Friday, December 02, 2011

The Test

gates

It was a busy day in Heaven with a long line waiting outside the pearly gates.

Toward the back, a man waited nervously, watching St. Peter as he spoke privately with each new arrival, gesturing some through the gates and some the other way.

The man wondered what he’d be asked, certain he’d lived a good life, but now in this final moment worried that he’d done something that might bar him from paradise for eternity.

No. His life had not just been good. It had been exemplary.

He’d never said a bad word about anyone. He’d obeyed all the rules. Whenever he’d come across trouble or strife he’d turned the other cheek, walked away, kept his own council and never once caused anyone a problem.

And he sensed St. Peter already knew all that when it was his turn at the front of the line. The elderly gatekeeper regarded him with warmth and a tangible feeling of love, saying nothing.

The man returned the saint’s smile. “I’m not sure what to say.” he said, “I’m pretty sure I did everything the good book says I should. I followed all the rules.”

“Well, there are a lot of good books.” St. Peter said, “And a lot of rules made by a lot of people with good intentions. Up here, there’s just one question. One test.”

“What’s that?” asked the man.

“Let me see your scars.”

The man was suddenly filled with excitement, certain he’d soon be in paradise. “I don’t have any scars!” he said, “Not a single one.”

St. Peter’s eyes darkened, now full of sadness, as he stared at the man with immense disappointment.

“Really? Could you not find one thing worth fighting for?”.

1 comment:

Research said...

My mom, who would have been 100 this year, used to tell the story of St. Peter welcoming three men at the gates. The first said to St. Peter that he had been a married man and Peter said you can enter. The second man said he had been married twice and Peter said you are also most welcome. The third man said he had been married three times and Peter said: begone, we want no fools in paradise!