131. Jesus at the "Clear Water": "You Shall Not Covet What Belongs to Your Neighbour."
14th March 1945.
Jesus is speaking...
"God gives everybody what is necessary. That is the truth. What is necessary to man? Pomp? A large number of servants? Countless fields? Banquets lasting from sunset to dawn? No. All that is necessary to man is a roof, a loaf, a garment. The indispensable to live.
Look around yourselves. Who are the happiest and the healthiest? Who enjoys a healthy tranquil old age? Fast living people? No. Those who live and work honestly and wish honest things. They are not poisoned by lust and thus they are strong. They are not intoxicated by orgies and are thus agile. They are not consumed by the poison of jealousy and are thus cheerful. Who instead craves to possess more and more, kills his own peace and has no joy, grows old precociously, consumed by envy and abuses.
I could link the commandment: “You shall not steal” to the other one: “You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbour.” In fact an immoderate longing urges one to steal. The step between the two is a very short one. Is every desire an unlawful one? I do not mean that. The father of a family who works in the fields or in a workshop and wishes to gain what is necessary to secure food for his family, most certainly does not commit a sin. On the contrary he fulfills his duty of a father. Who instead craves only to enjoy more and takes possession of what belongs to other people to have a better time, commits a sin.
Envy! What is to covet other people's property but avarice and envy? My dear children, envy separates man from God and unites him to Satan. Do you not remember that Lucifer was the first one to covet what did not belong to him? He was the most beautiful of the archangels and enjoyed the vision of God. He should have been happy with that. He envied God, wanted to be God and became a demon. The first demon. Another instance: Adam and Eve had been given everything, they enjoyed the earthly paradise and God's friendship, blessed with the gifts of grace which God had granted them. They should have been satisfied with that. They envied God's knowledge of good and evil and were driven out of Eden and became disliked by God. The first sinners. A third instance: Cain envied Abel's friendship with the Lord. And he became the first killer. Mary, the sister of Aaron and Moses, envied her brother and became the first leper in the history of Israel. I could lead you step by step through the whole history of the people of God, and you would see that immoderate longing made men sinners and brought the country calamity. Because the sins of the individuals accumulate and bring disasters to the country, exactly as grains of sand, piling up throughout centuries, cause landslides which overwhelm villages and their inhabitants.
I have often cited little children as an instance, because they are simple and trustful. Today I say to you: imitate birds in their freedom from desires. Look. It is now winter. There is little food in the orchards. Do they worry about hoarding it in summer? No, they do not. They trust in the Lord. They know that they will always be able to catch for their little crops a small worm, a little grain, a crumb, a small spider, a little fly floating on water. They know that there will always be a warm chimney-top or a flock of wool to shelter them in winter, and they know as well that when the time comes when they will need hay for their nests and more food for their little ones, there will be sweet-smelling hay in the fields and juicy food in the orchards and in the furrows, and the air and the soil will be rich in insects. And they slowly sing: “Thank You, Creator, for what You give us and will give us”, and they are ready to sing hosannas at the top of their voices when they will enjoy the company of their mates during the mating season and they see their offspring multiply.
Is there a happier creature than a bird? And what is its intelligence as compared to the intelligence of man? A chip of silica compared with a mountain. But it teaches you a lesson. I solemnly tell you that who lives without any impure desires possesses the joy of a bird. He trusts in God, feels that God is his Father. He smiles at the rising day and at the falling night, because he knows that the sun is his friend and night his nourishment. He looks at men without malice and is not afraid of their vengeance, because he does not harm them in any way. He is not afraid for his health or his sleep, because he knows that an honest life prevents diseases and grants a peaceful rest. And finally he is not afraid of death, because he knows that, since he always acted well, God can but smile at him. Also a king dies. And a rich man dies. A sceptre will not avert death, neither can money buy immortality. As before the King of kings and the Lord of lords crowns and money are ridiculous things, a life lived according to the Law is the only thing of value!
What are those men at the end of the room saying? Do not be afraid of speaking."
"We were saying: of what sin is Antipas guilty? Of theft or adultery"
"I would like you to look at your own hearts, and not at other people. But I will reply to you that he is guilty of idolatry, because he worships the flesh more than God, and he is guilty of adultery, theft, unlawful desires, and he will soon be guilty of homicide."
"Will he be saved by You, the Saviour?"
"I will save those who are repentant and return to God. The unrepentant shall have no redemption."
"You said that he is a thief. What did he steal?"
"His brother's wife. A theft is not only of money. It is also theft to take a man's reputation, to seduce a virgin, to take a wife away from her husband, as it is theft to steal a neighbour's ox or his plants. A theft, aggravated by lust or false witness, is aggravated by adultery, fornication or falsehood."
"And what sin does a woman, who prostitutes herself, commit?"
"If she is married, a sin of adultery and theft with regard to her husband. If she is not married, a sin of impurity and of theft with regard to herself."
"To herself? But she gives what belongs to her!!"
"No. Our body was created by God to be the temple of the soul, which is the temple of God. It must, therefore, be kept honest, otherwise the soul will be robbed of God's friendship and of eternal life."
"A prostitute then can only be of Satan?"
"Every sin is prostitution with Satan. A sinner, like a hired woman, gives himself to Satan for unlawful love, hoping to make a foul profit. Prostitution is a grave, a very grave sin which makes man like unclean animals. But do you think that any other capital sin is not so grave? What shall I say of idolatry? Of homicide? And yet God forgave the Israelites after the golden calf. He forgave David after his sin, which was a twofold one. God forgives who is repentant. Let repentance be proportioned to the number and gravity of sins, and I tell you that who is more repentant, will be more forgiven. Because repentance is a kind of love. Of active love. Who repents, says to God by his repentance: “I cannot bear Your wrath, because I love You and I want to be loved.” And God loves who loves Him. I therefore say: the more one loves, the more one is loved. Who loves completely, is completely forgiven. And that is the truth.
Go. But before I must let you know that at the gate of the village there is a widow, with many children, who are starving to death. She has been driven out of her house because of debts. And she may still “thank” the landlord, because he only drove her out. I have used your alms to buy bread for them. But they need a shelter. Mercy is the most acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. Be good and in His name I give you assurance of a reward."
The people whisper, consult with one another, discuss.
Jesus in the meantime cures a man who is almost blind and listens to a little old woman who has come from Doco to beg Him to go to her daughter-in-law who is ill. A long woeful story, which I, exhausted as I am today, will not write. And, fortunately, it all comes to an end, because I am definitely not fit to go on, as I have been suffering from a heart attack these last three hours and it has dazzled also my sight.