April 3, 2017, Dudley’s writer’s group – the randomly selected prompt
The Last Pope by Luís Miguel Rocha – page 300, line 7
“What Sister Lucia had written referred to an appeal by the blessed Virgin Mary who had warned, Repent, repent, repent.” Timer clock set to 40 minutes. Start!
What had Jesus done that provoked his mom, the blessed Virgin Mary to softly plead – repent … repent … repent? Jesus was a wise kid, and even from his earliest days as an infant, he was mature in his relationship with reality. As an infant, that is, before he could even speak, he liked to play games with everyone whom he met and a bit later, when he was a child, and other kids were laughing as they played their games and threw things, little Jesus was already trying to hit a target at the limit of his ability. A little later when he was first growing a few whiskers Jesus was seeking out members of his village to help them with whatever they were doing. He liked showing the little kids how to play their games more skillfully, and helping the carpenters and other workers build their structures. Also, he liked helping the local rabbis argue out the subtleties of their arguments. Even as an adolescent he was trying to discover the ways that people actually lived their lives and why they obeyed their leaders. When a young man he was trying to promote ways for everyone to live their lives more abundantly. Early in his twenties, he was saying, “All things whatsoever you would that men should do unto you do you even so unto them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
He began spending some of his days at the Synagogue at the fishing village named Capernaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. A beautiful place. It was a long day’s walk from home, but he met people there who were wiser than those in his hometown of Nazareth. It was a resort town for people who wanted to think about important subjects and talk to other people who wanted to think. It was a perfect place to develop a personal philosophy of life and to figure out how humanity could not only live well but reach the highest levels of living well. He saw how even these wise people were having trouble getting past thinking about how to maximize their personal wealth and wellbeing, and Jesus became passionate about trying to lift their thoughts toward reaching a higher level of existence.
Then he realized that people needed a ladder of easily understood states of personal behavior that they could stand upon and where they could live comfortably. He created the ladder to go from the lowest states of misery that people couldn’t survive, to states of common behavior of gaining personal wealth and happiness and from that level to see the higher levels of spiritual relationship with the world. From these higher rungs on the ladder named the Beatitudes, they could seek the ultimate, the route to Heaven. When he had these ideas clearly worked out, he told the local people that he was going give a sermon, not in the synagogue at Capernaum which was controlled by the local rabbis, but to walk up the hillside to a well-known spot with a beautiful view out over the Sea of Galilee and there he would deliver his discoveries.
Shortly after presenting that sermon on the mount he and a few friends headed out toward the capital city Jerusalem to publicly proclaim these revelations. Their route was through his home village of Capernaum where his mother was still living, and when he told her what he was planning to do she fell on her knees in adoration for her son, and in motherly concern for the certain danger and probable death awaiting him at Jerusalem she said, “Oh my son, this is too much to ask of you … Repent … repent … repent…”
After the 40 minutes of timed writing we thought for a while about a title for a book containing our collected timed efforts based on random sentences from a random book. I suggested the title “A Clockwork of Purple Prose,” which to me suggests a timed writing effort that often generates wonderful ideas and purple prose.