January Journal, Second Sunday after Epiphany

We are all epiphanies, manifestations of our loving God, and just as Christ was baptized by John (today’s Gospel), just as the Holy Spirit came upon Christ as he rose from the waters, just as Heaven touched Earth and God the Father spoke his words of love, just so we too are bathed by the Heavens and touched by the Holy Spirit. Just so we hear the voice of God our Heavenly Father.

It continues to rain and flood in the Bay Area, but in spite of the power outages and closed roads we are grateful for the watering of our hills. You can see the green grass drinking the rain, quenched. And we are told that our drought might be over, at least it would be if we had built enough reservoirs and didn’t let the excess run into the sea. Evidently there are environmental concerns in Sacramento that worry about a fish.

Epiphanies. With these epiphanies, these drops from the Heavens, I build my characters that will live inside my next novel, The Music of the Mountain, layering them with unique personal histories so that I can get to know them and understand how they will react when when the page is turned. The foundations must be solid and extensive for each one, just as we have our own histories too, making each one of us unique, each one an epiphany.

The novel is about history in a way, or rather its importance, and the devastating consequences of erasing our past, be it national or personal. For we are today the choices we have made in the past. We have our own foundations, given to us by our loving Creator. To cherish our pasts, warts and all, sins and all, joys and fears and sufferings – all of it – is to cherish our Creator. As my bishop of blessed memory often said, “Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted.” And I have come to see that each moment in our time on earth counts in the divine realm of Eternity. Each moment counts in the accounting of each one of us.

And so we repent, clean out our hearts of all the bad choices, the sins. We bathe in the baptismal waters of rebirth, daily, moment by moment. In this way we are continually renewed, our sick insides healed and healthy once again. We can breathe once more, deeply, breathe the name of Jesus and know that God is with us.

So who will be inhabiting these pages of my novel to come?

Molly MacRae is a young woman, 25, grade school teacher, American History, who leaves her job because of the false history she is required to teach. She desires to go back to school, possibly Hillsdale, to earn a Masters in Education, and set up an online school. She is Evangelical.

Winston Adams is a young man, 30, a journalist, who is fired for telling the truth. He went with the political program, silencing stories, promoting false narratives, until he had had enough. He told the truth. He was soon out of a job, but now he considers honest ways of earning a living, perhaps even starting his own newspaper or journal. He is a Catholic.

Fr. Thomas Adams is Winston’s grandfather, 80,  who is Anglican vicar of the now boarded up university chapel, south campus. After the riots and the lockdowns and his own bout with the pandemic, he returns to the property now in ruins, no longer open. He lives in the abandoned student residence next door and plays the organ in the chapel. He prays.

Dr. Patricia Norton, 50, has been fired from her prestigious university position as Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, for refusing the vaccine and masking requirements, which she maintained were unethical demands. She is agnostic. She lives in the old Villa Tilifos at the base of Angel Mountain (from my last novel). She bought the spacious house for back taxes, since the owners had not returned after leaving on an extensive pilgrimage to pray for the world.

All four characters notice a disturbing trend: large sections of the Internet have been erased, books have disappeared, and libraries have empty shelves, where the Classics once resided, alongside great literature, history, all supporting and defining Western Civilization. American founding documents can no longer be found, but have been replaced by less “offensive” materials.  Theology and philosophy shelves are bare. My valiant heroes set out on a mission to retrieve the physical copies that still exist and put them somewhere safe, at least for the time being.

Fr. Adams shows them his hidden basement, a musty, dark place full of books not yet found. They begin their Great Work of Freedom in this space…

And somehow it all leads back to Angel Mountain… where they can hear music, familiar chords, dancing with one another. What is the music? It leads them to where they must go, these melodies of meaning, chords christening a new world to be born, formed on the foundations of the Old World.

Of course all of the above may be tweaked by more epiphanies, more reaching for the Heavens, more sudden sight, seeing the way it must be, how Love moves among us, creating us to love one another as we rise from the waters of Baptism.

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