Ah! My Beloved! I Reached You At Last!

Mary of Magdala

Full Colour

$7.99

« How fond of it he was! It was young, pure, white like a cloud in an April sky. The shepherd used to look at it with so much love, thinking how much good he could do for it and how much love he could receive from it. And it strayed. A tempter passed on the road that runs along the pasture; with a many-coloured robe and a golden belt with little bells hanging from it, as sweet-sounding as the song of a nightingale, and phials of inebriating scents, and in his hands a thurible sparkling with gems, with smoke rising from it that is stench and scent at the same time, as bewildering as the sparkling of the fake jewels is dazzling. He passes by singing and drops handfuls of salt that shine on the dark road… Ninety-nine sheep look and stay where they are. The hundredth, the youngest and dearest one, makes a leap and disappears behind the tempter. The shepherd calls it but it runs faster than the wind to join the tempter and to sustain itself whilst it runs, it tastes some of the salt that causes a strange burning frenzy that makes the poor sheep crave for the cool water of the deep green shades of the forest. And following the tempter it goes into the forest and climbs and descends and falls… once, twice, three times and each time it feels round its neck the slimy embrace of reptiles, being thirsty it drinks foul water and when it is hungry it eats herbs that shine with revolting slobber. The good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine faithful ones in a safe place and sets out and does not stop until he finds traces of the lost sheep. He calls it in a loud voice begging the wind to carry his call to it and sees it from afar, intoxicated in the coils of reptiles, so intoxicated that it does not feel nostalgia for the man who loves it, but mocks him, aware that it is guilty of entering, like a thief, the abode of other people, so guilty that it dares not look at him… And yet the good shepherd goes on looking for it, following its traces and weeping when he loses them: strips of fleece; traces of its soul; traces of blood; various crimes; filth; proofs of its lust; but he goes on and reaches it. Ah! I found you, my beloved. I reached you at last! How far have I walked for you, to take you back to the fold. Do not bend your dejected head. Your sin is buried in my heart. Nobody will know about it, except me, and I love you. I will defend you from the criticism of other people, shield you with my body to protect you against the stones of accusers. Come. Are you wounded? Oh! Let me see your wounds. I know them. But I want you to show them to me with the confidence you had when you were pure and you looked at me, your shepherd and your God, with innocent eyes. There they are. How deep they are! Who inflicted these very deep ones in the depth of your heart? It was the Tempter, I know, he who has neither staff nor hatchet, but strikes more deeply with his poisonous bite…and his false jewels that seduced you by sparkling, and they were hellish sulphur brought to daylight to burn your heart! Look how many wounds! How much torn fleece, how much blood, how much bramble! O my poor little disappointed soul! But tell me: if I forgive you, will you still love me? Tell me: if I stretch out my arms to you, will you come to them? Come. Your tears and mine will wash the traces of your sin and in order to nourish you, because you are worn out by the evil that has burnt you, I open my chest and my veins and I say to you: “Feed on them, and live!” Come here that I may take you in my arms. You will forget everything of this miserable hour.…»

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Product Description

« How fond of it he was! It was young, pure, white like a cloud in an April sky. The shepherd used to look at it with so much love, thinking how much good he could do for it and how much love he could receive from it. And it strayed. A tempter passed on the road that runs along the pasture; with a many-coloured robe and a golden belt with little bells hanging from it, as sweet-sounding as the song of a nightingale, and phials of inebriating scents, and in his hands a thurible sparkling with gems, with smoke rising from it that is stench and scent at the same time, as bewildering as the sparkling of the fake jewels is dazzling. He passes by singing and drops handfuls of salt that shine on the dark road… Ninety-nine sheep look and stay where they are. The hundredth, the youngest and dearest one, makes a leap and disappears behind the tempter. The shepherd calls it but it runs faster than the wind to join the tempter and to sustain itself whilst it runs, it tastes some of the salt that causes a strange burning frenzy that makes the poor sheep crave for the cool water of the deep green shades of the forest. And following the tempter it goes into the forest and climbs and descends and falls… once, twice, three times and each time it feels round its neck the slimy embrace of reptiles, being thirsty it drinks foul water and when it is hungry it eats herbs that shine with revolting slobber. The good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine faithful ones in a safe place and sets out and does not stop until he finds traces of the lost sheep. He calls it in a loud voice begging the wind to carry his call to it and sees it from afar, intoxicated in the coils of reptiles, so intoxicated that it does not feel nostalgia for the man who loves it, but mocks him, aware that it is guilty of entering, like a thief, the abode of other people, so guilty that it dares not look at him… And yet the good shepherd goes on looking for it, following its traces and weeping when he loses them: strips of fleece; traces of its soul; traces of blood; various crimes; filth; proofs of its lust; but he goes on and reaches it. Ah! I found you, my beloved. I reached you at last! How far have I walked for you, to take you back to the fold. Do not bend your dejected head. Your sin is buried in my heart. Nobody will know about it, except me, and I love you. I will defend you from the criticism of other people, shield you with my body to protect you against the stones of accusers. Come. Are you wounded? Oh! Let me see your wounds. I know them. But I want you to show them to me with the confidence you had when you were pure and you looked at me, your shepherd and your God, with innocent eyes. There they are. How deep they are! Who inflicted these very deep ones in the depth of your heart? It was the Tempter, I know, he who has neither staff nor hatchet, but strikes more deeply with his poisonous bite…and his false jewels that seduced you by sparkling, and they were hellish sulphur brought to daylight to burn your heart! Look how many wounds! How much torn fleece, how much blood, how much bramble! O my poor little disappointed soul! But tell me: if I forgive you, will you still love me? Tell me: if I stretch out my arms to you, will you come to them? Come. Your tears and mine will wash the traces of your sin and in order to nourish you, because you are worn out by the evil that has burnt you, I open my chest and my veins and I say to you: “Feed on them, and live!” Come here that I may take you in my arms. You will forget everything of this miserable hour.…»