15th November 1946.
Jesus is in the middle of sick people and pilgrims who have come to Him from many places in Palestine. There is even a seaman from Tyre who has become paralysed through an accident at sea and he is telling his story: the rolling of the ship caused the load to fall and he was caught under some heavy goods and his back was injured. He did not die, but he is as good as dead, because completely paralysed as he is, his relatives are compelled to leave their work and look after him. He says that he went with them to Capernaum and then to Nazareth and that he heard from Mary that He was in Judaea and precisely in Jerusalem. « She gave me the names of friends who might have given You hospitality. And a Galilean from Sephoris told me that You were here. And I came. I know that You do not despise anybody, not even Samaritans. And I hope that You will hear my prayer. I have so much faith. » His wife does not speak. But crouched near the little stretcher on which the sick man is lying, she looks at Jesus with eyes imploring more than any word.
« Where were you hit? »
« Under my neck. That is where I had the worst blow and I heard a noise in my head, sounding like bronze when it is struck, and it changed into a continuous roar of a stormy sea, and lights, lights of all colours, began to dance in front of me... Then I did not feel anything for many days. We were sailing in the sea near Cintium and I found myself at home without knowing how I got there. And the roar of the sea in my head and the lights in my eyes started all over again and lasted for many days. Then it all stopped... but my arms and my legs are without life. A broken man at the age of forty. And I have seven children, Lord. »
« Woman, lift up your husband and uncover the spot where he was struck. »
The woman obeys without speaking. With skillful motherly movements, with the help of the man who came with her, I do not know whether her brother or brother-in-law, she inserts one hand under the shoulders of her husband and with the other hand she holds his head, and with the tenderness with which she would turn over a new-born baby, she lifts the heavy body from the litter. A scar, still red, marks the spot of the worst wound.
Jesus bends over him. They all stretch their necks to see. Jesus lays the tips of His fingers on the scar saying: « I want it! »
The man gets a shock as if he had been touched by electric power and he shouts: « What a fire! »
Jesus removes His finger from the injured vertebrae and says: « Stand up! »
The man does not wait to be told twice. He pushes his arms, inert for months, against the litter, he shakes off the arms of those holding him, he throws his legs out of the low stretcher and jumps to his feet in much less time than has taken me to write the various phases of the miracle.
His wife and relative utter cries, the cured man raises his arms to the sky, dumb with joy. A moment of dumbfounded joy, he then turns round, as steadily as the most agile man and finds himself face to face with Jesus. He finds his voice again and shouts: « May You and He Who sent You be blessed! I believe in the God of Israel and in You, His Messiah » and he throws himself on the ground to kiss Jesus' feet while the crowds are shouting.
After other miracles mostly on little children, women, old people, Jesus speaks.
« You have seen the miracle of fractured bones being rejoined and of dead limbs becoming alive again. The Lord has granted you to see that to confirm the faith of those who believe and to excite it in those who do not possess it. And miracles have been granted to people from every place, as they came here seeking health, urged by their faith in My healing power. There are here Judaeans and Galileans, Lebaneses and Syro-Phoenicians, people from remote Batanaea and from the seacoast. And they have all come here heedless of the season and of the long journey and their relatives have come with them, without grumbling, without regretting the work interrupted or the business neglected. Because their sacrifices were nothing as compared with what they were seeking. And as the selfishness and perplexities of man have vanished, so their political or religious ideas have disappeared, whereas they previously formed a kind of wall built to prevent them from considering themselves all brothers, all alike in life and in sorrow, in wishing and hoping for health and comfort. And to those who have joined together in hope, which is already faith, I have granted health and comfort. Because it is fair that it should be so.
I am the universal Shepherd and I must gather together all the sheep that want to join My flock. I make no distinction between healthy and sick, weak and strong sheep, between sheep that know Me, because they already belong to the herd of God, and sheep that up to the present moment did not know Me and did not even know the true God. Because I am the Shepherd of Mankind, and I accept My sheep from wherever they are and come to Me. Are they poor, dirty, downhearted, ignorant sheep, beaten by shepherds who did not love them and rejected them saying that they were unclean? There is no uncleanliness that cannot be cleansed. And there is no uncleanliness that, wanting to be cleansed and asking for help to be so, can be rejected with the excuse that it is such. It is God Who rouses good wishes. If He rouses them, it means that He wants them to become real. It is the very Spirit of God that with ineffable prayers asks all men to be absorbed by the Love, because the Spirit of God wishes to spread about and become rich. To spread about by loving an infinite number of beings, hardly sufficient to give solace to His Infinity of Love, and to become rich with an unlimited number of beings attracted to Him by the sweetness of His perfumes.
No one is allowed to scorn and reject those who want to join the holy flock. I say this for those among you in whose hearts the ideas of many Israelites may be cultivated, ideas of distinction and of judgements not pleasing to God, because they are the opposite of His design to make of all the peoples one People only, bearing the Name of the Messiah sent by Him.
But I will now speak also to those who have come from abroad, to the sheep so far wild and who now wish to enter the only herd of the Only Shepherd. And I say: let nothing discourage them, let nothing humiliate them. There is no heathenism, no idolatry, no life different from what I teach, that cannot be repudiated and rejected, allowing the spirit to put new vigour and faith into its life, free from all evil plants, in order to be fit to receive the new seeds and to clothe itself with new uniforms. And that should urge people to come to Me, more than their desire to have health for their bodies.
As - and let this apply to the Hebrews of Palestine, to the Hebrews and proselytes of the Diaspora, and to the Gentiles - as you come to Me to have the yoke of diseases removed from your sick bodies, so you should come to have the yoke of sin and heathenism removed from your spirits. You ought all to ask of Me as first thing, and want it with all-your strength, to be freed from what makes your spirits slaves to wicked forces that dominate them. You ought to want that liberation as first thing, and want the Kingdom in you as first miracle. Because, once you have this Kingdom in you, everything else will be given, and in such a way that the gift may not be heavy like a punishment in the future life. You did not mind the inclement weather, fatigue, loss of money, providing you obtained the health of your bodies which, even if they have been cured today, will perish through physical death in the near future. With the same hearts you ought to face everything in order to obtain health for your spirits, and eternal Life, and the possession of the Kingdom of God.
What are mockery or threats of relatives or fellow-citizens, or of mighty people, as compared with what you will all have, from whichever place you may come, if you are able to come to the Truth and Life? Who would prefer to stay for one day at a feast that ends at sunset, instead of going to a place where he knew that a happy life was awaiting him? And yet many do that. And to become satiated, for a short time, with the insipid vain joys of the world, they give up going where they would find true food, true health, true joy forever, and without any fear of being deprived of it by hostile hatred. In the Kingdom of God, there is no hatred, no war, no abuse of power. Those who succeed in entering it, will no longer experience sorrow, anxiety, abuse, but will possess the joyful peace emanating from My Father.
I will now dismiss you. Go. Go back to your villages. My disciples are now numerous and are spread all over every region in Palestine. Listen to them, if you want to become acquainted with My Doctrine and be ready for the day of decision, on which the eternal life of many will depend. I give you My peace that it may come with you. »
And Jesus, after blessing the crowd, goes back to the house...
The apostles remain outside for some time, they then go in for their meal, because the sun, now high in the sky, tells them that it is midday. Sitting at the rustic table, after the blessing of the food, consisting of cheese and boiled chicory dressed with oil, they speak of the events of the morning, and they congratulate themselves on the number of evangelizing disciples being now such as to relieve the Master from the fatigue of speaking continuously in His present tired condition. Jesus, in fact, has grown thin recently and His complexion, which is naturally deep ivory-white, with just a shade of pink under His swarthy skin, at the top of His cheeks, is now completely white, like a withered magnolia petal.
As I lived for a long time in Milan, I am familiar with the delicate hue of the Candoglia marble, with which the wonderful Duomo is built, and the face of the Lord during these last sorrowful months of His earthly life, looks just like the colour of that marble, which is neither white, nor pink, nor yellow, but reminds one, with its most delicate tones, of those three shades. His eyes are more deeply set and thus look darker, probably also because a shadow of weariness dims his eyelids and eye-sockets. They are the eyes of one who sleeps little and weeps and suffers much. His hands look longer because they have grown thin and pale, the kind hands of my Lord, and they already show tendons and veins standing out, and hollows brought about by their leanness, and thus their bone-structures appear; the holy, martyr hands, already prepared for the nails that will pierce them, and the executioners will have no difficulty in finding where to place the nails because there is not even a veil of fat on the ascetic hands of my Lord. One hand is now resting, looking tired, on the dark wood of the table, while He shakes His head smiling faintly at His apostles, who notice the infinite tiredness of His body and voice, and above all of His heart, which is too distressed, too fatigued with the effort of keeping so many different hearts united, and of having to put up with and conceal the dishonour of the incorrigible disciple...
Peter says sententiously: « You must definitely rest until the Feast of the Dedication. We will see to the people that come. You will go... Of course! To Thomas' house. You will be near us and You will be at peace. »
Thomas supports Peter's proposal. But Jesus shakes His head. No. He does not want to go.
« Well, in that case, You will not speak during the next days. We can do that. Our words will not be sublime, but we will confine ourselves to what we know. And You will only cure the sick people. »
« We can do that as well » says the Iscariot.
« H'm! As far as I am concerned, I am backing out » says Peter.
« And yet, you have already done that! »
« Certainly. When the Master was not with us and we had to represent Him and make people love Him. But He is here now and He will work the miracles. He is the only worthy one. We... miracles! But it is we who are in need to receive the miracle of our revival, because I can see very well that by ourselves we shall never do any good!... We are poor wretches, ignorant and sinners. »
« Please speak for yourself. I do not consider myself a poor wretch at all! » remarks Judas of Kerioth.
« The Master is tired. His weariness is more moral than physical. If it is true that we love Him, let us avoid discussions. They wear Him out more than anything else » says the Zealot in a severe voice.
Jesus raises His head to look at the elder apostle, who is always so wise, and He stretches out a hand towards him, across the table, to caress him. The Zealot takes that white hand in his swarthy ones and kisses it.
« You are right. But I am right as well, when I say that He definitely must have a rest. He looks ill!... » says Peter insisting.
They all nod assent, including old John and Eliza, who says: « I have been saying that for such a long time. That is why I would like... »
There is a knock at the door. Andrew, who is closest to the door, goes to open and he goes out closing the door behind himself.
He comes back in: « Master, there is a woman. She insists in seeing You. She has a little girl with her. She must be a woman of rank, although she is modestly dressed. But I would say that neither she nor the girl is ill. But I do not know why she is all covered with a veil. The girl has a bunch of wonderful flowers in her arms. »
« Send her away. We have just said that He must rest and you are not even letting Him finish His meal! » grumbles Peter.
« I told her. She replied that she will not tire the Master, and that He will certainly be pleased to see her. »
« Tell her to come back tomorrow, at the same time as other people come. The Master is now going to have a rest. »
« Andrew, take her to the room upstairs. I will come at once » says Jesus.
« There you are! Just what I thought! That's how He takes care of Himself! Just what we were saying He should do! » Peter is upset.
Jesus gets up and before going out He passes near Peter, He lays a hand on his shoulders, He bends a little to kiss his head saying: « Be good, Simon! Who loves Me relieves Me of My weariness more than a rest in bed. »
« How do You know that she loves You? »
« Oh! Simon! Anxiety makes you speak words that you already regret because you realise that they are silly! Be good! Be good! A woman who comes with an innocent child, and she brings Me her innocent little girl whose arms are full of flowers, can but be one who loves Me and realises My need to find some love and purity after so much hatred and foulness. » And He goes away and climbs the staircase of the terrace, while Andrew, having finished his task, comes back into the kitchen.
The woman is at the door of the upper room. She is tall, slender, wearing a heavy grey mantle, with her face covered with an ivory hued byssus veil hanging from her hood closed round her face. The little girl, a baby because she must be at most three years old, is wearing a white woollen dress and a mantle with hood, which is also white. But her little hood has slipped a good deal back on to her little curls of a delicate light chestnut colour, because the little girl is looking up at her mother raising her head that emerges from the flowers she is holding in her arms. Wonderful flowers, as can be found only in these countries in the cold month of December: flesh-coloured roses mixed with delicate white flowers, which I do not know what they are; I am not skilled in floriculture.
As soon as Jesus sets foot on the terrace, He is greeted by the little voice of the girl, who runs to meet Him, urged by her mother saying: « Ave, Domine Jesu! »
Jesus bends over His tiny devotee and laying a hand on her head He says to her: « Peace be with you », He then straightens Himself and follows the child who with trilling laughter goes back to her mother, who has made a low bow, moving to one side of the door to let the Master pass.
Jesus greets her with a nod and goes into the room, sitting on the first seat He finds, awaiting in silence. He is very kingly looking. Sitting on a poor wooden seat with no back, He seems to be sitting on a throne, such is His austere dignity. With no mantle, wearing a very dark blue tunic, without ornaments or decorations, somewhat faded on the shoulders where rain, sunshine, dust and perspiration have changed its shade, a clean but poor tunic, yet it looks like a purple garment such is the majesty of His bearing. Very stiff, almost hieratic because of the stiffness of His head on His neck, of His hands resting on His knees with open palms, with His bare feet on the bare floor of old bricks, with the bare whitewashed wall in the background, with no drape or canopy hanging behind His head, but only a sieve for flour and a rope from which bunches of garlic and onions are hanging, He is more majestic than if there were a precious floor under His feet, a golden wall behind Him, and purple veil adorned with gems on His head.
He is waiting. And His majesty paralyses the woman with venerable amazement. Also the little girl is silent and motionless near her mother and is perhaps a little frightened. But Jesus smiling says: « I am here for you. Be not afraid. »
And all fear drops. The woman whispers something to the little girl, who moves, followed by her mother, and goes toward Jesus' knees and lays all her flowers in His lap saying: « Faustina's roses to her Saviour ». She says so slowly, like one who is not very familiar with a language that is not one's own. In the meantime the woman has knelt down behind the little girl throwing her veil behind her back. She is Valeria, the little girl's mother and she greets Jesus with the Roman salutation: « Hail, o Master. »
« May God come to you, woman. How come you are here? And so lonely? » asks Jesus as He caresses the little girl who is no longer afraid and who, not satisfied with placing the flowers in Jesus' lap, searches the scented bundle with her little hands and picks those which according to her are the most beautiful, saying: « Take them! Take them! They are Yours, You know? » and she lifts now a rose, now one of the large white umbrellas with little scented stars, up to the face of Jesus, Who accepts it and then puts it back into the scented bundle.
Valeria begins to speak: « I was at Tiberias, because my daughter was not well and our doctor advised us to go there... » Valeria makes a long pause, she changes colour and then says hurriedly: « and I was so sad at heart and I was anxious to see You. Because only one doctor could find a cure for my pain: You, Master, Who have words of justice for everything... So I would have come just the same. Through the selfishness of being comforted and to find out what I must do to... Yes, to show my gratitude to You and to Your God, Who have granted me to have this child... But we are informed of many things, Master. The reports of the least events of the Colony are laid every day on the office table of Pontius Pilate, who looks into them but before taking the relevant decisions he consults a great deal with Claudia... Many reports deal with You and the Hebrews who stir up the country, making You the symbol of national insurrection and at the same time the cause of civil hatred. Claudia is right when she says to her husband that he must not fear one only man in the whole of Palestine as the possible cause of disgrace for him: You. And Pilate listens to her day after day... So far Claudia is the most powerful one. But if in future another power should control Pilate... So I heard and I felt that my innocent child would be of comfort to You... »
« You have a pitiful and enlightened heart, woman. May God enlighten you fully, and watch over this child of yours, now and forever. »
« Thank You, Lord. I am in need of God... » Tears drop from Valeria's eyes.
« Yes, you need Him. You will find all comfort in God and you will also find a guide to be just in judging, in forgiving, in loving again, and above all in bringing up this child so that she may have the happy life of those who are children of the true God.
See. The God Whom you did not know, Whom you perhaps derided, both Him and His Law, so different from your gods and your laws and religions; Whom you had certainly offended by a way of living in which virtue was not respected in many things, not yet grave, if you wish so, but leading to more serious offences against virtue and against the Divinity, Who created you as well; that God has loved you so much that through a sorrow which your humanity of a mother suffered, of a mother unaware of future life and consequently of the temporary separation from the flesh of her flesh, He brought you to Me. He loved you so much as to lead Me to Caesarea, when you were almost in the throes of death over your child's little body that was already becoming cold in its last agony. He has loved you so much that He gave her back to you, that you may always bear in mind the goodness and power of the true God, and have a restraint against all heathen licentiousness, as well as comfort in all the sorrows of your married life. He has loved you so much that through another sorrow He has strengthened your will to come to the Way, the Truth, the Life and to settle there with your daughter, so that she at least, from the very beginning of her childhood, may possess comfort and peace, health and light in the sad days of the Earth, and they may preserve her from what makes you suffer in your better part and in your emotional one. The former, instinctively good and intolerant of the sombre foul ambience in which it is compelled to live. The latter, disorderly in its goodness.
Because in your affections you are pagan, woman. It is not your fault. It is the fault of the times in which you live. And of the Gentilism in which you have been brought up. Only he who is in the true Religion can give the right value, measure and manifestation to affections. You, a mother unaware of eternal life, loved your daughter in a disorderly manner, and when you saw that she was about to die, you rebelled in despair against that loss, driven mad by her impending death. Like a relative who sees the person dearest to him snatched by a madman and sees him held over an abyss, from the bottom of which he would not be able to come out, if he were dropped into it, nay, it would not even be possible to carry him out as a cold corpse, for a last kiss of love, just like that you saw your Faustina hanging over the abyss of the void... A poor mother who no longer would have had her daughter! Neither in her body nor in her spirit. Nothing. The end, the inexorable end which is death for those who do not believe in the spiritual Life.
You, a loving faithful heathen wife, loved in your husband your earthly god with sensual love, your handsome god who made you worship him, degrading your dignity as his equal to the servility of a slave. Let the wife be subject to her husband, and be humble, faithful and chaste. Agreed. He, the man, is the head of the family. But head does not mean despot. Head does not mean capricious master to whom any whim is lawful not only on the body but also on the better part of his wife. You say: “Where you are Caius, there I am Caia.” Poor women from a place where there is licentiousness even in the tales of your gods, those among you who are not unchaste or unrestrained, how can they be where their husbands are? It is inevitable for her who is not licentious and corrupt to part from her husband with disgust and feel a dreadful pain, as of lacerating fibres, and experience dismay and the total collapse of her cult for her husband so far contemplated as a god, when she finds out that he, whom she adored as a god, is a miserable being ruled by brutal animalism, licentious, adulterous, thoughtless, indifferent, a derider of the feelings and dignity of his wife.
Do not weep. I also know everything, even without the reports of centurions. Do not weep, woman. Learn instead to love your husband in an orderly way. »
« I cannot love him any more. He no longer deserves it. I despise him. I will not lower myself by imitating him, but I cannot love him any more. Everything is finished between us. I let him go away... without trying to keep him... Actually I am grateful to him for the last time, for his going away... I will not look for him. In any case, when was he my companion? Since I have become undeceived about my worship for him, I remember and judge his behaviour. Did he pity my heart when I wept having to follow him, leaving my sick mother and my fatherland, and I was just married and I was about to be delivered of my child? He laughed foolishly with his friends at my tears and when I felt sick he only warned me not to dirty his clothes. Was he beside me when I was homesick in a foreign country? No, he went out with his friends, feasting where I was not allowed to go because of my state... Did he watch with me over the cradle of our new-born baby? He laughed when they took our daughter to him and he said: “I would almost have her laid on the ground. I did not accept the marriage yoke to have daughters.” Neither was he present at the purification saying that it was a pantomine. And as the baby was crying, he said going out: “Name her Libitina and may she be sacred to the goddess.” And when Fausta was dying, did he share my anguish? Where was he the night before Your arrival? At a banquet in Valerian's house. But I loved him; he was, as You rightly said, my god. I thought that everything was good and fair in him. He allowed me to love him... and I was the most enslaved slave to his wishes. Do You know what repelled me from him? »
« Yes, I know. Because your soul woke up again in your body and you were no longer a female but a woman. »
« Exactly. I wanted to make my house respectable... and he asked to be transferred to Antioch, at the Consul's service, and ordered me not to follow him, and he took his favourite slave girls with him. Oh! I will not follow him! I have my daughter. I have everything. »
« No. You have not everything. You have a part, a small part of the Everything, as much as serves you to be virtuous. The Everything is God. Your daughter must not be for you a cause of injustice but of justice towards the Everything. It is your duty to be virtuous for her and with her. »
« I came to comfort You and You are consoling me. But I have also come to ask You how I must bring up this little girl to make her worthy of her Saviour. I was thinking of becoming a proselyte and of making her a proselyte as well... »
« And what about your husband? »
« Oh! It's all over with him. »
« No. Everything is beginning now. You are still his wife. The duty of a good wife is to make her husband good. »
« He says that he wants to divorce me. And he will certainly do that. So... »
« He will do it. But he has not done it yet. And until he does so, you are his wife also according to your law. And as such it is your duty to remain as wife in your place. And your place is second to your husband in the house, with regard to your daughter, the servants and the world. You are thinking: he has set the bad example. That is true. But that does not exempt you from setting virtuous examples. He went away. True. You must take his place with your daughter and the servants.
Not everything is blameworthy in your customs. When Rome was less corrupt, women were chaste, industrious, and they served the divinity with their lives of virtue and faith. Even if their poor condition of pagans made them serve false gods, the idea was good. They offered their virtue to the Idea of religion, to the need of respect for religion, for a Divinity Whose true name was unknown to them, but Whom they felt existed and was greater than licentious Olympus and the degraded deities that people it according to mythological legends. Your Olympus does not exist, neither do your gods. But your ancient virtues were the fruit of the firm belief that people had to be virtuous if they wanted to be watched over with love by the gods; they were the fruit of the duties you felt you had towards the gods you worshipped. To the eyes of the world, particularly of our Hebrew world, you seemed to be foolish for honouring what did not exist. But to the eternal true Justice, to the Most High God, the Only and Almighty Creator of all creatures and things, those virtues, that respect, those duties were not vain. Good is always good, faith has always the value of faith, and religion has always the value of religion if he who follows, practises and possesses them is convinced of being in the truth.
I exhort you to imitate your ancient chaste, industrious and faithful women, remaining in your place, the column and light in your house and of your house. Do not think that you will be bereft of the respect of your servants because you are alone. So far they have served you with fear and at times with a hidden feeling of hatred and rebellion. From now on they will serve you with love. The unhappy love the unhappy. Your slaves know what sorrow is. Your joy was a bitter goad for them. Your grief, by divesting you of the cold light of mistress, in the most hateful sense of the word, will reclothe you with a warm light of pity. You will be loved, Valeria, by God, by your daughter and by your servants. And even if you were no longer a wife, but a divorced woman, remember (and Jesus stands up) that a legal separation does not destroy the duty of a woman to be faithful to her marriage oath.
You would like to embrace our religion. One of the divine precepts of it is that woman is flesh of the flesh of her husband and that no person or thing can separate what God has joined into one flesh only. We also have divorce. It came as the wicked fruit of human lust, of the sin of origin, of the corruption of men. But it did not come spontaneously from God. God does not change His word. And God had said, inspiring Adam, who was still innocent and spoke therefore with intelligence not dimmed by sin, the words: that husband and wife, once united, were to be one flesh only. And the flesh is separated from the flesh only through the calamity of death or disease. The Mosaic divorce, granted to avoid dreadful sins, gives woman only a very poor freedom. A divorcee is always inferior in the opinion of men, whether she remains such or marries for the second time. In God's judgement she is an unhappy woman if she was divorced through the ill-will of her husband and remains a divorcee; but she is a sinner, an adulteress, if she is divorced through disgraceful sins of her own and she marries again. But you want to embrace our religion to follow Me. So I, the Word of God, as the time of the perfect religion has come, say to you what I say to many people. It is against the law to separate what God has united, and he or she is always adulterous by getting married again while the consort is still alive.
Divorce is legal prostitution, as it puts man and woman in a position to commit lustful sins. Only seldom a divorcee remains the widow of a living man, and a faithful widow. A divorced man is never faithful to his first marriage. Both he and she, by passing to other unions, descend from the level of men to that of brutes, which are granted to change female at each appeal of sensuality. Legal fornication, dangerous to families and to the Fatherland, is criminal towards innocent children. The children of a divorced couple must judge their parents. The judgement of children is a severe one! At least one of the parents is condemned by the children. And the children, through the selfishness of the parents, are doomed to a mutilated affective life. Then, if to the family consequences of divorce, that deprives innocent children of their father or mother, a new marriage is added of the consort to whom the children have been entrusted, to the doom of an affective life mutilated of a member, a further mutilation is added: that of the more or less total loss of the affection of the other member, who is divided or completely absorbed by the new love and by the children of the second marriage.
To speak of marriage, of matrimony in the case of a new union of a divorce or divorcee, is to profane the meaning and the essence of marriage. Only the death of one of the consorts and the consequent widowhood of the other can justify a second marriage. However, I think that it would be better to yield to the always just verdict of Him Who controls the destinies of men, and to remain chaste when death has put an end to the matrimonial state, devoting oneself to the children and loving the dead consort in the children. A holy, true love, deprived of all materialism. Poor children! To experience, after the death or the ruin of a home, the hardness of a second father or of a second mother and the anguish of seeing caresses shared with other children who are not their brothers!
No. There will be no divorce in My religion. And he who divorces by civil law to contract a new marriage will be an adulterer and sinner. Human law shall not change My decree. Matrimony in My religion will no longer be a civil contract, a moral promise, made and ratified in the presence of witnesses appointed for that purpose. But it shall be an indissoluble bond stipulated, confirmed and sanctified by the sanctifying power I will give it, as being a Sacrament. To make you understand: a sacred rite. A power that will help to practise all matrimonial duties in a holy way, but that will also be the sentence of indissolubility of the bond.
So far marriage has been a mutual natural and moral contract between two people of different sexes. When My law comes into force, it will extend to the souls of the consorts. It will therefore become a spiritual contract sanctioned by God through His ministers. Now you know that nothing is superior to God. Therefore what He has united, no authority, law or human whim will be able to separate. Your ritual “where you are Caius, there I am Caia” lasts in life to come in our, in My rite, because death is not the end, but a temporary separation of the husband from his wife, and the obligation to love lasts also after death. That is why I say that I would like widows to be chaste. But man does not know how to be chaste. And also because of that I say that consorts have the reciprocal duty to improve the other consort.
Do not shake your head. That is the duty and it is to be accomplished if one really wants to follow Me. »
« You are severe today, Master. »
« No. I am the Master. And I have in front of Me a creature who can grow in the life of Grace. If you were not what you are, I would exact less of you. But you have a good temperament and suffering purifies and hardens your character more and more. One day you will remember and bless Me for being what I am. »
« My husband will not draw back... »
« And you will go forward. Holding your innocent child by the hand, you will walk on the way of Justice: without hatred, without revenge; but also without vain expectations and regret for what has been lost. »
« So You know that I have lost him! »
« I do. But not you: he has lost you. He did not deserve you. Now listen... It is hard, I know. You brought Me roses and innocent smiles to console Me... I... I can but prepare you to bear the wreath of thorns of forlorn wives... But consider. If we could go back in time to that morning when Fausta was dying and your heart were put in the condition of choosing between your daughter and your husband, having definitely to lose either one or the other, which would you choose?... »
The woman becomes pensive, pale but strong in her grief after the few tears shed at the beginning of the conversation... She then bends over the little girl who is sitting on the floor enjoying herself putting some white little flowers round Jesus' feet, she picks her up, embraces her and shouts: « I would choose her because I can give her my very heart, and I can bring her up as I have learned one should live. My creature! And be united to her in the next life. I... always her mother; she... always my daughter! » and she smothers her with kisses while the little one clings to her neck with loving smiles. « Tell me, oh! tell me, Master, who teach people to live heroically, what must I do to rear this child so that we may be both in Your Kingdom? Which words, what acts shall I teach her?... »
« No special acts or words are required. Be perfect so that she may reflect your perfection. Love God and your neighbour that she may learn to love. Live on the Earth with your affections in God. She will imitate you. That for the time being. Later My Father, Who has loved you in a special way, will see to your spiritual needs, and you will become wise in the faith that bears My Name. That is what is to be done. In the love of God you will find all necessary restraint against Evil. In the love for your neighbour you will have assistance against the depression of solitude. And teach both yourself and your daughter to forgive. Do you understand what I mean? »
« Yes, I do... It is just... Master, I leave You. Bless a poor woman... who is poorer than a beggar who has a faithful companion... »
« Where are you staying now? In Jerusalem? »
« No, at Bether. Johanna, who is so good, sent me to her castle there... I was suffering too much up there... I shall remain there until Johanna comes, which is soon. She is coming down to Judaea with Your Mother and the other women disciples at the first warm days in springtime. I shall be staying with her for some time. Then the others will come and I will go with them. But time will have already healed my wound. »
« Time, and above all God and the smiles of your little girl. Goodbye, Valeria. May the true God, Whom you are seeking with good spirit, comfort and protect you. » Jesus lays His hand on the head of the little one and blesses her. He then approaches the closed door asking: « Have you come by yourself? »
« No, with a freed woman. The wagon is waiting for me in the wood at the entrance to the village. Shall we meet again, Master? »
« I shall be in the Temple in Jerusalem for the Dedication. »
« I will be there, Master. I need Your words for my new life... »
« Go and do not worry. God does not leave without help those who seek it. »
« I believe... Oh! our pagan world is sad indeed! »
« There is sadness wherever there is no true life in God. People weep also in Israel... Because they no longer live according to the Law of God. Goodbye. Peace be with you. »
The woman makes a low bow and suggests something to the little girl. And the child raises her head, stretches out her arms and says with her little voice as sweet as a finch's: « Ave, Domine Jesu! »
Jesus bends to receive from her tiny lips the kiss that is already taking shape there, and He blesses her again... He then goes back into the room and sits down thoughtfully near the flowers spread on the floor.
Some time goes by thus. Then someone knocks at the door. « Come in. » The door opens and Peter's honest face appears in the opening. « It is you? Come in... »
« No, You ought to come to us. It's cold here. What lovely flowers! Worth a lot! » Peter watches his Master while speaking.
« Yes, they are worth a lot. But the gesture and the way it was accomplished are worth more than the flowers. They were brought to Me by the daughter of Valeria, the Roman friend of Claudia. »
« Eh! I know. But why? »
« To comfort Me. They know that I am grieved, and Valeria had that kind thought. She thought that the flowers of an innocent child would be able to console Me... »
« A Roman lady!... And we people of Israel cause nothing but grief to You... Judas' suspicion was right. He said that he had seen a wagon that was stationary and that the woman was certainly Roman... and he was upset, Master... » says Peter who is very inquisitive.
But Jesus only asks: « Where is Judas? »
« Outside. I mean on the road, near the wood. He wants to see who came to You... »
« Let us go downstairs. »
Judas is already in the kitchen, He turns round seeing Jesus come in and says: « Even if You wanted to deny it, You could not deny that that woman came to... complain of something! Have they still something to say? Have they nothing else to do but spy and report and... »
« I am not obliged to reply to you. But I say this to everybody. And Simon already knows who she is and I will now tell everybody why she came. Also people who are apparently very happy may need comfort and advice... Andrew, go upstairs, pick up all the flowers brought by the little girl and take them to little Levi. »
« Why? »
« Because he is dying. »
« He is dying? But I saw him at the third hour and he was all right! » says Bartholomew who is amazed.
« He was all right. He will be dead before it gets dark. »
« If he is so ill he will not enjoy the flowers... »
« No. But in the dismayed house the flowers sent by the Saviour will speak a bright word. »
Jesus sits down while they all speak of the transience of life and Eliza puts on her mantle saying: « I am going with Andrew... That poor mother!... » I can see Andrew and Eliza go away with the flowers in their hands...
Jesus is silent. Judas also is silent. He is hesitant. Jesus is silent but not severe looking... Judas walks round Him, urged by the desire to know, by the tormenting anxiety of a person whose conscience is not at peace. But he ends up by pulling Peter to one side and questioning him. He recovers confidence after speaking with Peter and he goes to tease Matthew who is writing peacefully on a corner of the table.
Andrew comes back running. He says panting: « Master... the boy is really dying... All of a sudden... They seemed to have gone mad... But when Eliza said: “The Lord has sent them” and I... thought they would understand: “for his death bed.”, the mother and the father shouted... together: “Oh! it's true! Run back and call Him. He will cure him.” »
« The word of faith. Let us go » and Jesus almost runs out. Of course they all follow Him, including old John, plodding along in the rear.
The house is at the end of the village. But Jesus arrives there quickly and He elbows His way through the crowd obstructing the open door. He goes straight to a room at the end of a corridor, because it is a large house with many inhabitants, perhaps brothers.
In the room, bent over the improvised bed, there are the father, the mother and Eliza... They see Jesus only when He says: « Peace to this house. » The unhappy parents then leave the bed and throw themselves at Jesus' feet. Only Eliza remains where she is, intent on rubbing with aromatic essences the limbs that are becoming cold.
The boy is really on the point of death, his body already shows the heaviness and languor of death, his face is waxen with dark nostrils and violet lips. He breathes with difficulty, with spasms of his little chest, and each breath seems the last one, so long it is from the previous one.
His mother is weeping with her face on Jesus' feet. The father, who is also prostrated on the floor, says: « Have mercy! Have mercy! » He cannot say anything else.
Jesus says: « Levi, come to Me » and He stretches out His arms.
The little one, a boy about five years old, has something like a shock, as if someone called him in a loud voice while he was asleep. He sits up without difficulty, rubs his eyes with his little fists, he looks around, obviously surprised, and when he sees Jesus smiling, he throws himself out of the bed and goes resolutely towards the Master in his little tunic.
His parents, bent as they are, do not see anything. But the exclamations of Eliza who shouts: « Eternal goodness! » and of the apostles and of the curious people in the corridor, as they shout an: « Oh! » of wonder, warn them of what is happening. They look up and see their child standing there, as healthy as if he had never been on the point of death...
Joy makes people laugh, weep, shout, be silent, according to the reaction of each individual. Here it is the cause of mute, almost frightened amazement... There is too much difference between the previous condition and the present one, and the two poor parents, already stunned with grief, have difficulty in accepting joy.
They eventually succeed while Jesus takes the boy in His arms, and then silence is followed by a deluge of words mixed with exclamations of joy and blessings, and it is difficult to follow this torrent of words, all uttered confusedly at the same time. I gather from them that at about the sixth hour the boy, who was playing in the kitchen garden, had gone into the house complaining of abdominal pains. When his grandmother took him in her arms near the fireplace, he seemed to get better. Later, about the ninth hour, he began to vomit intestinal matter and he was at once in his last agony. The typical fulminant peritonitis. His father had rushed to Jerusalem at the first symptoms of the disease and had come back with a doctor, who after seeing the boy, who in the meantime had begun to vomit, had said: « He cannot live » and had gone away... In fact the child was getting worse every moment and his body was getting cold, and in the anguish of the sudden misfortune they were not able to think of the salvation at hand. Only when Andrew and Eliza had gone in with the flowers saying: « Jesus sends them to Levi », they were enlightened as if by an internal light and said: « Jesus will save him. »
« And You have saved him, may You be blessed forever! Your flowers! Hope! Faith! Oh, yes! faith in Your love for us! But how did You know? Blessed One! Ask whatever You want of us! Give us Your orders as if we were Your slaves! We owe You everything!... »
Jesus listens to them still holding the child in His arms. He lets them speak until they are tired, until their nerves subjected to so much strain, become relaxed by giving vent to their feelings. He then says kindly: « I love children and faithful hearts. You all of Nob have been very good to Me. If I am good to those who hate Me, what shall I give to those who love Me? I knew... and I was also aware that grief was making you forget the Source of Life. I wanted to show you the way... »
« But why did You not come by Yourself, Lord? Were You perhaps afraid that we might not welcome You? »
« No. I knew that you would receive Me with love. But among these people who are around us there were some who needed to be convinced that I know everything of men and of the state of their hearts. And I also wanted other people to understand that God answers those who invoke Him with faith. Now be at peace. And let your faith in the mercy of God grow deeper and deeper. Peace be with you all. Goodbye, Levi. Go to your mother, now. Goodbye, woman. Consecrate to the Lord also the child you are carrying in your womb, in remembrance of the Lord's kindness to you. Goodbye, man. Preserve your spirit in justice. »
He turns round to go away, passing with difficulty through the relatives crowding the corridor: grandparents, uncles, cousins of the boy cured miraculously, as they all want to speak to Jesus, bless. Him, be blessed, kiss His garments, His hands... Then after the large number of relatives, the people of the village want to do the same, but they pour into the street behind Jesus, leaving those of the house blessed by the miracle to their joy. And in the streets by now dark, with the usual noise of the hours of rejoicing, all Nob takes Jesus back to John's little house, and it takes all the authority of the apostles to convince the citizens to go back to their houses, leaving the Master in peace, and to their authority they have to add more energetic means, such as threatening that, unless they allow Him to rest, they will all go away the following morning, in order to reach their aim. And at long last the Tired One can rest.