Painting by Michelangelo
Set out below is an account of the experience of a priest who died and was shown Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. It is of course only his personal experience but there is nothing in it which is contrary to faith and I trust that some of you might find, as I did, that it was a warning and an encouragement
Priest Taken To Purgatory
On Sunday April 14, 1985, the Feast of the Divine Mercy, Fr Tom Maniyangat was going to celebrate Mass at a mission church in the north part of Kerala, and he had a fatal accident. He had a head on collision with a jeep. He was rushed to a hospital about 35 miles away but he died on the way.
Fr Tom's soul left his body and he experienced death. He saw his body and the people who were carrying him to the hospital. He heard them crying and praying for him.
He then met his Guardian angel. His angel said to him: "I am going to take you to Heaven, the Lord wants to meet you and talk with you." He also said that as part of that journey he wanted to show Fr Tom hell and purgatory. This is how Fr Tom describes his visit to Hell and Purgatory
"First, the angel escorted me to hell. It was an awful sight! I saw Satan and the devils, an unquenchable fire of about 2,000 Fahrenheit degrees, worms crawling, people screaming and fighting, others being tortured by demons.
I was told there are seven "degrees" or levels of suffering in the netherworld. Those who committed "mortal sin after mortal sin" in life were suffering the most intense heat. They had bodies and looked very ugly, so cruel and ugly, horrifying. They were human but like monsters: fearful, ugly-looking things. The angel told me that all these sufferings were due to unrepented mortal sins.
Then, I understood that there are seven degrees of suffering or levels according to the number and kinds of mortal sins committed in their earthly lives. The souls looked very ugly, cruel and horrific. It was a fearful experience. I saw people whom I knew but I am not allowed to reveal their identities.
The sins that convicted them were mainly abortion, homosexuality [sins of the flesh], euthanasia, hatefulness, lack of forgiveness and sacrilege.
The angel told me that if they had repented they would have avoided hell and gone instead to purgatory. I also understood that some people who repent from these sins might be purified on earth through their sufferings. This way they can avoid purgatory and go straight to heaven.
I was surprised when I saw in hell even Priests and Bishops, some of whom I never expected to see. Many of them were there because they had misled the people with false teaching and bad example.
After the visit to hell, my Guardian angel escorted me to Purgatory. Here too, there are seven degrees of suffering and unquenchable fire. But it is far less intense than hell and there was neither quarreling nor fighting.
The main suffering of these souls is their separation from God. Some of those who are in Purgatory committed numerous mortal sins; but they were reconciled with God before their death. Even though these souls are suffering, they enjoy peace and the knowledge that one day they will see God face to face.
I had a chance to communicate with the souls in Purgatory. They asked me to pray for them and to tell the people to pray for them as well, so they can go to heaven quickly. When we pray for these souls we will receive their gratitude through their prayers and once they enter heaven their prayers become even more meritorious.
Next, my angel escorted me to heaven passing through a big dazzling white tunnel. I never experienced this much peace and joy in my life. Then immediately the heaven opened up and I heard the most delightful music, which I never heard before. The angels were singing and praising God. I saw all the saints, especially the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, and many dedicated holy Bishops and Priests who were shining like stars.
And when I appeared before the Lord, Jesus told me: "I want you to go back to the world. In your second life you will be an instrument of peace and healing to my people. You will walk in a foreign land and you will speak in a foreign tongue. Everything is possible for you with my grace." After these words, the Blessed Mother told me, "Do whatever He tells you. [John 2:5] I will help you in your ministries."
Words can not express the beauty of heaven. There we find so much peace and happiness, which exceed a million times our imagination. Our Lord is far more beautiful than any image can convey. His face is radiant and luminous and more beautiful than a thousand rising suns. The pictures we see in the world are only a shadow of His magnificence. The Blessed Mother was next to Jesus; she was so beautiful and radiant. None of the images we see in this world can compare with her real beauty. Heaven is our real home: we are all created to reach heaven and enjoy God forever.
Back to Earth
As they were moving my dead body to the morgue, my soul came back to the body. I felt an excruciating pain because of so many wounds and broken bones. I began to scream and then the people became frightened and ran away screaming.
One of them approached the doctor and said: "The dead body is screaming." The doctor came to examine the body and found that I was alive. So he said: "Father is alive. It is a miracle - take him back to the hospital."
FOSS (Friends of the Suffering Souls)
23rd November 2006