28th January 1945.
I see Mary moving about the house, barefooted and active, at daybreak. In Her pale blue dress, She is like a butterfly lightly and noiselessly touching walls and other things. She goes to the front door and opens it carefully without making any sound, She leaves it half open, after having a look at the still deserted road. She tidies up, opens doors and windows, goes into the workshop, where She now keeps Her looms, since it was abandoned by the Carpenter, and bustles about also in there. She carefully covers one of the looms, where weaving has just begun and smiles at one of Her thoughts, while looking at it.
She goes out into the garden. The doves gather on Her shoulders. And with short flights, from one shoulder to the other, to have the best place, quarrelsome and jealous of Her love, they accompany Her to a closet where foodstuffs are stored. She takes some grain for them and says: « Here, stay here today. Don't make any noise. He is so tired! » She then takes some flour and goes into an anteroom near the stone oven and starts making the bread. She kneads it and smiles. Oh! How Mother smiles to-day. She is like the young Mother of the Nativity, so much joy has made Her young again. From the dough She takes a lump and puts it aside, covering it, and then resumes Her work, getting heated, while Her hair looks lighter in color as it becomes slightly powdered with flour.
Mary of Alphaeus comes in quietly. « Are You working already? »
« Yes, I am baking bread, and look: the honey cakes He likes so much. »
« You make the cakes. The dough is quite bulky. I'll work it for You. »
Mary of Alphaeus, a more robust country woman, works at the bread with enthusiasm, while Mary mixes butter and honey to the cakes. She makes many round shaped ones and places them on a metal plate.
« I do not know how to inform Judas… James does not dare… and the others… » Mary of Alphaeus sighs.
« Simon Peter is coming to-day. He always comes with the fish on the second day after the Sabbath. We will send him to Judas. »
« If he is willing to go… »
« Oh! Simon never says no to Me. »
« May peace be on this day of yours » says Jesus appearing.
The two women start hearing His voice.
« Are You already up? Why? I wanted You to sleep… »
« I slept like a child in its cradle, Mother. I am afraid You have not slept… »
« I watched You sleeping… I always did so when You were a baby. You always smiled in Your sleep and that smile of Yours remained all day long in My heart like a pearl… But last night, Son, You were not smiling. You kept sighing as one who is afflicted… » Mary, sore at heart, looks at Him.
« I was tired, Mother. The world is not like this house, where everything is honesty and love. You… You know Who I am and can thus understand what it is for Me to be in touch with the world. It is like walking along a foul muddy road. Even if a man is careful, he will get splashed with mud and the stench will penetrate him, even if he endeavors not to breathe… and if he is a man who loves cleanliness and pure air, You can imagine how troublesome it is… »
« Yes, Son, I understand. But it grieves Me that You should suffer… »
« Now I am with You and I do not suffer. There is only the memory… But it serves to increase the joy of being with You. » And Jesus bends down to kiss His Mother.
He caresses also the other Mary, who has just come in all flushed, after lighting the oven fire.
« We will have to inform Judas. » It is the worry of Mary of Alphaeus.
« It is not necessary. Judas will be here, to-day. »
« How do You know? »
Jesus smiles and is silent.
« Son, every week, this day, Simon Peter comes. He comes to bring the fish caught early in the night. And he arrives here shortly after daybreak. He will be happy today. Simon is good. He always helps us, while he is here. Does he not, Mary? »
« Simon Peter is honest and good » says Jesus. « But also the other Simon whom You will see shortly, is a kind-hearted man. I am going to meet them. They must be about to arrive. »
And Jesus goes out whilst the women, after putting the bread into the oven, go into the house, where Mary puts on Her sandals and then comes back wearing a snow-white linen dress.
Some time goes by and while waiting, Mary of Alphaeus says: « You did not have time to finish that work. »
« It will soon be finished. And My Jesus will have the relief of shade without having His head burdened. »
The door is pushed from outside. « Mother: here are My friends. Come in. »
The disciples and shepherds go in all together. Jesus is holding by their shoulders the two shepherds and He leads them towards His Mother: « Here are two sons looking for a mother. Be their joy, Woman. »
« You are welcome… You?… Levi… You? I do not know, but according to your age, as He told Me, you must be Joseph. That name is sweet and sacred in this house. Come, come. It is with joy that I say to you: My house welcomes you and a Mother embraces you, in remembrance of the love you in your father had for My Child. »
The shepherds seem spellbound, they are so enraptured.
« Yes, I am Mary. You saw the happy Mother. I am still the same. Also now I am happy seeing My Son among faithful hearts. »
« And this is Simon, Mother. »
« You deserved the grace because you are good. I know. And may the grace of God be always with you. »
Simon, who is more experienced in the customs of the world, bows down to the ground, his arms crossed over his chest, and says: « I salute You, true Mother of Grace and now that I have met both the Light and You, Who are more gentle than the moon, I will not ask the Eternal Father for anything else. »
« And this is Judas of Kerioth. »
« I have a mother but my love for her fades away, compared to the veneration I feel for You. »
« No, not for Me. For Him. I am, only because He is. I want nothing for Myself. I only ask for Him. I know how you honored My Son in your town. But I say to you: let your heart be the place where He receives the highest honor from you. Then I will bless you with a motherly heart. »
« My heart is under the heel of your Son. A happy oppression. Only death will undo my loyalty. »
« And this is our John, Mother. »
« I have not been worried ever since I knew you were with My Jesus. I know you and My mind is at peace when I know that you are with My Son. I bless you, My peace. » She kisses him. Peter’s harsh voice is heard from outside: « Here is poor Simon bringing his greetings and… » He has come in and is dumbfounded.
He then throws on to the floor the round basket which was hanging from his shoulder and he throws himself on his knees saying: « Ah! Eternal Lord! But… No, You should not have done that to me, Master! You were here… and did not let poor Simon know! May God bless You, Master! How happy I am! I could not bear to be without You any longer! » And he caresses Jesus' hand without listening to Him Who keeps repeating: « Get up, Simon. Will you get up? »
« Yes, I will get up. But… Hey, you, boy! (the boy is John) At least you could have come to tell me! Now run quick. Go to Capernaum and tell the others… and Judas' household first of all. Your son is about to arrive, woman. Be quick. Just imagine that you are a hare chased by dogs. » John leaves laughing.
Peter has got up at last. He is still holding Jesus' thin hand in his short thickset ones, marked by swollen veins, and he kisses it without letting it go, although he appears to be anxious to hand over the fish, which is in the basket on the floor. « Eh! no. I don't want You to go away again without me. Never again, never again such a long time without seeing You! I will follow You as a shadow follows a body and the rope follows the anchor. Where have You been, Master? I kept wondering: “Oh! Where will He be? What will He be doing? And will that boy, John, be able to look after Him? Will he make sure that Jesus does not get too tired? That He is not left without food?” Eh! I know You… You have lost weight! Yes, You have. He did not take proper care of You! I will tell him that… But where have You been, Master? You are not telling me anything! »
« I am waiting for you to give Me a chance to say one word! »
« It's true. But… Ah! To see You is like having a new wine. It goes to your head just with its smell. Oh! My Jesus. » Peter is almost in tears out of Joy.
« I also missed you. I missed you all, although I was with dear friends. Here, Peter. These two men have loved Me since I was a New-Born Baby. Even more! They have suffered because of Me. Here is a son who lost his father and mother on account of Me. But now he has so many brothers in you all, has he not? »
« Of course, Master. If by chance, the Devil should love You, I would love him because he loves You. I see that you are poor, too. So we are equal. Come here that I may kiss you. I am a fisherman but my heart is more tender than a dove's. And it is sincere. Don't pay attention if I am rough. I am hard outside. Inside I am all butter and honey. But with good people… because with evil ones… »
« And this is the new disciple. »
« I think I have already met him… »
« Yes, he is Judas of Kerioth, and Your Jesus was made welcome in that town because of him. I ask you to love each other, even if you are from different regions. You are all brothers in the Lord. »
« And I will treat him as such, if he will be such. Eh! Yes… (Peter stares at Judas, a frank warning glance), yes, I may as well say so, so you will understand me at once and properly. I will tell you: I do not think much of Judaeans in general, and of the citizens of Jerusalem in particular. But I am honest. And upon my honesty I can assure you that I will put aside all the ideas I have of you, and that I want to see in you only a brother disciple. It is up to you now not to make me change my mind and my decision. »
« Have you such preconceived ideas, Simon, also with regard to me? » asks the Zealot smiling.
« Oh! I had not seen you. With regard to you? Oh! no. Honesty is painted on your face. Goodness comes from your heart, like sweet smelling oil from a porous vase. And you are an elderly man, which is not always a merit. Some times, the older one gets, the more false and worse one becomes. But you are one of those who behave like vintage wines. The older they get, the better and purer they become. »
« You have judged correctly, Peter » says Jesus. « Now come. While the women are working for us, let us stop under the cool bower. How lovely it is to be with friends! We will then go all together through Galilee and farther. Well, not all. Now that Levi is satisfied, he will go back to Elias to tell him that Mary sends him Her greetings. Is that all right, Mother? »
« That I bless him, as well as Isaac and the others. My Son has promised to take Me along with Him… and I will come to you, the first friends of My Child. »
« Master, I would like Levi to take to Lazarus the letter You know about. »
« Have it ready, Simon. Today is a full feast day. Levi will go away tomorrow evening. In time to be there before the Sabbath. Come, My friends… »
They go into the green kitchen garden and it all ends.