Salvation

It was winter, late, and Father Carl was looking forward to going home when his secretary popped her head in.“Father, you have a visitor. He says he isn’t a parishioner but has some theological questions.”

Father Carl sighed, “Fine, let him in and then you can go. I’ll lock up.” Standing up to greet his visitor, “Hello, how can I help you?” The visitor turned down the offered hand and instead he took his time to admire the books and artwork in the office. Finally, satisfied with his survey, he sat down. Seeing that there was not going to be any greetings, Carl took his own chair. “Now, my secretary said you had some theological questions. I’m only a parish priest so I may not be able to answer them.” Most of his work was counseling.

“They are not that difficult. I just want some clarification.” The visitor had a bit of an accent, as did many of his parishioners. As the head of an urban parish, Father Carl was used to this, although he could not place this gentleman’s. “First, Father, is it true that each priest is a representation of Christ?”

“Technically, we say that each priest is a representative of Christ’s leadership of the Church. We are sacramental representatives, that is to say, we symbolize Him, but are not Him. Does that clarify things?”

“Yes, thank you very much. Next question, is it true by consuming bread and wine you are forgiven of sin?”

“You mean the Eucharist. Yes, through consecration during the mass, the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ which he commanded us to eat for the forgiveness of our sins. It is called transubstantiation. A lot of non-Catholics have problems with the idea, but it is an article of faith. Was that your only question?”

“No, I think you satisfied my concerns.” The visitor stood up and Father Carl assumed that he was about to leave, but instead the stranger took off his coat. Turning back to the priest, he said, “In that case, I am here to pray.”

“You don’t need to take the host to pray for forgiveness. In fact, the opposite, you need to go to reconciliation and confess your sins before you receive the host.”

“No Father, you don’t understand.” The visitor smiled revealing elongated canines. As he leaned over the seated priest, Father Carl realized they were fangs. “I am here to PREY.”

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