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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 129 - Thomas and Dismas with the general and his three thousand. Clarification about Jesus and His path of salvation. The general’s speech. The Lord at the entrance to the chamber of life.
1. Responding to these words, Thomas takes the friendly Dismas by the hand, proceeding to the ante-chamber.
2. The general is astonished at seeing, behind Dismas, the familiar monk Thomas in radiant clothing and of friendly mien. He immediately holds his hands out to both and saying: “Greetings, dear friends! A thousand-fold welcome! But, friend Thomas, how different you look! Heretofore when my flock laid hands on you against my actual will, because of the unsuccessful Lord’s Prayer and the projected Mass, and certain works not bearing repetition, your colour was that of a black man, whereas you now shine like the sun! How did you attain to such enormous elevation? Did you still achieve this through reading Mass and the Lord’s prayer in Latin? Did you perhaps find the Deity therewith? Tell me the path you took to attain to such true blessings?”
3. Says Thomas: “My most esteemed friend! Promise to believe me without doubt what I will tell you – and you and your crowd shall at once find yourselves upon the same ground on which I and this brother Dismas, who you well know, find ourselves.”
4. Says the General: “I recognise from your radiance that you find yourself upon the right ground of truth. The lie cannot shine, as it is hollow and vain. Wherefore I intend to believe every word you tell me. I am dying to hear a shining truth from your mouths!”
5. Says Thomas: “Very well! Hearken! – Jesus, the crucified, is not only the Son of the living God, but Himself God the Almighty, in the fullness of eternal omnipotence. Through Him alone are salvation and the true, eternal life to be found. Let you and your entire crowd turn to Him, and you shall be helped immediately! He alone helped me and this brother, as he is endlessly good and judges no one. To each he gives in accordance with his heart’s desire. Whoever is of good will shall be endued with an outsize portion of goodness corresponding with his own will! Now you know everything and can do as you like! Your very own will shall be your judge.”
6. Says the General: “What do you, friend Dismas, say to that?” – Says Dismas: “What brother Thomas has spoken is exactly what I say in fullness of truth!”
7. Says the General: “Two witnesses like that suffice! Wherefore I believe your every word. Permit me now to say a few words to this quite wakeful crowd!”
8. Whereafter the General turns to the crowd, speaking: “Pay attention now to what I announce to you. Since our presence here, you all felt our pitiable condition only too deeply. We murmured and cried, but no comforter came our way. We sought but could not find. We cursed, and no abyss yawned open to swallow us. We then began to pray in a most deficient manner, but even prayer seemed to let us down. In short, only despair was left us. I certainly tried to comfort you as best I could, but to what avail, if the comforter had to feel far worse himself!
9. “When all hope began to leave me, the Deity – rejected by us long since, and not believed in, sent us two most familiar redeemers! These proclaim to us imminent salvation upon reception of the sole Deity in Christ, the crucified! What prevents us from accepting faithfully, and firmly believing what these two light-filled friends tell us? We could hardly be worse off in sheer hell than we are over here! We have, through faithful acceptance of the things heard, a fundamental hope of potentially bettering our lot, and this is already something significant in relation to our present state.
10. “Consider what I have said, and act accordingly. It can bring us no harm. It is furthermore mainly the former Padre whom you had previously thrown out that is carrying out this deed of friendship upon us. He is the least likely to deceive us, having for long enough shared our rough lot with us. – Wherefore, friends: Jesus Christ for our hearts, no matter the price! Should He not help us, then we are lost!”
11. The entire crowd shouts: “So it is, dear General, we all agree. We shall do whatever you say and want! Let Jesus Christ help us, no matter what, or we are lost and ruined!”
12. Says the General to Thomas: “Friend, I think that all worldly titles are at an end over here! Whence I say, dearest friend and brother, you have yourself heard how this entire crowd, to the last man, declared itself on the side of this good thing! Now Jesus is to me everything, as He is to you! What do we need to strive for, to become more worthy of Jesus, the Lord from eternity?”
13. Says Thomas: “It is written: ‘He who believes on the Son of God shall be blessed!’ You now believe and shall therefore be blessed, just through grace! But you still somewhat lack one thing, as I discern from your rather life-dry statements! This lack consists in the love for Jesus, the Lord! Open your hearts and let them be kindled with full love for Him. Then verily He shall Himself appear to you, receiving you and leading you on! For His goodness and love and mercy have no end eternally!”
14. Says the General: “Friend, our words may indeed sound somewhat rough, but they come from upright hearts. And so you can be assured that our hearts are beating more warmly for the Lord Jesus than some others’ who thing profoundly and speak loftily, but feel very little. We also possess some intellect, of course not too erudite, but we have more heart upon the tongue, and I think that should not be too unpleasant for the Lord of glories. Hence be reassured that in our love for God Jesus the Lord, we shall not be feebler than in our staunch faith in Him! Tell us what we are still lacking?”
15. Now says Dismas: “You are not lacking anything more. Hence tell the entire flock to open their eyes and look towards the open door that leads from this hall to the adjacent great Chamber of Life. There He stands already, with outstretched arms, to receive you all into the great kingdom of His grace and mercy!”
16. The General immediately turns towards the open door, seeing and at once recognising Me. – Gripped with supreme joy, he calls out with a real commander’s voice: “Oh Lord over all heavens and worlds! You most exalted One meeting us wretches in such condescension! Oh holy, holy, holy One! – Brethren, raise you eyes and behold! God – Jesus, Who died a Hero’s death for us on the Cross, rising from death by His own power on the third day, as conqueror of all conquerors, comes to meet us! Fall on you knees and worship Him from the depths of your hearts! Say fervently: ‘Oh our most holy Father, Who is coming from Your heavens to us sinners, praised and hallowed be Thy name! Forgive us our sins and do not punish us according to our wicked deeds, but let Your holy grace come over us by the measure of Your mercy, rather than Your severe judgement! Yours, oh Lord, be all our love eternally!”
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