8th September 1951.
It is dawn. A clear summer dawn. Mary, with faithful John, leaves the little house at Gethsemane and walks quickly through the silent desert olive-grove. Only the singing of some birds and the chirping of nestlings break the deep silence of the place.
Mary without any hesitation directs Her steps towards the rock of the Agony. She kneels against it, She kisses where some thin fissures in the rock still show rusty-red traces of Jesus' Blood, that penetrated into the fissures and coagulated there, She caresses them, as if She were still caressing Her Son or part of Him. John, standing behind Her, watches Her and weeps silently, wiping his eyes quickly when Mary makes the gesture of standing up, he even helps Her to do so, and he does it with so much love, veneration and compassion.
Mary now goes down to the open area where Jesus was captured. Also there She kneels down and She bends to kiss the earth, after asking John: « Is this exactly the place of the horrible ill-famed kiss, that contaminated this place even more than the filthy corrupting conversation of the Serpent with Eve disgraced the earthly Paradise? » She then stands up saying: « But I am not Eve. I am the Woman of the Ave. I turned things upside down. Eve threw what belonged to Heaven into the filthy mud. I have accepted everything: incomprehension, criticism, suspicion, sorrow how many sorrows and of how many kinds, before the supreme grief to remove from the filthy mud what Eve and Adam had thrown into it, and elevate it again towards Heaven. The demon was not able to speak to Me, although he tried to, as he tried with My Son, to destroy the redemption plan definitively. He was not able to speak to Me, because I closed My ears to his voice and My eyes to his sight, and above all I closed My heart and My spirit against every attack of what is not holy and pure. My limpid ego, but which, like a pure diamond, can not be scratched, opened only to the announcing Angel. My ears listened only to that spiritual voice, and so I repaired and rebuilt what Eve had damaged and destroyed. I am the Woman of the Ave and of the Fiat. I restored the order upset by Eve. And now I can remove and wash with My kiss and My tears the impression of that cursed kiss and of that contamination. The greatest of all of them, because it was done not by a creature to a creature, but by a creature to his Master and Friend, to his Creator and God. »
She then goes towards the gate, which John opens. They come out together from Gethsemane, they go down to the Kidron, they cross the little bridge, and there also Mary kneels down to kiss the rustic parapet of the bridge, on the spot where Her Son fell on it. She says: « Every place where He suffered supreme sorrows and abuse is sacred to Me. I should like to have everything in My little house. But it is not possible to have everything! »
She sighs and then says: « Let us go on quickly, before people get about. » And She takes to the road again with John.
She does not go into town. They go along the Hinnom valley and the caves where the lepers live. She raises Her eyes towards those caverns of sorrow. She gives John a nod and he at once lays on a rock some foodstuffs that he had in a bag, uttering a cry at the same time to call them. Some lepers look out and come towards the rock thanking them. But none of them ask to be cured. Mary notices it and says: « They know that He is no longer here and shocked as they are at His horrible Death, they can no longer have faith in Him and in His disciples. Twice unhappy! Twice lepers! Twice? No, even more, completely unhappy, lepers, dead! Both on the Earth and in the next world. »
« Shall I try and speak to them, Mother? »
« It is useless! Peter, Judas of Alphaeus, Simon Zealot have tried... And they derided them. Mary of Lazarus came, as she always assists them in memory of Jesus, and she was derided as well. Lazarus also went, with Joseph and Nicodemus, to convince them that He was the Christ, telling them of his resurrection worked by Jesus, after being for four days in the sepulchre, and of that of the Man-God, through His own power, and of His Ascension. It was all to no avail. They replied: Lies. Those who know the truth say that they are lies. »
« And they are certainly the Pharisees and the priests. They are the ones who are working to destroy faith in Him. I am sure it is they! »
« It may be, John. It is certain that the lepers who were not converted before, in the face of Jesus' miracles, will not be converted any more. No more. A sign and symbol of all those who, throughout ages, will not be converted to the Christ, and by their free will, will be lepers of sin, dead to the Grace, which is Life, the symbol of all those for whom He died in vain... And in that manner!... » and She weeps, quietly, without sobbing, but with a real flood of tears.
John takes Her by the arm when Mary, to conceal Her tears from some passers-by who are watching Her, covers Her face with Her veil. John, while leading Her lovingly, says to Her: « It is not possible for Your tears, for Your prayers, for Your, even more, for Your and Jesus' love for all men Yours, because Yours is active, as active, perfectly active as Jesus' glorious in Heaven, and Your sorrow, because of the deafness of men, and His, because of the obstinate sinning of too many people not to yield fruit. Have hope, Mother! Men have given You and will still give You much sorrow, but they will also give You love and joy. Who will not love You, when he hears about You? Now here You are not known, the world is unacquainted with You. But when the Earth knows, because it has become Christian, how much love will come to You! I am sure, o holy Mother. »
Golgotha is now close at hand, and Joseph's kitchen garden is even closer. When they reach the latter, Mary does not go in. She goes to Golgotha first. And in the places where particular episodes took place during the Passion, that is, in the places of His falls, of His meeting with Nike and with Her as well, She kneels down and kisses the ground.
When She arrives at the summit, Her kisses become more frequent at the place of the Crucifixion. Kisses and tears, the former almost convulsive, the latter calm, but as thick as rain, fall on the yellowish earth wetting it and making its yellowish colour darker.
A little plant has come up just where the earth was moved to plant the cross there, a humble wild little plant, with heart-shaped leaves and little flowers as red as rubies. Mary looks at it, She becomes pensive, then She removes it delicately from the soil with a little loose earth, She lays it in the hem of Her mantle, saying to John: « I will put it in a vase. It looks like His blood, and it has come up in the earth made red by His Blood. It is certainly a seed carried by the whirlwind of that day, it came from who knows where and fell there who knows why, to take root in the dust fertilised by that Blood. I wish it were so for all the souls! Why is the majority of them more reluctant than the arid and cursed earth of Golgotha, the place of torture for highwaymen and killers, and of the deicide of a whole people? Cursed? No. He has sanctified this dust. Cursed by God are those who turned this hill into the place of the most horrible, unjust, sacrilegious crime that will ever be on the Earth. » Now Her sobs are joined to Her tears.
John embraces Her shoulders with his arm, to make Her feel all his love, and he convinces Her to leave that place, which is too sorrowful for Her.
They go down to the foot of the hill again. They go into Joseph's kitchen garden. The Sepulchre shows its inside with a wide opening, no longer closed by the stone, which is still lying overturned on the ground among the grass. It is empty inside. All traces of the Deposition and of the Resurrection have disappeared. It looks like a sepulchre that has never been used.
Mary kisses the stone of the unction, She casts loving glances at the walls. Then She asks John: « Tell Me once again how you found things here, when you came here with Peter at dawn of the Resurrection. »
And John, moving here and there, outside and inside the Sepulchre, describes how the things were and what he and Peter did, and he ends by saying: « We should have collected the linens. But we were so upset by all the events of those days, that we did not think about it. When we came back here, the linens were no longer here. »
« Those of the Temple must have taken them, to desecrate them » says Mary interrupting him and weeping. And She concludes: « Not even Mary of Magdala thought that they should have been taken away to be given to Me. She was too upset as well. »
« The Temple? No. I think that Joseph has taken them. »
« He would have told Me... Oh! Jesus' enemies must have taken them for a last insult! » says Mary moaning.
« Do not weep, do not suffer any more. He is now in His glory. In infinite perfect love. Hatred and insults can no longer touch Him. »
« That is true. But those linens... »
« They would be the cause of sorrow to You, as is the first Shroud, that You have not the strength to spread out, because besides the traces of His Blood, there are those of the filthy things thrown on that Most Holy Body. »
« That shroud, yes. But these linens, no. They absorbed what trickled from Him when He no longer suffered... Oh! you cannot understand! »
« I see, Mother. But I did not think that You, Who are certainly not separated from Him God, as we are, and even more are the simple believers in Him, felt so strong the desire, even more, the need to have something of Him, the tortured Man. Forgive my stupidity. Come... We will come back here again. Let us go now, because the sun is rising more and more, it is strong, and long is the road we have to take in order to avoid the town. »
They come out of the Sepulchre, and then of the kitchen garden, and along the same road by which they came, they go back to Gethsemane. Mary walks quickly and silently, all enveloped in Her mantle. She has only a sensation of disgust and horror when She passes near the olive-grove where Judas hanged himself and near the country house of Caiaphas, and She whispers: « Here he completed he completed his damnation of an unrepentant soul in despair, and there he finalised the deal. »