12th February 1945.
The sun is sinking in a bright red sunset, that like a fire about to go out, is becoming deeper and deeper until it becomes ruby-violet: a beautiful rare hue, that fading slowly, colors all the western sky, until it shades into the dark cobalt-blue sky, where the east is steadily advancing with its stars and its crescent moon, now beginning her second phase. Farmers are hastening back to their homes, where spirals of smoke from the low little houses in Nazareth reveal that fires have already been lit.
Jesus is about to go back to town, and contrary to the opinion of the others, He does not want anyone to go and inform His Mother.
« Nothing will happen. Why upset Her beforehand? » He says.
He is now in the streets. Some people salute Him, some whisper behind His back, some rudely turn their backs and slam their doors when the group of the apostles passes by.
Peter's miming is really wonderful. But also the others are somewhat worried. Alphaeus' sons look like two convicts. They are walking beside Jesus, their heads lowered, but they watch everything and now and again they look at each other dismayed and concerned for Jesus. The Master, as if nothing were the matter, reciprocates the greetings with His usual kindness, bends down to caress the children, who in their simplicity do not side with anybody, and are always the friends of their Jesus, Who is always so affectionate towards them.
One of them, a fine chubby child, four years old at most, leaves his mother's skirt, runs towards Him and stretches out his little arms saying: « Take me! » And as Jesus satisfies him and picks him up, the child kisses Him with his lips soiled by the fig he is eating, and then he carries his love to the point of offering a little morsel of the fig to Jesus saying: « Take it! It's good! » Jesus accepts the offering and smiles at being fed by the budding little man.
Isaac, laden with pitchers, is coming from the fountain. He sees Jesus, lays down the pitchers and shouts: « Oh! My Lord! » running towards Him. « Your Mother has just gone back home. She was at Her sister-in-law's. But… Have You received the letter? » he asks.
« That is why I am here. Do not say anything to Mother for the time being. I am going to Alphaeus' house first. »
Isaac, wise as he is, replies only: « I will obey You », he takes his pitchers and goes towards the house.
« We are going now. You, My friends, will wait for us here. I will not be long. »
« Most certainly not! We shall not enter the mourning house, but we will stay outside over there. Is that right? » says Peter.
« Peter is right. We will remain in the street. But near You. »
Jesus bows to their wish. But He smiles and says: « They will do Me no harm. Believe Me. They are not bad. They are only humanly passionate. Let us go. »
I see them in the street of the house and then at the entrance to the kitchen garden. Jesus goes in first, followed by Judas and James. Jesus is now on the kitchen threshold. Inside, near the fireplace, there is Mary of Alphaeus, who is cooking and weeping. In a comer, there are Simon and Joseph, with other men, sitting in a small group. Amongst the men there is Alphaeus of Sarah. They are sitting there, as silent as statues. It is probably their custom. I do not know.
« Peace to this house and peace to the soul which departed from it. »
The widow utters a cry and makes an instinctive gesture of pushing Jesus back and placing herself between Him and the others. Simon and Joseph stand up, gloomy and disconcerted. But Jesus pretends that He has not noticed their hostile attitude. He goes close to the two men (Simon looks as if he is already fifty years old or more) and stretches out His hands in a gesture of friendly invitation. The two brothers are more disconcerted than ever. But they dare not make any rude gesture. Alphaeus of Sarah is in a state of extreme agitation and is clearly suffering. The other men are expressionless awaiting the outcome.
« Simon, since you are now the head of the family, why do you not receive Me? I have come to mourn with you. How much I would have liked to be with you in the hour of sorrow! But I was far away, through no fault of Mine. You are a just man, Simon. And you must admit it. »
The man is still aloof.
« And you, Joseph, whose name is so dear to Me, why do you not accept My kiss? Will you not allow Me to mourn with you? Death unites true affections. And we love one another. Why should there now be disunity? »
« Because of You our father died a vexed man » says Joseph harshly. And Simon: « You should have stayed here. You knew that he was dying. Why did You not stay? He wanted You… »
« I could not have done more than what I had already done. And you know that… » Simon, who is more fair, says: « It is true. I know that You came and he sent You away. But he was ill and depressed. »
« I know and I said to your mother and your brothers: “I bear him no grudge, because I understand his heart.” But God is above everybody. And God wanted this sorrow for everybody. For Me, because, believe Me, I suffered as if a piece of My flesh had been torn from Me; for your father, who in his suffering understood a great truth, which had been obscure to him throughout his life; for you, as this pain gives you the opportunity of making a sacrifice which is more salutary than a sacrificed steer; and for James and Judas, who are now as mature as you, dear Simon, because this pain is their greatest burden and it oppresses them like a millstone, it has made them adults and of a perfect age in the eyes of God. »
« What truth did my father see? Only one: that his own blood, at the last hour, was hostile to him » replies Joseph harshly.
« No. He understood that the spirit is above blood. He understood the pain of Abraham and because of that he had Abraham to assist him » replies Jesus.
« I wish it were so! But who can assure us? »
« I can, Simon. And more than I, your father's death can. Did he not ask for Me? You said so. »
« I did. It is true. He wanted Jesus. And he used to say: “At least my soul would not die! He can do it! I sent Him away and He will not come any more. Oh! To die without Jesus! What a horrid man you are! Why did I reject Him?” Yes, that is what he said. He would also say: “And He asked me many times: 'Must I go?' and I sent Him away… Now He will not come any more.” He wanted You. Your Mother sent for You, but they could not find You at Capernaum and he cried so much. And with his last ounce of strength he took Your Mother's hand and wanted Her beside him. He could hardly speak. But he said: “The Mother is somewhat the Son. I am keeping Her to have some of Him, because I am afraid of death.” Poor father! »
There is an eastern scene with cries and gestures of sorrow, in which they all take part, also James and Judas who have dared to go in. Jesus is the most quiet, He weeps only.
« Are You shedding tears? You loved him, then? » asks Simon.
« Oh! Simon! Why do you ask Me? If I could have avoided it, do you think that I would have let him suffer? I am with the Father, but not above the Father. »
« You cure dying people, but You did not cure him » remarks Joseph bitterly.
« He did not believe in Me. »
« That is true, Joseph » points out his brother Simon.
« He did not believe and did not renounce his ill-feeling. There is nothing I can do when there is lack of faith and hatred. I therefore say to you: do not hate your brothers. Here they are. Their torture is not to be aggravated by your ill-feeling. Your mother is torn to shreds more by this living hatred, than by death that ends in itself, and in the case of your father, it ended in peace, because his desire to have Me gained him God's forgiveness. I am not speaking of Myself, neither am I asking anything for Myself. I am in the world, but I am not of the world. What is alive in Me, compensates Me for what the world denies Me. I suffer with My humanity, but I raise My spirit above the earth and I rejoice in celestial matters. But they!… Do not violate the law of love and blood. Love one another. In James and Judas there is no offence against their blood. But even if there were, you must forgive. Look at things in the right way and you will see that they are the most offended ones, as you do not understand the necessities of their souls enraptured by God. And yet they have no grudge, but only a desire for love. Is that right, My cousins? »
Judas and James, who are clasped in their mother's arms, nod while weeping.
« Simon, you are the oldest. Set the example… »
« I… as far as I am concerned… But the world… but You… »
« Oh! the world! It forgets and changes at each daybreak… And I! Come: give Me your brotherly kiss. I love you. You know I do. Divest yourself of those scales that make you hard and are not yours, but have been imposed by strangers not as just as you are. Always judge with your upright heart. » Simon, still somewhat reluctant, stretches out his arms. Jesus kisses him and then leads him towards his brothers. They kiss one another weeping and moaning.
« It is your turn now, Joseph. »
« No. Do not insist. I remember my father's suffering. »
« In actual fact you are perpetuating it by your grudging attitude. »
« It does not matter. I am faithful. »
Jesus does not insist. He addresses Simon: « It is late in the evening. But if you do not mind… Our hearts are burning with the desire to revere his remains. Where is Alphaeus? Where did you bury him? »
« Behind the house. Where the olive grove ends against the crag. A respectable sepulcher. »
« Please, take Me there. Mary, take heart. Your husband is jubilant because he sees your children in your bosom. Stay here. I am going with Simon. Be in peace! Joseph: I am saying to you what I said to your father: “I bear you no grudge. I love you. When you want Me, call Me. I will come and mourn with you.” Goodbye. » And Jesus goes out with Simon…
The apostles look at them inquisitively. But they see that they are in perfect harmony and they are happy.
« Will you come, too » says Jesus. « They are My disciples, Simon. They wish to revere your father, too. Let us go. »
They walk through the olive-grove and it all ends.
« Insert here the third and fourth visions given on 13th February 1944.
As you see, Simon, less obstinate, yielded to justice, if not completely, at least partially, with holy promptness. And after the meeting for Alphaeus' death, he did not become My disciple, never mind an apostle, as in your ignorance you called him about a year ago, but at least he was a non-hostile spectator. He was also the guardian of his mother and of Mine, when they were to be escorted and defended from people's lampooning. But he was not so strong as to impose himself on those who called Me “insane”; and was still so much a man as to be a little ashamed of Me and to worry about dangers to the whole family, because of My apostolate against sects. But he is already on the right way. On which way, after the Sacrifice, he proceeded more and more steady until he professed his faith in Me with his blood. Grace at times operates instantaneously, at times slowly. But it always operates where there is a will to be just.
Go in peace. Be in peace in your sorrows. The time preparatory to Easter is beginning and you are to carry the Cross for Me. I bless you, Mary of Jesus' Cross. »