Pope Benedictus is troubled by his thoughts and begs for Jesus to
BENEDICTUS (aloud) Why me, dear Jesus? Why me? Why have you chosen to afflict me with my present thoughts? I begged you, please, bless me with the stigmata. Pierce my hands, my feet, my side, as yours were pierced, and I shall gladly suffer them, as you did. (looks at hands) But no stigmata comes. Only questions new to me and, God forgive me, the last thing I expected ever to wage war within me – doubts. I am assailed by doubts. Why at my age, after a lifetime of devotion to you, why, dear Jesus?
(He lowers his head and begins to pray silently, as the lights fade. Lights come up slowly. He is asleep. Tosses restlessly. A light seems to suffuse the room; in it appears a man who looks like Jesus. Benedictus awakes and looks. Surprised, he sits up)
BENEDICTUS Jesus, is that you?
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