THE POLISH PRINCE
A Polish prince who, for some political reason, had been exiled from his native country bought a beautiful castle and property in France. Unfortunately, he had lost the Faith of his childhood and was at the time of our story engaged in writing a book against God and the existence of a future life.
Strolling one evening in his garden, he came upon a poor woman weeping bitterly. He questioned her as to the cause of her grief. “Ah! Prince,” she replied, “I am the wife of Jean [John] Marie, your former steward, who died two days ago. He was a good husband to me and a faithful servant to Your Highness. His sickness was long and I spent all our savings on the doctors, and now I have nothing left to get Masses said for his soul.”
The Prince, touched by her grief, said a few kind words and, though professing no longer to believe in a future life, gave her some gold coins to have Masses said for her husband’s soul.
Some time after, it was again evening, and the Prince was in his study working feverishly at his hook. He heard a loud rap at the door and without looking up called out to the visitor to come in. The door slowly opened and a man entered and stood facing the Prince’s writing table. On glancing up, what was not the Prince’s amazement to see Jean Marie, his dead steward, looking at him with a sweet smile. “Prince,” he said, “I come to thank you for the Masses you enabled my wife to have said for my soul. Thanks to the saving Blood of Christ, which was offered for me, I am now going to Heaven, but God has allowed me to come and thank you for your generous alms.” He then added impressively: “Prince, there is a God, a future life, a Heaven and a Hell.” Having said these words he disappeared. The Prince fell upon his knees and poured forth a fervent Credo (I believe in God).