SAU CFDD
Mar 032010
 

LePeau

By John LePeau

(Editor’s note: John LePeau, a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville, created this story some years ago as a teaching tool for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes that he teaches at the parish. “I think it gives people something to think about, in terms of judgment being something that we do to ourselves.”)

There once was a man, rich and prominent in his town, used to getting his way. He died and found himself in pleasant surroundings, but at the end of a long line. Not used to waiting, he strode to the front of the line and demanded of the one in charge, “Where am I?”

“These are the gates of heaven, sir,” responded the angel.

“The gates of heaven, eh? Well, let me in!”

“Certainly,” responded the angel, and he led the man in.

The man found himself in surroundings more pleasant yet, but didn’t notice. Turning to the angel, he said, “I don’t know my way here. Show me!”

“Certainly,” responded the angel, and he gave the man a tour of heaven.

Coming to the residential section of heaven, the angel explained that here was where the saints of God lived. Noticing a particularly imposing structure, the man said, “I’ll live in that house!”

“Certainly,” responded the angel, and he led the man into the house.

“If this is heaven,” declared the man, “then I want to see God!”

“Certainly,” responded the angel, and he took the man to the divine palace in the center of heaven. They walked down a long corridor toward the throne room, which shone with the most penetrating light the man had ever seen. 

As they approached the entrance, the angel said to the man, “If you wait here, I will announce you to God.”

“I need no announcing,” said the man, and he strode inside.

The light in the throne room burned into the man, cutting away every pretense and facade. The pain was greater than any he had ever imagined possible. Turning to face God, the man saw a sight more horrible than any he had imagined possible, for in the face of God he saw himself as he really was.

With a strength that comes only from terror, the man opened his mouth in a silent scream and turned to flee from that horror. He ran out of the throne room, down the corridor, out of the palace, through the gates of heaven, out into the darkness of eternity, fleeing forever from the horror that he brought with himself.

* * * * *

There once was a man, a Christian who, by the grace of God, tried to live humbly in obedience to the Gospel. He died and found himself in pleasant surroundings, but at the end of a long line. Fascinated by his surroundings, he didn’t notice the movement of the line. Soon he was at the head of the line, where the one in charge greeted him.

“Welcome, sir. You may enter through these gates into heaven.”

“These are the gates of heaven?” the surprised man responded. “And I may enter? Thank you!”

The man followed the angel through the gates and found himself in surroundings more pleasant yet. “If you please,” said the angel, “I will be your guide.”

“Really?” responded the man. “Thank you!” And the angel gave the man a tour of heaven.

Coming to the residential section of heaven, the angel explained that here was where the saints of God lived. “This will be your house,” the angel added, indicating a particular structure.

“Really?” responded the man. “I may live here? Thank you!”

The angel then said to the man, “Come, you have been summoned to appear before God.”

“Really?” responded the man. “I may see God? Thank you!”

The angel took the man to the divine palace in the center of heaven. They walked down a long corridor toward the throne room, which shone with the most penetrating light the man had ever seen.

As they approached the entrance to the throne room, the angel said to the man, “If you wait here, I will announce you to God.” “Thank you,” responded the man.

The angel entered, announced the man, and then gestured for him to enter. The man walked into the throne room.

The light burned into the man, cutting away every pretense and facade. The pain was greater than any the man had ever imagined possible. Turning to face God, the man saw a sight more horrible than any he had imagined possible, for in the face of God he saw himself as he really was. But with a strength that came to him as if from outside he cried out, “Lord Jesus! Have mercy!” And he fell to the floor.

Then Jesus spoke, “Father, I know this one. He belongs to me.”

And God replied, “Yes, Son, I know him, too.” Then, turning to the man and calling him by name, God said, “Arise.”

At the sound of his name, the pain left the man. Rising, he looked once again on the face of God and once again saw himself as he really was. But now the horror of the previous vision was replaced with an eternal peace and joy, for in the face of God the man saw the image of Jesus.

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