5th July 1945.
The news that Eliza has convinced herself that she should get rid of her tragic melancholy must have spread through the village, so much so that when Jesus, followed by His apostles and disciples goes towards the house, crossing the village, many people watch Him carefully. They also ask the various shepherds questions about Him, why He came, about those who are with Him, about the boy, the women, the medicine He gave Eliza to relieve her of the darkness of insanity so quickly as soon as He arrived, about what He is going to do or say... And who wishes to ask more questions, may do so...
The last question is: « Could we not come as well? » to which the shepherds reply: « That we do not know. You ought to ask the Master. Go and ask Him. »
« And if He should ill-treat us? »
« He does not ill-treat even sinners. Go. He will be pleased. »
A group of people, mainly elderly men and women, of the same age as Eliza, consult one another and then move forward approaching Jesus Who is speaking to Peter and Bartholomew, and rather hesitantly they call Him: « Master... »
« What do you want? » asks Bartholomew.
« To speak to the Master, to ask... »
« May peace come to you. What questions do you wish to ask Me? »
They take heart seeing Jesus smile and say: « We are all friends of Eliza, and of her house. We heard that she has been cured. We would like to see her and hear You. Can we come? »
« You can come certainly to hear Me. To see her, no, My dear friends. Mortify your friendship and also your curiosity. Because it is also curiosity. Have respect for a deep grief which is not to be disturbed. »
« But has she not recovered? »
« She is turning towards the Light. But when night comes to an end, is it suddenly midday? And when you light a fire, is the flame bright at once? The same applies to Eliza. And if a sudden gust of wind blows on the little starting flame, does it not put it out? Use discretion therefore. The woman is one big sore. Also friendship might irritate her because she needs rest, silence, and solitude, not tragic as yesterday's, but a resigned solitude to find herself once again... »
« So, when shall we see her? »
« Sooner than you think. Because she is now on the path to health. But if you knew what it means to come out of that darkness! It is worse than death. And who comes out of it, after all, is ashamed of having been there and that the world should know. »
« Are you a doctor? »
« I am the Master. »
They have reached the house. Jesus speaks to the shepherds:« Go into the yard. Who wishes to come with you, may do so. But no one must make any noise or go beyond the yard. Will you watch as well » He says to the apostles, « that everybody complies. And you (He speaks to Salome and Mary of Alphaeus) watch that the boy does not make any noise. Goodbye. » And He knocks at the door while the others turn the corner along a narrow street and go where they were told.
The maidservant opens the door. Jesus goes in while the servant repeatedly bows to Him.
« Where is your mistress? »
« With Your Mother... and, just imagine! she has come down into the garden! How wonderful! How wonderful! And yesterday evening she came into the dining room... She was weeping, but she came. I would have liked her to take some food, instead of the usual drop of milk, but I was not successful! »
« She will take it. Do not insist. Be patient also in your love for your mistress. »
« Yes, my Saviour. I will do everything You tell me. »
I think, in fact, that if Jesus told the woman to do the strangest things, she would do them without discussing, because she is so convinced that Jesus is Jesus and that everything He does is right. In the meantime she takes Him into a large kitchen garden, full of fruit-trees and of flowers. But if the fruit-trees have begun by themselves to come into leaf and blossom, to set the fruit and make them grow, the poor flower plants, neglected for over a whole year, have become a miniature forest, which is so entangled that the weaker and lower plants are suffocated beneath the weight of the stronger ones. Flower-beds and paths no longer exist as they have become one chaotic tangle. There is some order only at the end of the garden where the maidservant has sown salads and legumes for her own use.
Mary is, with Eliza under a very ruffled pergola, the shoots and tendrils of which reach down to the ground. Jesus stops and looks at His young Mother, Who with most refined art awakes and directs Eliza's mind to things completely different from what up to yesterday were the thoughts of the afflicted woman. The servant approaches her mistress and says: « The Saviour has come. »
The women turn round and come towards Him, one with Her sweet smile, the other looking tired and bewildered.
« Peace be with you. This garden is beautiful... »
« It was beautiful... » says Eliza.
« And the soil is fertile. Look how much beautiful fruit is about to ripen! And how many flowers on the rose bushes! And over there? Are they lilies? »
« Yes, they are, round a fountain where my children used to play so much. But then it was tidy... Now everything is ruined here. And it no longer seems the garden of my sons. »
« In a few days it will be as it was before. I will help you. Is that right, Jesus? You will leave Me here for a few days with Eliza. We have so much to do... » says Mary.
« What You want, I want. »
Eliza looks at Him and whispers: « Thank You. »
Jesus caresses her white hair and then takes His leave to go to the shepherds.
The women remain in the garden, but shortly afterwards, when Jesus's voice greeting the people present is heard in the calm air, Eliza, as if she were attracted by an irresistible force, goes slowly up to a very tall hedge beyond which is the yard.
Jesus speaks first to the three shepherds. He is close to the hedge, and in front of Him there are the apostles and the citizens of Bethzur who followed Him. The Maries with the boy are sitting in a corner. Jesus says: « But are you bound by contract or can you free yourselves from your commitment any time? »
« Well, we are really free servants. But we do not think that it is right to leave him at once, now that the flocks demand so much attention and it is difficult to find shepherds. »
« No, it is not fair. But it is not necessary to do it at once. I am telling you in good time, so that you may provide in all fairness. I want you to be free. To join the disciples and help Me... »
« Oh! Master!... » The three men are thrown into ecstasies for joy. « But will we be able? » they ask.
« I have no doubt about it. So that is settled. As soon as you can do it, you will join Isaac. »
« Yes, Master. »
« You may go among the rest. I will speak a few words to the people. »
And leaving the shepherds He addresses the crowd.
« Peace be with you. Yesterday I heard two unfortunate persons speak. One at the dawn of life; the other at its decline: two souls bewailing their distress. And I wept in My heart with them, seeing how much sorrow there is on the earth, and how only God can relieve it. God! The exact knowledge of God, of His great infinite bounty, of His constant presence, of His promises. I saw how one man can be tortured by another one and how death can drive him to desolation, on which Satan works to increase his grief and cause ruin. I then said to Myself: “The children of God must not suffer such tortures. Let us grant the knowledge of God to those who ignore it, let us give it once again to those who have forgotten it in the storm of sorrow.” But I also saw that I am no longer sufficient by Myself for the infinite needs of My brothers. And I have decided to call many, in greater and greater numbers, so that all those who need the comfort of the knowledge of God may have it.
These twelve apostles are the first. As My representatives they can lead to Me, and therefore to comfort, all those who are bent under too heavy a burden of sorrow. I solemnly tell you: Come to Me, all of you who are afflicted, disgusted, broken-hearted, tired, and I will share your grief with you and give you peace. Come, through My apostles, disciples and women disciples, who are increasing every day with new people full of good will. You will find comfort in your grief, company in your solitude, the love of your brothers to make you forget the hatred of the world, you will find, above all, the supreme comforter, the perfect companion, the love of God. You will no longer doubt anything. You will no longer say: “Everything has come to an end for me!” But you will say: “Everything begins for me in a supernatural world, which abolishes distances and cancels separations”, so that orphans will be reunited to their parents who have risen to Abraham's bosom, and fathers and mothers, wives and widows will find their lost children and husbands.
In this land of Judaea, still near Bethlehem of Naomi, I remind you that love relieves pain and gives joy. Consider, you who are weeping, Naomi's desolation when her house was left without men. Listen to the words of her down-hearted dismissal of Orpah and Ruth: “Go back, each of you, to her mother's house. May the Lord be kind to you as you have been to those who have died and to me... Listen to her weary insistence. She who once had been the beautiful Naomi and now was the tragic Naomi, crushed by grief, did not hope for anything else in life. She only wished to go and die in the place where she had been happy in the days of her youth with the love of her husband and the kisses of her children. She said: “Go, go. It is useless to come with me... I am as good as dead... My life is no longer here, but there, in the next world, where they are. Do not sacrifice your lives any longer beside a dying thing. Because I really am 'a thing'. I am indifferent to everything. God has taken everything away from me... I am bitter grief. And I would grieve you... and that would weigh sorely on my heart. And the Lord would ask me to account for that, He Who has already struck me so hard, because it would be selfishness to keep you, alive, near me, dead. Go to your mothers... But Ruth stayed to support the sorrowful old woman.
Ruth had understood that there are sorrows which are always greater than one's own and that her grief of a young widow was lighter than the woman's who had lost her husband and two sons; as the grief of an orphan boy, who is compelled to live begging, without caresses, without good advice, is by far greater than the deep sorrow of a mother bereft of her children; likewise the keen regret of him who, for a number of reasons, goes as far as to hate mankind and see in every man an enemy whom he must fear and against whom he must defend himself, is even greater than other sorrows, because it involves not only flesh, blood and mentality, but the soul with its supernatural duties and rights and drives it to perdition. How many childless mothers there are in the world for motherless children! How many childless widows there are who could be compassionate towards solitary old aged people! How many there are, who, having been deprived of every love so that they may devote themselves entirely to the unhappy, could fight hatred with their need to love and thus give love to unhappy Mankind, which suffers more and more because it hates more and more!
Sorrow is a cross, but it is also a wing. Mourning divests to reclothe. Rise, you who are weeping! Open your eyes, get rid of nightmares, of darkness, of selfishness! Look... The world is the barren land where one weeps and dies. And the world shouts: “help” through the mouths of orphans, of sick, lonely, doubtful people, through the mouths of those who are made prisoners of hatred by treason or cruelty. Go among those who are shouting. Forget yourselves among those who are forgotten! Recover your health among those who are sick! Be hopeful among those who are despairing! The world is open to those willing to serve God in their neighbour and to gain Heaven: to be united to God and to those whom we mourn. The gymnasium is here. The triumph there. Come. Imitate Ruth in all your sorrows. Say with her: “I will be with you until I die.” And even if those misfortunes, which consider themselves incurable, should reply to you: “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for God has marred me bitterly” you must persist. And I solemnly tell you that those misfortunes one day, because of your persisting, will exclaim: “Blessed be the Lord Who relieved me of my bitterness, desolation and solitude, by means of a creature who knew how to make his sorrow bear good fruit. May God bless him because he is my saviour.”
Remember that Ruth's kindness to Naomi gave the Messiah to the world, because the Messiah descends from David, as David descended from Jesse, Jesse from Obed, Obed from Boaz, Boaz from Salmon, Salmon from Nahshon, Nahshon from Amminadab, Amminadab from Ram, Ram from Hezron, Hezron from Perez, and they populated the fields of Bethlehem preparing the ancestors of the Lord. Every good deed is the origin of great things, which you do not even imagine. And the effort man makes against his own selfishness can cause such a wave of love, capable of rising higher and higher, supporting in its limpidity him who caused it, until it lifts him to the feet of the altar, to the heart of God.
May God grant you peace. »
And Jesus, without going back into the garden through the little door built in the hedge, watches that no one goes near the hedge, from the other side of which comes a long weeping... Only when all the people of Bethzur have gone away, He departs with His apostles without disturbing those beneficial tears...