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has announced Christ perfectly. Possibly those who were benefitted: her parents, children, husband, or others, think but little of her devotion or make light of her good actions, but God will never: He will take a correct account of them all and be Himself their “reward exceeding great."' *)
*) According to tradition, the Samaritan woman received an exceptional mission : not only did she preach Christ in Samaria, but, like the Apostles, she went to distant shores. Under the reign of Nero she went to Africa with one of her sons to convert the city of Carthage. Brought back to Rome by order of Nero, she was martyred, together with her sons and sisters. She is venerated under the name of Photina. The Bollandists and the Roman and Greek Martyrologies give her feast on March 20th. The head of St. Photina, according to Baronius, is kept at Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul by the Benedictins of Monte Cassino.
THE WIDOW OF NAIM.
AIM, "the Beautiful”, called thus
on account of its attractive surroundings, at the time of Jesus was
a prosperous and important city located at the extremity of Galilee, some hours walk from Nazareth near the sources of the Cison on the incline of the Little Hermon. Its high elevation offered an extensive and beautiful view of the neighborhood: on one side the hills of Nazareth, on the other, those of Carmel, and in the rear Mount Thabor. To-day we find but ruins and a few huts there. The tombs sunk into the rock on the eastern side are still fairly well preserved.
It was evening; a light fog covered the hillsides, the last rays of the sun gilt the clouds. Of the city, its walls and gates and dusty roads, but hazy outlines were visible. Jesus, surrounded by His disciples and followed by a noisy, curious crowd, eager to hear the words and see the deeds of the "great prophet,” had arrived in its neighborhood.
“And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow; and a great multitude of the city was with her." *)
After the custom of the Orient, the funeral cortege advanced slowly: at its head were the flute players; then came the men, their heads partly covered with their mantles, their feet bare, their vestments torn; then followed the bier with the dead youth, rapt in winding sheets; next came the mother and the other women, as also the hired mourners, who filled the air with lamentations and praises of the dead and alternately touched the tamburin to accompany the flute players.
Jesus met the funeral procession ; He intended that meeting: He wished to witness one of woman's greatest sorrows, to behold with His own eyes the agonizing tears of a mnother. This widow, losing her son, lost her all and had no one left with whom she might seek consolation in weeping. The sadness and humiliation inflicted upon women by the ideas and customs of those days, were increased in her case, she being without protection and hope of posterity.
*) Luke, VII. 12 seq.
O woman, bereft of husband and child, let not sorrow crush thee! Lift up thy eyes to the approaching Saviour! He is the Master of Life. It is He who is always near on our long road of misery, but, alas, too often we do not see Him.
Neither does she see Him. bathed in tears, are fixed on the lifeless body of her only son. But Jesus sees her. Who, up to that time, had payed attention to a woman's tears? Who had shown pity with the misery of this slave, predestined to suffering? No one! O Jesus, Thou art the first!
"Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, He said to her: Weep not!”
No one as yet had said to woman: Weep not! Here, for the first time, she heard it and met with a consoler who accepts tears as prayers. Mother, weep no longer! His love
and thy suffering rouse His compassion. But thou hast not yet seen Him, and if He came to meet thee and stood before thee, thou wouldst not know Him.
“And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried him stood still."
The crowd, likewise, stood still. Silence everywhere. All are attentive; even sorrow is suspended.
“And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise! And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak."
Great is the astonishment of all. Cries of joy and wonderment are heard on all sides. Whilst fear seizes the crowd, the mother is almost lost in her sudden happiness. But coming to, she stretches out her trembling arms to embrace the son, whose eyes sparkle again with life, and to tear away the winding sheets that bound him, and now the flexible arms of her son embrace her in return. Both fall down at the feet of Jesus to adore and glorify Him in token of their gratitude.
Holy Scripture is silent about all this; it expresses all in the simple sentence:
“And He gave him back to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they