THE PRIEST VOW.
We met with bishop and explained everything that was recently going on. He did not look happy with the strange development.
“…This doesn’t look good and is not just about you father James is also about the church of God…the catholic as a whole. Before the world will begin to think and see the catholic priest, bishops, reverend fathers and sisters differently. Many faith will weaver and many will turn from their believe. Their are people who only seek the downfall of others. They think nothing else but to destroy. In the bible, do you remember the story of a man who planted wheat in his large farmland? While the man sleep the wicked came at night and sow thorns of weeds so that it can kill the farmer’s crops. The farmer’s servant noticed the strange weed growing in the farm and informed the farmer who asked them to leave it so that it will grow with the wheat because if they plug off the harmful weed the real crops maybe plugged off too or affected. They waited until harvest time came and they were able to identify the real wheat and the weeds. They plugged it all off and burn the weed. The wicked are always on the lookout, looking for any little opportunity to strike. That is more reason why we should pray without season. Even Christ said there are temptations that will not go away except through prayer and fasting. Tell the reverend sisters to bring the lady to me on Monday morning. And father James you have to be here too.
I greeted the bishop and left with father Patrick to inform the reverend sisters.
When I returned home that night, I couldn’t sleep, I was deeply troubled. Why should this be happening to me? It started so ordinary but is getting out of hand day by day.
I will never allow my problem to bring shame and disgrace to the God’s own people and to the church of God. Just as the bishop said, is not only about me is also about the entire body of Christ. If the devil succeed in penetrating through Anna a lot will be damaged.
I have served and I know I did well with the help of God. I did not covet, lied, cheat, steal, fornicate or indulge in anything ungodly. I did everything that was required to stay holy. I put people’s needs ahead of mine, when I took the vow to serve, it was no more about me but about God and about his people. When I took a vow of celibacy, a vow of obedient and royalty to my priesthood I was not confuse, is exactly what that I had always wanted and I tried never to break any of those vow.
I sat on my bed trying to study my bible that night but I was distracted, I decided to pray instead, I spoke to God like I was talking with my earthly father. I felt more at peace that night.
The following day was a Sunday and went on with my usual work but on the third day which was a Monday, I was at the bishop’s office. When I stepped in, I saw the reverend sisters and Anna seated opposite the Bishop. I took my seat after exchanging greetings.
Anna was looking at me but I focused my attention on the bishop’s crucifix which was on his office wall. Anna was letting the devil to consume her mind and manipulate her, if she understand the implication of what she was doing she would not even consider such thought.
Her lies may cause me everything I have ever believed in. it may cause me my priest role, it will bring shame and disgrace to me and even to the body of Christ. Is beyond what she can see and my wrongdoing was that i cared for her just like I have done for many others. My only fault was to take her to the hospital when she was helpless just like I will do a thousand over again if I encounter such. Despite those was my innocent deed which was causing me pain and shame but it will not stop me from being who I am.
Anna insisted that I was responsible for her pregnancy, she insisted that she met me in the past and we got entangled which resulted to her pregnancy. And when she discovered that she was pregnant and confronted me with it I denied, we had a serious fight where I hit her with a stick and she passed out and was later rushed to the hospital.
Lies flow out of her lips freely, it was as if she practiced what to say before coming to meet the bishop. I was dumb founded at the strong accusation she leveled against me.
I couldn’t even argue because it was pointless. Just as the bishop said about the enemy sneaking into a farmer’s wheat yard in the night to sow thorns of weed just to destroy the good crops but the weeds was later separated and burned up.
This too will be exposed and burned to ashes.
At the right time God will vindicate me. The bishop knows that I wasn’t capable of such evil and he knew it was the ways of the devil trying to destroy me and the church of God.
The bishop asked Anna if she knows the implication of what she was saying and she replied that she was only saying the truth and if nothing is done she will let people know what the so called men of God are capable off.
“What if after the baby is born and the hospital test confirmed that the baby do not belong to father James?
The bishop asked Anna and she quickly replied.
“The DNA test cannot lie but if such happens then I will know that the doctor came up with a fake result because I know who the father of my child is. I’m not going back with the reverend sisters. I will be going home with James. This case cannot be swept under the carpet. I know I suffered loss of memory after the accident but I can remember everything that happened that day. I am not lying and I’m not crazy. I will never lie against a man of God. Father James was my secret lover and things only got out of hand because he discovered that I was pregnant. This truth will not be hidden and I will never allow anybody to shut me up from speaking the truth. I know you are trying to protect the church and men of God under your parish but if father James refuses to take up the responsibility then I will expose that which you all try to hide.
I held my head in my hands and heard the bishop said to her.
“Father James is not capable of any of this and I know every hidden lies will be exposed. You desired to be with a priest of God whose life has been dedicated to service to God alone and to man. You desire to destroy the name of God for some selfish reasons after he helped and cared for you after your accident, is a dangerous road you are trading daughter. Very dangerous. I wish and hope you will have a rethink and not do this. It will be doom…nothing good will come out of it…only doom. Think again daughter, are you sure this is what you want and very sure of all your accusations?
Anna was not ready to change her mind. She stood on her word and refused to be threatened as she thought the bishop’s word was a threat to her.
The bishop asked the sisters to wait outside with Anna so that he can speak with me.
The bishop looked at me and to save him the trouble I stood and said.
“I will step down for some time, is better that way. I will not give room for the devil to shine through me. I will step outside until all this is resolved. Since all her wish is to live with me then so be it. If after the months or a year of living with her and i happen to take her to bed then I will return here and drop every form of priesthood title, I will resign from my priesthood work and start a family…God cannot be deceived. He is God and we are his creation. He sees every secret deed and nothing is hidden before him. If after the period of living with her and nothing happens, no form of intimacy…she may even start feeling frustrated and will want to move on with her life, if that happen I will return to the Lord’s vine, Take up my priesthood garment again and continue to serve God like I have always done. This is where my happiness is found…is not out there, is right here but I won’t compromise other believers’ faith because of my happiness. I took a vow before God and before man to serve all the rest of my life, I have done so for fourteen good years without doubt and I know this trouble will also pass. I will move to a faraway land and stay there for the period of trials and I will bring news just at the right time. Bishop…I don’t I know how it will all end but I trust God in all of this. He will see us through it all. The only thing I seek is prayer and intercession…
We had more discussion and the Bishop nodded to my words, he said will also make some findings about Anna. It was all well agreed before I left.
I came outside and asked Anna to follow me let’s go. She was surprise but followed me anyway. She entered the car and I drove off in a total silent except for the Ave Maria’s hymn that I never stopped playing in my car.
Life is taking me to another tour, a strange and different lane that I have never experience or ever thought off before. I don’t know what the outcome will be but for the sake of the innocent child that Anna carries, for the sake of God’s people who may lose faith because of a wrong cause, for the sake of God’s church and the servant of God who dedicated their lives to service I will not allow my own trouble or cross to bear down on them. God will give me strength to carry this heavy unexpected cross.
I remember what I told Tagbo in the prison yard.
“God will not allow temptation that is above us because he knows our ability. He will step in when the burden becomes unbearable”.
I don’t know where this road with Anna leads but I’m certain that no secret will be hidden forever.