THE FIRSTYEAR OF THE PUBLIC LIFE
44. Farewell to His Mother and Departure from Nazareth.
9thFebruary 1944, 9:30 a.m. (begun during Holy Communion) I see the interior of the house in Nazareth: a room which looks like a dining lounge, where the members of the Family take their meals and rest during the day. It is a very small room with a plain rectangular table near a chest, which is set against one of the walls. The chest also serves as a seat. Near the other walls there is a loom and a stool, and there are two more stools with a kind of bookcase on top of which there are oil lamps and other objects. A door is open onto the kitchen garden. It must be almost evening, because only some faint sunrays are visible in the upper foliage of a tall tree, which is beginning to grow verdant in its first leaves. Jesus is sitting at the table. He is eating, and Mary is serving Him, coming and going from a little door, which leads into the room where there is a fireplace, the light of which can be seen through the halfopen door. Two or three times Jesus tells Mary to sit down... and to eat with Him. But She does not want to, She shakes Her head, smiling sadly. After serving some boiled vegetables as a first course, She brings in some roast fish and then some rather soft cheese, like fresh cheese, round shaped, like the stones which can be seen in the beds of torrents, and some small dark olives. Some small, flat round loaves of bread about the size of a plate are already on the table. The bread is rather dark brown as if the bran had not been removed from the flour. Before Jesus there is an amphora with water, and a goblet. He is eating in silence, looking at His Mother sadly, but lovingly. It is very obvious that Mary is sad at heart. She comes and goes, purely to occupy Herself. Although it is still daylight, She lights a lamp and puts it near Jesus, and while stretching out Her arm doing so, She subtly caresses Her Son's head. She then opens a nut brown haversack, which I think is made of pure handwoven wool, and therefore waterresistant, She searches inside it, goes out into the little kitchen garden, walks to the far end, where there is a kind of storeroom. She comes out with some rather withered apples which have certainly been preserved from the previous summer, and She puts them into the haversack. She then takes a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese and puts them also into the haversack, although Jesus remarks that He does not want them, as there is already enough food in the satchel. Mary then comes once again near the table, at the shorter side, on Jesus' left hand, and looks at Him eating. She looks at Him with love and adoration. Her face is more pale than usual and seems aged by pain; Her eyes are ringed, and thus seem bigger, an indication of tears already shed. They also seem clearer than normal, as if they were washed by the tears welling up within, ready to stream down Her face: two sorrowful tired eyes. Jesus, Who is eating slowly, evidently against His will, only to please His Mother, and is more pensive than usual, lifts His head and looks at Her. Their eyes meet, and He notices that Hers are full of tears, and lowers His head to leave Her free to weep. He only takes Her slender hand which She is resting on the edge of the table. He takes it in His own left hand, lifts it to His cheek, rests His cheek on it and then rubs it against His face to feel the caress of the poor trembling little hand, which He kisses on its back with so much love and respect. I see Mary taking Her free hand, Her left one, to Her mouth, as if to stifle a sob, and She then wipes with Her fingers a big tear, which has fallen from Her eye and is streaming down Her face. Jesus resumes eating and Mary goes out quickly into the kitchen garden, where it is now almost dark, and She disappears. Jesus leans His left elbow on the table, rests His forehead on His hand, absorbed in thought. He stops eating. He then listens and gets up. He also goes out into the kitchen garden, and after looking around, He moves towards the righthand side of the house, and through an opening in the rocky wall, He goes into what I recognise as the carpenter's workshop. It is now very tidy, without any boards or shavings lying about, and also the fire is out. There is the large working bench, all the tools are laid aside, and there is nothing else. Mary is weeping, bent over the bench. She looks like a child. Her head is resting on Her folded left arm and She is crying silently, but very grievously. Jesus enters quietly and approaches Her so softly, that She realises He is there, only when He lays His hand on Her lowered head, calling Her «Mother!»: in His voice there is the sound of a gentle loving reproach. Mary lifts Her head and looks at Jesus through a veil of tears, and with both hands joined She leans on His right arm. Jesus wipes Her face with the hem of His large sleeve and then He embraces Her, clasping Her to His heart and kissing Her forehead. Jesus is majestic, He looks more manly than ever, whilst Mary looks more like a little girl, except for Her sorrowstricken face. «Come, Mother» Jesus says to Her, and holding Her close to Himself with His right arm, He walks into the kitchen garden, where they sit down on a bench against the wall of the house. The kitchen garden is now silent and dark, apart from the moonlight and the light coming from the house. The night is serene. Jesus is speaking to Mary. At first I do not understand the words which are just whispered, and Mary nods Her head in assent. Then I hear: «And get Your relatives to come. Don't stay here alone. I will be happier, Mother, and You know how I need peace of mind to fulfil My mission. You will not lack My love. I will come quite often and I will inform You in case I cannot come home when I am back in Galilee. Then You will come to Me, Mother. This hour was to come. It began when the Angel appeared to You; it is now striking, and we must live it, Mother, must we not? After we have overcome the trial, we shall have peace and joy. First, we must cross this desert as our Ancestors did, before entering the Promised Land. But the Lord God will help us as He helped them. And He will grant us His help as a spiritual manna to nourish our souls in the difficult moment of the trial. Let us say the Our Father together... » Jesus and Mary stand up and they look up to Heaven: two living victims shining in the darkness. Jesus, slowly but with a clear voice, says the Lord's Prayer, stressing the words. He emphasizes the words: «Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done» spacing the two sentences from the others. He prays with His arms stretched out, not exactly crosswise, but as priests do when they say: «The Lord be with you». Mary's hands are joined. They then go back into the house, and Jesus, Whom I have never seen drink wine, from out of an amphora on the bookcase, pours some white wine into a goblet, and He puts it on the table. He then takes Mary by Her hand and makes Her sit beside Him and drink some of the wine, into which He dips a small slice of bread, which He gives Her to eat. His insistence is such that Mary yields. Jesus drinks the remaining wine. He then clasps His Mother to His side, and holds Her thus close to His heart. Neither Jesus nor Mary was lying down as was customary in rich banquets in those times, but they were sitting at the table as we do. They are both silent, waiting. Mary caresses Jesus' right hand and His knees, Jesus pats Mary's arm and Her head. Then Jesus rises, and so does Mary. They embrace and kiss each other very fondly and repeatedly. They always seem to be on the point of separating and parting, but each time Mary embraces Her Creature over and over again. She is Our Lady, but She is still a mother, a mother who must part from Her Son, and is fully aware of the final destination of His departure. Do not tell me that Mary did not suffer! Before I had some slight misgivings, now I do not believe it at all. Jesus takes His dark blue mantle, puts it on His shoulders, and pulls the hood on to His head. He arranges His haversack across His back, in order to be free when walking. Mary helps Him, and She delays endlessly in sorting His tunic, mantle and hood, caressing Him in the meantime. Jesus goes towards the door, after making a sign of blessing in the room. Mary follows Him and at the open door they kiss each other once again. The road is silent and solitary, white in the moonlight. Jesus starts walking away. He turns round twice to look at His Mother, Who is leaning against the doorpost, paler than the moon's rays, Her eyes sparkling with silent tears. Jesus moves farther and farther away along the narrow white road. Mary is still weeping against the doorpost. Then Jesus disappears round a bend of the road. His Evangelical journey, which will end on Golgotha, has just begun. Mary goes into the house shedding tears and closes the door. She also has started Her journey which will take Her to Golgotha. And for us... ------------------------ Jesus says: «This is the fourth sorrow of Mary, Mother of God. The first, was the presentation in the Temple; the second, the flight into Egypt; the third, the death of Joseph; the fourth, My separation from Her. As I knew the desire of your spiritual Father, yesterday evening I told you that I will hasten the description of "our" sorrows, so that they may be known. But, as you see, some of My Mother's had already been illustrated. I explained the flight before the Presentation, because it was necessary to do so on that day. I know. You understand and you will explain the reason to the Father verbally. I have planned to alternate your contemplations and My consequent clarifications, with true and proper dictations, to comfort you and your spirit, granting you the beatitude of seeing, and also because in this way the difference in style between your composing and Mine will be obvious. Further, with so many books dealing with Me and which, after so many revisions, changes and fineries have become unreal, I want to give those who believe in Me a vision brought back to the truth of My mortal days. I am not diminished thereby, on the contrary I am made greater in My humility, which becomes substantial nourishment for you, to teach you to be humble and like Me, as I was a man like you and in My human life I bore the perfection of a God. I was to be your Model, and models must always be perfect. In the contemplations I will not keep a chronological order corresponding to that of the Gospels. I will select the points which I find more useful on that day for you or for other people, following My own line of teaching and goodness. The lesson of the contemplation of My separation is addressed especially to those parents and children, whom God's will calls to renounce one another for the sake of a greater love. It also applies to all those who have to face a painful renouncement. How many such sorrowful situations you find in your lives! They are thorns on the earth and they pierce your hearts, I know. But for those who accept them with resignation mind, I am not saying: "for those who wish them and accept them with joy", which is already perfection; I am saying: "with resignation" they become eternal roses. But only few people resign themselves to accepting them. Like restive little donkeys, you recalcitrate against the Father's will, and you jib, and you even try at times to hit good God with spiritual kicks and bites, that is, with rebellion and blasphemy. And do not say: "I had but this good thing and God took it away. I had but this affection, and God took it away!". Also Mary, a gentle woman, with perfect love, (because in the Virgin Full of Grace also affections and sensations were perfect), also Mary had but one good thing, and one love on the earth: Her Son. The only thing left to Her. Her parents had died a long time before. Joseph had died some years earlier. Only I was left to love Her and make Her feel She was not alone. Her relatives, because of Me, of Whose divine origin they were not aware, were somewhat hostile to Her, because they considered Her a mother incapable of imposing Herself on Her Son, Who did not behave according to good common sense, and turned down marriage proposals which could bring prestige to the family, as well as material help. Her relatives reasoned according to common sense, to human sense you call it good sense, but it is only human sense, that is selfishness and they would have liked My life to comply with their usage. After all, they were always afraid that one day they might get into trouble because of Me, as I had already dared express certain ideas which they considered too idealistic and thought they might irritate the Synagogue. Hebrew history was full of teachings on the fate of Prophets. The Prophet's mission was not an easy one, and often brought about death for the prophet and trouble for his kinsfolk. And there was always the fear that one day they might have to take care of My Mother. They were therefore irritated by the fact that She did not oppose Me in anything, nay, She seemed to be in perpetual adoration in front of Her Son. This conflict was to increase in the three years of My public life, when it culminated with open reproaches every time they met Me in the midst of crowds and were ashamed of what they considered My mania for vexing the powerful classes. And they rebuked Me and My poor Mother! Mary was aware of the moods of Her relatives and was able to foresee their future tempers they were not all like James, Judas and Simon or their mother Mary of Clopas but although She knew what Her lot was going to be during the three years of My public life, and was aware of Her destiny and Mine at the end of the three years, She did not recalcitrate, as you do. She cried. And which mother would not have cried because of the separation from a son who loved her as I loved Mine, or because of the prospect of long days devoid of My presence in a solitary house, or because of the dreary outlook of a Son doomed to butt against the malice of guilty people who took vengeance for their guilt by offending the Blameless One to the extent of killing Him? She cried because She was the CoRedeemer, and because She was the Mother of mankind who were being born once again to God. And She had to cry for all the mothers who are not able to turn their motherly sorrows into a crown of eternal glory. How many mothers there are in the world, from whose arms death snatches their creatures! How many mothers there are, whose sons are torn away from their sides by a supernatural will! As the Mother of all Christians, Mary cried for all Her daughters, and in Her sorrow of a bereft Mother, She cried for all Her sisters. And She cried for all Her sons, who, born of woman, were to become apostles of God or martyrs for God's sake, because of their loyalty to God or because of man's cruelty. My Blood and My Mother's tears are the mixture that fortifies those destined to a heroic fate, obliterates their imperfections and the sins they committed because of their weakness and, in addition to martyrdom, in whatever way suffered, it grants them the peace of God and then the glory of Heaven, if they suffered for God. The missionary fathers find that mixture to be a flame that warms them in the regions covered by perpetual snow, and they find it to be a dew when the sun is scorching. Mary's tears originate from Her charity, and they gush out from Her heart of a lily. They therefore possess the fire of virginal Charity, the Spouse of Love, and the scented freshness of virginal Purity, like the drops of water which gather in the chalice of a lily on a dewy night. Our mixture is found by those consecrated in the desert of a well understood monastic life: it is a desert because it only lives in communion with God, whilst all other affections fade away and become pure supernatural charity: towards relatives, friends, superiors and inferiors. It is found by those consecrated to God in the world, in the world that neither understands nor loves them, a desert also for them, as they live in it as if they were alone, so much are they misunderstood and mocked for My sake. Our mixture is found by My dear "victims", because Mary is the first victim for Jesus' love, and with Her hands of a Mother and a Doctor, She gives Her followers Her tears which refreshen and urge to a greater sacrifice. Holy tears of My Mother! Mary prays. She does not object to praying because God had given Her sorrows. Remember that. She prays together with Jesus. She prays the Father: Ours and yours. The first "Our Father" was said in the kitchen garden in Nazareth to console Mary's pain, to offer "our" wills to the Eternal Father, when a period of greater and greater sacrifices was about to begin for us, culminating with the sacrifice of My life and My Mother's acceptance of the death of Her Son. And although we had nothing for which the Father should forgive us, just out of humility, we, the Faultless Ones, begged the Father's pardon that we might proceed worthily in our mission, after being forgiven and absolved of even a sigh. Because we wanted to teach you that the more you are in the grace of God, the more your mission is blessed and fruitful. We also wanted to teach you to respect God and be humble. Before God the Father, although a perfect Man and a perfect Woman, we felt we were nothing and we begged forgiveness. Exactly as we asked for our "daily bread". Which was our bread? Oh! Not the bread made by the pure hands of Mary and baked in our little oven, for which I had so often prepared bundles of sticks and brushwood. Also that bread is necessary while man is on the earth. But "our" daily bread was to fulfil, day by day, our part of the mission: we begged God to grant us that every day, because to fulfil the mission that God gives us is the joy of "our" day, isn't it, My little John? You also say that a day is lost, as if it did not exist, if the Lord's bounty gives you a day without your mission of sorrow. Mary prays together with Jesus. It is Jesus Who justifies you, My children. It is I Who make your prayers fruitful and agreeable to the Father. I said: "Anything you ask for from the Father, He will grant in My name", and the Church enhances her prayers saying: "Through Jesus Christ Our Lord". When you pray, be always united to Me. I will pray for you in a loud voice, drowning your human voices with My voice of Man-God. I will take your prayers in My pierced hands and I will raise them to the Father. They will thus become victims of infinite value. My voice mingled with yours, will rise like a filial kiss to the Father and the purple of My wounds will make your prayers valuable ones. Be in Me if you want to have the Father in you, with you, for you. You ended the narration saying: "And for us..." and you intended to say: "for us who are so ungrateful to those Two Who have climbed Calvary for us". You were quite right in writing those words. Add them every time I show you one of our sorrows. Let them be like the church bell that rings and calls men to meditate and repent. It is enough now. Rest. May peace be with you.»
45. Jesus Is Baptised in the Jordan.
3rd February 1944, in the evening. I see a bare, flat country, without any villages or vegetation. There are no cultivated fields, but a few odd plants are growing here and there in clusters, like vegetable families, where the deep soil is less parched. Imagine that the arid waste land is on my righthand side, with my back turned to the north, and the harsh area stretches southwards. On my left instead, I can see a river with very low banks, flowing slowly from north to south. The very slow flowing water makes me understand that there are no falls in the level of the riverbed and that it flows in such a flat country as to form a depression. The movement of the water is just sufficient to avoid the formation of marshes. The river is so shallow that the bottom can be seen: I would say the water is a metre deep, or a metre and a half, at most. It is as wide as the river Arno in the S. MiniatoEmpoli area: about twenty metres. However, I am not good at estimating. And yet its colour is blue with a light green hue near the banks, where on the humid soil, there is a strip of thick green vegetation, very pleasant to look at: the sight of the stony, sandy bleakness of the ground lying before it is, instead, a very monotonous one indeed. The internal voice, which I told you I hear and tells me what I must take note of and know, is now warning me that I am looking at the Jordan valley. I am calling it a valley, because that is the name used to indicate the place where a river flows, but here it is incorrect to call it so, because a valley presupposes the presence of mountains, but I do not see any mountains in the neighbourhood. In any case, I am near the Jordan, and the waste land on my right is the desert of Judah. If it is correct to call a desert a place where there are no houses or man's works, it is not so according to our idea of a desert. There are none of the undulating sands of the desert, as we understand it, but only bare ground strewn with stones and rubble, like alluvial grounds after a flood. There are hills in the distance. And yet, near the Jordan, there is a great peace, something special and unusual, as one often feels on the shores of lake Trasimeno. It is a place which seems to be full of memories of angels' flights and celestial voices. I cannot describe exactly what I feel. But I feel that I am in a place that communicates with my soul. While I am watching these things, I notice that the right bank of the Jordan (in respect to me) is becoming crowded with people. There are many men dressed in different fashions. Some seem ordinary people, some rich, and there are some who appear to be Pharisees, because their tunics are adorned with fringes and braids. In the midst of them, standing on a rock, there is a man whom I recognise at once to be the Baptist, although it is the first time I have seen him. He is speaking to the crowds, and I can assure you that his sermon is not a sweet one. Jesus called James and John «the sons of thunder». Well then, what should we call this impetuous orator? John the Baptist deserves the names of thunderbolt, avalanche, earthquake, so impetuous and severe he is in his speech and gestures. He is announcing the Messiah and exhorting the people to prepare their hearts for His coming, eradicating all obstructions and rectifying their thoughts. But it is a violent and harsh speech. The Precursor does not possess the light hand Jesus used to cure the wounds of hearts. He is a doctor who lays the wound bare, scrutinises it and cuts it mercilessly. While I am listening I am not repeating the words, because they are related by the Evangelists, but here they are amplified in Impetuosity I see my Jesus proceeding along a path, which is at the edge of the grassy shady strip coasting the Jordan. This rustic road it is more a path than a road seems to have been opened by the caravans and the people who throughout years and centuries, passed along it to reach a point where it is easy to wade, because the water is very shallow. The path continues on the other side of the river, and disappears from sight in the green strip of the other bank. Jesus is alone. He is walking slowly, coming forward, behind the Baptist. He approaches noiselessly and listens to the thundering voice of the Penitent of the desert, as if He also were one of the many who came to John to be baptised and purified for the coming of the Messiah. There is nothing to distinguish Jesus from the others. His clothes are those of common people, but He has the bearing and handsomeness of a gentleman. There is no divine sign discriminating Him from the crowd. But it would appear that John perceives a special spirituality emanate from Him. He turns round, and at once identifies the source of the emanation. He descends impulsively from the rocky pulpit and moves quickly towards Jesus, Who has stopped a few yards away from the crowd and is leaning against the trunk of a tree. Jesus and John stare at each other for a moment: Jesus, with His very sweet blue eyes; John with his very severe black flashing ones. Seen from nearby, one is the antithesis of the other. They are both tall their only resemblance for all the rest, they differ immensely. Jesus is fair haired. His hair is long and tidy, His face is white ivory, His eyes blue, His garment simple, but majestic. John is hairy: his straight, black hair falls unevenly onto his shoulders, his sparse dark beard covers his face almost completely, but his cheeks, hollowed by fasting, are still noticeable, his feverish eyes are black, his complexion is dark, tanned by the sun and weatherbeaten, his body is covered with hairs, he is half naked in his camelhair garment, which is tied to his waist by a leather belt and covers his trunk, reaching down to his thin sides, whilst his right side is uncovered and bare, completely weather-beaten. They look like a savage and an angel, seen close together. John, after scrutinising Him with his piercing eyes, exclaims: «Here is the Lamb of God. How is it that my Lord comes to me?» Jesus replies calmly: «To fulfil the penitential rite.» «Never, my Lord. I must come to You to be sanctified, and You are coming to me?» And Jesus, laying His hand on the head of John, who had bowed down in front of Him, replies: «Let it be done as I wish, that all justice may be fulfilled and your rite may become the beginning of a higher mystery and men may be informed that the Victim is in the world.» John looks at Him with his eyes sweetened by tears and precedes Jesus towards the bank of the river. Jesus takes off His mantle and tunic, and is left with a kind of pair of short trousers. He then descends into the water, where there is John, who baptises Him, pouring on His head some water from the river by means of a cup, tied to his belt. It looks like a shell or a half pumpkin dried and emptied. Jesus is really the Lamb. A Lamb in the whiteness of His flesh, in the modesty of His gestures, in the meekness of His look. While Jesus climbs on to the bank and after putting on His clothes concentrates on praying, John points Him out to the crowd and testifies that he recognised Him by the sign that the Spirit of God had shown him as an infallible means to identify the Redeemer. But I am enraptured in watching Jesus pray, and I can only see His bright figure against the green of the river bank. ------------------------ 4th February 1944. Jesus says: «John did not need any sign for himself. His soul, which had been presanctified in his mother's womb, possessed that penetration of supernatural intelligence which all men would have had, if Adam had not sinned. If man had persevered in grace, innocence and loyalty to his Creator, he would have seen God through external appearance. In Genesis it is said that God used to speak to the innocent man in an informal way, and that man did not faint hearing His voice, neither was he deceived in discerning it. Such was the destiny of man: to see and understand God exactly as a son does his father. Then man sinned and he no longer dared look at God, he was no longer able to see and understand God. And now he is less and less able to do so. But John, My cousin John, had been purified from fault, when the Full of Grace lovingly embraced Elizabeth who, after being barren, had become pregnant. The little child had leapt out of joy in her womb, because he felt the scales of sin falling from his soul, as a scab falls off a wound when the latter is healed. The Holy Spirit, Who had made Mary the Mother of the Saviour, started His mission of salvation on that child about to be born, through Mary, the living Tabernacle of Incarnate Salvation: the child was destined to be united to Me not so much by his blood, as by the mission, by which we were like the lips that express a word. John was the lips, I the Word. He was the Precursor both in the Gospel and in martyrdom; I, by means of My divine perfection, made perfect both the Gospel which John had started, and martyrdom, suffered to defend the Law of God. John did not need any sign. But a sign was necessary for the darkness of spirit of other people. On what would John base his statement, but on an undeniable proof evident to the eyes and ears of backward and dull listeners? Neither did I need to be baptised. But the wisdom of the Lord had chosen that moment and way for our meeting. And leading John out of his cave in the desert and Me from My home, He united us in that hour to open the Heavens above Me and He descended Himself, a divine Dove, on Him Who was to baptise men with that Dove, and His announcement was heard descending from Heaven, more powerful than the angel's, because it came from My Father: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased". So that man should have no excuse or doubt in following or not following Me. The manifestations of Christ have been numerous. The first, after His Birth, was the Magi's, the second was in the Temple, the third on the bank of the Jordan. Then there was an endless number of them, which I will let you know, because My miracles are manifestations of My divine nature, down to the last ones: My Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. My fatherland was full of My manifestations. Like seed scattered to the four winds, they took place in every social condition and place in life: to shepherds, powerful people, scholars, sceptical men, sinners, priests, rulers, children, soldiers, Jews and Gentiles. And they take place even now. But, as in the past, the world does not accept them. It does not accept the present manifestations and forgets the past ones. Well, I will not give up. I will repeat Myself to save you and to persuade you to have faith in Me. Do you know, Mary, what you are doing? Or rather, what I am doing, in showing you the Gospel? Making a stronger attempt to bring men to Me. You yearned for it with your fervent prayers. will no longer confine Myself to words. They tire men and detach them. It is a fault, but it is so. I will have recourse to visions, also of My Gospel, and I will explain them to make them more attractive and clear. I give you the comfort of seeing them. I give everybody the possibility of wishing to know Me. And if it is of no avail, and like cruel children they should throw away the gift without understanding its value, you will be left with My present, and they with My indignation. I shall be able once again to repeat the old reproach: "We played for you and you would not dance; we sang dirges and you would not weep". But it does not matter. Let them, the inconvertible ones, heap burning coals on their heads and let us turn to the little sheep seeking to become acquainted with their Shepherd. It is I, and you are the staff leading them to Me.» ------------------------ As you can see, I have hastened to add these details which, being trifling matters, had escaped my notice, and were wanted by you. Today, reading the booklet, I noticed a sentence which may be a guide for you. This morning you were saying that you cannot make my descriptions known because of their style and since I am terrified at the very thought of being known, 1 was very happy about it. But do you not think that that is against what the Master says in the last dictation in the booklet? «The more careful and precise you are (in describing what I see) the greater the number of those who will come to Me.» This implies that the description must be known otherwise how can there be a number of souls going to Jesus, thanks to them? I am drawing your attention to this point, the you can do what you think is best, because, as far as I am concerned, I am indifferent. Nay, humanly speaking. I share your opinion. But in this case it is not a human matter and also the human side of the mouthpiece must disappear. Also in today's dictation Jesus says: «...in showing you the Gospel I make a stronger attempt to bring men to Me. I will no longer confine Myself to words... I will have recourse to visions and I will explain them to make them more attractive and clear.» So? In the meantime, as I am a poor nonentity and by myself I retire to myself, I tell you that your remark has upset me, and the Envious One avails himself of the situation: I was so upset that I thought I should no longer describe what I see, but I should write, the dictations only. He whispers in my ear: «You can see it yourself! Your famous visions serve no purpose whatsoever, except to make you pass off as mad. Which you really are. What is it that you see? The shams of your agitated mind. It takes much more to deserve to see Heaven!» He has tortured me all day today with his corrosive temptation. I can assure you that I have not suffered so much because of my bitter physical pain as I suffered and am suffering because of this. He wants to drive me mad. This Friday is a Friday of spiritual temptation for me. I am thinking of Jesus in the desert and of Jesus at Gethsemane... I will not give up as I do not want this cunning demon to laugh, and fighting against him and against my weaker spiritual part, I am writing to you to inform you of my present joy and to assure you that, as far as I am concerned, I should be quite happy if Jesus deprived me of this gift of seeing, which is my greatest joy, providing He continues to love me and have mercy on me.
46. Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert by the Devil.
24th February 1944. Thursday following Ash Wednesday. I see the solitary land which I already saw on my lefthand side in the vision of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. But I must be some way inside the desert, because I neither see the beautiful, blue, slow flowing river, nor the green strips of vegetation which coast Its banks, and are nourished by its waters. There is nothing here but solitude, stones and such a parched earth that it has become a yellowish dust, raised now and again by the wind in small eddies, which are so hot and dry that they seem to be the breath of a feverish mouth. And they are very troublesome because of the dust penetrating nostrils and throats. There are a very few small thorny bushes, strangely surviving in so much desolation. They look like small forelocks of surviving hair on a bald head. Above, there is a merciless blue sky; below, arid land; around, stones and silence. That is what I see as far as nature is concerned. Leaning against a huge piece of overhanging rock which, because of its shape, forms a kind of a grotto, there is Jesus sitting on a stone that has been taken into the cave. That is how He protects Himself from the scorching sun. And my internal adviser informs me that the stone, on which He is now sitting, is also His kneelingstool and pillow, when He takes a few hours rest, enveloped in His mantle, under a starry sky in the chill air of the night. Near Him, there is the haversack which I saw Him take before departing from Nazareth. It is all He has. And from the way it is folded, I realise it has been emptied of the little food Mary had put into it. Jesus is very thin and pale. He is sitting with His elbows resting on His knees, His forearms forward, His hands joined and His fingers interlaced. He is meditating. Now and again He looks up and around, then looks at the sun, almost perpendicular in the blue sky. Now and again, particularly after looking around and at the sun, He closes His eyes and leans on the rock sheltering Him, as if He were seized by dizziness. I see Satan's ugly face appear. He does not show himself in the features we imagine him: horns, tail etc. He looks like a bedouin enveloped in his robe and in a large mantle that resembles domino. He is wearing a turban on his head and its white flaps fall along his cheeks, down to his shoulders protecting them. Thus only a very small dark triangle of his face can be seen, with thin, sinuous lips, very black hollow eyes, full of magnetic flashes. Two eyes that penetrate and read into the bottom of your heart, but in which you can read nothing, or one word only: mystery. The very opposite of Jesus' eyes, also so magnetic and fascinating, which read in your heart, but in which you can also read that in His heart there is love and bounty for you. Jesus' eyes caress your soul. Satan's are like a double dagger that stabs and bums you. He approaches Jesus: «Are you alone?» Jesus looks at him, but does not reply. «How did You happen to be here? Did You get lost?» Jesus looks at him again, and is silent. «If I had water in my flask, I would give You some. But I have none myself. My horse died, and I am now going on foot to the ford. I will get a drink there, and I will find someone who will give me some bread. I know the road. Come with me. I'll take You there. » Jesus does not even look at him. «You are not answering? Do You know that if You stay here You will die? The wind is already beginning to blow. There will a storm. Come.» Jesus clenches His hands in silent prayer. «Ah! It is You, then? I have been looking for You for such a long time! And I have been watching You for so long. Since You were baptised. Are You calling the Eternal? He is far away. You now on the earth, in the midst of men. And I reign over men. And yet, I feel sorry for You, and I want to help You, because You are so good, and You have come to sacrifice Yourself for nothing. Men will hate You because of Your goodness. They understand nothing, but gold, food and pleasure. Sacrifice, sorrow, obedience are words more arid for them than the land around us here. They are more arid than this dust. Only snakes can hide here, waiting to bite, and jackals waiting to tear to pieces. Come with me. It is not worthwhile suffering for them. I know them better than You do.» Satan has sat down in front of Jesus and he scrutinises Him with his dreadful eyes, and smiles at Him with his snakelike mouth. Jesus is always silent, and is praying mentally. «You don't trust me. You are wrong. I am the wisdom of the earth. I can be Your teacher and show You how to triumph. See, the important thing is to triumph. Then, once we have imposed ourselves and we have enchanted the world, then we can take them wherever we want. But first, we must be as they wish us to be. Like them. We must allure them, making them believe that we admire them and follow their thoughts. You are young and handsome. Start with a woman. One must always start from her. I made a mistake inducing her to be disobedient. I should have advised her differently. I would have turned her into a better instrument, and I would have beaten God. I was in a hurry. But You! I will teach You, because one day I looked at You with angelical joy, and a fraction of that love is still left in me, but You must listen to me, and make use of my experience. Find yourself a woman. Where you do not succeed, she will. You are the new Adam: You must have Your Eve. In any case, how can You understand and heal the diseases of the senses, if You do not know what they are? Don't You know that that is where the seed is, from which the tree of greediness and arrogance sprouts? Why do men want to reign? Why do they want to be rich and powerful? To possess woman. She is like a lark. She will be attracted only by something sparkling. Gold and power are two sides of the mirror that draw woman, and are the causes of evil in the world. Look: in a thousand different crimes, there are at least nine hundred that take root in the lust of possessing a woman or in the passion of a woman, burning with a desire that man has not yet satisfied, or can no longer satisfy. Go to a woman if You want to know what life is. And only then, You will be able to cure and heal the diseases of mankind. Women, You know, are beautiful! There is nothing nicer in the world. Man has brains and strength. But woman! Her thought is a perfume, her touch is the caress of flowers, her grace is like wine, pleasant to drink, her weakness is like a hank of silk, or the curl of a child in a man's hand, her caress is a strength which is poured over our own strength, and inflames it. Sorrow, fatigue, worries are forgotten when we lie near a woman, and she is in our arms like a bunch of flowers. But what a fool I am! You are hungry and I am talking to You of women. Your energy is exhausted. That is why that fragrance of the earth, that flower of creation, the fruit that gives and excites love, seems without any value to You. But look at these stones. How round and smooth they look, gilded by the setting sun! Don't they look like loaves? Since You are the Son of God, all You have to say is: "I want" and they will become sweetsmelling bread, just like the loaves housewives are now taking out of their ovens for the supper of their families. And these arid acacias, if You only wish so, will they not be filled with sweet fruit and dates as sweet as honey? Eat Your fill, Son of God. You are the Master of the earth. The earth is bowing down to put itself at Your feet and appease Your hunger. Don't You see that You are turning pale and unsteady at the mention of bread. Poor Jesus! Are You so weak that You cannot even work a miracle? Shall I work it for You? I am not Your equal, but I can do something. I will do without any strength for a whole year, I will gather it all together, but I want to serve You, because You are good, and I always remember that You are my God, even if now I have forfeited calling You so. Help me with Your prayers, that I may...» «Be quiet! "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God".» The devil starts with anger. He grinds his teeth, and clenches his fists. But he controls himself, and turns his grinding into a smile. «I understand. You are above the necessities of the earth and You are disgusted at making use of me. I deserved it. But come, then, and see what there is in the House of God. You will see how even priests do not refuse to come to a compromise between the spirit and the flesh. After all, they are men, and not angels. Work a spiritual miracle. I will take You up to the pinnacle of the Temple and You will undergo a transfiguration and become most handsome. You will then call the cohorts of angels and will tell them form a footrest for Your feet with their interlaced wings, and to let You down, thus, into the main yard. So that people may see You, and remember that God exists. One must show oneself now and again, because man's memory is so weak, particularly with regard to spiritual matters. You can imagine how happy the angels will be in forming a protection for Your feet and a ladder for You to descend!» «It is said: "You must not put the Lord your God to the test".» «You understand that Your apparition would not change anything and the Temple would continue to be a market full of corruption Your divine wisdom is aware that the hearts of the ministers of the Temple are nests. of vipers, that tear and are torn to pieces for the sake of prevailing. They are subdued only by human power. Well, then, come. Adore me. I will give You the earth. AI Alexander, Cyrus, Caesar, all the great rulers, past or present, will be like the leaders of miserable caravans as compared with You, as You shall have the kingdoms of the world under Your sceptre. And with the kingdoms, all the wealth, all the beautiful things on earth, women, horses, armies and temples. You will be able to raise Your Sign everywhere when You are the King of kings and the Lord of the world. You will then be obeyed and respected both by the people and by the priesthood. All classes will honour and serve You, because You will be the Powerful One, the Only One, the Lord. Adore me for one moment only! Appease this thirst of mine for being worshipped! It ruined me, but it is still left in me, and 1 am parched by it. The flames of hell are like a fresh morning breeze as compared to this fierce ardour burning inside me. It is my hell, this thirst. One moment, one moment only, Christ. You are so good! One moment of joy for the eternally Tortured One! Let me feel what it is like to be god, and I will be a devoted, obedient servant for all Your life and all Your enterprises. One instant, one instant only, and I will no longer torture You!» And Satan falls on his knees, imploring. Jesus, instead, stands up. He has lost weight because of the long days of fast, and He now looks taller. His face is terribly severe and potent. His eyes are two burning sapphires. His voice is like thunder: it reverberates in the cave of the huge stone, and spreads over the stony, desolate plain when He cries: «Be off, Satan. It is written: "You must worship the Lord your God, and serve Him alone".» Satan, with a cry of fearful torture and indescribable hatred, springs to his feet, a dreadful sight in his furious, smoky figure. And he disappears with a last cursing yell. Jesus is tired, and sits down, leaning back with His head resting on the stone. He looks exhausted. He is perspiring. But angels come to blow gently with their wings in the closeness of the cave, thus purifying and refreshing the air. Jesus opens His eyes, and smiles. I do not see Him eat. I would say that He is nourished by the aroma of Paradise, and is reinvigorated by it. The sun has set in the west. He takes His empty haversack and in the company of the angels who, flying above His head, emit a mild light while it is getting dark very rapidly, He starts walking eastwards, or rather northeastwards. He has resumed His usual expression, His step is steady. The only remaining sign of His long fast is a more ascetic look on His pale, thin face and in His eyes, enraptured in a joy which does not belong to this world. ------------------------- Jesus says: «Yesterday you had no strength, which is My will, and you were, therefore, halfalive. I let your body rest and I made you fast the only way which is burdensome to you: depriving you of My word. Poor Mary! You kept Ash Wednesday. You tasted an ashen flavour in everything because you were without your Master. I did not let you perceive Me, but I was there. This morning, as our anxiety is reciprocal, when you were half asleep, I whispered to you: "Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem" and I made you repeat it many times and I repeated it to you many times. You thought that I was going to speak about that. No. First there is the subject which I showed you and upon which I will comment for you. Then this evening I will illustrate this other one. As you have seen, kindness is always Satan's disguise when he presents himself. He looks like an ordinary person. If soul are careful, and above all, if they are in spiritual contact with God, they perceive the warning that makes them cautious and prepares them to fight the devil's snares. But if souls are distracted, separated from God by an overwhelming sensuality, and are not assisted by prayer, which joins them to God and pours strength into the hearts of men, then they seldom perceive the snares hidden under the innocent appearance and they fall into the trap. It is then very difficult for them to free themselves. The two most common means adopted by Satan to conquer souls are sensuality and gluttony. He always starts from material things. Once he has dismantled and subdued the material side, he attacks the spiritual part. First the morals: thoughts with their pride and greed; then the spirit, obliterating not only its love which no longer exists when man replaces divine love with other human loves but also the fear of God. Then man surrenders his body and soul to Satan, on for the sake of enjoying what he wants, and enjoying it more and more. You saw how I behaved. Silence and prayer. Silence. Because if Satan performs his work of a seducer and comes round us, we must put up with the situation without any foolish impatience or cowardly fears. We must react with resolution to his presence, and with prayer to his allurements. It is useless to debate with Satan. He would win, because he is strong in his dialectics. Only God can beat him. And so you must have recourse to God, that He may speak for you, through you. You must show Satan that Name and that Sign, not so much written on paper or engraved on wood, but written and engraved in your hearts. My Name, My Sign. You should answer back to Satan, using the word of God, only when he insinuates that he is like God. He cannot bear that. Then after the struggle, there comes victory and the angel serve and defend the winner from Satan's hatred. They restore him with celestial dews, with the Grace that they pour with full hands into the heart of the faithful son, with a blessing that caresses his soul. One must be determined to defeat Satan, and have faith in God, and in His help. Faith in the power of prayer, and in the Lord's bounty. Then Satan can do no harm. Go in peace. This evening I will gladden you with the remainder.»
47. Jesus Meets John and James.
25th February 1944. I see Jesus walking along the green strip of vegetation that borders the Jordan. He has gone back to the same place where He was baptised. He is near the ford that apparently was well known and commonly used to cross to the other bank towards Perea. But the place, which was so crowded before, is now deserted. There are only a few travellers, going on foot, or riding donkeys or horses. Jesus does not seem to be aware of them. He proceeds along His way, northwards, absorbed in His thoughts. When He reaches the ford, He meets a group of men of different ages, who are discussing animatedly, and then they part, some southwards, some northwards. Amongst those going northwards, I see John and James. John is the first to see Jesus, and he points Him out to his brother and companions. They talk a little amongst themselves, and then John starts walking quickly to reach Jesus. James follows him, walking a little slower. The others do not show any interest. They walk slowly, while discussing, When John is near Jesus, about two or three metres behind Him, he shouts: «Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world!» Jesus turns round, and looks at him. There are now only a few steps between them. They look at each other: Jesus with His serious, scrutinising look, John with his pure eyes smiling in his beautiful, youthful face, that looks like the face of a girl. He is about twenty years old, and on his rosy cheeks there is only the sign of a blond down, like a golden veil. «Whom are you looking for?» asks Jesus. «For You, Master.» « How do you know I am a Master?» «The Baptist told me.» « Well then, why do you call Me Lamb?» «Because I heard him call You so one day, when You were passing by, just over a month ago. .» «What do you want from Me?» «I want You to tell us words of eternal life and to comfort us.» «But who are you?» «I am John of Zebedee, and this is James, my brother. We are from Galilee, and we are fishermen. But we are also disciples of John. He spoke words of life to us and we listened to him, because we want to follow God, and deserve His forgiveness doing penance and thus prepare our hearts for the coming of the Messiah. You are the Messiah. John said so, because he saw the sign of the Dove descending on You. He said to us: "Here is the Lamb of God". I say to you: Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, give us peace, because we no longer have anyone who may guide us, and our souls are upset.» «Where is John?» «Herod has taken him. He is in prison, at Machaerus. The most faithful amongst his disciples have tried to free him. But it is not possible. We are coming from there. Let us come with You, Master. Show us where You live.» «Come. But do you know what you are asking for? Who follows Me will have to leave everything: his home, his relatives, his way of thinking, also his life. I will make you My disciples and My friends, if you wish so. But I have neither wealth nor protection. I am poor, and I shall be even poorer, to the extent of not having a place where I may rest My head and I will be persecuted by My enemies, even more than a lost sheep is pursued by wolves. My doctrine is even more rigid than John's, because it forbids also resentment. And My doctrine is concerned not so much with external matters, as it is with the soul. You must be reborn if you want to be My disciples. Are you willing to do that?» «Yes, Master. Only You have words that can give us light. They descend upon us, and where there was darkness and desolation because we had no guide, they shed light and sunshine.» «Come, then. Let us go. I will teach you on our way.» --------------------------------- Jesus says: «The crowd that met Me was a large one. But only one recognised Me. He, whose soul, mind and flesh were pure and free from all lewdness. I insist on the value of purity. Chastity is always the source of clear ideas. Virginity refines and then preserves intellectual and emotional sensitiveness, elevating it to such a perfection that only a virgin can experience. There are many ways of being a virgin. By compulsion, and this applies particularly to women, when no one ever proposed to them. The same should apply to men. But it does not. And that is bad, because only heads of families, with unhealthy minds and often diseased bodies, can be born of youth soiled with lust before time. There is wanted virginity, that is the virginity of those who consecrate themselves to the Lord with the ardour of their souls. A beautiful virginity! A sacrifice pleasing to God! But they do not all persist in their purity like lilies which stand upright on their stalks, looking towards Heaven, unaware of the mud on the ground, open to the kisses of God's sun and His dews. Many are faithful only in a material way. But they are unfaithful in their thoughts, which regret and wish for what they sacrificed. They are virgins only by half. If their flesh is intact, their hearts are not. Their hearts ferment, boil, exhale fumes of sensuality, the more refined and reproved, the more it is the invention of a mind that caresses, nourishes and continually enlarges the images of satisfactions, illicit even for those who are free, more than illicit for those consecrated to God. Then you have the hypocrisy of the vow. Its appearance is there, its essence is not. And I tell you that between those who come to Me with their lilies broken by the brutality of a tyrant, and those who come with their lilies materially intact, but covered with the slaver of a sensuality they have caressed and cultivated to fill their hours of solitude, I will call "virgins" the former, and "non virgins" the latter. I will give the former the crown of virgins and a double crown of martyrs, because of their flesh which has been wounded and of their hearts which have been ulcerated by a mutilation they did not want. The value of purity is such that, as you have seen, the first thing Satan was anxious about, was to deceive Me about impurity. He knows very well that sensual sins dismantle the soul and make it an easy prey to other sins. Satan's efforts aimed at this capital point, in order to defeat Me. Bread, hunger, are the material forms for the allegory of appetite, of the appetites that Satan takes advantage of for his own purpose. The food he offered Me to make Me fall intoxicated at his feet is quite a different thing! Greed would have followed, then avarice, power, idolatry, blasphemy and the abjuration of the divine Law. But that was the first step to catch Me. Exactly as he did to injure Adam. The world sneers at pure people. Those who are guilty of lewdness strike them. John the Baptist is the victim of the lust of an obscene couple. But if there is still some light in the world, this is due to the pure of the world. They are the servants of God, they understand God and repeat God's words. I said: "Happy the pure in heart, they shall see God". Also in this world: since the fumes of sensuality do not perturb their hearts, they "see" God, they hear Him, they follow Him and they show Him to other people. John of Zebedee is a pure soul. He is the Pure One amongst My disciples. A soul as beautiful as a flower in an angelical body! He calls Me with the words of his first master and asks Me to give him peace. But he already has peace in his heart because of his purity, and I loved him because of his purity, to which I entrusted My teachings, My secrets, and the most dear Creature I had. He was My first disciple, who loved Me from the very first instant he saw Me. His soul had melted with Mine from the day he saw Me passing near the Jordan and he saw the Baptist pointing to Me. Even if he had not found Me later, when I came back from the desert, he would have looked for Me until he found Me, because who is pure, is humble and anxious to be taught in the science of God, and like the water that flows to the sea, he goes towards those he knows to be masters in the celestial doctrine.» ------------------------- Jesus says also: «I did not want you to speak about the sensual temptation of your Jesus. Even if your internal voice had made you understand Satan's motive in attracting Me towards sensuality, I preferred to speak of it Myself. Think no more about it. It was necessary to mention it. Go on now. Leave Satan's flower on its sands. Follow Jesus as John did. You will be walking among thorns, but as roses you will find the drops of blood of Him Who shed them for you, to defeat the flesh also in you. I will forestall a remark as well. In his Gospel, John mentioning his meeting with Me says: "And the following day". It would therefore appear that the Baptist pointed Me out the day after My baptism and that John and James followed Me at once. But that conflicts with what the other Evangelists said about the forty days spent in the desert. But you should read as follows: "(John having already been arrested), one day, later, the two disciples of John the Baptist, the ones to whom he had pointed Me out saying: 'Here is the Lamb of God', on seeing Me again, called Me and followed Me". After I had come back from the desert. And we went back together to the shores of the lake of Galilee, where I had taken shelter to begin evangelising from there, and the two after being with Me during the whole journey and then for one day in the hospitable house of a friend of My relatives spoke of Me to the other fishermen. But it was the initiative of John, whose will to do penance had made his soul, already so limpid owing to his purity, a masterpiece of pellucidity in which the Truth was clearly reflected, bestowing on him also the holy daring of the pure and generous, who are never afraid of stepping forward, wherever they see that there is God, and truth and doctrine and the way of God. How much I loved him for that simple, heroical feature of his!»
48. John and James Speak to Peter about the Messiah.
12th October 1944. A most clear dawn over the Lake of Galilee. The sky and the water sparkle with rosy flashes, not very different from the mild ones shining on the walls of the little orchards of the lakevillage, where fruittrees, with their unkempt, luxuriant foliage, seem to rise from the orchards and peep at the little lanes, bending over them. The village is beginning to awaken: women start going to the fountain or to the washing place, while fishermen unload the baskets of fish, or haggle over prices, in very loud voices, with merchants who have come from other villages, while others carry the fish to their houses. I called it a village, but it is not a very small one. It is rather a modest place, at least what I see of it, but it is quite large and spreads generally along the lake. John comes out of a little street and goes quickly towards the lake. James follows him, but much more calmly. John looks at the boats which are already on the shore, but cannot see the one he is looking for. He sees it while it is still about one hundred yards from the beach, manoeuvring to enter the harbour, and holding his hands at the sides of his mouth, he shouts at the top of his voice, a long «Ohè!», which must be their usual call. When he sees that they have heard him, he gesticulates with both his arms, obviously meaning: «Come, come.» The men in the boat, not knowing what is the matter, lay on the oars, and the boat moves faster than it did with the sail, which they have struck, probably to gain time. When they are about ten metres from the shore, John does not wait any longer. He takes off his mantle and his long tunic, and throws them on the shore, takes off his sandals, lifts his undertunic and holds it with one hand almost against his groin, then goes into the water to meet the boat arriving. «Why did you two not come?» asks Andrew. Peter, sulkily, does not say one word. «And why did you not come with me and James?» John replies to Andrew. «I went fishing. I have no time to waste. You disappeared with that man...» «I beckoned you to come. It is Him. You should hear His words!... We stayed with Him all day until late at night. We have now come to say to you: "Come".» «Is it really Him? Are you sure? We only saw Him then, when the Baptist pointed Him out to us.» «It is Him. He did not deny it.» «Anyone can say what suits him to impose himself on dupes. It is not the first time... » mumbles Peter, dissatisfied. «Oh, Simon! Don't say that! He is the Messiah! He knows everything! He hears you!» John is grieved and dismayed at Simon Peter's words. «Sure! The Messiah! And He showed Himself to you, James and Andrew! Three poor ignorant fishermen! The Messiah will need much more than that! And He hears me! Eh! My poor boy. The first sunshine of spring has damaged your brains! Come on, come and do some work. That's much better. And forget such fairy tales!» «I'm telling you. He is the Messiah! John said holy things, but He speaks of God. Who is not Christ cannot speak such words.» «Simon, I am not a boy. I am old enough and I am composed and thoughtful. You know that. I did not speak much, but I listened a lot during the hours we spent with the Lamb of God and I can tell you that really He can but be the Messiah! Why don't you believe? Why do you not want to believe? You may not believe, because you have not heard Him. But I believe Him. We are poor and ignorant? Well, He says that He has come to announce the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, of the Kingdom of peace, to the poor, humble and little ones before the great ones. He said: "The great ones already have their delights. They are not enviable delights when compared with the ones I have come to bring you. The great ones are already capable of understanding by means of their culture. But I have come to the 'little' ones of Israel and of the world, to those who weep and hope, to those who seek Light and are hungry for the real Manna, to whom learned men do not give light and food, but only burdens, darkness, chains, contempt. And I call the 'little ones'. I have come to turn the world upside down. Because I will lower what is now held high, and I will raise what is now held in contempt. Let those who want the truth and peace, who want eternal life, come to Me. Those who love Light, let them come to Me. I am the Light of the world". Did He not say that, John?» James has spoken in a calm, gentle voice. «Yes, and He said: "The world will not love Me. The great world will not love Me, because it is corrupted by vices and idolatry. Nay, the world will not want Me, because as it is the offspring of Darkness, it does not love the Light. But the earth is not made only of the great world. There are on it also those who, mixed with the world, are not of the world. There are people who are of the world because they have been imprisoned in it, like fish in a net". He said exactly that, because we were speaking on the shore of the lake and He was pointing to some nets which were being dragged to the shore with fish in them. Nay, He said: "See. None of those fish wanted to be caught in the net. Also men, intentionally, would not like to fall prey to Mammon. Not even the most wicked who, blinded by pride, do not believe they have no right to do what they do. Their real sin is pride. All the other sins grow from it. Those who are not completely wicked, would like even less to fall prey to Mammon. But they fall because of their frivolity and because of a weight that drags them to the bottom, and which is Adam's sin. I have come to remove that sin, and while awaiting the hour of Redemption, to give those who believe in Me a strength such that will enable them to free themselves from the snares that trap them and will make them free to follow Me, the Light of the world".» «Well then, if He said that, we must go to Him at once.» Peter, with his impulsiveness, which is so genuine and I like so much, has decided at once, and is already acting accordingly, hastening to unload the boat which has already reached the shore: the fishermen have almost beached it, unloading nets, ropes and sails. «And you, silly Andrew, why did you not go with them?!...» «But... Simon! You reproached me because I did not persuade them to come with me... You have been grumbling all night, and now you rebuke me because I did not go?!» «You are right... But I did not see Him... you did... and you must have seen that He is not like us... He must have something compelling!...» «Oh! Yes.» John says. «His face! His eyes! What beautiful eyes, aren't they, James?! And His voice!... Oh! What a voice! When He speaks, you seem to be dreaming of Heaven.» «Quick, quick. Let's go and see Him. And you, (addressing the other fishermen) take everything to Zebedee and tell him to do as he thinks best. We will be back this evening in time to go fishing.» They all get dressed and set out. But Peter, after a few yards stops and gets hold of John's arm and asks him. «Did you say that He knows everything, and hears everything?...» «Yes, I did. Just think that when we saw the moon high up in the sky, I said: "I wonder what Simon will be doing now", and He said: "He is casting his net and he cannot set his mind at rest because he has to do it all by himself, since you did not go out with the twin boat in such a good evening for fishing... he does not know that before long he will be fishing with different nets and catching different fish".» «Holy Mercy! It's true! Well, He will also have heard... also that I called Him little less than a liar... I can't go to Him!» «Oh! He is so good. He certainly knows what you thought. He already knew. Because when we left Him saying that we were coming to you, He said: "Go. But don't let the first words of contempt discourage you. Who wants to come with Me must be able to make headway against the sneering words of the world and the prohibitions of relatives. Because I am above blood and society, and I triumph over them. And who is with Me will also triumph for ever". And He also said: "Don't be afraid to speak. The man who hears will come, because he is a man of good will".» «Is that what He said? Well, I'll come. Speak, speak of Him, while we are going. Where is He?» «In a poor house; they must be His friends.» «Is He poor?» «A workman from Nazareth. So He said.» «And how does He live now, if He does not work any longer?» «We did not ask Him. Perhaps His relatives help Him.» «It would have been better if we had brought some fish, some bread and fruit..., something. We are going to consult a rabbi, because He is like... He is more than a rabbi, and we are going emptyhanded! Our rabbis don't like that...» «But He does. We had but twenty pennies between us, James and I, and we offered Him them, as is customary with rabbis. He did not want them. But since we insisted so much, He said: "May God reward you with the blessings of the poor. Come with Me" and He gave them to some poor people: He knew where they lived. And when we asked Him: "Master, are You not keeping anything for Yourself?" He replied: "The joy of doing the will of God and serving His glory". We also said: "You are calling us, Master. But we are all poor. What shall we bring You?", He replied with a smile which made us enjoy the delights of Paradise: "I want a great treasure from you", and we said: "But we have nothing". And He answered: "A treasure with seven names, which even the poorest may have, while the rich may not possess it. You have it, and I want it. Listen to the names: charity, faith, good will, right intention, continence, sincerity, spirit of sacrifice. That is what I want from My followers, only that, and You have it. It is dormant, like a seed under a winter clod, but the spring sunshine will make it sprout into a sevenfold spike". That is what He said.» «Ah! Now I feel that He is the true Rabboni, the promised Messiah! He is not harsh with the poor, He does not ask for money... It is enough to call Him the Holy Man of God. We can go safely. » And it all ends.
49. First Meeting of Peter and the Messiah.
13th October 1944. With my soul dejected by too many things, I am praying to receive illumination. And I am led to chapter 12 of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the strength of my spirit is really reinvigorated and once again I have the energy «to listen». In fact when I am oppressed by so many things, I feel like saying: «I do not want to do anything any more. An ordinary life, an ordinary life at all costs.» But I, know who it is «Who speaks» and I see Him look at me with loving beseeching eyes. And I can no longer say: «I do not want.» God is really a fire which devours also the inclinations of our human nature when the latter yields to Him. To Him Who speaks saying: «I will not leave you, I will not abandon you», I want to repeat once again with full confidence: «You are of much help to me, I do not fear man. O God, do not disappoint my hope.» ------------------------------- At 2 p.m. I see the following: Jesus is coming along a little road, a path between two fields. He is alone. John is moving towards Him along a different path in the fields and he meets Him at last, going through an opening in a hedge. John, both in yesterday's vision and today's is very young. His face is rosy and beardless, the fair complexion of a youth, who can hardly be called a man. There are no signs of moustache or beard, but only the smoothness of his rosy cheeks, his red lips, and his bright smile and pure look, not so much because of its deep turquoise hue, as because of the limpidity of his virginal soul shining through his eyes. His blondbrown long soft hair undulates at each step while he walks almost as fast as if he were running. When he is about to pass through the hedge, he shouts: «Master!» Jesus stops and turns round, smiling. «Master, I have longed so much for You! The people in the house where You live told me that You had come towards the country. But they did not say where. I was afraid I might not meet you.» While speaking, John has bent his head slightly, out of respect. And yet, he is full of truthful love, both in his attitude and in his eyes, which he raises towards Jesus, while his head is still gently inclined towards his shoulder. «I saw you were looking for Me and I came towards you.» «You saw me? Where were You, Master?» «Over there» and Jesus points to a group of trees far away, which, by the colour of their foliage, I would say were olivetrees. «I was over there. I was praying, and thinking what to say this evening in the synagogue. But I came away as soon as I saw you. » «But how could You see me, if I can hardly see the place, hidden as it is behind that hedge?» «And yet, you see, here I am. I came to meet you because I saw you. What the eye does not do, love does.» «Yes, love does. You love me, therefore, Master?» «And do you love Me, John, son of Zebedee?» «So much, Master. I think I have always loved You. Before meeting You, long before, my soul was looking for You, and when I saw You, my soul said to me: "Here is the One you are seeking". I think I met You, because my soul perceived You.» «You said it, John, and what you say is right. I also came towards you because My soul perceived you. For how long will you love Me?» «For ever, Master. I no longer want to love anybody, but You.» «You have a father and a mother, brothers and sisters, you have your life, and with your life, you have a woman and love. How will you be able to leave all that for My sake?» «Master... I do not know... but I think, if it is not pride to say so, that Your fondness will take the place of father and mother, of brothers and sisters, and also of a woman. I will be compensated for everything, if You love me.» «And if My love should cause you sorrows and persecutions?» «They will be nothing, if You love me.» «And the day I should die...» «No! You are young, Master... Why die?» «Because the Messiah has come to preach the Law in its truthfulness and to accomplish Redemption. And the world loathes the Law and does not want redemption. Therefore they persecute God's messengers.» «Oh! Let that never be! Do not mention that prediction of death to him who loves You!... But if You should die, I would still love You. Allow me to love You.» John's look is an imploring one. He has bowed his head lower than ever, and he walks beside Jesus, and seems to be begging love. Jesus stops. He looks at him, scrutinises him with His deep, penetrating eyes, and then lays His hand on his bowed head. «I want you to love Me.» «Oh! Master!» John is happy. Although his eyes shine with tears, his well shaped young mouth smiles. He takes the divine hand, kisses it on its back, and presses it to his heart. They take to the road again. «You said you were looking for Me...» «Yes, to tell You that my friends want to meet You... and because, oh! how I was longing to be with You again! I left You only a few hours ago... but I could no longer be without You.» «Have you therefore been a good announcer of the Word?» «Also James, Master, spoke of You in such a way as... to convince them. » «So that also he who had no confidence and is not to be blamed because his reserve was due to prudence is now convinced. Let us go and give him full assurance.» «He was somewhat afraid...» «No! Not afraid of Me! I have come for good people and even more for those who stand in error. I want to save people, not to condemn them. I will be full of mercy with honest people.» «And with sinners?» «Also. By dishonest people, I mean those who are spiritually dishonest and hypocritically they feign to be good, whereas they do ill deeds. And they do such things, and in such a way for their own profit and to secure an advantage over their neighbours. I will be severe with them.» «Oh! Simon, then, need not worry. He is as loyal as no one else.» «That is what I like, and I want you all to be so.» «Simon wants to tell You many things.» «I will listen to him after speaking in the synagogue. I asked them to inform the poor and sick people in addition to the rich and healthy ones. They are all in need of the Gospel.» They are near the village. Some children are playing in the road and one of them runs into Jesus' legs and would have fallen if He were not quick in getting hold of him. The child cries just the same, as if he had been hurt and Jesus, holding him in His arms, says: «An Israelite who is crying? What should the thousands of children have done, who became men, crossing the desert with Moses? And yet, the Most High Lord sent the sweet manna for them, rather than for the others, because He loves innocent children and looks after these little angels of the earth, these wingless little birds, just as He sees to the sparrows of woods and towns. Do you like honey? Yes? Well, if you are good, you will eat a honey which is sweeter than the honey of your bees.» «Where? When?» «When, after a life of loyalty to God, you will go to Him.» «I know that I cannot go there unless the Messiah comes. My mother says that now, we in Israel, are like many Moses and we die seeing the Promised Land. She says that we are there, waiting to go in, and that only the Messiah will make us go in.» «What a clever little Israelite! Well, I tell you that when you die, you will go to Paradise at once, because the Messiah will already have opened the gates of Heaven. But you must be good.» «Mummy! Mummy!» The child slides down from Jesus' arms and runs towards a young woman, who is entering her house holding a copper amphora. «Mummy! The new Rabbi told me that I will go to Paradise at once when I die and I will eat so much honey... if I am good. I will be good!» «God grant it! I am sorry, Master, if he troubled You. He is so lively!» «Innocence does not trouble, woman. May God bless you, because you are a mother who is bringing her children up in the knowledge of the Law.» The woman blushes at being praised and replies: «May the blessing of the Lord be with You, too.» And she disappears with her little one. «Do You like children, Master?» «Yes, I do, because they are pure... sincere... and affectionate.» «Have you any nephews, Master?» «I have but My Mother... In Her there is purity, sincerity, the love of the most holy children, together with wisdom, justice and the fortitude of adults. I have everything in My Mother, John. » «And You left Her?» «God is above also the holiest mother.» «Will I meet Her?» «Yes, you will.» «And will She love me?» «She will love you because She loves whoever loves Her Jesus.» «Then You have no brothers?» «I have some cousins on My Mother's husband's side. But every man is My brother, and I have come for everybody. We are now at the synagogue. I am going in, and you will join Me with your friends.» John goes away, and Jesus goes into a square room with the usual display of triangular lamps and lecterns with rolls of parchment. There is already a crowd waiting and praying. Jesus also prays. The people whisper and make their comments behind Him, as He bows to the head of the synagogue, greeting him, and He asks for a roll at random. Jesus begins His lesson. He says: «The Spirit makes Me read the following things for you. At chapter seven of the book of Jeremiah, we read: "Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: 'Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of Yahweh, the sanctuary of Yahweh, the sanctuary of Yahweh! But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow, if you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever' ". Listen, Israel. Here I am to illuminate for you the words of light, which your dimmed souls can no longer see or understand. Listen. There is much weeping in the land of the People of God: old people cry remembering past glories, adults cry because they are bent under the yoke, children cry because they have no prospects of future glory. But the glory of the earth is nothing compared to a glory which no oppressor, except Mammon and ill will, can take away. Why are you crying? Because the Most High, Who was always good to His people, has now turned His face elsewhere and no longer allows His children to see His Countenance? Is He no longer the God Who parted the sea and made Israel cross it and led the people through the desert and nourished them, and defended them from their enemies, and that they might not lose the way to Heaven, He gave a Law for their souls, as He had sent them a cloud for their bodies? Is He no longer the God That sweetened the waters and sent manna to His worn out children? Is He not the God Who wanted you to settle in His land and made an alliance with you as Father with his children? Well, then, why has the foreigner struck you? Many amongst you mumble: "And yet the Temple is here!" It is not enough to have the Temple and to go and pray God in it. The first temple is in the heart of every man and that is where holy prayers should be said. But a prayer cannot be holy unless the heart first amends its way of living and with his heart man also amends his habits, affections, the rules of justice towards the poor, servants, relatives and God. Now look. I see rich hardhearted men who make rich offerings to the Temple, but they never say to a poor man: "Brother, here is a piece of bread, and a penny. Take them. From man to man, and let not my help discourage you as my offering may not make me proud". I see people who, in their prayers, complain to God because He does not hear their prayers promptly; then when a poor wretch, very often a relative, says to them: "Listen to me", they reply heartlessly: "No". I see you crying because your money is squeezed out of your purses by your ruler. But then you squeeze blood out of those you hate and you are not filled with horror when you take the blood and life away from a body. O Israel! The time of Redemption has come. Prepare its ways in your hearts with good will. Be honest, good, love one another. The rich must not despise the poor; merchants must not defraud; the poor must not envy the rich. You are all of one blood, and you belong to one God. You are all called to one destiny. Do not shut with your sins the Heavens that the Messiah will open for you. Have you erred so far? Err no longer. Abandon all errors. The Law is simple, easy and good as it goes back to the original ten commandments, illuminated by the light of love. Come. I will show you which they are: love, love, love. God's love for you. Your love for God. Love for your neighbours. Always love, because God is love, and those are the Father's children who know how to live love. I am here for everybody, and to give everybody the light of God. Here is the Word of the Father that becomes food for you. Come, taste, change the blood of your spirits with this food. Let every poison vanish, let every lust die. A new glory is offered to you: the eternal one, to which all those will come whose hearts will truly study the Law of God. Start from love. There is nothing greater. When you know how to love, you will already know everything, and God will love you, and God's love means help against all temptations. May the blessing of God be on those who turn to God with their hearts full of good will.» Jesus is silent. The people whisper. The meeting breaks up after some hymns, many of which are sung like psalms. Jesus goes out onto the little square. On the doorstep there are John and James with Peter and Andrew. «Peace to you» says Jesus and He adds: «Here is the man who in order to be just must not judge before knowing. But he is honest in admitting he is wrong. Simon, you wanted to see Me? Here I am. And you, Andrew, why did you not come before?» The two brothers look at each other embarrassed. Andrew whispers: «I did not dare.» Peter blushes, but does not speak. But when he hears Jesus say to his brother: «Were you doing any wrong in coming? One must not dare do only evil things» he intervenes frankly: «It was my fault. He wanted to bring me to You at once. But I... I said... Yes, I said "I don't believe it", and I did not want to come. Oh! I feel better now!...» Jesus smiles, then He says: «And because of your sincerity I tell you that I love you.» «But I... I am not good... I am not capable of doing what You said in the synagogue. I am quicktempered and if anyone offends me... eh!... I am greedy and I like money... and in my fish business... eh!... not always... I have not always been honest. And I am ignorant. And I have little time to follow You to receive Your Light. What shall I do? I would like to become as You say... but...» «It is not difficult, Simon. Are you acquainted a little with the Scriptures? Are you? Well, think of the prophet Micah. God wants from you what Micah said. He does not ask you to tear your heart apart, neither does He ask you to sacrifice your most holy affections. He does not ask you for the time being. One day, without being requested by God, you will give God your own self. But He will wait while the sun and the dew turn you, a thin blade of grass as you are now, into a sturdy, glorious palm tree. For the time being, He asks you only this: to be just, to love mercy, to take the greatest care in following your God. Strive to do that and Simon's past will be cancelled and you will become a new man, the friend of God and of His Christ. No longer Simon, but Cephas, (1) the safe rock on which I lean.» «I like that! I understand that. The Law is so... is so... that is, I cannot comply with it any longer, as the rabbis have made it. But what You say, yes... I think I will be able to do it. And You will help me. Are You staying in this house? I know the owner.» «I am staying here. But I am going to Jerusalem and after I will preach throughout Palestine. I came for that. But I will often be here.» «I will come to hear You again. I want to be Your disciple. A little of the light will enter my head.» «Your heart, above all, Simon. Your heart. And you, Andrew, have you nothing to say?» «I am listening, Master.» «My brother is shy. » «He will become a lion. It is getting dark. May God bless you, and grant you a good haul. Go now.» «Peace be with You.» They go away. As soon as they are out Peter says: «I wonder what He meant before, when He said that I will be fishing with other nets and catching different fish.» «Why did you not ask Him? You wanted to say so many things, but you hardly spoke.» «I... was bashful. He is so different from all the other rabbis!» «Now He is going to Jerusalem...» says John, with so much longing and nostalgia. «I wanted to ask Him if He would let me go with Him... But I did not dare...» «Go and ask Him now, my boy.» says Peter. «We left Him so... without a word of affection. Let Him at least know that we admire Him. I will tell your father.» «Shall I go, James?» «Go.» John runs away... and he runs back, overjoyed. «I said to Him: "Do You want me to come to Jerusalem with You?" He replied: "Come, My friend". Friend, He said! Tomorrow, I will be here at this time. Ah! To Jerusalem with Him!...» ... the vision ends. -----------------------------