"Behold Thy Mother"
(Continued from Page 13.) PAUL: But to His work and sufferings, holy Mother. we others owe all our hopeaa to His, and to yours; for you, too, suffered for us.
MARY: I suffered with Him, as every mother suffers with her son. For three years He vvalked among men, doing naught but good, and they mocked Him and threatened then, and persecuted Him, but still He taught. them, "Blessed era the peacemakers, blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake. . . ." Their scorn hurt Him more than any hardship.
One day, Mary Magdalene brought me the news that I dreaded. He had come again to Jerusalem, the holy city, and now He had been taken prisoner, and was to be tried before Pilate. ... His enemies had Him in their power, my gentle, my loving Son. You have heard what followed. . .
LUKE: Holy Mother, do not speak of it. Do not let the memory distress you!
(MARY'S voice mounts in the following speech; she turn.* her gaze upon the 'Cross, rases and slowly moues towards
it with outstretched hands as she speaks.)
They took Him, they stripped Him, they scourged the dear body that I gave Him; they plaited thorns and crushed them on the head that so often lay in my bosom and that I used to clasp in my hands. They spat upon His face, in their hatred and their scorn. the face that once smiled at. me from the manger. They loaded Him with that great cross and drove Him i forth to Calvary, stumbling and falling : and I met Him on that cruel road and we looked at each other once again . . Mother and Son. . They stretched Him on the Cross, those men without pity whom He never had wronged, but had sought to save. . . . They nailed His hands . . the hands that once were at my bosom them. . . . I saw Hire hanging there above roe, in His pain, His pain . . . and His anguish for the ingratitude of nesn.. i Bethlehem. . . . I saw the nails driven through .n . ' them. . . . I saw Hire hanging there above roe, in His pain, His pain . . . and His anguish for the ingratitude of nesn.. i Bethlehem. . . . I saw the nails driven through .n . '
(MARY is before the Cross and looking up at it again.. The eyes of the company are on her, awed. Her voice rises to an outcry.) I seeHim still! I nee Him looking down on me, His dear face white beneath the blackened blood, and His voice hardly able to be heard. He is dying . . . He whom I gave life is dying. . . . .hey have slain Him . . . my Son, my Son: . . Listen! His last words are for me. . . . in His sorrow He thinks of me, whom He is leaving. . . . And now the pale agony of death is on His brow. • . He can speak no more—only gaze down upon me in love, . . The light is fading from His eyes. . . . One last, last word. . . . My Son, my Son! . . . An! . . . It is finished!
(MARY is silent a moment, with arms extended, then sobs and gropes, and cries:)
JOHN (he rushes to Mary as she is a.boat to fall): Mother!
(John supports her as she ascends the steps to the altar and the foot of the Cross. The handmaids close the curtains, front within. Only Pala and Lake remain, with. Cleophas. They look on one another. Paul and Luke are shaken and cannot speak. Oleopkgs runN to Luke, forgetting to bow before the altar, and clings to him,) GLEOstiAs: Sir, sir—you ai-e a physician. Tell us, tell us—is the holy Mother dying?
Luxe (his eyes fixed on the curtainsabut caniforting Cleophas, sloftily) : She has no illness.
Cu:genies: But her voice—and her whiteness, when she spoke of Bethlehem and thought of Calvary!
Luxe: If she dies, it will be of love. It is love that is drawing her soul from the world into Heaven. I never saw a death like this.
PAUL: It is death that has no sting.
CLSOPHAS: Oh, she is leaving us, but she will be with Him!
Luxe: Would that we were worthy to die as she dies, the Mother of the Lord! CLEOPHAS ; Amen!
Phan, (exalted): Yea, so may all Christian folk long to die and be with God! For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose again; that He might be Lord both of the dea.d and of the living.
CLIMPHAs: This house where she walked. and where she talked with us, how holy it is!
Patna How holy are the relics that will be all that remain, when she is gone! the Cross on which He died. . . .
Li.1109: And behold, this chair that He made for His Mother!
(Paul and Luke move over towards the chair and kneel and kiss the arms of it, on which Mary's hand,s had rested. As they rise, the cry of a handmaid front within startles them. All eyes turn towards the curtain, and a second cry is heard.) PAUL: The handmaids cry!
Luxe: Our Lady has gone from us!
Cemoteiss (falling at the step before the parting of the curtain): Ah, Mother, Mother of ue all!
(Slowly the curtaias are drawn bock by the weeping handmaids. Al the foot of the Cross, before the attar, Ilea Mary on a bier, dead. John stands behind the bier. Paul and Luke sink to their knees.) JOHN: Go forth, 0 Christian soul, out of this world, in the name of God the Father Almighty, who created thee; in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, who suffered for thee; in the name of the Holy Ghost, who sanctified thee. . . .
(He signs the Cross.)
PAUL AND LUKE: Amen!
Anne (yielding to emotion): He said to nit . . . He said to me from the Cross: "Behold thy Mother!" . . . 0, brethren, behold the Mother of us all!
PAUL (in a whisper): Holy Mary, Mother of God— Luxe : Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death!" ALL (in hushed tone): Amen.
(The lights darken, save for a bright ray which falls direct front above to the bier. All look up suddenly in wonder as angelic vcrices break forth:)
Ant. 1.--Exaltdta. est sancta Dei -Genitrin super chores Angeloruni ad caelestia regna.
Ant. 2.—Paradisi portee per in nobis apertce aunt, gum hadie gloriosa cum Angelis triiimpha,s.
Ant. 3.—Benedicta tu Ia mulieribus, e t benedictua fructus ventris tui.