- Abandoned -
Table of Contents
a religious thriller written by
Ronald E. Boutelle
Chapter 38: Divine Mystery
As everyone sat listening to Rama speak, a gentle breeze continued to move throughout the glen, cooling everyone ever so slightly. The evening was perfect. Rama turned to Maria and said, “Earlier today your father showed me your drawings and I must say they are very nice! Where did you learn to draw?”
Pleasantly surprised by Rama’s inquiry, Maria replied, “Simply a gift from God. I have been able to draw ever since I can remember but after high school I attended college where my teachers really helped me to master my talents.”
“Last night you told me that you went to school in New Mexico. I’m curious; did you ever go to Texas—where Father Mark lives?”
“Only once with my friends from college. There is a famous river in Texas and the water is very cold. It’s a fantastic way to beat the summer heat.” Knowing something about hot weather, all the monks began to smile.
Cooling Off On The Guadalupe River
photo by: Ronald E. Boutelle
Maria then said, “You mentioned that Father Mark is a Catholic priest in San Angelo, Texas but I have no idea where that is.”
“Thank you Maria. Your drawings are just beautiful. He did mention West Texas but I’m not sure either. But Father Mark did tell me that after graduating from seminary school he moved back to his home in San Angelo so he could be near his father. This is where he began teaching.”
Catholic school where Father Mark teaches history
photo by: Ronald E. Boutelle
“He also mentioned that one day while he was looking at some old history books in the school’s library that he accidentally came across a very unusual story that he had never heard about. Later, after reading every book he could locate about this growing mystery, he finally began to find answers—but Mark also said that they involved events that he would have never thought possible.
“But first let me tell you, when I was introduced to Father Mark, he had already been living in Vrindavan for nearly a month and had made many friends, including other Americans who were living at the large Krishna temple that Shrila Prabhupada had built in Vrindavan.
Krishna Balarama Mandir
“Father Mark told me that in the same way that Prabhupada had instructed his disciples to spread the message of Lord Krishna throughout the world, in both the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spanish kings had ordered their Catholic missionaries and soldiers to colonize what they called, New Spain, which consists of present day Mexico and New Mexico. This was all part of Spain’s efforts to increase her depleted treasury and at the same time spread the message of Lord Jesus Christ to the American Indians. Mark said that by royal decree, all Spanish explorations were required to take two missionaries with them—all their expenses paid for by the monarch.”
Sitting there on the top of Elephant Mountain and to hear Rama suddenly mention New Mexico where Maria had gone to college, was beyond mind boggling to her. Sitting a bit straighter, from that moment on she never took her attention off Rama for even a split second. “Where was this all leading to? What was he going to say next?” Soon, everyone was about to find out.
Rama continued, “Father Mark told me that despite the efforts of the Spanish priests to fulfill their spiritual directives, historical records clearly show that whatever achievements were accomplished—converting the American Indians was not a great success. Only divine intervention saved the day because suddenly things began changing for the better—and all without the missionaries hardly having to lift a finger. This was the start of the mystery that Father Mark had discovered in that book; how in the early 1600s something very strange happened that left the priests in New Mexico simply mystified.
“As Mark was telling me this, I remember how he had stopped speaking for a few moments, as if searching for words. When he continued, he said that after studying what had taken place he was convinced that the events had actually happened. He said that there had even been eye witnesses—and then, when he stopped in Spain on his way to India, he was able to see the actual letters that had been written in the 1600s by the Spanish investigators, describing everything in detail.
“As I told you, Father Mark mentioned that for many years the Spanish missionaries were only having limited success preaching to the natives when suddenly, completely on their own, the Indians began seeking out the priests. Can you imagine that? They said that they wanted to be water-baptized into the Catholic faith. Needless to say, the priests were beside themselves for an answer as to why this was happening. Even more puzzling was the fact that most of the Indians were carrying small wooden crosses.
“Spanish missionaries would suddenly meet a band of Indians and following their time-honored custom, the priests would hold up their iron crosses for the Indians to see. But to their amazement, the Indians quickly returned their gesture, pulling out their own crosses and holding them up for the priests to see. But these were not civilized Indians. Instead, they lived in areas that, as far as anyone knew, had been untouched by Spain and her priest.
Screenshots from the video, Sor María Jesús de Agreda
posted by: Caballeroperegrino
“When word reached Mexico City and then Madrid that large numbers of Indians were asking to be baptized, an investigation was organized. In Spain, the inquiry was led by the Franciscan Minister General, and in New Mexico by Archbishop Manzo and the priests, Padre Perea and Padre Alonso Benavides. They all asked the same questions: 'How could Indians from a remote and distant area that priests had never set foot in, be seeking them out?'
“Not only were the Indians asking for water-baptism, they also possessed a good understanding of the Catholic doctrine. 'How was that possible?'
“To further amplify this mystery, one of the Chiefs even had a rosary in his possession. 'Where did that come from? Did the Indians kill one of their priests and take it from him?' But there was no record of that. And later, other rosary beads were discovered. There is even a Spanish note that mentions how Father Benavides eventually took possession of one of the sacred rosaries and later asked to have it buried with him.
“As Father Mark said, a divine mystery was suddenly unleashed upon the unsuspecting missionaries. Since the crosses and the rosary beads had been seen by the leading investigators, the mystery confronting Spain simply grew beyond the boundaries of legend, myth, or even human understanding. What appeared to rational men to be impossible was being reported as possible; more than possible. This is what no one could understand.
“Maria, like I was saying, Father Mark continued to investigate this mystery and to his great surprise he even came across a Spanish record that described an incident that involved San Angelo. In it he read that on June 22, 1629, after a long journey, fifty Jumano Indians approached San Agustin Mission located in Isleta, New Mexico.
San Agustin Mission
“Immediately, when this band of Indians arrived, they started asking for water-baptism. Also at this time, more than 30 Spanish priests had recently arrived at the mission on a large caravan from Mexico City. Padre Perea received the Indians and immediately began asking them who had taught them about baptism by water.
“Father Benavides then summoned all the Indian Chiefs who were ushered into the convent. In his official report, Father Benavides stated that the Indians had also requested that missionaries follow them back to their tribal lands, located in San Angelo.
“Father Mark then told me that because of the recent arrival of a good number of new priests, their request was granted and after a long march two Spanish priest stood spellbound as they gazed upon the mighty Indian nation, unable to believe what they were seeing.
“Mark also mentioned that these events were taking place during a time in history when a great effort was being made by the Spanish government to weed out false gods, lies, witchcraft, black magic and other demonic elements that had taken root within certain parts of the Catholic religion. In other words, the priests who investigated the Indians were very astute men, keenly aware of the possibility of fraud and were always on the lookout for any sort of trickery.
“Finally, there was a break in the investigation. A clue suddenly emerged that would eventually challenge even the most devout among them.”
Maria was simply stunned by what she was hearing.