…. A Conversation Overheard In Purgatory
Seraphim: Very good, Professor, but you still need to let go of your lingering resentment regarding your last project.
The Professor: It still irks me that my time travel theory was never accepted. If I had been given the funds, I could have proven it worked in certain circumstances.
Seraphim: Well, it wouldn’t. I will show you.
The Professor: Nice easel.
Seraphim: Thank you. Now watch as I write out the equation.
The Professor: Hmm … Well, I guess I was wrong after all. Sorry about that.
Seraphim: Good, now … ah, given your progress you are being graced with some knowledge you may find interesting. In the universal beta test, the Father did contemplate the possibility of permitting time travel as a special grace to be conferred on the saints.
The Professor: What?
Seraphim: Yes, it would have been a special gift, to briefly visit the time of the Incarnation and see the events described in the Gospels. However, certain complications kept arising.
The Professor: Complications?
Seraphim: Yes, such as the love and devotion of the saints to the Holy Family… well, let me describe it to you. Then you will understand.
Many saints chose to visit the birth of the Lord. However, the soldier saints took up guard outside the stable, and gave the shepherds and the Three Kings a hard time about getting in. They questioned and searched them, it sort of spoiled the atmosphere.
Others chose to visit the time of the Finding in the Temple. The Mother of the Lord, and Joseph particularly, were somewhat anxious about Jesus’s whereabouts. It was three days before they found him teaching in the Temple. Saint Nicholas tried to take Joseph aside after the first day to tell him where Jesus was. Several of the child saints followed Jesus and in their innocence pestered the young Lord to return to his parents.
Many went see the Last Supper. When Jesus announced his pending betrayal, a few could not help themselves. When John asked who the betrayer was, Saint Jerome, ever temperamental, emerged from the shadows and blurted out “That one, stupid!,” and pointed to Judas.
Judas proved to be a magnet. Several ambushed him on the way to the Temple, and the little Terese tried to talk him out of his suicide later on.
Sir Thomas Moore went to see the trial before Pilate, but couldn’t help but intervene and object to the manner of the trial.
Christopher, dear Christopher … he stepped in front of Simon the Cyrene, and would have carried the cross for Jesus all the way to Golgotha if he had been allowed.
Paul wanted to witness the Crucifixion, but he started a riot when he got in a fist fight with a spectator who was heckling Jesus on the cross.
The examples are many, but only Francis and Little Bernadette came close to passing this test. Bernadette wanted to see the Lady again near the end of her life, and also visited the Crucifixion. She went up to Mary and offered her handkerchief after handkerchief, trying to wipe every tear from her face.
Francis visited the tomb after the Lord was taken down from the Cross. He even managed to convince the Roman soldiers to roll away the stone for a moment so he could enter and keep the Lord company during his three days in death.
The Professor: Were they so wrong to try and mitigate the Passion, even a little?
Seraphim: Their love did them credit, but the cup had to be drunk to the last. As holy as they were, they were not perfectly surrendered to the Father’s will, and could not help from intervening just a bit. Only Mary was, and in her complete humility, she accepted everything, and never tried to alter the path the Lord had to walk: The complete rejection by the world and its people. Everything bad that happened had to happen as part of the Son’s mission.
The Professor: This is why there were no saints at the time of the Passion, except for Mary.
Seraphim: Exactly. A Saint Peter would not have denied the Lord, and thus deprived the Church of the example of human frailty needed to carry out its mission in humility and without the illusion of self-sufficiency. The other disciples would not have run, and learned their own weakness, and come to know that they and all future members of the Church need grace to accomplish even the littlest thing.
The Professor: So, no time travel, just plain old time.
Seraphim: Not in your old life, only in the life that you have almost entered into fully. But all your human time will be redeemed in the eternal time, and I will be happy to see your joy when you witness it.