Frank R. Shirer
First Century Christianity Notes
19 November 1995

I arrived at our Sunday night meeting at 8:12 pm, after a 12-hour drive from Indiana. All during the trip I had felt "driven" to make it to that night's meeting.

I had gone back home to visit my mother and take care of some business for her the week before Thanksgiving. While there, I went to see the new CORE building on the campus of my Alma Mater, Saint Joseph's College, and ended up walking all around the campus. I approached the chapel and decided to see if it had changed since I went to college there. I entered the chapel, looked around, and then knelt at a pew and prayed for the souls of the priests and professors who I knew had taught at Saint Joseph's, whether living or dead. I said the Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer. Tears started coming down my face. At the end, I looked around the chapel and realized that the Confessionals were gone. Off to the side, however, was a door with a sign that said, "Reconciliation room." I went in there. It was empty. And then I knew the reason: it was Saturday afternoon and the students were gone on Thanksgiving vacation. I realized I was looking for a priest, but didn't know why. I walked into the priests' lounge, but it was empty. I was reluctant to go into the residential hall and knock on doors, so I departed. However, I felt there was something I had not completed.

On Sunday morning I departed Mom's at 8 am to return to Washington, DC. It crossed my mind that I might make it back in time for the meeting, but then I thought not, because the drive usually takes 14 to 15 hours. During the drive I repeatedly thought about getting to the meeting before it broke up. Every time I thought that it was not necessary to push myself and the car, or "It's more sensible to go home and not to church," the urge to make it to First Century grew stronger. So I did push, by keeping my speed up and stopping only for gas.

I arrived and walked into the meeting feeling a bit sheepish because I had driven past my house to get to the church. Everyone was happy to see me, and did not think it strange that I would stop in at the meeting before I went home.

When we reached the point where we practice elevation of spirit, alignment with the good-will of God, and prayer for others, I had this strange feeling of a burden to be released. Ben said he "saw" teams of angels coming to me. Then someone attached to me "spoke" directly to him. He asked her why she had not gone to heaven. She said she couldn't because she had sinned; she needed to go to Confession first, but the priests would not listen to her; she had tried to be a good Christian, but she knew there were times when she had been bad, and she had not been absolved of those sins.

Ben told her not to blame the priests; they didn't respond to her confession because they couldn't hear her after she died, but now she could rise up, go to Jesus, and confess directly to him. She was not sure about that, so Ben had to convince her Jesus would forgive her as he did the woman caught in the act of adultery. That was the crucial point. She was escorted to the Light, along with many others who had attached themselves to me during my visit to the chapel. Ben said he felt there were about 20 of them, all good Catholics who thought they were bad.

My feeling "driven" to get back in time to go to First Century meeting must have been to achieve the rescue of these souls who apparently came back with me from St. Joe's. I now know that I was looking for a priest so I could go to Confession, even though I am not a Catholic. The urge to confess -- at the time I didn't know what -- was coming from these souls, because they believed they had to confess their sins and receive absolution before they could go to heaven.

Later, when I told this episode to a Catholic friend, he agreed that I apparently had picked up some Catholic souls who were spending their time in Purgatory in St. Joe's chapel. He said Purgatory is a state of being, as Heaven and Hell are states of being, and is a part of them, as a transition. Thus, it was Okay for those souls to be there.

Ben said the key thought about Purgatory is the verb "to purge" which is a process and not necessarily a place. But these souls were not purging themselves or being purged, and they had probably lost track of time as most ghosts do, so no matter how much time they spent in St. Joe's chapel, it would be of no benefit to them. What they really needed was a clairaudient priest who could hear their confessions, grant them absolution, and send them to heaven. He thought that perhaps this could be a special ministry of spiritually gifted priests, to the countless numbers of souls like these who are probably gathered in Catholic edifices all over the world.

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