JUDY STEPS OUT
An Escape from Purgatory!
Judy Breaks Their Agreement
"SAY, I'm going to have to hurry--Cam will be here any minute now, if he has not been delayed," Judy admonished herself as she brushed her flowing hair to a coppery sheen before doing it into what Cam called an "up-do-" She sat before a large mirror in the room she shared with another of the nurses, a smile playing around her lips as she thought of Cam's imminent arrival,
"Oh, dear. I wonder if we'll have any better luck to-night finding what the Bible says about things," she mused as her face sobered momentarily. "I think I have an idea that will help, though. I wish Cam had left the concordance with me. Maybe I could have found out some things by myself."
It must not be thought by our readers for a moment that Judy spent all her time thinking about theological problems. She was twenty and in love, seriously, for the first time, and Cameron Lea, the object of her affections, was just as much in love as she. Judy knew she had never before been so supremely happy, and it was impossible for her to keep her mind on serious things all the time. Still, her being in love had a very direct bearing on problems of theology, for she, a Catholic, had made up her mind that she could not--absolutely could not--ever marry a Protestant, and Cam was a Protestant.
"Why couldn't I have fallen in love with a good Catholic boy?" Judy asked herself more than once, at the same time knowing that one doesn't always find it possible to regulate the process.
"Oh, there goes the bell," Judy exclaimed. She gave her hair a last critical look in the mirror and darted for the stairway.
"Will, Cam, do you still feel optimistic about our search?" she asked anxiously when they were once more seated before the open fire.
"To tell you the honest truth, Judy, I haven't had time to think of it. This flu epidemic we've been having in the city has kept every one of us on the jump. Sonic of the cases have gone into pneumonia, and in spite of sulfa and penicillin we have had a tough time with them. But I am optimistic. We've just got to find out the truth, so that we can agree on this--haven't we, Judy?" and Cam laid a gentle hand on Judy's.
"Surely, Cam. You do look tired, you poor dear. Maybe we'd better not try to study to-night."
"Oh, yes,--I'm O.K. It's just being on the go that gets a fellow fagged a hit. It'll be good to get my mind away from pneumonia cases for a while."
"Well then, Cam, I've been thinking about our difficulty and I wonder if we weren't following the wrong line, maybe. We were just looking up 'immortality and immortal,' you know. I wonder if we shouldn't try finding out what the Bible says about the soul. We know the soul cannot die, after all, and the Bible must say so somewhere."
"A good idea. Let's get going. 'Soul.' Here's a reference in Psalm 89:48," said Cam, consulting the concordance.
'This must be it in Psalm 88:49, in the Douay Bible. Who is the man that shall live, and not see death: that shall deliver his soul from the hand of hell?' Well, that sounds more like what we have been expecting, doesn't it, Cam? "
'Yes, and what a relief. You see, that tells us that when a man dies, if he has not lived a good life he goes to hell. That's what I have always heard people say. Now let's try Ezekiel 18:27."
..'And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive.' "
"That harmonizes pretty well, doesn't it? If a wicked man turns good he saves his soul, certainly. I wonder just what it means by saving 'He shall save his soul alive,' when we know that a soul cannot die?"
"Probably just a figure of speech," hazarded Judy. "What else do you find there?"
"Here's another reference to 'soul' in Genesis 2:7."
"Genesis 2:7 'And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.' That's the story of the creation of Adam, isn't it?"
"Yes, Judy. But you know, the wording of that is a bit strange. 'Man became a living soul,' it says. Now that's funny, isn't it?"
"Why, what do you mean, Cam?" questioned Judy.
"Well, probably nothing, but I wonder why it doesn't say that God breathed a soul into Adam. Instead, it says He breathed the breath of life into him and he became a living soul. Sounds almost as if it means that a person and a 'soul' are the same thing. Try Proverbs 25:25, please."
"'As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good tidings from a far country.' What do you get out of that, Cam?"
"Only that it ties right in with the one in Genesis. Souls like I've always heard about wouldn't get thirsty. They're just sort of--of--like an invisible butterfly that goes out of a person when he dies--a vapourlike essence or something. That sort of thing wouldn't get thirsty. But Genesis 2:7 said that Adam was a soul, and this text in Proverbs said that souls get thirsty. I guess we still are in a fog, Judy. Well, you might as well read Ezekiel 18:4. I'm prepared to hear anything but what I've expected."
Behold all souls are Mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die.' Cam, did you hear what it said--did you?" Judy cried in amazement. "It says that a soul can die. I just don't believe the Bible can be understood, do you?"
"I'm beginning to wish it couldn't," answered Cam grimly. "My trouble seems to be that it is too plain; or at least that it too plainly contradicts what I expect it to say. But, after all, we agreed to find out what it says, didn't we? Well, let's get on with it. Read Revelation 16:3, please."
"Oh, dear, I'm almost afraid to. 'And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, and there came blood as it were of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.' "
"How many people live in the sea, Judy? That text is talking about the fish and all the sea creatures--and it calls them souls, for it says that they are going to die." Cameron Lea sat back in the easy chair with a resigned expression on his face.
"I'll have to confess, Judy, that I felt pretty superior when we started this search. I thought, because I had studied the Bible a little bit in Sunday school, that I knew a lot more about it than you did. But now I am wondering if I know anything about it."
"Well, Cam," answered Judy, "I know that I don't know anything about the Bible, only I supposed that what I've always heard about these things was true. They must he true, after all, or so many people wouldn't believe them."
"M-m-m. I wouldn't be too sure about that. Popular opinion can be awfully far from the truth. We find that out in studying medicine, you know. Let's stop for a little bit and think back over what we have found so far.
"First of all--let me look in my notebook a bit," and Cam flipped open a red-covered notebook in which he had been carefully tabulating the texts as they had found them.
"The first thing we found was that apparently when people die they don't know anything afterward. 'The dead know nothing more,' it says, and 'The dead shall not praise Thee,' and 'David ascended not into heaven.' "
"Yes," interrupted Judy, "and what did we find out about immortality?"
"Simply that the Bible doesn't say anything about people having it. It says that Christ 'only bath immortality,' and that men seek it. It says that people are going to 'put it on,' but there's not one word about anyone having it now."
"And then, to-night," continued Judy, "we find that people are souls, that souls are capable of being thirsty, and souls that we thought to be immortal, can die! Cam, we surely are in a muddle, aren't we?"
"You're absolutely right, Judy girl. And do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to stop right now, and not look up another single text until I have tine to think this out when I'm not so dog-tired. Really, I don't know when I have had such a hard time trying to see through anything. Reminds me of the way I used to get stuck on chemistry problems, when I read the instructions wrong and expected to get a reaction that couldn't be got with the substances that I was working with."
"Cam, do you think that that could be the trouble with us now? I mean, do you think that we are trying to make the Bible prove something that we have in our minds, rather than what it really teaches?"
"Well, maybe--no, Judy, surely we can't be entirely wrong about all this. I just can't believe it."
"Let's don't try, then, to-night," said Judy brightly, and patted Cam's hand. "I think what you need is about ten hours of good solid sleep." And with that, she soon bade Cam good night, as he reluctantly agreed that maybe he was tired after all.
It was the very next day that Judy broke her agreement with Cam. Not that she meant to at all, it just happened almost without her knowing what she was doing. It was about temperature-taking time on the floor and Judy was scurrying along the hall with a sheaf of chart-sheets in one hand and a bottle of alcohol and a thermometer in the other, when, rounding a corner, she almost bumped into Father Brien.
"Oh, sorry, Father," she laughed, thinking how embarrassed she would have been if there had actually been a collision.
"How are you, my child--your velocity would hardly make it profitable for anyone to collide with you," answered the genial priest, smiling broadly. Judy in a crisp nurse's uniform merited a smile from anyone.
"Father Brien" It slipped out so suddenly that she didn't realize what she was doing until it was done. "Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?"
"Do I what?" queried the surprised priest.
"Do you believe in the immortality of the soul? I mean, do you believe that when we die our souls go to a reward of some kind--heaven--or--or? You see, I'm sort of in a mix-up about it, and I wondered what you think. Forgive me, if I shouldn't have asked."
"Most certainly I do--I mean I believe in immortality. After all, that's the teaching of the Church." Father Brien sobered. "If you really are troubled about the possibility of anything else, I'll be glad to give you some instruction on the matter," he added kindly.
"I--I--oh, no." Judy thought suddenly of her agreement to let the Bible speak for itself, "I'm afraid you're too busy. I really shouldn't take up your time with such things."
"Not at all, not at all. It will be a pleasure--and it is a part of my duty to instruct. Come to my office to-morrow afternoon at three o'clock. I shall tell Sister Theresa to let you off duty at that time," and still smiling, Father Brien went on about his duties as Judy stood desperately trying to think of some reason why she should not keep the appointment. It was of no use, though, for years of obedience could not be denied, and three o'clock the next afternoon found her timidly entering the priest's office.
The Church Speaks
GOOD AFTERNOON, my child," Father Brien smiled benignantly as Judy entered his office as he had bid den her to do the day before, after she had questioned him about the immortality of the soul. Just why she had questioned the priest on this point was a thing she had asked herself at least a hundred times during the intervening hours. So it was with considerable trepidation that she seated herself.
"How in the world did a slip of a girl like you get interested in so deep a subject as the immortality of the soul?" queried Father Brien, seeking to put his caller at ease.
He could not have chosen a worse question, for it was one that Judy had dreaded. Immediately she could feel the colour mounting in her cheeks.
"I--I--that is, you see. Well," her voice trailed off weakly. "You see, it's this way, I've been reading the Bible, and there are some texts"
"You've been reading the Bible! Most amazing. And pray what did you find?" Father Brien's blue eyes were wide with surprise and perplexity.
"Well, I found a number of texts that I just couldn't understand. They do not seem to teach that we are immortal, although of course I have always known that we are--or that our souls are." Judy was regaining her poise, and secretly congratulating herself that she had escaped a bad situation. Rapidly she told him of some of the texts that she and Cam had looked up together in their previous Bible studies.
"I see. Well, it should not be hard for us to set your mind at rest. Let me think a moment. Here--this is a book called A Manual of Theology for the Laity, by the Reverend Peter Geiermann, and the book is stamped with the imprimatur of Archbishop Farley. Listen to what it says here on pages 93, 94, 95: 'Created spirits, whether angels or human souls, are said to be naturally immortal, because they are simple or indivisible substances, or beings The mind of man can discover many reasons why the soul should exist forever. Revelation, however, tells us absolutely and emphatically that it is God's wish that the soul exist forever, It is, besides, a historic fact, frequently repeated and verified, that souls have made their existence known after they have left the body. Reason asserts that the soul, as the nobler part of man, should not end its existence with the corruption of the body. There is, besides, a lurking desire, inborn in every human heart, to live forever. . . It must, then, be true, as St. Augustine says: "Thou hast created me, O God, and my heart will never be at rest until it rests in Thee." Man's soul must be immortal. . . Hence the anxious heart heaves a sigh of relief when it learns from the first chapter in the Bible that man is made "to the image and likeness of God." An image is a true representation. A likeness reflects the properties of the original. Man, therefore, is a true, though inadequate, representation of God and reflects His perfections.... The soul of man, the image and likeness of God, is, therefore, also a spirit that, by God's will, must exist forever.' " Father Brien leaned back in his chair with a triumphant smile. "Now you see that the soul is immortal. The Church says so, as this book proves. I shouldn't bother a bit more about it, if I were you."
"Oh, I'm so glad to know," Judy exclaimed. The priest's pontifical attitude and the fact that what he had read was from an approved book made what she heard sound very logical and authoritative, and besides, she was still rather breathless from her narrow escape of a few moments before. "I wonder if I could buy a book like that?"
"You won't need to buy one; you may read this one and bring it back to me when you have finished with it," answered the priest, more than a little pleased that Judy showed such interest.
"Well, Father," asked Judy, growing a bit bolder, "if the soul is immortal, then it is true that there is a purgatory, isn't it? Could you show me something about purgatory, too?"
"Why certainly. There's no question about purgatory. Why else would we pray for the souls of the dead? Listen to this, from another book. This is an Advanced Catechism by the Reverend Thomas J. O'Brien. On page 213 I read: 'Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the punishment due to their sins. How do we know there is a Purgatory? We know there is a Purgatory from the constant teaching of the Church, and from Scripture. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory? The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by their prayers, fasts, alms-deeds; by indulgences, and by having Masses said for them. "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins." 2 Machabees 12:46."'
"Why, that's wonderful, isn't it, Father? And it even quotes from the Bible, too, doesn't it?" breathed Judy.
"Yes, although I should warn you that you must not depend too much on the Bible, unless it be interpreted by the holy Catholic Church. However, if it's Bible you want, I will give you a few more texts.
"In St. Matthew 12:81, 32 we read, 'Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.' You see, in the reference to 'the world to come,' we have a definite allusion to purgatory, for no sins will be forgiven in hell, and there will be no sin in heaven, of course.
"Another reference is found in the first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verses 13 and 14. 'Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.' Here, you see, is a reference to the purifying process of purgatory. Definitely."
"Just a moment." Father Brien held up a restraining hand as Judy's lips parted and she began to speak. "Let me read the clearest of all the texts on the subject. 'Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the Spirit. In which also coming He preached to those spirits that were in prison.' I Peter 3:18, 19. Now it seems to me, that should be enough to convince any reasonable person of the reality of the immortality of the soul, as well as the existence of purgatory and the necessity of prayers for the dead. I hope, Judy, that you have not neglected to pray while all these strange ideas have been going through your mind."
"Oh, no, Father." Just what Judy had been praying about of late she would not have liked to reveal. "Oh, no! And you have given me so much help. It all seems so plain and simple when you explain it. II think you are right; I guess I shouldn't try to understand the Bible by myself. Did you say I could read both of these books?"
"Yes, certainly. I'm really glad to have you read them. And then I'd advise you to put such gloomy ideas out of your pretty head. You are too young to bother with such things overmuch," and Father Brien rose in farewell.
"Thank you. Thank you very much, Father. I'll be going now, and not take any more of your time. Good-bye, Father Brien."
Father Brien watched Judy's trim figure disappear down the hall. "Now there's a fine girl, a good wife for some young man," he mused to himself. "And a good Catholic girl, too." Smiling to himself, he closed the door.
What the good priest might have thought if he had known just what young man intended to make Judy his wife, we cannot tell.
Judy was back on duty until five-thirty that afternoon, but, work over, she made her way forthwith to her room and presently was curled up in a chair curiously thumbing through the two books she had got in the afternoon's visit.
"I wonder just what Cam is going to say when I show him these? We agreed not to use any other books, nor to go to anyone for help. Well--I really didn't mean to say a thing to Father Brien about it--it just slipped out without my knowing it." Judy puckered her smooth brow and began reading the Manual of Theology.
The next night was Cam's night to come to see her again, and she awaited the meeting eagerly, because she loved Cam, and because she was sure this time that she had the solution to their problem. So it was with keen anticipation that she ushered him into the familiar living room when the time came. She had not "dressed up" for the meeting, having been delayed on duty, but had merely slipped into a soft street dress of greenish blue that set off her beautiful colouring perfectly.
"Hail to the Royal Canadian Air Force," she laughed as Cam came jauntily in, took off his overseas cap and bowed low. For some months now Cam's group had been taking basic military training during part of their time, and when not in the hospital on actual duty they wore their well fitted air-force uniforms. Cam had always walked with the ramrod straightness of many shorter-than-average men, and his trim figure, his crispy curling dark hair and his piercing black eyes in the blue-grey of the air-force dress caused many a heart throb among the nurses. Judy was not at all insensible to the ensemble either, and although she rather enjoyed the envy of her sister nurses, she tried not to betray her pride to Cam.
"Cam, I've got a confession to make," she said when they were both seated before the open fire. Her hands lay folded in her lap and her eyes were downcast. She teas the picture of penitence, and indeed she was not feigning, for she really felt that she had wronged Cam in going to Father Brien.
"What have you been doing now, little girl?" Cam banteringly asked, very sure that he could not be cross at anything so lovely a creature could have done.
"Well--you see--I've broken our agreement. To-day I went to see Father Brien about our Bible studies."
"You did what?" Cam sat bolt upright in his chair in surprise. "And what in the world did you go and do that for?"
A Futile Search
FOR a moment Cam was indignant and was on the point of scolding Judy Then he was struck with an even more serious thought. If Judy had told Father Brien that she was keeping company with him, a Protestant, what had been the priest's reaction, he wondered. It would surely not be favourable, he hazarded to himself.
"Judy girl, I thought we had agreed"
"Now, just a minute, Cam. Let me explain." Rapidly Judy told of her chance meeting with Father Brien in the hall, and how, without her thinking, the question that they had been thinking about so much, had just popped out. "So he told me to come see him yesterday, and of course I had to go. But he never did find out why I was studying the Bible," and Judy giggled as she remembered the narrow escape she had had under the priest's questioning.
"And, Cam," she continued, "I really did get some help. too. In fact I think it's all clear in my mind now, and I believe that it will be in yours, too, when you hear what he told me, and what it says in these books. See, here is one of them: A Manual of Theology for the Laity, and it has some very good material on the immortality of the soul."
"Well." Cam was interested in spite of the fact it was a Catholic book. He had been considerably disturbed by what they had read in their last two studies and felt quite baffled that everything they found seemed to be against their previous ideas regarding the subject of immortality. "All right, let's hear what it says. We don't have to believe it, after all."
Judy drew a long breath and began; "This begins on page ninety-three: 'Created spirits, whether angels or human souls, are said to be naturally immortal, because they are simple or indivisible substances, or beings' "
"What does he mean by that? interrupted Cam. "I didn't know that a spirit was a 'substance.' Does he quote any proof--Scripture or other reference?"
"No, Cam, but there is some Bible in it farther along. It says here that 'It is, besides, a historic fact, frequently repeated and verified, that souls have made their existence known after they have left the body.' "
"Does he give any footnotes on that--documentation or the like?" Cam asked eagerly. He was not seeking to defeat the argument, merely looking for proof. Long hours spent in the laboratory during his medical training had taught him always to look for verification for the most obvious facts.
"No--I don't see any. Yes, here is something a bit farther that sounds authoritative. 'It must, then, be true, as St. Augustine says: "Thou hast created me, 0 God, and my heart will never be at rest until it rests in Thee." Man's soul must be immortal.... Hence the anxious heart heaves a sigh of relief when it learns from the first chapter in the Bible that man is made "to the image and likeness of God." An image is a true representation. A likeness reflects the properties of the original.' " Judy paused a moment to see what Cam thought of this.
"What St. Augustine says doesn't matter on this subject. He was not one of the authors of the Bible, but one of the early church fathers, if I remember correctly. There is a bit of Scripture there, though. Let's find it and see just what it means. I imagine that it is from the first part of Genesis. Here, let me see that Bible a minute."
Cam was right, and soon found the verse. "It's here in Genesis 1:27. 'And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them."'
"That doesn't tell so very much about it, does it, Cam?" Judy was indeed an honest-minded young woman, and without the overawing presence of the priest, her mind was much freer to work. "An image is not like the original. It is a likeness, but there may be a number of dissimilarities. I don't see that it necessarily follows that man is immortal because God is."
"That's good reasoning, Judy. And, say, we did find that God is immortal--in fact one text said that only God is immortal. (I Timothy 6:15, 16.) Well, can even God--or would He--make a living being that He could not control and stop if He wished? If a man is unconditionally immortal, then God has created something that He cannot control. No, I don't believe that this text actually proves anything about immortality at all."
"Neither do I, Cam," mused Judy soberly. "Oh my, I thought I really had something but I guess I didn't after all."
"Don't feel bad about it, Judy. It's not easy to analyze an argument in an ordinary conversation. Is that all he gave you?"
"Oh, no. You see, I asked him about purgatory too. I thought I might as well get it all straight while I was at it. Let me see what I have here on that."
Judy looked through the notes that she had thoughtfully written down after her interview with Father Brien.
"Well, here is the other book he lent me. It is an Advanced Catechism, by the Reverend Thomas J. O'Brien, and the reference says, 'Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the punishment due to their sins. How do we know there is a Purgatory? We know there is a Purgatory from the constant teaching of the Church, and from Scripture. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory? The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by their prayers, fasts, alms-deeds; by indulgences. and by having Masses said for them, "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may he loosed from their sins." 2 Machabees 12:46.' There! That has Scripture in it," Judy concluded, somewhat relieved to find a bit of proof in her reading.
"Well, it's a good thing it has," said Cam. "That first part doesn't mean much, so far as I am concerned. 'We know there is a Purgatory from the constant teaching of the Church.' That's no logic at all. 'It is so because I have always said it is so--that's all that amounts to. But that scripture--read it again, will you?"
Judy dutifully read the quotation once more.
"What did you say that reference was? Second Machabees? I've never heard of it." Cam leafed through the Douay Version of the Bible that they had been using. "Well, sure enough, here it is right in front of the New Testament. What do you know about that? I never learned that one when I learned the books of the Bible in Sunday school" Cam looked indeed puzzled.
"Say--wait a minute--I know what this is," he continued suddenly. "I have heard somewhere, or read, about some books that are like the books of the Bible that are called Apocryphal books. But I don't think they are really a part of the Bible at all. Let me look at this a bit. This note at the top of the first chapter just about tells the story. Listen: 'As to their authority, though they are not received by the Jews, saith St. Augustine. . . . they are received by the Church, who in settling her canon of the Scriptures, chose rather to be directed by the tradition she had received from the apostles of Christ, than by that of the scribes and Pharisees. And as the Church has declared these two Books canonical, even in two general councils, viz., Florence and Trent, there can be no doubt of their authenticity.' "
Cam scanned the words again to himself. "Well, here we are again. The Church decided that these books were to be part of the Bible. Wonder when the Council of Trent and the Council of Florence were, anyway? Say, I know where I can find out--the library. Let's go look."
In the hospital building there was maintained a small library with some reference books and a liberal sprinkling of Catholic books among them, of course. It did not take these two searchers long to find what they were looking for.
"'Council of Trent 1545-63; Council of Florence 1439,"' Cam whispered to Judy. "Let's go back to the parlour."
"Just what I thought. It took the Church a long time to make up its mind that the Apochryphal books were a part of the Bible. And the whole authority of the Apocryphal books rests on the decision of the Church which was not reached until 1439 at the earliest. No. Not for me. Those books are not part of the Bible. So there goes the argument for purgatory so far as that reference is concerned."
"Dear me," said Judy. "It's all very disappointing, isn't it? But Father Brien gave me some more Bible references himself--and--and I'm quite sure they are in the Bible. Yes, here's one in St. Matthew 12:31, 32. Read it, Cam."
Cameron read, "'Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man it shall be forgiven him, but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.' "
"Yes, I remember it now," Judy broke in. "Father Brien pointed out that where it says, 'It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come,' it shows that there must be a purgatory in the world to cone where sins can be forgiven. He said that of course no sins will be forgiven in hell, and there won't be any sins in heaven to be forgiven." Judy looked a bit triumphant, feeling that she really had an argument here.
"That's the best argument I've heard yet, even though it is only by inference that anything is proved. It would really take more than that in the face of all the texts we found on the other side, wouldn't it?"
"And here's another one, Cam," Judy broke in again. "1 Corinthians 3:13, 14. Read it please."
"'Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.' I don't see so much to that," Cam declared. "It is talking about our work; not us. I suppose that if there is a judgment, our work will be shown up for what it actually is then. It doesn't say anything about a man being tried by fire--merely his work."
"I have one more here. Father Brien said it was the best of all of them. It is I Peter 3:18, 19. Read, please."
"'Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the Spirit, in which also coming He preached to those spirits that were in prison.'"
"See there," said Judy, "it says that Christ preached to the spirits in prison. So if the dead are unconscious and don't know anything, He couldn't preach to them, could He?"
"No, that's plain enough. This text really sounds as though it might give us something after all. Let me look at it just at this juncture the big grandfather's clock in the corner started to strike eleven o'clock.
"I'm sorry, Cam, but I've got to be on nursery duty tomorrow morning at six; and I'm practically dead for seep. Can't we wait until next time to study about it?"
"Sure, Judy," Cam's voice was tender. "I forget that you work just as hard as I do. I'll get along like a good fellow."
Cam and Judy Find an Answer
WELL, Judy, I think I know the answer to that last text that we ran into the other night."
Cameron Lea and Judy were seated in front of the fireplace once more. Three days had elapsed since their last meeting, and both had been so busy, because of the flu epidemic in the city, that they had not had time for another meeting together. But Cam had not been idle. His active and penetrating mind was always stimulated by a problem, and he was tenacious. In addition, his hard training in medical school had taught him how to make use of spare moments, and he had been using them to the fullest extent during the interim.
"You mean the text in First Peter?" Judy queried.
"Yes, I do. Let me read it again. 'Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the Spirit, in which also corning He preached to those spirits that were in prison.' I Peter 3:18, 19."
"That's the one that Father Brien said was the most conclusive of all. Doesn't it mean that Jesus preached to people in purgatory, Cam?"
"Let's see if it does. By the way--I wonder if Father Brien really knew what he was doing when he read you that text?"
"Why, what do you mean, Cam?" Judy had never in her life doubted the character of one of the priests. Her parents were most devout Catholics and the priests with whom she had come in contact were conscientious men, according to their belief.
"Well, let me show you. You know, Judy, the way we have been studying the Bible is a bit foolish, when you stop to think of it. You wouldn't take any other book and just read a sentence out of it here and there with no connection between them, and expect to know just what the book taught on a subject, now would you?"
"No, that's certainly true," Judy agreed.
"Well, the first thing I did with this text was to read what comes before and after it. Now, what comes before it doesn't really affect it much, but what comes after it certainly does. Listen:
"'Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the Spirit, in which also corning He preached to those spirits that were in prison: which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noah, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.' Verses 18-20. (Italics ours.)
"Now look at what this text says. It sass that Christ came 'in the Spirit' to preach to 'spirits in prison.' When did He do this preaching? In the twentieth verse, which Father Brien did not read, it says 'In the days of Noah.' But what you were told, and what it says in the footnote here in the Catholic Bible, is that Christ went to purgatory and preached to the dead during the time between the crucifixion and His resurrection. Look at the note here, in the Bible: 'Spirits that were in prison. See here a proof of a third place or middle state of souls: for these spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach, after His death, were not in heaven; nor yet in the hell of the damned: because heaven is no prison: and Christ did not go to preach to the damned.' Judy, this footnote is in direct contradiction to what the verse actually says! Do you see it?"
"Yes, Cam, it seems to be, doesn't it?" Judy was honest, as we have seen before, yet she was being profoundly shaken by the fact that her childhood beliefs and faith in her church were being undermined by what she was now having revealed to her.
"Now let's get what this text actually says. I took the liberty, Judy, of bringing along my Protestant Bible, the Authorized Version that we all use, because when I looked up this verse in it, it made it easier for me to understand. O. K.?"
"Yes, Cam. What is the difference between the two?"
"The difference that is important to us is in verses 18 and 19. 'Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.' The word 'Spirit' in verse 18 is capitalized in this Version, and that means the Holy Spirit. So it actually says that in the days of Noah Jesus preached to the 'spirits' by or through the same Holy Spirit by which He was resurrected after His crucifixion. In other words, He sent the Holy Spirit to Noah to tell him what to preach in those days. All the prophets got their inspiration through the Holy Spirit, I suppose. Do you think I'm right:"
"Yes, I do, Cam--and I think you're wonderful!"
"We'll leave that till later. Here is one more thing that I noticed: Where it says the 'spirits' that Christ preached to, through the Holy Spirit, it must evidently mean the people of that day--for it would have done only them any good. So it seems to me that the word 'spirits' here means the same thing that 'souls' means in some of the other texts--just simply another word for people, and not some mysterious essence' or something that goes out of you when you die."
"It--it doesn't look as if there is any purgatory, does it Cam?" Judy still felt that her mind was a battlefield.
"No, Judy, the Bible doesn't say a single word about such a place. We have found that Father Brien's arguments just don't mean much on that score, or on the subject of the immortality of the soul either. But I believe I know now what the Bible does teach about it--and it all harmonizes with what we have found. Want to listen?"
"Yes, Cam. I want to know the truth," said Judy bravely. She had almost forgotten that she had entered these studies to make a Catholic out of Cam. Now all that she wanted was to settle her own mind on the teachings of her church and those of the Bible.
"Well, I've really been bending my brain on this. While I was scratching around in the concordance I found I Thessalonians 4:12-17. I was looking up texts about the word 'dead,' when I found it, and I believe that it is the key text to the whole situation. It just opened the whole thing up to me as though a door had swung open. I'll read it.
"And we will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept. For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ, shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord.'
"See, Judy, three different times in this text the dead are described as being asleep. That harmonizes perfectly with those texts we found that said that the dead don't know anything. We don't know anything when we are asleep, do we? When we wake up we can't tell how long we have slept, unless we look at a timepiece. It says here that the dead shall sleep until Jesus comes the second time, and that then all the righteous will meet them and go to heaven with those who have been dead. So those who are dead now are not in heaven, nor suffering in hell or purgatory. They are all just as though they were asleep. That's not such a bad thought, is it?"
"No, it really isn't, in a way," Judy answered hesitantly.
"Now, just one more thing. This also harmonizes with those texts we found in 1 Corinthians 15. Remember? Let me read them again. Verses 51-55. 'Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy victory? 0 death, where is thy sting?' Isn't that plain?"
"Yes, Cam, it really is--I'm almost sorry that it is. Do you realize what all this means?" Judy looked exceedingly sober.
"Why--I suppose I do. I know it means that all my life I have had an entirely wrong idea about what happens to people when they die."
"That's right. But to me it means a whole lot more than that. It means that there is no purgatory going on now--so all the masses and prayers that are said for the dead don't mean a thing. It means that--why, Cam, it means that even my own prayers have been entirely wrong--useless, maybe!"
"What do you mean by that, Judy?" Cam was puzzled.
"Why--if all this is true, the saints can't hear me when I pray. They're just--just dead, asleep! The Blessed Virgin has never heard one of my prayers! Oh, Cam, II feel so lost!" and Judy buried her face in her hands and began to cry softly.
"Oh, I say, Judy!" For once Cam was completely demoralized and did not know what to say next. Never before had he stopped to think of all the implications of what they had been studying, so far as Judy was concerned. To him, a Protestant, this simply meant that he had been wrong in his theology; but to Judy it meant that her whole system of worship had been shown to be built upon sand. "Judy, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, indeed, but after all, we were looking for the truth."
"I know, Cam. But it leaves such a vacant feeling in my heart."
"Judy, you may have been wrong in your thinking. Your church may be wrong, we'll let that be decided later; but your heart has been right. I am sure that your prayers have been heard. The saints may not--indeed they could not have heard them, but I know that God did. It has not been your fault, or mine, that we have been mistaken, but the fault of our instructors. And I truly feel closer to God now than I have ever before felt. Judy, dear, I believe that the good Lord wants us to know the truth and that if we're learning the truth there is a blessing in it for us--don't you?"
"Yes, Cam--I hadn't thought of it in that way. What you say makes me feel better. I'm sure I'll feel all right when I have had time to think about it more," and Judy smiled at him through her tears. "You know what? This is the last time we are going to have to study together until I get back from my holiday at home. So maybe I'll have time to settle my mind while I'm gone."
"Oh, dear! I'd forgotten that you were going away. It's going to be pretty grim around here until you get back!"
"Silly boy--it'll probably do you good to get a little more sleep for a couple of weeks," bantered Judy, for the moment quite her gay self again.
"Just the same, I wish she weren't going home to be with her Catholic folks right now," Cam thought to himself a bit later as he made his way back to his intern's quarters.
There was a feeling of foreboding in his heart that unaccountably marred the happiness that had been his since he had found Judy.
Judy Visits Her Parents
WELL, Judy, I trust that this wonderful young man of yours is really a good Catholic and not one of those careless fellows that goes to mass only come Christmas or Easter."
Judy was home for her vacation--the first time she had been able to be home in nearly a year. She had been home now for several days, and although she hardly realized it herself, her conversation had again and again included bits of information about young Doctor Cameron Lea. Of course she had written her mother about him, but she had never mentioned his religion. In fact, Judy had been so confident at first that she could win him over to Catholicism that she hardly thought it worth while to mention that he was not a Catholic. She had known other girls to fall in love with Protestant boys, and several of them had very willingly renounced their own religion for Catholicism. That this renunciation was largely a matter of expedience with them, she had not considered. Neither had she at first realized that Cam was quite different from the common run of young men; that he had a very strong mind of his own, that his was an inquiring nature, and that he was very much in earnest about knowing the truth on any subject. Of course after she and Cam had got to studying together she had become so unsettled in her own beliefs that she dare not write anything about the religious side of the affair at all.
Just now the family was gathered in the comfortable living room of Judy's home; father, mother and Judy's two younger sisters. One looking in on the scene would have immediately seen that Judy was a young replica of her mother. There were the same blue eyes, brilliant hair and fair skin that had immediately struck Cam's fancy the first time he saw Judy. In fact, Judy's mother had been the belle of the village in her teens, and father was still inordinately proud of her. "A real Irish colleen, and a credit to the old sod," was one of his favourite introductions to strangers. Although mother would scold him privately for it, her heart was not in the scolding.
Judy's family had always been in modest circumstances. There were five children, all told, and there had always been lots of work and little help for mother. Perhaps it was because of hard work, perhaps because of some hidden imperfection of constitution, that mother's heart had grown weary of its task and the doctors had had to tell her that unless she used real care her life might be forfeited. No one need doubt that this caused the family real concern, and Judy's father anxiously shielded her in every way possible.
"What did you say, Dad?" Judy had been right in the middle of an enthusiastic narrative of which Cam was, of course, the hero, when her father had asked the question concerning Cam's Catholicity. She herself had got so used to the idea of his not being a Catholic that she had almost forgotten that her folks did not know it. So it was with a real jolt that she realized the implications of her father's question.
"I said that I hoped this young marvel that you seem to have taken a slight interest in is a good Catholic," he repeated.
"Oh,--well--that is." Judy floundered desperately for a long moment and then decided to brave it out. "The facts are, Mother and Dad, he isn't a Catholic at all!" Judy spoke rapidly, lest she loose her courage utterly. "But--but--he's an awfully good boy. Really, he is."
"Not a Catholic?" Judy's mother exclaimed in astonishment. "Why, why, I thought"
"Yes, Mother, I know," Judy interrupted, seeking to soften the blow. "I have probably done wrong in not telling you before. You thought that he was a Catholic because he was interning at St. Patrick's, but you see, a lot of the interns there now are not Catholics. It's on account of the war--the government assigns them. Please don't feel too bad. folks. I--I'm not married to him, after all. Please, let's tall, about something else. I know I've bored you with all my talk about the hospital and about Cam,"
To Judy's immense relief, her father and mother asked no more questions along this line, and the conversation was shifted. Judy's two young sisters had been taking in the whole conversation with wide eyes and attentive ears, and it was doubtless for this reason that the parents said nothing more at this juncture.
However, they had not dismissed the subject from their minds, for a night or two later the younger girls were away at a school party and Judy found herself alone with her parents.
"Judy, girl, I think we ought to talk over your interest in this young doctor. Your mother and I don't want to have you do something you'd be sorry for later. And besides, there's the Church to think about."
Judy's father was a kind man, and Judy had never feared to have him know about her affairs. Just now, however, she remembered that he was also a very staunch Catholic, and that he had on occasion been very stern about religious matters.
"Of course, Judy, I know that you didn't become attracted to him on purpose, but it would be far better to forget about him--that is unless you can win him to the faith." Judy's mother longed to make things easy for her.
"Yes, Judy, although I'd rather you'd forget him. Have you ever talked to him about the Church" questioned her father.
"Yes, Dad, I have. In fact he brought it up himself. And that's another thing that I've got to talk to you about. You see, after we talked it over we agreed that a Catholic and a Protestant could never be really happily married." Judy paused as her father nodded his head in agreement.
"Right you are, Judy," he added.
"Well, of course I thought right away that I could persuade him to my way of thinking. You see he--he likes me a lot. But it didn't work out that way at all. He's really very headstrong about some things and he said he would never be a Catholic, and I guess I'm just as headstrong, because I said I'd never be a Protestant. We just about had a quarrel over that!" Judy smiled ruefully as she remembered the episode.
"After we had both calmed down, we decided that the only way to settle our argument would be to study and find out which was right."
Judy rapidly related how she and Cameron had agreed to their plan of study. She told how amazed they had been at some of their findings, of her interview with Father Brien, and of their analysis of his arguments.
"And so you see," she went on, "according to the Bible the Church has been wrong all the time. And--and--Cam's still not a Catholic, and I really don't know what I am. I"
"Judy!" Her father had risen from his chair. "Judy, you're my daughter, but you must never question the authority of the Church in my house! You've been studying the Bible, have you? And who do you think you might be to study the Bible without the help of the Church, and set up your judgment against her teachings? Mother, this would never have happened if we'd kept Judy at home! This talk is sacrilege. I'll have no more of it. You'll give up all this nonsense immediately, Judy. I want to hear no more of it!"
At first as her father had started to speak Judy was frightened. She had never seen him look so serious. But as he spoke she gathered courage--how unreasonable it was, she thought, to condemn without studying for one's self. How she summoned words she did not know, but somehow she found her voice.
"Dad, maybe I've done wrong not to tell you all this be fore. I'm sorry I didn't. But I can't believe that I ought to believe what is not so. I don't want to disappoint you and mother, but I can't promise not to believe what I have found to be the truth. I wish I could, but I can't!"
"Dad--Judy" Mother spoke decisively. "We'll not have a quarrel. Judy, I'm terribly disappointed, but I don't think we should talk longer to-night, nor at all until we can do it calmly."
Judy's mother was not given to hysterics. In spite of a quick temper she kept herself well in hand, and it had often been she who had averted household crises in the past. Just now, Judy was more than thankful for her seeming calmness. So it was that the conversation closed on a note of strain that was not at all happy.
"Judy, Judy. Wake up! Mother's taken sick--come see if there's anything you can do while I get the doctor."
It must have been near daybreak when Judy was rudely awakened thus by the sound of her father's frightened voice. She had been long in going to sleep after the foregoing conversation with her parents and so had heard nothing until just now. She had not guessed the profound shock that had come to her mother during the scene, nor that she had quietly wept after she had retired until finally her weakened heart had rebelled at the extra burden put upon it by her emotion.
Judy was wide awake now, and quickly ran to her mother's bedside. Deftly she tested her mother's pulse.
"Is she--is she?" her father's voice broke and Judy saw the tears coursing down his cheeks. Never before had she realized how deep was her father's love for her mother.
"It's pretty weak, Dad, but she's still making it all right. Did you say you'd sent for the doctor?" Judy was indeed frightened at the revelation of her mother's condition that she was now witnessing. To all appearances she might have been dead, as Judy's father had feared. Her pulse was hardly discernible, and Judy had had enough training to realize the seriousness of her condition.
It seemed an eternity before the doctor arrived, and in the meantime there was not much that Judy could do other than to keep checking her mother's condition. At long last, though, he arrived, and before another hour had passed the crisis was over.
"Judy, dear, are you still determined to keep on as you said you would last night?" It was evening again and Judy had been with her mother all day, making sure that her recovery should be speeded in every way possible.
During the early morning hours of vigil at the bedside Judy had done some very serious thinking. To her father's demands, she had steeled her heart; they had only seemed to make her more determined. This was different. After all, might this not be a sign of the displeasure of God? Could she allow herself to be the cause of the unhappiness of her parents--even perhaps, of the death of her mother? It had been a severe struggle, but she had finally forced herself to a decision.
"No, Mother." Judy slipped her soft young arm about her mother. "No, Mother--I've been a bad girl, I'm afraid. I'm going to give it all up--and Cam too. I see that I've done wrong not to tell you--to study contrary to the teaching of the Church. And I would not want to hurt you or Dad for anything in the world."
Tears were rolling down Judy's cheeks before she finished her brave speech. They were for Cam, principally, for we must remember that Judy was young and in love. But her mind was made up, site told herself, and for the rest of her stay at home she did not mention his name. Her mother's recovery was rapid, and it was an outwardly happy family that exchanged good-byes as the west-coast train carried Judy back to training.
"Hi, there, Judy!" It was Cam, standing on the station platform, waiting to meet her after the two longest weeks he had ever lived through, he told himself. Judy gave him a brief smile and wave of her hand as she came down the steps and made her way quickly through the crowd.
"What's the matter, Judy--aren't you glad to see me?" Judy's usually merry face was unaccountably sober.
"No, Cam, I'm not--I mean, Cam, that I'm not going to be seeing you any more. It's all off. Please leave me now and let me get a taxi to the hospital." And with this, Judy turned decisively away.
Cam was thunderstruck. If Judy had struck him in the face he would have been no more shocked. For a moment he stood rooted to the spot as Judy's form rapidly receded in the distance. And then he was galvanized into action.
"Judy--Judy! Wait! Wait!" he called, oblivious of the crowded platform as he set out after her.
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