It was when I drew near that I noticed the special radiance of my guide’s face. She was all on fire with a joy that poured out from her in rays, and it was impossible not to be touched by them and feel the heart lift in sympathy.
“You have something to tell me.”
“You are getting very sensitive to thoughts, Bernard,” she laughed. Indeed, we both laughed more than her words merited; but there was such an atmosphere of happiness between us that it seemed to inspire laughter.
“Tell me,” I urged, when we had walked on a little way in silence, for I had realised that she had drawn her mental veil so that it was useless for me to reach out for the information.
“I have seen your Earth-Guide. He has almost finished the work of Reparation.” There was so much love, congratulation, joy—yes, pride in her face that I was reminded of a mother looking at her newborn child on earth. The tears rushed into my eyes, and, strangely enough, I was not ashamed of them. Instead of hastily brushing them away, I remained looking into her eyes, and I saw hers fill also. So we wept in sympathy, for sometimes Heaven’s joy is too great to be borne unmoved, especially for one so newly come from earth. At last I asked, with a momentary shadowing, “Will it be very long before I have finished my Term of Reparation here, and will he be disappointed that I have not come to the end as soon as he ?”
“You have almost come to the end. That is why I am so happy—I can see your robe very nearly clean again.”
“Can you see it all the time ? Oh, how could you have been so gentle, so friendly, with that ugliness before your eyes ?”
“Remember, I can also see all you will be.” I was comforted at once, and was just about to ply her with questions when Rainbow came tearing into view, panting hard, with his tongue lolling out of one side of his mouth. He had grown into quite a big puppy—almost a dog—and it was all I could do to lift him up to the level of my face while he wriggled so.
He welcomed me, and then, pressing on my mind came his account of all his adventures, the friends he had made, and all the exciting games he had played. My guide sat down to watch while Rainbow and I had a romp together. For a time I became as a child again, without thought or care, living in the excitement of the moment. When it ended, I began to realise why there were animals in Heaven. If it were not for these times of rest and forgetfulness the magnitude of the Father’s plan and the remorse for faults so clearly seen for the first time, would press too heavily on those so fresh from earth. Solemnity, majesty and glory may fill the heart with awe, but if at first they are unrelieved by forgetfulness, the capacity to realise them grows dim. Thus I glimpsed a little of the Father’s love, that, knowing the frailty of the children, gives them alternately lessons and play.
“Rested ?” asked my guide, when Rainbow and I flung ourselves down at last beside her. I knew at once what she meant.
“Yes,” I panted, “It’s marvellous.” Tucking Rainbow’s head in the crook of my arm, I fell into a kind of doze.
A long time after that I sat up, and Rainbow imitated me, leaning hard against my side and blinking in the mellow light. My guide began her instructions at once without waiting for me to ask. Quickly, she ran over the faults that were still outstanding. It appeared that I had kept silence when I should have owned to a fault. This had caused another to be suspected, although, as no accusation had been made, I thought it was all right at the time. My guide pointed out to me the power of thought, explaining that a man could be as much saddened by thoughts as by spoken words. On another occasion I had repeated an ugly story that had been told to me. The story was true, but since the incident the wrongdoer had been sorry and made full reparation. Thus he had earned the Father’s forgiveness, and I was shown that to speak of an incident that is closed in Heaven’s eyes is to flout the Law of Love. Another sin was pride, in that I had persisted in thinking myself superior to another. Actually, though below me in learning, he had progressed far in the ways of charity and could have taught me a great deal. Many similar faults were outlined to me, my guide gently pressing my hand the while, telling me so lovingly that it was impossible to mind.
“These sins, you know,” she said at last, “would only be called ‘faults’ on earth, but here we make no distinction, calling every mark of the robe a ‘sin’. That helps men to grow in humility; indeed before they have that they are fettered by pride !”
“Am I humble yet ?”
“You are growing in humility. When you are at last clothed with the Purple Gown you will have advanced a little further, but even then there are states of humility stretching far beyond your comprehension at the present time.”
“Why is that ?”
“Because the nearer you come to the Light of the Father the deeper your humility grows.”
“Is there no room for pride, then, as men advance ?”
“None. No advancement can be made at all while pride stands in the way. As man advances in the cleansing of his robe, or later, in the ascension toward the Heights, one thought of pride is a looking back at the way he has come—and that means a stepping back. Men must ever look forward towards the vision of the Master Christ who walks before them, keeping their eyes on the faint rays of His Glory, which is all that they are able to receive as yet. Through keeping their gaze upon Him and following where He leads, they will draw near, through Him, to the Light of the Father.”
“If any man love Me the Father will love him. . . and We will come and make Our abode with him,” I quoted. A problem occurred to me. “Was I looking back then ?”
“Oh, I did not mean it in that way,” she said quickly. “For a man to look back to see how great are the things which God has done for him is good, for thus he grows in humility. For a man to look back to see how great are the things he has done for himself is bad, for thus he grows in pride. Ah, Bernard, learn this well. To look back, in pride, is to turn back.”
“To look back in pride is to turn back,” I repeated. “Yes, I will remember.”
“Now let us speak of your reparation and how you may finish it. If you like, we will talk as we journey on.”
“Yes; that will be best !” I sprang to my feet, and with Rainbow running ahead, we started on our way.