|by Sherri - CQZT07A@prodigy.com
The young man pulled into a
parking area that was alongside the road he had been
driving down for the last 30 minutes. The parking area
offered a beautiful overview of the beach below and the
ocean stretching out before him; however, he was in no
mood or state of mind to enjoy the view. He sat still in
the car, debating whether to stop here or not and then
decided that 'here was as good a place as any' to get out
and do what he came to do.
He grabbed the whiskey
bottle he had stopped to purchase (which now laid
unopened on the seat next to him) and got out of the car.
He looked down the steep embankment and thought about
getting in the car and driving to someplace different --
someplace closer to the water -- and then decided against
it. He began down the embankment, but his usual
sure-footedness escaped him several times and he not only
lost his balance, but nearly lost his bottle.
He reached the bottom
with several new bruises and scraps and knew he'd regret
this decision in the morning; Hell, he regretted it
already -- the bloody cuts stung! He walked out by the
waters edge, sat down on the nice cool sand, and opened
the bottle. He smelled the contents appreciatively and
then took three quick swallows. As the liquid burned
going down his throat, he caught his breath and sighed.
'How did I get here,'
he wondered. No, not to this particular location, but to
this particular place in his life. Things had not
turned out at all like he had anticipated. Living
under tremendous stress and pressure as a child, he had
determined early in his life what he wanted to do and who
he had wanted to be. Now, sitting on this beach alone
tonight, all of that was in doubt -- in question as to
which way he should turn.
He had followed his
heart while growing up and had made the choices he
thought were right for him. He had been obedient (as
nearly as he could be!) while doing his duty and had
combined that sense of righteousness and duty by joining
"The Legacy". Recently, he struggled with the
question of what was right -- continue being a
Priest, continue as a member of the Legacy or continue
doing both (which at times felt like doing
"both" was tearing him apart!) -- but never had
everything seemed as wrong as it did tonight.
He took another swallow
of the whiskey and then threw the remainder of the bottle
into the ocean; he had not come here to get drunk but to
He had questions and
wanted answers; he was lost and needed guidance; he was
hurt and angry and required comforting. He shifted onto
his knees and looked to the Heavens. "Why're ya
doin' this, God?" he voiced aloud. "I've tried
t'serve ya as best I could. I've tried t'do good works
and follow yer path, but you've never made yerself
exactly clear t'me. What d'you want o'me? I've paid the
price of indecision so many times, Lord. Does m'friend
have t'pay it now, too?"
Tears filled his eyes
as he remembered his friend, Nick, lying in Mercy General
hooked to a life support machine. He remembered that it
was because of him -- Philip! -- that his
friend laid there struggling for his life. And he
remembered that it was God who was ultimately in
charge of life and death matters!
"Where've I failed
ya, Father?" Philip asked imploringly. "Does
m'friend have t'suffer for whatever it 'tis that I
did -- or failed t'do?!" His emotions
overcame Philip and he lost the ability to speak for
several minutes. Suddenly, he implored at the top of his
lungs, "Spare him, Father, I beg of you. Take me
instead! I'm the one who's failed you!!" With
that, Philip's emotions overcame him once again and he
put his head to the sandy beach and sobbed.
As he knelt in the
sand, he felt a warmth begin to spread over his back and
throughout his body. This shocked and startled Philip for
he had driven out here at dusk and it had been growing darker
-- not lighter! He lifted his head and immediately
felt a searing pain in his eyes from the light that shone
all around him. 'He's heard m'prayer,' his mind screamed
at him. 'I'm in Heaven and He'll spare Nick.' "Thank
you, God," he said aloud.
In his mind, Philip
heard a quiet, gentle Voice respond. "Your friend's
life lies in the balance; it is you who will help
decide his fate. God hears all prayers, my
Brother, and He answers all prayers; just not
always with the outcome you would like."
"Where am I?"
Philip asked, alarmed. "What's happening? If I can
decide Nick's fate, than I choose fer him t'live. Tell me
what you want -- what He wants -- and I'll gladly
"It's not that
simple, my Brother," the gentle Voice replied.
"As to where you are ... you're still physically on
the beach where you'd come to confront God. But you are
also here -- in a dream-like state between Heaven and
Earth. God has been testing you, Brother, and your
friend's life is in the balance because you have chosen not
to continue the test. Your friend is paying for that
decision you made."
understand," Philip stated. "What test?
Tell me what t'do ... I'll do it -- fer Nick and
"But that's the
problem, Philip," the voice continued. "Neither
I nor anyone else can tell you what you
must do. The test has been a complex and ongoing one.
From the time you were born, it was destined that you
would enter the service of our Lord; you have been a
'test case for humanity' if you will -- a modern-day
Dawning and realization
struck Philip and he responded, "So, what yer sayin'
is, the indecision in m'life -- the conflict between
servin' God through the Catholic Church or through the
Legacy or through both ... that this has all been
"In a manner of
speaking," the Voice replied, "Yes. It's far
more complicated than that, but you seem to have an
understanding of what I'm saying."
"Yes, I do,"
Philip answered. "But why me? Why did God
choose me for this 'test of humanity'? I'm no one
The Voice made a sound
that could be equated with a human sigh as a it
responded, "Well, my Brother, in that case, God's Word
is filled with 'no one important' also. All the
men and women in God's Word -- the Holy Bible -- were
everyday people at the time He chose them for their
works. Most of these people were righteous souls such as
yourself. Some of them failed Him; most did not. Like
those others, Philip, you were chosen long before you
were born. Every choice you have made in your life has
been at His direction. Now, you have one final
choice -- and it will determine not only the rest of your
life ... and the life of your injured friend ... but it
may also determine how God deals with humanity in
'But this isn't right,'
Philip's mind wanted to scream. 'How can He be holding me
... ME ... as a judgment of mankind.' Having been
born with too much respect for God to actually voice
these thoughts, he struggled with what he might say next.
Before he could compose
anything in his mind, he heard the gentle Voice say,
"You have been chosen, Philip -- by God and
Lucifer -- and it is not a task you can beg out of or
escape from. If you choose not to 'choose', then that
is your choice and God will act accordingly."
"Well, if yer here
t'help me," Philip stated, "which obviously you
are, why did you say you can't tell me what t'decide? If
yer truly here t'guide me, then do so, Brother, because
I'm lost and don't know what t'do."
The Voice was soft and
soothing as it replied, "Your heart knows
what to do, Philip. You need only listen carefully to it.
Yes, I can guide you -- that is what I am here to
do -- but I cannot make the decision for you. And
you do already know in your heart what that
decision is regarding, don't you, Philip?"
Philip searched his
heart and knew. "It's whether t'remain a Priest or
t'leave the church and remain a member of the Legacy,
isn't it?" he replied. This had been a decision he
had been struggling with shortly after joining the Legacy
and never more so than in the past year. 'Why now
is it imperative that I choose,' he wondered.
Again, his thought was
answered. "You have spread yourself too thin, My
Brother, by trying to serve the Lord in too many areas.
You have tried to devote yourself to the Parishioners
that have needed your counseling while wishing you were
with your friends. You have tried to fight Satan head-on
with your friends at the Legacy while worrying about the
souls of your Parishioners. And, in thinking this way,
you have helped neither. Your Parishioners need your full
attention if they are to be led in the ways of the
scripture. And, your friends at the Legacy need your body
as well as your spirit if you are to help them on their
missions. Satan has tempted you, Philip and you have
fallen for his temptation."
Immediately Philip felt
ashamed and embarrassed. He remembered his sexual slip
with Eileen many years ago and the price that it had cost
her. He had never forgiven himself -- and still
didn't! -- for that betrayal of God's trust and for his
role in her death. 'Yes,' he thought, 'I did fall
fer Satan's temptation.'
Brother," the Voice responded. "Breaking your
vow of celibacy was not your failure. You're failure has
been not trusting God, but 'playing God' instead.
You have struggled with your own Earthly wishes of
wanting to serve God by helping mankind versus wanting to
serve Him by fighting evil. You haven't stopped very
often, my Brother, to find out where God would
like you to serve. And so, just as Job was offered up for
temptation to Lucifer by God, you have been also. And,
although He's tried to guide you time and again, you've
chosen to make decisions without Him. You have tried to
choose between the Priesthood and the Legacy without
truly listening to where He wishes you to
serve. THAT is your failure!"
began, "if I choose t'remain a member of the
Priesthood, will I be able t'better serve God and
mankind? Will I have defeated Satan's temptations and
overcome the trials and tribulations of m'life as Job
did?? Or should I fight Satan on his ground --
using the skills I've learned and mastered within the
Legacy? Which would better serve God? Can't you tell me
what t'choose -- which choice will save m'friend's
The Voice sighed once
again, "Your choice is the choice, Philip.
Only you can choose how best to serve our Lord. But, if
you choose not to make a decision; to continue to
falter between both lifestyles, your friend will
die. He will be God's sacrifice ... and Lucifer's prize.
Think now, my Brother, how your life has been
pre-ordained. God has been pleading with your heart to
listen to Him; to willingly choose what He has directed
in your heart; to follow His will and not your
own. That has been your greatest failure,
Job 1:8; 22 -
And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast though considered
my servant Job, that there is none like him in the
earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth
God and escheweth evil?
In all this Job
sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
The words of the Voice
echoed in Philip's mind as he thought back over his
lifetime. He remembered an incident that occurred within
his family shortly after taking his final vows as a
Priest and leaving for his first assignment for the
The week had
been a busy one for the young Priest. He had had the
excitement of taking his final vows -- which were
both joyous and awe-inspiring -- and the joyous
celebrations his family and friends had thrown for
well-loved and well-respected in the neighborhood and
many people stopped by his home during the week as he
prepared to leave ... ready to go wherever
God sent him (which for now was to a small Catholic
Church just starting up outside of the San Francisco
area) ... and begin his new life. Everyone stopped by
offering warm wishes for the young man.
But, no one's
opinion mattered more to Philip than that of his
brother, Michael's. Michael and Philip had been close
all during their "growing up" years and it
was Michael that Philip turned to now as he stood
packing his belongings.
Brother, what'd ya think?" he asked as he held
up his soccer ball. "Should I be takin' m'most
prized possession or d'ya think the Parishioner's
wouldn't understand that even a man o'God has t'have
at least one vice?"
laughed and Michael quickly knocked the ball out of
Philip's hands. "I don't think y'll be needin'
this where yer goin'. I'll just hang on to it fer ya,
Philip commented back with laughter, "just don't
be gettin' to use t'havin' it, Michael. Ya know, I
could just get this church started and be right back
here in yer face after a few weeks. And remember,
Brother, ya don't want t'be playin' on the other side
o'the soccer field from me, do ya now?!"
Philip gave his
brother a slight jab as Michael put the soccer ball
that they had used -- and used successfully
on many occasions! -- on the bed next to Philip's
duffel bags. "I guess ya better be takin' it
with ya then t'keep up yer skills." He smiled as
he left the room to leave Philip with the rest of his
A sadness came
over Philip after Michael left the room. While
growing up, Michael had always been the
"good" one -- the one who never got into
fights or brawls, who never lied, and who was loved
by all; whereas Philip ... well, Philip had been the
one who, on occasion, would lead a friendly
discussion (particularly while on the soccer field)
with his "right" and follow quickly with
his "left". He didn't lie and always tried
to do what was right, but often Philip found that the
truth and what was right were in conflict. This made
him a quiet, more reflective individual.
married his high school sweetheart -- Kathleen --
right after graduation and they were already working
on their third child; son, Sean, and daughter, Laura,
had made their "grand entrance" several
years ago. Although Philip had been popular with the
ladies all through school, his heart and soul were
drawn to the Church and he knew early on that he had
received "the calling". He entered the
Priesthood and hadn't regretted any of the sacrifices
he had been called on to make -- until now.
Now, he was
being called away to the United States of America --
"a sinful land t'be sure!" his father had
said -- and there he was to help an elderly Priest
establish a new church in an area just outside of San
Francisco. The land had been purchased, the Church
had been built, but now "the gatherin' o'the
flock" was needed and the elderly Priest needed
some youthful legs to assist him.
mind traveling to America; in fact, part of him
actually looked forward to the
adventure. If there was any extra time, he hoped to
study in the Universities there. But he did
mind leaving Michael behind. He felt blessed to have
such a brother as Michael and knew that he would miss
him very much.
the last of his things -- which included the
game-winning soccer ball -- Philip walked into the
living room of the Callaghan's small and modest home.
His mother was sitting with a hanky to her eyes. He
could have sworn she'd been crying since the day he
told her he was entering the Priesthood.
His father stood
solidly against the fireplace. Upon seeing his son
enter the room, Patrick Callaghan poured three
glasses of whiskey and passed them out to Michael,
Philip and kept one for himself. "A toast,"
he said, as he raised the glass high. "To m'son
-- 'the Father'". The three glasses clinked in
honor of the toast and the liquid quickly poured down
the three men's throats.
Philip said, as he put the glass down on the table.
"That was good."
Son," Patrick stated matter-of-factly,
"don't be thinkin' yer gonna be gettin' anything
near as fine as this Irish whiskey in the States,
Sir," Philip replied. "I don't imagine
so." With that he shook his father's hand --
strong and true. Although they were a tight-knit
family, affection wasn't always displayed amongst the
men in the household.
But, when it
came to saying his good-byes to Michael ... well,
that was different. Philip turned to his brother and
their eyes locked. Each wanted to say a wealth of
things that was in their heart, but they held
themselves back. Philip bent and hugged his mother,
who once again buried her face in her hanky.
or Philip could make a move, Kathleen, Sean and Laura
each walked up to Philip and gave him a warm embrace,
wishing him a safe journey. "Write me from
America, Uncle Philip," Laura said.
will, Angel," he commented giving her one last
embrace. He began to load the duffel bags on his
shoulders and rose to meet his brothers outstretched
Michael said. "Let me give ya a hand with yer
bags. It's the least I could be doin' for 'Father
Callaghan' now, isn't it?!" With that, he took
one of the duffel bags and headed outside. Once the
bags had been loaded in Philip's rented vehicle, the
two brothers stood face to face.
Philip said at last, "I guess that's it. Yer
finally gonna be rid o'me now."
time of it too, Brother," Michael responded
playfully, but with a twinge of sadness moving into
be the big soccer star in town ... for now
that is," Philip continued. "Remember, I'm
only goin' there t'start the new Parish and then I'll
be home before ya know it."
serious, Michael embraced his brother with a strong,
solid hug. "Ya take care o'yerself, Philip.
Trust yer instincts ... they won't let ya down,
Brother. Yer a good man; ya always were. Now, go make
the world a better place for m'children t'live in,
Philip was lost
for words and simply nodded his head, knowing Michael
understood what his heart couldn't find words to say.
He broke the embrace, nodded once more and got in his
car. Taking a deep breath with one final glance at
Michael on the roadside, he headed to the airport.
entire flight, Philip replayed those last days --
those last moments -- at home over and over and over
again in his head, savoring the images and feeling
homesick already. The flight (which actually
consisted of three transfers and multiple delays) was
long and time-consuming and his sleep during it was
At long last,
the cab that he had hailed at San Francisco's airport
pulled in front of his new home -- a small
outbuilding connected to the newly-founded Church.
The key that had been sent to him fit neatly in the
door. While he began to slowly unpack his bags, he
became aware of others' presence in the room. He
turned and was met by an elderly man (which he knew
must be Father O'Bryan) and three elderly women --
one of which was a nun.
there," Philip greeted them warmly. "I'm
Phil ... I'm Father Philip Callaghan. I'm the new
Priest here t'be helpin' ya with yer Parish. I've
just come over from Ireland; this is
where I'm suppose t'be stayin', right?"
elderly man stepped forward. 'I can see why he's
gonna be needin' my help t'gather in the flock,'
Philip thought. The man put his hand on Philip's
shoulder and gently said, "Father Callaghan, I'm
Father O'Bryan. I hate to be meeting you under such
circumstances, but it can't be helped."
Father O'Bryan, Philip realized that one of the women
had begun to cry. Alarmed, he looked at the elderly
Priest and asked, "Is somethin' wrong, Father?
Is there somethin' I can do fer ya?"
to be the one to have to tell you this, my Son,"
Father O'Bryan replied, "but several hours ago I
received a call from your father. Apparently, there's
been some kind of accident since you left home. Your
brother's been killed in a bombing incident near his
home. I'm so sorry."
Grief and shock
overwhelmed Philip as the words slowly began to sink
in. But it couldn't be! He had
only just left Michael and he was fine. They had
stood together at the car in that warm embrace. 'This
can't be,' his mind cried out. "No," he
voiced aloud. "Dear God, not Michael!
It can't be!!"
The other women
began crying and he could feel his body being pulled
into a comforting embrace by the others in the room
with him, but his mind and heart could not absorb
what was being said. His brother was a good and
decent man who had a wife and children. He was always
careful to stay out of the restless, political parts
of town. There had to be some
But as these
thoughts crossed his mind, sorrow began to cross his
heart. Within himself, Philip knew
it was true; he knew Michael was
gone -- he could feel it. A phone call to his parents
a few minutes later only confirmed what God had
already confirmed within him.
entire flight home to be present for the burial of
his brother, Philip reflected on their childhood, on
the last moments he had seen his brother, and how he
was going to get through the rest of his life without
Michael in it. He felt angry and lashed out (in his
mind) at God asking Him why
-- he had taken such a good and decent man such as
Michael. But, even in his hurt, confusion and anger,
he never once truly blamed God
in his heart for Michael's death. He had learned too
much in the Seminary to even think of such a thing.
"Do you understand
now, Philip," the gentle Voice said calling him back
from his waning thoughts, "how righteously you
served God? Even when your dear brother was taken from
you and you felt angry and hurt, you never sinned against
God or charged him foolishly for taking Michael from you.
Now do you understand why God has chosen you as an
example of mankind against Lucifer, Philip? You have been
a good servant to him throughout your lifetime."
protested, "if that's the case, then why is m'friend
lyin' fightin' fer his life? Why is it God is makin' me
make a choice between the Priesthood and the Legacy? If
I've failed him now, why isn't it me lyin' in that bed
strugglin' for m'life? If I've served God so well,
why is He doin' this t'me?"
The Voice made it's
sighing sound yet again and answered, "My dear
Brother, He's not 'doing' this to you -- he's 'testing'
you. You need only trust Him and you'll pass the test.
But time and again, you take the burden onto your own
shoulders rather than allowing God to carry it.
You have always accepted God's blessings as well as His
punishments. Think on it now, my Brother, and you will
Job 2:10 - But
he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish
women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the
hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all
this did not Job sin with his lips.
Philip's mind drifted
to a time shortly after he had become a member of the
Legacy. It wasn't the first case he had ever worked on
with the Legacy -- he had been called on in the past for
either light field work or to do research and language
transcriptions. This time, however, he was called on to
assist in an exorcism that had not been sanctioned
by the Catholic Church but was sorely needed.
As Derek and
Philip drove to the residence of the young girl who
was being plagued (possessed?) by a demon, Philip
turned to Derek and inquired. "Are ya sure
this is gonna be absolutely necessary, Derek? If the
Church the family has talked to about an exorcism has
refused, I'm not sure I should be doin' this."
see the girl, you'll be sure," Derek replied.
They drove the rest of the way in silence. However,
Philip continually prayed that he was doing the right
thing. He had joined the Legacy expecting that he
could further his service to God by fighting evil and
protecting the innocent head-on; but this time, it
seemed to conflict with his 'Church' duties.
had been asked to do for the Legacy up to now had
been translations, research and occasionally
accompanying Derek or Alex on investigations; this
was the first time he was being asked to take some
kind of overt action against Satan -- and he was
nervous. He felt a sense of conflict (for the first
time) within him over his decision to join the Legacy
and it made him extremely uncomfortable.
Derek seemed to
sense Philip's unease and, as they drove into the
driveway of the residence, he turned to Philip and
said, "I know you must feel torn about this,
Philip, but we need you ... this
girl needs you."
you're right, Derek," Philip responded,
"but yer also askin' me t'go against the
teachings o'the Church -- in this case
against the Church's wishes -- an' I'm not at all
comfortable with it."
understand that," Derek commented, "but
there's no choice, Philip. When you joined the
Legacy, you were told that there
are times when our cases can be in direct conflict
with the Roman Catholic Church ... or any
religion. You're still serving God, Philip," he
said more gently. "just in another way."
unconvinced, but he nodded his head in acknowledgment
of Derek's statement and the two proceeded into the
house. Upon entering, they were greeted by the
parents of the little girl they were there to help.
The long, pale and drawn faces of the parents
comforted Philip a little and he asked, "Where
Father," Jim Simmons said, "Thank you for
coming to help, Adriana."
in her room," Joanna Simmons answered. "I
think she -- It -- knows you
were coming, because she -- It
-- has been howling and yelling for about 20 minutes
now. In fact, the noise just stopped as the car
pulled in the driveway.
immediate charge by stating, "Listen, things are
probably going to get worse -- at least sound
worse -- before they get better. We still don't know
exactly what kind of demon possession we're dealing
with here. I think it would be best if you two left
the house ... went someplace to wait for us ... until
this is over. Can you do that?"
want to leave her," Joanna quickly responded.
"She's just a little girl!"
could respond, Philip grasped Joanna's hands and held
them tightly. "I know yer
worried about yer little girl, Mrs. Simmons," he
calmly replied. "But you need t'trust us ...
trust God ... and let us do what
we're here t'do. The demon'll use ya against us if
you remain here."
right," Jim joined in. He looked at Derek and
replied, "We'll go to the Riverside Inn -- it's
just down the road a few miles. You'll call us when
it's over ... when we can come home, right?"
course," Derek responded. He was pleased he had
brought Philip and that Philip had been able to
defuse a potentially dangerous situation already.
"Of course," he repeated.
Derek and Philip
watched the Simmons drive off and then looked at one
another. All the lights in the house suddenly blazed
brightly and then, just as suddenly, the house was
thrown into pitch blackness. Derek reached in his
pocket for the two flashlights he had put in there
and turned them on.
he said to Philip, "guess we should get started.
Are you ready?"
his bag, uncertainty once again beginning to plague
him. He was already wearing his vestment, but he
donned the stole, preparing himself for battle with
the demon. He then took the aspergill -- which held
the Holy Water -- out of his bag, said a quick prayer
for strength and guidance and answered Derek with a
young child's bedroom, both men were shocked.
"My Gott," Derek exclaimed upon seeing
Adriana Simmons' tiny form restrained to the bed and
struggling violently against
those restraints. "The demon is getting
stronger, Philip. We must hurry."
Philip did not
feel nearly as confident as he had sounded
downstairs. He had never actually performed
an exorcism ... he had only studied the mechanics of
them in the Seminary as other Priests have. He knew
the fundamentals, but he didn't know exactly what
to expect. However, one look at young Adriana did
convince him that he needed to do something ...
anything ... he could do to help her.
A fierce wind
began to howl within the room and both men felt
themselves forcefully pushed back (as though some
unseen hand was pushing their bodies). At that point,
the creature that was living within 8-year-old
Adriana began to laugh. "You're not a real
Priest," It said, directing It's comments in
Philip's direction. "You're a pretender to the
throne of Jehovah. You have no power over me."
stunned at the demon's comments. 'Could it be true?'
he wondered in his mind. 'Am I really not
a fit Priest t'take on the devil like this?'
hesitancy, Derek asserted his authority. The Precept
grabbed Philip's arm in order to get his attention.
He then shouted, "Don't listen to it. It's
trying to deceive you. If it weren't afraid of you,
it wouldn't bother to attack like this. You must
begin the ritual, Philip. Do it now!"
Nodding at Derek
and steeling himself against the words of the demon
-- and against his own doubts -- Philip began the
incantations he had been taught at the Seminary. He
sprinkled the Holy Water at the little girl's form
and watched her writhe beneath the droplets as they
left scorching marks on her skin. An inhuman scream
escaped the creature's lips and again, the rush of
wind knocked the two men across the room.
Philip looked at
Derek's still form as it laid against the wall and
panic filled his heart. 'What am I doin'?' his mind
screamed. 'I'm not capable o'this kind of thing! And
now, not only will it cost this little girl her life,
but it may cost m'friend his as well.'
"Derek," he yelled aloud as he rushed to
his friends side, "Are you alright?"
Derek turned and
nodded as he replied, "You must keep going,
Philip! It will try everything it can to stop you,
but you must not let it!"
touched his friend's shoulder. It was obvious to him
that the blow into the wall had somehow injured his
friend and associate, but he knew what his priority
must be -- he knew what he had to do: he must
destroy this demon. It was the only way to save
Adriana -- and, the only way to save himself and
Derek as well!
He began again,
approaching the bed that held the little girl
possessed by a demon from Hell. The wind pushed
against his body, but he also felt a rush of power --
a push from behind -- as he held his Bible in one
hand and the aspergill in the other. He loudly
shouted out the invocations to cast out the demon as
he shook the Holy Water over the child's body.
This time, the
scream that escaped the creatures lips was
bloodcurdling, but it no longer had the power to move
Philip. Encouraged, he continued the incantations
until, at last, he placed his hand on the child's
forehead and shouted, "Begone from this child,
demon from Hell, in the name of the Father, the Son
and the Holy Ghost!"
One final scream
erupted from the child and then, just as suddenly as
it began, the howling, forceful wind died. The room
was plunged into darkness and Philip was so stunned,
he continued to stand next to Adriana's bedside with
his hand still placed on her forehead, ready to
defend and protect her against another assault.
suddenly flickered in the room and then shone
brightly as he saw Derek approach. Together, they
leaned over the small girl's still body and Derek
checked for signs of life. "She's
breathing," he said with a sigh, "Thank
And Philip did.
At that very moment, Philip fell to his knees and
thanked God for giving him the strength to banish the
demon, for allowing him to take such an active role
in fighting evil and for bringing him to the Legacy.
Although both he and Derek were going to be nursing
bruised bodies for the next several days, he knew
that -- as a servant of God -- you must always
take the bad with the good.
As Derek went in
the next room to call the Simmons to tell them to
come home, Philip sat by Adriana's bedside and
stroked her hair. Without warning, the little girl
suddenly opened her eyes and focused on the man in
front of her. "Thank you," she softly said.
"Thank you for making me all better."
During the drive
back to the Legacy, Philip felt peace. Although his
body already began to ache from the punishment it had
taken, he felt enriched and blessed by God. This was
one of the first times since he had joined the
Priesthood, that he felt he truly did
have a focus and a purpose ... and now he felt that
it was definitely with the
it," Philip said, with triumph in his voice.
"That must be the decision I'm t'be makin'
... the decision t'remain with the Legacy. The Church
wouldn't've allowed me t'do that exorcism and it saved
that little girl's life. Is that my answer? Can ya at
least tell me if I'm right?"
The soft, gentle Voice
replied, "Don't be making your decision lightly, my
Brother. Remember that your friend's life does hang
in the balance." Even more gently, he asked,
"Philip, are you making your decision because your
heart is telling you to, or because you're mind is
telling you to. God speaks to your heart and soul if
you'd only once again take the time to listen. You've
recalled a time when being a member of the Legacy was
very important. But think now, my Brother, and you will
recall a time when your skills as a Priest served you
Maureen and her
fiancÚ, Stephen, were sitting in Philip's office at
the Parish he was residing over on the outskirts of
Lismore. He had been conducting their pre-marital
counseling for the past few weeks, but could not
shake the feeling that something was wrong ... terribly
wrong with this "couple". He found himself
stalling the counseling and coming up with additional
reasons to meet with them; he just didn't feel right
about marrying them yet.
He smiled at the
young couple as he continued his lecture to them.
"Well, we're gonna need t'be schedulin' our next
meeting; we still haven't
covered the subject o' children, now have we? So,
let's set it for the end of the week, if that fits in
He could see
Maureen blush and Stephen shift in his chair when the
subject of children was brought up. This was always
the part of the counseling that seemed to make
couple's nervous, Philip recalled. Abruptly, Stephen
said, "Is all this really necessary, Father? I
mean, it seems t'me that friends of ours who've had
counseling by other Priests were done after a few
visits. This is our third one. Not that I'm
complainin' mind ya; but I do have other
Stephen bothered Philip, but he just couldn't put his
finger on what. At first, he had thought that Stephen
was a very arrogant and headstrong individual -- much
like his friend, Nick, back in San Francisco. But, as
he got to know the couple better, there was an unease
growing within him that seemed to say these two
people just didn't belong together. And he wasn't
about to end the counseling until he was convinced
that they did!
patient than he actually felt, Philip replied,
"I feel it 'tis necessary, Stephen. There's a
lot t'be considerin' when yer thinkin' about
marriage. It's not a subject t'be handled lightly ya
know." He could see Stephen's irritation growing
and saw how uncomfortable this discussion was making
Maureen, but he continued, "A woman such as
Maureen here deserves a man
who's willin' t'put in the time fer this kind of
you know about what a woman
needs, Father!" Stephen snapped. "I don't
think you're really in the position t'be givin' out
Maureen cried, obviously embarrassed. "That's not
what Father Callaghan is talkin' about and ya know
it! How could ya be sayin' such a thing!"
feel much like helping this obviously-troubled couple
mend their fences but, since it was
his stalling tactics that caused this argument, he
felt that it was his place. "Listen," he
said gently, "I know ya
love Maureen, Stephen, and you'd do anything
for her. I don't mean t'be puttin' you off so much,
but it's just such a big step yer takin'."
see that the Priest was trying to make peace -- with
him and between him and Maureen -- so he nodded and
replied, "I'm sorry, Father. I get a bit
frustrated, ya know. Any day at the end o'the week'll
be fine t'meet again."
then," Philip replied. "Friday at
4:00?" The couple nodded as they rose to leave
and Philip shut the door behind them feeling more
convinced then ever that he had to find a way to help
Maureen -- a way to get her away from Stephen before
it was too late!
That evening, as
Philip was trying to sleep, Maureen's image kept
coming to mind. He tried to dismiss it as merely
being due to the fact that counseling she and Stephen
was the last "official" duty he had did
that day, but a place in his heart told him there was
something more to it.
how they had warned all the prospective candidates
for the Priesthood that they would face a multitude
of temptation during their lifetime as a Priest --
the greatest of which was the temptation of women!
But Philip had never found himself in that
particular position ... until now.
Now, the images
of Maureen that came to him were not merely images of
a young woman and her fiancÚ, but of a young woman
with a beautiful smile, a musical laugh and eyes that
burned right though him to the core of his soul. He
imagined the soft, gentle feel of her skin; the way
her hair danced in the wind; the way she moved across
the room -- and felt himself drifting to thoughts he
hadn't had since he first discovered
Quickly he got
up out of bed and went into the bathroom to splash
his face with cold water. 'What're ya thinkin', man?'
he thought at the image he saw before him in the
mirror. 'The woman's gonna be married.' And, with
that thought another came to him ... 'And what're ya
thinkin' of a woman like that at all for?!' He
dropped to his knees and cried out, "Father,
help me; I don't want t'betray
you, but t'do your Will. Show me what t'do!"
eyes -- brown, soft and haunting -- came to his mind
and he realized that it wasn't merely an attraction
he felt for the young woman, but a need within her
that he sensed as well. Whether that need was to help
her adjust to her impending
marriage, or to help her out of
it, he couldn't be sure. But, God spoke to his heart
at that moment and he knew that he must
find a way to help her ... at any
morning, Philip found himself drawn to the tiny
little bookstore located in the village at which
Maureen worked part-time as a clerk. The rest of the
time, he knew, she did volunteer work at the Home for
the Elderly located about 15 miles away. She was
indeed a remarkable woman -- the same
woman who haunted his dreams last night.
He looked around
the bookstore as he entered and noticed Maureen right
away in a far off corner, bending down talking to a
little boy. She was dressed in a very becoming yellow
slacksuit and Philip found that he had to remind
himself that he was here to help her, not
to make her his. The sound of
the bell on the door as it swung shut drew her
attention and she glanced over at the young,
attractive Priest and smiled. She continued helping
the child find what he was looking for and then
approached Philip with a warm and welcoming smile.
mornin' t'ya, Father," she said in a cheery
tone. "I wasn't expectin' t'be seein' you
today!" She blushed quickly (a beautiful shade
of dark pink, Philip noticed!) and added, "I'm
sure yer here fer some obscure publication. What can
I help ya find, Father?"
amazed because, at the instant of Maureen's blush, he
realized that she just might
be attracted to him!
The thought scared and excited him at the same
moment, and he found he had to clear his throat
before he could speak, "Actually, Maureen, I'm
here t'see you. I'd like t'talk t'ya for a few
minutes when ya have some time."
immediately embarrassed and said in a soft and gentle
voice, "Oh, Father, I'm so
embarrassed about what Stephen said t'ya yesterday.
He didn't mean it; he truly didn't.
He's been a little outta sorts lately what with
workin' them long, awful ours at the Mill. He's
normally a verra good man, Father Callaghan -- truly
This plea on
behalf of the man she was planning to marry moved
Philip in two different ways: he was instantly moved
by the beautiful young woman's heartfelt message and
repulsed at her words that stuck up for such a
stubborn and angry man. 'Stephen doesn't deserve
her,' he thought with all his heart. He smiled at her
warmly and touched her arm reassuringly. He noticed,
however, that the touch seemed to send a shiver
through both their bodies; the
slight tremor against her skin at his touch was
He took his hand
away as he replied, "Don't worry about that, my
child; I wasn't truly offended." As an after
thought, he added, "In fact, I just considered
somewhat shocked at this off-handed comment by the
young Priest that stood before her. She trusted his
judgment very much and she quickly asked, "Is
somethin' wrong, Father? Are ya havin' doubts about
marrying Stephen and I?"
This was his
chance and Philip knew it. He cleared his throat as
searched his heart. 'Tell 'er,' he heard from the
depths of his soul. 'Tell 'er now before it's too
late.' He once again touched her, ignoring the tremor
that again passed between them and quietly asked,
"Is there somewhere we can go t'talk?"
She nodded and
led the way to the back room. She pulled the curtain
shut behind them and turned to face him. Her face was
pale and her voice quivered as she said, "Tell
me, Father. Somethin's troublin' ya about Stephen and
I, isn't it?"
Maureen," he replied quietly. "I can't
quite put m'finger on what's botherin' me ... maybe
it's nothin' more than the fact that he doesn't seem
t'be interested in learnin' about marriage and the
difficulties the two o'ya might encounter. I don't
know what it 'tis, but I've come
t'tell ya that I won't be able t'perform the
ceremony. I just don't feel right about this
grew paler and Philip reached out to help her to a
chair. She sat for several seconds in silence,
absorbing his words. As he began to pull away from
her, she reached out and threw her arms around him.
"Tell me what t'do, Father," she pleaded
with him. "I'm so scared. I know Stephen's not
been actin' right ... an' I've really not been verra
happy with him lately ... but I thought it 'twas
God's Will that I go ahead with the marriage. Now, I
don't know what t'do."
with all his strength to pull Maureen from the gentle
hug into a passionate embrace. This woman was good
... a truly kind and gentle soul whose beauty laid
not merely on the surface, but transcended into the
depth of her soul. It took every ounce of will power
he had to break the embrace. He took her by the arms
and said firmly, "Maureen, ya must call it off.
If yer at all havin' doubts -- and I am too, child
... simply because'o the way he's behavin' -- well,
ya must call it off."
She nodded in
agreement and he found himself once again holding her
against his body ... this time comforting the sobs
that escaped out of her. Though his mind and body
were tempted by the sensual curves he could feel
beneath her form-fitting slacksuit; though he could
smell her sweet, provocative perfume radiating off
her skin; and though he could feel the softness of
her hair and skin as he held her, God's strength
flowed through him and he was able to resist the urge
to place his lips to her and kiss her with all the
passion stored within him. Instead, he held her as a
father would hold a child ... as a Priest should
hold a Parishioner ... and he felt truly blessed by
A few weeks
later, Philip learned that Stephen had
been married. But, thankfully, he knew it wasn't to
Maureen. He had married Lorelei Brennan from the next
county. Theirs had been a whirlwind romance on the
rebound from his break-up with Maureen. He had been
humiliated and embarrassed -- Philip knew this for a
fact because he wore the symbol
of that humiliation in the form of a black eye for a
few days! But, Stephen had quickly turned to another
young lass and married her (outside the sanction of
the Catholic Church no less!) before anyone could
talk her out of it.
Maureen on a regular basis -- both as a friend and as
a Counselor. Dealing with breaking her engagement in
such a small village where everyone knew everyone
else's business was difficult enough without having a
confidante to turn to! So, Philip made sure he was always
available whenever Maureen needed to talk. He found
that, although he was still
attracted to the captivating young woman, the urge to
break his Priestly vows had waned considerably. God
had given him the strength to resist Satan's -- and
Maureen's! -- temptation.
village seemed to glance sideways at Father Callaghan
as he passed by -- and, occasionally,
at Maureen herself -- no one ever verbally accused
them of wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior. Life
went on as Philip believed God intended it to. He knew
that he would probably be forced into leaving the
Parish soon due to this "silent scandal",
but it was a price he had been willing to pay.
It wasn't long
after learning of Stephen's marriage that the news of
his and his new bride's death arrived in the village.
It seemed that Stephen had a bit of a drinking
problem -- something that even Philip
hadn't realized during his counseling sessions with
them -- and he must have had too much to drink one
evening. He drove the vehicle carrying he and his
wife to their next honeymoon location into a grove of
trees and the car burst in flames on impact.
During Mass the
following Sunday morning, Father Callaghan said a
prayer for Stephen and Lorelei Shanahan. He watched
from the pulpit as Maureen cried into her
handkerchief and, although he knew he should have
felt sadness and pity in his heart, he mainly felt
relief. The woman who might have been beside Stephen
Shanahan when he died a few days ago could
have been this glorious child of God
sitting before him. No, he was thankful for the role
he played in protecting Maureen's life. His prayer of
thanks to god after Mass that day were very heartfelt
... very heartfelt, indeed!
As Philip recalled the
incident in Lismore, Ireland, he realized that, had he
not been a Priest and been there on assignment, Maureen
would be dead today instead of going on and starting her own
Home for the Elderly. "So, I've made a difference as
a Priest," Philip said aloud to the Voice. "Is
it God's Will I remain as one? Surely, I've served Him
well in that capacity too."
The Voice was silent
for a long time, but before Philip could ask his question
again, It spoke, "My Brother, you ask me time and
again to make the decision for you; a decision you've
been torn apart about for years now. You want your
Earthly companions to tell you -- you seek Dr. Derek
Rayne's counsel continually on what you should do; you
want God to tell you -- you pray to Him but choose to act
rather than listen for a response; you want to
make the decision yourself -- and in that area
alone, Philip, are you falling for Satan's greatest
Philip was tired, angry
and frustrated. Nick was lying in a hospital bed with
machine's assisting his breathing. He could have died
by now for all Philip knew! And all this Voice could do
was talk in riddles ... point out all the things his own
heart and mind have been saying for years now ... and still
there was no resolution -- he was no closer to
understanding what he was suppose to do than when he
first arrived at the beach! The Being sensed Philip's
frustration and a light shone all around him, blinding
Frightened and yet
exhilarated, Philip cried out, "What're ya doin'?
Has God decided t'spare m'friend and take me instead?!
Please God, let it be! I'm ready Father!"
Voice said firmly. "You are not ready,
Philip. So long as you hold resentment in your heart you
will never be ready." The Voice sighed a
mournful sound, "I didn't think you would fail, my
Brother. But it seems like you may after all. You've
recalled in your past that by trusting God while as a
member of the Legacy, you helped to save someone's soul
and how serving God as a Priest, you helped save
someone's life ... can you not now see the choice you
must make to save your friend?!"
The little bit of
whiskey Philip had drank before throwing the bottle out
to sea began to affect him. This night had been so
wrought with turmoil that he replied angrily, "No!
If I could see a way t'be savin' Nick's life, I'd be
doin' it!! That's what I came here fer ... t'plead with
God t'spare 'im and take me! I'm willin' t'die fer God --
and I'm willin' t'die fer m'friend. So, let's just get on
with it! Father, take me now, I pray!"
Job 10:14 - If I
sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit
me from mine iniquity.
Job 21:7 -
Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry
aloud, but there is no judgment.
Philip had laid his
body on the ground after making his heartfelt plea to God
and wept openly. He wept for Nick, for the Legacy, for
the Priesthood and for himself. He had tried everything
he knew to live a good, decent, God-filled life, but had
failed somehow. He knew that now beyond a doubt.
God had tested him ... offered him up to Satan as a
"modern-day job" and he had failed Him. Now his
chosen brother -- Nick, the Legacy and mankind itself
would pay the price of his failure. The agony of this was
too much for him to bare.
He heard the Voice
sound much gentler than the last time It spoke.
"Weep not, my Brother," It said, "for all
is not yet lost. You have not yet made the choice for
your life. It is only in failing to make it, or making
the incorrect one, in which you can fail. You so
earnestly are ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice by
giving your life. But in your memory and in your heart,
Philip, you know that there are greater sacrifices
humans can make other than losing a life. Recall now, my
Brother, of another such sacrifice."
Continued on the next page...