Preparation for the Public Life

DURING THE FOUR YEARS between the death of St. Joseph and the beginning of Christ's public ministry, the Blessed Virgin did not have to work so much and was able to spend more time in prayer. Jesus and Mary usually took only one meal a day, at about six o'clock in the evening. Frequently they ate nothing but bread, although sometimes Mary added fish or fruit or vegetables. She served her Divine Son on her knees.
Often in the privacy of their home Mary would remain prostrate on the ground, adoring her Lord, until He told her to rise, and then with tears of reverence, love and humility she would kiss His feet or hands. She did all the housework for Him with joy and eager zeal, and whenever her Angels would begin her tasks before she did, she would order them to stop, so that she could do the work herself. At such times she would say to them: "My friends, permit me to do this work, since I can thereby gain merits which you, do not need. I know the value of such work which the world despises, and the Lord has given me this knowledge in order that I may perform it myself and not let it be done by others."

At work or in prayer she composed and sang lovely hymns in honor of her Lord.

Once when Mary was almost overcome at the thought of the future ingratitude of men toward their Saviour, Jesus ordered the Angels to console her by singing canticles of praise to God for her. Then Christ gave His Mother a still deeper understanding of the mystery of sin and redemption, and He encouraged her by revealing to her the great number of the predestined Apostles and Saints of the Church.

As the time for His public ministry approached, Jesus and Mary prayed more and more fervently together for the Apostles whom He was soon to call to His service. The Lord also showed His Mother how He was going to conduct His preaching and how she was to co-operate with Him and help Him to found His Church. Some time after the death of St. Joseph, Jesus and Mary decided to move to an isolated cottage near Capharnaum on the northern shore of the Lake of Galilee. When Jesus began to spend most of His time in prayer and traveling in preparation for His public ministry, some of the inhabitants of Nazareth criticized Him. He therefore accepted this cottage by the lakeside when a man named Levi who lived in Capharnaum offered it to Him, for He would be able to meet there more conveniently with His future disciples. Jesus and Mary made several trips between Nazareth and Capharnaum, transporting their modest belongings on a donkey. Finally they thoroughly cleaned and then closed up their house in Nazareth, although later they stayed there whenever the Saviour preached in Nazareth or its surroundings.
... One day Jesus said to her:

"My dearest Mother, the time has come when, in accordance with the will of My Eternal Father,  I must begin to prepare the hearts of certain persons to receive the light of My teaching. In this work I want you to follow Me and assist Me."

Henceforth Mary accompanied Him on many of the short trips which He took to the towns and villages of Galilee.  Usually she humbly walked behind her Son along the country paths. And she stood silently praying beside Him during conversations with men and women, while He announced: to them the imminent coming of the Messias, assuring them; that the Promised One was already in the world and in the Land of Israel. Thus He became acquainted with those whom He knew to be prepared and able to accept the Truth.

In His appearance Jesus showed so much beauty, grace, peace, kindness and gentleness of manner, and His way of speaking was so vivid and strong, that with the help of Divine grace many persons decided to give up their sinful ways of life and thus became capable of believing that the Messias had already begun His reign.

In addition, usually accompanied by Mary, Jesus visited the sick and the grief-stricken, especially among the poor. He restored health of body to many, and assisted the dying, giving them true peace of mind. Mary did the same, particularly among the women.

During this preparatory ministry Jesus and His Mother worked alone together, accompanied only by Angels. Some of the nights they passed in prayer in the open. Often they begged for their food, and sometimes the Angels brought it to them.


Meanwhile in the desert, St. John, the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, having reached the age of thirty, was commanded by the Lord to come forth and prepare the way for the Messias as a forerunner. John the Baptist was intensely devoted to the Mother of God, for until he was nine years old she had regularly sent him food by her Angels, and since then she had often told them to give him news of his Lord, Whom he fervently loved and worshipped from afar.

Now St. John left the desert and appeared among the people of Israel, preaching penance and baptizing on the banks of the River Jordan. He was clothed in a camel skin, with a leather belt. His feet were bare, and his features thin and ascetical. Yet in manner he was graceful, modest and kind, though he could be terrifying to the proud, the hard-hearted and the greedy.

One day, when Jesus was thirty years old, Mary heard a Voice of marvelous power say to her:

"Mary, My Daughter and My Spouse, offer your Son to Me as a sacrifice."

Realizing that the time had at last come for the redemption of mankind through the Public Life and Death of Christ, she replied generously:

"Eternal King and Almighty God, Lord of all, He is Thine and so am I. What then can I offer Thee that is not more Thine than mine? Yet because He is the life of my soul and the soul of my life, to yield Him into the hands of His enemies at the cost of His life is a great sacrifice. However, let not my will but Thine be done. I offer up my Son in order that He may pay the debt contracted by the children of Adam."

The Blessed Trinity immediately rewarded and consoled her by a vision in which she was shown the glory and the good that would result from Jesus' sacrifice and hers. When she came out of this rapture, Mary was prepared to endure the pain of being separated from her beloved Son and Lord.
Jesus therefore called her and said: "My Mother, give Me your consent to accomplish the will of My eternal Father, for the time has come when I must begin My work for men. Although I must now leave you alone for awhile, My blessing and powerful protection will remain with you. Later I will return and claim your help and company in My task."

Both Jesus and Mary were so deeply moved in this moment of parting that they were weeping quietly, and the Lord tenderly placed His arms around His Mother's shoulders. Among other things He told her that He would still go to Jerusalem three times for the Passover, and that the third time her heart would suffer cruelly. Then Mary fell at His feet and said with intense sorrow and reverence:

"My Lord, I offer Thee my own will as a sacrifice. And as Thy Mother I ask only that I may be allowed to share Thy labors and Thy Cross."

They went to the door together, and Mary kissed her Son's feet as He gave her His blessing. Then Jesus set out on His journey to the River Jordan, where John was baptizing.

During the absence of Christ, Mary spent nearly all her time in prayer, shut up in her house. Many times each day, in order to practice penance and reverence for God, she genuflected and prostrated herself on the floor, interceding for sinners by her prayers and mortifications. The rest of the time she conversed with her holy angels, whom the Lord had commanded to attend her in visible form. They kept her informed of all her Son's actions and prayers, so that she was able to pray with Him whenever He prayed, in the same posture and with the same words. Meanwhile she continued to visit the sick and the poor in her neighborhood.

In addition to the detailed reports of Jesus' doings which she received from the angels, the Blessed Virgin was also able to witness in visions all the most important incidents of the public life of Christ, no matter where He was at the time. Thus she saw Him being baptized by John and then go up into the mountainous desert and begin His forty days' fast. Mary then locked the door of her house, and entering her little oratory she began to pray and fast with her Son, imitating and co-operating with Him in His work for mankind. After forty days of uninterrupted prayer and fasting, she witnessed the threefold temptation of Christ by Satan, and from her retreat she likewise entered into conflict with the Tempter. When she saw the devil carrying Jesus from place to place she wept, but soon she rejoiced over the victory of the Lord. Then her Angels brought her some of the heavenly food which they administered to Jesus at the same time, and with them came a number of birds that had kept Him company during His fast, and they gathered around her and sang sweetly while she ate the miraculous food, which quickly restored her strength, for Jesus had sent it to her with His blessing.

The Saviour now spent several months preaching and preparing some of the men and women who were to become His disciples. In order to imitate Him, Mary left her solitude and devoted nearly all her time to visiting on foot some sick and poor women and children, instructing and healing and consoling them. ...



"You are not able to see my Son as He is in Heaven, but let me describe to you His physical appearance as He was in the world. His features were so beautiful that no one looked at His Face without feeling filled with joy and consolation, even when depressed. Yes, even the wicked were free from worldly gloom while looking at Him. Consequently persons suffering from sorrow used to say: 'Let us go and see Mary's Son, and we shall be without our grief at least that long.'

"When He was twenty years old, He reached His full growth in manly stature and strength. He had no superfluous flesh. His muscles were well-developed. And He was powerfully built. His hair, eyebrows and beard were light brown. His beard measured the width of a hand. His forehead was neither prominent nor retreating; but straight and erect. His nose was well-proportioned, neither large nor small. His eyes were so clear and pure that even His enemies enjoyed looking at Him. His lips were not thick but light red. His chin did not jut out and was not overlong, but pleasing and finely proportioned. His cheeks were moderately full, and His complexion was a clear white mixed with fresh red. He held Himself straight and erect, and there was not a spot on His whole Body."


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