|Marian Day Retreat 2017 flyer|
On Saturday, May 20, I attended the talks given by Michael H. Brown at the Marian Day Retreat, an event hosted by Canada Christian College and organized by Ave Maria Centre of Peace.
It was a grace-filled day that had a particular relevance for me in that I finally attended one of the well known talks of Michael H. Brown; a man who I greatly admire and who has been—and continues to be—a great source of inspiration for my personal faith journey.
Michael H. Brown has also been a great source of information and clarity, not only from the writing of his many books, but from the numerous articles published at his web site, SpiritDaily.com: a web site that I highly recommend for anyone who is serious about acquiring the truth, knowledge, and understanding of the Catholic faith journey; current, real, and relevant news; information on the events and signs of our times; and resources on spiritual warfare, healing, and the afterlife.
Part of what is so inspirational about Michael H. Brown are his talks: putting faith into action; being a soldier for Christ; strengthening and encouraging fellow devout Catholics; and injecting Catholicism into a secular North American culture that has seen so many Catholics wane in or altogether lose their faith.
Brown certainly accomplished this in fine fashion with his four talks: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory; Spiritual Warfare and Family Healing; The Current Prophetic Pulse; and Reclaiming North America's Christianity.
All four of his talks were preceded by a group recitation of the Rosary, with the only exception of the last talk, which began at 3:15, after the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
In addition, Brown preceded his talks with his own selected prayers of deliverance, and other prayers imploring God's mercy, blessings, and healing upon all in attendance.
Today's post is the first in a series of blog posts dedicated to each one of Michael H. Brown's talks beginning with, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Throughout, I have included links from my YouTube channel of videos that I took during the talk should you desire to watch it.
Prior to the first talk all in attendance recited the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary after which Brown came to the podium and opened up his talk with what proved to be a standard fixture throughout the day, a couple of jokes, helping to lighten the mood from all the serious details.
In addition to mentioning that he has written a couple of books on the after life, Brown stressed the seriousness of this subject matter by asking the audience, "What could be more important than what happens when we die?"
To help explain the answer to that question, Brown cited a few examples of near-death experiences from people who have clinically died, but came back to life and described what they experienced in another realm; all of which are entirely consistently with millions of other accounts.
Patrick Theillier's book on near-death
experiences. Image: Amazon/
Brown highlighted the well made point by Dr. Theillier; that is, these near-death experiences have a lot to tell us about life and the afterlife, that we need to pay attention to them. Add to this the mention that the book was endorsed by Dr. Theillier's local bishop—who also wrote the introduction to the book—and Brown set the stage for an intriguing glimpse into the afterlife.
The case began one morning in August 1958, when Abott Derobert received a card from St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)—who adopted Derobert as a "spiritual son"—that had two handwritten lines on it, “Life is a constant struggle, but it leads to the light,” which was underlined two or three times.
That very night Derobert and everyone at the village he was staying at were attacked and killed. At his "death," Derobert experienced a disembodiment, where he observed his own body next to other fallen comrades, and then began an ascension through a "tunnel."
As he travelled through the tunnel, he saw many familiar and unfamiliar faces with a fog that surrounded him. At first these faces were somber, of people who did not have such a good reputation, sinners lacking in virtue. As he ascended, the faces he saw became more luminous. He was astonished to discover that he could see everything around him without turning and move about without having to walk. To top it all off, he wasn't feeling his wounds anymore.
During this time Derobert thought of his parents who lived with him at his home back in France, and he soon found himself amongst them; both of whom were sleeping. He noticed a piece of furniture that had been moved, and left soon afterwards.
When he eventually came back to life and returned to his home several weeks later, he mentioned the furniture to his parents, who were baffled as to how he could have possibly known that.
While in the other realm Derobert also thought of Pope Pius XII, after which he found himself in the Pope's room. The Pope was asleep, but Derobert stated that, "He spoke through the exchange of thoughts since the Pope was spiritually attuned."
Brown stated that he included these details because of what Derobert further shared about his time in Heaven. Quoting him at length, Brown read directly from Theillier's book:
I saw thousands of people all about thirty years old, and a few of them I had known when I was alive. I left this paradise with many extraordinary flowers that I had never known down below. I went even higher. There I lost all human nature and I became a drop of light. I saw many other drops of light and I knew one of them was St. Peter, another one was Paul or John, an apostle or a saint. Then I saw Mary in full radiance and beauty; She met me with Her ineffable smile. Jesus was behind Her looking spectacularly beautiful, and behind them was an area of light that I knew was the Father and I dove head on, into it. There I felt total fulfillment of everything I could ever desire. I experienced perfect happiness and briskly I felt myself back on earth with my face in the earth and in the middle of my comrades.Some time after this experience, Derobert went to see Padre Pio who after motioning him to approach him stated, "Oh, you really took me for a ride this time, but what you saw was really beautiful wasn't it?" Derobert did not reply; nor, did Padre Pio say anything else.
During the next segment of the talk, Brown elaborated on the significance of the afterlife, which I thought was particularly noteworthy:
We live forever. In light of that fact, nothing on earth, no challenge, no problem, no tragedy, no tragedy can stand up to the vastness of what comes afterwards. When people have these near-death experiences they come back and they will tell you that all these major things, the greatest of tragedies: losing a child, having a terrible illness, what ever it might be, in light of the light, in light of what they see, in light of what they now know for sure, all that seems minor. And life on earth seems like it was, just a very momentary flash and then there is eternity.Brown went on to stress that every second, every minute on earth counts; life is so short! Elaborating further he stated that we need to grasp every single minute and thing in life because it is a "precious opportunity to gain upward in the afterlife."
One of the most salient points that Brown made was with respect to the coincidences in our lives; that they have a purpose whether we realize it or not! It reminded me of Saint Pope John Paul II's words, "In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences." Here is what Brown had to further say about this:
God is perfect, He doesn't waste a second of your life. There are no coincidences. Everybody who you ever met, everybody you will meet was there for some reason, however fleeting. We won't understand these things until we are on the other side and that's one of the consistencies of people that have these experiences. They say that the first emotions, like the abbot, was this total sense of well being, this feeling of I'm home. This is my home. Earth wasn't my home, this is my home. Now I see, now I understand, now I can comprehend why I met this person or that person, why I had this problem. Everything suddenly comes together.Brown compared this with our lives on earth, full of knots, but when viewed from Heaven, it all makes sense. That is why we should ask for the intercession of Our Lady Undoer of Knots to help us because life is difficult, just as Padre Pio told the abbot, life is a constant struggle.
I found the next point Brown made to be a much needed friendly reminder: no matter how much we try to make life on earth a paradise, it won't work because it is not supposed to work, "It is supposed to be a place of testing and purification."
Near-death experiences are nothing new in the Catholic Church; the first recorded account goes back to the sixth century with official cases documented by Pope Gregory the Great, who logged the details of such experiences.
Brown then went on to share other modern day accounts with descriptions that were for the most part, challenging to grasp; there was hardly any reality here on earth that could compare to what Brown referred to as, "truly awesome."
Elaborating upon that awesomeness, Brown tried to explain it in a manner that we might be able to understand: being in the light of Heaven's love is synonymous to all the love you have experienced in your life, multiplied by infinity; or citing from another near-death experience, "If you took all the love that every mother, in history, has ever had for their children, put all this love together since the beginning of time, billions of mothers, it wouldn't be a fraction of what she felt when she went into that light into God."
Further highlighting just how awesome God's love is and the experience of that felt love in the after life, Brown reiterated that a consistent aspect of all these modern day accounts is the fact that, it is simply impossible to describe it in human terms.
Apparently one of the additional benefits of Heaven is actually getting to meet your guardian angel who has been with you since the very beginning, as well as your deceased love ones, and those who you were closest to on earth.
If all this seems to good to be true, Brown explains that with God and His vastness, "It is too good not to be true."
To view this part of the talk, please visit my YouTube video: Michael H. Brown: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
|Michael H. Brown during one of his talks at Canada Christian College.|
Brown segued into a talk about Purgatory through the account of another near-death experience where the individual described it as a place that is "dim as dusk" and where people were dressed in dreary clothing with "duller colours" in comparison to those that exist in Heaven.
Those in Purgatory were content because they knew they were going to Heaven, but in the interim, they were separated from that "light" for a period of time; a time of great suffering that had to be endured.
Those who have had such near-death experiences no longer fear death, but actually look forward to dying! What they had seen in Heaven is something they want to get back to, but at the same time they know they must remain on earth because they have a mission in life, which was only finally understood during their near-death experiences.
We all have a mission in life, one that we too will fully understand in the after life. Each individual's mission is equal in God's eyes, no matter how trivial it may be. Brown elaborated on this with the following details:
...Just like we will understand it because each person here on earth, each person here in this convocation hall, every person you have ever known and ever will, has a mission in life, has an equal mission in life. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God, everybody is made equally, everybody...you may not be able to understand until you are on the other side because what you are doing here may seem to you trivial, what other people are doing may seem trivial to you; there is no such thing as a trivial mission.
There are great souls at all stations of life...there are great people who aren't leaders...there are people who are janitors or who have cleaned the room I slept in the hotel last night, and they seem by worldly standards, to be trivial and unimportant, but somehow what they are doing has eternal effects, has a ripple effect.
We won't understand until we die and go through what they call a life review where our entire lives will be shown to us in every detail and every moment, and like I said because there is no moment on earth that is wasted by God.
Every moment of life will be shown to us, and not only will we see it, but we will re-experience it, and we will not only re-experience as we did, but as everyone else around us did also.
That is why there is nothing I can tell you today that is more important that this, and this is the most insistent thing that I hear of all these near-death experiences: the first thing God wanted to know is how much they had loved...When we love no matter what we are doing throughout the day, when we love, we are sending forth light into His creation, and when we die we will see it.
Brown went on to refer to a simple example of an individual who smiles at everyone; a smile that makes others feel better. By sending out that love, that individual may have earned a high place in Heaven because of that smile; that individual used his/her gift.
We may not have the same gift, but we do have gifts. Whatever those gifts are, we are to use them to complete our mission of love on earth. Brown stressed how important this is!
As to why we must go to Purgatory, Brown explained that when we die, if we still have attached to us any: anger, impatience, resentment, lack of forgiveness, anxieties and so forth, these will have to be cleansed in Purgatory.
Brown also stressed that there are many levels of Purgatory for this cleansing process, where each individual will go to the appropriate level before arriving at the "light" or Heaven.
Elaborating further on what Purgatory is like, Brown stated that when we reach the other side, we see all those who we knew and loved. In some cases, those who have gone through near-death experiences will say that, they not only encountered deceased love ones, but thousands who welcomed them and cheered when they arrived, embracing them with much love. At first they could not figure out who these people were, but eventually found out that they were their ancestors from the very beginning.
As to the significance of all this, Brown suggested that perhaps family is our mission; that is, cleansing the family line. Here is how Brown put it, "I submit for your consideration, maybe family. Maybe, cleansing the family line. Maybe, making sure that whatever perhaps was passed on to you spiritually, whatever darkness may have been in the past in your ancestry, is not passed on to the next generation, and generations after that."
Brown went on to mention that, what we know about Purgatory comes to us not only from the near-death experience accounts, but from Catholic mystics throughout the ages.
If and when we go to Purgatory, we will go where we need to go, to the appropriate level. Brown stated that it may be "Middle-Purgatory" where most people go, where it is "kind of foggy" like a grey day, where there is loneliness, not huge amounts of suffering, but the loneliness is the suffering.
Others may go to a lower part of Purgatory that is closer to Hell; a level that very much resembles Hell. It may be painful as an ice cold experience or the opposite, very hot.
Then there is the possibility of arriving at the top level of Purgatory, a location that is very much like Heaven. Brown stated that this location has been revealed to us through a mystical revelation from the Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory, which Brown has also written about in his book, What You Take To Heaven. This level of Purgatory has been referred to as the "threshold to Heaven."
Brown's talk on Purgatory is available for viewing, during the first twelve minutes, at my second video: Michael H. Brown: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Part Two.
As an aside to Brown's talk on Purgatory, I thought it fitting to mention that those who wish to shorten their time in Purgatory, can strive do so through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Brown Scapular Devotion.
Brown began his talk about Hell by first stating that, "Hell is very, very real!"
He then asked for a show of hands of those who have heard of the account of Howard Storm: an atheist who had a near-death experience in Hell. Only a handful of individuals seemed to know of Storm's account, one that Brown dedicated four articles to at Spirit Daily. The complete details are available at the afterlife section of Spirit Daily's bookstore, My Descent Into Hell.
Although Brown elaborated on Storm's near-death experience with some detail, I would like to refer readers, who may be interested in reading about it, to Brown's web site. The reason being, Brown went on to discuss two other near-death experiences that I found particularly interesting: a man named Alan who was shown where he deserved to go upon his death, and the second about Doctor Gloria Polo, a dentist from Bogota, Colombia, who was struck by lightening.
Alan's near-death experience was a journey into the depths of hell; the place where he would have gone for good if he died! During his near-death experience, St. Michael the Archangel escorted Alan down to what Brown described as a dark mountain, surrounded by other dark mountains and valleys on a narrow path where demons were trying to snatch Alan, but could not do so with St. Michael present.
Saint Michael showed Alan several levels of Hell where he saw incredible suffering. At one location was a vault that St. Michael opened and revealed to Alan something to the effect of countless cubes or cells, one after another stacked up, going on as far as the eyes could see. In each one of these small cells was a person who was constantly reliving and watching the events of their lives that got them sent to Hell.
Although Alan wasn't taken down to the worst level of Hell, he was taken down further from the level of the "vault." At this lower level, he saw an awful entity that could have been Satan or a demon, sitting upon a filthy throne on top of tarnished gold coins and money.
Brown clarified what was to be understood by that experience: money and materialism can get us into a lot of trouble! Elaborating further he stated, "We should be extremely cautious about going after money and focussing on it."
Of all the cases Brown cited, Dr. Gloria Polo's near-death experience seemed to resonate with me the most. Polo was extremely materialistic, self-conscious of her body, a sensual, lustful woman. She had paid for the abortions and birth control of other women, thinking all along that she was doing a good deed.
Polo's near-death experience began at the moment she was struck by lightening. Immediately she found herself in Hell, where she described it as a dark place of tunnels, so gloomy that it would make the darkness part of earth seem like day light.
Polo was given a "life review" by Jesus, and was shown everything about her life.
Gloria was shown how selfish, self-centered and uncaring she was with respect to her neglect to pray for a fellow Colombian woman whose husband had been murdered.
One day Gloria was in front of the television set watching the news and there had been a report about a woman who was weeping because her husband was assassinated by hired killers of the woman's landlord. The husband was killed due to the refusal of the family to move away from their apartment, which the landlord was insisting upon, so he could charge higher rent.
Although Polo was saddened by the news, knowing that this poor woman had no place to stay, she responded to it with indifference and changed the channel to a fitness program, which she was quite interested in. Jesus showed Polo that instead of doing that, if she would have gotten down on her knees and prayed for that poor woman, everything would have been different.
Jesus illustrated this point to Polo in such a manner that it is a lesson for all of us to learn from and employ in our own lives. Polo was driving around Bogota with her son, and they happened to go through the "red light district" and at one point, the son noticed a prostitute and mentioned it to her, "Mommy, what is that woman doing over there? Why is she dressed that way?" Polo responded something to the effect of a rebuke of the prostitute, directing her son to not even so much as look in the prostitute's direction.
Polo was shown that the prostitute was that same woman she saw on television whose husband was murdered. Jesus informed Polo that had she gone down on her knees and prayed for that woman, the Holy Spirit would have come upon her and inspired her to contact a local priest that she knew. The priest would have taken care of that woman and she would have never become a prostitute!
Brown pointed out the relevance of Polo's near-death experience for our own lives; that is, we too will go through a life review and will be shown not only what we have done, but also what we haven't done. This will include our words, thoughts and actions during our lives. For this reason, Brown recommended that we need to purify every thought we have and try imbue them with love.
Brown went on to state that love is a double protection: it protects us on earth from the Evil One and brings us to Heaven, as does humility and not being worldly.
Brown's talk about Hell is available for viewing at my YouTube video from the twelfth minute and on, that also includes the case of Howard Storm: Michael H. Brown: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Part Two. For those interested in watching the concluding segment of Howard Storm's near-death experience, please watch my third video: Michael H. Brown: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Part Three.