picking and choosing what I liked bests from different belief systems. I defended my position, maintaining that no one can claim to know what happens in the afterlife. I still hold the same opinion, but I don't like to be labeled as a "cafeteria" believer.

Well, I think I've found the answer to my problem, and it comes straight from the Mother of Jesus. I'm reading a book about the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. One of the visionaries, Mirjana, allegedly asked Her how a merciful God could condemn people to Hell for eternity. The Blessed Mother answered that souls who stay in Hell do so by their own choice. To avoid misunderstandings, let me quote Marjana:
"If a person goes to Hell…Don't people pray for their salvation? Could God be so unmerciful as not to hear their prayers? Then the Madonna explained it to me. People in Hell do not pray at all; instead, they blame God for everything. In effect, they become one with that Hell and they get used to it. They rage against God, and they suffer, but they always refuse to pray to God".
Unmistakably, this means that great sinners have the possibility to repent in the afterlife, and that nonbelievers can still believe and fall in love with God after they die. Hell is for those who don't want to be delivered from it by God, whom they reject. However, according to the Blessed Mother, most people go to Purgatory, where they can deal with their issues.

I know that the Catholic Church does not accept Medjugorje apparitions as indisputably true, but I embrace the Madonna's explanation because, for the first time, I'm completely satisfied with a description of the afterlife. God is not a tyrant, and we are truly free.