“Now you stand before me, give me the account of your soul. In this book is written all by your angel; all things you ever said, thought, did; to others or alone; with good intent or false. Shall we open it?”
The soul hid his face and replied: “You have already seen, you already know. Have mercy on me, my Lord.”
“Not all who address me as ‘Lord’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you know.
Look yourself and see what you have done with the Time appointed. Here . . . what is written?”
Slowly the soul raised his eyes to the pages as his angel opened the book, glistening with dark writing.
“So many things,” he said, “words of vices. Forgetting that One God alone Is, so many times I placed things of the fallen earth before you; Abuse of my tongue in blasphemous bouts of anger, calling on the powers of Heaven and Hell without regard, insulting Your Mother; Failing multiple times to attend the Mass or wandering in my mind when it is You I should have seen; Authorities countlessly scorned . . . “
Here the soul faltered and closed his eyes.
“I need not the pages to tell me. I know what I have done.”
“Then continue on.”
“Anger, unjust injury to other men, neglecting those who needed food, clothing, shelter. Once I looked on a woman with lust, not heeding my place or her soul. Oh, how could I have . . . Desiring what was unlawful and unjust. Lies and slander, deceitful speech and gossip. Being dissatisfied with the talents of others I knew, wanting them myself, looking at the property they owned and wanting it for my own.”
For what seemed like days to the soul, he stood with eyes closed and told of his misdeeds. When at last he could recall no more, “What then do you deserve?” asked the Judge softly.
“And what do you desire?”
“Read the page again.”
The soul glanced up. The page was streaked with crimson, blotting out, washing away the black ink. Try as he might . . .
“Where has it gone? I can read nothing!”
“As you can read, so do I remember,” the Messiah replied, “Justice convicts, Mercy forgets.”
“Oh, Sacred Mercy, Fountain of Compassion and Hope!” cried the angel, falling prostrate before throne, “Ask, O soul, and you shall truly receive!”
“Here now is a page blotted clean. Let us begin anew. In your shame you have forgotten all the good works of your life. Let me now relate them to you, and your angel will write them here – in gold.”
To God you gave honour and placed Me above all else; You praised My Name and offered much prayer to Heaven for the world; You have thousands of times stood near my Cross and joined yourself to My Sacrifice – Do you remember?
To your parents you gave assistance until their death and afterwards prayed for their souls, giving them much consolation; In humility, always did you strive to obey all men placed above you by My decree; You fed my hungry brethren, you gave them drink, clothed and sheltered them, buried those who walked on to Eternity, visited the sick, the lonely – You do remember this?
You gave consolation to the sorrowing, instructed those less of knowledge than you, brought sinners back to My fold, gave prudent words to they who were lost in doubt. You guarded Purity, cherished your wife and loved her beyond her death . . . Remember all.
For a year the soul knelt in front of the throne, hearing again and again the innumerable moments of grace in his past life, listening to the beautiful words, remembering, being drawn into happiness.
“Do you remember? Take consolation. All of this, you did for me.”
Pages now shimmered with white gold, the crimson Blood bathed them with light.
The angel wrote a name on the last page – a name wholly unpronounceable in any mortal tongue. The soul read it and saw with wonder a reflection of himself within a greater Light.
“You are in Me, and I in thee. Come. Now you will be called Blessed. Enter, into the place which was prepared for you.“