The Devil won that day. It didn't happen overnight, but the Beast is patient and cunning.
Like a slow stream passing over a boulder, he can, over time, wear things down that were never meant to be worn down.
He started by placing stones around the hearts of good people. Not large stones, but tiny pebbles that would hardly be noticed at first.
The stones would thrive off the energy of good people, slowly feeding from their souls, their spirits, their kindness, their connection to God.
Most people didn't know they could simply brush the stones away. A few chose not to.
The stones would eventually become quite powerful. They grew large, fueled by anger and revenge.
And with each growth, they generated more anger and more bitterness, which only powered them to grow larger and larger. They eventually grew bigger than the heart's ability to forgive.
The stones could cause people to lash out in anger, to punish people they felt wronged them, and to cause them to lose their compassion. They could disrupt people's relationship with God.
They could encourage good people to interpret the truth as lies, and lies as truth, to further fuel their darkness.
Over time, the growing stones covered the hearts of those people. And, the people completely forgot how to forgive. They forgot compassion and humility and gratefulness.
They forgot the promises made to them by God, and they forgot the commitments asked of them by God.
They forgot that God has offered an endless well of forgiveness, and has asked us to offer the same to our neighbors.
One day, the stones totally encased the heart of the good person, and the beauty that was left was totally trapped by the anger and distrust the Devil powered through the stones.
Eventually, a perfectly wonderful human will leave this world bitter and disappointed.
And, when these people arrive at the gates of Heaven, they will be angry and afraid. Mother Mary will greet them with a compassionate embrace, and walk them inside.
"He's still waiting for you," she will say, as she gently wipes away the stones.
-- Copyright 2019 Gary Dauphin, all rights reserved. No reproduction without express written consent of the author.