Friday, September 29, 2017

Where Evil Lurks

Where Evil Lurks

By Michael Cannata

He'd been a good Christian all his life. When the time came, he devoted himself to the church and its teachings. He fought evil with a passion that earned him the love and admiration of all his parishioners over the last 40 years. He arrived at his new appointment in the city a few months ago. Glowing articles in the local paper announced his arrival. The first few weeks were a glorious time.

He battled Satan and sin every day of his life. He sought out evil wherever it lurked. He counseled his flock with all the care and wisdom he possessed. He was able to move past the sins and look into the heart of all those who came to him for help and guidance. He judged no one and forgave everyone their transgressions.

Until that fatal day when he met Gregory in the market, he always believed in the innate goodness in all men… especially himself. The smile on his face that first appeared when he spotted Greg in the aisle froze as their eyes met. He saw the fear and hate they carried. It was clear from the look on Greg's face that he recognized him. He realized that the meeting wasn't accidental. Greg approached him and stood staring with an anger that was barely controlled.

At first, all he remembered was the young, shy smile of the lonely boy that hung around the church after school, waiting for his parents to pick him up. But the hateful look suddenly brought back other memories. Shame filled memories that he'd suppressed for years.

"Have they come for you yet?" Greg asked in a chilling voice. "Because they will, and I hope you burn in hell for what you did to me!"

He loved the boys in his charge completely. It was comfort that he offered them. Why didn't anyone see that? Now, after a lifetime of battling sin, he was finally about to commit the greatest sin of all. He would never get to meet Jesus.

"How?" he wondered aloud. How had he missed the evil that lurked in his own heart? He raised the gun to his head as the police started knocking on his rectory door. "Forgive me, Lord!" he prayed.

Hopeless, he knew better. After what he'd done to the children, God himself wouldn't answer his prayer.

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