Historical setting: 584 C.E. The house of Eve, pagan healer
“So you were going to read Nic’s pages about the monastery.” I remind Anatase as we begin the reading lesson.
She begins, “He writes, ‘Page 4, Ligugé. So Laz, you may be wondering what became of our plan for us to work in the inks at a monastery.’”
“Yes, Anatase, this is exactly what I want to know.”
“Why would the old monk want to live in a monastery?”
Need I explain to a child the longing that drove Nic’s life? Let me try. “He told me when we first met (Blog post#8.5), as he was already retiring from the Roman Navy, he always wished to become a monk; in fact he never even really wanted join the ranks of the Roman military in the first place.”
“’The Old Monk’ as you call my friend Nic was in some ways like you, born on the barbarian fringes of Christianity. His tribe was not pagan, but of a Christian Arian Heresy probably like the Christians of your own village who didn’t follow the Nicene Creed. You call those who believe the creed ‘Roman Christians,’ like Colleta and Celeste.
“When he was a child the not Roman Christian priest of his village taught him to read and write and taught him the stories and the psalms in scriptures that are used by all Christians. So Nic and the priest and even his mother always expected he would be a monk one day; but then the changes of the wins and losses in tribal wars gave the power and the voice of rule to the Roman Christians of the Creed, the Franks. But monasteries rising from the Roman root had little use for an Arian son of a soldier like Nic. He was turned away at the monastery at Tours. At the time he thought they were only interested in taking on wealthy Frankish noblemen. And maybe that was true, but for whatever reason, Nic was turned away.
“Just before Nic was born his father, a soldier, was killed fighting tribal wars for the side of old Rome. So Nic’s inheritance was not a noble title with wealth, but an iron shirt, a helmet, a sword and a Roman shield. When his thoughts of becoming a monk were set aside he put on his father’s armor and joined the Roman Navy. He was always hoping one day he could find a way to follow what he believed was God’s calling.”