Jesus at the Temple (Solomon's Portico)                                                                             James Tissot       

Jesus speaks on the Wednesday before His death.   

2nd April 1947.

The apostles, disciples and crowd follow Him in a compact group, while He goes back again to the place at the first town walls, a spot almost sheltered by the wall of the Temple enclosure, where it is not so warm, in this very sultry day. As the ground has been roughened by the hooves of animals and is strewn with the stones used by merchants and money-changers to fasten their enclosures and tents, there are no rabbis of Israel there, who did not mind allowing a market to be held in the Temple, but are disgusted at walking in their sandals where the footprints of quadrupeds, which were cleared out from there a few days previously, have been badly cancelled…

Jesus is not disgusted and He takes shelter there, surrounded by a large crowd of listeners. But before speaking, He calls the apostles to come close to Him and says to them:

« Come and listen carefully. Yesterday you wanted to know many of the things that I will tell you today and that I mentioned vaguely yesterday, when we were resting in Joseph's kitchen garden. So pay attention, because they are important lessons for everybody, and for you in particular, as you are My ministers and continuators.

Listen. Scribes and Pharisees sat on Moses' chair at the right moment. They were sad days for our Fatherland. Once the exile in Babylonia was over and the nation had been restored through Cyrus' magnanimity, the leaders of the people felt it necessary to restore also the cult and the knowledge of the Law. Because woe to that people that does not possess them for its defence, guide and support, against the most powerful enemies of a nation, which are the immorality of the citizens, rebellion against leaders, disunion among classes and parties, the sins against God and one's neighbours, irreligiousness, which are all disgregating elements in themselves and because of the punishments they provoke from Heaven!

So scribes or doctors of the Law arose to teach the people who spoke the Chaldean language, the heritage of the sore and weary exile, and thus could no longer understand the Scriptures written in pure Hebrew. They arose to help the priests, insufficient in number to fulfil the task of teaching the crowds. Such laity, learned and devoted to honouring the Lord, by taking the knowledge of God to men and leading men to God, had its reason for existence and it did also some good. Because, all of you must bear this in mind, also those things that, through human weakness, later degenerate, as it happened to this one that became corrupt in the course of time, always have something good and at least an initial reason for existence, whereby the Most High allows them to arise and last until, the measure of degeneration being full, the Most High disperses them.

Then the other sect of the Pharisees arose from the transformation of that of the Hasidaeans, formed to support the Law of Moses and the spirit of independence of our people by means of the most rigid morals and the strictest obedience, when the Hellenistic party - that had risen because of the pressure and seductions that had begun in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and that soon changed into persecutions against those who did not yield to the pressure of the shrewd king, who more than on his arms relied on the breaking up of the faith in hearts, in order to rule over our Fatherland -- was trying to make us slaves.

Remember also this: be more afraid of easy alliances and of the blandishments of a foreigner than of his legions. Because, while if you are faithful to the laws of God and of your Fatherland you will win, even if you are surrounded by mighty armies, if instead you are corrupted by the subtle poison, given as an inebriating honey by the stranger who has made his plans concerning you, God will abandon you because of your sins, and you will be defeated and subjected, even if your false ally does not wage a bloody battle with you. Woe to him who is not as vigilant as a sentry and does not repel the subtle snare of a false shrewd neighbour, or ally, or conqueror, who begins his domination over individuals, weakening their hearts and corrupting them with usages and habits that are not ours and are not holy, and consequently make us unpleasant to the Lord! Woe! You must remember the consequences brought about to our Fatherland by the fact that some of her children adopted usages and habits of a foreigner to ingratiate themselves with him and enjoy favours. It is a good thing to be charitable with everybody, also with peoples who are not of our faith, who have not our usages and who have harmed us throughout ages. But our love for these people, who are always our neighbour, must never make us disown the Law of God and of our Fatherland, for some premeditated benefit extorted from our neighbours. No. Foreigners despise those who are so servile as to disown the holiest things of their Fatherland. It is not by denying one's Father and Mother - God and the Fatherland - that one achieves respect and freedom.

So it was a good thing that at the right moment the Pharisees should arise to erect a barrier against the filthy overflowing of foreign usages and customs. I repeat: everything that begins and lasts has its reason for existence. And it is to be respected for what it did, if not for what it does. Because, if it is guilty by now, it is not for men to insult it, and even less to strike it. There is who knows how to do it: God and He Whom He sent, and Whose right and duty is to open His mouth and to open your eyes, so that you and they may know the thought of the Most High, and you may act according to justice. I and no one else. I, because I speak by divine mandate. I, because I can speak as I have none of the sins that shock you when you see them committed by scribes and Pharisees, but which you also commit, if you can. »

Jesus, Who had begun His speech in a low voice, has gradually raised it, and when uttering these last words, it is as powerful as the blare of a trumpet. Hebrews and Gentiles are fully engrossed in listening to Him. And if the former applaud when Jesus mentions their Fatherland and clearly calls by name those foreigners who subjected them and made them suffer, the latter admire the oratorical form of His speech and they are happy to be present at this oration really worthy of a great orator, as they say to one another. Jesus lowers His voice again when He resumes speaking:

« What I told you is to remind you of the reasons why scribes and Pharisees exist, and how and why they have sat on Moses' chair, and how and why they speak and their words are not vain ones. So do what they say. But do not imitate their actions. Because they say that things are to be done in a certain manner, but they do not do what is to be done. In fact they teach the humane laws of the Pentateuch, then they burden other people with huge, unbearable, inhuman weights, whereas they themselves do not stir a finger even to touch those weights, let alone carry them.

The rule of their life is to be seen, noticed and applauded for their deeds, which they perform in a manner suitable to be seen and thus praised. And they infringe the law of love, because they like to define themselves the distinguished ones and they despise those who do not belong to their sect, and they demand the title of teachers and from their disciples they exact such a cult as they do not give to God. They consider themselves gods because of their wisdom and power, and in the hearts of their disciples they want to be superior to fathers and mothers, and they claim that their doctrine is superior to God's and they insist on its being practised literally, even if it is a manipulation of the true Law, inferior to the same even more than this mountain is to the Great Hermon that dominates the whole of Palestine; and they are heretics, since some believe, as heathens do, in metempsychosis (reincarnation) and fatality, while others deny what the previous ones admit and, in actual fact if not in effect, what God Himself has given as a principle of faith, when He defined Himself the only God to Whom cult is to be given, and when He said that fathers and mothers are second only to God, and as such they are entitled to be obeyed more than a teacher who is not divine. Because if now I say to you: "Those who love their fathers and mothers more than they love Me are not suitable for the Kingdom of God", I do not say so to instil indifference towards your relatives into your minds, as you must respect and help them, neither is it lawful to deprive them of assistance saying: "It is money for the Temple", or deny them hospitality saying: "My office forbids me", or to take their lives saying: "I kill you because you love the Master", but I say so that you may love your relatives with just love, that is with love that is patient and strong in its meekness - without hating a relative who sins and gives sorrow, because he does not follow you on the way of Life, that is, on My way - with love that knows how to choose between My law and family selfishness and violence. Love your relatives, obey them in everything that is holy. But be ready to die, not to kill, but I say to die, if they want to persuade you to betray the vocation given you by God, to be citizens of the Kingdom of God, that I have come to establish.

Do not imitate scribes and Pharisees, who are divided among themselves, although they feign to be united. You, disciples of the Christ, be really united, each one for all the others, the leaders being kind to the subjects, the subjects being kind to their leaders, all one in love and in the purpose of your union: to conquer My Kingdom and be at My right hand at the eternal Judgement. Remember that a kingdom that is divided is no longer a kingdom and cannot exist. Be therefore united to one another in your love for Me and for My doctrine. Let love and union, equality in garments worn, community of property, brotherliness of hearts be the uniform of the Christian, because that will be the name of My subjects. Everybody for one, one for everybody. Let those who own wealth give humbly. Let those who do not own accept humbly, and let them humbly set forth their needs to their brothers, knowing that they are such; and let brothers kindly listen to the needs of their brothers, feeling that they are such to them. Remember that your Master was often hungry and cold and He had other numberless necessities and troubles and He, the Word of God, humbly set them forth to men. Remember that a reward is given to those who are merciful by giving even just a sip of water. Remember that it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).  In these three recollections let the poor find strength to ask without feeling humiliated, remembering that I did so before them, and let them forgive, if they are refused, remembering that many a time the Son of man was denied the place and the food that are given to sheep-dogs. And let the rich be generous in giving their riches, considering that the base money, that Satan instigates men to crave for, and is nine tenths of the disasters of the world, if it is given out of love, changes into a heavenly immortal gem.

Be clothed in your virtues. Let them be manifold but known only to God. Do not behave as the Pharisees who wear the broadest phylacteries and the longest fringes and want the front seats in synagogues and love to be greeted obsequiously in market squares, and want to be called "Rabbis" by the people. One alone is your Master: the Christ. You who in future will be the new doctors, I am referring to you, My apostles and disciples, remember that I alone am your Teacher. And I will be your only Teacher also when I am no longer among you. Because Wisdom alone teaches. So do not allow yourselves to be called teachers, because you are disciples yourselves. Do not pretend to be called fathers and do not call father anyone on the Earth, because only one is the Father of all men: your Father Who is in Heaven. May this truth make you wise by really feeling all like brothers to one another, both those who guide and those who are guided, and so love one another like good brothers. And none of those who guide must allow themselves to be called guides, because only one is your guide: the Christ.

Let the greatest among you be your servant. He who is the servant of the servants of God does not humiliate himself, but he imitates Me, as I was kind and humble, always willing to love those who were My brothers in the flesh of Adam, and to assist them by means of the power that I have as God. Neither by serving men did I humiliate what is divine in Me. Because he is a true king who knows how to dominate not so much men, as the passions of men, first of all foolish pride. Remember: he who humbles himself will be exalted, and he who exalts himself will be humbled.

The Woman of Whom the Lord has spoken in the second chapter of Genesis, the Virgin mentioned by Isaiah, the Virgin Mother of the Immanuel, prophesied this truth of the new times, when She sang: "He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly". The Wisdom of God spoke through the lips of Her Who was the Mother of Grace and the Throne of Wisdom. And I repeat the inspired words that praised Me joined to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, in Our wonderful works, when, without offence to the Virgin, I, the Man, was being formed in Her womb without ceasing being God. Let them be a guide for those who want to bear the Christ in their hearts and come to the Kingdom of Christ. There will be no Jesus: the Saviour; no Christ: the Lord; and there will be no Kingdom of Heaven for those who are proud, fornicators, idolaters, who worship themselves and their will.

Therefore woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who think you can close by means of your unfeasible maxims -- if they were confirmed by God, they would really be an unbreakable bolt for most men -- who think you can close the Kingdom of Heaven in the face of those men who raise their spirits towards it to find strength in their painful earthly day! Woe to you who do not enter it, who do not want to enter it, because you do not accept the Law of the heavenly Kingdom, and you do not allow other people to enter, while they are in front of that door, which you, intolerant as you are, reinforce with bolts that God did not put there.

Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who swallow the property of widows under the pretext of saying long prayers. Because of that you will receive a severe sentence!

Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who travel over sea and land, using up riches that do not belong to you, to make a single proselyte, and when you have him, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!

Woe to you, blind guides, who say: "If a man swears by the Temple, it has no force, but if he swears by the gold of the Temple, then he is bound by his oath". You are foolish and blind! Which is of greater worth? The gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? And you say: "If a man swears by the altar, it has no force, but if he swears by the offering on the altar, then his oath is valid and he is bound by it". You blind men! What is greater? The offering, or the altar that makes the offering sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar, is swearing by it and by everything on it, and he who swears by the Temple, is swearing by it and by Him Who dwells in it, and he who swears by Heaven, is swearing by the Throne of God and by Him Who is seated on it.

Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who pay the tithes of mint and rue, of anise and cummin, and then you neglect the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy and faith. These are the virtues you should have practised, without neglecting the other minor matters!

You blind guides, you filter your drinks, lest you may become contaminated by swallowing a drowned gnat, but you swallow a camel, without feeling unclean by doing so. Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who wash the outside of cups and dishes, but interiorly you are full of extortion and filth. O blind Pharisee, wash the inside of your cup and dish first, so that also the outside may be clean.

Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who fly in darkness like noctules for your sinful deeds, and at night reach agreements with heathens, robbers and traitors, and then, in the morning, after deleting the signs of your concealed dealings, you go up to the Temple in fine garments.

Woe to you, who teach the laws of charity and justice contained in Leviticus, while you are greedy, thieves, false, slanderers, oppressors, unjust, avengers, haters, and you even overthrow those who annoy you, even if they are of your own blood, and you repudiate the virgin who has become your wife, and you disown the children that you begot of her, because they are invalids, and because you do not like your wife any more, you accuse her of adultery or of an unclean disease, to get rid of her, while you are unclean in your lustful hearts, even if you do not appear to be such in the eyes of the people, 'who are not aware of your deeds. You are like whitewashed sepulchres that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and corruption. The same applies to you. Yes. The same! From the outside you look like honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Woe to you, hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, who build magnificent sepulchres for the prophets and decorate the tombs of holy men saying: "Had we lived in our fathers' days, we would never had joined those who shed the blood of the prophets". And so you give evidence against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered your prophets. And you, moreover, are finishing the work of your fathers… Serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to Gehenna?

So I, the Word of God, say to you: I, God, will send you new prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you will slaughter, some you will crucify, some you will scourge in your law-courts, in your synagogues, outside the walls of your towns, and some you will hunt from town to town, until you draw on yourselves the blood of the just men, that has been shed on the Earth, from the blood of the just Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachian, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar, because for your own sake he had reminded you of your sin, that you might repent and go back to the Lord. It is so. You hate those who want your welfare and lovingly call you back to the paths of God.

I solemnly tell you that all that is about to happen, both the crime and its consequences. I solemnly tell you that all this will be accomplished on this generation.

Oh! Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Jerusalem, you that stone those who have been sent to you and kill your prophets! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you refused! Now listen, Jerusalem! Now listen, you who hate Me and hate everything that comes from God. Now listen, you who love Me and who will be carried away by the punishment laid aside for the persecutors of the Messengers of God. And you also listen to Me, you who do not belong to this people, but who listen to Me just the same, listen and learn Who He is Who is speaking to you and foretells without having to study the flight, the warbling of birds, or celestial phenomena, or the viscera of sacrificed animals, or the fire and smoke of holocausts, because all the future is the present for Him Who is speaking to you. "This House of yours will be left desolate to you. And I say to you, says the Lord, that you shall not see Me any more until you also say: 'Blessings on Him Who comes in the name of the Lord"'. »

Jesus is clearly tired and hot, both because of the long thundering speech, and of the sultriness of the windless day. Pressed against the wall by a multitude of people, avidly gazed upon by thousands of people, feeling all the hatred of those who are listening to Him under the porches of the court of the Gentiles, and all the love or at least the admiration surrounding Him, indifferent to the sun blazing down on backs and reddened perspiring faces, He really looks exhausted. He needs solace and He seeks it saying to His apostles and to the seventy-two disciples, who like wedges have opened a passage through the crowd and who are now in the front line, forming a faithful loving barrier around Him: « Let us leave the Temple and go out into the open, among trees. I am in need of shade, silence and fresh air. This place really seems to be already burning with the fire of celestial wrath. »

They elbow their way with difficulty and are thus able to go out through the nearest gate, where Jesus in vain strives to dismiss many people. They want to follow Him at all costs.

In the meantime the disciples are watching the cube of the Temple shining in the sun, as it is almost midday, and John of Ephesus points out the powerful construction to the Master saying: « Look at the size of the stones and of the construction! »

« And yet not a single stone here will be left on another » replies Jesus.

« No? When? How? » ask many.

But Jesus does not say anything. He goes down the Moriah and quickly leaves the town, passing through Ophel and the Gate of Ephraim or Dung Gate and taking shelter at first in the thick of the King's Gardens, that is until those who, apart from apostles and disciples, have insisted in following Him, go away slowly when Manaen, who has had the heavy gates opened, comes forward imposingly and says to everybody: « Go away. No one can come in here except those whom I allow. »

Shade, silence, scents of flowers, the smell of camphor and cloves, cinnamon, lavender and countless other scented herbs, the gurgling of streams nourished by nearby fountains and cisterns, under galleries of leaves, the warbling of birds make the spot a place of paradisiac rest. The town seems to be miles and miles away, with its narrow streets, dark because of the many archivolts or sunny to the point of dazzling, with its smells and stenches of sewers, which are not always clean, and of streets along which too many quadrupeds pass to be clean, particularly the less important ones.

The guardian of the Gardens must know Jesus very well, because he greets Him with respect and familiarity at the same time, and Jesus asks after his wife and children.

The man would like to give Jesus hospitality in his house, but the Master prefers the fresh restful peace of the large King's Garden, a real park of delight. And before the two untiring and very loyal servants of Lazarus go away to get the basket of foodstuffs, Jesus says to them: « Tell your mistresses to come. We shall stay here for a few hours with My Mother and the faithful women disciples. And it will be so pleasant… »

« You are very tired, Master! One can tell from Your face » remarks Manaen.

« Yes. So much so that I did not have enough strength to go farther. »

« But I offered You these gardens several times during the past days. You know how pleased I am to be able to offer You peace and solace! »

« I know, Manaen. »

« And yesterday You wanted to go to that sad place! Its neighbourhood is so arid and it is so strangely bare of vegetation this year! And it is so close to that sad gate! »

« I wanted to satisfy My apostles. They are like little boys, after all. Grown up boys. See how happily they are refreshing themselves!… They have immediately forgotten what is being plotted against Me beyond those walls… »

« And they have forgotten that You are so depressed… But I do not think there is any sound reason to be frightened. The place seemed more dangerous on other occasions. »

Jesus looks at him and is silent. How often in these last days have I seen Jesus look and be silent thus!

Then Jesus becomes intent in watching the apostles and disciples, who have taken off their headgear, mantles and sandals, cooling their faces and limbs in the fresh rivulets, imitated by many of the seventy-two disciples, who, actually, I think are now many more, and who, all united in the fraternity of ideals, are lying down, resting here and there, a little aside, to let Jesus rest peacefully.

Manaen also withdraws leaving Him alone. Everybody respects the rest of the Master, Who is very tired and has taken shelter under a very thick pergola of a jasmine in bloom, shaped like a bower and isolated by a ring of water that flows gurgling in a little canal over which grass and flowers hang. A real peaceful refuge that is reached by means of a little bridge two palms wide and four long, the railings of which are all covered with a garland of jasmine corollas.

The servants come back and they have increased in number, because Martha wanted to provide for all the servants of the Lord, and they say that the women will be coming shortly.

Jesus sends for Peter and says to him: « With My brother James bless, offer and hand out the food as I do. »

« I will hand it out, but I will not bless it. It is for You to offer and bless it, not for me. »

« When you were the head of your companions and were far away from Me, did you not do it? »

« Yes, I did. But then I was compelled to do it. Now You are with us, and it is for You to bless it. I think that everything tastes better when You offer it for us and hand it out… » and the faithful Simon embraces his Jesus, Who is sitting looking very tired in the shade, and he bends his head over His shoulder, happy to be able to clasp and kiss Him thus…

Jesus stands up and pleases him. He goes towards the disciples, He offers, blesses, hands out the food, He watches them eat gladly and says to them: « Afterwards you may sleep, rest while there is time, so that later you may keep awake and pray when you need to do so, and fatigue and tiredness may not overburden your eyes and spirit with sleepiness, when it will be necessary for you to be ready and wide-awake. »

« Are You not staying with us? Are You not eating? »

« Let Me rest. That is all I need. Eat, eat! » He caresses the ones whom He finds on His way and goes back to His place…

Kind and gentle is the arrival of the Mother near Her Son. Mary comes forward without hesitating, because Manaen, who being less tired than the others, has been watching at the gate, points out to Her the place where is Jesus. The other women disciples, all the Hebrew ones are there, and of the Romans only Valeria is present, stop for a little while and are silent in order not to awake the disciples who are sleeping in the shade of the leafy trees, like sheep lying on the grass at midday.

Mary goes under the jasmine pergola without making the little wooden bridge or the gravel on the ground creak, and even more cautiously She approaches Her Son, Who, overcome by weariness, has fallen asleep with His head on the stone table placed there, His left arm used as a cushion under His face covered by His hair. Mary sits patiently near Her exhausted Son. And She contemplates Him… so intently… and a sorrowful loving smile appears on Her lips, while tears noiselessly fall on Her lap; but if Her lips are closed and silent, Her heart is praying with all the strength She possesses, and the power of that prayer and of its inspiration are revealed by the attitude of Her hands joined on Her lap, held tight with fingers interlaced in order not to tremble, and yet are shaken by a light tremor. Hands that are disjoined only to drive away a fly that insistently wants to alight on Her sleeping Son and might awake Him.

It is the Mother Who is watching Her Son. The last sleep of Her Son She can watch. And if the face of the Mother, on this Wednesday before Passover, is different from that of the Mother at the Birth of the Lord, because grief makes it pale and disfigures its features, the mild loving purity of Her glance, the anxious care is the same as She had when, bending over the manger in Bethlehem, with Her love She protected the first uncomfortable sleep of Her Child.

Jesus moves, and Mary quickly wipes Her eyes, so that Her Son may not see Her tears. But Jesus has not wakened. He has only changed the position of His face, turning it round to the other side, and Mary resumes Her immobility and Her watching.

But something breaks Mary's heart: She hears Her Jesus weep in His sleep and whisper the name of Judas, with an indistinct murmur, as He speaks with His mouth pressed against His arm and garment…

Mary stands up, She approaches Her Son and bends over Him, She follows His vague whispering, with Her hands pressed against Her heart. Jesus' speech, although broken but not to the extent that one cannot follow it, makes Her understand that He is dreaming, and is dreaming once again the present, the past and then also the future, until He awakes with a jerk, as if He wanted to escape something horrible. But He finds the breast of His Mother, the arms of His Mother, the smile of His Mother, the gentle voice of his Mother, Her kiss, Her caress, the light touch of Her veil, with which She had wiped Her face to dry tears and perspiration, while She says to Him: « You were in an uncomfortable position, and You were dreaming… You are wet with perspiration and tired, Son. » And She tidies His ruffled hair, She dries His face and kisses Him, embracing Him with Her arm, holding Him to Her heart as She can no longer take Him in Her lap, as when He was a baby.

Jesus smiles at Her saying: « You are always the Mother. The one who comforts. The one who rewards for everything. My Mother! »

He makes Her sit close to Him laying His hand on Her knees, and Mary takes His long hand, so gentle and yet so strong, the hand of a handicraftsman, in Her small ones, She caresses its fingers and the back of it, smoothing the veins which had swollen while hanging His sleep. And She tries to distract His attention…

« We have come. We are all here. Also Valeria. The others are at the Antonia. Claudia wanted them, "as she is very sad" said her freedwoman. She says, I do not know why, that she has a presentiment of much weeping. Superstitions!… God only knows what will happen… »

« Where are the women disciples? »

« Over there, at the entrance of the Gardens. Martha wanted to prepare refreshing and nourishing food and drinks, considering how exhausted You are. But I, look, You always liked this, and I brought it to You. My share. It has a nicer taste because it was made by Your Mother. » She shows Him some honey and a bun on which She spreads it handing it to Her Son and saying: « As we used to do at Nazareth, when You rested during the hottest hours, and then You awoke feeling hot, and I used to come from the cool grotto with this refreshment… » She stops because Her voice trembles.

Her Son looks at Her and then says: « And when there was Joseph, You brought refreshments for two and the cool water of the porous jar that You kept in running water to make it cooler and it was made even more so by the stems of wild mint that You put in it. How much mint there was there, under the olive-trees! And how many bees on the mint flowers! Our honey always tasted a little of that scent… » He is pensive… He remembers…

« We have seen Alphaeus, You know? Joseph was delayed because one of his sons was not too well. But he will certainly be here tomorrow with Simon. Salome of Simon is looking after our house and Mary's. »

« Mother, when You are all alone, who will You stay with? »

« With whomsoever You will tell Me, Son. I obeyed You, Son, before having You. I will continue doing so after You have left Me. » Her voice trembles, but a heroic smile is on Her lips.

« You know how to obey. How restful it is to be with You! Because, see, Mother? The world cannot understand, but I find complete rest with obedient people… Yes. God rests with the obedient. God would not have had to suffer, to toil, if disobedience had not come to the world. Everything happened because man did not obey. That is why there is sorrow in the world… That is the reason for Our grief. »

« And also for Our peace, Jesus. Because we know that our obedience comforts the Eternal Father. Oh! for Me in particular, what that thought is! I, a creature, have been granted to console My Creator! »

« Oh! Joy of God! You do not know, o joy of Ours, what Your word means to us! It exceeds the harmony of the Celestial Choruses!… Blessed! Blessed You are, as You teach Me the last obedience, and by this thought of Yours You make it pleasant for Me to accomplish it! »

« You do not need to be taught by Me, My Jesus. I have learned everything from You. »

« Jesus of Mary of Nazareth, the Man, has learned everything from You. »

« It was Your light that emanated from Me. The Light that You are and that came from the Eternal Light, annihilated in human appearance… Johanna's brothers informed Me of the speech You delivered. They were enraptured with admiration. You uttered bitter words against the Pharisees… »

« It is the hour of supreme truths, Mother. They remain dead truths to them. But they will be living truths for the others. And with love and severity I must fight the last battle to snatch them from Evil. »

« That is true. They told Me that Gamaliel, who was with other people in one of the halls in the porches, said at the end, while many were upset: "When one does not want to be reproached, one acts righteously" and he went away after that remark. »

« I am glad that the rabbi heard Me. Who told You? »

« Lazarus did. And he was told by Eleazar, who was in the hall with other people. Lazarus came at midday. He greeted us and went away again without listening to his sisters who wanted to keep him until sunset. He told them to send John, or somebody else, to get those fruits and flowers, which are just perfect. »

« I will send John tomorrow. »

« Lazarus comes every day. But Mary gets angry because she says that he seems an apparition. He goes up to the Temple, he comes, gives orders and leaves again. »

« Lazarus also knows how to obey. I told him to behave so, because they are lying in wait for him as well. But don't tell his sisters. Nothing will happen to him. And now let us go to the women disciples. »

« Do not move. I will call them. The disciples are all asleep… »

« And we will let them sleep. They do not sleep much at night, because I teach them in the peace of Gethsemane. »

Mary goes out and comes back with the women, who seem to have got rid of their weight, so light are their steps. They greet Him with deep respect. Only Mary of Clopas is well known.

And from a large bag Martha takes out a small porous amphora, while from another vase, which is also porous, Mary takes fresh fruit that came from Bethany, and lays it on the table beside what her sister has prepared, that is a crisp appetising grilled dove, and she begs Jesus to accept it saying: « Eat it. It is nourishing. I prepared it myself. »

Johanna instead has brought some rose-vinegar. She explains: « It is so refreshing in these first warm days. My husband also makes use of it when he is tired after long rides. »

« We have nothing » say Mary Salome, Mary Clopas, Susanna and Eliza apologising. And Nike and Valeria in turn say: « Neither have we. We did not know that we had to come. »

« You have given Me all your hearts. That is enough for Me. And you will still give Me… »

He takes some food, but above all He drinks the cool honied water that Martha pours out for Him from the porous amphora and He eats the fresh fruit, a real refreshment for the Tired One.

The women disciples do not speak much. They look at Him while He takes some refreshments. In their eyes there is love and anxiety. And all of a sudden Eliza begins to weep, and she apologises saying: « I do not know. My heart is burdened with sadness… »

« All our hearts are. Even Claudia in her palace… » says Valeria.

« I wish it were already Pentecost » whispers Salome.

« I, instead, would like to stop the time at this hour » says Mary of Magdala.

« You would be selfish, Mary » replies Jesus.

« Why, Rabboni? »

« Because you would like the joy of your redemption exclusively for yourself. There are millions of people who are awaiting this hour, or who will be redeemed because of this hour. »

« That is true. I was not thinking of that… » she lowers her head, biting her lips to conceal the tears in her eyes and the trembling of her lips. But she is always the brave struggler, and she says: « If You come tomorrow, You will be able to put on the tunic You sent me. It is fresh and clean, worthy of the Passover supper. »

« I will come… Have you nothing to tell Me? You are silent and distressed. Am I no longer Jesus?… » He smiles at the women encouragingly.

« Oh! You are! But You are so great these days that I can no longer see You as the little boy I used to carry in my arms! » exclaims Mary of Alphaeus.

« Neither can I see You as the simple rabbi who used to come into my kitchen looking for John and James » says Salome.

« And I have always known You so: the King of my soul! » Proclaims Mary of Magdala.

And Johanna meekly and gently says: « And I, too: divine, since the dream in which You appeared to me, when I was dying, to call me to the Life. »

« Lord, You have given us everything. Everything! » says with a sigh Eliza, who has collected herself.

« And you have given Me everything. » « Too little! » they all reply.

« The possibility of giving will not come to an end after this hour. It will cease only when you are with Me in My Kingdom. My faithful women disciples. You will not sit at My side, on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, but you will sing hosannas with the angels, forming a chorus of honour for My Mother, and then, as now, the heart of the Christ will find its joy in contemplating you. »

« I am young! Long will be the time to ascend to Your Kingdom. Happy Annaleah! » says Susanna.

« I am old, and happy to be so. I hope my death is near » says Eliza.

« I have my sons… I would like to serve these servants of God! » says Mary of Clopas with a sigh.

« Do not forget us, Lord! » says the Magdalene with restrained anxiety, I would say with a cry of her soul, so much does her voice quiver, even more than a cry, although it is kept low in order not to awake those who are sleeping.

« I will not forget you. I will come. You, Johanna, know that I can come even if I am far away… The others must believe that. And I will leave something to you… a mystery that will keep Me in you and you in Me, until we are united again, you and I, in the Kingdom of God. Go now. You may say that I have not told you much, that it was almost useless to make you come for so little. But I wanted to have around Me hearts that have loved Me without selfishness. For My sake: for Jesus. Not for the future King of Israel people have dreamt of. Go. And may you be blessed once more. Also the other women disciples, who are not here, but think of Me with love: Anne, Myrtha, Anastasica, Naomi, and the far away Syntyche, and Photinai, and Aglae and Sarah, Marcella, Philip's daughters, Mirjiam of Jairus, the virgins, the redeemed women, the wives, the mothers who have come to Me, who have been sisters and mothers to Me, better, oh! much better than the best men!… All of them! I bless them all. Grace begins already to descend, grace and forgiveness, on woman, through this blessing of Mine. Go… »

He dismisses them holding back His Mother, to whom He says: « Before evening I shall be at Lazarus' mansion. I need to see You again. John will be with Me. But I only want You, Mother, and the other Maries, Martha and Susanna. I am so tired… »

« We shall be the only ones. Goodbye, Son… »

They kiss each other and part… Mary goes away slowly. She turns round before going out. She turns round before leaving the little bridge. She turns again, as long as She can see Jesus… She seems unable to depart from Him…

Jesus is alone once again. He gets up and goes out. He goes and calls John, who is sleeping lying on his face among the flowers, like a little boy, and He hands him the small amphora with the rosevinegar that Johanna brought Him, saying to him: « We shall go to My Mother this evening. But only the two of us. » « I understand. Did they come? »

« Yes, they did. I preferred not to awake you… »

« You did the right thing. Your joy must have been greater. They know how to love you better than we do… » says John disconsolately.

« Come with Me. » John follows Him. « What is the matter with you? » Jesus asks him, when they are once again in the green dim light of the pergola, where there are still some remains of food.

« Master, we are very bad. All of us. There is no obedience in us… and no desire to be with You. Also Peter and Simon have gone away. I don't know where. And so Judas found the opportunity to be quarrelsome. »

« Has Judas also gone away? »

« No, Lord. He has not. He says he has no need to go away, that he has no accomplices in our intrigues to try and get protection for You. But if I went to Annas, if others have gone to the Galileans residing here, it was not for an evil purpose!… And I do not think that Simon of Jonas and Simon Zealot are men capable of underhand intrigues… »

« Never mind. In fact Judas does not need to go while you are resting. He knows when and where to go to accomplish what he has to do. »

« Then why does he speak so? It is not nice, in the presence of the disciples! »

« It is not nice. But it is so. Cheer up, My lamb. »

« I, Your lamb? There is no other Lamb but You! »

« Yes. You. I, the Lamb of God, and you, the lamb of the Lamb of God. »

« Oh!!! You already told me this word on another occasion, it was the first days I was with you. There were only the two of us, as now, among the green vegetation, as now, and in the fine season. » John rejoices at the recollection. And he whispers: « I am always, I am still the lamb of the Lamb of God… »

Jesus caresses him. And He offers him some of the grilled dove, left on the table on a sheet of parchment that had enveloped it. He then opens some juicy figs for him and offers them to him, happy to see him eat them. Jesus has sat sideways on the edge of the table and looks at John so intensely that the latter asks: « Why are You looking at me thus? Because I am eating like a glutton? »

« No. Because you are like a child… Oh! My beloved! How much I love you because of your heart! » and Jesus bends to kiss the fairhaired head of the apostle and says to him: « Remain thus, always thus, with your heart without pride and malice. Thus, also in the hours of unchecked ferocity. Do not imitate those who sin, My child. »

John is seized with his worry again and he says: « But I cannot believe that Simon and Peter… »

« You would really make a mistake if you thought they were sinners. Drink this. It is a good fresh drink. Martha prepared it… Now you are feeling better. I am sure that you had not finished your meal… »

« That is true. I had begun to weep. Because, as long as the world hates us, one can understand. But that one of us should insinuate… »

« Forget about it. You and I know that Simon and the Zealot are two honest men. And that is enough. And, unfortunately, you know that Judas is a sinner. But keep silent about it. But when many lustra have gone by and it is just to reveal how deep My grief was, then you will tell also what I suffered because of the deeds of that man, in addition to those of that apostle. Let us go. It is time to leave this place and go towards the Field of the Galileans and… »

« Are we staying there also tonight? And are we going to Gethsemane first? Judas wanted to know. He says he is tired of being out in the dew, with little and uncomfortable rest. »

« It will soon be over. But I will not tell Judas what I intend doing… »

« You are not obliged. It is You Who have to guide us, and not we who have to guide You. » John is so far from betraying that he does not even understand the reason of prudence why Jesus for some days has never mentioned what He intends doing.

They are now among the sleeping disciples. They call them. They awake. Manaen, who has accomplished his task, apologises to the Master for not being able to stay, and not being able to be with Him at the Temple the following day, as he has to remain at the palace. And in saying so he stares at Peter and Simon, who have in the meantime come back, and Peter nods quickly, as if to say: « I have understood. »

They come out of the Gardens. It is still warm and the sun is still shining. But the evening breeze already mitigates the heat and blows some little clouds in the clear sky.

They go up towards Siloam, avoiding the places of the lepers, but Simon goes to them to take the remains of their meal to the few who are still left there and who did not believe in Jesus.

Matthias, the former shepherd, approaches Jesus and asks: « My Lord and Master, my companions and I have pondered a lot on Your words, until we were overcome by tiredness, and we fell asleep before solving the problem we had set to ourselves. And now we are more stupid than before. If we have correctly understood Your speeches of these last days, You have foretold that many things will be changed although the Law remains unchanged, and that a New Temple will have to be erected, with new prophets, wise men and scribes, that they will give battle to it, and that it will not die, whereas this one, always if we have understood correctly, is destined to perish. »

« It is destined to perish. Remember Daniel's prophecy… »

« But how shall we, poor and few as we are, be able to rebuild it, if the kings found it difficult to build this one? Where shall we erect it? Not here, because You say that this place will remain deserted until they bless You as the messenger sent by God. »

« It is so. »

« Not in Your Kingdom. We are convinced that Your Kingdom is spiritual. So, how and where shall we establish it? Yesterday You said that the true Temple -- and is that one not the true Temple? -- that the true Temple, when they think that they have destroyed it, will then ascend triumphantly to the true Jerusalem. Where is it? We are very confused. »

« It is so. Let the enemies destroy the true Temple. In three days I will raise it up and it will experience no more ambushes as it will ascend where man can no longer harm.

With regard to the Kingdom of God, it is in you and wherever there are men who believe in Me. Scattered at present, it will spread all over the Earth in the course of ages. Then eternal, united, perfect in Heaven. The new Temple will be built there, in the Kingdom of God, that is, where there are spirits who accept My doctrine, the doctrine of the Kingdom of God, and put its precepts into practice.

How will it be erected if you are poor and few? Oh! No money or power is really required to erect the building of the new abode of God. Neither for the individual nor for the collective one. The Kingdom of God is in you. And the union of all those who have the Kingdom of God in themselves, of all those who have God in themselves - God: Grace; God: Life; God: Light; God: Charity - will form the great Kingdom of God on the Earth, the new Jerusalem that will spread all over the world and, complete and perfect, without faults, without shadows, will live for ever in Heaven.

How will you manage to build Temple and town? Oh! not you, but God will build these new places. You have only to give Him your good will. Good will is to remain in Me. Good will is to live My doctrine. Good will is to be united. So united to Me as to form only one body that is nourished by only one humour in all its parts, even in the smallest ones. Only one edifice that rests only on one base and is held together by a mystic cohesion. But as without the help of the Father, Whom I taught you to pray and Whom I will pray for you before I die, you would not be able to be in Charity, in Truth, in Life, that is still in Me and with Me in God the Father and in God Love, because we are only one Divinity, because of that I tell you to have God in you in order to be able to be the Temple that will know no end. You would not be able to do it by yourselves. If God does not build, and He cannot build where He cannot dwell, in vain men busy themselves in building and rebuilding.

The new Temple, My Church, will rise only when your hearts give hospitality to God, and He with you, living stones, will build His Church. »

« But did You not say that Simon of Jonas is its Head, the Stone on which Your Church will be built? And have You not made us also understand that You are its corner-stone? So who is its head? Does this Church exist or not? » says the Iscariot interrupting.

« I am the mystical Head. Peter is the visible head. Because I am going back to the Father leaving you Life, Light, Grace by means of My Word, of My suffering, of the Paraclete, Who will be the friend of those who are faithful to Me.

I am one thing with My Church, My spiritual body, of which I am the head. The head contains the brain or mind. The mind is the seat of knowledge, the brain directs the movements of the limbs with its immaterial orders, which are more efficient than any other incentive in making the limbs move. Look at a dead man, whose brain is dead. Is there any movement in his limbs? Look at one who is completely stupid. Is he not perhaps so inert that he is not capable of having those rudimentary instinctive emotions that the lowest animal, the worm we tread on when walking, has? Observe a man whose limbs, one or more of them, have lost contact with the brain by paralysis. Can he move the part that no longer has any vital link with his head? But if the mind directs with its immaterial orders, it is the other organs - eyes, ears, tongue, nose, skin - that transmit sensations to the mind, and it is the other parts of the body that perform and have performed what the mind, informed by the organs, which are as material and visible as the intellect is invisible, orders. Could I get you to sit on the slope of this mountain without saying to you: "Sit down"? Even if I think that I want you to sit down, you do not know until I express My thought in words and I utter them using My tongue and lips. I could sit down Myself, if I only thought of it because I feel that My legs are tired, but if they refused to bend and sit Me down?

The mind needs organs and limbs to accomplish and have accomplished the operations that the thought thinks of. So in the spiritual body that is My Church, I shall be the Intellect, that is, the head, the seat of the intellect; Peter and his collaborators will be those who watch the reactions and perceive the sensations and transmit them to the mind, so that I may illuminate and direct what is to be done for the welfare of the whole body and then, as they are enlightened and guided by My order, they may speak and guide the other parts of the body. The hand that wards off on object that can damage the body and drives away what, being corrupt, may corrupt; the foot that steps over an obstacle, without knocking against it and falling and being hurt, have received an order to do so from the part that directs. The, boy, or also the man, who is saved from a danger, or makes any kind of gain - education, good business, marriage, good alliance through a good piece of advice he received, for a word spoken - it is through that piece of advice and that word that he is not hurt or he makes a profit. It will be the same in the Church. The head, and the heads, led by the Divine Thought and enlightened by the Divine Light and instructed by the Eternal Word, give orders and advice, and the members will act, receiving spiritual health and gain.

My Church already exists, because it has its supernatural Head and its divine Head and it has its members: the disciples. Still small a germ being formed - perfect only in the Head directing it, imperfect in the rest, which needs the touch of God to be perfect and some time to grow. But I solemnly tell you that it already exists, and that it is holy on account of Him Who is its Head and of the good will of the just members composing it. It is holy and invincible. Hell, consisting of demons and men-demons, will hurl itself against it thousands of times and will fight it in thousands of ways, but it will not prevail. The edifice will be unshakeable.

But the building is not made with only one stone. Look at the Temple, over there, large, beautiful in the setting sun. Is it made with only one stone? It is a complex of stones forming a harmonious whole. We say: the Temple. That is, one unit. But this unit is made with the many stones that have composed and formed it. It would have been useless to lay the foundations, if they were not to support the walls and the roof, if no walls were to be raised on them. And it would have been impossible to raise walls and support the roof, if first they had not laid solid foundations, proportioned to such a huge mass. So with this interdependence of parts, also the new Temple will rise. In the course of ages, you will build it, laying it on the foundations that I have given it, and which are perfect, for its massive size. You will build it under the direction of God, with the good things used to raise it: the spirits in which God dwells.

With God in your hearts, to make them polished flawless stones for the new Temple. With His Kingdom established with its laws in your spirits. Otherwise you would be badly-baked bricks, worm-eaten wood, chipped cracked stones that do not last, and are rejected by the builder, if he is wary, or they do not hold out, they cave in, making a part collapse if the builder, the builders appointed by the Father to the construction of the Temple, are idolatrous builders, who are proud in their hearts but do not watch over or work hard on the building that is rising, and neglect the materials used to make it. Idolatrous builders, idolatrous guardians, idolatrous keepers, thieves! Robbers of the trust in God, of the esteem of men, robbers full of pride, who are pleased to have the possibility of making a profit and of having large stocks of materials, but they do not watch whether they are good or of inferior quality, the cause of ruin.

You, new priests and scribes of the new Temple, listen. Woe to you and to those who after you will become idolatrous and will not watch and look after themselves and the other believers, to examine and test the good quality of the stones and timber, without trusting appearances, and will bring about ruin by allowing inferior quality, or even harmful materials to be used for the Temple, scandalising and causing disaster. Woe to you if you will allow unsafe, curved walls to be erected, full of large fissures and that will collapse easily, as they are not balanced on solid perfect foundations. The disaster would not come from God, the Founder of the Church, but from you, and you would be responsible for it before God and men. Care, attention, insight, prudence! The stone, the brick, the weak beam, which would be ruinous in a main wall, can serve for parts of minor importance, and serve well. That is how you must be able to choose. With charity in order not to disgust the weak parts, with firmness not to disgust God and ruin His Edifice. And if you become aware that a stone, already laid to support a main corner, is not good or is not balanced, be brave, bold, and remove it from that place, mortify it by squaring it with the chisel of holy zeal. If it howls with pain, it does not matter. It will bless you later, in the course of ages, because you saved it. Move it, appoint it to another office. Do not be afraid to send it away altogether, if you see that it is the cause of scandal and ruin and rebels against your work. Few stones are better than much rubbish. Do not be in a hurry. God is never in a hurry, but what He creates is eternal, because well thought over before being carried out. If it is not eternal, it will last to the end of time. Look at the Universe. For ages, for thousands of centuries it is as God made it through subsequent operations. Imitate the Lord. Be as perfect as your Father. Keep His Law and His Kingdom in you and you will not be unsuccessful.

But if you were not so, the building would collapse, you would have toiled in vain to erect it. It would collapse and only the cornerstone and the foundations would be left… That is what will happen to that one!… I solemnly tell you that that is what will happen to it. And that will be the fate of yours, if you put in it what is in this one: parts diseased with pride, avidity, sin, lust. As that pavilion of clouds, so gracefully beautiful, was blown away and dispersed by a breath of wind, while it seemed to be settling on the top of that mountain, likewise, at a gust of a wind of supernatural and human punishment, will tumble the buildings that are holy by name… »

Jesus is silent and pensive. He resumes speaking only to say: « Let us sit down here and rest a little. »

They sit down on a slope of the Mount of Olives, in front of the Temple kissed by the setting sun. Jesus looks fixedly at that place and sorrowfully. The others are proud of its beauty, but a veil of worry, left by the words of the Master, is spread on their pride. And if that beauty should really perish?…

Peter and John speak to each other and then they whisper something to James of Alphaeus and Andrew, who nod assent. Then Peter addresses the Master saying: « Let us go aside and explain to us when Your prophecy on the destruction of the Temple will take place. Daniel mentions it, but if things were as he says and as You say, the Temple would have but a few more hours. But we do not see any armies or preparations for war. So when will it happen? Which will be the sign of it? You have come. You say that You are about to go away. And yet it is known that it will only happen when You are among men. So, will You come back? When will You come back? Tell us, so that we way know… »

« It is not necessary to go aside. See? The most faithful disciples have remained, those who will be of great help to you twelve. They may hear the words that I will speak to you. Come near Me, all of you. » He shouts the last words to gather them all.

The disciples scattered on the slope come near the others, they form a compact group around the main one of Jesus and the apostles and they listen.

« Take care that no one deceives you in future. I am the Christ and there will be no other Christs. So, when many will come and say to you: "I am the Christ" and they will deceive many, do not believe those words, even if they are accompanied by wonders. Satan, the father of falsehood and the protector of liars, assists his servants and followers with false wonders, which, however, can be recognised as not being good ones, because they are always joined to fear, perturbation and falsehood. You know the wonders of God: they give holy peace, joy, health, faith, and they lead to holy desires and deeds. The others do not. So ponder on the forms and consequences of the wonders you may see in future, performed by the false Christs and by all those who will clothe themselves in the garments of saviours of peoples, whereas they are wild beasts who ruin them.

You will hear also, and you will see people speak of wars and rumours of wars and they will say to you: "These are the signs of the end". Do not be upset. It will not be the end. All this must happen before the end, but it is not the end yet. People will rise against people, kingdom against kingdom, nation against nation, continent against continent, and plagues, famines and earthquakes will follow in many places. But this is only the beginning of the birthpangs. Then they will bring affliction upon you and will kill you, accusing you of being guilty of their suffering, and hoping to get out of it by persecuting and destroying My servants. Men will always accuse the innocent of being the cause of the evil that they, sinners, procure for themselves. They accuse God Himself, Perfect Innocence and Supreme Goodness, of being the cause of their suffering, and they will do the same with you, and you will be hated on account of My Name. It is Satan who instigates them. And many will be scandalised and they will betray and hate one another. It is still Satan who instigates them. And many false prophets will arise, who will deceive many. And Satan is still the true author of so much evil. And with the increase of lawlessness, love in many men will grow cold. But those who stand firm to the end will be saved. And first this Good News of the Kingdom of God is to be preached all over the world, as a witness to all the nations. Then the end will come. The return to the Christ of Israel who will accept Him and the preaching of My Doctrine to all the world.

And then another sign. A sign for the end of the Temple and for the end of the World. When you see the abomination of the desolation prophesied by Daniel -- let those who are listening to Me understand properly and let those who read the Prophet read between the lines -- then those who are in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those who are on the terrace must not come down to collect what is in their houses, and those who are in the fields must not come back home to fetch their cloaks, but they must flee without turning back, otherwise it may happen that they will no longer be able to do so, and while running away they must not even turn round to look, in order not to keep the horrible sight in their hearts, and thus go mad. Woe to those with child and to those giving suck in those days! And woe if you have to escape on a Sabbath! The flight would not be sufficient to save you without sinning. So pray that it may not happen in winter or on a Sabbath, because then the tribulation will be so great as it has never been from the beginning of the world until now, nor will ever be alike again, because it will be the end. And if those days were not shortened for the sake of those who are chosen, no one would be saved, because the satan-men will enter into an alliance with hell to torture men.

And even then, in order to corrupt and mislead those who have remained faithful to the Lord, some people will arise and say: "The Christ is there, the Christ is here. He is in that place. There He is" Do not believe them. Let no one believe them, for false Christs and false prophets will arise and produce great signs and portents, enough to deceive even the chosen, if it were possible, and they will speak doctrines that are apparently so comforting and good as to deceive even the best ones, if the Spirit of God were not with them enlightening them on the truth and the satanic origin of such portents and doctrines. I am telling you. I am foretelling it, so that you may know how to behave. But do not be afraid of falling. If you remain in the Lord, you will not be led into temptation and ruin. Remember what I told you: "I have given you the power to walk on snakes and scorpions, and of all the power of the Enemy nothing will harm you, because everything will be subjected to you". But I also remind you that, in order to achieve this, you must have God within you, and you must rejoice, not because you control the powers of Evil and poisonous things, but because your names are written in Heaven.

Remain in God and in His truth. I am the Truth and I teach the truth. So I repeat to you once again: whatever they may say about Me, do not believe it. I alone have spoken the truth. I alone tell you that the Christ will come, but when it is the end. So, if they say to you: "He is in the desert", do not go. If they say to you: "He is in that house", do not listen to them. Because in His second coming the Son of man will be like lightning striking in the east and flashing as far as the west, in a shorter time than a blink. And He will glide over the great Body, suddenly turned into a Corpse, followed by His shining angels, and He will judge. Wherever the corpse is, there will the eagles gather. And immediately after the distress of those last days, as you have been told - I am speaking of the end of time and of the world and of the resurrection of the bones, of which the prophets speak - the sun will be darkened, and the moon will shed no more light, and the stars will fall from the sky like grapes from a bunch that is too ripe and is shaken by a gale, and the powers of Heaven will be shaken. And then in the darkened vault of heaven the dazzling sign of the Son of Man will appear, and all the nations of the Earth will weep, and men will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. And He will order His angels to reap the corn and gather the grapes, and to separate the darnel from the corn, and to throw the grapes into the vat, because the time of the great harvest of Adam's seed has come, and there will be no more need to keep small bunches or seeds, because the human race will never be perpetuated again on the dead Earth. And He will order His angels to gather the chosen with loud trumpets from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to another, so that they may be beside the Divine Judge to judge with Him the last living men and those who have been raised from the dead.

Learn the similitude from the fig-tree: when you see its twigs grow supple and put forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So, when you see all these things, know that the Christ is about to come. I solemnly tell you: this generation that did not want Me will not pass away, before all this takes place. My word does not pass. What I have said will take place. The hearts and minds of men may change, but My word does not change. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

But as for the day and the exact hour, nobody knows them, not even the angels of the Lord, only the Father knows them. As it was in the, days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of man comes. In the days before the Flood, men were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, without worrying about the sign, right up to the day Noah went into the ark and the cataracts of heaven were opened and the Flood swept all living beings and things away. It will be like this also for the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be close to each other in the field, and one will be taken and the other will be left, and two women will be at the millstone grinding, and one will be taken and one left by the enemies in the Fatherland, and even more by the angels who will be separating the good seed from the darnel, and they will have no time to prepare for the judgement of the Christ.

So be awake because you do not know at what time your Lord will come. Consider this: if the head of a family knew at what time a burglar would come, he would stay awake and would not let his house be robbed. So be vigilant and pray, being always prepared for the coming, without letting your hearts become sluggish through all kinds of abuse and intemperance, and your spirits be dull and distracted from the things of Heaven by excessive care for the things of the Earth, so that death may not take you all of a sudden, when you are not prepared. Because, bear this in mind, each one of you must die. All men, once they are born, must die, and this death and subsequent judgement is a particular coming of the Christ and its universal repetition will take place at the solemn coming of the Son of man.

What will happen to that faithful and prudent servant, appointed by his master to give food to the servants in his absence? His lot will be a happy one if his master comes back suddenly and finds him doing his duty with diligence, justice and love. I tell you solemnly that he will say to him: "Come, good faithful servant. You have deserved my reward. Here, administer all my property". But if he seemed good and faithful, but was not, and if interiorly he was as bad as he was hypocritical exteriorly, and once the master has left, he says to himself: "The master will come back late! Let us have a good time", and he begins to beat and ill-treat his fellow servants, cutting down their food and everything else to have more money to spend with revellers and drunkards, what will happen? The master will come back all of a sudden, when the servant does not expect him, and his wrong-doing will be found out, his position and money will taken off him, and he will be led where justice wants. And there will he remain.

And the same will happen to the unrepentant sinner, who does not think that death can be close at hand, as his judgement can be near, and he enjoys himself and abuses saying: "Later I will repent". I tell you solemnly that he will not have time to do so, and he will be condemned to be for ever where there is dreadful horror, where there is only blasphemy and weeping and torture, and he will come out only for the final Judgement, when he will be reclothed with the flesh raised from the dead, to present himself entire at the final Judgement, as he was entire when he sinned in the time of his earthly life, and in body and soul he will present himself to Jesus Judge, Whom he did not want as his Saviour.

They will all be gathered there before the Son of man. An infinite multitude of bodies, given back by the land and by the sea and recomposed after being ashes for such a long time. And the souls in their bodies. To each flesh returned to the skeletons will correspond its own soul that once animated it. And they will stand before the Son of man, splendid in His divine Majesty, sitting on His throne of glory supported by His angels.

And He will separate men from men, placing the good on one side and the bad on the other, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the kids, and He will place the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left. And in a gentle voice and with a benign appearance he will say to those who look at Him with all the love of their hearts, and are peaceful and beautiful, shining with the glorious beauty of their holy bodies: "Come, you who have been blessed by My Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you since the origin of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a pilgrim and you gave Me hospitality, I was naked and you clothed Me, sick and you visited Me, in prison and you came to comfort Me". And the just will ask Him: "Lord, when did we see You hungry and we fed You, thirsty and we gave You drink? When did we see You a pilgrim and we welcomed You, naked and we clothed You? When did we see You sick and in prison and we came to visit You?" And the King of kings will say to them: "I tell you solemnly: when you did one of these things to one of the least of My brothers, you did it to Me".

He will then address those who are on His left hand and will say to them, looking very severe, and His eyes will be like flashes of lightning striking the reprobates, and in His voice the wrath of God will thunder: "Go away from here! Away from Me, with your curse upon you! Go to the eternal fire prepared by the fury of God for the devil and the angels of darkness and for those who have listened to their voices of treble obscene lechery. I was hungry and you did not give Me any food, I was thirsty and you did not quench My thirst, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was a pilgrim and you rejected Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. Because you had but one law: the pleasure of your own egos". And they will say to Him: "When did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked, pilgrim, sick, in prison? Really, we never met You. We did not exist, when You were on the Earth". And He will reply to them: "That is true. You never met Me. Because you did not exist when I was on the Earth. But you were acquainted with My word and you had among you people who were hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, in prison. Why did you not do to them what you would have perhaps done to Me? Because no one says that those, who had Me among them, were merciful to the Son of man. Do you not know that I am in My brothers, and that where one of them suffers, I am there, and that what you have not done to one of the least of My brothers, you have refused it to Me, the First-Born of men? Go and bum in your own selfishness. Go and be enveloped in darkness and ice, because you were darkness and ice yourselves, though you knew where the Light and the Fire of Love were". And they will go to the eternal torture, whereas the just will enter eternal life.

Those are the future things… Go now. And do not part from one another. I am going with John, and I shall be with you half through the first watch, for supper, and then we shall go to our teaching. »

« Also this evening? Shall we be doing that every evening? I am aching all over because of the dew. Would it not be better to go to some hospitable house now? Always under tents! Always watching at night, when it is cold and damp… » says Judas complaining.

« It is the last night. Tomorrow… it will be different. »

« Ah! I thought You wanted to go to Gethsemane every night. But if it is the last one… »

« I did not say that, Judas. I said that it will be the last night to spend all together at the Field of the Galileans. Tomorrow we will prepare for Passover and will consume the lamb, then I will go by Myself to Gethsemane to pray. And you can do what you like. »

« But shall we not come with You, Lord! When have we ever wanted to leave You? » asks Peter.

« You should be quiet, because you are culpable. You and the Zealot do nothing but flutter here and there as soon as the Master does not see you. I have been keeping an eye on you. At the Temple… on the day… in the tents up there… » says the Iscariot, happy to denounce them.

« That is enough! If they do that, they are doing the right thing. But do not leave Me alone… I beg you… »

« Lord, we are not doing anything wrong. Believe me. Our deeds are known to God, and His eyes do not turn away from them in disgust » says the Zealot.

« I know. But it is useless. And what is useless may always become harmful. Be together as much as possible. » He then says to Matthew: « My good reporter, you will repeat to them the parable of the ten wise virgins and the ten foolish ones, and that of the master who gives some talents to his three servants to make them bear interests, and two earn twice as much and the sluggard hides it in the ground. Do you remember? »

« Yes, my Lord, very well. »

« Repeat them, then, because not everybody knows them. And also those who know them will be pleased to hear them again. You can while away the time so, in wise conversation, until I come back. Stay awake! Be vigilant! Keep your spirits awake. Those parables are also appropriate to what I have said. Goodbye. Peace be with you. »

He takes John by the hand and goes away with him towards the town… The others set out towards the Fields of the Galileans.



Written by Maria Valtorta.  Excerpted from POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume 5, chapter 594.


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