(Becoming The Bride of Christ )In a Land, Far, Far away. . . But Closer than Any of Us Realize. . . the Following Story Continued. . .
*knock, knock, knock-knock*
Maria’s gaze shot up from the scroll on her lap. She wasn’t expecting anyone tonight. Teacher and mother had gone out for the evening and no one else was around so she’d curled up on the couch with her scroll.
*knock, knock, knock-knock*
Someone was at the door. Maria rose to her feet and made her way to the door. Staring through the peep hole revealed a great big eye looking back at her! She let out a little shriek, backed up, then approached the peep hole again more cautiously. This time, it wasn’t an eye that greeted her gaze, but the Crown Prince chuckling to himself at her minor fright. She opened the door, scolding him for playing such a trick.
” hehehehe, I’m glad to see you too, Maria.” he said as he scooped her up in his arms and swung her around. They walked back to the living room and he found his scroll open on the couch. “So what are you reading tonight?”
Maria loved these conversations about his scroll and couldn’t wait to tell him about her latest discovery. “That passage about treating others how I want to be treated” she replied. “That’s one of your commands right?”
The Crown Prince smiled approvingly. “Yes, my dear, it is. How have you faired putting this one into action?”
Maria’s thoughts grew contemplative as she recalled a situation not long ago. It was during one of her trips to market for the family when she noticed a little girl sitting by the side of the road just outside the market. The little girl was begging, and wore what looked like rags for clothes. Maria had immediately remembered how the Crown Prince had treated her, and couldn’t help stopping before the young thing.
“Little one, do you not have any family? Anyone to care for you?”
The girl couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, but her eyes were filled with such hopelessness. She looked up at Maria and shook her head, holding out a worn burlap bag sparsely populated with what scraps others had already tossed in.
Compassion and concern filled Maria’s heart as she lifted the young girl to her feet and took her into the market. Villagers gasped as they passed, but Maria held her head up and by her poise, informed everyone that she was on a mission! Words were not needed.
She approached the bread stall first and the man behind the cart, taking one look at Maria’s face, tossed two freshly baked loaves into the little girl’s bag. Maria bought bread for her family and moved on. She stopped next at the meat stall. One look from Maria and the man quickly wrapped two cooked quail and placed them in the little girl’s bag. Maria bought some fresh meat for her household and they moved on. This scene was repeated throughout the market until the little girl needed a cart to pull her load. Maria had already slung two large sacks on her own back, but one more stop was needed.
As they circled through the market, Maria took the little girl’s hand and led her down a tiny street to an Inn. She brought the girl inside and went to the keeper’s door immediately.
“Sir, may I have your audience for a moment.”
The Inn keeper looked up from his desk and beckoned her inside. He was about to tell the little girl to wait outside the door when Maria shot him an arresting glance.
“Fine, you may come in too.” He resigned as he waved in the direction of the young girl. When the little one was seated, Maria sat down and made her petition.
“Sir, I have heard that you take in travellers from near and far, and that sometimes you have nursed those who were ill back to health.”
“This is true” the Inn keeper nodded.
“Sir, I found this girl begging by the side of the road. I have never seen her before, but she looks to have been in this condition for a long time. Can you look after her with the things I obtained today in the market? And perhaps. . . if it isn’t too much trouble, find her a seamstress, and maybe even a home to go to?”
The Inn Keeper examined the young girl with his eyes. Then he got up and looked through her cart. Walking over to the girl, he took a hand and looked at her fingernails, then her eyes, and ran a finger through her hair before returning to his seat.
“Hmmm. . . she is malnourished, hasn’t had a bath in awhile, and is in dire need of hope. What will you pay for her keep?” Turning to Maria.
Maria put down two fresh roasts and a gold coin Teacher had given her.
The Crown Prince raised an eyebrow as he listened to her story.
Maria continued to relate how the Inn Keeper took Maria and the little girl to a room down the hall. A room with a bed, a table, a standing set of hooks, a window, and a private bathtub. The little girl’s eyes widened in disbelief. It was as if she’d seen a King’s mansion! Before they could put her things down and leave, the young thing was preparing for what looked like her first bath in ages!
Maria turned to the Crown Prince, “I couldn’t help myself. All of a sudden, there she was, and she reminded me so much of myself when you found me, that I had to help! And I wasn’t going to quit until I knew she was safe, fed, and warm!”
Clearly the Crown Prince was impressed and he looked upon Maria with great pleasure.
“Have you noticed your robes lately Maria? How clean they are and how they shine?”
Maria looked down at her clothing. Stains she thought she saw earlier in the day seemed gone just then. She looked up quizzically.
“You see Maria, the more you live as I have directed in my scroll, the more you please me, the more you please my Father, and the whiter and cleaner your robes are becoming. I honestly can’t wait to present you to my Father! The day is coming soon my love. Coming soon! Your room is almost ready at the Palace! Soon I will be coming to take you home!”
With that Maria flew into the Prince’s arms. As he held her tight, the thought went through His mind, “She is learning to show my love to those she meets.” and he squeezed her tighter.
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