Post #33.6, Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. The monastery at Annegray

         Ana expected we were called here for a medical need. I was prepared with an accounting of the cottage. But the father’s concern is not about the uses the monastery has for us. His only care is that Ana is safe and living in a fearless circumstance close to God and nurtured in Christian love. Her answers were apparently satisfactory to allow me to continue to be a part of her life up there. So he has asked me specifically what of our plans – dreams – hopes, whatever it is to account for our continuing together.

         “Yes,” I answer, “It would be marriage, surely.”

         “Marriage? Ana said that too, and that you were thinking I would bless a marriage between you.”  He sounds skeptical.

         “That is surely a good piece of our hopes and dreams.”

         My mind is racing through centuries of marriage ceremonies, the dance, the wine gone to soon worrying his mother so Jesus gave us a sign of the nature of abundance turning water to wine. [John 2:1-11] And the latest wedding I’ve witnessed, the Pagan event rich with symbol of fertility along with hours into the night drinking ale and women dancing with a white snake passing among them all.

         “Yes, Father.” I answer, “A ceremony of marriage with you presiding would be a blessing and an honor.”

         “Oh no. There can’t be an actual marriage ceremony of course. We can’t have the monks thinking a marriage is possible after they themselves laid their eyes on Ana in an unfortunate incident.”

         “She told me of the incident. I understand. A simple private blessing of marriage would be very fine.”
         He explains,  “You and Ana may speak your promises of friendship to one another, and I will offer a simple prayer of blessing.  The servant monk will be the witness.”

         “We are just promising friendship to one another? You mean in a way that brothers in a community are brothers and friends living together?”

         “Exactly. It will be promising a forever of chaste belonging.”

         “So our promises to one another should not be about children?”

         “Surely you must know, Ana suffered injuries that may keep her from bearing children so I can bless your chastity together but surely I can’t bless any promise of children. It is no judgment on Ana. I’ve blessed others who are chaste in friendship without procreation.”

         He answers my silent pause, “Surely Ezra, you aren’t anticipating an actual marriage to that woman?”

 (Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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