3rd September 1944.
What a terrible night! It seemed that the demons were raiding the world. Cannon shots, thunder and lightning, dangers, fears, the suffering because I was lying on a bed which was not mine. And in the middle of all this, there was Mary, like a sweet white flower amongst fire and troubles. She looked a little older than in yesterday's vision, but still a young girl with Her plaits of fair hair over Her shoulders. Her dress was white and Her smile mild and coy: an intimate smile at the glorious mystery enclosed in Her heart. I spent the night comparing Her mild appearance with the ferocity of the world and meditating on Her words of yesterday morning, a song of living charity, as compared to the ferocious hatred of men...
This morning, in the quiet of my room, I saw the following scene.
Mary is still in the Temple. She is now coming out with other virgins from the inner part of the Temple.
There must have been a ceremony because there is the scent of incense in the air of a red sunset. It must be late October, because the sky, already serenely restful as is usual in clear October days, is bending over the gardens of Jerusalem, where the yellow ochre leaves about to fall add gold red spots to the silvery green of the olive-trees.
The crowd, nay the host of white dressed virgins, crosses the rear yard, then climbs the steps, goes through a porch and enters another square yard, not quite so splendid, without any other door except the one leading into it. It must be the yard allocated to the small dwellings of the virgins assigned to the Temple, because each girl moves towards her cell, like a little dove to its nest. They look like a flock of doves that separate after gathering together. They are all speaking in low but joyful voices, before separating. Mary is silent. Before leaving the other girls, She bids them goodbye affectionately and then goes to Her little room in a comer on the right hand side.
One of the teachers, an elderly lady, but not so old as Anna of Phanuel, joins Her. « Mary, the High Priest wants to see You. »
Mary looks at her somewhat surprised, but does not ask any question. She only replies: « I will go at once. »
I do not know whether the large hall, which She enters, is the house of the High Priest or whether it is part of the dwellings of the women assigned to the Temple. I know it is wide and bright, tastefully arranged. In addition to the High Priest, a stately man in his robes, there are also Zacharias and Anna of Phanuel.
Mary bows down on the threshold and does not enter until the High Priest says to Her: « Come in, Mary. Do not be afraid » Mary looks up again and slowly moves forward, not because She is unwilling, but because of a somewhat unintentional gravity, which makes Her look more of a woman.
Anna smiles at Her to encourage Her and Zacharias greets Her: « Peace to you, cousin. »
The High Priest observes Her very carefully and then he remarks to Zacharias: « She is obviously of the stock of David and Aaron...»
« My child, I am aware of Your grace and goodness, I know that every day You are growing in grace and knowledge before God and men. I know that the voice of God whispers His sweetest words to Your heart. I know that You are the Flower of God's Temple and that a third Cherub is before the Testimony since You were here. And I would like Your perfume to continue to rise with the incense every day. But the Law says differently. You are no longer a girl, but a woman. And every woman must be a wife in Israel to bear a son to the Lord. You shall follow the commandment of the Law. Do not be afraid, do not blush. I am aware of Your royalty. The Law that prescribes that each man is to be given a woman of his own stock will protect You. But even if that were not the case, I would do so, so that Your magnificent blood might not be corrupted. Don't You know anyone of Your stock, Mary, who might be Your husband? »
Mary lifts Her face full of blushes. Her eyes are shining with tears which begin to appear and with a trembling voice She replies: « No, nobody. »
« It is not possible for Her to know anyone, because She came here in Her childhood and David's race has been struck too severely and scattered too widely to allow the various branches to gather like foliage around the royal palm » says Zacharias.
« We shall then leave the choice to God. »
The tears that Mary had restrained so far, gush out and fall on Her trembling mouth. She looks imploringly at Her teacher.
« Mary has consecrated Herself to the Lord for His glory and for the salvation of Israel. She was but a little child just learning to read and write and She had already made Her vow... » says Anne, helping Her.
« Is that why You are crying then? Not because You wish to resist the Law? »
« Just for that... nothing else. I shall obey you, Priest of God. »
« This confirms what I have always been told of You. How long have You been consecrated to the Lord? »
« I have always been, I think. I was not yet in this Temple, and I had already given Myself to the Lord. »
« But are You not the little one who came twelve years ago and asked me to be allowed to enter? »
« Well, then, how can You say that You already belonged to God then? »
« If I look back, I find I was consecrated... I do not remember when I was born, neither do I remember how I began to love My mother and to say to My father: “Father, I am your daughter.”.. But I remember that I gave My heart to God, although I do not know when it started. Perhaps it was with the first kiss that I was able to give, with the first word that I learned to say, with the first step that I took... Yes, I think I find My first recollection of love with My first steady step... My house... near the house there was a garden full of flowers... and there was an orchard and some fields... and there was a spring of water at the rear, under the hill, and the water gushed out from a hollow rock that formed a grotto... it was full of long and thin herbs that hung down forming small green waterfalls everywhere and they seemed to be weeping because the thin little leaves, that seemed an embroidery work, had tiny little drops of water on them and when the drops fell they tinkled like little bells. Also the spring seemed to be singing. And there were birds on the olive and apple-trees above the spring and white doves used to come and wash in the clear water of the fountain... I was no longer thinking of all that, because I had put all My heart in God and, with the exception of My father and mother, whom I loved in life and in death, every other worldly thing had disappeared from My heart... But you have made Me think of it... I must find when I gave Myself to God... and the things of My first years come back to My mind... I loved that grotto, because I heard a voice sweeter than the song of the water and the warbling of the birds say to Me: “Come, My Beloved.” I loved those herbs covered with tinkling and sparkling diamond drops, because I could see in them the sign of My Lord and I used to say to Myself: “O soul of Mine, see how great Your God is, He Who made the cedars of Lebanon for the eagles, has also made these little leaves that bend down under the weight of a little mosquito and He made them for the joy of Your eyes and as a protection for Your little feet.” I loved that silence of pure things: the light breeze, the silvery water, the purity of the doves... I loved the peace that hovered over the little grotto, and descended from the apple and olive-trees, now full of blossoms, then laden with beautiful fruit... And I do not know... the voice seemed to be saying to Me, yes, just to Me: “Come, specious olive; come, sweet apple; come, sealed spring; come, My dove...” Sweet is the love of a father, sweet the love of a mother... sweet their voices calling Me... but this, this one! Oh! in the earthly Paradise I think that she, who became guilty, heard it thus, and I do not understand how she could prefer a hiss to this voice of love, how she could desire any other knowledge that was not God... With My lips which still tasted of My mother's milk, but with My heart full of celestial honey, I then said: “Here I am. I am coming. I am Yours. No one will have My body but You, My Lord, neither will My soul have any other love...” And while saying so, it seemed to Me that I was saying over again things already said and that I was fulfilling a rite already fulfilled, and the chosen Spouse was not a stranger to Me, because I already knew His ardour and My sight had been formed at His light and My capacity for loving had been fulfilled in His embrace... When? I do not know. Beyond life, I would say, because I feel I always had Him, and that He always had Me, and that I exist because He wanted Me for the joy of His Spirit and Mine... Now I obey you, o Priest. But please tell Me how I am to behave... I have neither father nor mother. Please be My guide. »
« God will give You Your husband and he will be a holy man, because You have entrusted Yourself to God. You will tell him Your vow. »
« And will he agree? »
« I hope so. Pray, my child, that he may understand Your heart. Go now. May God always accompany You.»
Mary withdraws with Anna. Zacharias stays with the High Priest. The vision ends thus.