Sunsets to Sunrises
A bishop who had always been very conscious of his dignity as well as his dogma
fell ill for the last time.
He, who even still as an assistant priest, had been wont to paint the joys of heaven in the oddest
colors and to describe the delights and bliss in the realm of the angels with great enthusiasm, not
forgetting to mention hell and purgatory, did not yet desire, even as an old man of almost eighty,
to take possession of his much praised heaven. He would have preferred another thousand years
on this earth to a future heaven with all its delights and bliss.
Therefore, our sick bishop did everything in his power to restore his health. He had to be
surrounded by the best physicians. Powerful masses had to be celebrated in all the churches of
his diocese; all the sheep of his flock were asked to pray for his life. In his sick-room an altar
had been erected at which mass had to be celebrated three times every morning to help restore
his health, whereas, in the afternoon, three of the most pious monks had to keep praying the
breviary in front of the consecrated host.
He himself kept uttering: "Oh, Lord, have mercy upon me! Holy Mary, beloved mother, help
me! Have mercy upon my dignity and grace as prince-bishop for your Son's glory! Oh, do not
forsake your most faithful servant, you helper in need, you sole support of the afflicted."
5 But all this did not help. Our man fell into a coma from which he did not awaken again in this
You know of the "highly important" ceremonial for a deceased bishop, and we need not waste
any time with its description. Instead, let us look around in the spirit world to see what our man
will be doing there.
Look, here we are - and there our man can be seen still lying on his bed; while the heart is still
warm the angel does not sever the soul from the body. This warmth constitutes the nerve spirit
which has to be wholly absorbed by the soul before complete severance can be undertaken.
At last this man's soul has completely absorbed the nerve spirit and the angel is severing it from
bis body with the words: "Ephetha - arise thou soul, but thou dust revert to thy decomposition
through the kingdom of vermin and decay. Amen."
Already you see our bishop rising in his full bishop's robes, just as during his lifetime, and he
opens his eyes. He looks around in astonishment, not seeing anybody, not even the angel who
awakened him. The surroundings are visible only in a fading light, as of late dusk, and the
ground seems to be covered with dry alpine moss.
10Our man is not a little astonished at this unusual situation, and says to himself: "What is this?
Where am I? Am I still alive, or have I died? I must have been seriously ill, and it is quite"...