Historical setting: 602 C.E. The secular church in the Vosges
Mater Doe has been keeping watch, offering up, through dark hours, prayers and comfort, a sip of water, a warmer blanket all for a healing that might happen regardless of her tireless efforts.
I have new strength already. And I’m driven to grasp for clarity of mind in spite of the pain and hurting also for another’s empathy. The thought was taunting my sons of a howling, hardly healed papa, hanging around their house. They no doubt feared such a long healing would take their mother’s full attention — I hope not to allow those fears to come to pass.
Now Ana comes in the darkness with Simon driving the donkey cart. As Mater Doe had commanded, she brings the younger children to be under her watch for this night.
I can speak a few words now to Ana, “Gabe and Greg?”
And she answers, “It was starting to get dark when they came on their tired horses so I went out and walked with them. The boys were totally exhausted and I think they were finding release from such a long ordeal. They told me what happened. But their imaginations were still spinning stories of what they could have done were they the full army of powerful men you needed them to be. I assured them they were already what you needed them to be.”
I can answer, “Yes, yes.” But whose tears are these I don’t know.
Ana dries her eyes too. “They said they let the guards push you down face first while they watched from a distance. They were watching when the spear was driven through.
“They are asking, ‘Why could men whose only purpose is to protect their bishops, without any hate at all for Papa, do something so brutal?’
Ana went on, “They seemed to expect me to have some reasonable answer. In my silence they talked between themselves and decided the guards were just following orders. They told me they thought they were following orders too. And they begged for forgiveness. Does Mater Doe blame them? Does Papa blame them? Do I blame them? Does God blame them? They blame themselves. What could I say?”
Now Hannah is here at my side. She’s been asking me different questions about this than the blame question.