273. Jesus Walks on the Water.
4th March 1944.
It is late in the evening, almost night, because I can hardly see on the path that climbs up a hillock studded with trees, which I think are olives. But the light is so faint that I am not sure. The trees are not tall, but they are leafy and twisted, characteristically olive.
Jesus is alone. He is wearing a white tunic and a dark blue mantle. He climbs and enters the grove. He is striding resolutely. He is not walking fast, but as He strides, He goes a long way without rushing. He walks until He reaches a kind of natural balcony overlooking the lake, which is peaceful and quiet in the light of the stars already crowding the sky like bright eyes. Silence surrounds Jesus with its restful embrace. It detaches Him from the crowds and from the earth, making Him forget them and uniting Him to the sky, which seems to descend to worship the Word of God and caress Him with the light of its stars.
He is praying in His habitual posture: standing with His arms stretched out crosswise. There is an olive-tree behind Him and He seems to be already crucified to its dark trunk. Tall as He is, the leafy branches are only a little above Him and they replace the inscription on the Cross with a word consonant to the Christ. There: "King of the Jews". Here: "Prince of Peace". The peaceful olive-tree speaks the truth to those who can understand it. He prays for a long time. He then sits at the foot of the tree, on a thick protruding root, and assumes His habitual attitude with His hands interlocked and His elbows resting on His knees. He meditates. I wonder into which conversation He falls with His Father and the Spirit, now that He is alone and can be entirely of God. God with God!
I think that many hours go by thus because I see that stars have changed their position and many have already set in the west.
Just when the appearance of light, or rather of luminosity, because it cannot be called light as yet, becomes visible on the remote eastern horizon, a puff of wind shakes the olive-tree. It calms down. It resumes blowing and is stronger and becomes more and more violent at short intervals. The light of dawn, which has just begun, finds it difficult to make its way because of a mass of dark clouds, which have invaded the sky, driven by stronger and stronger gusts of wind. The lake is no longer calm either. I think it is preparing a storm like that I already saw in the vision of the tempest. The noise of the leafy branches and the roar of the water now fill the air, which a little while ago was so calm.
Jesus is roused from His meditation. He stands up and looks at the lake. He scans it in the light of the remaining stars and of the poor sickly dawn and sees the boat of Peter, which is striving hard to reach the opposite shore, but cannot make it. Jesus pulls His mantle tight around Himself, lifting over His head, as if it were a hood, the hanging hem, which would hinder His descent, and runs down, not the road He came up, but a very steep path, which takes one straight to the lake. He runs so fast that He seems to be flying.
When He reaches the shore lashed by the waves, which leave on the shingle an edge of fluffy rustling foam, He continues to walk fast, as if He were treading not on a restlessly tossing liquid element, but on the smoothest most solid pavement on the earth. He now becomes light. All the faint light that still comes from the few dying stars and the stormy dawn seems to converge on Him, gathering like phosphorescence round His slender body. He flies over the waves, the foamy crests and the dark folds between the waves, with His arms stretched forward, while His mantle swells around His cheeks and flaps as much as possible, tight as it is around His body, like a wing.
The apostles see Him and utter a cry of fear, which the wind carries towards Jesus.
"Be not afraid. It is I." Jesus' voice, although the wind is against Him, carries clearly over the lake.
"Is it really You, Master?" asks Peter. "If it is You, tell me to come and meet You, walking on the water like You."
Jesus smiles: "Come" He says simply, as if to indicate that to walk on the water were the most natural thing in the world.
And Peter, half naked as he is, that is wearing only a short sleeveless tunic, jumps overboard and walks towards Jesus.
But when he is about fifty yards from the boat and as many from Jesus, he is seized with fear. So far his love impetus supported him. Now his human nature overwhelms him and... he fears for his own skin. Like one who is on a slippery ground, or better still, on quicksands, he begins to stagger, to grope, to sink. And the more he gropes and fears, the more he sinks.
Jesus has stopped and looks at him. He is serious and waits. But He does not stretch even one hand; His arms are folded and He does not take one step or utter one word.
Peter is sinking. His malleoli, shins, knees disappear. The water reaches up to his inguen, rises above it, up to his waist. Terror is on his face. Terror paralyses also his thoughts. He is nothing but flesh afraid of sinking. He does not even think of swimming. Nothing. He is hebetated by fear.
At last he decides to look at Jesus. And as soon as he looks at Him, his mind begins to reason and see where salvation is. "Master, my Lord, save me."
Jesus opens His arms and as if He were carried by the wind or by the waves, He rushes towards the apostle and holds out His hand saying: "Oh! what a man of little faith. Why did you doubt Me? Why did you want to do it by yourself?" Peter who had clutched convulsively at Jesus' hand, does not reply. He looks at Him only to ascertain whether He is angry, with a mixture of remaining fear and rising repentance.
But Jesus smiles at him and holds him firmly by the wrist, until they reach the boat and step overboard into it. Then Jesus orders: "Go to the shore. He is soaked through." And He smiles looking at the mortified disciple.
The waves smooth down making it easy to land and the town seen in the past from the height of a hill now looms beyond the shore.
The vision ends here.
"Many times I do not even wait to be called, when I see My children in danger. And many times I rush to help a son who is ungrateful to Me.
You are asleep or you are seized by the worries and anxieties of life. I watch and pray for you. I am the Angel of all men and I look after you and nothing grieves Me more than the impossibility of interference because you refuse My intervention, because you prefer to act on your own, or, worse still, you ask the Evil one to help you. Like a father who hears his son say to him: “I do not love you. I do not want you. Go out of my house”, I am mortified and I suffer more than I did because of My wounds. But if you do not say to Me: “Go away”, and you are absent-minded only because of the worries of life, then I am the Eternal Watchman ready to come even before he is called. And if I wait for you to say a word, as I sometimes do, it is only to hear you call Me.
How pleasant, how sweet it is to hear men call Me. To hear that they remember that I am the “Saviour.” I will not mention the infinite joy that pervades and exalts Me when there is someone who loves Me and calls Me without being in need. He calls Me because he loves Me more than he loves anybody else in the world and is filled with joy, as I am, only by calling: “Jesus, Jesus”, as children call: “Mummy, mummy” and they taste the sweetness of honey on their lips, because the simple word “mummy” has in itself the taste of motherly kisses.
The apostles were rowing obeying My order to go and wait for Me at Capernaum. And I, after the miracle of the loaves, went away from the crowds, all alone, not because I disdained them or because I was tired. I never disdained men, not even when they were bad to Me. I became indignant only when I saw the Law trampled or the house of God desecrated. But then the interests of the Father were involved, not I. And I was on the earth as the first of the servants of God, to serve the Father of Heaven. I was never tired in devoting Myself to the crowds, even when I saw them so dull, sluggish and human as to dishearten even those who had most confidence in their mission. Nay, just because they were so deficient I multiplied My lesson infinitely, I treated them exactly as backward pupils and I guided their spirits in the most elementary discoveries and initiations, just as a patient master guides the inexpert hands of pupils to form the first letters and thus enable them to understand and write. How much love have I given to crowds! I took them by the flesh to lead them to the spirit. I began from the flesh as well. But while Satan through it leads to Hell, I led to Heaven.
I wanted to be all alone to thank the Father for the miracle of the loaves. Thousands of people had been fed. And I exhorted them to say: “Thanks” to the Lord. But once a man has been helped, he forgets to say “thanks.” I said it on their behalf. And afterwards... And afterwards I had merged with My Father, for Whose love I was infinitely sick. I was on the earth, but like a lifeless hide. My soul was thrust towards My Father, Whom I felt leaning on His Word, and I said to Him: “I love You, Holy Father!.” It was a joy to Me to say to Him: “I love You.” To say so as a Man besides as God. I humiliated My feelings as Man, as I offered Him My palpitation as God. I seemed to be the magnet that attracted all the love of men, of men capable of loving God a little and that I gathered all such love and offered it from the bottom of My Heart. I seemed to be the only one to exist: I, the Man, that is the human race, conversing once again with God, in the cool of the evening, as on the innocent days.
But although My blessedness was complete, because it was a blessedness of love, it did not abstract Me from the needs of men. And I became aware of the danger of My children on the lake. And I left Love for the sake of love. Charity must be speedy.
They took Me for a ghost. Oh! how often, My poor children, you take Me for a ghost, for a frightening object! If you always thought of Me, you would know Me at once. But you have other ghosts in your hearts, and that makes you dizzy. But I make Myself known. Oh! if you only listened to Me!
Why was Peter sinking after walking so far? You said it: because his human nature overwhelmed his spirit.
Peter was very much a “man.” Had it been John, he would not have dared immoderately, neither would he have changed his mind. Purity grants prudence and strength. But Peter was “man” in the full meaning of the word. He was anxious to excel, to show that “nobody” loves the Master as he does, he wanted to impose himself, and only because he was one of Mine, he thought he was above the weakness of the flesh. Instead, poor Simon, his results, when he was tested, were far from being sublime. But it was necessary, that he might be later the one who was to perpetuate the mercy of the Master in the dawning Church. Peter is not only overwhelmed by fear for his endangered life, but, as you said, he becomes nothing but “trembling flesh.” He no longer thinks, he no longer looks at Me. You all do the same. The more impending is the danger, the more you want to do things by yourselves. As if you were able to do things! You never go away from Me, or close your hearts to Me or even curse Me, as in the hours when you ought to hope in Me and call Me. Peter does not curse Me. But he forgets Me and I have to impose My will to call his spirit to Me, so that he may look at his Master and Saviour.
I absolve him beforehand of his sin of doubt, because I love him, as this impulsive man, once he is confirmed in grace, will be able to proceed without any further perturbation or tiredness as far as martyrdom, and will be indefatigable in casting his mystical net to take souls to his Master. And when he invokes Me, I do not walk, I fly to help him and I hold him tight to lead him to salvation. My reproach is a mild one because I understand the extenuating circumstances of Peter. I am the best advocate and judge there is and there has ever been. On behalf of everybody.
I understand you, My poor children! And even when I say a word of reproach, My smile mitigates it. I love you. That is all. I want you to have faith. And if you do have it, I will come and take you out of danger. Oh! if the Earth could say: “Master, Lord, save me!.” One cry, of the whole Earth, would be enough, and Satan and his sectarians would be immediately defeated. But you do not know how to have faith. I am multiplying the means to lead you to faith. But they fall into your slime as a stone falls into the slime of a marsh and are buried there.
You do not want to purify the water of your souls, you prefer to be putrid filth. It does not matter. I do My duty as the Eternal Saviour. And even if I cannot save the world because the world does not want to be saved, I will save from