There are spirits who are reluctant to hear about the Word’s deeper layers. In fact they refuse to understand the subject, although they are capable of doing so. Mainly they are people who had believed that good works deserve credit and had therefore done good out of love for themselves and worldly reward. In other words, their goal had been to gain high position or wealth and the reputation that goes with it, not to benefit the Lord’s kingdom. In the next world they are more insistent than any others on getting into heaven, but they stay outside, because they do not want to learn the truth and therefore be affected by goodness. They interpret the letter of the Word to suit their delusions, bringing forward any passage that smiles favorably on their selfish urges.
They were represented by a little old lady whose face was ugly and yet snowy white, her appearance marred by distorted features.
Those who welcome and love the deeper layers of the Word, on the other hand, were represented by a girl just grown up, in the bloom of early womanhood, dressed in beautiful clothes, wearing wreaths and other splendid finery.
With one group of spirits I discussed the Word and the need for some kind of revelation to have been given, in the Lord’s divine providence. After all, revelation—the Word—is a broad container, holding within it both spiritual and heavenly elements and consequently uniting heaven and earth. Without it, heaven and earth would have lacked connection and the human race would have perished.
In addition, it was necessary that heavenly truth be available somewhere for people to learn, because we were born for heavenly purposes and should come among heavenly beings when bodily life ends. Religious truth forms the laws of order in the realm where we will be spending eternity.
It may seem perplexing—although it is absolutely true—that angels understand the Word’s inner meaning better and more fully when young girls and boys read it than when adults who lack a faith born of neighborly love do. The reason I was given is that young boys and girls are at a stage of innocence and mutual love. So the vessels [of their minds] are very tender, almost heavenly, completely open to outside influences, and therefore capable of being molded by the Lord. (They are unaware of his molding, however, except perhaps through a kind of delight perfectly suited to their tastes.)
The Lord’s Word, the angels said, is dead verbiage, but he brings it alive in the person who reads it. He gives it as much life as each of us is capable of receiving, and the more charity we express in our lives and the more innocent we are, the more living the Word becomes. This happens in countless different ways.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1774-1776