19th September 1945.
The seventy-two disciples come back at the long twilight of a clear October day with Elias, Joseph and Levi. They are tired and covered with dust, but so happy! The three shepherds are happy that they are now free to serve the Master. They are happy also because, after so many years of separation, they are with their companions of long ago. The seventy-two are happy because they have accomplished their first mission satisfactorily. Their faces shine more than the little lamps which light up the little tents built for the large group of pilgrims.
Jesus' tent is in the centre and under it there is the Blessed Virgin with Marjiam who helps Her to prepare supper. Around it there are the tents of the apostles. Mary of Alphaeus is in the tent of James and Judas; Mary Salome and her husband are in John and James'; in the one near it there is Susanna with her husband, who is not an apostle or disciple... officially,... but he must have made a claim to stay there, since he granted his wife permission to be entirely of Jesus. Then, around them, there are the tents of the disciples, some of whom are with their families, some without. And those who are alone, as most of them are, have joined one or more companions. John of Endor has taken in the solitary Ermasteus, but he has endeavoured to be as close as possible to Jesus' tent, so that Marjiam often goes to him, taking one thing or another and cheering him up with the words of an intelligent child who is happy to be with Jesus, Mary and Peter, and at a feast as well.
After supper Jesus goes towards the slopes of the olive grove and the disciples follow Him all together.
When they are far from the babel and the crowd, after praying together, they report to Jesus in greater detail than they were able to do before, among those going and coming. And they are amazed and happy when they say: « Do You know, Master, that not only diseases but also demons obeyed us because of the power of Your Name? What a wonderful thing, Master! We poor men were able to release a man from the dreadful power of a demon, only because You had sent us!...» and they tell of many cases which happened here or there. Only of one possessed they say: « His relatives, or rather his mother and neighbours brought him to us by force. But the demon scoffed at us saying: “I have come back here by his will after the Nazarene had driven me out and I will not leave him again because he loves me more than he loves your Master and he looked for me” and with indomitable strength he suddenly tore the man away from those who were holding him and hurled him down a precipice. We ran to see whether he had been dashed to pieces. He had not! He was running like a young gazelle repeating curses and quips not really of this world... We felt sorry for his mother... But he!... Oh! can the demon do all that?»
« All that and much more» says Jesus sadly.
« Perhaps if You had been there...»
« No. I admonished him: “Go and do not relapse into your sin.” But he did. He knew he wanted evil and he agreed. He is lost. There is a difference between a man who is possessed the first time through his ignorance and a man who wants to be possessed knowing that by doing so he sells himself again to the demon. But do not speak of him. He is a member cut off without hope. He is a volunteer of Evil. Let us rather praise the Lord for the victories He granted you. I know the name of the culprit and the names of those who have been saved. I could see Satan fall from heaven like a thunderbolt through your merits joined to My Name. Because I saw also your sacrifices, your prayers, the love with which you went towards unhappy people to do what I had told you to do. You have acted with love and God blessed you. Others will do what you do, but they will do it without love. And they will not get conversions... But do not rejoice because you have subdued spirits, but rejoice because your names are written in Heaven. Never remove them from there...»
« Master, when will those come who will not get conversions? Perhaps when You are no longer with us?» asks one of the disciples whose name I do not know.
« No, Agapo. Any time.»
« What? Also when You teach and love us?»
« Yes. I will always love you, also when you are far from Me. My love will always come to you and you will perceive it.»
« Oh! that is true. I perceived it one evening when I was vexed because I did not know how to reply to one who was asking me questions. I was on the point of running away shamefully. But I remembered Your words: “Be not afraid. You will be given at the right moment the words to be spoken” and I invoked You in my spirit. I said: “Jesus certainly loves me. I am calling His love to assist me” and Your love came to me. Like a fire, a light... a strength... The man before me was watching me sneering ironically and winking at his friends. He was sure to win the argument. I opened my mouth and it was like a river of words which flowed out joyfully from my silly mouth. Master, did You really come, or was it an illusion? I do not know. I know that at the end the man - he was a young scribe - threw his arms round my neck saying: “You are blessed and blessed is He who has led you to such wisdom” and he seemed anxious to find You. Will he come?»
« Man's thoughts are as labile as words written on water, and his will is as restless as the wing of a swallow flying about for its last meal of the day. But pray for him... Yes. I did come to you. And Matthias and Timoneus, and John of Endor and Simon and Samuel and Jonah: they all had Me. Some were conscious of My presence, some were not. But I was with you. And I shall be with those who serve Me with love and truth forever and ever.»
« Master, You have not yet told us whether among those who are present there will be someone without love...»
« It is not necessary to know that. It would be lack of love on My part to instigate indignation towards a companion who is not capable of loving.»
« But are there any? You can tell us that...»
« Yes, there are. Love is the simplest, sweetest and rarest thing there is, and even when it is sown, it does not always take root.»
« But if we do not love You, who can?» There is almost anger among the apostles and disciples who are upset by suspicion and sorrow.
Jesus closes His eyes. He conceals them that they may give no hint. But He makes a resigned, kind, sad gesture with His hands, which He stretches out with open palms, His gesture of resigned confession and admission and He says: « That is how it should be. But it is not so. Many do not know themselves yet. But I know them. And I pity them.»
« Oh! Master! Is it I perhaps?» asks Peter going close to Jesus, squeezing poor Marjiam between himself and the Master and throwing his short muscular arms towards the shoulders of Jesus Whom he grasps and shakes, looking mad with the terror of being one who does not love Jesus.
Jesus opens His bright but sad eyes and looking at Peter's inquisitive and frightened face, He says to him: « No, Simon of Jonah. Not you. You know how to love and you will love more and more. You are My Stone, Simon of Jonah. A good stone. I will lay on it the things dearest to Me and I am sure that you will support them without any disturbance.»
« And I?», « I?», « I?». The question is being repeated like an echo from mouth to mouth.
« Peace! Peace! Be calm and endeavour, all of you, to possess love.»
« But which of us knows how to love most?»
Jesus looks round at everyone: a smiling caress... He then lowers His eyes and looks at Marjiam still squeezed between Himself and Peter and pushing Peter aside a little, He turns the boy round with his face towards the little crowd and says: « Here is he who knows how to love most among you. The boy. But you, whose cheeks are covered with beards and whose hair is grey, must not tremble with fear. Whoever is born again in Me becomes “a child.” Oh! go in peace! Praise God Who called you, because you really see with your eyes the wonders of the Lord. Blessed are those who will also see what you see. Because I assure you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but they did not see it, and many patriarchs would have liked to know what you know, but they did not know, and many just people would have liked to hear what you hear but they were not able to hear it. But from now on those who love Me, will know everything.»
« And after? When You have gone, as You say?»
« Afterwards you will speak on My behalf. And later... Oh! large groups, not by number but by grace, of those who will see, know and hear what you now see, know and hear! Oh! large beloved multitudes of My “little-big” ones! Eternal eyes, eternal minds, eternal ears! How can I explain to you, who are around Me, what this eternal living will be, rather than eternal, endless living of those who will love Me and whom I will love to the extent of abolishing time, and they will be “the citizens of Israel” even if they live when Israel will be simply the remembrance of a nation, and they will be the contemporaries of Jesus living in Israel. And they will be with Me and in Me, until they learn what time has cancelled and pride has confused. What name shall I give them? You apostles, you disciples, the believers will be called “Christians.” And those? What name will they have? A name known only in Heaven. What reward will they receive from the earth? My kiss, My voice, the warmth of My body. All Myself. I, they. They, I. Utter communion... Go. I will stay to delight My spirit in the contemplation of those who in future will know and love Me in an absolute manner. Peace be with you.»