Historical setting: 564 C.E. The Gaul Side of the Pyrenees
So, Nic asks August, recalling the story of Joseph, “It was like your brothers plotted to take you from your father, strip you of your fine coat with long sleeves then leave you in a wilderness pit?” [Genesis 37:20-24]
August answers, “Yes, I lived that story. But they didn’t take me to the pit; I found the wilderness cave with the help of God. I thought of the cave as that mystical pit for dreaming, the place where Joseph was discarded, stripped of his fine garment and left for dead as I am dead to them now. But making my choices, I left to go my own way just before the project was started in Bordeaux when we were repairing the rubble of a burn near Tours. I added some carvings in sandstone, flourishes and flowers for the lentil shelf over the doorway so when the bishop with his priests came to assess the construction they hardly noticed the huge stones perfectly set in place to be the walls. They stood in the doorway marveling at the carvings.
“When they left, my brothers heaped their jealous rage onto all Christians. They jeered at the mystery of ethereal Spirit, sourcing psalms and prayers and taking these “vulnerable” Christians into “imaginary” worlds claiming an invisible God, instead of caring for the more tangible and useful things of earth like the solid walls. They called the worship of God a dream gone array leading ignorant followers into the cult of the pit.
“But all of us, my parents and my brothers alike had spent our lives building these great halls for Christian worship. How could they do that work and never even see the purpose of it? I was angry, maybe for my own hurt, but I thought it was for the sake of God. I believed my own rage was holy anger seeking justice for God, so I left my human family for the solitude of a cave. I confess often, wondering if my reason for seeking tranquility was for my benefit or was truly for God’s sake.”
Brother Joel reaches his hand out to Brother August and whispers. “You are God’s child, would you not be honoring God by seeking your own peace? The sins that devour us are the ones that separate us from God, not the ones that bring us closer.”
“Thank you Brother Joel.” Brother August surely finds comfort in the simple wisdom of this elder.
“So what brought you down here from Tours?”