The Saved and the Fallen
"Grant, dear Lord, that soon the cockle may be separated from the wheat, so that it may no longer corrupt the good seed."
Legion of Victim Souls, Offering to Divine Justice.
ROME, Feb. 21, 1989.(Weekly World News). A widow who was a sleazy slum-lord and pornographic dealer for 30 years became a God-fearing pillar of society overnight, after her dead husband paid her a visit from Hell!
"I'm a changed woman," trembling Sophia Neri told reporters, in Rome. "I have had a glimpse of Hell through my husband's eyes, and I will do anything to keep from joining him there."
Before her eerie encounter, the widow operated a small empire of rat-infested slum apartments outside Rome, and ran an underworld pornographic ring that produced magazines for sale overseas.
"My husband Sal and I ran the businesses together before he died last year," Sophia recalled.
"We lived in style, but we were living off the misery and appetites of others.
"After Sal died, I took over the entire operation myself, and was very pleased with the life I was leading."
But all that changed the day Sal appeared in Sophia's bedroom. His eyes burned like coals.
"He stood before me a shrunken, broken soul, so different from the cocky, confident man I knew for 30 years," the lady told reporters.
"He told me he had been condemned to a life in Hell. He said it was far worse than anything he had imagined—and he warned me I would be joining him there, if I did not mend my ways." To live in Hell is to have a body that is constantly on fire," he said.
"Then he pressed the palm of his hand against a heavy wooden door, and his palm burned into the wood like a branding iron.
"A moment later he vanished, leaving his handprint behind as a reminder of his warning. But believe me, that terrifying message burned itself into my mind as clearly as his handprint had burned into the door. I was not about to forget."
That night, Sophia visited a priest to confess her sins and beg forgiveness.
"She took me to her home and showed me the handprint on the door," said Father Angelo Macchi.
"After seeing that and hearing her story, I have no doubt her husband paid her a visit from Hell."
The next day the shaken lady disbanded her illegal pornography operation and began turning her run-down tenements into luxury apartments, which she gave to the city to be used as low-rent housing for the poor.
"Sophia made a full confession of her activities to the police," Father Macchi said.
"But so far nothing has come of it, because she is living the life of a model citizen.
"She has given all her money to charity and lives in a tiny apartment right next door to my church.
"She is a woman who truly has found God—and probably just in the nick of time."
Note: This article was written by the reporter Kurt Kramer for the newspaper "Weekly World News" on Feb. 21, 1989. The editor changed the title to fit the format of our magazine. The original title was:PORNO DEALER CHANGES HER EVIL WAYS AFTER DEAD HUSBAND RETURNS FROM HELL! Warning from beyond the grave turns wicked sinner into saint.
Predestination and Reprobation
For those whom God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. •Romans 8, 29 f.
N May 24, 1970, Our Lord said to Madre Concepcion: "Now you are all mingled together, the wheat and the cockle." This mixing of the wheat with the cockle, the elect with the reprobate, within the Church, is something that many of us are aware of at the present time.
Why God allows the good to be mixed with the wicked is a mystery that we may not perhaps understand until eternity. But we know that God permits this to happen. In the parables of the net cast into the sea and the field sown with good and bad seed, our Lord said that in His kingdom, the Church, good and evil would both exist, and that they would not be completely separated until the end of time.
In his book "The Kingdom of Heaven in Parables," Father Moschner gives explanations of many parables in the Gospel. His explanation of the parable of the cockle and the wheat may help us to understand why God allows both the elect and the reprobate to be present within the Church at the same time.
"In this parable Christ lets us see clearly that the Church embraces evil members along with the good. We are to see the naked fact. Just as weeds can be recognized as weeds when they are flourishing beside the wheat, much more readily than when they are growing on a rubbish pile in an uncultivated field, even so, evil is never so evident in its full measure of guilt, never so painful, so torturing, so scandalous, so infuriating, as in the Church of Christ. The estranging and disquieting element of this close association of good and evil in the Church is greatly alleviated, if not entirely dissolved, when we hear our Lord's explanation of it: the good is from me, the evil is from the devil. And the good belongs to Me alone, the evil belongs to the devil. Nothing of what Christ brings to mankind can, of itself, lead to evil. Nor can it end in evil even as a secondary result. It can be misused. But misusing it demands evil intention beforehand. Everything from Christ is holy, wonderful. It is grace and the purest love of God.
"But would God permit something like this? Indeed he would, and the parable lets us understand that clearly.
"Mankind is disposed according to the order of time. We have a history, our own, a becoming and a growth, with all its many changes, new influences, maturing insights, the new decisions that they make possible. We are not yet complete until our life on earth is finished. And the good are not fully complete even then. For the sake of this gradual and slow development, the Church has to embrace both wheat and cockle. And she must include them both in such a way that they often cannot be distinguished with perfect certitude.
"Much within the Church makes the almost irresistible impression that there is something holy here, something wonderful, some-thing sprung from God, with the seal of the All-High on its forehead. And then again, it appears as if something base were in operation, something unworthy, something shameful. Much that happens is so clearly and unquestionably sinful that we are sorely tempted to condemn it entirely. We cannot, of course, because we cannot see everything that is really happening.
"Saint John has an unmistakable and almost inexorable principle. He says that those who leave us have never really belonged to us (1 John 2, 19). In the hidden depth of the heart, one soul is already wheat. He is recognized as such and taken into the barns. Another soul is cockle, and as soon as he is recognized as such, he is carried away to be burned. Satan can only arouse the readiness to promote the evil that was already there. He can goad it on; he can enkindle it; he can fan it into flame and press his victim on toward a decision. That is all he can do. Good will, and bad will are, in the last analysis, a mystery—a great and fearful mystery."
("The Kingdom of Heaven in Parables," by Franz Moschner, p. 234).
In the Offering to Divine Justice, the Christian soul addresses God with the following petition:
"Grant, dear Lord, that soon the cockle may be separated from the wheat, so that it may no longer corrupt the good seed." The soul is asking that the children of the Church may be delivered from contamination in doctrine or customs, by the unavoidable mingling with the impious and the reprobate.
This petition must be made under the spirit of that of the Psalmist: "Deliver my soul from the wicked one: thy sword from the enemies of thy hand. O Lord, divide them from the few of the earth in their life." (Psalm 16, 13). "The wickedness of sinners shall be brought to nothing: and thou shalt direct the just." (Psalm 7, 9).
There must, however, be another important intention in this petition. The soul considers life a perennial battle, in which man often falls, overthrown forever, and God loses some of his glory in the soul of each sinner who arrives at the threshold of eternity impenitent. It considers, too, that because of the wickedness spread throughout the world, the corruption of customs increases, sins and offenses against God increase, for which, justly, calamities will come to guilty mankind. And in the light of these considerations, it is afflicted, remembering the prophetic words of the Gospel concerning the last times, which must be fulfilled, and having in mind what Christ Himself charges and promises on saying: "And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened." (Mt. 24, 22). That is why the victim soul asks here in a special way that the Lord may deign to make the day come soon, on which the wheat may be gathered into his barns. (Mt. 13, 30)."
It is this day, the day in which the elect will be delivered from evil, that many of us are longing and praying for, and it will be hastened by the spreading of the offering to Divine Justice throughout the world, as Our Lord promised. We request your prayers for this intention.