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Breath of Time

Source: Luke 22:43


There is an angel who gives strength. I don't know his name; I'll have to ask him.

I have an appointment.

They're expecting me in the main square, on the terrace of a café.

I could have asked them to come here, but I think they'd rather arrange to meet me.
I think he'll come. I'm almost sure he will, because I understand — I sense — what giving strength means. So I'm sure he knows me.

I'm bringing the Breath of Time with me.
It's a treasure.

It's very small: not three centimetres high.

The café terrace is cool, under tall trees offering refreshing shade. There they are, sitting at empty tables. A lot of them have come, maybe a dozen. To me they're beautiful.
But I don't see them: I sense their presence, as I would sense yours if you were across from me.
When they catch sight of me, not one of them moves. They are gracious enough to have really come to meet me. So I enter into the halo that softly floods their tables in the shade, and I sit down with them.

No one else is here but them and myself.

I recognize him immediately. He is sitting across from me. I tell him I am conducting an investigation and need to know his name. A word, pale yellow in the centre, with bright edges, crosses my hearing.

Something has made the square turn on its axis. We are in the Garden of Olives, just before the arrest. He has spoken of a cup, asking that it be taken from him. I thought he meant a cup from which to drain dregs of pain and distress. But he meant oil, to anoint the chosen one. And the angel was you.

Look, I've brought you this treasure, made of muscle and water. It's a very old crucifix. The ones who loved it attentively could see his chest rise, but the moment you notice his pain he's breathing his last. That means he's connecting your death to God.

I set the treasure on the table. In the filtered half-light under the trees, it gives off a brightness that seems to emanate only from itself.

The angel who gives strength. Anointing of the Spirit.
Now that I know your name, I have a new friend.

He guesses what I'm thinking and smiles. His smile seems to mean that he understands what having a friend means to me, and at the same time is telling me it doesn't mean the same thing to him.
He looks at the Breath of Time. I know that all he sees it doing is dying and returning to life. He stretches out his hand, takes it and looks at it. On the table, where it had rested, there is a smudge of oil. I take a tissue and wipe up the oil.

A shiver of light passes through them all. They are all one. They vanish, taking with them my precious treasure. I am left with a blessing absorbed in a tissue; a human being isn't much, after all. That's how my meeting ends. I don't know what it means. Right at the tips of my fingers, where they have touched the oil, I can feel a sweet, strong, calming warmth that will never leave me.