#39.2, Tues., Dec. 6, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. a cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil

         Colleen returned from meeting Father Columbanus in a far better state than when she left.  He has that gift.  She, who is usually stoic and unrattled by circumstances, seems nearly cheerful.

         Ana asks if the worry over sin is settled. Colleen won’t yield that issue yet, but tells us that Father Columbanus spoke of the “sins of lust” as something people could oppose. Even in her own explanation of this it isn’t a judgment from God.

         Love in a sexual relationship between two men or two women can have the goodness of relationship – trust, commitment, love – on earth as it is in heaven. But I can imagine monastic decorum needs earthly rule; with all these who are so young entering monasteries everywhere being overseen by an elder bishop, sometimes brings forth the ancient ways of the Roman law still dangling in those ruins. Rome condoned a kind of abusive power in sexual encounters between men and boys so maybe that tradition does have to be honed by monastic rule.  [Footnote] Maybe bishops and abbots called these “sins of lust” to make a rule for maintaining chastity in a community of only men.

         Colleen told of her meeting with the father. “He said he knew which two were absent from prayer this morning and they would be allowed their individual confessions. Then he asked me about my own fright in seeing such a thing. He listened to me, and he heard my confession even though I am a woman. And then this is what he told me. The new monastery they are building will be a double monastery.  Women will live there and he will be our abbot too. I will need to learn to read and write and sing the psalms, but I can become a nun! I can continue my work, called on as needed to deliver babies for the women of the countryside and then, he said, he knows God loves me as I am.”

         Dear God thank you for sending each our own source of joy, different as we all may be from one from the other.

         The work at Luxeuil has begun even as we are in the winter season.  A path is beaten alongside the creek at the bottom of the hill. It is easier for the mules to haul stone and tools now on the ice hardened banks of the creek.

[Footnote] https://en.wikipedia.org/wii/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome (Retrieved 04-02-2022) In Rome the law was honed to say it should only be young beardless boys and those who were slaves, not citizens of Rome, who could serve the lust of Roman citizens in homosexual encounters. Did the early monk’s vow of chastity simply harden this rule?

(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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