Then the beautiful child touched and supported them, and lo! they were wafted across The Chasm of Neglected Duties: Michael, because he followed the command and made his marriage a Holy Sacrament to fulfil the law of God; Orville, because he had shown mercy and recognition of his servant’s claim upon him.
Without understanding why, Orville found himself repeating over and over again the words: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Michael heard him and turned to say: “Yes, master, and ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God’! How well it was for us that we had the heart of a child to plead our cause when we came to The Chasm of Neglected Duties.”
“Michael,” said Orville, after a long and tiresome climb over a steep part of the Road, “these rocks are sharp and treacherous, and I have toiled hard and have made but very little progress.”
“I know, master,” said Michael, “but these rocks are the little faults of our lives. Such rocks cover the mountain at this spot and are constantly growing more numerous, yet one meets only one’s own. The Plain is not far away now. We are just reaching it, and these stones are the only way to it.”
“What Plain is it, Michael?” asked Orville.
“It is called, master,” said Michael, “The Plain of Sinful Things. It is between us and the foot of the Cross.”
“Is it hard to pass over, Michael?” again asked Orville.
“It is very hard to most men, sir,” said Michael. “No one knows how hard who has not been on it; and yet when one has been over, one remembers nothing, for all is forgotten when The Flaming Cross is reached.”
They stood now at the top of the stones, and on the edge of the vast Plain, which lay white and scorching before them. Multitudes, as far as the eye could see, were upon it. They struggled painfully along; but none stopped to rest, for all faces were turned to The Flaming Cross.
Michael took but one step and a great change came over him. Orville looked at him again and again, but Michael did not seem to notice the change in himself. His face shone with a marvelous beauty. His garments became robes of brilliant white. About his head a light played, the like of which Orville had never seen. It was more wondrous than dreams of Paradise. His bleeding feet were healed and shone like his visage. Orville thought that he heard sweet voices about Michael, but voices which spoke to Michael only.
“Michael, my brother,” he said, “what is this; tell me?” and Orville’s voice sounded soft, as if he were praying. “Michael, who are you?”
But Michael only smiled kindly and humbly. “I am none other than your servant, sir,” he answered. “He who serves, reigns; for his glory is in the service. I will be with you to the foot of the Cross. In life you were a good master. You will need me until you reach your own Master there.” Michael pointed to where the Cross shone out over the blistering Plain.