THE VIRGIN’S CROWN
We talked with our angel for a long time as we went wheeling rapidly on our way. He seemed particularly anxious to answer all our questions, encouraging us to range in thought over the whole of our ‘tour’ and to remember all the lessons we had learned. Then he taught us more about each one, even looking with his angel-sight into the vast distances as well as the nearby planes, giving us news of some of those we had met.
The little shopkeeper, he said, was just beginning to awake, to have vague hungers for a higher state of living. Frank had made great progress and was soon to be shown his angel-guides, for he did not think any longer that no-one ever wished to see an angel Constance had lost all fear of eternity and was still completely happy with her music, with Margaret meeting and teaching her from time to time. Bernice had perfected her dance and had already begun her part in the Greatest Play of all. As for those in the Sphere of Dreams, these were all most wonderfully happy, and, all unconsciously, were learning and growing rapidly.
Hearing all these interesting things, we were scarcely conscious of our journey, but presently I began to wonder again about our destination. Janet, too, cast questioning glances at our teacher, but at first he pretended to ignore them. When, however, we caught sight of a vast range of mountains, he could keep the secret no longer.
“Yes,” he smiled, “it is the Mountain of Worship – or the Hall of Audience, as it is known among men. You are to see a youth receive the Virgin’s Crown.”
At this news a great thrill ran through us. Janet clasped my hand, and in this joyful mood we alighted on the high plateau. What a thrill it gave us, too, to look around in every direction and see nothing but mountains, to breathe the rare, vital air, to stand within the moist caress of the clouds that swirled about us. Once more we noticed the dark shape of the plateau, and saw angels coming up over the rim. “When will it be?” Janet asked in a breathless whisper.
“Almost any time now,” our angel said, and even as he spoke, the trumpets began to sound and a multitude of angels hastened to join the few who were already beside us. Soon the whole plateau was crowded with the angelic beings, and, as all the orders wore their own colours, and their wings, too, were variously tinted, the colourful spectacle was breath-taking in its beauty.
Still the trumpets sounded, and presently there was the sense of mighty movement in the air as though a strong wind blew, and then a wondrous fragrance stole upon us. At once we knew the Great Mother was coming and that the movement came from the wings of her attendants and the fragrance from the flowers they carried to honour her.
All the angels had fallen on their knees, and we did likewise, fixing our gaze upon the rim before us, from which a great light blazed. “Shall we see her?” I whispered to our angel.
“Yes,” he answered, with an exultant ring in his voice. “The Great Mother now appears in her greatest body-cloak. The King, too, appears in wondrous splendour because of the solemnity of this occasion. Look!”
As he spoke, the trumpets rang out even more triumphantly and over the rim came a mighty procession, headed by many little angels, scattering blossoms on the ground. After them came the trumpeters, and then a great choir with countless instruments of beauty and power. Behind these came a long line of singers, pouring out their joy in a Heavenly psalm. “She comes!” whispered the Ruby Angel.
There was a great throne carried by many angels and massed with flowers of every kind and hue, so that it was impossible to see of what it was composed. Great rays of light flashed out and blazed from it and in the midst sat a majestic figure, wearing a crown set with many stars. Over her head there appeared a great globe, like the world, held aloft by the hands of angels, and on this globe appeared the words, ‘The Mother of Creation.’
“What does it mean?” I heard Janet ask in an awed whisper, and our teacher’s tender reply. “Not now – one day you will understand.”
When the throne had reached the centre of the plateau, the angels set it down, and still the mighty procession advanced. Behind the throne there came more child-angels also scattering flowers. Then followed long ranks of youths and young girls, walking two by two. They were all robed in white, and I asked: “Have these received the Virgin’s Crown?”
“No,” said our angel, “but they are to receive the Flower, later on. They are here to pay homage to their companion, Anthony, who now receives the Crown.”
“Where is he? “Janet asked.
“There.” We followed the angel’s glance, and now we saw that the centre of the ranks was broken by a single figure. He seemed about twenty in earth-years, fair of face, with thoughtful dark eyes and very dark hair waving back from a wide forehead. His hands were set palm to palm, and reminded us of Richard’s when we had seen him receive the First Star.
“How beautiful he is” Janet breathed. “He looks as though he had never known sin, or pain or sorrow.”
“He has known all three-and more,” our angel said gravely.
His short life was lived in a slum, and most of that in one, foul room, for early in his childhood he had an accident which crippled him.”
“Yet he remained pure in thought and word and deed!” I said wonderingly. “How wonderful that is!”
“Can you see, now, why these Holy Ones fill us with such joy?” our angel said, “and why it is that we do them homage? To have lived and conquered – how it pleased the King.”
“Where is He?” Janet whispered eagerly. Our angel paused a moment, and then again cried: “Look!”
How the trumpets rang out as He appeared. The singing and the music stopped, then the ranks of angels and of men turned about to face Him; the Great Mother rose from the throne and prostrated herself before Him. All was in utter stillness until he spoke. “My children!”
Our eyes filled with tears at the tenderness of His tones. We all raised our eyes to gaze at Him, at the splendid, glowing Divine Being who was our Lord and King. “Receive the Father’s blessing!”
He made a great Sign of the Cross over our heads and the Sign did not pass, but remained, a glowing symbol of His sacrificial Love, before us all. I reached out and grasped Janet’s hand while we looked with awe at the glowing Sign.
Once more, as on so many occasions in the past, His eyes seemed to meet the eyes of each one. Each one of us felt as though our King was present for him alone, so intimate and sweet and personal was His communing with each heart. For a long time, it seemed, He continued to pour the torrents of His Love upon us, then, at a gesture from Him, the Great Mother arose and went to the place where Anthony was kneeling.
Tenderly she raised him, and, wrapping him about with her robe (which was the colour of the dazzling sky above us) she brought him to the Lord.
The boy would have fallen on his knees again, but the Master received him into His embrace, holding him against His breast so that he faced us and the Great Mother, too.
Then she lifted up a gleaming Crown and placed it upon the boy’s head. Immediately, he was surrounded with a great light, and when it had faded a little, we saw that his white robe had changed to flashing rainbow hues.
How the music rang forth, then! The trumpets began, and then all the instruments joined in, with the singers high above them all. We all rose and joined the great procession which filed past the King. There He stood, our dearly Beloved, with the Great Mother on His left and the newly-crowned one between them. He looked radiant, yet with a modesty and calm that one would expect from a wearer of the Virgin’s Crown.
Despite the solemnity of this time and the vast multitudes that were there, we all felt most wonderfully at ease. Was not our King with us? Joyfully we sang with the angels, and when our turn came to pass Him, how our hearts beat in rapture, because of the Love-light in His eyes!
Once more Janet turned to press my hand, and our angel, leaning close, whispered: Now you know truly that ‘Heaven is fulfilment.'”