It is late. The moon is high and only a few night sounds fill the air, still war after the heat of the day. This is Lazarus’ house, and it is bathed in moonlight and all within appear to be at rest.
But not all, for I see that a small side gate leading into the enclosure
of the flower garden opens. It is Jesus who proceeds slowly, calmly into
the place of peace and beauty. He has on a white tunic and the faint
moonlight highlights the sorrow upon His holy face which appears to me to
grow deeper, so as to be etched upon His face. His eyes, however, are
clear, calm. A veritable ocean of heavenly peace.
Scarcely has he passed into the garden then another figure appears and
follows our Lord’s own footsteps. It is Lazarus. He is of medium build,
and not as tall as Jesus. He has placed about his shoulders a lightweight
mantle of dark color, as if he desired to be seen by no one other than Jesus.
They meet, the Master and His faithful servant. Lazarus’ face is filled
with loving respect for Jesus.
"The household rests," Lazarus informs Jesus. "All are asleep except..."
"Do not say the name, Lazarus. I know he is not here." Jesus’ sigh would
melt the most hardened heart and Lazarus also bows his head, so as not to
speak. I understand it is Judas Iscariot of whom they speak, though they
utter few worlds.
"I have asked you to come now, my beloved disciple, that I might speak to
you more freely."
"Whatever I can do, Master. You now that."
"I know, Lazarus. Your heart is pure and gives me solace."
"Then remain here."
"I cannot. You know I must fulfill the Father’s will."
"I - O! Master, I feel so helpless."
"No, Lazarus, you have a very important mission at this appointed time. I
desire you to make your home a safe haven, a refuge for my apostles, even
my disciples who, in the first hours and days of the sufferings I must
endure will scatter like frightened birds pursued as wild prey."
"Master, they may come here, always. All I possess is Yours."
"Truly, you have well understood My words concerning poverty and have
always acted justly in the use of God’s providence. Ah, Lazarus, in future
generations you shall be the example for all upon whom the Father grants
earthly riches. Your life shall be for them a beacon to lead them in the
way of abandonment and detachment. Now as never before your very riches
will serve as a shield against My enemies, and by your just life not even
the High Priest and his cohorts shall touch you. Therefore, yours is a
place of safe refuge, holy and chaste. Here I ask you to keep watch in the
fateful hour and, through your faithful servants and your holy sisters, to
gather those whom fear puts to flight.
"To you Jerusalem is open and the doors of many are not barred to you. To
your chaste ears good hearts will whisper where by flock has scattered, and
you, my beloved servant, will gather them here until they can once more
find unity through faith and prayer."
"I will do it, Master. You know that. But,--"
"Speak freely, Lazarus. Your heart is open to Me."
"May I not also be with You at that dreadful hour? May I not stand and
give witness in your favor?"
"Lazarus, at that hour only the voices of hell shall have speech. The
whole of Heaven shall remain mute, and the just shall cry out from their
hearts, not with their voices. My Father shall hear, and gather such faith
unto Himself, that in all ages to come the voices of the demons shall be
drowned out by the pure voice of faithful love."
Lazarus accepts his role in perfect obedience and presses Jesus’ hands
against his own.
"My Lord, I do not know all that will follow. But I a not afraid. I died
once and You, in Your merciful love, brought me back to life. If, now, by
my obedience, I can help to preserve the light among the people you have
called, then I am willing to die again and again to assist You, Who are my
Lord and God."
"Your loving faith deserved the miracle, Lazarus. And because those of
the Temple witnessed My power over death, and can not dispute it, they
shall kill Me in a futile attempt to remove Me from their lives and their
hideous, evil power. Speak to my disciples often of the miracle granted
you, that all may believe that by My death, life itself triumphs. All who
believe in Me, who follow after My footsteps shall also rise as you did—but
in Heaven in eternal glory."
"And Your Mother? I should wish Her to remain here also."
"My Mother, along with certain of the holy women, will be with Me, that in
all future generations mankind will recognize and respond to that role
designed for woman from all eternity. For women, strength lies in their
open, loving hearts. They are models of pure, chaste love. And this the
world will learn as I die in agony upon the cross and the women, with My
Mother, are present. No, I need you to be here. Here is where you serve
Me. I am always with you, Lazarus. You are my treasure. I bless you.
Let us go now to our rest. The apostles, along with the women, will leave
with Me for Jerusalem tomorrow."
Lazarus kneels and Jesus blesses him and then, together, they leave the
garden and return to the house, where the silence of the night covers all.