Historical setting: 563 C.E. remembering the villa
I learned from the bishop what had become of the villa under the Goths. Besides the actual gold and jewels and riches of the Suebi family, the Goths took, as their war booty, the cult members who were still living. They sanctified the asceticism and declared a sacred burial place in the courtyard of the villa where they buried the dead of the cultists.
When these Goths, once pagan hoards, swept through Hispania a near century ago they were already Christianized with the Arian heresy. But like the Franks, they brought with them from their Pagan root the sanctification of the rotting remnants of sufferings. They were making the cultists into their saints.
I suppose, in the superstitious minds, the warrior Goths viewed their easy victory over the villa as the great and magical work of the Christian God. I mean, after all, they easily conquered the elderly Suebi don swinging at them with his one dull and tarnished sword.
So, when I arrive at the villa tomorrow I can expect to see it is now a Gothic monastery as the bishop said it had become. And in the courtyard will be the burial places for monks and nuns and saints who have gone before. But I wonder if the family burial place will still be where I found it – at a traditional Roman distance from the villa. If I find it again, I will place flowers on the grave where I buried her with her family. That alone, seems to give purpose to this long ride.
Dear God, Do you relish in the paradox? Is there ever an earthly place for your healing peace and forgiveness? Thank you God, for my own years of healing. May I never loose my vision of your relentless forgiveness and love even for those we humankinds may name as heretics and enemies. Amen.
At sunset I find that pasture is still here where Umber may graze, and I may sleep in this autumn wither of grasses beside the still waters.
(Continues Thursday, October 1)
[A note about the order of this blog: This continuing story posts three times a week, about 400 words at a time, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in “Chapters” by the month. The “Home” page features an introduction to the new month’s Chapter and a recap of the necessary plot line to help followers keep their bearings. May our followers simply enjoy this on-going meander through ancient Christian history.]