The Threshold of the Judgment
Joseph Stalin. The Threshold of the Judgment
Then the lift or the non-lift stopped suddenly; the dark around disappeared. There was something silvery like early morning blueness; it was not light and not dark, and a round area underneath where Yana stood in the midst of endless early morning abyss. And the boy was visible though she heard his voice by some inner hearing.
"Don't fear, you are on the Threshold, neither above, nor below; neither in the past, nor in the future. You are in the depth."
"In the depth of what?"
"You are in the depth of time, not historical line and not cosmic round but an existential point."
Yana wanted to ask what kind of depth could a point have but the boy answered as if he read her thoughts,
"Here is the beginning of that end where the beginning ends."
"Who are you?"
"I'm an Angel-Guardian, in brief AG.
"Are you my Angel-Guardian?"
"Your AG is with you in the resuscitation department. He has no right to stop historical time line while you are alive."
"Am I alive?"
"You are still alive," AG repeated, "'He' asked to bring you. Here you are, Joseph. It's that very girl."
In the illusory early morning blueness a photo of a tanager arose in a home-made wood frame and became to swing on a nail hammered to an unknown place, a tanager with his hair parted in the middle, with a tender childish mouth and, in contrast, with piercingly hard look into the distance, to his own goal invisible by anybody.
Grown-up Joanna gasped with surprise. Yegorka Zlatov in his childhood resembled him!
The only difference is that Yegorka's hair was blond. "How are you, comrade Stalin!"
The boy on the photo didn't move and kept silence. His dark eyes still intently looked into the distance, to invisible things.
"I have been said that you... It's me, Sinegina Yana. I have come."
He kept silence.
"Don't worry, he can see and hear everything perfectly. Simply his historic time has finished unlike yours, a lover of repeated films. Joseph is deprived of the right to speak until the Judgement."
"Which Judgement do you mean?"
"The High and Last One, which is without appeal. But even at the Judgement Joseph is deprived of the right to speak until passing of sentence. Being his faithful helpmate, bodyguard and soulguard from the first days of his life, I will defend him."
"But how can it be..."
"Don't worry, his soul can see and hear you. And it's me who has hung his photo for you; you have used to talking to visible image..."
"But what must I talk about?"
"Tell him that you will pray for him as before if you return to historic time. Among other things you are a single girl in the world who prayed for him for more than half a century. Joseph, would you like to ask Joanna to pray for you, wouldn't you? It's the main thing for us. Don't be silent, Joseph."
So for the AG the photo wasn't silent!
Joanna suddenly clearly understood that this fifteen-year-old boy on the old picture wanted but couldn't ask her for some other and also very important thing. He was either an evildoer of all times and nations, or the greatest light and genius, or a simple 'rough Caucasian and a nonentity. A seminarian who failed to receive full education and was raised by somebody unknown to the very peak of the earthly power for whom she really prayed as granny Xenia had taught her to: for mum, reposed people and comrade Stalin, at first for the health and then for the rest.
Can a childish prayer be an unrighteous one even if it has lasted half a century?
When the leader died she was sixteen, and she kept remembering Joseph who went into eternity at the end of her childhood.
No, he wouldn't like to ask her to pray for his eternal rest and for her intercession; he called her not for that. Being deprived of the right to speak, he couldn't say anything without the mediator AG.
"What kind of unsanctioned meeting is it?" she heard a familiar subtle whisper, "I'm raising a strong protest,"
A flat boy-negative, an AG's double, appeared before Joanna but his shirt, panama and face were black, and his shorts and sandals on his black feet and glasses were white as if two pieces of paper were stuck on them.
Joseph's photo swinging on the nail that was hammered in an unknown place melted together with the nail. The AG informed that it was the AD, Angel-Destroyer, that they now began to examine judicial materials and testimonies, and that she shouldn't here.
"We are preparing, you know; the Judgment may begin at any moment".
Where Joseph's photo just hung there appeared a do-it-himself screen made of two starched bed sheets: the same one hung in the clubhouse of her childhood, which was always full up, and they, little ones, ran there and sat right on the floor before the screen, throwing back their heads.
Everything was like in that time, even the same shaky creaking floors. But behind her back a viewing room appeared for some reason; it had no benches but leather armchairs. And in the front row, where higher-ups usually sat, the AD and the AG settled together as Negative and Positive.
"Turn off the light. It's time to push off," the AD told. Joanna realized that as soon as the light was turned off she would again turn out to be in an impenetrable corridor, the most horrible in the world, and jumped in panic from a higher place to the plank floor before the screen.
The light was turned off and the film reader, the same one from her childhood, immediately began to flash and rattle, and Yana out of the corner of her eye can see an angle of the light screen and two pairs of feet in sandals: white and dark ones.
"The beginning, his early childhood can be omitted... Here all his sins were confessed and blotted out. Joseph is in a religious school, a choir... Stop it, here is an important moment. The consecration of water on the Twelfth-day, a public prayer in a narrow street near Okopsky temple, Joseph is singing in a choir. And that was your abominable trick: a phaeton rushing down the street right to the choirboys..."
"Yes, I hate church feasts! If only you missed to pull Joseph from under the wheels of the phaeton."
The boy was brought home in an unconscious state, and lamenting Catherine, Keke, who had already lost three babies, prayed God to keep Soso for her, swearing to devote him to God."
And you stayed at his bed for two weeks. Catherine read aloud the Bible. Joseph hardly understood it, and when he dreamed you sang him 'The First Song about The Main Thing'. It was illegal. You had violated rights of the boy, taking advantage of his illness and inability to get up and run away from your boring sermons."
THE FIRST SONG ABOUT GOD AND THE FIRST MAN SUNG BY THE GUARDIAN ANGEL TO THE SICK BOY JOSEPH
"God is creative and life-giving Essence of the universe."
'He alone lives essentially; He cannot but live. His essence and being are the life itself. All creation has its beginning because it was brought by Him from non-being into being, and it could cease its being if He willed so. But the Creator has existed forever: before the beginning of the world and now. Therefore He is called not only 'Eternal' but 'eternity', not only 'Alive' but 'life', not only 'Infinite' but 'infinity', not only 'Existent' but 'existence'. We call Him 'Existent', i.e. he was, is and will be' (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk), 'The Lord is the Spirit and where is the Spirit of the Lord there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).
The children of the Light are created by God 'in His image, after His likeness'. In the same way the rays are sons of the sun bringing light and warmth, i.e. life. He gave them happiness of being. At first He gave it to bodiless angels and then to the first man Adam and everybody lived in love and unity in Father's House until some angels headed by Lucifer wanted to exist by themselves. And God fulfilled their wish because He created them free; He allowed them to leave His House for 'the outer darkness' where there was no God, i.e. no Life and no Truth.
And Lucifer became the prince of darkness at the head of the host of darkness, the father of lie and eternal death.
And then, 'So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him' (Genesis 1:27).
Man was one godlike being, two persons in one; he had male and female origins united by love.
Also God gave liberty to man providing him with a right of choice: to obey or disobey the Father. 'Don't eat of the forbidden tree or else you will surely die.'
The prince of darkness, who hates God, turned into a serpent, tempted the man to disobey God, just by telling lies,
"You won't die. If you disobey the Father you will become a god knowing good and evil, free and almighty one.
"Can you feel a snare, Joseph? To be a beloved son and an heir of the Creator and the only source of Life or to imagine insolently, I want to separate from you because I myself am a god."
Therefore, pride, darkness and death entered man's heart together with disobedience.
'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.'
"What liberty!" the AD whispered from his place, "Your God is evil."
"Yes, in the same way you tempted the heart of the sick boy Joseph as if you forgot that one who opposed God couldn't dwell in Father's House, darkness couldn't dwell in Light where there was no darkness. God wanted not to punish but save the man by this exile. You know, the Tree of Life grew in the garden!
'And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever' (Genesis 3:22). It is about Adam. What can be more horrible than immortal evil and eternal isolation from God? Such is the fate of fallen angels, spirits of wickedness in high places.
'And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.'
In order to be saved the man was given a mortal body, so that he could cast it off in a strange land together with old rags of sin. The man acquired a free right to chose obedience or disobedience to the Creator, Light or darkness.
And the ones like you are immortal in their rebellion against the Creator; your only comfort is doing harm to the Plan."
"Positive, I protest, let's not deviate," the AD grumbled.
"Negative, you first began to talk about it"
OK, keep going. When Adam became mortal, male and female origins in him were divided, and 'And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain' (Genesis 4:1).
Two halves were joined again not into heavenly double being, the whole one, united by love, but into a couple in order to give rise to human history: subdivision, reproduction and alternation of generations.
From the point of view of an earthly observer, this is eternal death under the mask of eternal life where every new generation grows on the bones of a previous one in order to become food for a following one. From the heavenly point of view, eternal live is under the mask of eternal death because God's love and mercy unite into one organism souls of His foolish and ill children who are at eternal war with each other. So as, when the end of time will come, to separate the wheat from the chaff according to the Plan.
Sons of God who have chosen Light freely will serve as the basis of recreation of god-man, the new Adam. According to the Plan, which consists of..."
The tape in the film reader began to crackle, and the voice-over was interrupted
"The part of the film hasn't finished yet; it is about the Plan," the AG began to worry.
"Bunglers," the AD whistled beginning to stamp his sandals. Maybe, the tape is torn off... By the way, the more you will convince that Joseph is chosen by God and that he almost from his childhood prepared for becoming a priest, the more terrible his apostasy will appear to the Judgment."
"There were no apostasy!" the AG in turn angrily stamped his foot in a black sandal. The floor under Yana began to shake, and lightning started flashing. Yana closed her eyes tight in fear, and when she opened her eyes she found herself in one of the days of her wartime childhood in the evacuation zone.