By Arnaud Dumouch, December 20th, 2005
Translated by Alain Quenneville
Marc 9,43… to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.
I am Athaël. I see God face to face. I was the guardian angel for fifty-seven people during their terrestrial pilgrimage towards salvation. And, among them, my friend and protégé Jacobus Narcissus chose hell. This happened during the Middle Ages. Everyone in France believed in life after death, and the reality of Jesus-Christ was not even in question for a large majority of the people. We were full into XIII Th century and the Church seemed to have reached its golden age. Everywhere priests preached the love of God. Jacobus, my protégé, who had attended church since childhood, held the following reasoning:
“I am baptized. Jesus-Christ died for me. He is ready to forgive me all my sins, however many time is needed; its enough to ask Him for forgiveness. He promises me in exchange eternal paradise!”
Then happy with this good piece of news, he interpreted it as follows:
“I will live for myself. I will extract as many benefit as I can from earthly goods and, right before my death, I will convert. A good confession, some indulgences and I will go to paradise. God will certainly forgive me since He is good.”
At the beginning, my protégé was not fixed in selfishness. He was just lukewarm and the love of God didn’t give him any great ardour to change his life. He got married, had children also took a mistress, undoubtedly because life had equipped it with a strong nature. But all this was expensive. He got involved with some shady business practices in concert with some pretty dishonest persons to get the money he needed. In the passing years, he acquired the knowledge and skill in the handling of riches. As for me, I could see his heart was hardening. It sometimes came to him to pray, especially when thoughts of hell came to mind. It should be said though that it was I suggesting the thoughts of the hell and anguish his conscience as soon as he was alone. (That’s why he didn’t like to be alone).
The years passed and my man aged. One day he was taken with faintness. A pain had seized him in the chest and prevented him from breathing normally. During all his agony, I never stopped sending nightmares in order to frighten him. I showed him the hell for priests, a horrible thing made of viscous mud and gnarled hands trying to draw him in. At that time sermons spoke of hell using alarming expressions, grimacing devils, boiling pots, and intense eternal physical suffering. It was effective enough to prevent some from misusing their freedom. My goal wasn’t to torture Jacobus but I knew his soul to be in danger. He was the rich person of the Gospel and he was going to have to pass, like a camel, through the eye of a needle (Mark 10,25). So this was my way of impressing his soul, to less arrogance. Because, finally Jacobus’ misfortune was that he had had a good life, a solid and pragmatic character, and a capacity to avoid my warnings…
During his agony, he tossed and turned violently in his bed. His relations had to tie him down on the bed. Again it was I shaking him. Knowing now he was going to die he called for a priest and terrorized by all I had sent him, he confessed all his sins. He told him of his mistresses, his faults, and all the ill deeds he could remember. However he omitted largest of his sins, undoubtedly because he wasn’t aware of it his family held under submission to his wants, had never pointed it out to him: all his life, he had only acted for himself, egoistically.
Choice of hell
After several weeks of sufferings, my friend Jacobus died. And I accompanied him. In concert with the celestial council, we decided to leave him for twenty years in the loneliness of death. It was a question of continuing to soften his hardheartedness. As fore me, I had the mission of urging him on by prompting his anguishes using a loneliness that was impossible to circumvent this time. However; there wasn’t much left of the former young man and sensitive poet. In death he ended up settling, in his new state as a phantom, finally appreciating the fact he wasn’t subject to material contingencies anymore. He took the anguishes philosophically, almost laughingly and telling himself: “Why get all worked up about this? I can’t die of hunger any more!”
The twenty years had past bye, I finally appeared to him and announced Jesus’ arrival. He was happy with my arrival, like that of an old friend whose presence he had felt for a long time. Then Jesus appeared to him in his glory. This preaching of the Gospel was intellectually interesting because he realized that he had not clearly understood it very well on earth. Paradise didn’t consist of a place of simple happiness where each one can enjoy eternal life according to ones tastes. When Lucifer confronted him, he objectively discovered the reality of hell. He noted that it wasn’t a place where they can torture men for eternity. All that was only a language of symbolic of things with a much deeper meaning. In heaven, the joy and the delights are real but find their source in the gift of self. In hell there reigns a suffering and a loneliness that is the consequence of divine freedom.
Then my friend Jacobus spoke and said:
“That changes everything. I understand today, by the teaching of Lucifer, what really is his project.”
He weighed the pros and cons and, after some serious consideration, chose the way that more closely corresponded to the choices of his past life: an egotist he was, an egoist would remain. He then resolutely turned his back on Jesus, unable to support his glance any longer.
Jacobus Narcicius’ world
And so I followed my friend Jacobus, as he was immersing in his world, following Lucifer the cherubim. He accepted from him, as he was promised, real treasure as gifts: a whole, extremely luminous galaxy, filled with gold and eternal diamonds. I s made myself as discrete and invisible as I could to observe him. And I saw the state of his soul. He was determined his will unshakable, sure of himself. But when he found himself alone in his kingdom, I saw the anguishes had taken root again. And this time, because he had met Jesus, he knew the origin of his discomfort. Then raising and shaking a fist towards the heavens to curse God, he shouted:
“I know you hear me. You laid a real trap for man! You claim to give us freedom of choice. But you made our being for love. Then, if love is refused, one finds himself with this fire in his soul. You speak about freedom! Had you been just, you would have created a love neutral human soul. Me, I don’t want any of your tearful humility. So get away from my world!”
I saw that God had sent a kind of grace that softened the impression of emptiness in his soul; Because God makes his light shine on all the men. But this bandage had the same effect as of opium for a cancer patient. It masks but doesn’t cure. It’s obvious the cure could have come only from a clear vision of God, something impossible in this case. One does not wed God without loving Him…
Then, Jacobus busied himself to flee from the perpetual thought of the loneliness he had wanted. He used the power of his body to transform his place of dwelling to his image. He hated the flowers and the natural beauty that surrounded it because it really aggravated him, it had invaded everything, was of no use to him. So he started to weed and finally withdrew in a rock strewn sterile valley. I saw the animals beginning to respect his desire for loneliness. Immense flights of birds and all forms of life emigrated to other galaxies.
I made myself very small. I am a pure spirit and I have the capacity render myself invisible. I saw my Jacobus’ reaction of when a flight of children passed by, little children from heaven who had died at a very young age carried in the hand of God like chicks. They carried on playing through the immense universe, exceeding any possible speed their natural body could make by the power of God, who played with them. They resembled a shower of sparks (Wisdom 3,7) and left behind them traces of light. They passed near my Jacobus’ galaxy, to visit its wonders. They were perfectly innocent and were, without ulterior motive, delighted by all that they saw.
And he was extremely vexed by it. I never saw so great an anger when they passed through “his” sky. He was foaming and gnashing his teeth. He envied them all the while scorning them. He barked at them:
“It is my world. Get out.”
And they disappeared over the horizon, completely at peace and respecting the loneliness of this strange hermit, and creature loved by God, having entirely his place in the so various universe of a childish Creator who played with them.
But this horrible experience marked Jacobus to such a degree that he didn’t feel safe any more in his shadowy valley. I saw him change hi environment and seek, like a large bumblebee, a quieter dwelling. He didn’t want to have to look or see any corner of the skies. He ended up locating a large star located exactly at the centre of his personal galaxy and settled at its heart. It should be known that man’s body is completely different and incorruptible. And so my Jacobus Narcicius became the uncontested prince of his world, his throne was at the blackest and most extreme centre of heat in his whirling galaxy. It is what the Apocalypse calls the pond of fire (Apocalypse 19,20). It is a kind of black hole where damned feel better because they feel better in isolation. It did not leave any more a its stay, too frightened to meet one of heaven’s saints whose humility accompanied by celestial royalty burned him.
Nobody disturbed him any more. I saw the animals returning to settle. The grass took hold again in the shady valley t he had stripped. Children freely invaded his sky, and they did not disturb it any more since he couldn’t see them any more.
You must wonder whether I was saddened with such a failure. It isn’t the way we see things from the Glory. Everything was done to orient my Jacobus towards true joy. Sufferings and joys to discover his limits, a twenty years prolongation wandering period and specially Jesus’ tenderness at the hour of his death to instil him in an enthusiasm for salvation. But there came a time when a choice as a free man had to be made. And you can understand, that for Jacobus to be damned, it was necessary well that he really wanted to. So, in the final analysis everyone in heaven respects his choice and is even delights in his final freedom.
We know that the door leading to God is always open. But his choice was so free, so lucid! He had considered and weighed everything so that, not even in a thousand billion years, his determination to refuse love and forgiveness will remain intact.