“Give us this day our daily Bread……”
Isabel went to church alone now. The children had grown and married and were happy. Thank God they would never know a life like hers. Every time she went, it was the same prayer, “Deliver me Lord from these painful memories. Deliver me from hate. Change my heart.” It didn’t seem enough. Volunteer work helped. These people were living her past. The details of their individual stories varied, but wasn’t it the same story? They all had to be delivered from slavery. Slavery to pain, to poverty, to fear. There were slaves to disease of the body and slaves to diseases of the mind. They would all be free if they had faith. And so would Isabel. This she knew.
God was very real to Isabel. God had Infinite Wisdom. God had Infinite Mercy. Isabel took great satisfaction knowing that God was God and not some of the idiots who pranced on the tube. Most of Isabel’s friends were Protestant and believed that your choice between God and Hell was made at the point of death and there was no court of appeal after that. Being Roman Catholic, Isabel had been raised on Purgatory. The Catholic Church had taught for centuries that hardly anyone went straight to heaven. There was Purgatory, a place of terrible suffering, but you could get prayed out if you were forgiven by those you had wronged and they prayed for your deliverance. But the Church didn’t believe in Purgatory any more. Had the belief in Purgatory have any true basis? Or was the discarding of Purgatory a political move to bring the Catholic Church more in line with the other Christian Churches?. Isabel simply didn’t know. Finding out would be a task.
Isabel had had enough near death experiences in her life to have seen the distant shore. Any other afterlife experience was unthinkable. Isabel knew Hell was a choice, but her whole life, her father had trained her to look after her mother and keep her from harm. What had her father seen to make such expectations necessary? What had her father seen in Isabel that he would have such expectations of stewardship from a child?Well, she wasn’t a child anymore. How to change the unchangeable? The key lay in God’s Infinite Mercy. Something had to be done.