THE WATCH TOWER OF HEAVEN
Heaven is an extraordinary place, and precisely because it is so extraordinary, it is difficult to describe. It differs from the Earth in many respects, but perhaps the major difference is that in Heaven, all is harmony, all is order, all is peace. It is this peace, that is the fruit of order and harmony, that pervades the very atmosphere of Heaven, and which makes it so different from our World, where disharmony, disorder, and war are the very fabric of men’s lives.
Looking across the great expanse of the Heavenly City the eye is charmed by so many things. Great domed buildings that recall Santa Sophia in Constantinople, towers that rise up into the sky glistening in the golden light. Some are like the fabled Chinese pagodas of old, others look like giant minarets. Then there are great palaces lined with colonnades of pillars of red, yellow, green, and blue marble. There are great boulevards, lined with trees, whose fruits and blossoms seem to be jewel-like in their brilliance. Then there are parks with every conceivable kind of tree, plant, a flower and animal that you could possibly imagine and far more. For everything that was created in Eden, and that has, over the centuries, become extinct can be found here. In the great avenues that run through the parks you can see the heavenly residents rubbing shoulders with sabre toothed tigers, Dinosaurs, mammoths and goodness knows what else, even Dodos. Fabulous birds fly from tree to tree or alight on the vast array of fruit trees that seem to be everywhere. Through the parks and across the city flows a river whose colours seem one moment to be aquamarine, then a lapis lazuli blue, then an emerald green turning to bottle green, and finally becoming a cascade of silvery light. Always changing its colours, the river of life teems with fishes of the most extraordinary variety. There are not only fishes, but all sorts of sea creatures; gigantic squids, magnificent whales, and then all the great ancient sea creatures, who seemed so terrifying to men of old, but here are no more terrifying than a baby. For as I said, here is order, harmony and peace.
Looking at this city that seems to go on forever, you have the feeling that it is one great forest of green out of which emerge the most majestic of buildings on one hand, and the most delicate of buildings on the other. As far as the eye can see there are towers, and domes, spires, and palaces, mansions, and roads, which are straight and brilliant white, for they are made of marble. And everywhere people of great beauty walk with grace and dignity and majesty. All the while they sing a song of incomparable beauty in a language unknown to man, but for us humans there is the constant refrain which drifts upon the ear, and it is “Alleluia”. Above all there is the marvellous smell, that is not known on earth, and which is brought to the Heavenly City by a breeze from the snow capped peaks of the mountains that surround the City and its innumerable inhabitants. The city is surrounded by great walls of translucent gold, and above one of the gates, which appears to be carved out of an immense ruby, stands the tower of Gold, The watchtower of Heaven. It is very tall, and resembles a mixture of a pagoda, an obelisk and a Helter Skelter. One would think that such a construction would be most unsightly, but it is not. What would normally be the slide winding around the fairground tower, now becomes a great spiral staircase. Winding up to the crown of the tower it meets another gate, which is made of a great sapphire.
The watchtower of Heaven is where the saints go to see what events are taking place here below on Earth, and there God tells them what to do, and which prayers of men they should take before the Divine Throne. It is here at this moment, when the cats and their heavenly animal companions are asleep, that Hildegarde, Bridget, Catherine, and Colette are surveying the world, and all its goings on; so much of it evil, indifferent, and selfish, but within all this degeneracy, loathsome pride, and unbelievable cruelty, there are great and good things going on.
“The Pope has turned the tide” said Hildegarde, “but the evil is still immense”. “Truly you speak, my sister” answered Bridget, “but so many of the rulers are filled with Satanic pride, and those who do not, are filled with its twin, ‘vainglory’. “As Bridget and I know so well” said Catherine, “ The Church is yet again in danger of being torn in two. The agony will be great for some, for others it will mean little, for the Faith of The West begins to enter its death throes”. “And yet” said Colette, “There is always hope, and there is joy, even if the mountains of despair, and the tempest of hate bears down upon the sons of men. These little cats so innocent and pure, though living under the reign of fallen Man, bring their little hearts to bear the Divine theme, and the Angelic proclamation “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to men of good will”
Gazing from a window blazing with light, the four saints gazed at God, whose love in Heaven can be touched, and tasted, and even smelt, and in that love they saw the Halcyon descend to earth to bring the cats to the first meeting with the powers of evil. Hildegard said let us praise the glories of the Lord, and so they sang “The Gloria”, and throughout Heaven’s innumerable mansions, parks, and glades, her mountains and her rivers, all joined in this symphony of praise.
Gloria in excelsis Deo. Et in terra pax
Hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex Coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigente Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, Miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus Sanctus.
Tu solus Dominus.
Tu solus Altissimus, Jesus Christe.
Cum Sancto Spiritu in Gloria Dei Patris.
As the great song of praise ended and there was a pause, which might have been minutes, years or centuries, for the time of Heaven, if one can use such a term, is completely different, Catherine spoke in her lilting lovely voice, “The Pope is good, is very good, but his determination to reform the Church reminds me so much of Urban VI, without his faults.”
“It does seem so, and I am brought to think of Pedro de Luna who we, in France, thought was the true Pope, and he too was so determined to reform the Church” said Colette. “Men must learn to make haste slowly, a most difficult thing for them to do.” remarked Hildegard. “Unfortunately men so often only learn from their mistakes, and very often don’t learn at all.” and with these words of Bridget of Sweden we take our leave of these gracious saints and go to meet our courageous and irrepressible cats.