Bishop Martin - The Progress of a Soul in the Beyond

- Chapter 142 -

s the crowd of sun-dwellers is leaving, the three sun-maidens raise themselves again and are now even fairer than before; from their inconceivably beautiful eyes, love is already shining forth, and their speech is as sweet and harmonious as the singing of cherubs, for they now speak of nothing but love.
We, too, begin to continue on our way, and the many women - led by Borem and Chorel, as well as the monks with them - are beginning to push through to the front in order to have a better look at the beauties of the sun. Up till now, they had been too busy looking at all the wonders of this world but, having satisfied their eyes and encouraged by Borem, they now want to see whether the sun-women surpass their own beauty.
Through a hint from Me in his heart, Martin knows what is in their minds. He also knows that these nuns, who are extremely proud of their own beauty, will be beaten by the extreme beauty of the three sun-maidens. Therefore, he says to them:
(Martin): "Listen to me, fairest daughters, a considerable number of women from my planet will be facing you in a moment to compare their own beauty with yours. However, your beauty far surpasses theirs - to such an extent that this could have a deadly effect on these rather vain women. Therefore, do me the favor of covering your faces with your hair for a short while, then reveal your faces only gradually when I beckon to you."
(Say the three): "Oh beloved, are we really that beautiful? Nobody in this world has ever told us that, for here, external beauty is not known, only its order and the wisdom emerging from it. You are the first one who has ever praised our beauty, but we rather thought you were referring to our order and wisdom. Now, however, we realize that you were referring mainly to our looks. Tell us, what is it that makes us look so beautiful to you?"
(Says Martin): "Comply with my request first, then I shall explain it all to you eventually."
(Say the three): "It would be best if you yourself pushed our hair across our faces so that those who are now approaching may not be endangered."
Martin is only too willing to perform this task, and has only just finished with the third one when Borem comes to him and says:
(Borem): "Brother, so far you have done an excellent job! It is true that you have two friends with you who are familiar with all the ways in this world, as well as in countless others, but, that notwithstanding, you have still performed real miracles. However, with these three daughters and the advancing nuns, you will have to be particularly careful or you might witness a terrible upheaval!
Don't let them see the sun-maidens' faces at all unless they insist upon it, but it would be preferable if you could deal with them in some other way. As our nuns get to see the faces of these three, they will probably collapse as if struck by a flash of lightning and hegin tov tear themselves to pieces from grief and shame!"
(Martin, not at all happy at this prospect, says): "So we have to expect more trouble with these nuns! I have always found them difficult to handle, and even here in heaven these ninnies cannot Keep the peace! I would be tempted to show them these three quite uncovered in their extreme beauty! Let these nuns be humiliated below the level of slaves, and maybe then things will improve with them as a result."
(Says Peter): "You are right, brother. Those who are so vain and proud of their looks should not be treated with too much consideration. The right way is to commence with gentler measures in an attempt to rid their souls of all residue of worldly vanity. If they fail then, the severest measures would have to be applied. You are right in your thinking, brother Borem. However, Martin is also right. So we will let him handle this as he sees fit."
(John, too, agrees with this, and says to Borem): "You are right and so is Martin, for, behold, there is no night on the sun, and the North Pole shines quite as brightly as the South Pole. So better go and bring your pious flock, and they shall be well-combed and shorn here."
(Borem goes and returns with Chorel and twenty of the vainest nuns who think highly of their looks. They immediately surround Martin, Peter, Borem, and Chorel, and say to Martin): "Well, where are your great beauties of the sun, compared to whom we are nothing - as we were told in your house? Show them to us and convince us that you spoke the truth!"
(Says Martin): "You shall have what you want, you conceited souls. There are already three of them here. How do you like them?"
(Say the nuns): "We can see nothing but hair and blue pleated garments similar to ours. However, we want to see their faces, their bosoms, and their arms."
(Says Martin): "If you wish to die from grief and shame, you shall have what you desire. So tell me - yes or no."
At these words, the nuns are startled and begin to ask each other what to do; but none of them knows an answer. One of them turns to Chorel and asks his opinion, but he, too, shrugs his shoulders. After pondering for a while, he says:
(Chorel): "Yes, my beloved sisters, this is quite a problem. If you say 'yes,' you might be in great trouble, judging from Martin's words. If you answer in the negative, your great curiosity will just about ruin you. You see how difficult it is to advise you in this case? I have another suggestion, but you probably won't dare to follow it."
(Say the nuns): "We will do anything if it can help us! Please, do tell us what you suggest."
(Says Chorel): "Well then, listen: Behind us are the Chinese, and after them follows the Lord, with the two who love Him above everything. Turn to Him! He will tell you what you should do in your best interest. If you then follow His advice, you will be quite safe; otherwise, you can only blame yourselves if you should come to harm. For it is quite obvious that here things cannot be trifled with. That is my advice; but you may please yourselves whether you take it or not!"
(Hearing this, the nuns say): "Friend, we know all this very well, but in that case it would mean, 'out of the frying pan and into the fire'! We fear the three a thousand times less than the Lord, for the Lord is the Lord, but all these are only His creatures, the same as we - whether of extreme beauty or extreme ugliness, it is quite irrelevant before the Lord. Therefore, we think it would be better to look at the three beautiful sun-maidens than it would be to go to the Lord, thus showing that we fear Him less than those three beings."
(Says Chorel): "All right, if you do not want to follow my advice, that's fine with me, but you had best know what you are doing; just please yourselves! In any future similar situation, however, you had better save yourselves the trouble of asking for my advice!"
(Now the nuns return to Martin, and say): "Whatever may happen, we want to see these three sun-maidens in their full beauty."
(Says Martin): "All right - come closer and open your eyes wide. This will be the end of your stupid vanity!" (With these words, he turns to the three sun-maidens, and says): "Now, my dearest daughters, lift up your hair and let these conceited women see your faces."
(Say the three sun-maidens): "But if it might hurt them, we would rather remain covered up, for we do not want to harm anybody."
(Says Martin): "This, my glorious, beloved daughters, does not make any difference now. He who is firmly set on having his will - be it good or bad for him - does not suffer any injustice. They have been warned by me, as well as by another brother, but they still insist on seeing you. Therefore, they shall have their wish and it will make them crazy with grief and just about ruin them. So reveal yourselves to these vain fools!"
(A nswer the three): "Sublime friend, you are truly wise, for your speech is well-founded. We will do as you bid us! Whatever the effect may be, we shall now reveal ourselves."
With these words, all three simultaneously push aside their hair, and the brilliance of their extreme beauty has a similar effect on the nuns as if they had been struck by numerous flashes of lightning. They collapse in a heap, and only a few of them moan:
(Some of the nuns): "Woe betide us ugly creatures! We are lost! Crocodiles, toads, and other abominable vermin would be fairer in relation to us than we in relation to those three! O Lord, strike us with blindness, for it would be better to be blind forever than to have to face such beauty once again!"