******** THE PILGRIMAGE ********

Once upon a time God called His favorite Daughter, Love, into His Presence. There was trouble. On one of God's planets the highest form of Life had run amok, and was threatening every living creature on the planet.

"Love," God said to His Daughter. "Your evil sister, Fear, has taken possession of the souls of the people who inhabit one of my planets.

Together with her evil knights Confusion, Hatred, Greed, Lust, Sloth, and Pride, she has driven these people to the most depraved insanity.

"Your servants, Understanding, Reason, Charity, Compassion, Industry, and Humility, will accompany you to the planet. The conditions which Fear has set for the battle are these." God began to enumerate the groundrules for the latest duel in the ageless war between Love and Fear. "You and your servants will be born into the bodies of people on this planet. None of you, with the exception of Understanding, will have any memory of your existence here with me, of your task, or of your relationship to one another.

"Fear has enslaved the people by stealing the Truth Pearl, and has hidden it in the mouth of a terrible dragon. Because the Pearl has been hidden from the people, they have fallen under the power of Fear.

The task set for you and your servants is to wrest the Pearl from the mouth of the dragon and return it to the Holy City." "But how are we to accomplish this task with no memory of who we are, or what we are to do?" Love asked.

"Although he will have no memory of you, his task, or the others, Understanding will carry the Spark of the Eternal Light. The Spark will never allow him to doubt my existence, thus he will not fall under the power of Fear.

"You yourself will enter this planet under the most adverse conditions. The body you will inhabit will make your existence there most difficult and trying. You may take nothing with you, save what you are, Love, and your invincible shield, forgiveness. In their insanity the entire planet will conspire to foully mistreat, use, abuse, and fail to appreciate you. So horrible your life on this planet may become that even you, because you will not carry the Spark, may at times question my existence. During this time only forgiveness will protect you from Hatred, that most pervasive of murderers, and you will clearly observe the actions and motives of the people on this planet. These observations will provide your greatest tool."

"But Father, how shall I ever hope to overcome evil from such a position of impotence and isolation?" "By yourself you will remain powerless. Your only hope will rest with Understanding, whose task it will be to discover you, and recognize you as his rightful Queen. Should Understanding perform his task faithfully, then your union with him will provide a point to which Reason, Charity, Compassion, Industry, and Humility may rally if they have remained faithful to their missions. Faith is the all important key. Your servants will enter this planet armed only with free will, which, as you well know, can be either a blessing or a curse. Should they exercise their free will with faithful wisdom ... choosing to reject the insanity of the planet, and to cherish our values of Truth, Justice, and Freedom ... then the vision of your servants will remain clear enough for them to throw off the shackles of Fear, and the planet she controls.

"If your servants come to your support by working together, you and they will have the Power of Unity, against which Fear and her evil minions cannot stand. Should your servants fail us, Fear will prevail, and insanity will destroy the planet."

"I will leave immediately, Father, to save Your beautiful planet from my destructive sister," said Love. "Have mercy on the souls of my servants."