CHAPTER XXI. THE RETIRED LIFE OF JESUS AND MARY
AFTER Joseph's death Mary lived in a still more solitary fashion. One occupation now absorbed her—prayer.
She prayed continually. She invoked God, and asked Him not to permit any of the sufferings her Son was about to endure to be lost to mankind. She did upon earth what she has always done in heaven since she left this earth: interceded incessantly for us all. Her prayers were of great value, embracing as they did the past, the present, and the future.
If one among us has received any signal grace; if one of us has obtained the conversion of a dearly-loved father or mother; if the story of the prodigal son has been enacted within our own family; if we have redeemed one we love from spiritual loss— who knows? That victory may have been achieved for us during these tremendous days when Mary raised her suppliant hands to God, demanding, perhaps, and obtaining these favors for us. She kept the world and its people ever present in her maternal heart. We are present there to-day, with all our needs.
As for Jesus, from the time of His return from the Temple, His life was quiet and reserved. He went often to the mountain, near which the angel had revealed the mystery of the Redemption to Joseph. There He passed days and nights, His soul elevated to His heavenly Father, invoking Him for us. For us, who, alas, were to respond so ungratefully to His immense love!
And when He descended among men it Was to converse with those whom He had chosen to be the Apostles of His word; with James and Jude, who are called His brothers; with the sons of Zebedee, among whom John was loved with a peculiar predilection for the incomparable beauty of his soul; with Simon and Andrew, two young fishermen of Bethsaida, but oftener with John, the son of Elizabeth and Zachary.
John had but lately come from the desert, where he had lived after the death of his parents. On the banks of the Jordan he had already preached the baptism of penance unto the remission of sins. His voice was heard crying aloud in the desert : "Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Make straight His paths!"
And Jesus blessed the efforts of His Precursor.
Dining this period of universal expectation, Jesus and Mary dwelt in holy solitude, occupied only in preparing for the future, and in sowing among the chosen flock the living and true word which later was to spread over the earth.