Very soon we began to walk up the hill and out of the valley. Gradually the light from the creative substance grew less, until I could see it no more. I could not resist standing still to look down into the valley as it appeared to flame and sparkle in its draping of ‘fiery snow’. It had been a wonderful experience! I resolved to return when I was free to come and go at will, to seek out Stephen and to ask him to introduce me to his friends. I knew that they were all either working blissfully on building to the ‘pattern of the Father’, or else collecting and arranging the delicious food in preparation for the children’s ‘treats’. It was indeed a happy place!
“I suppose you are glad to be in the cool air again?” my guide asked slyly. I turned and met the twinkle in her eyes.
“No wonder you smiled when I complained about the heat and cooking odours! Why did you not tell me what it was really like?”
“Why did you not reach out for the information for yourself?” she countered, adding wisely, “That is why earth-people remain so ignorant of Heaven’s joy. They are born to pre-conceived ideas; in their conceit they think they see all and know all. This prevents them from gaining truth before they come here.”
“Could they attain to any knowledge of Heaven, there?”
“Yes.” She relapsed into silence as we walked on, so I decided to prompt her.
“Give me an instance then!”
“Consider the appearance and shape of an ordinary earth-tree. What is it like?”
“Well. . . ” I fumbled for words. “Like a great beam of wood rising from the ground, with smaller beams sticking out of it, and having green leaves. . . Oh, I am afraid I cannot describe it very well.”
“Has it no root?” she smiled. “If not, what keeps it standing, and how is it fed?”
“Of course it has a root, only you can’t see it.”
“I can,” said my guide, “but you have described a tree in the summer.”
“Oh yes. Well, in the autumn the leaves change colour and begin to fall and in the winter there are no leaves at all, but only bare branches. In the spring there are small buds.”
“Then you have described four trees? I asked for the description of one.”
“But it is one,” I protested, “only it looks different during the seasons of the year.” She turned to look at me; the twinkle was still there.
“Where did the buds come from then? You said in the winter the trees are bare. Are they added afterwards as a bird flies down and settles on a bough?”
“No, of course not. They. . . they just come,” I finished lamely.
“You mean they were not added?”
“Then they must have been there all the time?”
“Yes, I suppose so.” I was beginning to feel puzzled and confused.
“That is what I mean,” she said composedly, looking down with a little smile as she walked. I was just starting to be annoyed when I remembered that twinkle in her eye. Besides, is one ever annoyed with an angel—even of the lowest order? I was not sure! All at once she burst into a rippling laugh like a bird’s song. “It is a shame to tease you! You see, I am trying to make you see the blindness of earth-people. A tree appears to be like a beam standing up, with smaller beams but no leaves in winter, and yet you yourself admit it has a hidden root and hidden leaves—somewhere. They look at it and say knowingly, ‘that is a tree’ and when the leaves appear they say ‘the tree has changed’.”
“But hasn’t it changed?”
“Not really in our eyes! You see, in Heaven we see everything as it is and not as it appears, so that when we see a tree on earth or in Heaven, we see all of it and not just a part.”
“A tree in Heaven looks just like a tree on earth to me.”
“That is because you have not yet learned to look with Heavenly sight!” she cried triumphantly. “That is why you did not ‘reach out’ for the information about the Hall of Food—because you had your own mental picture of it; you thought you knew already!”
“I think I am beginning to understand. It is a question of dropping pre-conceived ideas and really looking at things.”
“And people,” she agreed. “That is why we guides are so happy and hopeful about our charges. When they first come here we see, not only what they are, but all that they will be when they have made reparation, donned the robe, entered the gates, learned the lessons, ascended the Heights. . .”
“You can see all that?” I gasped, looking at her with new respect. “Well, that is a great comfort.”
“It is more than that. No angel can look upon a man, however earth-bound he may be, without prostrating his spirit before the Father in gratitude and awe. Indeed, every glance of an angel towards a man, even when he is on earth, is a hymn of worship to the Great Creator. If, when on earth, you had seen a magnificent picture side by side with the piece of rough canvas it once was, you would understand a little of what I mean.”
“I think I understand a little even now.” My voice was low with wonderment. This being who seemed so ordinary and was so homely, could see so much! Then a new aspect flashed upon me. Just as a glance at a man from the eyes of an angel was an act of praise to the Father, so a glance at an angel from the eyes of a man was a prayer of homage. Thus the silent interchange, hidden and usually unknown, between a man and his guardian angel on earth, was an unending hymn of praise and glory to God, every moment of life to the very end! It was an awesome thought.
“By the way, you have never told me your name,” I ventured after we had journeyed some way in silence.
“I knew you would ask me that eventually! But if I told you my name you would not even hear the tones of my voice as I uttered it.”
“Because all angels are named by the Father, and when He gives us our names He speaks in the Heavenly Language that is too high for the newcomer to hear or understand. . . I do not mean high-pitched, you know, but too great, too glorious for man to hear or understand. Because of this, angel-guides are known by the name of their charge while they are on the lower planes. I am known as ‘Bernard’s Heaven-Guide’ and he who has gone to the earth for you is known as ‘Bernard’s Earth-Guide’. . . Later, when you are entitled to wear the Purple Gown you will be able to receive an impression of the Heavenly Language, just as animals receive an impression of man’s language.”
“What is the Purple Gown, and why do you not wear it?”
“Each guide wears the gown of the same degree as his charge,” she explained, answering my last question first.” Did you not see that Stephen was wearing purple?
“When a man has made all his reparation, has been clothed in the mystic robe, and has entered through the gates; when a man has met the Master Christ, his heavenly Brother, then he comes forth clad in the Purple Gown.”
“Is it known how he comes by it?”
“Yes, the Christ Himself clothes His younger brother…”
“Ah, no wonder the mystic robe must first be cleansed,” I cried, my heart beating with joy. For a while we mused together on the wonder that was to come. Then I asked, “Why is it called a ‘mystic’ robe?”
“Because it is a robe of mystery. Its fabric is that of the creative substance. . .”
“Then that is why I saw all the colours vibrating and changing when first I saw the veil before the gates?”
“Yes. And that is why the ‘stuff’ has a name in the Heavenly Language which means, ‘The Robe of the Great Mother’.”