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RP6 06r

 The Holy Family enters the cavern.

SUSANNA

You're lucky that I'm alone. If my husband were here with his companions, he might have done you wrong, but he shouldn't be back until daybreak. Till then, no one will disturb you

SAINT JOSEPH

Thank you. You're a good woman. God will reward you for your charity.

SUSANNA

Where is He, the God of whom you speak to me? For a long time, I have wanted to know Him.

SAINT JOSEPH

O woman! If you knew the name of the one who has just come into your cavern! If you knew the Child whom Mary presses to her heart!...

SUSANNA approaches Mary.

How beautiful your child is! Why, then, have you exposed yourselves to the inclemency of the season in the desert? 

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

An important event has forced us to leave Nazareth to go live in Egypt. You understand what I suffer when I see my Son without shelter and trembling with cold, while the glacial winds at night whip up the desert sands. Or when I cannot even find a single palm tree to shield Him from the burning ardor of the midday Sun. 

SUSANNA

The occasion for which you're making such a difficult jour­ney must be important indeed. If it's to seek your fortune in Egypt, I wouldn't encourage you to keep going. It seems that poor people are even worse off in that country than in ours. Besides. you ought to know that misery always follows those born under its star. The only way to elude it is to rebel against the rich and to seize from them by force the wealth that is unjustly divided.

SAINT JOSEPH

It is not poverty that we flee. Happiness does not con­sist in having wealth, but in humbly submitting your will to that of God, who gives each person -what He knows to be necessary or the salvation of his soul.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN 

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 
 
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RP6 06v

Poor woman, how can you attach your soul to all these riches gained unjustly? How is it that you don't find all your joy in forming the heart of this beautiful child whom the good God has entrusted to you? 

SUSANNA sadly

Far from being my joy, this child is the cause of my sor­row. It is he who keeps me from enjoying the immense riches that surround me... How speedily he'd give you all I possess if you could save my son's life.

SAINT JOSEPH, going to the child.

What's wrong with your child, then? He's as lovely as an angel and he seems to be sleeping peacefully.

SUSANNA

Yes, Dismas is beautiful, but don't you see that the snowy whiteness spread across his brow is leprosy? (She weeps.)

THE BLESSED VIRGIN, gently pulling away the hand that Susanna has raised to her face.

Don't cry, poor mother. The good God is powerful enough to heal [your] son. He will repay the hospitality you've shown us tonight.

SUSANNA

I don't know where He lives, this God whom you call good. You who know Him oh!, I beg you, beseech Him to cure my child and I will give you all that you may desire.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

I promise you I shall pray for your child, and all I ask in return is a little water with which to wash Jesus. See how His little face is covered with sweat and dust.

SUSANNA

I ought to have thought of offering what you ask. (She steps to the back of the cavern and points out a small basin of water carved out of the rock. ) Here is the little bathtub I use for Dismas; it should serve for you to bathe your child. But aren't you afraid He'll get the terrible sickness that my son has?

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

No, I am not afraid. I know that Jesus has come to earth

  

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 
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RP6 07r

 to heal your son by taking upon Himself the boy's weak­ness and infirmity. Right now, He is a fugitive, like a traveler who doesn't even have a rock He can call His own on which to rest His head, because the Jews do not recognize their king!... Later, they will treat Him like a leper and his face will be hid­den from them. (Mary says these words in a prophetic voice. Sorrow and joy are mixed in the gaze she casts on Jesus. Then, looking at Susanna, she adds:) But also your child will be clothed in the charms that my Son will have given up for him. He'll take his place with Him in His eternal kingdom.

SUSANNA, deeply moved.

I can't understand what you're saving. How can your Child bring Dismas to health? Isn't He as weak as mine?... It's true that I see in your face and His a radiance I've never known, but what can you do for me, you poor travelers who've had to seek refuge in a den of thieves?...
Ah! I am beginning to believe that you are mysterious people. Your noble demeanor, your air of grandeur reveal an illustrious origin. Aren't you the descendants of some monarch, since you've just spoken of a kingdom where my son might take his place with Yours?

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world; if His kingdom were of this world, He would have palaces like those of earthly kings, and valiant warriors would fight for Him. Right now, you can't understand the meaning of what I say, but one day you’ll understand.

Mary, having poured water into the basin, washes Little Jesus.

SAINT JOSEPH, to Susanna.

Consider well what Marv is doing. Imitate her, believing firmly that God can cure your son, and this bountiful God will repay your faith.

SUSANNA

Yes. I believe that the true God has sent you to me to con­sole me. for I sense in my soul something I can't define... But. how can a little water bring about my son's good health?  

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 
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RP6 07v

 

SAINT JOSEPH

Had you ever opened the Holy Scriptures, you would have read there that the leper Nahaman was cured when, obeying the prophet Elisha, he washed himself seven times in the wa­ters of the Jordan, even thought that water had not yet been sanctified by the presence of the Word made Flesh.

SUSANNA

I don't know what you mean by the Holy Scriptures, but my mother's heart urges me to obey your words. (She dips her child m.io the basin that has just been used for Jesus, then, when she has "alien him out, she gives a joyous cry and says in a voice trembling with emotion:) Ah! My child, my Dismas is healed!... Is this not a dream?... No, it's the truth, his ruby lips are smiling at me... his knee is aglow and full of life... Only a God could have worked his miracle!... (Turning towards Mary.) Ah! Now I believe it, this Child you earn pressed to your heart is God Himself, Who has lowered Himself to me.... I do not understand this mystery. But I believe it because I sense its truth. 

[Scene 5]

The sound of a whistle is heard and the bandits enter their den.

ABRAMIN, in a transport of jury, lifts his sword at the sight of Mary and Joseph.

Who are these audacious people who've had the temerity to break into my domain? They'll pay more dearly than they think. 

SUSANNA throws herself at his feet, holding up Dismas.

Abramin, don't touch our benefactors, they've come to put an end to our sorrow. Look! Dismas is cured of his leprosy.

ABRAMIN, dropping his sword.

What are you saying? Dismas is cured... (He looks closely at the child. ) It's absolutely true, no doubt about it. ( Wiping his tears away roughly with the back of his hand.) I didn't think I had any more tears left but, hard as my heart is, it feels moved by a miracle that confounds all human expectations. Who, then, are these strangers who have the marvelous knowledge of how to make the terrible disease of leprosy disappear so quickly ?

SUSANNA

I don't know their names, but I am sure that the Child they carry is the true God, hidden in the appearance of weakness.

  

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 
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RP6 08r

 

ABRAMIN

A God in the form of a child! Susanna, joy has led you astray... (Turning towards St. Joseph.) Tell me your name, I beg you, and what recompense you’d have for the healing you've just performed.

SAINT JOSEPH

I am the poor carpenter, Joseph. I'm not. the one who's just restored health to your son; it was the Child whom Man' holds in her arms.

TORCOL

Truly, we're in another world! I don't know, but I feel like I've been moved at the bottom of this thing. (He points to his heart. ) I've been on this ball of a world long enough to be a judge of men, and well, I swear, these strangers are no ordi­nary people.

IZARN

I've never seen such a thing and, right now, the life we've been leading no longer seems as attractive as it did before.

ABRAMIN, with a commanding gesture.

Sit back down there and.... Be quiet!.... (To St. Joseph.) I beg you to explain, how could your child heal my son?

SUSANNA, enthusiastically.

Listen to how things happened. This woman, who is in­comparably more beautiful and sweeter than any I've ever seen, asked me for water to wash her Child; I gave it to her in Dismas's bathtub, while I told her of my fear that her son might get my son's disease. Instead of sharing my fears, she answered me with mysterious words which I didn't understand, though I felt something extraordinary within myself. As soon as her child was out of the water, I took the advice her husband had given me and plunged Dismas in, hoping he'd be healed. And you see what has happened.... Hens can anyone doubt, then, that little Jesus is God.... What's more, his mother spoke to me of a kingdom where Dismas must take his place with Him.

ABRAMIN 

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 

 

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