Dialog 500 May 2016 contest entry. Dialog only and less than 500 words
"Yes, but Father, I'm far from a child."
"You are a child of God."
"Yes, that is true, but I have not always adhered to the ways of God."
"Have you asked for forgiveness?"
"Why, of course. What mortal man would risk a loss of eternal life in heaven as an unrepentant sinner? I could ask the same of you."
"Yes. I have. I have poured over the bible in an attempt to understand the sin and the sinner."
"The bible is filled with stories of guidance, but Father, is it not our heart that is responsible for the path we blaze in this life?"
"Yes, I believe so. The kind heart. The greedy heart. The lustful heart. And of course, the black heart, to name a few. "
"I believe everyone is basically good, but I fear we all have the capability to have a heart that is driven by less than good intentions."
"Why not everyone, Father? What accounts for the child that murders his parent? The mother that drowns her children? The criminal with no regard for life? The priest that preys on children? Surely everyone must possess that capability."
"Maybe they lost their faith in God. When desperate praying seems to go unheard, it's difficult for some to remain faithful. In addition, many a man has struggled with believing in a concept that resides only in one's culpable heart."
"The heart. Yes, the heart is to blame."
"Our time together is quickly coming to a close."
"I am well aware and I must say, I'm quite uncomfortable taking about it."
"It is the natural progression of life."
"It is not natural as far as I'm concerned. 'Thou shall not kill' should be the law we follow."
"'An eye for an eye', requires justice equally fitting of the crime. Do you feel the punishment is ill fitting?"
"The courts have made their ruling and that must be respected. My concern is that I'm losing my dear friend, Lieutenant John Richard Father."
"Padre, I love and respect you more than you know. You have been a source of peace, inspiration and our banter, such as we have had today, has been the best part of my lonely days. Our conversations are always thought provoking and I hope that wherever I'm going, those memories will stay with me."
"I respect your feelings in regard to blessings and prayers so I will just say that I will miss you, my friend. And my soul is better for the conversation we had."
"I will miss you too, Padre."
"It's time to go, John."
(Word count: 441)