Lessons from priest’s visit to Hell, Purgatory, Heaven » Manila Bulletin News

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Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

 

A priest, bishop, and a lawyer went up to Heaven simultaneously. The priest was given his reward which consisted of a bungalow, a small car, and a P10,000 monthly allowance.

The bishop received a two-story house, a van, and P20,000 monthly allowance.

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But when it was the lawyer’s turn, he got an imposing mansion, a luxury car, and a P50,000 monthly allowance.

Seeing the big discrepancy, the priest and bishop complained to St. Peter.

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He offered this explanation: “I hope you understand. The reason is because he is the first lawyer to enter Heaven. So he deserves a handsome reward!”

That’s only a joke, of course, since there are numerous upright and God-fearing lawyers in heaven. In the next life, there are rewards and punishments as my story below enunciates.

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In my columns of July 16 and 20, I shared the personal testimony of an Indian priest Fr. Jose Maniyangat who was privileged to visit Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven following a fatal motorcycle accident in northern Kerala in 1985 and returned to tell his story.

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Let me share some important lessons from the priest’s experience. His guardian angel said that those who were in Hell and Purgatory were punished because while on earth they did not repent of their sins and offences. Given the time and opportunity offered by a merciful God to repent, they persisted in their wrongdoings.

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The lesson has a clear Biblical basis in the story of the Good Thief hanging on the cross beside that of Jesus. In his dying moments, the thief said: “Lord, remember me when You come to Paradise.”

The Lord was so moved by his faith that He said: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise!” Wow, what a swift and sweet salvation coming from no less than Jesus Himself.

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By the way, some wit said Jesus saved the good thief so fast (TODAY, not tomorrow or later) because he might go back to his previous criminal ways!

The truth of the matter is that the thief was “canonized” on the spot because of his sincere and deep repentance. Fr. Maniyangat said, “The angel told me that if they had repented, they would have avoided Hell and gone instead to Purgatory.”

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Another lesson is: “Some people who repented from their sins might be purified on earth through their sufferings. This way they can avoid purgatory and go straight to Heaven.

Hence, if you suffer inevitably from painful sicknesses like cancer, renal failure, migraine, toothaches, and you offer them in union with the sufferings of the Lord, such pains will not be wasted but become meritorious.

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As for those who go to Hell, remember that there’s no more hope of deliverance. Dante, renowned author of the book “Inferno,” says: “Those who enter here abandon all hope.”

In the end, however, we should have no fear of Hell if we follow God’s will and commands. Hence, salvation is in our hands… and God’s infinite mercy.

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YOU ARE INVITED…to a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City with side tour to the USA on Nov. 8-18, 2017.

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The Guadalupe shrine is where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared several times to a peasant Indian Juan Diego and imprinted her image on a cloak (tilma). I will serve as chaplain.

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For inquiries, call Broadway Travel, Inc., or e-mail: mailbox@broadwaytravelph.com.

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