7th October 1944.
Jesus says, and I become calm at once and the joy of such bright peace makes my heart cheerful: « See. He is so fond of episodes of blind people. Let us give him another one. » And I see.
I see a beautiful summer sunset. The sun has inflamed the whole of the western sky and the Lake of Gennesaret looks like a huge disc aflame, under a sky ablaze.
The streets in Capernaum are just beginning to become crowded; women go to the fountain, fishermen prepare their nets and boats to go fishing at night, children run playing in the streets, little donkeys carrying hampers go towards the country, probably to get vegetables.
Jesus appears at a door which opens on to a little yard completely shaded by a vine and a fig-tree. Beyond it there is a stoney lane, that runs along the lake. It must be Peter's house, because he is on the shore with Andrew, arranging the fish baskets and nets in the boat, and sorting the seats and coils of rope. He is preparing everything to go fishing, and Andrew is helping him, coming and going from the house to the boat.
Jesus asks His apostle: « Will you have a good haul? »
« The weather is right. The water is calm, it will be clear moonlight. The fish will come to the surface from the bottom and my net will drag them. »
« Are we going by ourselves? »
« Oh! Master! How could we manage by ourselves with this type of net. »
« I have never gone fishing and I expect to be taught by you. » Jesus goes down very slowly towards the lake and He stops near the boat, on the coarse, pebbly sands.
« See, Master: this is what we do. I go out beside the boat of James of Zebedee, and we go thus to the right point, both boats together. Then we lower the net. We hold one end. You said You wanted to hold it. »
« Yes, if you tell Me what I have to do. »
« Oh! You only have to watch it going down. It must be lowered slowly without making any knots. Very slowly, because we will be in a fishing area, and any harsh movement may drive the fish away. Without knots, otherwise the net would close up, whereas it must open like a bag, or if You prefer so, like a veil blown by the wind. Then, when the net is fully lowered, we will row gently, or we may set sail, according to circumstances, forming a semicircle on the lake. And when we understand by the vibration of the safety peg that the haul is good, we head for the shore. When we are almost on the shore – not before to avoid running the risk of losing all the fish; not after, to avoid damaging both the fish and net on the stones – we will haul in the net. At this point we must be very careful, because the boats must be so close as to allow one boat to catch the end of the net from the other one, but they must not collide, to avoid crushing the net full of fish. Please, Master, be careful, it is our daily bread. Keep an eye on the net, that jolts may not turn it over. The fish fight for their freedom with strong strokes of their tails, and if there is a lot of them… You will understand… They are small things, but if ten, one hundred, a thousand get together, they become as strong as Leviathan. »
« The same happens with sins, Peter. After all, one fault is not irretrievable. But if one is not careful in controlling oneself, and one adds fault to fault, at the end a little fault, perhaps a single omission, or a simple weakness, becomes bigger and bigger, it becomes a habit, it becomes a capital vice. At times one starts with a lustful glance and ends up by committing adultery. At times, while simply lacking charity when speaking to a relative, one ends up by doing violence to one's neighbor. Never, never allow faults to increase in gravity and in numbers, if you wish to avoid trouble! They become dangerous and overbearing like the infernal Snake himself, and they will drag you down into Gehenna. »
« What You say is right, Master… But we are so weak! »
« Care and prayer are necessary to become strong and obtain help, together with a strong will not to sin. And you must have full trust in the loving justice of the Father. »
« Do You think He will not be too severe with poor Simon? »
« He might have been severe with the old Simon. But with My Peter, with the new man, the man of His Christ… no, Peter, He will not. He loves you and will love you. »
« And what about me? »
« You, too, Andrew; and John, James, Philip and Nathanael as well. You are the first chosen by Me. » « Will there be any more? There is Your cousin, and in Judaea… »
« Oh! There will be many more. My Kingdom is open to all mankind and I solemnly tell you that My haul, in the nights of centuries, will be more plentiful than your richest one… Because every century is one night in which not the pure light of Orion or of the sailing moon will be the guide and light of mankind, but the word of Christ and the Grace He will bestow; a night that will become the dawn of a day with no sunset and of a light in which all the faithful will live and will be the dawn of a sunshine that will make all the chosen resplendent, beautiful, happy forever even like gods. Minor gods, children of God the Father and like Me… It is not possible for you to understand now. But I solemnly tell you that your Christian life will cause you to resemble your Master, and you will shine in Heaven with His signs. So, notwithstanding the envious malice of Satan and the weak will of men, My haul will be more plentiful than yours. »
« But shall we be Your only apostles? »
« Are you jealous, Peter? No, don't be! Others will come and in My heart there will be love for everybody. Don't be avaricious, Peter. You do not yet know Who loves you. Have you ever counted the stars? Or the stones in the depth of the lake? No, you could not. And even less you would be able to count the loving throbs of which My heart is capable. Have you ever been able to count how many times this lake kisses the shore with its waves in the course of twelve moons? No, you would never be able to do so. And even less you would be able to count the loving waves that My heart pours out to kiss men. Be sure of My love, Peter. »
Peter takes Jesus' hand and kisses it. He is deeply moved.
Andrew looks, but does not dare take Jesus' hand. But Jesus caressing his hair with His hand says: « I love you very much, too. In the hour of your dawn, without having to lift your eyes, you will see your Jesus reflected in the vault of heaven, and He will be smiling at you to say to you: “I love you. Come”, and your passing away at dawn will be sweeter than entering a nuptial room… »
« Simon! Simon! Andrew! Here I am… I am coming… » John is rushing towards them, panting. « Oh! Master! Have I kept You waiting? » John looks at Jesus with the eyes of a lover. Peter answers: « To tell you the truth, I was beginning to think you were no longer coming. Get your boat ready quickly. And James?… »
« Well… we are late because of a blind man. He thought Jesus was in our house and he came there. We said to him: “He is not here. Perhaps He will cure you tomorrow. Just wait.” But he did not want to wait. James said to him: “You have been waiting so long to see the light, what does it matter if you have to wait another night?” But he will not listen to reason… »
« John, if you were blind, would you be anxious to see your mother? »
« Eh!… most certainly! »
« Well then? Where is the blind man? »
« He is coming with James. He got hold of his mantle and will not let it go. But he is coming very slowly because the shore is covered with stones, and he stumbles against them… Master, will You forgive me for being hard? »
« Yes, I will, but to make amends, go and help the blind man and bring him to Me. »
John runs away. Peter shakes his head, but does not say anything. He looks at the sky which is becoming blue after being a deep copper hue, he looks at the lake and the other boats which are already out fishing and he sighs.
« Simon? »
« Master? »
« Don't be afraid. You will have a good haul, even if you are the last one to go out. »
« Also this time? »
« Every time you are charitable, God will grant you the grace of abundance. »
« Here is the blind man. »
The poor man is coming forward between James and John. He is holding a walking stick in his hand, but is not using it at present. He walks better, supported by the two men.
« Here, man, the Master is in front of you. »
The blind man kneels down: « My Lord! Have mercy on me. »
« Do you want to see? Stand up. How long have you been blind? »
The four apostles gather round the other two.
« Seven years, Lord. Before, I could see well, and I worked. I was a blacksmith at Caesarea on Sea. I was doing well. The harbour, the good trading, they always needed me for one job or another. But while striking a piece of iron to make an anchor, and You can imagine how red hot it was to be pliable, a splinter came off it, and burnt my eye. My eyes were already sore because of the heat of the forge. I lost the wounded eye, and also the other one became blind after three months. I have finished all my savings, and now I live on charity… »
« Are you alone? »
« I am married with three little children…; I have not even seen the face of one of them… and I have an old mother. And yet she and my wife earn a little bread, and with what they earn and the alms I take home, we manage not to starve. If I were cured!… I would go back to work. All I ask for is to be able to work like a good Israelite and thus feed those I love. »
« And you came to Me? Who told you? »
« A leper who was cured by You at the foot of Mount Tabor, when You were coming back to the lake after that beautiful speech of Yours. »
« What did he tell you? »
« That You can do everything. That You are the health of bodies and of souls. That You are a light for souls and bodies, because You are the Light of God. He, although a leper, had dared to mingle with the crowd, at the risk of being stoned, all enveloped in his mantle, because he had seen You passing by on the way to the mountain, and Your face had kindled hope in his heart. He said to me: “I saw something in that face that whispered to me: 'There is health there. Go!' And I went.” Then he repeated Your speech to me and he told me that You cured him, touching him with Your hand, without any disgust. He was coming back from the priest after his purification. I knew him. I had done some work for him when he had a store at Caesarea. I came, asking for You in every town and village. Now I have found You… Have mercy on me! »
« Come. The light is still too bright for one coming out of darkness! »
« Are you going to cure me, then? »
Jesus takes him to Peter's house, in the dim light of the kitchen garden, he places him in front of Himself, in such a position that his cured eyes may not see, as first sight, the lake still sparkling with light. The man looks like a very docile child, he obeys without asking questions.
« Father! Your Light to this son of Yours! » Jesus has stretched His hands over the head of the kneeling man. He remains in that attitude for a moment. He then moistens the tips of His fingers with saliva and with His right hand He touches lightly the open, but lifeless eyes.
A moment. Then the man blinks, rubs his eyelids as if he were awakening from sleep, and his eyes were dimmed.
« What do you see? »
« Oh!… oh!… oh!… Eternal God! I think… I think… oh! that I can see… I see Your mantle… it's red, isn't it? And a white hand… and a woollen belt… oh! Good Jesus… I can see better and better, the more I get used to seeing… There is the grass of the earth… and that is certainly a well… and there is a vine… »
« Stand up, My friend. »
The man who is crying and laughing, stands up, and after a moment's hesitation between respect and desire, he lifts his face and meets Jesus' eyes: Jesus smiling full of merciful love. It must be beautiful to recover your sight and see that face as the first thing! The man gives a scream and stretches his arms. It is an instinctive action. But he controls himself.
But Jesus opens His arms and draws to Himself the man who is much lower than He. « Go home now, and be happy and just. Go with My peace. »
« Master, Master! Lord! Jesus! Holy! Blessed! The light… I see… I see everything… There is the blue lake, the clear sky, the setting sun, and then the horns of the waxing moon… But it is in Your eyes that I see the most beautiful and clear blue, and in You I see the beauty of the most real sun, and the chaste light of the blessed moon. You are the Star of those who suffer, the Light of the blind, the living active Mercy! »
« I am the Light of souls. Be a son of the Light. »
« Yes, Jesus, always. Every time I close my re-born eyes, I will renew my oath. May You and the Most High be blessed. »
« Blessed be the Most High Father! Go! »
And the man goes away, happy, sure of himself, while Jesus and the dumbfounded apostles get into two boats and begin their navigation manoeuvres. And the vision ends