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Even more testing. The beginning of reward.
95,1. Our Prior is now also with us together with his simple man, with much joy on his face, and he makes the simple man aware of me. He says to him, See, my friend and brother, there between the two insignificant seeming spirits is the sublime messenger. The simple man said, "Well, my friend and brother, go and show him everything. The Prior says: "But, dear friend, will you go with me? The simple man said, "You go ahead; and if need be, I will follow you.
95,2. The prior accepts this, then comes to me and says: Dear, sublime messenger of the Most High God from the heavens, see, of all those who were captured, not one is left behind, on the contrary, one more came with them that were caught. But this One is not a prisoner and besides God, the Almighty Lord, I owe the salvation of these poor brothers to him.
95,3. Now I say: Yes, my dear friend and brother, when this stranger has done the work you have begun to do, how is it with your merits? I've set a condition for you, that you should have freed the prisoners alone with the help of the Lord; how have you been able to employ a stranger for the purpose of serving you without considering how you should have worked, and who is the strange man who helped you? If this is your way of conduct, with what can I trust you with anymore?
95,4. Do you not know that the Lord has not given you strength to be idle with it, but that He has given you the power of life out of His great mercy only for righteous charity? Ask yourself now, in which light do you appear before me? Therefore, I tell you, justify yourself properly before me, or else I will regard your action as improper, and you will end up behind the well-known chasm, where you shall have to bear the sight of the flames for always while considering the right conduct of the ways of the Lord.
95,5. The Prior says: My dear friend and brother, if there is nothing else but that, just put me quickly behind the flames. And if I am to languish alone after the earth's measure for a thousand years, Iwill nevertheless glorify and praise the Lord behind the flames, because He has been merciful and graceful towards my poor captive brethren through this affectionate stranger!
95,6. For I am convinced in myself that I have followed your advice punctually, and not out of compulsion, but completely out of myself. I have turned to the Lord together with my poor captive brethren; and when our confidence in us had reached perhaps the highest degree of love and mercy of the Lord, this Savior came to me, and I thought to myself: I am very conscious of the fact that I am eternally most unworthy to receive any personal help from the Lord. But as the Lord is still merciful, He surely sent me this Savior in His Most Holy Name; to the Lord all praise, all honor, and all glory! The brethren are saved without any input of mine, but now you can do with me what you want. If I should be behind the chasm, give me the order, and I will, with joyful praise unto the Lord, hurry, and if possible, do penitence ten times for every one of them!
95,7. Now I say: Good, my friend and brother; is this then your absolute earnest! The priest said, "Friend and brother, it is only a question of trial; give me the command, and you shall soon convince yourself that I will do as you say and as the most holy will of the Lord requires. Now I say, "Well, then you can be on your way, and go for the sake of your brethren.
95,8. Behold, the Prior thanks me for this command, turns around and goes straight back to take his position behind the chasm. but in passing he still speaks to his simple man: Dear friend and brother, you have been right. As you can see, I must now go seriously for these my saved brothers behind the hot chasm and think about how to act in the Lord's ways. But I want to go; for if I only saved my brethren, I don't find myself too important. If I can only glorify and praise the Lord because of His great love and mercy, and love Him above all things according to my power, the flames shall not be disconcerting. And so, I go in the name of the Lord; but if thou come to the Lord, remember me.
95,9. The simple man says: Yes, you can be assured that I will not forget you; but go now and fulfill the will of the messenger! See, now, with rejoicing, he goes out, praising the name of the Lord. You wonder how long he will have to stay there? I tell you, Do not worry about him; for instead of the chasm, he will meet only high guests from heaven, who will clothe him with a new garment.
95,10. There you see him, he is coming back again, and is coming straight for me, dressed in a white robe and with a shining crown on his head. He is here, and I ask him: Dear friend and brother, what is that? Is that the chasm? You come here, dressed in a heavenly garment of love, instead of having to do penitence yonder the chasm of flames?
95,11. The Prior says: O dear friend and brother, I cannot do anything about it. Behold, as I was about to go into the sad background of our refectory, there stood three brilliant youths instead of the fiery gap, and said to me, "Brother in the Lord, we know where you are going; but this is not your destiny, but it was only a last test for your heart, so take off your garment of the former error, and put on this new one of love and truth. I refused, saying, oh friends of God, I am forever not worthy of such grace. But all my resistance did not amount to anything, whether I wanted or it not, the dress was taken from my body, and this dress was put on it at lightning speed. And now I am in it, and am ashamed of it because I am so unworthy of such a garment! But what do I do now! The dress is once on the body; and as I have no other, I cannot take it off and thereby a shameful object of mockery before my brethren. I think, however, that the Lord has done this to me, that I may be properly humbled. Therefore, to Him all praise, all honor, and all glory; for only He alone, indeed only He, is good, even in the heavens is He alone good.
95,12. Now I am speaking: Yes, dear friend and brother, if it is, I must be satisfied. But now I will ask you a question, and you must answer me. Tell me, what would you do if it would happen that the Lord would come to us?
95,13. The priest said: O friend and brother, that would be terrible! Indeed, if such a thing were possible, it would be a millionfold better either to put myself behind the flames in the dirtiest corner or at least to be here in the most arduous dress. For if the Lord were to meet me in this attire, and then ask me, "How do you, surely most unfortunate, come to this dress of celestial honor - yes, brother, a hundred mountains would not be enough to hide behind for me to not bear such a great and well-deserved disgrace before the Lord's countenance. But if it were possible for you to giveme another garment, you would certainly do me the greatest love-service. Dress all my brethren, who are certainly more worthy than I, with such heavenly robes; but me put in old rags, and then let me be in the background if the Lord should appear. I will worship him undetected in the most extreme humility, but only do not let me be in the foreground, for now, in this dress, I realize it quite clearly that I am the very last of my brethren!
95,14. Now I say: Dear friend and brother! This is not for me to say but go to your simple man, who is a perfect, all-powerful helper in the name of the Lord, who will surely listen to you again and give you according to your desire.
95,15. The Prior says, "Yes, dear brother and friend, he is the right man for me. I must tell you sincerely, "I love you very much, but I prefer this man at least one hundred percent more than you, for he is much gentler, and he also listens better, so I will at once submit myself to his counsel!
95,16. See, now the priest is already going to his simple man, lamenting his distress, and the simple man says to him, Dear friend and brother, this desire of yours is dear to me above all things, so let it be according to your true, humble desire. Then go over there into the nearby garden pergola, where you will already find another garment.
95,17. The Prior happily goes forth, but quickly returns, having achieved nothing and speaks to the simple man: But dear friend and brother, that would be a clean exchange! Instead of a modest robe most worthy of me, I found a bright blue garment, brimmed with light-shining stars at the edges, lined with a bright red belt around the middle, and so delicate that I could, only by looking at it and smelling its aroma, feel as if I had instantly been transferred into the heavens!
95,18. I beg you, do not do this to me; because I could not stand it. Let me, however, find a most ordinary, loose peasant cloak, and if it is still ragged and torn, I will nevertheless be indescribably happier about it than in this already depressing garment.
95,19. The simple man said, "Now, go into another arbor there, and you shall find the right garment."
95,20. See, our Prior is already running; but this time he does not come back so quickly, and so he must have already found a right dress. Truly, look, he is already coming out, wearing a coarse, tattered garment, being overly happy at this discovery; he now goes quickly to the simple man, thanking God before him for this great pity, and the simple man responds to him, you are now more comfortable in this demeanor; but if the Lord would come, and say, "Friend!" How do come you here and have no wedding garb?
95,21. The priest says: Dear friend and brother when I am thrown out into the outer darkness, it will be no more than perfectly right and reasonable. Only into the most arduous corners with me; there is my place! But to think of me worthy of heaven, even to be the very least of those who are at all allowed into the lowest heaven, will be my last thought forever.
95,22. The simple man says, "Well, well; I will now tell you something quite secret. Behold, the messenger is already working on all your brethren for the imminent appearance of the Lord, and I also tell you: He will soon be here! What are you going to do now?
95,23. The priest says, "Dear friend and brother, for the sake of the Almighty Lord, lead me, according to your best insight, to some very remote corner of this garden, and if it is not too much for you, stay with me at least until the Almighty Lord has finished His holy cause with these brethren. And if He should after all finally search for me, I will throw myself upon my face before Him, and beg Him for His Divine mercy.
95,24. The simple man says, "How then does it stand with your love for the Lord because you are so afraid of Him?"
95,25. The priest says, "As for my love for the Lord, it is so powerful that I would do anything for Him if I could do anything. But I am already satisfied if I can and can only love Him, very far from Him, in my heart! But to be near Him, I am not worthy of into all eternities. I can only look back upon my most broken Philistine's life on earth, and how I have not infrequently profited from the power of God, I should perish in shame! Therefore, let me flee as quickly as I can.
95,26. The simple man says, "Dear friend and brother, I will not stand in the way of your just humility, so I will quickly follow you into that corner toward morning. There we will be the not easily discovered because this angle is overgrown with dense foliage, through which one cannot look so easily and so quickly. The Lord's eye is, of course, all-seeing, but this does not matter. Let us therefore quickly go, and we will have our humble contemplations there when the Lord will appear. If only He does not present Himself to us first! The Prior says: "It is certain that the Lord shall not go to the most unworthy first, so we shall be perfectly safe. And so let us go!
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