* * *
The bible class was in progress. Finally Fr. Kane ended the teachings with the Lord’s Prayer. He gently led the children outside and bade they goodbye. He walked back in the church. He stood before the Pieta and looked at the sculpture earnestly taking in every features of the big statue. There was something about the sculpture that made you want to cry. He slowly let himself kneel on the floor in front of the Pieta. Closing his eyes, he started praying silently. Time went by and he prayed.
The church door opened and Rosalin walked in delicately. She looked across the church. She could see just the top of Fr. Kane’s head. She walked over to him and gingerly knelt next to him. She too closed her eyes and bowing her head low and with hands folded, she started praying. Her soft murmur seemed to break Fr. Kane’s concentration. He realized that someone was besides him. He opened his eyes and turned around to find Rosalin, her eyes closed, praying deeply. He could see her lips move silently praying, an occasional mumble reaching his ears. He watched her face that now appeared serene. He continued to look at her. She looked so much at peace today he thought to himself.
Rosalin knew he was watching her. Eyes still closed and with a straight face, she softly asked him, ‘Why did you leave me alone and disappear?’
Embarrassed, Fr. Kane quickly averted his eyes and with a hasty sign of the cross, got up.
Rosalin opened her eyes and turned to look at him with a smile. She turned back to look at the Pieta and giving it one long look, did a sign of the cross and got up slowly. Fr. Kane had walked to the altar and with a piece of cloth was cleaning the place.
‘You haven’t answered me Padre.’
‘Senora, I left because my work was done.’
‘Was that all you had to tell me?’
‘Yes Senora.’ He replied softly not daring to look her in the eyes.
‘Padre, don’t turn away your face from me.’ She told him gravely. ‘Please look at me and talk.’
Fr. Kane turned around slowly. They stared at each other silently. He then turned his gaze to her belly.
‘You know Senora you are lucky to be gifted with motherhood.’
‘I know Padre but sometimes I wonder if I would be able to bear so big a responsibility.’
Fr. Kane gently put his arms around her shoulder and led her to the Pieta. At his touch, Rosalin seemed to cringe. She felt a certain sensation run up her body that she couldn’t describe. His touch seemed to heal her internal wounds. They were so tender and so soothing. She closed her eyes as she let him lead her towards the Pieta. She wanted to savor this moment forever. She felt as if all her pain had died, all her burdens lifted off her shoulder. This was the man she had been longing for so long and yet with his touch, she knew she had been wrong with her feelings. This was not the touch of the man she desired. This was the touch of a man who had the power to heal the unseen pain.
‘You see this statue of Pieta, Senora. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she knew she had a responsibility towards him and towards the whole world. She knew she was ultimately going to loose her son to the world. But that didn’t deter her from being a good mother or guiding her Son away from his chosen path. She could have done it but it was the will of God that she believed in. She fulfilled her responsibility.’
Fr. Kane pulled his hand away from her and turned to look at her. ‘Senora, we are mere mortals. We often don’t have control over our feelings, over our desires. Everyone goes through this phase. But when your child comes out in this world, impart your responsibility to make him a better and understanding person.’
Tears loomed in her eyes which slowly trickled down her cheeks, Fr. Kane shook his head side ways. She just smiled back at him. It was tears of joy she wanted to tell him but she refrained herself.