GENESIS 4; 10 - 15
10 'What have you done?' Yahweh asked. 'Listen! Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground.
11 Now be cursed and banned from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hands.
12 When you till the ground it will no longer yield up its strength to you. A restless wanderer you will be on earth.'
13 Cain then said to Yahweh, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Look, today you drive me from the surface of the earth. I must hide from you, and be a restless wanderer on earth. Why, whoever comes across me will kill me!'
15 'Very well, then,' Yahweh replied, 'whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.' So Yahweh put a mark on Cain, so that no one coming across him would kill him.
Tonight I lay there full of thoughts and feelings that were not really from me but from Above. They were sprouts from an endeavor that consumed a lot of my time today. It would not go away because it is related to my Vocation. It is a Vocation that just will not go away. It has been with me since about age 5 or 6. It has taken some strange twists and turns. Through all the tergiversations it always settles back where it started and points to where it is going. The direction is always the same, but it's the road that changes.
Tonight, I think that God has shined the light on the situation. The beam of that Divine Light stopped and pointed straight at the Mark of Cain. The Mark of contradiction. The Mark that indicates that God still loves you and still is punishing you every day of your life. The Mark turns out to be a burden and a relief at the same time.
When I left the Altar, it was then the moment when a lot of spiritual blood fell to the ground rather than be borne up into the Realm of the Eternal King. It was at that moment that I had swapped out the perfect first born for the simple fruits of the earth. It was then that I cut the throat of the person that I was to become a restless wanderer. The blood of that person cried out to God then and does so every day since then. Every day since then the Mark of Cain signals that here is someone who is accompanied by God at every step of the way. It is also the sigh that because God is there by his side, let it be a warning to you to be careful. This is a person who has blood on his hands and it is not the blood that fell from the Cross. It is the blood that he spilled from his very own throat.
Cain never did leave the earth. The earth however never gave him any more power over it. I never left the Church and She never left me. She "reduced" me to the state of laity, but She could not remove the Mark of Cain that God put on me. She took away the power of the Altar but she could not take away the power of prayer, faith, hope and love. What a contradiction! What a blessed contradiction! Who can figure out what God does? Who can figure out why God does anything that He does? He tells Cain that his brother's blood cried out to Him from the ground that drank it. He then refuses to reclaim Cain's life from him in revenge. He takes away his primary talent of livelihood, but doesn't take away his freedom to go and learn something else. The Mark of Cain is from God and because it is from God, it never goes away. It is always there to remind those who carry it that they have found favor with God through the back door, so to speak. God keeps us around because He still has something for us to do.
So Cain couldn't farm any more. With God protecting Him, Cain surely went out and learned some other "trade." Who knows? Maybe he was the first blacksmith; or maybe the first jeweler; or the first lumberjack; maybe a carpenter or a tailor of grass skirts. Who knows? whatever it was, it was pleasing and helpful to the rest of the people around and they therefore were glad that they didn't kill him because of that Mark. It's like me. I carry that Mark too. No denying it, it is a mark of opprobrium. Believe me, there are times when it ain't pretty. But I know one thing, as long as they get to see that Mark, they know that God is on my side. Hey wait! I know that God is on my side. He may not be too happy about it, but He's stuck with me. As we say in French, "He finds a way to make arrows with whatever wood he can lay His hands on." So, it's an interesting position to be in.
I have known for a long time that God has something for me to do. I know that I don't always do it the way He would. Sometimes I get the very definite proof that He sneaks around behind me and chages it more to His liking when I'm done. I have learned not to get into a snit about it. I just tell Him, "Thanks, Pop. You're right, it does look better that way."
sometimes I say, "Why don't you erase that stupid ol' Mark?" He just frowns and let's me figure out a way to make it work. Actually, He and I get along pretty good now. It's gotten so He even helps me to find ways to make it work for me. Not always, though. After all, He has to remember that He's got me on parole, right?
The one big thing that I have to give Him is this. His Bride, Holy Mother the Church gave me this two page document in very formal Ecclesiastical Latin that has about 15 "Thou shalt not's" in it. I don't remember them all, but I do know this: thanks to Cain's Mark, there are only about three that anyone, including me, even care about. All the others are just there in case I step out of line and try to cover the Mark with my wind-breaker. Whenever I hear people say nasty things about Mother Church, I get buzzed. I know that she has her birth marks, but I also know that she respects that Big One that I carry around, so I defend her as much as I can. She too knows that I am on parole for life, so she cuts me some slack and I appreciate it. Sometimes I have to ask myself if her operatives cut me the slack because not too many of them can read and understand Latin any more :-) No matter to me, slack is slack, in English and in Latin. I'll take it. It makes me appreciate the Mark all the more.
ow that you know my true attitude about this whole thing, you also know that there is absolutely no need to cry at my funeral.