20th January 1945.
The country where Jesus is, is very fertile. There are magnificent orchards and vineyards, with huge bunches of grapes beginning to turn gold or ruby. Jesus is sitting in an orchard, and is eating some fruit offered to Him by a farmer.
Perhaps He has just finished speaking, because the man says to Him: « It's a pleasure for me, Master, to quench Your thirst. Your disciple had spoken to us of Your wisdom, nevertheless, we were astonished when we listened to You. Close as we are to the Holy City, we often go there to sell our fruit and vegetables, and we then go up to the Temple and listen to the rabbis. But they do not speak as You do. We used to come away saying: “If that is so, who will be saved?” With You, it is entirely different! Oh! We seem to be so light-hearted! Although adults, we feel like children in our hearts. I am a… rough man and I am not good at making myself understood. But I am sure You understand me! »
« Yes, I do. You mean that, although you have an adult's knowledge and maturity after listening to the Word of God, You feel simplicity, faith and purity revive in your heart, as if you were a child once again, without fault or malice, but with so much faith, as when you were taken to the Temple for the first time by your mother, or you prayed on her knees. That is what you mean. »
« Yes, that, just that. You are fortunate because you are always with Him » he then says to John, Simon and Judas who are sitting on a low wall, eating juicy figs. And he ends saying: « And I am honored because You were my guest for one night. I am not afraid of any misfortune in my house, because You have blessed it. »
Jesus replies: « A blessing is efficacious and lasting if the souls of men are faithful to the Law of God and to My doctrine. Otherwise its grace-giving ceases. And it is only fair. Because if it is true that God grants sunshine and fresh air to the good and to the bad, that they may live, and that they may become better if they are good, and they may be converted if they are bad, it is also just that the Father's protection should turn elsewhere as a punishment for the wicked, to remind them of God, by means of some pain. »
« Is pain not always evil? »
« No, My friend. It is evil from a human point of view, but from a supernatural one it is good. It increases the merits of just people, who accept it without despairing or rebelling and they offer it, as they offer themselves with resignation, as a sacrifice to expiate their own imperfections and the faults of the world, and it is a redemption for those who are not good. »
« It is so difficult to suffer! » says the farmer, who has been joined by his relatives, about ten people in all, adults and children.
« I know that man finds it difficult. And knowing that he would find it so difficult, the Father had not given His children any sorrow. It came with sin. But how long does sorrow last on the earth? in the life of a man? A short time. It is always short, even if it lasts a whole lifetime. Now I say: is it not better to suffer for a short time rather than forever? Is it not better to suffer here than in Purgatory? Consider that time there is multiplied a thousand times to one. Oh! I solemnly tell you: you ought not to curse pain, but bless it, and you should call it “grace” and “mercy”. »
« Oh! Your words, Master! They are as pleasant to us as honeyed water from a cool amphora is to a man parched with thirst in summer. Are You really going away tomorrow, Master? »
« Yes, I am going tomorrow. But I will come back again. To thank you for what you have done for Me and My friends, and to ask you for some more bread and a rest. »
« You will always find them here, Master. »
A man with a donkey laden with vegetables comes near.
« Here I am. If your friend wishes to go… My son is going to Jerusalem for the big Parasceve market. »
« Go, John. You know what you have to do. In four days' time we will meet again. My peace be with you. » Jesus embraces John and kisses him. Simon does the same.
« Master » says Judas. « If You will allow me, I would like to go with John. I am anxious to see a friend of mine. He goes to Jerusalem every Sabbath. I would go with John as far as Bethphage and then I will proceed on my own… He is a friend of our family… You know… my mother told me… »
« I have not asked you any question, My friend. »
« It breaks my heart having to leave You. But in four days' time I will be with You once again. And I will be so faithful that I will even bore You. »
« You may go. In four days' time, at dawn, be at the Fish Gate. Goodbye and may God watch over you. »
Judas kisses the Master and goes near to the little donkey that begins to trot along the dusty road. It is evening and the country becomes silent. Simon watches the peasants irrigating their fields. Jesus has not moved from the place where He was sitting. He then gets up, goes round to the back of the house, and walks along the orchard. He wants to be alone. He goes as far as a thicket of huge pomegranate trees and low bushes, which I think must be gooseberries. But I am not sure, because there are no berries on them and I am not familiar with the leaves of these plants. Jesus hides behind the thicket. He kneels down. He prays… and then He bends down with His face on the ground, on the grass and He weeps. I realize that He is crying because of His deep, interrupted sighs. A disheartened crying, without sobs, but so sad.
Some time passes thus. It is now twilight. But it is not yet so dark as to prevent seeing. And in the faint light Simon's disfigured but honest face suddenly appears above a bush. He looks round for something and sees the crouched figure of the Master, completely covered by His dark blue mantle which confuses Him with the dark ground. Only His fair hair and His hands joined in prayer catch the eye: His hands protrude above His head which rests on His wrists. Simon looks at Him with his large kind eyes. He understands that Jesus is sad because of His sighing and he utters: « Master », with his thick almost purple lips.
Jesus looks up.
« You are crying, Master? Why? May I come near You? » Simon's expression is one of astonishment and sorrow. He is definitely not a handsome man. In addition to his disfigured features and his dark olive complexion, he bears the deep bluish marks of the scars caused by his disease. But his glance is so gentle that his ugliness disappears.
« Come, Simon, My friend. »
Jesus is sitting on the grass. Simon sits beside Him.
« Why are You sad, Master? I am not John and I am not capable of giving You what John gives you. But I would like to give You every possible comfort, and I am only sorry that I am not able to do so. Tell me. Have I displeased You these last few days to the extent that it depresses You to stay with me? »
« No. My good friend. You have never displeased Me since the first moment I saw you. And I think you will never cause Me to shed tears. »
« Well, then, Master? I am not worthy of Your confidence. But, on account of my age, I could be Your father and You know how anxious I have always been to have children… Allow me to caress You as if You were my son and let me be a father and mother to You in this hour of pain. It is Your Mother that You are in need of to forget so many things… »
« Oh! Yes! It is My Mother! »
« Well, while waiting to have comfort in Her, grant Your servant the joy of consoling You. You are crying, Master, because someone has displeased You. For several days Your face has been like the sun darkened by clouds. I have been watching You. Your goodness hides the wound, that we may not hate him who wounds You. But the wound is a painful and abhorrent one. But tell me, my Lord: why do You not remove the source of Your pain? »
« Because it would be useless from a human point of view and it would not be charitable. »
« Ah! You are aware that I am speaking of Judas! It is because of him that You are suffering. How can You, the Truth, tolerate that liar? He lies shamelessly. He is more deceitful than a fox and more closed than a rock. He has now gone away. What for? How many friends has he got? I am sorry to leave You. But I would like to follow him and see… Oh! My Jesus! That man… send him away, my Lord. »
« It is useless. What is to be, shall be. »
« What do You mean? »
« Nothing special. »
« You allowed him to go with pleasure, because You were disgusted with his behavior at Jericho. »
« It is true, Simon. I tell you once again: what is to be, shall be. And Judas is part of this future. He is to be there, too. »
« But John told me that Simon Peter is very frank and full of ardour… Will he suffer Judas? »
« He must stand him. Also Peter is destined for a part, and Judas is the canvas on which he must weave his part, or, if you prefer so, Judas is the school where Peter will learn more than with anyone else. Also idiots are capable of being good with John and understanding souls like John's. But it is difficult to be good with people like Judas, and to understand souls like Judas' and to be a doctor and priest for them. Judas is your living teaching. »
« Ours? »
« Yes. Yours. The Master will not be on the earth forever. He will leave after eating the hardest bread and drinking the sourest wine. But you will stay to continue Me… and you must know. Because the world does not end with the Master. It will last longer, until the final return of Christ and the final judgement of man. And I solemnly tell you that for every John, Peter, Simon, James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, there are at least seven Judases. And many, many more!… »
Simon is thoughtful and silent. He then says: « The shepherds are good. Judas scorns them. But I love them. »
« I love them and praise them. »
« They are simple souls, such as You like. »
« Judas has lived in town. »
« His only excuse. But there are many people who have lived in towns, and yet… When will You come to my friend? »
« Tomorrow, Simon. And I will come with pleasure, because we are by ourselves, just you and I. I believe he is a learned and experienced man, like you. »
« And he suffers a lot… In his body and even more in his heart. Master… I would like to ask You a favor: if he does not speak to You of his grief, please do not ask him any question about his family. »
« I will not. I am on the side of those who suffer, but I do not force anybody's confidence. Tears deserve respect. »
« And I did not respect them… But I felt so sorry for You… »
« You are My friend and you have already given a name to My sorrow. I am an unknown Rabbi for your friend. When he knows Me… then… Let us go. It is dark. Do not let us keep our tired guests waiting. Tomorrow at dawn we will go to Bethany. »
Jesus then says:
« My little John, how many times have I cried with My face on the ground because of men! And you would like to suffer less than I did?
Also amongst you, good people are in the proportion that existed between good people and Judas. And the better one is, the more one suffers. But also for you it is necessary to learn by studying Judas, and I say that particularly for those who are responsible for the spiritual care of souls. Each of you, priests, is a “Peter”. And you have to forgive and retain. But how much power of observation you must have, how much union with God, what great pains you must take and how many comparisons with the method of the Master you must make, in order to be a priest as it is your duty to be!
Some people may think that what I am saying is useless, human, impossible. They are the usual people who deny the human phases of Jesus' life and they make of Me a being so remote from human life as to be only a divine being. What happens then to the most holy Humanity, to the sacrifice of the Second Person in becoming flesh? Oh! I was truly a Man amongst men. I was the Man. And that is why I suffered in seeing the traitor and ungrateful people. That is why I rejoiced on account of those who loved Me or were converted to Me. That is why I shuddered and cried before Judas' spiritual corpse. I shuddered and cried before My dead friend. But I knew that I would call him back to life and I rejoiced seeing his soul already in Limbo. Here… I had the Demon in front of Me. And I will say no more.
Follow Me, John. Let us give men also this gift. And then… Blessed are those who listen to the Word of God and strive to do what it says. Blessed are those who want to know Me in order to love Me. In them and to them I shall be a blessing. »