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Michael left soon after.  It was hard saying goodbye, but he promised he would visit from time to time.  He’s kept his promise, though not as often as I’d like.  But even after Michael left I apparently wasn’t done with the firstborn yet, or they weren’t done with me.

Luciel kept his promise too…that we would meet again. He had his own story to tell.  Why he cared whether or not I knew his side of the story was beyond me, but I dutifully, albeit reluctantly agreed to take it down.

My new notebook didn’t work any better this time around.  Unlike Michael, his brother wasn’t inclined to attend morning Mass with me.  I thought I understood his reluctance, but I was so out of my depth I didn’t trust my assumptions about anything anymore, especially not the few I clung to in regards to the firstborn.  He tended to pop in whenever the mood struck him, when I was driving, at work, at yoga, on the beach…I was back to chasing down my sticky notes and any other scrap of paper I could get my hands on.

Not surprisingly, Luciel’s account of man’s worth was more frankly delivered than Michael’s. He wasn’t inclined to pull any punches to spare my feelings.  Fair enough.  The firstborn were forced to witness our failings. The least I could do was record them.

When he was finished with his account, he left too. Afterwards, the sudden silence reverberating around my head was disorienting for a while.  Eventually, I began once again collecting all my little scattered notes.  Apparently, I had another tale to tell.  Another story within a story.  There wasn’t much need to edit Luciel’s part.  His stark account of man’s history was disturbing and undoubtedly accurate.  Even if he was inclined to, there wasn’t much need for him to exaggerate.  We’re bombarded daily with accounts of the evil man is capable of…man’s inhumanity to man.

Still I was tempted to edit out one particularly disquieting example.  The older I get the more I’m troubled by the seemingly endless and escalating violence in our world…how it’s crept into our news stories, movies, television shows, books, games, until it’s become an acceptable and even expected part of our culture and entertainment.

But I resisted the urge.  What I couldn’t stand to hear or write about, other people were actually living through or dying through.  They deserved a voice. I doubt the innocent victims would disagree with Luciel’s assertion that man was unworthy of heaven.

The more I defended our species, the more he felt compelled to point out my refusal to accept the truth.  Man has taken God’s greatest gifts and twisted and corrupted them until we are barely recognizable as His children at all. Rather than ascend to the level of angels, we seem more intent on descending to the depths of depravity.  What scares me the most is there doesn’t appear to be any point at which God will step in and stop us to save us from ourselves.

For good or ill He has given man free will.  He does not revoke his gifts to His children.  It is up to us to stop our own descent into a hellish existence.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of optimism on the part of the firstborn that we will be able to do so.

It’s all rather depressing to contemplate…