In the fair Fields of Asphodel, Prayers grow like flowers. Some are prayers of anguish from hearts that are breaking. And, oh, they are crimson red! Yet out of the centre of each a golden stamen points upward, bringing down the Divine Radiance into the very heart of passion or sorrow, stilling them.
There are the prayers that are lisped by baby lips, God bless mama and papa. These are tiny violets and daisies, so sweet and pure and beautiful, nodding their little heads in hundreds of thousands all over the grass.
Then there are stately lilies, so pure and white. They are the prayers of the saints whose hearts have been purified from all earth desires. There are beautiful roses too. These are the prayers of those passionate lovers who have learned to know and to dwell in beautiful love. They pour out their hearts in adoration like the perfume of the rose. Oh! How beautiful are these fields!
Prayers for success are grand and stately flowers with long stalks standing up straight and high, with flowers all down the sides, many, many flowers. Some are white with golden centres. And some are purple and blue and crimson according to their ideal. But the most beautiful are those that have within their hearts little golden stamens. And every time the Winds of Heaven blow, the bright dust of their golden pollen showers down upon mankind. Why, you ask? Because these are the prayers that have asked success and blessing for all the world. So the showers of golden dust fall upon all. And where'er they fall and find lodgement they bring happiness and success.
Selfish prayers for mere worldly success are not allowed to grow in these fields. We call them weeds. We go out and pull them up and cast them back to earth and say to the children of earth—Take back your prayers, they are not worthy of a place in this Garden. They come back to you to be readjusted. Gather them up. They belong only in the soil of the earth. Readjust them. For only when so readjusted can such prayers grow into beautiful flowers in the Fields of Asphodel.
Sometimes selfish prayers force success, like hothouse flowers of untimely bloom. These the angels pluck and throw back to earth. Such success as may thus be gained is but of the earth and only for the moment—only while the flowers thus plucked endure. They have no root in heaven.
The prayers that demand and demand and insist upon their fulfilment without saying, Not my will, but thine be done, are also weeds, bitter weeds and rank. Their answer seems to come because they grow a little, but their flowers soon fall and give place to bitter fruit which often purges those who planted and must eat.
The prayers that the Great Gardener loves are those which create the beautiful Flowers of Immortality. They are prayers of gratitude and thankfulness; the recognition of what you really are; the accepting of all your blessings with joy. Those are the greatest prayers of all, the prayers of thankfulness and joy; when you accept your blessings and realise how your Father loves you and how glad he is to see that you understand and permit him to help you.
Take then your blessings and laugh back into his face like glad flowers nodding joyously back to the sun. Say, O my Father! I am so happy because you love me and give me that which you know is best for me, except when I demand for self alone.
Realms of the Living Dead—A Brief Description of Life After Death, Harriette Augusta Curtiss and F. Homer Curtiss, the Curtiss Philosophic Book Company, Washington D. C., 1926