The Easter Vigil liturgy, which takes place in the evening of Holy Saturday, has always dazzled me, with all that fire and darkness dynamics, the solemn Exultet, the five readings spanning through the History of Salvation plus three psalms, all under candle light, the glorious and glamorous Glory. It is the one Mass of the year I love the most, and I´m the type of person to like masses. Yesterday´s readings reminded me of a fable I wrote 14 years ago when I lived in Montreal, which a few years later I translated for some friends in Toronto. This is the fable I copy below, along with its Torontonian preface.
Toronto, March 2006
Below is a little story I wrote for my family in the Lent of 2001,
about Jesus as the Creative Word of God. Given that it’s Lent again,
it popped into my mind again, and I thought I’d translate it into
English and share it with you:
THE LITTLE STORY OF THE WALKING WORD
Once upon a time, in the beginning, there was a very lively and creative little Word. It was God’s very own Word, and since it loved God very much, whenever God wanted to do anything, this little Word would go and do it for Him with pleasure.
So God said: “Let there be light!” and the little Word went tchum! and there was light. And God thought it was really cool.
The next day, God, who had really liked the idea, said: “Let there be a firmament to separate the waters, because it’s all very messy!” And the little Word went and – ta-da! – made the firmament, which God called “sky”, because it sounds so much better than “firmament”.
The next day, God said: “I think it’d be better if the waters below were all gathered together in a single place.” So the little Word went – tan dan! – and put all the waters together in a single spot, which God called “sea” and then there was this one corner where it was quite dry, which God called “earth”.
God thought this was so neat that He said: “I think that green would really go well here. Green everywhere! Trees, shrubs, herbs, and things like that!” So the little Word went and made all that. And God thought it was all very cool.
The next day, God, who was finding the whole business very productive and a lot of fun, said: “How about some shimmering lights in the sky? Then there could be days and years…” And the little Word went: “plaf!”, shimmering lights all set. God left the big one to keep track of days, and the others to keep track of nights. And God thought it was awesome!
The next day, God, who was really having a great time, said: “How about we have the waters teeming with things full of life, and above the earth we have birds flying all around?” And the little Word went and took care of all that. And then God got really excited and the little Word, who needed no extra motivation to be extra creative, made every kind of monster, and creatures, and thingies, flying, crawling, walking, hopping, swimming. Everthing was just teeming with life.
The next day, which was day number six, a Friday, God, who was very pleased with his little Word’s work, said: “Let us make people in our image and likeness, and let them take care of all we’ve made so far.” And thus it was that human beings came about. God left them to take care of everything he’d made that week, and spent the seventh day resting, for it’d been quite a busy week after all. [Genesis 1]
So it came that humans were in charge of the things God made. But humans weren’t quite as clever as God, and could be very silly and stubborn sometimes. So sometimes God would get a little angry with them, sometimes he’d be pleased and so proud, sometimes he’d send them a message, sometimes He’d leave them in a corner to think about their actions, sometimes He’d send them presents, in short, God took good care of His children, like a good parent.
One day, instead of sending people a message through courier or something, God decided to go Himself and have a Word with them. So there went God’s little Word, same as always, always doing whatever God wanted. Down went the little Word of God to have a chat with humans, because God knew after all that the best way to teach something is to show by example (that’s where St. Augustine got his teaching theory from), and this little Word had a vast amount of experience in doing things. It was a very active and creative little Word, always on the go. It was God’s little Word, after all, and if it is Word and Action that makes a good teacher, God, who is perfect, can be in his Word personified be nothing short of a perfect teacher. Thus it was that the Word became flesh and came to live among us.
God’s little Word took care of a good many things God wanted to do. The little Word often went to the mountain to talk with God, because mountains had for a long time been God’s Word favorite spot. This little Word was not only very active: it was also very talkative: it talked to God frequently just to touch basis, to check the plans, and it talked to people, and told all about the plans, and about God, always in that manner that was so typical of Itself, not only talking, but doing, since action speaks louder than words.
So it was that the little Word of God who always did everything God wanted did many many things during this time God decided to talk to people in person. And God’s little Word did so much and talked so much that one day He finished saying what He’d come to say, and doing what He’d come to do, and teaching what He’d come to teach, and right there and then God’s voice was gone: like any teacher who cares much more about the people in His charge than they themselves realise, God lost His voice. It had after all been a particularly busy day, and He’d
accomplished an extremely amazing feat. It was again Friday, end of the week, the sixth day, the day when He and His little Words had reserved for the human creation. And now that the job was done, mission accomplished, God, with no voice left, laid down to rest: it was the Sabbath again, His day of rest, since the beginning of time.
But after resting the whole Sabbath long, there came Sunday, the first day of the week all over again. So God woke up and said: “Awesome! Let’s go make everything anew again? Here I go, look, I’m making everything new, all over again! [Revelation 21] Creation is constant re-creation, and that’s why it’s so much fun!”
And who could have ever imagined? There was God’s little Word again, as full of life and energy as always! Who would have thought that after all its adventures and extremely excruciating undertakings in its mission among humans, the little Word would come to life again? But God is God after all, and wouldn’t go on speechless forever. He had always been just too fond of His own Voice for that.
And so it is that His story (History?) ends just like it began: with God’s super Word going about doing and making things. God, after all, has always had the First and the Last Word, the first and the last Letter, the Alpha and the Omega, the A and the Z.
There is another longer version of this story, comprising many many books, of which I cited the first and the last just to situate the reader. Let those who have already learned how to read go and read!