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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)

TITLE: Monsignor Thomas Needs a Miracle
By Teri Wilson
08/29/06


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The sign on his office door read Monsignor Thomas, but it could have said Investigator of Miracles. The clergyman’s official duties included examining miraculous happenings and verifying their authenticity. In other words, if you had a weeping Virgin Mary statue or a potato chip with Jesus’ face on it, Monsignor Thomas was your man.

You may think being privy to such things would strengthen the faith of a leader of the Church. But, not so. In fact, in the twenty-five years of his career, the Monsignor hadn’t verified the existence of a single miracle. At first, he eagerly probed every instance of supposed stigmata and divine healing. Now, after a quarter of a century, Monsignor Thomas was just going through the motions. Sometimes he wondered if he would even recognize a miracle if he actually saw one.

Monsignor Thomas watched his dog turn in circles before settling down on the flannel dog bed in the corner of his office. The old Lab breathed a heavy sigh and rested his graying muzzle on his paws.

“Be patient, Rufus. Only one more appointment and then we can go for our walk.” Rufus’ tail wagged at the mention of their daily stroll.

Phyllis, the Monsignor’s secretary, materialized in the doorway. “A young woman named Caroline is here for your 4:00 appointment.”

The clergyman let out a sigh heavy enough to rival Rufus’. “Send her in.”

A young woman, obviously a street person, meekly walked into the office. Her clothing was filthy and it looked as though she hadn’t had a proper bath in quite a while.

Monsignor Thomas noticed she carried a well-worn Bible in her hands. “Please, sit down. What can I do for you?”

Caroline carefully sat in one of the heavy, ornate chairs facing the Monsignor’s desk.

“Um. It’s this Bible. It’s… special.” The young lady reverently placed the Book on the desk and pushed it toward Monsignor Thomas.

“The Word of God is indeed a special Book.”

“No. I mean it’s like a miracle.”

The Monsignor looked at the ordinary looking Bible sitting innocently on his desk. “In what way, Caroline?”

“Well, it sings.”

“Is that so?”

“Open it and you’ll see.”

Monsignor Thomas opened the black Book. Nothing happened. He glanced up at Caroline whose eyes were closed. She had a look of pure bliss on her face and swayed gently in the chair to an unheard melody. Clearly the young woman was mentally ill.

“Caroline, dear. I don’t hear anything.”

“You can’t hear the music? It sounds like angels.”

“No, I can’t hear a thing.” What was it going to take to get through to this girl?

“My mother always said you had to have faith to hear the Bible sing. Maybe that’s what’s wrong.”

Now Monsignor Thomas started to get angry. “I’m a leader in God’s Church, young lady. Are you questioning my faith?”

Rufus’s eyes anxiously darted back and forth between his master and the young woman.

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“I think you should be getting along now.” Monsignor Thomas pushed the closed Bible back toward the girl.

Caroline took a deep breath, “You keep it. I think you need it more than I do.”

The Monsignor’s face grew a deep scarlet as the young lady walked out of his office. He had become accustomed to bearing witness to phony miracles, but not to being treated with disrespect.

“Let’s go, Rufus. Time for our walk.” The big, black dog ambled over to his master and gave him a friendly lick on the hand.

As Monsignor Thomas collected Rufus’ leash, his eyes landed again on the Bible. He opened it to the middle of the Gospels.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

As he read the familiar words, he heard Rufus whining softly as his side. Monsignor Thomas looked and saw Rufus staring intently at the Bible, his ears perky and alert. His head was cocked to one side.

The Monsignor slammed the Bible shut. Rufus relaxed. A chill started to run up and down Monsignor Thomas’ spine. He opened the Bible again.

Woof! Rufus' ears sprung forward again and he pranced around the Bible.

Monsignor Thomas frantically ran out into the foyer. “Phyllis, have you seen the young woman who was here a few minutes ago?”

“No, she left. What was that beautiful music coming from your office? It was lovely.”

Monsignor Thomas just dropped his head in his hands and wept.


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This article has been read 1266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Craig08/31/06
Hats off to a very unique way of expressing melody. If only we would stop to listen to what even the animals and all of creation are aware of. Many times when reading THE WORD I have heard Him sing to me. This is a precious story. Excellent Job!!
Beth Muehlhausen09/01/06
Dramatic ending! I loved that the secretary heard the music!!!

It's true, God's melody of love fills the Word...the Word made flesh...and those who abide in the Word.
dub W09/01/06
When the challenge is over I want to ask you if I can use this in a study I am doing - on the same topic. A well constructed essay, although predictable, it was tight enough for this short piece.
Lynda Schultz 09/01/06
This is wonderful!
Jan Ackerson 09/01/06
I loved almost everything about this story. Your characters were well-written, your dialog crisp, your plot really skipped along. The only thing that bothered me a bit, and this is probably just me, is that the dog could hear the melody--but a dog can't have faith. (Now all the dog-folks are going to come at me...) Really, really good writing.
Bonnie Derksen09/02/06
Very well done. Leaves a sort of eerie sense of wonder as to the stubborn set of Monsignor Thomas' perspective. I really enjoyed this story. Great imagination and masterful story telling!
Helen Paynter09/03/06
I loved this - very clever and creative. Well written indeed.
Ann Grover09/04/06
He who has ears, let him hear... God speaks to us, if we've opened our hearts and are willing to listen... good writing and message.
Debbie Sickler09/04/06
Great use of the topic! Very original and interesting. I loved the line about the girl 'obviously being mentally ill'! lol (I did wonder why a street person would make an appointment though...)

I found a typo you might not have noticed: "he heard Rufus whining softly as his side." Should be "at his side". :)

I get why the dog could hear the music. Despite the line about faith, all of creation still knows the Creator. Loved the secretary hearing it too, made for a great ending.
Rebecca Livermore09/05/06
The line in the first paragraph about the potato chip made me laugh! It was great to have a small bit of humor in a serious piece. I also love the point that we have to have a real relationship with the Lord in order to hear the music of His word. Beautiful!
Shari Armstrong 09/05/06
Very cool - great characters, makes one stop and think :)
Venice Kichura09/05/06
Masterful job!
Allison Egley 09/05/06
I also enjoyed the line about the potato chip, and the added humor. I think there really was a miracle in this though, in that Thomas realized how much he had lost.
Joanne Sher 09/05/06
So, SO wonderful! I love this - from the humor to the dialogue to the description. I think this is one of my very favorites so far. :D
Joanne Malley09/05/06
Wow - dead on topic and what an angle! Terrific emphasis on the ability to open our ears/hearts to truly "hear" God. Blessings. :)
Birdie Courtright09/05/06
Great story! A wonderfully creative take.
Jeffrey Snell09/06/06
Wow! Powerful and moving. You did a good job avoiding stereotypes that would have stifled the impact of this. Good job!
Virginia Gorg09/06/06
Poor M. Thomas. Unfortunately, many don't hear the music. thanks for writing this thoughtful piece :)
T. F. Chezum09/06/06
I liked this a lot, very creative and very well done.
Val Clark09/08/06
A challenging yet delightful read. I loved it that the person whose job it was to verify miracles was the very one who couldn't see them. Jesus face on a potato chip! lol. yeggy
Bonnie Derksen09/12/06
Congratulations on your win, Terri. Well deserved, indeed.
Blessings on your pen.
Suzanne R09/14/06
I love the way the dog became such a dear part of the whole story - can picture him sighing, leaning his chin on the edge of his basket / mat / can picture it but don't quite know what to call it, then getting so excited about the walk and finally the music.

Beautiful writing.

Congratulations on your win, and thanks for your encouraging comment to me.