Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul
Well passed the shrine, ahead is the great wall of the city. But I see no church tower above the wall anymore.
This road edges nearest the river across from the hills and the ancient caves. The devout still go to the caves for quietude. It’s wilderness dug in clay and I know it as the holy place where I spent a timeless forty days fasting and in prayer.
I’ve come several times on my journeys back into life.
The years after the rising of Jesus some of us who were close to him came into Gaul on the edge of the Great Sea to wait for the day. Then we were of the mind that Resurrection would be instant and tangible for everyone. The peace we found among the pagans of Gaul may not have been peace at all, but a shared fear of a common enemy — Rome. Then the Roman armies oozed into that edge of Gaul one little hamlet at a time. So I came here to the wilderness rocks and caves on the banks of the River Liger seeking the silence of a thin place where heaven and earth touch fingertips together. The tranquility that marks this place released my prayer into the flow of Spirit and set my psalm in tune with the beauty. Here prayer was the gentle exhale — the release — not the required order of the day. Thank you God.
Then my sisters went east to live among the Christians of the seven churches. I visited there while Mary was yet living. Then when she was very old and needed a person of her family nearby I went again to Ephesus. When she passed away I went on deeper into Persia to settle with other Aramaic Jews and Christians escaping Rome amid the Zoroastrians of that land. But always earthly politic seems to plunder heavenly peace. In the year 326 Rome swallowed up Christianity. Emperor Shapur II saw the declaration and shifted his own fears. His leery eye was on his distant Roman enemy so he made all Christians his enemy. We who were Christian monks were arrested beaten and martyred out of political fears, our holy differences aside.
Barely grasping life from death I made my way back here for the long and painful healing from that persecution.