“We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor 6:1). In showing us His grace and in working miracles for us, God seeks nothing less than our salvation. No doubt some of you will remain indifferent to my experience, but others will draw the necessary conclusions.
In LOA #14, we ran part one of the near death experience of Columbian dentist Dr. Gloria Polo. A direct lightning strike burned her so severely that her doctors gave her no chance of survival. And yet thanks to God’s miraculous intervention, she not only returned to life, but also went on to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. Having received a new body and a chance to live her life anew, Gloria gratefully accepted the grace of God’s mercy and now warns others not to repeat the mistakes she made prior to her conversion. Here is the rest of her testimony.
The occult and the wiles of Satan
When I found myself outside of my body, I underwent a judgment of my entire life. It was a kind of examination on the Ten Commandments during which I came to understand how diabolical an art occult activity was. Evil spirits try to convince us that there is nothing wrong with consulting a psychic or a touch healer. Through stealth and deception, Satan seeks to lead us astray and exploit us for his own evil ends. When we resort to occult activity, consult fortune-tellers, summon up spirits, dabble in astrology, take part in séances with revolving tables, the demon places his mark upon our soul. I allowed him to do so when I went with my friend to have my fortune told by a tarot card reader. I allowed primitive magic and superstition to shape my life. I worshipped idols and rejected faith in the living God; as a result, I suffered spiritual distress and confusion, nightmares, anxiety, torments, fears, and terrors. Suicidal thoughts assailed me. At the time I could not explain why. True, I still prayed, but I felt that God was far from me. I no longer felt the closeness I used to enjoy with Him as a child. I found it increasingly difficult to pray. I had opened the door to the Evil One, and he entered into my life. I placed more faith in Mercury, Venus, and other celestial bodies than in God. Amulets were more important to me than God. Astrology and reading the stars rendered me blind. I used to tell others how the stars influenced and shaped my life for the better. I did not realize that astrology was a pseudoscience of demonic origin. It became more important to me than the Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the Catholic Church. I had no awareness of the price Jesus paid for me; that He had redeemed me with His most precious Blood. All of this became clear to me during that “examination.”
The worst thing was that my soul was wasting away, or rather craving nourishment, for I had denied it spiritual food. I devoted myself exclusively to my body and showed no concern for my spiritual growth. I never fed myself with God’s word, for I held the view that frequent reading of the Bible eventually deprived people of their reason. I stopped going to confession. I could see no sense in confessing my sins to some “senile old priest,” whom I considered worse and more sinful than myself. Thus that great liar and agitator — the devil — kept me away from confession and the sacraments, which sanctify and cleanse the soul. Every time I committed a sin, the demon stamped on the white garment of my soul the black mark of his kingdom of darkness. My sins had serious repercussions on the health and future of my soul. After my first confession before my First Holy Communion, I had never made a good confession. I received the Body of Christ unworthily. I blasphemed to such a degree that I used to tell people: “This is supposed to be the Blessed Sacrament!
How can Almighty God be present in a piece of bread — the Host? These priests should at least sweeten it with caramel to make it taste better, and not dish out something so insipid!” And so in this way I reached rock bottom, ruining my relationship with God, my Creator.
Great anger used to seize me whenever I saw my father humiliate my mother so shamelessly before the whole world. It pained me to see what a womanizer he was. It made him feel good, even happy, to brag of his macho conquests to my mother and those around him. He always had a number of women at his beck and call and was able to satisfy them. In addition, he drank hard and smoked like a chimney. When I grew up and became independent — financially that is — I began to put pressure on my mother. “Why don’t you divorce Papa?” I would urge her. But my mother would reply: “No, my dear daughter, I will not seek a divorce, even though I find your father’s behavior painful and humiliating. I endure this sacrifice out of regard for the sacrament of marriage and you, my seven children. It is better that only one of us should suffer. If I leave your father, who will pray for his conversion and the salvation of his soul? The pain and humiliation that your papa causes me, I will join with Our Lord Jesus Christ’s silent suffering on the Cross. Every day I say to Him: ‘What I must suffer and endure is nothing in comparison with the suffering you bore for us on the cross. Allow my suffering to have value. Allow me to unite it with your suffering. Let my pain have the power of winning the grace of conversion for my husband and children, that they may be saved from eternal damnation.’”
None of this made any sense to me, and I would shake my head at my mother’s “foolishness.” I was simply unable to understand it. Her thoughts were absolutely foreign to me, diametrically opposed to my way of thinking and living.
Even though I had never taken a lover and remained faithful to one man (my husband) all my life, it was pointed out to me [during this “examination” of my life], that every time I bared my abdomen and displayed my body in public, I was prompting other men to ogle me and entertain lecherous thoughts, and thus was leading them into sin. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:27-28). In the same way, when I urged other women to be unfaithful to their husbands, I shared responsibility for their sins of adultery. During this scrutiny of my life, I realized how repulsive a sin lust was and how it paved the way to hell. And yet this sin could be avoided altogether, despite the fact that so many people today consider it normal and insist how wonderful it is to experience this or that illicit pleasure. I was forced to admit that sin consists not only in the commission of an act but also — and even more so — in the secret thought entertained by the soul. How painful it was for me to realize the consequences of all these sins and how long lasting they could be!
Loss of innocence and abortion
God showed me with shocking clarity that I was also a cruel murderer. In God’s eyes, the murder I had committed was among the most monstrous: abortion. When I was sixteen years old, I met my first boyfriend. My friends began to pressure me, since, being a virgin, I was the black sheep among them. I could not wiggle out of it, it seemed, and so I asked my friend Estela, “What if I get pregnant as you did?” To this she replied, “No, that can’t happen. Now there are more effective methods such as condoms.” I felt bad about having to keep that stupid promise. After the deed, I realized how right my mother had been in saying that a girl dies when she loses her innocence. Indeed, I felt something had died within me, as if I had lost something that would never return or be restored to me. And so, disillusionment, bitterness, and sorrow were all that remained of that sensational experience, which my friends had conjured up before my eyes. I was indignant and furious both at them and at myself. That I should have been so stupid and cowardly as to be talked into doing something I did not want to do! To make matters worse, despite all the advice of my friend Estela and the precautions taken, I became pregnant after my first sexual experience. You can imagine the fears of a sixteen-year-old girl. Pregnancy! I began to feel numerous changes occurring inside my body. And besides the fear, I felt a growing sense of tenderness for the child I was carrying within me.
I informed my boyfriend of the turn of events. He was surprised and frightened. I expected him to say, “So let’s get married!” (I was sixteen and he, seventeen.) Instead, he said we should not ruin our lives on this account and that I should abort the child. I walked away, despondent, worried, and unbearably sad. I was also furious with Estela, who assured me that everything would be all right. On the subject of abortion, she said: “Don’t worry! Remember, I’ve been through this several times. The first time you feel a little sad, the second time it’s a bit easier, and after the third time you don’t feel anything.” No one can imagine the magnitude of my fear and sense of guilt as I traveled to that distant hospital to undergo an abortion. The doctor administered the anesthetic. When I awoke, I was no longer the person I used to be. They had killed my child, and I died along with it.
God showed me still more: namely, how I nbsp;had contributed to other abortions through so-called “family planning.” From age sixteen, I had been fitted with a copper coil. I wore it until the day I was struck down, removing it only when I wished to become pregnant. Do you know what a coil is? Micro-abortion! Yes, a coil provokes a micro-abortion, since the embryo wants to attach itself to the uterus and is unable to do so because of the coil. It dies and is sloughed away — aborted. An embryo is already a living person. It has a fully developed soul. A deliberately discarded embryo is a person denied the chance to live! It is terrible to see how many of such embryos (i.e. human beings capable of living a full life) are aborted in this manner. These suns, these “divine sparks,” are extinguished, cruelly snuffed out, and the cries of these children shake the foundations of heaven.
The worst thing was that I could not deny I had known this. A priest had told us this very thing in a sermon, but I did not want to hear it. Intrauterine coils provoke abortions and no woman using such things should receive Holy Communion. I heard him say it and was furious with him. “The nerve of these priests!” I said to myself “What business is it of theirs? But then that’s why the Church is deserted and stagnating. It doesn’t give a hoot for progress and science. Who do these priests think they are?” Thus ranting, I stormed out of the church. But during that hour of judgment, I could not stand before God and say I had not known.
How many children I must have killed this way! Instead of being a fountain of life, my womb had become a graveyard, the killing field of my unborn children. Just think about it! A mother killing her own children! A mother, on whom God had bestowed the great gift of transmitting life; a mother, who ought to be watching over her child and guarding it from every evil, murdering her own child! Acting on his diabolic plan, Satan has brought humanity to the point of killing its own offspring, and thus destroying its own future. And so I came to understand why all this time I had been so embittered, depressed, ill humored, unpleasant, irritable, and frustrated with everyone and everything. Now it was clear it me: I had transformed myself into a machine for killing unborn babies. This is what had been dragging me down — to the very brink of hell.
We kill not only when we take someone’s life. We can also kill indirectly. Now consider this carefully. The power and influence, which I gained thanks to my money, led me astray, resulting in my financing not just one but many abortions. “A woman has the right,” I used to say, “to decide when she wants to become pregnant and when she does not. Her womb belongs to no one but herself!” All this I found recorded in black and white in my “book of life” during that hour of judgment. What dreadful pain I felt when I read it and realized the monstrosity of the crimes to which my money led me! I convinced a fourteen-year-old girl to have an abortion. Instead of dissuading her from this course of action and telling her about God, I gave her so much money that she was able to go to the best abortion clinic in the country so as to prevent complications. I financed several other abortions as well. The evil spirits stained me not only with the blood of my own child, which I had on my conscience, but also with the blood of the children of those whom I urged and incited to have abortions. My once pure soul had become an impenetrable darkness. After my abortion, I lost all sense of sin. I actually believed I had nothing to confess. What a sad business, my brothers and sisters in Christ! What unbearable pain!
The truth revealed
God revealed me all those things we are unable to see with our earthly eyes. Every child upon conception receives a soul. God breathes it into existence — fully developed. As soon as the spermatozoid unites with the ovum, a bright ray of light of infinite beauty is created. That light is like a sun emerging from the radiant splendor of the God the Father and His infinite Love. This divinely created soul is mature and fully formed. Being in the image of god, it enjoys a state of perfection. The young creation is bathed in the Holy Spirit, for it springs from the Divine Heart. The woman’s womb conceiving it is filled with this light, the splendor of God’s union with this newly created soul. God showed me what happens when a doctor performs an abortion. I saw a doctor take a pincer-like implement, seize a child with it, and tear it to pieces. When an abortionist seizes the child in these pincers and dismembers it, the tiny creature fights for its life. I saw this for the terrible sin it was — a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance. When you kill such a child, it cries out aloud so that the heavens shudder to their very foundations. When I allowed them to kill my child, I heard that loud, heart-wrenching cry. I also heard Jesus groan in agony on the cross on account of that soul and every other soul that is aborted and deprived of the right to live. I saw the expression of pain on the face of my Crucified Jesus. There is no describing the suffering Jesus must have borne because of this. If we could all see what was revealed to me then, no one would dare to have an abortion.
It is Satan who causes us to misunderstand such things. We trivialize them as if they were trifling, unimportant matters, as if abortion were the most normal thing in this godless world. Do you know why Satan does this; why he seduces people to do such things? For one thing, he needs these victims, since every deliberately performed abortion increases his hold on the world. Abortion is the gravest and most appalling of all sins. Every time we spill the blood of a child — an innocent child — we offer up a holocaust to Satan, and his power over the world grows stronger. Voluntary abortion means giving Satan control of our lives, selling our very soul to him. The devil is leading us straight to the abyss, for we are spilling innocent blood. A child is an “innocent lamb,” like Jesus — “the Lamb of God, who died for our sins.”
It is this sin that enables evil spirits bent on the destruction of humanity to leave the infernal regions in ever-greater numbers and overrun the earth. The gates of hell, sealed shut until now, are breaking open. The seals, which God had placed there so that evil might not overwhelm us, are falling away. Every act of infanticide causes them to crumble faster. Demons resembling ghastly larvae swarm through the bursting gates, and humanity finds itself increasingly overrun by Satan’s spawn. These hideous creatures cling to us like leaches, torment us, and finally make us slaves of our bodies, lusts, and sins, prone only to evil. We can see for ourselves how evil is growing all around us. It is as if we were giving the demons the keys to the doors of our souls. And they come in, ever more numerous: demons of prostitution, sick sexuality, Satanism, atheism, suicide, mean-spiritedness and all the other evils that we see today. The world becomes more wicked with every passing day. The killing of our children is hell’s triumph.
Abortion slips thin chains around our necks. It hampers us and causes us pain of such magnitude that a whole lifetime will not assuage it. The terrible knowledge that murder has been committed! That one is a murderer! And our victim was not someone “out there,” but our own child, our own flesh and blood. Do we have any idea how many children we have killed throughout the world? We are unable to grasp the magnitude of this appalling crime. We wallow in blood and do not even notice it. We sin without knowing it because we have anaesthetized our consciences. And when someone takes up the anti-abortion cause, he is called a fanatic, a conservative, old-fashioned, “from the loony fringe.” This is one of the greatest triumphs of the prince of darkness!
When we remain in a state of mortal sin, our life turns more and more into a hell on earth with all the diseases and evils that it visits upon us. All this is due to the action of the evil spirits in our culture of death. And yet it is we — and only we — who bear the blame, for it is we who are opening wide the gates to Satan by our unconfessed and unatoned-for sins. Thus we give him full sway over us and allow him to do with us as he wills. But in His boundless mercy our loving God has given us the sacrament of forgiveness, which enables us to express sorrow for our sins and have them blotted away through confession. In this way we can burst Satan’s bonds and put an end to his sway over us forever. In the sacrament of reconciliation, in the blood of the Lamb, we can wash our soul clean. But I had not done this.
You can imagine what shame and sorrow seized me when God closed my “book of life.” I felt enormous sadness. How wicked and ungrateful to God the Father, my Creator, I had been! Despite all my sins, despite all the filth of my soul, despite my indifference, lukewarmness, and callous attitude toward those close to me, God had always sought me out, even to the last moment. He had walked with me, always waiting for a sign of conversion on my part. He had constantly sent people my way to prompt me to consider my actions and return to Him. He also took away many things from me, again with the purpose of prompting me to take stock of my life. He sent me trials and moments of hardship. He put obstacles, great disappointments, in my path. All this He did to win me back, to guide me to the path leading to my Father’s house. Indeed, He did all this to the very last moment and constantly waited for a sign from me. But He never encroached on my free will. I should have recognized His call and gladly made the right decision. He never condemned me. It was I who brought all this down upon myself. I had found my own “father” and my own “in group.” The father I chose was not God the Father, but the Father of Lies, Satan. I took the devil as my guide. But by following his will and lies, I deformed my life. He and his minions had become the sense of my wretched life.
When God closed the book of my life, it dawned on me that I was standing on the brink of a terrible precipice. I felt certain I would fall irretrievably into that dark pit, at the bottom of which (I imagined) stood the gate leading to eternal damnation. At that point, I began desperately to shout and scream as loud as I could. I begged all the saints to save me. A deathly silence followed. That silence caused me to feel another anguish of indescribable suffering. A sense of hopeless emptiness seized me, and I felt alone and utterly abandoned. Then I recalled what one of my patients had once said to me: “Doctor, listen to me and remember it well. You are a great materialist, but one day you will have cause to remember what I am going to tell you. Yes, even you will need it in the face of a terrible danger from which there will be no escape. If you find yourself in such a situation, turn to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and beg Him to cover and protect you with his Most Precious Blood, for with it He redeemed you as well.” And so, from the depths ofthe sufferings of my heart, with a sense of deep contrition and shame, I began to cry at the top of my voice, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! Forgive me! Lord, give me another chance!” Then I witnessed the most beautiful moment of my out-of body experience. Jesus Christ came down and pulled me out of that dark and terrible abyss, that horrifying pit. With a love that baffles human words, He said to me: “You shall return to earth. You shall have another chance. You may return thanks to the prayers of a great many people who are unrelated to you, who do not belong to your family. Many people unknown to you have prayed fervently for you and raised their hearts to me.” Then I saw all the people who had learned of my accident from the newspapers and radio and television stations. Moved by the news, they were praying for me. Here was clear proof of the efficacy of intercessory prayer. Know that the Holy Mass is the greatest gift you can offer anyone, for the Eucharist is not the work of man but the direct intervention of God in the world.
Then the Lord said to me again: “You shall return to earth. There you will relate this experience not a thousand times, but a thousand thousand times. But there will be people who will not be converted, despite hearing your account. They will be judged with greater severity.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! What I have recounted to you here is neither threat, nor intimidation, nor coercion. Our Lord has no interest in threatening or coercing you. What you have just read is your second chance, a chance that all of us — you and I — owe only to the infinite goodness of our God. Take advantage of this occasion. It may be your last, for when God opens the book of our life, when we die, we will all undergo the same judgment and see ourselves as we really are, without embellishment. In the presence of God, we will see and hear our deepest thoughts and most secret feelings. Everything will be made clear; nothing will be hidden. The most beautiful thing is that every one of us will stand directly before God, face to face.
God is like a beggar constantly imploring us to be converted that we may return to the Father’s house, that we may return to Him and begin life anew. He wants us to become a new creation with Him and through Him. Without His help, we are powerless to do this.
English text based on a reworking of the original Spanish text by Agnieszka Zuba
The above article was published with permission from "Love One Another!" in June 2016.