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A spiritual philosopher and a fanatic
30,1. Look, if you can discern something, you would see about fifty normal steps from us, another couple. Let us go straight there, then we will reach them immediately. They too do not need to see us. We indeed find a place for our purpose, therefore we will go there quickly, to hear something new. Well, we already are with them and as you can see, this time there is a difference in gender in this couple. An exceptionally poor woman, looking exhausted and a man, looking emaciated unto the last drop of blood and having barely enough energy to drag himself along tediously. Look, she reaches out to him with her hand and welcomes him.
30,2. Listen now what these two discuss with each other. She says: Dear heaven greets you! It makes my heart so happy that dear fate has brought us together once again at last. Yet, I must admit that I never thought I would meet you in such a place, for I always thought that you, God knows how blissful it would already be in heaven because of you, for as long as I could remember, you were on earth such a pious and righteous man. You indeed were a very learned professor in religion and because of you have so many stout and worthy spiritual ones entered soul care. And now, dear heaven, do I find you here in this miserable place in such wretchedness in which, the dear God knows why you have rightfully come to two months ago.
30,3. He says: Yes, dear friend, it grieves me that you would find yourself here, but this is how it is. You, just as I, is an emaciated being here. Heaven (if it exists) knows how we had golden expectations of a happy life in the hereafter. But how happy life is and what the reward is for all our good deeds upon earth, I do experience now for many years and you, esteemed wife, as you said, now already for two months.
30,4. She says: no, dear heavens if I think back on what a strict life you have led, how you had no possession upon earth. When you preached, all the people in the church sit there sighing and weeping and what beautiful lessons and admonitions did you give in the confession booth. How thoughtful have you presented the holy mass; therefore, I can truly not understand how you could rightfully come here. For people like us, it is understandable, for one might have kept silent about many sins during confession because one could not, despite all searching of one's conscience, not remember it. But how you, who knew it all and have fully investigated his life with all its actions and deeds, came rightfully here, this would, as said, only heaven know. Do you have no suspicion of why you have come to this judgment?
30,5. He says: Oh, esteemed friend, I certainly have many presumptions, but my thoughts about this you would not easily understand. She says: Oh, I beg you, do tell me frankly about it; who knows if it would not be of use to me. He says: well, I will tell you the one or the other about it, but it is not my fault if you do not like it. Therefore, I will tell you frankly what I suspect.
30,6. I do suspect that there is neither a God nor some or the other heaven and I do suspect with founded reasons that we people are nothing but the work of nature. When the crude matter, like a covering of the natural life power, falls away, only the natural power of life keeps on existing for a while. But she also will die down eventually; the power distributes itself in space like the power of gunpowder outside the barrel of a cannon and then it is eternally over and done with those people who had so much expectation. If you would look keenly to me and see how I have already come close to complete decomposition and destruction, my suspicion will become even in this stark, dark night even clearer than the sun upon earth on a bright midday.
30,7. She says: Oh, my dear heavens, if it exists, as you say! This is indeed terrible! Yes, yes, you would know better than I. Even on earth I sometimes thought, like my once highly learned and prominent lord once said, that there is nothing after death. Only now I see that the Lord has spoken the truth; therefore, it will in time go with me as it is with you now. On earth, when I would fare badly, I still could say: my God and my Master, do not forsake me! But what can I do now, if there is no God? Would you, my esteemed friend, be able to tell me how it is then with Christ and His Mother, the virgin Mary? Why then, have we upon earth prayed so many rosaries to both of them and why have you read so thoughtfully so many masses, if it is like you told me now?
30,8. He says: Yes, dear friend, it only occurred to me here. The higher lords upon earth would not be able to keep the general people in check if they would not have developed some or the other god and therefore, some or the other religion. It is an easy play to keep the dumb rabble in tow with religion. It works diligently for them, that they would be able to live in their palaces and castles without a care, fatten themselves on soft beds and chairs. Therefore, they appoint spiritual officers and leaders everywhere who are kept properly dumb themselves, to keep the general people dumb as well. Whenever such spiritual officials would use their brains, they are getting promoted quickly, letting them live a good life, in order that their clear thinking would pose no danger to the high lords. But to give such a religion which has no meaning a somewhat meaningful hue, they must decorate it with all kinds of mysticism, that is, meaningless ceremonies, without which it would not have the desired effect on the general people. See, esteemed friend, such was the case with me.
30,9. On earth, I very well saw that it must be much different with the afterlife than what I have preached from the pulpit. I have,obviously, only very secretly asked the great lords in power for an explanation. I never received one, but instead, I don't even know how myself, I quickly received an important promotion. I became a well-paid professor and finally even a director of a seminary. I do think that the lords have seen that I was too smart for a lower office. Therefore, they gave me a better one, that I would not, with my ability, be harmful, but only useful out of self-interest. I always truly just lived like a complete honest man, but what was incredibly stupid stupid of me, and which I already regret, is that I did not yet see through it in the beginning that I was only being deceived with such a promotion, as well with the fact that I have, in my well-paid job, apparently for my own well-being, lived a too foolish and spiritually strict life. I did think: Such a life of self-denial will soon give me the dignity of a bishop. But I have sorely misjudged this, for the high lords have exactly calculated that I did possess the correct amount of stupidity for my assigned office, for me to not be dangerous to them anymore. They could, therefore, leave me unconcerned in my place. You see, esteemed friend, this is the case with religion everywhere in the world. Therefore, as I said already in the beginning, we have both been deceived.
30,10. She says: Only now, for the first time, is a light dawning on me! Would I have known this on earth, how much pleasure I could have had! For I was, as one would say, a pretty and wealthy girl. How many young men have competed for my favor, but out of pure religiosity I could barely look to anyone and stayed a spinster for the sake of Our Dear Master and the blessed virgin Mary, and on top of it all, I left all my wealth to the church during my life.
30,11. Oh, how stupid I was! Would I have become a happy whore, I would have had some joy! Now the saying is applicable to me: 'A timid dog will not become fat'. No, best friend, if this is truly as you have said, I would want to curse and renounce everything! But no, this I will not do. Even if it would go worse with me, I will, even out of habit, call unto God and the blessed virgin Mary. I very well remember that the calling unto Christ and our dear lady did sometimes help; therefore, I think, even if they should not exist, that I have not gained anything by praying to them, but I also did not lose anything either. I do not need to chide myself that I am in this dark resort being punished because of my way of life. The only thing is that I maybe have spent too much time with the spiritual ones, yet it never spoiled my chastity, for on that terrain I have never allowed myself anything. I indeed did often besmirch people who I regarded to be bad and sometimes, yet only to the spiritualities, vigorously dragged them through the mire. With them I also cursed all Lutherans, Jews, Turks and heathens in the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; but the spiritual lords said that one as a truly believing Christian, certainly should do this. After this, they did add that one should pray for them, in order that they may convert to the true religion. I, therefore, have done this and have, as it should be, first cursed them and then prayed for them. Maybe it was wrong; I would not have known. I also gave unto the poor; not so much, though, for I rather gave my wealth to the church, because I thought that the spiritualities would be better able to disperse it than I could. So, have I, the more I ponder about myself, come here 'completely innocent' in this judgment? But of course, if it is as you said, then the one or the other prayer has hurt me as little as it benefited me.
30,12. But as I said, I stick with calling unto God and our dear lady and will drag myself along in this place as long as it goes. Maybe I will encounter someone else who has something better to tell me than you, my otherwise much-appreciated friend. I bid you farewell, for I see I will not become happier in your company. It would have been better for me, the way I feel now, if I would never have met you! For only now I see that stupidity makes one happier than an ever so sharp mind.
30,13. I'm just glad that I did not end up in the feared 'purgatory' or even in hell. For I am faring not that bad after all, because I have, besides hunger, no pain. I do have to satisfy the hunger with grass, which is in abundance here. If only it does not get worse, I will get used to this food. Therefore, farewell!
30,14. He says: Yes, yes, farewell to you too and take care to gain from the eating of the grass. I do wish you 'bon appetit'! I did not have the luck to find an abundant grassy field, but only moss, and that was up till now, very sparsely, my only source of food.
30,15. Look, they both depart; he in a more northerly direction, she closer to the midday.
30,16. You say: We cannot really see why they would find themselves in this region. Concerning him, judging by his statements, he seems to have grounded reasoning.
30,17. My dear friends! This you should be able to see at first glance. How is it with the love of someone who does a certain thing for either an immediate reward, or a future reward? Is it not self-love? For whoever does the good and right thing out of any measure of self-interest, likes himself too much and does everything to take care of himself as well as possible. It was the same way with her, who gave away everything she owned to receive heaven, the way someone else would spend all his wealth for some worldly goods. Yet they have not even a faint idea of true love for Christ, which should always be highly unselfish! Therefore, her hunger for a reward needs to be completely eradicated here, and she needs to be compelled to search for God and long for Him. Only then will it be possible for her to come closer to the true love and compassion of the Master. Likewise, does he need to consider himself destroyed before he will be able to receive a higher mercy?
30,18. You should therefore never consider anyone completely lost, but know that for many, according to your reckoning of time, a hundred, a thousand and another thousand years can pass before they will be able to receive a higher mercy.
30,19. For you to experience even more closely the variety of reasons why many people come here, we will move on. Only when we will encounter whole companies, you will receive greater light and then you will see with what countless kinds of foolishness people living in the current world of 'better humanity' on earth are infused with and that they perform good deeds mostly out of personal interest. We'll leave it at that for today.
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