Chapter One – Martyr

Father Ed is kneeling in front of the Lord in prayer.  He knows that the journey that all the faithful, who are with him, would soon embark on is going to be long one and they are going to need those prayers.

“Lord my heart aches as this darkness continues to fall around us…”  He sighs and lowers his head.

An ethereal hand touches his shoulder as a voice whispers in the emptiness, “I have been with you all your life, for God has given me the task to be your helper.”

Father Ed lifts and turns his head towards the voice.  His eyes, for the first time, see the beauty of his guardian angel.  He did not have any doubt that it is his guardian angel.  He knew the voice, for in his heart he had heard it many times before.

“Many things will come to pass but God has a plan and you have to keep your will in His.”

The guardian angel helps father Ed up and embraces him.  As they embrace warmth of the love of heaven fills father Ed.  “Thank you Lord for the strength of my guardian angel and my life is yours.  It has always been yours.” Tears of joy fall down the old man’s wrinkled cheeks, “I will be strong and put my will into your hands,” and then he closes his eyes in this peaceful embrace.

Slowly the guardian angel starts to fade out of this world as Father Ed opens his eyes and meets a vision of Lemach carrying a woman in his arms.  He hears a faint infants cry.

Father Ed walks through his guardian angel as he vanishes from the material world and quickly approaches Lemach.

“Hold this child father.”  Father Ed notices on top of the woman’s clothing lies a baby.  He grabs the child in his arms and then he not only notices all the blood, but feels it as he wraps the child in his vestments.

“What happened?”  “Isn’t this Philomena?”  Father Ed asks both questions without a breath in between them.

“Yes.”  Lemach replies with a heavy heart.

Father Ed notices the tears flowing from Lemach’s eyes as he answers his question.  The baby makes a few cries as Father Ed re positions the baby in his arms, but quickly falls asleep in the warm embrace.

Father Ed knew better than to ask anything else.  Lemach did not seem to be in any mood to speak.

Father Ed looks at the baby’s face and was instantly caught by this child’s innocents and beauty.  He did not look away from the baby until Lemach touched his shoulder.

“Come.”

Father Ed turns and follows Lemach to the foot of the Altar.  Lemach places Philomena’s body on the ground.

There he saw the body of Philomena and where all the blood had come from.  He gasps at the scene and goes down to his knees still holding the baby.

Father Ed starts to speak but Lemach interrupts him, “we need to have a funeral for her.  She is a martyr and is interceding for us already.”

He pauses for a few seconds so that Father Ed can catch his breath.

“I will explain all later, but now the child you are holding needs us.  Go gather everyone and we will have the funeral and bury her below this altar tonight.”

Father Ed, in silence and without protest, gets up off his knees and starts to head to the side door which leads to the basement.

“Oh… and Father Ed we are going to also need to start moving early in the morning.”

“Yes,” Father Ed replies without even looking back at Lemach, for he understood.  In his mind he was pondering the vision he had right before this meeting.  God had truly known that he needed the strength because without it this incident would have completely shattered him.

This baby for some reason was giving him comfort, as if it is speaking to his heart, and through this child he felt Philomena’s presences.  She was not gone but in glory before all might God himself.  Through the darkness of this world Father Ed felt the peace as he held this child in his hands.

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