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Everything must be exposed before the judgment seat of Christ. The prior finally recognizes the Lord.
96,1. Now see, our prior and his strange, simple man, now reach the rather dense arbor, which consists of fig trees, and step in behind them.
96,2. Now, be careful; our former monk is already approaching me very modestly, and he asks me at once: Dear friend and brother, we all now recognize you as a sublime messenger of the Lord, but do not recognize who is that strange, simple man. Tell us, therefore, who this man is, for I have taken a good look at him and I must confess to you frankly that during my contemplation I have become increasingly ignited in my heart, and many of my brethren have revealed to me that it is the same with them. This is why I think that there can be nothing insignificant to this man; he is either Peter or Paul or even the favorite disciple of the Lord! If my guess is not too far off, would you be so brotherly kind to tell me? I do not yet know what will happen with us all on this way; are we going to hell or at least purgatory? Yet one thing is certain: I will love this unknown and simple man, wherever I will be, for all eternity, because he is so simple, plain, and loving. I took this clear from the fact that I saw how so fatherly and brotherly affectionate he had conversed with the Prior and has been so compliant and empathic to his weakness so far, that he finally even took him under his protection before the imminent, terrible coming of the Lord.
96,3. Yes, this I call a real friend of man. To be open to anyone in the world is an easy thing because every man is in absolute freedom. But here, in this shuddering, relentless kingdom of spirits, void of all love, grace, and compassion, it is quite something to find such a noble friend, behind whom one can conceal himself in the face of such an approaching, terrible danger. Therefore, in the name of all these brethren, I ask you again to tell me who this man is? Perhaps he would be so gracious and compassionate to us, to protect us and to cover us when the Lord will appear most terrifyingly, as an angry judge!
96,4. Friend and brother, you certainly cannot grasp or understand what it is to a poor sinner, to appear before the inexorable judge's chair of Christ! I would rather forever bury myself in the greatest possible depths of this soil, than to look at the face of the eternally relentless, most justly strict judge for one moment. Therefore, do us this last love-service, if we are at all worthy of such a thing in the least, and then we will be satisfied with the eternal Divine judgment; but only let us be kept safe in the face of the unrelenting judge!
96,5. Now I say, Dear friend and brother, you demand unusual things from me, and do not consider that I am not the Lord, but only a servant of the Lord; I cannot do as I like, but only what is the will of the Lord! But this unpretentious man is neither Peter, nor Paul, nor the favorite disciple of the Lord, but He is one who is never far from anyone who mentions Him, and neither is He far from you or me. - That's enough for now.
96,6. But that you would hide with your brothers behind him before the face of the Lord, will be a vain effort. Do you think the Lord's face will not find you where you are? Oh, there you are still greatly mistaken! But if you think that you can conceal yourself behind the back of that simple man, so that you cannot see the face of the Lord, then go with all your brethren to the prior, and it will show itself there whether you are safe from the Lord's face.
96,7. Do you think the Lord will come to this place, which is empty? He will not do that, but He will go straight to where you are, or even expect you to be behind the foliage.
96,8. Now our monk says: O sublime friend and brother, you have now put horrific things in my ear. If it is, then, I would rather not hide in the arbor, but rather hide alone or at the most with a brother in the dingiest corner, for because of the filthiness, the Lord might not turn His face so soon towards it.
96,9. Now I say again: Dear friend and brother, this also will be of no use to you, for the Lord will find you, even if you would be buried in the depths of all depths. Therefore, I think you should rather stay here with your brothers and submit to the will of the Lord. And the Lord will surely regard you with more mercy, being an obedient servant, as when you would hide in thy own foolishness from the Lord, before Whom no man can ever hide.
96,10. Our monk says, "If it is so, then, in the Almighty Name of the Lord, do His holy will; for we are now ready for everything! I say, "Well, since this is the case with you, let us go to where the prior withdrawn with the unknown, simple man; there we will await the Lord, as it is the most suitable place in this garden!
96,11. See, the monks, like the lay brothers, follow us humbly, but also with fear in their hearts, towards the foliage known to us. - We're on the spot now. Let the company alone wait a while before the foliage; but we are going to go a little behind the foliage, for we want to see how things are with our prior.
96,12. Look, he asks his protective friend with an embarrassed voice: What for the Lord's sake, does it mean that now, to my dismay, all my dear brethren have come hither to our hideaway? In the end, it will still happen, as you, my dear friend, have already remarked, namely that the Lord will appear first where I shall hide. Dear friend and brother, would it not be possible to exchange this place for another?
96,13. The simple man says: Of what use would it be to you? Do you not know what the Apostle Paul insinuated when he said, "We must all be revealed before the judgment chair of Christ!" The priest said, "My dear friend and brother, I know these terrible words only too well. But what is there to do, since I cannot get rid of my dreadful fear of the Lord?
96,14. Now the simple man says: Listen, my dear friend and brother, I can give you some good advice. You have already remarked that you could love the Lord above all else and that you would be satisfied forever if you were to see Him only once from a distance. But you also know that the Lord is a very great friend of those who loves Him and comes to meet them more than halfway without revealing Himself to them. How would it be if you could, instead of your great fear, take hold of your love for the Lord, and then the Lord would meet you? I think this would be better than to be so foolish as to be afraid of Him whom one should love only above all else.
96,15. The Prior says, "Yes, my dear friend and brother, as always and before, you are now quite right. Oh, if I can only love the Lord, if I could be less wicked before Him with my love, I will love Him exceedingly, with all my power, for I feel it alive in myself, that I can now do nothing but only love the Lord indescribably and inexpressibly.
96,16. Now the simple man says, "My dear friend and brother, I like this language better than the former, so I will now reveal to you a little secret. - Behold, the one whom you have so much feared and still fear is not far from you. Tell Me, would you also fear the Lord so much, if He would appear to you just as plain, simple and full of love?
96,17. The Prior replies, "O my dearest friend and brother, in this form I would not be afraid of Him. But as far as love is concerned, I believe that this might almost kill me if I were to see the Lord in your simplicity before me!
96,18. The simple man says, "Look, your fear comes from a fundamentally wrongful earthly conception of the Lord, while the Lord does not correspond to your imagination in the least. But your idea was also the reason why you could never take hold of the Lord so lovingly. But since all delusion must be ended, See! First, look at My feet, where the scars of the nails still are, then lookat My hands, and put just like Thomas your hand into My pierced side, and you shall soon see that the densest foliage cannot hide you from the Lord!
96,19. Look, the prior now recognized the Lord in his simple man and falls at His feet, moved by the most powerful love and not being able to speak, but he cries and sobs. But the Lord bows down, lifts him up and says to him, "Now tell Me, still my friend and brother, am I so horrible and dreadful as you have always imagined?
96,20. The Prior says: O You, my most beloved Lord Jesus! Who of us would ever have thought it possible to think that you are so immensely, inexpressibly good, even in the realm of the spirits? O Lord, let me go forth now, and cry out with all my might, for all the ends of Thy infinite creation to hear, that Thou art the most infinitely best, most loving, and holy Father!
96,21. O Lord, how immensely blessed am I now, that I got to know you like this. Yes, you are the heaven of all heavens and the highest bliss of all bliss! If I only have You and may love You ever more and more, I ask neither for a heaven nor for any other bliss. Let me build here a hut which is great enough to hold me, my brethren, and You, O Lord, and I will not want to exchange it with any other bliss. But you, O most loving, holy Jesus, cannot leave us anymore, for without you I would be the most unhappy being forever!
96,22. The Lord says, My friend and brother, I know your heart, your wish is good; now go out to your brethren, and reveal Me, as I have revealed Myself unto thee. But I will follow thee as soon as I am to redeem all of your brethren, and I will lead you to your true and eternal destiny. And so go and do according to My love. Amen!
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