291. At Bozrah.
1st October 1945.
Bozrah looks very dull in the morning mist, both because of the season and because the town is closed in its narrow streets. It looks dull and dirty. The apostles, who have come back from their shopping at the market, are talking about it. Hotel practice in those days and in such places is so utterly antiquated, that one has to see to one's victuals. Innkeepers obviously do not want to lose any money. So they only cook what customers bring them, and let us hope that they do not steal any of that. Or at most they buy food for customers or sell them what they have in stock, working as butchers, if necessary, preparing poor lambs to be roasted.
Peter does not like buying from the innkeeper and is now squabbling with him. The man, with a rather roguish face, goes to the point of insulting the apostle, calling him «Galilean », while Peter answers back, pointing to a little pig, which the host has just slaughtered for some guests: «I am a Galilean, and you are a pig, you pagan. I would not stay in your stinking inn for one hour, if it depended on me. You thief and... (and he adds here a very clear epithet... which I leave in my pen).» I realise that between the people of Bozrah and the Galileans there is one of the many regional or religious incompatibilities, of which Israel, or rather Palestine was full.
The host shouts louder: «If you were not with the Nazarene, and I were not better than your filthy Pharisees who hate Him without any good reason, I would wash your face with the blood of the pig, so you would have to get out of here and rush to purify yourself. But I respect Him, Whose power is known. And I tell you, that notwithstanding all your fuss, you are sinners. We are better than you are. We do not lay snares neither do we betray. You, faugh! You are a lot of unfair traitors and rascals and you do not even respect the few holy people among you.»
«Who are you calling traitors? Us? Ah! In God's truth I...» Peter is furious and is about to break upon the man, when his brother and James hold him back, and Simon Zealot intervenes with Matthew.
But Peter's wrath is abated not so much by their intervention as by the voice of Jesus Who appears at one of the doors and says: «You now, Simon, will be quiet. And you, too, man.»
«Lord, this man was the first to insinuate and threaten.»
«Nazarene, I was offended first.»
I, he. He and I. The two culprits cast blame on each other.
Jesus comes forward seriously and calmly. «You are both wrong. And you, Simon, more than he is. Because you know the doctrine of love, of forgiveness, of meekness, of patience and brotherhood. In order not to be ill‑treated as a Galilean, you must make yourself respected as a saint. And you, man, bless the Lord if you feel that you are better than others and endeavour to be worthy of becoming better and better. And above all, do not foul your soul with false charges. My disciples neither betray nor lay snares.»
«Are You sure, Nazarene? Well, then, why did those four come and ask me whether You had come, with whom You were and so many more questions? »
«What? Who are they? Where are they? » The apostles gather round him, forgetting that they are drawing close to a person still wet with the blood of a pig, which struck them with horror shortly before and kept them away.
«Go and mind your own business. You may stay, Misace.»
The apostles go into the room from which Jesus came out, and only Jesus and the innkeeper are left in the yard, one facing the other. The merchant is a few steps from Jesus and is watching the scene spellbound.
«Tell Me the truth, man. And forgive if blood made one of My disciples furious. Who are those four and what did they say? »
«I do not know exactly who they are. They are certainly scribes and Pharisees from the other side. I do not know who brought them here. I have never seen them. But they are well informed of You. They know from where You have come, where You are going, with whom You are. But they wanted confirmation from me. No. I may be a rascal. But I know my business. I know nobody and I see nothing. I know nothing. With regard to others, of course. As far as I am concerned, I know everything. But why should I tell others, particularly those hypocrites, what I know? Am I a rascal? Yes. If necessary I side also with robbers. In any case, You know... But I could not steal or try to steal Your freedom, honour and life. And those ‑ I am no longer Phara of Ptolemy if what I say is not true and those are lying in wait for You, to do You harm. And who sent them? Perhaps someone from Perea or the Decapolis? Or someone from Trachonitis or Gaulanitis or Hauran? No. We either do not know You, or if we have heard of You, we respect You as a just man, if we do not believe in You as a saint. So, who sent them? Someone on Your side and perhaps one of Your friends, because they know too many things...»
«It is easy to be informed of my caravan...» says Misace.
«No, merchant. Not of you, but of the others who are with Jesus. I do not know and I do not want to know. I do not see and I do not want to see. But I say to You: if You are guilty, make amends, if You know that You have been betrayed, take the necessary action.»
«I am neither guilty, man, nor betrayed. The only trouble is that Israel does not understand Me. But how do you know about Me? »
«Through a boy. A mischievous boy who had a bad reputation at Bozrah and Arbela. Here, because he came here to commit his sins, there because he dishonoured his family. Then he became converted and more honest than a just man. And he passed by with Your disciples, a disciple himself, and is waiting for You at Arbela, to honour You with his father and mother. And he tells everybody that You changed his heart through his mother's prayers. If this region ever becomes a holy one, Philip of James will have the merit of having sanctified it. And if there is anyone who believes in You in Bozrah, it is due to him.»
«Where are the scribes now, who came here? »
«I don't know. They went away because I told them that I had no rooms for them. I had them, but I did not want to give hospitality to snakes and thus have them close to the dove. They are certainly in this area. Be careful.»
«Thank you, man, What is your name? »
«Phara. I did my duty. Remember me.»
«Yes. And you must remember God. And forgive My Simon. The great love he has for Me at times blinds him.»
«No harm. I offended him as well... But it hurts to be insulted. You do not insult...»
Jesus sighs... He then says: «Will you help the Nazarene? »
«If I can...»
«I would be glad to speak from this yard...»
«And I will let You speak. When? »
«Between the sixth and ninth hour.»
«Go wherever You want and do not worry. Bozrah will know that You are going to speak. I will see to it.»
«May God reward you for it » and Jesus smiles at him, a smile which is already a reward. He then goes to the room where He was before.
Alexander Misace says: «Master, will You smile at me as well, like that?... I am also going to tell the citizens to come and listen to the Bounty Which is speaking. I know many. Goodbye.»
«May God reward you, too » and Jesus smiles at him.
He enters the room. The women are around Mary, Whose face is sorrowful and She gets up at once and goes towards Her Son. She does not speak. Her whole attitude is uncertainty. Jesus smiles at Her and He replies to Her saying to everybody: «Be free by the sixth hour. I will speak here to many people. In the meantime go, everybody, with the exception of Simon Peter, John and Ermasteus. Go and announce Me and give plentiful alms.»
The apostles go away.
Peter slowly approaches Jesus Who is near the women and asks: «Why did You not send me as well? »
«When one is too impulsive, one stays at home. Simon, Simon! When will you learn to be charitable to your neighbour? For the time being it is a burning flame, but only for Me, it is a straight and stiff blade, but only for Me. Be mild, Simon of Jonah.»
«You are right, Master. Your Mother has already reproached me, as She knows how to, but without hurting. But it penetrated right into me. But... reproach me as well, but do not look at me so sadly.»
«Be good... Syntyche, I would like to speak to you privately. Come up to the terrace. Will you come, as well, Mother...»
And on the rustic terrace, which covers one wing of the building, in the sunshine which warms the air, walking slowly between Mary and the Greek woman, Jesus says: «Tornorrow we will part for a little while. When near Arbela, you women with John of Endor, will go towards the Sea of Galilee and will continue together as far as Nazareth. But as I do not want to send you by yourselves with an almost disabled man, I will get My brothers and Simon Peter to accompany you. I can foresee that there will be some reluctance to separate. But obedience is the virtue of the just. When you go through the country over which Chuza watches in Herod's name, Johanna can find some more people to escort you on the rest of the way. You will then send back Alphaeus' sons and Simon Peter. But the reason why I asked you to come up here is as follows. I want to tell you, Syntyche, that I have decided for you to stay for some time in My Mother's house. She already knows. John of Endor and Marjiam will be staying with you. Stay there willingly, perfecting yourself more and more in Wisdom. I want you to take great care of poor John. I am not saying this to My Mother because She does not need any advice. You can understand John and sympathise with him, and he can do you much good because he is an experienced master. I will come later. Oh! Quite soon! And we will often meet. I hope to find you wiser and wiser in the Truth. I bless you particularly, Syntyche. This is My farewell from you, for this time. You will find love and hatred in Nazareth as anywhere else. But in My house you will find peace. Always.»
«Nazareth will ignore me and I will ignore Nazareth. I will live nourishing myself with the Truth and the world will be nothing to me, Lord.»
«Very well. You may go, Syntyche. And do not mention it to anybody, for the time being. Mother, You know... I trust these dearest pearls of Mine to You. While we are in peace, among ourselves, Mother, let Your Jesus refresh Himself in Your caresses...»
«How much hatred, Son! »
«How much love! »
«How much bitterness, My dear Jesus! »
«How much sweetness! »
«How much incomprehension, My Son! »
«How much comprehension, Mother! »
«Oh! My darling, My Dear Son! »
«Mother! Joy of God and Mine! Mother! »
They kiss each other and remain together, on the stone bench against the low terrace wall: Jesus embracing His Mother, a loving protector, Mary reclining Her head on Her Son's shoulder, Her hands in His: happy... The world is so distant... buried in the waves of love and faithfulness...
292. The Sermon and Miracles at Bozrah.
2nd October 1945.
...And the world is so close with its waves of hatred, betrayal, sorrow, need, curiosity. And the waves come, like those of the sea in a harbour, to die here, in the yard of the inn at Bozrah, which the respectful host, whose heart is better than his face makes one suppose, has cleaned of excrement and dirt. There is a large crowd of people, both local and strangers, but of the same region. And there are people whose conversation gives me to understand that they come from very far, from the lake area or beyond the lake. I catch the names of villages, and parts of sorrowful stories in the conversation of the people awaiting Jesus. Gadara, Hippo, Gerghesa, Gamala, Aphek, Nain, Endor, Jezreel, Magdala and Korazim, are mentioned by many people together with the stories of the reasons why they have come from so far.
«When I heard that He had come through Trans‑Jordan, I was discouraged. But some disciples came when I was about to go back to Jezreel and they said to us, who were waiting at Capernaum: "He is certainly beyond Gerasa by now. Waste no time, go to Bozrah or Arbela" and I came with these people...»
«I instead, saw some Pharisees pass through Gadara. They were asking where was Jesus of Nazareth, Whom they knew to be in the area. My wife is ill. I joined them. Then yesterday at Arbela I heard that He was coming to Bozrah first, so I came here.»
«I have come from Gadara for this boy. He was gored by a furious cow. He has been left in that state...» and he shows his son who is utterly shrivelled and unable to move his arms.
«I could not bring mine. I come from Megiddo. What do you think? Will He cure him from here also? » moans a woman whose face is red with weeping.
«No, the sick person must be present.»
«No It is enough to have faith.»
«No. Unless He imposes His hands, one is not cured. His disciples also do that.»
«You have come a long way for nothing, woman.»
The woman begins to weep saying: «Poor me! I left him when he was almost dying, hoping... He will not cure him, and I will not comfort him in his death...»
Another woman consoles her: «Don't believe that, woman. I have come to thank Him because He worked a great miracle for me, without leaving the mountain on which He was speaking.»
«What was the matter with your son? »
«It was not my son. It was my husband who had become mad...» and the two women continue speaking in low voices.
«It is true. Also a mother at Arbela had her son redeemed without the Master seeing him » says a man from Arbela and he goes on speaking to some people near him...
«Make way, for pity's sake! Make way! » shout some bearers of a litter which is completely covered.
The crowds open out and the litter goes by with its sorrowful load, and stops at the end of the yard, almost behind a rick of straw. Is it a man or a woman lying on the litter? Who knows!
Two Pharisees come in: they are vainglorious and well preserved and more proud than ever. They assault the poor host as if they were mad, shouting: «You cursed liar! Why did you tell us that He was not here? Are you His accomplice? How dare you despise us, the holy ones in Israel, to favour... Whom, after all? How do you know who He is? What is He to you? »
«What is He? What you are not. But I did not lie. He came a few hours after you had left. He did not hide Himself, neither do I hide Him. But as I am the boss here, I tell you at once: "Get out of my house!". You do not insult the Nazarene here. Do you understand? And if you do not understand my words, I can speak to you in a more factual way, you jackals! »
The robust innkeeper seems so decided to come to blows that the two Pharisees change tone and become like creeping pups menaced by lash. «But we are looking for Him to revere Him! What are you thinking of? The thought that we might not see Him through your fault made us furious. We know Who He is. The holy and blessed Messiah, to Whom we are not worthy to raise our eyes. We are dust, He is the glory of Israel. Take us to Him. Our souls are yearning to hear His words.»
The host imitates their voices and gestures in a wonderful way: «Oh! Of course! And how could I ever suspect it was not so, since I am so well aware of the fame of Pharisees' justice?! Of course! You have come to worship Him! You are yearning for that! I will go and tell Him! I am going... No, by Satan! You shall not follow me! Neither will you, or I will strike you so much, you poisonous mummies, that I will make one knock into the other. Stay here. You stay here, where I am putting you. And you here. And I am sorry I cannot knock you into the ground up to your necks and use you as pegs to tie the pigs to be slaughtered» and he passes from words to deeds by seizing the leaner Pharisee by his armpits, lifting him up and dropping him so violently on the ground, that if it were not very hard the poor fellow would have sunk into it up to his ankles. But the ground is hard and the Pharisee remains standing like a puppet, after being tossed about so much. Then the host gets hold of the other man, and although he is rather fat, the innkeeper raises and drops him with the same fury, and as the Pharisee reacts wriggling, he knocks him down and makes him sit: a bundle of flesh and cloth... He then goes away uttering a nasty word which is lost among the moans of the two and the laughter of many more.
He goes through a corridor into a small yard, he climbs a little staircase, reaches a porched gallery and enters a large room in which Jesus and His group are about to finish their meal with the merchant.
«Two of the four Pharisees have come. You had better see what You must do. For the time being I have seen to them. They wanted to come with me. But I did not want them. They are now down in the yard with many sick people and many others.»
«I will come at once. Thank you, Phara, You may go.»
They all get up. Jesus orders His disciples and the women to stay where they are, with the exception of His Mother, Mary Clopas, Susanna and Salome. But seeing the sad countenance of those who have been excluded, He says: «Go up to the terrace. You will hear Me just the same.»
He goes out with the apostles and the four women. He goes back the same way as the host came and enters the large yard. The crowds crane their necks to see, and those who are sly climb up on to straw stacks, on carts standing on one side, or on the edge of reservoirs...
The two Pharisees go and meet Him ceremoniously. Jesus greets them with His usual salutation as if they were His most faithful friends. But He does not stop to reply to their unctuous questions: «Are you so few? And without disciples? So they have left You? »
Jesus continuing to walk replies gravely: «No one left Me. You have come from Arbela where you met those who precede Me, and in Judaea you met Judas of Simon, Thomas, Nathanael and Philip.»
The stout Pharisee no longer dare follow Him and he stops all of a sudden blushing. The other, who is more barefaced, insists: «That is true. But as we knew that You were with faithful disciples and with some women, we were surprised at seeing You with so few people. We wanted to see Your new conquests and congratulate You » and he gives a false smile.
«My new conquests? There they are! » and Jesus makes a wide semicircular gesture, pointing at the crowds, which are mainly from the region beyond the Jordan, that is from this region where Bozrah is. And without giving the Pharisee time to retort, He begins to speak.
«Those who previously did not inquire about Me, have been looking for Me. And those who previously did not look for Me have found Me. And I said: "Here I am" to a nation which did not invoke My Name. Glory be to the Lord Who speaks the truth through the lips of the prophets! Looking at this crowd which has gathered round Me I really rejoice in the Lord because I see that the promises, which the Eternal Father made to Me when He sent Me to the world, have been fulfilled. Those promises which I Myself, with the Father and the Paraclete, put in the thoughts, on the lips and in the hearts of the prophets, the promises of which I was aware before becoming Flesh and which encouraged Me to be made flesh. And they encourage Me. Yes, they encourage Me against hatred, malice, mistrust and falsehood. Those who previously did not inquire about Me, have been looking for Me. And those who did not look for Me, have found Me. How come, if I was instead rejected by those to whom I had stretched out My hands saying: "Here I am"? And yet they knew Me, whereas these people here did not know Me. So?
Here is the key to the mystery. It is not a fault to ignore, but it is a fault to deny. And too many of those who know Me and to whom I stretched My hands, have denied Me as if I were illegitimate or a thief, a corrupting demon, because their pride has extinguished their faith and they have gone astray along bad, twisted sinful ways, leaving the way which My voice points out to them. Sin is in the heart, on the table, in the beds, in the hearts, in the minds of this people which rejects Me and which, seeing its own filth reflected everywhere, sees it on Me also, and its bitterness piles it up more and more, and it says to Me: "Go away, because You are unclean".
So what will He say, Who is coming with His robe dyed red, handsome in His garment, and is walking in the power of His strength? Will He accomplish already what Isaiah says, and will He not be quiet, but will He pour on their laps what they deserve? No, He will not. First He has to tread the winepress alone, abandoned by everybody, to make the wine of Redemption. The wine that exhilarates the just and makes them blessed, the wine that exhilarates the guilty of the great sin, to crush their sacrilegious power into crumbs. Yes, My wine, which is maturing hour by hour in the sun of Eternal Love, will be the ruin and salvation of many, as it is stated in a prophecy not yet written, but deposited in the unsplit rock from which the Vine giving the Wine of eternal Life sprang up.
Do you understand? No, you doctors of Israel do not understand. But it does not matter whether you understand. The darkness of which Isaiah speaks is descending upon you: "They have eyes and do not see. They have ears and do not hear". You shield the Light with your hatred, so that one can say that the Light was repelled by darkness and the world refused to know it.
But exult, you who were in the dark and believed in the Light which was announced to you, and you desired it, sought it and found it. Exult, o faithful people who have come to Salvation crossing mountains, valleys and lakes without considering the burden of the long journey. The same applies to the other spiritual journey which will take you, o people of Bozrah, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of Wisdom.
Exult, o people of Hauran! Exult in the joy of knowledge. Truly it refers also to you and to your neighbouring peoples, when the Prophet sings that your camels and dromedaries will crowd the streets of Naphtali and Zebulun to worship the true God, and to be His servants in the holy mild law, which does not impose anything in order to give divine paternity and eternal happiness but compliance with the ten commandments of the Lord: to love the true God with one's whole being, to love one's neighbour as oneself, to keep the Sabbath without desecrating it, to honour one's parents, not to kill, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to bear false witness, not to covet the wife or property of other people. Oh! you are blessed. if coming from farther away you will go beyond those who belonged to the house of the Lord and went out of it, urged by the ten commandments of Satan: dislike of God, love of oneself, corruption of cult, harshness towards parents, murderous desire, attempt to steal other people's holiness, fornication with Satan, false witness, envy of the nature and mission of the Word, and the horrible sin which ferments and matures in the depth of hearts, of too many hearts.
Exult, you who are thirsty! Exult, you who are hungry! Exult, you who are afflicted! Were you rejected? Were you proscribed? Were you despised? Were you strangers? Come! Exult! It is no longer so. I give you homes, wealth, paternity and fatherland. I give you Heaven. Follow Me, because I am the Saviour! Follow Me, because I am the Redeemer! Follow Me, because I am the Life! Follow Me, because I am He to Whom the Father refuses no grace! Exult in My love! Exult! And that you may realise that I love you, you who have sought Me in your sorrows, you who have believed in Me even before knowing Me, that this may be a day of true exultation, I pray thus: "Father, Holy Father! On all the wounds, diseases, sores of bodies, on the grief, tortures, remorse of hearts, on all the faithful who are springing up, on those who are vacillating, on those who are strengthening, let health, grace, peace descend! Peace in My Name! Grace in Your Name! Health through Our reciprocal love! Bless them, o Most Holy Father! Gather and form one fold with these lost children of Yours and Mine! Let them be where I will be, one with You, Holy Father, with You, with Me and with the Most Divine Spirit".»
Jesus, with His arms stretched out crosswise, His palms upwards towards the sky, His face raised, His voice blaring like a silver tuba, is overwhelming in His speech... He remains thus, silent, for some moments. Then His sapphire eyes stop looking at the sky to look at the large yard crowded with people who are sighing deeply moved or are quivering with hope; He joins His hands moving them forward and with a smile which transfigures Him, He utters a final cry: «Exult, you who believe and hope! People of sufferers, rise and love the Lord your God!»
The healing of the diseased is simultaneous and general. Trilling voices and roaring shouts praise the Saviour. A woman squeezes through the crowd, from the far end of the yard, dragging the sheet that had covered her and collapses at the feet of the Lord. This time the terrified crowds utter a different shout: «Mary, the leprous wife of Joachim! » and they run in all directions.
«Be not afraid! She is cured. Contact with her can do you no harm » says Jesus reassuring them. And He says to the prostrated female: «Stand up, woman. You have been rewarded for your great hope and you are forgiven for neglecting prudence towards your brothers. Go back home after the salutary ablutions.»
The woman, who is young and quite beautiful, stands up weeping. Jesus shows her to the crowds who have come back and admire the miracle shouting out of astonishment.
«Her husband, who adored her, had built a shelter for her at the end of his fields and went to its border every evening and gave her some food weeping...»
«She became infected through her pity, taking care of a beggar who did not say that he was a leper.»
«But how did Mary, the good woman, come here? »
«On that litter. How did we not notice Joachim's two servants? »
«They ran the risk of being stoned for that.»
«Their mistress! They love her, she is so kind that they love her more than themselves...»
Jesus makes a gesture and they all become silent: «You can see that love and goodness bring miracles and joy. So, be good. Go, woman. No one will do you any harm. Peace be with you and with your household.»
The woman, followed by the servants who have burnt the litter in the middle of the yard, goes out and many people follow her.
Jesus dismisses the crowd after listening to some people and He retires to the house followed by those who were with Him.
«What words, Master! »
«How transfigured You were! »
«What a voice! »
«And what miracles! »
«Did you see the Pharisees flee? »
«They went away like two creeping lizards immediately after the first words.»
«The people of Bozrah and of all the villages here have a wonderful recollection of You...»
«Mother, what do You say? »
«I bless You, Son, on their behalf and Mine.»
«Well, Your blessing will follow Me until we meet again.»
«Why do You say that, Lord? Are the women leaving us? »
«Yes, Simon, Tomorrow at daybreak Alexander is leaving for Aera. We will go with him as far as the road to Arbela and we will then leave him. And with regret, believe Me, Alexander, because you have been a kind guide for the Pilgrim. I will always remember you, Alexander.»
The old man is moved. He is standing with his arms folded on his chest, in the deep eastern salutation, bending a little in front of Jesus. But when he hears His words, he says: «Above all, remember me when You are in Your Kingdom.»
«Do you wish that, Misace? »
«Yes, my Lord.»
«I also wish something of you.»
«Which, Lord? If I can I will give it to You, even if it were the most precious thing I possess.»
It is the most precious. I want your soul. Come to Me. I told you, at the beginning of our journey, that I hoped to give you a gift at the end of it. My gift is Faith. Do you believe in Me, Misace? »
«I do believe, Lord.»
«Then sanctify your soul so that faith may not be for you not only an inert but also a harmful gift.»
«My soul is old. But I will endeavour to make it new. Lord, I am an old sinner. Absolve me and bless me, because as from this moment I am beginning a new life. I will take Your blessing with me as the best escort in my journey towards Your Kingdom... Shall we ever meet again, Lord? »
«Not on this earth. But you will hear of Me and you will believe even more because I will not leave you without evangelization. Goodbye, Misace. We shall not have much time tomorrow to say goodbye to each other. Let us do so now, before taking our food together for the last time.» He embraces and kisses him.
The apostles and disciples also do so. The women greet him all together.
But Misace kneels down almost in front of Mary saying: «May Your light of a pure morning star shine in my mind until my death.»
«Until Life, Alexander. Love My Son and you will love Me, and I will love you.»
Simon Peter asks: «But shall we be going from Arbela to Aera? I am afraid we may be caught in bad weather. There is so much fog... We have had it for three days at dawn and sunset...»
«That is because we have been coming down here. Do you not think that we have come down a good deal? It is so. Tomorrow you will be climbing towards the mountains of the Decapolis and there will be no more fog there » explains Misace.
«Come down? When? It was a flat road...»
«Yes, but in continuous descent. Oh! so slowly that one does not notice it. But in many miles...»
«How long shall we be staying at Arbela? »
«You, James and Judas, not even one hour » replies Jesus resolutely.
«James and Judas... I... not even one hour? And where am I going if I am not staying with you all? »
«You are going away. As far as the land in the guardianship of Chuza. You will take My Mother and the women there, with the others. They will then proceed by themselves with Johanna's servants and you will come back and join Me at Aera.»
«Oh! Lord! You are angry with me and You are punishing me... How much You grieve me, Lord! »
«Simon, he feels that he is punished who knows that he is guilty. Being guilty must grieve you, not the punishment in itself. But I do not think that it is a punishment to accompany My Mother and the women disciples on their way back home.»
«But would it not be better if You came with us? Never mind Aera and these places and come with us.»
«I promised to go and I will go.»
«Then I will come, too.»
«You will obey without complaining, as My brothers do.»
«And if You meet some Pharisees? »
«You are certainly not the most suitable to convert them. It is just because I will meet some that I want you, James and Judas to go away with the women and with John of Endor and Marjiam before Arbela.»
«Ah!... I see! All right.»
Jesus turns round to the women and blesses them one by one, giving each of them suitable advice.
The Magdalene on bending to kiss the feet of her Saviour asks: «Shall I see You again before I go back to Bethany? »
«Most certainly, Mary. In the month of Ethanim I will be on the lake.»
293. Farewell to the Women Disciples.
3rd October 1945.
The reverential respect of Misace is shown the following morning, when he makes the pilgrims go the first miles on the camels after adjusting their loads, turning them into comfortable cradles for the inexperienced riders. And it is quite funny to see dark or fair‑haired heads emerging from bundles and cases, with long hair reaching down to the men's ears, or tresses showing through the women's veils. As the camels are moving very fast, the wind now and again blows back the veils and the bright golden hair of Mary Magdalene or the milder fair hair of the Blessed Virgin shines in the sunshine, while the dark or brown‑haired heads of Johanna, Syntyche, Martha, Marcella, Susanna and Sarah show indigo or dark bronze reflections, and the grey‑haired heads of Eliza, Salome and Mary Clopas seem to be sprayed with silver dust in the clear warm sun. The men are proceeding bravely on the new means of transport and Marjiam is laughing happily.
They realise that the merchant's statement is true, when, turning round, they see Bozrah down in the valley, with its towers and high houses in the labyrinth of the narrow streets. Low hills appear to the north‑west. The road to Aera runs at their feet; the caravan stops to let the pilgrims dismount and part. The camels kneel down with remarkable pitching which makes more than one woman scream. I now see that wisely the women had been fastened to the saddles with belts. The women are somewhat stunned with so much rolling, but they are well rested.
Misace dismounts as well; he had taken Marjiam up on his saddle, and while the cameleers resettle the loads in the usual way, he approaches Jesus to bid Him goodbye once again.
«Thank you, Misace. You have saved us a lot of fatigue and time.»
«Yes. We have covered twenty miles in a short time. The camels have long legs, even if they do not amble smoothly. I do hope that the women have not suffered too much because of that.»
All the women reassure him that they are well rested and have not suffered.
«You are now six miles from Arbela. May Heaven accompany you and make your journey smooth. Goodbye, my Lord. Allow me to kiss Your holy feet. I am happy to have met You, Lord. Remember me.» Misace kisses Jesus' feet, he mounts again and his cry makes the camels rise... And the caravan leaves at a gallop on the flat road, in a cloud of dust.
«A good man! I am all bruised, but in compensation, my feet have had a rest. But how much knocking! A north wind storm on the lake is nothing in comparison! Are you laughing? But I did not have the cushions the women had. Long live my boat! It is still the cleanest and safest thing. And now let us pick up our bags and move on.»
They compete with one another in loading themselves. The winners are those who will be staying with Jesus, that is, Matthew, the Zealot, James and John, Ermasteus and Timoneus, who take everything to spare the three who will be going with the women, or rather the four, because there is also John of Endor, whose help must be very relative, owing to the poorly state he is in.
They walk fast for a few miles. When they reach the top of a low hill which acted as a screen to the west, a fertile plain appears, surrounded by a ring of hills, which are higher than the one they met previously, and in the middle of the plain there is a long isolated hill. There is a town in the plain: Arbela. They descend and are soon in the plain.
They proceed for a little while, then Jesus stops saying: «This is where we part. Let us take our food together and then we shall part. This is the cross‑road to Gadara. You will take that road. It is the shortest one and before evening you will be in the territory watched over by Chuza.»
There is not much enthusiasm... But they obey.
While taking their food Marjiam says: «Well, it is also the moment to give You this pouch. The merchant gave it to me when I was in the saddle with him. He said to me: "You will give it to Jesus before parting from Him and you will tell Him to love me as He loves you". Here it is. It was heavy here, in my tunic. It seems to be full of stones.»
«Let us see! Money is heavy! » They are all curious.
Jesus undoes the thin twisted leather strips which fasten the pouch made with gazelle leather, I think, because it looks like chamois leather, and empties its contents on His lap. Some coins roll out. But they are the least. Many small bags of very fine byssus roll out as well: little bundles tied with a thread. Beautiful hues shine through the very light linen tissue and the sun seems to light a tiny fire in each little bundle, as if they were embers under a thin veil of ash.
«What is it? Undo them, Master.»
They are all bending over Jesus Who calmly unties the knot of a little bundle shining with golden reflections: topazes of various sizes, still unrefined, sparkle freely in the sun. Another little bundle: rubies, drops of coagulated blood. Another one: a precious delightful display of green emerald chips. Another one: bits of sky in pure sapphires. Another one: languid amethysts. Another: violet indigo of beryls. Another: wonderful black onyxes... And so on for twelve little bundles. In the last one, the heaviest, a golden sparkling of chrysolites, there is a small parchment: «For Your Rational (1) of true Pontiff and King ».
Jesus' lap is a little meadow strewn with bright stripped petals... The apostles plunge their hands into that light which has become many‑coloured matter. They are bewildered...
Peter whispers: «If Judas of Kerioth were here!...»
«Be quiet! It is better that he is not » says Thaddeus resolutely.
Jesus asks for a piece of cloth to make one parcel only of the stones and He is pensive while the others continue commenting.
The apostles say: «That man was rich indeed! » and Peter makes everybody laugh exclaiming: «We have been trotting on a throne of gems. I did not think I was sitting an such splendour. I wish it had been softer! What will You do with it now? »
«I will sell it for the poor.» He looks up at the women smiling.
«And where will You find a jeweller here, who can buy those things? »
«Where? Here. Johanna, Martha, Mary, will you buy My treasure? »
The three women, without even consulting with one another, say: «Yes » impulsively. But Martha adds: «We have little money here.»
«You will let Me have it at Magdala at the new moon.»
«How much do You want, Lord? »
«For Myself, nothing. For My poor, very much.»
«Give me it. You will have very much » says the Magdalene, and she takes the purse and conceals it in her breast.
(1) The Rational was the precious pectoral of judgement worn by the High Priest when he went into the presence of Yahweh (See Exodus 28, 15‑30).
Jesus keeps only the money. He stands up. He kisses His Mother, His aunt His cousins and then he kisses Peter, John of Endor and Marjiam. He blesses the women and dismisses them. And they go away, looking back now and again, until they disappear round a bend.
Jesus goes with the rest towards Arbela. It is only a small group now, only eight people in all. They walk fast without speaking towards the town which is becoming closer and closer.
294. At Arbela.
4th October 1945.
The very first person they approach when inquiring about Philip of Jacob makes them realise how much work the young disciple has done. The person they asked is a little old wrinkled woman, who is carrying with difficulty a jug full of water. Gazing with her little deep‑set eyes at the handsome face of John who asked her the question, after greeting her «Peace be with you » so gently as to enrapture her, she says: «Are you the Messiah? »
«No. But I am His disciple. He is coming, He is over there.»
The old woman puts her jug on the ground and hobbles in the direction pointed out to her and kneels down in front of Jesus.
John, who has remained with Simon near the pitcher which has turned over spilling half of its contents, says to his companion smiling: «We had better pick up this jug and join the old woman.» He does so while his companion adds: «We can use it to drink. We are all thirsty.»
When they reach the old woman ‑ who not knowing what to say exactly continues to repeat: «Lovely, holy Son of the most holy Mother » still on her knees and drinking in with her eyes the figure of Jesus, Who smiles at her repeating in His turn: «Stand up, mother » ‑ when they reach her, John says to her: «We have taken your jug. But it turned over and there is little water left in it. If you give it to us, we will drink this water and then we will fill the jug for you.».
«Yes, my sons, of course. And I am sorry that I have but water for you. I wish I had milk in my breast as when I fed my Judas, in order to give you the sweetest thing there is on the earth: the milk of a mother. I would like to have wine, choice wine, to strengthen you. But Marianne of Elisha is old and poor...»
«Your water is wine and milk to Me, mother, because it is given with love » replies Jesus and He is the first to drink out of the jug handed to Him by John. Then the others drink.
The old woman, who has at last stood up, looks at them as if she were looking at Paradise and when, after they have all drunk, she sees that they are about to throw away the water left in the jug, to fill it at the fountain gurgling at the end of the street, she rushes forward, defending her jug and saying: «No, don't. This water is more holy than lustral water, as He drank out of it. I will keep it carefully so that I may be cleansed with it when I die.» And she seizes her jug saying: «I will take it home. I have some more and I will fill them. But come first, o Holy One, that I may show You Philip's house » and she trots along swiftly, all bent, with a smile on her wrinkled face and her little eyes shining with joy. She trots along holding the hem of Jesus' mantle in her hand, as if she were afraid He might run away from her, and she defends her jug from the insistent apostles, who do not want her to carry that weight. She trots along blissfully, looking at the street and the houses in Arbela, the former deserted, the latter already closed as it is getting dark, and she looks like a conquerer, happy in her victory.
Finally, they pass from the side street into a more central one, where there are people hastening home ‑ and the people watch her spellbound, pointing at her and questioning her ‑ and, after waiting to have a circle of people around her, she shouts: «I have here Philip's Messiah. Run and tell everybody and first of all Jacob's household. So that they may be ready to honour the Saint.» She shouts at the top of her voice. She can make herself obeyed. It is the moment of authority of a poor, lonely, unknown little old woman of the people. And she sees the whole town deeply moved by her command.
Jesus, so much taller than she is, smiles at her when she looks at Him now and again and He lays His hand on her venerable head, in a filial caress which overwhelms her with happiness.
Jacob's house is in a central street. It is open and lit up and through the door one can see a long hall in which there are people holding lights, and they rush out joyfully as soon as Jesus appears in the street: the young disciple Philip, his father and mother, relatives, servants and friends.
Jesus stops and replies gravely to Jacob's deep bow, He then bends over Philip's mother who has knelt down to revere Him, and He makes her stand up blessing her and saying: «Be always happy because of your faith.» He then greets the disciple who has come with the other man who was with him, and whom Jesus greets as well.
Old Marianne, however, does not leave the hem of the mantle or her place beside Jesus until they are about to enter the entrance hall. She then whispers: «Bless me that I may be happy! You will now stay here... I am going to my poor house and... and this beautiful thing is all over! » How much regret there is in her ageing voice!
Jacob, to whom his wife has spoken in a low voice, says: «No, Marianne of Elisha. Stay in my house as if you were a disciple. Stay as long as the Master will be with us and be thus happy.»
«May God bless you, man. You know what charity is.»
«Master... she brought You to my house. You have brought me grace and love. I am only giving back, and in a poor way, what I have received from You and from her so abundantly. Come in, and let my house welcome You.»
The crowds outside in the street see them go in and shout: «And what about us? We want to hear His word.»
Jesus turns round: «It is night and you are tired. Prepare your souls through a holy rest and tomorrow you will hear the Voice of God. For the time being, peace and blessings be with you.» And the front door closes on the happiness of this house.
James of Zebedee watches the Lord during the purification after the journey: «Perhaps it was better to speak at once and depart at dawn. There are some Pharisees in town. Philip told me. They will vex You.»
«Those who might have been vexed by them are far away. The trouble they may cause Me is of no importance. There is love that will cancel it...»
The following morning... Jesus goes out among the joyful relatives of Philip and the apostles. The old woman follows them. He meets the people of Arbela who are patiently waiting for Him. He goes to the main square where He begins to speak.
«We read in the eighth chapter of the second book of Ezra, what I will now repeat to you: "When the seventh month came..." (Jesus says to me: "Do not write anything else. I will repeat the words of the book in full").
When does a people return to its country? When it goes back to the land of its ancestors. I have come to take you back to the land of your Father, to the Kingdom of the Father. And I can do that because I was sent for that. So I have come to take You to the Kingdom of God and it is therefore fair to compare you to those who repatriated with Zorobabel to Jerusalem, the city of the Lord, and it is fair to do with you what Ezra the scribe did with the people gathered once again within the sacred walls. Because it is incomparable foolishness to rebuild a town dedicating it to the Lord, without restoring souls, which are like as many little towns of God.
How can these little spiritual towns, dilapidated by so many events, be restored? Which materials should be used to make them solid, beautiful, lasting? The materials are in the precepts of the Lord: the ten commandments, of which you are aware, because Philip, a son of your town and My disciple, has reminded you of them. The two most holy of the holy precepts are: "Love God with your whole being. Love your neighbour as yourself". They sum up the Law. And I preach them because through them you are certain to conquer the Kingdom of God. In love you find the strength of persevering in holiness or becoming holy, the strength of forgiveness, the strength of heroism in virtue. Everything can be found in love. Fear does not save: the fear of the judgement of God, the fear of human sanctions, the fear of diseases. Fear is never constructive. It shakes, shatters, throws into disorder, it crushes. Fear leads to despair, it leads only to crafty concealment of evil‑doing, it makes one fear when fear is useless, because evil is already within us.
Who thinks of behaving wisely, for the sake of his body, when one is healthy? No one. But as soon as the first shiver of fever runs through our veins or a stain makes us think of unclean diseases, then fear becomes an added torture to the disease and it becomes a disintegrating strength in a body already broken down by illness. Love instead is constructive. It builds, solidifies, unites and preserves. Love brings hope in God. Love removes from evil-doing. Love makes man deal wisely with his own person, which is not the centre of the universe, as egotists believe and make it, the false lovers of themselves, because they love one part only: the less noble one, to the detriment of the immortal and holy part; but which it is our duty to preserve healthy, as long as God so wishes, in order to be useful to ourselves, to our relatives, to our town and to the whole country.
Diseases inevitably come. It is not true that every disease is the consequence of vice or punishment. There are holy diseases sent by the Lord to His just people, so that in the world, which considers itself the end and the means of pleasure, there may be holy people who are like war‑hostages for the safety of others, and they pay personally expiating through their suffering, the portion of guilt which the world daily accumulates and which would end by crashing on Mankind, burying it under its malediction.
Do you remember old Moses praying while Joshua was fighting in the name of the Lord? You must consider that those who suffer holily, give the greatest battle to the fiercest warrior there is in the world, concealed under the appearances of men and peoples, to Satan, the Torturer, the Origin of all evils, and they fight on behalf of all men. But how much difference there is between such holy diseases sent by God, and those caused by vice through a sinful love of senses! The former are a proof of God's merciful will; the latter are a proof of diabolical corruption. It is therefore necessary to love, in order to be holy, because love creates, preserves and sanctifies.
Like Nehemiah and Ezra, I also, announcing this truth, say to you: "This day is sacred to the Lord our God. Do not be mournful, do not weep". Because all mourning ends, when one lives the day of the Lord. The harshness of death comes to an end, because the loss of a son, of a husband, a father, mother or brother becomes a temporary and limited separation. Temporary because it ends with our death. Limited because it is confined to the body and sense. Our soul does not lose anything when a relative of ours dies. Its freedom is limited in one party only, in us, as survivors with our souls still enclosed in the flesh, while the other party, the one who has passed to second life, enjoys the liberty and power to watch over us and obtain for us much more than when it loved us from the prison of its body.
Like Nehemiah and Ezra I say to you: "Go, eat the fat meat, drink the sweet wine and send a portion to the man who has none, for this day is sacred to the Lord, and therefore nobody must suffer during it. Do not be sad, because the joy of the Lord Who is among you, is the stronghold of those who receive the grace of the Most High Lord within their walls and in their hearts".
You can no longer erect Tabernacles. Their time is over. But erect spiritual ones in your hearts. Climb the mountain, that is, rise towards Perfection. Gather branches of olive, myrtle, palm, oak, hyssop and of every beautiful tree. Branches of the virtues of peace, purity, heroism, mortification, strength, hope, justice, of all virtues. Adorn your souls celebrating the feast of the Lord. His Tabernacles are awaiting you. His. And they are beautiful, holy, eternal, open to all those who live in the Lord. And together with Me, decide today to do penance for the past and to begin a new life.
Do not be afraid of the Lord. He calls you because He loves you. Be not afraid. You are His children like everybody in Israel. Also for you He created the Universe and Heaven, He sent Abraham and Moses, He opened the sea, He created the guiding cloud, He descended from Heaven to give the Law, and He opened the clouds that they might rain manna, and He made the rocks fruitful that they might give water. And now for you also He is sending the living Bread of Heaven to satisfy your hunger and the true Vine and the Fountain of eternal Life to quench your thirst. And through My lips He says to you: "Enter and possess the Land over which I have raised My hand to give it to you". My spiritual Land: the Kingdom of Heaven.»
The crowds exchange enthusiastic words... Then it is the turn of sick people. There are so many. Jesus has them lined up in two rows, and while this is being done, He asks Philip of Arbela: «Why did you not cure them? »
«That they might have what I had: to be cured by You.»
Jesus passes blessing the sick people one by one and the usual prodigy is repeated: the blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, cripples stand straight, fever and weakness cease.
The healing is over. At the end, after the last sick person, there are the two Pharisees who went to Bozrah together with two more. «Peace to You, Master. Are You not saying anything to us? »
«I spoke to everybody.»
«But we do not need those words. We are the saints of Israel.»
«To you, who are masters, I say: comment upon the subsequent chapter, the ninth of the second book of Ezra, remembering how many times so far God has had mercy on you, and repeat the end of the chapter, as if it were a prayer, beating your chests.»
«Quite right, Master, quite right. And do Your disciples do it? »
«They do. It is the first thing I exact of them.»
«All of them? Also the murderers who are in Your group? »
«Does blood smell bad to you? »
«It is a voice crying to Heaven.»
«Then do not imitate those who shed it.»
«We are not assassins! »
Jesus gazes at them piercing them with His eyes. They dare not add one word for some time. But they follow the group which goes back to the house of Philip, who feels bound to invite them to enter and join in the banquet.
«With great pleasure! We will stay longer with the Master » they say bowing very low.
But once in the house they behave like bloodhounds... They watch, they peek, they ask the servants astute questions, and they approach even the old woman, who seems to be attracted by Jesus as iron is by a magnet. But she replies promptly: «Yesterday I saw these only. You must be dreaming. I brought them here, and there was only one John: that fair‑haired boy who is as good as an angel.»
They fulminate against the old woman and turn elsewhere. But a servant, without replying to them directly, bends over Jesus, Who is sitting speaking to the landlord, and asks Him: «Where is John of Endor? This gentleman is looking for him.»
The Pharisee casts a withering glance at the servant and stigmatises him as a «fool ». But Jesus is now aware of their intentions and it is necessary to remedy in the best possible manner. The Pharisee says: «It was to congratulate You, Master, on this wonder of Your doctrine and honour You through the convert.»
«John is far away for good and he will be farther and farther away.»
«Has he relapsed into sin? »
«No. He is ascending towards Heaven. Imitate him, and you will find him in the next life.»
The four do not know what to say and they wisely change the subject. The servants announce that the meal is ready and they all go into the dining‑room.
295. Going to Aera.
6th October 1945.
Arbela also is now far away. In the group there are also Philip of Arbela and the other disciple, whose name I hear is Mark.
The road is muddy because of the heavy rain. The sky is overcast. A little river, but quite worthy of this name, crosses the road to Aera. Swollen with the rain which has stormed in this area it is certainly not sky‑blue; it is reddish yellow as if the water had been flowing through ferrous ground.
«The weather is now bad. You did the right thing in sending the women away. It is no longer the season for them to be on the roads » states James sententiously.
And Simon the Zealot, who is always calm in his devotion to the Master, proclaims: «Everything He does, the Master does well. He is not dull like us. He sees and arranges everything for the best, and more to our behalf than to His own.»
John, who is happy to be beside Him, looks up at Him with a smiling face and exclaims: «You are the dearest and best Master the earth ever had, has or will have, besides being the most holy.»
«Those Pharisees... What a disappointment! Also the bad weather has helped to convince them that John of Endor was not there. But why are they so hostile to him? » asks Ermasteus, who is very fond of John of Endor.
Jesus replies: «Their hatred is not against him or because of him. He is an implement which they manoeuvre against Me.»
Philip of Arbela says: «Well the rain has more than convinced them that it was useless to wait for and suspect John of Endor. Long live the rain! It served also to keep You in my house for five days.»
«I wonder how worried those at Aera are! It is surprising that my brother has not come to meet us » says Andrew.
«Meet us? He will be following us » remarks Matthew.
«No. He was taking the road along the lake. Because he was going from Gadara to the lake and by boat to Bethsaida to see his wife and tell her that the boy is at Nazareth and that he will be soon going back. From Bethsaida through Merom he will take the road to Damascus for a little while, and then the road to Aera. He is certainly at Aera.»
There is silence. Then John says smiling: «But that little old woman, Lord! »
«I thought that You were going to grant her the joy of dying on Your chest, as You did with Saul of Kerioth » remarks Simon Zealot.
«I have loved her even more. Because I will wait to call her to Me, when the Christ is about to open the gates of Heaven. The little mother will not have to wait long for Me. She now lives with her remembrance, and with the assistance of your father, Philip, her life will not be so sad. I bless you and your relatives once again.»
John's joy is darkened by a cloud thicker than the ones in the sky. Jesus notices it and asks: «Are you not glad that the old woman will soon be coming to Paradise? »
«Yes... but I am not as it means that You will be going... Why die, Lord? »
«Those who are born of woman, die.»
«Will You have her only? »
«Oh! no! How joyfully will those proceed, whom I save as God, and whom I loved as man...»
They cross two more little rivers, one close to the other. It is beginning to rain on the flat region which stretches in front of the pilgrims after they have climbed the hills at the junction with the road, which follows a valley and runs northwards. A mighty mountain chain appears to the north, or rather to the north‑west, but more north than west, with many clouds piling on the mountain tops, forming almost unreal new tops on the real ones, covered with woods on the sides and with snow on the peaks. But the chain is very far away.
«There is water down here, and snow up there. That is the chain of the Hermon. It has covered its summit with a large white blanket. If there is sunshine at Aera, you will see how beautiful it looks when the sun tinges the high peak with pink » says Timoneus, who is urged by the love for his fatherland to praise the beauty of the country.
«But it is raining now. Is Aera still far? » asks Matthew.
«Yes, very. We shall not be there until this evening.»
«In that case, may God save us from aches and pains » concludes Matthew, who is not very keen on walking in such weather.
They are all wrapped up in their mantles, under which they hold their travelling sacks to protect them from dampness, so that they may change their clothes on arrival, as the ones they are wearing are dripping wet and the bottom parts are heavy with mud.
Jesus is ahead of them, engrossed in thought. The others are nibbling at their pieces of bread and John says jokingly: «There is no need to look for fountains to quench our thirst. It is enough to hold sore heads back and open our mouths and the angels will give us water.»
Ermasteus, who being young is like Philip of Arbela and John so lucky as to take everything humorously, says: «Simon of Jonah was complaining of the camels. But I would rather be on one of those towers shaken by an earthquake than in this mud. What do you think? »
And John: «I say that I am comfortable everywhere, providing Jesus is there...»
The three young men go on talking incessantly. The four older ones quicken their steps and reach Jesus. The remaining couple, that is, Timoneus and Mark follow the rest speaking...
«Master, Judas of Simon will be at Aera...» says Andrew.
«Of course. And Thomas, Nathanael and Philip will be with him.»
«Master... I will regret these peaceful days » says James with a sigh.
«You must not say that, James.»
«I know... But I cannot help it...» and he draws another deep sigh.
«There will be also Simon Peter with My brothers. Does that not make you happy? »
«It does, very much! Master, why is Judas of Simon so different from us? »
«Why do rain and sunshine, warm and cold, light and darkness alternate? »
«Because it is not possible to have the same situation all the time. Life would come to an end on the earth.»
«Quite right, James.»
«Yes, but that has got nothing to do with Judas.»
«Tell Me. Why are all the stars not like the sun, that is, huge, warm, beautiful, mighty? »
«Because... because the earth would go on fire with so much heat.»
«Why are the trees not all like those walnut‑trees? By trees I mean all vegetables.»
«Because animals would not be able to eat of them.»
«Well, why are they not all like grass? »
«Because... we would have no wood to light fires, to build houses, to make tools, carts, boats, furniture.»
«Why are the birds not all eagles, and the animals are not all elephants or camels? »
«We would be in a mess if it were so! »
«So, do you think that such varieties are a good thing? »
«So you think... Why, according to you, did God make them? »
«To give us all possible help.»
«So, for a good purpose. Are you sure? »
«As I am sure that I am now alive.»
«Well, if you consider that it is right that there should be different kinds of animals, vegetables and stars, why do you expect all men to be alike? Each man has his mission and his temperament. Do you think that the infinite variety of species is a sign of the power or powerlessness of the Creator? »
«Of His power. One species enhances another.»
«Very well. Judas also serves the same purpose, as you do with your companions, and your companions with you. You have thirty‑two teeth in your mouth and if you examine them carefully, you will see that one is quite different from another. Not only in their three basic groups, but each individually in its group. And consider their task when you eat. You will see that also those which seem of little use and to be doing little work, are instead the ones which fulfil the first task of breaking the bread and conveying it to others which crunch it and then pass it to others which turn it into soft pulp. Is it not so? You think that Judas does nothing or does wrong. I remind you that he evangelized southern Judaea very well, and, as you said yourself, he is very tactful with Pharisees.»
«That is true.»
Matthew remarks: «He is also very clever in collecting money for the poor. He can ask for it better than I can... Probably because money disgusts me now.»
Simon Zealot bends his head and he blushes so much that his face turns crimson.
Andrew notices it and asks him: «Are you not feeling well? »
«No... Fatigue... I don't know.»
Jesus gazes at him and he blushes more and more. But Jesus does not say anything.
Timoneus comes forward running: «Master, over there you can see the village before Aera. We can stop there or get some donkeys.»
«The rain is now ceasing. It is better to go on.»
«As You wish, Master. But, if You allow, I will go ahead.»
«You may go.»
Timoneus runs away with Mark. And Jesus remarks smiling: «He wants us to have a triumphal entrance.»
They are all together in a group once again. Jesus lets them get excited talking about the difference of regions and He then withdraws to the rear of the group taking the Zealot with Him. As soon as they are alone He asks: «Why did you blush, Simon? »
The apostle turns crimson again but does not reply. Jesus repeats His question. Simon blushes more and more but remains silent. Jesus asks him once again.
«My Lord, You already know! Why do You want me to tell You? » shouts the Zealot sorrowfully, as if he were tortured.
«Are you certain? »
«He did not deny it. But he said: "I do so because I am provident. I have common sense. The Master never thinks of the future". Which we can say is true. But... it is always... it is always... Master, tell me the right word.»
«It is always a proof that Judas is only a "man". He cannot elevate himself to be a spirit. But, you are all more or less alike. You are afraid of silly things. You worry about useless providence. You cannot believe that Providence is powerful and always present. Well: let us keep that to ourselves. All right? »
There is silence. Then Jesus says: «We shall soon be going back to the lake... A little concentration after so much travelling will be lovely. You and I will be going to Nazareth for some time, towards the feast of the Dedication. You are alone... The others will be with their families. You will stay with Me.»
«My Lord, Judas, Thomas and Matthew are also alone.»
«Do not worry about that. Everyone will celebrate the festivity in his own family. Matthew has a sister. You are alone. Unless you want to go to Lazarus...»
«No, Lord » exclaims Simon. «No. I love Lazarus. But to be with You is to be in Paradise. Thank You, Lord » and he kisses Jesus' hand.
They have just left the little village behind when, in another heavy shower Timoneus and Mark appear on the flooded road shouting: «Stop! Simon Peter is coming with some donkeys. I met him on the way. He has been coming for three days to this place with the donkeys, always in the rain.»
They stop under a thicket of oak‑trees which shelter them somewhat from the downpour. And then Peter appears riding a donkey and leading a line of donkeys; he looks like a friar under the blanket which covers his head and shoulders.
«May God bless You, Master! I said that He would be drenched like one who had fallen into the lake! Come on, quick, all of you, mount the donkeys, because Aera has been on fire for three days, as the people have kept the fireplaces lit to dry You! Quick... Look what a state He is in! But you... could you not keep Him back? Ah! if I am not there! But I say: just look at that! His hair is hanging as if he were drowned. You must be frozen. In all this rain! How thoughtless! And what about you all? You reckless ones! And you first of all, my stupid brother, and all the rest of you. How pretty you all look! You are like sacks soaked in a pond. Come on, quick. I will never trust Him to you again. I am almost dying with horror...»
«And with talking, Simon » says Jesus calmly while His donkey trots along beside Peter's at the head of the caravan of donkeys. Jesus repeats: «And with talking. And with talking uselessly. You have not told Me whether the others have arrived. Whether the women left. Whether your wife is well. You have told Me nothing.»
«I will tell You everything. But why did You leave in all this rain? »
«And why did you come? »
«Because I was anxious to see You, my Master.»
«Because I was anxious to join you, My Simon.»
«Oh! My dear Master! How much I love You! Wife, boy, house? They are nothing, nothing is beautiful without You. Do You believe that I love You so much? »
«I do. I know who you are, Simon.»
«A big boy full of little faults, under which so many lovely qualities are buried. But one is not buried. And that is your honesty in everything. Well, who was there at Aera? »
«Your brothers Judas and James, Judas of Kerioth with the others. Judas seems to have done a lot of good. Everybody praises him...»
«Did he ask you any questions? »
«Oh! So many! I did not reply to any of them, I said that I did not know anything. In fact, what do I know, except that I took the women as far as Gadara? You know... I did not tell him anything about John of Endor. He thinks that John is with You. You ought to tell the others.»
«No. Like you, they do not know where John is. There is no point in saying anything else. But all these donkeys!... For three days!... What an expense! And the poor? »
«The poor... Judas has loads of money and he sees to them. The donkeys cost me nothing. The people of Aera would have given me a thousand for You, without any charge. I had to raise my voice against them to avoid coming here with an army of donkeys. Timoneus is right. Everybody believes in You here. They are better than we are...» and he sighs.
«Simon, Simon! In Trans‑Jordan they honoured us; a galley-slave, some heathen women, prostitutes, women gave you a lesson in perfection. Remember that, Simon of Jonah. Always.»
«I will try, Lord. Here are the first people from Aera. Look how many! There is the mother of Timoneus. There are Your brothers among the crowds. There are the disciples whom You sent ahead of those who came with Judas of Kerioth. And there is the richest man in Aera with his servants. He wanted You to stay in his house. But Timoneus' mother asserted her rights and You will be staying with her. Look, look! They are irritated because the rain is putting out their torches. There are many sick people, You know. They remained in town, near the gates, to see You at once. A man who owns a timber store sheltered them under the sheds. The poor people have been there for three days, since we arrived and we were surprised that You were not here.»
The shouts of the crowds prevent Peter from going on speaking, so he becomes quiet riding beside Jesus like an equerry. The crowds, whom they have now reached, part and Jesus passes through them on his little donkey, blessing them unceasingly.
They enter the town.
«To the sick people at once » says Jesus, Who pays no attention to the protestations of those who would like to take Him into their houses to give Him food and warmth, lest He might suffer too much. «They suffer more than I do » He replies.
They turn right and there is the rustic enclosure of the timber store. The door is wide open and complaining lamentations can be heard through it: «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us! »
It is an imploring chorus as unchanging as a litany: voices of children, of women, of men, of old people. They are as sad as the bleating of suffering lambs, as melancholy as the voices of dying mothers, as dejected as the voices of those who have but one hope left, as trembling as the voices of those who can but weep...
Jesus enters the enclosure. He stands up as much as He can in the stirrups and with His right hand up He says with His powerful voice: «To all those who believe in Me, health and blessing.»
He sits in the saddle once again and is about to go back to the road, but the crowds press Him and the cured people throng round Him. And in the light of the torches, which burn in the shelter of the sheds and illuminate the twilight, the crowds can be seen acclaiming the Lord in a frenzy of joy. And the Lord disappears in a flowery collection of cured children, whom mothers have put on His arms, on His lap and even on the neck of the little donkey, holding them so that they might not fall. Jesus' arms are full of them, as if they were flowers, and He smiles happily, kissing them as He cannot bless them, since His arms are engaged in supporting them. The children are then taken away, and it is the turn of the old people who have also been cured and are now weeping out of joy; they kiss His mantle and are followed by the men and women...
It is dark when He can enter Timoneus' house and rest near the fire wearing dry clothes.
296. Jesus Preaches at Aera.
7th October 1945.
Jesus is speaking in the main square at Aera:
«...And I am not going to tell you, as I did elsewhere, the first and essential things you must know and do to be saved. You know them very well, through the work of Timoneus, a wise head of the synagogue of the old Law, who is now most wise, because he renews it in the light of the new Law. But I want to warn you against a danger which you cannot see in your present state of mind. The danger of being diverted by pressure and insinuations aiming at detaching you from the faith you have now in Me. I will leave Timoneus with you for some time. And with other disciples he will explain to you the words of the Book in the new light of my Truth which he has embraced. But before leaving you, and after scanning your hearts and seeing that they are willing, humble and sincere in their love, I want to comment with you upon a point of the fourth book of Kings.
When Hezekiah, king of Judah, was attacked by Sennacherib, the three great men of the hostile king came to him to terrorise him, pointing out to him the alliances which had been broken off and the armies which were already surrounding him. Eliakim, Shebnah and Joah replied to the words of the powerful messengers saying: "Speak to us in such a way that the people may not understand you" so that the terrorised people might not ask for peace. But that was what the messengers of Sennacherib wanted, and at the top of their voices they said in perfect Hebrew: "Do not let Hezekiah delude you... Do with us what is useful to you and surrender and everyone of you will eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig‑tree and drink the water of his own cistern until we come and deport you to a country like your own, a land of corn and good wine, a land abounding in bread and vineyards, a land of olive‑trees, of oil and of honey, and you will live and will not die..." And it is written: "The people did not reply, because the king had ordered them not to reply".
Now, out of pity for your souls besieged by forces which are even fiercer than those of Sennacherib, who was able to harm bodies but could not damage souls, whereas war is declared to your souls by a hostile army led by the fiercest and most cruel despot there is in creation, I prayed his messengers, who, in order to damage Me through you, endeavour to terrorise both Me and you threatening dreadful punishments, I prayed saying: "Speak to Me only. But leave in peace the souls which are now being born to the Light. Vex Me, torture Me, accuse Me, kill Me, but do not rage against these children of the Light. They are still weak. One day they will be strong. But now they are weak. Do not be merciless towards them. Do not be merciless against the freedom of souls to choose their own way. Do not be pitiless towards the right of God of calling to Himself those who seek Him in their simple love".
But can one who hates yield to the prayer of him whom one hates? Can one seized by hatred know what love is? No. So with fiercer harshness and cruelty they will come and say to you: "Do not let the Christ delude you. Come with us and you will have all good things". And they will say to you: "Woo betide you if you follow Him. You will be persecuted". And they will urge you with insincere kindness: "Save your souls. He is Satan". They will say so many things against Me, to persuade you to abandon the Light.
I say to you: "Reply to the tempters with your silence". When the Strength of the Lord descends into the hearts of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Saviour, then you will be able to speak, because you will not speak, but the very Spirit of God will speak through your lips, and your souls will be firm in Grace, strong and invincible in Faith.
Be persevering. That is all I ask of you. Remember that God cannot agree to the witchcraft of His enemy. Let your sick people, those who have been comforted and whose souls have received peace, speak among you, only through their presence, of Him Who came among you to say to you: "Persevere in My love and in My doctrine and you will receive the Kingdom of Heaven". My works speak even more than My words, and although it is perfect blessedness to be able to believe without the need of any proof, I let you see the wonders of God, so that you may be fortified in your faith. When your intelligence is tempted by the enemies of the Light, reply to them with the words of your souls: "I believe because I have seen God in His works". Reply to the enemies by means of an active silence. And with those two replies, proceed towards the Light. May peace be always with you.»
And He dismisses them and then leaves the square.
«Why did You speak so little to them, Lord? Timoneus might be. disappointed » says Nathanael.
«He will not, because he is just and he understands that to warn one of a danger is to love one with greater love. That danger is really present.»
«Always the Pharisees, eh? » asks Matthew.
«Those and others.»
«Are You downhearted, Lord? » asks John worriedly.
«No. Not more than usual...»
«And yet You were happier during the past days...»
«It may be sadness due to the absence of the disciples. But why did You send them away? Do You perhaps wish to go on travelling? » asks the Iscariot.
«No. This is the last place. We will go home from here. But it was not possible for the women to proceed in this weather. They have done a great deal. They must do no more.»
«And what about John? »
«John is ill, and is in a hospitable house, as you were.»
Jesus then takes leave of Timoneus and other disciples who will be remaining in that area and to whom He has certainly given instructions for the future, because He does not give any further advice.
They are at the door of Timoneus' house, because Jesus wanted to bless the landlady once more. The crowds look at Him respectfully and follow Him when He sets out again towards the outskirts, the vegetable gardens and the open country. The more persevering people follow Him for a little while, in a group which becomes thinner and thinner, until only nine people are left, then five, three, finally one... And the last one, too, turns round and goes back to Aera, while Jesus walks westwards, with only the twelve apostles, because Ermasteus remained with Timoneus.
«And the journey, the second long apostolic journey is over. We now go back to the well‑known countryside of Galilee.
Poor Mary, you are more exhausted than John of Endor. I authorise you to omit the descriptions of the places. We have given so much to curious searchers. And they will always be "curious searchers". Nothing else. That is enough now. Your strength is diminishing. Keep it for the word. I notice the uselessness of so much labour of yours, with the same spirit with which I noticed the uselessness of so much of My toil. That is why I say to you: "Spare yourself for the word". You are the "mouthpiece". Oh! One must really repeat for you the saying: "We played the pipes for you and you would not sing, we sang dirges and you would not be mourners". You repeated My words only, and difficult doctors turned up their noses. You added your descriptions to My words, and they find faults with them. And they will find more to object. And you are worn out. I will tell you when you are to describe the journey. I, and no one else.
I have struck you for almost one year. But before the year is over, do you wish to rest once again on My Heart? Come then, little martyr...»
297. The Little Orphans Mary and Matthias.
8th October 1945.
I see the lake of Merom again, in a dull wet day... Mud and clouds. Silence and fog. The horizon disappears in the fog. The Hermon chains are buried under blankets of low clouds. But from the place where I am ‑ a high tableland near the little lake, which is grey and yellowish because of the mud of a thousand swollen little streams and because of the November overcast sky ‑ one has a good view of this little sheet of water fed by the High Jordan, which flows out of it to feed the larger lake of Gennesaret.
It is getting dark and the evening is becoming more and more gloomy and wet while Jesus walks along the road which crosses the Jordan after lake Merom, and He then takes a lane towards a house...
(Jesus says: «You will put here the vision of the little orphans Matthias and Mary, which you saw on August 20th, 1944.»)
20th August 1944.
Another sweet vision of Jesus and two children. I say so because I see that Jesus, while passing along a path between fields which must have been sown recently, because the soil is still soft and dark as it looks just after being sown, stops to caress two children: a little boy not more than four years old and a little girl about eight or nine. They must be very poor children because they are wearing poor faded garments, which are also torn and their faces are sad and thin.
Jesus does not ask any questions. He only gazes at them while He caresses them. He then hastens towards a house at the end of the path. It is a country house, well built, with an outside staircase leading from the ground up to a terrace on which there is a vine pergola, now bare of grapes and leaves. Only an odd yellow leaf hangs swinging in the damp wind of a bad autumn day. Some doves are cooing on the parapet of the house waiting for the rain which the overcast sky is promising.
Jesus, followed by His apostles, pushes the little rustic gate of the low rubble wall surrounding the house, and enters the yard, which we would rather call a threshing‑floor, where there is a well and a stone‑oven in a corner. I suppose that is what the little closet is, the walls of which are black with smoke, which is coming out even now and is blown towards the ground by the wind.
Hearing the sound of footsteps a woman looks out of the closet and when she sees Jesus she greets Him joyfully and runs to inform the people in the house.
An elderly stout man comes to the door of the house and hastens towards Jesus. «It is a great honour, Master, to see You! » he exclaims greeting Him.
Jesus greets him: «Peace be with you » and adds: «It is getting dark and it is about to rain. I beg you to give shelter and a piece of bread to Me and My disciples.»
«Come in, Master. My house is Yours. The maid‑servant is about to take the bread out of the oven. I am happy to offer it to You with the cheese of my sheep and the fruit of my fields. Come in, because the wind is cold and damp...» and he kindly holds the door open and bows when Jesus passes. But he suddenly changes tone addressing somebody he sees and he says wrathfully: «Are you still here? Go away. There is nothing for you. Go away. Have you understood? There is no room here for vagabonds...» And he mumbles: «...and perhaps thieves like you.»
A thin weeping voice replies: «Have mercy, sir. At least a piece of bread for my little brother. We are hungry...»
Jesus, Who had gone into the large kitchen, which is cosy because of the big fire which serves also as a light, comes to the threshold. His countenance has already changed. With a severe and sad expression He asks, not the host, but in general, He seems to be asking the silent yard, the bare fig‑tree, the dark well: «Who is it that is hungry? »
«I, sir. I and my brother. Just a piece of bread and we shall go away.»
Jesus is by now outside, where it is getting darker and darker because of the twilight and the impending rain. «Come here » He says.
«I am afraid, sir! »
«Come, I tell you. Do not be afraid of Me.»
The poor girl appears from behind the corner of the house. Her little brother is holding on to her shabby little tunic. They look timidly at Jesus and with fear in their eyes at the landlord, who casts a nasty look at them and says: «They are vagabonds, Master. And thieves. Only a little while ago I found her scraping near the oil‑mill. She certainly wanted to go and steal something. I wonder where they come from. They do not belong to this area.»
Jesus pays little or no attention to him. He gazes at the little girl's emaciated face and untidy plaits, two pigtails beside her ears, tied at the ends with strips of a rag. But Jesus' countenance is not severe while He looks at the poor wretch. He is sad, but He smiles to encourage her. «Is it true that you wanted to steal? Tell Me the truth.»
«No, sir. I asked for a little bread, because I am hungry. They did not give me any. I saw an oily crust over there, on the ground, near the oil‑mill and I went there to pick it up. I am hungry, sir. I was given only one piece of bread yesterday and I kept it for Matthias... Why did they not put us into the grave with our mother? » The little girl weeps desolately and her little brother imitates her.
«Do not weep.» Jesus comforts her caressing her and drawing her close to Himself. «Tell Me: where are you from? »
«From the plain of Esdraelon.»
«And have you come so far? »
«Has your mother been dead long? Have you no father? »
«My father died killed by sunstroke at harvest time and my mother died last month... and the baby she was giving birth to died with her...» She weeps more and more.
«Have you no relative? »
«We come from so far! We were not poor... Then my father had to work as a servant. But he is now dead and mother with him.»
«Who was his master? »
«Ishmael, the Pharisee.»
«Ishmael, the Pharisee! (it is not possible to describe how Jesus repeats that name). Did you come away of your own will, or did he send you away? »
«He sent me away, sir. He said: "The street is the place for starving dogs".»
«And you, Jacob, why did you not give some bread to these children? Some bread, a little milk and a handful of hay on which they might rest their tired bodies?...»
«But... Master... I have just enough bread for myself... and there is only little milk in the house... They are like stray animals. If you treat them kindly, they will not go away any more...»
«And you have no room and food for these two unhappy children? Can you truthfully say that? The rich crops, the plenty wine, the much oil and fruit which made your estate famous this year, why did they come to you? Do you remember? The previous year hail destroyed your crops and you were worried about your future life... I came and I asked for some bread. You had heard Me speak one day and you remained faithful to Me... and in your affliction you opened your heart and your house to Me and you gave Me bread and shelter. And what did I say to you going out the following morning? "Jacob, you have understood the Truth. Be always merciful and you will receive mercy. Because of the bread you gave the Son of man, these fields will give you rich crops and your olive‑trees will be laden with olives like the grains of sand on the sea shore and the branches of your apple‑trees will bend towards the ground". You received all that and this year you are the richest man in the district. And you refuse two children a piece of bread!...»
«But You were the Rabbi...»
«And because I was, I could have turned stones into bread. They cannot. I now say to you: you shall see a new miracle and you shall regret it very sorely... But beating your chest then say: "I deserved it".»
Jesus turns to the children: «Do not weep. Go to that tree and pick the fruit.»
«But it is bare, sir » objects the little girl.
The girl goes and comes back with her dress lifted up and full of beautiful red apples.
«Eat of them and come with Me » and to the apostles: «Let us go and take these two little ones to Johanna of Chuza. She remembers the benefits she received and out of love she is merciful to those who were merciful to her. Let us go.»
The dumbfounded and mortified man endeavours to be forgiven: «It is night, Master. It may rain while You are on the way. Come back into my house. There is the maid‑servant going to take the bread out of the oven... I will give You some also for them.»
«It is not necessary. You would give it for fear of the punishment I promised you, not out of love.»
«So is this not the miracle? » (and he points at the apples picked on the bare tree and which the two starving children are eating greedily).
«No.» Jesus is most severe.
«Oh! Lord, have mercy on me! I understand. You want to punish me in the crops! Have mercy, Lord! »
«Not all those who call Me "Lord" will have Me, because love and respect are not testified by words, but by deeds. You will receive the mercy which you had.»
«I love You, my Lord.»
«That is not true. He loves Me who loves his neighbour. That is what I taught. You love but yourself. When you love Me as I taught, the Lord will come back. I am now going. My abode is to do good, to comfort the afflicted, to wipe the tears of orphans. As a mother hen stretches its wings over the helpless chicks, so I spread My power over those who suffer and are tormented. Come, children. You will soon have a home and bread. Goodbye, Jacob.»
And not satisfied with going away, he orders the apostles to take up the tired girl: Andrew takes her up in his arms and envelops her in his mantle, while Jesus takes the little boy and they thus proceed along the path which is now dark, with their pitiful loads which no longer weep.
Peter says: «Master! These children were very lucky that You arrived. But for Jacob!... What will You do, Master? »
«Justice. He will not starve, because his granaries are well stocked for a long time. But he will suffer shortage, because the seed he sows will yield no corn and his olive and apple‑trees will be covered with leaves only. These innocent children have received bread and shelter from the Father, not from Me. Because My Father is the Father of orphans also. And He gives nests and food to the birds of forests. These children and all poor wretches with them, the poor wretches who are His "innocent and loving children" can say that God put food in their little hands and leads them with fatherly love to a hospitable home.»
The vision ends thus and I am left with a great peace.
«This is just for you, o soul which weeps looking at the crosses of the past and at the clouds of the future. The Father will always have bread to put in your hand and a nest to shelter His weeping dove.
The lesson that I am the "Just Lord" applies to everybody. And I am not deceived or adulated by false homage. He who closes his heart to his brother, closes it to God and God to him.
Men, it is the first commandment: Love and love. He who does not love lies in professing to be a Christian. It is useless to frequent the Sacraments and rites, it is useless to pray if one lacks charity. They become formulae and even sacrileges. How can you come to the eternal Bread and satisfy your hunger with it, when you have denied a starving person a piece of bread? Is your bread more precious than Mine? Is it more holy? O hypocrites! I put no limit in giving Myself to your misery, and you, who are misery itself, have no pity on the miseries which, in the eyes of God, are not so hideous as yours. Because those are misfortunes, yours are sins. Too often you say to Me: "Lord, Lord", to have Me propitious to your interests. But you do not say so for your neighbour's sake. You do nothing for your neighbour in the name of the Lord. Look: what have your false religion and true lack of charity given you, both with regard to your community and to its individuals? To be abandoned by God. And the Lord will come back when you learn to love as I taught.
But I say to you, little flock of good people who suffer: "You are never orphans. You are never waifs. There would have to be no God, before His children could lack Providence. Stretch out your hands: the Father will give you everything, as a 'father', that is, with love which does not humiliate. Wipe your tears. I will take you and lead you because I have pity on your languor". Man is the best loved in creation. Can you doubt that the Father may be more merciful to birds than to faithful men, since He is indulgent towards sinners and gives them time and the opportunity to come to Him? Oh! if the world understood what God is!
Go in peace, Mary. You are as dear to Me as the two little orphans you saw, and you are even dearer. Go in peace. I am with you.»
21st August 1944.
«Mary, Mother is speaking. My Jesus has spoken of the infancy of the spirit, a necessary requisite to conquer the Kingdom. Yesterday He showed you a page of His life as a Master. You saw some children. Some poor children. Is there nothing else to be said? Yes, there is, and I am saying it to you, as I want to make you dearer and dearer to Jesus. It is a nuance in the picture which spoke to your spirit, on behalf of the spirits of many people. But it is nuances that make a picture beautiful and reveal the skill of the painter and the erudition of the observer.
I want to point out the humility of My Jesus to you.
That poor girl, in her ignorant simplicity, does not treat the hard‑hearted sinner differently from My Son. She is not aware of the Rabbi or the Messiah. She has never heard Him or seen Him, because she lived, almost like a little savage in the fields and in a house where the Master was despised, in fact the Pharisee did despise My Jesus.
Her father and mother, worn out by the hateful work which their cruel master exacted, had no time and possibility of raising their heads from the clods they broke up. While they were mowing hay or cutting crops or picking fruit and grapes, or crushing olives at the mill, they may have heard people singing hosannas and may have raised their tired heads for a moment. But fear and fatigue lowered those heads at once under their yoke. And they died thinking that the world was nothing but hatred and sorrow. Whereas the world was love and wealth since the most holy feet of My Jesus trod upon it. The poor servants of a cruel master died without seeing even once the look and smile of My Jesus, without hearing His word, which gave comfort to souls, so that the poor felt as if they were rich, the hungry as if they were full, the sick as if they were healthy, the sorrowful as if they were comforted.
Jesus does not say: "I am the Lord and I say to you: do that". He remains anonymous. And the little girl, who was so ignorant that she did not understand even when she saw the miracle of the apple‑tree bare of leaves, a branch of which became laden with apples to satisfy their hunger, continues to call Him: "sir", as she called Ishmael, her master, and the cruel Jacob. She feels attracted to the good Lord, because kindness always attracts. But nothing more. She follows Him confidently. And the poor girl lost in the world and in the ignorance encouraged by the world, by the "great world of mighty pleasure‑loving people", who are keen in keeping inferiors in darkness in order to torture them more easily and exploit them more greedily, the poor girl loves Him at once instinctively.
She will learn later who was that "sir", who was as poor, as homeless and motherless as she was, who had no food, because He had left everything out of His love for men, also for her, a poor little frail girl; and she will understand that the Lord had given her miraculous fruit, to remove from her lips and from her heart the bitterness of human wickedness, which makes poor people hate mighty ones, and He had done so by means of a fruit of the Father, and not by means of a crust of bread, which was offered too late and in any case would have savoured of hardship and tears. Those apples really called to mind the apple of the Earthly Paradise. They appeared on the branch for Good and for Evil, they were the sign of redemption from all miseries, first of all from the ignorance of God, with regard to the two little orphans, and the sign of punishment for the man, who, although he already was aware of the Word, had behaved as if he were not. And she will learn from the good woman who made her welcome in Jesus' name, who was Jesus. He was her manifold Saviour: from starvation, from the inclemency of the weather, from the dangers of the world and from original sin.
But Jesus always had for her the light of that day, and He always appeared to her in that light: the good Lord, as good as in fairy‑tales, the Lord Who had caresses and gifts, the Lord Who had made her forget that she had no father, mother, home and clothes, because He had been as kind to her as a father, as sweet as a mother, He had given a home to their tired bodies and clothes to their naked limbs, with His own chest and mantle and with the assistance of other good people who were with Him. A kind fatherly light which did not fade in a stream of tears, not even when she learned that He had died tortured on a cross, not even when, a little faithful believer of the early Church, she saw how the face of her "Lord" had been disfigured by blows and thorns and she considered how He was now, in Heaven, at the right hand of the Father. A light that smiled at her in her last hour on the earth, leading her fearlessly towards her Saviour, a light that smiled once again at her, in such an ineffably sweet manner, in the splendour of Paradise.
Jesus looks also at you thus. Always think of Him as your remote namesake did and be happy to be loved by Him. Be as simple, humble, and faithful as the poor little Mary you have known. See how far she arrived, notwithstanding that she was a poor little ignorant girl of Israel: at the Heart of God. Love revealed Himself to her as He did to you and she became learned in the true Wisdom.
Have faith. Be at peace. There is no misery which My Son cannot turn into riches and there is no solitude which He cannot replenish as there is no fault which He cannot cancel. The past no longer exists, once love has cancelled it. Not even a dreadful past. Are you going to be afraid when Disma, the robber, was not? Love and be afraid of nothing.
Mother leaves you with Her blessing.»
298. Mary and Matthias Are Entrusted to Johanna of Chuza.
11th October 1945.
The lake of Tiberias is a grey sheet of water. It looks like tarnished mercury, so heavy it is in the dead calm which allows just the resemblance of tired waves, which are not successful in making foam, and stop and calm down after making a slight movement, mingling with the dull water under a dull sky.
Peter and Andrew, James and John around their respective boats on the little beach of Bethsaida, are preparing to sail. There is a smell of grass and wet earth, and a light mist on the green stretch towards Korazim. November gloominess lies heavy on everything.
Jesus comes out of Peter's house, holding by the hands Matthias and Mary whom Porphirea has tidied up with motherly care replacing Mary's little dress with one of Marjiam's. But Matthias is too small to have the same treatment and he is still shivering in his little faded cotton tunic, so much so that Porphirea, who is always so full of pity, goes back into the house and brings out a blanket in which she envelops the child as if it were a mantle. Jesus thanks her while she kneels down in taking leave and then withdraws after kissing the two orphans once more.
«Just to have children she would have taken these two as well » remarks Peter, who has been watching the scene and who in turn bends to give the two children a piece of bread spread with honey, which he had aside under a seat of the boat. Andrew laughs at him and says: «You wouldn't, would you? You even stole your wife's honey, to make these two happy.»
«Stole? It's my honey! »
«Yes, but my sister‑in‑law is jealous of it, because it is for Marjiam. And since you are aware of that, last night you stole into the kitchen, barefooted like a thief, and took enough of it to prepare that bread. I saw you, brother, and I laughed because you were looking about like a child who is afraid of his mother's slaps.»
«You horrible spy » replies Peter, laughing and embracing his brother, who kisses him saying: «My dear big brother.»
Jesus watches them and smiles frankly standing between the two children who eat up their bread.
The other eight apostles arrive from Bethsaida. Perhaps they were the guests of Philip and Bartholomew.
«Quick! » shouts Peter and he embraces the two children together to take them to the boat without getting their bare feet wet. «You are not afraid, are you?» he asks them while he paddles in the water with his short strong legs, bare to about a span above his knees.
«No, sir » says the girl, but she clings convulsively to Peter's neck closing her eyes when he puts her into the boat, which sways under Jesus' weight, Who also gets into it. The little boy, who is braver, or perhaps more astonished, does not say one word. Jesus sits down drawing the little ones to Himself, and covers them with His large mantle, which looks like a wing stretched out to protect two chicks.
They are all on board, six men in each boat. Peter removes the landing board, he pushes the boat farther out and jumps into it, imitated by James in the other boat. Peter's action has caused the boat to sway heavily and the girl moans: «Mummy! » hiding her face in Jesus' lap and grasping His knees. But they are now moving smoothly, although it is laborious for Peter, Andrew and the servant who have to row with the help of Philip who is the fourth oarsman. The sail hangs loose in the heavy damp calm and is of no use. They must row.
«We are having a good row! » shouts Peter to those in the other boat, in which the Iscariot is the fourth oarsman and Peter praises his perfect rowing.
«Come on, Simon! » replies James. «Row with all your might or we shall beat you. Judas is as strong as a galley‑slave. Well done, Judas! »
«Yes. We will make you head of the crew » confirms Peter who is rowing as hard as two. And he laughs saying: «But you will not succeed in beating Simon of Jonah's record. When I was twenty years old I was already first oarsman in competitions among villages » and he joyfully gives the stroke to his crew: «Heave ho!... Heave ho! » Their voices spread in the silence of the lake deserted in the early morning.
The children pluck up courage again. Their emaciated faces look up from under the mantle, one on each side of Jesus, Who embraces them, and they smile faintly. They take an interest in the work of the rowers and exchange comments.
«I seem to be going in a cart without wheels » says the boy.
«No. In a cart on the clouds. Look! We seem to be walking in the sky. Look, we are climbing on a cloud! » says Mary when she sees the prow of the boat plunge into a spot which mirrors a huge woolly cloud. And she laughs faintly.
But the sun dissipates the mist and although it is a wan autumn sun, the clouds become golden and the lake mirrors them shining. «Oh! How beautiful! We are now going to a fire. How lovely! » exclaims the boy clapping his hands.
But the little girl becomes silent and bursts into tears. They all ask her why she is weeping. She explains sobbing: «Mother used to say a poem, a psalm, I don't know, to keep us quiet, that we might be able to pray even with so much grief... and the poem mentioned a Paradise which will be like a lake of Light, of a gentle fire where there will be nothing but God and joy and where all those who are good will go... after the Saviour has come... This golden lake reminded me of it... My mummy! »
Matthias also is weeping and everyone pities them.
But Jesus' sweet voice rises above the murmur of the various voices and the moans of the little orphans: «Do not weep. Your mother brought you to Me, and she is here now with us, while I am taking you to a mother who has no children. She will be happy to have two good children in place of her own baby, who is now where your mummy is. Because she wept, too, you know? Her baby died as your mother did...»
«Oh! so we are now going to her and her baby will go to our mother! » says Mary.
«That is right. And you will all be happy.»
«What is this woman like? What is she? A peasant? Has she a good master? » The little ones are anxious to know.
«She is not a peasant, but she has a garden full of roses and she is as good as an angel. She has a good husband. He will love you as well.»
«Do You think so, Master? » asks Matthew who is somewhat incredulous.
«I am certain. And you will be convinced. Some time ago Chuza wanted Marjiam to make a knight of him.»
«Most certainly not! » shouts Peter.
«Marjiam will be a knight of Christ. That is all, Simon. Be quiet.»
The lake turns grey again. The wind rises and ripples the lake. The sail is filled and the boat sails swiftly along vibrating. But the children are dreaming of their new mother and are not afraid.
Magdala passes by with its white houses among the green vegetation. And the countryside between Magdala and Tiberias passes by. The first houses of Tiberias appear.
«Where, Master? »
«To Chuza's little harbour.»
Peter veers and gives instructions to the servant. The sail drops when the boat goes near the little harbour, and then enters it, stopping near the little pier, followed by the other boat. They are one beside the other like two tired ducks. They all land and John runs ahead to inform the gardeners.
The little ones press timorously against Jesus and Mary, pulling His tunic, asks with a big sigh: «But is she really good? »
John comes back: «Master, a servant is opening the gate. Johanna is already up.»
«Very well. Wait here. I will go ahead.»
And Jesus goes away alone. The others watch Him go commenting on His action more or less favourably. There is considerable doubt and criticism. But from the place where they are they can only see Chuza hastening towards Jesus; he bows almost to the ground at the gate and then enters the garden on Jesus' left. Then nothing else can be seen.
But I can see. I can see Jesus proceeding slowly beside Chuza who shows how happy he is to have the Master as his guest: «My Johanna will be delighted. And I am, too. She is feeling better and better. She told me about the journey. What a triumph, my Lord! »
«Did you mind? »
«Johanna is happy. And I am happy to see her thus. I might have lost her months ago, my Lord. »
«Yes, you might have... And I gave her back to you. Be grateful to God for that.»
Chuza looks at Him perplexedly... he then whispers: «A reproach, Lord? »
«No, an advice. Be good, Chuza.»
«Master, I am Herod's servant...»
«I know. But your soul is the servant of no one but God, if you wish so.»
«That is true, Lord. I will amend my way of living. Sometimes I am seized by the fear of public opinion...»
«Would you have minded last year when you wanted to save Johanna? »
«Oh! No. At the cost of losing all respect I would have applied to anyone who could save her.»
«Do likewise for your soul. It is even more precious than Johanna. Here she is coming.»
They quicken their steps towards Johanna who is running along the avenue to meet them.
«My Master! I did not hope to see You so soon. Which kindness of Yours has brought You to Your disciple? »
«A favour, Johanna.»
«A favour? Which? Tell us and if we can, we will help You » they both reply together.
«Yesterday evening on a desert road I found two poor children, a little girl and a little boy... they were barefooted, ragged, starving, all alone... and I saw them being driven away, as if they were wolves, by a hard‑hearted man. They were dying of starvation... Last year I gave so much wealth to that man. And he denied two orphans a piece of bread. Because they are orphans. Orphans wandering on the roads of a cruel world. That man will receive his punishment. Do you want to receive My blessing? I am stretching My hand out to you, a Beggar of love, for those orphans who have no home, no clothes, no food, no love. Will you help Me?»
«But, Master, why ask? Tell me what You want, how much You want; tell us everything!...» says Chuza impulsively.
Johanna does not speak, but with her hands pressed on her heart, tears on her long eyelashes, a smile of desire on her red lips, she waits and her silence is more eloquent than words.
Jesus looks at her and smiles: «I would like those to have a mother, a father, a home; and the mother's name to be Johanna...»
He has no time to finish because Johanna's cry is like that of one freed from prison, while she prostrates herself to kiss the feet of her Lord.
«And what do you say, Chuza? Will you receive in My name My beloved ones, who are much dearer to My heart than jewels? »
«Master, where are they? Take me to them and upon my honour I swear to You that from the moment I lay my hand on their innocent heads, I will love them in Your name as if I were their real father.»
«Come, then. I knew that I was not coming for nothing. Come. They are coarse and frightened, but good. You can trust Me because I can read the hearts of men and the future. They will give peace and strength to your union, not so much now as in the future. You will find yourselves again in their love. Their innocent embraces will be the best lime for your home of a married couple. And Heaven will always be benign, and merciful towards you because of your charity. They are outside the gate. We came from Bethsaida...»
Johanna does not listen any more. She runs away, seized by a great desire to caress them. And she does so, falling on her knees to clasp the two little orphans to her heart, kissing their emaciated cheeks, while they are amazed looking at the beautiful lady with garments adorned with jewels. And they look at Chuza, who caresses them and takes Matthias in his arms. And they look at the beautiful garden and at the servants who gather round them... And they admire the house which opens its halls full of riches to Jesus and His apostles. And they look at Esther who covers them with kisses. The world of dreams is open to the little waifs...
Jesus watches and smiles...
299. At Nain, in the House of Daniel Raised from the Dead.
12th October 1945.
It is a feast day for the people of Nain. Jesus is their guest for the first time since the miracle of young Daniel, who was raised from the dead.
Jesus is going through the town, blessing, preceded and followed by a large number of people. The people of Nain have been joined by incomers from other villages, who have come from Capernaum, where they had gone looking for Jesus, and from where they were sent to Cana and then to Nain. I am under the impression that now that Jesus has many disciples, He has set up a kind of information network, so that pilgrims looking for Him can find Him, although He moves around continuously, even for a few miles a day, as the season and the short days allow. And among those who have come looking for Him, there are some Pharisees and scribes, apparently respectful...
Jesus is a guest in the house of the young man raised from the dead. The notables of the place have also gathered there. And Daniel's mother, when she sees the scribes and Pharisees ‑ seven of them, like the deadly sins ‑ humbly invites them, apologising for not being able to offer them a worthier abode.
«There is the Master, woman, and that attaches great importance even to a cave. But your house is much more than a cave and we enter it saying: "Peace to you and to your house".»
The woman in fact, although she is certainly not rich, has done her utmost to honour Jesus. All the wealthy families in Nain have certainly entered the lists, joining their efforts to adorn the house and the table. And the various women who have collaborated are casting glances, from all possible spots, at the group passing through the hall towards two rooms, facing each other, in which the landlady has laid the tables. Perhaps that is all they have asked for, as compensation for the loan of kitchenware, tablecloths and seats, and for their work in the kitchen: to see the Master close at hand and breathe the same air as He does. And now they appear here and there, flushed, covered with flour or ashes, or with dripping hands, according to their tasks in the kitchen, they watch Him closely, they take their little share of divine sight, of divine voice, drinking in with their eyes and ears His kind blessing and figure and look delighted when they go back to the kitchen stove, cupboards and sink, more flushed than ever.
The happiest is the one who offers with the landlady the basins for the ablutions to the guests of consequence. She is a young dark‑haired and dark‑eyed girl, but her complexion is suffused with pink. And she blushes even more when the landlady informs Jesus that she is the fiancée of her son and that they will soon be getting married. «We waited for You so that the whole house might be sanctified by You. Please bless her as well, that she may be a good wife in this house.»
Jesus looks at her, and as the little bride bows, He imposes His hands on her head saying: «May the virtues of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel flourish again in you and may you give birth to true children of God, for His glory and the happiness of this house.»
Jesus and the notables have now completed the purification rite and they enter the dining‑room, with the young landlord, while the apostles and less influential persons of Nain go into the opposite room. And the banquet begins.
From their conversation I gather that before my vision began, Jesus had preached and cured in Nain. But the Pharisees and scribes pay little attention to that; they, instead, harass with questions the people of Nain for details of the disease of which Daniel died, of how many hours had elapsed between his death and resurrection, and they ask whether they had completed his embalming etc. etc. Jesus pays no attention to such investigations and converses with the revived man who is very well and is eating with a wonderful appetite.
But a Pharisee calls Jesus to ask Him whether He was aware of Daniel's disease.
«I was coming from Endor by mere chance, as I wanted to please Judas of Kerioth as I had pleased John of Zebedee. I did not even know I would be passing through Nain when I set out on our Passover pilgrimage » replies Jesus.
«Ah! Had you not gone to Endor deliberately? » asks an amazed scribe.
«No. I had not the least intention of going there, at that time.»
«Why did You go then? »
«I told you: because Judas of Simon wanted to go there.»
«And why that fancy? »
«To see the cave of the sorceress.»
«Perhaps You had spoken about it...»
«Never! There was no reason why I should.»
«I mean... perhaps with that episode You explained other witchcraft, to initiate Your apostles in...»
«In what? To initiate anyone in holiness, there is no need of pilgrimages. A cell or a desert barren land, a mountain top or a solitary house serve the same purpose: providing there is austerity and holiness in the teacher, and the will to become holy in the disciple. That is what I teach and nothing else.»
«But the miracles which Your apostles now work what are they if not wonders and...»
«The will of God. That is all. And the more holy they become, the more miracles they will work, through prayer, sacrifices and obedience to God. By no other means.»
«Are You sure of that? » asks a scribe holding his chin in his hand and looking Jesus up and down. His tone is rather ironical and pitiful.
«I gave them those weapons and that doctrine. If among them, and they are many, there should be anyone who becomes corrupted through base practices, out of pride or for other reasons, he will not have received such advice from Me. I can pray to see the culprit redeemed. I can undertake hard penance in expiation, imploring God to help him particularly with the light of His wisdom so that he may see his error. I can throw Myself at his feet to entreat him with all My love of Brother, Master and Friend to abandon his sin. And I would not consider that a humiliation, because the price of a soul is such that it is worth suffering any humiliation to save that soul. But I can do no more. And if after all he perseveres in his fault, the eyes and heart of the betrayed and misunderstood Master and Friend will shed tears and blood.» How much kindness and sadness there is in Jesus' voice and expression!
The scribes and Pharisees look at one another. They exchange meaningful glances, but say no more on the subject.
They instead ask young Daniel questions. Does he remember what death is? What did he feel when he came back to life? And what did he see in the gap between death and life?
«I know that I was suffering from a mortal disease and I suffered agony. Oh! what a dreadful thing! Don't make me remember it!... And yet the day will come when I will have to suffer it once again! Oh! Master...» He looks at Him and is so terrified that he goes pale at the idea of having to die once again.
Jesus kindly comforts him saying: «Death is in itself expiation. By dying twice you will be completely cleansed of faults and you will rejoice at once in Heaven. Let this thought make you live a holy life, so that you may have only involuntary and venial faults.»
But the Pharisees return to the attack: «But what did you feel when you came back to life? »
«Nothing. I was alive and healthy as if I had awaked from a long sound sleep.»
«But did you remember that you had died? »
«I remembered that I was very ill, in agony, and that is all.»
«And what do you remember of the other world? »
«Nothing. There is nothing. A black hole, an empty space in my life... Nothing.»
«So, according to you, there is no Limbo, no Purgatory, no Hell? »
«Who says there isn't? Of course there are. But I do not remember them.»
«But are you sure that you were dead? »
The people of Nain lose their temper: «Was he dead? What more do you want? When we put him into the coffin, he was about to smell. In any case, with all those balms and bandages even a giant would die! »
«But do you not remember that you were dead? »
«I have told that I don't » the young man is losing his patience and he adds: «But what are you getting at with all these questions? That the whole village was pretending that I was dead, including my mother and my fiancée, who was dying with grief in her bed, including myself, all bandaged up and embalmed, while it was not true? What are you saying? That in Nain we were all children or idiots in a jesting mood? My mother's hair turned white in a few hours. My fiancée had to be treated because sorrow and joy had almost driven her mad. And you doubt it? And why should we have done all that? »
«Why? That's true! Why should we have done it » exclaim those of Nain.
Jesus does not speak. He toys with the tablecloth as if He were absent. The Pharisees do not know what to say... But Jesus begins to speak all of a sudden, when the conversation on the subject seemed to have come to an end, and He says: «I will tell you why. They (and He points at the Pharisees and scribes) want to prove that your resurrection from the dead was a cleverly contrived game to increase My reputation with the crowds. I, the inventor, you the accomplices to deceive God and our neighbour. No. I leave fraud to worthless people. I do not need witchcraft, or tricks or accomplices to be what I am. Why do you want to deny God the power of giving a soul back to a body? If He creates a soul and gives it when the body is being formed, will He not be able to give it back to the body, when the soul, being restored to the body through the prayer of His Messiah, is an incentive for many people to come to the Truth? Can you deny God the power of miracle? Why do you want to deny it? »
«Are You God? »
«I am Who I am. My miracles and My doctrine testify Who I am.»
«But why does he not remember while the spirits evoked can tell what the next world is? »
«Because this soul speaks the truth, sanctified as it is by the penance of a first death, instead what is spoken by the lips of necromancers is not the truth.»
«Samuel came by the order of God, not of the sorceress, to bring to the traitor of the Law the verdict of the Lord, Who is not to be derided in His commandments.»
«Then why do Your disciples do it? » The arrogant voice of a Pharisee, who stung to the quick raises his voice, draws the attention of the apostles, who are in the opposite room, separated by a corridor a little more that a yard wide, but not isolated by doors or heavy curtains. When they hear themselves being referred to, they stand up and come noiselessly into the corridor to listen.
«In what do they do it? Speak frankly, and if your accusation is true, I will warn them not to do anything against the Law.»
«I know in what they do it, and many others know as well. But since You raise people from the dead and You say that You are more than a prophet, find out for Yourself. We shall certainly not tell You. In any case, You have eyes to see also many other things which Your apostles have done, when they are not to be done, or they did not do, when they are to be done. And You do not mind.»
«Tell Me some of them.»
«Why do Your disciples infringe the traditions of our ancestors? We saw them today. Also today! Not more than an hour ago! They went into the dining‑room to eat without purifying their hands beforehand! » If the Pharisees had said: «and they slaughtered citizens beforehand » they would not have spoken in such a horrified manner.
«You have watched them, of course. There are so many things to be seen. Good and beautiful things which make us bless the Lord for creating or permitting such things and for giving us our lives so that we may see them. And yet you do not watch them. And many others do as you do. But you waste your time and your peace running after things which are not good.
You look like jackals, or better still, like hyenas running in the trail of a stench, neglecting the waves of perfumes brought by the wind from gardens full of aromatic herbs. Hyenas do not love lilies and roses, jasmines and camphor, cinnamon and cloves. They are unpleasant smells to them. But the stench of a decomposing corpse in the bottom of a ravine, or on a cart road, or buried under bramble where a murderer threw it, or washed ashore by stormy waves, swollen, violaceous, burst, horrible, oh! that is a delightful smell for hyenas! And as the evening wind condenses and carries all the smells which the sun has distilled from the things it has warmed, they sniff at it to smell that vague inviting scent, and once they discover it and find where it comes from, they run away, with their snouts in the air, showing their uncovered teeth in their quivering jaws, like a hysterical laugh, to go where there is putrefaction. And be it the corpse of a man or a quadruped, or a snake killed by a peasant, or a beech‑marten killed by a housewife, or be it a poor mouse, oh! they relish it! And they sink their fangs into the revolting stench, they feast and lick their lips...
But it is a matter of no interest, if some men improve in holiness day by day! But if one only does wrong, or more omit not a divine commandment, but a human practice ‑ you may call it tradition, precept, as you wish, but it is always a human thing ‑ then it is noticed. And one runs after even a suspicion... to rejoice, if the suspicion is true.
You who have come here not out of love, or faith or honesty, but for a wicked purpose, tell Me: why do you infringe the commandment of God, for the sake of your tradition? Are you going to tell Me that a tradition is more than a Commandment? And yet God said: "Honour your father and your mother, anyone who curses father or mother must die"! You instead say: "Anyone who says to his father and mother: what you should have from me is corban (1) is no longer obliged to give it to his father and mother". So with your tradition you have cancelled the commandment of God.
Hypocrites! Isaiah rightly said of you when he prophesied: "This people honours Me only with lip‑service while its heart is far from Me, therefore they honour Me in vain as they teach human doctrine and commandments".
And while you neglect the precepts of God, you keep the traditions of men, the ablutions of amphorae and chalices, of dishes and hands and other such things. While you justify the ingratitude and avarice of a son, by offering him the excuse of a sacrifice so that he may not give a piece of bread to those who gave birth to him and need his help and whom it is his duty to honour, because they are his parents, you are scandalised because one does not wash one's hands. You alter and infringe the word of God in order to obey words invented by you and imposed by you as precepts. You therefore proclaim yourselves more just than God. You arrogate to yourselves the rights of legislators, whereas God alone is the Legislator of His people. You...» and He would continue, but the hostile group goes out, in the hail of accusations, bumping into the apostles and those who were in the house, guests or women helping the landlady, and who had gathered in the corridor, attracted by Jesus' thundering voice.
Jesus, Who had stood up, sits down again, beckoning to all those present to enter where He is, and He says to them: «Listen to Me and understand the truth. There is nothing outside man which going into his mouth can make him unclean. It is what comes out of the mouth that makes him unclean. Let those who have ears hear and use their reason to understand and their will to act. And now let us go. People of Nain, persevere in good and may My peace be always with you.»
He stands up, He greets the landlord and landlady in particular and He sets out along the corridor. But He sees the friendly women, who are enraptured looking at Him and He goes towards them saying: «Peace to you as well. May Heaven reward you for assisting Me with such love that I did not regret My Mother's table. I perceived your motherly love in every crumb of bread, in every sauce and bit of roast, in the sweet honey and in the cool scented wine. Love Me
(1) Corban: offering to God, especially one made in fulfilment of a vow.
always thus, o good women of Nain. But do not work so hard for Me the next time. A piece of bread and a handful of olives, dressed with your motherly smiles and your honest good looks, are quite enough for Me. Be happy in your homes because the gratitude of the Persecuted One is upon you and He is leaving comforted by your love.»
The women, weeping in their happiness, are all on their knees, and in passing by He lightly touches their white or dark‑haired heads, one by one, blessing them. He then goes out and sets out again...
The early shades of evening hide the pallor of Jesus, Who is embittered by too many things...
300. In the Sheepfold at Endor.
13th October 1945.
Jesus goes back to Endor only. He stops at the first house of the village, which is a sheepfold rather than a house. But just because it is such, with low closed stables full of hay, it can shelter the thirteen pilgrims. The landlord, a coarse but good man, hastens to bring a lamp and a small pail of frothy milk, with some small loaves of very dark bread. He then withdraws blessed by Jesus Who remains with only the Twelve.
Jesus offers and hands out the bread, and as they lack bowls or cups, each of them dips his bread into the little pail and drinks out of it, when thirsty. Jesus drinks only a little milk. He is grave and silent... So much so, that after the meal, when they have satisfied their appetite, which is always very good, they at last become aware of His quietness.
Andrew is the first to ask: «What is the matter with You, Master? You look sad or tired to me...»
«I do not deny that I am.»
«Why? Because of those Pharisees? You should be accustomed to them by now... I have almost got accustomed myself! And You know how I used to react to them earlier. They always sing the same song!... Snakes can but hiss, in fact, and none of them will ever be able to imitate the singing of a nightingale. One ends up by not paying attention to them » says Peter, both earnestly and to cheer up Jesus.
«And that is how one loses one's control and falls into their coils. I ask you to never get accustomed to the voice of Evil as if it were harmless.»
«Oh! Well! If that is the only reason why You are sad, You are wrong. You can see how the world loves You » says Matthew.
«But is that the only reason why You are so sad? Tell me, my good Master. Or have they told You lies, or made slanderous insinuations or insinuated suspicion, or I do not know what, about us who love You? » asks the Iscariot solicitously and kindly, embracing with one arm Jesus, Who is sitting beside him on the hay.
Jesus turns towards Judas. His eyes flash like phosphorus in the flickering light of the lamp laid on the ground in the middle of the circle of the apostles sitting on the hay. Jesus stares at Judas of Kerioth and asks him: «And do you know Me to be so silly as to accept as true anybody's insinuations, to the point of being upset by them? It is real facts, Judas of Simon, which upset Me » and His eyes do not stop for one moment piercing, like a probe, the brown eyes of Judas.
«Which real facts are upsetting You, then? » insists the Iscariot in a tone of confidence.
«The ones I see in the depths of hearts and on dethroned foreheads.» Jesus lays stress upon the word.
Everybody becomes excited: «Dethroned? Why? What do You mean? »
«A king is dethroned when he is unworthy of remaining on the throne, and the first thing they tear off him is the crown, which is on his forehead, the most noble part of man, the only animal with his forehead erect towards the sky, as he is animal with regard to matter, but supernatural as a being gifted with a soul. But it is not necessary to be king on an earthly throne to be dethroned... Every man is king because of his soul, and his throne is in Heaven. But when a man prostitutes his soul and becomes a brute and demon, he then dethrones himself. The world is full of dethroned foreheads which are no longer erect towards Heaven, but are stooped towards the Abyss, weighed down by the word which Satan has carved on them. Do you want to know it? It is the one I read on foreheads. There is written: "Sold!". And that you may have no doubt as to who the buyer is, I tell you that it is Satan, by himself or through his servants in the world.»
«I have understood! Those Pharisees, for instance, are the servants of a servant who is greater than they are and who is Satan's servant » says Peter earnestly.
Jesus does not reply.
«But... Do You know, Master, that those Pharisees, after hearing Your words, were scandalised when they went away? They said so, when they bumped into me while going out... You were very resolute » remarks Bartholomew.
And Jesus replies: «And very truthful. It is not My fault, but theirs, if certain things must be said. And it was charitable of Me to say them. Any plant which was not planted by My Heavenly Father is to be uprooted. And the useless moorland of parasitic, suffocating thorny herbs, which destroy the seed of the holy Truth, was not planted by Him. It is charitable to uproot traditions and precepts which suffocate the Decalogue, misinterpreting it, and making it inert and impossible to abide by. It is charitable to do so for the sake of honest souls. As far as those insolent obstinate persons are concerned, who are deaf to every advice and action of Love, leave them alone and let them be followed by those whose souls and inclinations are like theirs. They are blind men leading blind men. If one blind man leads another, both can but fall into a pit. Let them feed on their own uncleanness, which they call "cleanliness". It cannot contaminate them any further, because it lies on the matrix from which it originates.»
«What You are saying now is connected with what You said in Daniel's house, is it not? That it is not what goes into the mouth of man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of it » asks Simon the Zealot gravely.
«Yes » replies Jesus briefly.
After a moment's silence, as Jesus' gravity freezes even the most exuberant characters, Peter asks: «Master, I, and I am not the only one, have not understood the parable very well. Please explain it to us. How is it that what goes in does not make unclean, and what comes out does? If I take a clean amphora and I pour dirty water into it, I will dirty it. So what goes into the amphora makes it unclean. But if from an amphora full of clean water I pour some of it on to the ground, I will not make the amphora unclean, because clean water comes out of it. So? »
And Jesus says: «We are not amphorae, Simon. We are not amphorae, My friends. And not everything is clean in man! Do even you not understand? Consider the case with which the Pharisees charged you. They stated that you were unclean because you were taking food to your mouths with dusty, sweaty hands, that is, with unclean hands. But where did that food go? From your mouths into your stomachs, from your stomachs into your intestines and from your intestines into the sewer. Can it thus make your whole body unclean, and what is contained in your body, if it only goes through the passage destined to fulfil the task of nourishing the flesh, and the flesh only, and then ending in a sewer, as it is right it should? That is not what makes man unclean. What makes man unclean is what is entirely and exclusively his own, procreated and brought forth by his ego. That is, what he has in his heart, and from his heart rises to his lips and to his head, corrupting his thoughts and words and making him wholly unclean. From the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, blasphemy. From the heart come avarice, lust, pride, envy, wrath, immoderate desires and sinful idleness. From the heart come incentives to all actions. And if the heart is wicked, they will be as wicked as the heart. All actions: from idolatry to insincere grumbling... All these wicked things, which from inside come outside, make man unclean, not eating without washing one's hands. The science of God is not a base thing, mud upon which any foot can tread. It is something sublime, which lives among stars, from which it descends with rays of light to perfect the just. Do not, at least you, tear it from Heaven to disgrace it in mud... Go and rest now. I am going out to pray.»