7th April 1945.
The ten apostles are in the court-yard of the house of the Supper room. They are talking to one another and then they pray. Later they resume speaking.
Simon Zealot says: « I am really distressed at Thomas' disappearance. I do not know where to look for him any more. »
« Neither do I » says John.
« He is not with his relatives. And no one has seen him. Has he perhaps been arrested? »
« If that were the case, the Master would not have said: “I will tell you the rest when your absent companion is here.” »
« That is true. But I want to go to Bethany again. Perhaps he is wandering about those mountains and does not dare show himself. »
« Go, Simon. You gathered us all together... and by gathering us you saved us, because you took us to Lazarus. Did you hear what words the Master spoke of him? He said: “The first who in My Name has forgiven and guided.” Why does He not put him in the place of the Iscariot? » asks Matthew.
« Probably because He does not want to give His perfect friend the place of the betrayer » replies Philip.
« A short while ago, I heard, when I was going round the markets and I spoke to the fishmongers, that... I can trust them, of course, that those of the Temple do not know what to do with Judas' body. I do not know who it was... but at dawn this morning the guards of the Temple found his putrid body inside the sacred enclosure, with the rope still round his neck. I think it must have been some heathens who pulled him down and threw him in there, who knows how » says Peter.
« Instead, yesterday evening at the fountain I was told, I heard them say that since yesterday evening they threw the bowels of the traitor even at Annas' house. Heathens, certainly. Because no Hebrew would touch that body after more than five days. I wonder how rotten it must have been! » says James of Alphaeus.
« Oh! it was horrible since the Sabbath! » says John turning pale at the recollection.
« But how did he end up in that place? Did it belong to him? »
« And who was ever told anything precise by Judas of Kerioth? Remember how reserved and complicated he was... »
« You can say: false, Bartholomew. He was never sincere. He was with us for three years, and we, who had everything in common, before him were like people before the high wall of a fortress. »
« Of a fortress? Oh! Simon! Of a labyrinth! » exclaims Judas of Alphaeus.
« Oh! listen. Let us not speak of him! I get the impression that we are evoking him and that he is to come to give us trouble. I should like to cancel his memory from me and from all hearts, whether they are the hearts of Hebrews or of Gentiles. Of Hebrews, in order not to blush because our race gave birth to that monster. Of Gentiles, so that none of them may say to us one day: “His betrayer was one from Israel”.
I am a boy. And I should not be the first one to speak before you. I am the last and you, Peter, are the first. And here is the Zealot and Bartholomew, both learned men, and there are the brothers of the Lord. But, now, I should like to put one in the twelfth place at once, someone who is holy, because, as long as I see that empty place in our group, I shall see the mouth of hell with its stench among us. And I am afraid that it may lead us astray... »
« No, John! You have been struck by the ugliness of his crime and of his hanging body... »
« No, no. The Mother also said: “I saw Satan when I saw Judas of Kerioth”. Oh! let us be quick in finding a holy person to put in that place! »
« Listen, I am not going to choose anybody. If He, Who was God, chose an Iscariot, what will poor Peter choose? »
« And yet you will have to... »
« No, my dear friend. I am not choosing anything. I will ask the Lord. Enough of the sins committed by Peter! »
« We have to ask so many things. The other evening we were like dull-witted people. But we must be taught. Because... How will we be able to understand whether a thing is really a sin? Or whether it is not? You have seen how the Lord speaks of the heathens in a different manner than we do. You have seen how He excuses more cowardice and a denial than the doubt about the possibility of His forgiveness... Oh! I am afraid of doing the wrong thing » says James of Alphaeus disconsolately.
« He has really spoken to us so much. And yet I seem to know nothing. I have been dull-witted for a week » states the other James dejectedly.
« And I. »
« And I. »
« I, too. »
They are all in the same situation and they look at each other utterly bewildered. They have recourse to the solution which is by now customary: « We shall go to Lazarus » they say. « We may find the Lord there... and Lazarus will help us. »
There is a knock at the main door. They all become silent and listen. And they utter an « oh! » of surprise when they see Elias come into the hall with Thomas. Such a strange Thomas that he seems another person.
His companions crowd round him shouting their joy: « Do you know that He has risen and has come? And He is waiting for you so that He may come back! »
« Yes. Also Elias told me. But I do not believe it. I believe what I see. And I see that it is the end for us. I see that we are all scattered. I see that there is not even a known sepulchre where we may mourn over His death. I see that the Sanhedrin wants to get rid of both their accomplice, whose burial they have decreed at the foot of the olive-tree where he hanged himself, as if he were a filthy animal, and of the followers of the Nazarene. On Friday I was stopped at the gates and they said to me: “Were you one of His followers as well? He is dead, now. Go back to beating gold.” And I ran away... »
« Where? We have looked for you everywhere. »
« Where? I went towards the house of my sister at Ramah. But I did not dare to go in because... I did not want to be reproached by a woman. So I wandered about the Judaean mountains and yesterday I ended up at Bethlehem, in His grotto. How much I wept... I fell asleep among the ruins and Elias, who had come there... I do not know why, found me. »
« Why? Because in the hours of too great a joy or too great a sorrow, one goes where God is more felt. Many a time, in these past years, I have gone there by night, like a thief, to feel my soul being caressed by the remembrance of His cries. And then I would run away at sunrise, in order not to be stoned. But I was already comforted. Now I went there to say to that place: “I am happy” and to take what I can from it. That is what we have decided. We want to preach His Faith. And the strength to do so will be given to us by a bit of that wall, by a handful of that soil, by a splinter of those poles. We are not holy, as to dare to take the earth of Calvary... »
« You are right, Elias. We shall have to do that as well. And we will. But Thomas?... »
« Thomas slept and wept. I said to him: “Wake up and stop weeping. He has risen.” He would not believe me. But I insisted so much that I convinced him. Here he is. He is now with you and I will go away. I will join my companions who are going to Galilee. Peace to you. » Elias goes away.
« Thomas: He has risen. I am telling you. He was with us. He ate some food. He spoke. He blessed us. He forgave us. He has given us the power to forgive. Oh! why did you not come before? »
Thomas does not shake off his dejection. He stubbornly shakes his head. « I do not believe. You have seen a ghost. You are all mad. The women first of all. A dead man does not rise by himself. »
« A man, no. But He is God. Do you not believe that? »
« Yes. I believe that He is God. But, just because I believe that, I think and say that, no matter how good He is, He cannot be so good to the extent of coming among those who have loved Him so little. And I say that, however humble He may be, He must have had enough of humiliating Himself in our filthy flesh. No. He may be, He certainly is triumphant in Heaven, and, perhaps, He may appear as a spirit. I say: perhaps. We do not deserve even that! But risen in flesh and bones, no. I do not believe it. »
« But we have kissed Him, we have seen Him eat, we have heard His voice, we have felt His hand, we have seen His wounds! »
« Nothing. I do not believe it. I cannot believe. I should see in order to believe. If I do not see the holes of the nails in His hands, and I do not put my finger into them, if I do not touch the wounds of His feet and if I do not put my hand where the lance opened His chest, I will not believe. I am not a child or a woman. I want evidence. I reject what my reason cannot accept. And I cannot accept your word. »
« But Thomas! Do you think that we want to deceive you? »
« No, my poor fellows. On the contrary! May you be blessed since you are so kind as to wish to guide me to that peace, that you have succeeded in giving yourselves through this illusion of yours. But... I do not believe in His Resurrection. »
« Are you not afraid of being punished by Him? He hears and sees everything, you know? »
« I ask Him to convince me. I am gifted with reason, and I make use of it. Let Him, the Master of human reason, revise mine if it has been led astray. »
« But reason, He said so, is free. »
« All the more reason for not making it the slave of a collective suggestion. I love you and I love the Lord. I will serve Him as best I can and I will stay with you to help you to serve Him. I will preach His doctrine. But I can only believe by seeing. »
And Thomas, obstinate, listens only to himself. They speak to him of all those who have seen Him and how they have seen Him. They advise him to speak to the Mother. But he shakes his head, sitting on a stone seat, more stony himself than the seat. As obstinate as a child, he repeats: « I will believe if I see... »
The big word of unhappy people who deny what is so pleasant and holy to believe, admitting that God can do everything.
« Little John, the cycle is over. After this you will put My Apparition to incredulous Thomas, as given to you on 9th August 1944. But when all the Gospel has been written, much will still have to added to Palm Sunday, to the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning in Holy Week, as I said at the beginning. The parts to be inserted, taken from what you saw last year, have already been pointed out to you by Me. If Father Migliorini so wishes, he can put the dictations of last year that I now point out to you. [...]
And, as I foresee the remarks of too many Thomases and of the too many scribes of the present days on a sentence of this dictation, which seems to be in contrast with the sip of water offered by Longinus... – oh! how happy the deniers of the supernatural, the rationalists of perfection contrariwise, would be, if they could find a fissure in the wonderful complex of this work of divine bounty and of your sacrifice, little John, to make it all collapse, by prizing open such fissure with the pick of their lethal rationalism – to prevent them, I say and explain.
That poor sip of water – a drop in the fire of the fever and in the dryness of the emptied veins – taken out of love for a soul that was to be convinced of love to lead it to the Truth, taken with great difficulty in the severe pain that obstructed My breathing and prevented My from swallowing, so crushed I was by the cruel scourges, gave Me only a supernatural relief. For My body it was nothing, not to say that it was a torture... Rivers would have been required to quench My thirst then... And I could not drink because of the anguish of the praecordial pain. And you are aware of that pain... Rivers would have been required later... and they were not given to Me. Neither could I have accepted them because of the stronger and stronger suffocation. But how much relief they would have given to My Heart, had they been offered! It was of love that I was dying. Of love not given. Pity is love. And in Israel there was no pity.
When you, good people, contemplate, or you, skeptical philosophers, analyse that “sip”, give it the right name: “pity”, not drink. So it can be said, without incurring falsehood, that “from the Supper onwards I had no comfort.” Of all the people who surrounded Me there was not one who gave Me any comfort, as I did not want to take the spiced wine. I had vinegar and mockery. I had betrayal and blows. That is what I had. Nothing else.
You asked: “Why did I not see this deed of Longinus last year?” Because you were terrorised by the vision, suffered by you, of My tortures. Because you were not yet capable of describing and seeing. I shortened the times to give you consolation for your impending passion. But you can see that I had to take you again with Me to go back through all My Torture with greater perfection and peace. Is it perfect? Oh! no. A creature, although held in My arms and melted with Me, is still a creature, and will always have the reactions and capabilities of a creature. Being a creature, it will never be able to understand and describe the feelings and sufferings of the Man-God with absolute veracity and perfection.
And, in any case, they would not be understood by most people. Even these are not understood. And, instead of kneeling down and blessing God, Who has granted you this knowledge, the only thing to be done, the majority will take books, new ones and old ones, will check, measure, look against the light, hoping, hoping, hoping. What? To find discrepancies with other similar works, and thus demolish, demolish, demolish. In the name of (human) science, of (human) reason, of (human) criticism, of the three times human pride. How much of holy works is demolished by man, to build with the ruins edifices that are not holy. You have removed the pure gold, poor men. The simple and precious gold of Wisdom. You have put stucco and plaster, badly painted with gilt dust, that the impact of life, of people, of human storms washes away at once, leaving a pitting of leprosy that soon crumbles, reducing your knowledge to nothing.
Oh! poor Thomases, who believe only what you understand and what you feel in yourselves! But bless God and try to ascend, because I will give you a hand! Ascend in faith and in love. I wanted the mortification of the apostles, so that they may become capable of being the “fathers of souls”. I beg you, and I speak in particular to you, My priests. Accept the humiliation of being placed after a layman, in order to become “fathers of souls”. This work is for everybody. But this Gospel is dedicated to you in particular, as in it the Master takes His priests by the hand and leads them through the rows of the pupils, so that they, the priests, may become teachers capable of guiding the pupils, and in it the Doctor takes you among the sick people – every man has his spiritual disease – and He shows you the symptoms and the treatment!
So, take heart. Come and look. Come and eat. Come and drink. And do not refuse. And do not hate little John. The good among you will receive a holy joy from this work. The honest scholars a light. The absent-minded, who are not wicked, a pleasure. The wicked a means to give vent to their evil science. But little John has had only sorrow and fatigue, so that, now, at the end of the work, he is like a person languishing with a disease.
So, what shall I say to his friends and Mine: to Mary of Magdala and John, to Martha and Lazarus and Simon, to the angels who have watched over him in his work? I will say: “Little John, our friend, is languishing. Let us go and take the water of the eternal rivers to him and say: “Come, little John. Look at the Sun and rise. Because many would like to see what you see. But only the favourites are granted to know, in advance, the eternal Lord and His days in the world. Come. The Saviour, with His friends, is coming to your abode, while waiting for you to go, with Him and Them, to His Abode.”
Go in peace. I am with you. »
7th April 1945, Five o'clock p.m.