I know not where I am being led, but I am not afraid.
It has been a long time since I was truly afraid of anything. I’ve been apprehensive, cautious, but those aren’t the same thing. Not the same as what I felt the last night I knew fear. Fear of not knowing if I was doing the right thing. Fear of ruining a simple young girl’s life at her most vulnerable moment. Fear of my well-intentioned plans backfiring. And then, once I had resolved to carry out my plans, fear of the dazzling presence that burst through into my dream. It shook me to my core even as it commanded me in the sweetest voice I had ever heard in my life, “Do not be afraid.” And my fear did indeed melt away as that voice continued, assuring me that I could take the girl as my wife, that the Child she had been found to be carrying had been conceived by the spirit of the LORD, and that we were to give the Child a very special name – one that means “The LORD is the Preserver” – and that we were to give Him this name because “He will preserve the nation from its failings.”
“The LORD is the Preserver.” I knew what and who this Child was even then. I knew it then as surely as I know it now. And as surely as I knew I would never be afraid again, for God was with us. And so I took her into my home, this simple young girl that I was seeing for the first time with newly-opened eyes. I fell to my knee, but I was not afraid. What else could I do but simply fall to my knee and kiss her hand and look up at her with a loving smile? For I did not see a simple young girl, but the most beautiful woman in all creation.
I can hardly say how far I have traveled, or how long. Time and space are not what they once were to me. But I am not afraid, for God is with me. I have seen His Face before, though not as He is now. Not even as it was the day He came down to the depths and claimed us for the presence of the LORD. I saw this kingly Face see its first light, saw His Eyes flash their first blinking, saw His Mouth utter its first cry, on the night the most beautiful woman in the world gave birth to her Son. It was a moment truly wondrous to ponder and even more so to have seen as I did. That night she lay on my breast, tired from her labor but barely containing her joy, with her miracle Child in her lap. I cannot see That glorious Face without seeing it that first night, as He looked up at me from his resting Mother’s lap, reaching out His little Fingers for the staff my arm was wrapped around. As I looked upon their peaceful faces, I knew I would never let anything happen to them. I would die first.
I feel my journey stop. I cannot say where I am exactly, nor can I say before whom I have been led, this shining figure that the King’s wounded Hand bids me see, this radiant…Lady? Yes, a Lady in heaven, a creature as definite as the Man beside me, not like one of the angelic ministers surrounding us in their infinitude, but of a different form, different…substance? Who is this I behold, this splendid Queen who beckons me closer to her splendor. I go forward, curious and entranced. I do not know to whom I am being led, but I am not afraid.
My own words and thoughts fail me as I truly see her for who she is. She is changed somehow, not entirely recognizable as the woman I knew but now as noble and glorious in appearance as she has always been in her heart. And yet…I do know her. I cannot but know her, and she is still as beautiful as the day I took her into my home, as beautiful as the night she gave birth to her holy Son. The simple young girl, a woman, a Mother, a Lady – this is the Queen I protected with my life, the most beautiful woman in all creation now standing by the King’s right, and arrayed in golden brilliance. Her true beauty is unveiled at last, stunning and terrible to behold. I fall to one knee, but I am not afraid. What can I do but simply fall to my knee, and kiss the hand of my smiling Lady?
I feel the King’s hand upon my shoulder, and I see Him rest the other upon the shoulder of the Queen. A joy that can barely be contained shines from our faces, even mine through this great and gracious gift I have been given, A Presence floats and lilts around us, like the air parted by the flapping of great and soft wings. And then, the sound – oh, around us three rises up a cry of such exultation that cannot but shake the universe itself! I see the forms of all the ancient spirits,surrounding us, hear the voices that in the endless day of this Place offer up songs and hymns and shouts to the One on the Throne. The rush of joy is overwhelming as I hear them echo and re-echo in exclamation the same words that my Lady’s Son Himself used, when He presented me to His heavenly Father:
“Behold the servant faithful and true, whom the LORD gave charge over His family.”
A. D. MMXIV IN SOLEMNITATE S. IOSEPH SPONSI B. M. V