1st September 1945.
Jesus with Manaen beside Him comes out of the widow's house saying: « Peace to you and to your family. We will meet again after the Sabbath. Goodbye, little Joseph. You can play and rest tomorrow, and then you will help Me again. Why are you weeping? »
« I am afraid that You will not come back again... »
« I always speak the truth. But are you so sorry that I am going away? »
The boy nods assent.
Jesus caresses him saying: « A day will soon pass. You will be with your mother and brothers tomorrow. And I will be with My apostles and I will be speaking to them. During the past days I spoke to you to teach you how to work, I am now going to them to teach them how to preach and to be good. You would not enjoy yourself with Me, the only boy among so many men. »
« Oh! I would enjoy myself because I would be with You. »
« I see, woman! Your son is like many, and they are the best. He does not want to leave Me. Can you trust him with Me until the day after tomorrow? »
« Oh! Lord! I would give You them all! They are as safe with You as they would be in Heaven... And this boy, who used to stay with his father more than the rest of them, has suffered too much. He was with his father at the moment... See?... He does nothing but weep and pine. Don't weep, son. Ask the Lord if what I say is true. Master, to comfort him I always say to him that his father is not lost, but has only gone far away from us temporarily. »
« Which is the truth. It is exactly as your mother says, little Joseph. »
« But I'll not be able to find him again until I die. And I am only a boy. If I am to become as old as Isaac, how long will I have to wait? »
« Poor boy! But time flies. »
« No, Lord. My father has been dead three weeks, and it seems such a long time to me... I cannot go on without him... » and he weeps silently but most pitifully.
« See? He is always like that. Particularly when he is not busy with something that interests him. The Sabbath is a torture. I am afraid he will die... »
« No. I have another boy who is orphan of father and mother. He was emaciated and sad. Now, staying with a good woman at Bethsaida and being sure that he is not separated from his parents, he has flourished again both in his body and soul. The same will happen to your son, both because of what I will tell him, and because time is a great healer, and also because he will calm down, too, when he sees that you are no longer worried about your daily bread. Goodbye, woman. The sun is setting and I must go. Come, Joseph. Say goodbye to your mother, your little brothers and then run to pick up with Me. »
And Jesus goes away.
« And what will You tell the apostles now? »
« That I have an old disciple and a new one. »
They walk through Korazim that is becoming animated with people.
A group of men stops Jesus: « Are You going away? Are You not staying for the Sabbath? »
« No. I am going to Capernaum. »
« You have not spoken one word during the whole week. Are we not worthy of Your word? »
« Have I not given you for six days the best word? »
« When? To whom? »
« To everybody. From the carpenter's bench. For days I have been preaching that our neighbour is to be loved and helped in every possible way, particularly when our neighbour is weak, as in the case of widows and orphans. Goodbye, people of Korazim. Ponder on this lesson of Mine on the Sabbath. » And Jesus sets out again, leaving the citizens perplexed. But the boy, who has reached Jesus running, rouses the curiosity of the people who stop the Master again asking: « Are You taking away the widow's son? Why? »
« To teach him to believe that God is a Father and that in God he will find his lost father. And also that there might be one here who believes, in the place of old Isaac. »
« There are three men from Korazim with Your disciples. »
« With My disciples. Not here. This one will be here. Goodbye. » And with the child between Him and Manaen He walks fast through the country towards Capernaum, talking to Manaen.
They reach Capernaum after the apostles had arrived. They are sitting on the terrace in the shade of the pergola, round Matthew, whose wound is not yet healed, informing him of their feats. They turn round at the light shuffling of sandals on the little staircase and they see Jesus' fair head emerge more and more from the little wall of the terrace. They rush towards Him, Who is smiling... and they are dumbfounded seeing a poor boy behind Jesus. Manaen climbs the steps in his pompous pure white linen tunic, which is made even more beautiful by a precious belt, by the bright-red dyed linen tunic, which is so shiny as to seem silk, hanging from his shoulders like a train, and by his byssus head-dress fastened by a thin gold diadem, an engraved thin plate, which divides his wide forehead in two halves and gives him almost the air of an Egyptian king. His presence prevents an avalanche of questions which, however, are clearly expressed by the apostles' eyes. After greeting one another, while sitting near Jesus, the apostles ask: « And who is this one? » pointing at the boy. « This is My last conquest. Little Joseph, a carpenter like the great Joseph, who was My father. And thus most dear to Me, as I am to him. Is that right, little boy? Come here that I may introduce you to these friends of Mine of whom you have heard Me speak so much. This is Simon Peter: the kindest man to Children there is. And this is John: a big boy who will speak to you of God also when playing. And this is James his brother, serious and good like an elder brother. And this is Andrew, Simon's brother: you will get along well at once with him, because he is as meek as a lamb. And this is Simon the Zealot: he loves fatherless children so much that I think he would go round the whole world looking for them, if he were not with Me. Then here is Judas of Simon and with him there is Philip of Bethsaida and Nathanael. See how they look at you? They have children as well and they love children. And there are My brothers James and Judas. They love everything I love and so they will love you. Now let us go to Matthew, who is suffering agonies with his foot, and yet he is not angry with the boy who playing recklessly hit him with a sharp flint-stone. Is that right, Matthew? »
« Oh! no, Master. Is he the widow's son? »
« Yes, he is. He is very clever, but he has become very sad. »
« Oh! poor boy! I will get you to call little James and you will play with him » and Matthew caresses him drawing him close to himself with one hand.
Jesus ends the introductions with Thomas, who, practical as he is, completes it by offering the boy a bunch of grapes he has picked off the pergola.
« Now you are friends » concludes Jesus, sitting down again while the child eats his grapes replying to Matthew who keeps him close to himself.
« But where have You been all alone for a whole week? »
« At Korazim, Simon of Jonah. »
« I know. But what did You do? Did You go to Isaac? »
« Isaac the Elder is dead. »
« So? »
« Did Matthew not tell you? »
« No. He only said that You were at Korazim since the day after our departure. »
« Matthew is more clever than you are. He can keep quiet, but you cannot check your curiosity. »
« Not only mine. Everybody's. »
« Well: I went to Korazim to preach factual charity. »
« Factual charity? What do You mean? » ask many.
« There is a widow at Korazim with five children and an old sick woman. Her husband died suddenly at his work bench, leaving behind him misery and unfinished jobs. Korazim did not find a tiny bit of pity for this unhappy family. I went to finish the work and... »
There is pandemonium. Some ask questions, some protest, some reproach Matthew for allowing it, some admire and some criticise. Unfortunately the majority protest or criticise.
Jesus lets the storm calm down just as it started and as a reply He says: « I am going back the day after tomorrow. And I will do so until I finish. And I hope that you at least will understand. Korazim is a closed fruit-stone without its germ. You at least ought to be stones with germs.
Boy, give Me the walnut that Simon gave you and listen to Me as well.
See this nut? I am taking this one because I have no other fruitshells available, but to understand the parable, think, for instance, of the seeds of pines or palms, the hardest ones, or the stones of olives... They are very hard containers, completely closed, without cracks, of solid wood. They look like magic coffers, which can be opened only by means of violence. And yet if one of them is thrown on to the ground by chance and a passer-by buries it in the earth treading on it, what happens? The coffer opens and takes root and comes into leaf. How does that happen by itself? We have to strike it hard with a hammer to open it, instead without any blow it opens by itself. Is the seed a magic one? No. It contains a pulp. Oh! a feeble thing compared to the hard shell. And yet it nourishes an even smaller thing: the germ. And that is the lever that forces, opens it and produces a plant with roots and leaves. As an experiment, bury some fruit-stones and wait. You will see that some strike root, others do not. Pull out the ones that did not sprout. Open them with a hammer and you will see that they are empty seeds. So it is not the dampness of the ground or its heat that makes the stone open. But it is its pulp, or rather, the soul of the pulp: the germ, which swelling, acts as a lever and opens it.
That is the parable. Now let us apply it to ourselves.
What did I do that should not have been done? Have we understood one another so little that we have not understood that hypocrisy is a sin and that words are just like wind if they are not corroborated by action? What have I always told you? “Love one another. Love is the precept and the secret of glory.” And I, Who preach, should I be without charity? Should I thus set the example of an untruthful master? No, never!
My dear friends! Our body is like a hard stone, in which pulp is enclosed: our soul, and in it there is the germ that I laid. It is made of many elements, the main one being charity. It acts as a lever to open the stone and free the spirit from the constrictions of matter and reunite it to God, Who is Charity.
Charity does not consist only in giving alms or comforting by means of words. Charity is accomplished through charity alone. Do not think that this is a pun. I had no money and words were not sufficient for this case. There were seven people on the threshold of starvation and anguish. Despair was already putting forth its black claws to grasp and strangle. The world was withdrawing harshly and selfishly before this misfortune. The world was proving that it had not understood the words of the Master. The Master evangelized through deeds. I was capable and free to do it. And it was My duty, on behalf of the whole world, to love those poor wretches whom the world did not love. That is what I did.
Can you still criticise Me? Or should I criticise you, in the presence of a disciple who did not hesitate to come among sawdust and shavings in order not to leave the Master and who, I am sure, became more convinced of Me seeing Me bent over a piece of wood, than he would have been persuaded if he had seen Me on a throne, and in the presence of a boy, who perceived Me to be what I am, notwithstanding his ignorance, the misfortune that blunts his mind and the fact that he was in no way acquainted with the Messiah as He really is. Are you not saying anything? Do not feel humiliated only while I raise My voice to correct wrong ideas. I do it out of love. But strive to have within you the germ that sanctifies and opens the stone. Or you will always be useless beings. You must be prepared to do what I have done.
No work must be burdensome to you for the sake of your neighbour, or to take a soul to God. Work, whatever it may be, is never humiliating. Whereas base action, falseness, untrue denunciations, harshness, abuse of power, usury, slander, lust are humiliating. They do humiliate Man. And yet they are done unashamedly by those also who say they are perfect and who were certainly scandalised seeing Me work with saw and hammer. Oh! A hammer! The worthless hammer, if used to drive nails into wood to make a piece of furniture that will earn food for orphans, how noble it becomes! The hammer, although ignoble, if it is in My hands for a holy purpose will not longer appear as such and how it will be craved for by all those who gladly shout that they are scandalised because of it!
Oh! man: you ought to be light and truth, how dark and false you are! But you, at least, endeavour to understand what Goodness is! What Charity is. What Obedience is. I solemnly tell you that great is the number of Pharisees. And they are even present among those who surround Me. »
« No, Master. Don't say that! We... it is because we love You that we do not want certain things!... »
« It is because you have not yet understood anything. I have spoken to you of Faith and Hope and I did not think that any new word was required to speak to you of Charity, because so much emanates from Me that you should be saturated with it. But I see that you know it only by name, without being aware of its nature and form. Just as you know the moon.
Do you remember when I told you that Hope is like the cross-bar of the kind yoke supporting Faith and Charity, and it is the scaffold of mankind and the throne of salvation? You do? But you have not understood My words in their true meaning. And why did you not ask for a clarification? I will give it to you. It is a yoke because it compels man to lower his silly pride under the weight of eternal truths. And it is the scaffold of such pride. The man who hopes in God his Lord unavoidably mortifies his pride that would like him to be proclaimed his “god” and acknowledges that he is nothing and God is everything, that he can do nothing and God can do everything, that he-man is transient dust and God is eternity elevating to a higher degree and rewarding man with eternity. Man nails himself to his holy cross to reach Life. The flames of Faith and Charity nail him to his cross, but Hope, which is between the former and the latter, elevate towards Heaven. But, remember the lesson: if charity is lacking, the throne is without light and the body, unnailed on one side, hangs towards mud and no longer sees Heaven. It thus cancels the wholesome effects of Hope and ends up by making sterile also Faith, because when one is detached from two of the three theological virtues, one falls into languor and deadly chill.
Do not reject God even in the least things. And to refuse to assist one's neighbour through heathen pride is to reject God.
My Doctrine is a yoke that bends guilty mankind; it is a mallet that breaks the hard bark to free its spirit. It is a yoke and a hammer indeed. And yet he who accepts it does not feel the tiredness that all other doctrines and all other human things give. And he who allows himself to be struck by it does not feel the pain of being crushed in his human ego, but feels a sensation of liberation.
Why do you endeavour to get rid of it to replace it with what is lead and pain? You all have your sorrows and your difficulties. All mankind has sorrows and difficulties, which at times are beyond human strength. From children like this one, who is already carrying on his little shoulders a heavy weight, which bends him and prevents his lips from smiling childishly and removes all thoughtlessness from his mind, which, from a human point of view, has never been childish, to the old man who is declining towards his sepulchre with all the disappointments, troubles, burdens and wounds of his long life. But in My Doctrine and in My Faith there is the relief from all such overwhelming burdens. That is why it is called the “Gospel.” And he who accepts it and obeys will be blessed on the earth also because he will have God to comfort him and Virtues to make his way easy and bright, as if they were good sisters who, holding him by the hand with lit lamps, illuminate his way and his life and sing the eternal promises of God to him, until, yielding in peace his tired body to the earth, he awakes in Paradise.
Why, men, do you wish to be fatigued, desolate, tired, disgusted, desperate, when you can be relieved and consoled? Why do you wish, too, My apostles, to feel the fatigue, the difficulty, the severity of your mission, whereas with the reliance of a child you could have cheerful zeal, bright aptitude to accomplish it and realise and perceive that it is severe only for the unrepentant who do not know God, whilst for its believers it is like a mother who supports her child on his way, pointing out to his uncertain steps stones and thorns, nests of snakes and ditches, that he may identify them and thus avoid danger?
You are now desolate. Your desolation had a really miserable beginning! You are desolate first of all because of My humility, as if it were a crime against Myself. And you are now distressed because you have understood that you have grieved Me and that you are still so far from perfection. But only in a few this latter desolation is devoid of pride: of the pride hurt by the ascertainment that you are still nothing, whilst out of pride you would like to be perfect. Be only humbly willing to accept a reproach and to confess that you are wrong, promising in your hearts that you want perfection for a superhuman purpose. And then come to Me. I correct you, but I understand and I am indulgent.
Come to Me, you apostles, and come to Me, you all men, who suffer through material, moral, spiritual sorrows. These last one are caused by the fact that you cannot sanctify yourselves as you would like for the love of God, with promptitude and without returning to Evil. The way of sanctification is long and mysterious, and sometimes it is covered unknown to the walker, who proceeds through darkness, with the taste of poison in his mouth and thinks that he is not proceeding and is not drinking a celestial liquid, and does not realise that such spiritual blindness is an element of perfection.
Blessed, three times blessed are those who continue to proceed without enjoyment of light and kindness and that do not surrender because they see or hear nothing, and they do not stop saying: “I will not proceed until God grants me some delight.” I tell you: the darkest road will suddenly become the best-lighted one, opening on to celestial landscapes. And the poison after removing all relish for human things will change into heavenly sweetness for those brave believers, who quite astonished will exclaim: “Why all this? Why so much kindness and joy to me?.” Because they have persevered and God will let them enjoy on the earth what Heaven is.
But, in the meantime, come to Me you all who are fatigued and tired, you, apostles, and with you all the men who seek God, who weep because of the sorrows of the world, who have become exhausted in their loneliness, and I will restore you. Take My yoke upon you. It is not heavy. It is a support. Embrace My Doctrine as you would embrace a beloved bride. Imitate your Master Who does not confine Himself to bless it, but does what it teaches. Learn from Me Who am meek and humble-hearted... You will find rest for your souls, because meekness and humility grant the kingdom both on the earth and in Heaven. I have already told you that the true triumphers among men are those who conquer them by love, and love is always meek and humble. I would never ask you to do things that are beyond your strength, because I love you and I want you with Me in My Kingdom. Take therefore My insignia and My uniform and strive to be like Me and as My Doctrine teaches. Do not be afraid because My yoke is sweet and its weight is light, whereas the glory that you will enjoy if you are faithful to Me is infinitely powerful. Infinite and eternal...
I will leave you for some time. I am going to the lake with the boy. He will find some friends... Later we shall eat our bread together. Come, Joseph. I will introduce you to the little ones who love Me. »