Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter


Monday, November 2, 2020

The Lady in a Red Dress: Recalling a Visit from a Poor Soul...



Today is the Feast of All Souls. I love how our Church designates special days of the year to remember and celebrate important truths of our Faith... and today is one of them. We recall - together, as the universal Church - our beloved deceased and pray for them to rest in peace, just in case they haven't yet attained the direct presence of God in the afterlife. Given the significance of the Feast, I am today sharing a personal story to encourage prayer for the Poor Souls; to testify to the value of our prayers for them and how we certainly make a positive difference for the souls we pray for.  This experience happened over 25 years ago and I swear to the truth of it...

I once knew a lady who I called "Auntie Mary"; she was the cousin of a close friend of mine. Auntie Mary was a pleasantly plump woman in her late 40s with wavy shoulder-length hair, a lovely smile, and a jovial personality. To make a long story short, she was diagnosed with cancer, which quickly spread throughout her body. The chemo therapy she went through did nothing for her except make her sicker and she also lost all her thick dark hair. Within a year her cancer was terminal and it was apparent she was in constant pain as the disease progressed.

Often, when I went to visit my friend, I took some time to sit with Auntie Mary to chat and pray with her, especially when her pain was intense.  She liked it when I did that.

It wasn't long after that Auntie Mary was in the hospital dying. My friend gave me a call to request that I come to the hospital, asap, as Auntie Mary was asking for me. There, I found her in distress and when she heard my voice, she called out to me repeating over and over, "Peter, I'm scared... Peter, I'm scared."  She had already gone blind.

I sat down beside her and placed into her hand a plastic statuette of Our Lady of Fatima that I had brought with me.  It was somewhat of a risk because Auntie Mary was a lapsed Catholic who had joined the Jehovah's Witnesses years before, but she wasn't die-hard about practicing it... so I held her hand in mine and gently encouraged her to ask our Blessed Mother for the grace of a peaceful death.  I also reminded her of God's unconditional love for her and his Divine Mercy. We spent several minutes in prayer before I had to leave Auntie Mary's side to allow family members to bid her farewell.  I left the statue in her hand.

Fast forward three days - I got word from my friend that Auntie Mary had passed away. My friend also returned the statuette to me and told me Auntie Mary had died clutching the Marian image in her hand; she never let it go. I recall being happy to learn that the Blessed Virgin had somehow touched Auntie Mary and I offered prayers for her peaceful repose.  What happened next was remarkable and completely unexpected...

A drawing representing the lady in red
from my dream.

Several days after Auntie Mary died, I had a very vivid dream. I saw a lovely woman standing in the midst of what appeared to be a burnt forest - the surrounding was gloomy with smoke, ashes covered the ground, and charred trees were all over the place (somewhat like the photo at the very top). In contrast, the lady stood out wearing a red, fitted Chinese-style dress and she had very long luxurious hair that fell loosely down to her back side. She smiled brightly at me and with a familiarity that I didn't understand at first. It was only after staring at her for a while that it finally dawned on me that she was Auntie Mary... but looking young and much leaner! As if she was waiting for my recognition, she then silently beckoned to me with a hand before turning around to walk through a path in the devastation.  I followed. 

I don't recall how long we walked or how far we went but I did notice that, as we kept moving forward, the surrounding landscape gradually changed - grass and other greenery started sprouting up along side us with more and more healthy trees. Eventually the dead landscape was completely replaced by a beautiful lush forest and we ended up in a clearing where a small grassy mound was at the center. I can still visualize the warm sunbeams shining down brightly unto the mound through an opening in the upper foliage. The place evoked a deep sense of peace and calm. 

Auntie Mary walked to the top of the mound and, in a manner most graceful, she sat herself on the grass before laying down on her right side, facing me with her hands joined together under her cheek. Taking one last look at me, she smiled again and seemed to fall into a peaceful sleep atop the cool grass.   I then woke up from my own sleep.

After praying and meditating diligently about the meaning of my dream, I came to the conclusion that Auntie Mary was saved and was either undergoing her personal Purgatory or, perhaps had even completed it, as symbolized by her gradual transition from a burnt-out forest to another one of great beauty and serenity where she eventually found rest.  Whatever the case, I was happy for her because I knew how much she had suffered at the end.

The reality of my experience was validated a couple of weeks later at Auntie Mary's funeral. I took the initiative to speak with "Grandma Joseph" (Auntie Mary's mother) to tell her about my dream. I told her how I saw Auntie Mary with long hair - longer than what I ever saw her with; how she appeared slimmer and healthy; happy and peaceful... wearing the unusual red dress. Grandma Joseph choked up with emotion before revealing to me that her daughter, in her youth, was admired by many for her long beautiful hair that went down past her back... in addition, she had a favorite dress she wore regularly - a red, knee-length Chinese dress!

Needless to say, I was blown away by what I learned from Grandma Joseph. I knew then, for certain, it was indeed Auntie Mary in my dream and, although she never said a word, I understood she came to personally let me know she was in a good place, as well as, to express her gratitude for the prayers offered on her behalf. I was also convicted that the Church is correct about an intermediate spiritual state or place of purification for the faithfully departed, and our prayers really do have the power to relieve them.

A painting that reminds me of the forest scene in my dream.

So please - pray, pray, pray for your beloved dead.  Plead the Lord's Divine Mercy upon them.  There are countless Poor Souls eagerly awaiting our prayers right now.  With a simple prayer such as the one below one can make a big difference to a soul in need - pray it often:

Grant unto them, O Lord, eternal rest;
let Your perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.  Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Saint of the Month - November 2020: Sr. Josepha of Jesus Lindmayer


The Servant of God
Sr. Josepha of Jesus, Carmelite
(a.k.a. Maria Anna Lindmayer)

Once again it's November, the month especially dedicated by Holy Mother Church to the remembrance of the Poor Souls... and today I am happy to feature a holy Carmelite who had a great devotion to them. She isn't officially a Saint yet, but her Cause for Canonization was opened by her diocese, which speaks of the worthiness of her character.

A painting of Maria Anna Lindmayer,
the future Sr. Josepha of Jesus.

Born on September 9, 1657, Maria Anna's father was Franz Lindmayr, a valet to the Duke of Bayern-Leuchtenberg, and her mother was named Eva Maria. Together, the Lindmayers had 15 children (including Maria Anna) who the couple raised in a strict Catholic upbringing. This Servant of God, in particular, was extraordinarily gifted in spirit from her early childhood - so much so, that she was reportedly favored with an apparition of the Blessed Virgin at just 8-years-old!

At 12 Maria Anna was introduced to the Church's teaching on Poor Souls, whose plight tugged at her heart, and she maintained a life-long devotion to them ever since. I will relate more on her devotion to the Holy Souls further down in this post.

Now despite her childhood piety and experiences, Maria Anna did not fully surrender herself to Christ until aged 15 when, through the influence of her Carmelite confessor, she began discerning the Lord's will for her. Her commitment to belong solely to God was solidified during a deep conversion experience after having made a general confession. A few years later she attempted to enter three local convents but was unsuccessful due to chronic poor health. Returning home each time, she plunged herself into a regimen of deep prayer, voluntary mortifications/penances (she secretly wore a spiked belt next to her skin and habitually fasted). At about the same time mystical graces resurfaced and escalated in her life, which included apparitions of Jesus and other heavenly personages, and the Sacred Stigmata.

On July 16, 1687, Maria Anna became a Carmelite Tertiary and was clothed in the Order's Brown Scapular. She continued living as a consecrated laywoman, running her household and caring for her younger siblings, while heavily involved in the building of a church in Munich honoring the Holy Trinity; she had prophetically encouraged the citizens to construct the church to ward off a plague and the encroachment of an ongoing war, which it effectively did.

In October 1711, at the mature age of 54, Anna Maria was finally admitted into a newly established Discalced Carmelite cloister that was built next to the church she had helped to raise; her profession took place on May 1713 under the religious name of Sr. Josepha of Jesus. There, in Carmel, she was first appointed the infirmarian but was elected to the 3-year post of Prioress in 1716 and 1719... then named Novice-Mistress, beginning in 1722 (Lindmayer was actually elected to a third term as Prioress but declined the office, allowing herself to be persuaded to take charge of training the novices instead).

Sr. Josepha prayed constantly for the
Poor Souls in Purgatory.

So going back to her devotion to the Poor Souls, Sr. Josepha reportedly had mystical contact with these souls and even visited Purgatory on several occasions. Fortunately, she left behind detailed written accounts of her experiences, which are full of profound insights into Purgatory and the state of the souls in purification. Cited below are just a few excerpts from her writings:

  "It was also revealed to me that to the Holy Souls, one hour seems longer than twenty years of extreme suffering on this earth. I also understood that even if we could arrange for them to get out of Purgatory and to go to Heaven, although not completely purified, the Holy Souls would rather stay until judgment day than appear before God even with the smallest stain... Oh yes, we can indeed call them 'holy', the Holy Souls of Purgatory, since they are full of love for God. They burn more with the love of God and the desire to be with Him who is so good and to rejoice in His presence. This fire of love burns them more than the fire of punishment."

And here's more..

  "Another time, I saw Purgatory as a prison of fire, as a place where the fire is frightening. All the fires of the world united could not compare to it, and the Poor Souls were plunged into it like sparks. They are so numerous that my eyes could not embrace at a glance the entire multitude, so vast it is."

Lastly...

  "To give an idea of the vast number of these Poor Souls, God made me see Purgatory in the form of an anthill. I asked why the Souls were shown to me in this way. I was given to understand that an anthill has a outer cover so we cannot actually see the great number of ants inside. But if we stir it with a stick, or if we put smoke to it, the ants will come out by the thousands. I realized from this that there were in Purgatory, many, many Souls hidden from our eyes, as in a covered anthill as I had just seen... He was using me, as it were, as the end of a stick to stir up the anthill, for me to see in Purgatory the hidden crowd of Souls that we think are already in Heaven."

It goes without saying, deeply moved by what she witnessed in visions, Sr. Josepha of Jesus responded generously to the Faithfully Departed by offering countless sacrifices and extraordinary mystical sufferings on their behalf.  The souls, in turn, had great confidence in the effectiveness of her prayer - with God's express permission, they appeared to her with uncommon frequency and, at times, even gently pulled on her cloak to get her attention, so eager were they to obtain relief!

Towards the end of her illustrious life the "Saint of Munich" lost her sight and suffered from a lingering illness. The Servant of God died peacefully at aged 69 on December 6, 1726.

Lindmayr Freundeskreis: Startseite
A painting of Sr. Josepha of Jesus in death.

The year following her passing, the Cause for Canonization for Sr. Josepha was initiated by her Bishop.  However, it remains stalled up to the present day.  A contributing factor is the suppression of her convent and the forced eviction of the Carmelites in 1802 by the anti-clerical government that came into power. Furthermore, in 1803, the mystic's grave was secretly opened by the Munich police and her bones, along with the remains of other deceased nuns, were sacrilegiously buried in an unmarked pit.  Thus, sadly, bodily relics of this holy nun are presently lost to the world.

Please join this ministry in praying for the revival and continued progress of Sr. Josepha's Cause... and let us seriously take her message about the Holy Souls to heart.  In union with her prayer from Heaven and other Faithful in the Church, let us pray: Dear God, grant unto the Poor Souls eternal rest and peace.  Let perpetual light shine upon them.  Amen.

“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they may be freed from sins.”

- 2 Mach. 12:46

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Monthly Message of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 25th, 2020



  “Dear Children, at this time, I am calling you to return to God and to prayer. Invoke the help of all the Saints, for them to be an example and a help to you. Satan is strong and is fighting to draw all the more hearts to himself. he wants war and hatred. That is why I am with you for this long, to lead you to the way of salvation, to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Little children, return to the love for God and He will be your strength and refuge.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”