Like all humans do, there was at first a denial of this reality by Bishop Ribera. Knowing the holiness and visions of Mother Mariana, the bishop asked her to pray that his life be extended. He would also pray a novena for this intention. Our Lord however did not extend his life, and Mother Mariana not only confirmed the time of his coming death, but she saw that he would spend much time in Purgatory. The bishop, as predicted, lived only one year after the statue was completed, and went to his repose on March 24th, 1612. What lessons can we learn from Bishop Ribera?
1. Our day of judgement is determined, prepare now.
God has determined what day we will be asked to give an account of our lives at the judgement seat of Christ. We have tendency to think our death is sometime way off in the future. As a result we tend to not take or actions as seriously as we should. We always think we have more time to make things right. Even the bishop thought that God would yield to the request of holy Mother Mariana's prayers that his time be extended. In fact, the bishop had plans to return to Spain and take some time off to recuperate from his challenging duties in the New World. His plans were dashed and everything that he had planned was for nought. We should all keep in mind that we do not have the luxury of knowing when our death will come as the bishop had. So we must always be prepared for it and not live as if we will always have more time to correct ourselves and do penance to make reparation for our sins.
2. Hell and Purgatory are real, and we could end up there if we are not careful.
(Pray the Rosary)
Bishop Ribera was not a model bishop. He had an issue with pride and judged many harshly under his rule of his diocese. Bishop Rivera was also a very learned man and often saw himself as being better than others. Our Lord said that he lacked charity with his flock. The bishop had a dream of the judgement that was to come and was shown the sinful things he had done in his rule as bishop. Mother Mariana was shown the possibility of the bishop even going to hell for his prideful and harsh rule. Our Lord told Mother Mariana that despite these things that the bishop had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother of God and the Most Holy Rosary. Because of his great love for the Rosary Our Lord said, "Divine justice will never remain deaf to guilty peoples or souls who practice this devotion with careful diligence." The bishop knew he had two more years to live and for these two years the bishop changed his ways and sought to do more penance to make up for his past sinful actions. Still after two years, a long purgatory awaited him. In fact, Mother Mariana would go to her repose many years after Bishop Rivera and she was in heaven before he was. This should be a lesson to us. For one hell is real and if we do not live lives of charity we can end up there. We tend to think that as long as we do not kill someone or commit a heinous act that heaven is guaranteed. If we have not charity we also merit eternal punishment. We should also not think that we can easily do penance for our past sins and easily and avoid the pains of Purgatory. We should act as if our judgement is upon us and spend as much time as we can praying and growing in charity.