An Underwater Trip to Heaven

from the combox:

I returned to the church 4 years ago after 30 years of non-beleif, I could never quite make the move from agnostic to atheist because I couldn’t completely ignore some experiences I’d had!
One in particular stuck in my mind,
I was doing a deep diving scuba course at over 80 metres depth in an alpine lake!
At such a depth you experience ‘nitrogen narcosis’ or ‘raptures of the deep’ a potentially fatal sense of euphoria!
I was ready to stay there!,
I experienced the light at the end of the tunnel and a sense of bliss!
But then I was in the presence of a brilliant ‘other’ who calmly told me ‘everything is going to be alright’
My senses cleared and I began a safe ascent, on the way up (as a decompression dive it took over 90 minutes)
I had a really strong that Jesus had just spoken to me!
However by the time i reached the surface I convinced myself it was just a result of being ‘Narced’
I spent more years wondering in the darkness but that wee spark remained, my return wasn’t the result of a deep theological search, but rather a smack on the side of the head when I was at a low point in my life, I was walking past a church I passed nearly every day and I was called to knock on the door and ask for a priest to tell me how to come home!
FrBarry Scannell from St Mary of the Angels saw me and showed me the way, I went to mass that sunday and I truly heard the mass for the first time in my life, I found myself weeping uncontrollably up until the prayer just before communion ‘Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but just say the word and my soul shall be healed’ I felt the bliss I felt under Lake Taupo and everything was OK
That was 4 years ago and my journey continues every day, your blog is one thing that keeps me pointed in the right direction, My two boys have been baptised and I’m trying hard to help them nurture an enduring faith.
One feature of my journey has been a number of amazing priests who bring the faith alive, I’ve had some amazing experiences (often Masses) that range from Latin chanting at St Mary of the Angels, a maori mass in the Hokianga on the anniversary of the first mass said in New Zealand said by Bp Pompallier followed by the exposition of his casket! and then in France this year being part of a mass at Taize that I think used at least 17 languages!
To me God is real, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have acted in my life and I give thanks every day.

  • Korou

    Well, glad you’re happy.
    I couldn’t help noticing the words “nitrogen narcosis” which produces “euphoric rapture” in there.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      The interesting thing is that he went on to experience a further religious experience. Have you ever considered the idea that explaining something doesn’t necessarily explain it away? In other words, a ‘nitrogen narcosis’ could simply be what happens to the brain when one enters the afterlife. It is the result–not the cause of the experience. When two things happen together causation of one to the other must be proved, not assumed.

      • Ted Seeber

        Or at least something similar. Few people survive an NDE, and I think the percentage that experience it at 80 meters underwater must be vanishingly small indeed.

        Having said that- one of the things that brought me back from atheism to Catholicism in college, was a Buddhist Scripture- a detailed, 1800 year study of Near Death Experiences, written in poetical language, called The Bardo, or in English, the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I don’t follow it’s theology too closely, but I find it interesting that for them, the advanced soul is the atheist- the guy who missed the point, didn’t follow any Gods or teachers, successfully avoided demonic forces, and is rewarded- with another life for missing the point in life the first time around!

        I decided then that I’d follow my yidyam- my savior- Jesus Christ, so that I could avoid the awful fate of reincarnation.

        And I don’t care if my Lord Jesus Christ ends up needing to send me to hell for my sins- hell is better than what I’ve experienced in this life, and I absolutely do NOT want to come back.

        • Angela Petrash

          I know what you mean… but please remember… Jesus/God doesn’t send anyone to hell. We do that to ourselves.

  • Korou

    Oh, sure. Most atheists don’t deny that it is possible that God exists. But look at his account. He had the first experience when he was in a delusional condition; he had the second (much less impressive one) when he was at “a low point” in his life. However it feels to him, what’s there in the story that constitutes persuasive evidence? Nothing much.
    Still, as I say: glad he’s happy.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      There is no evidence that will persuade you. Why do you keep pretending there is?

      • Korou

        Sure there is. I’ve explained what it would be. Why do you keep pretending you have any?

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Woof woof! Tails being chased.

          • Korou

            Hmm. Looks more like this dog’s running away.

  • IB Bill

    Beautiful story. Praise God.

  • John

    God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes you have to hit bottom before you can rise to the top! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Welcome home!

  • Connie

    Some times my faith is not as strong as other times. Last week, particularly, I was struggling spiritually. To say that I seek God every single day of my life is an understatement. I took him up on the “seek and ye shall find” promise a while back. So it is refreshing and strengthening to read stories like this one and I thank you for posting it.

  • JennE

    I remember my first mass back. Bawled my eyes out too. Just like he says! Welcome my brother!!!!
    I am amazed how God does his work with what little He gets back from us.