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When he returned to Nazareth, what really happened to the Child was that he was born again. The Son of God who became man and was dying to grow up and never saw the day when he would sit among adults, finally got into our skin. God is above and we are below, and the whole dilemma of Humanity passes through a bridge over shifting sands. How to know God's thought? How to discover his plan of eternal salvation?

Now it was a man who was asking all the questions that all men were asking and none of them were answering. Now it was Christ who raised his eyes upward and looked God face to face seeking to know his thought. Now it was the son of Man who recognized his ignorance and looked to God for wisdom.

But you are twelve years old. And you have a lifetime ahead of you. And every day you wake up with a Cross. And every year that passes, that Cross weighs more heavily on you. And whether you want it or not, the weight will sink you more than once.

You can do everything and you are forbidding to do anything, you see the world around you living in hell and you can do nothing even though you have the power to do everything. You can save the Present and condemn the Future, or let the Present live its Destiny and save your Freedom for when the prisoner gets out of jail. You will wait for him on the other side of the door to guide him to a New Day of freedom that will never end. Until that Day the world will have to follow its path, and until your Hour arrives you will have to sink many times in deep depressions, and you will have no one to support you, there will be no one by your side with whom to share your destiny, no one will give you a hand, no one will reach out to you because no one will be with you to know what is happening to you and why you are sinking until you drown.

You are Jesus of Nazareth, a young and rich man, you have everything a man desires and you take only what you want. You don't need anything from anyone. Doors open for you wherever you go; you are treated as a lord and your word is worth gold to those who do business with you. No one knows your secret; only a woman. Her husband died when you were about twenty years old, and so did Cleophas. Only they are left, your Mother and her sister Johanna; only they know who you are. But none of them know where you are going, or what your plans are. You are alone. When the storms rage over your mind you will have no one to embrace you and fight the storm together. If you do not go mad it will be only because you are who you are, but even if you are who you are you will have to suffer the storm in the open, without roof or shelter against the water that will fall in torrents under a sky covered with darkness over your mortal body. The sweeter the life you lead, the more bitter is what you will do.

To the starving man hard bread tastes like glory, but if you give that same bread to the bun-eater it will break his teeth. Yours, Jesus, are accustomed to eat the best bread. Your body is accustomed to the finest garments. And you are going to lead an army of men to the same fate. Won't you sink? Won't their ghosts attack you in your dreams? Won't you wake up in the deserts on your knees begging for mercy? Won't the visions of their bodies crushed by the beasts of the Roman circuses torment you while you look to Heaven asking for the end of the sentence against Eve and her children? How long will each year that you live last for you? Won't the twenty years that await you be an eternity for you? They people you will lead to the slaughter house are before your eyes. They are all pure. One by one they are all innocent. Their only crime is to love you above all things. They love you more than time, more than immortality, more than all the treasures of the universe. You are their life. And they are there, hanging from their crosses, actors in a bloody spectacle, ode to a madness, singing in honor of the tears that for them you, Jesus, shed in the desert, when you mysteriously disappeared and returned without telling anyone where you came from or what you had been doing.. Will you not suffer in your flesh the crime of your hundreds of thousands of little brothers, whom you will lead to the cross with no crime for which they will be found guilty? Loving you will be their crime. Will you not implore mercy from your Father? Will you not seek another viable alternative? And yet the Cup is full and you must drink it to the last drop. A Hope sustains you, but to no one can you tell it, with no one can you share the infinite joy in which your whole being rejoices as you look towards the One who sits at the Judgment Seat and as you see Him, contemplate, you look at yourself.




We do not know at what point in life we cross the boundary between childhood and adolescence; nor at what point we have ceased to be young and become adults. There seems to be no general rule; it is something that each one discovers for himself and lives in his own way.

This being so among us, how much more complex is it to apply our psychology to someone like the Jesus of the Gospels!

Having adopted the position of seeing him as he saw himself, having experienced to the degree that our understanding allows us what was going on in his head, let us move on. There are still many areas closed to the intelligence of past centuries, and which, subjected to the fantasy of those who wished to break into his inmost being, have come down to us deformed like paintings vitiated by the passions of the copyists.

If at some point I have let my own passions run free, the reader, as a free being, owes himself the opportunity to recreate the historical line starting from the characteristics of his own intelligence. The author can only point to the horizon and paint what he sees with his eyes, and although the configuration of the eye is the same for everyone, the way of seeing things acquires a personal and non-transferable form. It is from this platform of personal vision and individual understanding that the author recreates the things he writes; the reader will have to adapt them to his own way of laughing, crying, hating, loving, understanding and even ignoring.

Let us then return with Jesus to his parents' house in Nazareth, and from what he discovered, knowing now what he had just discovered, the Cross of Christ, his Cross, let us try to open the horizon of his memories to the pure reflections of reality as he and his own lived it.

The Child who went down to Jerusalem was in all aspects, seen from the eyes of an outsider, a gentleman. His cousin James for example. James was a couple of years older than his cousin Jesus, and yet while the latter had not yet picked up a hammer and did not know what it was to hammer a nail, James of Cleophas was already an axe, the boy in his role of carpenter's apprentice. As the father of that tall and super-intelligent boy, Joseph had to put up with more than one criticism of his way of educating his only son. He was spoiling him, he was told.

We are not going to talk about envy or bring to the scene passions that we all wish we had never known. What is certain is that the mentality of small towns has always been a hotbed for the most conspicuous and boring ignorance.

Criticism of Joseph for the way he raised his firstborn said nothing to Mary and could not be taken any further than that because the Child was who he was. That Child they criticized was the heir of Jacob's daughter. A large part of all that the Nazarenes saw around them belonged to "little lord Jesus". If his parents did not want him to touch the nails and hammers, who was anyone to reproach them?

What is certain is that upon returning from Jerusalem, that Child broke the script of the "little lord" that was supposed to be his and attached himself to his father with the obedience and diligence of the good and dynamic boy that every father desires for his son.

Mary watched him finish the day. In his life his son had never lifted a board, and suddenly he never stopped asking for work. It was enough that his father opened his mouth to obey him. Even Joseph himself looked at him and said: "What is the matter with you, my son?”

But not only in the carpentry shop. If Aunt Johanna needed a job to be done, her sister's son was there for whatever was needed. If it was necessary to go to the fields to pick almonds or to reap the wheat, her nephew Jesus was there first at dawn. He never complained, never answered, never gave you a "no". But neither to his own people nor to anyone who asked him for a favor. How could he not be loved!

It was as if he didn't want to think, as if he needed to forget something. He needed to give himself up to physical activity. His arms ached and his tendons trembled with fatigue, but he never said no nor gave up. He got up first and went to bed last. He no longer played with the village children. He didn't even speak except when asked. The change was so sudden, so colossal, so surprising that his Mother would sit on the edge of her bed while her Child slept, wondering what was going on in that head. Before, her Child talked to her, told her all her things. Since their return from Jerusalem, her Child was a different person, he was like a stranger to her. For everyone he was what he should have been, an obedient and quiet boy who never took away the word of his elders or answered you when you scolded him for whatever it was. But for Mother Mary, her Boy was becoming a stranger.

“He is becoming a man” they told her. That wasn't enough for Her. She knew that whatever was happening to her Child it could not be explained by human experience. Hadn't she experienced the sinking of her Child in Alexandria? For those who saw him sitting at the door of the Jew's carpentry shop, the Child's sadness could be explained by some whim that his father denied him and forbade him to ask for it again. Just like that? No way! She knew that her Son did not function like other children.

On that occasion, back in Alexandria, Mary found a way to make her way into her Child's heart. But this time it was totally impossible for her. The only thing she could do was to lie down beside her and fall asleep guarding her dreams, because whatever she was going through, this time her Child would never open the door to her mind, nor would she be able to find her way to her heart.

It was not that she was sad or that she carried such great sorrow that the very idea of sharing it seemed impossible to the Child. She knew it was something deeper; so deep that even looking into his eyes her gaze was lost in the field of Jesus' eyes without ever reaching the horizon behind which her Son hid his thought.

"What is the matter with you, my son?" she asked herself, knowing that her Child would never give her the answer.




Cleophas, the father of James the Just and his brothers, was blessed. If it is true that before death the human being relives the years lived in this world, the last moments of Mary's brother were happy.

The only sorrow that could have darkened his luminous memories, the death of his father shortly after his birth, even this sorrow could not cloud his last moments. His sister Mary transformed that physical absence into an angelic presence always watching over her child.

Now that he was one step away from crossing the threshold of death, Cleophas could recall with a smile the way his older sister had mitigated the absence of his father by transforming him into her own guardian angel. How could he have doubted his sister Mary's innocence the day his mother told him of the Annunciation?

He was the first man in the world to know the Mystery of the Incarnation, and the first to believe with his eyes closed in the Virgin who would conceive the Messiah King. It was his mother who took him alone and told him in every word. "Son, pass this, this and this, and I want you to do this, this and this"

Cleophas forgot his wife and his two little children, saddled his horse, the mare for his sister, and, without giving more explanation than was necessary to his brother-in-law, led the way to Our Lady through Samaria.

Holy God, how beautiful he looked, cherub on his fiery horse with the eagle's gaze scanning the horizon, sword ready and sharp to trace around his Sister the circle that the unknown Roman soldier traced around the great king of Asia. "If you trespass the line you declare war on Rome, if you turn away, go in peace. If you want war, you shall have it."

His brother-in-law gave him for company two of his dogs, Deneb and Kochab. Those last specimens of his race seemed to have been infected by the tension of the young human brother; Deneb advanced opening the way, Kochab guarding the rear.

The Virgin would have gone down alone to Judea with no other protection than the trust placed in the Lord by her angel Gabriel. But so beautiful was her Cleophas covering her with the mantle of his absolute faith in her innocence.

Some time before the state of grace in which the Carpenter's wife found herself was discovered in Nazareth, a state of grace on the lips of all the neighbors, a young man arrived in Nazareth from Judea, from Jerusalem itself, looking for Joseph. He brought a message from Zechariah. Its contents left Joseph dumbfounded and thoughtful. "Elizabeth was with child.

When his mother-in-law soon decided to send Mary to Elizabeth, to help her in the last months of John's pregnancy, Joseph saw it as natural. But what he no longer saw as logical was that it was Cleophas who went ahead of him and accompanied Mary to the south. Now, on his deathbed, Cleophas fondly remembered the look of surprise on his brother-in-law's face when he heard him speak to him, a boy in his eyes, words of a whole man.

"Say no more. All conversation is at an end. My mother disposes, her daughter obeys, and I, her son, comply. Until your wedding day your betrothed is subject to my mother's authority. There is nothing more to talk about, Joseph. When we return, we will see each other's faces”. Joseph stared at him with the eyes of one who discovers the man in the boy and is delighted that it is so, because that's the way things should be.

Zechariah and Elizabeth had retired to their country home in the mountains of Judah, far from Jerusalem. It had been some time since the son of Abijah had retired from the official position he had held throughout his life in the bureaucratic hierarchy of the Temple. And he had not done so until a few months before from the Temple itself, because as the priesthood was for life and he had no children, his turn obliged him until death or until an illness prevented him from doing so.

Healthy and long-lived at a time when the average life of a man was barely over fifty, Zechariah, although he could have put his father's shift at the disposal of the Temple, preferred to remain in his sacred post until death or illness forced him to retire. And this is just what happened. Because when he became mute he could no longer maintain that position of immovability that created so many enemies.

The administration of the treasury of the Temple corresponded to the priestly families, owners of the twenty-four turns of worship. The president of this board of directors was the high priest, who in turn was chosen from among those twenty-four families. As a rule, the chair passed from father to son. But once in a while what happened to Zechariah happened.

Zechariah had no sons to whom he could give his chair. The natural thing in this case was to put at the disposal of the council of the saints the Turn and to choose a successor from among the families. As it will be understood, there could be no lack of those who would put on the table the money needed to buy this vacant position.

Unnaturally and unnecessarily, Zacharias made many enemies by refusing outright to sell his Turn. No one could force him to make his father's turn available to the Council. And he did not.

No one ever knew what the angel said to Zechariah, but the consequences of that Annunciation were miraculous for his enemies. Mute, the son of Abijah had to place his turn at the disposal of the Council, sign his resignation and retire from the Office.

Zechariah retired to the villa that he and his Wife had in the mountains of Judah. It was a country house, far from the world and its hustle and bustle, to which only Simeon the Younger, the only one of the Saga of the Forerunners who was still alive, had access. Outside of Simeon the Younger, they received no visitors. The reason?

Well, the cause was the miracle that the parents of John the Baptist were living in their flesh.

On his deathbed Cleophas remembered the wonder he experienced the day he met his "grandparents". Zechariah was bouncing off the walls, and if it had not been for Elizabeth's snow-white hair, no one could have sworn that the woman was past sixty. Zachariah didn't speak, but he didn't stop moving. Only one other couple in the history of the world had experienced such a miracle, Abraham and Sarah of course.

From the porch of his grandparents' country house, Cleophas remembered himself looking at the horizon and saying to himself, “What's the matter, Joseph, what's taking you so long?”. How can we recreate the joy of that boy when he saw Joseph appear in the valley, trotting at a gallop across the plain! Didn't tears come to his eyes when he saw that giant kneeling at the feet of his Sister asking her forgiveness for having doubted her innocence?

The day Joseph announced that he was taking Mary and Jesus away from Herod, Cleophas looked him in the eye as if to say to another: “And you thought I was going to stay behind while you take my Sister to nobody knows where”.

From the first time he saw him Cleophas liked Joseph. And they were never separated.

Father of a large family that seemed not to end, Cleophas never criticized Joseph behavior. If his son Santiago was breaking his fists against the corners of the planks while his nephew Jesus was going around to walk hills, this was something that Cleophas saw with the eyes of the one who after all was before the Lord. Himself, of all the children of Nazareth, Cleophas was the little prince who neither worked nor needed to help the family. His sister Johanna was enough on her own to manage the fields; his sister Mary ran the most profitable dressmaking shop in the area. From time to time, grandmother Elizabeth came up from Jerusalem laden with gifts. Was she going to forget the child of the house?

What was his mission in this life - to live life!

His nephew Jesus reminded him so much of himself that Cleophas laughed when he saw Joseph struggling so much when he had to defend his Jesus in front of his friends and neighbors.

He, too, was taken by surprise and amazed by the sudden change in his nephew's appearance on his return from Jerusalem. And just like his sister, he could not explain what was going on in his nephew's mind. The only one who seemed to understand the Child was Joseph.

Joseph was the only one who seemed not to be surprised. He was the only one who seemed to know perfectly well what was happening to him, and, like the Child himself, he followed his policy of not saying a word to anyone. With his Mother and with his uncle Cleophas, Jesus felt uncomfortable because he read in their eyes what they were thinking. With Joseph, on the other hand, the Child was at ease. He was the only one who did not look at him with questions in his eyes and the only one who knew how to handle him in such a way that Jesus forgot his problems and became the active, intelligent and hard-working boy that everyone praised his parents for.

Yes, of course, Cleophas lived a wonderful life before he met Joseph. But that giant nomad on the back of his Iberian horse wandering through the provinces of the kingdom, his three Assyrian cherubs taken from a lost fresco of some palace in Nineveh, that nomad gave his life what it was missing, the image of the father, the brother he never had. And now, on his deathbed, he would be for his sons and daughters the father they would be missing.

Yes, if it is true that before dying the mind goes through the years lived, one by one, Cleophas relived unique, wonderful years. The Virgin for a sister, the Messiah king for a nephew, a Cherub for a brother-in-law, a wonderful woman who had given him sons and daughters, all healthy, all strong.

-Joseph..., he began, saying on his dead bed.

-Brother, Joseph stepped forward. Your sons are my sons, your daughters are my daughters. Of us all you are at this moment the blessed one. Our father David awaits his prince Cleophas in the bosom of that light that will be kindled when you close your eyes. There we shall meet, brother. Come and shake my hand when it is my turn to close mine.

And so it was. Cleophas died young, like his father Jacob.

-Just like our father, Joanna, in the prime of life. How we will miss you, brother, cried the Virgin.

They buried him in Nazareth, in the tomb of his father Jacob, next to his grandfather Matthan, over the remains of Abiud, son of Zerubbabel, son of Solomon, son of David.




The life of Joseph the Carpenter extinguished its flame shortly after that of Cleophas was consumed.

If the existence of Cleophas was beautiful and worth living, that of Joseph the Carpenter was that of the warrior always on the edge of the precipice, muscles constantly in tension, nerves sharpened to the last atom, always vigilant, always ready to engage the next twist of fate.

"There is nothing predetermined, who knows what tomorrow will bring? When the book of life turns the page you will see what it contains. And let each day suffice for its eagerness."

"The lot of the children of the Spirit is to respond swiftly to the sound of the trumpet calling to action".

"Death always attacks from behind, but he who turns his face to him removes from his hand that ace called the surprise factor"

Proverbs of this nature were the daily bread of Joseph the Carpenter. Zechariah, the future father of the Baptist, his preceptor, tutor, mentor, teacher, all the good in one, dedicated his talent, his genius, his wisdom, his art, all the best he had to form the mind of young Joseph. Thanks to his patience and dedication the fearless warrior that ran in young Jose's blood learned to look Death in the face, and, with the gleam in his eyes of the hero who knows he is invincible, even to Hell itself.

But what he never articulated his mind for was to be caught in the nets of God himself.

Also their conception of the birth of the son of David was the classic one, dad, mom, they marry, they unite, two different persons and only one thing, the call of the blood, the power of the flesh. To imagine that God was going to get in the middle of the Incarnation of his Son by means of? Well, no, not really; what happened afterwards was never imagined.

Looking back, reliving those days, Joseph the Carpenter laughed heartily.

This time the warrior had reached the other side of the battlefield. Around his deathbed his nephews and his people mourned the farewell of the cherub who had never lowered his vigilance, the death of the hero who never shed his helmet and armor. He was about to give up his soul.

Everyone thought that his strength had reached its twilight, that his breath was fading in the distances between Heaven and Earth, when Joseph the Carpenter came out of his sleep. He was awakened by the memory of his answer to his Master Zechariah on the day Elizabeth communicated to them the news of the Vow of the Virgin.

"God's will be done. A thousand years my people have been waiting for this day, I may as well wait ten", said Joseph.

God, what an unexpected turn you gave to the life of your servant!

Young Joseph grew up dreaming of the day he would see the birth of his wife the Messiah king, the owner of the sword of kings, the legitimate bearer of the two messianic scrolls.

His brothers and sisters did not understand why their Joseph did not marry at the age that everyone was accustomed to. Life was short. Existence, very hard. At this point in history, no one could afford to let the years go by in the style of the Patriarchs, who married from the age of forty onwards. Many were already grandfathers at the age of forty. What was the chief of the clan of the carpenters of Bethlehem waiting for to choose a wife and honor them all with fresh blood?

Joseph the Carpenter was silent. He answered his brothers with the silence of one who seemed, unlike other mortals taken from clay, to have been formed from iron.

Far be it from his breast to harbor a heart of stone, but you left him, holy God, no choice but to adopt that attitude for the good of all, for if the slightest news of the Davidic plot that was being hatched behind his back had reached the ears of Herod's hired assassins, how long would it have taken that serpent to order the death of all the brothers of your servant?

Joseph the Carpenter came out of his sleep reliving that unforgettable day, the day he went to the house of his mother-in-law to ask for explanations about the rumor that had scandalized everyone in Nazareth.

What was going on?

What was reaching her ears?

The neighbors were dropping tremendous hints.

"What will you call the child, Mr. Joseph? Because it will be a boy"

The Carpenter finally felt the pinch, stopped contemplating and went straight to talk to his mother-in-law.

The Widow, who was expecting the visit, went and opened the door.

The Virgin’s mother had been preparing for this encounter.

She had feared it. She had longed for it. She dreamed of him, sighed for him, trembled thinking of him.

Would she be up to the task, would the grace of her daughter's innocence have rubbed off on her, his mother?

As a mother she was all ready to gouge out the eyes of anyone who uttered the word adultery. Her son-in-law Joseph was a saint, a most good man, but what male would not be scandalized to hear that his female was in a state of grace by the work of the holy spirit?

With her heart in her fist the Widow opened the door to her son-in-law.

"Sit down, my son" she said to him. "This is a great day for all the families of the earth”.

What a way to save the gap!

The Carpenter sat down. He did not open his mouth. Nor would he have needed to. His look said it all.

Man, maybe a thousand images are worth less than a word of God, and an image is worth more than a thousand words of man. In the situation at hand, the mother of the Virgin facing the man who was directly affected by the Incarnation of the Son of God, neither words nor images seemed sufficient to that mother trapped in the nets of a God who asks no one for permission to enter into the lives of the creatures He creates from clay.

Looks were enough. The looks said it all.

The Widow knew what her son-in-law was coming for, and her son-in-law knew that she knew what he had come for. The question was who was going to break the ice.

The Virgin's mother, inspired by the infinite love she had for her daughter, on the one hand, and by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit himself, on the other, broke out:

"My son, do you believe that Yahweh is God?" she blurted out to her son-in-law without giving him time to say this mouth is mine. Such an entrance, she knew, was the last thing her Joseph could have expected.

The Carpenter didn't even flinch. A man of ice would have moved more nerves than the Carpenter at that moment.

Well, he already knew his mother-in-law, he knew what stamp she had put on that woman's soul. Zechariah educated him, Joseph; but his mother-in-law Anna was formed with her own hands by Elizabeth, his Master's wife. So if what the Widow of Jacob of Nazareth was doing was defending her daughter Mary, and she was certainly doing so, the mother of the Virgin was starting well. It was to be seen what would become of all this philosophy.

The Virgin's mother, without losing her cool or feeling disarmed by her son-in-law's stony seriousness, continued:

"Forgive me, man of God, for entering you through this door, but events demand it of me. I mean, do you think anything is impossible for God?". Then she stared at his son-in-law as if at that moment the mystery of God's eyes had been revealed to her and allowed her to read Joseph the Carpenter's thoughts.

Another individual would have felt that look as intimidation. The Carpenter held it without moving a muscle.

Although he had not yet grasped what his mother-in-law was getting at, Joseph remained seated calmly. He had come for a single word, a Yes or a No. And he wasn't going to leave the house without that Yes or that No. Was his wife in a state of grace? That was all he wanted to know.

The mother of the Virgin was playing with an advantage, she knew that her son-in-law Joseph would not move from the chair until she gave him the Yes or No.

The truth, the whole truth and only the truth, was a Yes, a marvelous Yes, a divine Yes, an eternal, infinite Yes, an unmitigated, indescribable, inexplicable Yes.

It was also a No, a total No, a No without concessions, without discussions of any kind, a profound, non-negotiable No, the Life of the Messiah in one hand, the Death of the Son of David in the other hand.

What would you choose, friend, would you choose mockery, would you laugh at God to His face, would you deny God His power to perform this extraordinary, supernatural Work?

Friend, all is nothing when all is little. But if the creature were to refuse the knowledge of his Creator and subject it to his level of natural intelligence, the extraordinary work would be to pull such a donkey out of the well of fools.

The dice --for grace blows with the wind-- are still waiting for the next move. It is the turn of every man and woman to exhale his or her answer. To affirm oneself in the Yes or in the No.

If you had everything good in one hand and everything bad in the other, which one would you choose?

Joseph the Carpenter once held the dice of the fortune of the Son of Mary in his hand. Never in the History of the Universe had any man gone through a similar or similar situation. His decision would change the future of the world. His Yes or No would raise or sink the whole Plan of Universal Salvation of his Creator.

From his lips, however, the mother of the Virgin could only expect words of wisdom. With this strength and courage befitting a daughter of Eve the mother of the Virgin went on with her revelation

"Let us see, man of God. Imagine that the Lord challenges you to put Him to the test. Yes, just as it sounds. Imagine that our Lord offers you the opportunity to be challenged by you to prove to yourself that He is God for real, not just in word and because He can do a few more tricks than Pharaoh's magicians. Let’s say it, it is not enough for you to believe that He is God, you want, you need to see it with your eyes. You want to see His Almighty Power at work, you want to see Him overcoming the most difficult, greatest test you can think of.

“Man of God, I know that your faith is stronger than the rock, that without seeing you are content and enough with the Word that travels from mouth to mouth through the firmament of the centuries to believe in the Truthfulness of our Lord. However, grant yourself this opportunity. Answer me without prejudice. Tell me, by what test would you commit God to employ Himself to the utmost? What test would you put to God that would be worthy of His Almighty Power and would oblige Him to put all His Omniscience on the table? Son, do not hold back, do not leave your tongue stuck to the sky of your heart for fear of finding the words. Dare, challenge your Creator, because you deserve it, for so much suffering, for so much pain and so much cruelty that our fathers have suffered. What were we, son, before the Spirit of God hovered over the waters of our seas? Animals without intelligence. Then one day we were loved by our Creator and He gave us the gift of speech. Now then, do not deny it to yourself, speak, lift up your head to the Almighty, lay your soul at his feet, ask him to do an extraordinary, unique, unrepeatable, marvelous work, the measure of his Great Spirit, to quench your thirst for knowledge and your hunger for wisdom. He is for you. Ask yourself what test you would put to your Creator, one and no more, holy Isaac; but one that will fill your soul with infinite happiness and your being with eternal joy. Come, do not be shy”. And the mother of the Virgin fell silent.

Strange as it may seem to you, Joseph the Carpenter continued in amazement. He came looking for the answer to something as simple as the truth about the rumored state of grace in which his wife seemed to be, and his mother-in-law came out with a full-fledged theological discussion.

Joseph stared at her trying to guess what was going on. Was it a Yes or was it a No?

His mother-in-law took advantage of the confusion to take her Revelation a step further.

"Son, answer me" she begged him. “Do not lie to me or be silent for fear of offending the Lord. Tell me the Truth, would you dare to challenge your God, or would you shrink back and not open your mouth for fear of offending your Creator?"

Without granting herself respite the Widow breathed. At once she returned to the battlefield.

"Man of God, I know I am surprising you; but grant me these minutes of your life. Again I ask you, what would you put God to the test? Or let's put it this way: What would be the greatest test for a God that could ever occur to a man? For example, you want Him to prove to you once and for all that He is truly God, that He has not claimed for Himself the glory of being Uncreated Being in vain. Do you want Him to erase all the stars from the sky? Do you want the sun to never set? Do you want donkeys to fly? Do you want whales to walk? I don't know, what do you want? Anybody can become an emperor. Midas have been many and many will be. Don't ask God for things that a man can do. You are going to challenge Him with an extraordinary, superior work, you are going to put before Him a job that not even Hercules in the fullness of his glory would have been able to do. Do I explain myself? ... You see, what worries me is that knowing the nature of men, are you sure that once the stars are erased from the sky, you will not look for a natural explanation for such a divine phenomenon? Are you sure that men will not turn a frozen sun in the dome of the firmament and find a natural cause that fits in your heads?”

Having sent the ball to another's roof the Widow of Jacob of Nazareth fell silent. Joseph the Carpenter did not enter into the game.

I would say that anyone who saw him sitting in front of his mother-in-law at the time would have sworn that the man of God had ice instead of blood in his veins.

Joseph the Carpenter did not move an eyebrow. With his gaze frozen on his mother-in-law he looked more like a stone statue than a creature of flesh and blood.

The Widow held his gaze. She knew for a fact that her son-in-law was not going to say a word. Inspired by the great love she had for her daughter, the Widow acted as if Joseph’s silence was a recognition of the value of the idea on the table.

Joseph, who was beginning to marvel at the direction the conversation was taking, and broke his silence with these first words:

"You tell me, Mother, why should I deny my Creator the glory of His Arm?". And he embraced silence again.

The mother of the Virgin took the definitive step. The moment had come.

“Son, I am not man”. She had taken the step forward, yes, but in the direction that had suited her. “I don't know how you men think”, she insisted, “I was created from a rib of my man. And I know that what to a man may be the greatest test in the Universe, it may not be so in the eyes of a woman. The only thing I wonder is this: in the eyes of a woman, can God be put to a greater test than conceiving without the intervention of the man? I mean, not in the manner of those sons of God who slept with the daughters of men and had offspring. You know that among the Greeks, the Romans and the barbarians their gods slept with their wives and bore them heroes, the last one being Alexander the Great himself. No, son, I am talking about something else. That a Virgin should give birth to a Child without knowing a man".

Now Joseph the Carpenter really opened his eyes wide. What was his mother-in-law insinuating? Where was she taking him with this metaphysical detour? Was she wrapping the Yes he came for in a kind of theological knot that was impossible to untie? So mind-boggling was the subject that Joseph remained unmoved.

“Son, do you think such a test would exceed the limits of Divine Power?”

The Widow continued attacking without giving his son-in-law time to prepare a counterattack strategy.

Anyway, her son-in-law spoke at last.

“No. Never”. He said all serious.

And immediately he returned to his role of son-in-law in a state of hallucination with the twists and turns his mother-in-law was giving to the simple and short answer he came looking for: Yes or No. It seemed to be Yes, but it was No.

It looked like Yes, but as was No, it seemed to be Yes.

Apparently the Yes was being sugar-coated so that the pill of events would not be too bitter to swallow. But the idea with which his mother-in-law was challenging him seemed so fantastic that his body refused to leave without first listening with his ears to the conclusion of the argument that was being fabricated.

“I expected nothing less from you, my son”, interrupted his train of thought that mother who was ready to defend her daughter tooth and nail. “Now let's take another step forward. The Lord takes up your challenge. The Lord is going to give you the proof for which your bones sigh: He is going to make a Virgin conceive a son by the work and grace of His Uncreated, Divine Power. Do you remember, son, the prophecy? I know I do:

-Isaiah the prophet said to King Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign in the depths of Sheol or on high.

-And Ahaz said to him, “I will not ask him; I do not want to tempt the LORD.”

-Then Isaiah said to him, “Hear now, O house of David, is it a small thing for you to trouble men, that you also trouble my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin with child is with child, and she shall call his name Emmanuel”.

The Widow stopped her speech and looked into Joseph's soul.

The Carpenter still could not believe his ears. Was she telling him that the Sign had taken place? Had the Widow gone mad, or did she want to drive him mad?

As if reading his mind, the Widow reopened the subject.

“Son, you say to yourself: to the point, woman. And I ask you not to be impatient. We are not talking about a trivial matter, the glory of the Eternal God is at stake. Grant yourself patience. If by running too fast the athlete does not see the signs and skips them and reaches the finish line by an unmarked road, although he would have won anyway if he had run on the official track, will the jury give him the crown of laurels? Would they? Look, son, we have the Eternal God on the move, looking for the Woman, the Virgin in whose womb his Sign will take shape. I ask you, on which blessed one will God rest his Arm? On which unique and special woman among all the daughters of David will the Most High spread the mantle of his Glory? To which one will He love as the unique and adored spouse is loved? You will tell me that the Most High Himself will beget her and predestine her from the womb of her parents to be that Mother. Or does He not go ahead of the one who asks by begetting him to make this request? The Omniscience of the Lord is that which moves every soul that breathes in His presence. Is not His Spirit the source that inspires every word that reaches His ear? Of course it is, son. He opens the mouth of the one who asks: May a Virgin give birth without the intervention of a man! The Lord smiles. He opens his mouth and says: Behold, I am going to hallucinate you all by doing a work that will be remembered forever: The son of Eve will be born of that Virgin”

Mary’s Mother fell silent. She looked straight in the eyes of the souls of Joseph, and said:

“The Birth is already on, son. Tell me now, from among all women which woman will the Most High choose to be that blessed Virgin?”

For a moment Joseph the Carpenter thought he had heard all he had come looking for, but the idea his mother-in-law was putting on the table was so mind-boggling that he remained motionless.

What was the Widow telling him, that his Fiancée was in a state of grace by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit?

The Virgin’s mother did not give him time to ponder too much.

“Put yourself on the case, son. God announces what will be the Sign in which He will demonstrate the Glory of His Son before all creation. From the womb of His parents He forms the couple who will carry in their arms the Child born of the Virgin. But now a problem must be overcome, a final obstacle must be overcome. Yes, my son, the pride of the male. Will you let the pride of the male blind your intelligence?”.

Joseph finally understood his mother-in-law’s argument.

“Are you telling me, mother, that it has happened?”.

“Don’t jump to conclusions, my son. Let me recapitulate the road we have traveled so far. Better, let us contemplate it from another angle. What did the Prophet say later, speaking about the Child born of the Virgin? : To us a Child is born, to us a Son is born, who has on His shoulders the Sovereignty, and He will be called Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father”.

“What has been born, do you say, mother?”. He interrupted her. For the first time Joseph the Carpenter moved, showing exhaustion of patience. The Virgin’s mother resumed her attack before she lost her prey.

“Do not let the pride of the male blind your intelligence, son. For if God does not deceive or lie, and He  fulfills all His promises, what shall we say? That the prophets of Israel were all liars and impostors? That in order to glorify themselves they wrote the Holy Scriptures with no other purpose than to recite poetry? You tell me. I await your answer”.

Joseph the Carpenter followed the thread. He thought that seen in this light the Widow was absolutely right. Either Abraham’s people were a nation of impostors with an infinite capacity to deceive themselves or, certainly, the Child not having been born, there had to be a Nativity. So far so good. What was already sticking in his throat was the conclusion that his wife's mother was putting in front of him. She was telling him that the Virgin was his Mary. She had not yet told him in these words, but it was clear that this whole speech had this final statement at last.

Clever as she was, inspired by faith, her mother-in-law cut off her thought. One would say that she was more than inspired she was divine. She was reading his thoughts faster than he was reading them to himself. Taking advantage of this, the mother of the Virgin came in full force.

“My daughter, your wife, is the Chosen One to conceive in her womb the Child who was to be born of that Virgin of whom the Prophet spoke to us. You, Joseph, are the Man”.

For a fleeting moment Joseph was about to stand up and close that unforgettable conversation with a “that's enough”. But he remained seated. His mother-in-law continued.

“Before you, son, God has opened two doors. These two doors will remain open before the generations that will follow us when you and I will be a memory in the heart of the centuries. One is that of faith, the other is that of unbelief. If you choose the latter, you will act like the one who challenged his God and upon discovering that the Virgin chosen to demonstrate His glory was his own wife, he rebelled against the One whom he himself challenged. But I know that you will not do that. My son, of the immaculate innocence of my daughter I am her witness before all. Her angel will lead you out of the darkness of the doubt that overwhelms you. Son, my heart tells me that you will choose the Door of Faith. And that you will run in search of the Mother of the Messiah for whom our people have been waiting for so many millennia”.

Inexplicably, on his deathbed, Joseph the Carpenter smiled. Is there a more beautiful death than that of God's creature who says goodbye to this world with a smile on his lips?

Well, by now all his nephews and nieces and his people thought that at any moment Joseph would close his eyes forever when Joseph sat up and begged them all to go out and leave him alone with his wife and son. Gone, the three of them alone, Joseph breathed and began to speak.

“Woman, my mouth has remained sealed to this day for reasons which you yourself will understand at the end of the things which nothing now prevents me from bringing to your knowledge and that of your Son.

“Son, what shall I say to my Lord? my soul is before my God. I am going to meet my Judge, before whom I will have to render an account of my life. But there is something you must know before I leave this world.

“Your Mother has already spoken to you of her great-great-grandfathers, Elizabeth and Zechariah, whom you did not know and to whom your Mother and I owe so much. Be patient with me in this last hour and remember my words on your Day.

“Where shall I begin, how shall I open the door for you to the knowledge of the men and women who laid their lives at the feet of their God so that your Light might dawn upon the darkness? If I have never made known to you the facts that I now unveil to you, it was with your good in mind. Do not blame me for having kept you out of the history of those men and women who lived their days on the razor's edge, their heads hanging by a thread all the days of their lives so that your Coming would be fulfilled. You will know, son, what you must do when your Eternal Father pronounces your Day open”.




The Saga of the Restorers




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