“Because every single human being is asking is there a life after this life on earth, I am standing before you here today, I am standing before the entire world and I can easily answer that question. Yes, there is a life after this life, because by God and Our Lady…” Medjugorje Visionary Ivanka
New ground breaking work on the existence of the afterlife has emerged that parallels many of the incredible statements made by the visionaries from Medjugorje about the reality of Heaven.
In his bestselling book, “Proof of Heaven”, an autobiographical account of a near death experience, Harvard University neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander writes about “journeys” to another realm, encountering love ones after death, and meeting a beautiful lady in “Heaven”. With the Virgin Mary and Medjugorje in the back of my mind,, I was astonished by the similarities of the doctor’s testimony with the statements made by the Medjugorje visionaries about Heaven and the afterlife.
Dr. Eben Alexander writes:
“It gets stranger still. For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face. When first I saw her, we were riding along together on an intricately patterned surface, which after a moment I recognized as the wing of a butterfly. In fact, millions of butterflies were all around us—vast fluttering waves of them, dipping down into the woods and coming back up around us again. It was a river of life and color, moving through the air. The woman’s outfit was simple, like a peasant’s, but its colors—powder blue, indigo, and pastel orange-peach—had the same overwhelming, super-vivid aliveness that everything else had. She looked at me with a look that, if you saw it for five seconds, would make your whole life up to that point worth living, no matter what had happened in it so far. It was not a romantic look. It was not a look of friendship. It was a look that was somehow beyond all these, beyond all the different compartments of love we have down here on earth. It was something higher, holding all those other kinds of love within itself while at the same time being much bigger than all of them.
Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial… “Then the blinders came off and [revealed] this crisp, ultra-real gateway with beautiful butterflies and flowers, with souls dancing and angels above me. There were colors beyond the rainbow and butterflies appeared repeatedly.”
Dr. Alexander’s words are illuminating and hopeful, but for those familiar with the descriptions of Heaven and the Virgin Mary, reading Dr. Alexander’s encounter with the beautiful woman from Heaven, it seems possible that the doctor was met by the Virgin Mary as he traveled into the afterlife.
Importantly, Alexander’s NDE possible experience of encountering the Virgin Mary is far from unprecedented – the boy with protestant roots, who inspired the book “Heaven is for Real” says, without hesitation, he saw Virgin Mary after he “died” sitting right beside her son Jesus Christ.
It is well known that veterans of near death experiences describe Heaven as a place of unsurpassed beauty that cannot be described in human terms and that the after-life is filled with loving beings, but what is less well known is that there exists a long history of testimony by “seers” of the Virgin Mary, who claim to have the same “visions” of Heaven while fully conscious. Today, visionaries of the Virgin Mary from Medjugorje claim they experience the after-life –some daily- and their description of what they see is surprisingly similar to those made my NDE survivors. Daniel Klimek, an international expert on Medjugorje, writes about the realm from which the Virgin Mary comes from and the words seem like they could have been pulled right from the many accounts of NDE testimonies. Klimek says, according to the Medjugorje visionaries “Heaven, , is a huge place of great lights, beauty, and immense joy. Meadows, mountains, hills, beautiful countryside are all present; people possess an inner light, a serene joy radiates from their presence.”
From Dr. Alexander’s passage, we can see that he experienced something special and vividly beautiful, but what stands out is the captivating encounter he had with the woman he met in Heaven. He says that that the woman in Heaven had high-cheek bones and wore a simple outfit “like a peasant’s” and that her garments were blue and indigo. The description of the woman – her appearance, her beauty, the way she dressed, all sound the description of the Virgin Mary that the visionaries from Medjugorje claim to see. When describing the Virgin Mary’s outfit, the visionaries say she wears simple clothes – peasant garments except on Christmas when she comes with more formal gold and red celebratory clothes. According to the official Medjugorje site, visionary Vicka has described the Virgin Mary’s outfit in detail.
“How is your Madonna dressed?”
“She is clothed in a simple woman’s dress.”
“What color is her dress?”
“Her dress is grey – maybe a little bluish-grey.”
As we can see the clothes of the Virgin Mary are simple and plain and their colors are grey and blue like the beautiful woman that met Dr. Alexander, but the hues of her garments have been described as otherworldly and the light surrounding the Virgin Mary is not known on earth.
Vicka was asked, in a separate interview, about the appearance of the Virgin Mary by author Krešimir Šego in terms of her “beauty”. It is interesting to note how Vicka’s words echo Doctor Alexander’s colorful description of the woman he met in Heaven.
“Is Our Lady as beautiful as you visionaries say she is?”
“Well, really we haven’t told you anything about that – her beauty cannot be described – it is not our kind of beauty – that is something ethereal –something heavenly – something that we’ll only see in Paradise – and then only to a certain degree.
At a Marian Peace conference in 2009, Visionary Mirjana commented on the Virgin Mary’s beauty as well:
“That is not only superficial beauty that you see from outside. That is
something that is radiating out of her. As children, we asked Our Lady a childish question. We said, how come that you are so beautiful? She said “I am beautiful because I love”. And she said “My children, if you want to be that beautiful, then love”. At that time when that apparition happened, Jakov was only nine and a half years old. So when Our Lady left, he said, (to us) “I think that she wasn’t saying the truth.” We all said: “How can you dare to say that our heavenly Mother is not saying the truth?” He said, “yes, but look at us visionaries, some of us can love until the end of our loves but we’ll never be as beautiful as she.”
Dr. Alexander’s riveting details of the beauty of Heaven are at the heart of his book but the Harvard neurologist takes the reader farther on his journey into another realm by revealing that we meet our loved ones after death – a component to the after-life experience that is hugely important to those left behind. Everybody wants to live on after death here on this earth, but most us want to meet their loved ones – people they cared about on earth afterwards. Dr. Alexander says:“Death is just a transition; it is the journey and it does not end anything. Our relationships with loved ones continue. We can connect with our loved ones after they have passed over; believing that and then seeing evidence with that is such a gift. It’s a very powerful gift.”
“There is life after this life”
Medjugorje Visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez at Medjugorje Youth Festival in 2001, spoke about meeting loved ones in the after-life as well and her words sound, again, very parallel Dr. Alexander’s renditions. In a wonderful revelation to a surprised crowd at the Medjugorje Youth Festival, Ivanka told the spellbound audience:
“Because every single human being is asking is there a life after this life on earth, I am standing before you here today, I am standing before the entire world and I can easily answer that question. Yes, there is a life after this life, because by God and Our Lady I was given this great grace, that I was able to see my late mother during that apparition time and my mom told me: “My dear child, I’m proud of you.” Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez
“Life, after this life” – It is how the visionaries describe what happens after our time on earth comes to an end, but it is also a reminder that this life is not the end, and it is a reminder that this life on earth is part of an eternal journey. Dr Alexander says “Death is just a transition; it is the journey and it does not end anything.” The Virgin Mary has said often that we transition from this world to the eternal world. She literally calls us on earth “travelers”. In a message to the visionaries the Virgin Mary said “Do not forget that you are travelers on the way toward eternity. In a separate message, the Mother of Christ said “be real with yourselves and do not bind yourselves to material things but to God. And do not forget, little children, that your life is as passing as a flower.
Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic, with knowing authority, states unequivocally that “We were created for eternity.” The dominant theme of Dr. Alexander’s book is that “eternity” exists. “Death is just a transition”, he says, adding, “I can tell you that my journey in coma showed me very clearly the existence and power of that Divinity that exists and is very real. It also proved to me beyond any doubt the eternity of our souls. I know that physical death of the body and brain is not the end; it’s a y. In fact, I think many will be quite surprised to find that their conscious awareness actually expands greatly when they leave the confines of the physical limitation of human brain and body.
Medjugorje visionary Marija confirms Dr. Alexander’s themes that life on earth is transitional and eternity is our destiny. Marija says “And through the message that she gave us she said that our lives must be like a flower, and that we are here just in a passing way. Only eternal life does not pass. For that reason she urges us, and she asks us, to think more of the spiritual life and of paradise. She said our life will be very different; our attitude toward life will be very different, when we think of the life after this one. And she said we shall really, truly understand that this life is only passing like a flower, and that here we are in this world in a passing path.”
Eternity in an unknown domain, and void of our loved ones on earth, to some, eternity can be unpromising destination. Most of us hope to meet the ones we love after we die; seeing our loved ones in Heaven is what we pray for and hope for after we lose someone close so it is reassuring and hopeful that the after-life includes familiar company, but we also want to go to heaven as ourselves; we want to take our identities with us to Heaven, leaving our burdens and sorrows we hold on to here on earth behind. Many of us contemplate what happens to our consciousness or our soul when we die. Do we go to the next life with the same consciousness we had on earth? What happens to us after we die? Is there a soul? Does our consciousness come to an end?
Harvard neurologist, Dr. Alexander is as qualified as anybody on the subject of consciousness, and he covers the topic extensively in his book. Once more, with eerie similarity, the Medjugorje visionaries describe the state of our conscious after we die in terms very close to Dr. Alexander’ descriptions. The Harvard doctor says “In the fall of 2008, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.” Medjugorje Visionary, Ivanka, says that Mary told her, “You go to Heaven in full conscience: that which you have now. At the moment of death, you are conscious of the separation of the body and soul. It is false to teach people that you are reborn many times and that you pass to different bodies. One is born only once. The body, drawn from the earth, decomposes after death; it never comes back to life again. Man receives a transfigured body.”
Dr. Alexander says profoundly: “What that scientific module fails to tell you is they have gotten closer to realizing that the origin of consciousness is probably forever beyond our understanding. They have gotten closer to realizing that, in fact, we have no clue how consciousness could come out of the physical brain. The boundaries of science must be broadened greatly. Don’t believe for one second that the physics community is close to explaining the consciousness out of the physical brain. It’s the most profound mystery ever known.”
Almost all the publicity for Dr. Alexander’s book focused on the beauty and overwhelming love that makes up Heaven. This focus on Heaven exclusively, to the exclusion of other more dire outcomes one faces upon death, has led to a great deal of concern among Christian and Catholic theologians. To most Christian faithful, an after-life consisting of Heaven but no hell or purgatory poses enormous dogmatic dilemmas. Certainly with Medjugorje there is not only a Heaven, but hell, purgatory and Satan are real and disturbing. Evil and sin exist and the path to paradise and Heaven are not assured according to the visionaries. They say the Virgin Mary is often achingly sad, to the point of tears because she knows in her heart what will happen to the souls of unbelievers if they do not reconcile with God. To explore this theme of hell and purgatory fully is beyond the scope of this book, but make no mistake, though the publicists play down Alexander’s experience with the dark side of the after-life, the doctor’s journey to the after-life was not all butterflies and rainbows. In fact what Dr. Alexander describes about the dark side of his journey is downright horrifying and his visions are spectacularly similar to the description of hell as described famously by both the visionaries from Fatima and from Medjugorje. At Fatima the seers, in an apparition, were shown visions of hell by the Virgin Mary:
“Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”
Though carefully avoiding describing what he saw as hell or even purgatory, we can see in Doctor Alexander own words, how closely his experience with a “murky” -world – “grotesque would boil out of the muck” resembles the Fatima seers’ impressions of “hell”
Doctor Alexander: “And likewise, just coming into existence in this murky kind of underground, muddy, foamy realm which is what I initially remembered, it was an area that I call in my book “an earthworm’s eye view.” It’s a very murky—I don’t think memory was working at all well and that’s why it seemed so foamy. I had no body awareness, no sense of self at all. I was just aware of being this speck in this kind of mundane, boiling soup with this mechanical pounding sound deep off in the distance and kind of a vague sensation of roots or vessels or something that were coursing through the muck around me. Occasionally even a memory of some face that might boil up. I mean, these could be ugly, grotesque shapes certainly nothing identifiable. They’d boil out of the muck and there might be some screech or roar or something and then they’d go back into the bubbling soup and that was that.
I felt like I was in that earthworm eye view, that murky realm, for ages. It’s impossible to really put a number on it because it was for a very, very long time. It was the only existence I’d ever known. And it was in that setting that I had this what to me seems to be kind of a spontaneous emergence, which is most paradoxical in looking back on it because it was at a point where that earthworm eye view, that muck, was at its lowest ebb.
My thinking when I was writing all this up is that that earthworm eye view was about the best consciousness that my brain, soaking in pus, could muster. That’s why it was so stunning that what happened next was an awareness of this spinning melody of bright light and it had all these fine filaments coming off of it. It was spinning very slowly in front of me and coming closer but it had a beautiful melody that went with it. As it came closer it opened up like a rip in the fabric of existence and was a portal into this lovely, verdant valley. But I found I was going into a beautiful realm that was a very rich tapestry, very experiential.
Fortunately for the Doctor, as his brain was “soaking in pus”, he was saved – “What happened next was an awareness of this spinning melody of bright light and it had all these fine filaments coming off of it.”
One wonders if prayer led the doctor away from his earth-worm view and towards the beautiful light. Prayer is the promise of Medjugorje that can lead our souls to Heaven and without prayer and reconciliation with our creator our souls are very likely to end up in the murky, grotesque, boiling muck of hell or purgatory.
The Medjugorje visionaries, like the Fatima visionaries have been shown views of hell and purgatory. Giving her testimony before a packed cathedral on September 23, 2010, the visionary Marija explained what the Virgin Mary has told (and shown) them about the afterlife.
“She said that there are so many people who do not believe that there is Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.”
Heaven, according to the Medjugorje visionaries, is a huge place of great lights, beauty, and immense joy. Meadows, mountains, hills, beautiful countrysides are all present; people possess an inner light, a serene joy radiates from their presence. Purgatory is a very sad and chilling place. The visionary described it as a misty area with gray fog through which people could be heard trembling, weeping, moaning, and where an extreme loneliness permeates the sadness of the atmosphere. Hell is even more disturbing. The visionaries have described it as a vast place with many people and a great sea of fire in the center. According to the visionaries, the people in Hell are enraged, cursing, ugly, occupied with unending anger. They enter the torturous fires naked and come out horrific, no longer in human shape, in vastly darkened, blackened skin.
With Medjugorje, there is a purpose to the Virgin Mary showing the visionaries not just heaven, but hell and purgatory as well.
Marija says it is important that we understand that Heaven and hell are real. She says: “And through the message that she gave us she said that our lives must be like a flower, and that we are here just in a passing way. Only eternal life does not pass. For that reason she urges us, and she asks us, to think more of the spiritual life and of paradise. She wants us to think of Hell and of Purgatory. She said our life will be very different, our attitude toward life will be very different, when we think of the life after this one. And she said we shall really, truly understand that this life is only passing like a flower, and that here we are in this world in a passing path. This is why she urges us: enjoy it….that we may live this short life in joy; that we may understand, as it says in the Bible…that we are truly on a path that we’re only passing by. This is why Our Lady showed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. To show us that these realities exist.”
So we can see from the testimony of the Fatima seers, Dr. Alexander’s earth-worm view, and the descriptions of a dark grotesque world witnessed by the Medjugorje visionaries, that meeting our loving creator in a vivid beautiful world is not assured.
Arguably two of the biggest selling books in the past few years are about “near death experiences. There is clearly a great deal of interest in life after death and it is my opinion that Medjugorje is the best evidence of the reality of what human’s encounter after their death here on earth.