It is a fact that everyone dies. Yet, the question remains to where one goes after this life. And only faith may tell us so.
This is a story of a bishop who was quite arrogant and judgmental. He was self-righteous and a perfectionist too. He had lived his life as an honest and generous person; yet, it was a known fact that he kept on judging his fellow bishops and priests during his lifetime.
The last person whom he saw on his deathbed was a priest, who was his classmate in the seminary, giving him the last sacrament.
He woke up and found himself in front of a huge magnificent glass door. An angel was standing in front of him who was giving directions to new comers and visitors like him.
The bishop was asked to sign the log book and wait for further instruction. So he made his way toward the area where the others were waiting patiently and politely.
Is this heaven? he wondered quite impatiently, a bishop should not have been treated this way.
The angel called out the new comers and directed them to the front desk just inside the glass door. The bishop was one of them. He went in and immediately introduced himself as a bishop to the receptionist. The person welcomed him and also introduced himself as Peter.
"At last I know of someone now," he exclaimed and continued to express his discontentment on how it was in the waiting lounge.
Peter had nothing much to say except for a brief introduction. After which he facilitated in giving the newcomers an exam. In fact, it was a qualifying exam.
Just right after the exam, Peter came back to him and gave him a piece of paper with the statement: "You have qualified for the next level."
As expected, the bishop passed from one exam to the other. Some of the other newcomers even found him to be very fortunate in passing two interviews conducted by the Archangels themselves.
Yes, he made it through all the process except for one, the last interview with God himself.
The bishop sat for a long time waiting for this last interview; and there was none. The first day was over, and so with the second, the third, and the fourth.
On the ninth day, the bishop was at last summoned. He was weary of waiting and would have like to stay where he was. But of course, this was the most awaited day: the judgment day. So he went to that same corner where he had the series of examinations and interviews.
He sat there waiting for quite sometime until he sensed something peculiar. There was this deafening silence. It was somehow odd and ironic; yet it was real. A silence usually experienced during meditation and deep reflection. But this time, it was deafening�not soothing.
On the table was a book; on the cover was a print in bold letters: NOVA ET VETERA (the new and the old). Perhaps many of us would associate this with the book of life.
The bishop got the book and scanned the pages. As he was doing the scanning waiting for God, he found himself in tears. He never expected to be very emotional, especially for a time like that. He realized that he never knew anyone written on those pages. Yes, there were familiar places and dates and familiar names; but there was not a single soul he knew. Neither his mentor nor the great theologians, whom he had sessions with, were to be found.
Then Peter came in with a mobile phone, �Here, God would like to talk to you in a short while.�
The phone rang. The bishop answered the phone and heard this voice saying:
�I only have two questions for you:
� First, who am I in your life?
� Second, why should I let you in?�
The bishop was trying to be very careful this time. He realized that neither his title as a bishop nor his doctorate in divinity could save him�as he concluded after browsing the book. So he eventually answered God the way he had known God during his childhood. Just the way, he experienced God. Just the way, he had realized that he had a vocation to priesthood.
He said: �God, I know I really have not seen you in my entire life. Nor have I heard your voice until now. Nor have you helped me directly in any way in my lifetime. But I sure do know that you are like the wind I used to love when I was a boy. Couldn�t see it, but I often feel it every time the breeze caresses me. Couldn�t hear it, yet the trees rattle and make a sound upon its passing and arrival. A whistling sound from where, I believe, the wind produces when it passes through trees and mountains; the movement and the sound of waves splashing from where the wind pushes are manifestations that I couldn�t deny of its existence.. All I really know is that for every tree that moves, you have been there for me. For every act of kindness I received as a child, you were the wind blowing those persons (my parents and every loving individual) to take care of me. Yes dear God. You are only but the ever-generous, ever-loving wind in my life.�
The bishop paused and concluded, �And for the second question, may I leave it to the wind?�