21st November 1951.
Mary, in Her solitary little room, on the high terrace, all dressed in white linen, both in the dress that covers Her body, and in the mantle that, fastened at the nape of Her neck, falls down Her back, and in the very thin veil that hangs from Her head, is arranging Her garments and Jesus', which She has always kept. She picks the best ones. And they are few. Of Her own She takes the dress and the mantle She had on Calvary; of Her Son's, a linen tunic that Jesus used to wear on summer days, and the mantle that was found at Gethsemane, still stained with the blood He shed with the bloody perspiration of that dreadful hour.
After folding these garments carefully and kissing Jesus' mantle stained with blood, She goes towards the chest, in which for years have been gathered and kept the relics of the Last Supper and of the Passion. She gathers all these things in one compartment, the upper one, and She lays the clothes in the lower one.
She is closing the chest when John, who had gone up to the terrace silently and had looked in to see what Mary was doing, perhaps worried because of Her long absence from the kitchen, as She had gone upstairs to spend the morning hours, makes Her turn round suddenly by asking Her: « What are You doing, Mother? »
« I have put straight what is to be kept. All the souvenirs… Everything that is witness to His infinite love and sorrow. »
« Why, Mother, do You reopen the wounds of Your heart by looking again at these sad things? You are pale and Your hand is trembling… So You suffer seeing them » John says to Her, approaching Her, as if he were afraid that, wan and trembling as She is, She might feel ill and fall on the floor.
« Oh! that is not why I am wan and I am trembling. It is not because they reopen My wounds… They, in fact, have never been closed completely. And yet peace and joy are in Me, and they have never been so complete as they are now. »
« Never as now? I do not understand… The sight of those things, full of cruel memories, awakens in me the anguish of those hours. And I am only a disciple. You are the Mother… »
« And you mean that as such I should suffer more. And from a human point of view, you are right. But it is not So. I am accustomed to enduring the sorrow of being separated from Him. It was always sorrowful, because His presence and closeness were My Paradise on Earth. But I always suffered them willingly and serenely, because every action of His was wanted by His Father, it was obedience to the divine Will, and so I accepted it, because I also have always obeyed the will and plans of God for Me. Every time Jesus left Me, I suffered. Certainly. I felt lonely. Only God has measured in its most real intensity My sorrow when He, a boy, left Me secretly, for the dispute with the doctors of the Temple. And yet, with the exception of the fair question that I, His mother, asked Him, as He had left Me in that manner, I did not say anything else to Him. Likewise I did not hold Him back when He left Me to become the Master… and I was already a widow, and therefore all alone, in a town that, with the exception of a few people, did not love Me. And I showed no surprise at His reply at the banquet in Cana. He was doing the will of His Father. And I was leaving Him free to do it. I could dare make a suggestion or a request. A suggestion for His disciples, a request for some poor wretch. But more than that, no. I suffered every time He left Me to go into the world, hostile to Him and so sinful that to live in it was a great suffering to Him. But how much joy every time He came back to Me! It was really, so intense that it recompensed Me seventy times seven for the sorrow of the separation. The sorrow of the separation following from His Death was heart-rending, but with which words could I describe the joy I felt when He, risen from the dead, appeared to Me? Immense was the pain of the separation, which would end only when My earthly life would be completed, when He ascended to His Father.
I am now rejoicing, immense is My joy as immense was My pain, because I feel that My life is completed. I have done what I had to do. I have completed My earthly mission. The other one, the celestial one, will have no end. God has left Me on the Earth until I also, like My Jesus, have accomplished everything of what I had to do. And I have in Me that secret joy, the only drop of balm in His extreme tortures full of bitterness, that Jesus had when He was able to say: “Everything is accomplished.” »
« Joy in Jesus? At that moment? »
« Yes, John. A joy incomprehensible to men. But comprehensible to the spirits that already live in the light of God and see the deep things hidden under the veils that the Eternal spreads over His secrets as King, thanks to that Light. I, so distressed, so upset by those events, associated with Him, My Son, in the abandonment of the Father, did not understand then. The Light was extinguished for the whole world in that hour, for the whole world that had not wanted to receive it. And also for Me. Not as a just punishment, but because, as I had to be the Co-Redeemer, I also had to suffer the anguish of the abandonment of divine comforts, the darkness, the desolation, the temptation of Satan of not making Me believe any longer that what He had said was possible, everything that He also suffered, in His spirit, from Thursday to Friday. But later I understood. When the Light, that had risen forever, appeared to Me, I understood. Everything. Also the secret extreme joy of the Christ, when He was able to say: “I have accomplished everything that the Father wanted Me to accomplish. I have filled the measure of divine charity by loving the Father even unto the sacrifice of Myself, by loving men even unto dying for them. I have accomplished everything that I had to accomplish. I am dying happily in My spirit, although lacerated in My innocent flesh.” I also have accomplished everything that, ab aeterno, was written I should accomplish. From the generation of the Redeemer, to the help given to you, His priests, for your perfect formation.
The Church is now formed and strong. The Holy Spirit enlightens it, the blood of the first martyrs cement it and multiply it, My assistance has cooperated in making It a holy organism, that the love towards God and the brothers nourishes and fortifies more and more, and in which hatred, ill-feelings, envy, slander, wicked plants of Satan, take no root. God is pleased with that, and He wants you to know that from My lips, as He wants Me to tell you to continue to grow in love in order to grow in perfection, and so also in number of Christians and in power of doctrine. Because the doctrine of Jesus is the doctrine of love. Because the life of Jesus, and also Mine, have always been guided and urged by love. We rejected nobody, we forgave everybody. One only we did not forgive, because he, already a servant to the Hatred, did not want our love that had no limits. Jesus in His last farewell before His death, gave you the commandment to love one another. And He also gave you the measure of the love that you had to have for one another, saying: “Love one another as I have loved you. From this it will be known that you are My disciples.” The Church in order to live and grow, needs charity. Charity above all in its ministers. If you did not love one another with all your strength, and likewise you did not love your brothers in the Lord, the Church would become sterile. And difficult and scanty would be the restoration and the super restoration of men to their rank of children of the Most High and coheirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, because God would cease helping you in your mission. God is love. Every action of His has been an action of love. From creation to the Incarnation. From this to the Redemption. And from this to the foundation of the Church. And finally from this to the celestial Jerusalem, that will assemble all the just so that they may rejoice in the Lord.
I am telling you these things, because you are the Apostle of love and you can understand them better than the others… »
John interrupts Her saying: « Also the others love and love one another. »
« Yes. But you are preeminently the Loving One. Each of you had his peculiarity, as, after all, is the case of every creature. You, among the twelve, were always love, pure and supernatural love. Perhaps, no, certainly because you are so pure, you are so loving. Peter, instead, was always the man, the genuine impetuous man. His brother, Andrew, was as silent and timid as the other was not. James, your brother, was the impulsive one, so much so that Jesus called him the son of thunder. The other James, Jesus' brother, the just and heroical one. Judas of Alphaeus, his brother, the noble and loyal one, always. The Davidic extraction was obvious in him. Philip and Bartholomew were the traditionalists. Simon Zealot, the prudent one. Thomas, the peaceful one. Matthew, the humble one, who mindful of his past, strove to be unnoticed. And Judas of Kerioth, alas! the black sheep of the flock of Christ, the snake warmed by His love, was the satanic liar, always. But you, who are all love, can understand better and can become the voice of love for all the others, for those who are far away, to give them this last piece of My advice. You will tell them that they are to love one another and everybody, also their persecutors, in order to be one thing with God, as I was, so as to deserve to be elected spouse of the Eternal Love, in order to conceive the Christ. I gave Myself to God without limit, although I understood at once how much sorrow would come to Me for that. The prophets were present in My mind, and the divine light made their words very clear to Me. So from My first “fiat” to the Angel I knew that I was consecrating Myself to the greatest sorrow a mother can suffer. But nothing placed a limit to My love, because I know that it is, for those who make use of it, strength, light, magnet that attracts upwards, fire that purifies and beautifies what it burns, transforming and transhumanising those caught in its embrace.
Yes. Love is really a flame. The flame, that although it destroys what is perishable, be it a wreck, some rubble, a poor wretch, makes a purified spirit of it, worthy of Heaven. How many wrecks, how many men stained, corroded, worn out you will find on your ways of evangelizers! Do not despise any of them. On the contrary, love them, so that they may reach love and be saved. Infuse love into them. Many a time man becomes wicked, because no one ever loved him or loved him badly. Do love them, so that the Holy Spirit, after the purification, may come to dwell again in those temples, that many things made empty and filthy. God, to create man, did not take an angel or choice materials. He took some mud, the most worthless material. Then infusing His breath into it, that is, His love again, He elevated the worthless material to the sublime rank of adoptive son of God. My Son, on His way, found many wrecks of men who had fallen into filth. He never trampled on them despisingly. On the contrary He gathered them and received them and He changed them into chosen souls of Heaven. Always bear that in your minds. And do as He did. Remember everything, the actions and the words of My Son. Remember His kind parables. Live them, that is, put them into practice. And write them, so that they may remain for future generations, to the end of time, and they may always serve as a guide for men of good will, to achieve life and eternal glory. You will certainly not be able to repeat all the bright words of the Eternal Word of Life and Truth. But write as many of them as you can. The Spirit of God, Who descended upon Me so that I might give the Saviour to the world, and Who descended also upon you a first and a second time, will help you to remember, and when you speak to the crowds, in order to convert them to the true God. You will continue that spiritual maternity that I began on Calvary to give many children to the Lord. And the same Spirit, speaking in the recreated children of the Lord, will fortify them so that it will be pleasant for them to die among tortures, to suffer exile and persecutions, to confess their love to Christ and join Him in Heaven, as Stephen and James, My James, have already done, and others as well…
When you are the only one left, save this chest… »
John, growing pale and becoming upset, even more than he blanched since Mary said that She felt that Her mission was accomplished, interrupts Her exclaiming and asking: « Mother! Why do You say that? Are You not well? »
« No. I am well. »
« Do You want to leave me, then? »
« No. I shall be with you until I am on the Earth. But, My dear John, prepare yourself to be alone. »
« Then You are not well, and You want to conceal it from me!… »
« No, believe Me. I have never felt so strong, at peace, joyful, as I do now. But I have such a jubilation, such a fullness of supernatural life, that… Yes, that I think that I shall not be able to endure it while continuing to live. I am not eternal, on the other hand. You must understand that. My spirit is eternal. My body is not. And it is subject, like the flesh of every man, to death. »
« No! No! Don't say that. You cannot, you must not die! Your immaculate body cannot die like that of a sinner! »
« You are wrong, John. My Son died! And I shall die as well. I shall not suffer the disease, the agony, the pang of death. But as far as dying is concerned, I shall die. In any case, bear in mind, son, that if I have a desire, all Mine and only Mine, and that lasts since He left Me, it is just this one. This is My first, mighty desire, entirely Mine. I can even say: My first will. Everything else in My life was nothing but the consent of My will to the divine will. The will of God, put in My heart of a little girl by God Himself, the will to be a virgin. His will: My marriage with Joseph. His will: My virginal divine Maternity. Everything in My life was done by the will of God and by My obedience to His will. But this desire, of wanting to join Jesus, is a will entirely Mine. To leave the Earth for Heaven, to be with Him forever and continuously! My desire of so many years! And now I feel it is on the point of becoming reality.
Do not be so upset, John! Listen instead to My last wishes. When My body, deprived of the vital spirit, will lie in peace, do not subject Me to the customary embalmment of the Hebrews. Because I am no longer a Jewess, but a Christian, the first Christian, if one considers the situation properly, because I was the first to have Christ, Flesh and Blood, in Me, because I was His first disciple, because I was Co-Redeemer with Him and His continuator here, among you, His servants. No living being, with the exception of My father and mother, and those who assisted at My birth, has seen My body. You often call Me: “The living Ark that contained the divine Word.” Now you know that the Ark can be seen only by the High Priest. You are a priest, and much holier and purer than the Pontiff of the Temple. But I want only the Eternal Pontiff to see My body at the right time. So, do not touch Me. In any case, see? I have already purified Myself, and I have put on a clean dress, the dress of the eternal wedding…
But why are you weeping, John? »
« Because the storm of sorrow is stirring up in me. I know that I am about to lose You. How shall I be able to live without You? I feel my heart being torn to pieces at this thought! I shall not be able to stand this grief! »
« You will stand it. God will help you to live, and for a long time, as He helped Me. Because, if He had not helped Me, on Golgotha and on the Mount of Olives, when Jesus died and ascended, I would have died, as Isaac died. He will help you to live and to remember what I have told you before, for the welfare of everybody. »
« Oh! I will remember. Everything. And I will do what You wish, also for Your body. I understand as well that the Hebrew rites no longer serve for You, a Christian, and for You, the Most Pure Mother, Who, I am sure, will not be subjected to the corruption of the flesh. Your body, deified as no other mortal body, both because You have been exempted from the Sin of Origin, and even more because in addition to being the full of Grace, You contained in You Grace itself, the Word, whereby You are His most true relic, Your body cannot experience the decomposition, the rottenness of all dead flesh. This will be the last miracle of God on You, in You. And you will be preserved as You are… »
« Do not weep, then! » exclaims Mary looking at the upset face of the apostle, all washed by his tears. And She adds: « If I am preserved as I am, you will not lose Me. So, do not worry! »
« I shall lose You just the same, even if You remain incorrupt. I feel it. And I feel as if I were caught in a hurricane of sorrow. A hurricane that breaks me and knocks me down. You were everything for me, particularly since my relatives died, and the other brothers, both by blood and by mission, are far away, also beloved Marjiam, whom Peter has taken with him. I shall now be left alone, and in the strongest storm! » and John falls at Her feet, weeping even more bitterly.
Mary bends over him, She lays Her hand on his head shaken by sobs and She says to him: « No. Not so. Why are you grieving Me? You were so strong under the Cross, and it was an incomparable scene of horror, both because of the cruelty of His martyrdom and of the satanic hatred of the people! And you were so strong in comforting Him and Me, then! And today, or rather, this Sabbath evening, so serene and calm, and in front of Me Who am rejoicing for an imminent happiness of which I have a premonitory feeling, you are so upset?! Calm yourself. Imitate, even more, join what is around us and in Me. Everything is peaceful. Be at peace as well. Only the olive-trees, with their gentle rustling, break the absolute calm of this hour. But this gentle noise is so pleasant, that it sounds like the flight of angels around the house. And they are, perhaps, really here. Because angels, one or many, have always been near Me, when I have been in a special moment of My life. They were at Nazareth, when the Spirit of God made My virginal womb prolific. And they were with Joseph, when he was upset and uncertain about My state and how to behave with Me. And at Bethlehem a first and a second time, when Jesus was born, and when we had to flee to Egypt. And in Egypt when they ordered us to come back to Palestine. And – if not to Me, because the King of the angels Himself had come to Me, as soon as He had risen – and angels appeared to the pious women at the dawn of the first day after the Sabbath and gave them the order to tell you and Peter what you had to do. Angels and light always at the decisive moments of My life and of Jesus'. Light and ardour of love that, descending from the Throne of God to Me, His maid, and ascending from My heart to God, My King and Lord, united Me to God and Him to me, so that what was written that was to be accomplished, should be accomplished, and also to create a veil of light spread over the secrets of God, so that Satan and his servants should not be aware of the accomplishment of the sublime mystery of the Incarnation, before the right time. Also this evening I feel the angels around Me, although I do not see them. And I feel a Light, an unsustainable light, grow within Me, like the light that enveloped Me when I conceived the Christ, when I gave Him to the world. A light that comes from an impetuosity of love more powerful than usual. Through a similar power of love, I snatched the Word from Heaven before time, so that He might become the Man and the Redeemer. Through a similar power of love, as the one that assails Me this evening, I hope that Heaven will abduct Me and carry Me where I long to go with My spirit to sing My imperishable “Magnificat” to God, for the things He has done to Me, His maid, with the people of the saints and the choruses of the angels, forever and ever. »
« Probably not only with Your spirit. And the Earth will reply to You, and with its peoples and nations will glorify and honour and love You until the end of the world, as rightly Tobias predicted of You, although covertly, because You are really the One Who carried the Lord in Herself, and not the Holy of Holies. You have given God, by Yourself, as much love as all the High Priests and all the others of the Temple have not given Him throughout ages. Ardent most pure love. Because of that God will make You Most blessed. »
« And He will satisfy My only wish, the only thing I want. Because love, when it is so complete as to be almost perfect, as the love of My Son and God, achieves everything, even what, according to human opinion, would seem impossible to achieve. Remember that, John. And inform also your brothers of that. Men will fight against you so much! All kinds of obstacles will make you be afraid of defeat, massacres by persecutors and defections of Christians of… Iscariotic morality will dishearten your spirits. Be not afraid. Love, and be not afraid. In proportion to how you love, God will help you and will make you triumph over everything and everybody. Everything can be achieved, if one becomes a seraph. Then the soul, this wonderful eternal thing, which is the very breath of God, infused by Him into us, hurls itself towards Heaven, falls like a flame at the foot of the Divine Throne, speaks and is listened to by God, and obtains from the Almighty what it wants. If men knew how to love as is prescribed by the ancient Law, and how My Son loved and taught people to love, they would obtain everything. I love thus. That is why I feel that I shall cease to be on the Earth, I through excess of love, as He died through excess of sorrow. Well! The measure of My capacity of loving is full. My soul and My body are no longer able to contain it. Love overflows from it, it submerges Me and raises Me at the same time towards Heaven, towards God, My Son. And His voice says to Me: “Come! Come out! Ascend to our Throne and to our Trine embrace!” The Earth, what surrounds Me, disappears in the bright light that comes to Me from Heaven! Noises are drowned by this celestial voice! My moment for the divine embrace has come, My dear John! »
John, who had calmed down a little, although still somewhat upset, listening to Mary, and who at the last part of Her speech was looking at Her ecstatically, and almost enraptured as well, as pale in his face as Mary, Whose pallor, however, changes into a very white light, rushes towards Her to support Her, and in the meantime he exclaims: « You are like Jesus when He became transfigured on Tabor! Your flesh is shining like the moon, Your garments are as bright as a diamond sheet placed before a very white flame! You are no longer human, Mother! The heaviness and opacity of the flesh has disappeared! You are light! But You are not Jesus, He, being God, besides being Man, could stand also by Himself, there, upon Tabor, as He did here, on the Mount of Olives, when He ascended. You cannot. You cannot stand. Come. I will help You to lay Your tired blessed body on Your little bed. Rest. » And he lovingly leads Her towards the poor bed, on which Mary lies, without taking off even Her mantle.
Folding Her arms across Her breast, closing Her eyelids on Her kind eyes, bright with love, She says to John who is bent over Her: « I am in God. And God is in Me. While I contemplate Him and feel His embrace, say the psalms, and any other pages of the Scriptures becoming Me, particularly in this hour. The Spirit of Wisdom will point them out to you. Then say the prayer of My Son, repeat the words of the announcing Archangel and of Elizabeth to Me, and My hymn of praise… I will follow you with what I still have of Myself on the Earth…
John, struggling against the tears that rise from his heart, striving to control the emotion that upsets him, in his beautiful voice, which, as years have gone by, has become very like Jesus' - which Mary notices with a smile, saying: « I seem to have My Jesus beside Me! » – intones psalm one hundred and eighteen, which he says almost entirely, then the first three verses of psalm forty-one, the first eight of psalm thirty-eight, psalm twenty-two and psalm one. He then says the Our Father, the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth, the canticle of Tobias, the twenty-fourth chapter of Ecclesiasticus, from verse eleven to forty-six. Lastly he intones the “Magnificat”. But when he arrives at verse nine, he notices that Mary does not breathe any more, although She is still natural in Her posture and appearance, smiling, peaceful, as if She had not noticed that life had stopped.
John, with a heart-rending cry throws himself on the floor against the edge of the bed, and calls and calls Mary. He cannot convince himself that She is no longer able to reply to him, that Her body is now deprived of the vital soul. But he has to surrender to evidence! He bends over Her face, still fixed in an expression of supernatural joy, and tears stream copiously from his eyes on that sweet face, on those pure hands so gently folded on Her breast. It is the only washing that Mary's body had: the tears of the Apostle of love and of Her son of adoption by Jesus' will.
When the first transport of sorrow is over, John, remembering Mary's wish, picks up the edges of Her wide linen mantle, which were hanging from the sides of the little bed, and those of the veil, which were also hanging from the pillow, and he spreads the former over Her body, and the latter on Her head. Mary is now like a statue of white marble, laid on the cover of a sarcophagus. John contemplates Her at some length, and more tears fall from his eyes as he does so.
Then he rearranges the room, removing all superfluous furniture. He leaves only the bed, the little table against the wall and he places the chest with the relics on it, a stool, that he places between the door leading to the terrace and the bed on which Mary is lying, and a shelf, on which there is a lamp that John lights, as it is beginning to get dark.
Then he hurries down to Gethsemane, to pick as many flowers as he can, and some branches of olive-trees, with olives already on them. He goes back up to the little room, and in the light of the lamp he arranges the flowers and the branches around Mary's body, as if it were in the centre of a huge wreath.
While doing so, he speaks to the body on the bed, as if Mary could still hear him. He says: « You have always been the lily of the valley, the sweet rose, the beautiful olive-tree, the fruit-bearing vineyard, the holy ear of wheat. You have given us Your perfumes, and the Oil of Life, and the Wine of the strong, and the Bread that preserves the spirits from death, for those who worthily feed on it. These flowers look lovely here around You, as they are simple and pure like You, adorned with thorns like You and peaceful like You. Now let us put this lamp closer. So, near Your bed, that it may watch over You and keep me company while I watch You, while awaiting for at least one of the miracles that I am expecting and for whose fulfillment I pray. The first one is that, according to his wish, Peter, and the others, whom I will get Nicodemus' servant to inform, may see You once again. The second one is that You, as in everything You had the same lot as Your Son, may wake up, like Him, within the third day, in order not to leave me an orphan twice. The third is that God may give me peace, if what I hope may happen to You, as it happened to Lazarus, who was not like You, should not take place. But why should it not happen? Jairus' daughter, the young man from Nain, Theophilus' son, came back to life… It is true that then the Master acted… But He is with You, even if not in a manifest way. And You did not die of a disease like those who were raised by the deed of Christ. But are You really dead? Dead as every man dies? No. I feel it is not so. Your spirit is no longer in You, in Your body, and in that respect we could say it is death. But by the way Your passage took place, I think that Yours is only a temporary separation of Your soul, without sin and full of grace, from Your most pure and virginal body. It must be so! It is so! How and when the reunion will take place and life will come back to You, I do not know. But I am so certain of this that I will remain here, beside You, until God, either with His word, or with His action, will show me the truth on Your destiny. »
John, who has finished arranging everything, sits on the stool, placing the lamp on the floor, near the little bed; and he contemplates the body lying on it, praying.