Saturday, June 24, 2017
PETER MILLER'S TALE
Here’s a story to ponder. I heard it from a brother monk at supper last night. He then sent me the excerpt from The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. The setting is the American Revolutionary War.
A turncoat collaborator named Michael Wittman was captured, and at this trial it was proven that he had given the British invaluable assistance on numerous occasions. He was found guilty of spying and sentenced to death by hanging. On the evening before the execution, an old man with white hair asked to see Washington, giving his name as Peter Miller. He was ushered in without delay, for Miller had done a great many favors for the army. Now he had a favor to ask of Washington, who nodded agreeably.
“I’ve come to ask you to pardon Michael Wittman.”
Washington was taken aback. “Impossible! Wittman has done all in his power to betray us, even offering to join the British and help destroy us.” He shook his head. “In these times we cannot be lenient with traitors; and for that reason I cannot pardon your friend.”
“Friend! He’s no friend of mine. He is my bitterest enemy. He has persecuted me for years. He has even beaten me and spit in my face, knowing full well that I would not strike back. Michael Wittman is no friend of mine!”
Washington was puzzled. “And you still wish me to pardon him?”
“I do. I ask it of you as a personal favor.”
“I ask it because Jesus did as much for me.”
Washington turned away and walked into the next room. Soon he returned with a paper on which was written the pardon of Michael Wittman. “My dear friend,” he said, placing the paper in the old man’s hand, “I thank you for this.”
Let me leave you with this short tale, and invite you to read it again and ask yourself if there are maybe a few Michael Wittmans in your life.