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 Gloria in Excelsis... what exactly?

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Angelica Vaughn

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Posts : 25
Join date : 2017-04-16
Age : 26
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Gloria in Excelsis... what exactly?   Sat May 20, 2017 6:43 pm

“Today’s your day off! Go out! Explore, live a little! See the sights, go to a party, do whatever you want. Here’s some cash!”

And with those words, Ashley Williams had pushed a handful of dollar bills into Angelica’s palms, and sent her on her merry way. It was Angelica’s first real day off since staying at Ash’s place in Monmouth County. Her usual routine consisted of workout sessions, sparring matches, studying game tape of her upcoming opponents, and watching Netflix or playing on her 3DS in her downtime. She’d been cooped up inside far too long according to her coach, and needed some time off. And who was Angelica to argue?

Angelica had already felt herself improving by leaps and bounds under Ash’s tutorship. She benefitted hugely from the FOFW’s skill, mindset, experience, and so much more. While Angelica had no illusions and realized that she still had loads to learn, she no longer felt like the insecure young girl that had knocked on Jacob Steele’s door a couple of months ago, begging to be hired. Angie was showing potential, if nothing else, and she had only one person to really thank for that. So if that person said that she ‘needed’ to take a day off and relax, then that was what Angelica was going to do, despite the biggest match of her young career coming up on Saturday.

The amount of money Ashley had so casually pushed into her hands was more than Angelica had ever held in her life, and might’ve been enough for a five star cruise across the Atlantic; but Angelica had settled for a cab ride to Newark, New Jersey. It seemed like a fun town to explore, but regrettably, ‘fun’ was something that Angelica had almost forgotten to have these days… She’d spent most of the first few hours walking around the shopping districts; but no matter what she saw, whether it was a big shopping mall, trendy restaurants or even an old school video arcade, nothing appealed to her or helped her ‘unwind’ as Ash had called it. Eventually she just started walking, following her feet wherever they took her, without any kind of set destination or purpose. The thing she wanted most was to call a cab and get back to the safety and luxury of her mentor’s home, but she didn’t want to be ungrateful or disobedient to Ashley…

Still, she already missed the house she had been cooped up in for quite some time now. The training regime was brutal, the chicken-broccoli-rice-protein diet was boring as hell, and the sparring sessions were painful and she often spent hours awake at night in agony because of sore muscles or thumping headaches. But at least the pain kept other, far more unpleasant memories at bay. It kept her focused on the here and now, and it made her want to get harder, better, faster and stronger. The pain was a constant reminder of the goals she had put in front of herself and how far she still had to go; how much work she still needed to put in. It was almost ever present, and she had learned not to fear it anymore. Overcoming the fear of pain, they said, was something every successful wrestler had to go through. And Angelica felt she was well on her way to do just that. Now, though, there were no sparring sessions, no brutal workouts… Just her and the city, in which she didn’t feel comfortable at all.

So she kept walking and walking, taking in the sights, until eventually she had lost all recollection of where she was, where she was going, or how she had to go back. Not that it mattered much, the cash that Ash had given her was more than enough for a thousand cab rides back home, but Angelica felt a bit uneasy nonetheless.

Eventually, she stumbled, if you could call it that, upon a church. Well, it wasn’t a church, it was a freakin’ cathedral! It popped up seemingly from out of nowhere as she turned a corner, and the one thing she could do was let her jaw drop. It was a magnificent thing of beauty,  in the style of the French Gothic Revival. With two towers, one spire, and an awe-inspiring rose window above the massive arching entrance. It truly looked like a House of God, a monument to the fait, and a tribute to the splendor and magnificence of Heaven and all its Angels. The mere sight of it evoked Haendel’s music playing in her head. ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ indeed.

Angelica was raised as a ‘good’ Catholic girl. Catholic school, Bible study sessions, Mass every Sunday, and a strict adherence to the rules of the Bible. God had been the most important thing in her life for almost as long as she could remember, until her life drastically turned around.
Both her parents were extremely religious, and so Angelica had seen some churches in her life… But this one was definitely up there as one of the prettiest. As she walked closer, she saw several others watching it in awe and taking pictures.

Angelica wondered… Why did she end up here? As she looked up at the massive structure it was easy to think of divine providence. Had God sent her here to set her back on the right path? She wasn’t sure, but ever since her parents had kicked her out of their house, she did feel like something was missing in her life. Up until now, she had never realized what it was exactly. Did she need a bit more Jesus back in her life, and a little bit less Lucilla? As she walked across the front plaza, the statue of the Son of God definitely seemed to suggest so, as it beckoned her. Engraved on the massive wooden doors were (and Angelica recognized them all immediately) Christ, Mary, the four Evangelists, and  Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. They welcomed her as she entered the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and stepped into the narthex. She continued through the aisle, with pillars supporting huge vaults, and everything was so lushly decorated that the cost of it could be nothing short of astronomical.

Angelica found herself gasping as she took in the sights of the transepts, the altar, the sanctuary and chapels. But what eventually stopped her in her tracks was the confessional, which seemed to be open for ‘business’, as a nearby sign seemed to indicate. She couldn’t remember the last time she had last confessed… It used to be part of her weekly routine, but those were different times. She felt a strange urge to enter the booth. And so she did.

As soon as she stepped in, she felt a certain aura come over her. It calmed her, soothed her, made her feel at home. It was strange, but comforting nonetheless, and she felt more at ease than she had felt in a long, long time. As the latticed panel slid open, she saw the silhouette of the priest on the other side. She couldn’t really make out his face, but that was pretty usual. Angelica made a cross, as was common practice.

Angelica: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was… so long ago I don’t even remember.”

Priest: Welcome, my child. It is good that you have come. Penance is the balm, the healing grace that we need to be set free from sin.

The priest’s voice was deep, but soft and soothing nonetheless.

Priest: Tell me, my child, what sins have you committed since your last confession?

Angelica: Oh wow… Where do I even begin?

Angelica’s head was spinning. She used to always make a list for every sin she had committed, back in the day. But now, there were so many that she didn’t even know where to start. Usually it was common practice to start with the worst ones.  

Angelica: Well, first of all… I’ve dishonored my parents. I went against their wishes. They taught me to lead a life of sanctity, but I failed to do so. Now they’re mad at me, and I don’t think they want anything to do with me anymore.

The Priest said nothing, so Angelica kept talking, her voice growing ever more desperate and tearful as she continued listing her sins.

Angelica: I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain! I’ve stolen. I’ve coveted… I still covet to this day… And maybe worst of all, I’ve worshipped false gods. Also still to this day. I have partaken in violence against my fellow man for the lures of fame, wealth and success and because of it I have shed the blood of innocents. I have had impure thoughts, and … I have worked on a Sunday!

Angelica’s breathing had increased, the realization of all of her sins finally striking her. What was she doing? She was going to hell, she was sure of it, and no one could save her from damnation!

Priest: Those are some serious sins, my child. You do realize that the only way to absolution in the eyes of the Lord is by showing true sorrow?

Angelica: I do.

Priest: And are you sorrowful?

Angelica: I… don’t know.

Was she? She couldn’t say. Yes, she had dishonored her parents. But then again, she wasn’t sure if she was sorry for that. Her entire life, they had stifled her, made her do things she didn’t want to do, and tried to control her life down to the most minute detail imaginable. Ever since breaking free from their grasp, the world had opened up for her in ways she had never thought possible. From being a shy girl with a love for soccer to becoming a possible contender for the Medal of Honor in  a wrestling company was something she never would’ve thought possible a year ago. Dishonoring her parents hadn’t just set her free, it had shown her her own potential, and it was huge! Going against their wishes and demands might’ve been the best thing that had ever happened to her. Had she not done so, she would never have met Ashley Williams or Wülf, two people who were very near and dear to her heart. Dishonoring her parents… No, she did not regret it one bit she came to realize.

Yes, she worshipped a false God. She worshipped and idolized Lucilla, who had shown her how powerful, beautiful and awe-inspiring a person can truly be. She coveted her qualities, she wanted to be just like her… And Angelica had grown as a person because of it. She had become stronger, more confident, and actually had a future she could be excited about now. No, she didn’t regret her idolatry of Lucilla. If anything, she regretted not having done so much sooner…

As bad as her sins were, she regretted none of them. She wasn’t sorrowful, Angelica realized. Sinning had set her free, and she didn’t even feel like a bad person because of it. She knew she was good and kind, despite what Holy Scripture might tell her. People liked her, and cared for her, just like she did for them. And in the end, wasn’t that what it was truly all about?

Priest: My child, if you aren’t sorry, then why are you here? Do you not seek absolution? Are you not looking for forgiveness in the eyes of the Lord? Only through sorrowful penance can this be achieved.

Angelica: But… I’m so confused! I don’t see myself as a bad person at all! I always try to be as nice as possible!

Priest: Only one can judge. And that is the Heavenly Lord Above. It’s not our place to determine what is right or wrong.

Angelica: Isn’t it? If we make others happy, isn’t that what counts? I may have strayed from the path my parents set me on, but I feel like I have achieved so much! I’m so much more empowered, and I’ve done it all without being mean! I have met wonderful new people, I’ve seen so many great things. Sure, I still feel lost, and I miss my family. But I have found a new one, and I don’t regret a single thing I did to end up where I am today!

Priest: The gates of Heaven open only to those who…

Angelica had heard enough. She smacked the latticed opening.

Angelica: No! I will not burn in Hell! I am a good person, damn it, and I don’t care what that old book thinks about me anymore! If God wants to judge me, let him judge me by my merits, rather than my faults! I am not perfect, but no one is, and I will try to be the best person I can possibly be. But when I show up at the pearly gates one day, God will see me for what I am: a good person, who did right by the people she loved. And if that’s not enough… then too bad!

Before the Priest could answer, Angelica opened the door of the booth and ran out of the Basilica, earning her a dirty look from some churchgoers for disrupting the silence. But Angelic was beyond the point of caring. She had lived her entire life in service to God. It was time she let her past go, and focus on the present and the future. It was time she started living for herself. And she was going to do it with her friends by her side.
Angelica still felt confused, but her path was clear nonetheless. And at Hell From Above, she was going to take another step in the direction of her destiny.


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