From the book The Guiding Star
Writings made by visible full-form spirit materializations
through the mediumship of William W. Aber
A Catholic priest unites with his true love after death
[Josť, a Roman Catholic priest, dictates his experience to Dr. Reed, as his amanuensis, in these words, to-wit:]
I am told that my history may be of great benefit to the people of earth, If it were not for this, no inducement, however great, would cause me to traverse the pain-racked road again. With purgatory in the dim distance I tremble when I think of the horrors my superstitious soul has passed through.
I went to America in company with several of my Order. We intended to extend a chain of missions across the southern part of the country. I am told that a few of the ruins are still standing. There are those upon earth and in spirit who think the life of a priest is a happy one. They think he is the worst of all hypocrites--that only lies fall from his lips. That is true of some, just as it is true of people in every walk of life; but you will find, my friends, that, while many are mistaken, they are honest and earnest.
We undertook a task that was calculated to make the strongest hearts quail, namely : the subjection of a wild and savage people without the use of firearms. The service of the Catholic Church is so spectacular when all accessories of worship are to be had, that it is no wonder it causes a feeling of awe among our savage brothers. We had no accessories for months, however. Our only accessories were our rosaries and small Bibles or catechisms that we carried. Tramping over hot sands in our coarse robes, our faces sunburned and covered with alkali dust, our tongues parched for water, we were not an inspiring sight for the strolling Indian. I was not captured by them. They were, at all times good and kind to me. I saved the child of a chief from death, and the small token he gave me, whenever shown to other Indians, always secured me a night's lodging. After months, yes, years of hard labor, we passed from one mission to another. These must be built for fort as well as chapel, therefore must be built substantially.
A priest is only human and I was too human for earthly happiness. I would sit in the quiet after vespers and try to communicate with God, but my thoughts would persist in wandering back to the home of my childhood ; and, sometimes, it would seem that heaven could not be a finer sight than the hut with its vine twining around the low door that sheltered my parents. I would come to myself with a start ; then would follow hours of prayer and days of fasting to bring my worldly soul into subjection. I was perishing for an affectionate word or caress from some one ; and, for lack of a human being to bestow it on I lavished it upon the donkey that carried my burden of stone. This was noticed by our Abbot, who was a cold, stern man, and my donkey (innocent brute) was taken from me and given to another who was less tender-hearted. I was bade to carry the stones myself as a penance. The quarry was some distance from the mission, and the journey occupied all the hours of daylight.
While suffering in both mind and body I had the misfortune to fall in love--Oh, the horror of it ! me, a holy man of God, to so debase himself as to love an earthly being. She was an Indian maiden, but fair for the eyes to see. It was then that the evil one himself walked by my side--all day long visions of a happy home with bright-eyed children about my knees danced before my eyes until I felt that I must flee from this terrible temptation. My nights were spent in prayer. Oh! long, terrible hours I spent in my dreams, having all the enemies of hell in company with Satan.
Believing that confession was the only remedy, I went to our Abbot and confessed my sins to him. What do you think my penance was? To wear about my waist a belt of cactus thorns (which are worse than needles, for they not only work into the flesh but poison it), and limit myself to one meal a day ; and, in addition to this, I must carry a bag of sand to be replaced by the heavy stone at the other end of my journey. I could not sleep at night for torture, and without sufficient food; I was, therefore, soon unable to do my share of work. I did not rebel against the decree of our Abbot, as I felt that I must do penance for unholy thoughts. Oh! if I had only known what I do now; and, if hundreds upon earth would accept this as a true history, how many days and years of torture, far more horrible than the fires of hell, would they escape !
I had spoken no word of love to her I worshiped ; but, so subtle is the power of love that she knew of it and returned it. And, with true womanliness she pleaded with me to go away with her, assuring me that the Great Spirit looked on and was glad. That he wanted his children to be happy. Untutored savage that she was, she was far wiser than I.
Her pleadings were overheard by another, and I was called before a tribunal and sentenced to a flogging. My worn out, tortured body could not bear the strain and I regained consciousness in another life, surrounded by green grass and trees (is not green the promise of a new life?) instead of miles of sand and cactus. My love has stolen me and borne me away, was the unholy thought that first entered my mind. It was sweet to lie there--to feel no pain.
While I wondered why my love came not back tome, in her stead came one of my old Order, higher in authority than I. He bade me arise and follow him. As I attempted to do so, a beautiful angel stood before me, and I remember, even now, that the first thing I noticed was that he was without wings. Truly, I thought, I shall never be anything but worldly. He spoke to me thus: Go not with this evil one, my brother. Let not the charms of superstition bear you down in the spirit world as they did upon earth. Resist him and follow me and find peace and happiness! But I was too thoroughly disciplined to disobey and I arose and followed the one in the black robe. Break the charms of superstition on earth if you would not have them bear you down the dark depths in the spirit world. It is a world of reality to those who dwell there; and, many out of the earthly body it is well-nigh impossible to convince that they are in the world of spirit.
To go back to my first habitation in the spirit world--it resembled the monasteries of the old world and which I thought it was. For my sins, I was cast into a dark dungeon. It did not matter much as the light without was dim as in a heavy fog, and a strange peculiar light seemed to radiate from my body, that illuminated the room sufficiently, for all ordinary purposes. I don't know how long I remained in this condition, but it must have been for years. Once, while I was repeating prayer, my loved one stood before me and beckoned for me to follow her; and, after all these years of penance and suffering, all the old love came surging back to my willful heart. Nay, it had never left, but had been relegated to the background. I cannot, my darling--can you not see the bars? I cried. She still beckoned; and, before I knew it I was on the outside. My old tormentor returned and ordered me back to my cell, but love was stronger than the sense of duty and I followed her I so truly loved.
What shall I do? I cried, when I found that we were, seemingly, free from the Monastery; they will follow us and compel me to return and may wreak vengeance upon you. We are in the land of the Great Spirit, she replied, and you need not return unless you desire to. You, beloved, are without the earthly body, as I am, and we can live in happiness without being disturbed by the so-called Holy ones.
If the people of earth would do away with the celibacic life of the priests, Catholicism would soon decay. My love and I have been the means of helping untold numbers to break the chains that bind them in the spirit world. We have formed a powerful band whose object is to break those chains upon earth. A happy home upon earth is a counterpart of Heaven. How many men and women upon earth who have dedicated their lives to the Catholic Church would be the founders of happy homes if they would only listen to the God within them that pleads for true love? Shut off from this, many stoop to sins that will keep them in real darkness for years. People who have a high sense of reverence will always be found to be the builders of happy homes, if they are allowed to follow the dictates of love. These words are not written of those who have a high sense of religion, but who are base hypocrites.
This class will follow sensuous pleasures wherever they are placed. Many a poor conscientious priest is eating his heart out in hopeless love for a pure woman. Oh! if he only had the courage to leave the Church and create for himself a heavenly spot upon earth, how much happier he would be through all eternity ! This cannot last many years longer for a powerful band upon the spirit side of life are organizing to tear this barrier to real happiness away. They are not enemies of the Catholic Church but its best true helpers. It is decidedly wrong to hold within its thrall so many thousands of good men and women. Replace the black robes with the white ones; take away the privacy of the convents and monasteries. Stop the thousands of dollars that are pouring into its coffers, and you have taken away the incentive for the hypocritical ones to impose upon those who are sincere and honest. As I said before, there are hundreds of pure men and women in the service of the Catholic Church who are literally bearing a cross,--a cross so heavy that they will feel the weight of it for years and years after they enter spirit life. Be not deceived, my brothers and sisters. The spark of love within your heart that so often becomes a consuming flame, is a part of divinity itself, and not of the devil, as you have been taught. True love desires that only the brightest and happiest things of earth, and heaven too, for that matter, shall surround the object of its affection.