Friday 30th September 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Of Psychic Phenomena And Heaven

May 6, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Are psychic experiences and extrasensory perception real? I say they are, or can be. Beyond that, I think they provide an answer to the objections offered by nonbelievers who doubt the reality of Jesus’ promise of an afterlife. Why do I think psychic experiences are real? Because I had one. Just one, but it was so real and intense that I have no doubt about its authenticity. It is an experience I described years ago in The Wanderer. If by chance there is anyone reading this column today who remembers the earlier column, I ask you to bear with me. The context was different back then.
The experience took place when I was in my 30s, somewhere in the late 1970s. My brother Brian was in his early teens at the time (he was born when I was 16), and an active player in a New York City roller hockey league. I can remember the details as if it all took place yesterday. You will have to take my word that I am not exaggerating in the slightest as I relate them to you. (I am fully aware that it would ruin the credibility of my story if I fudged even the slightest part of the narration.)
It happened about two or three o’clock in the morning. I was sound asleep, when I was jolted awake by a dream more intense than any other that I can recall. In the dream, I saw my brother lying on a table covered with white sheets. He was writhing in pain and crying out my name. What did I do in response? Nothing. It was a dream. I put the images out of my mind and went back to sleep. I had to be awake for work in just a few hours. I didn’t think of the dream again as I got up and shaved and left for my commute to the job. I didn’t tell my wife about the dream. Again, it was just a dream.
The workday was uneventful; the dream never entered my mind. I drove home in the late afternoon. I walked the dog, then sat down to listen to the radio and read the mail. At which point, the phone rang. I picked it up and heard my mother’s voice on the line. As soon as I heard her, I recalled the dream. I said to myself, “Uh-oh, something’s wrong with Brian.”
The news was not all that bad. Brian was recovering from a successful operation to remove splinters from his eye. He had been hit accidentally by a raised hockey stick. (In those days the sticks were made of wood and the roller hockey players did not wear the wire face masks that have been made mandatory for young hockey players.) Brian had been lying on his back in pain on an emergency room bed around the time when my dream pictured him in that state.
I guess someone could argue that it was all a coincidence. And I would not be able to disprove such a contention. It does not matter: I harbor no doubts. I will go to my grave convinced something mysterious and extraordinary, beyond the world of the senses, took place that night. Somehow the sights and sounds of my brother in duress, 50 miles away, came to my consciousness without the aid of my senses. That’s the definition of an extrasensory perception.
And what does all this have to do with Jesus’ promise of eternal life in Heaven for those who believe and follow Him? I would argue a great deal. We all have heard those who cast doubts upon the Church’s teachings about the faithful departed being aware of themselves as individuals after they die, whether in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. We have heard smart alecks making the point that it is senseless to pray to patron saints for their intercession in our lives, because they have no ears; or to imagine them being aware of our earthly plight because they have no eyes. Their eyes and ears are with their bodies in their earthly graves.
There are those who make the same point about our prayers and Masses for the salvation of our loved ones’ souls. They will argue that we are wasting our time because our deceased loved ones cannot be aware of themselves as persons, as individuals, when their brains are in their cemetery plots; that we cannot think and experience self-awareness without our brains. Those who argue this way make the same point about the lost souls in Hell. How can they feel pain from the “fires of hell” when their nervous systems, in one form of decomposition or another, are still in the ground, or perhaps even in a cremated state?
In fact, I have been told that there are theologians in good standing with the Church who make the same point. They maintain that the deceased will not be aware of themselves as individuals and experience the fullness of the Beatific Vision until the Last Judgment, when their souls will be united with their risen bodies. (This is not as unpalatable a prospect as one might think on first hearing. In this scenario, as far as the deceased are concerned, the time between their death and the Last Judgment would be an instant. You are not aware of what you are not aware.)
I would argue that psychic phenomena and extrasensory experiences answer these objections to the Church’s teachings about Heaven. Psychic phenomena illustrate why there is no reason to think that the saints and our deceased loved ones are not aware of themselves in Heaven; that they can hear and comprehend our prayers of petition for intercession with the Father, even if their ears and brains are not yet united with them. I “saw” and “heard” my brother during his surgery through some channel that did not require my eyes and ears and brain to be interacting with his physical presence.
Why should it be a preposterous thought to think that our deceased loved ones and patron saints are able to interact with us in an analogous manner?
We should keep in mind that God the Father is a Spirit. He has no ears, no eyes, but it is central to our beliefs as Catholics that He can see and hear us during our lives on Earth; that He sees every sparrow that falls to earth.
I do not know if St. Paul’s description of Heaven in 1 Cor. 2:9 as a place where we will partake in “things no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has conceived” as God’s reward for “those who have loved Him,” is exactly applicable here. But it makes the case that we are presumptuous if we think we can define the nature of Heaven on the basis of our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and comprehended in our daily lives in our earthly existence.
When we try to do that, we end up like the little boy on the beach in the legend told about St. Augustine.
You will remember the story: about how St. Augustine came across the boy while the great theologian was attempting to grasp the nature of the Holy Trinity. The boy had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again to carry some water in a little seashell to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole,” the boy responded. “That is impossible; the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made,” said St. Augustine. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.” The boy then disappeared.
The legend goes on to tell us that St. Augustine believed he had seen an angel. True story or not, the moral is sound.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Shocking Report Reveals Scientists Have Created the Word’s First Baby With Three-Parents

A shocking new report claims the world’s first three-parent baby (pictured above) has been born. Children born through ‘three-person IVF’ would contain some genetic material from each of three different people. There are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases (MCDs), which…Continue Reading

Donald Trump Names Rick Santorum and Other Top Pro-Life Catholics as Key Advisers

Fresh from announcing a list of pro-life leaders who are advising him on issues that matter to pro-life voters, Donald Trump has named a group of pro-life Catholic leaders as additional key advisers, including pro-life former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.…Continue Reading

Argentine bishop threatened with prosecution for condemning ‘culture of fornication’

September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic archbishop of the Argentinean city of La Plata is under investigation by the country’s “discrimination” police for condemning the modern acceptance of sexual promiscuity and “unnatural” unions, according to local media sources. Archbishop…Continue Reading

First minor killed by euthanasia in Belgium after child euthanasia legalized

BELGIUM, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday the country’s first instance of child euthanasia, which became legal in 2014. Belgian media suggested the minor killed via lethal injection was 17. Some media also suggested the…Continue Reading

Donald Trump commits to defunding abortion, Planned Parenthood if elected

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump has pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion in the United States and to defund the nation’s leading abortion provider. In a new, personally signed letter, Mr. Trump attacked “Hillary Clinton’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues motu proprio harmonizing Canon Law codes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Thursday, in which he brings the basic legal instruments that govern the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome more closely into accord with one another…Continue Reading

Another “Catholic” Politician trying to redefine the Catholic Faith . . . Devout Catholic™ Kaine breaks with his church on gay marriage, with media blessing

Tim Kaine has officially joined the ranks of Devout Catholic™. How do we know? Because he says he’s Catholic, yet criticizes the church. The Democratic vice presidential nominee played weekend prophet and theologian when he told activists in the Human…Continue Reading

Bishop Morlino’s Move to Ad Orientem Masses in Madison

This past weekend the Most Reverend Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin made an announcement of great liturgical importance. Going forward His Excellency will be offering all of his Masses at the Cathedral ad orientem. Make no…Continue Reading

Longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly dead at 92

phillis

Phyllis Schlafly, the iconic pro-family activist who rose to fame in the 1970s when she campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at age 92, according to the Eagle Forum, the conservative organization she founded. Schlafly had been an…Continue Reading

Soros’ Catholic useful idiots

By Robert A. Sirico – – Tuesday, August 30, 2016 A most remarkable set of documents was coughed up recently by WikiLeaks. George Soros‘ Open Society Policy Center, it turns out, made donations to two faith-based organizations to the tune…Continue Reading

Pope Francis “gratified” by UN goals that demand “universal access to sexual and reproductive health”

Pope Francis has said that he is “gratified” by UN goals that call on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health” by 2030. The term “sexual and reproductive health”, as generally defined, includes access to contraception, including abortifacient methods, and,…Continue Reading

Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years

September 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In recent years, the Catholic Church has been going through one of her most severe crises as a result of the priestly abuse of youth. The primary victims have been adolescent males.1  This worldwide scandal was…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Obama Admin Proposes Rule Prohibiting States From Defunding Planned Parenthood

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama has proposed a new rule that would essentially prohibit states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Leading pro-life members of Congress is not happy about it. The proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could prevent states from blocking Title X funding (federal dollars for family planning services) to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood. Today, Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, joined more than 100 Members…Continue Reading

Emails Show California AG Kamala Harris Teamed Up With Planned Parenthood to Target David Daleiden

New emails show officials in the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris teamed up with the Planned Parenthood abortion business to target David Daleiden, the pro-life advocate who filmed undercover videos exposing the abortion giant selling aborted baby parts. Earlier this year, California authorities seized a laptop and hard drives containing the video footage collected during Daleiden’s 3-year investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal sale of aborted baby remains, according to a…Continue Reading

Benedict XVI Admits Qualms of Conscience about Vatican II

After the German publisher Droemer Verlag first released it on 9 September 2016, much has already been deeply discussed and variously reported about Benedict XVI’s new interview-book, Benedikt XVI. Letzte Gespräche (Benedict XVI – Last Conversations) which so far has only been published in the German language. It has been shown, for example, how the former pope supports whole-heartedly Pope Francis’ papacy and how he still defends his decision to leave his Petrine office, not…Continue Reading

">We May Not Have A Church To Go To . . .

Paul Likoudis (RIP)

Calling hours will at Vedder And Scott Funeral home on Tuesday September 27th from 4pm to 7pm. 122 N Genesee Street Montour Falls NY 14865 A Mass of Christian Burial Will Be held at 11am on Wednesday September 28 with a reception to be held immediately following at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church. 905 N. Decatur Street Watkins Glen NY 14891 Dear Friends, Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due…Continue Reading

Autumn 1916 . . . The Third Apparition Of The Angel Of Portugal

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY This article will consider the third and final appearance of the Angel of Portugal to the Fatima children in the autumn of 1916. This is rightly regarded as the most important of these three visitations, principally because the Angel gave the children Holy Communion, but also because of the power and…Continue Reading

Homily For The Funeral Mass of Phyllis Schlafly

By FR. BRIAN HARRISON, O.S. (Editor’s Note: Fr. Harrison concelebrated and gave the homily at the funeral Mass for Phyllis Schlafly held on September 10, at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. reprinted with permission.) + + + Dear Friends — Whenever Christian believers gather in God’s house to mark the passing from this life of someone…Continue Reading

Obama: God-Given Rights “Was A Radical Idea”

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY President Barack Obama affirmed this week that the Declaration of Independence recognizes that “individual human beings” have “God-given rights.” Yet, he insisted this was a “radical idea” at the time of the founding. Were he right — which he is not — history would see it as one radical idea Obama…Continue Reading

Never Trump? . . . The Case Against “Sitting Out” The Presidential Election

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: To receive an electronic copy of this four-part article with footnotes, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “When you have a binary choice, you must make a decision. It’s frankly irresponsible to stay on the sidelines right now, given where the republic is heading” — Marjorie Dannenfelser,…Continue Reading

Bibi Backs Trump — On Putin

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated. Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed. John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Every year our bank does a company-wide campaign to raise money for United Way. There is some push-back on supporting that organization this year. What’s your take on them? — Name and State Withheld. A. United Way raises funds to support over 40 health and human services programs nationwide, and insists that no United Way funding “is provided to…Continue Reading

The Faithfulness Of Converts

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17 2 Tim. 2:8-13 Luke 17:11-19 There is an old saying that states that converts make the best Catholics. There are, of course, several reasons for this; there are also numerous exceptions to this rule that can be easily demonstrated in the lives of the saints.…Continue Reading

The Role Of The Sacred Liturgy In Developing A Catholic Conscience

By FRANCIS CARDINAL ARINZE Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, delivered this lecture at The Church Teaches Forum in Louisville, Ky., July 16, 2016. (The lecture is reprinted here with permission; all rights reserved. We are presenting it in two parts because of…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Is Faith Necessary For Salvation?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM For most of us who are cradle Catholics, it is not difficult to believe, since we received the theological virtue of faith in Baptism and grew up with it. Our parents and/or teachers taught us all about the Bible stories, the catechism, the sacraments. We learned to pray the Creed from an early age, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Of Capistrano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Texas there is an old building that is part of the Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service near San Antonio, Texas. This restored mission was founded in 1731 on the San Antonio River by the Franciscans and named after the soldier saint, St. John of Capistrano. In San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Franciscans…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska

By CAROLE BRESLIN Some people look back on their lives and see how differently things turned out from what they had planned. A professor once told his business students that very few students work in the field they studied in college. If someone had told the young Bernardina Maria Jablonska that she would be the superior of a religious order…Continue Reading