127. Jesus at the "Clear Water": "Do Not Put the Lord Your God to the Test." The Three Disciples of the Baptist.
11th March 1945.
It is a very clear winter day: sunshine, wind and a clear sky, all blue, without the least trace of a cloud. It is early morning. A light veil of frost, or rather of almost frozen dew, is like diamond dust on the ground and on the grass.
Three men are coming towards the house. They are walking with the certainty of people who know where they are going. They see John who is crossing the yard, laden with pails of water drawn from the well. They call him.
John turns round, lays the buckets on the ground and says: "You are here? Welcome! The Master will be happy to see you. Come, before the crowds arrive. So many people come now!…" They are the three shepherd disciples of John the Baptist. Simeon, John and Matthias follow the apostle happily.
"Master, there are three friends here. Look" says John going into the kitchen where a big fire of brushwood is burning merrily, spreading a pleasant smell of wood and burnt laurel.
"Oh! Peace to you, My friends. What made you come to Me? A misfortune of the Baptist?"
"No, Master. We came here with his permission. He sends You his greetings and asks You to recommend to God the lion chased by the archers. He does not delude himself about his destiny. But he is free for the time being. And he is happy because he knows that You have many followers. Also many who before were with him. Master… we would like to come with You, too, but… we do not want to leave him now that he is persecuted. You will understand us…" says Simeon.
"On the contrary, I bless you for that. The Baptist deserves respect and love."
"Yes. You are right. The Baptist is a great man, and he is standing out like a giant more and more. He is like the agave, which, when it is about to die, forms the great candelabrum with the septiform flower and blazes and perfumes. That is what he is like. And he always says: “I would only like to see Him once again…” He wishes to see You. We have picked up that cry of his soul, and without telling him, we have brought it to You. He is the “Penitent” and the “Abstinent” Prophet. And he is pining away with the holy longing to see You and hear You. I am Tobias, or Matthias. But I think that the archangel given to Tobit did not differ from him. He is full of wisdom."
"It is not said that I shall not see him… But is that the only reason why you have come? It is troublesome to travel in this weather. Today is a clear day. But up to three days ago, there was so much rain on the roads!"
"No, we have not come only for that. Some days ago, Doras, the Pharisee, came to us to be purified. But the Baptist refused him the rite saying: “Water will not penetrate where there is such a thick crust of sin. Only One can forgive you, the Messiah.” He then replied: “I will go to Him. I want to be cured and I think that this disease is due to His spell.” The Baptist then chased him away as he would have chased Satan. When going away, he met John, whom he knew since the time John used to go to Jonah, to whom he was somehow related, and he said to him: “I am going. They all go. Also Manaen has been there and even… I say prostitutes, (but he used a dirtier word) go to Him. The Clear Water is full of deceived people. Now if He cures me and withdraws His anathema from my land, which armies of moles, worms and cricket-moles are digging up like war machines, eating the seed and gnawing away at the roots of fruit trees and vines, and nothing can destroy them, I will become His friend. Otherwise… woe to Him!” We replied to him: “Are you going there in that frame of mind?” He replied: “Who believes in that devil? In any case, He can form an alliance with me as He does with prostitutes.” We decided to come and tell You, so that You know how to deal with Doras."
"It is already all done."
"Already done? Of course. He has wagons and horses, we have only our legs. When did he come?"
"And what happened?"
"This: if you prefer to busy yourselves with Doras, You may go to his house in Jerusalem and mourn him. They are preparing him for his sepulcher."
"Dead. Here. But do not let us speak of him."
"Yes, Master… But… tell us one thing. Is it true what he said of Manaen?"
"Yes. Are you sorry?"
"Oh! It is our joy! We have spoken so much to him of You at Machaerus! And what does an apostle want but that his Master be loved? That is what John wants, and we with him."
"You are right, Matthias. Wisdom is with you."
"And… I don't believe it. But we have just met her… She came also to us looking for You, before the Feast of the Tabernacles. And we said to her: “What you are looking for is not here. But He will soon be in Jerusalem for the Tabernacles…” We told her that because the Baptist had said to us: “See that sinner, she is a crust of filth, but inside she has a flame which is to be stoked. It will become so strong that it will break out through the crust and will bum everything. The filth will fall off and only the blaze will be left.” That is what he said. But, is it true that she sleeps here, as two mighty Scribes came to tell us?"
"No. She is in one of the steward's stables, more than a mile from here."
"Hellish tongues! Have you heard that? And they!…"
"Let them say. Good people do not believe their words, they believe in My deeds."
"Also John says so. Some days ago, some of his disciples said to him in our presence: “Rabbi, He, Who was with you on the other side of the Jordan and to Whom you bore witness, now baptizes. And they all go to Him. You will be left without followers.” And John replied: “Blessed my ears that hear this news! You do not realize what joy you are giving me. You must know that man cannot take anything unless it is given to him by Heaven. You can witness that I said: 'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him to prepare His way.' A just man does not take a name which does not belong to him, and even if people wish to praise him by saying: 'You are the one', that is, the Saint, he will say: 'Truly not, I am his servant'. And he is very happy just the same, because he thinks: 'I must be a little like Him, if people mistake me for Him.' And what does one who loves want, but to be like the person he loves? Only the bride gets pleasure from the bridegroom. A best man could not get it, because it would be immoral and a theft. But the friend of the groom, who is near him and listens to his words full of nuptial joy, feels such a great joy that it is almost like the delight that makes happy the virgin who married his friend and who foretastes the honey of the nuptial words. That is my joy and it is complete. What else does the friend of the groom do, after serving his friend for months and after leading the bride to his house? He withdraws and disappears. So will I! One only remains: the groom with the bride: Man with mankind. Oh! what deep words!
He must grow greater, I must grow smaller. He Who comes from Heaven is above all the others. Patriarchs and Prophets disappear at His coming, because He is like the sun that illuminates everything with such a bright light, that stars and planets, deprived of light, are brightened by it, and those, the light of which is not extinguished, are outshone by its extreme brightness. It happens thus, because He comes from Heaven, whereas the Patriarchs and Prophets will go to Heaven, but they do not come from Heaven. Who comes from Heaven is above all the others. And He announces what He has seen and heard. But none of those who do not aim at Heaven and therefore deny God can accept His witness. Who accepts the witness of Him Who descended from Heaven, seals, by his belief, that God is true, and not an idle story without any truth, and he perceives the Truth, because his soul craves for It. Because He, Whom God sent, speaks words of God, because God gives Him the Spirit without reserve, and the Spirit says: 'Here I am. Take Me, because I want to be with You, Who are the delight of our love'. Because the Father loves the Son immeasurably and has placed all things in His hands. Therefore who believes in the Son, has eternal life. But who refuses to believe in the Son will not see Life. And the wrath of God will stay in him and on him.” That is what he said. I engraved his words on my memory that I might repeat them to You" says Matthias.
"And I praise you and thank you for them. The last Prophet in Israel is not He Who descends from Heaven, but, as he was blessed with divine gifts since he was in the womb of his mother – you do not know, but I am telling you – it is he who is nearest to Heaven."
"What? Oh! Tell us. When speaking of himself, he says: “I am the sinner.”" Both the shepherds and the disciples are anxious to know.
"When My Mother was carrying Me, when She was pregnant of Me-God, as She is the Humble and Loving One, She went to serve John's mother, who was Her cousin on Her mother's side, and was pregnant in her old age. The Baptist already had a soul, as he was in his seventh month. And the germ of man, closed in his mother's womb, leapt with joy on hearing the voice of the Spouse of God. A precursor also in that, he preceded all the redeemed souls, because Grace was communicated from womb to womb and penetrating, it cancelled the Original Sin from the soul of the child. I therefore say that on the earth there are three who possess Wisdom, as there are in Heaven Three Who are Wisdom: the Word, His Mother, the Precursor on the earth; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit in Heaven."
"Our souls are thoroughly amazed, almost like when we were told: “The Messiah is born…” Because You were the Abyss of Mercy and our John is the abyss of humility."
"And My Mother is the abyss of purity, of grace, of charity, of obedience, of humility, and of every other virtue which comes from God and which God grants to His saints."
"Master" says James of Zebedee. "There is a lot of people."
"Let us go. You may come, too."
The crowd is a very large one.
"Peace be with you" says Jesus. He is smiling and very rarely is His smile so bright. People whisper and nod to Him. There is a great deal of curiosity. It is said: "“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
This commandment is forgotten too often. We put God to the test when we want to impose our will on Him. We put God to the test when we rashly act against the rules of the Law, which is holy and perfect and in its spiritual side, the principal one, it deals with and takes care also of the flesh that God created. We put God to the test, when, after being forgiven by Him, we revert to our sins. We put God to the test when, after receiving help from Him, we turn to our own ways and damage the help which had been granted for our own good and to remind us of God. God is neither to be mocked at nor derided. But that happens too often. Yesterday you saw what punishment awaits those who deride God. The Eternal God, Who is full of compassion for those who are repentant, is most severe with unrepentant souls, who under no circumstances will amend themselves. You come to Me to hear the word of God. You come to receive miracles. You come to be forgiven. And the Father gives you His word, His miracles and His forgiveness. And I do not regret that I descended from Heaven, because I can give you miracles and forgiveness and I can make you understand God.
That man was struck down, like Nadab and Abihu, by the fire of divine wrath. But you must refrain from judging him. What happened, a new miracle, should only make you meditate on how one must behave to have God as a friend. He wanted the penitential water but without a supernatural spirit. He wanted it for a human spirit. As a magic means to cure his illness and free him from his calamity. All he was aiming at was his body and his harvest. Not his poor soul, which was of no value to him. His only values were life and money.
I say: a heart is where its treasure is, and a treasure is where the heart is. The treasure is therefore in the heart. In his heart he had a thirst for life and for a lot of money. How was he to get it? By any means. Also by crime. And so, was his request for baptism not deriding God and putting Him to the test? Sincere repentance for his long sinful life would have sufficed to obtain for him a holy death and what was fair to have on the earth. But he was unrepentant. As he never loved anyone but himself, he went so far as not to love even himself. Because hatred kills also the animal selfish love of man for himself. Tears of sincere repentance should have been his lustral water. And may that be true for all of you who are listening to Me. Because there is no one without sin, and you all therefore need that water. Springing from your hearts, it descends upon you and washes you, it cleanses what is polluted, it raises what is prostrated, it instills new life into those who have been bled by sin.
That man was anxious only about the trifles of the earth. But there is only one misery that should make man pensive. And that is the eternal misery of losing God. He did not fail to make the ritual offers. But he did not offer God the sacrifice of his spirit, that is, he did not stop sinning, he did not do penance and ask forgiveness by means of good deeds. Hypocritical offers made by means of riches unlawfully acquired are similar to requests made to God to become an accomplice of the evil actions of man. Can that ever happen? Is that not mocking at God? God rejects him who says: “I offer sacrifices” but is anxious to continue to sin. Can a corporeal fast be of any avail when the soul does not abstain from sin? May the death of the man who died here make you meditate on the conditions which are necessary to be loved by God. Now in his sumptuous abode his relatives and the hired female mourners are mourning over his corpse which will shortly be taken to its sepulcher. Oh! A true mourning and a true corpse! Nothing more than a corpse! Nothing but disheartened mourning. Because the soul which was already dead will be forever separated from those whom he loved out of blood relationship or similarity in mentality. Even if the same dwelling place will unite them forever, they will be divided by the hatred that reigns there. Then death is “true” separation. It would be better if a man, when he has killed his soul, mourned over himself, rather than be mourned by other people, and thus, through the tears of a contrite and humble heart, he gave life back to his soul, through God's forgiveness. Go. Without hatred or comment. With nothing but humility. As I have spoken of him out of justice, without hatred. Life and death teach us how to live well and die a happy death, and conquer life without death. Peace be with You."
There are no sick people, no miracles, and Peter says to the three disciples of the Baptist: "I am sorry for you."
"Oh! It is not necessary. We believe without seeing. We had the miracle of His birth and it made us believe. And now we have His word to corroborate our faith. We only ask to serve it until we are in Heaven, like our brother Jonah."
It all ends.