And I watched Adam walk into St Victor's Cathedral yesterday morning, he looked so low that I had to say something; and, knowing his mother was sick, I had a pretty good idea what I was going to say, so I waited on him, for he was my good friend since grade school; and although I hadn't seen him for years, I felt compelled to speak with him.
"Tom," he said, smiling, when I waved, "it's been what," he paused to think, "nine years?"
"Yeah," I said, "something like that. A really long time." Then, I smiled and said, "I'm glad your smiling."
"Why," he said, so quickly that I didn't know what to say next; so fast that I wondered why I even followed him to the church in the first place. I thought, "I'm happy because your mother isn't dead."
"Well," I started slowly, "I thought something might be wrong, you know your mother's health and all, and I saw you go into the church, and..."
His smiled grew larger then, showing all of his pearly white teeth. "Mom's fine, Andrew, she's fit as a fiddle. Praying all the time and holding her crucifix." He clapped me on the shoulder, "No sir, it's not momma I'm worried about."
"Oh, so there's something wrong."
"Not really," he pointed to the church, "I was just confessing. I do it every Tuesday, like clockwork." He looked into the sky, "I want to make sure I go to heaven."
I looked into the sky at the spot where Adam was looking, and I tried to imagine what it would be like if Jesus was to desend, right then, brighter than the sun and light the whole world. I tried to hear the angels singing, "Glory, Glory;" and the other angels, singing "Almight, Almight;" and even more angels singing, "Forever and Forever;" and it being so thunderous that the mountains shook.
"Yeah," Adam said, "Either Father Mallery or Father O'Trail saves me every week. I don't know what I would do if they weren't here to save me." He laughed then, and said, "I even pray to Mother Mary. I want to be sure." He stopped talking then and looked at me. "Andrew?"
"Don't say those things," I said, feeling tears in my eyes, "don't say those things like that about being saved." I wiped my eyes, "and don't say you were praying to dead people." He tried to say something then, but I wasn't going to be stopped. "Only Jesus can save you, not a priest and why would you even pray to Mary?"
"She is the mother of Jesus," he answered, "Jesus will listen to her more? That's why I do it!! I tell her what I need and she tells Jesus." He was waiting for me to challenge his faith again, so I adventured on: "Only Jesus can save you, and He did it one time, not every Tuesday."
"That's why I go to Father O'trail and the people at the church, it's easier for them to tell me what to do."
I felt tears coming back into my eyes because I had the image of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus from the grave and the people around him being astonished, I could see the woman who had the issue of blood. Touching Jesus' hem and being made whole, and I could see Doubting Thomas feeling Jesus wounds and knowing, but what Adam saw was the priest's saving him, not Jesus. "Please," I said, taking hold on his hand, "Only pray to God, Jesus is your only Savior and He died for you. You are the child of God. Jesus has died for you, you can pray to God yourself and recieve forgiveness. Jesus," I told him, raising my voice, "is the Light of the world and has overcome death!! Don't tell me you just prayed to Mary and asked somebody in that church to save your soul!!" My ears were hot and a crowd had formed, and I realized I had made a scene.
"And to you, my friends, know this," I said to the small crowd listening, "We are not alone in this world and we have not lost the eternal war. Satan has lost. Jesus Christ defeated Satan forever at the cross and we have eternal victory."
Some cheered, some cried too.
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