28th April 1945.
« My Lord, why do You not rest during the night? Last night I got up and did not find You. Your place was empty. »
« Why were you looking for Me, Simon? »
« I wanted to give You my mantle. I was afraid You might feel cold in the limpid but very cold night. »
« And were you not cold? »
« In many years of misery I got accustomed to being badly dressed, badly fed and badly lodged... That valley of the dead!... How horrible! Just now it was not the case. But the next time we go to Jerusalem, because we will certainly go there, come, my Lord, to that place of death. There are so many unhappy people there... and their physical misery is not the worst... What most tortures and consumes them is their desperation.... Do You not think, my Lord, that lepers are too harshly treated? »
The Iscariot replies to the Zealot, who is pleading the cause of his old companions, before Jesus does: « So you would leave them amongst the people? So much the worst for them if they are lepers! »
« That's all we need to make the Jews martyrs! How lovely it would be to have lepers walking in the streets with the soldiers and other things!...» exclaims Peter.
« I think it is a fair and wise step to keep them confined » remarks James of Alphaeus.
« Yes. But it should be done in a charitable manner. You do not realise what it is to be a leper. You cannot speak about them. If it is fair to take due care of our bodies, why are we not equally fair to the souls of lepers? Who speaks to them of God? And God only knows how much they need to think of God and of peace in their utter desolation! »
« Simon, you are right. I will go to them. Because it is just and to teach you all such mercy. So far I have cured the lepers that I met by chance. So far, that is, until I was driven out of Judaea. I addressed the great people in Judaea, as they are the most remote and in the greatest need of redemption, in order to be of help to the Redeemer. As I am now convinced that such an attempt is quite useless, I am abandoning it. I will no longer address the mighty ones, but the lower and miserable people in Israel. And the lepers in the valley of the dead will be amongst them. I will not disappoint the faith that those, who have been evangelized by the grateful leper, have in Me. »
« How do You know, my Lord, that I did that? »
« As I know what friends and enemies, whose hearts I search, think of Me. »
« Goodness gracious! You really know everything about us, Master! » shouts Peter.
« Yes, I do. Also that you, and not only you, wanted to send Photinai away. Do you not know that you are not allowed to send a soul away from good? Do you not know that to get to the heart of a town you must be most kind and merciful also towards those whom human society, which is not holy because it is not identified with God, calls and judges unworthy of mercy? But do not be upset because I know all that. Be sorry only that the sentiments of your hearts are not approved of by God and endeavour not to have them in future. I told you, the first year is over. In the new year I will proceed along My way with new forms. In the second year you must make progress, too. Otherwise it would be useless for Me to get tired evangelizing, and super-evangelizing you, My future priests. »
« Did You go and pray, Master? You promised to teach us Your prayers. Will You do that this year? »
« I will. But I want to teach you to be good. Goodness is already a prayer. But I will do it, John. »
« And will You teach us also to work miracles this year? » asks the Iscariot.
« Miracles are not taught. They are not the game of a juggler. A miracle comes from God. Who has grace in the eyes of God obtains it. If you learn to be good, you will have grace and obtain miracles. »
« But You are not answering our question. Simon asked You and John asked You, but You have not told us where You went last night. It could be dangerous to go out alone in a heathen country. »
« I went to make a righteous soul happy and since he is doomed to death, I went to collect his inheritance. »
« Did You? Was it a large one? »
« Yes, Peter, very large and of great value. The fruit of the work of a true just man. »
« But I have not seen anything in Your bag. Are they jewels which You are carrying on You? »
« Yes, jewels that are most dear to My heart. »
« Let us see them, Lord. »
« I will have them when the man doomed to death dies. For the time being he needs them, and I need them, leaving them where they are. »
« Has he invested them at an interest? »
« Do you think that money is the only valuable thing? It is the most useless and filthy thing on earth. It is only useful for material things, for crimes and for hell. Only rarely man makes use of it for a good purpose. »
« Well, if it is not money, what is it? »
« Three disciples formed by a saint. »
« You have been to the Baptist. Oh! Why? »
« Why You always have Me with you. And you all together are not worth a single finger nail of the Prophet. Was it not right that I should go to take God's blessing to the holy one in Israel to fortify him for his martyrdom? »
« But if he is holy... he does not need to be fortified. He can manage by himself!...»
« The day will come when “My” saints will be brought before judges and condemned to death. They will be saints, in the grace of God, comforted by faith, hope and charity. And yet I can already hear their cries, the cries of their souls: “Lord, help us in this hour!.” Only with My help My saints will be strong in persecutions. »
« We are not the ones You are referring to, are we? Because I am utterly incapable of suffering. »
« That is true. You are not capable of suffering. But, Bartholomew, you have not been baptized yet. »
« Yes, I have. »
« With water. You still need another baptism. Then you will be able to suffer. »
« I am already old. »
« And when very old, you will be stronger than a young man. »
« But You will help us just the same, will You not? »
« I shall always be with you. »
« I will endeavour to get accustomed to suffering » says Bartholomew.
« I will always pray, from now on, to obtain this grace from You » says James of Alphaeus.
« I am old and all I ask for is to precede You and enter peace with You » says Simon Zealot.
« I... I do not know what I would like. Whether to precede You or to be near You and die together » says Judas of Alphaeus.
« I will be unhappy if I survive You. But I will be comforted by preaching You to the people » states the Iscariot.
« I am of the same opinion as Your cousin » says Thomas.
« I, instead, am with Simon the Zealot » says James of Zebedee.
« And what about you, Philip? »
« Well... I say that I do not know what to think about it. The Eternal Father will give me what is best. »
« Oh! Keep quiet. You would think that the Master is to die soon! I do not want to think of His death! » exclaims Andrew.
« You are quite right, my dear brother. You are young and healthy, Jesus. You will have to bury us all, I mean the ones who are older than You. »
« What if they killed Me? »
« Let that never happen to You, but I will avenge you. »
« How By a blood vengeance? »
« Well... also by that means, if You will allow me. Otherwise, by my profession of faith amongst peoples, I will confute the accusations moved against You. The world will love You because I Will be indefatigable in preaching You. »
« That is true and that is what will happen. And what about you, John, and you, Matthew? »
« I must suffer and wait until I have washed my soul by suffering a great deal » says Matthew.
« And I... I do not know. I would like to die at once so that I would not see You suffer. I would like to be near You to comfort you in Your agony. I would like to live for a long time to serve You. I would like to die with You to enter Heaven with You. I would like everything, because I love You. And I think that I, the least of my brothers, will be able to do all that, if I know how to love You properly. Jesus, increase Your love! » says John.
« You mean: “Increase my love” » remarks the Iscariot.
« No. I say: “Increase Your Love.” Because the more He will inflame us with His love, the more we shall love. »
Jesus draws the pure passionate John to Himself and kisses his forehead saying: « You have revealed a mystery of God about the sanctification of hearts. God effuses Himself to just souls, and the more they surrender to His love, the more He increases it and their holiness grows greater. That is the mysterious and ineffable work of God and of souls. It is accomplished in mystical silence, and its power, which cannot be described by human words, creates indescribable masterpieces of holiness. It is not a mistake, but a wise prayer, to ask God to increase His love in one's heart. »