#43.2, Weds., April 5, 2023

         Brother Servant asked me to meet here after vespers when my boys are settled in for the night. Brother Servant and a nobleman are waiting by the gate.

         Brother Servant tells me, “King Guntram is dead.”

         “I’d heard that. He was old. He was the last living son of Clothar.”

         “He didn’t die of age. He died in battle fighting with the bishops to win Brittany from the heathens.”

         “And now, he is a saint?” I ask.

         “And now he is gravely missed. His nephews who inherited the earth are nothing like blessed peacemakers.”

         “And St. Guntram was that?” I wonder.

         “Comparatively speaking. So his death has created a likely catastrophe for us all.  Do you recall some years ago you and Ana carried messages to all of those complaining bishops?”

         “Of course I remember that.”

         “We are calling on you to go again, now, with a message from the father to the Council of Bishops.”

          “I can’t go now. Things have changed for us. Ana and I can’t just ride off delivering messages. And besides, we haven’t even horses.”

         The other fellow I learn is a baro in Metz speaking for the mayor who is funding this mission. The baro just turns away at my refusal.

         Brother Servant continues, “The bishops of Gaul are now speaking in unison. The young kings have no strategies or understanding to solve issues with anything but military might; so we can’t expect support for an Irish abbot from the throne. Of course Father Columbanus would make concessions in the simple matters of calendar and tonsure, but he fears those arguments are only an excuse for sending us all back to Ireland.”

         The baro glances at me and adds,  “You can see how people here thirst for the good work of Father Columbanus.”

         Brother Servant continues,  “If we were nothing more than an impoverished secular church in the woods no one would care how we cut our hair.”

         The baro adds, “For this mission you will have fast horses and an armed guard…”

         I answer Brother Servant, “Of course I know well the goodness of Father Columbanus.  But…”

         The baro continues, “… and of course there will be a messenger’s purse.”

         “Really I can’t go at this time. Ana has an infant at her breast. And these boys who are with me today, barely men, are the oldest of our seven. I’m simply not the right man for this mission.”

(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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