257. Jesus Reveals to James of Alphaeus His Future Apostolic Mission.
20th August 1945.
It is the same time on the following day.
James is still in the fissure of the mountain and is sitting all curled up, with his head almost resting on his knees, which are drawn up and embraced by his arms. He is either engrossed in meditation or sleeping. I do not know which. He is certainly unaware of what is happening around him, that is, of the fight of two large birds, which for some private reason are duelling fiercely on the little meadow. I would say that they are mountain-cocks, or wood-grouse or pheasants, because they are the size of a cockerel, with variegated feathers but they have no combs, but only a helmet of flesh, as red as coral, on the top of their heads and on their cheeks, and I can assure you (1) that if their heads are small, their beaks must be like steel spikes. Feathers fly in the air and blood falls on to the ground in a dreadful noise, which has caused all whistling, trilling and warbling to come to an end among branches. Perhaps the little birds are watching the wild fight. James does not hear anything. Jesus does hear and comes down from the hill top to which He had climbed and clapping His hands He separates the two opponents, which fly away bleeding, one towards the mountain side, the other to an oak-tree on the top, where it tidies its shaggy ruffled feathers.
James does not raise his head even at the noise made by Jesus, Who takes a few more steps smiling and stops in the middle of the little meadow. His white tunic seems to become tinged with red on the right hand side, so deep is the crimson of sunset. The sky seems to be catching fire. And yet James cannot be asleep, because as soon as Jesus whispers, He just whispers: "James, come here", he lifts his head from his knees, frees his legs from the embrace of his arms, stands up and comes towards Jesus. He stops a couple of paces before him and looks at Him.
Jesus returns the glance, gravely but encouraging him at the same time by means of a smile, which is not formed by His lips or His eyes, and yet is visible. He stares at James, as if He wanted to read the slightest reaction and emotion of His cousin and apostle, who, feeling as on the previous day, that he is about to receive a revelation, turns pale and becomes even paler until he is as white as his linen tunic when Jesus raises His arms and lays His hands on his shoulders, and remains thus with arms stretched forth. James then looks just like a sacred host. Only his mild dark brown eyes and his brown beard give some colour to his expectant face.
"James, My brother, do you know why I wanted you here, all by ourselves, to speak to you after hours of prayer and meditation?"
James seems to find it difficult to reply, as he is so deeply moved. But at last he replies in a low voice: "To give me a special lesson; or with regard to the future or because I am the least capable of all. I thank You from this moment, even if it is for a reproach. But, believe me, My Master and Lord, if I am slow and incapable, it is due to inborn deficiency, not to poor will."
"It is not a reproach but a lesson for the time when I shall no longer be with you. During the last months you have pondered in your heart over what I told you one day, at the foot of this mountain, when I promised to come here with you, not only to speak of the prophet Elijah and to watch the infinite sea shining over there, but to speak to you of another sea, greater, more changeable and untrustworthy than this one, which today looks like the most placid of all seas, and yet in a few hours it may swallow boats and men in its voracious hunger. And you have always linked what I told you then to the idea that your coming here had some connection with your future destiny... In fact you are now becoming paler and paler, as you realise that it is a grave destiny, a heritage full of such responsibility as to cause even a hero to tremble. A responsibility and a mission to be fulfilled with all the holiness that is possible in man in order not to disappoint the will of God.
Be not afraid, James. I do not want your ruin. Therefore if I destine you to it, it means that I know that you will not receive any harm from it, but only supernatural joy. Listen, James. Set your heart at rest, through a fine act of abandonment to Me, so that you may be able to hear and remember My words. Never again shall we be all alone as we are now and with our souls so prepared to understand each other.
I will go one day, like every man who has a limited period of time to stay on the earth. My stay will come to an end in a way that is different from that of men, but it will still come to an end, and you will no longer have Me with you, except through My Spirit which, I can assure you, will never desert you. I will go after giving you what is necessary to enable My Doctrine to make progress in the world, after completing the Sacrifice and obtaining Grace for you. By means of that Grace and of the sapiential septiform Fire you will be able to do what you would now consider madness and presumption even to imagine. I will go and you will remain. And the world that did not understand Christ will not understand the apostles of Christ. You will therefore be persecuted and dispersed as the greatest danger to the welfare of Israel. But since you are My disciples you must be happy to suffer the same afflictions as your Master suffered.
One day in the month of Nisan I said to you: “You will be the one who is left of the prophets of the Lord.” Your mother, by spiritual ministry, almost understood the meaning of those words. But before they come true for My apostles, they will be realised with regard to you. James, everybody will be dispersed, except you, and that until you are called by God to His Heaven. You will remain in the place to which God will have elected you through the word of your brothers, you, the descendant of the royal race, in the royal city, to raise My sceptre and speak of the true King. Of the King of Israel and of the world, according to a sublime regality that no one understands except those to whom it is revealed. They will be days when you will need strength, perseverance, patience and unlimited sagacity. You will have to be just with charity and with the pure simple faith of a child, but at the same time erudite as becoming a true master in order to support faith attacked in many hearts by so many enemies, and to confute the errors of false Christians and the doctrinaire quibbles of old Israel, which is blind now and will become even more blind after killing the Light and will twist the words of the prophets and even the instructions of the Father from Whom I come, to convince the world and itself, in order to give itself peace, that I was not the One of Whom patriarchs and prophets spoke. They will instead state that I was a poor man, a madman, a dreamer, according to the better ones, a possessed heretic according to the worse ones of old Israel.
I beg you then to be another Myself. No, it is not impossible! It is possible. You will have to bear in mind your Jesus, His actions, His words, His deeds. You will have to become molten in Me, as if you lay in the clay mould used by those who melt metals to shape them. I will always be present, so present and alive with you, My faithful ones, that you will be able to unite yourselves to Me and form another Me, if you only wish so. But you, who have been with Me since our earliest youth and have received the food of Wisdom from the hands of Mary, even before you received it from Mine, you who are the nephew of the most just man that Israel had, you must be a perfect Christ..."
"I cannot, I cannot, Lord! Give that task to my brother. Give it to John, to Peter Simon, to the other Simon. But not to me, my Lord! Why to me? What have I done to deserve it? Can't You see that I am a poor man capable of one thing only: that is, to love You and firmly believe what You say?"
"Judas' character is too strong. He will do well where paganism is to be demolished. Not here, where those who are to be convinced of the Christian faith believe that they are absolutely right, as they already are the people of God. Not here, where those are to be persuaded, who although they believe in Me, will be disappointed at the course of events. They are to be convinced that My Kingdom is not of this world, but it is the entirely spiritual Kingdom of Heaven, the prelude to which is a Christian life, that is, a life in which spiritual values are the prevailing ones.
Persuasion is achieved by means of firm kindness. Woe to those who catch people by their throats to persuade them. They will say: “yes” at the moment, to be freed from the grip. But they will run away without looking back and they will refuse any further discussion, if they are not wicked, but only misguided. But if they are wicked or simply fanatics, they will run away to get armed and kill the overbearing assertor of doctrines different from theirs. And you will be surrounded by fanatics. There will be fanatics among Christians and among Israelites. The former will expect you to take strong action or will claim authority from you to take strong action themselves. Because old Israel, with its intolerance and restrictions, will still be wriggling its poisonous tail amongst them. The latter will march against you and the others, as if they were fighting a holy war to defend the old Faith, its symbols and ceremonies. And you will be in the middle of the stormy sea.
Such is the fate of leaders. And you will be the leader of all those belonging to the Jerusalem converted to Christianity by your Jesus. You will have to know how to love perfectly in order to lead them holily. You will have to oppose your heart to the weapons and anathemas of the Jews, and not offer resistance with other weapons and anathemas. Never take the liberty of imitating the Pharisees in judging the Gentiles as filth. I have come for them as well, because the humiliation of God in taking flesh liable to death would have been out of proportion if done for Israel alone. Because while it is true that My Love would have made Me become incarnate with joy for the salvation of one only soul, Justice, which is also a divine perfection, demands that Infinite be humiliated for an infinity: for Mankind. You will have to be kind to them as well, in order not to repel them, confining yourself to being firm with regard to My doctrine, but indulging as far as other forms of life different from ours, and material matters are concerned, without any detriment to souls. But you will have to fight hard with your brothers over that, because Israel is enveloped in practices that are external only and useless, as they do not change souls. You instead must be concerned only with the spirit, and you must teach others to do the same. Do not expect Gentiles to change their habits all of a sudden. You will not change yours with one blow either. Do not remain anchored at your rock. Because to pick up wreckage at sea and take it to the dockyard and reshape it for a new life, it is necessary to sail and not remain still. And you must go and look for wreckage. There is some in paganism and also in Israel. Beyond the boundless sea there is God, Who opens His arms to all His creatures, whether they are rich because of their holy origin, like Israelites, or poor, because pagans. I said: “You shall love your neighbour.” Your neighbour is not only your relative or countryman. Also the Hyperborean, whose face is unknown to you, is your neighbour, as well as the man who is now admiring dawn in regions of which you are unaware, or the man who travels on the fabulous mountain chains covered with snow in Asia, or drinks at a river flowing in the unknown forests in central Africa. And if a worshipper of the sun should come to you, or one whose god is the voracious crocodile, or one who believes that he is Wisdom reincarnate, who understood the Truth, but did not grasp its Perfection, neither did he give it as Health to his faithful ones, or should a nauseated citizen of Rome or Athens come to you asking: “Give me knowledge of God”, you cannot and must not say to them: “I reject you because it would be a profanation to take you to God.” Bear in mind that they do not know, whereas Israel does. And yet many people in Israel are and will be really more idolatrous and cruel than the most barbarian idolater in the world, and they will not sacrifice human victims to this or to that idol, but to themselves, to their pride, avid for blood after they have become parched with an unquenchable thirst, which will last until the end of centuries. That terrible thirst maybe quenched only by drinking once again and with faith what caused it. But it will then be the end of the world, because Israel will be the last to say: “We believe that You are God and the Messiah”, notwithstanding all the proofs that I have given and will give of My Divinity.
You will watch and ensure that the faith of Christians is not vain. It would be vain if it consisted only of words or hypocritical practices. It is the spirit that vivifies. There is no spirit in mechanical or Pharisaic practices, which are but sham faith and not true faith. What would it avail man to sing praises to God in the congregation of believers, if every action of his is an imprecation to God, Who does not become the laughing-stock of such believer, but in His paternity, always maintains His prerogatives of God and King?
Watch and ensure that nobody takes a place not belonging to him. The Light will be given by God according to your situation. God will never let you be without Light, unless Grace is extinguished in you by sin. Many will love to be called: “master.” One only is your Master: He Who is speaking to you; and one only is your Mistress: the Church, which perpetuates Him. In the Church those will be masters who have been consecrated with the special appointment to teach. But among the believers there will be some who by the will of God and their own holiness, that is because of their good will, will be overwhelmed by the vortex of Wisdom and will speak. There will be others, who are not wise themselves but are docile instruments in the hands of artisans, and they will speak in the name of the Artisan, repeating, like good children, what the Father tells them to say, although they do not understand the full meaning of the words they speak. And finally there will be those who speak as if they were masters, and their magniloquence will deceive simple people, but they will be proud, hard-hearted, jealous, irascible, liars and lustful. While I tell you to receive the words of the wise in the Lord and of the sublime children of the Holy Spirit, helping them to understand the depth of divine words, because if they are the bearers of the Divine Voice, you, My apostles, will always be the teachers of My Church, and you must assist those who are supernaturally tired of the enrapturing and grave richness that God has granted them that they may take it to their brothers, so I say to you: reject the false words of false prophets, whose lives are not in accordance with My doctrine. A holy life, mildness, purity, charity and humility will never be lacking in the wise and little voices of God. They will always be lacking in the others.
Watch and ensure that there are no jealousy and slander, or resentment or desire for revenge in the congregation of believers. Watch and ensure that the flesh does not overwhelm the spirit. He, whose spirit does not control his body, could not withstand persecutions.
James, I know that you will do it, but promise your Brother that you will not disappoint Me."
"But my Lord! I am afraid of one thing only: that I am not capable of doing it. My Lord, I beg You, give that task to someone else."
"No. I cannot..."
"Simon of Jonah loves You, and You love him..."
"Simon of Jonah is not James of David."
"John! John, the learned angel, make him Your servant here."
"No. I cannot. Neither Simon nor John possess that nothingness, which is, however, so important with men: kinship. You are a relative of Mine. After refusing to acknowledge Me, the better part of Israel will endeavour to be forgiven by God and by themselves and will make an effort to know the Lord Whom they cursed in the hour of Satan, and they will feel they have been forgiven, and will thus feel strong to come on to My Way, if one of My blood is in My place. James, great things have been accomplished upon this mountain. Here the fire of God consumed not only the holocaust, the wood and stones, but even the dust and the very water that was in the ditch. James, do you believe that God can do again such a thing, burning and consuming all the materiality of the man-James to make a James-fire of God? We have been speaking while the setting sun has inflamed our tunics. Do you think that the brightness of the chariot that took Elijah away, was like this or more or less refulgent?"
"Much more refulgent because it was made of heavenly fire."
"Consider therefore what a heart will be, when it has been turned into fire to have in itself God, because God wants it to perpetuate His Word preaching the Gospel of Salvation."
"But You, Word of God, eternal Word, why do You not remain?" "Because I am Word and Flesh. By the Word I must teach, and by the Flesh, redeem."
"Oh! My Jesus, how will You redeem? What have You to face?"
"James, remember the prophets."
"But are their words not allegoric? Can You, the Word of God, be manhandled by men? Do they perhaps not mean that Your divinity, Your perfection will be tormented but nothing more than that? My mother is worried about Judas and me, but I am worried about You and Mary, and also about ourselves, because we are so weak. Jesus, if men should overwhelm You, do You not think that many of us would believe You to be guilty, and being disappointed, would abandon You?"
"I am sure of it. There will be confusion among all My disciples. But then peace will reign, and there will be a cohesion of all the better parts, upon which the fortifying wise Spirit: the Divine Spirit will come, after My sacrifice and My triumph."
"Jesus, in order that I may not deviate and may not be scandalised in the dreadful hour, tell me: what will they do to You?"
"You are asking Me a great thing."
"Tell me, my Lord."
"It will be a torture for you to know it exactly."
"It does not matter. For the love that has united us..."
"It is not to be known."
"Tell me and then cancel it from my memory until the hour it is to be accomplished. Then bring it back to my memory, together with the remembrance of this hour. I will thus not be scandalised and I will not become Your enemy in the depth of my heart."
"It will be of no avail, because you, too, will yield to the storm."
"Tell me, my Lord!"
"I shall be accused, betrayed, captured, tortured, crucified."
"No!" shouts James writhing as if he had been struck to death. "No!" he repeats. "If they do that to You, what will they do to us? How shall we be able to continue Your work? I cannot accept the position You have destined to me... I cannot... When You die, I will die too, having no more strength. Jesus, listen to me! Don't leave me without You. Promise me at least that!"
"I promise that I will come and guide you with My Spirit, after My glorious Resurrection has freed Me from the restrictions of matter. You and I will be again one thing only, as we are now that you are between My arms" James in fact has begun to weep on Jesus' chest. "Do not weep any more. Let us come out of this bright and painful hour of ecstasy, as one comes out from the shadow of death, remembering everything except the act of dying, a fright that freezes one's blood and lasts but one minute, and as an accomplished fact it lasts forever. Come I will kiss you thus, to help you forget the burden of My fate as Man. You will remember all this at the right moment, as you asked. Here, I kiss your lips that will have to repeat My words to the people of Israel, and your heart that will have to love as I told you, and there, on your temple, where life will cease together with the last word of loving faith in Me. My beloved brother, I will come to you and be with you in the meetings of believers, in the hour of meditation, in those of danger and in the hour of your death! No one, not even your angel, will receive your spirit, because I will, with a kiss, thus..."
They remain embraced for a long time and James seems to doze off in the joy of God's kisses that make him forget his suffering. When he lifts his head, he has become once again James of Alphaeus, peaceful and kind, so much like Joseph, the spouse of Mary. He smiles at Jesus, his smile is more mature, somewhat sad, but always so sweet.
"Let us take our food, James, and then we shall sleep under the stars. At daybreak we shall go down to the valley... back to men..." and Jesus sighs... But He ends with a smile: "...and to Mary."
"And what shall I tell my mother, Jesus? And my companions? They will ask me many questions..."
"You can tell them everything I told you, making you consider Elijah in his answers to Ahab, to the people on the mountain, and meditating on the power of a man loved by God to achieve what is wanted of people and all the elements, his zeal, which devours him, for the Lord, and how I made you consider that with peace and in peace one understands and serves God. You will say to them as I said to you: “Come”, and as Elijah put his mantle on Elisha, so you by the mantle of charity will be able to gain for the Lord new servants of God. And to those who are always worried, say that I drew to your attention the joyful freedom from past things, which Elisha shows, when he got rid of the oxen and plough. Tell them how I reminded you that evil and no good befalls those who want miracles through Beelzebub, as it happened to Ahaziah, according to the word of Elijah. And finally tell them, how I promised you that for those who are faithful until death, the purifying fire of Love will come to burn their imperfections and take them straight to Heaven. The rest is for you only."
(1) Maria Valtorta is addressing her confessor