Prayer

1 man, 1 mission.

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1. Prayer

In the beginning the plan was to take loads of books. But they just got one guy in the end. Ramón. They chose him to go along, try and put their point across. And that was the plan, really, just to have a word. Try and make a case. Try and shine a bit of light on the situation, from their perspective.

It wasn’t a great plan to be honest. There weren’t many people who thought it was a great plan. But there were enough. And things were bad. Things were really bad. People were starving. Everyone was starving. A lot of young kids died. That changes… the atmosphere in a place, y’know. When… when poor people or old people start dying, people get angry, people get panicked. But when the young ones start dying. When its parents watching their kids dying it…. I don’t know. Does something mad to people. Because it’s not right. It’s like…. backwards.

Maybe it’s not what people think of when they think of siege mentality, but that’s what happens. After enough time in those conditions. Starvation. Disease. Always some mad war. So many years sending their sons wherever, ‘by the summons of the King’ or whatever. They’d been fighting for so long. They’d all lost a lot of family. And obviously when you’re up against an enemy like that then, what are you going to do, you’re not going to…. Do nothing, you’re not going to…. win, well, winning’s not even a conversation you can have, because, these people…… Well, what does that even mean? What can they do. How would it even affect them?

Well, that’s the question isn’t it, what can you do? That’s the fair question that they were asking. So they thought they’d have a word. Send a Messenger. They had the idea to bring loads of books- like in a wagon, or whatever. With some smart people, and some church leaders, and different religious texts, and a lot of Greek stuff. Ancient Greek, like Aristotle and stuff. And go along and make all the points- say ‘look, this is our religion, this is what we believe in; you got to show love and respect to all people, everyone deserves forgiveness, everyone’s human, we’re all the same. Do unto others, y’know. Because we deserve that, and here’s why….’

But they realised the books wouldn’t work; they’d probably never get in, they’d never get read- never get opened, plus it would look audacious, at best. And then they started to, clarify, the plan; and they decided it would be best to send just one man.

So they chose Ramón because he knew all the books. Apparently he had some position in the local church, but he loved to read, and he had a reputation for debating all the leaders; and being interested in the different philosophies. I can’t tell you too much about him, only what I heard from other people. And to be honest I heard different things from different people. But I can tell you he wasn’t well. He wasn’t… he had some problem with his stomach apparently, like something he was born with, so, I guess he couldn’t eat properly or something. But he was tiny. He looked like a… I don’t know. He looked like a skeleton, but with a baby’s face. He was quite young, but I couldn’t guess how young. Thin, greasy hair, skin like sour milk and about three teeth. Can’t have been five foot- no heavier than the robes he was dressed in.

But he was smiling when he arrived. Everyone was hugging him and patting him and crowding around him. He didn’t have any family there, apparently, but he seemed popular. He greeted a few dozen people, then said some goodbyes. A lot of people just wanted to pray for him or wish him well.

He was supposed head straight to the top, if he could. But nobody had any idea how that might work. If he couldn’t- he was just supposed to talk to everyone, just everyone. Whatever- first face he saw, go. Talk away. Go there with your message- stick to the ministry, spread the word. I wonder where they got that idea from.

Maybe it would spark some interest- might even get him summoned, or whatever. Taken upstairs, taken to the big boys, taken to the boss. ‘What you doing in my patch, my turf’. Then he just had to make his case. Say: ‘We believe in love. We believe in forgiveness. And we’re going to show you love and forgiveness regardless of what you do to us. But we think you should do the same.’ And then explain the reasons.

 It wasn’t like….

They were only after mercy. Just a little bit of mercy. I’m not saying they didn’t care about the Kings or the country, or even the villages and…. They know people get sick and people die for all sorts of reasons- but it was the constant unnecessary cruelty.

Don’t get me wrong- a lot of people thought the Inquisition wasn’t really happening on the King’s orders. They thought he was just letting it happen. But it was too much. Turning a blind eye at that point is an act of brutality.

You got enemies everywhere. Everyone’s a threat. If that’s what it’s like to live under God’s rule- but you can challenge authority by preaching a message from the Bible-well, what’s happening there, y’know. They had to challenge that authority- there’s nothing left to do at that point. Ramón was the best they could come up with. He was going to… try and show another way.

He did a little speech before he left. He just sounded like he was thinking out loud; only a few people could hear everything he said. I heard him say he wanted answers. He also said this was God’s purpose for him, which makes no sense, but he seemed to convince people. I supposed he had convinced himself. That’s the problem with the clever people, they can convince themselves. People believe a lot of things that don’t make sense, for reasons that do. He said he was ready to go, and that he was proud.

Then he went. He got up on to the pyre and they strapped him down. They lit it with this massive ceremonial torch and chanted this hymn. And that was him. They all prayed and he screamed. But not for very long. They called him their lamb. And off he went. Off to heaven. Off to reason with God. With a message of love, mercy and forgiveness for all his people.

It didn’t work, obviously. The Inquisition ended up torturing half of the town to death, once word got out about what they had done.

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