Joseph looks at Her and large tears well up in his deep eyes:
“Forgive me, Mary. I mistrusted You. Now I know. I am not worthy of having such a treasure.”
26. Mary is in the little orchard behind the house, spinning in the shade of a very thick apple tree overloaded with apples. Her face is pale and Her eyes appear as though She had been crying. There is no noise whatsoever from the house or from the neighborhood. One can only hear the babbling of the tiny stream of water that runs down into the large basin at the bottom of the orchard.
Mary jumps at a loud resolute knocking at the door. She lays the distaff and spindle down and rises to go in and open the door. Although Her dress is loose and wide it does not conceal the rotundity of Her stomach.
Joseph is standing in front of Her. Mary turns pale, also in Her lips. Her face is so bloodless that it looks like a host. Mary looks at Joseph with sad inquiring eyes. Joseph looks at Her with imploring ones. They are both silent, looking at each other. Then Mary says, “At this time, Joseph? Is there anything you need? What do you want to tell Me? Come in.”
Joseph enters and closes the door. He is still silent.
“Speak, Joseph. What is it you want from Me?”
“I want You to forgive me.” Joseph bends down as if He wanted to kneel down. But Mary, Who is always so reserved in touching him, seizes him resolutely by his shoulders and stops him.
“You want Me to forgive you? I have nothing to forgive you, Joseph. I can but thank you once again for everything you have done here while I was away and for your love for Me.”
Joseph looks at Her and large tears well up in his deep eyes. “Forgive me, Mary. I mistrusted You. Now I know. I am not worthy of having such a treasure. I lacked in charity, I accused You in my heart, I accused You unfairly, because I did not ask You to tell me the truth. I sinned against God’s law, because I did not love You as I loved myself…”
“Oh! No! You have not sinned!”
“Yes, I have, Mary. If I had been accused of such a crime, I would have defended myself. But You… I was not giving You the possibility of defending Yourself, because I was about to take a decision without questioning You. I have been unfair to You, because I offended You with my suspicion. Also a single suspicion is an offense, Mary. Who suspects does not know. And I did not know You as I should have done. But for the torment I suffered… three days of torture, forgive me, Mary.”
“I have nothing for which to forgive you. On the contrary, I ask you to forgive Me for the pain I caused you.”
“Oh! Yes, it was a great pain! What a torture! Look! I was told this morning that my temples are white haired and my face wrinkled. These past days have been more than ten years of my Life! But why, Mary, have You been so humble as to conceal Your glory from me, Your spouse, and thus allow me to suspect You?”
Joseph is not on his knees, but he is bent so low that he is as good as kneeling down, and Mary lays Her tiny hand on his head and smiles. And She whispers, “If I had not been humble in the most perfect manner, I would not have deserved to conceive the Expected One, Who is coming to pay for the sin of pride that ruined man. And then I obeyed… God had requested such obedience. It cost Me so much… because of you, because of the pain that you were to suffer. But I could but obey. I am the Handmaid of the Lord, and servants do not discuss the orders they receive. They fulfill them, Joseph.” Mary weeps quietly while speaking. So quietly that Joseph, bent down as he is, does not notice it until a tear falls on the floor.
He then lifts his head and presses Mary’s little hands in his dark strong ones and he kisses the tips of Her fingers. “We shall have to make haste. I will come here… We will complete the wedding… Next week. Is that alright?”
“Whatever you do is alright, Joseph. You are the head of the family, I am your servant.”
“No. I am Your servant. I am the happy servant of My Lord Who is growing in Your womb. You are blessed amongst all the women of Israel. This evening I will warn my relatives. And after… when I am here, we will work to prepare everything to receive. Oh! How can I receive God in my house? God… in my arms? I will die of joy!… I will never dare touch Him! I will never be able…”
“You will be able, as I will, by the Grace of God.”
“But You are… I am a poor man, the poorest of God’s children!…”
“Jesus is coming to us, poor people, to make us rich in God, He is coming to us two, because we are the poorest and we admit it. Rejoice, Joseph. The House of David has the King long waited for and our home will become more splendid than Solomon’s palace, because Heaven will be here and we shall share with God the secret of peace that men will be acquainted with later. He will grow among us, our arms will be the cradle for the Redeemer and our work will procure bread for Him… Oh! Joseph! We will hear the voice of God calling us ‘father and mother!’ Oh!…” Mary cries with joy. Such happy tears!
And Joseph, who is now kneeling at Her feet, is weeping with his head almost hidden in Mary’s wide dress, which falls in folds on to the plain pavement of the room.