The Ark of Apocalypse

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Europe United

Philip’s grandfather said on his deathbed that he was still King of Austria - Hungary, and no one could take from him that right.  His father too, called himself King of Austria - Hungary.  Philip knew the story of how his grandfather’s best friends and most trusted allies tricked him and how he was forced into exile on Madeira.  Philip spent many an hour at his tomb.  Now was the time to take back the crown for his grandfather.  Charles von Habsburg died on April First but the fools will be those who think the monarchy of Austria is over. 

Philip did not believe in Monarchies as such but as a protector of the people and their rights, sometimes it was the only way.  What he objected to was the idea of absolute monarchs.  A Monarch at the will of the people was not a problem. Philip always believed that a Constitutional Republic was the best form of government, but Written Law cannot protect itself.  A King, whose only job is to protect the Written Law, can be a blessing providing he has no other power.  Power corrupts so all power should be in the paper and not the person, any person.   Philip thought of Thailand and Japan, where kings watch over democratically elected republics keeping corruption out but making no laws themselves.

Philip looked at his commanders with determination: “We shall march to Austria and I shall reclaim my father’s crown,” he told his Knights.  It was time for the saint, Charles von Habsburg, to go home. His uncorrupt body belonged in Austria and on his own property.

Philip sent the Frenchmen back to France and his German allies remained in Germany.  The Knights went out in pairs to take control of Germany, Poland, and Hungary.  Philip took only a small army of Knights into Austria and marched right up the government steps without a fight. 

He told all the members of the Austrian government to step down.  He ordered all local governments dismantled and reorganized according to the new constitution.  He told the Austrian people the type of government they would have and that there would be no Federal taxes.  Taxes would be on a local level because he would take care of the Federal Government with his own wealth.  

“As King of Austria, I ask nothing from you.  I do not want your money or your honor.  I offer you only one thing, peace - peace between Austrians and peace from any foreign invasion.  The elders of your town will judge disputes and set up government systems until you can have democratic elections.  No one will ask anything from you except that you commit no crime against your neighbor.  If you do, you will answer to me directly.”

The Austrians loved him.  Millions came out to cheer him. Austria had been in fear of the mobs throughout Europe for two years.  Philip’s victories over them were welcome news.  Thousands of Serbs, Croatians, and Bulgarians crossed the border of Austria to pay him honor and to get his help in setting up governments in their countries.

He stayed on in Austria for a year.  Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia joined him.  Cuba was the first South American government to set up behind him.  The President of Russia sent him a letter of support, and asked for help in that Russian farmers were refusing to send food to the cities.  Philip sent representatives to the Russian farmers and opened the food lines.

Philip stayed at his grandfather’s house as he watched all of Western and Eastern Europe come under his control within a year, including Russia.  Two European countries were still fighting with each other.  The Italians were still killing each other in the streets, and in England, Moslems had resorted to terrorism and had blown up the government buildings, the factories, and the ship yards.  Ireland had united into a single country and brought Scotland into submission.  Many Protestants crossed over into England.  Ireland maintained a stable government throughout the civil wars, and moved into England to help bring control back to the streets.   Hong Kong declared independence from China, and Singapore expanded its influence over Asia.

Philip moved the uncorrupt body of his grandfather, St. Charles, to his home in Austria.  A million people came to honor the saint and see his uncorrupt body before it was placed in a small building in the grounds of the vast estates of the Habsburg family, which he reclaimed and paid the government for all the work done on it over the past 70 years.  

But Philip was not happy.  He was concerned about the Holy Father because Italy was still far from peaceful and he had not heard word from him.  He called his twelve leaders together.  “We must go to Rome.”

Philip marched around the Alps through the straits of Trieste with the entire Polish army.  They went into every northern city and one by one stopping the civil fighting and setting up order.  They took away weapons from the gangs and gave them to the farmers and merchants.  The Knights set up temporary systems of government.  After peace was assured, the army moved on to the next city or town disarming every gang. Philip always left at least two behind to organize a useful police force and then moved on.  They kept moving south until they reached Rome.

Rome was even worse than when he saw it last.  What buildings remained were badly damaged. All electric power was out.  Cars were left in the middle of the streets out of gas.  All stores were closed and people wandered the streets looking for food.  Only the water system was working that pumped water to the many fountains of Rome.  The natural gravity of water from the lakes in the seven hills kept water running through Rome and prevented a great deal of deaths from diseases.  Philip sent the army and tanks out to go through every street and cleanup the mess.  Every person and every building was searched for weapons.  Every gang was eliminated.  No one was taken prisoner.  If they gave up and turned over their weapons they were set free.  If not?  It took a month to clean up Rome.  The power was turned back on by finding the workers and getting them back to work at the power plants.  Philip paid them with his own money.

On the first day in Rome, Philip went straight to St. Peter’s tomb.  When Philip reached the large open square in front of St. Peter’s, he asked his men to wait there for him.  Only Simon walked with Philip.  Philip carried the sword of Joseph of Armethia.  Simon held the ass that pulled the cart with the Holy Grail.  Simon wanted to ask about the Holy Father, but he could see that Philip was praying as he walked so he said nothing.  He stopped long enough to change the barrel of his gun to a higher caliber and a power scope.  With the scope he scanned the tops of the square for any threats and then motioned Philip to move forward. 

They zigzagged around the fallen pillars and statues until they reached the steps to the main doors of the Basilica.  Simon picked up the leather box very carefully and carried it up the long steps and past the Pieta.  The main roof was still mostly gone.  The arch over the main altar remained untouched.  Down the long main isle they walked in the open air.  They had to walk around and over fallen pillars, roof structures and statues.  It was sad but the rays of the sun came through the open roof and struck the gold pillars of the main altar creating a feeling of Heaven. Philip looked at the damaged Church with sadness and then looked up at Simon.

“We have the money, money from Solomon, money from the old Temple.  Let us start right now rebuilding St. Peter’s.” said Philip as he looked up and out the open roof.  “This building is the new temple of Jerusalem, just as the Church is the New Jerusalem. It will be a sign to the world as it was before, the pin of truth and unity.”

As they walked down the long isle, Philip felt a feeling of triumphant joy.  He felt that he was called to do a job and it was being accomplished. The closer he got, the better he felt. Birds were flying around inside the main arch and the sun made them a shinny white.  They were singing as they flew.  Philip stood taller and taller as he walked, pulling his shoulders back.  He was no longer ashamed to face God, because God’s command was being accomplished through him.  It was happening and he was part of it.  When he reached the foot of St. Peter’s tomb, he knelt down at the top of the steps and laid his sword on the floor.  He kissed the first step and then walked down beneath the altar to kiss the glass over the tomb of St. Peter and say a prayer.  

Simon carried the leather box around the railing to the main steps up to the high altar.  He walked up and placed the box on the high altar right in the center over the tomb of Peter and removed the leather box over the Holy Grail. He bowed and walked backwards down the steps.  Light streamed through the blown-open back wall and right through the brown diamond cup of the chalice. 

As Simon was backing off the altar and as Philip was coming up from St. Peter’s tomb, the white clad Pope Benedict stepped into the area under the great dome.  As he walked towards the altar, Philip spotted him and stood in silence.  The white robe glowed in the sun and his black skin disappeared so that you could see nothing but his sparkling eyes.

Benedict walked around to the front of the stairs next to Philip and turned to look at the Holy Grail.

 “Some power in the Blood of Christ, wouldn’t you say!”  He knelt on one knee and then got up again.

“That is the true and real physical presence of Christ in that cup. ---- But then, it is the true and real physical presence of Christ in every Mass and every tabernacle.” Benedict then hugged Philip. “There is something missing.”

Merlin answered, “You are looking for this?” He held out a large spear point and screwed it on the tip of the lance.  He then tapped it on the marble floor of the stairs and presented it to the Holy Father. 

Your Holiness, the lance of Cassius, known as St. Longines, as I promised.”

The Holy Father kissed the tip.  He laid it on the altar and stepped back. “At last, my Lord, the lance that opened the Sacred Heart of Christ to start the Church and the Mass and the Blood that redeemed mankind and opened the gates of Heaven, and the Chalice of the first Mass, all back at their proper resting place.” 

Philip then looked into Benedict’s eyes and said:

“I was worried that you would not be safe.”

“I told you that I would be OK here.” Benedict smiled.

“I was worried.  You are my authority and without you I have none.”

“The next pope will not change my ruling without a just cause.  But since this is not a matter of faith and morals, he could if he had just reason.  You are here to see me because you think your job is almost over – right?”

“It will not be long now that we will have brought peace and unity to Europe.  Some countries in South America have asked us to set up governments there. Oh! Even Russia has accepted our help and our constitution.”

“What about the rest of the world?  What about Jerusalem, China, South America?”

“What?  The entire world?  I cannot do that.”

“That is what you said about France. Our Lady of Fatima promised world wide peace. You are the instrument of that peace.  I promised God unity of all Christians.  You and I are not done yet.”  The Holy Father looked up at the Holy Grail.  “From now on you can count on the United States of America to help you.  I know this from inside information, and from the promise of Our Lady of America.  Now, let us bring peace to the entire world and then you will be done with what God sent you to do.”

Benedict gave Philip a blessing and a smile and then turned and walked away.  Philip stood there for over twenty minutes just stunned at the matter of fact attitude of the Pope and thinking of how impossible it would be to bring peace to the entire world.  He looked at the Holy Grail that he was going to leave there.

Philip stayed in Rome long enough to get order back to the city and went home to Austria. He informed his wife of the Pope’s command.  She looked into his eyes and tears started coming down.  For the past years she had hardly seen the husband that she loved and now it would continue on.