AN: I watched Mel Gibson's "The Passion Of The Christ" for Easter a couple of days ago, and though I've seen it before, I was struck by the scene where Claudia gave Mary the towels. Being a woman of high power, she most likely would not have associated with commoners, so for her to seek out Jesus's mother and give her clean, white towels would have greatly expressed her regret and sorrow. I wanted to write about it, and hence "A Precious Gift" was born. I hope you enjoy.

Blessings and honor and glory and power be to the LORD forever, Amen.

Claudia sat, lost in thought.

In her dream, a voice had spoken to her, proclaiming that It was the One True God. It said to her that one named Jesus would come to her husband, and that this Jesus was ruler heaven and earth. Then she was shown the destruction of Rome, the fall of everything she held dear. This Jew from Nazareth was the most powerful man to ever live, and at that moment was being punished for crimes he did not commit.

Calling to one of her servants, she ordered her best linen to be folded and brought to her. Her conscience weighed heavily upon her, and she could do so few things to appease it.

When she was handed the towels, she swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. It was such a small gesture, but it was all she could do.

Making her way outside, she ignored the shouts and jeers coming from the crowd.

Her eyes fell on two women a little apart from the throng and sobbing, a man also with them. One of the women was young, but the other was an honorable age. Immediately Claudia felt her heart lurch, and knew that these three were close to Jesus.

Slowly, she started towards them, flinching at the sounds of the whip cracking and the guards counting.

When she reached them, she presented the towels to them. They took them warily, as she glanced over at the man being tormented, but instantly had to look away.

The expression in their eyes was one of confusion, as the wife of Pontious Pilate showed her sorrow and fled back towards her home.

Claudia wept as she threw herself onto her bed and begged God to forgive her and her husband.

Mary stared after the woman for a moment, then looked down at the cloths she had been given. They were made out of expensive linen, and of the purest white. They must have been extremely costly, yet this woman had given them away to associates of an accused criminal.

The mother of Jesus held them to her face for a moment as tears continued to fall. It was a gift that spoke so much more than words. Such a precious gift those towels were, to wipe the blood of the Savior from under the feet of the Romans.