I have failed the Church.
Far worse, I have failed the bishop.
Tonight was supposed to be Bishop Aringarosa's salvation. Five months ago, the bishop hadreturned from a meeting at the Vatican Observatory, where he had learned something that left himdeeply changed. Depressed for weeks, Aringarosa had finally shared the news with Silas.
"But this is impossible!" Silas had cried out. "I cannot accept it!""It is true," Aringarosa said. "Unthinkable, but true. In only six months."The bishop's words terrified Silas. He prayed for deliverance, and even in those dark days, his trustin God and The Way never wavered. It was only a month later that the clouds parted miraculouslyand the light of possibility shone through.
Divine intervention, Aringarosa had called it.
The bishop had seemed hopeful for the first time. "Silas," he whispered, "God has bestowed uponus an opportunity to protect The Way. Our battle, like all battles, will take sacrifice. Will you be asoldier of God?"Silas fell to his knees before Bishop Aringarosa—the man who had given him a new life—and hesaid, "I am a lamb of God. Shepherd me as your heart commands."When Aringarosa described the opportunity that had presented itself, Silas knew it could only bethe hand of God at work. Miraculous fate! Aringarosa put Silas in contact with the man who hadproposed the plan—a man who called himself the Teacher. Although the Teacher and Silas nevermet face-to-face, each time they spoke by phone, Silas was awed, both by the profundity of theTeacher's faith and by the scope of his power. The Teacher seemed to be a man who knew all, aman with eyes and ears in all places. How the Teacher gathered his information, Silas did notknow, but Aringarosa had placed enormous trust in the Teacher, and he had told Silas to do thesame. "Do as the Teacher commands you," the bishop told Silas. "And we will be victorious."Victorious. Silas now gazed at the bare floor and feared victory had eluded them. The Teacher hadbeen tricked. The keystone was a devious dead end. And with the deception, all hope had vanished.
Silas wished he could call Bishop Aringarosa and warn him, but the Teacher had removed all theirlines of direct communication tonight. For our safety.
Finally, overcoming enormous trepidation, Silas crawled to his feet and found his robe, which layon the floor. He dug his cell phone from the pocket. Hanging his head in shame, he dialed.
"Teacher," he whispered, "all is lost." Silas truthfully told the man how he had been tricked.
"You lose your faith too quickly," the Teacher replied. "I have just received news. Mostunexpected and welcome. The secret lives. Jacques Saunière transferred information before hedied. I will call you soon. Our work tonight is not yet done."