43.7, Tues., April 18, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Home in the Vosges Mts.

The children are sleeping. It was a long day that started with Easter, then the walk home and the welcoming hugs and the reports of all that happened. Simon and Hannah still did the evening chores, while Greg and Gabe practiced their archery and the mounting and dismounting of the mule who seems to have grown more patient with age. Who are the grown-ups among these children?

In the quiet softness of a sleeping night here with Ana she asks me why I am still stern with my sons. She’s heard from them already, and now she wants to know my view of whatever it was that demanded such wrath from me and sent my children dreaming.

“Ana, when we arrived there were crowds of pilgrims, and right in the midst of all the fasting pilgrims came dux Waldalenus, the mayor of Metz, in a carriage with armed guards. The boys were awestruck seeing this swath of power in the midst of a great pilgrimage, but I could only see the Spirit of heaven was suddenly marred by earthly politics.

“Then when the boys were sleeping Brother Servant summonsed me to meet with the Baro Dithrum who headed up the mayor’s guards. Remembering our journey to Metz, those years ago they were asking for the same messenger to take a letter from Father Columbanus to a council of the Frankish-Roman bishops of Gaul. It seems Bishop Arnulf of Metz, and his wife, Sister Doda, remembered our visit to them, and they came to know the work of Father Columbanus with opened minds. Now they’ve become followers and benefactors of Luxeuil. So it is that dux Waldalenus of Metz also gives his support to the Celtic father and he is now arranging for the Father’s peaceful message to the bishops council be carried by that same messenger. I clearly said I couldn’t be that messenger this time.”

“So why are you angry with your sons?” She asks.

“Maybe I shouldn’t be angry at them. You’re right. They’re just children with children’s dreams and lofty imaginations way bigger than their understanding of the world. But they let themselves become victims of the baro’s trickery, all for promises of swords and horses and glory.

“After I said no to it, Baro Dithrum followed me to our campsite. When I was asleep he lured the boys to the stables with promises they could ride the horses and become guardsmen.”

(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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