I Love The Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who Lives Within Me, Now and Forever. Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Christian

by Jimmy Martinez

"You will kneel, boy. This, I vow." Of all the Christians who had ever encroached upon his domain, this was surely the most insolent. Dichu had been chieftain of his clan for nigh on fifteen winters, and never had he encountered such audacity, as this Christian possessed. It made his blood boil and thrum loudly in his ears.

Dichu had caught this man - this Christian - walking along the rocky coast on the edge of his land. At the time, Dichu and his men were tired and wanted nothing more than to return to their village and eat dinner as they warmed themselves by the fires. But as they were no more than an hour's ride from the warm fires they so yearned, they spotted a man walking along the edge of the rocky cliffs. He had nothing more than the clothes on his back, the sack on shoulder, and the staff in his hand. He was tall, not yet old but with the first hints of wrinkles around his eyes. And such eyes they were! Green, like those of so many people in Dichu's land, but no dull shade were they. This man's eyes glittered like the dew on fields of clover. The impression one got was that the man was never far from laughing merrily.

These things Dichu noticed but little. What he did notice was the cruciform symbol that topped the staff. It was a figure of an emaciated man nailed to a cross. It was the same cross around the Christian's neck, although that one lacked the figurine. All these symbols meant but one thing to Dichu - this man was no mere follower of a foreign god, but a priest of the Christian God. Here, no doubt, to seduce yet more of Dichu's people to his heathenish ways. Dichu reached for the handle of his cudgel and wrapped his fingers tightly around it.

The mounted clansmen challenged the lone priest. He answered by blessing them in the name of a father, a son and a holy spirit of some sort. Dichu, irritated, curtly explained that this was his land and interlopers must pay homage. The stranger responded by saying he would kneel in front of no man, only his God. That was the last straw. Dichu dismounted, and trembling with rage, forgot his cudgel and drew a sharp dagger from inside his cloak.

"Kneel, Christian shaman! Kneel, or by my head I will kill you where you stand!" Dichu grabbed the man by the front of his cloak and brandished the dagger right before his eyes.

"I say again, chieftain, I will not. My God alone is worthy of adoration. Strike if you must but it will be the worse for you. You will have stained your hands with the blood of God's shepherd." The man smiled, actually smiled, and did not flinch at all.

"Are you insane, Christian? I will kill you! Surely you see my strength! Even a fool would see his peril!" Dichu was furious, but there was a hint of unease. This man was not afraid, and he was no fool. It was all very confusing, and only served to incense Dichu further.

"You are stronger than I, that much is true. But it is the Lord God in Heaven who writes our fates, chieftain, and he is far stronger than you . . . . Chieftain." Now, the man was actually grinning, a great big smile as if he were ready to laugh at some private joke. As if Dichu were the joke!

It was Dichu's breaking point. Screaming incoherently, seeing only through a reddish haze of rage, Dichu raised his fist with his knife gripped tightly enough to whiten his knuckles. Then he drove down with all the strength his fury lent him.

The priest was still smiling. The knife was still a good seven inches from his chest, hovering there, like the world's deadliest hummingbird.

Dichu felt all the strength drain from his arm, and a numbness spread from his wrist to his shoulder. He tried to stab downward again, but nothing happened. His face crumbled. It was like watching a storm sweep away a straw hut. Rage was replaced by awe and fear. His eyes started from their sockets, like those of an angry dog. He was struck dumb. This simply could not be happening.

The priest meanwhile, was holding his belly with one hand and leaning on his staff with the other, laughing uproariously. "What's wrong, chieftain? Did you not swear by your head that you would kill me? Well here I am, chieftain! Carve away!" The priest managed to get this out in between snorts and giggles as he wiped tears away from his eyes.

The horrified chieftain screamed. "What curse have you laid on me, Christian?! I am crippled! What has your God done to me?"

Suddenly, the priest's laughter died off. He gazed at Dichu with those disturbingly piercing eyes. That gaze! It was like being held in judgment by some Caesar from antiquity. When he spoke his voice was soft but thick with authority. "What did you think, chieftain? God sees all. Whether you believe or not, chieftain, He is watching. And He is mightier than you. Recognize this, and pay Him homage. Maybe then you'll find your arm obedient to your will."

The pain had spread from Dichu's shoulder to his chest, and he could feel a chill hand squeezing his heart slowly but surely. He felt his life was in this Christian's hands. Dichu was proud but he was no fool. He saw and believed. God's power was real. His paralyzed arm and failing heart were witnesses. "Mercy, Christian! I yield! Mercy, and I swear you will pass unharmed."

Immediately, the strength returned to his arm. Dichu's first action (after dropping the knife) was to rub his chest nervously. "Now what, Christian?"

The priest smiled, and stretching out his arm to help the chieftain up, said, "Let me tell you a story, Dichu. It is a story you will appreciate, I think. It is called the Gospel. But first let me introduce myself. My name is Patrick."

If you would like to find out more about St. Patrick, check this out:

More on St. Patrick


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