Father Barnard prepares….

Father BarnardThe clock struck midnight and the air was chilled as it seeped through a crack in the window and into the cell of the priest. He gripped the blankets over him and turned to the other side, facing away from the window, but the tentacles of cold air crawled up his back and made him shiver. He lie there, eyes open, thoughts of the sermon he must give rattling through his head like wandering ghosts in a cobweb filled attic. He shook his head. He must clear his mind. He must.

He thrust the covers away from him and sat up, his bare feet flat on the icy floor, his night shirt barely covering his knobby knees. He reached for his robe and slipped it on, then cinched it tight as if, by doing so, he could block out the draft.

He stood, stretched, and crossed the night-filled room to the window, placing his hand upon the frame to find the seeping seam. Once found, he dug about for some miscellaneous papers, wet them in the pitcher of water, and plastered them against the hole, all done in the light of a pregnant moon. He knew they wouldn’t stay long, but for now, they would do.

Fully awake, he lit the candle by his desk and sat down. His head hung low, his mind traveling over the events of the day.

Debauchery, he kept saying to himself. Debauchery. Lies, Gossip. Loose women. No wonder the raiders came. They were doing God’s will. They were bringing punishment upon the sinful people of the village. The house of ill repute must be torn down, destroyed, its bed linens burned, its debased women forced to either leave or be baptized and imprisoned in a nunnery until their sins could be washed away.

He picked up his quill and parchment and began to write….

We gather this day on the land the God Almighty has given to us…..

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