Deathbed scenes

- Scene 10 -
The poor man


16 October 1848

ere follows another brief scene from the spirit realm, namely, the death or really transition from this earthly probation life to the true eternal spirit-life of a poor laborer, which people are now called "scoundrel", "wretch" and "rabble" by the notable of the world.
Follow Me into a poor little room, which resembles more the lair of a bear than a room suitable for human habitation. Inside, the room is barely two fathoms square. This hole is accessible through a rather dilapidated door, above which an opening two spans long and one span high admits a rather refracted and weak light from the dirty stable wall of a wealthy neighbor, lighting up this hole sufficiently for its seven inhabitants to recognize each other. This model of a living room has neither a heater nor a stove. The latter is represented by a dirty, raw, barely a foot high limestone in a corner. Here the poor inhabitants of this veritable bear pit cook their scanty meal, provided they are fortunate enough to obtain the necessary ingredients by work and begging.
Nota bene: For this marvelous dwelling these poor have to pay a monthly rent to their rich landlord of 1 Fl. 30 Kr., with which they are quite happy. For in this way the landlord does not put them under too much pressure when they cannot pay punctually on the first of the month, but often allows as much as a fortnight. Indeed, the landlord is "so good" as to let them have thirty pounds of moldy rye straw for twenty farthings on account of the illness of their poor seventy-year-old father and even wait also a full ten days for payment! Truly, such a "kind-hearted" and "patient" landlord will surely be able to one day lay claims to My, the Lord's, mercy and patience!
Now look, in the darkest comer of this hole our poor laborer is lying on the "fresh" 20 farthing straw. Some years ago during a heavy building job he fell off faulty scaffolding, breaking two ribs and an arm. He was taken to a hospital for the poor, where the doctors tyrannized him for half a year, after which time, poorly healed, he was dismissed as healed and given a certificate.
From then on he was ailing, weak and thus no longer able to do any heavy work. And so he managed with his also ill and weak wife and five children, all girls, the eldest of whom is fourteen years old, by doing all sorts of little jobs in keeping with his strength and at times through some donation his wife or children begged from a rare, more tender heart. Old age, weakness, cold and the poorest fare, as well as a festering wound around the ribs, forced him onto this miserable sickbed where we now see him on our visit.
Emaciated like an Egyptian mummy from the time of the Pharaohs, full of pain, the bones of the hips and the buttocks and the spine protruding at least by an inch and full of sores from the hard bed, added to this the very empty stomach burning with hunger, he speaks in a broken voice to his wife: have you nothing left? No piece of bread? No warm soup? No boiled potatoes? Oh God, Oh God! How awfully hungry I am! I cannot move with all the pain, and then all that hunger! Oh my God, my God! Do deliver me from this torture!"
Says the wife, who also for weakness and hunger is hardly able to stand: "Oh you my poor, dear husband! Already at six o'clock this morning the three eldest children have gone out to beg from good, compassionate people; it is now three in the afternoon, and none of them has come back! I am trembling all over with fear and trepidation that they may have met with misfortune. Oh Jesus and Mary! Should they have ended up in the water or in the cruel hands of the police? I am shaking all over! In the meantime may Jesus strengthen you; with God's help I will gather all my strength together and go straight to the police to find out whether they know what became of our poor children!"
Says the ailing man: "Yes, yes, dear mother, go, go - I too am exceedingly worried! But do not stay away too long and bring something to eat, or I die with hunger! Remember, it is already two full days since we have eaten. If only the three poor girls did not collapse with hunger somewhere? Oh my God, my God, all the misery must come over me!"
The wife leaves, and no sooner is she in the lane than she sees a policeman, who has her three children by the scruff of their necks. The mother, seeing this, shrieks with horror and says, lifting her hands above her head: "Just God! Oh Jesus! These are my poor children!"
The children weep and gasp: "Oh mother, mother! This savage man caught us in a lane where we were begging alms for our dangerously ill father. Then he locked us up in a dark room. Having seen us go begging on several other occasions, he brought another still more abominable man, who looked like a gentleman. Although we begged him on our knees, he had us beaten up, so much so that our backsides were bleeding. Then he asked us harshly about our address. When we could hardly tell him for pain, he ordered this savage man, who also beat us up so terribly, to take us home. Oh mother, mother, this hurts terribly!"
The mother, hardly capable of speech, sighs deeply and says to Me: "Oh Lord, you most righteous God! Since You live, how can You look on such abomination without punishment? Oh my God, my God, how can You allow such misery to come over us?" Then she sobs bitterly. But the policeman forbids the mother to argue in the lane thus attracting attention and commands her to retreat at once to her dwelling.
The mother apologizes being a mother for her children and says, sobbing: "Oh Lord, how can I not weep? My seventy-year-old, dangerously ill husband is lying on pure straw, full of hunger; we all have not eaten for two days. This late autumn is wet and already very cold and we do not have the tiniest bit of wood with which to warm our moist and cold dwelling. I myself am weak and ill. These three girls were our only support, and you have beaten them to cripples! Oh God! How could I look on silently? How could you forbid me to weep? Are you not a human being, a Christian?"
Here the policeman tries to push her back; but from behind a comer a courageous man jumps out and shouts at the policeman: "Stop, friend! This far and no further! Here are 30 fl. for you, poor mother; use them to care for yourself as well as you can. But off with you at once, you heartless tormentor, or I will shoot a few bullets through your tiger's skull!"
The policeman tries to arrest the benefactor because of this threat, but the stranger at once pulls a fully loaded pistol from the breast pocket of his coat and aims it at the myrmidon. The latter now takes the only sensible course, namely, to disappear rather than being shot by this serious looking man.
When the policeman is out of sight, this man continues on his way quite calmly and coolly. The mother and the three children blow him kisses of gratitude. And the mother, supported by her beaten daughters, who have completely forgotten their pain on account of their benefactor, at once hurries to the nearest inn, where she buys bread, some wine and meat. The waiter has misgivings on receiving from this poor rabble a 10 fl. banknote for change. But he thinks to himself: money is money, whether stolen or honestly acquired, and he changes the banknote for the woman and gives her what she desires.
Hurrying home with it, she finds the poor man crying from pain and hunger. The mother at once gives him some bread and wine, and the eldest daughter runs at once to the nearest shopkeeper to buy for a few pennies firewood, lighter and half a pound of candles.
On her return home she finds to her horror two policemen outside the door of the poor man. They have rushed back to get hold of the charitable man. Failing this, the poor woman might be able to inform them as to the person and the whereabouts of this man. Should the woman not be prepared to speak up, she was to be arrested.
With this laudable intention, ordered by the police authority, they enter the dark room with the poor girl. At once demanding a light, they threaten the woman to give them every possible information on that man, or else she would have to accompany them to the police station. Hearing this the poor woman collapses with fear. The eldest daughter, also trembling with fear, makes light as demanded. The two myrmidons, seeing the poor man on the floor, almost naked, scantily covered in rags, shudder at first, then, tailing courage, they question the half-dead woman about the person and whereabouts of the man in question. The woman trembles all over and is unable to speak. The two policemen, believing the woman pretends, pull her roughly from the floor, trying to take her away. The sick man and the five children beg for grace and mercy, but the two go about their pleasant duty silently.
However, at the very same moment when the two myrmidons have pulled the woman as far as the threshold, our man arrives with three sturdy assistants. First freeing the woman, who is half dead with fear from the hands of the two myrmidons, they beat them up so that they can barely walk. Then threatening them and their office, they say: "In the name of God! If you miserable beasts dare once again to enter this sacred place where God's angels dwell, you have to expect the most horrible revenge from us! We are not men and beings of this world, but we are guardian spirits of these angels, who are here going through the probation of their flesh!"
Thereupon the four helpers disappear. And the two myrmidons, sobered down, take off not to return.
Now the woman rallies and, thanking Me for this deliverance, sees to it that the man, who is sinking fast, gets a warm soup. Soon the soup is ready and is given to the old man amid a thousand blessings, and he eats it with great appetite, thanking Me and his loved ones.
Somewhat strengthened by this, he says to his wife and children: "You, my dear wife and you, my beloved children, have suffered much on my behalf. But you have also visibly convinced yourselves that the hand of the Lord did baffle for you and drove away your enemies like evil spirits. So from now on trust in the Lord; He will then be nearest to you whenever your need will be greatest! Forgive all those who were harsh towards us and particularly towards you. They are mechanical tools of a blind, tyrannical police system and act without investigating and knowing what they are doing. Let the Lord alone be their judge!
Bear your cross with patience and never seek the happiness of this world; for the fortunate children of this world are not God's children. What is great in this world, is an abomination before God! Fear nothing as much as worldly success, for it is the greatest misfortune for the spirit.
You see, what would, or could, it have benefited me to be one of the richest people on earth? Now, at the end of my earthly career, I would see nothing but eternal death before me. But how different it now looks with me. Death has lost its terror; for me there is no longer any death! I am already redeemed of all my earthly sufferings, and the glorious portal to the kingdom of God is wide open before me!
You see, my body, this worn-out saddle of the soul for the carrying of the divine cross, is lying cold and dead on the hard bed of straw. But I, soul and spirit, who inhabited this now dead body for seventy years, am now free, live an eternal life and have neither seen nor felt physical death. For in a wonderful moment of which I was hardly conscious I was freed of my heavy burden. Feel the body and convince yourselves that it is already quite dead." (The wife and children feel the body and find it cold and rigid and dead.) "And you see, I am still alive and speaking to you with more perfection than ever!
The reason for this is that I have always believed in Jesus. Who was crucified, and have always acted according to His commandments as far as this was possible. As He taught in the temple, namely, that those who accept His word and live accordingly, will not see and taste death, has now been fully and eternally verified as eternal truth, for I have cast off the body without having felt how and when.
I left you no fortune, my great earthly poverty is your heritage! But be glad of it; if the blind rich of the earth knew what a wealth earthly poverty means for the spirit, they would flee their moneybags like the plague! But in their great blindness they consider that as gain, which brings them eternal death. Thus we let them walk the road of perdition. If you want to be as happy at the end of your earthly journey as I am now, flee the worldly happiness and do not ever look for it.
Believe me, who am now talking with you from the beyond: the greater someone's cross and the heavier to carry, the easier and quicker the transition from this world of matter to that of the spirit. For all who follow Christ must walk the road of the flesh. Everything must be crucified in Christ and die in Him, or it cannot attain to any awakening and resurrection in eternity!
Through poverty, want and other tribulations of life the flesh is crucified and killed already in Christ. Therefore, every one who lives as we have lived, and you are still living, will be awakened when the rich actually die at the end of their earthly happiness and will already harvest the full resurrection to eternal life on his deathbed! For the poor man who is surrendered to the Lord's will dies many deaths and when his goal is reached, he has conquered all death and can no longer die, but can only be resurrected in Christ. However, it is quite different with that person who has always only lived for his desires. Such a person dies at the goal of his flesh truly and completely and it is sometimes even impossible in the beyond to awaken him.
All this keep in your hearts and be full of cheer, although the world despises you and calls you names and persecutes you with all sorts of armor of their evil, hard hearts. For the Lord watches the evil one at all times and knows her plans! I tell you: when you will be resurrected, she will perish. Therefore, seek above all the Kingdom of God ad its righteousness, and everything else will be added unto you."
So do not ever envy the rich of this world, but rather feel sorry for them, for they are all exceedingly poor in spirit. All the more be happy for those who, like you, are living with every kind of cross and tribulation. For they die daily in Christ, in the end no longer to die, but to be resurrected to eternal life in Christ.
Let these my last words in this world be your great wealth, left by me; you will not have to pay taxes on this heritage! But take my body out of the room soon, for it is completely dead. On no account shall you have any ceremonies, for all ceremonies of this kind are an abomination before God. Thus you must not pay for a mass, for the Lord God loathes a paid prayer. However, let all that you do be a living praise to the Lord, Who wanted to show me such a great grace. To Him alone all our honor, all praise and all our love forever. Amen."
With these words he becomes silent for this world, being already dead physically.
At once he sees three very friendly men in white pleated garments, who greet him very kindly and shake his hand as now their brother in eternity. Gladly and blissfully and forgetting all his earthly sufferings he offers them his hands still in a sitting position above his earthly body, and says: "Oh you dear, still totally unknown friends of the Lord Jesus Christ, who you surely are! For seven full decades, which I lived on the harsh earth, I have, in an earthly sense, seen few good days, but all the more sorrowful ones, and the last were surely the worst. For in those, my poor sinful body was literally drenched with pain and great distress. But let everything be a sacrifice to the Lord and all praise and all my love be to Him alone forever! For although I have truly suffered much, I have never lacked in occasional consolations, which have strengthened me in my heart and taught me to overlook all the physically horrible pains and wounds in the name of the Lord. And now I have overcome everything with the great grace, help and mercy of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and am awaiting with the patience which so often mitigated all my suffering on earth, what the Lord's most holy will is to ordain for me. To Him alone be all my love, all my praise and adoration - His alone holy will be done!"
Speaks one of the three men in white: "Dear friend, what would you do if the Lord, for the sake of His great holiness and your sins
- and this according to your creed - sent you into purgatory, there to suffer exceedingly great pain? Could you also then under the greatest pain in the fire glorify and praise the Lord? And could you still love Him?" Says the poor one: "Oh you dear friend! The Lord's endless holiness surely requires the greatest purity of that soul meant to be worthy of beholding Him. But His equally great wisdom and goodness knows also how much pain a poor soul can bear, and will not expect too much of it! However, should His justice demand this from me on account of His endless holiness, let also His holy will be done! For I see also therein His great love, which only decrees such a purification of the soul so that the soul might become worthy of beholding God.
I say, the Lord is at all times the purest love, thus endlessly good, and everything He does is good. So only His most holy will be done! For if I were to entreat Him for consideration and mercy, it surely would never be as good for me as what the Lord in His great wisdom and love decrees and determines for me. Therefore, I say once and for all in eternity: Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who as the sole Lord and God rules and governs with the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity to eternity! His most holy name be praised, and His alone holy will be done!"
Speaks the one in white: "You have spoken quite right and true. But remember that you died without confession and communion. Could it not easily happen that, standing before Christ's tribunal, you would be found with a mortal sin and in the state of disgrace, according to the doctrine of your church - had to descend to hell forever? How would you then glorify and praise the Lord?"
Says the poor man: "Friends, whatever I could do, I have certainly done. It is not my fault that I could not confess in the end. And three weeks ago I have confessed anyway and the father confessor assured me that I was not in need of confession for a long time. Oh friends, if I should still be afflicted with some mortal sin unknown to me, pray that the Lord may be gracious and merciful towards me, a poor sinner! For it would surely be the most horrible thing to go to hell after an earthly life of suffering! Oh Lord, Your will be surely done, but do still be gracious and merciful towards my sinful soul!"
Says the man in white again: "Yes, dear friend, with our intercession, in case you had committed a mortal sin, it may still not be possible. For you know that according to your church's doctrine God can have no mercy after death on account of His most perfect, severe and unchangeable justice. Moreover, you have in the world never liked the intercession of the saints, have thought little of the host and in the end as it were nothing at all, thereby acting in a passive way against your church as a heretic and became in its eyes a great sinner. Although we now prayed to God for you, do you think that our intercession would be of avail? Why did you not honor the litanies of the church and its requiems - according to your own last confession - when you informed your dependants that paid prayers are an abomination before God and that they should not pay a mass for you: Since that is how matters stand with you, how can we intercede for you with God? What do you think about it? Will, or can, this be of benefit to you before God?"
Speaks the poor one, full of spirit and self-control: "Friends, whosoever you may be, I do not care; you are no more than God's created beings, and that - eternal thanks and love to the Lord God!
- I am too and believe I can speak with you as freely as you are speaking with me. To be sure, I was very poor and miserable in the world; however, I could read, also write and was fairly good in arithmetic. I spent most Sundays and holidays with the careful reading and contemplation of Holy Scripture. The more I progressed, the clearer it became to me that the Roman-Catholic Church does and decrees the exact opposite of that which Christ and the apostles taught and did according to the four Gospels and the letters of the apostles. In a letter of the apostle Paul I even found the thunderous phrase: "But if anyone, if we ourselves or an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel at variance with the gospel we preached to you, he shall be held outcast."
This sentence went like a thousand flashes of lightning through my whole soul, and I thought and asked myself: "According to these words by the apostle, how about the doctrine of Rome, which not only fails to teach the Word of God, even forbidding all lay people to read it, but teaching quite different things resembling the darkest paganism? Whom shall I now believe?"
An inner voice spoke to me quite clearly: "Do believe in the Word of God!" And I did as the inner voice had spoken.
From day to day it became clearer to me that I was right. For I grasped it in my heart and was in spirit and in truth convinced of all I faithfully believed and did, namely, that the teaching of Christ is the pure and alone true Word of God, in which alone all salvation and eternal life can be sought and found.
God is unchangeable. As He was, He will remain the one endless, most perfect eternal Spirit of purest love. How could He have founded the Church in Rome, which preaches nothing but hatred and persecution, perdition, death and hell? "No, forever no!" a voice said in me, "whosoever judges and condemns his brothers, is himself judged and condemned! Also you, judge and condemn no one in your heart, and you will not be judged!" This is how I heard it, and I acted accordingly. Of course, I saw more and more clearly how Rome's priesthood treated the Lord in spirit a thousand times worse than those who once actually crucified Him physically. However, I never judged them, but spoke at all times in my heart: "Lord, forgive them, for they are all stone-blind and know not what they are doing!"
I saw and comprehended the Lord's endless love more and more. Thus my love for Him grew mightily in me, so much so that all my earthly sufferings could not diminish it in the least, but only increase it more and more! And so I tell you quite freely and bluntly: Christ is my love and my life - even in hell, if I should be condemned to it by you; even hell will not deprive me of Him!
I well know that I am a most unworthy sinner before God, not worthy to raise my eyes to where He, the Most Holy, dwells! But do tell me, where in the vast infinity of God is there an angel or a human being, who could say like the Lord: "Which of you can accuse Me of a sin. Truly it is more blissful for me to say: "Lord, I am the most unworthy one" than: "I am most worthy of Your grace!" I and surely you can only say, even if we had done everything he commanded us to do: "Lord, we all have been Your most useless servants and have not deserved Your in the least. O Lord, O Father! Therefore, for the sake of Your sole endless goodness onwards us unworthy ones, have grave and mercy on us!"
This is the only right we have to say and to ask; anything beyond it is, in my opinion, a mortal sin, temporally and eternally! I hope you will now comprehend why I had such little regard for the litany and the paid prayers. But I have always stood for a true intercession in the truth and love of the heart of one brother for another and this is why I asked you for it. However, you can do what you like. But in everything the Lord's most holy will be done forever!"
Says the one in white again, in his heart delighted about this new glorious brother: "Dear brother, we see your true earnestness, courage and zeal for the Lord, which is truly like a rock. But ask your heart, if you would also dare to speak like this before the Lord?"
Says the poor one. "Only my immense love for Him could loosen my tongue, but it could never deprive me of my courage. And it truly does not take much courage to confess before God Himself that one considers oneself as a truly useless servant, who is thus dependent on His grace and mercy. Oh, I have never feared Christ in the actual sense, for I loved Him too much to fear Him. Now tell me whether I shall remain here for long or not. I should like to know for certain where I shall have to go!"
Says the man in white: "Just a little more patience, for we have to wait for someone on your behalf. As soon as he arrives bringing you the Lord's sentence, you will at once be dismissed and will go as told by the will of God. You see, he is already approaching from the direction of the morning; soon he will be here. Have you no fear of him, who is coming in the name of the Lord?"
Says the poor one: "Oh no! Since I love the Lord above all, how should I fear the one He sends to me?"
Speaks the man in white: "You know, dear brother, that even the most righteous one sins seven times a day without knowing that he is sinning? Now, if you count all days beginning with the years when you became responsible and you multiply them by seven, a considerable number of mortal sins would result, particularly if
- according to Ignatius of Loyola - four little ones amount to a big one! And if the messenger arrived with such an account, would you still be without fear of the Lord's messenger?" Speaks the poor one: "No, and I repeat, not at all! I must openly confess to you, my dear friends, that I should be downright happy to be considered a really great sinner! For sin does not elevate, but humbles me, and this is right and proper. On earth, I have often felt that, when always for a very short time I was not conscious of any sin, particularly after confession. In such a state I used to be quite proud of my presumed pure moral integrity and when I happened to meet such a rascal of a man said secretly to myself:
"Thank goodness that I am not like this fellow, who disregards God and every human right!"
When soon after I myself fell again into some sin, I thought in all the contrition of my heart, when seeing another sinner: "Look, this one, whom you consider a bad fellow, is perhaps by far purer before God than you. Therefore, You, O God, be gracious and merciful towards me, a poor sinner! For now I am not even feeling worthy of raising my eyes to your heavens! And this, friends, was surely a better way of thinking and more worthy of a habitual sinner than thinking and saying to myself: "Lord, I am pure, having observed all the laws from childhood on, and so I am now fully expecting the promised reward from You!"
However, I know, friends, that I am a sinful man before God. Therefore, I am only humble and hope for nothing on account of some merit, but everything only of His grace and mercy.
I truly fail to see what sort of merit created beings could have before the almighty God, Who alone can do all things and has never needed our help. Did they perchance help the Lord God to create heaven and earth, or effect salvation? Or did somebody benefit God, the alone Holy One, by more or less observing the laws, given by the Lord for his own benefit? I hold God to be also without us as perfect a God as He is now, since we are only destined to absorb His endless grace, mercy and love and not, as it were, to render Him other totally unnecessary services.
You see, this is how I have always been thinking and shall forever be thinking, provided I shall be blessed with an eternal existence! Therefore I see no reason why I should now fear the Lord's messenger, having no reason to fear the Lord Himself. Surely I also fear the Lord, but not like a criminal, rather like a lover, who considers himself far too sinful and unworthy to love the Lord with his impure heart and all his vital strength. What do you, dear friends, now think; am I right or not?"
Says the one in white: "We see now quite clearly that you will never allow us to convert you. And so we do not cause you any further trouble and leave everything to the one now coming. Look, he is already here!"
At once the messenger steps up to the poor man in the most friendly manner, holds out his hand kindly and speaks: "Dear brother, rise above your mortal remains and be resurrected to eternal life in your God and Lord, Whom you have always loved from your heart in Jesus Christ!"
The poor man now instantly rises in complete freedom and, filled with great strength and forcefulness, speaks to the messenger, who looks simple and unpretentious: "Exalted envoy of the almighty great God! When you held out your hand, an indescribable feeling of bliss went through my whole being. I take this as the surest proof that you are truly a messenger sent to me, a poor sinner, by the Most High. Since you are this not only because of these three brothers, who tried to instill a great fear of you in me, but truly in accordance with my present infallible feeling, do tell me graciously what I have to expect of the most strict tribunal of God? I have no merits and will not ever have any. However, since I feel that I am a gross and great sinner before God, do tell me whether I may hope for grace and mercy?"
Speaks the messenger: "Dear brother, how can you ask such a question? Your heart is full of love for the Lord - this is already the Lord Jesus, Who alone is God from eternity to eternity, in you! How should he, who has Jesus in his heart, ask whether he can hope for grace and mercy from Him? I tell you: you are already blissful and will not ever see anything of a judgment in you! Come now with me before your God, before your most loving Father, there to receive what has been prepared so amply for those who like you, love Him in all truth above all."
Speaks the poor one: "Oh exalted messenger of God! Forgive me, but I cannot follow you there! For I am forever unworthy of such grace. Instead, do take me to a quiet little spot inhabited by meritless, most inferior blissful beings of my kind, hoping to catch sight of the Lord Jesus once every hundred years from afar, and I shall be as blissful as the purest and most perfect angels! Besides, I could not bear it if the Lord Jesus came too close, for my immensely great and mighty love for Him would tear me apart, if I came to Him! So do to me that for which I asked you in the most justified contrition of my heart."
Says the messenger: My dearest brother, this cannot be; you see, the Lord wills it thus! If I can bear the Lord's closest proximity, you will too. So just come along and do not feel shy in the least! I tell you, we two are sure to get along before the Lord!"
Says the poor one: "Well yes, in God's name, if you really mean it, I will dare it! But tell me, why are these three brothers in white staring at us, as it were, moved and enchanted to the core? Do they see the Lord somewhere already?"
Speaks the messenger: "That may well be; they are secretly overjoyed at you, as at every one who arrives here like you, with such love. Look there towards morning, where a low mountain rises, illumined by the most glorious dawn, over there winds our path, which we shall have covered easily and soon. From that summit yonder you will at once behold the new holy Jerusalem, the eternal city of God, where you will be dwelling forever!"
Says the poor one: "Oh brother, how glorious, how pure-divinely this glorious morning-light is shining, what glorious cloud formation! And only the most magnificent meadows and little trees! Oh, you incomprehensibly beautiful celestial world! What are all the glories of the earth compared to ii? Hut I see also vast crowds which move towards us and hear heavenly beautiful hymns! Oh what harmony! who could fathom its boundlessly harmonious sound? How mightily those moving towards us glitter. How shall I look amongst them in this garb, which looks very earthly still?
O God, O God! I can hardly bear it any longer! You see, they are already quite close, and now, now - what is that? They are failing on their knees and faces before us and seem to be full of contrition? Is maybe the Lord Himself approaching this crowd from some other direction? Oh, do tell me what this may mean!"
Speaks the messenger: "It may be something like that. We shall see at once what it is. Just a little more patience; with a few paces we have reached the top and will see what goes on there."
Says the poor one: "Oh you my most exalted friend, I am beginning to have the queerest sensations! Just imagine how one of our kind may be and fare - seeing for the first time the Lord of heaven and earth, the Lord over all life and death! Oh friend, I am trembling with fear and longing and in joyously fearful expectation of the things to come. Truly, a few more steps and the summit is reached! Oh, oh, what shall I be seeing?
Oh friend, do you not fear God, if you occasionally meet Him on similar occasions? Has it become such a habit with you that you do not care much about it? And yet I can see with these crowds, as with the three brothers following us, they are no less moved than I. Only you are quite indifferent and carry an expression as if everything going on here were quite irrelevant. Oh, do tell me how this has to be understood? Shall I act like you, which would be quite impossible to me?"
Says the messenger: "My dearest brother, you will soon understand why I have no fear of God, and why I do not act like our three companions, nor like you or like these crowds. It is certainly better if you behave like I do; and you will soon convince yourself that your fear is an idle one. For I tell you, the Lord does not demand all that. However, if the children thus show their earnest love and humility, they do not exactly make a mistake.
But I know that earlier you were quite fearless towards the three who greeted you, and I liked it very much - although they tried everything to instill some fear in you. How is it that you are now so fearful?"
Says the poor one: "Well, then I had no idea of such endless majesty of God and His holy heavens, but now I have before my eyes what earlier I hardly dared to think. But also there it is quite different. What must God look like, that these show so much respect, surely for excessive holy respect before God, the Infinite One, before God the Almighty! Will my still dull and blind eyes be able to see God's countenance?"
Says the messenger: "Well, well, dearest brother, everything will turn out all right. Since you have not turned blind until now, it will be all right. Be quite calm, we are already on the summit, and there, as it were on the horizon, above which you see that sun of God, whose light illumines all the heavens and the hearts of all human beings and angels, you already see the holy city of God, in which you will be dwelling forever with Me. Let us hurry up, and we shall soon be there?"
The poor man now makes astonished eyes and is almost beside himself with amazement. Only he cannot see any reason why the crowds rise in such contrition, now following together with the three and singing continuously the most glorious Psalms in the honor of God in the most harmonious manner.
When he has mutely and blissfully regarded this incomparable celestial region for a while he asks again, saying: "Oh, dearest friend and brother! Do tell me, where do those following us see the Lord God, for they are singing exactly as if He were in their midst. Looking right and left and forward and backward, I can still see nothing which would remind me of God. Are my eyes still too dull or too unworthy of seeing the most holy countenance of God? The latter will probably be the case forever? To be candid, I actually prefer it, for I feel, and God will know and see it best, that I could not bear His most holy countenance. Oh, I am already exceedingly happy to see all the Celestial now together with you, and that God sees me. Of course, you know, I should like to see Him just once, Him, whom I love so mightily, but mainly, to be truthful, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, if I could but once see the dear, the beloved, the most beloved Lord Jesus, I should be the most blissful and happiest man of all the heavens!"
Says the messenger: "I tell you, set your mind at rest, and you will soon convince yourself that you will see Jesus sooner than you think. Yes, I tell you, you actually see Him already, only you fail to recognize Him! Therefore, set your mind at rest!"
The poor man looks again in all directions to catch a glimpse of Jesus, but he still sees no one whom he could take for Jesus. Turning again to the messenger, he says: "It is truly strange! You said you see Him already, only I failed to recognize Him. I have certainly keenly scrutinized all those following us, but He cannot be among them, for they are all full of contrition and moved by profound reverence, and all glorify and praise in unison Jesus, the Lord of eternity. The three men in white are doing the same, and so it is in my opinion hardly likely that the Lord Jesus Jehovah should be visibly among them. And yet you said that I saw Him! Oh, I beg you, do tell me: how and where exactly do I see Him?"
Speaks the messenger: "Look at the city of God, in the vicinity of which we already are, there everything will become clear to you. We are already approaching the outer walls and shall thus soon be in the holy city proper, and only there will your eyes be fully opened to you - in a similar manner as with the two disciples walking towards Emmaus. So set your mind at rest, for this is how everything must be and happen, so that nobody may suffer damage in his salvation, life and freedom. By the way, how do you like this city which we are just entering?"
Speaks the poor one: "Oh, friend, from where should I take the words to describe the endless splendor and majesty of this city! What countless number of the most immense and magnificent palaces, and all seem to be fully inhabited! Oh God, this splendor, this magnificence. Oh, this boundless majesty! The beauty is indescribable; no human mind can grasp and comprehend this! But, since we are in the city, I ask: Where is Emmaus now, and where the Lord Jesus, still hiding before my eyes?"
Speaks the messenger: "See the great house here before which we are standing, from the shining windows and outer galleries of which innumerable brothers and sisters are greeting us, this is the true eternal Emmaus! There you will from now on be dwelling forever! And since we are standing before Emmaus, which you see quite well, do turn to Me and look at Me, and you will recognize Him, for Whom you carry such a great longing and love in your heart!"
The poor man now looks sharply at the messenger, Who am I Myself, and instantly recognizes Me in the messenger. And he falls at once on his knees and speaks: "Oh, You my Lord and my God! So You Yourself were the messenger?
Oh, You most endless Eternal Love! How, how, how - could You abase Yourself, so much so as to grant such grace to me, the poorest sinner?"
After these words he falls silent in the most blissful ecstasy and is thus being conducted into the mansion of My House.
You can easily imagine the further blissful state of this man, as well as his eternal calling to love activity. Let us therefore conclude this scene and proceed to another one. Amen"