155. Cure of the Little Roman Girl at Caesarea.
5th May 1945.
"Little John, come with Me, as I have to make you write a lesson for the consecrated people of the present time. Watch and write."
Jesus is still at Caesarea on Sea. He is no longer in the same square as yesterday, but further inland, from where the harbour and ships can still be seen. There are many warehouses and shops and as on the ground, in this open space, there are mats with various kinds of goods, I realise that it is near the market place, which was perhaps located near the harbour and warehouses, for the convenience of seamen and of the people buying goods brought by sea. There is a lot of shouting and bustling among the people. Jesus with Simon and His cousins, is waiting for the others who are buying the food that is needed. Some children look curiously at Jesus, Who caresses them lovingly while speaking to His apostles. Jesus says: "I am sorry to see dissatisfaction because I approach the Gentiles. But I can but do what I must do and be good to everybody. At least you three and John must endeavour to be good; the others will follow you and imitate you."
"How can one be good to everybody? After all they despise and oppress us, they do not understand us, they are full of vices..." says James of Alphaeus apologetically.
"How can one do that? Are you happy that you were born of Alphaeus and Mary?"
"Of course I am. Why do You ask me?"
"And if God had asked you before you were conceived, would you have chosen to be born of them?"
"Certainly. But I do not understand."
"If instead, you were born of a Gentile, and you heard someone accuse you of wanting to be born of a heathen father, what would you have said?"
"I would have said... I would have said: “It is no fault of mine. I was born of him, but I might have been born of someone else.” I would have said: “You are unfair in accusing me. If I do no harm, why do you hate me?.”"
"Exactly, also these people, whom you despise because they are pagans, can say the same. It is no merit of yours, if you were born of Alphaeus, a true Israelite. You can only thank the Eternal Father, Who granted you a great gift, and out of gratitude and humility you can endeavour to take to the True God those who did not receive such a gift. One must be good."
"It is difficult to love those whom we do not know."
"No. It is not. Look. You, little fellow, come here."
A little boy, about eight years old, who is playing in a corner with two other little lads, comes near Jesus. He is a strong boy, with very dark hair and a fair complexion.
"Who are you?"
"I am Lucius, Caius Lucius, of Caius Marius, a Roman, the son of the Decurion of the guards, who remained here after he was wounded."
"And who are those?"
"They are Isaac and Toby. But we must not say, because they are not allowed to play with us. The Jews would hit them."
"Because they are Jews and I am a Roman. They are forbidden to associate with us."
"But you are playing with them. Why?"
"Because we are fond of one another. We always play together dice or jumping. But we have to hide."
"And would you love Me? I am a Jew, too, and I am not a boy. Just imagine: I am a Master, something like a priest."
"What do I care? If You love me, I will love You. And I love You because You love me."
"How do you know?"
"Because You are good. Who is good, loves."
"There you are, My friends. That is the secret to love: to be good. Then you love without considering to which faith other people belong."
And Jesus, holding little Caius Lucius by the hand, goes and caresses the little Jewish children, who are frightened and hide in a passage way and He says to them: "Good children are angels. Angels have one fatherland only: Paradise. They have only one religion: the religion of the One God. They have only one Temple: the Heart of God. Like little angels, always love one another."
"But if they see us they will hit us..."
Jesus shakes His head sadly but does not reply...
A tall shapely woman calls Lucius, who leaves Jesus saying: "My mother!"
and shouts to the woman: "I have a big friend. He is a Master!..."
The woman does not go away with her son, on the contrary, she comes near Jesus and asks Him: "Hail. Are You the Galilean who spoke at the harbour yesterday?"
"Yes, I am."
"Wait for me, then. I'll be back in a moment" and she goes away with her little son.
In the meantime the other apostles have also arrived, with the exception of Matthew and John, and they ask: "Who was she?"
"A Roman, I think" reply Peter and the others.
"What did she want?"
"She told us to wait here. We shall soon find out."
Some people have come near them in the meantime and are waiting curiously. The woman comes back with other Romans. "So You are the Master?" asks one who looks like a servant of a rich family. After receiving an answer in the affirmative, he asks: "Would it upset You if You had to cure the little daughter of one of Claudia's friends? The child is choking to death and the doctor does not know the cause of it. She was all right last night. This morning she is in agony."
"Let us go."
They take a few steps along a street towards the place where they were yesterday and they arrive at a wide open main entrance of a house where Romans appear to be living.
"Just a moment." The man rushes in and almost immediately looks out again and says: "Come in."
But before Jesus can go in, a young ladylike woman comes out. Her extremely pitiful state is very obvious. She is holding in her arms a little child, only a few months old, completely inert, livid with suffocation. I would say that she is suffering from a lethal diphtheritis and is about to breathe her last. The woman clings to Jesus' chest like a shipwrecked person to a rock. Her tears prevent her from speaking.
Jesus takes the baby, whose very pale tiny hands with nails already blue are shaken by fits, and lifts her up. Her little head hangs down motionless. The mother, no longer a proud Roman in front of a Jew, has fallen at Jesus' feet, in the dust, sobbing, her face raised, her hair dishevelled, pulling at Jesus' tunic and mantle with her outstretched arms. Behind and round her there are Romans of the household and Jewish women of the town, looking at her.
Jesus wets His right hand forefinger with saliva, puts it into the little panting mouth, pressing it down the throat. The child writhes and becomes darker in the face. The mother cries: "Don't! Don't!" and she writhes as if she were pierced by a blade. The people are holding their breath.
Jesus pulls His finger out with a mass of putrid membranes. The child writhes no longer, cries for a few seconds, then calms down and smiles innocently, shaking her hands and moving her lips like a little bird, that chirps flapping its little wings while waiting to be fed.
"Take her, woman. Feed her. She is cured."
The mother is so bewildered that she takes the child and still kneeling in the dust she kisses and caresses her and breast-feeds her. She seems to be out of her wits, as if she had forgotten everything except her child.
A Roman asks Jesus: "How did You do that? I am the Proconsul's doctor and I am clever. I tried to remove the obstruction, but it was too far down!... But You... so..."
"You are clever. But the True God is not with you. May He be blessed. Goodbye." And Jesus is about to go away.
But a small group of Israelites feel they should interfere. "Why did You take the liberty of approaching foreigners? They are corrupted and unclean, and whoever approaches them, becomes such."
They are three and Jesus stares at them severely and then says: "Are you not Haggai, the man from Azotus, who came here last Tishri to negotiate business with the merchant at the foundation of the old fountain? And are you not Joseph of Ramah, who came here to consult the Roman doctor, and you know, as well as I do, why? So? Do you not feel unclean?"
"A doctor is never a stranger. He cures bodies and all bodies are alike."
"And souls are even more so. After all, what did I cure? The innocent body of a child and by doing so I hope to cure the souls of strangers, which are not innocent. Therefore both as a doctor and as the Messiah I can approach anybody."
"No, You cannot."
"No, Haggai? And why do you deal with the Roman merchant?"
"I only approach him through goods and money."
"And as you do not touch his body, but only what was touched by his hands, you do not think that you are contaminated. Oh! How blind and cruel you all are!
Listen, everybody. In the very book of the Prophet, whose name this man bears, it is written: “Ask the priests this question on the Law: 'If a man carries consecrated meat in the fold of his gown and with this fold touches bread, broth, wine or food of any kind, does such food become holy?' The priests answered: 'No, it does not'. Haggai then said: 'If a man made unclean by contact with a corpse touches any of this, does it become unclean?' The priests answered: 'Yes, it does.' ”
By means of such shifty, false, inconsistent behaviour, you bar and condemn Good and accept only what is profitable to you. Then there is no more indignation, no disgust, no horror. Provided no personal detriment is caused to you, you decide whether a thing is clean or unclean, whether it makes one clean or not. And how can you, liars as you are, state that what has been sanctified by contact with holy flesh or some holy thing, does not make holy what it touches; and what has touched an unclean thing can make unclean what it touches?
Do you not realise that you are belying yourselves, false ministers of a Law of Truth, exploiters of that very same Law, which you twist as if it were a hempen rope, when you are anxious to profit by it, you hypocritical Pharisees? Under religious pretexts you give vent to your human envious malice, entirely human, you desecrators of what belongs to God, revilers and enemies of the Messenger of God. I solemnly tell you that every action, every conclusion, every movement of yours is motivated by a complex shrewd mechanism, where the wheels, springs, weights and rods are your selfishness, your passions, your insincerity, your hatred, your anxiety to overwhelm people, your envy.
Shame! Greedy, trembling, spiteful, you live in the supercilious fear of being overcome by someone who may not belong to your own caste. You thus deserve to be like the one who frightens and irritates you! As Haggai says, of a heap of twenty measures you make one of ten, and of fifty barrels you make twenty, and you pocket all the difference, whereas to set an example to men and for the love to be given to God, you should add something of your own to the heap of the measures and to the number of the barrels, for the benefit of those who are hungry, instead of taking it away. You thus deserve to be made barren by a burning wind and by rust and hail stones, in all the deeds of your hands. Who are those amongst you who come to Me? Those whom you consider dung and filth, who are so ignorant that they do not even know that there is a true God, they come to the One Who brings them that God, Who is present in His deeds and in His words. You, instead, have built a niche for yourselves and you stay in there, as arid and cold as idols awaiting incense and worship. And since you consider yourselves gods, you deem it useless to think of the True God, as one should think of Him, and you consider dangerous that other people, who are not like you, should dare what you do not dare. In fact you cannot dare, because you are idols and servants of the Idol. But he who dares, can do it, because not he, but God works in Him.
Go! Tell those who sent you to spy on Me, that I disdain merchants who do not feel contaminated if they sell goods or their fatherland or the Temple to those from whom they receive money. Tell them that I feel disgusted at the brutes, who worship only their own flesh and blood, for the recovery of which they do not consider the contact with a foreign doctor to be contaminating. Tell them that the measure is the same for everybody and that there are not two measures. Tell them that I, the Messiah, the Just Admirable Counsellor, upon Whom the Spirit of the Lord shall rest with His seven gifts, Who will not judge by what appears to the eyes, but by the secrets of hearts, Who will not condemn according to what His ears hear, but by the spiritual voices He will hear in every man, Who will side with the humble and judge the poor with righteousness, the One Who I am, because that is Who I am, is already judging and smiting those who on the earth are nothing but earth. And the breath of My lip will slay the wicked and destroy their dens, but will be Life and Light, Freedom and Peace for those who desirous of justice and faith will come to My Holy Mountain to be sated with the Science of the Lord. That is Isaiah, is it not?
My people. Everything comes from Adam and Adam comes from My Father. Everything is therefore the work of the Father and it is My duty to gather all men together for the Father. And I bring them to You, o Holy, Eternal, Almighty Father. I shall lead the stray children back to You, after gathering them together by means of loving words, under My pastoral rod, which is like the one Moses raised against the deadly snakes. That You may have Your Kingdom and Your people. And I make no difference because in the depths of all men I see something that shines brighter than fire: a soul, a spark of Your Eternal Brightness. O My eternal desire! O My untiring will!
This is what I want and what I crave for. That the whole earth may sing Your Name. That mankind may call You Father. A Redemption that will save everybody. A fortified will that will make every man obedient to Your will. An eternal triumph that will fill Paradise with an everlasting hosanna... Oh! Multitude of Heavens! Behold, I see the smile of God... and that is the reward compensating all human harshness."
The three men have fled in the hail of reproaches. All the others, both Romans and Jews, are gaping. The Roman woman, with her child, who has sucked her fill and is sleeping peacefully in her lap, is still where she was, almost at Jesus' feet, weeping, overwhelmed by maternal joy and spiritual emotion. Many are moved to tears by the last words of Jesus Who seems to be flashing with glory in His ecstasy.
And Jesus, lowering His eyes and returning with His spirit from Heaven back to the earth, sees the crowd and the mother... and passing by, after waving goodbye to everybody, He caresses her lightly, blessing her for her faith. And He walks away with His disciples, while the crowds, still amazed, remain where they were...
(The young Roman woman, unless it is a casual resemblance, is one of the Roman women who were with Johanna of Chuza on the way to Calvary. As no one here called her by her name, I am not sure.)