Bishop Martin - The Progress of a Soul in the Beyond

- Chapter 36 -

e now enter the same room and find the thirty still crouching in the corners, still in their animal shapes.
(Peter calls out to them): "Followers of Calvin, turn around for the Lord is waiting for you! You should not confess to Luther, nor to Calvin, nor the Bible, nor Peter, Paul, or John, but only to Jesus, the Crucified! For He alone is the Lord of heaven and earth, and besides Him there is no other lord, god, or life.
Our Lord Jesus, Who alone is the true Christ in eternity, is here and prepared to accept you - if you are willing - so that you may all be saved in His holy name!"
(One of the party, with the appearance of an ass, speaks): "Who are you that you dare come to me with that old Jesus-fable in this enlightened era? Don't you see my treasures which, I hope, shall last me through all eternity? I am perfectly happy with the state I am in. What do I want with that mythical Jesus, Who never was, nor is, nor will be? When will the ancient mythical sages be abandoned at last and replaced by the really wise men of our present time?
Why should Homer still be considered the greatest poet, Orpheus practically a god of sounds, Appeles the first painter, Apollodorus the first sculptor, Genghis-Khan the greatest hero and conqueror, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle the greatest philosophers, the Pharaohs Ramses and Sesostris the greatest builder-kings, Ptolo-maeus the first astronomer, Moses the greatest and wisest lawgiver, David and Solomon the wisest kings, and at last, Jesus, the greatest and wisest moralist?
Haven't we got a great number of men who stand high above these ancients? And still sacrificial altars are built for the latter, whilst the wise men of our present times are often allowed to die of starvation!"
(Peter): "I am who I am - sometimes Simon Jona and at other times just Peter. Your times of enlightenment are not too impressive! Obviously, the ancient Jesus-fable is worth more than the treasures of your donkey-skin. The ancient sages were also worth more than the present-day fops, for they knew what they were doing. That is why they became teachers of the nations of all times, while the scholars of the present time think a lot of their learning, but do not know what they are doing. They do not know themselves nor their fellowmen, and least of all the purely divine nature and significance of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why, in the presence of the Lord, they appear in the shape of asses, oxen, hunted hares and mangy sheep.
Turn around and look at yourselves, and the truth of my words will become apparent! Why were you so frightened of Jesus a while ago, and asked not to have to face Him? Look at Him now that He has come to you, the merely mythical being!"
The donkey-man is now silent, but Bishop Martin says: "Oh, Lord, how great Your patience is and how boundless Your love! But I would enjoy giving this ass a hiding. Oh, what a real ass he is! The Catholics are stupid enough, but I have never met anyone quite as stupid as this Calvinistic ass!"
(Say I): "My dear friend and brother Martin, don't you know what I once said to our brother Peter, when he cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants, Malchus, with his sword? The same applies here. And where love, with meekness and patience, has no influence, there is nothing a sword or any other kind of force can achieve.
Omnipotence can condemn and destroy as the result of judgment. But only love, combined with meekness and patience, can help, comfort, preserve life, return what was lost, free a spirit from the strongest shackles. Where there is no love, there is nothing but death and destruction.
We do not want anyone to perish, and all who believe in Me shall have eternal life. Therefore, it is up to us in each individual case to use the right means by which someone can be helped.
Try your hand at these headstrong, scholarly Calvinists and see what you, as a former bishop, can accomplish with them."
(Bishop Martin): "Oh, dearest Lord, my beloved God and Father Jesus, whatever could I accomplish, if even the most worthy Peter does not seem to have much success with them, at least not without performing a miracle?
Since You, o Lord, are present in person in Your fullest divine essence, with unlimited resources at Your disposal, it would be unforgivable if I, a nothing before You, tried to act here. Therefore, I beg You to kindly withdraw this commission."
(Say I): "No, My dear brother Martin! You, too, are one of My means. If I personally influenced this half-dead party, it would result in their judgment. They are now quite aware of My presence, and some of them are almost inclined to believe that I am the true Lord.
So I now entrust you with this task, for which brother Peter has already prepared the way. He himself is also still too powerful for these infirm. Therefore, somebody who is not too strong himself has to help them at this stage, so as not to crush them. For gnats can and must be nursed only by gnats, and infants could not digest a man's fare, but must be fed on easily-digestible milk. Therefore, do go and carry out the task I have given you concerning these thirty helpless. So be it!"
Now I, Peter, and the extremely meek bookseller leave the apartment again, and Bishop Martin stays on his own with the thirty.
Bishop Martin looks at the herd for a while and then addresses it with the following words, which are in accordance with the state he is in, as well as that of the herd: "You poor, helpless brothers who appear only as dumb animals in the light of the almighty, eternal God, listen to me!
In the world I was a Roman bishop and a fanatical opponent of Protestantism, although I thought less of Rome than of Mohammedanism. And exactly as I had been in the world, I arrived here, a beast, recalcitrant to all that is good and true. There was not one good hair on my body, and my heart was like an Augean stable. There was in me not even a trace of what could be called Christian merit!
Only sometimes, in my imagination, I used to picture the Lord Jesus as He is described, thinking, 'If I could have Him this way and work together with Him in the conviction that He really is the Supreme Divine Being, that would be bliss, indeed! For this would not only be the highest possible honor, it would also be provision for all eternity, the most powerful protection and, besides, in His company I might behold such wonders as no human mind has been able to imagine.'
And this thought, these very vague castles in the air, became the means of my salvation from eternal perdition. They were the expression of my hidden love for God, of which I wasn't even aware myself. And look, dear brothers, hard as it was for me in the beginning, these fantasies of my mind have turned into the most evident reality - unbelievable as it may still seem to you. I am now with Jesus, the sole Lord of the spiritual and material worlds, and am well provided for in all eternity.
Brothers, friends, do not be your own greatest adversaries, but follow my example and you will never regret it! Believe me, it is the Lord Who is in this magnificent house, and His goodness is boundless. Therefore, tum around and have faith and you will see how everything around you will look much brighter. Abandon your wrong surmises, adopt my doctrine of experience, and turn into living tools of the Lord!"
Following our bishop's truly unctuous speech, all thirty turn to him and reply almost unanimously: "Friend, we prefer these, your words, quite considerably to your earlier ones, although we must say that we do not like your animal comparisons concerning our personalities. You may call a stupid fellow an ass or an ox, but to try to convince him that he has the actual appearance of an ox or an ass is carrying it a bit too far!"
(One of the herd now speaks): "But be that as it may, you have proved with your words that you are quite a good and clever chap, and about your Jesus you might be right, too. But one thing is most peculiar, and that is that one does not see any angels here; the landscape is not exactly one of heavenly beauty; and what about heavenly garments? You are wearing peasant clothes, even without a coat. Your Lord Jesus wears nothing less than a heavenly garment, and Peter looks more scanty than heavenly! Only the bookseller from N---------, whom I know quite well, has a somewhat better coat, although it would still not be the right type of heavenly garment.
Look, friend, this makes the whole matter rather dubious. If you can give us a feasible explanation, we shall believe whatever you tell us and follow your suggestions."
Here, Martin hesitates for a moment, for during his spiritual progress, he had not thought of these things at all. But then he pulls himself together, and says: "Friends, believe me, this is mainly a matter of how one wants it to be. So far, I haven't wanted it any different, but if I did, things would change immediately.
Indeed, I haven't seen any angels as yet, but what are all the angels and heavenly splendor as long as you have the Lord of all the angels and heavenly magnificence? He can, so to say, conjure up, in a moment, everything that might be missing. Anyway, I haven't felt in me any desire for such things, not even for a better garment, for now the Lord is all things to me.
When you reach my level, you will think and feel the same way. Eternity is still so long, and there is still so much to behold and experience at the side of the Master of Infinity. That is my profound conviction.
And I can only say what I feel in my heart as a living truth: 'Lord, if I have You, I do not ask for all the other splendors. For the Lord, our Lord Jesus, is and shall forever be the glory of glories. Praised be the Lord; He has all my love for ever and ever! Amen.' "
Following these words, the whole herd, already in human shape, rises as from a cloud of dust, and shouts: "Amen! Brother, you are right! We all believe you now! Your words have been truly wise and have kindled a light in our hearts that will never go out. We thank the Lord Jesus, your eternal God, and now also ours!"
At this moment, I enter the room with My two companions and they all fall at My feet and shout: "O Lord Jesus, You Most Holy Father, You Trinitarian God, have mercy upon us poor sinners! Praise be to You alone in eternity!"
(I say): "Rise My children and see your Father come to you with the greatest love, and not with judgment. And since you accepted Him into your hearts, He is now taking you to His eternal Father's heart. Come unto Me all of you who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest."
Here they all rise and try to embrace Me, and they weep for the first time tears of overwhelming joy; then they all follow Me to the large dining hall where Peter has already sent the previous party.