151. In Susanna's House in Cana. The Royal Officer.
1st May 1945.
Jesus is possibly going towards the lake. He certainly arrives at Cana and directs His steps towards Susanna's house. His cousins are with Him. While they are in the house and they rest and take some food, Jesus, to Whom His relatives and friends are listening as they should always do, teaches those good people in a very simple way. He also comforts the husband of Susanna, who appears to be ill. She is in fact absent and while I hear them talk continuously of how much she suffers, a well dressed man enters and prostrates himself at Jesus' feet.
«Who are you? What do you want? »
While the man is still sighing and weeping, the landlord pulls Jesus by the hem of His tunic and whispers: «He is an officer of the Tetrarch. Don't trust him too much.»
«Speak up. What do you want from Me? »
«Master, I heard that You are back. I have been waiting for You as one waits for God. Come to Capernaum at once. My son is so ill that his hours are numbered. I saw John, Your disciple. He told me that You were coming here. Come, please come at once, before it is too late.»
«What? Can You, a servant of the persecutor of the Holy One in Israel, believe in Me? You do not believe in the Precursor of the Messiah. So, how can you believe in the Messiah? »
«That is true. We are guilty of incredulity and of cruelty. But have mercy on a father! I know Chuza. I have seen Johanna. I have seen her before and after the miracle. And I believed in You.»
«Quite! You are such an incredulous and wicked generation that you will not believe without signs and miracles. You lack the essential quality that is necessary to obtain a miracle.»
«It is true. It is all very true. But You can see... I believe in You now and I beg You: come to Capernaum at once! I will have a boat ready for You at Tiberias, so that You may come quicker. But please come before my child dies! » and he weeps desolately.
«I am not coming just now. But go to Capernaum. Your son is cured as from this moment and he will live.»
«May God bless You, my Lord. I believe You. But as I want all my household to welcome You when You come to Capernaum, come to my house.»
«I will come. Goodbye. Peace be with you.»
The man rushes out and soon after the trot of a horse can be heard.
«But is the boy really cured? » asks Susanna's husband.
«Is it possible for you to think that I tell lies? »
«No, my Lord. But You are here and the boy is there.»
«There is no barrier, no distance for My spirit.»
«Well, then, my Lord. You changed water into wine at my wedding, please change my tears into happy smiles. Cure my Susanna.»
«What will you give Me in exchange for that? »
«The amount of money You want.»
«I will not stain what is holy with Mammon's blood. I am asking your spirit what it will give Me.»
«Myself, if You wish so.»
«And if I asked, without any words, a great sacrifice? »
«My Lord, I ask You to grant physical health to my wife and the sanctification of us all. I don't think I can say that anything is too much to have that...»
«You are suffering agonies because of your wife. But if I restored her to health and I got her to become My disciple for ever, what would you say? »
«That... You are entitled to do it and that... I will imitate Abraham in his readiness to the sacrifice.»
«You are right. Listen, everybody: the time of My Sacrifice is approaching. Like a course of water it is running fast and incessantly to the sea. I must accomplish what I have to do. And human hardness precludes so much of the field of My mission. My Mother and Mary of Alphaeus will come with Me when I go away amongst people that do not love Me yet or will never love Me. My wisdom knows that women will be able to help the Master in those precluded fields. I have come to redeem also women and in the future century, in My time, women will be seen serving the Lord and the servants of the Lord as priestesses. I have chosen My disciples. But to elect women who are not free, I must ask fathers and husbands to do it. Do you agree? »
«Lord, I love Susanna. And so far I have loved her more as a body than as a soul. But after Your teaching, something is already changed in me and I look at my wife as a soul besides as a body. A soul belongs to God and You are the Messiah, the Son of God. I cannot deny Your right on what belongs to God. If Susanna wants to follow You, I will not oppose her. I only beg You to work the miracle that will cure her body and my feelings...»
«Susanna is cured. In a few hours' time she will come here to tell you how happy she is. Let her soul follow its impulse without any mention of what I have just said. You will see that her soul will come to Me spontaneously as a flame tends upwards. But because of that, her love of a wife will not be stifled. On the contrary it will rise to the highest degree, which is to love each other with the better part: with your souls.»
«Susanna belongs to You, Lord. She was to die a very painful slow death. And once she was dead, I would have lost her for ever in this world. But as You say, I will still have her beside me, to lead me on to Your way. God gave me her, and God is taking her away from me. Blessed be the Most High in giving and in taking.»
152. In Zebedee's House. Salome Is Accepted as a Disciple.
2nd May 1945.
Jesus is in a house, which, from what the people living in it say, I understand to be the house of John and James. With Jesus, beside the two apostles, there are Peter and Andrew, Simon Zealot, the Iscariot and Matthew. I do not see the others.
James and John are most happy. They come and go from their mother to Jesus and viceversa, like butterflies which do not know which of two equally loved flowers they should prefer. Mary Salome, who is also most happy, caresses each time her big boys, while Jesus smiles.
They must already have had their meal, because the table is still laid. But the two disciples at all costs want Jesus to eat some bunches of white grapes, which their mother has preserved and which must be as sweet as honey. What would they not give Jesus?
But Salome wants to give and receive something better than grapes and caresses. And after being lost in thought for a little while, looking at Jesus, then at Zebedee, she makes up her mind. She goes near Jesus Who is sitting with His back to the table, and kneels down before Him.
«What do you want, woman? »
«Master, You have decided that Your Mother, and the mother of James and Judas should come with You, and also Susanna is coming, and the great Johanna of Chuza will certainly come as well. If only one woman comes, all the others who venerate You, will come. I would like to be one of them. Take me, Jesus. I will serve You with all my love. »
«You have Zebedee to look after. Do you not love him any more? »
«Oh! Of course I love him. But I love You more. Oh! I do not mean that I love You as a man. I am sixty years old, I have been married for almost forty, and I have never seen any other man but my husband. I am not going to be crazy now that I am old. Neither is my love for my Zebedee going to end because of my old age. But You... I am not good at speaking. I am a poor woman. I will tell You as best I can. Thus: I love Zebedee with my constant inborn femininity. I love You with the spirit You have aroused in me with Your words and what James and John have told me. It is something completely different... but so beautiful.»
«It will never be so beautiful as the love of a very good husband.»
«Oh! No. It is much more beautiful. Oh! Don't take it amiss, Zebedee! I still love you with all my heart. But I love Him with something, which is still Mary, but it is no longer Mary, your poor wife, it is something more... Oh! I do not know how to tell you! »
Jesus smiles at the woman who does not wish to offend her husband, but cannot conceal her new great love. Also Zebedee smiles gravely, and goes near his wife, who, still on her knees, turns round to look at her husband and at Jesus alternately.
«Do you realise, Mary, that you will have to leave your home? And you are so proud of it! Your doves, your flowers... this vine that bears such sweet grapes of which you are so proud... your beehives, which are the most famous ones in the village... and you will no longer have your loom on which you have woven so much linen and so much woollen cloth for your dear ones... And what about your little nephews? What will you do without your little nephews? »
«Oh! My Lord! What do all these things matter: walls, doves, flowers, vines, beehives, looms, they are all good and dear things, but so insignificant as compared to You and to loving You?! My little nephews... well! Yes! I will feel sorry that I cannot put them to sleep on my lap or hear them call me... But You are worth more! Oh! You are worth more than all the things You mentioned! And if those things were taken all together and because of my weakness they were as dear or dearer than serving and following You, I would cast them aside, with the tears of a woman, to follow You with the smile of my soul. Take me, Master. John, James, will you tell Him... and you too, my husband. Be good. Help me. »
«All right. You will come with the others. I wanted you to meditate carefully on the past and the present, on what you leave and what you get. But come, Salome. You are mature to enter My family. »
«Oh! Mature! I am less than a child. But You will forgive my errors and hold me by the hand. You... because, coarse as I am, I will be much ashamed before Your Mother and before Johanna. I will be ashamed before everybody. Except You. Because You are the Good One and You understand, pity and forgive everything.»
153. Jesus Speaks to His Disciples of Women's Apostolate.
3rd May 1945.
«What is the matter with you, Peter? You look discontented » asks Jesus, Who is walking along a country path under almond-trees in blossom, which announce to men that the worst season is over.
«I am thinking, Master.»
«You are thinking. I know. But you do not seem to be thinking of happy things! »
«As You know everything about us, You already know my thoughts.»
«Yes, I do. Also God the Father knows the needs of men, but He wants in man the intimacy that discloses his needs and asks for help. I can tell you that you are wrong in being vexed.»
«So my wife is not less dear to You? »
«Of course not, Peter. Why should she? There are many dwelling places of My Father in Heaven. And many are the tasks of men on the earth. And they are all blessed, provided they are fulfilled in a holy manner. Could I possibly say that all the women who do not imitate the Maries and Susanna are disliked by God? »
«Certainly not! Also my wife believes in the Master, but she does not follow the example of the other women » says Bartholomew.
«Neither does my wife nor my daughters. They are staying at home, but they are always ready to give us hospitality, as they did yesterday » says Philip.
«I think my mother will do the same. She cannot leave everything... she is all by herself » says the Iscariot.
«It is true! I was sad because I thought mine was so... so little... oh! I cannot explain! »
«Do not criticise her, Peter! She is an honest woman » says Jesus.
«She is very shy. Her mother had them all under her thumb, both her daughter and her daughters‑in‑law » says Andrew.
«But she should have changed in all the years she has been with me! »
«Oh! Brother! You are not all that sweet‑tempered yourself, you know. If a person is shy you are like a spoke in his wheel. My sister‑in‑law is very good and the best proof is that she has always tolerated with patience her mother and her bad temper, and you and your overbearance.»
They all laugh at Andrew's outspoken conclusion and at Peter's astonished face when he hears of his overbearance.
In addition Jesus laughs heartily. He then says: «The faithful women who do not feel like leaving their homes to follow Me are equally useful to Me by staying at home. If they all wanted to come with Me, I would have to ask some of them to remain. Now that some women are going to join us, I will also have to see to them. It would be neither decent nor wise for the women to be without a dwelling place while they move about. We can rest anywhere. A woman has different necessities from men, and needs a shelter. We can all sleep in one place. But they could not stay with us, both because of the respect due to them and because of their more delicate constitution. We must never tempt Providence and nature beyond their limits. Now, of every friendly house, where there is one of your women, I will make a shelter for their sisters. I will do that with your house, Peter, with yours, Philip, with yours, Bartholomew, and with yours, Judas. We cannot expect our women to travel around incessantly, as we do. Instead we shall have them waiting for us, at the meeting place, from which we shall move in the morning and go back in the evening. We shall give them instructions for the hours of rest and the world will no longer be able to grumble, if other unhappy women come to Me, neither shall I be prevented from listening to them. The mothers and wives that follow us will defend their sisters and Me against the slander of the world. You can see that I am making a quick trip to greet My friends or where I know that I will have friends. I am not doing that for Myself. I am doing that for the weaker disciples who by means of their weakness will support our strength and make it helpful to many more creatures.»
«You said that we are going to Caesarea now. Who is there? »
«Creatures seeking the True God are to be found everywhere. Springtime is already announced by the pinkish‑white almond blossoms. The cold days are over. In a few days' time I will decide upon the places where we shall stop and shelter the women disciples, and we shall start moving around again, to spread the word of God, without worrying about our sisters, without any fear of slander and both their patience and their kindness will be a lesson to you. The hour of rehabilitation of women is almost here. There will be a great flowering of holy virgins, wives and mothers in My Church. »
154. Jesus at Caesarea on Sea Speaks to the Galley‑Slaves.
4th May 1945.
Jesus is in the centre of a beautiful wide square, from which a very wide road leads off, one which is almost an extension of the square as far as the seaside. A galley must have left the harbour only recently and it is taking to the open sea driven by the wind and by the oarsmen. Another one is manoeuvring to enter the harbour, because its sails are being furled and the oars are worked on one side only to veer round into a suitable position. The harbour cannot be seen from the square, but it must be nearby. On the sides of the square there are rows of large houses, the typical walls of which have almost no openings. There are no shops.
«Where are we going now? You wanted to come here, instead of going to the eastern side and this is the heathen district. Who do You think will listen to You here? » says Peter reproachfully.
«Let us go over there, to that corner towards the seaside. I will speak there.»
«You will be speaking to the waves.»
«Also the waves were created by God.»
They go. They are now just at the corner and they can see the harbour into which the galley they saw before is now slowly entering and is moored at its place. Some sailors are idling along the quays. Some fruit‑sellers chance going towards the Roman boat to sell their goods. Nothing else.
Jesus, leaning with His back against the wall, really seems to be speaking to the waves of the sea. The apostles, not very happy with the situation, are all around Him, some standing, some sitting on stones scattered here and there, to be used as benches.
«Foolish is the man who, seeing that he is powerful, healthy and happy, says: "What do I need? Whom do I need? Nobody. I need nothing, I am self‑sufficient; therefore God's decrees and moral laws mean nothing to me. My only law is to do what I can, without considering whether it is good or bad for other people".»
A vendor turns round on hearing the sonorous voice and comes near Jesus Who continues: «That is how a man and a woman without wisdom and faith speak. But if that proves a more or less great power, it also evidences a relationship with Evil.»
Some men come off the galley and other boats and come towards Jesus.
«A man, not by words of mouth, but by deeds proves that he is related to God and to Virtue, when he considers that life is more changeable than the waves of the sea, which one moment are calm and soon after stormy. Likewise the power and wealth of today may turn into misery and incapacity tomorrow. Then what will a man do if he is bereft of union with God? How many on the galley were one day happy and mighty and are now slaves and considered criminals! Criminals: therefore twice slaves, of the human law, which is derided in vain because it exists and punishes its transgressors, and of Satan who for ever takes possession of criminals, who do not repent and hate their crimes.»
«Hail, Master! You are here!? Do You know me? »
«May God come to you, Publius Quintilianus. See? I have come.»
«And You are here, in the Roman district. I was not hoping to see You again. But I am very happy to hear You.»
«And I am happy, too. Are there many men chained to the oars on that galley?»
«Yes, quite a large number. Mostly war prisoners. Are You interested in them? »
«I would like to approach that boat.»
«Come. Get away from here » he orders the few people who had come near and who draw back at once, mumbling rude remarks.
«You may leave them. I am accustomed to being pressed by crowds.»
«I can take You so far, not any farther. It's a military galley.»
«It is enough. May God reward you.»
Jesus resumes speaking while the Roman, in his splendid uniform, seems to be mounting guard beside Him.
«Slaves by misfortune, that is, slaves only once. Slaves for a lifetime. But every tear that falls on their chains, every blow that strikes them writing pain on their flesh, files their handcuffs, adorns what does not die, opens to them the peace of God, Who is the friend of His poor unhappy children, and Who will give them as much joy as the pain they suffered here.»
Some men of the crew look out from the bulwarks of the galley and listen. None of the galley slaves are there, of course. But Jesus' powerful voice certainly reaches them through the rowlock sockets and it spreads through the quiet air at low tide. Publius Quintilianus is called by a soldier and goes away.
«I want to tell these unhappy men who are loved by God, to be resigned to their misfortune, and to turn their pains into flames that will soon unfasten the chains of the galley and of their lives, ending in a desire for God. Having endured the poor day, which is our life, a dark, stormy, fearful, painful day, they thus enter the day of God, a bright, serene, fearless and joyful day. You will enter the great peace, the infinite freedom of Paradise, o martyrs of a painful destiny, provided you are good in your suffering and you aspire to God.»
Publius Quintilianus comes back with other soldiers and he is followed by a litter carried by slaves, and the soldiers make room for it.
«Who is God? I am speaking to Gentiles who do not know who God is. I am speaking to the children of the peoples subdued who do not know who God is. In your forests, o Gauls, Iberians, Thracians, Germans, Celts, you have a sham god. A soul is naturally inclined to worship, because it remembers Heaven. But you cannot find the True God, Who put a soul into your bodies, a soul equal to the soul we people of Israel have, equal to the soul of the mighty Romans who have subdued you, a soul that has the same duties and the same rights to Good and to which the Good One, that is the true God will be faithful. Be equally faithful to Good. The god or gods that you have worshipped so far, learning his or their names on your mothers' knees; the god of whom you no longer think because you do not feel any comfort coming from him to relieve your suffering, the god that perhaps you hate and curse in your daily despair, is not the True God. The True God is Love and Piety. Were perhaps your gods like that? No, they were not. They were also hard, cruel, false, hypocrites, vicious, thieves. And now they have abandoned you, without the least comfort, which is the hope of being loved and the assurance of a rest after so much suffering. It is so because your gods do not exist. But God, the True God, Who is Love and Piety, and Who I can assure you exists, is He Who made the sky, the seas, the mountains, the forests, the plants, the flowers, the animals and man. He is the One Who inspires conquerors to treat the poor people of the world with mercy and love, as He is Mercy and Love.
O mighty masters, consider that you all come from the same origin. Do not act cruelly against those who by misfortune have come under your power, and be human also to those whom a crime has tied to the bench of a galley. Man sins many times. No man is without sins which are more or less secret. If you considered that, you would be really good to your brothers, who, not so lucky as you are, have been punished for crimes which you also have committed, without, however, being punished for them.
Human justice is such a doubtful thing in judging, that it would be dreadful if divine justice were like it. There are guilty people who do not appear to be so, whereas innocent people are considered guilty. Let us not ask why. It would be too grave an accusation against unjust men who hate their fellow men! There are people who are really guilty, but have been led to perpetrate a crime by overbearing circumstances that somewhat extenuate their crime. Be therefore human, you who are in charge of galleys. Above human justice there is a much higher divine justice. The justice of the True God, Who created kings and slaves, rocks and grains of sand. He watches you; both you on the oars and you who are in charge of the crew; woe betide you if you are cruel without any reason. I, Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the True God can assure you: at your death He will tie you to an eternal galley, and will entrust the demons with a blood‑stained lash and you will be tortured and struck exactly as you did. Because, if according to human law a criminal is to be punished, you must not overstep all limits. Remember that. A man who is powerful today may be miserable tomorrow. God only is eternal.
I would like to change your hearts, and above all I would like to untie your fetters, give you back your freedom and send you back to your fatherlands. But, My dear galley‑slaves, you are My brothers, you cannot see My face, but your sorely wounded hearts are well known to Me; instead of the freedom and fatherlands, which I cannot give you now, while you are the poor slaves of mighty men, I will give you a greater freedom and Fatherland. For your sake I have become a prisoner Myself, far from My fatherland, I will redeem you by offering Myself in ransom, because you are not the disgrace of the world, as men call you, but the shame of man, who forgets the limits of the rigours of war and justice. I will make a new law for you on the earth and a pleasant abode for you in Heaven. Remember My Name, o children of God, who are weeping. It is the name of a Friend. Repeat it in your suffering. Be sure that, if you love Me, you will have Me, even if we never see one another on the earth. I am Jesus Christ, the Saviour, your Friend. I comfort you in the name of the True God. May peace come to you soon.»
A crowd of people, mainly Romans, have gathered round Jesus, Whose new ideas have astonished everybody.
«By Jove! You have made me ponder on new things, of which I had never thought before. I feel they are true...» Publius Quintilianus looks at Jesus, pensive and moved at the same time.
«It is so, My friend. If man used his brains, he would never go so far as to commit a crime.»
«By Jove, by Jove! Wonderful words! I must remember them! You said: “If man used his brains...”.»
«... he would never go so far as to commit a crime.»
«It is true. You are really a great man, You know? »
«Every man who wanted, could be as great as I am, if he were all one with God.»
The Roman continues his sequence of «by Joves » in increasing admiration.
Then Jesus says to him: «Can I give some solace to those galley-slaves? I have some money... some fruit, some comfort, that they may know that I love them.»
«Give me it. I can do that. On the other hand there is a lady over there who can do much. I will ask her.» Publius goes to the litter and speaks through the curtains that have been slightly drawn. He comes back. «I am authorised to do it. I will see to the distribution, so that the jailors may not take advantage of it. And it will be the only time a soldier of the Empire deals mercifully with war slaves.»
«The first, but not the only time. The day will come when there will be no slaves, and even before that My disciples will go among galley‑men and slaves and call them brothers.»
A further sequence of «by Joves » can be heard in the calm air while Publius is waiting to have enough wine and fruit for the galley‑slaves. Before going on board the galley he whispers near Jesus' ear: «Claudia Procula is in there. She would like to hear You again. In the meantime she wants to ask You something. Go and see her.»
Jesus goes towards the litter.
«Hail, Master.» The curtain is drawn a little, showing a beautiful woman about thirty years old.
«May the desire for wisdom come upon you.»
«You said that a soul remembers Heaven. Therefore, that thing which You say we have within us, is it eternal? »
«Yes, it is eternal. That is why it remembers God. It remembers the God Who created it.»
«What is the soul? »
«The soul is the true nobility of man. You are famous because you belong to the Claudi family. A man is even more so because he belongs to God. In your veins there is the blood of the Claudi, the mighty family, which, however, had a beginning and will come to an end. In man, because of his soul, there is the blood of God. Because a soul is the spiritual blood ‑ as God is a Most Pure Spirit ‑ of the Creator of man: of the Eternal, Almighty, Holy God. Because of the soul, which is in him and which is alive as long as it is united to God, man is eternal, powerful and holy.»
«I am a pagan. So I have no soul...»
«You do have it. But it has fallen into a state of lethargy. Wake it up to the Truth and to Life...»
«May Justice conquer you. Goodbye.»
«As you have seen, here also I had people listening to Me » says Jesus to the disciples.
«Yes, but with the exception of the Romans, who will have understood You? They are barbarians! »
«Who? All of them. Peace is with them and they will remember Me more than many others in Israel. Let us go to the house where they are offering us hospitality for our meal.»
«Master, that woman is the same one who spoke to me on the day that You cured the sick man. I saw her and I recognised her » says John.
«You can see, therefore, that even here there was someone waiting for us. But you do not seem to be very happy about it. I will have accomplished a great deal when I succeed in persuading you that I have come not only for the Jews, but for all the peoples, and I have prepared you for them all. And I tell you: remember everything of your Master. There is no event, however trifling it may seem, that may not be a lesson for you one day during your apostolate.»
No one replies and a sad smile of pity appears on Jesus' lips.
This morning He had such a smile also for me...
I was in a state of such deep depression that I began to weep over so many things, the tiredness of writing and writing with the firm belief that so much bounty of God and work of little John are utterly useless, not being the least. And weeping I invoked my Master, and when out of kindness He came exclusively for me, I told Him what worried me.
He shrugged His shoulders as if He wished to say: «Forget about the world and its nonsense », and then He caressed me saying: «So what? Would you not like to help Me any more? Does the world not want to know My words? Well, let us repeat them to each other, for My joy in mentioning them to a faithful heart, for yours in hearing them. The weariness of the apostolate!... More depressing than any other work! It deprives the serenest day of its light and the sweetest food of its sweetness. Everything becomes ashes and dirt, nausea and bitterness. But, My dear soul, these are the hours in which we take upon ourselves the weariness, the doubts, the misery of the worldly people who die because they do not possess what we have. And they are the hours in which we do more. I told you also last year. "To what advantage?" wonders the soul submerged by what submerges the world, that is, by the waves sent by Satan. And the world drowns. But the soul nailed to the cross with its God does not drown. It is in darkness for a moment and sinks under the nauseating wave of spiritual tiredness, then it emerges fresher and more beautiful. Your expression: "I am no longer good for anything" is the consequence of such tiredness. You would never be good for anything. But I am always I, and thus you will always be good for your task of mouthpiece. Of course, if I saw that My gift were hidden avariciously like a heavy most valuable gem, or it were used imprudently, or out of indolence it were not protected by means of the safety precautions commanded by human wickedness in such cases, to guard the gift and the person through whom the gift is granted, I would say: "Enough of that". And this time without any possible recurrence. Enough for everybody, with the exception of My little soul, which today looks just a little flower in a downpour. And with such caresses can you doubt My love for you! Cheer up! You helped Me in wartime. Help Me again, now... There is so much to be done.»
And I calmed down under the caress of the long hand and of the very kind smile of My Jesus, so candid as when He is all for me.
155. Cure of the Little Roman Girl at Caesarea.
5th May 1945.
«Little John, come with Me, as I have to make you write a lesson for the consecrated people of the present time. Watch and write.»
Jesus is still at Caesarea on Sea. He is no longer in the same square as yesterday, but further inland, from where the harbour and ships can still be seen. There are many warehouses and shops and as on the ground, in this open space, there are mats with various kinds of goods, I realise that it is near the market place, which was perhaps located near the harbour and warehouses, for the convenience of seamen and of the people buying goods brought by sea. There is a lot of shouting and bustling among the people. Jesus with Simon and His cousins, is waiting for the others who are buying the food that is needed. Some children look curiously at Jesus, Who caresses them lovingly while speaking to His apostles. Jesus says: «I am sorry to see dissatisfaction because I approach the Gentiles. But I can but do what I must do and be good to everybody. At least you three and John must endeavour to be good; the others will follow you and imitate you.»
«How can one be good to everybody? After all they despise and oppress us, they do not understand us, they are full of vices...» says James of Alphaeus apologetically.
«How can one do that? Are you happy that you were born of Alphaeus and Mary? »
«Of course I am. Why do You ask me? »
«And if God had asked you before you were conceived, would you have chosen to be born of them? »
«Certainly. But I do not understand.»
«If instead, you were born of a Gentile, and you heard someone accuse you of wanting to be born of a heathen father, what would you have said? »
«I would have said... I would have said: "It is no fault of mine. I was born of him, but I might have been born of someone else". I would have said: "You are unfair in accusing me. If I do no harm, why do you hate me?".»
«Exactly, also these people, whom you despise because they are pagans, can say the same. It is no merit of yours, if you were born of Alphaeus, a true Israelite. You can only thank the Eternal Father, Who granted you a great gift, and out of gratitude and humility you can endeavour to take to the True God those who did not receive such a gift. One must be good.»
«It is difficult to love those whom we do not know.»
«No. It is not. Look. You, little fellow, come here.»
A little boy, about eight years old, who is playing in a corner with two other little lads, comes near Jesus. He is a strong boy, with very dark hair and a fair complexion.
«Who are you? »
«I am Lucius, Caius Lucius, of Caius Marius, a Roman, the son of the Decurion of the guards, who remained here after he was wounded.»
«And who are those? »
«They are Isaac and Toby. But we must not say, because they are not allowed to play with us. The Jews would hit them.»
«Because they are Jews and I am a Roman. They are forbidden to associate with us.»
«But you are playing with them. Why? »
«Because we are fond of one another. We always play together dice or jumping. But we have to hide.»
«And would you love Me? I am a Jew, too, and I am not a boy. Just imagine: I am a Master, something like a priest.»
«What do I care? If You love me, I will love You. And I love You because You love me.»
«How do you know? »
«Because You are good. Who is good, loves.»
«There you are, My friends. That is the secret to love: to be good. Then you love without considering to which faith other people belong.»
And Jesus, holding little Caius Lucius by the hand, goes and caresses the little Jewish children, who are frightened and hide in a passage way and He says to them: «Good children are angels. Angels have one fatherland only: Paradise. They have only one religion: the religion of the One God. They have only one Temple: the Heart of God. Like little angels, always love one another.»
«But if they see us they will hit us...»
Jesus shakes His head sadly but does not reply...
A tall shapely woman calls Lucius, who leaves Jesus saying: «My mother! » and shouts to the woman: «I have a big friend. He is a Master!...»
The woman does not go away with her son, on the contrary, she comes near Jesus and asks Him: «Hail. Are You the Galilean who spoke at the harbour yesterday? »
«Yes, I am..»
«Wait for me, then. I'll be back in a moment » and she goes away with her little son.
In the meantime the other apostles have also arrived, with the exception of Matthew and John, and they ask: «Who was she? »
«A Roman, I think » reply Peter and the others.
«What did she want? »
«She told us to wait here. We shall soon find out.»
Some people have come near them in the meantime and are waiting curiously.
The woman comes back with other Romans. «So You are the Master? » asks one who looks like a servant of a rich family. After receiving an answer in the affirmative, he asks: «Would it upset You if You had to cure the little daughter of one of Claudia's friends? The child is choking to death and the doctor does not know the cause of it. She was all right last night. This morning she is in agony.»
«Let us go.»
They take a few steps along a street towards the place where they were yesterday and they arrive at a wide open main entrance of a house where Romans appear to be living.
«Just a moment.» The man rushes in and almost immediately looks out again and says: «Come in.»
But before Jesus can go in, a young ladylike woman comes out. Her extremely pitiful state is very obvious. She is holding in her arms a little child, only a few months old, completely inert, livid with suffocation. I would say that she is suffering from a lethal diphtheritis and is about to breathe her last. The woman clings to Jesus' chest like a shipwrecked person to a rock. Her tears prevent her from speaking.
Jesus takes the baby, whose very pale tiny hands with nails already blue are shaken by fits, and lifts her up. Her little head hangs down motionless. The mother, no longer a proud Roman in front of a Jew, has fallen at Jesus' feet, in the dust, sobbing, her face raised, her hair dishevelled, pulling at Jesus' tunic and mantle with her outstretched arms. Behind and round her there are Romans of the household and Jewish women of the town, looking at her.
Jesus wets His right hand forefinger with saliva, puts it into the little panting mouth, pressing it down the throat.
The child writhes and becomes darker in the face. The mother cries: «Don't! Don't! » and she writhes as if she were pierced by a blade. The people are holding their breath.
Jesus pulls His finger out with a mass of putrid membranes. The child writhes no longer, cries for a few seconds, then calms down and smiles innocently, shaking her hands and moving her lips like a little bird, that chirps flapping its little wings while waiting to be fed.
«Take her, woman. Feed her. She is cured.»
The mother is so bewildered that she takes the child and still kneeling in the dust she kisses and caresses her and breast‑feeds her. She seems to be out of her wits, as if she had forgotten everything except her child.
A Roman asks Jesus: «How did You do that? I am the Proconsul's doctor and I am clever. I tried to remove the obstruction, but it was too far down!... But You... so...»
«You are clever. But the True God is not with you. May He be blessed. Goodbye.» And Jesus is about to go away.
But a small group of Israelites feel they should interfere. «Why did You take the liberty of approaching foreigners? They are corrupted and unclean, and whoever approaches them, becomes such.»
They are three and Jesus stares at them severely and then says: «Are you not Haggai, the man from Azotus, who came here last Tishri to negotiate business with the merchant at the foundation of the old fountain? And are you not Joseph of Ramah, who came here to consult the Roman doctor, and you know, as well as I do, why? So? Do you not feel unclean? »
«A doctor is never a stranger. He cures bodies and all bodies are alike.»
«And souls are even more so. After all, what did I cure? The innocent body of a child and by doing so I hope to cure the souls of strangers, which are not innocent. Therefore both as a doctor and as the Messiah I can approach anybody.»
«No, You cannot. »
«No, Haggai? And why do you deal with the Roman merchant? »
«I only approach him through goods and money.»
«And as you do not touch his body, but only what was touched by his hands, you do not think that you are contaminated. Oh! How blind and cruel you all are!
Listen, everybody. In the very book of the Prophet, whose name this man bears, it is written: "Ask the priests this question on the Law: 'If a man carries consecrated meat in the fold of his gown and with this fold touches bread, broth, wine or food of any kind, does such food become holy?'. The priests answered: 'No, it does not'. Haggai then said: 'If a man made unclean by contact with a corpse touches any of this, does it become unclean?'. The priests answered: 'Yes, it does'."
By means of such shifty, false, inconsistent behaviour, you bar and condemn Good and accept only what is profitable to you. Then there is no more indignation, no disgust, no horror. Provided no personal detriment is caused to you, you decide whether a thing is clean or unclean, whether it makes one clean or not. And how can you, liars as you are, state that what has been sanctified by contact with holy flesh or some holy thing, does not make holy what it touches; and what has touched an unclean thing can make unclean what it touches?
Do you not realise that you are belying yourselves, false ministers of a Law of Truth, exploiters of that very same Law, which you twist as if it were a hempen rope, when you are anxious to profit by it, you hypocritical Pharisees? Under religious pretexts you give vent to your human envious malice, entirely human, you desecrators of what belongs to God, revilers and enemies of the Messenger of God. I solemnly tell you that every action, every conclusion, every movement of yours is motivated by a complex shrewd mechanism, where the wheels, springs, weights and rods are your selfishness, your passions, your insincerity, your hatred, your anxiety to overwhelm people, your envy.
Shame! Greedy, trembling, spiteful, you live in the supercilious fear of being overcome by someone who may not belong to your own caste. You thus deserve to be like the one who frightens and irritates you! As Haggai says, of a heap of twenty measures you make one of ten, and of fifty barrels you make twenty, and you pocket all the difference, whereas to set an example to men and for the love to be given to God, you should add something of your own to the heap of the measures and to the number of the barrels, for the benefit of those who are hungry, instead of taking it away. You thus deserve to be made barren by a burning wind and by rust and hail stones, in all the deeds of your hands.
Who are those amongst you who come to Me? Those whom you consider dung and filth, who are so ignorant that they do not even know that there is a true God, they come to the One Who brings them that God, Who is present in His deeds and in His words. You, instead, have built a niche for yourselves and you stay in there, as arid and cold as idols awaiting incense and worship. And since you consider yourselves gods, you deem it useless to think of the True God, as one should think of Him, and you consider dangerous that other people, who are not like you, should dare what you do not dare. In fact you cannot dare, because you are idols and servants of the Idol. But he who dares, can do it, because not he, but God works in Him.
Go! Tell those who sent you to spy on Me, that I disdain merchants who do not feel contaminated if they sell goods or their fatherland or the Temple to those from whom they receive money. Tell them that I feel disgusted at the brutes, who worship only their own flesh and blood, for the recovery of which they do not consider the contact with a foreign doctor to be contaminating. Tell them that the measure is the same for everybody and that there are not two measures. Tell them that I, the Messiah, the Just Admirable Counsellor, upon Whom the Spirit of the Lord shall rest with His seven gifts, Who will not judge by what appears to the eyes, but by the secrets of hearts, Who will not condemn according to what His ears hear, but by the spiritual voices He will hear in every man, Who will side with the humble and judge the poor with righteousness, the One Who I am, because that is Who I am, is already judging and smiting those who on the earth are nothing but earth. And the breath of My lip will slay the wicked and destroy their dens, but will be Life and Light, Freedom and Peace for those who desirous of justice and faith will come to My Holy Mountain to be sated with the Science of the Lord. That is Isaiah, is it not?
My people. Everything comes from Adam and Adam comes from My Father. Everything is therefore the work of the Father and it is My duty to gather all men together for the Father. And I bring them to You, o Holy, Eternal, Almighty Father. I shall lead the stray children back to You, after gathering them together by means of loving words, under My pastoral rod, which is like the one Moses raised against the deadly snakes. That You may have Your Kingdom and Your people. And I make no difference because in the depths of all men I see something that shines brighter than fire: a soul, a spark of Your Eternal Brightness. O My eternal desire! O My untiring will!
This is what I want and what I crave for. That the whole earth may sing Your Name. That mankind may call You Father. A Redemption that will save everybody. A fortified will that will make every man obedient to Your will. An eternal triumph that will fill Paradise with an everlasting hosanna... Oh! Multitude of Heavens! Behold, I see the smile of God... and that is the reward compensating all human harshness.»
The three men have fled in the hail of reproaches. All the others, both Romans and Jews, are gaping. The Roman woman, with her child, who has sucked her fill and is sleeping peacefully in her lap, is still where she was, almost at Jesus' feet, weeping, overwhelmed by maternal joy and spiritual emotion. Many are moved to tears by the last words of Jesus Who seems to be flashing with glory in His ecstasy.
And Jesus, lowering His eyes and returning with His spirit from Heaven back to the earth, sees the crowd and the mother... and passing by, after waving goodbye to everybody, He caresses her lightly, blessing her for her faith. And He walks away with His disciples, while the crowds, still amazed, remain where they were...
(The young Roman woman, unless it is a casual resemblance, is one of the Roman women who were with Johanna of Chuza on the way to Calvary. As no one here called her by her name, I am not sure.)
156. Annaleah Devotes Herself to God as a Virgin.
6th May 1945.
Jesus with Peter, Andrew and John, knocks at the door of His house in Nazareth. The door is opened at once by His Mother, Whose face brightens with a beautiful smile on seeing Jesus.
«Welcome home, My Son! Since yesterday I have had with Me a pure dove waiting for You. She came from far away. The person who brought her here could not stay longer. As she asked for My advice, I told her what I could. But only You, My Son, are the Wisdom. You are welcome, too » She says to the disciples. «Come in and refresh yourselves.»
«Yes, stay here. I am going at once to see the girl who is waiting for Me.»
The three disciples are very curious, but show their curiosity in different ways. Peter stares intently in all directions, almost hoping to see through the walls. John looks as if he wanted to read on Mary's face the name of the unknown girl. Andrew, who on the other hand has blushed, stares intently at Jesus and both his eyes and his lips seem to be trembling with a silent entreaty.
Jesus pays no attention to any of them. While the three make up their minds and go into the kitchen, where Mary offers them some food in the warmth of the fireplace, Jesus draws the curtain that conceals the door opening on to the kitchen garden and goes out into it.
The mild sunshine makes more airy and dream‑like all the blooming branches of the tall almond‑tree. The only tree in blossom, the tallest in the kitchen garden, looks splendid in its silk white‑pink dress, compared with the poverty of all the others: the pear‑tree, the apple‑tree, the fig‑tree, the pomegranate, the vines which are still all barren, stately in its soft bright veil, which contrasts with the drab humility of the olive trees: it seems to have caught with its long branches a wispy cloud, lost in the blue field of the sky, and to have adorned itself with it to say to everybody: «The wedding of springtime is coming. Rejoice, plants and animals. It is the time for kisses with the winds, the bees, the flowers. It is the time for kisses under the tiles, or in the thick of woods, o little birds of God and snow‑white sheep. Kisses today, offspring tomorrow, to perpetuate the work of our Creator God.»
Jesus with His arms folded on His chest, standing in the sun, smiles at the serene gracefulness of His Mother's kitchen garden, with its bed of lilies recognizable from their first leaves, its still bare rose‑bushes and silvery olive leaves, and many other families of flowers spread among the humble beds of legumes and vegetables, which are just becoming green. Clean, tidy and unassuming, it also seems to exhale the purity of perfect virginity.
«Son, come to My room. I will bring her to You, because she ran there when she heard so many voices.»
Jesus enters His Mother's room, the chaste, the most chaste little room, which heard the words of the angelical conversation and which exhales, even more than the kitchen garden, the virginal, angelical, holy essence of Her Who has lived in it for years and of the Archangel who venerated his Queen in it. Have thirty years gone by or did the meeting take place only yesterday? Also today a distaff holds its soft and almost silvery tuft of wool and the thread is on the spindle, folded embroidery is on the shelf near the door, between a parchment roll and a copper amphora in which there is a thick almond branch in bloom; also today the striped curtain, lowered on the mystery of the virginal dwelling, is moved by a gentle breeze, and the bed, neat in its comer, still has the genteel look of the bed of a girl who has just reached the threshold of youth. What will one dream or has dreamt of on the low pillow?...
The curtain is softly raised by Mary's hand; Jesus, Who was contemplating that abode of purity, standing with His back to the door, turns round.
«Here, My Son. I have brought her to You. She is a little lamb. You are her Shepherd » and Mary, Who has come in holding by the hand a slender brunette young girl, who blushes vehemently when she appears in Jesus' presence, quietly withdraws letting the curtain down.
«Peace to you, child. »
«Peace... Lord...» The girl, deeply moved, is speechless, but she kneels down and bows her head.
«Stand up. What do you want from Me? Do not be afraid...»
«I am not afraid... but... now that I am in front of You... after longing so much... what seemed easy and necessary to tell You... I cannot remember... it does not seem what it was... I am silly... forgive me, my Lord...»
«Do you want a grace for this world? Do you need a miracle? Have you souls to convert? No? What, then? Speak up! You had so much courage and now are losing heart? Do you not know that I am the One Who increases strength? Yes? You do? Well, then, speak as if I were a father for you. You are young. How old are you? »
«Sixteen years, my Lord.»
«Where have you come from? »
«What is your name? »
«Annaleah ... »
«The dear name of My grandmother and of many more holy women of Israel, and joined to it, to make one only, the name of the good, faithful, loving, meek wife of Jacob. It will be a good omen to you. You will be a model wife and mother. No? You are shaking your head? You are weeping? Have you been rejected? No? Your fiancé perhaps died? Has no one proposed to you yet? »
The girl always shakes her head. Jesus takes a step forward, caresses her and forces her to raise her head and look at Him... Jesus' smile overcomes the girl's excitement. She takes heart: «My Lord, I could be a wife and a happy one, thanks to You. Do You not recognise me, my Lord? I am the girl who suffered from tuberculosis, the dying fiancée, whom You cured at Your John's request... After Your grace I... I have had another body: this healthy one in the place of the dying one I had before; and I have had another soul... I do not know. I did not feel the same... The joy of being cured, and consequently the certainty I could get married - my regret in dying was that I could not get married ‑ they only lasted for a few hours. And then...» The girl becomes franker and franker, she finds the words and the ideas that she had lost in the excitement of being alone with the Master... «...And then I felt that I should not be only selfish, and say only: "Now I will be happy", but that I should think of something else, something that came to You and to God, Your Father and mine. Something that, although small, should express my gratitude. I gave the matter a lot of thought and when the following Sabbath I saw my francé I said to him: "Listen, Samuel. Without the miracle I would have died in a few months' time and you would have lost me for ever. Now I would like to offer a sacrifice to God, with you, to say to God that I praise Him and thank Him". And Samuel, because he loves me, said at once: "Let us go to the Temple together and offer a sacrifice". But that was not what I wanted. I am a poor and common girl, my Lord. I know very little and I can do much less. But through Your hand, which You laid on my diseased breast, something had come not only into my corroded lungs, but also into my heart. It was health to my lungs, and wisdom to my heart. And I realised that the sacrifice of a lamb was not the sacrifice wanted by my soul that... that loved You.» The girl becomes silent, blushing after her profession of love.
«Go on without any fear. What did your soul want? »
«To sacrifice something worthy of You, the Son of God! And so... so I thought it should be something spiritual like what comes from God, that is, the sacrifice of postponing my wedding, for Your sake, my Saviour. A wedding, You know, is a great joy. When one is in love it is a great thing! One longs to... is anxious to celebrate it!... But I was no longer the same person as a few days previously. I no longer wanted my wedding as the dearest thing... I told Samuel... and he understood me. He also wanted to be a nazirite for one year, starting on the day which was to be the day of our wedding, that is the day after the calends of Adar. In the meantime he has been looking for You, because he wanted to love and know Him Who had given him back his fiancée: You. And he found You, after many months, at the Clear Water. I came too... and Your word completed the change of my heart. Now my previous vow is no longer sufficient for me... Like that almond‑tree out there, which in the warmer and warmer sunshine has revived after being dead for months and has blossomed and will leaf and then bear fruit, so I have continuously grown in the knowledge of what is better. The last time, when I was already sure of myself and of what I wanted ‑ I have pondered on the matter all these past months ‑ the last time I went to the Clear Water, You were no longer there... They had driven You away. I wept and prayed so much that the Most High heard me and persuaded my mother to send me here with a relative who was going to Tiberias to speak to the courtiers of the Tetrarch. The steward told me that I would find You here. I found Your Mother... and Her words, only listening to Her and being beside Her these two days, have completely matured the fruit of Your grace.» The girl has knelt down as if she were in front of an altar, her arms folded on her breast.
«All right. But what do you want exactly? What can I do for you? »
«Lord, I would like... I would like a great thing. And only You, the Donor of life and health, can give it to me, because I think that what You can give, You can also take away... I would like You to take the life You gave me, during the year of my vow, before it ends...»
«Why? Are you not grateful to God for the life you received? »
«So grateful! Infinitely! But for one thing only: because by living by His grace and by Your miracle I have understood what is best.»
«Which is? »
«Which is to live like angels. As Your Mother, my Lord... as You live... as Your John lives... The three lilies, the three white flames, the three beatitudes of the earth, my Lord. Yes. Because I think that it is a beatitude to possess God and God is possessed by the pure. I believe that who is pure is a Heaven with God in its centre and the angels around... Oh! My Lord! That is what I would like... Little have I heard of what You, Your Mother, the disciple and Isaac have said. Neither have I approached anyone else who could tell me Your words. But I feel as if my soul heard You all the time and You were its Master... I have told You everything, my Lord...»
«Annaleah, you are asking for very much and are giving very much... Daughter: you have understood God and the perfection to which a creature may rise to be like the Most Pure and to please the Most Pure.»
Jesus has laid His hands on the sides of the head of the dark-haired girl, who is kneeling in front of Him and speaks bending over her: «He Who was born of a Virgin ‑ because He could but build His nest on a pile of lilies ‑ is nauseated, My dear daughter, by the triple lechery of the world and He would be crushed by so much nausea if His Father, Who knows on what His Son lives, did not intervene with loving help to support My soul in anguish. The pure are My joy. You are giving Me what the world takes from Me through its unexhausted baseness. May the Father and you, dear girl, be blessed for that. Go happily. Something will intervene to make your vow an eternal one. Be one of the lilies scattered on the blood‑stained ways of Christ.»
«Oh! my Lord... there is still one thing I would like...»
«Not to be present at Your death... I could not see Him die, Who is my Life.»
Jesus smiles kindly and with His hand He wipes the tears streaming down her little dark face. «Do not weep. Lilies are never in mourning. You shall smile with all the pearls of your angelical crown when you see the crowned King enter His Kingdom. Go. May the Spirit of the Lord teach you while I am away. I bless you with the fire of Eternal Love.»
Jesus looks out on to the kitchen garden and calls: «Mother! Here is a little daughter, she is all Yours. She is now happy. But immerse her in Your purity every time we go to the Holy City, that she may become snow of celestial petals spread on the throne of the Lamb.» And Jesus goes back to His disciples, while Mary caresses the girl and stays with her.
Peter, Andrew and John look at Him inquisitively. And Jesus' bright face tells them that He is happy. Peter cannot help asking: «To whom did You speak so long, my Master? And what have You heard to be so beaming with joy? »
«To a woman at the dawn of life, to her who will be the dawn of many more that will come.»
Andrew mumbles, in a low voice, to himself: «It is not her...»
«No. It is not she. But do not tire of praying, be good and patient. Every word of your prayer is like a call, a light in the dark and it supports and guides her.»
«But who is my brother waiting for? »
«For a soul, Peter. A great poverty that he wants to change into a great wealth.»
«And where did Andrew find it, since he never goes about, he never speaks, and he is a helpless sort of chap? »
«On My way. Come with Me, Andrew. Let us go and see Alphaeus and bless Him amongst his many grandchildren. You wait for Me at James and Judas'. My Mother wants to be left alone all day.»
And while they go away, some here, some there, secrecy envelops the joy of the first girl consecrated to virginity for Christ's sake.
157. Instruction to the Women Disciples at Nazareth.
7th May 1945.
Jesus is still at Nazareth, at home. Rather, He is in the old carpenter's shop. The twelve apostles are with Him as well as Mary, Mary mother of James and Judas, Salome, Susanna, and, something new, Martha. A really sorrowful Martha, with clear signs of tears below her eyes. A Martha who is lost and frightened at being alone in the presence of other people and above all of the Lord's Mother. Mary endeavours to familiarise her with the other women and to relieve her of the feeling of uneasiness from which She sees she is suffering. But poor Martha's heart seems to be swelling more and more with Her caresses. She flushes and weeps alternately under her veil, which she has pulled very low over her sorrow and discomfort.
John comes in with James of Alphaeus. «She is not in, my Lord. She and her husband are the guests of a friend of hers. So the servants said » says John.
«She will certainly be very sorry. But she will always be able to see You and receive Your instructions » concludes James of Alphaeus.
«All right. The group of women disciples is not here as I expected it. But, you can see, Martha, Theophilus' daughter and Lazarus' sister, is present in the place of the absent Johanna. The disciples know who Martha is. So does My Mother. You, too, Mary, and perhaps also you, Salome, have already heard from your sons who Martha is, not so much as a woman according to the world, but as a creature in the eyes of God. And you, Martha, on the other hand, know who these women are, who consider you as their sister and will love you so much. You are their sister and daughter. And you are in great need of their love, My dear Martha, that you may enjoy the comfort of their kind fondness, which God does not condemn, but has given to man to support him in the weariness of life. And God has brought you here just when I had chosen to lay the foundation, I could say, to give you the canvas on which you will embroider your perfection of disciples.
Disciple means to follow the discipline of the Master, of His doctrine. Therefore, in a wide meaning, all those who now and in future centuries will follow My doctrine, will be called disciples. And to avoid mentioning many names, saying: disciples of Jesus according to the teaching of Peter and Andrew, of James or John, of Simon or Philip, of Judas or Bartholomew, or of Thomas and Matthew, they will be called christians by one word only, which will unite them all under one sign. But in the great mass of the followers of My discipline I have already selected the first and the second ones and the same will be done throughout centuries in My memory. As in the Temple, and even before, in Moses' days, there was a Pontiff, the priests, the Levites, those responsible for various services, offices and duties, the singers and so on, so in My new Temple, as large as the earth, which will last as long as the earth, there will be superiors and inferiors, all of them useful and loved by Me, and besides, there will be women, the new category, whom Israel has always despised, confining them to the virginal songs in the Temple or to the teaching of the virgins in the Temple. But nothing more.
Do not discuss whether that was fair or not. In the closed religion of Israel and in the days of Wrath it was fair. All the shame fell upon women, the origin of sin. In the universal religion of Christ and in the days of Forgiveness all that is changed. All the Grace was assembled in one Woman and She delivered it to the world, that it might be redeemed. Woman is therefore no longer the anger of God, but the help of God. And through the Woman, beloved by the Lord, all women can become disciples of the Lord, not only as the mass of followers, but as minor priestesses, assistants to the priests, to whom they can give so much help beside them and among the believers and non‑believers, among those who will be brought to God not so much by the call of holy words as by the holy smile of one of My women disciples.
You have asked to follow Me, as men do. But, as far as you are concerned, it is too little for Me, if you only come, only listen and only practise. It would be your sanctification. A great thing. But not yet enough for Me. I am the Son of the Absolute One and I want the absolute for My beloved ones. I want everything, because I have given everything.
Further, not only I exist, there is also the world. This terrible thing, the world. It should be tremendous in holiness: a boundless holiness, in number and power, of the multitude of the children of God. Instead it is tremendous in wickedness. Its full iniquity is really unlimited owing to the number of its manifestations and the power of its vices. All sins are in the world, which is no longer a multitude of the children of God, but a multitude of the children of Satan, and above all, the sin bearing the clearest sign of its paternity is most alive: hatred. The world hates. Who hates sees evil even in the most holy things, and wants other people to see evil, even if they do not see it. If you asked the world why I came, it would not say to you: "To do good and redeem". But it would say: "To corrupt and usurp". If you asked the world what it thinks of you who follow Me, it would not say: "You follow Him to become holy and give comfort to the Master, through holiness and purity". But it would say: "You follow Him because you have been seduced by the man".
Such is the world. And I am telling you also that, so that you may consider everything before showing yourselves to the world as the chosen women disciples, the founders of a family of future women disciples, the cooperators of the servants of the Lord. Take your hearts in your hands, and say to them, to those sensitive hearts of women, that you, and your hearts with you, will be scorned at, calumniated, spit at, trampled on by the world, by contempt, by falsehood, by the cruelty of the world. Ask your hearts whether they are capable of receiving all the wounds without shouting out of indignation, cursing those who wound it. Ask them whether they feel they can face the moral martyrdom of slander without going to the extent of hating the slanderers and the Cause for which they are calumniated. Ask them whether, sated and covered with the envy of the world, they will always be able to exhale love, whether poisoned with absinth they will be able to squeeze out honey, whether when suffering all tortures of incomprehension, of scorn, of malicious gossip, they will still be able to smile, pointing to Heaven, their goal, to which you wish to lead other people, out of womanly charity, which is motherly charity also in young girls, still motherly even if bestowed upon old people who could be your ancestors, but are spiritual babies just born and incapable of understanding and conducting themselves in the way, the life, the truth, the wisdom that I have come to bring, by giving Myself: Way, Life, Truth, divine Wisdom. I will love you just the same if you say to Me: "I have not the strength, my Lord, to challenge the whole world for You".
Yesterday a girl asked Me to immolate her, before the hour of her wedding strikes, because she feels that she loves Me, as God is to be loved; that is with her whole self, with the absolute perfection of giving herself. And I will do it. I have concealed the hour from her, that her soul may not tremble with fear, or her body more than her soul. Her death will be like the end of a flower, that closes its corolla in the evening, thinking it will reopen it the following day, but never opens it again, because the kiss of the night has sucked its life. And I will do it, according to her desire , by bringing forward her repose of death to a few days before Mine. So that this first virgin of Mine may not be kept waiting in limbo, and I may find her immediately after My death...
Do not weep! I am the Redeemer... This holy girl did not ask to follow Me, but she did not limit herself to hosannas immediately after the miracle, but she worked the miracle as if it were money invested at an interest, and from human gratitude she passed to a supernatural one, from an earthly desire to a heavenly one, showing a maturity of spirit, which is superior to almost everybody else's. I say "almost" because amongst you who are listening to Me, there are perfections that are equal and even greater. She did not ask to follow Me, nay she showed the desire to accomplish her evolution from a girl to an angel in the secrecy of her abode. And I love her so much that in the hours of disgust at what the world is, I will recall this kind creature, blessing the Father, Who wipes away My tears and perspiration of a Master in a world that does not want Me, by means of such flowers of love and purity.
But if you want, if you have the courage to remain the chosen women disciples, behold, I will point out to you the work you have to do to justify your presence and your election near Me and near the saints of the Lord. You can do so much amongst your fellow creatures and for the ministers of the Lord.
I have already mentioned it to Mary of Alphaeus many months ago. How great is the necessity of a woman near the altar of Christ! The infinite miseries of the world can be cured much more and much better by a woman than by a man, and then taken to man to be completely cured. Many hearts, particularly of females, will open to you, o women disciples. You must receive them as if they were dear children led astray, who are coming back to their father's house and dare not face their parent. You are the ones who will recomfort the culprit and placate the judge. Many will come to you seeking God. You will welcome them as if they were tired pilgrims, saying: "This is the house of the Lord, He will be here at once", and in the meantime you will envelop them with your love. A priest of Mine will come, if I do not.
A woman knows how to love. She was made to love. She degraded love into sensual lust, but true love, the gem of her soul, is still imprisoned in the depth of her heart: love devoid of foul sensual mud, made of angelical wings and perfumes, of pure flame and remembrances of God, of its origin from God and its creation by God. Woman: the masterpiece of goodness near the masterpiece of creation, which is man: "And now I will make Adam a helpmate that he may not feel alone", must not abandon the Adams. Take therefore that faculty of loving and make use of it in the love of Christ and for Christ amongst your neighbours. Be most charitable to repentant culprits. Tell them not to be afraid of God. Is it possible for you, mothers and sisters, not to be able to do that? How often your little ones, your young brothers were ill and needed a doctor! And they were afraid. But with caresses and loving words you relieved them of their fear and they, no longer terrified as before, with their little hands held by yours, let the doctor cure them. Culprits are your sick brothers and children, who are afraid of the doctor's hand, and of his sentence... No, it must not be so. Since you know how good God is, tell them that God is good and no one must be afraid of Him. Even if He is frank and resolute in saying: "You shall not do it again", He will not reject who has already done it and has fallen ill. But He will cure him to restore him to health.
Be mothers and sisters to holy living people. They, too, need love. They will become tired and worn out in evangelizing. They will not be able to do all that is to be done. Help them, discreetly and diligently. Women know how to work at home, near tables and beds, at looms and everything that is needed for everyday life. The future of the Church will be a continuous flow of pilgrims to the places of God. Be their kind hotel‑keepers, taking upon yourselves all the most humble work, so that the ministers of God may be free to continue the work of the Master.
Then difficult, sanguinary, cruel times will come. Christians, also the holy ones, will undergo hours of terror and weakness. Man is never very strong in suffering. Women, instead, as compared to men, enjoy the true kingliness of being able to suffer. Teach men, supporting them in the hours of fear, discouragement, tears, tiredness and bloodshed. In our History we have examples of wonderful women, who performed deeds of liberating daring. We have Judith, Jael. But believe Me, no one is greater, so far, than the mother who was eight times a martyr, seven times with each of her sons, and once herself, in the times of the Maccabees. Then there will be another one... And after Her, there will be countless numbers of heroines of sorrow and in sorrow, women who will be the solace of martyrs and martyrs themselves, who will be angels for those who are persecuted, silent priestesses who will preach God by their way of living, and who, with no other consecration but the one they received from the God‑Love, will be consecrated and worthy of it.
Those are the outlines of your main duties. I will not be able to devote much time to you in particular. But you will be formed by listening to Me. And you will be formed even more under the perfect guidance of My Mother.
Yesterday this maternal hand (and Jesus takes Mary's hand in His own) brought Me the girl of whom I have spoken to you and who told Me that to listen to Her and be beside Her for a few hours had matured the fruit of the grace she had received and had carried it to perfection. It is not the first time that My Mother has worked for Christ, Her Son. You and you, who are My disciples as well as cousins, know what Mary is for the formation of souls to God and you will be able to tell both those men and women who may be afraid that I have not prepared them for their mission or that they are still insufficiently prepared when I shall no longer be with you. My Mother will be with you now, when I am not amongst you, and later when I shall no longer be with you. She will remain with you, and with Her will remain the wisdom of all Her virtues. As from now you may follow all Her advice.
Yesterday evening, when we were alone, and I was sitting near Her, as I used to when I was a child, My head resting on Her shoulder, which is so soft and so strong, My Mother said to Me we had been talking of the girl who had left early in the afternoon, with enclosed in her virginal heart a sun, brighter than the one in the sky: her holy secret ‑ She said to Me: "How lovely it is to be the Redeemer's Mother!" Yes, how lovely it is when the creature coming to the Redeemer is already a creature of God, a creature in whom there is only the stain of origin, that can only be washed away by Me. All the other small stains of human imperfection have been washed away by love.
But, My sweet Mother, Most Pure Guide of souls to Your Son, Holy Star of orientation, Kind Teacher of saints, Pious Foster Mother of the most little ones, Healthy Cure of sick people, not always such creatures who are not repugnant to holiness will be coming to You... But lepers, horrors, stench, a tangle of snakes and foul things, will creep to Your feet, o Queen of mankind, and will shout: "Have mercy! Succour us! Take us to Your Son!". And You will have to put this pure hand of Yours on their wounds, and bend with Your eyes of a heavenly dove on hellish deformities, inhale the stench of sin and not run away. Nay, You will have to press to Your heart those who have been mutilated by Satan, those abortions, that filth, and wash them with Your tears and bring them to Me... And then You will say: "How difficult it is to be the Redeemer's Mother!". But You will do it because You are the Mother... I kiss and bless these hands of Yours from which so many creatures will come to Me, and each of them will be a glory of Mine. But before Mine, it will be a glory of Yours, Holy Mother.
My dear women disciples, follow the example of My Teacher, of the Teacher of James and Judas, of everyone who wishes to be formed in Grace and Wisdom. Follow Her word. It is the same as Mine, but made sweeter. Nothing is to be added to it because it is the word of the Mother of Wisdom.
And you, My friends, endeavour to acquire the humbleness and firmness of women, and demolishing manly pride, do not despise the women disciples, but mitigate your strength, and I could say also your hardness and your intolerance, in contact with the kindness of women. And above all, learn from them how to love, to believe and to suffer for the Lord, because I solemnly tell you that they, the weak ones, will become the strongest in faith, in love, in daring, in sacrificing themselves for their Master, Whom they love with their whole selves, without asking for anything, without pretending anything, satisfied only with loving to give Me solace and joy.
Go now to your homes, or to the houses where you are guests. I will stay with My Mother. God be with you.»
They all go away except Martha.
«Martha, you stay here. I have already spoken to your servant. Today it is not Bethany that is giving hospitality, but it is Jesus' little house. Come. You will eat beside Mary and sleep in the little room near Hers. The spirit of Joseph, our comfort, will comfort you while you are resting, and tomorrow you will go back to Bethany stronger and more sure of yourself, to prepare women disciples also there, while waiting for the one dearest to Me and to you. Do not doubt, Martha. I never promise in vain. But it takes time to turn a desert full of vipers into a heavenly thicket. The first work is not noticed. Nothing seems to have taken place. Instead the seed has already been sown. The seeds. All of them. And then tears will come, to act as rain that opens the seeds... And the good trees will come... Come! Weep no more! »
158. Jesus Speaks to Johanna of Chuza on the Lake.
8th May 1945.
Jesus is on the lake, in Peter's boat, behind two other boats; one is a common fishing boat, like that of Peter, the other is a slender expensive pleasure boat. It belongs to Johanna of Chuza. But the owner is not in her boat. She is at Jesus' feet, in Peter's humbler craft.
I would say that they met by chance somewhere on the flowery shore of Gennesaret, most beautiful in this first appearance of Palestinian springtime, which strews its clouds of blossoming almond‑trees and lays the pearls of future flowers on pear and apple‑trees, on pomegranates, quince‑trees, on all the trees which are most fruitful and bear the most beautiful blossoms and fruit. When the boat keeps close to the shore exposed to the sun, one can already see millions of buds swelling on the branches, awaiting to blossom, while the petals of the early almond‑trees flutter in the quiet air until they alight in the clear water. The shores, covered with the new grass, which looks like bright green silk, are studded with the golden eyes of buttercups, or radiate‑star daisies, near which the beautiful, thin bluish forget‑me‑nots, stiff on their stems like little crowned queens, smile gently, as placid as children's eyes, and they seem to be saying “yes, of course” to the sun, to the lake, to the other herbs, which are happy to bloom, under the sky‑blue eyes of their Lord.
At the beginning of spring the lake has not yet the opulence that will turn it into a triumph the following months, it has not the luxurious pomp, which I would call sensual, of the many thousand rigid or supple roseries, in the form of tufts in gardens or veils against walls, of the many thousand corymbs of cytisi and acacias, of the thousands and thousands of groups of tuberoses, of the thousands and thousands of waxed stars of citrus trees, of all the blending of hues, of strong, soft, inebriating perfumes, which form the environment and spur of human great desire for enjoyment that desecrates this corner of the earth, which is so pure, and is the lake of Tiberias, the place chosen centuries ago to be the theatre of the greatest number of miracles worked by our Lord Jesus.
Johanna looks at Jesus absorbed in the beauty of His Galilean lake and her face smiles reflecting, like a faithful mirror, His smile. They are speaking in the other boat. There is silence here. The only noise is the thud of the bare feet of Peter and Andrew, who are manoeuvring the boat, and the sigh of the water opened by the prow and whispering its pain to the sides of the boat, and then changing into laughter at the stern, when the wound heals and becomes a silvery wake that the sun causes to sparkle as if it were diamond dust.
At last Jesus ends His contemplation and turns His eyes towards Johanna. He smiles at her and asks her: «We are almost there, are we not? And you will be saying that your Master is not a very pleasant companion. I have not spoken one word to you.»
«But I have read them on Your face, Master, and I heard everything You said to these things which are around us.»
«Well, then, what was I saying? »
«Love, be pure, be good. Because you come from God, and nothing bad or impure has come out of His hands.»
«You have read right.»
«But, my Lord, the herbs will do that... Also the animals will do it. Man... Why will he not, although he is the most perfect? »
«Because Satan's tooth has pierced man only. He pretended to demolish the Creator through His greatest prodigy, most like Him.»
Johanna lowers her head in thought. She seems to be hesitating and weighing two opposite desires. Jesus is watching her. She then raises her head and says: «Would You mind approaching some friends of mine, who are pagans? You know... Chuza is a courtier... And the Tetrarch ‑ and even more so the true mistress of the Court: Herodias, to whose will every desire of Herod yields, as it is... fashionable, to show that they are more refined than any other Palestinian, to be protected by Rome by worshipping Rome and everything that is Roman ‑ flirts with the Romans of the proconsular household... and almost imposes them on to us. Really I must say that the women are not worse than we are. Also amongst us, on these very shores, there are some women who have fallen very low. And what can we speak of, unless we speak of Herodias?... When I lost my child and I was ill, they were very good to me, although I did not seek them. And after, we have remained friends. But if You tell me that it is wrong, I will put an end to it. No? Thank You, my Lord. The day before yesterday I was with one of these friends. It was a friendly visit, as far as I was concerned, a duty call with regard to Chuza. It was an order of the Tetrarch who... would like to come back here but does not feel too safe and so... he enters into more interested relations with Rome, in order to be protected. Nay... please... You are a relative of the Baptist, are You not? Well, tell him not to be too trustful. He should never leave Samaria. On the contrary, if he does not mind, he should hide there for some time. The snake is going near the lamb and the lamb has a lot to be afraid of. Of everything. Let him be watchful, Master. But it must not be known that I said it. It would be the end of Chuza.»
«Do not worry, Johanna. I will inform the Baptist in such a way that no harm will be done.»
«Thank You, my Lord. I want to serve You... but by doing so, I would not like to harm my husband. Nay... I... will not always be able to come with You. Sometimes, I will have to stay, because he wants me to, and it is just...»
«You will stay, Johanna. I understand everything. Say no more, because it is not necessary.»
«But will You want me to be near You in the most dangerous hours for You?»
«Oh! What a burden it was for me having to say that and actually giving voice to the words! But now I am relieved...»
«If you have faith in Me, you will always be relieved. But you were talking about a Roman lady friend...»
«Yes. She is a close friend of Claudia and I think she must be a relative of hers, too. And she would like to speak to You, or at least, listen to You. And she is not the only one. Now that You have cured Valeria's child, and the news travelled as quick as lightning, they are more anxious than ever. At the banquet the other evening, there was a lot of talking, in your favour and against You. Because some Herodians were present, as well as some Sadducees... although, if you asked them they would deny it... and there were also some women... rich... but... but not honest. There was... I regret telling You because I know that You are a friend of her brother... but there was Mary of Magdala with her new friend and another woman, a Greek, I think, as dissolute as she. You know... among heathens, women are at table with men and that is very... very... What a nuisance! My friend was so kind as to choose my husband as my companion and that was a great relief. But the others... oh!... Well... They were talking about You, because Faustina's miracle caused a stir and if the Romans admired You as a great doctor or magician ‑ forgive me, my Lord - the Herodians and the Sadducees vomited venom on Your Name. And Mary! Oh Mary! How horrible!... She began sneering and then. No, I will not tell You. I wept all night over it...»
«Never mind. She will recover.»
«But she is all right, You know? »
«Her body is. All the rest is poisoned. She will recover.»
«You say so... The Roman women, You know what they are like... said: "We are not afraid of witchcraft, neither do we believe in lies. We want to judge by ourselves"; and after they said to me: "Could we not hear Him?"»
«Tell them that at the end of the month of Shebat I will be in your house.»
«I will tell them, my Lord. Do You think they will come to You? »
«There is a world to be rebuilt in them. First it is necessary to destroy, then to build. But it is not impossible. Johanna, there is your house and your garden. Work in it for your Master, as I told you. Goodbye, Johanna. The Lord be with you. I bless you in His name.»
The boat draws near to the shore. Johanna begs: «Are You really not coming?»
«Not now. I must revive the flames. In the absence of a few months, they have almost gone out. And time flies.»
The boat stops in the little bay which penetrates into Chuza's garden. Some servants rush to assist their mistress in getting off. Her boat arrives at the wharf after Peter's, and John, Matthew, the Iscariot and Philip come off it and get on board Peter's boat, which slowly departs and resumes its voyage to the opposite shore.
159. Jesus at Gherghesa. John's Disciples.
9th May 1945.
Jesus is speaking in a town which I have never seen before. At least, that is what I think, because all the towns are alike in style and it is difficult to tell one from the other at first sight. Also here a road coasts the lake and all the boats are on the shore. Large and small houses are set in a row on the other side of the road, but the hills are much more distant and so the little town is on a charming plain which stretches along the eastern shores of the lake, protected from the winds by the range of hills, and warmed by the sun which here, more than in the other parts of the country, increases the blossoming of the trees.
I think that Jesus' sermon has already begun because He says: «... It is true. You say: "We will never abandon You because to abandon You is to abandon God". But, o people of Gherghesa, remember that nothing is more changeable than the human mind. I am convinced that at present that is what you really think. My word and the miracle that took place have encouraged you in that direction and at the present moment you are sincere in what you say. But I wish to remind you of one event, I could quote a thousand both remote and recent. I will mention only this one.
Joshua, the servant of the Lord, on the eve of death, gathered around him all the tribes with their elders, leaders, judges and scribes and he spoke to them in the presence of the Lord, reminding them of all the benefits gained from and prodigies worked by the Lord through His servant. And after enumerating all these things, he asked them to repudiate any god which was not the Lord or at least to be frank in their faith, choosing with sincerity either the True God or the gods of Mesopotamia and of the Amorites, so that there should be a clear separation between the sons of Abraham and the paganizing people.
An openly declared error is always better than a hypocritical profession and mixture of faiths, which is an insult to God and death to souls. And nothing is easier to maintain and more commonly met than such mixture. The appearance is good; the substance underneath it is not good. That state applies also nowadays. Those believers who mix the observance of the Law with what is forbidden by the Law, those miserable fellows who stagger like drunken people between loyalty to the Law and the profit of business and compromise with outlaws from whom they hope to receive some advantage, those priests or Scribes or Pharisees who no longer make the service of God the aim of their lives, but indulge in shrewd politics to triumph over other people and thus be able to do anything against more honest persons, because they are not the servants of God, but they serve a power which they know is strong and useful for their purposes, all those people are nothing but hypocrites who mix our God with false gods.
The people replied to Joshua: "Never let it be that we shall abandon the True God to serve false gods". Joshua told them what I have just told you about the holy jealousy of the Father, about His will to be loved exclusively, with our whole selves, about His justice in punishing those who are untruthful. Punishment! God can punish just as He can reward us. It is not necessary to be dead to receive our reward or punishment. Consider, o people of Israel, whether God, after giving you so much, freeing you from the Pharaohs, leading you safely through the desert and the snares of enemies, all owing you to become a great and respected nation, full of glory, has not punished you once, twice, ten times, for your sins! Consider what you have become now! And I, Who see you throwing yourselves headlong into the most sacrilegious idolatry, I see also into which abyss you are about to fall because you always persevere in the same faults. And because of that I rebuke you, o people who are twice Mine, because I am your Redeemer and because I was born of you. My reproach is not hatred, it is not grudge, nor intolerance, it is love, even if it is severe.
Joshua then said: "You are witnesses: you have chosen the Lord" and they all replied: "Yes, we are". And Joshua, who was wise besides being brave, knowing how fleeting the will of man is, wrote in the book all the words of the Law and of the covenant and he put them in the temple, and also in the sanctuary of the Lord in Shechem, which contained the Tabernacle for the occasion, he set a great stone as witness and said: "This stone which has heard all your words to the Lord shall remain here as a witness so that you may not lie and deny the Lord your God".
A stone, no matter how great and hard it may be, can always be reduced to powder by man, by thunderbolt or by the erosion of water and time. But I am the Eternal Corner‑Stone. And I cannot be destroyed. Do not lie to this Living Stone. Do not love it only because it works miracles. Love it because through it you will touch Heaven. I would like you to be more spiritual, more faithful to the Lord. I am not saying to Me. I am, only because I am the Voice of the Father. By trampling on Me, you wound Him Who sent Me. I am the mediator. He is everything. Take what I offer you and keep within yourselves what is holy so that you may reach God. Do not love the Man, love the Messiah of the Lord not because of the miracles He works, but because He wants to work in you the intimate and sublime miracle of your sanctification.»
Jesus blesses and directs His steps towards a house. He is almost at the door when He is stopped by a group of elderly men who greet Him respectfully saying: «May we ask You a question, Lord? We are disciples of John and as he always speaks of You and also because the fame of Your miracles reached us, we wish to make Your acquaintance. We have just listened to You and we have a question to ask You.»
«Ask it. If you are disciples of John, you are already on the path of justice.»
«You said, speaking of the idolatries which are common amongst believers, that there are people amongst us who come to compromise between the Law and those who are out of the Law. But You also are a friend of theirs. We know that You do not disdain the Romans. So? »
«I do not deny it. But can you say that I do it to make a profit? Can you say that I caress them even to receive only their protection? »
«No, Master. And we are more than certain. But the world is not made only of us, who want to believe only in the evil that we see and not in the evil we are told about. Now tell us the convincing reason for approaching Gentiles, for our own guidance and to defend You in the event of someone slandering You in our presence.»
«It is evil to have contact when one does it for human purposes. It is not evil when one approaches them to take them to the Lord our God. That is what I do. If you were Gentiles, I could spend some time explaining to you how every man comes from One God only. But you are Jews and disciples of John. You are therefore the cream of Jews, and I need not explain that to you. You can therefore understand and believe that it is My duty, as the Word of God, to take His word to all men, the sons of the Universal Father.»
«But they are not His sons, they are pagans...»
«With regard to Grace they are not. Because of their erroneous faith, they are not. That is true. But until I redeem you, man, also a Jew, will have lost Grace, he will be deprived of it, because the Stain of Origin prevents the ineffable ray of Grace from descending into men's hearts. But with regard to creation, man is always a son. From Adam, the founder of the human family, descend both the Jews and the Romans and Adam is the son of the Father Who gave him His spiritual likeness.»
«That is true. Another question, Master. Why do John's disciples fast very sternly and Yours do not? We do not mean that You should not eat. Also the Prophet Daniel was holy in the eyes of God although he was a great man at the court in Babylon, and You are greater than he. But they...»
«What very often is not achieved by rigorism, is achieved by cordiality. There are people who would never come to the Master, and the Master must go to them. There are others who would go to the Master, but are ashamed of going amongst the crowd. The Master must go also to them. And since they say to Me: "Be my guest that I may know You" I go, bearing in mind, not the pleasure of a rich table, and of a conversation that sometimes is very painful for Me, but only and always the interest of God. That is as far as I am concerned. And as often at least one of the souls which I approach is converted to God, and every conversion is a wedding feast for My soul, a great feast in which all the angels in Heaven take part and which is blessed by the Eternal God. My disciples, the friends of Me‑the Spouse, rejoice with the Spouse and Friend. Would you like to see My friends in pain while I rejoice? While I am with them? But the time will come when they will no longer have Me. And then they will fast. New methods for new times. Up to yesterday, in the days of the Baptist, there was the ash of Penance. Today, in My days, there is the sweet manna of Redemption, of Mercy, of Love. The old methods could not be engrafted into Mine, as My method could not have been used then, not even yesterday. Because Mercy was not yet on the earth. It is now. No longer the Prophet, but the Messiah, to Whom everything has been entrusted by God, is on the earth. Each day has what is useful to it. Nobody sews a new cloth on to an old garment, lest the new piece of cloth, particularly when being washed, should shrink and thus tear the old cloth and the hole would become bigger. Likewise no one puts new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the new wine would burst the wineskins, which cannot stand the effervescence of the new wine, and it would run out of the burst wineskins. But the old wine, which has already been decanted several times, is put into old wineskins, and the new wine into new ones. So that one force may be compensated by another equal one. The same happens now. The force of the new doctrine suggests new methods to divulge it. And I, Who am aware of it, make use of them.»
«Thank You, Lord. We are now happy. Pray for us. We are old wineskins. Will we be able to restrain Your force? »
«Yes, because the Baptist shaped you and because his prayers and Mine will make you capable of so much. Go with My peace and tell John that I bless him.»
«But... according to You, is it better for us to stay with the Baptist or with You? »
«As long as there is old wine, drink it, if its flavour is agreeable. Later... as the putrid water which is everywhere will disgust you, you will love the new wine.»
«Do You think that the Baptist will be recaptured? »
«Yes, most certainly. I have already sent him a warning. Go now. Enjoy your John as long as you can and make him happy. Afterwards you will love Me. And you will find it hard... also because no one who has become used to old wine will all of a sudden wish to have new wine. One says: "The old one was better". And in fact I will have a different flavour, which will seem sour to you. But you will relish its vital flavour day by day. Goodbye, friends. May God be with you.»
160. From Naphtali to Giscala. Meeting with Rabbi Gamaliel.
10th May 1945.
«Master! Master! Do You know who is ahead of us? There is rabbi Gamaliel! He is sitting with his servants, in a caravan, in the shade in a wood, sheltered from the winds! They are roasting a lamb. What are we going to do now? »
«What we were going to do, My friends. We will proceed along our way...»
«But Gamaliel is of the Temple.»
«Gamaliel is not wicked, Do not be afraid. I will go ahead.»
«Oh! I am coming too » say His cousins at the same time, as well as all the Galileans and Simon. Only the Iscariot, and to a lesser degree, Thomas, do not seem very anxious to proceed. But they follow the others.
They walk for a few yards along a mountainous road deep set between the wooded slopes of the mountain. The road then bends and opens on to a kind of tableland and crosses it, widening out, and soon after that it becomes once again narrow and winding under a roof of interwoven branches. In a sunny bare patch, which is however shaded by the first leaves of the wood, there are many people under a rich tent, while other people are busy in a corner turning the lamb on the fire.
There is no doubt about it! Gamaliel took very good care of himself. For one person travelling he set a crowd of servants in motion with I do not know how much luggage. He is now sitting in the centre of his tent: a cloth supported by four gilt poles, a kind of canopy under which there are low seats covered with cushions and a table the top of which rests on carved wooden legs. A very fine table‑cloth is spread on the table and the servants are laying valuable dishes on it. Gamaliel looks like an idol. With his hands open on his knees, stiff and hieratic, he looks like a statue to me. The servants move round him like large butterflies. But he pays no attention to them. He is pondering, his eyelashes rather lowered on his severe eyes, and when he raises them, his deep very dark pensive eyes are displayed in all their severe beauty at the sides of a long thin nose and under the high rather bald forehead of an elderly man. His forehead is marked by three parallel wrinkles and by a large bluish vein which forms a V shaped angle in the centre of his right temple.
The noise of the oncoming people causes the servants to turn round. Gamaliel also looks round. He sees Jesus approaching ahead of everyone and he makes a gesture of surprise. He stands up and moves to the edge of the tent, but no farther. From there he bows low with his arms crossed on his chest. Jesus replies to him in the same way.
«You are here, Rabbi? » asks Gamaliel.
«I am here, rabbi » replies Jesus.
«May I ask You where You are going? »
«It is a pleasure for Me to tell you. I am coming from Naphtali and I am going to Giscala.»
«On foot? But it is a hard and long road along these mountains. You are tiring Yourself too much.»
«Believe Me. If I am welcomed and listened to, all tiredness disappears.»
«Well, then... allow me to be for once the one who will remove Your fatigue. The lamb is ready. We would have left the leavings to the birds because I never take them with me. You can see that it is no trouble for me to offer food to You and to Your followers. I am friendly to You, Jesus. I do not consider You inferior to me, but greater than I am.»
«I believe you. And I accept your hospitality.»
Gamaliel speaks to a servant who appears to be the highest in authority and who passes on the order. The tent is extended and more seats and dishes for Jesus' disciples are taken off the many mules.
They bring bowls to purify their fingers. Jesus performs the rite with the greatest courtliness, whereas the apostles, on whom Gamaliel is casting sharp sidelong glances, do so as well as they can, with the exception of Simon, Judas of Kerioth, Bartholomew and Matthew, who are more accustomed to Jewish refinements.
Jesus is beside Gamaliel who is alone on one side of the table. The Zealot is in front of Jesus. After the prayer of thanksgiving, which Gamaliel says with calm solemnity, the servants carve the lamb and divide it among the guests and they fill the cups with wine or water sweetened with honey, for those who prefer it.
«We have met by chance, Rabbi. I was never expecting to see You and on the way to Giscala.»
«I am going towards the whole world.»
«Yes, You are the indefatigable Prophet. John is the stationary one, You are the roaming One.»
«It is easier, therefore, for souls to find Me.»
«I would not say so. Your continuous moving about, disorientates them.»
«I disorientate My enemies. But those who want Me, because they love the Word of God, find Me. Not everybody can come to the Master. And the Master, Who wants everybody, goes to everybody, helping thus the good and warding off the conspiracies of those who hate Me.»
«Are You referring to me? I do not hate You.»
«Not to you. But since you are just and frank, you can say that I am speaking the truth.»
«Yes, it is so. But... see... The fact is that we old people do not understand You well.»
«Yes, old Israel does not understand Me well. That is her misfortune... and because of her will.»
«Yes, rabbi. They are not willing to understand the Master. And who confines himself to that, does evil, but a comparative evil. Many instead deliberately misunderstand and distort My word to harm God.»
«God? He is above human snares.»
«Yes. But every soul that goes astray or is led astray, ‑ and it is misleading to distort My word or My work, both with regard to oneself and to other people, ‑ harms God in the soul which is lost. Every soul that is lost is a wound to God.»
Gamaliel lowers his head, and closing his eyes, he meditates. He then presses his forehead between his long thin fingers, in an involuntary gesture of pain. Jesus watches him. Gamaliel raises his head, opens his eyes, looks at Jesus and says: «But You know that I am not one of those.»
«I know. But you are one of the former.»
«On! It is true. But it is not true that I am not willing to understand You. The truth is that Your word stops on my mind and does not penetrate farther. My mind admires it as the word of a learned man and the spirit...»
«And the spirit cannot receive it, Gamaliel, because it is encumbered with too many things. And ruined things. A short while ago, coming here from Naphtali, I passed near a mountain, which juts out from the mountain chain. I was pleased to pass there to see the two beautiful lakes of Gennesaret and Merom, from high above, as eagles and the angels of the Lord see them, to say once again: "Thank You, Creator, for the beauty You grant us". Well, whilst the whole mountain is covered with flowers, green meadows, orchards, fields, woods, and the laurels smell sweet near the olive‑trees, preparing the white host of thousands and thousands of flowers and also the strong oak‑tree seems to become gentler as it dresses itself with wreaths of clematis and woodbine: over there, there is no flowering, no fertility, neither of man nor of nature. All the efforts of the winds, all the toil of men are frustrated because the Cyclopean ruins of ancient Hatzor encumber everything and between one large stone and another only nettles and bushes can grow and snakes can hide. Gamaliel...»
«I understand. We are ruins, too... I understand the parable, Jesus. But... I cannot... I cannot... do otherwise. The stones are too heavy.»
«One in Whom you believed said to you: "The stones shall vibrate hearing My last words". But why wait for the last words of the Messiah? Will you not regret that you did not follow Me before? The last!... Sad words, like those of a friend who is dying, and to whom we have to listen, but too late. But My words are more important than the words of a friend.»
«You are right... But I cannot. I am waiting for that sign, that I may believe.»
«When a piece of ground is barren, a thunderbolt is not sufficient to till it. The soil will not receive it. But the stones that cover the soil will receive it. Endeavour at least to remove them, Gamaliel. Otherwise, if they are left where they are, in the depth of your heart, the sign will not lead you to believe.»
Gamaliel is silent, engrossed in thought. The meal is over.
Jesus stands up and says: «I thank You, My God, both for the meal and for the opportunity of speaking to a wise man. And thank you, Gamaliel.»
«Master, do not go away like that. I am afraid You are angry with me.»
«Oh! no! You must believe Me.»
«Then, do not go away. I am going to Hillel's tomb. Would You disdain coming with me? It will not take us long, because I have mules and donkeys for everybody. All we have to do is to take off their pack‑saddles, which the servants will carry. And the hardest part of the road will be shortened for You.»
«I do not mind coming with you or going to Hillel's tomb. It is an honour. Let us go.»
Gamaliel gives the necessary instructions, and while they are all busy taking down the temporary dining‑room, Jesus and Gamaliel mount two mules and they go ahead, one beside the other, along a quiet steep road, on which the ironshod hooves resound loudly.
Gamaliel is silent. Only twice he asks Jesus whether His saddle is comfortable. Jesus replies and then becomes quiet, engrossed in thought. So much so that He does not notice that Gamaliel, holding his mule back a little, lets Him go forward by a full neck, so that he may study every gesture of His. The eyes of the old rabbi are so keen in penetration that they look like the eyes of a hawk gazing at its prey But Jesus is not aware of it. He proceeds calmly, following the undulant pace of His mount, He is pensive and yet He observes all the features of what is around Him. He stretches out a hand to pick a hanging bunch of golden cytisus, He smiles at two little birds which are building their nest in a thick juniper, He stops the mule to listen to a blackcap and, as a blessing, He nods assent to the anxious cry by which a wild dove urges her mate to work.
«You love herbs and animals very much, do You not? »
«Yes, very much. They are My living book. Man always has the foundations of faith in front of him. Genesis lives in nature. Now, one who knows how to see, knows also how to believe. This flower, so sweet in its scent and in the substance of its pendulous corollas, and in such a contrast with this thorny juniper and with that furze, how could it have made itself by itself? And look: that robin redbreast, could it have made itself with that dried bloodstain on its soft throat? And those two doves, where and how have they been able to paint those onyx collars on the veil of their grey feathers? And over there, those two butterflies: a black one with large gold and ruby rings, while the other, with blue stripes, where have they found the gems and ribbons for their wings? And this stream? It is water. Agreed. But where did it come, from? Which is the first source of the water‑element? Oh! To look means to believe, if one knows how to look.»
«To look means to believe. We look too little at the living Genesis that is in front of us.»
«Too much science, Gamaliel. And too little love, and too little humility.»
Gamaliel sighs and shakes his head.
«Here. We have arrived, Jesus. Hillel is buried over there. Let us dismount and leave our mules here. A servant will take them.»
They dismount tying the two mules to a tree trunk and they turn their steps towards a burial ground which protrudes from the mountain near a large house completely closed up.
«I come here to meditate and prepare myself for the feasts of Israel » says Gamaliel pointing at the house.
«May Wisdom grant you all its light.»
«And here (and Gamaliel points at the sepulchre) to prepare myself to meet death. He was a just man.»
«He was a just man. I will be pleased to pray near his ashes. But, Gamaliel, Hillel must not teach you only to die. He must teach you to live.»
«How, Master? »
«"A man is great when he humbles himself" was his favourite saying...»
«How do You know if You have not met him? »
«I did meet him... in any case, even if I had never met Hillel, the rabbi, personally, I know his thought, because there is nothing I ignore of human thoughts.»
Gamaliel lowers his head and whispers: «God only can say that.»
«God and His Word. Because the Word knows the Thought and the Thought knows the Word, and loves Him, communicating with Him and granting Him all His treasures, to make Him participate in Himself. Love fastens the bonds and makes one Perfection of them. It is the Trinity that loves Itself, is divinely formed, generates, proceeds and is completed. Every holy thought was born in the Perfect Mind, and is reflected in the mind of the just man. Can the Word therefore ignore the thoughts of the just, since they are the thoughts of the Thought? »
They pray near the closed sepulchre. They pray for a long time. The disciples and then the servants reach them, the former on horseback, the latter carrying the luggage. But they stop at the edge of the meadow, beyond which is the sepulchre. The prayer is over.
«Goodbye, Gamaliel. Ascend as Hillel did.»
«What do You mean? »
«Ascend. He is ahead of you because he knew how to believe more humbly than you. Peace be with you. »