493. Instructions on the Road to Bethany.
17th September 1946.
"you will put here the vision of the Adulterous Woman of 20th March 1944."
Jesus has joined the ten apostles and the main disciples at the foot of the Mount of Olives, near the fountain of Siloam. When they see Jesus coming, walking with vigorous strides between Peter and John, they go towards Him and they meet just near the fountain.
"Let us go up to the Bethany road. I am leaving the town for some time. While walking I will tell you what you have to do" orders Jesus.
Among the disciples there are also Manaen and Timoneus, who, now cheerful again, have come back to their place. And there are Stephen and Hermas, Nicolaus, John of Ephesus, John the priest, in short, all the ones who Are more notable because of their wisdom, besides others, simple men, but so active by the grace of God and their own good will.
"Are You leaving the town? Has anything happened?" ask many. "No. But there are places waiting for..."
"What have You done this morning?"
"I spoke... The prophets... Once again. But they do not understand..."
"No miracle, Master?" asks Matthew.
"No. I forgave and defended a person."
"Who was it? Who was offending?"
"Those who think that they are without sin were accusing a woman who had sinned. I saved her."
"But if she was a sinner, they were right."
"Her body was that of a sinner. Her soul... There are many things I should say about souls. And I would not call sinners only those whose guilt is obvious. Also those are guilty, who instigate others to sin. And to a more cunning sin. They play the part of the Serpent and of the Sinner at the same time."
"But what had the woman done?"
"Adultery?! And You saved her?' You shouldn't!!" exclaims Judas Iscariot. Jesus stares at him then He asks: "Why not?"
"Because... It may be detrimental to You. You know how they hate You and try to find charges against You! Certainly... To save an adulteress is to go against the Law."
"I did not say that I wanted to save her. I only said that those who were without sin should throw the stones. And no one struck her, because no one was without sin. So I confirmed the Law that inflicts lapidation on adulterers, but I also saved the woman because not one lapidator could be found."
"Did you want Me to stone her to death? It would have been justice, because I could have stoned her. But it would not have been mercy."
"Ah! she had repented! She implored You and You..."
"No... She was not even repentant. She was only dejected and frightened."
"Then!... Why?... I no longer understand You! Previously I was still able to understand why You forgave Mary of Magdala, John of Endor, also... in short many sin..."
"You may as well say Matthew. I don't take it amiss. On the contrary I will be grateful to you for reminding me of my debt of gratitude to my Master" says Matthew calm and dignified.
"Yes, also Matthew... But they repented their sins, their dissolute lives. But this woman!... I do not understand You any more! And I am not the only one who doesn't..."
"I know. You do not understand Me... You have never understood Me well. And you are not the only one. But that does not change My behaviour."
"Forgiveness is to be granted to those who ask for it."
"Oh! If God should forgive only those who ask to be forgiven! And strike at once those who do not repent after sinning! Have you never felt that you had been forgiven before repenting? Can you really say that you repented and that is why you have been forgiven?"
"Listen to Me, all of you, because many among you think that I made a mistake and that Judas is right. Peter and John are here. They heard what I said to the woman and they can repeat it to you. I was not foolish in forgiving. I did not say what I said to other souls whom I had forgiven because they were fully repentant. But I gave that soul time and possibility to arrive at repentance and holiness, if she wishes to reach them. Bear that in mind when you are the masters of souls.
It is essential to possess two things to be true masters and worthy of being masters. The first thing: an austere life for oneself, so that one may judge without the hypocrisy of condemning in other people what one forgives oneself. The second thing: patient mercy to give souls the time to recover and fortify themselves.
Not every soul recovers instantaneously from its wounds. Some do so by successive stages, which are often slow and subject to relapses. It does not befit a spiritual doctor to reject, condemn, frighten them. If you drive them away, they will bound back and throw themselves again into the arms of false friends and masters. Always open your arms and hearts to poor souls, so that they may find in you true and holy confidants, on whose knees they do not feel ashamed to weep. If you condemn them depriving them of spiritual assistance, you will make them more and more unhealthy and weak. If you cause them to be frightened of you and of God, how will they be able to raise their eyes to you and to God?
Man meets man as his first judge. Only he who lives a spiritual life knows how to meet God first. But the creature who has arrived at living spiritually, does not fall into grave sins. His human side may be still weak, but his strong spirit is vigilant and his weaknesses do not become grave faults. Whereas the man who is still subject to flesh and blood commits sin and meets man. Now, if the man who should point out God to him and instruct his spirit, frightens him, how can the guilty person yield completely to him? And how can he say: “I humble myself because I believe that God is good and forgives”, if he sees that one of his fellow-creatures is not good?
You are to be the term of comparison, the measure of what God is, just as a farthing is the part that makes one understand the value of a talent. But if you are cruel to souls, you tiny parts who are part of the Infinite and you represent Him, what will they think that God is? What intolerant harshness will they ascribe to Him?
Judas, since you are a severe judge, if just now I said to you: “I will denounce you to the Sanhedrin for magic practices...”."
"Lord! You will not do that! It would be... it would be... You know that it is..."
"I know and I do not know. But you can see how you cry at once for mercy for yourself... and you know that you would not be condemned by them because..."
"What do You mean, Master? Why do You say that?" asks Judas excitedly, interrupting Jesus.
And Jesus, very calmly but with a glance that pierces Judas' heart, and at the same time curbs the upset apostle, who is being gazed at by the other eleven apostles and by many disciples, says: "Because they love you. You have good friends in there. You have said so many a time."
Judas heaves a sigh of relief, wipes his perspiration, which is strange in a cold windy day, and says: "That is true. Old friends. But I don't think that if I sinned..."
"And is that why you ask for mercy?"
"Yes. I am still imperfect and I want to become perfect."
"You have spoken the truth. Also that woman is very imperfect. I gave her time to become good, if she wishes."
Judas does not reply any more.
They are now on the Bethany road, at a good distance from Jerusalem. Jesus stops and says: "Have you given the poor what I gave you? Have you done everything I told you?"
"Everything, Master" reply the apostles and disciples.
"Well, listen. I will now bless you and dismiss you. You will spread out, as usual, through Palestine. You will gather here again for Passover. Do not fail to come... and during these next months fortify your hearts and the hearts of those who believe in Me. Be more and more just, unselfish, patient. Be what I taught you to be. Go round towns, villages, secluded houses. Shun no one. Put up with everything. You are not serving your own egos, as I do not serve the ego of Jesus of Nazareth, but I serve My Father. Serve your Father as well. Thus, His interests, not yours, are to be sacred to you, even if they bring sorrow or detriment to your human interests. Be guided by the spirit of self-denial and obedience. I may send for you or I may tell you to remain where you are. Do not judge My instructions. Obey them, whatever they may be, with the firm belief that they are good and given for your good. And do not be jealous if I send for some and not for others. You know... Some have departed from Me... and I suffered because of that. They were the ones who still wanted to act according to their own wills. Pride is the lever that overturns spirits and the magnet that tears them away from Me. Do not curse those who left Me. Pray that they may come back... My shepherds will be staying by twos in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Isaac is coming with Me for the time being together with Marjiam. Love one another. And help one another. My dear friends, may your spirits tell you all the rest, reminding you of what I taught you, and may your angels repeat it to you. I bless you."
They all prostrate themselves while Jesus recites the Mosaic blessing. They then crowd round Jesus greeting Him. They then depart while He with the twelve apostles, Isaac and Marjiam proceeds along the Bethany road.
"We shall now stop just long enough to greet Lazarus and then we shall go on towards the Jordan."
"Are we going to Jericho?" asks Judas with interest. "No. To Betharabah."
"There is no shortage of houses and villages from here to the river..."
No one speaks any more and apart from the rustling of olivetrees and the shuffling of feet, no other noise can be heard.