I was scared.
It was half an hour until my scheduled surgery would begin. The surgeon had briefly met with me beforehand to explain generally what would take place. I had seen the anesthesiologist, too. But none of their words were comforting to me.
I was scared.
Scared to death.
Two weeks prior I had broken my leg. The doctors had tried a cast but it was not working because of the type of break I had on my bones. So, surgery was required, and I had never had something so major a trauma like this before—
So, I did the unthinkable. I asked my mom to call a Catholic priest.
The thing was… I was not even Catholic. Or, at least, I had never professed to be one in my adult life.
I had been baptized as an infant into the Catholic faith. I had attended Sunday mass infrequently as a child, but never went to Sunday school, nor did I have any type of Catholic education.
I had never received my First Holy Communion, nor was I ever Confirmed. And certainly, I had no experience in going to the Sacrament of Confession.
But, all I knew was that if one feared dying, a priest was to be called. And so, despite being agnostic—a person who was trying to find God in all the wrong places, I asked my mom to call a Catholic priest.
And so, this Catholic priest stood before me as I was lying on the bed, awaiting to be wheeled into the surgery room. And, bless his heart, I had no idea that I was to confess anything to him.
But, this holy priest was a good man. After briefly talking to me and sensing my ignorance, he said that he would anoint me. And so, he prayed softly to himself for my safe recovery as he anointed my hands and my feet with holy oil.
Once the priest was done, I immediately felt better. I had no concept of a sin or being a sinner, but I simply thought that if there was a god, I would be “alright” now if something happened.
I was then wheeled into the surgery room.
I do not know how long I was under the anesthesia. But, the passage of time was irrelevant to me, as I slipped into unconsciousness during the operation.
Then, it happened. The most glorious experience of my life.
Suddenly, I found myself—my soul—skipping along in an open grassy meadow.
I knew that it was my soul because I did not have a physical body. And yet, I had a spiritual one—complete with fingers and toes. I marveled at my hands and my feet as I skipped along, no longer bound by a broken leg or limitations of a heavy physical body.
I was wearing a yellow dress covered in print with many miniature red flowers.
And I noticed the grass around me being so vibrant in living color… My soul focused on small details—like my fingers and toes—as it was hard for me to comprehend everything all at once. My soul kept “awakening” to what I was witnessing around me—as my mind tried to understand what was happening to me.
And as my mind opened more and more, I noticed that someone was following me…
I looked behind me and I saw satan.
I certainly knew that it was a demon, because he had taken the physical form of my then boyfriend and had an evil look upon his face. Surrounding satan was a pitch-black cloud, which intuitively, I understood to represent all my sins—mostly sins of the flesh—and behind him and the black cloud, I sensed was a huge pit of fire.
Yet, I was not afraid.
Because I was so happy. The most joyful that I had ever been in my entire life.
In fact, I never felt so more alive than those moments skipping across the meadow. Or, the happiest in my soul ever.
And as satan reached out his arms to grab me, I looked ahead of me, knowing in my soul somehow that he could not catch up with my skipping. And ahead of me, I saw a gray misty cloud that seemed to surround the perimeter of the grassy field that I was in.
And as my soul yearned to just reach that gray mist, as I knew, intuitively, that I would be truly safe if I just made it to the gray cloud… I began to notice something even greater in the place I was in…
The most brilliant white light permeated everything I saw. It filled the sky and gave life to everything in the field. And as I looked upwards, slightly behind me, towards my left-hand side, I noticed it then…
I noticed the Presence of God.
Truly, I realized then, that I was in a place that was neither heaven nor hell. Yet, I understood that heaven was above me and that heaven was where God lived. And I understood that The Light which I saw all-around me was emanating from God in heaven.
And when my soul was awakened to the Presence of God around me, I was then immediately asked a question—
God asked me a question. He said:
“Do you love Me?”
And, with all my heart, all my mind, all my strength, and all my soul, I said “yes” with every fiber of my being. I said, “yes” completely, entirely, and wholly.
I said “yes” to God.
But then, to my dismay, as soon as I gave my “yes” to God, my soul then began to fly very quickly straight into the brilliant white sky…
But, instead of heading towards the direction that I knew God was in heaven, or towards the gray clouds that I longed to go to that surrounded the grassy field, my soul began a quick ascent through a tunnel of light—which ended with severe shock and pain on the surgery room table as the anesthesiologist was awakening me.
The most intense and most beautiful experience of my life had ended. I was back in my physical body and on earth…
And I wanted to cry.
I had no concept as to where I had been, but all I knew was that I did not want to come home to my life on earth again. I had said my “yes” to God and I did not care at the time for my family or my friends or my life on earth—
I wanted to be with God.
For, if all the moments of joy that I had ever experienced on earth could be given to me all at once, it would be a mere droplet in the ocean of love that I knew existed in heaven where God was. I had not experienced heaven, but I knew that it existed, and that was where my soul wanted to go.
And so, I wanted to cry.
In the weeks that followed, I wish that my personal encounter with God would have made me a Catholic. However, I never made a mental connection between the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick that I had received from the Catholic priest and the spiritual experience I had while in surgery as being related—
I did not know that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick purifies one’s soul from all sin so as to prepare the soul to be received by God in heaven.
All I knew was that God and heaven existed. And I wanted to go there.
So, for two years more, I wandered… Until, by the grace of God tendered through His Blessed Mother, I finally picked up a Catholic catechism book and began to read it—
I read myself into the Catholic faith.
Starting with a simple catechism book to further books on apologetics and Christian theology, I was simply dumb-struck by the logic and beauty of the Catholic faith that I had been baptized in as an infant. I was learning the faith that I never learned as a child. Then, I read a book—
A book written by St. Anne Catherine Emmerich over 500 years ago on her visions of purgatory—
And as I read this book, I became speechless—overcome with complete joy—as St. Anne Catherine described exactly, in detail, where I had been over two years ago.
I read about the grassy fields, the gray misty clouds, etc., and I realized why I had been so eager to reach the gray mist in my skipping. Because I would have been able to stay with God, if I had entered the cloud of purgatory.
It made me so happy. I finally found the answers to all my life’s questions. I had finally found My God and I did not want to let Him go.
Now, there was only one small problem:
I had to change the direction of my life.
I knew now what sin was and realized what a bigger sinner I was. I also knew that I would have to make “hard choices,” because my life was not Christian by any standard.
One of the most difficult choices that I had to make was to break off the relationship with a man whom I had intended to one day marry. A man who had been raised in the Catholic faith but did not follow the Christian ideals that I knew to be The Truth. I had to walk away.
And so, after the choice had been made and realized, I took the dried rose buds that I had saved from every bouquet that he had ever given to me, to a field outside my apartment.
I then arranged the dried rose buds in the shape of a cross and sprinkled it with Lourdes holy water. I then prayed a simple prayer for this man and his family, that they would find and accept God as He Is truly one day. I entrusted their lives to God.
Then, I walked away to a new life in God.
And as I have grown in my faith, I have learned that the question that God asked me that one day during surgery is not unique to me.
A great man, our first pope, St. Peter, had been asked the same question three times by Our Lord.
It was a beautiful early morning at the beach along the Sea of Galilee two thousand years ago. Christ had Resurrected from the grave and had appeared to seven of His disciples while they had been fishing that morning.
They all ate breakfast with the fish they caught on the beach. Then Jesus turned to Peter and asked him:
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these (other disciples)?”
And Peter replied: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Then Jesus said to Peter: “Feed my lambs.”
Then, for a second time, Jesus asked Peter:
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
And Peter replied: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Then Jesus said to him: “Tend my sheep.”
Then, for a third time, Jesus asked Peter:
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
And Peter, distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” then said to Him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus then replied: “Feed my sheep.”
He then said to Peter: “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (Thus, signifying the death that St. Peter would endure in glory for The Lord—crucifixion upside down in Rome).
Then Jesus said to Peter: “Follow me.”
This story taken from the Gospel of John, Chapter 21 is important, because it illustrates the forgiveness and Mercy of God that Jesus extended to Peter for denying Him three times during the Passion and Crucifixion. It also shows the unlimited Mercy that God extends to each of us.
(For, three times, there was a question of love from God and an assent given in love by Peter for Our Lord. This. thereby, forgave the sins of Peter’s earlier thrice-denial during the Passion).
Also, this story is important, because it shows the desire and intentions of Our Lord for St. Peter to be the head of the universal church as the first Catholic Pope.
But, there is one final significance to this story that oftentimes gets overlooked…
It turns upon the one word—
In the English language, the word “love” can mean many different types and degrees of affection between people. Yet, there is only one word—love—to mean so many expressions of love in the English world.
However, in the Greek language, of which the Gospel story was originally written, “love” can be translated into three different possibilities: eros (passionate love), philia (friendship or brotherly love) or agape (unconditional and sacrificial love).
The reason that this translation of meanings for love is significant is because St. John wrote the Gospel story using two different Greek words for love.
In the first two instances, St. John used the word “philia” to express the meaning of love in Jesus’ question of, Do you love Me?
Yet, when Jesus put the final question to Peter, St. John used the word “agape” to express the meaning of love in Jesus’ third question, Do you love Me?
And so, it is revealed through choice of Greek words that God wants and desires a love from us that is unconditional love. A love, not just of the mind or physical, but truly a sacrificial love from our hearts and our souls.
An unconditional love like Our Lord truly loves each one of us.
Thank you, my dearest reader, for allowing me to share my testimony of my conversion to The Lord with you. It took me many years for me to finally have the words to say. And I offer my personal story to you, as a gift of hope to you, so that you may draw closer to Him Who Is the closest to you in your life.
Each of us only has “so much” time until our own passing from this earth. It is my sincerest hope and prayer that you will chose to say “yes” to The Lord as I did and continue to do in my own life.
I know that it is hard to recognize or understand it, but Our Lord comes to us, in each and every present moment, to ask us that question of, Do you love Me?
While God can ask the question in a more obvious way, like He did to me and St. Peter, truly, God asks us this question far more often in the humblest and smallest of ways… Through the gentle breeze of the wind on one’s face to the uncontrollable laughter of a small child, in so many ways Our Lord communicates to us His Love and desire for our best welfare through these simple joys—
He reaches out to us every present moment as an act of His loving grace to whisper us back to Himself, always asking, Do you love Me? –asking each of us to show Him our love through our thoughts, words and deeds towards God and each other.
I hope and pray that you will open your heart to His Love and say “yes” to Him now and always in your life. I pray that you will follow Him in all matters, especially of the heart.
God bless you in your journey of faith.
I love you.
Public Messages from Holy Love Ministry
March 9, 1995
“Do you love Me? If you do, tell Me so, for I need to hear it. Do not keep your love for Me buried in your heart. Let it be reflected in your life, in your words and actions. I am never far away. I am as close as your next thought of Me. I am part of the air you breathe. I desire that you know this in your innermost spirit, so that we can be one. Do not fear any portion of the future. I am in the future ahead of you. I am directing angels towards your every need. I send My Mother to be your confidence.”
February 9, 1998
Jesus and Blessed Mother are here. Blessed Mother says: “Praise be Jesus.”
Jesus looks at Maureen and asks: “Do you love Me?” Maureen answers “Yes”. Jesus then says: “And do you trust Me?” to which Maureen answers “Yes”.
Jesus: “I have come to look into each heart here and to ask your undying love, your undying trust.”
“When you love someone unconditionally, you are willing to do anything for them. As My Mother’s Heart is a heart of Sorrow, My Heart is a Heart of Reparation. Come to Me; abide in Me. Make all reparation to the United Hearts – the Heart of Sorrow and the Heart of Reparation. We extend to you tonight Our Blessing of the United Hearts.”