431. Arrival at Nazareth.
9th May 1946.
Coming from the Sephoris countryside one enters Nazareth on the northeastern side, that is, on the highest and rockiest side. The entire amphitheatre, on the terraces of which Nazareth is spread, appears when one reaches the top of the hill, which is the last one coming from Sephoris and which slopes down rather steeply through ravines towards the town. If I remember correctly, because a long time has passed and many mountain places are alike, the spot where Jesus is, is the precise one where His fellow-citizens tried to stone Him, but He stopped them with His power, walking through them.
Jesus stops to look at His dear yet hostile town, and a smile of happiness brightens His face. What a blessing, ignored and undeserved by the Nazarenes, is His divine smile, which certainly pours and spreads graces on the land which received Him when He was a child, saw Him grow up and where His Mother was born and She became the Spouse of God and the Mother of God! Also the two cousins look at their town with evident joy, but Thaddeus' happiness is tempered by austere reserved gravity, whereas James' is more open and kind, more like Jesus'.
Although it is not his town, Thomas' face shines brightly with joy, and pointing at Mary's little house, from the stone oven of which rings of smoke are rising, he says: "The Mother is at home and She is baking bread..." and he utters these simple words with such fervent love, that he seems to be speaking of his mother with all the affection of a son.
The Zealot, more calm because of his age and upbringing, smiles saying: "Yes, and Her peace is already arriving in our hearts."
"Let us go down quickly" says James. "We will go down this path and it is unlikely that any of the Nazarenes will see us arrive. They would delay us..."
"But you will be going away from your home... Your mother also is anxious to see you."
"Oh! You may be sure, Simon, that our mother is with Mary. She is almost always there... And she will be there because they are baking and because of the sick girl."
"Yes, let us go this way. We will pass at the rear of Alphaeus' kitchen garden and we will arrive at the hedge of ours" says Jesus.
They go down quickly along a path which at first is very steep, then it becomes more gentle near the town. They go through olive-groves and small fields bare of crops. They pass near the first kitchen gardens in town. And the tall leafy hedges around the gardens and over which hang branches of trees laden with fruit, or the little dry-stone walls all covered with branches hanging outside from orchards, prevent their passing from being noticed by housewives moving about the gardens, or doing the washing or spreading it on the patches of grass near the houses...
The hedge bordering one side of Mary's kitchen garden, which is a tangle of thorns in winter, then thick with leaves in summer, after the hawthorn blooms in spring or the little fruits become ruby-colour in autumn, is now adorned with a luxuriant jasmine and with the undulating calyces of a flower, the name of which I do not know, and which from the inside of the garden throw their branches onto the hedge making it thicker and more beautiful. A blackcap is singing in the thick of the hedge and the cooing of doves is heard from inside the garden.
"The fence also is protected and entirely covered with branches in bloom" says James who has run ahead to look at the rustic gate at the rear of the garden, the one which, after not being used for years, was opened to let Peter's cart go in and out for John and Syntyche.
"We will go along the lane and will knock at the door. My Mother would suffer seeing this protection destroyed" replies Jesus.
"Her enclosed garden!" exclaims Judas of Alphaeus.
"Yes. And She is its rose" says Thomas.
"As a lily among the thistles" says James.
"The sealed fountain" says the Zealot.
"Better: the well of living water which gushing impetuously from the beautiful mountain gives the Water of Life to the Earth and spurts towards Heaven with its scented beauty" says Jesus.
"She will soon be delighted to see You" says James.
"Tell me, Brother, something which I have been longing to know for some time. How do You see Mary? As a Mother or as a subject? She is Your Mother, but She is a woman and You are God..." asks Thaddeus.
"As sister and as bride, as delight and rest of God and as comfort of Man. I see everything and I have everything in Mary, as God and as Man. She Who was the Delight of the Second Person of the Trinity in Heaven, Delight of the Word as well as of the Father and of the Spirit, is the Delight of the God Incarnate, and She will be the Delight of the Man-God Glorified."
"What a mystery! So God has deprived Himself twice of His delights? In You and in Mary and He gave You to the Earth..." meditates the Zealot.
"What Love! You ought to say. Love induced the Trinity to give Mary and Jesus to the Earth" says James.
"And, not with regard to You, Who are God, but with regard to His Rose, was He not afraid to entrust Her to men, who are all unworthy of protecting Her?" asks Thomas.
"Thomas, the Song of Songs replies to you: “The Peaceful One had a vineyard and he entrusted it to vine-dressers who, being profaners instigated by the Desecrator, would have paid large amounts to have it, that is, all allurements to seduce it, but the beautiful Vineyard of the Lord looked after itself by itself, and would not give its fruits to anybody but to the Lord and it unbosomed itself to Him generating the priceless Treasure: the Saviour.”"
They have now arrived at the door of the house, While Jesus knocks, Judas of Alphaeus comments: "It would be the case to say: “Open, my sister, my spouse, my beloved immaculate dove”..."
But when the door opens, and the sweet face of the Virgin appears, Jesus utters the sweetest word, stretching out His arms to receive Her: "Mother!"
"Oh! Son! Blessed! Come in and may peace and love be with You"
"And with My Mother and the house and those in it" says Jesus entering, followed by the others.
"Your mother is in there, and the two women disciples are busy baking and doing the washing..." explains Mary after exchanging greetings with the apostles and Her nephews, who discreetly withdraw leaving Mother and Son alone.
"Here I am with You, Mother. We will be together for some time... How sweet it is to come back... the house and You above all, Mother, after so much travelling amongst men..."
"And men become more and more acquainted with You and through such knowledge of You they become divided into two groups: those who love You... and those who hate You... And the latter group is the bigger..."
"Evil perceives that it is about to be defeated and it is furious... and makes people furious... How is the girl?"
"A little better... But she was on the point of death... And her words, now that she is not delirious correspond, although they are more reserved, to those which she spoke while raving. It would be a lie to say that we have not reconstructed her history... Poor girl!..."
"Yes, but Providence watched over her."
"Now I do not know. Aurea does not belong to Me as a creature. Her soul is Mine, her body belongs to Valeria. For the time being, she will stay here, to forget..."
"Myrtha would like to have her."
"I know... But I am not entitled to do anything without permission of the Roman lady. I do not even know whether they purchased her with money or simply used the weapon of promises ... When the Roman lady will claim her..."
"I will go in Your place, Son. It is not right that You should go... Let Your Mother see to it... We women... the least beings for Israel, are not noticed so much if we go and speak to Gentiles. And Your Mother is so unknown to the world! No one will notice the Jewess of the common people going through the streets in Tiberias, enveloped in her mantle, and knocking at the door of a Roman lady..."
"You could go to Johanna's... and speak to the lady there..."
"I will do that, Son. May Your heart be relieved, Jesus!... You are so distressed... I understand... and I would like to do so much for You..."
"And You do so much, Mother. Thank You for everything You do..."
"Oh! I am a very poor help, Son! Because I am not successful in making You loved, in giving You... joy... as long as You are allowed to enjoy some... So what am I? A poor disciple, indeed..."
"Mother! Mother! Do not say that! My strength comes to Me through Your prayers. My mind rests thinking of You, and, see, My heart finds comfort thus, with My head against Your blessed heart... Mother of Mine!..." Jesus has drawn His Mother to Himself, as She was standing in front of Him, while He was sitting on the chest against the wall, and He leans His forehead on the breast of Mary, Who gently caresses His hair... A pause of love.
Jesus then raises His head, stands up and says: "Let us go to the others and to the girl" and He goes out with His Mother into the kitchen garden.
The three women disciples, standing at the door of the room where the sick girl is, are talking to the apostles. But when they see Jesus, they become quiet and kneel down.
"Peace to you, Mary of Alphaeus, and to you, Myrtha and Naomi. Is the girl sleeping?"
"Yes, she is. She is still feverish and her temperature stupefies and consumes her. If it persists like this, she will die. Her frail body will not resist the disease and her mind is upset by remembrances" says Mary of Alphaeus.
"Yes... and she does not react because she says that she wants to die, so that she may not see any more Romans..." confirms Myrtha.
"And that grieves us because we are already fond of her..." says Naomi.
"Be not afraid!" replies Jesus going as far as the threshold of the little room and lifting the curtain...
On the little bed against the wall, facing the door, appears the little thin face of the girl, bright red at the cheek-bones, while all the rest is snow-white, buried in the mass of her long golden hair. She is sleeping restlessly, muttering incomprehensible words through her teeth and with her hand abandoned on the blankets she now and then makes a gesture as if she were rejecting something. Jesus does not enter. He looks at her with pitiful eyes. He then calls her in a loud voice: "Aurea! Come! Your Saviour is here."
All of a sudden the girl sits up in her bed, she sees Jesus and with a cry she gets up and runs barefooted in her long loose tunic towards Him, and kneels at His feet saying: "Lord! Now You have really freed me!"
"She is cured. See? She could not die because she must become acquainted with the Truth first." And to the girl who is kissing His feet He says: "Rise and live in peace" and He lays His hand on the no longer feverish head.
Aurea, in her long linen dress, perhaps one of the Virgin's, so long as to form a train, her loose hair falling over her slender figure like a mantle, her grey-blue eyes still bright because of the temperature which has just dropped and of the joy which has just filled her, looks like an angel.
"Goodbye! We are withdrawing into the workshop while you look after the girl and the house..." says the Master and followed by His four apostles he goes into Joseph's old workshop and they sit on the benches no longer used...