10th June 1945.
The miracle must have taken place only a short while ago, because the apostles are talking about it, and also some citizens are making comments, pointing at the Master, Who with a grave countenance goes straight to the outskirts of the town, where the poor people live.
He stops at a little house, from which a little boy comes bounding out followed by his mother. « Woman, will you let Me go into your kitchen garden and rest there until it cools down a little? »
« Go in, my Lord. Also into the kitchen, if You so wish. I will bring You some refreshments. »
« Do not trouble. It is quite enough for Me to stay in this peaceful garden. »
But the woman offers Him some water mixed with I do not know what and then she wanders round the kitchen garden, as if she were anxious to but dare not speak. She busies herself with her vegetables, but it is only a pretence. In actual fact she is paying attention to the Master, but the little boy annoys her because every time he catches a butterfly or an insect, he shouts and thus prevents her from hearing what Jesus says. She gets angry and gives him a little slap and... he shouts louder.
Jesus – Who was replying to the Zealot who had asked Him: « Do You think Mary is upset because of it? » saying: « Much more than you would think...» – turns round and calls the child, who runs towards Him and stops crying on His knees.
The woman shouts: « Benjamin Come here. Do not disturb the Master. »
But Jesus says: « No, leave him. He will be good and will leave you in peace. » He then says to the boy: « Do not cry. Your mummy did not hurt you. She only made you obey, or, she wanted to make you obey. Why did you shout when she wanted you to be quiet? Perhaps she is not feeling well, and your shouting was annoying her. »
The boy, with the incontrovertable frankness of children, which is the desperation of adults, immediately exclaims: « No, she is feeling all right. She wanted to hear what You were saying... She told me. But I wanted to come to You, so I was deliberately making a lot of noise, so that You would look at me. »
Everybody laughs and the woman blushes.
« Do not blush, woman. Come here. You wanted to hear Me speak? Why? »
« Because You are the Messiah. No one but You can be the Messiah, considering the miracle You have worked... And I was anxious to hear You. I never go out of Magdala because I have... a difficult husband and five children. The youngest is four months old... and You never come here. »
« I have come, and to your house, as you can see. »
« That is why I wanted to hear You. »
« Where is your husband? »
« At sea, my Lord. If he catches no fish, there is no food for us. I have but this little kitchen garden. Can it suffice for seven people? And yet that is what Zacchaeus would like... »
« Be patient, woman. Everybody has a cross. »
« Oh! No! Shameless women have but pleasure. You have seen the deeds of the shameless ones! They enjoy themselves and make other people suffer. They do not suffer the labour of childbirth neither do they break their backs working. Their hands do not blister digging, neither do they get spoiled washing clothes. They are beautiful and fresh looking. Eve's punishment does not affect them. Nay, they are our punishment, because... men... You know what I mean. »
« I understand. But, believe Me, they have a terrible cross, too. The most dreadful one, which is not visible: their conscience which reproaches them, the world that sneers at them, their blood that disowns them, God that curses them. They are not happy, believe Me. They do not suffer the labour of childbirth, they do not break their backs working, they do not ulcerate their hands toiling. But they feel broken just the same, and ashamed. Their hearts are one big sore. Do not envy their fresh look, their apparent serenity. It is a veil laid over a ruin that bites and gives no peace. Do not envy their sleep, you, a mother who dreams of her innocent children... Their pillows are covered with nightmares. And in future, in their old age, in their agony, they will have nothing but remorse and terror. »
« It is true... Forgive me... May I stay here? »
« Yes, stay. I will tell Benjamin a nice parable and those who are no longer children will apply it to themselves and to Mary of Magdala. Listen.
You doubt Mary's conversion to Good. There is no sign in her in that direction. Brazen and impudent, conscious of her rank and power, she dared to defy the people and come to the very threshold of the house where they are weeping because of her. She laughed at Peter's reproach. She replied to My inviting look, by striking a proud attitude. Perhaps some of you, either for Lazarus' sake or for Mine, would have liked Me to speak to her directly, at some length, subduing her with My power, showing My strength as Messiah and Saviour. No. All that is not needed. I already said so many months ago in regard to another sinner. Souls must react by themselves. I pass and sow the seed. The seed works in secret. A soul is to be respected in this work. If the first seed does not take root, another must be sown, and a third one... and one must give up only when there is definite proof that it is useless to sow. And one prays. Prayer is like dew on the clods of earth: it keeps them soft and nourishes them, so that the seed can sprout. Is that not what you do, woman, with your vegetables?
Now listen to the parable of how God works in the hearts of men to establish His Kingdom there. Because every heart is a small kingdom of God on the earth. Later, after death, all these small kingdoms will agglomerate into one, immeasurable, holy eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is created in men's hearts by the Divine Sower. He comes to his field – man belongs to God, because every man is initially His – and sows His seed. He then goes to other fields, to other hearts. Days follow the nights and nights the days. The days bring sunshine and rain, in our case rays of divine love and effusion of divine Wisdom speaking to the spirit. The nights bring stars and restful silence: in our case enlightening calls of God and silence for the soul so that it may collect its thoughts and meditate.
The seed, in this course of imperceptible but powerful influence, swells, splits, takes root, sprouts, grows. And all that happens without any help from man. The soil spontaneously produces grass from seeds, the herb becomes strong and supports the rising ear, the ear grows, swells, hardens, becomes golden and perfect when seeding. When it is ripe, the sower comes back and cuts it because the time of perfection has arrived for that seed. It cannot develop any further and so it is harvested.
My word does the same work in hearts. I am referring to the hearts which receive the seed. But it is a slow process. One must not spoil everything by being hasty. How troublesome it is for the little seed to split and take root! Such work is painful also for a hard wild heart. It must open itself, allow people to search it, accept new things and nourish them laboriously, appear different being covered with humble useful things, instead of the fascinating, pompous, useless, exuberant flourishing that covered it previously. It must be satisfied with working humbly for the benefit of the divine Thought, without drawing other people's admiring attention. It must exert all its talent to grow and burst into ear. It must burn with love to become corn. And after overcoming all fears of human opinion, which are so grievous, after toiling, suffering and becoming attached to its new dress, it must be deprived of it by a cruel cut. It must give everything to receive everything. It must be divested to be clad again in Heaven with the stole of sainthood. The life of a sinner who becomes a saint is the longest, most heroic and glorious fight. I tell you.
You will realise from what I told you that it is fair that I should deal with Mary as I am doing. Did I behave differently with you, Matthew? »
« No, my Lord, You did not. »
« And tell Me the truth: what convinced you more, My patience or the bitter reproaches of the Pharisees? »
« Your patience, so much so that I am here. The Pharisees, by despising and anathematizing me, made me scornful, and out of contempt I did more harm than I had done so far. That is what happens. Sinners become more obstinate when they realise that they are treated as sinners. But when we are caressed instead of being insulted, we are dumbfounded and we weep... and when one weeps, the whole framework of sin collapses... One is left nude before Goodness and one implores it wholeheartedly to be reclothed by It. »
« You are right. Benjamin, did you like My story? Yes? Good. Where is your mother? »
James of Alphaeus replies: « She went out at the end of the parable and ran along that road. »
« She may have gone to the seaside to see whether her husband is coming » says Thomas.
« No. She has gone to her old mother's, to get the children. Mummy takes them there so that she can work » says the little boy, who is leaning familiarly on Jesus' knees.
« And she keeps you here, my little man? You must be a handsome evil-doer if she keeps you here all by yourself! » remarks Bartholomew.
« I am the eldest, and I help her... »
« You help her to gain Paradise, poor woman! How old are you? » asks Peter.
« In three years' time I will be a son of the Law » replies the urchin proudly.
« Can you read? » asks Thaddeus.
« Yes... but very slowly... because the teacher throws me out almost every day... »
« What did I say! » exclaims Bartholomew.
« But I behave like that because the teacher is old and ugly and says the same things all the time and makes you fall asleep! If he were like Him (and he points to Jesus) I would pay attention. Do You hit those who sleep or play? »
« I do not hit anybody. But I say to My pupils: “Pay attention for your own good and for My sake” » replies Jesus.
« Yes, that's all right! Out of love, not out of fear. »
« But if you are good, the teacher will love you. »
« Do You love only those who are good? You just said that You were patient with this man here, who was not good... » The child's logic is cogent.
« I am good with everybody. But when one becomes good, I love that one very much and I am very good, too. »
The boy is pensive... he then looks up and asks Matthew: « And what did you do to become good? »
« I loved Him. »
The boy becomes pensive again and then looking at the Twelve asks Jesus: « Are these ones all good? »
« Of course they are. »
« Are you sure? I sometimes behave as a good boy, but that is when... I am thinking of some big mischief. »
They all burst into laughter. Also the little fellow, who is in a confessing humour, laughs. Also Jesus laughs pressing him to His heart and kissing him.
The boy, who is now friendly with everybody, wants to play and says: « I will now tell You who is good » and he begins his selection. He looks at them all and goes straight to John and Andrew who are nearby and says: « You and you. Come here. » He then chooses the two Jameses and places them with the other two. He then takes Thaddeus. He is quite pensive in front of the Zealot and Bartholomew and says: « You are old, but good » and he joins them to the others. He examines Peter, who undergoes the examination, jokingly frowning at him, and finds him to be good. Also Matthew and Philip pass the examination. He says to Thomas: « You laugh too much. I am in earnest. Don't you know that my teacher says that he who always laughs, fails in the test? » After all, also Thomas passes his examination, but with low marks. The boy then goes back to Jesus.
« Hey, you urchin! I am here, too! I am not a tree. I am young and handsome. Why don't you examine me? » says the Iscariot.
« Because I don't like you. My mother says that when you don't like something, you must not touch it. You just leave it on the table, so that other people, who may like it, can take it. And she also says that if you are offered something which you do not like, You must not say: “I do not like it.” But you say: “Thank you, but I am not hungry.” And I do not hunger for you. »
« Why not? Look, if you say that I am good, I will give you this coin. »
« What am I going to do with it? What can I buy with a lie? Mummy says that the money which is the fruit of deceit, becomes straw. Once at my grandmother's, I got them to give me a didrachma by telling a lie because I wanted to buy some honey-cakes, and during the night it turned into straw. I put it in that hole over there, under the door, to take it the following morning, but I found a handful of straw in its place. »
« But how can you see that I am not good? What is wrong with me? Am I lame? Am I ugly looking? »
« No. But you frighten me. »
« Why? » asks the Iscariot going near him.
« I don't know. Leave me alone. Don't touch me or I will scratch you. »
« What a hedgehog! You are silly. » Judas gives a forced laugh.
« I am not silly. You are bad » and the boy takes shelter in the lap of Jesus, Who caresses him without speaking.
The apostles make fun of the situation which is not very pleasant to the Iscariot.
In the meantime the woman comes back with half a dozen people, and behind them, many more. They must be about fifty. All poor people.
« Would You speak to them? At least a few words. This is my husband's mother, these are my children. And that man over there is my husband. A word, Lord » implores the woman.
« Yes, I will speak. To thank you for your hospitality. »
The woman goes back into the house, where her suckling claims her and she sits on the threshold breastfeeding her baby.
« Listen. Here on My knees I have a little boy who has spoken very wisely. He said: “Everything that is obtained by deceit, becomes straw.” His mother taught him that truth.
It is not a tale. It is an eternal truth. What is done dishonestly, is never successful. Because falsehood in words, deeds, and in religion is always a sign of alliance with Satan, the master of falsehood. Do not believe that the deeds worthy of achieving the Kingdom of Heaven are very noisy or showy. They are common, continuous deeds, but performed with a supernatural purpose of love. Love is the seed of the plant that sprouts in you and grows up as far as Heaven, and in its shade all the other virtues sprout. I will compare it to the tiny mustard seed. How small it is! It is one of the smallest seeds that man sows. But look how big and leafy it becomes when it has grown up and how much fruit it bears. Not one hundred percent, but one hundred to one. The smallest. But the most diligent in working. How much profit it gives you.
Love is the same. If you enclose in your hearts a tiny seed of love for your Most Holy God and for your neighbour, and if you accomplish your deeds guided by love, you will not fail in any of the precepts of the Decalogue. You will not lie to God by means of a false religion of practices but not of the spirit. You will not lie to your neighbour, behaving as ungrateful children, as adulterers, as too exacting husbands and wives, as thieves in business, as liars in life, as violent avengers towards your enemies. Look how many birds have taken shelter, in this warm hour of the day, among the branches of the trees in the garden. Before long, that mustard plant, which now is still very small, will be a real perch for birds. All the birds will come to the safe shade of those thick and comfortable trees and their little ones will learn to fly safely among those branches which are like steps and a net, which they can climb without falling. Such is love, the foundation of the Kingdom of God.
Love and you will be loved. Love and you will bear with one another. Love and you will not be cruel by wanting more than what is lawful from those who are under you. Love and sincerity to obtain the peace and glory of Heaven. Otherwise, as Benjamin said, every action of yours accomplished lying to love and to truth will turn into straw for your beds in hell. I will not say anything else to you. I will only say: always bear in mind the great precept of love and be faithful to God the Truth, to the truth in every word, deed and sentiment, because the truth is the daughter of God. Let the work of bringing yourselves to perfection be continuous, as the seed continuously grows until it is perfect. A silent, humble, patient work. You may rest assured that God sees your struggles and He will grant you a greater reward for overcoming your selfishness, for holding back a rude word, for satisfying a necessity without being ordered to do so, than if, fighting in a battle, you killed the enemy. The Kingdom of Heaven, which you will possess if You live as just people, is built with the little things of every day. With goodness, moderation, patience, with being satisfied with what one has, bearing with one another, and with love, love, love.
Be good. Live in peace, one with the other. Do not grumble. Do not judge. God will then be with you. I give you My peace as a blessing and thanksgiving for the faith you have in Me. »
Then Jesus turns to the woman saying: « May God bless you especially, because you are a holy wife and a holy mother. Persevere in virtue. Goodbye, Benjamin. Love the truth and obey Your mother. My blessing to you, to your little brothers and to you, mother. »
A man comes forward. He is embarrassed and stammers: « But, but... I am moved by what You say of my wife... I did not know...»
« Have you no eyes or intelligence? »
« Yes, I have. »
« Why do you not make use of them? Shall I clear them? »
« You have already done that, my Lord. But I love her, You know... The trouble is... that, that... one gets used... and... and...»
« And one thinks that it is quite all right to exact too much, because the other one is more gentle than we are... Do not do that any more. You are always in danger with your work. Be not afraid of storms if God is with you. But if there is Injustice in you, be much afraid. Have you understood? »
« More than You have said. I will do my best to obey You... I did not know... » and he looks at his wife as if he saw her for the first time.
Jesus blesses and goes out on to the little road. He resumes walking towards the country.