11th April 1947.
The apostles put on their mantles and ask: « Where are we going Lord? »
Their language is no longer so familiar as it was before Passover. If I were allowed to say so, I should say that they speak with their souls on their knees. Rather than the posture of their bodies, which are always respectfully somewhat bent before the Risen Lord, rather than their reservedness in touching Him and their trembling joy when He touches, caresses or kisses them, or speaks to some in particular, it is their whole attitude, something that cannot be described but is so obvious, and that says that, more than their humanity, it is their spirits that cannot become again as they were in their relationship with the Master, and pervade all their human acts with their new feelings.
Previously He was « the Master ». The Master Whom their faith believed to be God. But for their senses He was always a man. Now He is « the Lord ». He is God. It is no longer necessary to make an act of faith to believe it. Evidence has abolished such need. He is God. He is the Lord to Whom the Lord has said: « Sit at My right hand, and has proclaimed it by means of His word and of the miracle of His Resurrection. He is God like the Father. And He is the God Whom they abandoned out of fear, after receiving so much from Him… »
They always look at Him with their eyes full of the reverential veneration, with which a true believer looks at the Host glowing in the monstrance, or looks at the Body of Christ raised by the priest in the daily Sacrifice. In their eyes that want to see the beloved face, which is even more handsome than in the past, there is also the expression of one who dare not see, of one who dare not linger to look… Love urges them to set their hearts on their Beloved, fear makes them close their eyes and lower their heads, as if they were dazzled by lightning.
In fact, although Jesus, the Risen Jesus, is really He, it is not He at the same time. If one looks at Him carefully, He is different. The features of His face, the colour of His eyes and of His hair, His size, hands and feet are identical, and yet He is different. His voice and actions are the same, and yet He is different. His body is a real one, so much so that it now intercepts the light of the setting sun, as its last rays enter the room through the open window. It casts behind Him the shadow of His tall person. And yet He is different. He has not become proud or offish, and yet He is different.
A new perennial majesty has spread where there reigned so much the indefatigable Master's humble modest aspect, at times so modest as to appear disheartened. Now that the emaciation of the last days has disappeared, that the mark of the physical and moral tiredness, which made Him look older, has vanished, that His eyes are no longer sorrowful and imploring, as when He seemed to ask without speaking: « Why do you reject Me? Take Me… », the Risen Christ seems even taller and stronger, free from all encumbrances, sure, victorious, majestic, divine. Not even when He was mighty in His powerful miracles, or imposing in the most important moments of His teaching, was He as He is now that He has risen and is glorified. No light emanates from Him. No. No light emanates as in His transfiguration and in His first apparitions after His resurrection. And yet He seems bright. It is really the Body of God, with the beauty of glorified bodies. He attracts and frightens at the same time.
Perhaps it is those wounds, so clearly visible on His hands and feet, that command such deep respect. I do not know. I know that the apostles, although Jesus is so kind to them and tries to recreate the atmosphere of days gone by, are different. Whilst previously they were so insistent and talkative, now they speak very little, and if He does not reply, they do not insist. If He smiles at them or at one of them, they change colour and do not dare reply, with a smile, to His smile. If, as He is doing now, He stretches out His hand to take His white mantle – He is always dressed in a white garment which shines more than the whitest satin, since He is the Risen Lord – none of them go, as they used to do previously, contending for the joy and the honour of helping Him. They seem to be afraid to touch His garments and His body. And He has to say, as He does now: « Come, John. Help your Master. These wounds are real wounds, and wounded hands are not as agile as they were previously… »
John obeys, helping Jesus to put on His wide mantle, and he seems to be dressing a Pontiff, so careful and diligent are his movements, avoiding to touch His Hands on which are the red stigmata. But, however careful he is, he knocks against Jesus' left hand and he shouts as if he had been hurt, and he looks fixedly at the back of that hand, fearing to see it bleed again. That cruel wound is so sensitive!
Jesus lays His right hand on his head saying: « You had more courage when you received Me as I was taken off the Cross. And then it was still dripping blood, so much so that your hair was red with it. New dew of the night on the new loving disciple. You had picked me like a bunch from the stump... Why are you weeping? I gave you My dew of a Martyr. On My Head you shed your dew of compassion. But then you would cry... Not now. And you, Simon Peter, why are you weeping? You have not knocked against My Hand. You did not see Me dead... »
« Ah! My God! That is why I am weeping! Because of my sin. »
« I have forgiven you, Simon of Jonah. »
« But I cannot forgive myself. No. Nothing will put an end to my tears. Not even Your forgiveness. »
« But My Glory will. »
« You glorious. I sinner. »
« You glorious, after being My fishermen. Peter, you will have a great, good, miraculous haul. Then I will say to you: “Come to the eternal banquet.” And you will not weep any more. But you all have tears in your eyes. And you, James, My brother, are lying in that corner as if you had lost all blessings, Why? »
« Because I was hoping that... So, do You feel Your Wounds? Do You still feel them? I was hoping that all sorrow had come to an end for You, that every sign had been cancelled. Also for us. For us sinners. Those Wounds!... How grievous it is to see them! »
« Yes. Why have You not effaced them? No sign was left with Lazarus... They are a... a reproach those Wounds! They shout in a dreadful voice! They are more dazzling and frightening than the lightning on Sinai! » says Bartholemew.
« They shout our cowardice. Because we ran away while You were receiving them... » says Philip.
« And the more we look at them, the more our consciences reproach us and throw cowardice, foolishness and incredulity in our faces » says Thomas.
« For the sake of our peace and that of this people of sinners, as You have died and risen to forgive the world, o Lord, cancel those charges against the world! » begs Andrew.
« They are the Health of the world. It is in them that there is Health. The world that hates, opened them, but the Love has turned them into Medicine and Light. Through them Fault was nailed. Through them all the sins of men were suspended and supported, so that the Fire of Love might consume them on the true Altar. When the Most High ordered Moses to make the ark and the altar of incense, did He not want them pierced with rings, so that they could be lifted and carried wherever the Lord wanted? I have been pierced, too. I am more than ark and altar. I am by far more than ark and altar. I have burnt the incense of My love for God and for My neighbor, and I carried the weight of all the iniquities of the world. And the world must remember that, to remember how much it cost a God. To remember how a God loved it. To remember what is brought about by sin. To remember that in One only there is salvation: in Him Whom they pierced. If the world did not see the redness of My Wounds, it would really soon forget that a God sacrificed Himself for its sins, it would forget that I really died in the most cruel torture, it would forget which is the balm for its wounds. Here is the balm. Come and kiss it. Each kiss is an increase of purification and grace for you. I solemnly tell you that purification and grace are never sufficient, because the world consumes what is infused by Heaven and it is necessary to counterbalance the ruins of the world by means of Heaven and its treasures. I am Heaven. All Heaven is in Me, and the celestial treasures flow from the open wounds. »
He stretches out His Hands to be kissed by His Apostles. And He has to press His wounded Hands against the eager timid lips, because the fear of increasing His pain prevents those lips from pressing against those Wounds.
« This is not what causes pain, even if it gives stiffness. The pain is a different one!... »
« Which, Lord? » asks James of Alphaeus.
« That I died for too many in vain... But let us go. Or rather, go ahead. We are going to Gethsemane... What? Are you afraid? »
« Not for ourselves, Lord... The fact is that the great ones in Jerusalem hate You more than previously. »
« Be not afraid. Neither for yourselves, as God protects you, nor for Me. With regard to Me, the constraints of Mankind are over. I am going to My Mother, and then I will join you. We have to cancel many horrible things of the recent past of sin and hatred. And we will do it through love, through the opposite of sin... See? Your kisses cancel and soothe the pain and consequences of the nails in the live flesh. So, what we do will cancel the horrible signs and will sanctify the places desecrated by sin. So that their sight may not grieve you too much... »
« Are we going also to the Temple? » Everybody's face shows dreadful fear.
« No. I would sanctify it through My presence. And that is not possible. It could have been possible. But I did not want it. There is no more redemption for it. It is a corpse that is decomposing quickly. Let us leave it to its dead people, so that they may bury it. Lions and vultures will really tear the sepulchre and the corpse to pieces and not even the skeleton will be left of the Great Dead One that did not want the Life. »
Jesus climbs the little staircase and goes out. The others follow Him silently. But when they set foot in the corridor that serves as an entrance-hall, Jesus is no longer there. The house is silent and seems desert. All the doors are closed.
John points at the door in front of the Supper room and says: « Mary is there. She is always there. As if She were in continuous ecstasy. Her face shines with ineffable light. It is the joy that irradiates from Her Heart. Yesterday She said to me: “Consider, John, how much happiness has spread through all the kingdoms of God.” I asked Her: “Which kingdoms?” I thought that She was acquainted with some wonderful revelation on the kingdom of Her Son, Who had defeated also death. She replied to me: “In Paradise, in Purgatory, in Limbo”. Forgiveness to those in Purgatory. Ascent to Heaven of all the just and of all those who had been forgiven. Paradise peopled with blissful souls. God glorified in them. Our ancestors and relatives up there, in jubilation. And happiness also to the kingdom which is the Earth, where the sign is now shining, and the fountain, that defeats Satan and cancels the Sin and sins, is opened. No longer just peace to men of good will, but also redemption and re-election to the rank of children of God. I see the crowds, oh! how many! descend to this Fountain, and plunge into it and come out renewed, beautiful, in wedding-dresses, in royal garments. The wedding of souls with Grace, the royalty of being children of the Father and brothers of Jesus.” »
They have gone out into the street, while speaking, and they go away, as it grows dark.
The street is not very crowded, particularly at this time, when people gather round tables for supper. Jerusalem, after the stream of people that flooded it at Passover, and abandoned it after the festivities, which were so tragical this year, looks even more empty than usual. And Thomas notices it and makes the others notice it.
« That's what it is. The foreigners, who were terrorised, left the town precipitately after the Friday, and those who resisted the great fear of that day, ran away at the second earthquake, the one that certainly took place when the Lord came out of the Sepulchre. And also those who were not Gentiles fled. Many, I am certain of this, did not even consume the lamb and they will have to come back for the supplementary Passover. And also the citizens of this place have fled or run away, some to take their dead relatives away, those who died in the earthquake on Preparation Day, some out of fear of the wrath of God. It has been a very strong example » says the Zealot..
« And it was a good thing. Lightning and stones on all the sinners! » imprecates Bartholemew.
« Don't say that! Don't say that! We deserve the punishments of Heaven more than anybody else. We also are sinners... Do you remember in this place?... How long ago? Ten? Ten evenings... or ten years, or ten hours? So remote and so near my sin seems to me, those hours, that evening... that I never know... I am dull-witted! We were so sure, so bellicose, so heroical! And then? And then? Ah!... » and Peter strikes his forehead with his hand and points at the little square, where they already are: « There. And I was already afraid there! »
« Enough! Enough, Simon! He has forgiven you. And Mary, before Him. Stop it! You are torturing yourself » says John.
« Oh! I wish I were! You, John, must always support me, you know? Always! It's because you can guide people that He gave you His Mother. It is just. But I, a faint-hearted lying worm, need to be guided more than Mary does. Because I have scales on my eyes and I cannot see... »
« You will really get them if you behave like that. You will really burn your eyes, and the Lord will not be here to cure them... » says John again, embracing his shoulders to comfort him.
« It would suffice me to see well with my soul. And then... my eyes do not matter. »
« But they do matter to many people!! What will sick people do now? Yesterday you saw how desperate was that woman! » says Andrew.
« Yes... » They look at one another and then all together they admit: « And none of us felt worthy of imposing our hands on her... » Humbleness, brought about by the recollection of their behaviour, crushes them.
But Thomas says to John: « But you could have done it. You did not run away, you did not deny, you were not incredulous... »
« I have a sin as well. And it is a sin against love, like yours. Near the arch of Joshua's house, I caught Helkai by the neck and I would have strangled him, because he was abusing the Mother. And I hated and cursed Judas of Kerioth! » says John.
« Be silent! Don't mention that name. It's the name of a demon, and I am under the impression that he is not in hell yet, and that he is wandering about here, around us, to make us sin again » says Peter with real terror.
« Oh! he is in hell all right! But even if he were here, his power is over now. He had everything to be an angel, and he was the demon, and Jesus has defeated the demon » says Andrew.
« All right... But it is better not to mention his name. I am afraid. Now I know how weak I am. As far as you are concerned, John, do not feel guilty. Everybody will curse the man who betrayed the Master! »
« It is right to do so » says Thaddeus, who has always had the same opinion of the Iscariot.
« No. Mary said to me that the judgment of God is enough for him and that we must cherish only one feeling: gratitude for not being the traitors. And if She does not curse, although She is the Mother Who saw the tortures of Her Son, shall we do so? Let us forget... »
« That's foolish! » exclaims his brother James.
« And yet it is the Master's word for Judas' sins... » says John with a sigh and then becomes silent.
« What? Are there others as well? You know... Speak up! »
« I have promised to try and forget, and I am striving to do so. With regard to Helkai... I was guilty of excess... But on that day each of us had his angel and his demon beside him, and we did not always listen to the angel of light... »
The Zealot says: « Do you know that Nahum is crippled and his son was crushed by a wall or a landslip? Yes. On the day of His death. He was found later. Oh! much later, when he already was putrid. He was found by one who was coming to the market. And Nahum was with others like him, and I do not know what happened to him, whether he was struck by a rock or he had a stroke of apoplexy. I know that he looks like shattered and does not even understand. He looks like a beast, he slobbers and howls, and yesterday with his only sound hand he caught by the throat his... master who had gone to him and he shouted and shouted: “Because of you! Because of you!” If the servants had not rushed there... »
« How do you know, Simon? » they ask the Zealot.
« I saw Joseph yesterday » he replies laconically.
« I think that the Master is late in coming. And I am worried » says James of Alphaeus.
« Let us go back... » suggests Matthew.
« Or let us stop here at the little bridge » says Bartholomew.
They stop. But James of Zebedee and the other James, Andrew and Thomas, go back, and pensive, they look at the ground, they look at the houses.
Andrew, growing pale, points at the wall of a house, where a red-brown spot stands out on the white of the lime, and he says: « It is blood! Perhaps Blood of the Master? Was He already losing blood here? Oh! tell me! »
« And what do you want us to tell you, if none of us followed him? » says James of Alphaeus dejectedly.
« But my brother, and above all John, followed Him... »
« Not at once. Not at once. John told me that they followed Him from Malachi's house onwards. There was nobody here. None of us... » says James of Zebedee.
They look, as if they were hypnotised, at the large dark spot on the white wall, a little off the ground, and Thomas remarks: « Not even the rain has washed it away. Not even the hailstones, which fell so heavily these past days, have scraped it... If I knew that it is His Blood, I would scrape that wall... »
« Let us ask the people of the house. Perhaps they know... » suggests Matthew, who has joined them.
« No, you know? They might recognise us as His apostles, they might be enemies of the Christ and... » replies Thomas.
« And we are still cowards... » ends James of Alphaeus with a deep sigh.
Very slowly they have all approached that wall and they look...
A woman passes by, a late-comer who is coming back from the fountain with pitchers dripping cold water. She watches them. She lays her pitchers on the ground and questions them.
« Are you looking at that spot on the wall? Are you disciples of the Master? You seem to be so, even if you are haggard-faced and... even if I did not see you follow the Lord, when He passed by here, captured to be put to death. This makes me feel uncertain, because a disciple, who follows the Master in pleasant hours and is proud to be His disciple, and looks severely at those who are not as prompt as he is to leave everything in order to follow the Master, should follow the Master also in unpleasant hours. He should at least do that. And I have not seen you. No. I have not seen you. And if I did not see you, it means that I, a woman from Sidon, went behind Him Whom His Jewish disciples did not follow. But I received a favour from Him. You... Had He perhaps never favoured you? It seems strange to me, because He helped Gentiles and Samaritans, sinners and also highwaymen, giving them eternal life, if He could no longer give them the life of their bodies. Did He perhaps not love you? Then that means that you were worse than asps and unclean hyenas, although, I really think that He loved also vipers and jackals, not because they are such, but because they were created by His Father.
That is blood. Yes. It is blood. The blood of a woman from the shores of the great sea. Once it was the land of the Philistines, and its inhabitants are still somewhat despised by the Hebrews. And yet she was able to defend the Master, until her husband killed her, throwing her there with so much strength, after beating her, that her head was split, and brains and blood squirted out on the wall of the house, where her orphans are now weeping. But she had been helped. The Master had cured her husband, who was unclean with a horrible disease. So she loved the Master. She loved till she died for Him. She preceded Him in Abraham's bosom, as you say. Also Annaleah preceded Him, and she also would have been able to die like that, if she had not died unexpectedly beforehand. And also a mother, further up, has washed the street with her blood, with the blood of her womb opened by her brutal son, to defend the Master. And an old woman died of grief, when she saw Him, Who had given eyes back to her son, pass by wounded and beaten. And an old man, a beggar died, because he stood up to defend Him, and his head was struck by the stone destined to the head of your Lord. Because you believed Him to be such, did you not? The valiant men of a king die around him. But none of you died. You were far away from those who were striking Him.
Ah! no! One died. He killed himself. But not out of grief. Not to defend the Master. First he sold Him, then he pointed Him out with a kiss, then he killed himself. He had nothing else to do. He could not grow any more in iniquity. He was perfect. Like Beelzebub. The world would have stoned him to remove him from the earth. Oh! I think that that compassionate woman, who died to prevent the Martyr from being struck, I think that old Anne, who died of grief seeing Him in that state, and the old beggar and Samuel's mother and the virgin who died and I, who am not able to go up to the Temple, because I feel sorry for the lambs and doves that are sacrificed, I think that we would have had the courage to stone him, and we would not have trembled seeing him torn by our stones... He was aware of that, and he spared the world the trouble of killing him, and he spared us the trouble of becoming executioners to avenge the Innocent... »
She looks at them with contempt. Her contempt has become more and more evident as she has spoken. Her large black eyes have the hardness of the eyes of rapacious animals, while she looks at the group that does not know how to react and cannot react... The last word is hissed through her teeth: « Bastards! », and she picks up her pitchers and goes away, and she is happy that she has spat her scorn on the disciples who abandoned their Master...
They are crushed, with their heads lowered, their arms hanging, enervated... The truth overwhelms them. They meditate on the consequences of their cowardice... They are silent... They dare not look at one another. Even John and the Zealot, the two who are free from this fault, have the same attitude as the others, probably because of their sorrow seeing their companions so mortified and because of their impossibility to cure the wound brought about by the sincere words of the woman...
The road is by now in a dim light. The moon, in her last days, rises late, so twilight deepens quickly. There is dead silence. Not a noise or a human voice. And only the bubbling of the Kidron reigns in the silence. So, when Jesus' voice resounds, it makes them start, as if it were a frightening sound, whilst it is so gentle when it says: « What are you doing here? I was waiting for you among the olive-trees... Why are you contemplating dead things when Life is awaiting you? Come with Me. » Jesus seems to be coming towards them from Gethsemane.
He stops beside them. He looks at that spot, on which are fixed the terrified eyes of the apostles and He says: « That woman is already in peace. And she has forgotten her sorrow. Inactive for her children? No. Twice as active. And she will sanctify them, because that is all she asks of God. »
He sets out and they follow Him, in silence. But Jesus turns round and says: « Why do you ask in your hearts: “And why does she not ask for the conversion of her husband? She is not holy if she hates him...” She does not hate him. She forgave him since the time he killed her. But, being a soul that has entered the Kingdom of Light, she can see with wisdom and justice. And she sees that there is no conversion and forgiveness for her husband. So she prays for those who may benefit by her prayer. No, it is not My blood. And yet I lost so much of it also on this road!... But the steps of My enemies have spread it, mixed it with dust and filth, and the rain has dissolved and carried it away among the layers of dust. But there is so much of it, still visible... Because so much flowed out of Me that steps and water will not be able to cancel it easily. We will go together, and you will see My Blood shed for you... »
« Where? Where does He want to go? To the place where He wept? To the Praetorium? » they ask each other.
And John says: « But Claudia went away again two days after the Sabbath, and they say that she was indignant and even frightened of being near her husband... The Roman lance told me. Claudia separates her responsibility from her husband's. Because she had warned him not to persecute the Just Man, as it is better to be persecuted by men rather than by the Most High, Whose Messiah was the Master. And neither Plautina nor Lydia are here. They followed Claudia to Caesarea. And Valeria has gone to Bether with Johanna. If they had been here, we could have gone in. But now... I do not know... Longinus is not here either, as Claudia wanted him to escort her... »
« It will be where you saw the grass wet with blood... »
Jesus, Who is ahead of them, turns round and says: « At Golgotha. There is so much of My Blood there, that the dust is like hard ferrous mineral. And there is someone who has preceded you... »
« But it is an unclean place! » shouts Bartholomew.
Jesus smiles compassionately and replies: « Every place in Jerusalem is unclean after the dreadful sin; and yet you feel no other uneasiness to stay there, except that of fear of the crowds... »
« Highwaymen have always died there... »
« I died there. And I have sanctified it forever. I solemnly tell you, that until the end of times, there will be no holier place than it, and from all over the Earth and in all ages crowds will come to kiss that dust. And there is already someone who has preceded you, without fearing mockery and revenge, without being afraid of being contaminated. And yet, the person who has preceded you had double reason for being afraid of that. »
« Who is it, Lord? » asks John, whose side Peter prods with his elbow to make him ask the question.
« Mary of Lazarus! As she picked the flowers trampled on by My feet as I entered her house, before Passover, a souvenir of joy that she distributed to her companions, so now she went up to Calvary, and with her hands she dug the earth, hard with My Blood, and she came down with her load and laid it on My Mother's lap. She was not afraid. And she was known as “the Sinner” and as “the disciple”. Neither She, Who in Her lap received that earth of the place of the Skull, thought She would be contaminated. My Blood has cancelled everything, and holy is the clod of earth where it fell. Tomorrow, before the sixth hour, you will go up to Golgotha. I will join you... But who wants to see My Blood, here it is. » He points at the parapet of the little bridge. « My mouth struck here, and blood came out... My mouth had uttered but holy words, and words of love. So why was it struck, and why did no one doctor it with a kiss?... »
They go into Gethsemane. But Jesus first has to open a lock, that now blocks the entrance to the Garden of Olives. A new lock. A strong fence, with sharp points, tall, closed with a strong new lock. Jesus has the key, which is so new that it shines like steel, and He opens the lock in the light of a burning branch that Philip has lit in order to see, as it is now completely dark.
« It was not here... Why?... » they whisper to one another, looking at the enclosure that isolates Gethsemane. « Lazarus certainly did not want anybody here any more. Look over there. Stones and bricks and lime. It is wood now, later it will be a wall... »
Jesus says: « Come. Do not attend to dead things, I tell you... Here. You were here... And here I was surrounded and captured, and you ran away there... If this enclosure had been there at that time... It would have prevented you from running away at once. But how could Lazarus think, since he was so anxious to follow Me, while you were anxious to run away, that you would run away? Am I making you suffer? I suffered previously. And I want to cancel that sorrow. Kiss Me, Peter... »
« No, Lord! No! The gesture of Judas, here, at the same hour, no, no, no! »
« Kiss Me. I want you to make with sincere love the insincere gesture of Judas. Afterwards you will be happy. We shall be happier. You and I. Come, Peter. Kiss Me. »
Peter does not only kiss Him. With his tears he washes the cheek of the Lord and he withdraws, covering his face and sitting on the ground to weep. One after the other, the others kiss Him in the same place. Some more, some less, they all have tears on their faces...
« And now let us go. All together. I separated you from Me that evening after fortifying you with My Body, and for a few hours. But you fell immediately. Always remember how weak you were, and that without the help of God you would not be able to remain in justice for one hour. Here. Here I told those, who considered themselves the strongest, to keep watch, they considered themselves so strong as to ask to drink at My chalice and to proclaim, even at the cost of their death, that they would not deny Me. And I left them, advising them to pray... I left them, and they fell asleep. Remember this and teach it: he who is left by Jesus, if he does not keep in touch with Him through prayer, is overcome by drowsiness and can be captured. If I had not waked you up, you could really have been killed in your sleep and have appeared at the judgement of God heavily laden with humanity. Come here... There you are! Lower the branch, Philip. There! Who wants to see some of My Blood, should look. Here, in the greatest anguish, like one who is dying, I sweated blood. Look... So much, that the earth is hard with it and the grass is still red, because the rain was not able to melt the clots of blood that had dried up among stalks and corollas. There! And I leaned there and the angel of the Lord hovered here to comfort Me in My will to do the Will of God. Because, remember this, if you always wish to do the Will of God, where the creature cannot persist, God comes with His angel to support the exhausted hero. When you are in anguish, do not be afraid of falling into cowardice or abjuration, if you persist in wanting what God wants. God will make you giants of heroism, if you remain faithful to His will. Remember that! Remember that! I told you once that after the temptation in the desert I was assisted by angels. Now you must know that here also, after the extreme temptation, I was assisted by an angel. And the same will happen to you and to all those who will be My believers. Because I solemnly tell you that what I have had as help, you also will have. I would obtain it for you Myself, if it were not already the Father, in His loving justice, to grant it to you. Only your sorrow will always be inferior to Mine... Sit down. The moon is rising in the east. She will shed her light on us. I do not think that you will sleep tonight, although you are still so much and only men. No. You will not sleep because an agent, that you did not have previously, has entered into you. It is remorse. A torture, that is true. But it serves to pass to higher stages, both in good and in evil. In Judas of Kerioth, as he moved away from God, it brought about desperation and damnation. In you who have never come away from the closeness to God – I can assure you, because in you there was not the will and the full consideration of what you were doing – it will cause a trustful repentance that will lead you to wisdom and justice. Remain where you are. I am withdrawing over there, within a stone's throw, awaiting dawn. »
« Oh! do not leave us, Lord! You have said what we are, when we are far from You! » implores Andrew on his knees, his hands stretched out, as if he were begging for an offer of pity.
« You have your remorse. It is a good friend in good people. »
« Do not go away, Lord! You told us that we would pray together... » beseeches Thaddeus, who no longer dare take the friendly attitude of a relative towards the Risen Master and is standing with his tall person lightly bent forwards in veneration.
« And is meditation not the most active prayer? And have I not made you contemplate and meditate and have I not given a subject on which to meditate since I met you on the road, moving your hearts with true acts of holy feelings? This is prayer, men: to get in touch with the Eternal and with the things that help to lead the spirit far beyond the Earth, and from the meditation on the perfections of God and the miseries of man, of one's ego, rouse acts of a will, which is either loving or repairing, but always adoring, even if it is a will rising from a meditation on a fault or a punishment. Evil and good serve for the final purpose, if one knows how to make use of them. I have told you many a time. Sin is an irremediable ruin only if it is not followed by repentance and atonement. In the opposite case, the contrition of a heart makes a solid mortar to keep the foundations of holiness compact and its stones are good resolutions. Could you keep stones joined together without mortar? Without the substance, that is apparently ugly and base, but without which clean stones and polished marbles will not remain united together to form a building? »
Jesus is on the point of going away.
John, to whom his brother and the other James with Peter and Bartholomew have spoken in low voices, stands up and follows Him saying: « Jesus, my God. We were hoping to say the prayer to Your Father with You. Your prayer. We feel that we have been forgiven only a little, if You do not grant us to say it with You. We feel that we need it so much... »
« Where two are united in prayer, I am in the middle of them. So say the prayer together, and I shall be among you. »
« Ah! You no longer judge us worthy of praying with You! » shouts Peter with his face concealed in the grass, not all clean of the divine Blood, and he weeps bitterly.
James of Alphaeus exclaims: « We are unhappy, brot... Lord. » He corrects himself at once, saying: “Lord” instead of “brother”.
And Jesus looks at him and says: « Why do you not say brother to Me, you, who are of My blood? A brother to all men, I am so twice, three times to you, as son of Adam, as son of David, as son of God. Complete your word. »
« Brother, my Lord, we are unhappy and foolish, as You know, and the dejection in which we are makes us more foolish. How can we say Your prayer with our souls, if we do not know its meaning? »
« How many times, as to boys under age, have I explained it to you! But more stubborn and obstinate than the most absent-minded pupil of a pedagogue, you have not remembered My word! »
« That is true! But now our minds are fixed on our torture of not having understood You... Oh! we have understood nothing! I confess it on behalf of everybody! And we do not understand You well yet, Lord. But, I beg You, take the indulgence for our evil from the same evil that makes us dull-witted. You had breathed Your last and the great rabbi shouted the truth on the dullness of Israel, over there, at the foot of Your Cross. And You, omnipresent God, Spirit of God freed from the prison of the Body, heard those words: “Ages and ages of spiritual blindness are upon the interior sight”, and he made this request to You: “Since You are the Liberator, come into my poor thought, which is a prisoner of formulas.” O my adored and adorable Jesus, Who have saved us from the original Sin, taking our sins upon Yourself and consuming them in the ardour of Your perfect love, take and consume also our intellects of obstinate Israelites, give us new mentalities, as pure as that of a new-born baby, make us lose our memories, to fill us only with Your wisdom. So many things of the past died on that horrible day. Dead like You. But now that You have risen from the dead, make a new thought come into our minds. Create new hearts and new minds for us, my Lord, and we shall understand You » begs John.
« That task is not for Me, but for Him of Whom I spoke to you at the last Supper. Every word of Mine is lost in the abyss of your thoughts, all or in part, or remains locked and closed in its spirit. Only the Paraclete, when He comes, will draw My words from your abyss and will open them to you, to make you understand the spirit of them. »
« But You have infused Him into us » says the Zealot objectingly.
« But You said that, when You had gone to the Father, He, the Spirit of Truth, would come » objects also Matthew with the Zealot.
« Tell Me: when a baby is born, has he a soul infused in him? »
« Of course he has! » they all reply.
« But has that soul the Grace of God? »
« No. There is the Sin of origin on it and it deprives it of Grace. »
« And where do the soul and Grace come from? »
« From God. »
« Why then does God not give man a soul in grace directly? »
« Because Adam was punished, and we in him. But now that You have become the Redeemer, it will be so. »
« No. It will not be so. Men will always be born impure in their souls, that God created and that Adam's inheritance has stained. But, through a rite that I will explain to you another day, the soul infused into man will be vivified by Grace, and the Spirit of the Lord will take possession of it. But you, who were baptised with water by John, will be baptised with Fire by the Power of God. And then the Spirit of God will really be in you. And it will be the Master, Whom men cannot persecute or drive away, and Who in your interior will explain the spirit of My words to you and many other instructions. I have infused it into you, because only through My merits everything can be obtained and be valid. God can be obtained and the word of a delegate of God can obtain validity. But the Spirit of Truth is not yet in you as Master. »
« Well, let it be so. In due course it will come. But in the meantime, let us feel that You have forgiven us. Be our Master, my Lord. Again, again, because You said that we must forgive seventy times seven » insists John and he concludes – he is always the most confiding and loving one – daring to take in his own hands Jesus' left Hand, which is hanging down His side and on which the moonlight seems to enlarge the hole of the nail, saying: « Since You are the eternal Light, do not allow Your servants to remain in darkness » and he kisses His fingers lightly, on the tips, these fingers which have remained a little bent just like those of one who has been wounded and is cured, but the nerves are left slightly contracted.
« Come. Let us go farther up and we will say the prayer together » says Jesus obligingly, leaving His hand in those of John, while He already walks towards the highest limit of Gethsemane, towards the higher road which, through the Field of the Galileans, goes to Bethany.
Here also one can see that the delimitation works wanted by Lazarus are in course. Even more, here, farther away from the house of the keeper of the olive-grove, they have built a smooth high wall, that follows the hedge and the winding path that were the limit of Gethsemane.
Jerusalem, below, comes slowly out of darkness, also on the western side, because the moon is now at her zenith and illuminates everything with the white light of her thin crescent, as bright as a diamond flame laid on the dark firmament, where there are palpitating the shining corollas of an incalculable number of stars, of the unbelievable stars of the eastern skies.
Jesus stretches out His arms in His usual attitude of prayer and intones: « Our Father Who art in Heaven. » He stops and comments:
« That He is a Father is proved to you by the fact that He has forgiven you. You, obliged to be perfect more than anybody else, you, who have received so many favours, and so, as you say, unsuited for the mission, which Lord, who were not your Father, would not have punished you? I have not punished you. The Father has not punished you. Because the Son does what the Father does, because the Father does what the Son does, as we are one only Divinity united in Love. I am in the Father, and the Father is with Me. The Word is always near God, Who is without beginning. And the Word is before all things, since always, since an eternity named always, since an eternal present near God, and is God like God, being the Word of the divine Thought.
So, when I shall have gone, and in this manner you will pray our, My, your Father, whereby we are brothers, I the first-born, you, the younger brothers, be always willing to see also Me in My Father and yours. Be willing to see the Word, Who was “the Master” for you, and loved you even to accepting death and beyond death, leaving Himself to you in food and drink, so that you may be in Me and I in you as long as the exile lasts, and then you and I in the Kingdom, for which I taught you to pray, saying: “Thy Kingdom come”, after you have implored that your work may sanctify the Name of the Lord, giving Him glory on Earth and in Heaven. Yes. There would be no Kingdom for you in Heaven, the Kingdom for those who will believe like you, if first you did not want the Kingdom of God in yourselves through the real practice of the Law of God and of My word, which is the perfectioning of the Law, having given, in the time of Grace, the Law of the chosen ones, that is, of those who are, beyond the civil, moral, religious constitutions of the Mosaic time, already in the spiritual Law of the time of Christ.
You see what it is to have the closeness of God, but not God in you; what it is to have the word of God, but not the real practice of that word. Man has committed every crime by having God close to him, but not in his heart; by having the knowledge of the word, but not the obedience to it. Everything! Everything because of that. Dullness and delinquency, deicide, betrayal, tortures, the death of the Innocent and of His Cain, everything has come through that. And yet, who was loved by Me like Judas? But he did not have Me-God in his heart. And he is the damned deicide, infinitely guilty as an Israelite and as a disciple, as a suicide and a deicide, in addition to his seven deadly sins and every other sin of his.
You can now have the Kingdom of God in yourselves more easily, because I have obtained it for you with My death. I have redeemed you with My sorrow. Bear that in your minds. So let no one trample on Grace, because it cost the life and the Blood of a God. So let the Kingdom of God be in you, men, through Grace; let it be on the Earth, through the Church, let it be in Heaven, for the blessed souls who, having lived with God in their hearts, united to the Body of which Christ is the Head, united to the Vine of which every Christian is a branch, deserve to rest in the Kingdom of Him for Whom all things have been made: Me, Who am speaking to you and Who have given Myself to the Will of the Father, so that everything might be accomplished. I can therefore teach you, without hypocrisy, that you must say: “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” How I have done the will of My Father can be told even by the clods of earth, by plants, by flowers, by the stones in Palestine, by My wounded Body and by a whole population.
Do as I did. To the very end. Even unto death on a cross, if God so wishes. Because, remember, I have done it, and there is no disciple who deserves mercy more than I do. And yet I have consumed the greatest sorrow. And yet I have obeyed with perpetual renunciations. You know. You will understand even more in future when you resemble Me drinking a draught at My chalice... Let this thought be constantly present to you: “Through His obedience to the Father, He saved us.” And if you want to be saviours, do what I have done. There will be some who will be acquainted with the cross, some with the tortures of tyrants, some with the torture of love, some with the exile from Heaven, to which they will tend until a very late age before ascending there. Well, in everything let the will of God be done. Consider that the torment of death or the torment of life, while you would like to die to come where I am, are the same in the eyes of God, if they are suffered with cheerful obedience. They are His Will. So they are holy.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Day by day, hour by hour. It is faith. It is love. It is obedience. It is humility. It is hope, this asking for the bread for one day, and accepting it as it is. Sweet today, bitter tomorrow, much, little, with spices or with ashes. Always as it is just. God, Who is a Father, gives it. So it is good.
Another time I will speak to you of the other Bread, which it would be healthy to eat every day, and to pray the Father to keep it. Because woe betide that day and those places where there should be none through the will of men! Now you can see how mighty men are in their deeds of darkness. Pray the Father that He may defend His Bread and give you it. The more darkness will try to suffocate the Light and the Life, as it did on Preparation Day, the more He may give you of it. The second Preparation Day would be without resurrection. Remember that, all of you. If the Word can no longer be killed, His doctrine could still be killed and the freedom and will of loving Him could be extinguished in too many people. But then also Life and Light would come to an end for men. And woe betide that day! Let the Temple be an example for you. Remember, I said: “It is the great Corpse”.
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.”
Since you are all sinners, be meek with sinners. Remember My words: “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye, if first you do not take the plank out of your own eye?” That Spirit that I infused into you, that order that I gave you, grant you the authority to remit the sins of your neighbour, in the name of God. But how will you be able to do that, if God does not remit them to you? I will speak again of that. For the time being I say to you: Forgive those who offend you, in order to be forgiven and to be entitled to absolve or to condemn. He who is without sin can do so with full justice. He who does not forgive, while he is in sin and feigns to be scandalised, is a hypocrite and Hell awaits him. Because, if there is still mercy for wards, severe will be the verdict. against the guardians of wards, guilty of the same or greater sins, although they had the fullness of the Spirit to assist them.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” That is humility, the fundamental stone of perfection. I solemnly tell you to bless those who humiliate you, because they give you what is necessary for your celestial thrones.
No. Temptation is not a ruin, if man remains humbly near the Father and asks Him not to allow Satan, the world and the flesh to triumph over him. The crowns of the blessed souls are adorned with the gems of the temptations they overcame. Do not look for them. But do not be cowards when they come. Humble, and thus strong, shout to My Father and yours: “Deliver us from evil”, and you will defeat evil. And you will really sanctify the Name of God with your deeds, as I said at the beginning, because every man, when seeing you, will say: “God exists, because they live as gods, so perfect is their behaviour”, and they will come to God, multiplying the citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Kneel down, that I may bless you and My blessing may open your minds to meditate. »
They prostrate themselves on the ground and He blesses them, then He disappears, as if He were absorbed by a moonbeam.
Shortly afterwards the apostles raise their heads, surprised at not hearing any more words, and they realise that Jesus has disappeared... They prostrate themselves again with their faces on the ground, in the age-old fear of every Israelite who experiences the sensation of having been in touch with God, as He is in Heaven.