The little girl knelt in front of the statue of Mary and prayed. She prayed the beginning of her Rosary, and then stopped for a few minutes, overcome with emotion. Then, slowly, she began again. Her emotions were so wild that she could hear her heart in her chest. She began to pray in rhythm with the beating of her heart. Reality faded, and she was in a small room.
Very little furniture was in the room. The door was barred shut. The room was full of men, all frightened, all anxiously watching the door. Then, the roughest looking of the group rose and said something to them that she could not understand. Almost on cue, they all went to their knees, and began to pray. She noticed that the youngest of the men looked like the man she’d seen in the garden. He was angry, and would not pray. The other men tried to speak to him, but he was too angry to respond.
There was a middle aged woman in the room with the men. She was praying, too, only not in conjunction with the men, but rather, on her own. Slowly, the room filled with an unearthly light. The men stopped praying, and became very alarmed. The woman ceased praying, too, but was not upset. As the girl watched the scene, the men began to ask each other questions, waving their arms about, and pointing to the little glimmers of light all around the room. As they spoke the girl began to understand what they were saying.
Suddenly, all of them were filled with joy. It was a joy as she’d never seen before. Even the young man in the corner, the one who wouldn’t pray, was overjoyed. They all got up from where they were, and rushed out into the street, leaving just the girl, and the woman in the room alone.
The woman looked at her from across the room. The girl was very aware that they were in the same time, the same space. Then she remembered that this was the same old woman who’d held the door open for her at the church only a few days ago, and yet it was eons ago. Then the woman spoke to her.
“Do you see their joy?”
“Yes. It is indescribable.”
“They just lost their Rabbi. They are all marked men. They have no money, they have no property. Yet, they are joyous. Do you understand?”
“No. I don’t. How can you lose so much. Hurt so much, and just come back, again, and again?”
“Because they believe! They have the faith! They have the mustard seed. Not a scholar among them, save the boy, and the boy’s learning will do him no good. He must learn it all over again. Just as the man in the garden must learn all over again. Man will have to learn all over again, and again, and again, until man truly believes! When man truly believes, and has no more doubt in his heart, my Son will return. Satan’s century is almost over. In those days he and his Father will make their dwelling place among men. And He will be their God, and they will be his people. Do you believe?”
“Oh, yes, yes, very much I believe.”
“Take care of my preacher. He needs you now. He will watch over his flock, and you will watch over him. And pray! Never stop praying. You very nearly didn’t come to pray today. It takes no effort to pray, and with it you can move mountains. If you only knew how many people go to hell, simply because no one will pray.”
The woman then rose from her chair. She was suddenly all in white. Her face became that of a young girl. She brought her hands together in prayer with her gold and pearl Rosary over them. Then the girl saw a bearded man appear to her right, holding a little boy. The little boy’s right hand was raised in a blessing over her. To the left of the woman the image of Guadalupe appeared, only the woman in the image was alive and moving, praying. The girl looked into the lady’s eyes. The Virgin smiled at her, and the smile reassured her. Her eyes grew brighter, and brighter, until the entire room was filled with the light, and the girl was unable to see anything at all. Then the light faded, ever so slowly, until the girl was once again praying before the statue in church. She prayed quietly there amid the smell of roses.
The Butcher Shop