Continuation of Sequel to “Are You Ready”
I waited and then a voice from the past said; “How are you and what has brought you to this place?”
When my eyes adjusted to the dim light and I as peered into his face, tears streamed forth as I fell to my knees. My God in heaven, the Lord has brought you back! My son James was dead and is alive and well, lost in a world of utter confusion and found returning to the roots of his faith. I quickly hugged James and we both began to cry tears of joy, exultation, and a renewed sense of family and tradition that I thought might never happen. I quickly called for Angela; saying “Angie, Angie, come quick and see what Grace from God has occurred in our midst!”
Angela came running to where she heard a sound of excitement from me and when the view of her only son appeared she too fell on her knees and gave praise to the God she knew did not forget His own Son; and as He forgave and welcomed the Prodigal Son back now has reunited our son to us.
We sat down and began to recount all that had happened since the turmoil began so many years ago; at least it seemed like an eternity. Angie asked James if he knew where Marlene was and has he heard from her if her presence was not known. James couldn’t say because when the two of them set out on their own, investigating the new-age type of religion and its promise of a better life, they both went their own separate way and he didn’t hear from her after that. “What was the new way like” we asked, and he said; “it certainly did not have or promise what I had learned as a Roman Catholic and it really caused my mind to question more about myself than I ever thought it would.” James was very candid in the anger he felt towards the leaders of this new-age philosophy and was too embarrassed to try and find us. Actually, he had no idea where we went and his finding us now had to be God’s guiding him. Was it just chance that we would meet in this remote region where even the past life we enjoyed as a family, long before all of the upheaval, would come to fruition? God is good and when our attention is on Him and total trust prevails God’s Holy Spirit takes over and we should never shrink from the manner He employs when we allow Him to take over.
Early one Sunday morning, weeks after our being reunited with James, we were awakened by some strange rumbling going on in part of the now renovated mine, with separate compartments for families, and the disturbance wasn’t a normal family discussion. It appeared that someone had infiltrated our community and my first thought was; “Is there a watcher among us and had they always been with us?” I walked down to where the noise had come from and found that indeed there had been an infiltration, not from among our original group of 40 people but a drifter who accidentally came upon our secluded oasis. It didn’t appear that this person was going to expose us, but now I could see that there may be more people, not as congenial as him, stumbling onto us and they could very well be watchers on the prowl. We saw how that happened at our last small community and it could very well occur again. I got Angie and James together and we planned a move away from here. The escape would have to be quiet since we had learned that even the most seemingly friendly people have proven to be enemies, as was experienced in the last small town. I hated to be mistrusting, but we were at war if even the absence of weapons was apparent. Again, what was happening to the peace we would find and then see it slip away, over and over.
Fortunately, we hadn’t used the car since we arrived and due to the great gas mileage I got we had over a half tank of gas that would take us a great distance. We loaded what little we had and left early on Tuesday morning while it was still dark.
While we were driving, and before the dawn raised its light for us, James began to open up about what really happened when his interests were peaked by the new-age attraction. Apparently the church just didn’t reach most of those in his age-group, and I dare say that was the dilemma for a lot of younger people even in the early and middle 21st century. So I wasn’t surprised to hear this revelation from my son. However, he went on relating that once any young aspirants to this new way were hooked it became rather difficult to opt out, especially since old established Christians, mostly Catholics, were the enemy to all that was rising up in defiance against everything decent and the American way. His heart sank once he realized the trap he found himself in and how he wanted to find us and escape from something he knew was wrong and against his Roman Catholic teaching and principles. “But how,” he thought, “can I ever find my parents in this topsy-turvy world and would they ever welcome me back?” He stated he felt like the prodigal son.
We drove on for several hours and came upon a small town, more of a village than an established town and noticed two things that brightened the day. First a gas station that was a welcome relief as the needle was approaching empty, and the second welcome sign was a small church almost hidden away in the trees. Once we filled the tank and discovered how friendly the proprietor was our direction became the little church. After parking near the side entrance we ventured towards the door to see if anyone was around and even wondered what denomination it was.
Walking through the door our mouths were aghast with amazement when what came into view were vigil candles and Stations of the Cross on the wall. What’s even more astounding was most of the candles were lit and the smell of incense filled the air. As a deacon my heart leapt for joy and all of us had hopes of a priest living here. As we began to explore the church a door from the Sacristy opened and who should suddenly appear? It was would you believe Fr. Mike. As astounding as it was to find our son it was just as unbelievable to find Fr. Mike.
All of us just stared at each other for a moment , then Fr. Mike came quickly down the three steps from the Sacristy and opened his arms as we hugged one another for what seemed a lifetime. Our chance finding James first then Fr. Mike showed us that God works in mysterious ways for sure. “The turmoil that led each of us away to end up here was no doubt providential” Fr. Mike said. “And even more unbelievable events are going to open up soon” he continued. It seems that there finally was a large movement beginning, not just in small villages like this but undercurrents of rebellion, the good kind, were growing in the larger communities and most of them are because the Church has held its ground and people who were constantly repressed are now making a stand. “We still have the so-called watchers around, not here, but in larger areas, and they are slowly learning that their obedience to greedy officials will no longer make their individual lives very comfortable”, Fr. Mike said. He continued “For now we have a strong community here and we want all of you to settle in and set up a home environment”. Oh, one more thing; do you know a young woman by the name of Marlene? She just came into town before you and is looking for a family to take her in.
I felt my wife shaking me early in the morning telling me I had tossed all night as if a bear was chasing me. I sat up and looked at the clock, then the calendar. My head was reeling from what I just seemingly went through; invasions, bombs, watchers in our community, Fr. Mike leaving town, and the Catholic Church under direct attack from foreign sources. I sat on the edge of the bed and my wife said its almost New Years and we will be welcoming in 2150 AD. By the way, what was your dream about?
The Saga Continues