Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Letter...Continued, Part 7

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It's been about..." Sherry looks up at the ceiling, tallying up the estranged years in her head. "It's been over 25 years since my last confession."

She and Father Robert are sitting face to face, without a barrier. Being away so long from her faith, and admitting it causes her more stress than perceived "sins" she has listed in her brain to confess. Fr. Robert nods. She is not unique. He smiles. Most of the confessions he hears are from the same people every single week about such petty things! When someone comes in like this, well, it feels like a breath of fresh air.

"What would you like to talk about today?" Fr. Robert asks. He's a jolly looking man. Sherry pictures him wearing a crown of olive leaves, like Dicken's Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol.

Sherry is fidgeting with her hands like a nervous school girl.

"Well, first is that I stopped believing in God, or rather, stopped believing I needed Him a while back. I got wrapped up in starting my own antique business and I got too busy to fit God in."

The priest nods again.

Sherry continues.
"A person who has died is driving me insane. I did something wrong to her. I didn't honor her desire to share her confession of murder with her daughter. I found a letter in a box from her estate sale. I threw it out even after I read it, knowing in my heart that I should get it to her daughter."

Sherry pauses. Fr. Robert is staring at her, skeptically.

"I knew that you would listen to me, believe me, help me. You are a priest and you believe in the communion of the saints, in the connectedness of souls to the living. Please help me get rid of this angry soul."

Fr. Robert leans forward in his chair looking at Sherry sympathetically.

"What is it that you think I can do? I am not a Ghost Buster. I'm just a man."

Sherry begins to cry. Fr. Robert frowns, regretting his comment. Obviously this woman is very fragile, mentally.

"Listen." He begins.

Sherry moves her chair back. "You don't believe me. She's making me ill. I can't sleep. My husband has me seeing a psychiatrist who is prescribing medications that I do not need. You have to help me before I really go insane."

"LISTEN to me, please. It does a world of good to pray for others, deceased or living. In fact it is a spiritual work of mercy to help others through prayer. Pray for this woman. Pray for her family. In fact, stay here a minute, I''ll be right back. "

Sherry wipes her tears back as she waits. Fr. Robert returns with a small prayer card.

This is St. Gertrude. She devoted her life to praying for souls in purgatory. Say this prayer for the woman you feel you have offended. True or not, prayer does everyone good, including you."

In the car Sherry looks at the card. On one side is a picture of a holy woman in green robes, St. Gertrude, followed by a description and prayer:
*"The Prayer of St. Gertrude is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. According to tradition, our Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly. "

Sherry takes a deep breath and says the written prayer aloud:

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family and especially for Agnes Furman. Amen."

The light filtering down through the clouds, moving across the afternoon sky, hits the windshield of Sherry's car in such a way that she finds it necessary to put down the sun visor. Sherry puts the car in gear and pulls out of the parking spot, smiling. For the first time in 62 years, she recognizes God's presence in this moment, and it comforts her.

With a sense of peace and direction, she heads toward the home of Agnes Furman's daughter.

(*Information about St. Gertrude and prayer for souls in purgatory is from http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/prayers-for-souls-in-purgatory.html. More story is coming. I think I can finish it in one more post. Click on the label "letters" at the top of the post to read all 7 parts.)

8 comments:

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

This is so nice! I bet you didn't even realize it was going to wrap up so neatly and with a moral to boot, but I think it is.

Loren Christie said...

I'm trying to give it a good message, and connect the living story to the past story at the end, but I don't want it to be too predictable so I'm going to try to resist tying it up so nicely at the end. Don't worry, the end will be good. No, I had no idea what I was doing when I started. I just opened my favorite book and grabbed an excerpt. I printed that writing prompt in the first "Letter" post. I've always despised those people in A Christmas Carol who steal Scrooge's bedclothes out from under him.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I have the whole collection of Charles Dickens' books. We should add him to our reading club list.

Loren Christie said...

That would be great! There's a few I haven't read. Let's talk more about that. Okay, I want to make the ending interesting for myself and hopefully for you too, so I have to sleep on it. Post #8 will be sometime tomorrow when I get a chance to write. Well, I thought I'd get bored trying to write a short story, but I actually wrote more as I went forward with the plot. At parts, I didn't pre-plan what the characters would do before I started typing, and that made it really fun for me.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

You have so much in there that you could expand this into a novella or even a novel if you wanted to explore each character's feelings and motivations etc.

Loren Christie said...

Hmm, maybe I should leave you with a cliff hanger tomorrow and pick it up again next week? I would like to go back in the previous posts and describe the character physically. I skipped that. The best part about plowing ahead with the writing is that then you have something completed to work with.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

See how you feel about it tomorrow. The best part of blogging is you can write what and how you want as the mood strikes.

Putz said...

are yiou toying with the reader my dear loren...you have us in the palsms of your hands

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

Fondly,

Loren Christie

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