Project Canterbury

The Road to Heaven by the Holy Catholic Church Railway

By R. A. Kingdon, Illustrated by T. Noyes-Lewis

Childermote Manual No. 16.

London: The Faith Press, no date.


Do you like trains? I do ever so much. There is the toy kind; perhaps you had one given you at Christmass; the best have rails to run on and a clockwork engine all made to go Then there are the real trains--the first one used in England in 1814, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, was called "Puffing Billy." Isn't it lovely to stand on the platform and see the train we are waiting for come in? It seems to be going so fast we are afraid it will go right on--we can hardly wait till it stops--you jump in one after the other--hooray! we're off for a day in the country (or the town) or a week at the seaside.

Life is rather like a railway journey--we are all travelling along the road to Eternity--some go first class, and some third; rich and poor, we travel along together--we start at different times and our journeys are of different lengths. Sometimes we can have a choice of lines to travel on; but in the Journey of Life there is only one right way. "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way."--(Jeremiah vi. 16)

So I am going to talk to you about trains, in order that you may learn about the right way. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs xxii. 5). Come with me to a big station like Liverpool Street, Waterloo, or Paddington--each of these is a terminus, which means that trains start from here, or return and end the journey here. What a bustle [3/4] is going on; lots of porters, guards, trains, platforms and passengers. Now all the trains belong to one Company (remember that). Look at that lovely train there just ready to start--what is the most important part of it? "The Engine, of course." Quite right, and the engine driver is in charge of it. You can see how proud he is of it; and well he may be, for it is so spick and span, all ready for its long journey. “Half a mo'," you say, "what has all this to do with religion?" Why, just this: I want to talk to you about the road or line to Heaven. Each one of you is like a train starting out for the terminus--Heaven--and all the trains belong to one Company. What is that Company? "The Holy Catholic Church." Right again. The Line is the Narrow Way our Lord tells us of--"Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (S. Matthew vii. 14). A little while ago I got into a railway carriage, and opposite to me I read these words: "To eat five persons"--rather terrifying, wasn't it? Of course, you clever children know someone had put a bit of sticky paper on the letter S. We have a sort of toy railway in the Isle of Dogs, where six sit on each side. Some railways are "broad gauge," that is, they run on broad rails. So there is the Broad Way in Life--our Lord tells us about that, too--and I expect you know where it leads to. If not, you can see in the picture in the bottom right hand corner.

So you are a train! Funny, isn't it? Here is a question: "Of which must you take most care, your body or your soul?" Soul, of course, because (like the engine) it is the most important part Look at the engine waiting--all the pent-up steam in it--it will want careful driving.

So you are the engine-driver in charge of your soul taking along your body (the carriages) on the road to Heaven. Do be careful of your soul; it can [4/5] do a lot of harm if you let it run amok. The driver can apply the brakes--the Westinghouse, or the automatic vacuum--if the train is running too fast: so you can put the brake on at any time and pull yourself up; we call that self-control.

So now you see the meaning of the train in the bottom left-hand corner. The engine is your soul, the carriages your body, and you are the driver in charge of both. Fine man, the driver! The part he stands in is called the cab; and what a responsible work he has to do He must know all about his engine--all the different parts--and its powers--just as you must know about your soul--the gifts God has given it of Free-will, and Faith and Hope and Charity, and its powers, the Understanding, the Memory and the Will. He must also know his line along which he has to drive his train; the curves and grades, the points and signals, the tunnels and stations. Else the train will never travel safely. And of course he must know when he needs to take up water and coal and how to oil his engine. Now you see why you go to Sunday School or Catechism--to learn about your line--to become an expert driver, so that you may travel safely and keep on the right line. Our Mother, the Church, tells us how to take care of our immortal soul--she teaches us the Rule of Life. So it is quite worth while learning all we can--we shall be able to avoid accidents, and collisions, in which we may harm others.

You see you are a very responsible person--you feel very important if mother, when she goes out, says: "Look after baby." Well, God says: "Look after your soul and bring it safe to Me in Heaven."


Here is another thing about trains. Do you know Bradshaw's Railway Guide? Such a nice book telling you all about trains and the time they start; but it costs 2s. since the war. Ever so many nice pictures in it of hotels and seaside places. If you can't get away for a holiday, look at it and imagine you are there.

"But it's hard to understand, sometimes." Yes, so it is, and then you do as I do, ask some clever person to help you find out what time your train goes, or where you have to change.

Now what is the book which tells you all about your line? "The Bible." Yes, and a very nice book it is--God's Book, though men wrote it, and full of beautiful pictures of God's dealings with us. But then the men who wrote it were guided by God, the Holy Spirit, and so you know it is all true from beginning to end.

We call this guidance of God "Inspiration" ("all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God"; 2 S. Timothy iii. 16); so that the Bible is, like our Lord Himself, partly human and partly Divine.

"Still, lots of things in it are hard to understand; who will explain it to us?" Why, your Mother, the Church, of course; she is the keeper and interpreter of Holy Scripture, and when she explains it, it is all as easy as an A.B.C. (No, little London children, I don't mean a tea-shop, but a simple railway guide.) You see, the Bible is the Church's own book--it was she, who, by the general consent of Christians, settled in the early days of the Church what book was "inspired"--that is, what books really belonged to that collection of writings which we call the Bible. Now, if you find something difficult to [6/7] understand in what I write to you, surely I, who wrote it, can best explain it. And so the Church is the proper person to explain the Bible to you, and it is just because people don't know this, that there are so many different religions outside the Church, following their own ways.

So in their teaching about the way to Heaven some stations get left out, and signals and rules are not correct. It was to the Church, and to the Church alone, that Christ made the promise "The Holy Spirit shall guide you into all truth." In our baptism, God gave us the spiritual gift of Faith, and by faith we can believe all that Christ has revealed or taught. "But, oh dear, how am I to know what Christ has revealed? For one says this, and another that, even in the Church, teachers don’t agree. Well that is a difficulty, and a very real one; just as if one porter told you the train you wanted to go by would start from No. 2 platform, and another porter said it would be No. 7. And they both seemed such good, kind men too. Well, the one safe rule is this: has the whole Church always and everywhere taught it? Then it is true, it is Catholic; in other words it is part of the Faith which Christ once for all delivered to the Saints. If you keep this rule you will never go wrong in matters of faith, and, as the Athanasian Creed says: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things "it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith." Now you want to be saved, to bring your soul safely to Heaven. Well, then, first get from your Mother, the Church, the Catholic Faith (you can't hold what you haven't got) and then hold on tight to it, so that at your journey's end you may be able to say: "I have kept the Faith."

Now then, are you ready? Where are you going to get in? You must go to a Station first No good to stand in a field or the street and cry "Hi" to the driver. He won't stop. So the Station you start [7/8] from on the road to Heaven is called Holy Baptism. If you are a bit early, you can rest in the "Waiting Room." But don't stop there too long. Some silly people do, and the train goes off without them. Like those who have never been Baptised, eh? But of course you were, long ago. Look at the nice station in the plan. You see a pump for supplying water to the engine and there is a cross at the top which reminds you of the Sign of the Cross made on your forehead in Holy Baptism.

Now you must get your ticket. "I have, and it was so funny; I put my hand up with the money into a little hole and asked for a ticket, and out it came, and I didn't see anybody." Just like Holy Baptism--you didn't see God but He gave you your ticket--your passport for Heaven. It is called Grace; and, like a railway ticket, it is "not transferable," and you must look after it, take good care of it, and keep it to your journey's end. If a guard comes along and asks to see it, and you have lost it--well, I'll tell you about that later on.

You can't travel without a ticket; you can't go to France without a passport, and you can't go to Heaven without Grace. Look at your ticket in the picture. On the back it says it is issued in accordance with the laws and bye-laws of the Railway. And so when you get your Grace you promise to give up what is wrong, to believe what is true, and to do what is right.

"I had to ask mother to give me the money for my ticket." Yes, but your ticket for Heaven costs nothing--it is a free gift from our dear Lord because He wants you all to come to Heaven--but it costs Him a great deal--the Shedding of His Precious Blood on Calvary to win Grace for you.


You have your ticket all right, so you have started on the road to Heaven. But how are you going to get the power to drive the train? Well, look at your engine. What is that between the engine and the carriages? "The tender." Yes, quite right and it carries the coal to make the steam. Look how it is banked up; it wouldn't do to run short of coal on a long journey. The train would get slower and slower and soon it would stop altogether.

That is like little people who forget to pray; they don't get on Prayer is one of the chief ways by which we get Grace, God's help on the road to Heaven, and we want to have a good reserve of Grace banked up to help us in time of need.

"What is Prayer?" Prayer is the lifting-up of the mind and heart to God--talking to God. When you pray you must give your mind to it-you can pray anywhere-David prayed in the den of lions--Jonah prayed when he was inside the great fish--the Three Holy Children prayed in the fire. So you can pray in Church, in your own room, in school, in the street, or in the railway train. Also you can pray any time; of course, you pray morning and evening, and at noon when the Angelus bell rings, also, before and after meals-any time is a good time for prayer--especially before you begin any special work, when you are tempted, or when you see another child of God sinning.

Yes, pray anywhere, or any time, but not anyhow--oh dear no! You must pray with your mind, with attention--that means make a business of it like you make a business of eating, sleeping, or playing games. Now, don't be frightened, I don't mean that I want you to do nothing but pray (any more [9/10] than I want you to do nothing but eat!) for you would pray very badly if you did--only that you should love prayer, make a business of it and give the proper time to it.

A little girl was asked "What is man?" She answered, "an animal that prays"--I think that was a very good answer--so when you pray, pray with attention.

One day the disciples were watching our Lord at prayer, and when He had finished (they didn't interrupt Him) one of them said, “Lord, teach us to pray." They were good Jews, and many of them had been disciples of the Baptist, so of course they knew how to pray a bit. What the disciples meant was "Lord, teach us to pray like You"--they had never seen prayer like His. As an army in the field has lines of communication to keep in touch with the base of operations and to get supplies, so by prayer we keep in touch with God and get our supplies of Grace.

Of course, the Devil will try to stop you, and when your thoughts wander he is very pleased; just like the enemy in war tries to break the line of communication and cut the army off from its supplies. Sometimes, even, he taps the wires and diverts the information to himself. So the Devil tries to stop our thoughts going to God--or even tries to make us think of wrong things.

Never mind. Have you read the beautiful story of the Young Christian's Progress? Then you will remember how he had to send off his Dove when he wanted help. So send off an ejaculatory prayer--that is, a little prayer darted up to God, like "Jesus help me." What did you say? Like the carrier pigeons we used in the Great War? Yes, very good indeed But you are not all mind; you have a heart as well; and God says: "Give Me thine heart." It is the mind which thinks, it is the heart which hopes and loves. When we come to the [10/11] great Prayer-Meeting on Sundays, the Priest says: "Lift up your hearts"; and we answer: "We lift them up unto the Lord." So, praying with your heart means giving your love to God--we call it devotion. Shovel the coal on then and "keep the home fires burning"--your heart, which is the home of God, burning with love for Him.

While we are talking about Prayer, there is just one more thing I want to say. When the journey is finished, and the train arrives at the station, the driver ends his day's work by making a report. In this report he has to mention particulars of the day's run, how many minutes he was late, the causes of the delay, and, above all, any repairs that are required by his engine. Of course, in order to do this he has to make a careful examination of his engine. So, in your, evening prayer you must make an examination of your soul and give a report to God.

In your picture you see a beam of light coming from God, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a Dove--so, it is He who will enable you to make your self-examination. Just like a room needs dusting and sweeping every day, so your soul needs attention. Then, when you have found out what is wrong, tell God how sorry you are. It need not be a long or tiring examination, but it must be a very real and devout Act of Sorrow.

Say, if you like, these words: "O my God, because Thou art so good, I am very sorry I have sinned against Thee, and by Thy help I will not sin again."

Then lie down to sleep under His Everlasting Arms and he ready for the next day's journey. (Good night Driver, and God bless you).


Now then, are you ready? Do you know your line? You have only one line to learn, the road to Heaven. What about the signals?

In the block system of signalling, a railway is divided into a number of sections by a series of signal-boxes (you will find one in the picture) not more than one train being allowed on one line in a section at a time In each signal-box there are block indicators, one for each line of rails in each section, connected by electric wires to similar instruments in the adjacent boxes and with bells similarly connected: there is also a set of levers by which the signalman moves the points and signal arms.

When a train gets near a signal-box it cannot pass until the semaphore drops. The signalman lets it drop, but not until he knows the line is all clear ahead. At night when the drivers cannot see the signal arms, lights are used. A red light means "Danger--Stop, pull up, you mustn't go on." What does this mean? "The Ten Commandments." Yes, when God says "Thou shalt not," it is His danger signal to keep us safe "Red, red, danger ahead"--He puts a big red light where the line runs off to the Broad Way--you told me before where that leads to.

I think the Angels work the points. You can see a good Angel in the picture and a bad one too. If all is clear a green light is shown--"Green light, all right" or, if you like better, "Green, green, all serene."

God's green light is again the Commandments, like "Remember," and" Honour thy father and mother," and all the rules He gives us through our Mother, the Church How good God is to give us all these helps to keep us on the right road. Sometimes we feel we want to be independent and we don't like [12/13] rules, but we soon find they are made for our happiness and that "His service is perfect freedom." But the signal-arms and lights are not enough sometimes. When there is a fog, neither can be seen by the driver, and then fog-signals are used. These are metal cases with a pinch of powder in them and when the heavy wheels go over them they explode "Bang, bang." We get in a fog sometimes (very often where I live!), I mean, we hardly know what it is right to do--we are puzzled or sorely tempted. Then something goes "Bang, bang" inside and tells us that is God the Holy Spirit speaking by the Voice of Conscience helping to guide us aright.

Mind you listen and keep your conscience examined and in good order and then it will be a safe guide Such nice big watches the guards have, and always kept to Greenwich time, even on the South Eastern. We get our Greenwich time from God (I live near Greenwich, but our clocks are always wrong--rather like people who live close to a Church where God is, and yet are very far from God.)

God knows we have many strong enemies to fight against--the World, the Flesh and the Devil. We will talk about the last one--the Devil. He was once called Lucifer, an Angel of light, but he rebelled against God and S. Michael turned him out of Heaven. So he is filled with envy and wants to keep us from getting to Heaven He tries to get us on the Broad Way--the Way of Sin.

You see on the plan, it is all down hill, so it is easy going S. Peter says: "Your adversary, the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour." If you met a lion and he roared at you, you would be very frightened. So the Devil tries to frighten us into sin; but though he is very strong, he is also a great coward. So you must "resist the Devil, and he will flee from you." When he roars at you, roar back at him--make the [13/14] Sign of the Cross and he will run away from you like a dog does when you stoop to pick up a stone.

Now you see how good God is; He made us to know, love and serve Him on earth, and to be happy with Him for ever in Heaven. He wants us all to come there; He knows the enemy is strong, so He gives us all kinds of helps, and warnings and guides. He wants us to follow Him as Leader--a good leader is everything. One day S. Peter said: "I go a fishing," and the other disciples answered, “We also go with thee."

Our dear Lord has passed all along the line marking the Way with His Precious Blood, and we must follow in His Footsteps. But He will not force our wills--our wills are free. Perhaps you have heard of Socrates--he was very wise--no one could puzzle him. One day a man came to him with a little bird between his hands and asked Socrates, "Is the bird alive or dead?" He made up his mind if Socrates said "alive" he would pinch the bird's windpipe and show it to him dead; if, however, Socrates said "dead," he would let the bird fly away. So in any case the wise man would be wrong. But Socrates answered, "It is just as you please!" And so it is with us. We can do as we please, but God wants us to be good.

Sometimes, when people are parting, one says, "Be good," and the other answers, “I will if I can"--the right answer to that is, “You can if you will."

But, alas! we often choose wrong and so get on the wrong line. (But please I'd like to leave you on the right road this time--"Green, green, all serene").


There is a play called "A Girl's Cross Roads" and we are always coming to cross roads and wrong turnings which mean sin. We must serve God or the Devil, and we cannot serve both. It's not fair to serve the Devil, and yet we often do.

When we came into the world his mark was on our soul--we call it original sin, the guilt or stain of sin which we inherit from Adam. But God is so good, He took it away out of our soul at the first Station (what is that called?) and gave us the robe of Grace. Now, if we choose wrong, that is actual sin, and that is always our own fault.

The Devil is not almighty--he cannot make us sin. "Hullo! then it wasn't true when I said I couldn't help it?" No, for by sending off your Dove you could have had the grace to overcome.

Well, if you have sinned, neglected signals and warnings, then you are setting out on the wrong road, and there is danger of smashing up the train, I mean, losing your soul.

You can't kill your soul because it is immortal but you can kill the Grace of God in your soul by Mortal sin. Mortal, or deadly sin, takes away your grace and deserves hell. A sin is mortal if it is a grave or serious thing, if you know it to be wrong, and if your will fully consents to it. If you have a cut on the finger, that is like a venial sin; if someone shoots you through the heart, it is like a mortal sin. But even a cut finger may lead to blood poisoning, so you must be careful about what we call small sins.

The engine-driver must look out not only for serious wrong in his engine, but must attend at once even to a loose screw.

[16] Look at your souls, then, and if there is sin there--you are on the wrong line--you must go back. Is there a Station to get back by? Not exactly, I think we will call it a Junction for return, and it leads past the Cross of Calvary (look at your plan). It is uphill, don't forget it. Shovel on the Coal then, put on steam, pray hard. Up, up, up, can you do it? Look at that train labouring up an incline--will it get up? It puffs and blows and seems to say: "I . . . think . . . I . . . can." You do the same, and very soon you will be steaming into safety on the right line and saying, "I knew I could, I knew I could."

Up, up, up, what does it mean? Contrition, Confession, Satisfaction--big words--let us see what they mean. The first is the most important--Contrition. It is a hearty sorrow for our sins together with a firm purpose to do better. I used to have a sort of step ladder covered with cloth on which were two faces, an old man and an old woman; so contrition looks back and says "I am sorry," and looks forward and says "I won't do it again" Why should we be sorry for sin? Because it deserves hell? Yes. Because if we go on sinning we may lose Heaven? Yes. Because Jesus my Saviour was Crucified for my sins? Yes, that is much better. Because God is so good? Yes, that is best of all. You find it hard to be sorry and to keep sorry? Well then, practice it Like music or high jumping, practice makes perfect. Often say the Act of Contrition, "O my God, because Thou art so good, I am very sorry I have sinned against Thee, and by thy help I will not sin again."

Up again! Confession this time. Some people find it very hard. Perhaps they forget what it is telling our sins to Jesus. "But the Priest hears our Confession." Yes, he is there as God's Minister, Ambassador, Instrument, to speak the word of reconciliation," to say "I absolve thee in the Name": but it is Jesus who hears and pours out [16/17] upon our soul His Precious Blood to take our sins away. Who writes the letter home, you, or your pen? It takes the ink and puts it on the paper, but the power is all yours; the letter is yours. So God forgives; though He uses the Priest to put the Precious Blood on your soul. Your pen knows nothing after, nor does the Priest.

But don't, please, try to write your letter on the paper in which the butter is wrapped. It must be soft with a nice prepared surface. And so your soul must be prepared to receive Absolution, and it is Contrition which prepares it. Make sure of that, and all will be well. Up, once more--Satisfaction. "Does that mean feeling satisfied?" Oh dear no, never that. When one gentleman insults another in France, they meet early in the morning with pistols or swords and offer satisfaction (coffee usually follows for both). Well, you have offended God by sin, and He has forgiven you, won't you try to make up to Him a little for the wrong you have done? Say your Penance, then, very carefully, try to do better, and show Him by your faithful love how sorry you are.

Here is a little help for you; ABCD. A. means Ask God to help you--ask the Holy Spirit to show you your sins. B. means Be sorry (never forget that). C. means Confess your sins--and D. means Do better "Hooray! we've finished with sin!" Not yet, I am afraid; not till death.

But we are back on the right road--"Green, green, all serene" (Thank You, God).


Quite a long journey isn't it? and here comes a tunnel. "Oh, I'm frightened." No, it isn't dark because the kind guard has switched the lights on. We do like light, and are still a little bit afraid of the dark.

Oh, here is a Station. What is it called? "Confirmation"--yes, where the lights are lit. It's a nice Station, this. Look at it in the picture. The light streams from the Dove because here we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians.

Above is a Mitre, because He is given to us through the Laying-on-of-Hands of a Bishop. The Seven Lamps speak of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Getting quite experienced travellers now--no longer recruits but full-blown soldiers with all our armour and weapons.

There is a lovely story of a Confirmation in Acts viii. Philip was only a Deacon, so he could not Confirm the people of Samaria. But Bishops Peter and John were very glad to come down and Confirm them, and when they laid their hands on them "they received the Holy Ghost." He comes to "lighten with celestial fire" our souls, and as the light in the tunnel cheers us, so the Holy Ghost gives us Fortitude--moral courage--to stand up against the world. I feel sure it is the gift we most need. It is so hard to be good when others laugh at us.

But "we will not be led by the throng"--say that--say it many times. You remember the lion--well, now the world is like a bear. A bear doesn't roar at you, it looks kind. He stands on his hind legs and he seems to say, "Come along, little man, let [18/19] me embrace you." But if you let him cuddle you, he will squeeze all the life out of you. And so the world seems very kind, but if you are led by it and are always thinking of what people say about you, it will soon squeeze all the grace out of you.

The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you at Confirmation, to make you a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Look at the lovely plant in the garden, blown down by the wind last night. Why didn't you get some bass and tie it to a stick to make it strong and able to resist? That is what Confirmation does for you. Only remember to come prepared to receive the Holy Spirit. That is why you see at the side of the Station the Crucifix, to remind you of the need of forgiveness before you come.

"Hold on, I'm getting tired." Hungry, you mean; and here is another Station. Look! Refreshments! Come and have a "Staleway--ration sandwich!" Now you feel better, don't you, and able to go on again? And your soul needs Food too--the Food of God--God Himself. Nothing else will satisfy you. And so the best of all Stations is called "Holy Communion. Above, you see a Lamb, because it is the Lamb of God Who is offered here in Sacrifice and Who feeds you with His Sacred Body and His Precious Blood.

See the Chalice and the Sacred Host on the Altar.

The word Host means Victim, and Jesus is the Victim offered in Sacrifice.

"Tickets, please." Got it? You must have that you know, or you can't come into the Refreshment Room. If you have lost it, you know how to get it back again. There is another Cross by the side of the Station and God is always ready to forgive. Hungry? Well, of course you are, because you are coming fasting to receive the Wonderful Food.

How wonderful It is--It looks like bread and wine, but It is the Body and Blood of Jesus. Yes [19/20] "what was but earthly bread and wine is now Christ's Flesh and Blood Divine, so God has said, so we believe; the Word of God cannot deceive."

You must come with great devotion. Two men went to a well to fetch water; one brought back double as much as the other. Why? "Because he had a bigger bucket." Yes, and so you must empty your soul of sin and make it ready to receive God.

Then, in Holy Communion, He will come to be the Life and Food of your soul. You see, you are a very wonderful person--you are a child of God--a son of God--so nothing else but God Himself can be the Food of your soul.

Now, you can fight the Lion, the Bear and the Leopard. Yes, the Flesh is like a Leopard, covered with spots; and if you yield to the flesh and its passions it will cover your soul with spots.

You must hate the "garment spotted by the flesh" and try to keep yourself like the Blessed Mother of God, of whom the Holy Spirit said, "Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee."

On, again! this is jolly! But beware--look at your picture. There's a wrong turning, again; a very steep incline, too: the way of pride.

"The hill of Life is a dangerous hill;
Ride slowly and use on the rim
The double brake of Confession of sin,
And loving Communion with Him."

Don't get self-satisfied--put the brake on. Look out for the signals--keep the fires burning brightly--don't be "led by the throng." There are lots of tunnels ahead--troubles and sorrows and temptations. Follow your Leader. Be true to Jesus and Mary.


Cheerio! What is the light in the far distance? The Lights of Home. Yes, and Peter is there with the Keys our Lord gave him; it reminds us that Heaven is for those who are penitent, else we could never hope to get there.

Do you notice how two lines diverge off from each other? "Yes, but they both end in the same terminus." Quite right; and both pass through the same tunnel, the tunnel of Death. Is it strange to talk to you about Death? Go and look at God's Acre: the Churchyard. There are lots of graves shorter than you there. If you look closely between the two openings of the tunnel you will see a "Stock," or vase--that speaks of the last Station in the Holy Catholic Railway--and a very beautiful Station--it is called Extreme Unction, or the Last Anointing. You can read all about it in S James v. 14. The oil is olive oil blessed by a Bishop; and if you are in danger of death from sickness, you can ask a Priest to anoint your body with this Holy Oil. God is so good, He not only helps us in life by signals and guides, and provides Sacraments of Healing and Refreshment, but He has also given us a special Sacrament to help us in death. Death is often a big fight with the Devil (for he knows it is his last chance and he has "but a short time"). So in the tunnel, which is the valley of the shadow of death; he plies us with all kinds of temptations, and we shall need the Light of Faith to carry us through.

Our last Confession will be made, and we shall (please God) have received Viaticum, our Last Communion, the Food for the journey as we pass to the other side.

[22] Now comes the Anointing. As the wrestlers of old anointed their bodies to make them strong, so God gives us the Holy Oil to strengthen our souls, as well as to remove from them the traces of sin.

Indeed, if He so wills, the Unction may make our body better, and even restore us to health. It will almost certainly assuage the pain, or at least, help us to bear it bravely. It will fortify us with hope and confidence in the hour of our death.

What about the lines which diverge and yet both reach Heaven? Well, one, as you see, goes straight through the tunnel of death into Heaven--this is for "Specials"--those who have never sinned--like the Mother of God, and Baptised infants before they commit actual sin. Those who though they sinned, yet offered great satisfaction--like S. Mary Magdalene and the noble army of Martyrs. These have entered into Heaven and see God face to face.

The other line is for "ordinaries"--people who die in the Grace of God, with their sins forgiven--and who are therefore saved, but who have not yet paid the debt due to the Justice of God.

"There shall in no wise enter into Heaven anything that defileth"; and so, just as the engine needs not only to go to the repair yard, but also to be constantly cleaned and brightened up, so the soul must go into that siding called Purgatory.

Purgatory is a place of cleansing for saved souls. All who are there are happy because they are saved and beyond the reach of temptation and sin.

Yet they suffer, and suffer gladly, under the loving care of God that they may the sooner reach the Vision of God in Heaven. What a glorious thing it is to be able to say, "I believe in the Communion of Saints." "Saints are united, each helps each," and we can help these Holy Souls by our prayers. Never forget to say in your evening prayers these beautiful words, "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."

[23] Then too, they are helped by the prayers of our brethren the Saints in Heaven. If only the world could be taught to believe this, we should not hear so much of the silly (and worse) attempts to talk with the spirits of the departed. At the Altar of God we are all united each to each, and all to God.

Our talks are coming to an end, and one day our journey will be coming to an end too. Look at the terminus--Heaven. The door stands wide open for "He has opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers." The Light of the Glory of God streams out through the open door. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

So I cannot tell you of the joys of Heaven. If you want to get there the one thing needful is the Love of God--Heaven is for "them that love Him." Do you love God? Will you show your love by obedience? Then one day your soul, which God put into your charge and care, will enter Heaven.

Oh the joy of the arrival! The Platform will be crowded with friends who will be waiting to greet us--there will be a great family re-union.

Then will come the knitting-up of severed friendships "where partings are no more." We shall see the Angels and the Saints. We shall see Mary, our Mother. Are all these the Joys of Heaven? Oh no, the Joy beyond all Joys will be to see God we shall be Home at last.

To that blessed Home may He bring us all.

Project Canterbury