Jane never came out of her coma after the accident. Instead, she woke up at the Portals of Heaven, her guardian angel at her side fondly smiling at her.
The girl – for now she found herself as she was some forty years before, a girl in her early twenties, but so much more alive, so aglow with health and beauty – the girl was greatly startled by the sight of her guardian angel. How could one see a spirit? But of course she was forgetting that she had by now acquired a spiritualized body.
At any rate, her eyes could see with perfect clarity the spiritual being at her side. What did she see? She spontaneously thought of it in terms of a Flaming Mind or a Conscious Fire – in other words a stupendous combination of passionate love and awesome intellectual power, of burning tenderness and piercing acumen.
“I am Adoniel,” he said graciously. “I have been your life-long companion on your earthly journey. And now I have the great joy of bringing you safely to your destination into the house of God. But first,” he added as he threw open the Portals, “you will meet a few of your God-mates.”
As the Portals swung open, Jane caught sight of a glorious crowd of gleaming humans. They were thousands upon tens of thousands, all greeting her with shouts of joy.
“My – my God-mates?” she asked in astonishment.
“Yes, beloved Jane,” Adoniel answered. “These are a few of those you have helped or who helped you during your lifetime. You could call them your spiritual next-of-kins, your life-sharers, your grace-donors, your co-souls, your other selves, your – well, perhaps the term God-mates best expresses what they are to you. Shall I introduce some of them?”
He hesitated, as if unsure about whom to choose. Then he hit on an idea.
“Name a date at random within the past fifty years. The first that comes to your mind.”
Automatically, almost without thinking, Jane blurted out “August 24th, 1956”.
“Very well,” Adoniel said, “this will serve as a small sample of all that you will discover concerning your God-mates. We will not cover the whole day, for that would take too much time for now. We will only cover the first hour of that day.”
Jane was at a loss about the meaning of these words but Adoniel reassured her.
“Do not worry, you will soon understand.”
Then he signalled to a young man of surpassing beauty – but in truth, all the people in the crowd were young and astonishingly beautiful. The man approached and embraced Jane with great affection.
“This is Masayuki, a Japanese stone-cutter of the Fifth Century. You helped him find the strength to tell the truth at great cost to himself on a crucial occasion.”
“I did?” Jane asked, bewildered, “How?”
“Well,” Adoniel answered, “when you woke up on August 24th, 1956, you were very much tempted to stay in bed for a few more minutes. Your second pregnancy was making you feel somewhat languid. But then you heard your young son call to you from his bedroom and you decided to tend immediately to his needs, despite your natural reluctance. Thus your courageous move earned Masayuki that extra grace which enabled him to do what he did.”
Adoniel then called a young woman. She in turn approached Jane and embraced her warmly.
“This is Conchita, a Peruvian fruit-vendor of the 17th century. She helped you find the strength to smile to your young son, when you went to dress him up for the day. Remember, he had been very naughty the day before, and you felt little inclination to be kind to him. But somehow you found that extra ounce of courage to do so. That was because of Conchita’s offering for you”.
“What was that?” Jane asked.
“On one occasion Conchita caught an old beggar stealing from her small stock of fruit. However, instead of flying in a rage, she decided to turn a blind eye and let the matter pass, since the man was poorer than she was. Conchita merely offered to God her act of patience ‘for whoever might need it,’ she prayed.”
Jane was deeply touched by Conchita’s generosity on her behalf. She would have wanted to thank her, but Conchita had already drawn away and melted into the crowd. Then Jane had a troubling thought.
“Excuse me, Adoniel,” she asked, “but how could Conchita have helped me, if she lived three centuries before I did?”
“There is no time with God,” he explained. “For God we all exist in an everlasting present. And so he can decide to have Conchita influence your life even before you exist in created time.”
Now it made sense. But then, another thought came to her.
“Does it mean that I have helped people yet to be born, Adoniel?”
The angel laughed delightedly.
“Precisely. That is why this present crowd, which is only a small fraction of your God-mates from the past, will be immensely increased when all your God-mates from the future will have joined us.”
Jane was almost staggered by the angel’s revelation. But she had no time to dwell further on the matter, for Adoniel was resuming his introductions.
The third God-mate called forth was Edward, a 20th century stock broker from Wall Street who had helped her by refusing a bribe. The next God-mate was Jalna, a Hindu bonze of the 4th century, B.C., whom Jane had helped overcome a temptation against his vow of chastity. She had helped him by cheerfully cooking her husband’s breakfast, always on the morning of August 24th, 1956, despite an incipient nausea due to her pregnancy. Then there was Aiko, a Camerousnese whom Jane had helped ignore a sharp remark from an in-law. Jane had done this by letting her husband retell an old story during breakfast without interrupting him.
The introductions went on in this manner for a long time. People of all nationalities, religions, periods of history and walks of life came forth to embrace Jane. By now the latter was feeling a wave of great love welling inside her for all these God-mates of hers.
At one point of the presentations she confided to her companion.
“I am amazed at the intricate way in which my life and the lives of all these people have been interconnected.”
“Yes indeed,” he agreed. “You are all like the living cells of a human body, those millions of small units joined in a constant exchange of nutritious elements. So it is with the body of Christ”.
After several more dozens of introductions had been made, Aloniel suddenly marked a pause.
“We are far from having gone through that first hour of your day on 24th August, 1956,” he said, “and so, you can imagine how many centuries will be needed for you just to meet your God-mates briefly – let alone to befriend them, as you will eventually have the joy of doing. However, for now we must interrupt this happy occasion and prepare ourselves. For indeed, God himself will shortly pass by and –“
But he broke off in mid-sentence. For at that very moment all present were abruptly engulfed in a blaze of unbearable Beauty.
From Running Waters – God tales for young and old – Fr. Nil Guillemette