8.4 Mechthild’s Ministering

(Story begins here) “But with all due respect, what does a medieval mystic have to do with quantum mechanics?”

“As the great physicist Richard Feynman said of Schrödinger’s equations. ‘It’s not possible to derive it from anything you know. It came out of the mind of Schrödinger.’”

“Your point being?”

“The most first-hand sources of information are usually the most reliable. So why see everything bouncing off many probable and approximate locations of tiny and heavily spaced not-really-particles-nor-waves?”
“Well, presumably you can still get an accurate picture of the heavenly form, like focusing a cinema projector very carefully?” said Pete thoughtfully, but Bud chipped in.

“Not really Pete, there was this guy, called, like, Heisenburg? He showed that you can’t even really measure anything properly? Because you need light to measure and the light photons knock the particles around so you don’t see where they actually were.”

“To use a scenario from your time, my Liebling, it’s like standing blindfold in a room, finding out where standing bowling skittles are by throwing a football at them and seeing how long it takes for the ball to bounce back,” explained Mechthild, seeing the uncomprehending look on Pete’s face.

“To really see truth, you have to like, focus your imagination to the point where it’s not your imagination anymore?”

“Oh, so how can we know anything?”

“By knowing thyself,” smiled Mechthild mysteriously.

“To really see truth, you have to like, focus your imagination to the point where it’s not your imagination anymore?” He and Mechthild seemed to have to take it in turns to ease Pete’s incomprehension. “As Feynman meant, Schrodinger’s equations are pure genius, not of this world, but of his mind, which is the gateway to the world of truth if the gate is only opened like, wide enough?”

“Is there a word for that?” asked Pete.

“Mysticism,” said Bud and Mechthild in unison.

“When I was younger,” continued Mechthild, “I had visisons of God, of the true reality and I was blessed enough to write them down, shall I show you one of my visions? The Lord was sufficiently provident to show me reality in the most beautiful way possible, the marriage of the individual soul and God…”

“A bit like_”

“Yes Liebling, just like in the Rama and Sita in the Ramayana” The walls of the nunnery cell hurtled outwards as it morphed into a stunning, lofty cathedral. Pete gasped as he saw a veiled woman with the most impossibly beautiful figure slowly walking down the aisle, with a large procession around her.

“The bride is clothed with the sun and has trodden the moon underfoot, and she is crowned in union.” Mechthild was narrating the scene as Pete watched, her unseeing eyes sparkling with passion as she did so. “She has a chaplain, this is fear. He has in his hand a golden rod; this is wisdom. The chaplain is clothed with the blood of the lamb and is crowned with honour; and wisdom is clothed with contentment and crowned with eternity.”

Pete now saw four women surrounding the bride, each in a long flowing dress and hair held in styles of almost impossible complexity beneath the most dazzling and spectacular crowns. Mechthild continued.

“The bride has four bridesmaids. The first is love, who leads the bride. She is clothed with chasteness and is crowned with dignity. The second is humility, who holds the bride. She is clothed with lowliness and is crowned with eminence.” Pete saw this second woman with her arm placed gently around the bride’s slender shoulders, her head close as if whispering encouraging things. “The third bridesmaid is sorrow. She is clothed with small grapes and is crowned with joy. The fourth bridesmaid is mercy. She is clothed with unguents and is crowned with bliss. These two carry the coat of the bride, which is her holy reputation.” Mechthild’s unseeing gaze turned to the alter, where a tall man in elaborate clergical robes covered in flawless jewels was smiling fondly and joyously at the bride. “She has a bishop who is faith. He brings the bride before the bridegroom. The bishop is clothed in precious stones and is crowned with the Holy Spirit. The bishop has two knights. The one is might and is clothed with battle and is crowned with victory. The other is daring and is clothed with boldness and crowned with blessedness.”

“She has a chamberlain. That is watchfulness. He is clothed with constancy and is crowned with persistence. He carries a light before the bride and from behind her train. The light is understanding. It is clothed with insight and is crowned with generosity. The train is holy conscience. It is clothed with good intention and is crowned with God’s approval. She has a cupbearer, which is longing. He is clothed with desire and is crowned with peace. She has a minstrel who is amiability. His harp is intimacy. He is clothed with favour and crowned with help.” Pete took in all these beautiful beings, but then the bride lifted her veil and his attention swung to her disorientatingly beautiful face like a compass needle.

“The bride has five kingdoms. The first are her eyes. They are founded in tears and adorned with restraint. The second are thoughts. They are founded in struggle and are adorned with good counsel.” Pete could now somehow see the radiation of the bride’s thoughts and saw that she was as beautiful inside as out. “The third is speaking. It is founded in usefulness and is adorned with trust. The fourth is hearing. It is founded in the word of God and is adorned with consolation. The fifth is touch. It is founded in strength and is adourned with noble habit. These five kingdoms have an overseer. This is guilt. He is clothed with confession and crowned with penance. She has a judge. He is clothed with discipline and crowned with patience.

Pete saw an animal being lead up the aisle and saw more clearly that the bride was a soul, not a human with a body. “The bride has a beast of burden. This is the body. It is bridled with worthlessness; contempt is its fodder and its stable is confession. The pack it carries is innocence. The bride has a crimson silk cloth, which is hope. It is clothed with truth and crowned with song. She has a palm in her hand, which is victory over sin. In her other hand she has a canister that is full of longing and love. This she wants to bring to her Lover. She is wearing a hat of peacock feathers, which are her good name on earth and high honour in heaven. She follows a path, which is meekness. This is clothed with honey and crowned with safety. And she sings. Pete closed his eyes in bliss as the pure, sweet voice rang out;

“Chosen Lover, I long for you,

You take and give me many a heartache

I have from you, besides, invisible suffering

If you Lord, command,

I shall be freed from myself.”

“Freed from myself?” mused Pete. “How is that possible?

“It means like, the soul’s light not being warped by the filters and lenses of the human mind, with all it’s like, base sexual and violent drives?” said Bud.

“And the groom speaks,” announced Mechthild;

Dearest love, think of the hour

When you may grasp the full treasure

Do not let the time seem too long

After all, I hold you constantly

Embraced in my arms.

Come, my beloved, come. You shall be crowned.

“I can’t see the groom,” said Pete dejectedly.

“Like, none of us can? The groom’s God?” said Bud, “only the bride has all the perfect balance of qualities to actually see God and join with him in union?” Mechthild concluded;

“And he gives her a crown of truth that no one may wear but religious people. On the crown one sees four virtues: wisdom and sorrow, longing and perseverance. May God give us all this crown!”

“That seems a bit harsh on non-religious people?” suggested Pete.

“The idea is, if you have wisdom, sorrow, i.e. like good sorrow, the sadness that you’re not with God, longing and perseverance then you are de facto religious, maybe without realising it? So it doesn’t discriminate, like saying only gardeners can do gardening? Like if you’re gardening you’re a gardener, just a logical tenet really,” said Bud as the splendour of the cathedral vanished and a long dormitory replaced it. (to be continued)

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