Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Monk Chronicles: John 1: 35-51

Hmm. I must not say the word blasted in front of Brother Michael again. He looked absolutely aghast when I said it, and looked rather green when he realized I was associating it with our dear Abbot. I wonder if infernal would suit the Abbot more? I really prefer blasted, but infernal will do just as well for now. I might have to move to something stronger if that infernal man keeps refusing to acknowledge my hard work on these reports for him, though. He received my last one in complete silence again, only to laugh at me when I finished! He laughed at me! I wanted to reach across that desk and strangle him right then and there! He said that my studies are “superficial at best” and “tedious at worst”! I spent a good long hour and a half on that report last week, and he had the nerve to call them superficial and tedious! That infernal man… urg!

I will spend two hours on it this week, and see what he says then. I will show him one way or another. In fact, I may have to spend longer than two hours, for that infernal man has assigned even more than he did last week! To the end of the chapter, he says. It shouldn’t be a strain on my time, he says. Pah! As if I needed a further encumbrance on my time! As it is, I rarely get midday meal or dinner because of other small mishaps that always seem to happen when I am around. And I always see that infernal man skulking around right after I am assigned my penance, smirking his little smile. I swear he is up to something, I just need proof about what.

The assigned reading for this week is John chapter one verses thirty-five through verse fifty-one. I see why that infernal man assigned such a lengthy section, although that does not mean I have to like it. This whole passage is about Jesus’ first disciples, and tells us a little of their first interaction with Jesus. The disciples that are discussed are Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. There is another one that was with Andrew when John says that Jesus is the Lamb of God, but his name is not given. Brother Franz and Brother Handel have been arguing over who this mysterious character is for years now, Brother Franz says that it is Judas, and Brother Handel thinks that it is Thomas. They both agree that the reason the person’s name is not mentioned is that it was shameful, Judas because he becomes the betrayer, and Thomas because he doubts later, which makes no sense to me. I disagree with both of them, but I have no wish to get involved in that argument, they would make me do a year’s worth of penance simply for suggesting that either of them were wrong. I think it’s the author of the book, because people writing about themselves usually don’t put their name in their own work. Its simple, but those two Brother never see anything as simple.

Dang it. Brother Franz happened to be walking by during that little discourse of mine. Now I have to clean out the stables instead of eating dinner. And he added that if I was late for vespers because of it, he would add another penance to it. Brother Franz is quickly becoming my least favorite monk in this entire Abby. And there goes that infernal man again! I swear he instigates it every time I get in trouble!

Calm. I must learn calm. If I am calm in front of that blasted man, then maybe he will start to leave me be. And there I go using blasted again. Back to the Bible, maybe it will help me solve my language problem. There is a clear application here, we are to drop everything to follow Jesus as soon as we feel his calling. But then when do we know that he is indeed calling us to action? And then what path do we follow? Elder Brother Georg says that our conscience will lead us in the right path, because our baptism has conferred upon us the Holy Spirit, and that it is our earthly guide. But then how do we interpret what we feel? Should we just adopt the attitude of Jesus? Or is that not enough? Again, I have all these questions, and that infernal man won’t answer them, he just tells me to find the answers myself. I always tell him I don’t know where to look, but he says that looking is half the fun. As if I have time to look with all the penances he is somehow tricking me into earning! I barely have enough time to eat and get the required amount of sleep! Brother Fedor in the kitchens doesn’t even bother telling me what to do anymore, he just hands me a knife or a spoon and points. He also grunts while he works, like a pig. Sometimes I think maybe that’s why they assigned him to the kitchens, who better would know how to cook food than someone who resembles it?

Hah! Brother Franz walked right by me and didn’t even notice my commentary about Brother Fedor. I get distracted too easily from this, I must concentrate. I am further confused by the interaction of Jesus and Nathanael. Why does Nathanael respond the way he does when Jesus says that he is a true Israelite? And why does Jesus say that Nathanael is a true Israelite when all he did was see him under the fig tree before Philip calls him? I actually might have an answer for this one, Brother Jodai was a Jew before he converted and he says that he would recite the shem’a underneath fig trees at the middle of the day because it was cooler under the trees. So maybe Nathanael was reciting the shem’a for his midday prayers before partaking of his midday meal, after which Philip found him? I don’t know for sure, but the idea is one that would bear further study. Lets see that infernal man stare at me coldly with this idea! But why then does Nathanael immediately know that Jesus is the Son of God? Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that he is a prophet, told things by God that no man would know? Or does he say it because he was already influenced by what Philip said to him? That is a more logical answer, but who’s to say that the Holy Scriptures are logical? Ah, there walks my infernal nemesis again. I will show him this week, I will. I have lots of questions this time to befuddle him, and even a scrap or two of answers that should impress him. Its all too easy. Now I go to clean the horse stables. I wish I could sneak some dung into that infernally blasted man’s food…

Brother Henrich,
24 of September
This Year of our Lord 1507

Author's Note: This is a more edited version than what I read, it should flow a little better. I'm still trying to perfect the character's voice and make a more creative connection to the Bible. Any suggestions?

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