Wednesday, July 3, 2013
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“So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.. And on her forehead a name [was] written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:3-5
Mariel Balac was a young, beautiful Italian woman who had lived in Rome all of her life. She lived on a large beautiful estate that had belonged to her family for generations. There was talk that it had been built by her great-great grandfather, who was some famous architect. Her family was very prominent in Rome. She was after all a direct descendant of the Roman Emperor, Nero Germanicus. Her family was well off. She had attended private Catholic schools her entire life. Even now, she was attending college at a private school run by the Catholic Church. She had not picked a major yet, as she was a little unsure of what she really wanted to do. She enjoyed being around children and thought perhaps a teacher—but at the same time she was really good with adults also. Complete strangers often sought her out to get advice from her. Even when she was a child people would come to her with their problems. She had always been a good listener. Perhaps she could become a psychiatrist. Then she could get paid for listening. Wouldn’t that just make mother’s day. Her mother hated it when she would calmly listen and give advice to strangers; she felt as though it was beneath Mariel.
It was a beautiful fall day. It was cool out but not yet cold. She enjoyed this time of year. Rome was a beautiful city with all of its history, but she especially loved Rome in the fall when all the leaves were changing colors. She planned on going to the Coliseum. She loved walking amongst the old walls; she imaged the history of the place. Sometimes while walking there she could literally see things that had happened there. She enjoyed the day as she continued her walk.
“Mariel,” the voice called startling Mariel.
She looked around but did not see anyone.
“Mariel,” the voice called again.
Mariel stopped in her tracks. She was sure that she had heard someone calling her.
“Who’s there?” she called out timidly. She looked all around her.
“Mariel, you have been a faithful daughter. You have kept yourself pure. For that I am going to bless you with a child,” the voice continued.
Mariel was flabbergasted. Surely she was hearing things; perhaps someone was playing a joke on her. What madness is this?
“Okay now, whoever you are this isn’t funny! The joke is over—come out of hiding please,” Mariel said a little annoyed.
“Mariel, this is no laughing matter. You are a good and faithful servant. I am going to bless you with a child,” the voice said.
Mariel sat down on the curb. She suddenly felt very light-headed. I am finally going mad, just like mother used to joke around about. Keep listening and helping those crazies Mariel and you’ll end up just like them. Wouldn’t mother like to hear about this. No, I can’t possibly be having this conversation with no one; perhaps this is nothing more than a dream. Whatever this is, I’ll just play along.
“But that is impossible. I do know what it takes for one to become pregnant and I have done no such thing!” Mariel replied. How dare he suggest that I’ve done such a horrendous thing. I would be shunned from the church. “I do not even have a boyfriend for heaven’s sake,” Mariel whispered.
Mariel was a little peeved by the implication of the situation. She was pure and intended on staying that way. She thoroughly believed in not engaging in pre-marital sex as it is a sin against God.
“You will have a son and you are to call him Nicolaitanes. This child will grow up to do great and wondrous things,” the voice continued.
Wait a minute. Is the voice referring to the prophecy? Surely he can’t be talking about The Child, can he? I know that we talk about it a lot in church but no one knows when that’s supposed to happen. Besides why on earth would I be chosen?
“I’m sorry but would you mind repeating that?” Mariel asked.
“Why do you doubt me so, dear daughter? You have been chosen for this wondrous blessing. Are you not honored?” the voice replied.
Mariel stood there for a moment pondering all that she had heard. Is this truly happening to me? Why me? Am I truly being chosen to carry and birth The Child?
“Yes Mariel, you are,” the voice interrupted.
Mariel was stunned, she finally got it. She was being chosen to carry The Child, her. Wow. I am completely honored. I hope that father will be proud of me. This is so exciting.
She truly believed that this was the voice of God talking to her and choosing her to carry the Messiah.
“It shall be my honor,” she replied joyfully.
“And Mariel?” the voice called.
“Yes?” she replied.
“No one must know of this. Not even your family. There will be those who will not want this child to be born. He must be protected at all costs,” the voice continued.
What am I going to do now? I will be all alone. I cannot do this by myself. Why does God want me to not even have the support of my family? They want The Child to come just as much as I do. She sat there just staring blankly. Her joy was quickly snuffed out by sadness.
“Do not worry child. Everything will be alright. You will not be alone. Go to the Colosseum and wait just inside the gate. There you will meet a woman named Rosalind Carey. She will be your protector. Go with her, she will help you with everything. And remember, you must not tell anyone about this conversation. Do you understand?” the voice replied.
“Yes, I understand. I accept this quest with a joyful heart, Lord. Thank you for choosing me to carry your beautiful son,” Mariel said.
“Go now Mariel, Rosalind is waiting,” the voice said and was gone.
Mariel got up and headed to the Colosseum. She started walking but suddenly stopped when she realized that she wasn’t even going to get to tell her family goodbye. Should she return home first and say her goodbyes? She wouldn’t say a word about why she was leaving. Yes, I think that will be alright. She turned around and started walking back home.
“What are you doing Mariel? The Colosseum is the other way?” the voice asked.
“Lord, I just need to go home and say goodbye to my family. Besides they’ll be so worried and hurt if I just leave without saying goodbye,” Mariel replied.
“No my child, no one must know of this. Do you not understand the importance of this child? Now go to the Colosseum, Rosalind won’t wait much longer,” the voice said firmly.
Mariel sighed, perhaps after the child was born she would be allowed to let her family be involved. She laid her hand gently over her abdomen and smiled. She was going to be carrying a little person inside her. Hello little one, I shall carry you with great joy! She smiled as she quickly walked towards the Colosseum and her new journey.
Rosalind Carey was waiting patiently in the shadows just inside the gate to the Colosseum. She was anxious. The voice had told her to meet a young woman here. A pure, young lady has finally been found to birth this important little boy. It is finally time. She was glad to have been chosen as the child’s protector. What a great honor this was.
She kept peering around the corner anxiously watching for the young woman.
“Be patient, Rosalind. She will be here momentarily. Is the house prepared for her arrival?” the voice said calmly.
“Yes. Everything is ready. The others are there as well,” Rosalind replied.
“Good. Take excellent care of her,” the voice replied and was gone.
Mariel stood at the entrance to the Colosseum. It seemed eerily quiet today. Something didn’t seem quite right. Where are all the tourists? This doesn’t feel right. She peered into the Colosseum, but saw no one. Where’s the woman that the voice told me to find? Mariel felt a little uneasy. Maybe she had misunderstood what the voice had said or perhaps she had dreamt it. Slowly and cautiously she walked into the Colosseum. It felt strange to her to be there despite the numerous times that she’d walked here previously. This must be how the Christians felt when they were being led to be fed to the lions. Why am I feeling this way? Something doesn’t feel right in my spirit. She shook her head and walked around. It must be my nerves. Now who is it that I’m looking for? The voice did not say what Rosalind looks like. She was a little wary.
“Rosalind? Are you here?” she whispered.
Rosalind stood in the shadows watching the woman walking around the Colosseum. Wow, she is incredibly beautiful. I can see why she was chosen. After a few more minutes, Rosalind stepped out of the shadows.
“You must be Mariel. I’m Rosalind. It is a pleasure to meet you,” Rosalind said warmly extending her hand.
She seems nice. Kind of reminds me of my friend Adrianne’s mother. She shook Rosalind’s hand. “Yes, I am Mariel. Is this really happening to me?” Mariel asked.
“It’s kind of overwhelming isn’t it? But yes, you have been chosen to have this child. It is all very much real. Are you ready to go? I promise that I will take good care of you. I will be there every step of the way,” Rosalind smiled leading the way.
Mariel was soon overcome with the realization that all of this was really happening. She was so ecstatic. She only wished that she could at least share this joyous experience with her family and friends. But how proud they would be when they found out and met her son. This must be how the virgin Mary felt when the angel of God gave her the good news.
As Mariel followed Rosalind out a side entrance she could hear a tour coming through. She glanced back and notice that the Colosseum was packed full of people. Where did all those people come from? We were alone in the only moments ago. Weird. Maybe I’m just distracted by everything going on. She shook her head and walked over to the black Town car waiting for them. Rosalind helped her into the back seat of the car then got in herself.
“This is going to be exciting,” Mariel said. I’m sorry Mom and Dad. I love you guys. Please don’t worry too much about me. No one saw the car or its occupants leave. This was a journey that Mariel would soon regret.
The home where Mariel was taken was exquisite. Mariel was very impressed and that was saying something as Mariel was not easily impressed. Her family’s home and property was extremely beautiful but it was nothing compared to this. Mariel got out of the car in awe. The driveway was lined with beautiful trees. There was a large rose garden in front of the house. The house itself was incredible. Our house would probably fit into a small portion of this house and our house is huge. I can’t believe that I get to spend the next nine months here.
“Is everything alright, Mariel?” Rosalind asked She was watching Mariel intently.
“Everything is fine, Rosalind. I was just admiring your home. It is so exquisite. I shall definitely enjoy my stay here. Do you tend to the gardens yourself?” Mariel asked walking towards the rose garden.
Rosalind followed closely behind her. “No my dear, we have a gardener that tends to the grounds. Now come up to the house and let us get you settled into your room,” Rosalind said.
Mariel nodded and walked with Rosalind up the flight of stairs to the front door. At the doorway she hesitated, “Am I free to do whatever I want while I am here? Can I come and go as I please?”
“Mariel you are free to do what you want. But if you want to leave the grounds I need to go with you, okay?” Rosalind replied.
“Why? Do you not trust me?” Mariel asked.