Convent, life, faith, choise
From a near-by convent, Brother Ignatius came to see him daily as physician, nurse, and friend. He brought to the sick man the consolation of religion, spoke about the peace and happiness of the church, spoke of man's sin and the peace and blessings of God.(...)
Everything was clear to him now; he had found the road to truth and peace. In church, God's light and wisdom were ever present, and in the monastery he would find the peace where the tree of humanity could grow through all eternity.
His mind was made up, and Brother Ignatius supported him in his decision. The young artist became a servant of God. How kindly, how cordially, he was received by the brethren;
Yes, life in a cloister is a life of long, monotonous years. He realized that temptation came from within rather than from without. Why did worldly thoughts always come over him? He punished his body for it, but that was of no avail.
One day, after many years had passed, he met Angelo, who recognized him.
"Man!" he said. "Yes, it is you! Are you happy now? Why, you have sinned against God and thrown away His divine gift, wasted your wonderful talent! What have you gained? What have you found? Are you not living a dream, a religion that's simply in your head? Why, it is all a dream, a fantasy, only beautiful thoughts!"
"Get thee behind me, Satan!" said the monk, and walked away from Angelo.
"He is a devil, a devil in flesh and blood!" mumbled the monk. "Once I gave him my little finger, and he grabbed my whole hand! But," he sighed, "the evil is within me as it is within him."
Torn and conscience-stricken, he cried out, "Oh, Lord, Lord! Be merciful and restore in me my faith!"
His weary eyes grew dim. The church bells tolled for him – the dead. He was buried in earth brought from Jerusalem, his dust mingling with the dust of pious pilgrims.
Many years later the bones were disinterred, a rosary was placed in the fleshless hands, and the skeleton was set up in a niche, with other similar ghastly forms, to make room for newcomers, as is the custom in convent graveyards. And the sun shone down on the grisly sight, while inside Mass was read and incense burned.