55. Thomas Becomes a Disciple.

27th October 1944. prev home next

This morning, as I recovered my senses after a very heavy torpor which had lasted many hours, while I was praying awaiting daylight, I saw the resumption of the vision.

I say resumption because we are still in the same place: the low, wide kitchen, with its dark, smoky walls, dimly lit up by the small flame of an oil lamp on the rustic table. It is a long narrow table at which eight people are sitting: Jesus and His six disciples, and the landlord, four each side.

Jesus, sitting on a stool – the only seats here are three-legged stools, real country furniture – is still turned round speaking to Thomas. Jesus' hand has fallen from Thomas' head on to his shoulder. Jesus says: « Stand up, My friend. Have you had any supper yet? »

« No, Master. I walked a few yards with the other fellow who was with me, then I left him and I came back saying that I wanted to speak to the healed leper… I said that because I thought he would disdain approaching an impure man. I guessed right. But I wanted to see You, not the leper… I wanted to say to You: “Please take me”… I wandered up and down the olive-grove until a young man asked me what I was doing. He must have thought I was ill-disposed. He was near a pillar, at the boundary of the olive-grove. »

The landlord smiles. « It's my son » he explains and adds: « He is on guard at the oil-mill. In the caves under the mill, we still have almost all the crop of the year. It was a very good one and we made a lot of oil. And when there are large crowds about, robbers always get together to plunder unguarded places. Eight years ago, just at Parasceve, they robbed us of everything. Since then we keep a good watch one night each. His mother has gone to take him his supper. »

« Well, he asked me: “What do you want?”, and he spoke in such a tone that to save my back from his stick, I answered at once: “I am looking for the Master Who lives here”. He then replied: “If what you say is true, come to the house”. And he brought me here. It was he who knocked at the door and he did not go away until he heard my first words. »

« Do you live far away? »

« I live on the other side of the town, near the Eastern Gate. »

« Are you alone? »

« I was with some relatives. But they have gone to stay with other relatives on the road to Bethlehem. I remained here to look for You day and-night, until I found You. » Jesus smiles and says: « So no one is waiting for you? »

« No, Master. »

« It is a long way, it is a dark night, the Roman patrols are about the town. I say: stay with us, if you wish. »

« Oh! Master! » Thomas is happy.

« Make room for him. And each of us will give something to our brother. » Jesus gives him the portion of cheese He had in front of Him. He explains to Thomas: « We are poor and our supper is almost over. But there is so much heart in who offers. » And He says to John who is sitting beside Him: « Give your seat to our friend. »

John gets up at once and sits down at the end of the table near the landlord.

« Sit down, Thomas, and eat. » And then He says to them all: « You will always behave like that, My friends, according to the law of charity. A pilgrim is already protected by the law of God. But now, in My name, you must love him even more. When anyone asks you for some bread, a drop of water or a shelter in the name of God, you must give it in the same name. And you will receive your reward from God. You must behave so with everybody. Even with your enemies. And that is the new Law. Up till now you were told: “Love those who love you and hate your enemies.” I say: “Love also those who hate you.” Oh! if you only knew how much you will be loved by God, if you love as I am telling you! And when anyone says: “I want to be your companion in serving the true Lord God and following His Lamb”, then he must be dearer to you than a brother by blood, because you will be joined by an eternal bond: the bond of Christ. »

« But if someone comes who is not sincere? It is easy to say: “I want to do this or that.” But words do not always correspond to the truth » says Peter, rather irritated. I do not know why, but he is not in his usual jovial mood.

« Peter, listen. What you say is sensible and fair. But, see: it is better to exceed in bounty and trust rather than exceed in distrust and hardness. If you help an undeserving person, what harm will befall you? None. Nay, God's reward will always be active for you, whereas the person will be guilty of betraying your trust. »

« No harm? Eh! Very often a worthless person is not satisfied with ingratitude, but goes much further, even to the extreme of ruining one's reputation, wealth and one's very life. »

« True. But would that diminish your merit? No, it would not. Even if the whole world should believe slander, even if you became poorer than Job, even if the cruel person should take your life, what would change in the eyes of God? Nothing. Nay, something would change. But to your advantage. God, to the merits of your bounty, would add the merits of your intellectual, financial, physical martyrdom. »

« All right! Perhaps it is so. » Peter does not speak any more. He sulkily rests his head on his hand. Jesus addresses Thomas: « My friend, before, in the olive-grove I said to you: “When I come back here, if you are still willing, you will be one of My disciples.” Now I say to you: “Are you willing to do Jesus a favor?”»

« Most certainly. »

« And if this favor should cost you some sacrifice? »

« There is no sacrifice in serving You. What is it You want? »

« I wanted to say… but you may have some business, some affections…»

« None, none! I have You! Tell me. »

« Listen. Tomorrow at daybreak the leper will leave the sepulchers to find someone who will inform the priest. You will be the first to go to the sepulchers. It is charity. And you will shout: “Come out, you, the one who was cleansed yesterday. I have been sent by Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah of Israel, He who cleansed you.” Let the world of the “living dead” know My name, let them throb with hope, and let those come to Me, who will have faith in addition to hope, that I may heal them. It is the first form of purity that I am bringing, the first form of the resurrection, of which I am the lord. One day I will grant a greater purity… One day the sealed tombs will violently expel those who are really dead, and they will appear and laugh with their empty eye sockets, with their bare jaws, because of the rejoicing of the souls freed from Limbo, a remote rejoicing and yet perceived even by skeletons. They will appear to laugh because of this liberation and to throb knowing it is due to… Go! He will come to you. You will do what he asks you to do. You will assist him in everything, as if he were your brother. And you will also say to him: “When you are completely purified, we will go together along the road of the river, beyond Doco and Ephraim. Jesus, the Master, will be waiting for us to tell us in what we have to serve him.” »

« I will do that. And what about the other one? »

« Who? The Iscariot? »

« Yes, Master. »

« The advice I gave him still stands. Let him decide by himself and let him take a long time. Nay, avoid seeing him. I will be with the leper. Only lepers wander about in the valley of the sepulchers and those who pitifully are in touch with them. »

Peter mumbles something. Jesus hears him. « What is the matter with you, Peter? You either grumble or are silent. You seem to be discontented. Why? »

« I am discontented. We were the first and You did not work a miracle for us. We were the first and You let a stranger sit beside You. We were the first and You entrust him, not us, with a task. We were the first and… yet, yes, we seem to be the last ones. Why are You going to wait for them on the road near the river? Certainly to entrust them with some mission. Why them, and not us? »

Jesus looks at him. He is not angry. On the contrary He smiles as one smiles at a child. He gets up, goes slowly over to Peter and, smiling, says to him: « Peter! Peter! You are a big, old baby! » And He says to Andrew, who is sitting beside his brother: « Go and take My seat » and He sits beside Peter, clasping his shoulders with His arm, and He speaks to him, holding him thus against His own shoulder: « Peter, you think I am being unfair, but I am not. On the contrary it is a proof that I know what you are worth. Look. Who needs proofs? He who is not yet certain. I knew you were so certain about Me, that I did not feel any need to give you evidence of My power. Proofs are required here in Jerusalem, where vices, irreligiousness, politics and many worldly things dim souls to such an extent that they can no longer see the Light passing by. But up there, on our beautiful lake, so clear under a clear sky, amongst honest and good willing people, no proof is required. You will have miracles. I will pour torrents of graces upon you. But consider how I valued you, I took you without exacting any proof and without finding it necessary to give you any, because I know who you are. You are dear to Me, so dear, and so faithful. »

Peter cheers up: « Forgive me, Jesus. »

« Yes, I forgive you because your sulkiness is a sign of love. But do not be envious any more, Simon of Jonas. Do you know what the heart of your Jesus is? Have you ever seen the sea, the real sea? You have? Well, My heart is bigger than the immense sea! And there is room for everybody. For the whole of mankind. And the smallest person has a place exactly as the greatest. And a sinner finds love just like an innocent. I am entrusting these with a mission. Certainly. Do you want to forbid Me? I chose you. You did not choose yourselves. I am therefore free to decide how I want to employ you. And if I leave them here with a mission – which might well be a test, as the lapse of time granted to the Iscariot may be due to mercy – can you reproach Me? How do you know that I am not keeping a greater mission for you? And is not the nicest mission to be told: “You will come with me”? »

« It is true. I am a blockhead! Forgive me… »

« Yes. I forgive everything. Oh! Peter!… But I beg you all never to discuss merits and positions. I could have been born a king. I was born poor, in a stable. I could have been rich. I lived with My work and now I live out of charity. And yet, believe Me, My friends, there is no one greater than I in the eyes of God. Greater than I am, Who am here: the servant of man. »

« You a servant? Never! »

« Why not, Peter? »

« Because I will serve You. »

« Even if You served Me as a mother serves her child, I have come to serve man. I will be a Savior for him. What service is there like that? »

« Oh! Master! You explain everything. And what seemed dark becomes clear at once! »

« Are you happy now, Peter? Now let Me finish talking to Thomas. Are you sure you will recognize the leper? He is the only one healed; but he may already have left by starlight, to find an early wayfarer. And someone, anxious to enter the town and see his relatives, might perhaps take his place. Listen to his description. I was near him and I saw him well in the twilight. He is tall and thin. Of a dark complexion, like a cross-breed, very deep and dark eyes with snow-white eyebrows, hair as white as linen and somewhat curly, and a long snubbed nose like the Lybians', two thick protruding lips particularly the lower one. He is so olive-colored that his lips verge on violet. He has an old scar on his forehead and it will be the only stain, now that he has been cleaned from scabs and dirt. »

« He must be old, if he is all white. »

« No, Philip, he looks old, but he is not. Leprosy made him white. »

« What is he? A cross-breed? »

« Perhaps, Peter. He resembles African people. »

« Will he be an Israelite, then? »

« We will find out. But suppose he is not? »

« Eh! If he were not, he would go away. He is already lucky that he deserved to be healed. »

« No, Peter. Even if he is an idolater, I will not send him away. Jesus has come for everybody. And I solemnly tell you that people living in darkness will overcome the children of the people of Light… »

Jesus sighs. He then stands up. He thanks the Father with a hymn and blesses everyone.

The vision ends thus.

I point out incidentally that my internal adviser said to me, since yesterday evening when I saw the leper: « It is Simon, the apostle. You will see him and Thaddeus coming to the Master. » This morning, after Holy Communion (today is Friday) I opened my missal and I saw that this is the eve of the feast of Saints Simon and Judas, and tomorrow's Gospel deals with charity, almost repeating the very words I heard before the vision. However, I have not seen Judas Thaddeus so far.

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