By Lionel Roy
For Bangari Fiction: I am Archibald, Scribe of S-tan
I am Lionel Roy, not. That is a pen name. Those who know the real me and love me, those who know and hate me, and those who want to get to know the real me and then decide for themselves whether the world would be better off with me above ground or below, are all graciously invited to read. I dedicate what I have written to our Lord’s Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. I thank her for always being there for me in a real way when I find myself in times of trouble, and encouraging me to let it be. I implore her to be a Heavenly mother to my own beloved children, to whom I bestow anything and everything, intellectual or material, that I own. (That’s the closest I can come to a will, Kids. As it looks now, I won’t be leaving a will, but instead a bill, when I go down for my dirt-nap –sorry about that!)
I want to thank my heroes, most of whom, like my nemeses, are nothing like me. I think it is narcissistic to choose heroes that resemble us, or what we fantasize about being. We shouldn’t learn about them so we may imitate them. Instead, we should learn from them; grateful to them, and even our nemeses, for contributing to our formation, thus preparing us for our own personal destinies. Our heroes should be honored, not mimicked. A better hero is one that we may never be like. They are honored when we aspire, with their direction, to attain as much as we can of the particular virtue that they possess in fullness, and we do not.
I may never have the imagination or the skills in writing, philosophy and apologetics of C. S. Lewis, but this hero of mine has taught me, and inspired this story. I hope he doesn’t consider it a total rip-off of ‘Screwtape Letters.’ I may never be as friendly as Father Bert Andersen, but I hope my writing, in memory of his friendship, increases my friend to foe ratio. I may never be as resolved as my cousin Steve Marques, but I hope to stick to it, finish it and publish it and promote it, very grateful to those that help me. I may never be as gentle and kind as Fred “Mr.” Rogers, but I hope my creativity entertains and ministers to people, young and old, but especially the young, like his did. I may never be as ferocious and kind as Captain Myles Standish, but I hope to have the kind of fortitude that he had in order to suffer great personal and material loss while still defending and saving the lives and fortunes of others. Seeds, like him, fall to the ground in a wilderness, and give birth to a new and improved Nation. On this side of the pearly gates, if it takes me until my 120th birthday, I hope I’m given even a fraction of the piety of Blessed John Paul II, with the ability to point others to the Gospel of Christ and the message of Our Lady of Fatima.
I also want to thank my family, some of whom are also heroes and teachers –my father who taught me self defense, including ‘keeping a log.’ I’m sorry if I took those lessons to an extreme –my mother who taught me obedience to authority and ‘keeping my nose clean.’ I’m sorry for the times that I didn’t take those lessons as far as I should have –my Godchild, whose body-weight to cross-weight ratio would crush the mightiest of us, yet, he bears it graciously with a smile that lights up Heaven and Earth –his mother, who has been told too often that she is competitive (like that’s a bad thing) yet continues to settle for nothing less than the best for those she cares for –his brothers, who taught and inspired by their excellent parents, value family and education, nurture it, and focus on it –my youngest son, who lets me inspire him, credits my memes and genes for his faith and creative talents, then surpasses me in ability –my oldest son, who is true to himself, and as he gets older is striving for the innocence and potential of his boyhood lost. I pray that he never gives up the search until he finds it –my daughter, who is quickly gaining amazing abilities to change the world. May she come to believe in and work by a mandate straight from Heaven. Finally, I thank my friends from the Church Militant. They have taught me that the ultimate weapons of self defense and the defense of others, are the Gospel and the Rosary. May I someday be laid to rest with the former in my heart and the latter in my hands, until we all meet again in the Church Triumphant.
The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10
Don’t we all desire an abundant life? Doesn’t our Heavenly Father who loves us, allow us to receive that which we desire? Yes, of course. That’s the problem with life, especially abundant life. It is not just full of warm fuzzies, but comes also with a big chunk of hard lessons. Many of these lessons take a lifetime to learn. If one can never graduate from the School of Hard Knocks, then what’s the sense of enrolling in the first place? If you believe in cliches, then ‘life is short’ and you are probably comfortable with being on the losing end of Pascal’s wager, and satisfied with life, and never even ask, as Jack Nicholson once did, ‘is this as good as it gets?’
I think that the most ignored essence of life, is that for bliss or for sorrow –it is eternal. No. This is not as good as it gets. It begins for us on a big, spinning rock, in a valley of tears, behind a veil of tears. These tears blind us all to the path that winds through the shadow of death, passes by tranquil waters and crosses verdant pastures. How are we supposed to know the way, or even where we are going?
Blinding tears, brought up not just from sadness but sometimes from joy or even awe, do not plunge us into utter darkness –at first. Quite mercifully I think, it only blurs our vision so that we can not see God and His adversaries, our loved ones and our enemies, or the way and the detours –in blazing, high-definition reality. If we were now able to perceive God, the truth, and all that surrounds us, perfectly, as God does, it would most likely awe us to death.
Why would a perfect Creator bring into being flawed creatures with dulled senses? Does that somehow disprove God’s perfection in purpose, omniscience, omnipotence and maybe even His existence, and support evolution, and creation by accident? After all, from an unbeliever’s viewpoint, the culmination of these flaws, mistakes and mutations will become our perfection…If only we are able to survive them. Philosophically, perfect goodness can not produce corruption, otherwise it is not perfectly good. For the Atheist, hope for survival of the species lies in their offspring. For the Creationist, survival of each individual is a given, and it is eternal; no hope required. However, ‘eternal existence’ is not ‘abundant life.’
Whether we came to be by evolution or the hand of God; mankind is being built to last. We will exist for all eternity. So why is it crucial to believe, to hope and to love? Because faith, hope and charity can only be perceived and then consumed by the heart. Human eyes, ears, fingers, tongues and noses are nothing much superior to the antennae of an insect. Yet the heart, not just a blood pump made of meat, but the whole of us, body, soul and spirit, was perfectly made in each one of us. If we try to take care of it ourselves, surely it will die, because on our own, we will feed it nothing but doubt, despair and hate. We can only gather with our own hands all we can forage from a worldly, therefore tainted food source. A heart spoon-fed by God, needs only to look up, open up, and receive Heavenly nourishment. If we allow our heart to be nurtured by its Inventor, it will come to sense perfectly. Even if we have already poisoned it, we can still receive a Heavenly antidote that will save it from death and enable it to thrive –forever and ever.
We know that the abilities of hearing and touch increase in a blind person. Therefore, it makes sense that our Creator would intentionally and temporarily dull our bodily senses, therefore enabling our ability to perceive with our hearts to grow to perfection. At that time, every tear will be wiped from our eyes by our Heavenly Father. Will will see Him, ourselves, and each other as He sees. He will hand us a white tablet with our new name engraved upon it. This name will define us; the true purpose for which we were severely yet lovingly formed to be, in all creation, past, present and eternal future. Until then, it is sometimes impossible, especially for those of us with starving hearts, that are near death, to discern people from trees, voices from thunder, angels from demons, medicine from poison, confidence from obstinance, romance and love-making from prostitution and rape, and eternal, abundant life from eternal, empty death.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see! -John Newton
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