Your mother will die some day, and you and I will have to die some day, too. Yet My God has never died. Perhaps you haven’t heard clearly the story that tells how He goes on living for ever and ever. In appearance only did He die. But three days after He had died He came to life again and with great pomp He rose up to heaven.”
“How often?” the chief asked in a dry tone.
Astonished at this unexpected question, the monk answered, “Why . . . why . . . eh . . . once only, quite naturally once only.”
“Once only? And has he, your great god, ever returned to earth?”
“No, of course not,” Padre Balmojado answered, his voice burdened with irritation. “He has not returned yet, but He has promised mankind that He will return to earth in His own good time, so as to judge and to . . .”
“. . . and to condemn poor mankind,” the chief finished the sentence.
“Yes, and to condemn!” the monk said in a loud and threatening tone. Confronted with such inhuman stubbornness he lost control of himself. Louder still he continued: “Yes, to judge and to condemn all those who deny Him and refuse to believe in Him, and who criticize His sacred words, and who ignore Him, and who maliciously refuse to accept the true and only God even if He is brought to them with brotherly love
and a heart overflowing with compassion for the poor ignorant brethren living in sin and utter darkness, and who can obtain salvation for nothing more than having belief in Him and having the true faith.”
Not in the least was the chieftain affected by this sudden outburst of the monk, who had been thrown off routine by these true sons of America who had learned to think long and carefully before speaking.
The chieftain remained very calm and serene. With a quiet, soft voice he said: “Here, my holy white father, is what our god had put into our hearts and souls, and it will be the last word I have to say to you before we return to our beautiful and tranquil tierra: Our god dies every evening for us who are his children. He dies every evening to bring us cool winds and freshness of nature, to bring us peace and quiet for the night so that we may rest well, man and animal. Our god dies every evening in a deep golden glory, not insulted, not spat upon, not spattered with stinking mud. He dies beautifully and glori¬ously, as every real god will die. Yet he does not die forever. In the morning he returns to life, refreshed and more beautiful than ever, his body still trailing the veils and wrappings of the dead. But soon his golden spears dart across the blue firmament as a sign that he is ready to fight the gods of darkness who threaten the peoples on earth. And before you have time to realize what happens, there he stands before wondering human eyes, and there he stays, great, mighty, powerful, golden, and in ever-growing beauty, dominating the universe.
“He, our god, is a spendthrift in light, warmth, beauty, and fertility, enriching the flowers with perfumes and colors, teaching the birds to sing, filling the corn with strength and health, playing with the clouds in an ocean of gold and blue. As my beloved mother does, so does he give and give and never cease giving; never does he ask for prayers, not expect¬ing adoration or worship, not commanding obedience or faith, and never, never condemning anybody or thing on earth. And when evening comes, again he passes away in beauty and glory, a smile all over his face, and with his last glimmer blesses his Indian children. Again the next morning he is the eternal giver; he is the eternally young, the eternally beautiful, the eternally new-born, the ever and ever returning great and golden god of the Indians.
“And this is what our god has put into our hearts and souls and what I am bound to tell you, holy white father: ‘Do not, not ever, beloved Indian sons of these your beautiful lands, give away your own great god for any other god.’ ” ("Conversion Of Some Indians")
B. Traven (The Night Visitor and Other Stories)