404. At Joppa Jesus Speaks to Judas of Kerioth and to Some Gentiles.
20th September 1944.
I see Jesus sitting in the inner yard of a house, which is modest although not splendid. He looks very tired. He is sitting on a stone bench near a well with a low parapet, above which a green pergola forms an arch. The bunches of grapes are just beginning to form. The flowers must have fallen off recently and the tiny grapes are like millet-seeds hanging from small green stalks. Jesus has put His right elbow on His right knee and His chin is resting in the hollow of His hand. At times, He lays His folded arm on the edge of the well and His head on His arm, as if He wished to be more comfortable: as if He wanted to sleep. His hair then falls down veiling His tired face, which, when visible, looks pale and grave, framed by curly red-blondish locks.
A woman goes backwards and forwards, her hands covered with flour, and she passes from a room in the house to a smaller room on the other side of the yard where the oven must be. She looks at Jesus every time she passes, but she does not disturb Him. It must be almost evening, because the sunbeams skim the top of the terraced roof more and more faintly and soon vanish completely.
About a dozen doves are about to descend cooing to the yard for a last meal. They wheel round Jesus, as if they wished to ascertain who is the stranger and distrustfully dare not land on the ground. Jesus forgets His worries and smiles, He stretches out one hand, palm upwards, and says: "Are you hungry? Come" as if He were speaking to human beings. The most daring one alights on His hand, followed by two more. Jesus smiles: "I have nothing" He says in reply to their cooing requests. He then calls in a loud voice: "Woman? Your doves are hungry. Have you any corn for them?"
"Yes, Master. It's in the sack under the porch. I'll come at once."
"Never mind. I will give it to them. I like doing it."
"They will not come to You. They do not know You."
"Oh! They are on My shoulders and even on My head!..."
Jesus is in fact walking with a strange crest: a leaden dove, the breast of which is so iridiscent that is seems a precious breastplate.
The woman looks out of the door incredulously and exclaims: "Oh!"
"See? Doves are better than men, woman. They perceive who loves them. Men... do not."
"Master, forget about what happened. Only a few people hate You. The others, if they do not all love You, at least respect You."
"Oh! I will not lose heart because of that. I only wish to point out to you that animals are often better than men."
Jesus has opened the sack, He puts His long hand into it and pulls out some golden corn, which He places in the folded edge of His mantle. He closes the sack again and returns to the yard, defending Himself from the intrusive doves that want to help themselves. He unfolds His mantle and scatters the corn on the floor and laughs at the bustle and brawl of the greedy birds. The meal is soon over. The doves drink from a hollow dish near the well and look at Jesus again. "Go now. I have nothing else."
They fly about for a little while landing on Jesus' shoulders and knees and then go back to their nests. Jesus becomes engrossed in meditation again.
There is a loud knocking at the door. The woman rushes to open. It is the disciples.
"Come" says Jesus. "Have you given the money to the poor?"
"Yes, Master, we have."
"To the last coin? Remember that what is given to us is not for us, but it is to be given in Charity. We are poor and we live on the mercy of other people. Miserable is the apostle who exploits his mission for human ends!"
"And if one day we are without bread and we are accused of infringing the Law because we imitate sparrows, eating grains of corn as they do, what shall we do?"
"Have you ever lacked anything, Judas? Anything essential since you have been with Me? Have you ever fallen exhausted along the road?"
"When I said to you: “Come” did I promise you comfort and riches? And speaking to those who listen to Me, have I ever said that I will give “My disciples” profit on the Earth?"
"Well, Judas? Why have you changed so much? Do you not know, do you not realise that your dissatisfaction and your indifference grieve Me? Do you not see that your discontent affects also your brothers? Why, Judas, My friend, are you forsaking Me now, whereas you have been called to so great a destiny, and you came to My love and to My Light with so much enthusiasm?"
"Master, I am not forsaking You. I am the one who takes most care of You, of Your interests, of Your success. I would like to see You triumph everywhere, believe me."
"I know. You want that in a human way. It is a great thing. But I do not want that, Judas, My friend... I have come for something by far greater than a human triumph and a human kingdom... I have not come to give My friends the crumbs of a human triumph. But I have come to give you a great, substantial, abundant reward, a reward that is no longer a reward, as it is so complete: it is participation in My eternal Kingdom, it is union in the rights of the children of God... Oh! Judas!
Why are you not elated by this sublime inheritance, which one achieves through renunciation, but which knows no decline?
Come closer to Me, Judas. See? We are alone. The others have understood that I wanted to speak to you, the dispenser of My... riches, of the alms that the Son of Man, the Son of God receives to give them, in the name of God and of Man, to man. And they have withdrawn into the house. We are alone, Judas, in this sweet hour of the evening, when our hearts fly to our remote homes, to our mothers, who certainly think of us, while preparing their solitary supper, and they caress with their hands the place where we used to sit before this hour of God, when His Most Holy Will took us to make Him loved in spirit and truth. Our mothers! Mine, so holy and pure, Who is so fond of you all and prays for you, the friends of Her Jesus... Mine, Who has but this peace, in the anxiety of Her Maternity of Mother of the Christ: to know that I am surrounded by your love... Do not disappoint, do not injure that heart of a Mother, My dear friends. Do not break it through any evil action of yours! Your mother, Judas. Your mother, who the last time we passed through Kerioth could not stop blessing Me and wanted to kiss My feet, because she is happy that her Judas is in the Light of God, and she used to say to Me: “Oh! Master! Make my Judas holy! What does the heart of a mother seek, but the welfare of her child? And which welfare is better than the eternal Good?” In fact! And which welfare, Judas, is there greater than the one to which I want to lead you all, and which one reaches following My Way? Your mother is a holy woman, Judas. A true daughter of Israel. I did not allow her to kiss My feet. Because you are My friends and because in each of your mothers, in every good mother, I see Mine, Judas. And I would like you to see in your mothers Mine, with Her tremendous destiny of Co-Redeemer, and I would like you not to wish to kill Her because... because you would feel that you were killing your own.
Judas, do not weep. Why weep? If you feel no remorse in your heart with regard to your mother or Mine, why shed those tears? Come here, rest your head on My shoulder and tell your Friend your anxiety. Have you done wrong? Do you feel you are about to do wrong? Oh! do not remain alone! Defeat Satan with the help of Him Who loves you. I am Jesus, Judas. I am the Jesus Who cures diseases and expels demons. I am the Jesus Who saves... and Who loves you so much, that He worries at seeing you so enfeebled. I am the Jesus Who teaches to forgive seventy times seven. But I, personally, forgive you not seventy, but seven hundred, seven thousand times... and there is no fault, Judas, there is no fault, Judas, there is no fault, Judas, that I do not forgive, that I do not forgive, that I do not forgive, if the repentant culprit says to Me: “Jesus, I have sinned.” Even less: if he only says: “Jesus!” And even less: if he only looks at Me imploringly. And the first faults that I forgive, do you know, My friend, whom I forgive them? The most guilty and the most repentant. And do you know which are the very first ones that I forgive? Those committed against Me. Judas?... Can you not find one word to reply to your Master?... Is your anguish so severe that it makes words die on your lips? Are you afraid that I may denounce you? Be not afraid! I have been longing for such a long time to speak to you thus, holding you on My heart, like twins in a cradle, born of the same mother, almost one flesh only, two babies who have sucked in turn the same warm nipple, each savouring his brother's saliva together with his mother's sweet milk. I now have you and I will not let you go away until you tell Me that I have cured you. Be not afraid, Judas. I want your confession. But your companions will think that this is a friendly conversation, because after it our faces will beam so much with reciprocal peace and love. And I will get them to believe so more and more, by holding you against My chest at supper this evening, dipping in the dish My own bread for you and offering it to you as to a favourite, and you will be the first to whom I will give the cup, after giving thanks to God. You will be the king of the banquet, Judas. And you will really be so. You will be the Bride of the Groom, o soul that I love, if you become clean and free, depositing your dust in My purifying lap.
Are you not going to speak to tell Me your grief?"
"You have spoken so kindly to me... of my mother... of home... of Your love... A moment of weakness... I am so tired!... And I thought that You had not loved me thus for some time..."
"No. It is not so. Only one thing of what you said is true, and that is that you are tired. But you are not tired of the road, of dust, of the sun, of mud, of crowds. You are tired of yourself. Your soul is tired of your body and of your mind. So tired that it will end extinguished by deadly tiredness. Poor soul, which I called to eternal brightness! Poor soul, which is aware of My love for you and reproaches you for tearing it away from My love! Poor soul, which reproaches you in vain - as in vain I caress you - for acting underhandedly with your Master. But it is not you who acts. It is he who hates you and Me. That is why I said to you: “Do not remain alone.” Now, listen. You know that I spend most of My nights in prayer. If one day you should feel the courage of being a man and you wanted to be Mine, come to Me when your companions are sleeping. Stars, flowers, birds are good wise witnesses. And they are discreet and compassionate. They are struck with horror at the crime committed in their presence, but they do not utter any word to say to men: “This man is the Cain of his brother.” Have you understood, Judas?"
"Yes, Master, I have. But believe Me: I am only tired and deeply moved. I love You with all my heart and..."
"All right. That is enough."
"Will You give me a kiss, Master?"
"Yes, Judas. I will give you a kiss now and many in future..."
Jesus draws a heavy sigh, with grief. But He kisses Judas on the cheek. He then takes his head between the palms of His hands, and holding it tight, in front of Himself, only a few inches from His face, gazes at him, scrutinises him, pierces him with His magnetic eyes. And Judas, a wretched miserable man, does not turn a hair. He seemingly remains impassive while being examined. He only grows wan and closes his eyes for a moment. And Jesus kisses his closed eyelids, his lips and then his heart, bending His head to look for the heart of His disciple... and He says: "There you are: to dispel haze, to make you feel Jesus' kindness and fortify your heart." He then lets him go and directs His steps towards the house, followed by Judas.
"You have come at the right moment, Master! Everything is ready. We were waiting only for You" says Peter.
"Well. I was speaking to Judas about many things... Is that right, Judas? We will also have to see to that poor old man whose son was killed."
"Ah!" Judas leaps at the good opportunity to recover completely and divert the suspicion of the others, if they had any. "Ah! You know, Master? We were stopped today by a group of Gentiles along with Jews of the Roman colonies in Greece. They asked many questions. We replied as best we could. But we certainly did not convince them. However they were kind to us and gave us much money. Here it is, Master. We will be able to do much good with it." And Judas produces a large purse of soft leather that gives a silvery sound when laid on the table. It is the size of a child's head.
"All right, Judas. You will distribute the money impartially. What did the Gentiles want to know?"
"Information on future life... whether man has a soul and whether it is immortal. They mentioned the names of their masters. But... what could we say?"
"You should have told them to come."
"We told them. Perhaps they will come."
They continue to eat. Judas is near Jesus Who gives him some bread dipped into the sauce in the dish containing some roast meat.
They are eating small black olives, when they hear someone knock at the door. And shortly afterwards the landlady enters saying: "Master, You are wanted."
"Who are they?"
"But it's not possible!", "The Master is tired!", "He has been walking and speaking all day!", "In any case! Gentiles in the house! Now then!". The Twelve are in a turmoil, like a beehive which has been disturbed.
"Hush! Peace! It does not trouble Me to listen to those who look for Me. It is relaxation to Me."
"It might be a trap! At this time of the day!..."
"No. It is not. Be calm and have a rest. I rested while waiting for you. I will go. I will not ask you to come with Me... although... although I tell you that it is to the Gentiles that you will have to take your Judaism, which will be nothing but Christianity. Wait for Me here."
"Are You going alone! No! Never!" says Peter standing up.
"Stay where you are. I am going alone."
He goes out. He looks out of the main door. In the twilight there are many men waiting for Him.
"Peace be with you. Do you want Me?"
"Hail, Master" replies an old imposing man. He is wearing a Roman garment that shows under a short round mantle with hood on his head. "We spoke to your disciples today. But they could not tell us much. We would like to speak to You."
"Are you the ones of the rich offering? Thank you on behalf of the poor of God." Jesus turns round towards the landlady and says: "Woman, I am going out with these people. Tell My disciples to come and meet Me near the seashore because, if I am right, these people are merchants of the trade centre..."
"And seafarers, Master. You are right."
They all go out together on to the main road, which is bright in the moonlight.
"Have you come from afar?" Jesus is in the middle of the group and beside Him there is the old man who spoke previously, a handsome old man with a sharp Latin profile. On the other side there is another elderly man, whose features are clearly Jewish. Around them there are two or three thin people with olive complexion, lively and somewhat ironical eyes, and then some sturdier people of different ages: about a dozen people all together.
"We come from the Roman colonies in Greece and Asia. Some of us are Jews, some Gentiles... That is why we dared not come... But we were assured that You do not despise Gentiles... as other people do... The observant Judaeans, I mean, those of Israel, because elsewhere also Judaeans are not so severe. In fact I, a Roman, am married to a Judaean from Lycaonia, whereas this gentleman, a Jew from Ephesus, is married to a Roman woman."
"I do not despise anybody... But we must be indulgent to those who cannot yet consider that: As there is one only Creator, all men are of one blood."
"We know that You are great among philosophers. And what You say confirms it. You are great and good."
"He is good who does good things. Not who speaks well."
"You speak well and do good things. So You are good."
"What did you want to know from Me?"
"Today, forgive us, Master, if we annoy You with our inquisitiveness. But it is a good inquisitiveness because it seeks the Truth with love... Today we wanted to learn from Your disciples the truth concerning a doctrine, which was already mentioned by ancient philosophers of Greece and which You, so we are told, are now preaching once again, making it more extensive and beautiful. Eunice, my wife, spoke to some Judaeans who had heard You, and she repeated Your words to me. Eunice, You know, is Greek and learned and she knows the words of the wise men of her country. She found a resemblance between Your words and those of a great Greek philosopher. And Your words have reached also Ephesus. And as we came to this port, some on business and some to celebrate the rite, we found ourselves among friends and we talked. Business does distract people from thinking also of other higher matters. After filling our emporia and holds, we have time to resolve our doubt. You say that a soul is eternal. Socrates said that It is immortal. Do You know the words of the Greek master?"
"No. I did not study in the schools of Rome and Athens. But tell Me. I will understand you just the same. I am acquainted with the thought of the Greek philosopher."
"Socrates, contrary to what we Romans believe, and also to what your Sadducees think, states and maintains that man has a soul and that it is immortal. Consequently he says that death is nothing but liberation for the soul that passes from prison to a free place, where it joins those whom it loved and where it meets the wise men with whose wisdom it was acquainted, and great people, heroes, poets, and where it no longer finds injustice or sorrow. There is instead eternal happiness in a peaceful residence open to the immortal souls which lived in justice. What do You say, Master?"
"I solemnly tell you that the Greek master, although in the error of a false religion, was stating the truth saying that the soul is immortal. As a searcher after truth and a lover of Virtue, he heard the Voice of the unknown God whisper in the depth of his soul: the Voice of the True God, of the Only God: the Most High Father from Whom I come to take men to the Truth. Man has a soul, One, True, Eternal, Mistress, worthy of reward and of punishment. It is entirely his. Created by God it is destined in God's Thought to go back to God. You, Gentiles, devote yourselves too much to the cult of your bodies. The human body is really a wonderful work, on which there is the mark of the eternal Finger. You admire your minds too much; man's mind is a jewel enclosed in the coffer of his head from which it sends forth its sublime beams. A great celestial gift of God Creator, Who made you according to His Thought with regard to your figure, that is, a perfect work of organs and members, and He gave you His likeness with His Thought and Spirit. But the perfection of the likeness is in the Spirit. Because God has no members or dull flesh, as He is not subject to sensuality or incentive of lust. But He is a most pure Spirit, He is eternal, perfect, immutable, indefatigable in acting, continuously reviving in His works, which He paternally adapts to the ascensional march of His creature. The spirit, created in all men by the same Source of power and bounty, knows no variation of the original perfection, but knows many of them after it is infused in the body. One only is the uncreated and most perfect Spirit, and it has always been such. Three are the spirits that were created perfect and..."
"You are one, Master."
"Not I. In My body I have the divine Spirit that was not created, but was generated by the Father through exuberance of Love. And I have the soul created for Me by the Father, as I am, now, the Man. A perfect soul as befits the Man God. But I am speaking of other spirits."
"The two first parents from whom the race descends; they were created perfect and then they voluntarily fell into imperfection. The third one, created for the delight of God and of the Universe, is too superior to the possibilities of thought and faith of the present world to be pointed out to you. The spirits, as I was saying, created by the same Source with the same degree of perfection, are subject, through their own will and merit, to a double metamorphosis." "So You admit a second life?"
"There is but one life. In it the soul, which was originally made in God's likeness, passes, through justice faithfully practiced in everything, to a more perfect likeness, I would say, to a second creation of itself, whereby it evolves towards a double likeness to its Creator, becoming capable of possessing holiness, which is perfection of justice and likeness of children to the Father. It is to be found in the blessed souls, that is in those who your Socrates says live in Hades. Whereas I say that when Wisdom will have spoken its words and signed them with its blood, they will be the blessed souls of Paradise, that is, of the Kingdom of God."
"And where are they now?"
"Of the Sacrifice. Of Forgiveness. Of Liberation."
"They say that the Messiah will be the Redeemer, and that You are such... Is it true?"
"It is true. It is I Who am speaking to you."
"So, You will have to die? Why, Master? The world is in such great need of Light, and You want to leave it?"
"You, a Greek, are asking Me this? You, who are dominated by Socrates' words?"
"Master, Socrates was a just man. You are holy. Consider how much the Earth needs holiness."
"It will be raised to the ten thousandth power for each sorrow, each wound and drop of My Blood."
"By Jove! Never was there a Stoic greater than You, as You do not just preach the contempt of life, but You are preparing Yourself to throw it away."
"I do not despise life. I love it as the most useful thing to buy the salvation of the world."
"But You are too young, Master, to die!"
"Your philosopher says that what is holy is dear to the gods, and you said that I am holy. If I am holy I must long to go back to the Holiness from Which I came. So never young enough not to have such longing. Socrates also says that he who is holy loves to do things pleasant to the gods. What is more pleasant than restoring to the embrace of the Father the children whom sin had banished, and giving man peace with God, the source of all wealth?"
"You say that You do not know Socrates' words. How come then, that You know the ones You have spoken?"
"I know everything. The thoughts of men, when they are good thoughts, are nothing but the reflection of a thought of Mine. When a thought is not good, it is not Mine, but I have read it in the succession of times and I knew, I know and will know, when it was, is and will be spoken. I know."
"Lord, come to Rome, the light of the world. You are surrounded by hatred here. You will be surrounded by veneration there."
"It would surround man, not the Master of the supernatural. I have come for the supernatural. I must bring it to the children of the People of God, although they are the most stubborn against the Word."
"So Rome and Athens will not have You?"
"They will have Me. Be not afraid. They will have Me. Those who want Me will have Me."
"But if they are going to kill You..."
"The spirit is immortal. The spirit of every man is immortal. Will Mine not be so, the Spirit of the Son of God? I will come with My active Spirit... I will come... I can see numberless crowds and the Houses erected in My Name... I am everywhere... I will speak in cathedrals and in hearts... My evangelization will know no rest... The Gospel will travel all over the Earth... all good people towards Me... and there... I go by at the head of My multitude of saints and I lead it to Heaven. Come to the Truth..."
"Oh! Lord! Our souls are enveloped in formulae and errors. How can we open the doors to them?"
"I will unlock the doors of Hell, I will open the doors of your Hades and of My Limbo. And will I not be able to open yours? Say: “I want it” and like locks made with wings of butterflies they will collapse as if they were pulverised at the passing of My Ray."
"Who will come in Your Name?"
"See that man who is coming here with the other fellow who is little more than a teenager? They will come to Rome and to the world. And many more with them. As solicitous as they are now, for My love that spurs them and gives them no rest but beside Me, they will come, for the sake of those redeemed by My Blood, to gather you together and lead you to the Light. Peter! John! Come here. I think I have finished and I can be with you. Have you anything else to tell Me?"
"Nothing else, Master. We will go away taking Your words with us."
"May they germinate within you with eternal roots. Go. Peace be with you."
And the vision ends...
Jesus says also to me: "Are you exhausted? A laborious dictation. A dictation rather than a vision. But the subject is wanted by certain people. Who? You will know on My Day. Now you may go in peace as well."
Of my own I wish to add that the conversation of Jesus with the Gentiles took place along the sea-front of a seaside-town. In the moonlight one could see very clearly the calm waves lap the rocks of the breakwater of a large port full of ships. I could not mention this before because the group spoke all the time and if I had described the place I would have lost the thread of the conversation. They spoke walking up and down a long stretch of the seafront near the port. The place is solitary as there are no passengers and the seafarers have all gone back to the boats, the red lamps of which can be seen shining like rubies in the night. I do not know which town it is. It is certainly beautiful and important (1).
(1) It is the town of Joppa, as mentioned at the end of Chapter 403.