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 Post subject: the ascension of a missionary
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:08 am 
tired, less active investigator
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:07 am
Posts: 10159
Location: Hungary
This document is 5 pages, 166 lines, ~7000 characters

If any of You prefer to listen it:
watch (7:52, from 12:18 to 20:10)

The short plot is below, after the text.

Father Lacymon proved to be a gracious host; together we sat down to a meal made up of local dishes (stuffed booch, loffles in gnussard, morchmell mumbo, and for dessert pidgies - the best I had had in quite some time), after which we retired to the veranda of the mission. The lilac sun warmed us, the pterodactyls, with which the planet teemed, sang in the bushes, and in the stillness of the afternoon the venerable prior of the Dominicans began to tell me of his troubles; he complained of the difficulties faced by missionary work in that area. The Quinquenemarians, for example, the inhabitants of torrid Antelena, who freeze at 600 degrees Celsius, don't even want to hear of Heaven, whereas descriptions of Hell awake in them a lively interest, and this because of the favorable conditions that obtain there (bubbling tar, flames). Moreover it is unclear which of them may enter the priesthood, for they have five separate sexes - not an easy problem for the theologians.

I expressed my sympathy. Father Lacymon shrugged: "That is not the half of it. The Whds, for instance, consider rising from the dead an act as commonplace as putting on one's clothes, and absolutely refuse to accept the phenomenon as a miracle. The Sassids of Egillia, they have no arms or legs; they could cross themselves with their tails, but I cannot make any decision on this myself; I'm waiting for an answer from the Apostolic See - it's been two years now and still the Vatican says nothing..."

"And did you hear of the sad fate that befell poor Father Oribazy of our mission?"

I shook my head.

"Listen then, and I will tell you. Even the first discoverers of Ophoptopha could not find praises enough for its inhabitants, the mighty Gnelts. The consensus is that these intelligent beings are among the most obliging, kind, peaceable and altruistically inclined creatures in the entire Universe. Thinking therefore that such soil would be ideal to plant the seed of the faith, we sent Father Oribazy to the Gnelts, naming him bishop żn partibus infidelium. Arriving at Ophoptopha, he was received in such a way, that one could hardly ask for more: they lavished on him motherly solicitude, respect, hung on his every word, read the expressions of his face and instantly carried out his least request, they drank in the sermons he delivered, in short, they submitted to him completely. In the letters he wrote to me he could not find words enough to praise them, unfortunate man..."

Here the Dominican priest wiped a tear from his eye with the sleeve of his frock.

"In this propitious atmosphere Father Oribazy, never flagging, preached the tenets of the faith both day and night. He related to the Gnelts the history of the Old and New Testaments, the Apocalypse and the Epistles, then passed to the lives of the saints; he put particular fervor into the exalting of the Lord's martyrs. Poor man... that had always been his weakness..."

Mastering his emotions, Father Lacymon continued in a trembling voice:

"And so he spoke to them of Saint John, who attained everlasting glory when they boiled him alive in oil, and of Saint Agnes, who let her head be severed for the faith, and of Saint Sebastian, pierced with many arrows and suffering grievous torments, for which he was greeted in Heaven by angels singing, and of the infant saints quartered, smothered, broken on the wheel and roasted over a slow fire. All these agonies they accepted with joy, secure in the knowledge that they were thereby winning for themselves a place at the right hand of the Lord of Hosts. And as he told them many similar lives, all worthy of emulation, the Gnelts, listening intently to his words, began to exchange significant looks, and the largest among them timidly spoke up:

"O reverend priest of ours, teacher and venerable father, tell us please, if you would but deign to lower yourself to your most lowly servants, does the soul of anyone willing to be martyred enter Heaven?"

"Assuredly so, my son!", replied Father Oribazy.

"Yes? That is very good . . . - said the Gnelt slowly. -And you, O father confessor, do you too wish to enter Heaven? To enter Heaven is my fondest hope, my son."

"And to become a saint? - the large Gnelt asked further. - O worthy son, who is there who would not wish to become one, but such high honor is hardly for the likes of a sinner like myself; one must put forth all one's strength and strive unceasingly and in the greatest humility, if one would enter on that path..."

"Then you do wish to be a saint? - repeated the Gnelt to make sure, casting an affirmative look at his comrades, who inconspicuously rose from their seats."

"Naturally, my son."

Well, then we will help you!"

"And how will you do that, dear lambs? - asked Father Oribazy with a smile, for he was gladdened by the simple zeal of his faithful flock."

In answer the Gnelts gently but firmly took him by the arms and said:

"In the way, dear Father, that you have just now taught us". Whereupon they pulled the skin from his back and rubbed the place with tar, as the executioner of Ireland did to Saint Hyacinth, then they chopped off his left leg, as the heathens did to Saint Pafnuce, after which they ripped open his stomach and put inside a clump of straw, as it happened to the blessed Elizabeth of Normandy, and next they impaled him, as the Emalkites Saint Hugo, and broke his ribs, as the Tyracusans Saint Henry of Padua, and roasted him over a slow fire, as the Burgundians the Maid of Orleans. Then finally they stepped back, washed their hands and began shedding bitter tears for their lost shepherd. This was precisely how I found them, for in making the rounds of all the stars in my diocese I dropped in on their parish. When I heard what had transpired, my hair stood on end. Wringing my hands, I cried:

"Shameless criminals! Hell itself is not enough for youl Are you aware that you have damned your souls for all eternity?"

"Yes - they sobbed - we are aware of this!"

"That largest Gnelt rose up and spoke to me thus:

"Reverend Father, we are well aware that we shall all be damned and tormented till the end of time, and we had to struggle mightily in our hearts before we took this resolve, but Father Oribazy told us repeatedly that there was nothing a good Christian would not do for his neighbor, that one should give up everything for him and be prepared to make any sacrifice; and so with the greatest despair we relinquished our salvation, thinking only of our dear Father Oribazy, that he would gain a martyr's crown and sainthood. I cannot tell you how difficult this was for us, for before Father Oribazy's arrival here not one of us would have harmed a flea. Therefore we renewed our entreaties, we begged him on our knees to ease, to reduce a little the severity of the faith's commands, but he categorically maintained that for one's fellow man one should do everything, without exception. We were no longer able, then, to deny him. We reasoned, moreover, that we were beings of little significance and worth beside this pious man, that he deserved the greatest self-denial on our part. Also we fervently believe that our act was successful and that Father Oribazy now dwells in Heaven.

Here you have, reverend Father, the sack with the money we collected for the canonization proceedings, as is required, Father Oribazy explained all that to us when asked. I must say that we used only his favorite tortures, those that he expounded to us with the most enthusiasm. We assumed that they would please him, and yet he resisted, in particular he disliked swallowing the molten lead.

However we refused even to consider the possibility that that priest would tell us one thing and think another. The scream he uttered was only proof of the discontent of the lower, physical parts of his person and we ignored it, in keeping with the teaching that one must mortify the flesh so that the spirit may soar higher.

To sustain him, we reminded him of the principles he had preached to us, to which Father Oribazy answered with but a single word, a word totally obscure and incomprehensible; we have no idea what it might mean, for we found it neither in the prayerbooks he had given us, nor in the Holy Scriptures."

A missionary teaches a benevolent alien race about martyrdom. Aliens interpret the missionary wants to become a martyr and torture him to death to fulfill his desires.

- Whenever a poet or preacher, chief or wizard spouts gibberish, the human race spends centuries deciphering the message. - Umberto Eco
- To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin. - Cardinal Bellarmine at the trial of Galilei

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