JUDY STEPS OUT
An Escape from Purgatory!
R. E. FINNEY, Jr.
This is a true story in its main features, just as Cam and Judy told it to me during several interviews. At first they did not know that they were telling it to me to be written in a book, but when I asked their permission to make use of it they willingly agreed, hoping that their experience might be helpful to others.
Their search for truth was carried out just as described. Nearly all of the Scripture references used were taken from the red notebook which Cam had compiled during the hours Judy and he had spent in study. He very graciously allowed me to copy all his references to use in making this story available to you.
Good-bye and Hello
CAMERON LEA--Doctor Cameron Lea it would be someday he hoped--thrust his hands deep into his trousers pockets in exasperation. "Hitler would have to pull something like this, just as I'm getting into the groove here in school. I knew Chamberlain was making a monkey of himself and a donkey of all the rest of us with all that rot at Munich. Why--why can't Hitler and the rest of his gang settle down and be contented without trying to run the whole world? I'd like to--to!" And Cameron Lea pulled at the embryo moustache adorning his upper lip, his black eyes snapping.
"Easy now, Laddie, e-easy. If you could handle Hitler all by yourself I reckon you'd do it and all of us'd be happy, but you can't and there's no use blowing a fuse over it." This from Malcolm McDonough, lean, sandy-haired roommate of Lea's. Never excited, Mac was the correct antidote for Cam's volatile nature. He never hurried and never worried and no one could fluster him.
"But Mac," Cam's voice almost squeaked as emotion still gripped him, "but Mac, look what it's going to do to us fellows; the army and all that. We'll have to go--all of us. Dad would disown any son of his who failed to answer the colours. I've seen it coming, and in spite of telling myself that it wouldn't happen, I've known all along what I'd do. And for that matter, I'll wager that you have too."
"Yes, suppose I have." Mac looked over the top of the newspaper that carried the bold black headlines that startled all of Canada with the news that again Germany was on the march for the second time in three decades; that again her borders had been crossed by her own troops bent on invasion and conquest. "But," Mac continued, still unruffled and apparently at ease, "there's no use in getting all worked up about it this evening. Let's wait and see what we ought to do. Maybe, after all, the government would just as soon have us finish our medical course if we want to. Looks as though there are going to be plenty of doctors needed--at least if it's anything like the last time."
"Sure, 'Let's wait and see--let's wait and see,' you haggis-eating Scotsman." But Cam dropped into a chair and grinned in spite of himself, relaxing. "Oh, I know you're right, but I do wish we could have grown up and got through school without quite so many 'alarums and excursions' off stage."
Yes, the war drums were beating in Europe again. It was autumn, and nothing more serious than exams, football, and hockey should have been troubling the minds of the medical students at Old Queens. And for a time it seemed as though Mac had been right--more right than he knew about waiting to see, for all that winter the armies in Europe seemed stalemated and people began to talk about the "sitz-krieg," and even London relaxed a bit and debated if this were not going to be a rather quiet war after all--as it there ever had been such a thing.
"Come on, fellows, time to relax," exclaimed Cam one early spring evening as he closed the big "Gray's Anatomy," which he had been earnestly poring over, with a bang that would have startled anyone less phlegmatic than Mac. In response Mac looked up from his studying, slowly closed his book, stretched a bit, and pulled himself to his feet.
"O.K., Little Man, let's go."
The boys in the particular boarding house to which Cam and Mac belonged had long before inaugurated a custom to which every one of then adhered with almost religious regard. At 10:30 each weekday evening they gathered in the parlour of the rambling mansion which they called home, to listen to a programme of murder mysteries on the radio. When this ritual had been started it is doubtful if any of them could tell. However, for most of them it was seldom interrupted--even cramming for exams did not often interfere with it.
So it was that very shortly the old parlour was filled with its regular circle of medical students; some sitting on the comfortable Chesterfield, some in the easy chairs scattered about the spacious room, and a circle of them sitting on the floor immediately in front of the radio--Mac always accused Cam of trying to get one ear inside the grill that covered the loudspeaker. The lights were snapped off--a regular part of the ritual--and the programme began.
The evening's play was the usual sort of thing. The body had been discovered, clues pointed to practically all the principals, and the master detective was hot on the trail Suddenly in the middle of a word, the programme stopped and a different voice broke in.
"We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you a special news bulletin. Word has just been received via London short-wave radio that at approximately four o'clock this morning the German Army invaded Holland by land and air. Panzer divisions are already well inside the frontier and are racing across the flat fields toward the interior, breaking the way for the infantry which is rapidly following. Ground movements are being covered by an immense umbrella of fighter planes, and Stuka dive bombers are accompanying the panzers to soften resistance on the ground. Several important air fields are reportedly already in the hands of German paratroopers who struck almost at the precise instant of the land invasion. Disquieting reports of fifth column activity about the airports of the larger cities have been received. Further reports will be brought you as dispatches are received. Keep your radio tuned to this station for later bulletins."
Immediately the big room was in an uproar. The mystery play was resumed, but no one listened to it, and presently someone turned the volume control, leaving just enough so that further news bulletins could be intercepted. Again the academic routine of the Queens medical students was disrupted by thoughts of war.
And, as the whole world knows now, war had begun in dead earnest. Holland was quickly overrun. Norway and Denmark were forced to bow to the Nazi might. Belgium was subjugated and the battle for France was begun as the whole world hung with bated breath upon the news of the hour.
Mac and Cameron Lea no longer wondered what to do. They applied for immediate enlistment. At the end of the year their medical course was speeded up, and in 1943 they both formally joined the Canadian Army--still medical men, and still under special training for the job the government desperately needed them to do.
Months flew by, and it was the spring of 1944. Graduation time had come for Cameron Lea and Malcolm MacDonough, and a bit of sorrow too along with the happiness of getting through with classes, for they were to be separated for their internships. Mac was to go east, and Cam was westward bound to one of the large hospitals of the west-coast ports.
"Well--so long, Mac."
"So long, Cam. Take it easy."
There was much that each of them had intended to say to the other, but somehow now neither of them could think how to say it. After all, the years they had roomed together perhaps made anything more unnecessary. And besides, there were lumps in their throats that made talking difficult. Good-bye these days might mean forever--there were other students who had gone and would never come back.
So, there was just a quick hard handclasp, and with a wave of the hand Cameron Lea swung himself aboard the train that was to take him west, glad that the parting was over.
Cam lay on the narrow bed in his room at the end of his first day at St. Patrick's hospital, reviewing the day's experiences. "Pretty good looking bunch of chaps," he said to himself of the ten interns of whom he found himself one. "I'm glad to be here--a good big hospital--should learn a lot." Fatigue won a brief struggle with Cam's will power, and he was asleep.
A Vision of Red Hair
HAVE a slice of ham--do," urged Cameron Lea as he handed a platter of fragrant slices across the table to the young Catholic intern facing him. "Can it, Lea. I'll take some halibut, though, if you don't mind."
It was Friday again. In fact a number of Fridays had come and gone at St. Patrick's, and the ten interns had begun to get well acquainted. Well acquainted enough, indeed, so that Cam, who loved to tease, had begun to quietly persecute the Catholic interns. Just why he did so it is doubtful if he himself knew. Perhaps it was because the huge Catholic hospital made him feel that he was a part of a small minority group and that he had to assert himself. He was not alone in his campaign, moreover, for several of the other Protestant boys enthusiastically joined him. That is, with the exception of two who had taken their medical training somewhere down in California. They were quiet lads who mostly went their own way. They said little but were well trained, and very much in earnest about making good at St. Patrick's.
Cam passed the halibut with a sly smile and noticed with satisfaction that the receiver was slightly red about the ears. "Is it a venial sin or a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays, I wonder?" he said aloud to himself, as a final barb to be left rankling in the mind of his victim. With that he applied himself to his plate, and the meal was allowed to go on in peace.
There were other issues that arose in the minds of the Protestant interns between themselves and their Catholic companions. Certain of these had to do with their work as budding physicians, but in spite of them the general atmosphere continued to be one of mutual tolerance. There was a more or less constant interchange of jibes at one another, but these were seldom intended to really hurt.
It was not long, however, before Cameron Lea--Doctor Cameron Lea, as he was always called now--noticed that the two students from California did not join in the verbal sniping that went on between the rest of the Protestant and Catholic interns. Perhaps this was because, as Cam began to notice, they themselves exhibited certain peculiarities of conduct.
They didn't smoke. It didn't take Lea long to find out, for he was a chain smoker himself and often offered a cigarette to one of the boys before he thought. Later he did it just as he offered meat to the Catholic boys on Friday. Some of their other peculiarities he was longer in finding out.
Sometimes the whole group would stage a pitched battle, verbally. During these encounters emotions sometimes ran high and considerable heat was generated. Questions and challenges flew thick and fast, but the two boys from California never took an offensive part. If questions were asked, they answered their questioners readily and there let the matter rest. Eventually, they became a source of some wonderment to Cam, who naturally found it difficult to understand anyone who did not love a scrap.
Perhaps it was because of his curiosity that Cam took to dropping around, rather frequently, to the room which Dave and Gus, the two aforementioned verbal noncombatants, shared. He found them to be more than ordinarily friendly, and during off periods in the evening the three spent much time in discussing medicine, the differences in the training they had received in their respective colleges and matters pertaining to love and life in general, as young men are prone to do. Occasionally religion entered into these discussions. Generally the subject was brought up by Cam, who would voice his irritation at something that had ruffled him about the conduct of the Catholic hospital in which they found themselves.
There was always a Bible, generally two of them, on the table in the room that the two shared, and they looked well worn. On one particular occasion as Cam was chatting with Dave and Gus, he noticed, accompanying the two Bibles on the table, a thick, heavy-looking book handsomely bound in red and gold.
"What's this," he said, idly picking it up and turning it over in his hands, "another of your Yankee medical textbooks?"
"Why, no," answered Dave, a short, stocky, dark-haired lad, the more quick spoken of the roommates, "it's a sort of religious history. Very interesting, too, I think. I've just been looking up a reference in it."
"Hm--plenty of it, I'd say," mused Cam, turning it this way and that and allowing it to tall open at an occasional page. "Does look rather interesting."
"Take it along and read it, if you like," Gus suggested, without betraying his satisfaction that the book had caught the attention of their visitor.
"The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan," Cam read aloud from the title page. "Yes, I believe I'll give it a look, if you don't mind. I'm on nights now, and I might as well be reading something worth while. Might do me some good--who knows? Well, be seeing you," and Cam left Dave and Gus, with the thick red book under his arm.
One reads rapidly and well by the time he gets through a modern course in a medical college, and the size and weight of the book he had borrowed from Gus did not perturb Cam in the least. So it was that before the first night's duty was over he had found enough time to burrow deep into the opening chapters.
The early part of the book was a history of the dawn of the Protestant Reformation with some discussion of the corrupt conditions then prevailing in some quarters within the Catholic Church. As he read, Cam became more and more interested in this angle of the book.
"Ha!" he said to himself. "Wait till I get a chance to tell my fine fish-eating Catholic friends about some of this stuff. Just wait!"
Perhaps it was because of this attitude of mind, or perhaps it was because Cam's own religious welfare never troubled him, that the message of the book did not impress him other than in an occasional academic sense. Cam had grown up in the United Church of Canada, and his parents were as strict as the Scots can be about things of a religious nature. His salvation, therefore, had never troubled him; he had taken it for granted along with his early membership in the church of his parents.
At any rate the two boys from California were disappointed if they had hoped that the reading of the book would work any transformation in the life of Cameron Lea.
He returned the book after a couple of weeks, merely remarking that he had enjoyed it and thought it well written and worth while. Dave and Gus probed no deeper than that into Can's opinion of what he had read. They had long before learned that it is not always wise to press the issue in things religious. Besides, they quite naturally felt themselves apart in this great hospital, ran and dominated by a group of an alien religion, and they were, as a consequence, more than usually timid about advancing their religious views.
"Well, he said he enjoyed it, anyway." This from Dave, as he voiced their mutual disappointment that nothing more had been forthcoming front the usually volatile Cam.
"Yes. It's a start. After all, we had no right to expect much more. If he's honest, there'll be a way yet to get him interested." Gus was always quietly optimistic about everything. Just now he was more optimistic than usual, for it was only a matter of weeks until he was to be married to a sweet-faced nurse whose picture adorned his study table, and who was to come up from California in the very near future. Looking at the portrait on the table, it was impossible for Gus to take a gloomy view of any part of the future just now. Dave, too, had a pretty definite heart interest, and he and Gus agreed that life for young M.D.'s was pretty wonderful, and viewed the future--even though it was wartime--with confidence. Just how cataclysmic and disruptive love can be, neither of them could have told Cam at that moment--even if he had asked them.
As for Cam, if he had had any very serious thought about the book he had just read, it would doubtless have been shattered into fragments anyway; for it was the very next day that it happened.
"It" or rather she, came into the picture just as Cam with another of his intern friends was leaving the door to the surgery to go across the areaway for lunch. They met her, a bright spot of colour in the gloomy hallway, just inside the door. Cam had a recollection of a heart-shaped face surrounding big greenish-blue eyes, a small trim figure, and the whole ensemble topped off by a fetching hair-do composed of hair of a vividly red hue.
"Z-z-z! Did you see what I saw?" This from Cam.
"Not bad--not bad at all. Wonder where she came from?"
"Where she's going is what I'm interested in. Well, I declare I thought sure the sun was shining for a moment." Cam grinned as he ducked his head and began to run to get in out of the steady rain that was spattering the areaway.
Nor was Cam's first impression an illusion, as he discovered to his profound satisfaction the next day, when he found the red hair atop a queenly bearing clad in a nurse's uniform. "Now I know why some patients never want to get well," he murmured to himself as he hastily tried to think of some excuse for speaking to the vision.
He was too slow, however, and she was around a corner of the hall before he found his usually too-ready tongue.
This situation was not allowed to continue. She had to eat, he told himself, and making full use of his license as an intern, he penetrated the nurses' dining hall, and there he found his quarry.
Doctor Cameron Lea himself was worth a second look from the feminine viewpoint, and more than one R.N. and nurse aid had sighed a bit inwardly at sight of his crisp wavy hair, his snapping black eyes, and his trim military bearing. It may well be supposed that the ever glamorous officer's uniform that he wore contributed to the over-all effect.
Be that as it may, it was not hard for Cam to find a way to an introduction to the object of his fancy, whose name he found was Judy. From the introduction it was only a step to a proposal of an evening of dancing, which was accepted; although if Judy were afflicted by any palpitation of the heart, no one could have told it.
Cupid Makes a Christmas Call
Even if the association of Cameron Lea, M.D., and Judy had begun as the result of love at first sight which it did not--Cam would have been disappointed if he had expected an easy conquest. No girl with the attributes that Judy possessed could have attained her years without knowing that she attracted the attention of those of the opposite sex. Therefore, Cam's early attentions were not particularly novel in her experience. Furthermore, she was a levelheaded girl with an independent habit of thought.
As we have already noticed, too, Cameron himself knew what it was to attract the attention of ladies, and was more than a little sure of himself in this respect. Neither of the couple, then, was inclined to be precipitate about the matter of their association.
And so they dined and danced and played together for several months without realizing that strand by strand Cupid was weaving his oft-used net about them.
"It's a dirty shame, Judy, but the chief of staff says I must be on duty--and when he says I must, that settles it, I guess." stated Cam just before Christmas. Cam and Judy, both far from home, had planned for several weeks that they would celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together. They would save all their presents and Christmas cards until they could open them together.
"Oh, Cam! Isn't that exasperating. And you've been working so hard too. You never gold-brick like some of the other fellows do. It isn't fair! It just isn't! Well, I suppose that's what you get for being a doctor and that's what we should have expected."
If Judy thought to herself, "And that's just what a doctor's wife will have to expect, too," we wouldn't know. Besides, she had often promised herself that if she ever married, she'd not marry a doctor. Well, maybe not.
"We'll do it the way we planned, anyway," Judy resumed after the first moment's disappointment. "We'll show 'em. We'll just pretend it's not Christmas until the day after. You are sure of having Thursday night off, at least."
"No, Judy! It's of no use to wait. You just forget our plans." Cam secretly hoped that she would not accept this invitation.
"I should say not! If you have to work, the least I can do is to wait for you. I can go out with some of the girls Christmas Eve. But for my real celebration, I've been counting on this. And besides, there's no one else--I mean well, anyway, I'm going to wait, and that's all there is to it." And Judy's big gray-green eyes looked like two special Christmas-tree ornaments as Cam looked down into them.
"Judy, you're a brick. I know it's too much to ask, but if you're willing, why, I won't mind working Christmas Eve and Christmas night at all."
Three nights later Cam caught his breath in sheer delight when he opened the door into the small living room that Judy and the other nurses in her wing of the big dormitory shared in common. There was a crackling fire in the fireplace, there was a miniature tree, exquisitely decorated and there, more radiant than the fire, more exquisite than the tree, was Judy!
"Just like Queen Titania out of Midsummer Night's Dream," said Cam to himself, and his heart gave an extra quick beat.
Whether it was because Judy knew how hard Cam had worked, or because she just liked to appear at her best as any other girl, or because Cam meant something just a bit special to her, she had taken extra pains with her appearance this night.
She was wearing a special pale green, very feminine dress--a new one that Cam had never seen before. It was a storybook sort of thing--that's about all Cam could say in describing it to himself later--but it did make her look like a miniature queen. Her colourful hair was like burnished copper in the firelight. And her eyes had a starry quality that was partly youth and good health, partly Christmas excitement, and partly that light that comes to the eyes of every woman who knows that she is admired and loved--even when she has not admitted it to herself.
"Come in, Doctor Lea," she said demurely, lowering her long lashes in mock deference. She did not rise, but waited for him to come to her, beside the fire.
"Judy, this is--I mean you are absolutely gorgeous! This is really worth waiting for," and Cam crossed the room and took both her hands in his. "Really, it's lovely of you to do all this, just for me."
"I think it's worth it, Cam. And thank you. Do you really think I look nice"
"Don't be silly." Cam's smile brought the dimple in one cheek that would never let him look as professional and dignified as he wished to appear. "Well, let's be about the business of the evening. We've all these presents to open, you know." And Cam sat down on the floor, just across the hearth, where he could look full into Judy's excited face.
The presents had been opened and there had been talk about home and their respective families. Sometime during the evening Cam had found himself on Judy's side of the fire and they were sitting side by side on the floor like two small children, very close together.
"Y'know, Judy, I've just been thinking This seems a lot like home to me. Just you and I here, and the fire," and Cam looked tenderly down at Judy's piquant face.
"Ssh, Cam." Judy laid a soft finger across Cam's lips.
"Better be careful what you're saying. Don't let Christmas carry you away."
"Its not Christmas that's wrecking my judgment. it's Judy!" Cameron suddenly became aggressive. "Look at me, Judy! Tell me, if you dare, that it's Christmas that's made you different too, during the last few days, and more than ever to-night." Cam took her gently by the hands again and turned her toward him.
Well, even Solomon himself said that one of the things that he could not understand was the way of a man with a maid. So who am I that I should try to tell you all that happened beside the fireplace that night, which was the night after Christmas--although Judy and Cam always said afterward that it seemed just like Christmas Eve to them.
"Well, Cameron Lea, you've certainly got yourself into a jam this time." Cam was home in bed. It was late, or early, as you please to view the matter, but he was still wide awake. The night had brought too much excitement, too much happiness, for him yet to be sleepy.
"So she's a Catholic. Yes, yes, I know. And I have always been told at home that Protestant and Catholic marriages just don't turn out happily. Matter of fact, I believe it, too. Am I a Protestant? Yes, guess I am; I certainly don't believe I'd make a good Catholic, ever. Even for Judy, bless her! What's to do then? I wish I knew. I really wish I knew!" So went the thoughts of Cameron Lea as he thought of himself and Judy. Deliriously happy, he was still greatly troubled about the whole situation. If one can be said to be happy and in trouble at the same time, that was exactly Cam's situation.
"Oh, if he were just a good Catholic boy. Why couldn't I have fallen in love with someone who was?" Judy's cheeks still burned with the impact of the offensive against the citadel of her heart that Cam had made that night; but she, like Cam, was happier than she ever before had been in her life, in spite of her perplexity.
Even the winter sun was not far from making his belated appearance when Judy in the nurses' quarters and Cam in his bachelor's rooms finally fell asleep.
Three nights later they met again. This was to be a meeting when they would lay aside romance and seriously talk over the things that had been troubling both of them. May we not be pardoned if we are a trifle skeptical of their success in keeping out so adroit a porch climber as Cupid?
"Surely, Judy, a girl with your intelligence and training should be broad-minded enough not to stay by the religion of your parents just because it is their religion."
"I am not a Catholic because mother and father are. I am a Catholic because I believe what the church teaches, and I believe that the Catholic Church is the only true church. It seems to me that anyone as broad-minded as you, and with as much training as you have had, would be willing to find out what the real beliefs of Catholics are, and if you did you might become one." Judy delivered herself of this with considerable dignity.
"Me--Cameron Lea--a Catholic? Not so you could notice it. Why, Catholics are too narrow-minded, too bound down by the opinions of the priest, too--Oh, I'm sorry, Judy, I--I just didn't think for a minute. I'm really sorry."
Judy was sitting very straight in her chair, and two bright spots of colour came and went in her cheeks.
"Yes, Cam, you're sorry. I guess you are. But you do feel that way about us Catholics. And it's just because you don't know--that's the reason the whole world looks at us in that way. And it isn't fair! And if you don't like me as a Catholic, you can just not like me--so there!"
"Look, Judy, I'd like you if you were a Mohammed--and--no, I mean I'd love you. But I guess I'm just as Protestant as you are Catholic, and I just can't see myself a Catholic. I can't help that, can I?" Cam was not without considerable will of his own, and just now, realizing that he had been momentarily stupid, he was on the defensive. "You don't have to get stuffy about it, do you?" he concluded a bit lamely.
"I'm not being stuffy, Cameron, but I don't like being insulted because of my religion. No other man I've met has ever even mentioned such a thing. I--I think you'd better go--now."
Somehow, he never could remember just how he suddenly found himself outside the door of the nurses' parlour and heard himself saying in an injured tone, "But, Judy, just a min" as he heard the latch click with a definite and conclusive sound.
"Say, I'll not stand for that," Cam knocked imperatively on the door. "Judy--Judy!" But all he heard was the fading sound of feminine heels clicking on polished hardwood as Judy strode decisively down the hall on the opposite side of the parlour, toward her room. Two big tears were splashing down her cheeks already, the vanguard of many to follow when she reached the seclusion of her room, but that he could not know.
Searching for Light
"WHEW! I certainly opened my big mouth and put my foot in it that time," remarked Cameron Lea to himself, as he sat dejectedly on the edge of his bed and thought of the interview so abruptly concluded when he had essayed to talk religion with Judy. "Well, at least no one can ever say that Judy doesn't have a mind of her own! I'm not sure about myself, though. If I have a mind, I certainly didn't use it that time."
Ruefully analyzing the situation in which he found himself, Cameron Lea very soon came to the wise conclusion that the painful interview just terminated was real proof of what he had felt all along. Had the prophet Amos appeared before him and queried, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Cameron would certainly have known the answer. No, surely, two people could not be really happy together unless they agreed upon religion, the foundation of any permanent home.
Cam was nobody's fool. His trained and analytical mind dissected the question that plagued him until he had exhausted all the possibilities and finally arrived at a con elusion.
"After all," he asked himself, "am I really a Protestant? Do I really know what I believe? If Judy should pin me down on some theological point, just where would I be?" Cam had a sneaking suspicion that Judy knew more about Catholicism than he did about Protestantism. At least she practised it more, he had to admit to himself.
Consequently it was with considerable humility that Cam presented himself at Judy's door, on his next night off. Whether it was this humble attitude, or the big box of dew-fresh roses that he had sent ahead as a peace offering, or the fact that Judy had been so cruelly afraid that he might not come back at all, that caused her to be so forgiving, Cam neither knew nor cared. Suffice it to say that his approach to his problem--their problem--was exceedingly cautious.
"Judy, you know this 'religion' business we were talking about the other evening? I surely was a chump about the whole thing. Now, I think we ought to approach the whole question calmly and reasonably. I don't know exactly why I'm a Protestant--I admit it--and I admit that I could be wrong. I'm willing to investigate and find out.
"Now you feel that you do know why you are a Catholic, but have you ever really studied the matter to answer all the questions for yourself?"
"No, Cam, of course I haven't. I'm sorry I got so worked up about it. I was stuffy, too." Judy's contrition was sweet to behold.
Here we pause while Cupid again interrupts.
"So let's study together and find out why you're a Catholic and I'm a Protestant. What d'you say?" said Cam, after this brief interlude.
"I think it's a good idea. But who'll teach us?"
"If we're going to find out for ourselves, then we don't need anyone to teach us. Almost anyone we got would be prejudiced in one way or another. I'm certain that if I got one of our ministers he could not help having a bias on the subject."
"That's right," admitted Judy. "And I know the same thing would be true of any of the priests," she added honestly. Judy was mentally honest and forthright, and that, as Cam told himself many times, was just another reason why he loved her.
It was thus that the two decided to try to solve their religious differences for themselves. Furthermore, they agreed to use no books other than the Bible and a concordance. Since Judy had always been taught that it was a dangerous thing for a Catholic to use a "Protestant" Bible, they agreed to use the Douay, or Catholic-approved, Version. Cam immediately purchased a good one at a nearby church--goods house.
"I've heard Father Brien say that it is impossible for a layman to find the truth from the Bible for himself. What do you think about that, Cam? Do you think it is a dangerous thing to do" Judy wriggled excitedly in her place by the fire as she looked at the new Bible on the low table before them. Never before in her life had she studied the Bible; to her this seemed a very daring thing that sire was about to do.
"Nonsense, Judy!" Cam caught himself. "I mean, after all we decided that we'd let the Good Book speak for itself, didn't we? All right, let's stick to it and give it a fair trial. If it seems bad or dangerous to you then, you can always quit, can't you?"
"Surely, Cam. Well, where shall we start?"
"Why not start right where we are in our discussion? Let's see if we can find out if the Bible is a safe guide. H'm, now how do we go about it'--teach,' 'show' 'demonstrate,' 'reveal'--that's it, 'reveal.' I'm sure that word is in the Bible. Let me see the concordance. 'P,--q,--r,' yes, here it is 'reveal,' I Corinthians 2:9, 10. Find it, Judy."
Judy took the thick black book in her hands and let it fall open. "What did you say the reference was?" she asked. "Oh, Corinthians." She busied herself leafing here and there for a few moments.
"I might as well confess, Cam, that I haven't the slightest notion where to look. Here, you find it."
"To tell you the truth, I'll probably have a hard time to find some of the books myself," Cam rejoined. "If my Sunday-school teacher hadn't bribed us fellows into learning the books of the Bible when I was a little shaver I wouldn't know as much as I do now. First and Second Corinthians are what are called 'epistles,' and all of the epistles are found in the New Testament--see?" Cam, rather proud of himself, found the place. "Now, please read it."
"'But, as it is written: that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God bath prepared for them that love Him. But to us God hath revealed them, by His Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.' That doesn't seem to help us much, does it?"
"I'm not so sure about that," answered Cam. "Look here, 'But to us God hath revealed them....' This says that God speaks to us, by His Spirit. At least that indicates that it is not necessary for us to be taught by a minister or a priest."
"That's right, Cam," breathed Judy admiringly.
"Beginner's luck, I suppose," Cam confessed. "Where do we go from here? Doesn't seem to be anything else along this line. I'll look for the word 'Bible.' No, it isn't in the concordance. What does the Bible call itself, anyway? Let me think. Yes, I've heard preachers call the Bible the Word of God. 'Word,' here it is. Try this one, Judy, I Peter 1:23-25."
"Is that another one of those--those what-do-you-call-its?" "Yes, that's another epistle."
Judy's slim fingers busied themselves with the Bible. "Oh, here it is 'Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the Word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever. For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away. But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you.' Say, that's rather pretty, isn't it--like poetry. What does 'Being born again' mean, Cam?"
"Means being converted, Judy. This is a good reference. Look, it says that we are converted--born again--by 'the Word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever.' And then a little farther on. 'The Word of the Lord endureth for ever.' If people are converted by the Bible, that means that it is a safe guide for them, doesn't it?"
"That's right. Now what do we read next?"
"Let me think a minute, 'Scriptures,' yes, that is another word that the Bible uses for itself, I believe. Sure enough, here it is--the reference is St. Luke 24:27."
Judy read, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures, the things that were concerning Him."
"That is another good text, too. I remember what it is about, from Sunday school. It is telling about the time when Jesus had been resurrected and with two of the disciples was on His way to a place called Emmaus. They were not permitted of God to recognize Him, and in the words of this text He is trying to explain that their Master was really the Christ, even though they had just about lost faith in Him after His crucifixion. And, you see, He was using the Scriptures to prove that He actually was what He claimed to be."
"If Jesus used the Scriptures to prove things, then it certainly should be all right for us to do the same thing, shouldn't it, Cam:" said Judy.
"That's exactly what I'm driving at. But say, I believe, come to think of it, that I did not see whether there were any more references to 'word.' Let's give a look. Sure, here's another--several of them. There are three in Psalm 119.
That's Psalm 118 in the Catholic Bible, Judy. Psalms is in the Old Testament. Just about in the middle of the Bible. Read verses nine and eleven."
"I know about the Psalms. I had to learn some of them in school. The Sisters made me do it." Judy giggled. "I'm afraid it was uphill work for them. Here it is, 'By what doth a young man correct his way? by observing Thy words.' Did you say verse eleven, too? 'Thy words have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.' "
"Here's one more, Judy. The one hundred and fifth verse."
"'Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths.' These are the plainest yet, aren't they, Cam?"
"Yes, Judy, and I'm surprised to find such plain statements in the Bible. It is really easier to understand than I imagined. At least it has been to-night. There's one more reference on 'scripture,' though. I wanted to find out if I had skipped any on 'word' before I went back to it. See if you can find 2 Timothy 3:16,17."
Judy's mind was as quick as Cam's and she did not have to be told the second time where to find many references. Furthermore, it was only a matter of a few days until she had secretly memorized all the books of the Bible, with the Apocryphal books included, since she did not know that they are not a part of the Sacred Canon. She had the reference in a moment.
"'All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work. "
"That's the best one yet!" Cam exclaimed. 'All scripture is profitable.' That ought to settle the matter for us, hadn't it?"
"Yes, Cam, I really believe it should. Why, I never dreamed that the Bible could answer questions as it has this evening. It's almost as though one of the saints were speaking to us," Judy breathed.
"It's been fun, hasn't it?" Cam answered heartily. "And I believe that if we keep on we may really find out where we are."
"I think so, too. And now you'd better go, 'cause I have to be on duty at seven in the morning. Good night, Cam."
"Good night, Judy." Cam waved affectionately from the courtyard walk as Judy's elfin face peered in farewell at him from the parlour door.
Lost in the Word
I JUST wonder what would be the best thing to study next with Judy," mused Cam to himself, the day following the first study of the Bible he and Judy had had together.
Cameron Lea had always been a purposeful young man who made a practice of getting what he wanted. Just now he knew definitely what he wanted--that was Judy. The only catch in the situation was that this time he did not know just how to go about getting it, or her.
"Say, Gus," Cam addressed himself to his fellow intern, as Gus stopped near the table where Cam was eating a lone and hasty meal. "Say, Gus, sit down here, will you? Now, what would you say is the most vulnerable point in the theology of these Catholics, anyway? I know you read the Bible, and you certainly are not a Catholic."
"I don't know that I can answer your question, Cameron. At least I don't know what would be the most vulnerable point. But, 1 do know what is one of the key points of their doctrine--one of the points that binds Catholics to the church most closely, at least." Gus wondered what had inspired this sudden interest in theology on Cam's part, but wisely refrained from asking questions.
"You do? What is it? That's exactly what I want to know at least it is one of the things I want to know."
"Why, I think it is their doctrine about the dead, purgatory, hell, and all that, don't you?" Gus rejoined soberly.
"I don't know. I was asking you. What makes you think that?"
"Well, the doctrine of purgatory and prayers for the souls of the dead certainly ties them to the church, doesn't it? You think it over yourself." Gus could have added a great deal more had he felt it prudent to do so. He had learned, however, that it is often better to tell less than a person wants to know than to overload an inquirer.
"Thanks, Gus. I'll do it," and Cam abruptly began eating his interrupted meal as Gus hurried on to an appointment in the pediatrics clinic.
"Wonder how much he knows about it all," Cam mused to himself as he bolted his pie. "Well, he wouldn't have to know much to be ahead of me. I suppose I might as well try that as any other tack."
"Judy, I think I have a good suggestion on the subject of to-night's study." Cam had just entered the familiar nurses' parlour two nights after the first study they had had together. He found Judy eager to get on with the task they had assigned themselves.
"What do you think we should read about?" she smiled inquiringly.
"Some things I've always wondered about, personally," Cam said diplomatically. "Heaven and hell and purgatory. What happens to a man's soul when he dies, and all that."
"Oh my, that seems so gloomy, doesn't it, Cam? Still, I'd like to know what the Bible has to say about those things myself. I know when grandma died mamma had ever and ever so many masses said for her so that she would get out of purgatory right away; although I can't imagine why she would ever go there in the first place, she was such a good old soul." Judy looked sober indeed, as she thought of the possibility of her grandmother having suffered any kind of punishment.
"Well, then, let's find out about it," Cam rejoined cheerily. "Perk up, little girl, we aren't dead yet--in fact I feel as if I had just begun to live." Cam's dimple showed in a manner that made it very hard for Judy to think of serious things.
"Do you know where to start?"
"Yes, I believe I do, maybe. I've been thinking about it, and I took a peek or two into the concordance."
"Naturally, I suppose, you started with the word 'dead,' " said Judy, as the fire began to throw out a cheery warmth.
"Yes, I did. And I don't mind telling you that the first text I looked up really stopped me cold. Just what it means I can't make out. Of course I've always known that when a person dies the soul goes right on living. I've always heard preachers say that it goes either to heaven or to hell. So this text just must need explaining."
"Well, what is it. anyway? I'm perishing with anticipation," and Judy poised a pink finger above the edge of the Douay Bible she held in her eager hands.
"0. K., read Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 6."
"'For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know nothing more, neither have they a reward any more: for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love also, and their hatred, and their envy are all perished, neither have they any part in this world, and in the work that is done under the sun.' Whew! I'll say it needs some explaining. Why--why--that would do away with purgatory too. wouldn't it? Well, we certainly know that it can't mean what it says--you know that." Judy's face was really serious now.
"Right, Judy. I imagine we've just run into one of those seeming contradictions that you find in any book occasionally. I'm sure that when we get the other texts together we will see where this one fits in all right. Let's try Psalm 115:17."
Here Judy had a little difficulty, for the numbers of the chapters in the Douay Bible are different from those given in the Authorized Version, for which Cam's concordance was designed. She finally found the text in Psalm 113:17.
"'The dead shall not praise Thee, 0 Lord: nor any of them that go down to hell.'"
"I'm not sure that that helps us any--at least the first part," mused Cam.
"Well," rejoined Judy, "you wouldn't expect people in hell to praise the Lord, would you?"
"Am I dumb!" exclaimed Cam. "Of course that explains it. But I still don't see just what that other verse means. It'll ravel itself out, though, if we keep on. Here, try Psalm 143:3."
"M-M, let me see. Oh, here it is in Psalm 142. 'For the enemy hath persecuted my soul: he hath brought down my life to the earth. He hath made me to dwell in darkness as those that have been dead of old.' "
"That's not very conclusive, either, is it? In fact it leans the wrong way just like the first one we read. 'He hath made me to dwell in darkness as those that have been dead of old.' Might be hell, but it couldn't mean heaven. And the trouble is, Judy, it just says 'dead' and not the bad dead or the good dead."
"Come to think about it, Cam, the other text said, 'The dead shall not praise Thee,'" added Judy, still disturbed.
Well, let's try another one--let's look at this one in the New Testament, Acts 2:29 and 34."
'Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David; that he died, and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present day.... For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord, sit Thou on My right hand....' "
"What do you know about that!" cried Cam, almost exasperated. "This gets worse instead of better. 'David ascended not into heaven.' Look, Judy, wasn't David a good man in his old age?'
"Why, I always thought so, although I don't know a whole lot about it."
"Well, he was. I know he was. And if he was a good man, why wouldn't he have gone to heaven when he died? I'd like to know where I could find out. Do you realize that every text we have found yet indicates that the dead don't go anywhere--and that's preposterous."
"Well, Cam," answered Judy in soothing tones, "let's tackle it from some other angle. Isn't there some other word we can think of to look up that will give us the other side of the picture?"
"Maybe so. Let's see--dead--soul--immortal--that's it. Immortal, every Christian believes that we are immortal. Let's see what the Bible has to say about that. Yes, here it is 'immortality.' Look up 1 Timothy 6:15,16."
"Here it is: 'Which in His times He shall show who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen.'"
"Right in the solar plexus again!" exclaimed Cam. "Did you hear that? It says Christ--that's who it is talking about, no doubt about that--it says that He is the only one who has immortality. Say, am I dreaming all this, or did I dream that I have always been told that we had immortal souls?"
"I've always been dreaming, too, if you have, Cam. I'm sure I don't know what to make of it. But let's not give up. There must be some more texts about immortality, aren't there?"
"Not as many as you might think, Lady. But look up this one: Romans 2:7."
"'To them indeed, who according to patience in good work, seek glory and honour and incorruption, eternal life.' That doesn't have 'immortality' in it. Oh, I see. 'Incorruption' must be the word that the Douay Bible uses."
"That's right, but it doesn't say that we have immortality. It says that some people--good people, I suppose--seek for it. We still are not much better off then, are we?"
"No, it's true. If people had immortality, naturally, they wouldn't have to seek it. Do you find any more?"
"Yes. Read I Corinthians 15:53, 54, please."
Judy found the text, with some difficulty, but with no help, and began, "'For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shad come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.' "
"That is just what we got through reading about, isn't it? 'Must put on immortality.' You don't put it on if you have it on already, do you? Here, Judy, let me look at the Bible a minute." Cam searched the page earnestly. "Say--look at this: 'In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality.' Verses 52, 53. This actually says that we put on immortality only at the end of the world, for that is when the last trumpet shall sound. I tell you, Judy, I never heard anything like this before!"
"I'm sure I never did, Cam, for you know I've never studied the Bible before. All I know is what the Sisters taught me in school and what I've heard the Fathers say. It's all very bewildering to me." And Judy drew her feet up under her and looked like a small girl whose arithmetic problems had refused to come out right.
"I'm beginning to wonder if we are smart enough to figure this out by ourselves. Last time we studied, everything went so well that I thought this was going to be easy, but tonight. Let's quit for this evening. My head's in a whirl. Every text we've looked up has been just the opposite of what I always thought the Bible taught," Cam concluded dejectedly.
"Yes, I think we should. But I don't think we ought to give up too easily. Maybe if we rest our minds we will be able to think it through more clearly. After all, we know that these texts can't mean that people just stop--stop everything when they die."
Right, Judy." Cam had lots of bounce, and not a little self-confidence, and he smiled down at Judy now. "We've just got to find out what is right, haven't we, Judy?"