I love 12th Night. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm in a Zeffirelli film, or in a Sienese painting - or maybe a player in Shakespeare's Mid-Summers Night. Ah! It is a wonderful night, a mystic night. A night for fools.
Perhaps tonight, a night for mourners as well.
In fact I ran into a weeping faun as I was putting out feed for the rabbit this evening. Yes I did! Astonished, I asked him, "Why on earth do you weep?" Adding, "Aren't you cold with no shirt or coat?"
The faun asked for prayers and reminded me of the story of St. Antony of Egypt, who also met a weeping faun, consoling me, "Therefore be not surprised to find a creature such as I, even though I seem to be a pleasant fantasy of your imagining. You need to be reminded of the things Antony and his disciples taught, thus the Lord permits you this encounter."
"But what are you saying? I fear you because you appear as both man and beast, two creatures by which my heart is distracted, and I fear, since concupiscence is not entirely dead to me..."
The faun smiled, interrupting my protest, "Do not be afraid, I will return to those illuminations from whence I came, and you will see me no more. Instead, lift your heart above the sensuality that burdens it and listen in silence. I only have this to say, and you must tell the others:
Christians are taught, 'Do not judge' and yet they present many intellectual arguments and discourses as to why they must judge. Likewise they are told, "Do not condemn" and yet they justify themselves by explaining why it is expedient for them to point out error to everyone else. They are commanded, "Give without measure, without counting the cost" and yet they defend their miserliness with vain excuses concerning morality and economy. You must tell the others that the Christian life has grown cold, and that they need love and great repentance. They need compassion. Explain to them that caring for creatures, pets and animals - is only a first, feeble step, albeit commendable. Nevertheless, it must lead to caring for widows and orphans, the weak and the most abandoned, whom God loves so much."
As the faun was speaking, I gazed down at my feet, ashamed of myself that I have only shown charity to animals, yet exacted much from my brother. I looked up saying, "I have sinned, I have defended myself with all of the arguments you cite, what should I do?"