Lola at Midnight (A Case Study)

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There have been so many deaths – too many deaths – in my community recently. It seems like we were just recovering from news of someone’s death when we hear of another dreaded event.

It is because of this, and for other personal reasons, that I am so interested and invested in my Eschatology class. One of our tasks is to come up with a case study, and lead the class in a discussion. This week, it was our group’s turn.

***

LOLA AT MIDNIGHT

1998. Eight year old Mary trudges behind her mother as men carry the make-shift coffin up the hill to the Catholic cemetery. They had just had the funeral service at the Catholic church. Everyone is wearing white shirts and tops, including the ten children who joined the procession. Before the coffin is laid to rest, the adults carry the children over the coffin.

white-lady-csb

When the funeral ends, Mary walks back home with her family, purposely looking straight ahead and resisting the urge to look back, just as her parents taught her. Do that, and her lola will visit her. She also resists the urge to pick the flowers and leaves along the way. Do that, and someone else in the family might prematurely die. So she walks resolutely forward. Back home, she proceeds to change out of her clothes.

“All clothes in one pile on the floor immediately,” mother reminds the family, just as Mary throws her clothes on top of the bed. When mother sees this, she scolds Mary. “Do you want your lola to visit you?”

Two weeks later. It is the 9th day after the burial, and Mary sleeps with her sisters. Suddenly, Mary jerks awake. Her eyes instantly shoot to the clock positioned above the door. It is past midnight.

The door then opens, and Mary waits, expecting her tita to enter. “Maybe she’d just gone to the toilet,” Mary thinks.

But a white, translucent figure enters in. The first thing Mary notices is the face of this white figure, and she recognizes it. It is her lola! It is unmistakably her lola, with her short hair, and wearing the same clothes they had buried her in. And she is hovering about ten inches above the floor.

Lola proceeds to the couch near the bed, and Mary realizes that her tita is on the couch, sleeping soundly. The figure leans over her tita, and Mary finally shuts her eyes. The next thing Mary knows it that it is morning.

Two days later, the same thing happens to her cousin.

Seven years later, Mary becomes a Christian. She never experiences the same thing. She still cannot interpret these events, and now that she is in IGSL, she hopes that more light would be shed on this matter.

What would you tell Mary? How would you explain the presence or appearances of the “soul” of the dead persons that can still be seen by their loved ones?

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16 responses »

  1. My parents are both catholic. I grow up with the same beliefs like them. When I was a kid, I follow kung ano man ang sabihin nila cause i think wala naman mawawala kung susunod ako sa mga traditions everytime na may patay. Im now a Christian. When i become a Christian, marami ng nagbago na paniniwala ko, including spirits. Someone told me na ang nakikita daw natin na spirits ng mga pumanaw na are bad spirits trying to imitate those spirits na pumanaw na. I dont know the purpose of it. But I believe na if strong ang faith mo, you have nothing to worry 😉 And if ever na mangyari uli ito kay Mary, just pray:) Pray to Him.

  2. hmm this is a situation that I’m not very familiar with. I would tell her to find a pastor who does and see what he says. But from my limited knowledge, when people die, they don’t linger around the earth. The only other explanation would be that the “soul” is an evil spirit disguising themselves. It says in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

    Bottom line, whatever the explanation, I would tell Mary that she does not have to live in fear. Through Christ, we have been given the right to become children of the Most High sovereign creator God. When Christ was here on earth, He casted out demons and they obeyed and were scared of Him. Through Christ, this Christ is in us and we are in Christ. He will always be with us and be protecting us. It says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In verses like Luke 10:17 and Luke 10:20, we even see instances where the demons are subject to the followers of Christ. Thank you, Jesus!

  3. If Mary and I would have an opportunity for a long conversation, we would first read Deut. 18:9-12 together which says:
    Deu 18:9 “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to
    imitate the detestable things of those nations.
    Deu 18:10 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass
    through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets
    omens, or a sorcerer,
    Deu 18:11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
    Deu 18:12 “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these
    detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

    One thing we can clearly see here is that God hates things like witchcraft, divination, and spiritists. Verse 9, calls them “detestable things.” And what do these practices do? Well, they pass down superstitious activities such as what Mary was taught when she was little. We are in a country that is considered a “Christian” country but we still find these things a very common practice in our communities. As Christians we are commanded never to join in any superstitious activities no matter who it is that tells us to do so.

    The next thing Mary and I would talk about is whether it was really her “lola” that she saw 9 days after the burial. Heb. 9;27 tells us that man is destined to die once and then he will face judgment. Luke 16:19-31 tells us that the dead cannot go to the living anymore. So, if it was not possible for her “lola” to be floating in mid-air that early in the morning, who could it be?

    We know 2 Cor. 11:14 that Satan can disguise himself really well. We also know we are in a spiritual battle and that two of the enemy’s greatest weapons are fear and confusion. So what better way to sow fear and fear to a young person’s life by appearing as a spirit of a dead loved one?

    Lastly, we would talk about a picture of the early church in Acts 19:18 when former unbelievers gave their life to Christ they confessed and divulged all their wicked practices and burned the expensive (and what used to be precious) books and artifacts in the sight of other believers.
    The great news for Mary is that she has been set free from Christ. This would be a great reminder/invitation for her to trust in God’s provisions and commands for her to fight the good fight of faith.

  4. I think the spirits that appear are evil spirits taking the form of loved ones. It is the lola of all lolas. Where in when we see a lola who is alive, we are very fond usually of our lola. When she dies, the evil spirits notice that we are very fond of our lola, so they want the same attention. Kulang sa pansin, they like to be noticed. Therefore, when evil spirits roam the world they take the form or appearance that we like or long for. So be careful little eyes what you see, let us believe in Christ and experience the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we have the strength to overcome the evil spirits. Ephesians 5:10-20

  5. 1. First of, the Bible clearly states that when someone dies, he/she doesn’t have business with the living anymore..
    “His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalm 146:4, NASB)
    “For the living know the will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3-6)

    2. So, the “ghost” or spirit you (Ate Mary) saw is clearly not the “spirit” of your beloved lola but God’s archenemy, the devil in disguise.

    “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, NASB (I think this verse is not actually about Satan and his not-cute minions are disguising as our loved ones, but point being, Satan can actually DISGUISE! Tricky as always. If Satan and his angels can disguise as righteous? How much more as evil? Does that make sense?

    3. And yes, we are not encouraged to engage with these “evil spirits” but to flee from them.
    “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7, NASB

    4. Yes, flee the devil but more importantly, go to God! 🙂
    “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8, NASB

    So there you go Ate Mary. may your thoughts about what you have experienced years back be continually renewed, your mind be replenished with the truth, your heart be filled with God’s peace (Phil. 4:6-7). You have been freed, and you are called to be God’s disciple.

    Mark 3:14-15, And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons.

    From a missionary’s point of view, God’s ultimate intent for your life is for you to be with God, in an intimate relationship with our Father and the purpose (so that v.14) of that relationship is that He could also use you to preach the truth and cast out demons!

    In this world, there are many “Marys” out there. Isn’t it amazing that your story can be a bridge to His story? Let’s go Ate Mary, use what you have, let’s go and make disciples! 😀

  6. Yes i believe in a bad spirit that trying to imitate person in their loveones. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

    One thing that i could say to mary is to forget everything in the past,whatever those she sees and those beliefs, and now she is a Christian the bad spirit will not deceive her anymore.
    It happens all to her in the past because of their faith is not in the truth.

  7. i think it was just the fear in her heart that kind of appeared to her. because of often when such negativity is induced into us continously it impacts our mind and soul. because someone who is not a born again is more likely to prey victim to bad evil spirit.

  8. seeing souls of those who passed away is a form of “energy” like memories, emotions that the living has towards their dead loved ones, the reason why they could still see them after their death, this is how it was explained to me when i took psychology classes. But as a Christian, I understand that we are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come. Mary experienced changed in her life, the way she thinks, the way she feels towards the world around her when she accepted Christ. She now also has the Holy Spirit living in her, protecting and guiding her whole being to live according to Christ. She used to see how the world sees when the fear of seeing dead souls was incited by the superstitious belief told by her mother. She was living in fear, but now that she has Christ those old fears were gone. Her mind and emotions too, does not anymore entertain any thoughts or ideas, or any beliefs which does not help her grow in her relationship with Christ. However, that is for Mary. I have friends who are Christians, and I do respect them and love them when they share to me that they “see dead people”. Contrary to Mary’s old experience, these friends of mine do not treat the experience with fear, instead they use it as an opportunity to surrender it to God through prayer, seeking the thoughts of the Lord and guidance from the Bible on how they would deal with the experience.

  9. I’ve experienced the same, but it was on a different setting. But I will tell her what they told me: those spirits are the works of satan. They can’t be seen anymore because they are dead. They can’t be here on earth.
    And now that Mary is a Christian, she must not dwell on those kind of things, for Satan will just work in his evil ways.

  10. Actually, I believe in ghosts. Jesus mentioned it too when the disciples were frightened to see him after his resurrection. So I believe of its existence, as well as our power to rebuke it in the name of Jesus.

  11. I honestly wouldn’t know what to say to Mary. Partially because I do not know much about what the Bible says about her experience. But also because I have never experienced it myself. Regardless what I say to her, I would probably come off as offensive or insensitive given that I won’t be speaking from experience or as someone who understands her situation.. I guess it would help if I learn more about what other pastors and Bible teachers say about this and learn how they handle similar situations when they teach and pastor their people. Perhaps many of them are as clueless as I am.. But if this is a normal case that happens in our country then it is a pastoral concern and has to be discussed by all Christians here.

  12. I would tell Mary that, most probably, what she saw was an evil spirit/ghost imitating her Lola.

    Also, I would also tell her that as a Christian she don’t have to be afraid if that kind of scenario happen again because the Holy Spirit now resides in her.

  13. I think…first i need to know where Mary is really coming from. What’s her thoughts about it and how does she feel having this kind of stuff in her life. There are still some things to uncover here.:)
    Then the advice will follow depends on our conversation.
    But there is a comment here that I like and maybe will use, given the chance of talking to Mary. Mr. Henrik’s opinion will be good enough.:)

  14. I. What would I tell mary.

    If I get the chance to talk to the 8 year old Mary (non Christian mary), I would acknowledge how she felt. I would have said something like this: It must have been scary to know that you have seen a ghost, in the image of your lola (acknowledgement of feelings w/o agreeing that she was the lola).

    Then I would ask, what she thinks about the experience and how it has affected her perception of life and after life. Then I will assess if the timing is good for spiritual conversation.

    II. How I would explain the appearance of the soul.
    I really dont know.
    Given that the dead can no longer go back here on earth, I am also equally puzzled why others experience seeing ghosts. If up until now she still seeks answer, then I guess the experience has somehow affected her.

    Since mary is a follower of Christ already, I assume she already knows what the Bible says about the living and the dead. I hope that she will experience God in a very special way as she searches for the answer.

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