Deathbed scenes

- Scene 7 -
A pope


11 August 1847

n this instance we will begin at once with the beyond. We will observe a man, who had been playing a very great role, being finally of the opinion that the world existed only for his sake and that he could do as he liked. For he arrogated the actual stewardship of God, and that more than many another of his like. Notwithstanding all this, he had to "bite the dust", and neither his presumed great power nor the world or the stewardship of God protected him against it.
Look over there, straight towards midnight, a very lean male figure of a very dark color is walking along slowly, looking around searchingly in all directions.
In his company you see a little man, like a pitch-dark monkey, who busies himself around our man and is acting as if he had some very important business with this man. Let us step closer, so that you may hear the strange monologue of this man, who is oblivious of both his company or us.
We are already close to him. Now listen, he says: "Everything a lie, everything deceit, and the deceived is the most fortunate; but unfortunate the deceiver, if he is knowingly a deceiver! However, if he is unknowingly a deceiver, lying and deceiving without realizing it, he can be congratulated. For in that case one donkey pulls another, and both are contented with the worst fodder. But I, what am I? I was a supreme head, all had to believe and do what I ordered. However, I did what I wanted, for I had the keys to power in my hands, like one who takes it without asking whether he is entitled to take it. I knew everything; I knew that everything is only a lie and deceit, but despite this fact I imposed falsehood and deceit under threat of punishment on everyone refusing to accept them and believing that everything issuing from me, written or not, has to be accepted as the full truth.
On the earth I thought: Physical death is the end of all existence. This was my secret, firm belief, and all the wisdom of the world could not have given me a different one! This alone I held to be the truth, and you see, also this is a falsehood; for I continue to live, although I have died in the body.
Heaven, purgatory and hell I had preached on many thousands of pulpits, issued letters of indulgence and canonized a great many deceased and ordered fasting, prayer, confession and Communion
- and now I myself stand here, not knowing what is what! If there were a Judgment, I would be judged already. If there were a heaven, I should have the first right to it, for in the first place I had to become steward of Christ's Church through the will of God. And what I then did as such was certainly also only a supreme will, for according to Scripture no hair of the head will be bent and no sparrow fly from the roof. Thus I confessed and attended Communion according to the old rules, although I could easily have exempted myself. For I had the power to abolish confession, including the strict Communion for everyone, for all times, which, however, I could not and would not do for political reasons. Should there be a hell, I would have reason enough to be in it, for in God's eyes every human being is a killer! At least I ought to be in purgatory, for this is said to be everybody's lot for at least three days! But neither the one nor the other is my lot, therefore God, Christ, Mary, heaven, purgatory and hell are nothing but falsehood and deceit! Man lives only from the forces of nature and thinks and feels only according to the concentration of his inherent natural forces, which probably combine there to an eternally indestructible One. Therefore, it will now be my task to investigate these forces more closely and then, owing to my precise acquaintance with them, to found a heaven.
However, I notice a continual certain tugging at my toga pontificalis! What could that be, should there still be an invisible spirit in my vicinity, or is it done by some wind? In earnest, it is queer in this infinite desert, for no matter where one goes, one still remains forever completely alone. One can call, cry, call abuse, scold and curse - or pray to whom one wants, and yet nothing stirs and one remains all alone as before! It may well be several years since I died on the earth, and this in a very painful, utterly disagreeable manner, and I am just as alone, nothing beneath my feet but whole barren desert! I certainly have room to move, this again is a truth, but where I am, what shall become of me in the future shall I continue to live forever or still be totally annihilated in the future this is an insolvable riddle.
So get on with the investigation of the natural forces inherent in me, and through their closer acquaintance it shall soon become evident what shall become of me!"
Have you heard him, how he reasons, he, the steward of God on earth? Oh, he will continue for a long time to reason thus solo, as his invisible companion inspires him. For the lot of such people, who were on earth in the highest positions, is always the same, namely, being alone, inasmuch as they have excessively isolated themselves on earth.
However, this isolation turns out to be a great grace for them; for only in that way is it possible to then turn back onto the right path. But this takes a long time. They have to go through all degrees of night and darkness within, of distress, also of pain, as it is peculiar to hell.
Once such a zealot has absolved this solo journey - perhaps in five hundred to a thousand, also ten thousand years, he comes only then into the company of strict spirits. If he fails to follow them, he is again left alone and to his own devices. But then all the abominable deeds, carried out either under him or under his predecessors, will be brought home to him, at which occasion, however, he will have to taste all the pains, which all the persecuted had to taste under him or his predecessors. If this treatment fails to cure him, he is left as he is; as companions only hunger and thirst are given him, which two stewards with rare exceptions bring almost every one gradually onto the right road.
Here again you have a picture, from which you may learn more about the beyond - and the "water", which such a leader has to swim through, until he reaches the shore of humility, truth and love. Therefore, nothing more of this man.