Friday, 16 August 2013
I only show the beginning of the excellent article. Passive and active schism has already occurred in the Church and has for at least 40 years. It does not start out all the time as formal denial of papal primacy, but in effect that is what it is.....
Schism (from the Greek schisma, rent, division) is, in the language of theology and canon law, the rupture of ecclesiastical union andunity, i.e. either the act by which one of the faithful severs as far as in him lies the ties which bind him to the social organization of the Church and make him a member of the mystical body of Christ, or the state of dissociation or separation which is the result of that act. In this etymological and full meaning the term occurs in the books of the New Testament. By this name St. Paul characterizes and condemns the parties formed in the community of Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:12): "I beseech you, brethren", he writes, ". . . that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment" (ibid., i, 10). The union of the faithful, he says elsewhere, should manifest itself in mutual understanding and convergent action similar to the harmonious co-operation of our members which God hath tempered "that there might be no schism in the body" (1 Corinthians 12:25). Thus understood, schism is a genus which embraces two distinct species: heretical or mixed schism and schism pure and simple. The first has its source in heresy or joined with it, the second, which most theologians designate absolutely as schism, is the rupture of the bond of subordination without an accompanying persistent error, directly opposed to a definite dogma. This distinction was drawn by St. Jerome and St. Augustine. "Between heresy andschism", explains St. Jerome, "there is this difference, that heresy perverts dogma, while schism, by rebellion against the bishop, separates from the Church. Nevertheless there is no schism which does not trump up a heresy to justify its departure from the Church (In Ep. ad Tit., iii, 10). And St. Augustine: "By false doctrines concerning God heretics wound faith, by iniquitous dissensions schismatics deviate from fraternal charity, although they believe what we believe" (On Faith and the Creed 9). But as St. Jerome remarks, practically and historically, heresy and schism nearly always go hand in hand; schism leads almost invariably to denial of the papal primacy.
Schism, therefore, is usually mixed, in which case, considered from a moral standpoint, its perversity is chiefly due to the heresy which forms part of it. In its other aspect and as being purely schism it is contrary to charity and obedience; to the former, because it severs the ties of fraternal charity, to the latter, because the schismatic rebels against the Divinely constituted hierarchy. However, not every disobedience is a schism; in order to possess this character it must include besides the transgression of the commands of superiors, denial of their Divine right to command. On the other hand, schism does not necessarily imply adhesion, either public or private, to a dissenting group or a distinct sect, much less the creation of such a group. Anyone becomes a schismatic who, though desiring to remain aChristian, rebels against legitimate authority, without going as far as the rejection of Christianity as a whole, which constitutes the crime of apostasy.
Some theologians distinguish "active" from "passive" schism. By the former they understand detaching oneself deliberately from the body of the Church, freely renouncing the right to form a part of it. They call passive schism the condition of those whom the Church herself rejects from her bosom by excommunication, inasmuch as they undergo this separation whether they will or no, having deserved it. Hence, this article will deal directly only with active schism, which is schism properly so-called. It is nevertheless clear that so-called passive schism not only does not exclude the other, but often supposes it in fact and theory.
You can read the rest here...http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13529a.htm
By now, most of you would have read the Tablet article on Archbishop Eamon Martin's comments on pro-abortion politicians. See my post below for an excellent link on this.
I remind people that when the wars against the Israelites in happened in the Books of Joshua and Maccabees, the first response of the leaders was a call to repentance for the whole People of God.
Joshua and the Maccabees knew that the cause of the wars was the evil of the Israelites, primarily idolatry. Only when the People under their leaders repented did victory occur. Only when the entire nation humbled themselves and were obedient to God did God aid the armies of Israel.
God sent supernatural powers, great angelic warriors, to help fight the enemies of the Jews. But, He will not help us unless our Church leaders repent of supporting in anyway abortion and ssm legislation.
I am waiting for clarification from Ireland. I am in Ireland for many more weeks. If this Archbishop and others do not change the heinous support of abortion, Ireland will go the way of all nations who disobeyed God.
This is another sign of the decadence of the Church here, not in individuals here and there, not in some good and clear priests, but in the hierarchy.
God will not help Ireland until Ireland repents.
The problem is that the Archbishop has defined the problem in terms of politics instead of morality.
Supporting aborting babies is not merely a political stance, but a SIN. That idea is missing in the Archbishop's statement.
Of what is he afraid? Conflict? Joshua and the Maccabees plunged into conflict as they had to respond to the enemies who would defile the People of God and the Temple.
We have Christ in our midst. How can we do less?
If this is true, the Irish Church may be in schism.
If this is true, the Irish Church may be in schism.
Poems from The Ark
Poem One, The Violet
A moment of God showing one vulnerable and small
in the face of mysterious Love
The Spirit chooses my fate and leads me
as long as I am docile, like a small stream
against a high bank, like the sea contained
So, I am protected, like a child waiting
to hear the Voice of the Father saying
Oh Little One, where are you, where have you been
I have been waiting for you
in the field of lilies and wheat
Against the clear sky and the blue sea
which changes like moods, grey, white,
yet serene in its antiquity, touched by the oars
of Odysseus and witnessing the sails of Valletta
Who can judge the sea, who can judge one's self?
In a moment of particular judgement, I see the horror
of my sin, in the face of Pure Innocence and Goodness
He alone judges me and stands before the gate,
with The Woman at His Right Hand, she who is
All Beautiful and All Kindness
The Lady smiles and all is well, and all will be well
as she takes from Her Princely Son, the hand of those
who rely on her mercy and His forgiveness
Oh Great Ones, how can I look at your purity
How can I be anything at all except dust?
And, the King walks beside me, He Who is God
and Man, He walks as I walk through the trials set
by Him, for His Glory and my salvation
He walks with me, as He calls me sister, friend
and I am, but only because He has called me
But, one of His Little Ones, crowned not with jewels,
like those Pearls who have gone before in innocence
those Pearls who wear the emblem of perfection
No, my crown is merely flowers, which would die
in the other land, but here do not fade
Like a small child betrothed at an early age, not
understanding the King who will be her Spouse
like the trusting girl, who places her hand between
the large hands of the Father, blessing her, giving
her guidance and protection, I wait
Yet, I do not understand and deny any status, except
that of the violet by the pathway, which some step
over and some step on, and some notice, but for
a moment, then pass on. Like the violet, wild and only
there, because of a Roman matron who was lonely
for the Aventine brought some on the ship, so I wait
And, where is he, and what is he thinking and do
I even have a right to know, to wonder, about
someone who is so far above me, yet my brother
yet the one I choose to love, because I was given love
and said yes, because I am free to love
Like Peter, I was asked three times and three times
I said yes, because He Who asks knows the way
will be hard, yet the only way, the way to Rome
the way home to the heart of the Church
where all is serene, like the grey sea
Poem Two An Adventure in Grace
I alone see his youth, his tall and slender stature, his smile
which takes over his face and lights up those around him
I alone see through the mist of time to another day, in the
Hand of God, who outside time knows us in a stream of life
We are not just now, but were and will be in Him and if
He chooses, He shares the past, the present and the future
In a moment of Love, which takes me outside myself
into another time, a time of peace and innocence
How He sees me, how He sees him, young and innocence
awaiting an adventure in the Heart of Christ, Who is
and always was. The newness is eternity, is healing, is earthy
contentment for a time, a short time, yet holding all
in the breath of the air, in the flight of a bird, life lives
in a fullness, in a perfection which is God Alone
And, yet, He chooses to share this vision of perfection
of eternity with one who is so low, so insignificant
the small one called to wear a ring of power, if only
for awhile, realizing the authority and the pain, and
the joy of completion. Will he respond, will he say
yes to an adventure outside his imagination, yet imagined
by God from all time? Freedom to be all one can be takes
courage and a step outside time, forever changed, forever loved.
And because I love, I am given vision, the shared
vision of the Son of God, who gives His gifts as He wills
I did not ask for Love, Love came to me, in an instant
in a quiet, yet determined yes, a shadow of the Great Fiat
Her Perfection is a guide for me, who loves less freely,
less intensely, but with all the will I have
Her Yes gave me life, and my yes will invite life
on a smaller, less sacred, but redeemed manner
for am I not allowed to be part of redemption
am I not allowed to take part in the great dance
which is sacrifice, pain and joy, meeting in Love?
And, the Theotokos waits, while I am lead by two
to Her throne. She waits, knowing what is and
can be. She rejoices in the Will of Her Son and
she rejoices in giving wine to the wedding feast
the wine which is Her Son's blood and my salvation
Oh Queen, I did not know that He would lead me
to you and that you would lead me to Him
I did not know that I was to bring another with me
and that he would bring me with him, because this
was the Will of the Father, who knows who we are,
nothing and yet, sharers in the walk
But will we open our hearts and take courage?
Will we set aside fear and uncertainty for a
great adventure in grace? Stealing a line
from Raissa looking inward for meaning...
I look at the southern sky and see the Hunter
his belt streaming against the dark night
Strider, the one who hunts and holds his
weapon up to the heavens in the winter night
For months, he walks the sky, holding myriad
stars in his person, his sign reigning over the night
of my birth and that of My Saviour's, who sky
was ordained and who gave me my night
so close to His in birth. Orion, who I have
followed over the continents at the turn of night
over the seas of the south and the mountains
of the green lands, where the darkness of night
is marred by the full moon, Strider comes bringing
the cold and taking the cold, in the large sky of night
He looms, the giant and his dog, Tonight, planets
dance at his right, and far to the north, the night
streaks with mist, covering the Wain and hiding
the Galaxy which holds our small night
Orion claims the sky and will not yield to another
his hunt over the centuries does not change the night
but I change, I wait, I see the setting moon, ablaze
like a red star, as Orion turns into a different night
My constellation, my guide from the deepest bay
to the green valleys and hedges, lining the night
like braiding on a dress, like the scoring of a
perfect landscape, like the boundaries of night
Only the Sisters, the Pleaders compete for my
attention, but Orion kneels until the last night, waiting
Poem Four—Stars in Orion
Twice in my lifetime, I have seen shooting stars
cross the belt of Orion.
Twice I have seen the dying pieces of rock
tossed into the sky
like the small flames from the sparklers
held by a child
in Mid-Summer. These arcs of light
cross my mind in memory
and I rejoice in the simplicity
of light in light in Orion
Second Poem for the Dog Days
The Romans most likely left this town in summer,
the heat being oppressive without the view of
Rome or Capri, but I am here, looking at the
pink and blue clouds coming off the Estuary.
At least, now, there are fish in the Thames again,
and there are children, but not those of the Cantiaci,
rather of the Commonwealth. Heat and a modern
version of the fog keep me awake at night.
I cannot sleep as I hear those Londoners walking
home from the pub, or wherever, like characters
from Dickens, yelling their names under the lamplight,
telling their stories after midnight, as if no one could hear.
Eppillus would be amused at the various lovers' tiffs
surrounding his lands and punctuating the steam of the night.
But, I would rather listen to the silence, and miss the sea;
too far from the Thames are the waves off Dubris.
Sleep evades us all in London in August, and the ancients,
as well as the descendants of Austen, left for cooler climes.
Did they go to Aquae Sulis with their new loves, or Vectis with
the children and matrona, playing in the sand, dreaming
Of Stabiae, and the Bay of Naples, with more clear springs
than those of Aquae Sulis and did the m complain
of the lack of shops and popinae as well as the humidity?
Will we ever see villa and canis again, and where is a decent
Wine to celebrate Vinalia rustica? But, no, not on these shores
under the sign of Canis major, whose star hides under the
clouds and fog from the Tames, who gives potter's a name.
No Opiconsivia here on the embankment.
So, I think of other things, listening as the small birds
which linger in the late summer wake and sing slow songs
without passion, but out of habit, or wanting to praise God,
which is what I do in the early dawn, of blue and pink
A mirror image of the dusk seen so many hours ago.
Some say the millennium generation
have the most individualists
and that we boomers are
nothing but conformists
How wrong, how general
a statement of a generation
which holds old hippies,
politicos, idealists, realists,
back-to-the earthers, and
plain old fashioned grunts.
I see us as the great mixture
of competitive over-achievers
who went to Washington with
high hopes and no money
as well as the ones on motor
bikes who bought cheap shacks
on the Pacific now worth a
No, we were all different, and
happy in our eccentricities, those
of us who sang all the songs in
cars speeding along country
roads as well as the city folks
who we wanted to be but not
really. Boomers can't be
categorized and if you try,
we shall change, just for the
heck of it. We are the generation
of mercurial dreams....
Love in Stages
Under the same sky, along
the same, big river,
From Missouri, from Iowa, up
and down the Mississippi,
my parents have had 64 years
of married love in stages only
I have seen as I am the oldest
and witness to change.
They might not remember
the first years, when I was very
small and yet knew that they
were lovers, special to each
other with nick-names and
moments of passion which created
our big family.
I have an incredible memory
from age one and like any oldest
child, watched and wondered at my
parents as they grew up before my eyes.
The beginnings were romance and roses
love after war, and children, young,
not always understanding each other
and quiet days of worry. But that changed
to the expansiveness of busy times,
children, success, the loss of children,
sadness, and some disagreements which
I as a teen thought appropriate for the age.
Forty was so old, so old, from my young
eyes and forty-five was older, Their love
merged into love of home, children, a silent
change from youth to forbearance and
forgiveness, a necessary practice for two
so different, with varied expectations.
Give and take, dance and bridge,
home and work, moving and staying put
all streaming into one river of acceptance
and changing dreams. Reality made
new partners in life. Commitments
renewed on the twenty-fifth and thirtieth
anniversaries, while children grew and left
and moved away farther into new lives.
A second stage of dancing and accepting
differences of onions, of aspirations, of
dreams and the dying of dreams. This type
of love was new to me, a love without
romance unless worked upon, like a
tapestry with a set pattern but unfinished.
I was not around to watch all the changes
of love, of life, of becoming one and
then two and then one again. I sensed
a change but could not tell where the
A third stage popped into focus after
years of illness, each taking turns
at wellness and energy and sickness
and health. I saw what I had only imagined
was possible, love without the need
for return, love unrequited, love sacrificed
for the sake of the other-real love, real Love
unto death. Being in love and just being.
So, one couple can travel this route to
a certain type of freedom, of perfection,
but my path has been strangely fragmented.
My journey was not so neat, but more exotic.
Like a pilgrim with a shell and sack, I searched
for truth and love and found both in stages.
Three men led me to the same love. The first
all romance and roses, fine wines and
walks at midnight around the campus lake.
The second, the husband and father
a place in which I experienced the death
of expectations and the birth of a different
type of hope. But not to be til death us do part.
The third, unrequited, pure love, without
any hope, well a little, but full of the
joy of freedom and death to self. A holy
love which gives me a taste of heaven
What my parents did in one life-time,
I have accomplished in three, and yet
all love, all stages are gifts of time,
person, patience and a little
bit of luck. I think and write in
gratitude that love is real in stages.
Like the map of America, like
the Oregon Trail, like my ancestors
footsteps on the wooden stairs in
Iowa, Missouri, California, Oregon.
I trace the movements of love in
places, from Indiana to England
to Malta, and back again, through
the points on the globe to the brighter
points in the sky, those stars which
remained the same in all places,
like love, like guides to my soul.
Now, all three of us are at some
ends of some journeys undefined,
unseen, awaited in a faith we share.
We three cannot discuss such loves,
as we come from generations and nations
which did not do such things. We are
sharing in silence, in private, in the
quiet knowledge that love never ends.
The best things are those we cannot
articulate, but live, and live in stages.
The saint with the little white dog, walking through the wet streets
to San Girolamo della Carità to sit in the shade and pray far from
the Vallicella, which he really did not like to visit...
To Santa Maria, Chiesa Nuova, he went under obedience, missing
his place on the left-hand side of the dark chapel. But, the youths
needed him in those dog days, during the "dangerous part of the day"
When all slept, or sort of, the shutters closed to heat and eyes,
ears could hear the names of Massimo or Martino wafting
over the eaves in sighs and shadows. The saint stood firm then.
And by the doors of the Venerabile, blessing all those pale
men, the "flowers of the martyrs" returning to England and
butchery. His songs would survive and come back to those
cold shores three hundred years later in another street, with
baroque and Counter-Reformation punch. The young are
still hot so far away, with love in their hearts and not much
in their heads, but beer and boredom. The little white dog
and saint knew best, and in the heat of the day found songs
to sing to cool the body and soul. Another Dog running
across the night sky, might find more peace than passion. But,
here, in this city of the dead and dying, of the voices of bravado
silenced forever by confusion, cowardice and fear, the good
saint still finds some young men to call his own.
Donlee knew she was a star-child. She came to being in a dream of Amy D's many years ago. Amy dreamed of Donlee without knowing her name, but she saw the star-child, the young girl in the sky. The dark sky formed a backdrop for Donlee's dance, the dance of the star-children. Her skirt was made of stars and when she danced, the stars flew off into the sky, as she twirled and twirled around. The darkness became illuminated with the dress-stars. Donlee twirled and danced in Amy's dream.
Amy saw Donlee only once, but Amy understood that Donlee was showing her a door, a door in the darkness. “See and enter” the voice offered Amy. And, the door, down the long, dark corridor, opened up into a blazing light, where nothing could be seem but light.
Donlee danced away. Amy grew up, got married, had children, but Donlee was not forgotten.
The star-child waited until Amy was old, old enough to become a grandmother, which she never did. Donlee waited.
Then, one night, in a cold and wet February, in a small house across the sea, Donlee came to dance in Amy's dreams again.
This was a different dance. The first dance was a dance of change and mystery, the opening of a new life of husband, family, house, home.
Donlee was waiting for Amy to sleep again. Amy was now alone. Her husband and children were gone, so Donlee took pity on Amy and came into her dream.
On this night, Amy could not sleep. She was in pain, the pain of lost dreams, lost hopes, lost friendship, lost loves.
Amy got up and looked at the sky. She could Orion, the Strider, walking across the western sky, with his dogs. She could see, barely, the large and small dogs.
She could see Venus and Jupiter, but she did not see Donlee. Donlee waited. She waited and waited. Then, towards morning, when Saturn and Mars were in the sky, Donlee entered Amy's dream. At first, Donlee had to sweep aside another dream of roses, yellow and white, of a large white arch across a garden and a small parkland. Then, through a long strange valley, Donlee saw her entrance into the dream. It was a low, small door, like that in an ancient house. The door looked as if one had to bow down very low to get in. But, Donlee, being a star-child, and small for her star-child age, did not have to bend low. She walked through the door into Amy's dream.
There, Amy saw a garden of green grass and very tall trees. On the edge of the forest was a well made of stone. Amy walked over to the stone well and looked into the water. Suddenly, the water shot up like a fountain into the bright sky, but the sky grew dark, dark as midnight, and there, coming through the door, was Donlee.
Amy watched, perplexed. Suddenly, the sky was bright as day, but Donlee was there, on the grass, dancing like a real girl, pink and blond and light as air. Her dress was white like mother-of pearl, but it was Donlee, dancing, spreading light over the grass and trees.
Amy did not at first recognize the star-child, as she looked like a little girl, any little girl. But, when Donlee laughed, Amy remembered her dream of thirty years before and knew it was the star-child. Donlee laughed and danced and danced, until she faded away.
Amy stood by the well, wondering why a star-child would be on the earth and not the the heavens, like before. She wondered why Donlee looked like any other child of the earth, instead of the star-child that she was.
Suddenly, a white horse appeared over the hill, near the trees, then another horse and another, three horses. Amy, in her dream, waited. Clouds rolled through the blue sky, and the horse stopped to eat grass. More horses came and then three men on horseback. One was on a black horse, and he wore silver and black armour. His face was covered. The second rider was in gold, with less armour, and a bow and arrow, on a golden horse. The third rider was all in white, and his horse was white. He wore no armour.
Amy waited, as a small boy in red and gold came over to her with a scroll. “Read and choose, Lady”, he said loudly. The horses and the men waited.
Amy looked at the scroll, and saw these words appearing as she read.
“You, Lady, may choose one rider. We give you a choice, the choice of the star-child. Look and choose.” Amy walked closer to the riders. The first in black looked kindly at her. He was an older man, in his prime, strong and gentle. She saw him reach out his gloved hand to her, but she moved on. The second was like a king, majestic, full of power and authority. His head was crowned with a golden circlet and small, very small red flowers. He laid down his bow and arrow, and held out his gloved hand, and Amy moved on. The third man without armour, wore a loose robe of pure white. He had nothing in his hands. He held out his hand and Amy took it. The strong hand pulled her up and Amy awoke.
Amy understood. The first kind knight was Death. She could escape pain and sorrow, disappointment and loneliness, but it was not her choice.
The second knight was worldly success and wealth, comfort and solace. She passed him by. The third knight was purity of heart and mind, single-mindedness, simplicity. Amy chose him.
In the morning, Amy woke up and a small brown bird landed on her window-sill. She looked, amazed, as the bird had the starry eyes of Donlee.
One of the things I am puzzled by is the odd engaging in arguments in our Church over things which are extraneous to our Faith.
Private revelations are not necessary for our salvation. Period. Doctrine is necessary for our salvation. Liturgy is necessary for our salvation. Prayer is necessary for our salvation.
Choose your battles.
Reagalund looked at the clouds coming in over the dark sea. The moon, encircled by the rainbow,
shone on the clouds, as they piled in above Reagalund's head. As she sat by the two old yews, which had been twisted by years of winds from the sea, Reagalund saw the rain clouds building, like steps in the sky,
All her life, Reagalund had lived by the yews, in the cold country of the rain and wind. She loved the moon and stars when these came out of the clouds, like lamps through the linens over the windows to keep out the mosquitoes. She thought the clouds looked like steps going up into the heaven, big, giant steps, for Orion, perhaps, the Strider, to walk up to seek his prey, chased by his dogs in the Western Sky.
But, tonight, there were only two lights in the sky, one small and still, the other, the moon.
The rains were coming and Reagalund wrapped her woollen cloak about her legs. She wore soft skin shoes and a linen dress under her heavy cape. Her father was a leader, not the king, but a leader of the clan.
Reagalund watched the clouds come in and in and in. Far away, she thought she saw the twinkle of a small light, but she knew nothing was out on the sea. No tonight.
Reagalund's father, a widower, named Edmere, had gone into the town that morning with the dogs and some other men from the village. They would not be home before the moon set. It was far to the village and back and men only went there a few times a year for meetings with the king and for bartering. Her only brother, Edgar, had gone with them.
Tonight, Reagalund was excited. She would not sleep. This was the day her father had decided to ask the king for a mate for her. She knew who she wanted, the king's own son, Miccallan, but he was promised to a great king's daughter across the dark sea. Reagalund wondered what her father would do. The king could not ask his son to break his promise without shame and Miccallan had never seen Reagalund. She had seem him at the moot a year ago and loved him at once. He was with the great king's beautiful daughter, Sliem, a tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed, exotic woman of many talents. But Reagalund was not beautiful. She was rather short, and had plain, brown hair and brown eyes. She was not rich like Sliem, whose jewels were from the ancient world, bought by her family and kept for centuries. But, Reagalund loved Miccallan and prayed for him to the unseen Spirit.
Monks had brought some new religion to Reagalund's father. They spoke of a Father, a Son and a Spirit. They had fought with the old priests and won some strange contests of power. But, Reagalund knew that Micclan had followed the new religion and Sliem did not.
She wondered at this.
Reagalund's heart had been won by the monks and she was baptised with her father and all the clan last spring. Since then, she carried her black book and her small dog to the Church near the sea to hear the Mass, and sing the strange new chant the monks had brought. The prayers she said for Miccalan were prayers the monks had taught her. But, so far, none of her prayers were answered.
She had prayed for Miccalan's mother, when she got the sickness of women, and died young. She had prayed for Miccalan's older brother, the king's heir, but he died of the wounds of the battles fought for the king over the sea. She had prayed for Miccalan himself, but he was betrothed to Sliem.
Still, Reagalund prayed,as the monks had explained to her that the Triune God had His Will and she had to discover this Will. It had been His Will to take the young queen to heaven, and to take the heir to heaven. Now, Reagalund wondered if her prayers for Miccalan would be answered.
She only wanted God's Will, and thought that it seemed like her life with Miccalan was not God's Will. She had seen him from afar six times, and remembered the sound and smells of the days like a magical painting. Every detail seemed full of meaning, but he was not hers.
The rains began and Reagalund ran back to her own hut. Since she was of age, the monks watched over her and she did not live with her father and brother. On a low, rectangular stool in the corner of her room, a cross stood. The monks had given it to her when she was Confirmed.
All was silent except the rain, but then something strange happened.
The dogs began to bark loudly and the rain stopped. Reagalund looked out and up at the sky. The rippling clouds looked like a large giant hand in the sky above the yews. And like a hand, the fingers stretched out to the horizon. There, racing out of the fingers of the cloud hand, like a ring falling from one of the fingers, was a huge fireball. The ball of fire passed through the clouds and came down towards the sea. It was not falling, but arching, as if drawn by a plan or design in the dark sky, In a short time, the fireball fell into the sea and steam came up and mingled with the clouds with a loud hissing noise. The dogs barked and ran to the edge of the cliff, yelping at the hissing, their cries mixing with the strange steam. Reagalund saw the monks running to the edge and two ran down the path to the beach.
The clouds broke and the moon shown over the bubbling sea, as if showing the end of the fire to the world,
After a few minutes, all was quiet again. The dogs strayed back to the huts and the monks walked back to their Church speaking softly with one another. Reagalund thought that this fireball was some sort of sign. Then, the clouds came together and the rains started again, pelting the earth with giant drops, as if the sea was throwing its contents onto the earth. The young woman walked in the cold rain to her hut. She stood at the door for a long time wondering at the strange event.
She had only seen a fireball twice before and then, only after wild storms had ripped across the trees. Those fireballs had been green and danced across the tops of the fir trees, tracing the line of trees like a chain of light. Both times, the fireballs faded away in their dance over the trees.
This fireball was different It had been bright orange and yellow and white, clearly on fire and not the cold, green light of the other fireballs.
This fireball did not come with the storms, but came from the heavens, far above and through the clouds.
This fireball did not dance, but plunged in an arc toward the sea, as if the sea were calling it down from the skies.
This fireball was truly fire, whereas the others were a strange light not made by men.
Suddenly, Reagalund felt cold and she laid down on her woollen bed. Soon, she was asleep in a heavy sleep without dreams. When she awoke, she heard the voices of her father and brother outside, talking with some others-the monks among them. The woman took a jug of milk, some cheese, and flat bread from a stone hole in the wall of her house and quickly ate and changed into her day clothes. Her dress was a pale orange and her cloak green. She put her soft shoes on her feet and went outside.
Her own little dog came up to meet her. She could see the men in the distance by the beach. Their voices had sounded closer in the cold, still air. The men, about seven, were looking at something in her father's hand.
Reagalund walked down to the beach and was greeted. Her father looked solemn, but welcoming. She went over to him and looked down at his gloved hand. He was holding an enormous diamond, the kind of which Reagalund had never seen before.
One of the monks spoke.
"It was on the beach. We think it is the fireball somehow washed up on the shore."
Reagalund's father placed it in her hand. The stone out-shown the fireball in brilliance and beauty.
How could this be that gigantic flame which went into the deep sea? But, then, from where else did this come?
Edgar spoke loudly. “This belongs to us, as we are the oldest family in this village.” Edmere said softly, “No, son, it belongs to the Church and the monks, as it was sent from heaven and will stay in heaven on earth.”
The monks took the jewel. The eldest and abbot, Michael, said they would make it into a tabernacle for the Consecrated Hosts, and all agreed. But, Edgar was sullenly silent.
Later, Edgar came into Reagalund's hut. He threw himself down on the pile of warm skins in the corner. He seemed angry. “I wanted you to have the stone, Reagalund.” He grumbled.
“But, why, Brother? I do not need nor deserve such treasures. And, surely, Father is right.”
“I wanted it for your dowry, as I know you pine for the Prince Miccallan. He would have changed his mind and spurned Sleim for you.”
Reagalund looked at the floor, and then embraced Edgar. “Dear Edgar, love cannot be bought. It happens or it does not happen. The Holy Spirit of Love gives love, as the monks have taught us.”
Edgar sat up. “I saw the Princess yesterday at the moot, Sister, and she does not love Miccallan. She loves his position, his power, his status, his wealth. But, I saw that she did not love him. A man can tell. Why Miccallan loves her I cannot tell. You are worth more, in your simple gowns and simple Faith than her.”
Tears came to Reagalund's eyes. “You cannot see into his heart, nor can I, dear one.”
She took her brother's hands. “I shall pray that they are happy.”
Edgar continued. “Jesus does not care about a diamond. How useful it would be, for you. Now. You are of marriageable age and have no suitors.”
Reaglund stood uap. “I cannot be bought or sold, Brother, and I do not want a man who cares if I am rich or poor, beautiful or plain. I must be loved because I am Reagalund.”
“You are correct, as usual, and I am boring you. I am going hunting and shall see you tomorrow. I am going up into the hills.” Brother and sister kissed gently and he was gone.
Reagalund was left with her sad thoughts. Perhaps Miccallan loved this Princess in order to be a free man, and be happy with such treasures as beauty and wealth. She did not know.
One of the monks came to the door everyday for food. He, Brother Maurus, was there now. Reagalund gave him milk, bread, meat, and berries. “I have no fish today, Brother Maurus. The men said that the fireball frightened the fish to the bottom of the sea for many days to come.”
“Do not worry, Child.” Reagalund spoke quickly, “Brother, how do you know something is God's Will?” The monk stared kindly at the young woman. “If you are in grace, and you are, and you have a persistent thought, which will not go away, it is probably God's Will for you. Be at peace.”
“Thank you, Brother. I shall think on that.” And, he left. He wondered at her question and offered a silent prayer on the way back to the monastery.
Then, the winter set in and it was hard, the coldest and wettest in the memory of many old villagers. Some died, and the Church offered Masses and prayers for their souls. Almost fifty old and very young died of the cold and fevers.
Among them was Edmere. Reagalund had gone to see her father an early, very frosty and cold dawn. The sky was black and the stars vibrant in the cold air. She knocked at his door, and there was no answer. She knocked again and the chill of the morning crept into her body and surrounded her heart. Something was wrong, as she could not hear the dogs or her father moving about in the dawn air.
She opened the door and the two dogs were lying next to the fur bedding. They raised their heads and looked sorrowfully at Reagalund. Her father lay still, too still. Reagalund knew.
She went over and touched his face. He was stone cold. The dogs began to whimper and Reagalund knelt by his bed. Edgar came up to the door. “Where is Father? He is wanted at a meeting.” Then, she stopped and noticed the dogs, and Reagalund's tears.
“Oh, no. no. Last night, he said he felt poorly and that he was going to bed early. I did not think anything of it. I did not think and now, now I cannot speak with him. He cannot hear.” The sister spoke first after a long time. “Go and get the monks and we shall take him to the Church.”
Edgar left, running and Reagalund took her Father's hand and kissed it. She wept. She felt like a failure, like a daughter who had not made her Father happy. She was not a bride.
Edgar and Brother Maurus came into the room with the priest, Father John. He blessed the body and then let Reagalund put Edmere's best clothes and armour on. The dogs watched silently, and Reagalund cried.
After the funeral and burial, the dogs came with Reagalund to her hut and she kept them.
They stayed by the door for days and then, as if some strange magic were working, they both died the same night. Brother Maurus let the dogs be buried in Father's grave, which was still soft earth. He said it was good for them to rest with their master.
Reagalund felt pushed into a terrible loneliness. She knew Edgar would leave someday, as he wanted to do things in other places. He wanted to explore and hunt far away. Reagalund was lonely and was glad for the company of her small dog.
The winter continued and the rains came more, daily.
Reagalund moved in and out of the hut covered in her green cape. Edgar hunted for the village and brought back much meat, so that there were no more deaths.
But, Reagalund felt a dying inside her.
She could hardly remember Miccallan's face or his voice. She had not seen him for months and did not even know where he was. She knew he was not yet married, as the celebration would have encompassed the entire land. But, she knew nothing else.
She hated it that his voice and face were fading in her mind. But, several times, she felt his presence, as if he were standing next to her. She thought this was strange and prayed for her imagination to go away from such fantasies.
Then, as the thaw began, a strange thing happened. Rumors of Sleim travelled across the sea. Sleim the vibrant had married someone else. Another prince, older and richer than Miccallan had come to her and demanded that she come with him to his warm country far away. Sleim's father, the king, was angry, as this change would bring shame upon him and his people. Sleim defied her father, and left with the rich king. Both countries faced shame.
And, there was talk of war.
Edgar was called to a council. He left, with a small bag under his cloak. A monk, Brother Maurus accompanied him to the moot. The village talked and talked, but all was conjecture. No one knew what was happening. Reagalund, after two mornings, went to the priest, Father John, and asked him what her brother carried.
“We gave him the fireball stone,” whispered the priest. “It will save the country from shame and the monks were happy to part with it. It can go into the Cathedral which the king is building for us all.”
Reagalund stared. “Whose idea was this?” she whispered.
The priest looked at her with great, kind eyes. “Edgar told us that he thought the diamond belonged to the country, to all, in the capital. He convinced us that this stone would cover some of the shame of Sleim's desertion. He also told us something else.” Reagalund felt her face become hot. She was ashamed. “Do not be alarmed, Reagalund. Let things happen. Let God's Will be done.”
“I cannot be bought and I do not want Miccallan to think I want his position, or wealth, or status. I want none of that. I only love and I love freely. Even if he were not the prince, and a poor fisherman, I would love him no less.”
“I know this, Reagalund. I know this, which is why I agreed to the plan. Watch, wait, pray.”
Father John blessed the confused woman and she left. She did not know how to feel. She felt like she was being bartered. How could Edgar suggest such a thing?
But, as she sat by her door and listened to the waves on the shore, Reagalund began to understand Brother Maurus' words. How does one know God's Will? Let things happen. Pray, and stay in grace, knowing that your thoughts are from the Holy Spirit. Trust.”
Reagalund looked at the sky and realized that the fireball had come to her, for her.
She was content to wait, to pray, to trust.