Friday, June 17, 2016
God thru Eye of Paradise
And let this suffice you,' said Jesus, 'for the knowledge of paradise.' Whereupon Bartholomew ;said again: 'O master, have patience with me if I ask you one word.' Jesus answered: 'Say that which you desire.' Said Bartholomew: 'Paradise is surely great: for, seeing there be in it such great goods, it needs must be great.' Jesus answered: 'Paradise is so great that no man can measure it. Truly I say to you that the heavens are nine, among which are set the planets;, that are distant one from another five hundred years' journey for a man: and the earth in like manner is distant from the first heaven five hundred years' journey.
But stop you at the measuring of the first heaven, which is by so much greater than the whole earth as the whole earth is greater than a grain of sand. So also the second heaven is greater than the first, and the third than the second, and so on, up to the last heaven, each one is likewise greater than the next. And truly I say to you that paradise is greater than all the earth and all the heavens [together], even as all the earth is greater than a grain of sand.' Then said Peter: 'O master, paradise must needs be greater than God, because God is seen within it.' Jesus answered: 'Hold your peace, Peter, for you unwittingly blaspheme.'
Then the angel Gabriel came to Jesus and showed him a mirror shining like the sun, in which he beheld these words written:
'As I live eternally, even as paradise is greater than all the heavens and the earth, and as the whole earth is greater than a grain of sand, even so am I greater than paradise; and as many times more as the sea has grains of sand, as there are drops of water upon the sea, as there are [blades of] grass upon the ground, as there are leaves upon the trees, as there are skins upon the beasts; and as many times more as the grains of sand that would go to fill the heavens and paradise and more.'
Then Jesus said: "Let us do reverence to our God, who is blessed for evermore." They bowed their heads a hundred times and prostrated themselves to earth upon their face in prayer. When the prayer was done, Jesus called Peter and told him and all the disciples what he had seen. And to Peter he said: "Your soul, which is greater than all the earth, sees through one eye the sun which is a thousand times greater than all the earth." "It is true," said Peter. Then Jesus said: "Even so, through [the eye of] paradise, shall you see God our Creator." And having said this, Jesus gave thanks to God our Lord, praying for the House of Israel and for the holy city. And everyone answered: "So be it, Lord."
One day, Jesus being in Solomon's porch, a scribe, one of them that made discourse to the people, drew near to him and said to him: "O master, I have many times made discourse to this people; in my mind there is a passage of scripture which I am not. able to understand." Jesus answered: "And what is it?" The scribe said: "That which God said to Abraham your father, I will be your great reward. Now how could man merit [such reward]?"
Then Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said: "Assuredly you are not far from the kingdom of God! Listen to me, for I will tell you the meaning of such teaching. God being infinite, and man finite, man cannot merit God and is this [the reason for] your doubt, brother?" The scribe answered, weeping: "Lord, you know my heart. Speak, therefore, for my soul desires to hear your voice." Then Jesus said: "As God lives, man cannot merit [even] a little breath which he receives every moment."
The scribe was beside himself, hearing this, and the disciples marvelled as well, because they remembered that which Jesus said, that whatever they gave for love of God, they should receive a hundredfold [in return]. Then he said: "If someone should lend you a hundred pieces of gold, and you should spend those pieces, could you say to that man: 'I give you a decayed vine-leaf; therefore give me your house, for I merit it'?" The scribe answered: "No, Lord, for he should first pay that which he owed, and then, if he wished for anything, he should give him good things, but what good is a corrupted leaf ?"
Jesus answered: "You have spoken well, O brother; so tell me, Who created man out of nothing? Surely it was God, who also gave [man] the whole world for his benefit. But man by sinning has spent it all, for because of sin the world is turned against man, and man in his misery has nothing to give to God but works corrupted by sin. For, sinning every day, he makes his own work corrupt, as Isaiah the prophet says: Our righteousnesses are as a menstruous cloth.
How, then, shall man have merit, seeing he is unable to give satisfaction? Is it, perhaps, that man does not sin? It is certain that our God says by his prophet David: Seven times a day falls the righteous. How then falls the unrighteous? And if our righteousnesses are corrupt, how abominable are our unrighteousnesses! As God lives, there is nothing that a man should shun more than this saying: 'I merit.' Brother, let a man know the works of his hands, and he will straightway see his merit. Every good thing that comes out of a man, truly, man does not do it, but God works it in him; for his being is of God who created him. That which man does is to contradict God his creator and to commit sin, [and so] he merits not reward, but torment.
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