#43.3 Thurs., April 6, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Luxeuil

         “You must know it is your duty to God to deliver the Father’s letter.”

         “I’m sure there are others who would gladly do this.”

         I can see Brother Servant feels betrayed. Now he just turns and walks away with no parting blessing. Baro Dithrum is left to explain.

         “Brother Ezra, you were chosen because, it seems, on your previous assignment the message delivered to Bishop Arnulf served to garner his support for the abbot here. Father Columbanus guesses that the bishop’s change of heart was a result of your visit and his own wife’s coaxing.”

         I offer more options, “It could have been lots of things — geography, proximity of Luxeuil to Metz, or maybe the voice of God, or simply competition among bishops.”

          The power structures of Gaul are shifting in the wind, and with the loss of powerful kings a lesser unity of nobility is filling the void. Bishops are appointing one another based on birthright more than sanctity. And they seem to think their duty is to maintain a political consistency and order.

         The baro explains, “obviously this group of Frankish bishops, who are meeting, see themselves as overseers of the activities of foreign abbots.”

         “That’s a very specific purpose to meet, as though these bishops are simply joining forces to get Father Columbanus to restyle his hair.”

         Baro Dithrum snickers, “Yes, that’s how Father Columbanus received the news. He just handed their summons back to me and said he was ‘glad to make an excuse for them to meet together, and if he isn’t present maybe they can talk about something more useful than calendars and haircuts.’ So he prepared his reply that says he won’t go before them. So you see, this letter is timely and important.”

         “I understand. But surely there are other messengers you could send. I have other priorities now. Ana and I can’t just go off roaming as we did before. I know these holy men don’t see family as a priority. One who vows chastity surely would only see seven children as a testament to original sin. But as a baron, and not a monk, you can surely understand duty to family.  I thank God everyday for the beautiful gift of family and I don’t believe my priorities are misaligned.”

         “Rethink it, Brother Ezra, pray on it if that’s what you do. Consider the righteous choice less selfishly.” He too, turns and leaves without closure.

(Continues Tuesday, April 11, 2023)

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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