Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Death of St. Bartholemew the Merciful

He was found in a small church near Boleradice, in the country we now call the Czech Republic . His body was laid out on the altar, as if in his dying moments the young priest had offered his body to God. Maybe it was out of fear that they were wrong, or simple superstition, but the enemy never touched his corpse. They left him to die the painful death he had chosen for himself. On his lips was a smile, and his eyes stared coldly at the remains of the ceiling. 

As the townspeople fled for their lives, the young priest had fired thirty-two bullets at the advancing soldiers. With each shot he recited a short prayer. In the end the young priest killed thirty-two of the enemy's men before a bullet found its way to the Eucharist in his stomach. Each man the priest shot died with a smile on his lips, perhaps with the knowledge that they would not have to kill anymore.

The first miracle of St. Bartholemew occurred when the bullet penetrated his stomach. The desperate men that advanced upon his dying body found that what poured from his wound was not blood, but wine. They found him laying on the altar, with his arms spread wide. His white robes were stained red with wine. 

The second miracle occurred in a small cafe on the south side of Berlin, when a survivor of the conflict found St. Bartholemew's head floating in his soup bowl. Of course the size of the soup bowl was much too small for the head to float, but there it was floating all the same. The head spoke to the former sergeant, but no one around could hear the words that made the guilty man begin to weep. 

The third miracle the saint performed was when he delivered a small german child to her grandfather. The girl had been missing for three days, there was no explanation for her disappearance. One minute she had been clutching her grandfather's hand, and the next thing he knew her clothes lay empty on the train station's platform. The little girl was returned to her grandfather in perfect health. She appeared in his attic wearing blood stained and bullet ridden clothes. There was the faint smell of wine around her.

The old man explained to his granddaughter that he loved her very much, he then returned her to her mother. After a meeting with his lawyer, he packed a small suitcase and made arrangements to travel to Boleradice. He was found stretched out on the altar of a ruined church, smiling. Around the body there was the smell of wine. 

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