6th March 1945.
The weather is not so dreadful although it is still raining, and people can come to the Master.
Jesus is listening, on one side, to two or three people, who have great things to tell Him and then reach their places looking much calmer. He blesses also a little boy whose little legs are badly fractured and whom no doctor would cure. They all, in fact, said: « It is useless, they are fractured high up, near the spine. » His mother is talking, weeping as she explains: .He was running with his little sister in the village street. A Herodian came at full speed on his wagon and ran him over. I thought he was dead. But it is worse. See. I am keeping him on this board... because there is nothing else to be done. And he suffers, because the bone pierces his flesh. And later, when it will no longer pierce him, he will suffer because he will be compelled to lie on his back.
« Is it very painful? » Jesus pitifully asks the weeping child.
« Yes, it is. »
« Where? »
« Here... and here » and with his little hesitant hand he touches his kidneys and his back. « The board is hard and I want to move, I... » and he cries desperately.
« Shall I take you in My arms? Will you come? I will take you up there, and you will see all the people when I am speaking.. »
« Yes... » his “yes” is full of keen desire. The poor little thing stretches out his arms imploringly.
« Come then. »
« But he cannot, Master, it is impossible! It hurts him too much... I cannot even move him to wash him. »
« I will not hurt him. »
« The doctor...»
« The doctor is the doctor, I am I. Why have you come? »
« Because You are the Messiah » replies the woman, who goes pale, then blushes, moved by hope and despair at the same time.
« Well, then? Come, My dear little one. And Jesus passes one arm under the motionless legs, and the other one under his shoulders and takes the child in His arms and asks him: Am I hurting you? No? Well, say goodbye to your mummy and let us go. »
And He goes with His load through the crowd that opens out to let Him pass. He goes to the end of the room, He climbs on to the kind of platform which they built for Him, so that He may be seen by everybody, also by those in the yard, He asks for a stool and He sits down, He adjusts the child on His knees and asks him: « Do you like this? Now, be good and listen » and He starts speaking, gesticulating with one hand only, His right one, because He is holding the child with His left one. The little fellow looks at the people and is very happy to see something, he smiles at his mother I whose heart is palpitating with hope at the other end of the room, and he plays with the cord of Jesus' tunic and with His soft fair beard and with a lock of His long hair.
« It is said: “Do an honest work and devote the seventh day to the Lord and to your soul.” That is the commandment of the Sabbatical rest.
Man is not greater than God. And yet God created the universe in six days and He rested on the seventh. Why then does man take the liberty of not imitating the Father and breaking His commandment? Is it a foolish commandment? No. It is truly a beneficial commandment to the body, to morals and to the spirit.
A tired body needs rest, like every other being in creation. An ox, which has worked in the field, rests, and we let it rest, so that we may not lose it. Likewise, the donkey that carries us and the sheep that gives birth to a little lamb and gives us milk, need a rest. Also the soil of the field rests, and we let it rest, so that during the months that it is deprived of seed, it may be nourished and become saturated with the salts that are contained in rain or emerge from the earth. Also animals and plants, which obey the eternal laws of wise reproduction, rest well, also without our consent. Why then does man not want to imitate the Creator, Who rested on the seventh day, whereas inferior beings, both vegetable and animal, which only received an instinctive order, know how to comply with it and obey it?
It is a moral commandment, besides being a physical one. Man for six days belongs to everybody and everything. Like a thread in a loom he moves up and down, without being ever able to say: “Now I am going to attend to myself and to my dear ones. I am a father and today I belong to my children, I am a husband and today I will devote myself to my wife, I am a brother and I will rejoice with my brothers, I am a son and I will look after my old parents.”
It its a spiritual commandment. Work is holy. Love is holier. God is Most Holy. So we must remember to devote at least one day out of seven to our good and holy Father, Who gave us life and keeps us alive. Why should we have less respect for Him than for our fathers, our children, brothers, wives and our bodies? Let the day of the Lord be His. Oh! It is pleasant to take shelter in a loving home in the evening, after a day's work! It is pleasant to come back to it after a journey! Why then not take shelter in the house of the Father after six days' work? Why should we not be like the son who comes back after a six day journey and says: “Here I am, I want to spend my day of rest with you”?
But now, listen. I said: “Do an honest job.”
You know that our Law orders us to love our neighbour. Honest work forms part of our love for our neighbour. An honest working person does not steal in business, does not defraud a workman of his pay, does not exploit him guiltily, he remembers that a servant and a workman are made of body and soul like himself, and he does not treat them like lifeless pieces of stone which it is lawful to break or strike with one's foot or an iron rod. Who does not do that, does not love his neighbour and therefore commits a sin in the eyes of God. His earnings are cursed, even if he offers part of them as alms to the Temple.
Oh! What a false offer! And how can anyone dare place it at the foot of the altar when it drips the tears and blood of an exploited subordinate or its name is “theft”, that is, betrayal of one's neighbour, because a thief is the betrayer of his neighbour? Believe Me, one does not keep a holy day unless one makes use of it to examine and improve oneself and make amends for the sins committed during the previous six days.
That is the observance of holy days, not the merely exterior observance, which does not change one jot of your way of thinking. God wants living deeds, not sham deeds. A false respect for His Law is a mere sham. And a mere sham is the false observance of the Sabbath, that is a rest taken to show obedience to the commandment in the eyes of men, when the hours of idleness are spent in vice, in lust, in orgy, in planning how to exploit and damage one's neighbour in the oncoming week. The observance of the Sabbath is a sham, when the material rest is not coupled with an inner, spiritual, sanctifying examination of oneself, with the humble avowal of one's misery, with the firm determination to improve oneself during the oncoming week.
You may say: “And if one falls into sin again?” What would you say of a child, who, having fallen once, should not wish to take another step, that he may not fall again? That he is foolish. That he must not be ashamed if his steps are uncertain, because we were all like that when we were little ones, and our fathers did not stop loving us because of that. Who does not remember the profusion of maternal kisses and paternal caresses we received every time we fell?
The most sweet Father, Who is in Heaven, does the same. He bends over His little one who is weeping on the ground and says to him: “Do not weep. I will raise you. Next time you will be more careful. Come into My arms now. Here all your troubles will cease and you will go away strengthened, cured and happy.” That is what our Father, Who is in Heaven, says. And that is what I say to you. If you could have faith in the Father, you would succeed in everything. A faith, mind you, like the faith of a child. A child believes that everything is possible. He does not ask whether and how something may happen. He does not measure the depth of things. He believes in those who inspire confidence to him and does what they tell him. Be like children with the Most High. How He loves those stray angels which are the beauty of the earth! In the same way He loves the souls that become as simple, good and pure as a child.
Do you wish to see the faith of a child to learn to have faith? Look. You all feel sorry for the little one whom I am clasping to My chest and who, contrary to what doctors and his mother said, has not cried while sitting in My lap. See? For a long time he has done nothing but cry day and night without getting any rest, instead here he has not cried and has fallen asleep placidly against My heart. I asked him: “Do you want to come in My arms?” and he replied: “Yes”, without considering his miserable state, the probable pain he might feel, as a result of being moved. He saw love on My face, he said: “Yes” and he came. And he felt no pain. He was happy to be up here, and see things, after being confined to that flat board, he enjoyed lying on the soft warmth of a body and not on the hard wood, he smiled, he played and he fell asleep still holding a lock of My hair in his tiny hand. I will now wake him with a kiss… » and Jesus kisses the brown hair of the child who wakes up smiling.
« What is your name? »
« John. »
« Listen, John. Do you want to walk? Do you wish to go to your mummy and say to her: “The Messiah blesses you on account of your faith”? »
« Yes » replies the little one clapping his hands. He then asks: « Will You make me go? On the meadows? No more the ugly hard board? No more the doctors who hurt me? »
« No more, never again. »
« Ah! How I love You! » and he throws his arms round Jesus' neck and kisses Him, and to kiss Him better, with a jump he kneels on Jesus' knees and a hail of kisses descends on the forehead, the eyes, the cheeks of Jesus.
The child, who had been paralysed up to this point, in his joy, has not even realised that he has been able to move. But the shouting of his mother and of the crowd, rouses him and he turns round surprised. The large innocent eyes of his thin face look around inquiringly. Still on his knees, with his right arm round Jesus' neck, he asks Him confidentially – pointing at the crowd in tumult and at his mother, who from the other end is calling him, joining his name to Jesus' at the same time: « John! Jesus! »
« Why are the people and my mother shouting? What is the matter with them? Are You Jesus? »
« Yes, I am. The people are shouting because they are happy that you can walk. Goodbye, little John (Jesus kisses and blesses him). Go to your mummy and be good. »
The child, sure of himself, comes off Jesus' knees, runs to his mother, flings his arms round her neck and says: « Jesus blesses You. Why are you crying, then? »
When the crowd has calmed down a little, Jesus says in a thundering voice: « Behave like little John, you who commit sin and hurt yourselves. Have faith in the love of God. Peace be with you. »
And while the shouts of the acclaiming crowd are mingled with the happy tears of the mother, Jesus leaves the room, escorted by his disciples, and it all ends.