7th February 1946.
« It is getting dark, where are we going?» the apostles ask one another. They are talking in low voices of what happened. They are not saying anything loud, as they do not want to depress the Master, Who is clearly very pensive.
Night falls while they proceed, following the Master Who is still very serious. A village appears at the foot of a chain of very rough mountains.
« Let us stop here for the night» orders Jesus. « Or rather, you stop here. I will go up those mountains to pray...»
« By Yourself? Ah! no! You are not going by Yourself up Mount Adomin! With all those thieves who are lying in wait for You, no, You are not going!...» says Peter quite firmly.
« What can they do to Me? I have nothing!»
« You have... Yourself. I am talking of the real thieves, of those who hate You. And Your life is quite enough for them. You are not going to be killed like... like... thus, I mean, in a cowardly ambush. You would give Your enemies the opportunity to invent goodness knows what story to divert the crowds also from Your doctrine» insists Peter.
« Simon of Jonah is right; Master. They would be quite capable of getting rid of Your body and then saying that You have fled because You had realised that You had been unmasked. Or... they could even take You to places of evil fame, to the house of a prostitute, and then say. “See where and how He died? In a quarrel over a prostitute.” You quite rightly said: “To persecute a doctrine is to increase its power” and I noticed that Gamaliel's son, whose sight I never lost, was nodding assent while You were saying so. But it is also right to say that to hold a saint and his doctrine up to ridicule is the safest weapon to confute his doctrine and make him lose the esteem of the crowds» says Judas Thaddeus.
« Of course. And that must not happen to You» concludes Bartholomew.
« Don't lend Yourself to the tricks of Your enemies. Consider that not only You would be damaged, but also the Will of Him Who sent You would be made void by such imprudence, and one would see that the children of Darkness have defeated, at least temporarily, the children of Light» adds the Zealot.
« That's right! You always say, and You pierce our hearts, that You will be killed. I remember when You reproached Simon Peter and I will not say to You: “Let that never happen.” But I do not think that I am Satan if I say: “At least let that be to Your glorification, as unequivocal seal of Your Holiness, and definite conviction of Your enemies. So that the crowds may know and have valid reasons to distinguish and believe.” At least that, Master. The holy mission of the Maccabees never appeared so holy as when Judas, the son of Mattathias, died as a hero and saviour in the battlefield. Do You want to go up Mount Adomin? We will come with You. We are Your disciples! Where You go as our Head, we will come as Your ministers» says Thomas, and I have seldom heard him speak with such solemn eloquence.
« That is very true! And if they attack You, they will have to attack us first» several of them say.
« Oh! They will not attack us so easily! They are curing the smart of Claudia's words and... they are very... too cunning! They must certainly consider that Pontius would know whom to punish for Your death. They have betrayed themselves in the eyes of Claudia and they will ponder over that and think of traps more reliable than vulgar aggression. Perhaps it is foolish of us to be afraid. We are no longer the poor unknown people of the past. There is Claudia now!» says the Iscariot.
« Very well... But don't let us run any risk. What do You want to do on Mount Adomin?» asks James of Zebedee.
« I want to pray and find a place where you can all pray in the next days, to be ready for fresh fiercer and fiercer struggles.»
« Against our enemies?»
« Also against our egos. I am in great need of being fortified.»
« But did You not say that You wanted to go to the borders of Judaea and beyond the Jordan?»
« Yes, and I will. But after praying. I will go to Achor and then to Jericho via Doco.»
« No, Lord! They are inauspicious places for the saints of Israel. Don't go there. I tell You, I can feel it! There is something within me that tells me. Don't go! In the name of God, don't go!» shouts John, who seems to be on the point of losing consciousness, as if he were seized by ecstatic fear... They all look at him in amazement, as they have never seen him thus before. But no one sneers at him. They all feel that they are in the presence of a supernatural fact and they respectfully remain silent.
Jesus also is silent until He sees John regain his normal composure and hears him say: « O my Lord! How much I suffered!»
« I know. We shall go to Mount Cherith. What does your spirit say?» I am deeply impressed by the respect with which Jesus addresses His inspired apostle...
« You are asking me, Lord? You, the Most Holy Wisdom, are asking a poor foolish boy!»
« Yes, I am asking you. The least is the greatest when he humbly communicates with his Lord for the welfare of his brothers. Tell Me.»
« Yes, Lord. Let us go to Mount Cherith. There are gorges there where we can safely collect our thoughts in meditation, and the roads to Jericho and Samaria are not far. We will descend the mountain to gather those who love You and hope in You and we will bring them to You, or take You to them, and we will also nourish our souls with prayer... And the Lord will descend and speak to our spirits... and will open our ears, which hear the Word but do not fully understand Him... and above all will inflame our hearts with His fire. Because only if we are aflame, shall we be able to bear the torments of the Earth. Because only if we first suffer the sweet martyrdom of total love, shall we be ready to suffer the torture of human hatred... Lord... what have I said?»
« My words, John. Be not afraid. Let us stop here then, and tomorrow at dawn we will go up the mountains.»