another book on the same theme -
"A Wanderer in the
Spirit Lands"

By Franchezzo
from 1896

“Nosso Lar”


The story of a doctor’s odyssey in the Spirit World.

part 2   |  1  | 4


By the Spirit  of André Luiz

Through medium Francisco Cândido Xavier

Ist Electronic Edition by GEAE

Translated from the 25th Portuguese edition entitled “Nosso Lar” . First Portuguese edition published in 1944 by FEDERAÇÃO ESPÍRITA BRASILEIRA. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

First English edition by Christian Spirit Center, P O Box 114, Elon College, N. C., 27244, USA.


Revision and editing by Lauren Speeth Luczynski

1st Electronic Edition by Antônio Leite (New York, NY, USA) and GEAE (Advanced Study Group of Spiritism)

Cover design by Ademir Xavier, Jr and Christine Fernandes.




Captivated by the sight of the magnificent gardens, I asked Lysias to rest with me for a while on a bench nearby, and he willingly greed. I was filled with a pleasant feeling of peace, watching the graceful sprays of colored water rising in the air, forming intricate patterns.

“Whoever observes this immense colony of work,” I said thoughtfully, “is led to inquire about all sorts of possible problems. For instance, the problem of supply. There in no Ministry of Economy here, is there?”

“That branch of service,” answered Lysias, “used to assume much greater importance here. Then our Governor decided to reduce, as much as possible, the number of practices which might remind us of purely physical phenomena. Therefore the activities of the Department of Supply were reduced to mere distribution, under the direct control of the Central Administration. As a matter of fact, this was a very important decision. Our records show that a century ago the Colony underwent great trouble to adapt its inhabitants to the principle of simplicity. Many newcomers to the Astral City, still imbued with earthly vices, insisted on the most extravagant accommodations, including sumptuous meals and stimulating drinks. Only the Ministry of Divine Union, owing to its inherent characteristics, shunned such abuses; the others spent their time overburdened with problems of this sort. Our Governor, however, spared no efforts to put an end to the deplorable situation, introducing decisive measures against it the moment he assumed his administrative duties at the Astral City.

“Some of our older missionaries have told me about that time. They say that the Governor’s request two hundred instructors came to us from a very high sphere in order to propagate new theories about respiration and the absorption of life-giving elements from the atmosphere. Numerous lectures were given on the subject. Many of our own experts were against those innovations on the grounds that, because the Colony serves as a transition zone, it would be unjust and dangerous to submit newly-arrived spirits to such drastic changes.

 They believed that such changes could cause serious damage to our patients’ spirit-bodies. But the Governor did not give in.

“For thirty years the lectures, illustrative examples, and technical explanations proceeded without interruption. Various eminent spirits went so far as to formulate public protests against the Governor’s actions. They repeatedly crowded the Ministry of Assistance with patients who declared themselves victims of the deficient new diet. During such crises, those who were against the change intensified their attack. Yet the Governor never resorted to punishment. Instead, he would summon his critics to the Government House in a fatherly manner, expounding on the aims and benefits of the new program, emphasizing its superiority as an efficient means of spiritualization. For the most obstinate he would arrange instructive excursions to higher spheres, winning over a great number of them.”

After a long pause, I said:

“Please go on, Lysias. How did that edifying struggle end?”

“After twenty one years of persevering efforts on the Governor’s part, the Ministry of Elevation gave in and cut its supplies to the strictly necessary. The Ministry of Elucidation, however, took a long time to follow this good example, owing to the greater number of statistics-minded spirits working there. They were the most obstinate adversaries, still entrenched in their earthly ideas that the ingestion of protein and carbohydrates is indispensable to the human frame. They insisted on maintaining their ideas here, and every week they sent the Governor lengthy reports, full of warnings and observations, tests and numerical data, supporting their claims. Such impertinence even reached the point of arrogance, yet the Governor’s patience never failed.”

“Having decided not to act alone, he obtained the assistance of the highly evolved entities who guide us through the Ministry of Divine Union, and together they examined every one of those documents thoroughly. While the scientists multiplied their arguments and the government stalled for time, dangerous disturbances were brewing in the Department of Regeneration, now known as the Ministry of Regeneration. Some of the less developed spirits there were caught up in the spirit of rebellion of those in the Ministry of Elucidation and acted simply deplorably. The atmosphere of unrest divided the Colony, exposing the Astral City to dangerous attacks from inhabitants of the lower zones. Such entities endeavored to invade our city availing themselves of the breach of services of the Department of Regeneration, where many workers had been carrying on clandestine dealings in order to satisfy their undesirable addictions to food.

“The alarm was given, and though the crisis posed a serious threat to us all, the Governor maintained his usual serenity. He asked the Ministry of Divine Union for a meeting, and, after listening to our highest council, had the Ministry of Communication temporarily closed. He ordered the dungeons of the Department of Regeneration prepared for the isolation of the more stubborn rebels. He admonished the Ministry of Education, whose impertinence he had withstood for thirty years, and decreed that any further assistance whatsoever to the lower regions should be suspended until further notice. For the first time in his administration he had the electric weapons in the city walls turned on, so as to emit magnetic darts as a measure of defense. There were neither battles nor attacks on the Colony’s side only resolute defense. For over six months the diet of the Astral City was reduced to the life-supporting principles in the atmosphere and the electrical, magnetic and solar elements in the water. Thus for the first time the Colony felt the indignation of a kind and just spirit.“

The Crisis was finally over – the government had won. The Ministry of Elucidation itself admitted its error and lent a hand in it is said that during the festivities the Governor was moved to tears, declaring that the general, good understanding of his fellow citizens was the dearest reward to his heart. The Department of Regeneration was promoted to Ministry, and the city returned to its usual routine.

Since that time only the Ministries of Regeneration and Assistance are allowed greater supplies of nutritive substances, owing to the low spirituality of many of their patients. In all other Ministries the diet is limited to the essentials, according to the rules of the strictest sobriety. Nowadays everyone agrees that the Governor’s apparently arbitrary imposition was a most valuable measure towards our assent. Our contact with material things was reduced, giving rise to a greater spirituality.”

Lysias fell into silence, while I pondered deeply over the great lesson I’d just receive.





the flying "tube" seen in background to the left here


Noting my growing interest in the processes of nutrition, Lysias invited me to accompany him on an instructive excursion.

“Let’s go,” he suggested, “and see the Colony’s great reservoir. There you will have the opportunity to see some things that will interest you and to learn the importance of water in our transition settlement.”

My curiosity roused, I gladly accepted the invitation. When we arrived at the corner of the public square, my kind friend stopped.

“Here we wait for the airbus4.” He said. 4 An aerial vehicle similar to our large cable cars.

I had scarcely gotten over my surprise when a large vehicle approached, floating about fifteen feet above the ground, filled with passengers. It descended like an elevator. I looked at it closely – it was very long, like no vehicle I had ever seen on Earth. It seemed to be made of a very flexible material, and, judging from the number of antennae on its roof, I guessed that it was connected to invisible wires. Later, when visiting the large working plants of the Colony’s Department of Traffic and Transportation, I found that my suppositions had been right.


Lysias gave me no time for my customary questioning. We climbed in, settled into comfortable seats, and the air-bus started in silence. I felt uneasy in this unusual environment, among so many strangers. We traveled at such a speed that I found it impossible to discern the details of any of the constructions that we passed. We covered a good distance, stopping briefly every three kilometers, until forty minutes later Lysias informed me that we had arrived.

The scenery before my eyes was of exquisite beauty. The woods were in bloom and the fresh air was filled with a gentle aroma. It was all a miracle of colors and lights.


 A great river wound its way leisurely between green banks sprinkled with blue flowers. The slow-moving waters, shimmering in the sun, reflected, like a crystal mirror, the many shades of blue in the sky. Wide paths cut through the woods in different directions, and at regular intervals large trees spread their friendly branches offering areas of shade in the sun­bathed landscape. Here and there, fancifully shaped benches invited one to rest. I was simply charmed, and Lysias noticed by enthusiasm.





“This place is called the Water Park. It is one of the finest regions of the Astral City, and a favorite meeting place for lovers. They come here to exchange sweet vows of love and fidelity for their future experiences on Earth.”

These remarks brought a series of interesting questions to my mind, but Lysias gave me no chance to vent my eager curiosity. Pointing to a large and imposing building, he explained:

“That is the Colony’s water works. The waters of the Blue River that you see over there are drawn into huge compartments from which they are distributed to every district in the Colony. Beyond the grounds of the Ministry of Regeneration, the waters converge again. The river then flows along its ordinary course towards the great ocean of substances, invisible to the Earth. “As a matter of fact, water here has quite a different density than that on Earth. It is much lighter and purer here, almost fluidical.”

Noticing the magnificent building in front of us, I asked:

“Which Ministry controls the distribution of water?”

“It is one of the rare material activities under the Ministry of Divine Union.”

“Really!” I exclaimed, at a loss for how to reconcile the two. Lysias smiled and continued with his explanation:

“On Earth, very few people recognize the importance of water. Here in the Astral City our attitude is different and our knowledge of the subject is far greater.




 It is obvious that all services that are created need energy and attention to remain in good order. In this spiritual city we learn to be grateful to the Father and His divine laborers for such a gift. Being more deeply acquainted with the properties of water, we know that it is one of the most powerful vehicles for all fluids, whatever their nature. Here, water is used especially for nutritive and medicinal purposes. In the Ministry of Assistance, you will find several departments entirely devoted to mixing pure water with certain elements drawn from solar rays and from spiritual magnetism. In most districts of our extensive Colony, the water thus prepared is the basis of our diet. It happens, though, that, of all of us, the Ministers of Divine Union have reached the highest degree of spiritualization. Consequently they were allotted the task of the general magnetization of the water of the Blue River, to purify it enough so that it might be used by all of the inhabitants of the Astral City. After the Ministers of Divine Union cleanse the water, various institutions carry out the specialized work of endowing it with nutritive and medicinal substances. When the different ducts join again at a distant point opposite these woods, the river flows away from our area, bearing some of our spiritual qualities.”

I was completely astonished in the face of these explanations.

“On Earth,” I remarked, “I never heard of anything like this.”

“Man is inattentive.” Lysias continued. “For many centuries the sea has kept his environment in balance, rain has supplied him with food, and the rivers have been vital in the formation of his cities. Water is a blessing in his home and work, and is the principal and most important element in his physical body. Yet man goes on thinking himself the absolute master of his world, forgetting that he is, before any other consideration, a child of the Most High.”

“The time will come, though, when he will follow our example and recognize the value of this divine and precious gift. He will understand that the water in every home absorbs the mental characteristics of its inhabitants.”


“In the physical world, my friend, not only does water carry away the residues of material bodies, but it also becomes impregnated with our mental vibrations. It can be harmful in wicked hands, useful in generous ones. When in motion, it current spreads the blessing of life and acts as a vehicle of Divine Providence, absorbing man’s bitterness, hatred and worries, cleansing his physical home and purifying his inner atmosphere.”

Lysias fell into reverent silence, while I gazed at the tranquil waters that had aroused in my mind so many sublime thoughts.



My generous friend was anxious to show me around the numerous districts of the Colony, but pressing duties called him back.

“You will soon get a chance to visit the different departments of our activities,” he said, encouragingly. “You see, the Ministries of the city are vast centers of intense work. A through inspection of any one of them would take several days. However, you will not lack opportunities. Even if I find it impossible to accompany you, through Clarence’s mediation you will be granted a permit to visit any department you like.”

By this time we were back at the airbus and in a few minutes we were on our way home. I did not feel again the sensation of uneasiness I had at first experienced, nor was I constrained by the presence of the numerous passengers in the airbus. I was almost at ease and fell to pondering over some of the questions I was anxious to solve. I took the opportunity to question Lysias further:

“Lysias, my friend, can you tell me whether all spirit colonies are like this one? Do they adopt the same characteristics?”

“By no means. If, on the physical sphere, each region, each town presents its own peculiar features, you can imagine the diversity of conditions existing on our planes. Here, as on Earth, creatures are grouped according to the common sources of their origin and the goal in view. But it must be remembered that each colony, as well as each of us, stands on a different step of the great stairway to perfection. Collective experiences vary among one another. We are only one example of such colonies. According to our chronicles, our predecessors often sought inspiration in the work of the devoted workers of other spheres, just as settlements in formation now seek our help. Nevertheless, each organization posses essentially unique characteristics.”

As a longer pause in the conversation ensued, I inquired:

“And did the idea of the division into Ministries originate here?’

“Yes, it did. The pioneers of the Astral City visited New Dawn, one of the most important spirit colonies near us, where activities are distributed into departments. Our founder adopted the system, but substituted the word ‘ministry’ for ‘department’, except in the case of the Ministry of Regeneration, which only obtained its promotion under our present Governor. Their idea was that the organization into Ministries is more meaningful in a spiritual sense.”

“I quite agree.” I assented.

“It is important,” Lysias continued, “that you realize that our Colony strongly stresses the principles of order and hierarchy. Merit is the only standard used to evaluate those who may be assigned to prominent positions. In ten years, only four spirit entities have been granted missions of responsibility in the Ministry of Divine Union. As a rule, after long periods of apprenticeship and service, we reincarnate to continue our struggle towards perfection.”

I was completely absorbed in Lysias’ words, and he went on:

“When newcomers arrive showing response to brotherly cooperation, they are lodged in a district of the Ministry of Assistance. If, however, they are recalcitrant, they are taken to the Ministry of Regeneration. As they begin, in time, to improve, they are then admitted as helpers in the services of Assistance, Communication, and Elucidation, in order to prepare themselves for their future tasks on Earth.

“Only a few spirits are allowed the privilege of long stay in the Ministry of Elevation, and very rare indeed are those who are raised to the staff of the Ministry of Divine Union when positions become available every ten years. Let me tell you, the acquisitions required are no mere expressions of idealistic activity. We are no longer on the physical plane, where discarnate entities are obliged to become ghosts.



Our time here is spent in a round of active work. The work in the Ministry of Assistance is difficult and complex; in Regeneration it requires strenuous efforts; in Communication it demands a high standard of individual responsibility; in Elucidation it calls for a great working capacity and a well trained mind, while in Elevation, abnegation and spiritual enlightenment are indispensable. As to the missions of the Ministry of Divine Union, profound wisdom and sincere universal love are essential requisites. The Government, in its turn, is the busy center of all administrative activities, and numerous services are under its direct control, including nutrition, distribution of electrical energies, traffic and transportation. In truth, my friend, labor regulations are always fulfilled here. Rest, on the other hand, is also rigorously observed. This is necessary in order to ensure that tasks are fairly distributed. The only exception is the Governor himself, who works ceaselessly, even during leisure hours.”

“But does he never leave the Government House?” I inquired.

“Only when truly necessary for the public welfare. The one exception is his Sunday visit to the Ministry of Regeneration, the zone which contains the largest number of deranged entities because so many of the spirits there are still attuned with their unhappy brothers in the lower zones. Vast multitudes of transgressor spirits are lodged there. Thus, on Sundays, after the collective prayer in the Great Temple of the Government House, our Governor spends the afternoon working with the Ministries of Regeneration on many difficult cases. He sacrifices much to assist our distraught and suffering brothers.”

We left the airbus near the Hospital where, I thought gratefully, I would soon find my comfortable room. As we walked, I noticed beautiful music floating through the air. I had first heard the melodies on leaving, and now as we returned, I looked to Lysias for an explanation.

“That music comes from our workshops. After long observation, the Government came to the conclusion that music stimulates labor. Since then,

that inspiring incentive has become an established custom in all of our activities.”

Meanwhile, we had reached the hospital entrance hall. An attendant came forward and addressed my companion:

“Brother Lysias, you are urgently needed in the pavilion on my right.”

My friend left with his usual efficient calmness, while I retired to the privacy of my room, once more to return to endless speculations.




Chapter 12    THE LOWER ZONE

read more of this zone in "A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands" and this book

After having received such precious elucidations, I felt most anxious to improve my knowledge of some of the facts he had told me about. His references to spirits in the shadowy Lower Zones aroused my curiosity. The lack of religious instruction on Earth is very often the cause of a serious state of confusion over here. What could the Lower Zone be? I had heard Hell and Purgatory mentioned in the Roman Catholic sermons I had attended out of social obligation, but I never had the slightest notion of the Lower Zone. The next time I met my amiable attendant, I had all of my questions at my fingertips. He listened carefully, then replied:

“Well now, how can you be unaware of that region when you were kept there for so long?

With a shudder of horror, I recalled my past sufferings. Lysias continued:

“The Lower Zone begins on the Earth’s crust. It is the shadowy zone for those who, in the world, turned a deaf ear to the call of their sacred duties, which they failed to fulfill, languishing instead in indecision or dragging themselves into the mire of wrong-doings. You see, on reincarnating, a spirit promises to carry out the mission assigned to him in the Father’s work. Yet, when he recommences his experiences he finds it very difficult to keep his word. Instead, he blindly follows the dictates of his own selfishness. Thus, he continues to cultivate old hates and passions, forgetting that hatred is not justice, just as passion is not love. All that is superfluous and useless unbalances the harmony of life. “

“After Physical death, great multitudes of obsessed entities remain in that misty region adjacent to the Earth’s physical sphere. A well accomplished duty serves as a gateway through which we enter the Infinite. It brings us closer towards our goal – the sacred union with the Lord. It is natural, then, that one who neglects the tasks allotted to him should have that blessing indefinitely postponed.”


Lysias perceived my difficulty in grasping the full meaning of the lesson, owing to my almost total ignorance of spiritual principles, and tried to make it more objective:

“Now, suppose that each of us returns to the Earth wearing filthy clothing in order to wash it in the waters of human life. Our dirty garment is our spirit-body, molded by our own hands in past lives. Although we are granted the blessing of a new opportunity on Earth, we generally forget our essential aim. Instead of cleansing ourselves through constructive efforts, we acquire even more stains – we incur heavier debts and imprison ourselves through our own actions. We return to the world to rid ourselves of our impurities, knowing that they are utterly inconsistent with the higher spheres. How, then, can we expect to enter those luminous spheres in an even worse condition? The Lower Zone is a place where negative mental residues are destroyed. It is a sort of purgatory, where the refuse of the illusions acquired by neglecting the sublime opportunity of an earthly life is gradually burned away.”

The image could not have been clearer or more convincing. I was simply lost in amazement. Lysias, perceiving how useful these explanations could be to me, went on:

“The Lower Zone should be a region of great interest to those still on the physical plane, for it contains everything which is out of tune with a higher plane. Consider how wise Divine Providence was in allowing the creation of such a plane around Earth. There we find compact legions of irresolute and ignorant souls, not wicked enough to be relegated to colonies of harder expiation, nor sufficiently virtuous to be admitted to higher planes. Those countless inhabitants of the Lower Zone are close companions to incarnate men, separated from them only by vibratory laws.

It is no wonder, then, that such places are characterized by serious disturbances. There, rebellious spirits of all kinds are grouped together, forming invisible nuclei of extraordinary power, owing to the concentration of their common tendencies and desires.”

“Many people on Earth become desperate when the postman doesn’t turn up, or when the train is late. The Lower Zone is full of such desperate creatures, who, after physical death, are disappointed at not finding the Lord ready to satisfy their every whim. When they realize that the crown of glory and eternal life are awarded only to those who have worked with the Father, they show themselves as they truly are, wasting precious time on petty deeds in the Lower Zone. Just as in the Astral City, entities in the Lower Zone form a spiritual community, but their community is peopled with many different types of frustrated, idle and perverse entities. It is the Threshold, a Zone of tyranny and bondage, of exploiters and exploited.”

Lysias stopped, but I, greatly impressed, went on questioning:

“But how do you account for this state of things? Do these spirits have no defense, no organization?”

“Organization,” Lysias proceeded with a smile, “is an attribute of organized spirits. You see, the Lower Zone to which we are referring is like a home where there is no bread – everybody complains and no one is right. The absent minded traveler will miss his train; the farmer who does not sow cannot reap. However, of one thing you can be sure: even in the shadows and ordeals of the Lower Zone, divine protection never fails its inhabitants. Each spirit remains there just the necessary time, no more, no less. An in order to carry out the work of spirit care in the Lower Zones, the Lord has permitted the establishment of several settlements such as ours.”

“I suppose then,” I remarked, “that the Lower Zone must be in close connection with the incarnate plane even a kind of continuation of it?”

“So it is,” he agreed, “and you will see there the net of invisible wires connecting it to human minds. It is peopled with disincarnated entities and the thought forms of those still on Earth. Every spirit, wherever it may be, is a nucleus of radiating forces which can create, transform or destroy, manifesting as vibrations that Earth science cannot yet understand. Thus, whoever is thinking is emitting positive or negative forces, and is, consequently, constructing or destroying something somewhere. It is by means of those mental currents that men establish connection with entities in the Lower Zone whose tendencies are in accordance with their own, because every soul is a powerful magnet. You see, then, that an invisible army is at work behind the invisible one. “

“The most strenuous missions in the Lower Zone are assigned to devoted helpers of the Ministry of Assistance. If a fireman’s work in the great cities of Earth is exhausting and dangerous because of the blazing flames and clouds of smoke he has to fight, no lighter is the missionary’s task in the Lower Zone. These missionaries have to withstand heavy fluids emitted by thousands of minds obsessed in the practice of evil, or terribly chastised by redeeming ordeals. I tell you, my friend, a great deal of courage and a superior capacity for self-sacrifice are necessary to be able to help those who are still unable to understand and appreciate the assistance offered them.”

As Lysias paused once more, I exclaimed:

“Oh, how would I like to work to help those unhappy creatures; to offer them the spiritual bread of enlightenment.”

My friendly attendant looked at me kindly, and after a few moments of reflection, took his leave with this parting remark:

“I wonder whether you feel duly prepared for such a mission.”





As I gradually became stronger, I began to feel again the need for activity and work. Now that those difficult years of distress were over, I longed to begin again the round of occupations which, in the world, generally comprise a regular working day. I fully realized that I had missed excellent opportunities on Earth and that my physical life had been spent along the wrong path. But, on recalling my fifteen years of medical practice, I experienced a sense of emptiness in my heart. I saw myself as a strong farmer standing in the middle of a field, hands tide, unable to work. Here I was, surrounded by patients, yet not allowed, as before, to approach their beds as their friend, doctor and scientist. Incessant moaning from neighboring rooms reached my ears, but I could not lend a hand not even as a humble member of the nursing or first-aid staff.

On the physical plane it was a matter of studying the regular books plus some necessary training and one could acquire the rights of a qualified physician. But here, in my new surroundings, spirit doctors employed different methods, their chief textbooks being their own hearts, and their basic treatment, brotherly care and love. Even the humblest of nursing attendants in the Astral City possessed far greater knowledge and possibilities than I, with all my science. Consequently, much as I longed for some occupation, I feared that, at least for the time being, any attempt on my part to apply for work would amount to an encroachment upon the rights of others. Faced with such difficulties, I turned to Lysias as a brother. In reply to my doubts and hesitations, he suggested:

“Why not asking Clarence? He never fails to ask about you, and is sure to do his best on your behalf. Go and ask him for advice and assistance”.

I took the necessary steps to obtain an appointment with my generous benefactor, and was told that he would not be able to see me until the next morning, when I was to go to his private office.

I waited anxiously for the coming interview, and very early the following day I made my way to the appointed place. To my great surprise, I found three other people already waiting for him. The kind Minister had arrived early, long before us, and was seeing to matters even more important than attending to visitors and petitioners. After finishing his most urgent work, the Minister had us shown in, two by two. I was surprised at this manner of holding an audience, but was told later that the measure was adopted so that the solution of one case might profit not only the party involved, but also the others present, thus serving the common well being as well as saving time.

After several minutes had passed, I was admitted along with an elderly lady who was to be heard first. The Minister welcomed us cordially, putting us at ease to present our requests.

“Worthy Clarence” began my unknown companion, “I have come to beg your intercession on behalf of my two sons. I can’t bear to be separated from them any longer! Moreover, I have been informed that they are leading difficult lives on Earth, with no end to their tribulations. I realize that our Father’s designs are loving and just, yet as a mother I can’t help worrying and being anxious.”

The poor creature broke down and wept bitterly. Clarence looked at her with sympathy and kindness, but replied firmly:

“But sister, if you agree that our Father’s designs are holy and just, what is left for me to do?”

“I should like to be granted the means of protecting my sons on Earth myself.” Replied the afflicted mother.

“Alas, my friend,” exclaimed Clarence, “in order to protect others, one must have grown in the spirit of humility and service. What would you think of a man who anxious to provide for his little children remained comfortably at home? Service and cooperation are laws created by the Father, and no one may break them without causing himself serious damage. Has your conscience nothing to say on this point? How many-bonuses5 can you present to justify your demand?”


5Note by André Luiz: An hour-bonus is a convention created to account for each hour of service performed on behalf of the community


The anxious mother, thus addressed, answered hesitantly: “Three hundred and four.”

“It is a pity,” continued Clarence, smiling, “that you should have been lodged here for over six years and should have given the Colony only three hundred and four hours of work. Yet, as soon as you recovered from your trials in the lower regions, I offered you a meritorious occupation in the Vigilance Patrols of the Ministry of Communication…”

“But that was intolerable work”, she interrupted, “an incessant struggle against malevolent entities! Your couldn’t expect me to adapt to it.”

Clarence went on, unperturbed:

“After that I found you a place with the Brothers of Support, for redeeming service.”

“Worse still!” She protested. “Those chambers are always crowded with filthy creatures. I couldn’t stand their swearing, their immorality, the squalor…”

“Realizing your difficulties,” continued the Minister, “I sent you to cooperate in the Ward of Mentally Disturbed entities.”

“But can anybody but saints put up with them?” Inquired the rebellious petitioner. “I really did my best, but the multitude of raving souls is enough to scare anybody.”

“My efforts did not stop there.” Proceeded our patient benefactor calmly. “I then placed you in the Investigation and Research Department of the Ministry of Elucidation. But, you, sister, probably impatient at my unwelcome interest, deliberately retired to the Park of Repose.”


“I found that place unbearable.” Explained the querulous matron. “I couldn’t possibly endure the atmosphere of strange fluids, exhausting experiments and harsh supervisors.”

“Remember, my friend, resumed the devoted and enlightened Minister, “that assistance has two inseparable companions: service and humility. In order to help others we must first obtain the collaboration of benefactors, friends and servants. Before being able to render assistance to those we love, it is essential that we establish currents of sympathy, without which no efficient aid is possible. The peasant who tills the soil earns the gratitude of those who enjoy the harvest. The workman who satisfies exacting superintendents, carrying out their orders scrupulously, is providing nourishment for his family. The servant who obeys in the spirit of cooperation, wins the goodwill of his master, his companions, and all those interested in his work. So you see, no average administrator can ever be useful to his loved ones if he has not yet learned how to obey and serve worthily. Let everybody keep in mind that all useful service belongs, above all, to the Universal Giver, and that it must be carried out no matter what difficulties or suffering it may cost.”

After a short pause, he resumed:

“What, then, would you do on Earth, if you have not yet learned how to withstand here? I do not doubt your devotion to your sons, but as it is, you would arrive there as a paralytic mother, incapable of rendering any efficient assistance. To deserve the joy of helping love ones we must enlist the goodwill of many of our brothers, whom we, in turn, have helped. If you give no cooperation, you cannot expect to receive any. That is the Law. And if you, my sister, possess nothing of your own to give, you will have to turn to others for voluntary contribution. But how will you obtain it, when you have not sown anything, not even good feelings? Go back, then, to the Park of Repose, where you have been lodging lately, and give the subject serious attention. We shall take it up again.”


The disappointed woman sat down, drying her tears. The Minister then looked at me and said, kindly:

“Your turn, my friend.”

I rose hesitantly and approached him to present my request.




As I stood there, my heart pounding, I felt like a diffident student about to face a strict examining board. Disconcerted by the sight of that woman in tears, and awed by the Minister’s serene authority, I trembled in my shoes, regretting having sought the interview. Would it have been better to have held my peace and waited patiently for superior deliberations? Would it be presuming too much to apply for medical duties in a hospital where I was a patient? I wished that I could retreat hurriedly to my room and forget all about yesterday’s aspirations. But that was quite out of the question now. The Minister of Assistance, sensing my innermost intentions, addressed me in a firm tone of voice:

“I am ready to hear you, my friend.”

Although a prey to indecision, I was about to instinctively solicit any medical activity in the colony, when my conscience prompted a warning: why ask for special work? Would that not be falling again into human error, reverting to that old vanity which does not tolerate any occupation but the one befitting one’s special status and schooling? These thoughts restored my equilibrium, and, rather confused, I began:

“I took the liberty to come to you today to ask your assistance in procuring some sort of work for me. Now that the treatment received here has restored my health, I am beginning to miss my old occupations. Any task will be welcomed, as long as it keeps me from inactivity.”

Clarence looked at me long and intently, as if trying to gauge my innermost thoughts.

“I see. With your lips you ask for any kind of work, but deep in your heart what you really miss is your consulting room, your patients, and all the atmosphere of medical service with which the Lord deigned to honor you on Earth.”

So far his words were most encouraging, and with my heart filled with hope, I nodded in assent. After a long pause, the minister proceeded:

“You must not forget, however, that very often our Father honors us with his confidence, and that we often betray his trust by underestimating the dignity of the call. Your, for instance, went through your medical courses on Earth surrounded by every facility. You never knew the price of a single book, as your parent’s generosity saw to all your needs. As soon as you graduated, lucrative positions were already waiting for you. Thus, you were spared the poor doctor’s hard struggle to build a practice. You prospered most rapidly in your career. Unfortunately, you transformed the advantages you obtained into a means of bringing about the premature death of your physical body. While young and strong, you committed numerous abuses in the exercise of the profession which Jesus granted you.”

At that firm but kind lecture, I felt strangely disturbed, but managed to reply respectfully:

“I recognize the justice of your observations, but I should be grateful if you would grant me the means of repaying my debts by devoting myself, heart and soul, to the patients in this hospital.”

“A very noble impulse,” said Clarence without severity. “Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the exercise of a profession on Earth is a call from our Father summoning his creatures to come into the divine temples of service. For us here a degree is a mere identification card, but on Earth it usually means an open door to all sorts of abuse. The person who receives such a card is given the opportunity to study and cooperate with the Lord in His divine work on the planet. This principle is applicable to all earthly activities, regardless of their nature and class conventions. You, my brother, were granted a medical card, and consequently were admitted into the temple of Medicine. However, your line of conduct does not justify my endorsing your present wish. How could I appoint you to treat spirit patients, when on Earth you insisted on limiting your professional observations to the physical body?

I do not deny your capacity as an excellent physiologist, but the field of life is much wider. What would you think of a botanist who based his definitions on the mere examination of the dry bark of a few trees? A great number of earthly physicians prefer mathematical conclusions in their anatomical work. Now, I quite agree that Mathematics is a most respectable science, but it is not the only one in the Universe. As you are already aware, a doctor cannot draw the line at diagnoses and terminologies – he must go deeper, and scrutinize the innermost recesses of the soul. On Earth, many of your colleagues become true slaves to academic conventionalism because of their professional life. Very few succeed in crossing prejudices. The rare exceptions are scoffed at by society, and looked down upon by their colleagues.”

I was lost in amazement. I had never dreamed of such lofty notions of professional responsibility. I was staggered by the idea of a college degree being merely a ticket giving admittance into zones of work and collaboration with the Lord. Speechless, I waited for the Minister of Assistance to resume his elucidations.

“As you see,” he went on, “you have not prepared yourself for our activities.”

“Generous benefactor,” I ventured to say, “I understand the lessons and submit myself to the obvious.”

Trying to keep back my tears, I begged humbly:

“I am willing to accept any kind of occupation in this colony of work and peace.”

Clarence, showing me a deep look of approval, answered:

“My friend, you have listened to a few bitter truths. Now let me add a little word of encouragement. You cannot, as yet, become a doctor in the Astral City, but in due time you will be admitted as an apprentice. Your present situation is not the best. Nevertheless, it is a promising one, owing to the intercessional petitions sent to the Ministry of Assistance on your behalf.”



“My mother?” I inquired, transported with bliss.

“Yes,” assented the Minister, “your mother, and other friends in whose heart you planted the seed of gratitude. Soon after your arrival here, I requested that the Ministry of Elucidation have your records sent to me. I have already examined them most carefully, and found much rashness and thoughtlessness, and many abuses. I also found that, in your fifteen years of medical practice, six thousand poor patients received free medical attendance in your clinic. Most often you went through those meritorious deeds quite heedlessly. Still, you can see now that, even if carelessly done, a good deed attracts blessings to the one who carries it out. Of six thousand, fifteen have not forgotten you, and have been sending incessant appeals on your behalf. I must explain, also, that even the forgotten benefit of your work weighs in your favor.”

Putting a stop to those surprising elucidations, Clarence added with a smile:

“You will learn new lessons here, and after instructive experiences, you will cooperate efficiently with us, preparing at the same time for your own progress towards the Infinite.”

I was overjoyed. For the first time since my arrival at the Colony, I cried out of pure happiness. Who on Earth would understand such emotions? Still, I felt it necessary to quiet my heart to enter the sublimity of divine silence.




Following Clarence’s advice, I tried hard to restore my strength in order to start my apprenticeship as soon as possible. In the old days, I might have taken offense at the Minister’s seemingly harsh remarks, but under the circumstances, recollecting my past errors, I could only feel comforted. As a prisoner of the flesh, the soul is almost always wrapped in thick mists of illusion. Only now did I realize that an earthly life cannot be lived thoughtlessly. The real importance of an incarnation loomed clearly before my eyes. Remembering all the opportunities I had wasted, I recognized that Clarence had plenty of reason to have spoken to me as he had.

I spent many days immersed in contemplation. Although I refrained from asking for any more concessions, deep in my heart I longed to visit my earthly home. The benefactors of the Ministry of Assistance had been extremely generous to me and seemed to follow all of my thoughts. Therefore if they did not spontaneously grant such a wish, it must be because the time had not yet come for it. Thus I held my peace, resigned, though somewhat wistful. Lysias did his best to cheer me up with his lively conversation and encouraging remarks, but I was going through that phase of spiritual retreat when a man retires within himself to face his innermost conscience.

One day, however, my attendant came into my room and exclaimed:

“Guess who has come to see you!”

Lysias, smiling face and sparkling eyes gave him away.

“My mother!” I exclaimed confidently. Stunned with joy, I saw my mother approaching with outstretched arms.


“My child, my child! Come into my arms, my dear one.”

I cannot describe what happened then. All of a sudden, I felt like the little boy who used to play in the rain, barefoot in the sandy soil of our garden. In that sacred and joyful moment I held her tenderly in my arms, until even our tears blended. I cannot say how long we remained that way, but at last she broke the enchantment:


“Now, now, my boy, don’t give free rein to your emotions. You know that even excessive happiness taxes the heart. You are still weak, do not waste your energy.”

Instead of carrying my dear old mother in my arms, as I had done in the last weeks of her passage on Earth, it was she who dried my tears and led me to the couch. I sat down beside her and laid my head tenderly on her knees. She stroked my hair gently, recounting precious memories. I felt at that moment that I was the happiest of men – I had the impression of being anchored in the safest of harbors after a hard struggle on the stormy seas.

My mother’s presence was a great comfort to my heart, and those moments seemed like a blissful dream. Like a little boy looking for comfort in familiar objects, I attentively observed her clothes, a perfecto copy of those se used to wear at home. I recognized the dark dress, the blue shawl, the woolen stockings. I gazed at her small head crowned with snow-white hair, at the wrinkles on her face, at her invariably sweet and calm expression. Speechless and trembling with joy, I stroked her hands, while she, stronger that I, spoke serenely:

“The Lord never forgets us, my child. We shall never be able to thank Him for all of His kindness. How long our separation has been – but you mustn’t think that I had forgotten you. Sometimes Providence parts us temporarily so that we may learn Divine Love.”

Feeling that her affection was the same as ever, I began to recall again the sting of old grievances. Oh, how difficult it is to get rid of earthly residues. How heavy is the burden of centuries of imperfections! Clarence had often exhorted me to refrain from lamenting. Lysias, too, had spared me his warnings. Yet now, resting in my mother’s arms, all my old wounds seemed to bleed again. I started to bitterly recall my past sufferings, and my tears of joy gave away to those of self-pity.

 I did not realize then that her visit was not to be taken simply for the gratification of my whims, but as one more blessing from Divine Mercy. Relapsing into my old habit of making my mother the patient victim of my endless grievances, I now began to painfully recount all of my past tribulations. On Earth mothers are often merely slaves in their children’s eyes. Very rare are those who realize the value of their mother’s devotion before being deprived of it . I hade been no exception.

My mother listened in silence, her face clouded by an expression of indescribable sadness. Holding me tight to her heart, her eyes full of tears, she spoke tenderly:

“Oh, my son, don’t complain. Didn’t our generous Clarence give you sound advice on that subject? Let’s be thankful to our Father for this blessed meeting. Let’s never forget we are now in a different school, learning to become true children of God.

“As a mother on Earth, I didn’t always succeed in guiding you in the best way. Therefore I, too, am working to control my feelings by readjusting my heart. Bu your tears are stirring my old earthly feelings, drawing me back into a path I have already trodden. I should like to believe your complaints justified, to set you up as the most virtuous creature in the Universe, but it would be out of accordance with the new lessons we are learning. In the world one might make allowances for such behavior; here it is quite impossible. We must consider the Lord before everything else. You aren’t the only discarnate man redeeming his errors, nor am I the only mother parted from her loved ones. The merit of our suffering, my son, doesn’t lie in the tears it makes us shed, nor in the bleeding wounds it inflicts on us, but in the gateway of light it opens up to us. Tears and wounds are only a blessed means of helping us to purify our soul.”

After a prolonged pause, during which my conscience addressed me firmly, she resumed:

“Why not enjoy these fleeting moments in the sunshine of love, instead of wasting them in the shadows of unhappiness? Let’s serve, my child, and serve cheerfully, while at the same time constantly rejoicing in the Lord. Change your mental attitude, I beg you. Your confidence in my love and your affection for me, bring me sublime happiness, but I can’t return to experiences which have passed. We must love each other now with the great and sacred Divine Love.”

Those inspiring words awakened me, and I had the impression that my mother’s love radiated invigorating fluids which lifted my heart. She gazed at me contentedly, transfigured by a radiant smile, and as I rose and respectfully kissed her forehead, it struck me that I had never before seen her so beautiful and so loving.


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