35: The Flight into Egypt.
9th June 1944.
My spirit sees the following scene. It is night. Joseph is sleeping in his little bed in his very small room: the peaceful sleep of a man after a hard day's honest and diligent work.
I can see him in the dark room, because a thin ray of moonlight filters in through the window shutters left ajar, either because Joseph is too warm in the little room or because he wants to be woken by the early rays of light at daybreak and get up at once. He is lying on one side and is smiling at some vision he sees in his dream.
But his smile turns into an expression of anxiety. He is now sighing deeply as if he had a nightmare and he awakes with a start. He sits up on his bed, rubs his eyes and looks around. He looks at the little window where the feeble light comes in. It is the dead of night but he grasps his robe which is lying at the bottom of the bed, and still sitting on the bed he pulls it on over the white shortsleeved tunic which he is wearing next to his skin. He pulls the blanket away, puts his feet on the floor and looks for his sandals. He puts them on and ties them. He stands up and goes towards the door facing his bed, not the one at the side of his bed leading into the big room where the Magi were received.
He knocks very gently, a very soft knocking with the tips of his fingers. He must have heard a voice asking him to enter because he opens the door carefully and sets it ajar without making any noise. Before going to the door he has lit a small one-flamed oil lamp, lights his way with it. He goes in. The room is a little larger than his own, and there is a low bed in it, near a cradle, with a night lamp in a corner, the flickering flame of which seems a little star with a soft golden light that allows one to see without disturbing any sleeper.
But Mary is not sleeping. She is kneeling near the cradle in Her light dress and is praying, watching Jesus Who is sleeping peacefully. Jesus is the same ages as I saw Him in the vision of the Magi: a Child about one year old, beautiful, rosy and fair haired. He is sleeping with His curly head sunk in the pillow and a clench-fist under His chin.
"Are You not sleeping?" Joseph asks Her in a low surprised voice. "Why not? Is Jesus not well?"
"Oh, no! He is all right. I am praying. Later I will sleep. Why have you come, Joseph?" Mary speaks, kneeling on the same spot.
Joseph speaks in a very low voice lest he should awaken the Child, but it is an excited voice. "We must go away from here at once. It must be at once. Prepare the coffer and a sack with everything You can put in them. I'll prepare the rest, I'll take as much as I can...We will flee at dawn. I would go even sooner but I must speak to the landlady..."
"But why this flight?"
"I will tell you later. It's because of Jesus. An angel said to me: “Take the Child and His Mother and escape to Egypt.” Don't waste any time. I'm going to prepare what I can."
There is no need to tell Mary not to waste time. As soon as She heard Joseph mention an angel, Jesus and flight, She understood that Her Creature was in danger and She jumped to Her feet, Her face whiter than wax, holding one hand against Her heart, completely distressed. And She began to move about, quick and agile, laying the clothes in the coffer and in a large sack which She places on Her bed still untouched. Although She is disheartened, She does not lose Her head: She acts quckly but orderly. Now and again, when passing near the cradle, She looks at the Child Who is sleeping calmly.
"Do you need help?" Joseph asks now and again, peeping into the room through the door ajar.
"No, thank you." replies Mary every time.
Only when Her sack is full, and it is obviously very heavy, She calls Joseph to help Her to close it and take if off the bed. But Joseph does not want and help, he prefers to do it by himself, and he takes the long sack into his little room. "Shall I take also the woollen blankets?" asks Mary.
"Take as much as you can. We will lose the rest. Do take as much as You can. Things will be useful because...because we will have to stay away for a long time, Mary!..." Joseph is very sad in saying so. And one can easily imagine how Mary feels. She folds Her blankets and Joseph's, sighing deeply. Joseph ties the blankets with a rope and while doing so, he says: "We will leave the quilts and the mats. Even if I take three donkeys I cannot overload them. We will have a long and uncomfortable journey, partly in the mountains and in the desert. Cover Jesus well. The nights will be cold both up in the mountains and in the desert. I have take the gifts of the Magi because they will be very useful down there. I am going to spend all the money I have to buy two donkeys. We cannot send them back, so I will have to buy them. I will go now, without awaiting dawn. I know where to find them. You finish preparing everything." And he goes out.
Mary gathers a few more things, then, after looking at Jesus, She goes out and comes back with some little dresses which appear to be still damp: perhaps they were washed the day before. She folds them, wraps them up in a cloth, and adds them to the other things. There is nothing else. She looks round and in a corner She sees one of Jesus' toys: a little sheep carved in wood. She picks it up sobbing, and kisses it. On the wood there are traces of Jesus' little teeth and the ears of the little sheep are all nibbled. Mary caresses the thing without any value, a plain piece of light wood, which, however, is of great value to Her, because it tells Her of Joseph's love for Jesus and speaks to Her of Her Child. She adds it to the other things placed on the closed coffer.
Now there is really nothing else. Except Jesus in the little cradle. Mary thinks She ought also to prepare the Child. She goes to the cradle and shakes it a little to wake up the Baby. But He whimpers a little, turns round and continues to sleep. Mary pats His curls gently. Jesus opens His little mouth yawning. Mary bends down and kisses His cheek. Jesus wakes up completely. He opens His eyes, sees His Mother and smiles and stretches His little hands towards Her breast.
"Yes, love of Your Mummy. Yes, Your milk. Before the usual time… But You are always ready to suck Your Mummy's breast, My little holy Lamb!" Jesus laughs and plays, kicking His little feet out of the blankets, moving His arms happily in a typical childish style, so beautiful to see. He pushes His feet against His Mummy's stomach, He arches His back leaning His fair head on Her breast, and then throws Himself back and laughs, holding with His hands the laces that tie Mary's dress to Her neck, endeavoring to open it. He looks most beautiful in His little linen shirt, plump and as rosy as a flower.
Mary bends down and in that position, looking through the cradle, as if for protection, She smiles and cries at the same time, while the Child prattles, uttering words which are not the words of all little children; among them the word "Mummy" is repeated very clearly. He looks at Her, surprised to see Her crying. He stretches one little hand towards the shiny traces of tears and it gets wet while patting Her face. And, very gracefully, He leans once again on His Mother's breast, He clings to it and pats it with His hand. Mary kisses His hair, takes Him up in Her arms, sits down and dresses Him. His little woollen dress has now been put on Him and His sandals have been tied on His feet. She nurses Him and Jesus avidly sucks His Mother's good milk, and when He feels that only a little is coming from Her right breast, He looks for the left one, laughing while doing so and looking up at His Mother. Then He falls asleep again on Her breast, His rosy round little cheek resting against Her white round breast. Mary rises very slowly and lays Him on the quilt on Her bed. She covers Him with Her mantle, She goes back to the cradle and folds its little blankets. She wonders whether She ought to take also the little mattress. It's so small. It can be taken. She puts it, together with the pillow, near the other things already on the coffer. And She cries over the empty cradle, poor Mother, persecuted in Her Little Creature.
Joseph comes back. "Are you ready? Is Jesus ready? Have You taken His blankets and His little bed? We can't take His cradle, but He must have at least His little mattress: poor Baby, Whose death they are seeking!"
"Joseph" shouts Mary, while She grasps his arm.
"Yes, Mary, His death. Herod wants Him dead… because he is afraid of Him, that filthy beast, because of his human kingdom he is afraid of this innocent Child. I do not know what he will do when he realizes that He has escaped. But we will be far away by that time. I don't think he will revenge himself by seeking Him as far as Galilee. It would be very difficult for him to find out that we are Galileans, least of all that we are from Nazareth and who we are precisely. Unless Satan helps him to thank him for being his faithful servant. But… if that should happen… God will help us just the same. Don’t cry, Mary. To see You crying is a greater pain for me than having to go into exile." "Forgive Me, Joseph. I am not crying for Myself, or for the few things I am losing. I am crying for you… You already have had to sacrifice yourself so much! And now once again you will have no customers, no home. How much I am costing you, Joseph!".
"How much? No, Mary. You do not cost me. You comfort me. Always. Don't worry about the future. We have the gifts of the Magi. They will serve for the first days. Later I will find some work. A good clever workman will always make his way. You have seen what happened here. I haven't got enough time for all the work I have."
"I know. But who will relieve your homesickness for your native land?"
"And what about You? Who will relieve Your longing for Your home which is so dear to You?"
"Jesus. Having Him, I have what I had there."
"And I, having Jesus, have my native land, in which I had hope up to some months ago. I have my God. You can see that I lose nothing of what is dear to me above all things. The only important thing is to save Jesus, and then we have everything. Even if we should never see this sky again, or this country or the even dearer country of Galilee, we shall always have everything, because we shall have Him. Come, Mary, it is dawning. It is time to say goodbye to our hostess and load our things. Everything will be all right." Mary gets up obediently. She puts on Her mantle while Joseph makes up a last parcel and goes out with it.
Mary lifts the Child gently, envelops Him in a shawl and clasps Him to Her heart. She looks at the walls that have given Her hospitality for some months and She touches them caressingly with one hand. Happy house, that deserved to be loved and blessed by Mary!
She goes out. She goes through Joseph's little room, into the big room. The landlady, in tears, kisses Her goodbye and, lifting the edge of the shawl, she kisses the forehead of the Child Who is sleeping calmly. They go down the outside steps.
The first light of dawn enables them to see faintly. In the dim light, three little donkeys can be seen. The strongest is loaded with the goods and chattels. The other two are saddled. Joseph is busy fastening the coffer and bundles on the pack-saddle of the first one. I can see his carpenter's tools tied in a bundle on top of the sack. After more tears and goodbyes, Mary mounts the little donkey, while the landlady is holding Jesus in her arms, and kissing Him once again. She then hands Him back to Mary. Also Joseph mounts after tying his donkey to the one loaded with the goods, in order to be free to hold the reins of Mary's donkey.
The flight begins while Bethlehem, still dreaming of the phantasmagoric scene of the Magi, is sleeping peacefully, unaware of what is impending over it. And the vision ends thus.
"And also this series of visions ends thus. With the permission of exacting doctors we have been showing you the scenes which preceded, accompanied and followed My coming. And we did so, not for their own sake, as they are well known, although they have been distorted by elements superimposed throughout centuries, always as a consequence of the mentality of men, who in order to give greater praise to God – and are therefore forgiven – make unreal what would be so lovely to leave real.
Such way of seeing things in their reality does not diminish My Humanity or Mary's, neither does it offend My Divinity or the Majesty of the Father or the Love of the Most Holy Trinity. On the contrary, the merits of My Mother and My perfect humility shine brightly and so does the omnipotent kindness of the Eternal Lord. But we have shown you these scenes in order to be able to apply to you and to other people the supernatural meaning deriving from them and give it to you as a rule of life.
The Decalogue is the Law; and My Gospel is the Doctrine that makes the Law clearer for you and more loving to follow. The Law and My Doctrine would be sufficient to make saints of men. But you are so hampered by your humanity – it really overwhelms your souls too much – that you cannot follow My ways and you fall; or you stop disheartened. You go on saying to yourselves and to those who would like to assist you, quoting the examples of the Gospel for you: “But Jesus, but Mary, but Joseph (and so on for all the saints) were not like us. They were strong, they were immediately comforted in their sorrow, also in the little sorrow which they experienced, they did not feel passions. They were already beings out of this world.”
That little sorrow! They did not feel passions!
Sorrow has been our faithful friend and it had all the most varied forms and names.
Passions… do not use a word wrongly, by calling passions the vices which mislead you. Be sincere and call them “vices”, and capital ones in addition. It is not true that we did not know them. We had eyes to see and ears to hear, and Satan caused those vices to dance in front of us and around us, showing them to us with their heap of filth in action, or tempting us with his insinuations. But, since we firmly wanted to please God, his filth and insinuations, instead of achieving the purpose intended by Satan, obtained the very opposite. And the more he worked, the more we took shelter in the light of God, disgusted as we were with the muddy darkness which he showed to the eyes of our bodies and of our souls.
But we did not ignore in our hearts passions, in their philosophical setting. We loved our country, and in our country we loved our little Nazareth above every other town in Palestine. We were fond of our house, of our relatives and friends. Why should we not? We did not become slaves to our feelings because nothing is to be our master except God. But our feelings were our good companions. My Mother uttered a cry of joy when, after about four years, She went back to Nazareth and entered Her house, and kissed the walls where Her “yes” had opened Her bosom to receive the Son of God. Joseph joyfully greeted his relatives and his little nephews, who had grown in numbers and in years, and he rejoiced when he saw that his fellow citizens remembered him and they sought him because of his ability.
I Myself appreciated friendship and because of Judas' betrayal, I suffered as for a moral crucifixion. And why not? Neither My Mother nor Joseph ever placed more love for their home or their relatives before the will of God. And I never spared a word, if it was to be said, capable of drawing upon Me the hatred of the Jews and the animosity of Judas. I knew, and I could have brought it about, that some money would be sufficient to subject him to Me. Not to Me, a Redeemer: to Me, a rich man. I had multiplied the loaves of bread and if I wanted, I could multiply also money. But I did not come to obtain human satisfactions to anybody. Least of all to the ones I had called. I had preached sacrifice, detachment, a pure life, humble positions. What kind of a Master would I have been and what Just man, if I had given money to one of them for his mental and physical satisfaction, only because that was the means to keep him?
Those who make themselves “small” are great in My Kingdom. Those who wish to be “great” in the eyes of the world are not suitable to reign in My Kingdom. They are straw for the beds of the demons. Because the greatness of the world is the antithesis of the Law of God.
The world calls “great” those who, by means which almost always are illicit, know how to get the best positions and to do so, they use their neighbor as a stool on which they then climb, crushing him. The world calls “great” those who know how to kill in order to reign, and they kill materially or morally, and they usurp positions and countries and fatten themselves, bleeding both individuals and communities. The world often calls “great” criminals. No. “Greatness” is not to be found in criminality. It is in goodness, in honesty, in love, in justice. You can see which poisonous fruit your “great ones” offer you, fruit which they have picked in the wicked devilish garden inside them!
I only wish to speak about the last vision, and omit the rest, because in any case, it is useless, as the world does not want to hear the truth concerning it. The last vision clarifies a detail quoted twice in the Gospel by Matthew, a sentence which is repeated twice: “Get up, take the Child and His Mother with you, and escape into Egypt”; “Get up, take the Child and His Mother with you and go back to the land of Israel.” And you saw that Mary was by Herself in Her room with the Child.
Mary's virginity after Her delivery and Joseph's chastity have been strongly denied by those who being putrid mud themselves, are not prepared to admit that one like them can be as pure and clear as light. They are wretched people whose souls are so corrupted and their minds so prostituted to the flesh, that they are incapable of thinking that one like them can respect a woman seeing in her not her flesh but her soul, neither can they elevate themselves to live in a supernatural atmosphere, craving not for what is flesh, but only for what is God. Well, I wish to tell those deniers of the most beautiful things, those worms incapable of becoming butterflies, those reptiles covered with the slaver of their own lewdness, incapable of understanding the beauty of a lily, I wish to tell them that Mary was and remained a virgin, and that only Her soul was married to Joseph, exactly as Her spirit was united only to the Spirit of God by Whose deed She conceived Her Only Son: I, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Father and of Mary.
This is not a tradition embellished afterwards, out of loving respect for the Blessed Virgin Who was My Mother. It is the truth and has been known since early times.
Matthew was not born after centuries. He was a contemporary of Mary. Matthew was not a poor ignorant man brought up in a forest and likely to believe any idle story. He was a clerk in the taxation office, as you would say nowadays, he was an excise man, as we said then. He could see, hear, understand, and tell the truth from the false. Matthew did not hear things reported by third parties. He heard them directly from Mary's lips to Whom he applied for information, prompted by his love for his Master and for the truth. I do not believe that those repudiators of Mary's inviolability will dare think that She may have lied. My own relatives could have given Her the lie, had there been other children: James, Judas, Simon and Joseph were disciples together with Matthew. Therefore Matthew could have easily compared their versions, had there been more than one account.
But Matthew does not say: “Get up and take your wife.” He says: “Take His Mother.” Before he says: “A virgin betrothed to Joseph”; “Joseph Her spouse”. Neither those repudiators of Purity should tell Me that it was a way of speaking particular to the Jews, as if to say “wife” was a disgrace. No, deniers of Purity. At the very beginning of the Bible we read: “And he will join himself to his wife.” She is called “companion” up to the moment of the sensual consummation of the marriage, and afterwards she is called “wife” in various circumstances and in different chapters. And these are the expressions referred to the wives of the sons of Adam. And so Sarah is called the “wife” of Abraham: “Sarah your wife”. And: “Take your wife and your two daughters” is said of Lot. And in the book of Ruth it is written: “The Moabitess, the wife of Mahalon”. And in the first book of the Kings it is said: “Elkanah had two wives”. And further on: “Elkanah then had intercourse with his wife Hannah”. And again: “Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife”. And again in the Book of the Kings it is said: “Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, became the wife of David and bore him a son.” And what do you read in the blue book of Tobias, what the Church sings to you at your wedding, to advise you to be holy in your marriage? You read: “Now when Tobias arrived with his wife and his son… ”; and again: “Tobias succeeded in escaping with his son and with his wife.” And in the Gospels, that is in times contemporary with Christ, when therefore they wrote in a modem style of language, as compared to the ancient kind, and therefore no error of transcription could be suspected, it said and just by Matthew in Chapter 22: “… and the first, after marrying his wife died and left his wife to his brother.”
And Mark at Chapter 10: “The man who divorces his wife…” And Luke called Elizabeth the wife of Zacharias for four times running, and in the eighth Chapter of his Gospel he says: “Johanna, the wife of Chuza”.
As you can see, this name was not a word banished by those who walked in the ways of the Lord, it was not an impure word not worthy of being uttered and least of all written when there was a mention of God and of His wonderful work. And the angel, saying: “The Child and His Mother”, proves to you that Mary was His real Mother. But She was not a wife of Joseph. She remained forever: “The virgin betrothed to Joseph”.
And this is the last teaching of the vision. And it is a halo which shines on the heads of Mary and Joseph. The Inviolate Virgin. The just and chaste man. The two lilies amongst whom I grew up, receiving only the perfume of purity.
I could speak to you, little John, about Mary's grief at being torn away from Her house and Her fatherland. But there is no need for words. You understand and you die of grief. Give Me your sorrow. That is all I want. It is greater than anything else you could give Me. It is Friday today, Mary. Think of My grief and of My Mother's on Golgotha in order to be able to bear your cross. Our peace and love remain with you."