"Thomas OLeary died because he lacked faith."

Father Donnel, in his formal robes, looking both serious and holy up on the dais, leaned forward and ran his eyes over the congregation and the lonely coffin in the middle of the isle.

"When Thomas was filled with the spirit of God and joined the priesthood he had the potential to be a giver of life, to forfill his destiny and end suffering. But he lacked faith, he didnt trust in God, and he died for his sins."

"Do we mourn the fleshly body which proved itself so weak? Do we mourn the lost of the spirit that filled him? No, we must not mourn these things, for God giveth and God taketh away. What we must mourn, and what we must learn from, is the lack of faith that is all too prevalent in our congregation and indeed in the world today."

Mary Riely nervously wrapped a tentacle around her daughters arm. Rose, her sweet Rose, was at the age where she would either become a giver or a taker and events like the funeral of Thomas didnt help her peace of mind at all. She sent up a silent prayer that Rose wouldnt be chosen for the priesthood, but would instead be a normal person like her mother and father. Rose, who knew what her mother was thinking, patted the grasping tentacle reassuringly. She was certain that she wasnt holy enough for the priesthood, although people did say that you couldnt tell.

"Tis ok mum," she whispered as the congregation stood for the final prayer. "Everything will be fine, Im sure."

Rose and her mother, Mary, didnt notice that they were under observation by a small figure clad in a long black robe. The face was covered, but the arms were bare, showing long, graceful tentacles, laterals extended in full zlin in Roses direction. As the flock poured out of the ancient church, the dark figure contrived to keep close to the couple until they exited into the open air.

"Your pardon sister, I have joyous news."

Mary turned and saw the figure, a nun, one of those who, although not a provider of life, was blessed with the ability to heal and to share the spirit of God with those normal people who craved it and needed it to live. She started, and looked at her daughter in horror, extending her laterals and zlining, ceasing to seethe world but instead viewing using the light of life.

Mary opened her eyes, seeing the world again, while still using her inner vision and grasped her daughter to her bosom.

"Rose! You are blessed! Oh no!"

The black figure moved closer and put a comforting hand on the bereaved mothers shoulder.

"Compose yourself daughter, for this is joyous news. You are frightening the child and there is no reason for it."

Rose was indeed frightened, as well as stifled in her mothers tight embrace. "Mum! Let me breath!"

Mary released her hold and wiped a tear from her eye. She had never felt so lost, although the nun was extruding comfort and peace. "If you would prefer, your daughter could accompany me now, or you can take her home with you for twenty four hours to celebrate her good fortune." The nun turned to the newly established novice.

"Child, rejoice in your fortune, for God has chosen you to take your place in his flock and to serve his people. Yours will be a joyous and forfilling life."

Rose was still stunned.

"Mum, I want to go home!"

Mary put her arm reassuringly around her daughter and turned to the nun.

"Thank you for your kind words, sister. Rose will come home with me now. We will have to tell her father, and her friends. We will return on the morrow."

Gracefully the nun bowed and faded back into the church grounds.

Mary and Rose went home in silence, both with their own thoughts of what the future may hold; for Mary, loneliness and the loss of her daughter, for Rose the adventure of the unknown but often imagined.



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