20th May 1946.
The Virgin is very tired when She sets foot again in Her little house. But She is very happy. And She looks at once for Her Jesus, Who is still working, in the last light of the dying day, at the stone oven door, which He is repairing. Simon opens the door to Her, and after greeting Her, he wisely withdraws into the workshop. I do not see Thomas. Perhaps he is out.
Jesus lays down His tools as soon as He sees His Mother, and goes towards Her cleaning His greasy hands (He is oiling hinges and latches to make them run smoothly) on His apron. Their reciprocal smiles seem to brighten up the kitchen garden where it is growing dark.
« Peace to You, Mother. »
« Peace to You, Son. »
« How tired You are! You have not rested... »
« I did, from dawn to sunset in Joseph's house... But if it had not been so warm, I would have left at once to come and tell You that Aurea is Yours. »
« Yes?! » The joyful surprise makes Jesus' face look even younger. It seems the face of a man about twenty years old, and as joy rids Him of the gravity which is generally on His face and in His gestures, He resembles even more His Mother, Who is always such a serene girl in Her deportment and looks.
« Yes, Jesus. And I achieved that without any effort. The lady agreed at once. She was moved admitting that she and her friends are too corrupt to educate a creature for God. Such a humble, sincere, true avowal! It is not easy to find people who admit they are faulty without being forced to do so. »
« No, it is not. Many in Israel are not capable. They are beautiful souls buried under a crust of filth. But when the filth falls off... »
« Will that happen, Son? »
« I am sure it will. They tend instinctively to Good. They will end up by adhering to it. What did she say? »
« Oh! Only a few words... We understood each other at once. But we had better have Aurea here at once. I want to tell her this, but only if You wish so, Son. »
« Yes, Mother. We will send Simon » and in a loud voice He calls Simon who comes immediately. « Simon, go to Simon of Alphaeus' house and tell him that My Mother is back, then come here with the girl and Thomas, who must be there finishing the little job which Salome asked him to do. »
Simon bows and goes away at once.
« Tell Me, Mother... Your journey... your conversation... Poor Mother, how tired You are because of Me! »
« Oh! no, Jesus! It is no trouble when You are happy... » and Mary tells Him about Her journey and Mary of Alphaeus' fears, their rest in the house of the boatman, the meeting with Valeria, and She concludes: « I preferred to see her at that time, since Heaven allowed it. She was freer, I was freer, and Mary of Clopas was comforted sooner, because she was terrified at the idea of two women being all alone in Tiberias and only her love for You and the thought of serving You overcame her terror... » and Mary smiles remembering Her sister-in-law's anxiety...
And Jesus smiles saying: « Poor woman! She is the true woman of Israel, the ancient woman, reserved, wholly devoted to her family, the strong woman according to Proverbs. But in the new Religion women will not be strong only at home... Many will exceed Judith and Jael, being gifted with the same heroism as the mother of the Maccabees... And our Mary will be such. But for the time being... she is what she is... Did You see Johanna? »
Mary smiles no longer. She is perhaps afraid of a question about Judas. And She replies quickly: « I did not want to cause more worries to Mary. We remained in the house until half the time between the ninth hour and evening, resting, and then we left... I thought that we shall soon be seeing her on the lake... »
« You did the right thing. You have given Me proof of the feeling of the Roman ladies with regard to Me. If Johanna had intervened, we could have thought that they were yielding to their friend. We will now wait until the Sabbath and if Myrtha does not come we will go to her with Aurea. »
« Son, I would like to stay here... »
« I can see that You are very tired. »
« No, not because of that... I think that Judas may come here... As it is right that someone should always be in Capernaum to wait for him and give him a friendly welcome, it is equally right that someone should be here to receive him with love. »
« Thank You, Mother. You are the only one who understands what can still save him... »
They both sigh thinking of the disciple who causes grief...
Simon and Thomas come back with Aurea who runs towards Mary. Jesus leaves her with His Mother and goes into the house with His apostles.
« You have prayed very much, My daughter, and the good God has listened to you... » begins Mary.
But the girl interrupts Her with a cry of joy: « I am staying with You! » and she throws her arms round the Virgin's neck kissing Her.
Mary returns the kiss and holding Aurea in Her arms all the time She says: « When one does a great favour, it is necessary to reciprocate it, is that right? »
« Oh! Yes! And I will repay You with so much love. »
« Yes, My dear. But above Me there is God. It is He Who did you this great favour, this immeasurable grace of receiving you among the members of His people and making you a disciple of the Master Saviour. I have been but the instrument of the grace, but He, the Most High, granted the grace. What will you, therefore, give the Most High to tell Him that you thank Him? »
« Well... I don't know... Tell me, Mother... »
« Love, that is certain. But love, to be really such, is to be united to sacrifice, because a thing has more value if it costs, has it not? »
« Yes, Mother. »
« Then, I would say that, with the same joy with which you shouted: “I am staying with You!”, you should shout: “Yes, o Lord” when I, His poor servant, tell you the will of the Lord concerning you. »
« Tell me, Mother » says Aurea whose countenance becomes grave.
« The will of God entrusts you to two good mothers, Naomi and Myrtha... »
Two big tears shine in the clear eyes of the girl, and stream down her rosy cheeks.
« They are good women. They are dear to Jesus and to Me. Jesus saved the son of one of them, I suckled the baby of the other one. And you have seen that they are good... »
« Yes... but I was hoping to stay with You... »
« My daughter, it is not possible to have everything! You see that I am not always with My Jesus. I have given Him to you all, and I am far, so far from Him, when He goes about Palestine preaching, curing and saving girls... »
« That is true... »
« If I had wanted Him all for Myself, you would not have been saved... If I had wanted Him all for Myself, your souls would not be saved. Consider how great is My sacrifice. I am giving you a Son to be sacrificed for your souls. In any case, you and I will always be united, because women disciples are and will always be united around Christ, forming a large family united by our love for Him. »
« That is true. And then... I will come here again, will I not? And we will meet again? »
« Certainly. As long as God wants... »
« And You will always pray for me... »
« And I will always pray for you. »
« And when we are together, will You still teach me? »
« Yes, My dear... »
« Ah! I wanted to become like You. Will I ever be able? To know, in order to be good... »
« Naomi is the mother of a head of a synagogue and a disciple of the Lord. Myrtha is the mother of a son who deserved the grace of a miracle and is a good disciple. And the two women are good and wise, besides being so full of love. »
« Can You assure me? »
« Yes, My daughter. »
« Then... bless me and may the will of the Lord be done... as Jesus' prayer says. I have said it so many times... It is only right that now I should do what I said to obtain the grace of not going any more among the Romans... »
« You are a good girl. And God will always help you. Come, let us go and tell Jesus that the youngest woman disciple knows how to do the will of God... » and holding her by the hand Mary goes back into the house with the girl.