Sunday, August 7, 2016

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”


“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”

“These words our Saviour uttered on the cross. These words echo here today in these quiet halls of St Patrick's. Most would play a doleful note on the pipes and call men to mass. However,” the fiery-haired priest added with a spirited voice. “Our Lord’s words echo another, meaningful song.”

The priest gripped his lectern and stared out into the surprisingly mixed audience of congregants. Many Dutch-or-Italian-looking faces seemed out of place for this known haunt of Fenian brothers. This Sabbath promised to be a peculiar one, and the man of God counted on that. His powerful fingers flexed as he threw his voice to the furthest pews, which stood near the only visible exit. “Jesus quotes his earthly father David, saying in the twenty-second Psalm,

Many bulls surround me;
strong ones of Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths against me—
lions, mauling and roaring.

“Today, we are surrounded as it were with the same ilk. Menacing. Vicious. Vile sorts. Full of murderous intent and violence of action. These “bulls” bleat and buck, tearing at our community. They slip like lions into our midst and hunt out our frail, our young, our weary.”

His green eyes flared with a flame of their own as a grim grin entrenched on his face. “We faithful few recognize the Lord’s appeal to David’s hope in the Divine’s deliverance. We hear His prescient nod to the Father’s tender care and eventual triumph. We see the bulls and lions for what they are and do not fear, for the Heavenly Warrior takes His place as our Advocate.”

The air crackled with tension, while the candles seemed to puff harder than usual in their hunger for oxygen. The pew creaked uncomfortably under their occupants. Shadows cast about the stone cathedral at odd angles and appeared to wriggle like the limbs of an octopus. The crowd’s slate gaze turned into pointed stares. He had their attention.

Adjusting his spectacles and stroking his beard, the priest glanced down behind his pulpit before continuing. “King David declares in that same song,

He has not despised or detested
the torment of the afflicted.
He did not hide His face from him
but listened when he cried to Him for help.
I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;
I will fulfill my vows

“Today, I will fulfill my vows. I swore to rid the streets of your detestable spirits, your damnable fiends, who writhe and slink and glide through our alleys. Gotham has a better day ahead of it, and by Saint Olarus’ finely threaded loom I’ll have you hanged, Fallen, for darkening my pasture.”

The doors slammed shut as a shiver went through the crowds. An invisible current stripped away the masquerade, revealing the tentacled horrors and draconic terrors that crammed the pews in the sacred hall. A hiss reverberated from their many throats. Murder filled their minds. The veil had been lifted, but the trap remained. Feathered shadows fell over the priest as a pair of hands rested on his shoulders. A voice boomed from high above him.

“You’ve drawn out these defilers of the Curtain, Ó Braonáin. Our pact has been well met. Let me handle this from here.”

Father Brennan, as the English called him, picked up the thick cane from behind his lectern. “By all the saints, you will! These wolves will taste a bit of righteous fury from a Fenian’s hand this Lord’s Day!”

Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Olarus (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth


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