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Fr. Bob Writes – November 3, 2013

I have just been reading a fascinating book called Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander, neuro- surgeon. It is the record of a Near Death Experience that Dr Eben had during a coma caused by an aggressive bacterial meningitis virus. This virus shut down his brain’s functioning, but nonetheless he was taken during the coma into transcendent experiences of the reality of God and heaven. Part of the fascination of this book is that, before his experiences, Dr Eben was a non-believer who put near death experiences down to some obscure functioning of the brain while the body was in coma. But in his case, he could not say this, because his brain had totally shut down, and yet he still had these amazing experiences of being taken into the presence of God, which he describes as a “dazzling darkness” and receiving certain messages. I will quote extensively from his book:

“You are loved and cherished.
You have nothing to fear.
There is nothing you can do wrong.”

If I had to boil this entire message down to one sentence, it would run this way: “You are loved.” And if it had to boil it down further , to just one word, it would be , simply: Love.

Love is , without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard-to-fathom kind of love but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows – the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and children, or even our animals. In its purest and most powerful form, this love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or that ever will exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it, and embody it in all of their actions.”

We are made by love, for love. As St Paul says in Ephesians 1:3: “God destined us to live in love in His presence.”

As we enter into the month of November, the month of “All Souls” when traditionally we pray for those who we love who have died, let us take hold of the truth of our Catholic faith that those who have preceded us in death are not lost and gone forever, but have merely transitioned into a far, far better place, one in which they are held and embraced and saturated in the love and peace and joy of God, for all eternity.

To quote Dr Eben once more: “Not much of a scientific insight? Well, I beg to differ. I’m back from that place, and nothing could convince me that this is not only the single most important emotional truth in the universe, but also the single most important scientific truth as well.”