475. Jesus and His Mother in the Wood of Mattathias.
21st August 1946.
Jesus is alone. All alone in a slightly hollow-shaped tableland, which with slight but continuous undulations rises on the slopes of the hills surrounding the lake of Galilee, which I can see below, to the right, as its beautiful blue water becomes darker, because of the oncoming sunset which withdraws the brightly sparkling sunbeams from a wide surface of the lake. Behind the dell, to the north are the mountains of Arbela, and farther back, beyond the lake, the higher mountains of Meiron and Giscala. To north-east, in the distance, the mighty majestic, from whatever side one looks at it, Great Hermon, the highest peak of which is whimsically lit up by the setting sun, so that its western side is a pinkish topaz hue, whilst the rest is an opaline shade verging to the nondescript snowy blue nuance which I have seen at times on the tops of our Alps at the borders.
That is what I see looking north and if I turn to the right I can easily see the lake below, on the left, and the higher hills which obstruct the view of the plain along the coast. But if I face south I can see the Tabor behind smooth hills which are certainly the ones which surround Nazareth. There is a little town down, at the bottom, near a very busy road along which people are hurrying to reach their halting- places.
Jesus does not look at what I am looking. He is only seeking a place where to sit down and He chooses it at the foot of a very powerful holm-oak whose leafy branches have protected the grass growing on the ground around it from dog days, so that it is fresh and thick, as if parching summer had never passed there.
Thus the lake is in front of Jesus, and on His side, among trees, is the path on which He came up, on the opposite side the undulating ground surrounding the northern part of the dell covered with meadows and woods, where He is, and which is completely green, because most trees are holm- oaks, that is evergreens not affected by autumn. Only here and there they show blood-red spots, where leaves change their colour before falling, making room for fresh ones, which in the embryo state are already growing near the withering ones.
Jesus is very tired and leans against the powerful trunk and remains for some time with His eyes closed, to rest. He then takes His usual posture, detaching His back from the trunk, leaning slightly forward, His elbows resting on His knees, His forearms stretched forward, His hands joined and His fingers interlaced. He is pensive. He is certainly praying. Now and again when He hears a noise nearby - birds squabbling over a resting place for the night, some animal among the grass causing a stone, to roll down the mountain side, a branch blown by a solitary gush of wind knocking against another branch - He raises His eyes, and with a pensive glance which certainly does not see, He looks in the direction of the sound, wondering if it comes from the little road that climbs among the holm-oaks. He then lowers His eyes again concentrating on Himself. Twice He looks attentively at the lake which is already in the shade, and then He turns His head looking westwards where the sun has already set behind the woody hills. The second time He stands up and walks towards the path to see whether anybody is coming up, and then He goes back to His place.
Finally the sound of footsteps is heard and two figures appear: Mary wearing a dark blue garment and John laden with bags. John calls twice: "Master!" and as soon as Jesus turns round he says: "Here is Your Mother" and he helps Her to cross a little stream and to step over some large stones placed on the path for the purpose of consolidating it and making it more comfortable for people going up or down, whereas in actual fact they are pitfalls for people wearing light sandals. Jesus gets up at once to meet His Mother and helps Her with John to climb the stones of the collapsed dry wall, which was to support the plateau. In actual fact only the roots of the holm-oaks fulfill that function. Mary is now supported by Her Son Who looks at Her and asks: "Are You tired?"
"No, Jesus" and She smiles at Him.
"But I think that You really are tired. I am sorry that I made You come. But I could not come to You..."
"Oh! it does not matter, Son. I am a little hot. But it is pleasant here... But You are very tired, and poor John, as well..."
But John shakes his head smiling and putting down the new well-packed bag of Jesus and his own on the grass, at the foot of the holm-oak and he withdraws saying: "I am going down. I saw a little fountain. I am going to refresh myself in its water. But if You should call me, I shall hear You" and he goes away leaving the Two free.
Mary unfastens Her mantle and takes off Her veil wiping the perspiration beading Her forehead. She looks at Jesus and smiles at Him, and She drinks in His smile, as He also smiles at Her while caressing Her hand and pressing it against His cheek to be caressed. He is so "filial" in that gesture which I have seen Him make more than once! Mary frees Her hand and tidies up His hair, removing a tiny bit of the bark of a tree from His locks, and each movement of Her fingers is a caress, such is the love with which it is made. And She says: "You are in a sweat, Jesus. Your mantle is wet on the shoulders, as if You had been in the rain. But You can take another one now. I will take this one back. Sunshine and dust have discoloured it. I had everything ready, and... Wait! I know that You have just had something to eat: a crust of stale bread and a handful of olives, which were so salt as to irritate Your throat. I was told by John who did nothing but drink as soon as he arrived. But I brought You some new bread. I had just taken it out of the oven, and a honeycomb which I took from the beehive yesterday, to give it to Simon's children. But I have more honeycombs for them. Take it, Son. It comes from our house..." and She bends to open the bag, in which, on top of all its contents, there is a low wicker basket with some fruit lying on which is a honeycomb enveloped in long vine leaves, and She offers everything to Her Son with some new crisp bread.
And while Jesus is eating, She takes out of the bag the garments which She prepared for the winter months; they are heavy and warm suitable to protect one from cold and rain and She shows them to Jesus, Who says: "How much work, Mother! I still had those of last winter..."
"When men are away from their women, they must have everything new, so that they do not need to have anything mended, in order to be properly dressed. But I have not wasted anything. This mantle of Mine is Your old one, which I shortened and redyed. It is still all right for Me. But not for You. You are Jesus..."
It is impossible to say what there is in this sentence. "You are Jesus". A simple sentence. But all the love of the Mother, of the disciple, of the ancient Hebrew women for the Promised Messiah, of the Hebrew women of the blessed time in which Jesus lived, is in those few words. If the Mother had prostrated Herself worshipping Her Son as God, Her veneration would have been of a limited form. But Her words express something which is more than the formal adoration of knees that bend, of a back that bows, of a forehead that touches the ground: here it is Mary's whole being, Her flesh, blood, mind, heart, spirit, love, adoring the God-Man completely and perfectly.
I have never seen anything greater, more absolute than these adorations of Mary for the Word of God, Who is Her Son, and Who She always remembers is Her God. None of the people whom I see worship their Saviour, after being cured or converted by Jesus, not even the most fervent ones, not even those who inadvertently behave theatrically in their transport of love, have anything like this. They love completely, but always as creatures lacking something to be perfect. Mary loves, I dare say, divinely. She loves more than a creature. Oh! She really is the daughter of God free from sin! That is why She can love thus!... And I think of what man lost through the original Sin... I think of what Satan stole from us by overwhelming our First Parents. He deprived us of the power of loving God as Mary loved Him... He deprived us of the power of loving well. While I am meditating on these matters watching the perfect Couple, Jesus, at the end of His meal, has sat on the grass at Mary's feet, resting His head on Her knees like a tired sad child who takes shelter near the only person who can console him. And Mary caresses His hair, touching Jesus' smooth forehead lightly. She seems to be wishing to dispel all the tiredness and all the grief which are in Her Son by means of Her caresses. Jesus closes His eyes and Mary stops caressing Him; She remains with Her hand resting on His head, looking in front of Her, pensively, still. Perhaps She thinks that Jesus may fall asleep. He is so tired...
But Jesus opens His eyes again almost at once, He sees that it is growing dark, He realises that it is not possible to prolong that hour of solace, so He raises His head, still sitting where He is and He says: "Do You know, Mother, from where I come?"
"Yes, I know. John told Me. Two souls returning to God. A joy for You and for Me."
"Yes. And I am going down to Jerusalem with that joy."
"To make up for the disappointment You received the same day that we parted."
"How do You know? Did John tell You? He is the only one who knows..."
"No. I asked him about it. But John replied: “Mother, You will be seeing Him before long. Ask Him”."
Jesus smiles saying: "John is faithful to a T." There is a pause, then Jesus asks: "So, who spoke to You about it?"
"Not to Me. Some... men came to Your brother Joseph. And... he came to Me. He was still a little... Yes, Son. It is always better to speak the truth. He was somewhat upset after meeting You at Capernaum and especially after his discussion with Judas and James. They met during Your absence and James, too, nay James above all, was severe... Very severe... I would say too severe. But the Eternal Father, Who is always good, derived some good from their variance. Certainly because it was a variance originating from two sources of love. Different, of course, but still love. Imperfect, that is true. Because if they had been perfect, if at least one source were perfect, it would not have gone so far as to get angry... Anger is perhaps too strong a word to describe James' mood, but he was certainly very severe... You would have certainly reminded him to be charitable. I... did not approve, but I bore with him because I realised what was upsetting so much the ever patient James. One cannot expect him to be perfect... He is a man. And he is still very much of a man, too. Oh! there is still a long way to go before James becomes as just as was My Joseph! He... knew how to control himself and be always good...
But I am digressing! I was speaking of the imperfect love of the two for You - because they love You so much. Also Joseph does, although at first sight he does not seem to. It is really love for You all the care he takes of Me, a poor woman. And it is love for You his way of thinking, as an old Israelite, firm in his ideas like his father. He would give anything to see You loved by everybody! His way... of course... -. But reverting to the fact, I must tell You that Joseph, whom James' firm behaviour did not harm, began to come to Me every day. And do You know why? That I may explain the Scriptures to him “as You and Your Son understand them” he said. To explain the Scriptures in the light of the Truth!... It is not easy when he who is listening to you is a Joseph of Alphaeus that is, one who firmly believes in the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, in His royal birth and in so many other things!
But it was his own pride that helped Me to make him accept the idea that the King of Israel is to be of royal descent, of David's stock, agreed, but that it is not necessary for Him to be born in a royal palace. He... oh! how proud he is of belonging to the stock of David! I told him many things in a kind way... and I got him to revise that idea. He now admits, in accordance with the prophecies, that You are the predicted one. But... oh! I would not have been successful in convincing him that Your true greatness consists exactly in being the King of the spirit, the only thing that can make You the universal and eternal King, if people had not come on two occasions looking for him... The first, still those from Capernaum with others, after tempting him with dazzling promises of grandeur for the whole household, seeing that he was less inclined to yield to their suggestions - they expected him to force You and to force Me to make You accept a crown - they betrayed themselves when they began to threaten him... The usual half-hidden threats which they use. Sharp knives enveloped in soft wool to make them seem harmless... And Joseph reacted saying: “I am the oldest, but He is of age and I have never been told that in our family there have been fools or madmen. For twenty years, since He became of age, He has been aware of what He does. So go to Him and ask Him, and if He refuses, leave Him in peace. He is responsible for His actions”.
Then some of Your disciples came, it was just the eve of the Sabbath... Are You looking at Me, Son? Allow Me not to mention their names, but let Me tell You to forgive them... A son who should lift his hands against his old father, a levite who should desecrate the altar and be afraid of Jehovah's wrath, would not be like them... They came from Capernaum where they had been looking for You...
They had come along the lake road from Capernaum to Magdala and then to Tiberias hoping to find You. And they had met with Hermas and Stephen, who were going down to Jerusalem with other people after being Gamaliel's guests for some days. I do not want to repeat what they said, what they want to tell You and are anxious to tell You. But their words had increased even more the grief of the disciples who had been led astray to the extent of joining those who wished to betray You by means of a false unction. Joseph was with Me when they came. And it was a good thing. Oh! Joseph has not yet reached the Light, but he is already in the twilight of his dawn. Joseph understood the snare and... our Joseph is very fond of You now. He loves You, I dare not say in the right manner, but at least as an adult relative who suffers because of Your suffering, who watches over Your safety, who knows Your enemies...
That is why I know what they did to You, Son. A sorrow... and a joy because more than one recognised You for what You are. Such grief and joy for You and for Me. But we are forgiving everybody, are we not? I have already forgiven those who repented, as far as I am allowed to forgive."
"Mother, You might have forgiven them also on My behalf. Because I had already forgiven them as I saw their hearts. They are men... What You said is correct!... But I have also the joy of seeing Joseph proceeding towards the dawn of the true Light..."
"Yes. He was hoping to see You. You ought to see him. He was absent today until sunset. And he will be grieved at not seeing You. But he will be able to see You in Jerusalem."
"No, Mother. I will not be staying in Jerusalem so that people may see Me. I must evangelize the City and the villages in the neighbourhood, and I would be driven out at once if they found Me. So I will have to act like one doing evil, whereas I only want to do good... But it is so."
"So, will You not see Joseph? He is leaving tomorrow for the Tabernacles. You could have travelled together..."
"Are they already persecuting You so fiercely, Son?" How much anxiety is in the Mother's voice!
"No, Mother. No. Not more than previously. Be reassured. On the contrary... kind spirits come to Me. Others, who are not good, stop and meditate, whilst previously they struck without any reason, the disciples are increasing, the older ones are improving in their spiritual training, the apostles are becoming more perfect. I am not referring to John: he has always been a grace granted to Me by the Father, I mean Simon of Jonah and the others. Simon is changing day by day from the man he was into an apostle, and You know what I mean. And he gives Me so much joy. And Nathanael and Philip are freeing themselves from the ties of their ideas. And Thomas and... But what am I saying? All of them. Yes, believe Me. They are all good at present: they are My joy. You must not worry since You know that I am with them: they are the friends, the comforters, the supporters of Your Son. I wish You were so well defended and loved!"
"Oh! I have Mary, I have the wives of Joseph and Simon and them as well and their children. I have good Alphaeus. And then, who in Nazareth is not fond of Mary of Nazareth? You must not worry... A whole village loves Your Mother."
"But they do not love Me as yet, with few exceptions. I know and I am aware that their love for You is imbued with the commiseration one feels for the Mother of a mad vagrant. But You know that I am not and that I love You. You know that to part from You is, I will not say the greatest, but the most lovingly sorrowful obedience which the Father requests of Me..."
"Yes, Son! I know. But I do not regret anything. I would certainly like to be with You, I would prefer to be with You, on muddy roads, exposed to winds, sleeping in the open, persecuted, tired, without a home and a fireplace, with no bread, as You are very often, rather than be in My house, while You are far away, and I do not know how You are, when I think of You. If You were with Me and I with You, You would suffer less and I would suffer less... Because You are My Son and I could always hold You in My arms and defend You from the cold, from hard stones, and above all from hardened hearts, with My love, My breast, My arms. You are My Son. I held You so long against My heart in the grotto, in the journey to Egypt, and on the way back, always when the dangers of season and the snares of men might have injured You. Why could I not do it now? Am I perhaps no longer Your Mother, because You are now the Man? So can a mother no longer be everything for her son, because he is no longer a little child? I think that if I am with You they will not be able to injure You... because nobody... No. I am silly... You are the Redeemer... and men - I have noticed it - have no mercy even for their own mothers... But let Me come with You. Everything is better for Me than being away from You."
"If men were kinder I would come back to Nazareth again. But even Nazareth... It does not matter. They will come to Me. For the time being I am going to other people... And I cannot take You with Me. I will come back here only when they realise Who I am. I am now going to Judaea... I will go up to the Temple... I will then remain in that district... I will go through Samaria once again. I will work where there is more work to be done. So, Mother, I advise You to be ready to join Me early in spring and to settle near Jerusalem. It will be easier for us to meet. I will go up to the Decapolis again and we shall meet again... I hope so. But as a rule, I will remain in Judaea. Jerusalem is the sheep needing more care because she is really more stubborn than an old ram and more quarrelsome than a wild billy- goat. I am going there to spread the Word like dew which never tires falling on her aridity..."
Jesus stands up, He stops and looks at His Mother Who gazes on Him attentively. He moves His lips and shaking His head He says: "There is still something to be said before the last thing... Mother, if Joseph wants to speak to Me, let it be at dawn the day after tomorrow on the road which from Nazareth goes to Jezreel via the Tabor. I shall be there alone or with John."
"I will tell him, Son."
There is silence, dead silence, because the birds have ceased quarrelling among the leafy branches and also the wind is quiet while twilight deepens. Then Jesus, Who seems to have found with difficulty the words to be spoken last, says: "Mother, My pause is over... A kiss, Mother. And Your blessing." They kiss and bless each other.
Then Jesus, bending to pick up His Mother's veil and calling John as if He wished to make the words less grave, says: "When You come to Judaea bring Me My best tunic. The one which You wove for Me for solemn festivities. In Jerusalem I must be “Master” in the widest meaning and also more human sensitively, because those closed hypocritical spirits look more at the outside: one's garments, than the inside: one's doctrine. And thus also Judas of Kerioth will be happy... and Joseph will be satisfied seeing Me in a royal garment. Oh! it will be a triumph! And the garment woven by You will contribute..." and He smiles to mitigate the harsh truth concealed by those words.
But Mary is not deceived. She stands up and leans on Jesus' arm exclaiming: "Son!" with such heart- rending grief that makes me suffer. Jesus takes Her in His arms and She weeps against His heart...
"Mother, this is the reason why I wanted to speak to You in this hour of peace... I entrust You with My secret and what is dearest to Me here on the Earth. None of My disciples know that we shall not come back to these parts of the country until everything has been accomplished. But You... I have no secrets for You... I promised You, Mother. Do not weep. We still have many hours to spend together. That is why I say to You: “Come to Judaea”. To have You near Me will requite Me for the fatigue of the most difficult evangelization of those stone-hearted people who are obstructing the Word of God. Come with the Galilean women disciples. You will be very helpful to Me. John will see to lodgings for You and for them. Let us pray together now, before He comes back. Then You will go back to the village, and I will come, too, during the night..."
They pray together and they are at the last words of the Our Father when John appears and in the dim light, when he is close at hand, he sees the traces of tears on Mary's face and is amazed. But he makes no remark. He greets the Master and says: "At dawn I shall be on the road outside Nazareth... Come, Mother. Outside the wood it is still daylight and the road, below, is lit up by the lamps of the carts which are travelling..."
Mary kisses Jesus again, weeping under Her veil, and then supported by John who is holding Her by the elbow, She goes down to the path and descends towards the valley.
Jesus is left alone, to pray, to think, to weep. Because Jesus weeps watching His Mother descend. He then goes back to where He was previously and He assumes the same posture as before, while shadows and silence become deeper and deeper around Him.
"I did not forget this sorrow of Mary, My Mother, either. That I had to torture Her with the expectation of My suffering, that I had to see Her weep. That is why I deny Her nothing. She gave Me everything. I give Her everything. She suffered all sorrows. I give Her all joy.
When you think of Mary, I would like you to meditate on that agony of Hers that lasted thirty-three years and culminated at the foot of the Cross. She suffered that for your sake. For your sake She suffered the mockery of the crowds that considered Her the mother of a madman. For your sake She endured the reproaches of relatives and important people. For your sake She bore My apparent disavowal: “My Mother and My brothers are those who do the will of God”. And who did His will more than She did, and a terrible Will, that imposed on Her the torment of seeing Her Son tortured?
For your sake She endured the fatigue of joining Me here and there. For your sake She made sacrifices, from the sacrifice of leaving Her little house and mingling with the crowds, to the sacrifice of leaving Her little fatherland for the tumult of Jerusalem. For your sake She had to be in touch with him who was brooding over betrayal in his heart. For your sake She suffered hearing Me accused of diabolical possession and heresy. Everything for your sake. You do not know how much I loved My Mother. You do not consider how the heart of Mary's Son was sensitive to affections. And you think that My torture was purely physical, at most you add the spiritual torment of the final abandonment by the Father.
No, children. I experienced also the passions of man. I suffered seeing My Mother suffer, having to lead Her, like a meek ewelamb, to the torture, being compelled to torment Her with continual farewells, at Nazareth before evangelizing, with the one which I have shown you and which precedes My imminent Passion, with the one before the Supper, when Judas had already initiated,
My Passion with his betrayal, and with the dreadful one on Calvary. I suffered seeing Myself derided, hated, slandered, circumvented by unwholesome inquisitiveness that did not evolve into good, but into evil. I suffered because of all the falsehood that I had to hear or see acting beside Me. The falsehood of the hypocritical Pharisees, who called Me Master and asked Me questions not because they believed in My intelligence but to lay snares for Me; the falsehood of those who had been benefited by Me and who became My accusers in the Sanhedrin and in the Praetorium; the long premeditated subtle falsehood of Judas who sold Me and continued feigning to be My disciple, and indicated Me to the executioners with the sign of love. I suffered because of the lie of Peter, who was seized with human fear.
How much falsehood and so revolting for Me, Who am the Truth! How much there still is, even now, with regard to Me! You say that you love Me, but you do not love Me. You have My Name on your lips, but you adore Satan in your hearts and you follow a law contrary to Mine.
I suffered thinking that with respect to the infinite value of My Sacrifice - the Sacrifice of a God - too few would be saved. All, I say: all those who in the course of the centuries of the Earth would prefer death to eternal life, making My Sacrifice vain, were present to Me. And with that knowledge I went to My death.
You can see, little John, that your Jesus and His Mother suffered bitterly in their moral egos. And for a long time. So be patient, if you will have to suffer. “No disciple is superior to his Master”. I said so.
Tomorrow I will speak of the sorrows of the spirit. Rest now, peace be with you."