Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Message

Conrad banged his head on the long oak library desk. He’d been in the large Vatican library since seven o’clock in the morning trying to decipher ancient Greek/Latin letters written on a clay tablet allegedly from St. Aristides of Athens. One of the many sancti obscuri that the Church seemed to have forgotten about. It was believed he was of the earliest Theologians that tried to compare the belief structures of the early Christians with the other religions around 134 A.D.

There was very little known about St. Aristides of Athens and that’s why Conrad was so frustrated. This tablet he was studying was a mishmash of languages and forgotten gods of antiquity and each god seemed to have the powers of heaven and hell at their fingertips, or tentacles, or whatever body part they had. It was very frustrating to see the traits of Jesus and the Catholic God represented by so many of the ancient world’s gods.

It came as a hard stop shock to Conrad that so much of what he believed about Christianity and his chosen faith seemed to be borrowed so heavily from the religions that existed far before Jesus ever placed a worn out sandal on the soils of the Holy Land. He always knew that some of the stories of Jesus and the New Testament were slightly altered version of Egyptian Osiris lore and other more recent cultures, but the stuff collected by St. Aristides was a marvel.

The message of all these ancient gods did seem the same though. Conrad was relieved at that. All these gods, for the most part, preached love and tolerance and fairness. It seemed this was a message that all cultures everywhere were trying to achieve. That gave Conrad hope and the faith that perhaps all these gods were actually the one true God trying to get an early message out but wasn’t able to convey it property to the savage and underdeveloped early people of the world.

Which then created a seed of slight doubt in Conrad; how could an all powerful God not be able to reach the beings he had created? Or make them understand the true nature of Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven? Conrad rubbed his eyes again and looked up at the large clock facing him. It was nearing six o’clock in the evening. Conrad felt his stomach growl and he realized that he hadn’t eaten his lunch. He stood from the long table and stretched and cracked his back. The seats in the library weren’t all that comfortable and he felt as if his leg was asleep. He rubbed his thigh and shook his right foot about trying to get the feeling back. He hated that pins and needles feeling.

“Ahem”, sounded a gravelly voice.

Conrad looked up from his leg to see Father Batista looking sternly at him.

“Oh, Father, excuse me. It’s just that I’ve been sitting so long that… I’m just a little stiff”, said Conrad.
“What is it you’re working on”, asked Father Batista.
“Just a little translating from St. Aristides of Athens Father”, said Conrad.

Father Batista looked over the books spread on the library table and the notes Conrad had been scribbling for the last few hours.

“Rather heavy stuff wouldn’t you say”, said Father Batista.
“Very interesting, certainly”, said Conrad.

Conrad watched Father Batista hover over the table. He couldn’t tell if he was genuinely curious or was spying.

“Is there something I can do for you Father”, asked Conrad.
“No. No. I just happened to see you dancing around the table like St. Vitus and I wanted to make sure you hadn’t become possessed by the Devil”, said Father Batista.

Conrad chuckled a little as Father Batista smiled at him wryly.

“Yes, Father, I’m fine. No Devil in my blood”, said Conrad.

Father Batista closed the large tome Conrad had been scanning for the last several hours. It made a loud thud that echoed through the empty library.

“Would you like to join me for dinner Brother Conrad? We have much to discuss”, said Father Batista.

Conrad felt a chill run through his spine. The light seemed to drain from overhead as the sun began to set outside, long shadows started to appear on the walls of the library and Conrad could swear he could hear cement cracking.

“I appreciate the offer, but I really must get back to my work”, said Conrad.
“How unfortunate. There really is so much I wish to talk to you about”, hissed Father Batista.
“Really Father, I appreciate the offer…”, said Conrad.

Conrad froze with fear. Father Batista’s eyes started to bleed and a fire blazed forward.

“I insist”, growled Father Batista.

The light in the library was doused, swallowed by the sounds of hell.

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