This morning, having awakened at 2:30 and unable to go back to sleep, I decided to pray the Rosary. I was meditating on the first mystery of light – the Baptism of Jesus. Usually I will focus on the scene, the water, the crowds, John the Baptist, the beginning of Jesus ministry. This morning I started thinking about Mary, trying to imagine the scene where Jesus tells His mother where He is going and why.
Perhaps Mary objected or was concerned about the travel required from Nazareth. Jesus takes Mary’s face in His Hands and tells her that all will be well, that He has been called to this, that it is time to begin His work. Mary looks into His eyes, perhaps she sees the spark of divinity there, not just the eyes of the sweet little boy whom she had lovingly raised. And like the dutiful daughter of the Father she is, Mary says “I am the handmaid of the Lord, Be it done unto me according to your word.” She once again assents to the work to which God has called her.
As Jesus prepares to leave, Mary busies herself in the kitchen, preparing food for Jesus to eat on the journey. Tears mingle with the bread, the fig cakes and fresh fruit which she wraps and places in His bag. Now that all the preparations have been made, Jesus places His pack on his shoulders and leaves. Mary watches Him from the door as He walks through the little town. As Jesus turns and starts up the hill on the way to Judea, she follows after Him, climbing the same hill, wanting to see her beloved son as long as she can. Mary watches Jesus as His tall and lean figure passes beyond her sight, and with sadness and concern Mary returns home.
The house is quiet now. During the day there is no sound of a hammer or saw in the workshop. At night Mary listens for the soft sound of His breathing as Jesus slept. Those sounds, which had become so much a part of the pleasure of her life, are gone now. Mary prays for Her son and remembers the years that have passed. She remembers the little boy whose scraped knees and cut fingers she had bandaged. She remembers how she kissed away His tears. Every now and then Mary thinks she hears the sound of His footstep, His hand on the door, but it is just a memory. In the heat of the long afternoons Mary sits in her garden remembering all that has now passed. Will I see Him again? Father in heaven, keep Him safe.