Historical setting: A dark age on the Shore of Gaul
My habit of keeping night watch is still useful, as I’ve already slept this day and I’m easily prepared to keep this watch fire. These children can get the kind of night’s rest gifted to little ones in every other nest and den of every forest and house this night. Dear God, thank you for the peaceful night. And thank you for staying near. Amen.
At dawn’s first light the children do, indeed, gather at the family graves for their ritual of priestly words recalling their names and their assignment to watch over the so-called, “lost” souls of their loved ones. Probably if it is a secret kept from the priest, I should also not intrude, so I go to the freshwater creek and return with two small fishes for a hot cooked breakfast. These children are accustomed to sharing small morsels so everyone has something. In fact it is St. Luke himself who notices that I am of a larger size, and may require a larger portion, but I do not. There seems to be a sigh of relief in discovering I am also aware of the need to share.
After a snooze on the beach I follow that little used road inland, hoping to find the church where God wears the robes and the cross of a priest. The slope of the road rises nearly to the level of the high cliff where I suppose the fire would be lit to mark the harbor if there were any more keepers of the light. And from this high place I look inland and see the town spread in the valley, with the walled garrison nearest the shore on this same hill. The road forks into choice of town or fort. Since the church tower is in the town I turn eastward into the valley of Constantia though I do wonder if Nic is waiting for me at the garrison which would be familiar to him already.
Yes, the priest here does wear long robes, and his chain has a gold cross just the size and type as the one I saw inscribed in the sand only last night.
“Father, I need to speak with you. There are some children in great need here in your parish.”
“It is the season for great need. So are you able to make an offering?”
“My own offering is meager.”
“So, it is just as I supposed. You are a beggar suggesting alms to you would really be for some invisible children in need.”
(Come again tomorrow)