People were screaming “Jesus, Jesus” and running in all directions.—an Earthquake victim in Haiti after a 7.0 quake, January 12th, 2010, Reuters News Agency
IN coming times, God’s mercy is going to come in various ways—but not all of them easy. Again, I believe we may be on the verge of seeing the last Six Seals of Revelation defiinitively opened, the hard labor pains at the end of this era. By this, I mean that war, economic collapse, famine, plagues, and persecution are imminent, though only God knows the times and seasons.1 Yes, I know—it sounds like “doom and gloom.” But in many ways, it is the only hope some souls have, and perhaps the only means left to bring nations back to the Father…
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES
We’ve all heard the stories of survivors of near-death experiences. The common theme is that, in an instant, they saw their lives flash before their eyes. A victim of a plane crash in Utah recounted this experience:
A series of pictures, words, ideas, understanding… It was a scene from my life. It flashed before me with incredible rapidity, and I understood it completely and learned from it. Another scene came, and another, and another, and I was seeing my entire life, every second of it. And I didn’t just understand the events; I relived them. I was that person again, doing those things to my mother, or saying those things to my father or brothers or sisters, and I knew why, for the first time, I had done them or said them. Entirety does not describe the fullness of this review. It included knowledge about myself, that all the books in the world couldn’t contain. I understood every reason for everything I did in my life. —The Other Side, by Michael H. Brown, p. 8
Often, people have experienced such an “illumination” moments before death, or what appeared to be imminent death.
MERCY IN CHASTISEMENT
Understand what I am trying to say: the Great Storm that is here and coming is bringing with it chaos. But it is this very destruction which God will use to draw souls to Himself who otherwise would not repent. When the World Trade Center towers collapsed, how many souls cried out to Heaven as they faced the last few moments of their mortality? How many repented as Hurricane Katrina brought them face to face with death? How many souls called upon the name of the Lord as the Asian Tsunami swept over their heads?
…and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord. (Acts 2:21)
God is far more interested in our eternal destiny than our temporal comfort. If His permissive Will allows such tragedies to occur, who knows what graces He infuses in those last few moments? When we hear accounts from those who have had brushes with death, it would seem that there are great graces for at least some souls. Perhaps these are graces that were merited for them by the prayers and sacrifices of others, or by an act of love earlier in their life. Only Heaven knows, but with the Lord…
We know that all things work for good for those who love God… (Rom 8:5)
Perhaps a soul who “loved God” in so far as they truly and sincerely followed their conscience, but through no fault of their own rejected “religion,” will be given graces of repentance before the calamity strikes (cf. Catechism n. 867-848), for…
Love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Pt 4:8)
This does not mean that a soul should wait until the last minute to depend upon such graces. Souls that do so are gambling with their eternal souls.
God is generous, though, and willing to give eternal life to the one who repents even “at the last second.” Jesus told the parable of two groups of workers, some who began early in the day, and others who came in “at the last hour” to work. When it came time to pay them wages, the owner of the vineyard gave equal wages to all. The first group of workers complained:
‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?(Matt 20:12-15)
Then [the good thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)
St. Paul teaches that it is God’s will that all should be saved. Heaven, then, is doing everything possible in this late hour to arrange the opportunity for the salvation of souls as much as freedom permits. Chastisements are coming in which the good and the bad will be taken. But it should bring us hope that, despite the coming darkness, light will be given in ways that we cannot comprehend. Millions of souls might perish if they were to continue on as they have been until now, living out their last days to old age. But through trial and tribulation, illumination and repentance, they may in fact be saved through Mercy in chaos.
God’s mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illumined by a ray of God’s powerful final grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment, while outwardly it shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition, because souls [at that stage] no longer react to external things. Oh, how beyond comprehension is God’s mercy! But—horror!—there are also souls who voluntarily and consciously reject and scorn this grace! Although a person is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God. But sometimes, the obduracy in souls is so great that consciously they choose hell; they [thus] make useless all the prayers that other souls offer to God for them and even the efforts of God Himself… —Diary of St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 1698