-- It was the early 1300's. Europe was enjoying prosperity because of its
trade network from China to the Mediterranean. When an ordinary ship docked
at Messina, Sicily, in October of 1347, nobody thought much of it.
It was doubtless loaded with jewels, silks and spices for trade. Unfortunately,
that ship was also laden with dying sailors. One observer said there was a
sickness clinging to their very bones.
The frightened citizens drove the ship out to sea. But they were too late.
Some of the rats of that diseased ship had scurried down the mooring ropes
tied to the docks. They were carriers of what would become known as The Black
Death, which wiped out as many as 50 million people.
Within weeks, people all over Sicily were dying. In only 3 years, most of
Europe had been infected. In some cases, people went to bed feeling great
and they would be dead by morning. They were the fortunate ones.
Others suffered for as much as seven to ten days with aches and chills, egg-sized
swellings in their armpits and groins, hemorrhaging under the skin and the
collapse of their nervous systems. In England, corpses were buried in mass
graves six feet deep, six feet wide and one hundred yards long. It all started
with a few rats, scooting down ropes.
I wonder what you and I allow to come scurrying into our lives. It may seem
like little more than a rather innocent mouse, infecting our brains and hearts.
Before long death comes knocking at our door. Be careful what you allow in
your life, good friend. That innocent-appearing rat could be the start of
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