FAREWELL TO HIS MOTHER AND DEPARTURE FROM NAZARETH
9th February 1944, 9:30 a.m.
(begun during Holy Communion)
I see the interior of the house in Nazareth: a room which looks like a dining lounge, where the members of the Family take their meals and rest during the day. It is a very small room with a plain rectangular table near a chest, which is set against one of the walls. The chest also serves as a seat. Near the other walls there is a loom and a stool, and there are two more stools with a kind of bookcase on top of which there are oil lamps and other objects. A door is open onto the kitchen garden. It must be almost evening, because only some faint sun-rays are visible in the upper foliage of a tall tree, which is beginning to grow verdant in its first leaves.
Jesus is sitting at the table. He is eating, and Mary is serving Him, coming and going from a little door, which leads into the room where there is a fireplace, the light of which can be seen through the half-open door.
Two or three times Jesus tells Mary to sit down… and to eat with Him. But She does not want to, She shakes Her head, smiling sadly. After serving some boiled vegetables as a first course, She brings in some roast fish and then some rather soft cheese, like fresh cheese, round shaped, like the stones which can be seen in the beds of torrents, and some small dark olives. Some small, flat round loaves of bread - about the size of a plate - are already on the table. The bread is rather dark brown as if the bran had not been removed from the flour. Before Jesus there is an amphora with water, and a goblet. He is eating in silence, looking at His Mother sadly, but lovingly.
It is very obvious that Mary is sad at heart. She comes and goes, purely to occupy Herself. Although it is still daylight, She lights a lamp and puts it near Jesus, and while stretching out Her arm doing so, She subtly caresses Her Son's head. She then opens a nutbrown haversack, which I think is made of pure hand-woven wool, and therefore water-resistant, She searches inside it, goes out into the little kitchen garden, walks to the far end, where there is a kind of store-room. She comes out with some rather withered apples which have certainly been preserved from the previous summer, and She puts them into the haversack. She then takes a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese and puts them also into the haversack, although Jesus remarks that He does not want them, as there is already enough food in the satchel.
Mary then comes once again near the table, at the shorter side, on Jesus' left hand, and looks at Him eating. She looks at Him with love and adoration. Her face is more pale than usual and
seems aged by pain; Her eyes are ringed, and thus seem bigger, an indication of tears already shed. They also seem clearer than normal, as if they were washed by the tears welling up within, ready to stream down Her face: two sorrowful tired eyes.
Jesus, Who is eating slowly, evidently against His will, only to please His Mother, and is more pensive than usual, lifts His head and looks at Her. Their eyes meet, and He notices that Hers are full of tears, and lowers His head to leave Her free to weep. He only takes Her slender hand which She is resting on the edge of the table. He takes it in His own left hand, lifts it to His cheek, rests His cheek on it and then rubs it against His face to feel the caress of the poor trembling little hand, which He kisses on its back with so much love and respect.
I see Mary taking Her free hand, Her left one, to Her mouth, as if to stifle a sob, and She then wipes with Her fingers a big tear, which has fallen from Her eye and is streaming down Her face.
Jesus resumes eating and Mary goes out quickly into the kitchen garden, where it is now almost dark, and She disappears. Jesus leans His left elbow on the table, rests His forehead on His hand, absorbed in thought. He stops eating.
He then listens and gets up. He also goes out into the kitchen garden, and after looking around, He moves towards the right-hand side of the house, and through an opening in the rocky wall, He goes into what I recognise as the carpenter's workshop. It is now very tidy, without any boards or shavings lying about, and also the fire is out. There is the large working bench, all the tools are laid aside, and there is nothing else.
Mary is weeping, bent over the bench. She looks like a child. Her head is resting on Her folded left arm and She is crying silently, but very grievously. Jesus enters quietly and approaches Her so softly, that She realises He is there, only when He lays His hand on Her lowered head, calling Her « Mother! »: in His voice there is the sound of a gentle loving reproach.
Mary lifts Her head and looks at Jesus through a veil of tears, and with both hands joined She leans on His right arm. Jesus wipes Her face with the hem of His large sleeve and then He embraces Her, clasping Her to His heart and kissing Her forehead. Jesus is majestic, He looks more manly than ever, whilst Mary looks more like a little girl, except for Her sorrow-stricken face.
« Come, Mother » Jesus says to Her, and holding Her close to Himself with His right arm, He walks into the kitchen garden, where they sit down on a bench against the wall of the house. The kitchen garden is now silent and dark, apart from the moonlight and the light coming from the house. The night is serene.
Jesus is speaking to Mary. At first I do not understand the words which are just whispered, and Mary nods Her head in assent.
Then I hear: « And get Your relatives to come. Don't stay here alone. I will be happier, Mother, and You know how I need peace of mind to fulfill My mission. You will not lack My love. I will come quite often and I will inform You in case I cannot come home when I am back in Galilee. Then You will come to Me, Mother. This hour was to come. It began when the Angel appeared to You; it is now striking, and we must live it, Mother, must we not? After we have overcome the trial, we shall have peace and joy. First, we must cross this desert as our Ancestors did, before entering the Promised Land. But the Lord God will help us as He helped them. And He will grant us His help as a spiritual manna to nourish our souls in the difficult moment of the trial. Let us say the Our Father together… » Jesus and Mary stand up and they look up to Heaven: two living victims shining in the darkness.
Jesus, slowly but with a clear voice, says the Lord's Prayer, stressing the words. He emphasizes the words: « Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done » spacing the two sentences from the others. He prays with His arms stretched out, not exactly crosswise, but as priests do when they say: « The Lord be with your. » Mary's hands are joined.
They then go back into the house, and Jesus, Whom I have never seen drink wine, from out of an amphora on the bookcase, pours some white wine into a goblet, and He puts it on the table. He then takes Mary by Her hand and makes Her sit beside Him and drink some of the wine, into which He dips a small slice of bread, which He gives Her to eat. His insistence is such that Mary yields. Jesus drinks the remaining wine. He then clasps His Mother to His side, and holds Her thus close to His heart. Neither Jesus nor Mary was lying down as was customary in rich banquets in those times, but they were sitting at the table as we do. They are both silent, waiting. Mary caresses Jesus' right hand and His knees, Jesus pats Mary's arm and Her head.
Then Jesus rises, and so does Mary. They embrace and kiss each other very fondly and repeatedly. They always seem to be on the point of separating and parting, but each time Mary embraces Her Creature over and over again. She is Our Lady, but She is still a mother, a mother who must part from Her Son, and is fully aware of the final destination of His departure. Do not tell me that Mary did not suffer! Before I had some slight misgivings, now I do not believe it at all.
Jesus takes His dark blue mantle, puts it on His shoulders, and Pulls the hood on to His head. He arranges His haversack across His back, in order to be free when walking. Mary helps Him, and She delays endlessly in sorting His tunic, mantle and hood, caressing Him in the meantime.
Jesus goes towards the door, after making a sign of blessing in the room. Mary follows Him and at the open door they kiss each other once again.
The road is silent and solitary, white in the moonlight. Jesus starts walking away. He turns round twice to look at His Mother, Who is leaning against the doorpost, paler than the moon's rays, Her eyes sparkling with silent tears. Jesus moves farther and farther away along the narrow white road. Mary is still weeping against the doorpost. Then Jesus disappears round a bend of the road.
His Evangelical journey, which will end on Golgotha, has just begun. Mary goes into the house shedding tears and closes the door. She also has started Her journey which will take Her to Golgotha. And for us…
« This is the fourth sorrow of Mary, Mother of God. The first, was the presentation in the Temple; the second, the flight into Egypt; the third, the death of Joseph; the fourth, My separation from Her.
As I knew the desire of your spiritual Father, yesterday evening I told you that I will hasten the description of "our" sorrows, so that they may be known. But, as you see, some of My Mother's had already been illustrated. I explained the flight before the Presentation, because it was necessary to do so on that day. I know. You understand and you will explain the reason to the Father verbally.
I have planned to alternate your contemplations and My consequent clarifications, with true and proper dictations, to comfort you and your spirit, granting you the beatitude of seeing, and also because in this way the difference in style between your composing and Mine will be obvious.
Further, with so many books dealing with Me and which, after so many revisions, changes and fineries have become unreal, I want to give those who believe in Me a vision brought back to the truth of My mortal days. I am not diminished thereby, on the contrary I am made greater in My humility, which becomes substantial nourishment for you, to teach you to be humble and like Me, as I was a man like you and in My human life I bore the perfection of a God. I was to be your Model, and models must always be perfect.
In the contemplations I will not keep a chronological order corresponding to that of the Gospels. I will select the points which I find more useful on that day for you or for other people, following My own line of teaching and goodness.
The lesson of the contemplation of My separation is addressed especially to those parents and children, whom God's will calls to renounce one another for the sake of a greater love. It also applies to all those who have to face a painful renouncement.
How many such sorrowful situations you find in your lives! They are thorns on the earth and they pierce your hearts, I know. But for those who accept them with resignation - mind, I am not saying: "for those who wish them and accept them with joy", which is already perfection; I am saying: "with resignation" - they become eternal roses. But only few people resign themselves to accepting them. Like restive little donkeys, you recalcitrate against the Father's will, and you jib, and you even try at times to hit good God with spiritual kicks and bites, that is, with rebellion and blasphemy.
And do not say: "I had but this good thing and God took it away. I had but this affection, and God took it away!". Also Mary, a gentle woman, with perfect love, (because in the Virgin Full of Grace also affections and sensations were perfect), also Mary had but one good thing, and one love on the earth: Her Son. The only thing left to Her. Her parents had died a long time before. Joseph had died some years earlier. Only I was left to love Her and make Her feel She was not alone. Her relatives, because of Me, of Whose divine origin they were not aware, were somewhat hostile to Her, because they considered Her a mother incapable of imposing Herself on Her Son, Who did not behave according to good common sense, and turned down marriage proposals which could bring prestige to the family, as well as material help.
Her relatives reasoned according to common sense, to human sense - you call it good sense, but it is only human sense, that is selfishness - and they would have liked My life to comply with their usage. After all, they were always afraid that one day they might get into trouble because of Me, as I had already dared express certain ideas which they considered too idealistic and thought they might irritate the Synagogue. Hebrew history was full of teachings on the fate of Prophets. The Prophet's mission was not an easy one, and often brought about death for the prophet and trouble for his kinsfolk. And there was always the fear that one day they might have to take care of My Mother.
They were therefore irritated by the fact that She did not oppose Me in anything, nay, She seemed to be in perpetual adoration in front of Her Son. This conflict was to increase in the three years of My public life, when it culminated with open reproaches every time they met Me in the midst of crowds and were ashamed of what they considered My mania for vexing the powerful classes. And they rebuked Me and My poor Mother!
Mary was aware of the moods of Her relatives and was able to foresee their future tempers - they were not all like James, Judas and Simon or their mother Mary of Clopas - but although She knew what Her lot was going to be during the three years of My Public life, and was aware of Her destiny and Mine at the end of the three years, She did not recalcitrate, as you do. She cried. And which mother would not have cried because of the separation from a son who loved her as I loved Mine, or because of the prospect of long days devoid of My presence in a solitary house, or because of the dreary outlook of a Son doomed to butt against the malice of guilty people who took vengeance for their guilt by offending the Blameless One to the extent of killing Him?
She cried because She was the Co-Redeemer, and because She was the Mother of mankind who were being born once again to God. And She had to cry for all the mothers who are not able to turn their motherly sorrows into a crown of eternal glory.
How many mothers there are in the world, from whose arms death snatches their creatures! How many mothers there are, whose sons are torn away from their sides by a supernatural will! As the Mother of all Christians, Mary cried for all Her daughters, and in Her sorrow of a bereft Mother, She cried for all Her sisters. And She cried for all Her sons, who, born of woman, were to become apostles of God or martyrs for God's sake, because of their loyalty to God or because of man's cruelty.
My Blood and My Mother's tears are the mixture that fortifies those destined to a heroic fate, obliterates their imperfections and the sins they committed because of their weakness and, in addition to martyrdom, in whatever way suffered, it grants them the peace of God and then the glory of Heaven, if they suffered for God.
The missionary fathers find that mixture to be a flame that warms them in the regions covered by perpetual snow, and they find it to be a dew when the sun is scorching. Mary's tears originate 'from Her charity, and they gush out from Her heart of a lily. They therefore possess the fire of virginal Charity, the Spouse of Love, and the scented freshness of virginal Purity, like the drops of water which gather in the chalice of a lily on a dewy night.
Our mixture is found by those consecrated in the desert of a well understood monastic life: it is a desert because it only lives in communion with God, whilst all other affections fade away and become pure supernatural charity: towards relatives, friends, superiors and inferiors.
It is found by those consecrated to God in the world, in the world that neither understands nor loves them, a desert also for them, as they live in it as if they were alone, so much are they misunderstood and mocked for My sake.
Our mixture is found by My dear "victims", because Mary is the first victim for Jesus' love, and with Her hands of a Mother and a Doctor, She gives Her followers Her tears which refreshen and urge to a greater sacrifice. Holy tears of My Mother!
Mary prays. She does not object to praying because God had given Her sorrows. Remember that. She prays together with Jesus. She prays the Father: Ours and yours.
The first "Our Father" was said in the kitchen garden in Nazareth to console Mary's pain, to offer "our" wills to the Eternal Father, when a period of greater and greater sacrifices was about to begin for us, culminating with the sacrifice of My life and My Mother's acceptance of the death of Her Son.
And although we had nothing for which the Father should forgive us, just out of humility, we, the Faultless Ones, begged the Father's pardon that we might proceed worthily in our mission, after being forgiven and absolved of even a sigh. Because we wanted to teach you that the more you are in the grace of God, the more your mission is blessed and fruitful. We also wanted to teach you to respect God and be humble. Before God the Father, although a perfect Man and a perfect Woman, we felt we were nothing and we begged forgiveness. Exactly as we asked for our "daily bread".
Which was our bread? Oh! Not the bread made by the pure hands of Mary and baked in our little oven, for which I had so often prepared bundles of sticks and brushwood. Also that bread is necessary while man is on the earth. But "our" daily bread was to fulfill, day by day, our part of the mission: we begged God to grant us that every day, because to fulfill the mission that God gives us is the joy of "our" day, isn't it, My little John? You also say that a day is lost, as if it did not exist, if the Lord's bounty gives you a day without your mission of sorrow.
Mary prays together with Jesus. It is Jesus Who justifies you, My children. It is I Who make your prayers fruitful and agreeable to the Father. I said: "Anything you ask for from the Father, He will grant in My name", and the Church enhances her prayers saying: "Through Jesus Christ Our Lord".
When you pray, be always united to Me. I will pray for you in a loud voice, drowning your human voices with My voice of Man-God. I will take your prayers in My pierced hands and I will raise them to the Father. They will thus become victims of infinite value. My voice mingled with yours, will rise like a filial kiss to the Father and the purple of My wounds will make your prayers valuable ones. Be in Me if you want to have the Father in you, with you, for you.
You ended the narration saying: "And for us… " and you intended to say: "for us who are so ungrateful to those Two Who have climbed Calvary for us". You were quite right in writing those words. Add them every time I show you one of our sorrows. Let them be like the church bell that rings and calls men to meditate and repent.
It is enough now. Rest. May peace be with you. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From THE POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume One, Chapter 44.
Copyright 1986 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Liri, Italy All rights reserved in all countries.