Visions of a blacksmith

Tuesday 13/10/15 13:05 PM - Lm. Jack McArdle ss cc

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Once a village blacksmith had a vision. The angel of the Lord came to him and said, “The Lord has sent me. The time has come for you to take up your abode in his kingdom.’ ‘I thank God for thinking of me,’ said the blacksmith, ‘but as you know, the season for sowing the crops will soon be here. The people of the village will need their ploughs repaired and their horses shod. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but do you think I might put off taking up my abode in the kingdom until I’ve finished?’ The angel looked at him in the wise and loving way of angels, ‘I’ll see what can be done,’ he said, and he vanished. The blacksmith continued with his work and was almost finished when he heard of a neighbour who fell ill right in the middle of the planting season. The next time he saw the angel, the blacksmith pointed towards the barren fields and pleaded with the angel, ‘Do you think eternity can hold off a little longer? If I don’t finish the job, my friend’s family will suffer.’ Again the angel smiled and vanished. The blacksmith’s friend recovered, but another’s barn burned down and a third was deep in sorrow at the death of his wife and the fourth … and so on. Whenever the angel reappeared, the blacksmith just spread his hands in a gesture of resignation and compassion and drew the angel’s eyes to where the sufferings were.

One evening the blacksmith began to think about the angel and how he’d put him off for such a long time. Suddenly he felt very old and tired and said, ‘Lord, if you would like to send your angel again, I think I would like to see him now.’ He’d no sooner spoken than the angel stood before him. ‘If you still want to take me,’ said the blacksmith, ‘I am now ready to take up my place in the kingdom of the Lord.’ And the angel looked at the blacksmith in surprise and smiled, and he said, ‘Where do you think you have been all these years?’

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