166. The First Sermon of Simon Zealot and John.

18th May 1945. prev home next

Jesus, half way down the mountain, finds many disciples and many more people, who by degrees have joined the disciples. They have come here urged by the need of a miracle, by the desire to hear Jesus' word, and have been guided here either by information of people or by the instinct of their souls. I think that the guardian angels of men have led them to the Son of God, as they were desirous of God. And I do not think I am telling an idle story. If we consider with what prompt and shrewd perseverance Satan led enemies to God and to His Word, every time his diabolical spirit could exhibit to men the semblance of a fault in Christ, it is admissable to think, rather than admissable it is indeed just to think also that the angels were no way inferior to demons and they led non-demoniacal spirits to Christ.

And Jesus does His utmost for all those who have been waiting for Him patiently and fearlessly and grants them miracles and the comfort of His word. How many miracles! As many as the flowers decorating the mountain crags. Some of the miracles are great, like the one for a boy who was rescued from a blazing straw-barn and was dreadfully burnt. The child was brought here on a stretcher, crying mournfully, a heap of scorched flesh under a linen cloth, with which he had been covered, so dreadful is the appearance of his burnt body. He is about to breathe his last. Jesus breathes over him and heals his burns that disappear completely, so much so that the boy gets up, absolutely naked, and runs happily towards his mother, who, weeping for joy, caresses his body now entirely cured, without any trace of burns. She kisses his eyes, which were expected to be burnt, and instead are bright and shining with joy. His hair is short, but not destroyed, as if the flames had acted as a razor and not as an instrument of destruction. Other miracles are minor, like the one in favour of a little elderly man, suffering from asthmatic spasms, who says: « Not for my own sake, but because I have to act as a father to my little orphan grandchildren and I cannot work the land with this disease here, in my throat, choking me...»

There is also an invisible but real miracle, brought about by Jesus' words: « Amongst you, there is one whose soul is weeping, but dare not say the words: “Have mercy on me!” My reply is: “Let it be done as you wish. You have all My pity, that you may know that I am Mercy.” In my turn, however, I say to you: “Be generous”. Be generous with God. Break all ties with the past. You perceive God, so come to Him Whom you perceive, with a free heart and complete love. » I do not know to whom, among the crowd, these words are addressed.

Jesus says also: « These are My apostles. They are as many Christs, because I have elected them as such. Apply to them trustingly. They have learned from Me what is needed for your souls...» The apostles, thoroughly afraid, look at Jesus. But He smiles and goes on: « ...and they will give your souls the light of stars and the refreshment of dew, to prevent you from languishing in darkness. And then I will come and give you perfect light and consolation and all wisdom to make you strong and happy by means of a supernatural strength and joy. Peace be with you, My children. I am expected by other people who are more unhappy and poorer than you are. But I will not leave you alone. I am leaving My apostles with you, which is the same as if I left the children of My love entrusted to the most amiable and reliable foster-mothers. »

Jesus waves His hand, blesses them and departs, pushing through the crowd, who do not want to let Him go, and just then He works the last miracle. An elderly partly-paralysed woman, brought here by her grandson, joyfully shakes her right arm, which before she could not move, and shouts: « He touched me lightly with His mantle, when passing by, and I am cured! I did not even ask for it, because I am old... But He felt pity also for my secret desire. And with His mantle, the hem of which hardly touched my useless arm, He cured me! Oh! What a great Son our holy David has! Glory be to his Messiah! But look! Look! Also my leg is moving like my arm... Oh! I feel as if I were only twenty years old! »

While many people rush towards the old woman, who is shouting her happiness at the top of her voice, Jesus can sneak away without being detained further. And the apostles follow Him.

When they are in a lonely place, almost down on the plain, they stop for a moment in an area of heathland, which stretches towards the lake. Jesus says: « I bless you! Go back to your work and continue it until I come back, as I told you. »

Peter, who has been quiet so far, bursts out: « But, my Lord, what have You done? Why did You say that we have everything that souls need? It is true that You have told us many things. But we are blockheads, at least I am, and... and of all You gave me, little is left, very little indeed. I am like one, who after a meal, still has in his stomach the heavy part of the food. The rest is no longer there. »

Jesus smiles frankly: « Where is the rest of the food, then? »

« Well... I don't know. I know that when I eat delicate food, after an hour I feel my stomach empty. But if I eat horse-radish, or lentils dressed with oil, eh! it takes a long time to get rid of them! »

« It does. But you can be sure that horse-radish and lentils, which seem to fill you more, are the less nourishing: it is meal that goes through with little benefit. Whereas the delicate dishes that you feel no longer, within an hour, are no longer in your stomach, but in your blood. When food has been digested it is no longer in one's stomach, but its juice is in the blood and is more useful. Now you and your companions think that nothing, or only a little, is left in you of what I told you. Perhaps you remember whatever is more pertinent to one's own nature: the violent the violent parts, the contemplative the contemplative parts, the affectionate the loving parts... But believe Me: everything is within you. Even if it seems to have gone. You have absorbed it. Your thoughts will wind off like a multicoloured thread showing you light or strong hues according to what you require. Be not afraid. Consider that I know and I would never send you if I knew that you were unable to do it. Goodbye, Peter. Cheer up! Smile! Have faith! A good act of faith in the Omnipresent Wisdom. Goodbye, everybody. The Lord is with you. » And He leaves them quickly, while they are still amazed and worried about what they have heard they must do.

« And yet we must obey » says Thomas.

« Yes... of course... Oh! poor me! I feel like running after Him...» grumbles Peter.

« No. Don't. To obey is to love Him » says James of Alphaeus.

« It is only reasonable and also according to holy prudence that we should start while He is still near us and can advise us if we make mistakes. We must help him » suggests the Zealot.

« That's true. Jesus is rather tired. We must relieve Him a little, as best we can. It is not enough to carry the bags, make the beds and prepare the food. Anyone can do that. But we must help Him in His mission, as He wants us to » confirms Bartholomew.

« It's all right for you, because you are a learned man. But I... I am almost completely ignorant...» moans James of Zebedee.

« O Lord! There are those who were up there. They are coming here! What shall we do? » exclaims Andrew.

And Matthew says: « Excuse me, if I, the most miserable one, give you my advice. Would it not be better to pray the Lord, instead of standing here complaining about things complaints cannot mend? Come on, Judas, you know the Scriptures so well, say for us all the prayer of Solomon to obtain Wisdom. Quick! Before they arrive here. »

And Thaddeus in his beautiful baritone voice begins: « God of my ancestors, Lord of mercy, Who by Your word have made all things... etc... etc. » down to: « ...all those were saved by Wisdom, who pleased You, o Lord, from the beginning. » He finishes in time, just before the people arrive, and gather round them asking thousands of questions as to where the Master has gone, when He will come back, and a more difficult one to be answered, requesting: « How can they follow the Master, not with their legs, but with their souls, along the Way pointed out by Him? »

The apostles are embarrassed by the question. They look at one another and the Iscariot replies: « By following perfection » as if his reply explained everything!...

James of Alphaeus, who is more humble and quiet, becomes pensive, then says: « The perfection to which my companion refers is achieved by obeying the Law. Because the Law is justice and justice is perfection. »

But the crowd are not yet satisfied and one, who appears to be a leader, asks: « But we are like little children with regard to doing good. Children do not know yet the meaning of Good and Evil, they cannot tell one from the other. And on this way, which He points out to us, we are so inexperienced that neither are we able to distinguish between them. There was a way known to us, the old one, which we were taught at school. It is so difficult, long and frightening! Now, listening to His words, we feel that it is like that aqueduct we can see from here. Below, there is the road for animals and men, above, on the light arches, high up in the sun and in the blue sky, near the tallest branches rustling in the wind and resounding with the singing of birds, there is another road, as smooth, clean and clear, as the inferior one is rough, dirty and dark, there is a way for the gurgling limpid water, which is a blessing, because of the water that comes from God and is caressed by what is of God: rays of the sun and of the stars, new leaves, flowers and wings of swallows. We would like to climb up to that higher way, which is His way, but we do not know how to do so, because we are bound down here, under the weight of the old construction. What shall we do? »

The person who has spoken is a young man about twenty-five years old, dark, strong, with an intelligent mien. He does not seem to be a man of the people like the majority of the crowd present. He is leaning on an older man.

The Iscariot, tall as he is, sees him and whispers to his companions: « Quick, explain things properly. There is Hermas with Stephen, who is loved by Gamaliel! » And that is enough to embarrass the apostles completely.

At last the Zealot replies: « There would be no arch, if there was no foundation in the dark road. The latter is the matrix of the former, which rises from it and climbs towards the blue sky, of which you are desirous. The stones fixed in the ground and holding the weight without enjoying rays or flights are aware that they are set there, because now and again a swallow, squeaking, flies down as far as the mud, and caresses the base of the arch, and a ray of the sun or of a star filters through to say how beautiful is the vault of heaven. Thus, in past centuries, a divine word of promise, a celestial ray of wisdom, descended now and again to caress the stones oppressed by divine wrath. Because the stones were necessary. They are not, were not and never will be useless. Time and the perfection of human knowledge have risen slowly on them and have reached the freedom of present days and the wisdom of supernatural knowledge.

I already see your objection, it is written on your face. It is the one we have all had, before we were able to understand that this is the New Doctrine, the Gospel preached to those who, because of a retarding process, have not become adults through the elevation of the stones of knowledge, but have grown darker and darker like a wall that sinks into a dark abyss.

In order to get out of this affliction of a supernatural darkness, we must bravely free the foundation stone from all the others laid on top of it. Do not be afraid to knock down the high wall that does not carry the pure lymph of the eternal spring. Go back to the foundation, which is not to be changed. It comes from God. It is immovable. But before rejecting the stones, because they are not all bad and useless, examine them one by one, at the sound of the word of God. If you hear that they are sound, keep them and use them again to rebuild. But if you hear in them the dissonant sound of human voice or the rending sound of a satanic voice – and you cannot be mistaken because if it is God's voice it is a sound of love, if it is a human voice it is a sensual sound, if it is a satanic voice it is a sound of hatred – then break the wicked stones into shivers. I say: break them into shivers, because it is charity not to leave behind germs or evil things, which may seduce the wayfarer and induce him to use them to his own disadvantage. Crush literally to smithereens all your deeds, writings, teachings and acts that were not good. It is better to be left with little, to rise by hardly one cubit with good stones, rather than by yards with wicked stones. Sunbeams and swallows descend also to low walls, which hardly rise above the ground and the humble little flowers at the edge of the road easily reach the low stones to caress them. On the contrary, the proud useless rough stones that want to rise higher receive nothing but thorny caresses and poisonous embraces. Demolish in order to rebuild and to ascend, testing the goodness of your old stones to the sound of the voice of God. »

« You are a good speaker, man. We must ascend! But how? We have told you that we are less than babies. Who will enable us to climb the steep column? We will test the stones to the sound of the voice of God. We will break up the ones that are not good. But how can we ascend? We feel giddy only at the thought of it! » says Stephen.

John, who has been listening with his head lowered, smiling to himself, raises his head. His face is bright and he begins to speak:

« Brothers! The thought of ascending makes you feel giddy. It is true. But who told you that it is necessary to attack the ascent direct? Not only babies, but even adults cannot do it. Only angels can glide in the blue skies, because they are free from all material weight. And only heroes in holiness can do it amongst men.

We have a living being, who in this dejected world, is still a holy hero, like the ancient people who adorned Israel, when the Patriarchs were friends of God and the word of the eternal Code was the only one and was obeyed by every righteous creature. John, the Precursor teaches us how to attack the ascent direct. John is a man. But the Grace, which the Fire of God communicated to him, purifying him in his mother's womb, as the lips of the Prophet were cleansed by the Seraph, so that he might precede the Messiah without leaving the stench of original sin along the royal way of Christ, that Grace has given John the wings of an angel and Penance has made them grow, suppressing at the same time the human weight which his nature of a man born of a woman had retained. John, therefore, from the cavern where he preached penance, with his spirit married to Grace burning in his body, can ascend to the top of the arch beyond which is God, the Most High Lord our God, and dominating the past centuries, the present day and the future, with the voice of a prophet and the eye of an eagle that can stare at the eternal sun and recognise it, he can announce: “There is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” And he can die after this sublime song, which will be sung not only in our limited time, but also in the endless Time in the eternal blessed Jerusalem, to applaud the Second Person, to invoke Him on human miseries, to sing hosannas in the eternal brightness.

But the Lamb of God, the Most Sweet Lamb Who left His bright abode in Heaven, where He is the Fire of God in an embrace of fire – oh! the eternal generation, of the Father Who conceives His Word through His unlimited and most holy thought, and absorbs Him producing an effusion of love, from which the Spirit of Love proceeds, the centre of Power and Wisdom – but the Lamb of God, Who left His most pure incorporeal form, to enclose His infinite purity, holiness and divine nature in mortal flesh, knows that we have not been cleansed by Grace, not yet, and knows that we could not ascend to the high summit, where God, One and Trine is, like the eagle, which is John. We are little sparrows living on roofs and on roads, we are swallows that fly in the sky but feed on insects, we are woodlarks who want to sing imitating the angels, but our singing, when compared to theirs, is a dissonant high-pitched drone of cicadas in summer. The Sweet Lamb of God, Who came to take away the sin of the world, knows that. Because if He is no longer the Infinite Spirit of Heaven, having taken human flesh, His infinity is not diminished thereby and He knows everything because His wisdom is always infinite.

And so He teaches us His way. The way of love. He is the Love, which out of mercy for us, became flesh. And that Merciful Love created for us a way, which also little ones can ascend. And He is the first to ascend it, not because of His own need, but to teach us. Neither would He need to spread His wings to return to the Father. His spirit, I swear it to you, is closed down here, on the miserable earth, but it is always with the Father, because God can do everything, and He is God. But He goes ahead, leaving behind Him the perfume of His holiness, the gold and fire of His love. Look at His way. Oh! It does reach the summit of the arch! But how peaceful and safe it is! It is not straight: it is spiral. It is longer and the sacrifice of His merciful love is revealed by such length where He delays for the sake of us, the weak ones. It is longer, but better suited to our misery. The ascent to love, to God, is as simple as Love. But it is vast, because God is an abyss, which I would say is immeasurable if He did not bend across to be reached, to be kissed by the souls in love with Him (John speaks and weeps, smiling with his lips, in the ecstasy of revealing God). The simple way of love is long, because the Abyss, which is God, is limitless, and one could climb as much as one would like. But the Admirable Abyss calls our miserable abyss. It calls it by means of its light and says: “Come to Me!” Oh! The invitation of God! The invitation of the Father!

Listen! Listen! The kindest words are coming towards us from the Heavens left open, because Christ opened the gates wide and left the angels of Mercy and Forgiveness to keep them open, so that while men are waiting for the Grace, at least light, scents, songs and peace should flow down to attract the hearts of men in a holy manner. It is the voice of God Who is speaking. And the Voice says: “Your childhood? But it is your most valuable money! I would like you to become really little, so that you would have the humility, the sincerity and the love of children, the confident love of children for their fathers. Your inability? But that is My glory! Oh! Come. I do not even ask you to test the sound of the good and bad stones by yourselves. Give them to Me! I will pick them and you will do the rebuilding. The ascent to perfection? Oh! no, My little children. Join hands with My Son, your Brother now, and thus ascend beside Him....”

To ascend! To come to You, Eternal Love! To achieve Your likeness, that is Love! To love! That is the secret!... To love! To give oneself... To love! To suppress oneself... To love! To melt... The flesh? It is nothing. Sorrow? It is nothing. Time? It is nothing. Sin itself becomes nothing if I dissolve it in Your fire, o God! Only Love exists. Love: The Love that gave us the Incarnate God, will give us all forgiveness. And no one knows how to love better than children. And no one is loved more than a child.

O you, whom I do not know, who want to know what Good is, to distinguish it from Evil, to possess the blue sky, the celestial Sun, and everything that is supernatural joy, love and you will achieve it. Love Christ. You will die to the life of this world, but you will rise again in your spirit. With your new spirit, without any further need of stones, you will be forever an inextinguishable fire. A flame rises. It needs neither steps nor wings to rise. Free your ego from every construction, put love into yourself. You will blaze up. Let that happen without any restriction. Nay, kindle the fire, throwing into it your past passions and knowledge. What is not good will be destroyed by the flames, what is already a noble metal will become pure. Cast yourself, brother, into the active joyful love of the Trinity. You will understand what now seems incomprehensible to you, because you will understand God, Who can be, understood only by those who give themselves, without any limitation, to His sacrificing fire. You will be fixed, in the end, in God in a loving embrace, praying for me, the child of Christ, who dared to speak to you of Love. »

They are all dumbfounded: the apostles, the disciples, the believers... The man to whom the words were addressed is pale, while John's face is flushed, not so much because of the effort as because of his love.

Stephen at last shouts: « May you be blessed! But tell me, who are you? »

And John – his attitude reminds me so much of the Virgin at the Annunciation – replies in a low voice, bending as if he were adoring Him Whom he mentions: « I am John. You see in me the least of the servants of the Lord. »

« But who was your master before? »

« No one but God. Because I received my spiritual milk from John, the presanctified of God, now I eat the bread of Christ, the Word of God, and I drink God's fire that comes to me from Heaven. Glory be to the Lord! »

« Ah! I am not going to leave you! Neither you nor him, I will part from none of you. Take me with you! »

« When... Oh! But Peter is here, he is our chief » and John takes Peter, who is dumbfounded, and proclaims him « the first ».

And Peter collects himself and says: « Son, a considered reflection is required for a great mission. This man is our angel and he inflames us. But it is necessary to know whether the flame will last in us. Measure yourself and then come to the Lord. We will open our hearts to you as to a most dear brother. In the meantime, if you wish to become better acquainted with our life, you may stay. The flocks of Christ may grow exceedingly so that the true lambs may be separated from the false rams, choosing among the perfect and imperfect ones. »

And the first apostolic revelation ends thus.

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