Is that it? Is that what men call life? To be where Love is and to do what Love enjoins?
Anxiety increased in the quiet house at Nazareth. Mary determined to go to Jerusalem for the holy festival to offer her sorrow as a sacrifice to God, to implore Him to enlighten her erring son, and to restore to Him the faith of His ancestors. As she journeyed through Samaria and Judaea she thought of the days long past, when she had travelled that way to Bethlehem with her faithful Joseph, and of the inconceivable things that had happened since then.
She reached a valley where the earth was grey and dry. It was the place in which Adam and Eve had settled when they were driven out of Paradise. She thought of the wayward children of our first parents, and with her mind’s eye saw a dear little descendant of Adam, who was perfectly innocent, and yet had to share earth’s sorrow with the guilty. The boy stood sadly by a hedge, and peeped over into the Lost Paradise. A white-robed angel standing by the Tree of Knowledge saw the child and was sorry for him. He broke off a branch from the tree, handed it over to the boy, and said: “Here is something for you out of Paradise. Plant the bough in the ground. It will take root and grow, and produce fresh seeds until the throne of the Messiah is built out of its trunk.” “O, God! where is the trunk, and where is the Messiah’s throne?” sighed Mary, and she moved away.
When after her tiring journey she reached the town one morning, she found the people streaming along the roads and streets in one direction. She asked the innkeeper what was happening. He replied by asking her if she did not also wish to go and see the execution.
“God forbid!” answered Mary; “happy are all who are not obliged to go.”
“Look, there they come!” exclaimed the inn-keeper in glad surprise. “They’ll come past here. I really believe it’s the Messiah-King! Oh, I could have let out my windows for a silver groat apiece!”
The woman from Galilee wanted to go back into the house, but she was pushed aside and carried with the crowd into the narrow street, where suddenly she stood before Him! Before Jesus, her son! When He saw His mother His little remaining strength nearly forsook Him, but He managed to keep His feet. He turned to her with a look of unspeakable sadness and love, a brief look in which lay all that a son could have to say to his mother at such a meeting. Then they pushed Him on with blows and curses.
Mary stood as if turned to stone. Her eyes were tearless, her head in a whirl, her heart scarcely beat. “That is what God has prepared for me!” That was all she could think, as, unwilling, bewildered, she was carried along by the crowd. Everything seemed sunk in a blue darkness, yet stars danced before her eyes.