15th October 1945.
It is a dark, cold, windy December evening. Apart from the leaves torn off the trees which still have a few, and which rustle blown by a whistling wind, there is no other noise in the streets of Nazareth, which is as dark as a dead city. No light or noise filters through the bolted doors. It is really a horrible evening.
And yet, the Lamb of God is walking through the deserted streets of Nazareth, on His way home. A tall dark shadow in a dark tunic, He almost vanishes in the dark, starless night and His step is just a rustling noise when He treads on a heap of dry leaves, which the wind has laid on the ground, after whirling them around, and is ready to pick up again and blow elsewhere.
He arrives near the house of Mary Clopas. He stands for a moment undecided as to whether He should enter the garden and knock at the kitchen door or proceed... He proceeds without stopping. He is now in the little street where is His house. One can already see the tormented olive-trees swaying on the hillock against which the house is placed, dark shadows swaying against the black sky. He quickens His step and arrives at the door. He listens carefully. It is so easy to hear what is happening in that little house! If one presses against the door post, there are only a few inches of wood between the outside listener and the speaker within... And yet no voice is heard.
« It is late» He says with a sigh. « I will wait until dawn before knocking.»
But when He is about to go away, He hears the rhythmical noise of the loom. He smiles and says: « She is up and She is weaving. It is certainly She... That is Mother's rhythm.» I cannot see His face but I am sure that He is smiling because I can perceive a smile in His voice which was previously sad and now is cheerful.
He knocks. The noise stops for a moment, then there is the sound of a chair being pushed back, and finally the silvery voice asks: « Who is it?»
« It is I, Mother!»
« Son!» A loving cry of joy, even if uttered in a low voice. The noise of the bolt being withdrawn is heard, and the door opens letting out a golden flash into the dark night. Mary falls into Jesus' arms, on the door step, as if He could wait no longer to receive Her and She to throw Herself onto His heart.
« Son! My Son!» Kisses and the sweet words « Mother - Son»... They go in and the door is closed silently.
Mary explains in a low voice: « They are all sleeping. I was awake... Since Judas and James came back saying that You were following them, I have been staying up until late. Are You cold, Jesus? Of course You are, You are frozen. Come. I kept the fire lit. I will put a faggot on it and You will warm Yourself.» And She leads Him by the hand as if He were still the Child Jesus...
The flame shines brightly and crackles in the stirred hearth. Mary looks at Jesus Who holds His hands out to warm them. « How pale You are! You were not like that when we parted... You are becoming thinner and paler, My Child. Once Your complexion was like milk and roses, but now You look like old ivory. What has happened to You recently, Son? Still the Pharisees?»
« Yes... and other worries. But now I am happy, here with You, and I will be all right at once. This year we are celebrating the Dedication here, Mother! I will reach the perfect age here beside You. Are You glad?»
« Yes. But Your perfect age, My darling, is still remote... You are young, and with regard to Me, You are always My little Child. Here, the milk is warm. Will You drink it here or in the other room?»
« In the other room, Mother. I am warm now. I will drink it while You cover Your loom.»
They go back into the little room and Jesus sits on the chest near the table and drinks His milk. Mary looks at Him and smiles. She smiles even more when She takes Jesus' bag and puts it on a shelf. She smiles so much that Jesus asks: « What are You thinking of?»
« I was thinking that You have come just on the anniversary of our departure to Bethlehem... Also then there were bags and cases open or full of clothes and particularly of swaddling-clothes... for a Little One, Who might be born, I used to say to Joseph; Who was to be born, I said to Myself, in Bethlehem of Judah... I had hidden them in the bottom, because Joseph was afraid of that... He did not yet know that the birth of the Son of God would not be subject, both for Himself and for His Mother, to the common miseries of childbirth. He did not know... and he was afraid of being away from Nazareth with Me in that state. I was sure that I would be a Mother there... You exulted too much in My womb for the joy of Your oncoming Birthday, and of the Birthday of Redemption, so I could not be deceived. Angels whirled round the Lady Who carried You, My God... It was no longer the sublime Archangel, or My most sweet guardian Angel, as in the first months. Now choirs of angels darted from the Heaven of My God to My little Heaven: My womb, where You were... And I heard them sing and exchange brilliant words... words of anxiety to see You, God Incarnate... I heard them when, driven by love, they fled from Paradise to come and worship You, Love of the Father, concealed in My womb. And I endeavoured to learn their words... their songs... their ardour... But no human creature can repeat or have Heavenly things...»
Jesus listens to Her, He is sitting, She is standing near the table, dreaming as much as He is blissful... with one hand resting on the dark wood and the other pressed against Her heart... And Jesus lays His long darker hand on the little white, gentle, holy hand and presses it in His own... And when She becomes silent, almost regretting that She had not been able to learn the words, songs and ardour of the angels, Jesus says: « All the words of the angels, all their songs, all their ardour, could not have made Me happy on the earth, if I had not had Yours, Mother! You said and gave Me what they could not give Me. You did not learn from them, but they learned from You... Come here, Mother, beside Me and tell Me more... Not of the past... but of the present. What were You doing?»
« I was working...»
« I know. But at what? I am certain that You were overworking Yourself for Me. Let Me see...» Mary becomes redder than the cloth on the loom as Jesus gets up to look at it. « Purple? Who gave it to You?»
« Judas of Kerioth. I think that he got the fishermen of Sidon to give it to him. He wants Me to make a king's robe for You. Of course, I will make the robe for You. But You do not need purple to be a king.»
« Judas is more stubborn than a mule» is the only comment on the purple gift... He then asks His Mother: « And can You make a full robe with what he gave You?»
« Oh! no, Son! It can be used as a border of a tunic and mantle. But not more than that.»
« Very well. I understand why You are weaving it in low strips. Well... Mother: I like the idea. Keep those strips aside for Me and one day I will tell You to use them for a beautiful tunic. But there is plenty time. Do not tire Yourself.»
« I work when I am at Nazareth...»
« That is true... And what have the others done during this time?»
« They have improved their knowledge.»
« That is: You have improved their knowledge. What do You think of them?»
« Oh! They are very good. If I except You, I never had more diligent and kind pupils. I have also endeavoured to make John a little stronger. He is very ill. He will not live long...»
« I know. But it is a good thing for him. In any case, he wishes that himself. He spontaneously understood the value of suffering and of death. And what about Syntyche?»
« It is a pity to have to send her away. She is worth one hundred disciples because of her holiness and her capacity for understanding the supernatural.»
« I realise that. But I must do it.»
« What You do, Son, is always well done.»
« And the boy?»
« He is learning too. But he is very sad these days... He remembers the misfortune of a year ago... Oh! there is not much mirth here!... John and Syntyche sigh thinking of their departure from here, the boy weeps thinking of his dead mother...»
« And what about You?»
« I... You know, Son. There is no sunshine when You are away. There would not be even if the world did love You. But at least there would be a serene sky... Instead...»
« There is weeping. Poor Mother!... Have they asked You questions about John and Syntyche?»
« And who would ask Me? Mary of Alphaeus knows and is silent. Alphaeus of Sarah has already seen John and is not curious. He calls him “the disciple”.»
« And the others?»
« With the exception of Mary and Alphaeus, no one comes to see Me. Only a woman occasionally for some work or advice. But the men of Nazareth no longer cross My threshold.»
« Not even Joseph and Simon?»
« ... No... Simon sends Me oil, flour, olives, firewood, eggs... as if he wanted to be forgiven for not understanding You, and he wanted to speak through gifts. But he gives them to Mary, his mother, and he does not come here. In any case, if anyone came, they would only see Me, because Syntyche and John withdraw if someone knocks...»
« A very sad life.»
« Yes. And the boy suffers very much, so much so that Mary of Alphaeus now takes him with her when she does My shopping. But now we shall no longer be sad, My Jesus, because You are here!»
« I am here... Now let us go to bed. Bless Me, Mother, as You used to do when I was a little boy.»
« Bless Me, Son. I am Your disciple.» They kiss each other... They light another little lamp and go out to go and rest.