29th October 1944.
« Come, little John, and see. Held by My hand which will lead you, come back to the years of My childhood. And what you see will have to be included in the Gospel of My boyhood, where I want also the vision of the Family's stay in Egypt to be put. You will put them in this order: the Family in Egypt, then the first working lesson given to the Child Jesus, then this one which you are about to describe, the scene of My majority (promised today, 25th November), lastly the vision of Jesus among the doctors in the Temple at His twelfth Feast of Passover. What you are now going to see is not without a reason. On the contrary it enlightens details of My early years and relationship among relatives. And it is a present for you, in the feast of My Regality, as you feel the peace of the house in Nazareth being transfused into you whenever you see it. Write. »
I see the room where they usually take their meals and where Mary works at Her loom or needlework. The room is near Joseph's workshop and I can hear the sound of his working. Here instead there is silence. Mary is sewing some strips of wool which She has certainly woven Herself; they are about a metre and a half wide and twice as long and I think they will be used to make a mantle for Joseph.
From the door which opens onto the kitchen garden, ruffled hedges of little daisies can be seen; their color is violet blue and they are commonly called « Maries » or « starry Sky ». I do not know their botanical name. They are in full bloom and consequently it must be autumn. But the green is still thick and beautiful on the plants and from two beehives leaning against a sunny wall, bees are flying in the bright sunshine buzzing and dancing, going from a fig-tree to the vines, and then to a pomegranate-tree full of its round fruits, some of which have already burst from excessive growth and show the strings of juicy rubies, lined up inside the green-red casket divided into yellow sections.
Jesus is playing under the trees with two children who are about His own age. They have curly hair, but they are not blond. One, on the contrary, is very dark: a little head of a little black lamb which makes the skin of his little round face look even whiter, and two most beautiful large, wide open blue violet eyes. The other is less curly and his hair is dark brown, his eyes are brown and his complexion darker, but with a pinkish hue on his cheeks. Jesus' little blond head looks like a blaze of light. They are playing in perfect harmony with some little carts on which there are… various articles: leaves, little stones, wood shavings, little pieces of wood. They must be playing at shops, and Jesus is the one who buys things for His Mummy, to Whom He takes now one thing, then another one. Mary accepts all the purchases with a smile.
Then the game changes. One of the two children proposes: « Let us play at the Exodus from Egypt. Jesus will be Moses, I will be Aaron, and you… Mary. »
« But I am a boy! »
« It does not matter. It's just 'the same. You are Mary, and you shall dance before the golden calf, and the golden calf is that beehive over there. »
« I'm not going to dance. I am a man and I do not want to be a woman. I bin a faithful believer and I am not going to dance before an idol. »
Jesus interrupts them: « Don't let us play that part. Let us play this other one: when Joshua is elected Moses' successor. So there will be no terrible sin of idolatry and Judas will be happy to be a man and My successor. Are you happy? »
« Yes I am, Jesus. But then You will have to die, because Moses dies afterwards. But I do not want You to die; You have always been so fond of me. »
« Everybody dies… but before dying I shall bless Israel, and since you are the only ones here, I shall bless the whole of Israel in you. »
They agree. Then there is an argument: whether the people of Israel, after so much travelling, still had the same carts which they had when leaving Egypt. There is a difference of opinion.
They apply to Mary. « Mummy, I say that the Israelites still had the carts. James says they didn't. Judas does not know who is right. Do you know? »
« Yes, My Son. The nomadic people still had their carts. They repaired them when they stopped to rest. The weaker people travelled in them and also the foodstuffs, and the many things which were necessary for so many people were loaded into them. With the exception of the Ark, which was carried by hand, everything else was on the carts. »
The question is now solved. The children go down to the bottom of the orchard and from there, singing psalms, they come towards the house. Jesus is in front and He is singing some psalms in His gentle silvery voice. Behind Him, there come Judas and James holding a little cart which has been elevated to the rank of Tabernacle. But since they have to play also the part of the people, in addition to Aaron's and Joshua's, with their belts they have tied to their feet other miniature carts, and thus they proceed very seriously as if they were real actors.
They cover the whole length of the pergola, they pass in front of the door of Mary's room and Jesus says: « Mummy, hail the Ark when it passes by. » Mary stands up smiling, and She bows to Her Son Who passes by, radiant in the bright sunshine.
Then Jesus clambers up the side of the mountain that forms the boundary of the house, or rather the garden; He stands up straight on top of the little grotto, and speaks to… Israel. He repeats the orders and the promises of God, He appoints Joshua as the leader, calls him, and then Judas in his turn climbs up the cliff. He encourages and blesses him. He then asks for a… tablet (it is a large fig leaf) and He writes the canticle and reads it. It is not quite complete, but contains a large part of it, and He seems to be reading it from the leaf. He then dismisses Joshua who embraces Him crying, and He then climbs further up, right up to the edge of the cliff. And from there He blesses the whole of Israel, that is the two who are prostrated on the ground, He then lies down on the short grass, closes His eyes and… dies.
Mary, who has been watching from the doorstep smiling, when She sees Him lying still on the ground shouts: « Jesus, Jesus! Get up! Don't lie down like that! Your Mummy does not want to see You dead! »
Jesus gets up smiling, runs towards Her, and kisses Her. Also James and Judas come. They also receive Mary's caresses.
« How can Jesus remember that canticle which is so long and difficult and all those blessings? » asks James.
Mary smiles and answers: « His memory is very good and He pays a lot of attention when I read. »
« I too, at school, pay attention. But then I get sleepy with all the hubbub… shall I never learn then? »
« You will learn, be good. »
There is a knock at the door. Joseph walks quickly across the orchard and the room and opens it.
« Peace to you, Alphaeus and Mary! »
« And to you, and blessings. »
It is Joseph's brother with his wife. A rustic cart, drawn by a strong donkey, is outside in the street.
« Did you have a good trip? »
« Very good. And the children? »
« They are in the garden with Mary. »
But the children have already come to greet their mother. Also Mary comes, holding Jesus by the hand. The two sisters-in-law kiss each other.
« Have they been good? »
« Very good, and very dear. Are the relatives all well? »
« Yes they all are. They send You their regards, and they have sent You many presents from Cana. Grapes, apples, cheese, eggs, honey. And… Joseph? I have found just what you wanted for Jesus. It is on the cart, in the round basket. » Alphaeus' wife smiles. She bends over Jesus Who is looking at her with His eyes wide open, she kisses Him on those two strips of blue sky and says: « Do you know what I have for you? Guess. »
Jesus thinks, but He cannot guess. I doubt whether He does it deliberately, to give Joseph the joy of giving Him a surprise. Joseph in fact comes in, carrying a large round basket. He lays it down on the floor in front of Jesus, unties the rope which is holding the lid on, he lifts it… and a little white sheep, a real flock of foam, appears sleeping in the very clean hay.
Jesus utters an « Oh! » of surprise and happiness and He is about to rush towards the little animal, but then He turns round and runs to Joseph, who is still bent down as before, He embraces him, and kisses him, thanking him.
The two little cousins look with admiration at the little creature, which is now awake and is lifting its little rosy head bleating, looking for its mother. They take it out of the basket, they offer it a handful of clover. It browses while looking around with its mild eyes.
Jesus continues saying, « For me! For me! Thank you, father! »
« Do you like it so much! »
« Oh! Very much! White, clean… a little lamb… Oh! » and He throws His little arms round the sheep's neck, He lays His blond head on its little head and remains thus, happy.
« I brought two, also for you » says Alphaeus to his sons. « But they are dark. You are not quite so tidy as Jesus and your sheep would always be untidy, if they were white. They will be your herd, you will keep them together and so you will no longer be loitering in the streets, you two little rascals, throwing stones at each other. »
The children run to the cart and look at the other two little animals which are more black than white. Jesus has stayed behind with His sheep. He takes it into the garden, gives it water to drink and the little pet follows Him as if it had known Him forever. Jesus beckons it. He calls it « Snow » and the little lamb replies bleating happily.
The guests are sitting at the table and Mary offers them bread, olives and cheese. She also puts a jug on the table with cider or water sweetened with honey, I do not know exactly which, I see that it is a very pale color.
They speak while the children are playing with the three little animals that Jesus wanted gathered together so that He can give water and a name also to the others. « Yours, Judas, will be called “Star” because it has that mark on its forehead. And the name of yours will be “Flame” because it has the blazing colors of certain withering heathers. »
« Agreed. »
The elder people are talking and Alphaeus says: « I hope I have solved the matter of the boys' quarrels. I got the idea from your request, Joseph. I said to myself: “My brother wants a little sheep for Jesus, that He may have something to play with. I will get two, also for those naughty boys, to keep them quiet a little, and avoid continuous arguments with other parents with regard to bruised heads and skinned knees. What with the school and what with the sheep, I will manage to keep them quiet.” But this year You also will have to send Jesus to school. It is time. »
« I will never send Jesus to school » says Mary resolutely. It is most unusual to hear Her talk thus and above all to hear Her talk before Joseph.
« Why? The Child must learn to be ready in good time to pass His exam when He comes of age… »
« The Child will be ready. But He will not go to school. That is quite definite. »
« You will be the only woman in Israel to do that. »
« I will be the only one. But that is what I am going to do. Isn't that right, Joseph? »
« Yes, that's correct. There is no need for Jesus to go to school. Mary was brought up in the Temple, and She knows the Law as well as any doctor. She will be His Teacher. That's what I want, too. »
« You are spoiling the Boy. »
« You cannot say that. He is the best boy in Nazareth. Have you ever heard Him cry, or be naughty, or be disobedient, or lack respect? »
« No. That's true. But He will do all that if You continue to spoil Him. »
« You do not necessarily spoil your children just because you keep them at home. To keep them at home implies loving them with good common sense and wholeheartedly. And that is how we love our Jesus, and since Mary is better educated than a teacher, She will be Jesus' Teacher. »
« And when Your Jesus is a Man, He will be like a silly little woman frightened even of flies. »
« He will not. Mary is a strong woman, and She will give Him a manly education. I am not a coward, and I can give Him man-like examples. Jesus is a creature without any physical or moral faults. He will grow, therefore, upright and strong, both in His body and in His spirit. You can be sure of that, Alphaeus. He will not be a disgrace to the family. In any case, that is what I have decided, and that is all. »
« Perhaps Mary has decided, and you… »
« And if it were so? Is it not fair that two, who love each other, should have the same thoughts and the same wishes, so that each may accept the wishes of the other as if they were his own? If Mary should wish silly things, I would say to Her: “No.” But She is asking for something which is full of wisdom, and I agree, and I make it my own. We love each other, we do as we did the first day, and we shall go on doing so as long as we live. Is that right, Mary? »
« Yes, Joseph. And let us hope it will never happen, but when one should die without the other, we will still go on loving each other. »
Joseph pats Mary on the head as if She were a young daughter and She looks at him with Her serene loving eyes.
Her sister-in-law interferes: « You are quite right. I wish I could teach! Our children at school learn evil and good. At home they only learn what is good. But I do not know whether… if Mary… »
« What is it you want, My dear sister-in-law? Speak freely. You know that I love you and I am happy when I can do something that pleases you. »
« I was thinking… James and Judas are only a little older than Jesus. They are already going to school… for what they have learned!… Jesus instead already knows the Law so well… I would like… eh, I mean, if I asked You to take them as well, when You teach Jesus? I think they would behave better and be better educated. After all, they are cousins, and it is only fair that they should love one another like brothers. Oh! I would be so happy! »
« If Joseph wants, and your husband agrees, I am quite willing. It is the same to speak to one as to speak to three. And it is a joy to go through the whole Bible. Let them come. »
The three children, who have come in very quietly, are listening and are awaiting the final decision.
« They will drive You to despair, Mary » says Alphaeus.
« No! They are always good with Me. You will be good if I teach you, will you not? »
The two boys move near Mary, one on Her left side, the other on Her right, they place their arms around Her shoulders, they lean their little heads on Her shoulders, and they promise all the good in the world.
« Let them try, Alphaeus, and let Me try. I am sure you will not be dissatisfied with the test. They can come every day from the sixth hour until evening. It will be enough, believe Me. I know how to teach without tiring them. You must hold their attention and let them relax at the same time. You must understand them, love them, and be loved by them, if you wish to get good results. And you will love Me, will you not? »
Two big kisses are the answer.
« See? »
« I see. I can only say: “Thank You.” And what will Jesus say, when He sees His Mummy busy with others? What do you say, Jesus? »
« I say: “Happy those who listen to Her and build their dwelling near Hers.” As for Wisdom, happy are those who are My Mother's friends, and I am happy that those whom I love are Her friends. »
« But who puts such words on the lips of the Child » Alphaeus asks, astonished.
« Nobody, brother. Nobody in this world ».
The vision ends here.
« And Mary was My teacher and the teacher of James and Judas. That is why we loved one another like brothers, not only because of our relationship, but for our science and the fact that we had grown up together, like three shoots supported by one pole only: My Mother. There was no other doctor in Israel like My sweet Mother. Seat of Wisdom, and of true Wisdom, She taught us for the world, and for Heaven. I say: “She taught us” because I was Her pupil exactly as My cousins. And the “seal” was kept on the secret of God against Satan's investigations, and it was safeguarded by the appearance of a normal life. Did you enjoy this sweet scene? Now be in peace. Jesus is with you. »