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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 149 - The Franciscan stiffens in his Roman doctrine. Miklosch cures him with difficult questions. Now the ice breaks also in this rigid soul. Blissful astonishment at the celestial truths.
1. After a period of deepest astonishment, the count says to the Franciscan: “Friend, if this is how things are in your imagined hell, then I definitely stay there, and probably also brother Miklosch with all the others. Yonder infernal spirits of both sexes also look staggeringly beautiful. Verily, one ought not to find it too hard to put up with such infernal company indefinitely! Aye, friend, what do you say!”
2. Says the Franciscan, sullenly: “Endlessly many have already perished through such infernal sweetness, and such fate shall overtake you all! I am certainly very hungry and especially thirsty but, like Thomas, I don’t trust such kings’ peace until I have tangible proof of all these things. Because God the Lord is not going to dwell with heretics like Robert Blum and his gang!”
3. Says Miklosch: “Friend, come over to that there big window with me; I’ll show you something.” Says the Franciscan: “What is it?” Says Miklosch: “You’ll see!” Says the Franciscan: “Good, let’s go! But don’t deceive me, or …!”
4. The two go to the window. Miklosch shows the Franciscan a big city, like Budapest, in the large open spaces in the distance, saying to him: “Friend, yonder Lord Whom in your stupidity you take for the devil’s chief, is telling you through me: I release you from this hell! Over there you see Budapest. Go over there and make yourself a better heaven either there, or elsewhere! You can even go through this window, as these windows have no glass!” Says the Franciscan: “I will wait just a little.” Says Miklosch: “Oh, why? If this here is hell, why would you detain yourself here?”
5. Says the Franciscan: “I would just like to know whether, before his execution, Robert Blum returned to the one and only beatifying church. If this is so then excepting the continued absence of the holy Trinity over here, things could still be in order. If not – what I suspect most, then all this here is infernal illusion! Because hell too is most obstinately keen to first prepare her own before they are fully fit for admission to actual hell. Here indeed everything is truly together: Christ, Mary and holy Joseph, all the holy apostles, all the ancient fathers and patriarchs and prophets, and a great many other holies. If however Blum and company are still the same heretics, then all this is mere infernal make-believe, and then I must quickly depart. Because, friend, if the Roman Pope is not God’s true representative on Earth, and if the Roman Church isn’t the sole beatifying one, with the keys to heaven and hell for all people in its most holy hands, the Christ is not Christ at all, and all religions upon Earth are useless fantasy. That’s how thins are, and I am therefore on my utmost guard against everything infernal. For the true church is the rock which the portals of hell shall not overcome eternally.”
6. Says Miklosch: “Good, good, good! I know all those Roman Catholic insanities as well as you do. I could indeed shut you up so that you would not score one point against my thousand. But I shall drive you into the corner with just a few questions, but am telling you also that you will have to answer each one, or you shall only prove that the papacy was in no way founded by Christ. Here are the questions:
7. “What was the occasion when Christ instituted the Mass sacrifice, and that in the heathen Roman tongue of yore, now held in such high esteem by the church?’ I ask you for an answer, quoting me holy Scripture, strictly!”
8. Here the Franciscan stands there like an ox before a new gate, minus an answer.
9. But Miklosch continues: “Since you can’t find an answer, I have to come with something easier: ‘on which occasion did Christ introduce the Sacraments of the richly trimmed vestments, the stole, the quadrant, the red stockings, the injectors, the costly shepherd’s staff (as far as I know He even forbade His disciples to carry such), the papal tiara, the immensely costly cardinal’s skullcaps?’ I beg for an answer! – You are dumb again! Well, I’ll bring up something even easier:
10. “When did Christ the Lord, who wanted to actually establish a living church in men’s hearts, order the temples of masonry, bricks and mortar, of which the number upon Earth may now count a million or more? And when did He introduce the heathen fittings, the sacrosanct altars, the miraculous statues, the baptismal water and the holiest Chrisam? Did not the apostles baptise with completely natural water – the way God created it? History is also mute on whether they even employed the holiest oil! When did He institute the bells, organs and hymns, Mass paraphernalia, the Exegetes and the requiem Mass? On which occasion, furthermore, the chaplains, parsons, deanery, canons, primates, ecclesiarchs, bishops, cardinals, - renumerating them with large incomes? To my knowledge He even forbade them to carry purses for putting away offerings!’ – I again beg for a well-supported answer! Speak now – speak! Did you not always have a loquacious tongue? You continue to play dumb? This amounts to having nothing to say in favour of the Roman Catholic Church, preferring to be silent!”
11. The Franciscan finally says sullenly: “I could indeed say much, but with a heretic, silence is golden!” Says Miklosch: “I agree, especially when one can’t come up with any proof! But tell me at least when Christ ordered the godless formula of defection from a Christian heretic sect into the Roman church? When the feast of indulgences, when the rosary feast, when the feast of pontiunkula? On which occasion did He set up the Roman and Spanish Inquisition, and when did He introduce all the ecclesiastical orders? Answer me! – Again the dumbness of the tomb – why? I know why, hence something easier:
12. “Tell me where, in the Acts of the Apostles, does it say that the Apostle Peter actually founded the papacy in Rome? So far as I know this apostle in his final period was situated in Babylon, also writing an epistle from there to Jerusalem. But Rome and Peter saw as much of one another as I and the Emperor of China! But perhaps you have secret data: speak! – But again you say nothing – probably no substance coming to mind: just look at your puny defense of the papacy!
13. “But this much you should be able to tell me: when did Christ or Peter confer the title ‘Holy Father’ upon the Pope, together with introducing the indulgent ‘kiss of the slipper? To my knowledge, Christ explicitly forbade anyone to be called good and holy, besides God Himself! Furthermore, no one should call anybody ‘father’ save God Himself, all others being brothers and sisters! But who is to know what Christ the Lord might have added in the course of time, when something better may have ‘struck’ His mind, unbeknown to us lay people – since He only said before many people at Jerusalem: ‘This heaven and Earth shall pass, but My word shall remain forever!’
14. “Yes, my friend, you still keep your silence, notwithstanding the embarrassment in your face. What’s going to come of it? Behold, I could serve you up another thousand such questions – to what end? You can’t answer one! And so it shall be better for you to either let go of the Pope completely, going over to the Lord, openly confessing your stupidity before Him – or start upon your journey to the Budapest visible over there!”
15. Says the Franciscan at last: “Friend, you have given me some quite new ideas with your amazing questions, and I thank you. And I intend to follow you to yonder only true One!”
16. Says Miklosch: “Hence not to Budapest?” – Says the Franciscan: “Verily not! For I believe the world’s cities hold out very little for a spirit! – What of all the things a spirit could encounter, if showing up there!” – Says Miklosch: “Don’t talk such swollen stuff! What mortal could ever inflict anything upon a spirit? But you would certainly not have improved, but only gotten much worse over there – no grapes being reaped from thistles.”
17. Says the Franciscan: “But now tell me, since you are definitely much wiser than I – is this the actual Budapest of Hungary? This things seems a little suspicious to me! I hazard a guess this city is more an illusion than reality.” – Says Miklosch: “Let that be; it shall yet transpire whether it is reality or otherwise. Let’s go over to the Lord now to confess our great foolishness before Him, to then leave everything else to Him.”
18. Says the Franciscan: “But don’t you think it advisable that we first turn to the most blessed Virgin Mary, since she too is here?” – Says Miklosch: “Why not also to Adam and Eve, and all the patriarchs and prophets? To whom did the count turn? To none but the Lord Himself, at once! And behold, he is with Him and right next to Him! Would you want to be still closer? Note also Robert Blum, whom the Lord gave this splendid and great house for his own, eternally. He too is sure to have first turned to the Lord, and is now supremely blessed! Would you want more?”
19. Says the Franciscan: “You are right. One still clings to many stupidities that once can’t drop forthwith. With patience, everything shall fall into place. Hence let us now go over to the Lord, showing ourselves the way we are! I don’t think He will deal with the likes of us in the severe Roman Catholic fashion!”
20. Says Miklosch: “That’s the least of my worries! Consider that, compared to the Lord, I surely am naively stupid and of evil heart; yet not even I could tackle you brashly in your blindness – but to just amicably treat you like a brother! How much more can that be expected from the Lord, who is Himself purest love! The Lord certainly is bound to have His strict side, especially towards arrogance, meanness, envy and against all who regard their earthly, poorer brothers as mere nothings. But towards us, who always showed regard for the person of even the crudest men, He is bound to be more gentle. And so let us go over cheerfully!”
21. The two approach Me, even as I go a few steps to meet them, saying to Miklosch: “Well, did brother Cyprian not get away from you? This pleases Me extra well. Just come now! – There is still some bread and wine: eat and drink to heart’s content! I shall afterwards take you all to this house’s big museum, and you shall make big eyes! – But hasten to table for quickening!”
22. The two come up to the table timidly, but the Franciscan, ending up right in front of Mary, hardly dares to touch anything.
23. But mother Mary gives him a smile, saying: “But friend Cyprian, why so shy? Eat and drink! Do you think things are as snobbish here as at the kings’ courts upon sinister Earth? No way! Here we all are like children, loving the Father and full of love, goodness and gentleness towards all! Hence no fear, my dear Cyprian!”
24. Cyprian almost faints for reverence towards Mary, but Miklosch says to him: “Just don’t be foolish now, dear brother, and do as the Lord Himself and dearest Mary have said unto you!” Says the Franciscan: “For you it is easy to speak, not likely to have been over endued with higher feelings ever. But I, sufficiently sensitive already from birth to cry over a fly’s death, am now walking on burning emotional coals.”
25. Say I: “Don’t let it trouble you; it is only at the start. You will get bolder with time.” Says the Franciscan: “Oh Lord, Your immense condescension could make one’s heart burst for love of You!” Say I: “Well, just eat and drink! See, Miklosch has tucked right into it! – Robert, more bread and wine! I see Miklosch likes it.”
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