Historical setting: 588 C.E. The courtyard of Ligugè
The abbot comes to me, grim faced with my old tunic and cowl across his arms, and on top of my once familiar clothing is a sword.
“Brother Lazarus, a messenger has arrived from the vineyards on the Loire. They are calling all of the young men of your family to war.”
“Why, what do you mean?”
The abbot is blunt, “The messenger brought you a horse and a sword because you are called to battle against the heathen of the forest.”
“I don’t understand. What is this about?”
“A known pagan healer was murdered and her house was burned. And for some reason, maybe you can make some sense of, your Christian family has taken it upon themselves to avenge this horror.”
I can’t speak, I can’t even catch my breath. I sit down next to the uncut stone. The abbot can see my pain and he lays the sword and clothing aside. Brother August reaches his hand onto my shoulder – it is strength. Dear God, are you near?
The abbot answers in gentler voice, “I know you are not one to go warring; we can turn the messenger away for the sake of your Christian duty here.”
“No. Eve is my family. Her house was my house. Is there news of the child?”
“So you mean you know of these pagans and heathens? I’m sorry to bring you this sad news then.”
My prayer is aloud so the abbot will know my heart, “Dear God, you know the prayers of this daughter Eve – she knows you well. You’ve heard her healing chants in Christian prayers. Through all her own pain she lets her empathy and love for others only increase. I’ve heard her whispering to you, ‘Dear Mother Creator God who is, let us be on earth as it is in your own heart of love, forever, and after Amen.’ Stay close to Eve, Dear God, stay close.
“Abbot, Father, what can I do now? I’m a Christian, like Jesus and I can’t carry a sword or do harm to any so-called enemy. My duty is to love.”
“Brother Lazarus, my son, some of the things Jesus taught are not relevant to our real lives. Maybe you can’t let this heathen enemy go unpunished. Your own family seems to own this battle.”
“Did the messenger say anything of the child?”
“The messenger is staying this night. You can ask him.”
(Continues Tuesday, October 19, 2021)