I am proud to inform you that the fast has been a success. If you remember I ended my last missive with uncertainty, informing you of my plans to stick with a food-fast while my irresolute mind struggled with picking a sacrifice befitting a being of your stature. I admitted that my lazy, albeit occasionally busy mind, would in all likelihood simply settle on this choice and not bother to change it, and alas I was correct. They say no one knows us better than ourselves, and this case was no exception. I will not bother you with excuses, Father. Suffice to say that in the weeks that have followed I have spent no more than a few minutes thinking about fast-worthiness, and my initial decision to abstain from food during the sun’s journey across the sky has stuck, just as I feared. To say that this has been a bad thing is, however, is to do it a great injustice, and I will show you why.
As you know, this is not the first time I am engaging in a fast. It is, however, my first since my departure. And while my fast last year was important because it was done largely for the same reasons as this one, this year’s fast has had a much better effect upon my depraved soul. Perhaps it is because I have finally left the House, thus providing myself with the very different perspective of the Outside. Perhaps it is because I now write you with some regularity, forcing myself to communicate with you in a manner that has brought me much closer to you than any prayer has since my childhood. Regardless of reason Father, these past weeks have convinced me that sacrifices are never to be judged simply by attachment, by the pain they cause, or by the pleasures they deny. In these weeks, every time the short sharp pangs of hunger rose from my small belly, every time the compulsion to eat assailed me, I was reminded of you and you alone. It mattered not that I had felt hunger many times before; it mattered not that with enough endurance and distraction the pangs soon disappeared. All that mattered was that my mind was drawn to you. Each time I felt the need to eat, each time I looked upon a simple snack that lay begging to be devoured, the question arose (and thankfully not from my friend): Why am I doing this? And the answer always came: Because of You. Through the simple virtue of hunger I found myself contemplating you more times than I have in recent months. I was reminded of you in more places, drawn to you in newer ways. I was forced time and time again to face some of the issues that drove me from home in the first place, and to remember some of the things that made me smile while I was there. And while I cannot say whether the fruits of these thoughts will bring me closer or push me farther from you, I think I can safely say that it is good that I am having them. In a wonderful way they are preparing me for the celebration at the end of the season, the most significant in the House; they have provided me with a deeper awareness of you, and with that I hope comes a deeper understanding of everything you and your House stand for. In that manner Father, I believe my sacrifice to be worth every uneaten morsel, however small and insignificant.
In other news, my quest for Sophie continues and I have found myself on an agreeable path. As I mentioned previously, I have decided to begin my lessons with the ancients. Your Book certainly falls into this category, but I have opted not to focus on it at this time. Do not ask why, Father; I have no concrete reasons. Besides I find that my winged friend becomes most annoying whenever I think about things that revolve around you. You do not know how angry I was with him when I wrote my last letter. He seems to feed on my uncertainty, and since my immense battle over worthy sacrifices he has grown bigger and fatter. He now rests upon my shoulder on occasion, perhaps because his wings aren’t growing quite as fast as his body. I am cataloguing his characteristics and am starting to hazard a guess as to his true nature, but that is a discussion for another letter. Suffice to say, for now, that neither your Book nor he is the centre of my attention.
On my quest, I trust you will agree that I am in good hands. I am currently studying the works of two great initiates of Sophie, and one of them is Greek. You must know that if ever a people were credited with paving the path towards the love and discovery of Sophie in a manner most remarkable, it is the Greeks. The insight provided by their civilisation has shaped the way a vast majority of the world has viewed and has come to know the great Sophia. Even those that do not care much for the nuances of her precepts have undoubtedly been influenced by the works of these masters of wisdom, and the House is no exception. Its culture, its very structure, bears the indelible mark of Hellenic influence, as do almost all peoples that have been touched by your House. This always struck me as an odd development Father, as Family and House doctrine has unequivocally stated that all that is good and wise and true comes only from you, and that you deigned to bestow only upon the leaders and elders of the House these good and wise and true things. By all standards the Greeks were, in their time of greatness, in the service of You-Know-Who, and yet even the most ardent of House members employs many a tool devised in their schools. Perhaps the purists within the House have a point. Perhaps the House has been in fact been corrupted, but that is once again, Father, a topic for another letter.
Among the greatest of these peoples is a fellow I shall refer to as Platocrates. Nominally he is called Plato, but it appears to me that the person disseminating his doctrines and postulations is a man known as Socrates, identified by some of the students I have met on this path as his teacher. I cannot quite decipher whether he simply documented the words of his tutor or whether he wrote in this manner to lend authority to his work, but I have decided, for the time being, to consider them a single person. It matters not, really; I am interested more in what they have to say and less in who they are. They are both among the most revered in the Hellenic tradition, and a famous, long dead elder of the Family is said to have been influenced by Plato himself. (Of course, very few lovers of Sophie can claim to have escaped his influence.) On initial perusal it seems the work I have selected tackles the issue of justice, a fact that I find most delightful. You are said to be justice itself, dear Father; perhaps Platocrates would help me come to a deeper understanding of this facet of your being. File this under one of the many things I shall be writing you about, hopefully in the near future.
The other fellow I have my sights currently set upon is one that hews closer to the House and Family I have left behind. Praises have been sung about this man for as long as I can remember; he is among the foremost of the elders of the House, and both current and past elders have been so convinced of his greatness that he has been elevated to the level of saint, a shining example for all we lost and weak children to follow. There is no doubt in the minds of Family leaders that this man is Upstairs with you. He is the great Numidian, Augustine of Hippo, and I have stumbled upon his Confessions. I must say Father that I really like the manner in which he writes. It is filled with the requisite humility of a child that has not only returned home, but has matured considerably in your service. The praise he offers, the questions he asks, all these resonate with this lost child of yours. In many ways Augustine gives me hope Father. I suppose he can be considered among those that strayed from the beaten path and left the safe confines of the House (it must have been so much smaller back then), but found you and eventually returned, transforming into one of your most influential champions. I have only just started to read his work, so I cannot give you full impressions, but as I mentioned, I feel a deep connection. While I have my doubts concerning the state of the House and my place in it, a spark still ignites in me whenever I am made aware of some of the majesty and rich history contained in its walls, and cracking open Augustine’s Confessions filled me with such a feeling. I suppose I really haven’t walked too far from home. It is quite evident from these past few weeks that in many ways I am still your child; from my participation in the season to my appreciation of the Numidian’s words of exultation, it seems to me that there may yet be hope for this your prodigal son.
Between Platocrates and Augustine I have my work cut out for me, but I expect it would be fun. I am, after all, embarking on this journey of my own compulsion and volition. Unlike some I do not pursue Sophie out of some perceived duty; I do so because I want to.
And so armed with hungry thoughts and a reverent heart I will continue to march down this reassuring path. I know not where it would take me, and I implore you, dearest Father, keep a watchful eye on your wayward son.
With a jaunty step,
Your Prodigal Son