Historical setting: 602 C.E., Chalôns
When we were last in Chalôns, Ana and I were delivering messages from the Father to these bishops of Burgundy and Austrasia. Here, again, I am in Chalôns but across the city from the church of Father Felix, a follower of the Abbot. I am very sure no supporters of Columbanus will be present in this council.
Father Columbanus only has support from some nobility, Arnulf the noble Bishop of Metz, the Mayor of Metz, a dux, Baro Dithrum, maybe a few others, along with some churchmen like Felix.
But these noblemen of Frankish Gaul see power as a tenuous tower where every lust for importance is defined by a title that has to be incessantly defended with swords and soldiers. All these little violent skirmishes for power may seem insignificant except they leave in their wake violence and death.
Within this hall, this smattering of the noble-born, calling themselves a council, take on the duty of maintaining Roman order and consistency in the monasteries. With King Guntram gone, Father Columbanus is no longer sheltered from these bishops by a king’s power.
Now I’m here to deliver the scroll with the message from the Father that he will not be coming in person to stand before them to receive their reprimand. Their complaint, of course, is simply over the differences of the Celtic Christian rule and style. It’s not about something important like the nature of God.
Greg and Gabe are with the boys who tend the stables where they practice playing guardsmen with swordplay and archery. The talk among stable boys is always of wars.
Here I watch my sons looking, for all the world, like perfect physical men, strong and beautiful, excellent horsemen and marksman, yet so innocent. My prayers are pangs of dread for them. They’ve never known grief. They’ve not yet searched the depths of courage and the expanse of empathy to hurdle over the hates and find that sacred place where love dwells. How is it anything but an elder’s fumbles when I say to them that it is love that casts out fear, not swords or arrows?
Now we’ve journeyed all this way so they can see their father deliver a message that no one wants to hear. This council of power- thirsty bishops is festering for fight. In the Father’s message no evil bishops are conquered and no bearer of Christ is elevated. Maybe it’s pointless.
Yet, I know Greg and Gabe watch closely.