Joseph in the Memories of Mary of Alphaeus

… Mary smiles lightly because Her sister-in-law (Mary wife of Alphaeus, brother of Joseph) shows Her some seeds, got I do not know where, and says to Her that she wants to sow them at Nazareth, after Passover, just at the little grotto so dear to Mary: «When You were a little girl, I always remember You with these flowers in Your little hands. You called them the flowers of Your coming. In fact when You were born Your garden was full of them, and that evening when the whole of Nazareth came to see Joachim’s daughter, the clusters of these little stars looked like diamonds because of the water from the sky and of the last ray of the sun that lit them up while setting, and since Your name was “Star”, everybody said looking at those tiny shining stars: “The flowers have adorned themselves to give a hearty welcome to Joachim’s flower, and the stars have left the sky to come to the Star”, and they all smiled, happy with the omen and with Your father’s joy. And Joseph, my husband’s brother, said: “Stars and drops. She is really Mary!” Who could have told him then that You were to become his star? When he came back from Jerusalem, after being chosen as Your spouse? The whole of Nazareth wanted to celebrate the event with him, because great was the honour that had come to him from Heaven and because of his nuptials with You, the daughter of Joachim and Anne, and everybody wanted to feast with him. He kindly but firmly refused all celebrations, amazing everybody. Because which man, destined to such an honourable wedding and by such a decree of the Most High, would not celebrate the happiness of his soul, flesh and blood? But he used to say: “A severe preparation is required for a great appointment.” And with sparing use of words and food, because he had always practised all other continence, he spent that time working and praying, because I believe that every hammer-stroke, every chisel-mark became a prayer, if it is possible to pray working. His face was enraptured. I used to go to tidy up the house, to bleach sheets and all other things left by Your mother and which had yellowed with age, and I used to watch him working in the kitchen garden and in the house, making them as beautiful as if they had never been neglected, and I used to speak to him, too… but he was engrossed in thought. He used to smile. Not at me or at anybody else, but at a thought of his, that was not the thought of every man about to get married. That is a smile of mischievous sensual pleasure… He… seemed to smile at the invisible angels of God, and to speak to them and to consult with them… Oh! I am sure they told him how to treat You! Because later – and this amazed everybody in Nazareth and almost irritated my Alphaeus – he put off the wedding as long as possible, and we never understood why he suddenly made up his mind before the fixed time. And also when we heard You were a mother, how surprised was Nazareth at his contained joy!… Also my James is somewhat like that. And he is becoming so more and more. Now that I watch him carefully – I don’t know why, but since we came from Ephraim he seems to have changed completely – I see him thus… just like Joseph.
Look at him even now, Mary, now that he turns around again to look at us. Does he not have the pensive attitude so habitual to Your spouse Joseph? He smiles, but I do not know whether his smile is a sad or vague one. He looks, but he seems to be looking far away, beyond us, as Joseph did so often. Do You remember how Alphaeus used to tease him? He used to say: “Brother, are you still looking at the pyramids?” He would shake his head without speaking, patient and engrossed in thought. He was never talkative. But when You came back from Hebron! He did not even come to the fountain by himself any longer, as he used to do and as everybody does. He was either with You or at his work. And with the exception of the Sabbaths, when he went to the synagogue, or when he went somewhere on business, no one can say that they saw Joseph loitering about during those months. Then you went away… How distressing it was to have no news of you after the slaughter! Alphaeus went as far as Bethlehem… “They went away” they said. But how could we believe them, if they had a mortal hatred of you in town, where the innocent blood was still red and the ruins were still smoking and they blamed you for the blood that had been shed? He went to Hebron and then to the Temple, because it was Zacharias’ turn. Elizabeth gave him nothing but her tears, Zacharias only words of comfort. They were both worried about John and fearing fresh cruelties, they had hidden him and trembled for him. They had no news of you and Zacharias said to Alphaeus: “If they are dead, their blood is on me, because I convinced them to remain in Bethlehem.” My Mary! My Jesus so beautiful at the Passover after His birth! And to have no news of You for such a long time! But why never any news? …»
«Because it was better to be silent. Where we were, there were many Maries and Josephs, and it was wise to be considered as a normal married couple. Mary replies quietly, then with a sigh She says: «And even in their sadness they were happy days.
Evil was still so far away! If as human beings we lacked so many things, our spirits were sated with the joy of having You, My Son!»
«You have Your Son even now, Mary. Joseph is no longer with You, that is true! But Jesus is here and with His full love of an adult» remarks Mary of Alphaeus.
Mary raises Her head to look at Jesus. Although Her lips smile faintly, Her eyes reveal Her torture. But She does not utter another word.

2019-03-19T08:23:06+00:00
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