514. At Gibeon. The Wisdom of Love.
22nd October 1946.
In spring, summer and autumn, Gibeon, built on the top of a pleasant low hill isolated in a very fertile plain, must be a kind airy town with a beautiful view. Its white houses are almost hidden among the green foliage of perennial trees of all kinds, mingled with trees now laid bare by the season, and in the good season they must change the hill into a cloud of light petals, and later into a glorious display of fruit. Now, in the winter greyness, it shows its slopes lined by bare vines and grey olive-trees, or spotted with the dark trees of bare orchards. And yet the town is beautiful and airy and one's eyes rest on the slope of the hill and on the ploughed plain.
Jesus goes towards a large cistern or well, which reminds me somehow of that of the Samaritan woman, or also of En-Rogel and even more of the reservoirs near Hebron. There are many people there, who are hastening to draw much water for the Sabbath now at hand, or are doing their last business of the day, or, having finished their work, have already begun the Sabbath rest. In the middle of the crowd are the eight apostles who are announcing the Master and have already been successful, as I can see sick people being brought and beggars gathering together and many people coming from their houses.
When Jesus sets foot where the basin is, there is a murmur which changes into a unanimous cry:
"Hosanna, Hosanna! The Son of David is among us! Blessed be Wisdom that is coming where she was invoked!"
"Blessed be you who know how to welcome her. Peace! Peace and blessings." And He goes at once towards the sick people, towards those who are crippled either through misfortune or illness, towards the inevitable blind or almost blind people, and He cures them.
Beautiful is the miracle of a little dumb boy, who is handed to Jesus by his weeping mother and is cured by Him with a kiss on his lips. And the child makes use of words given to him by the Word to shout the two most beautiful names: "Jesus! Mummy!", and from the arms of his mother, who was holding him high above the crowd, he throws himself into Jesus' arms, flinging his arms round His neck, until Jesus hands him back to his happy mother, who explains to Jesus that this first-born son of hers, whom the hearts of his parents destined to be a Levite even before he was born, will be able to become one, as he is now without defects: "I had asked the Lord, with my husband Joachim, not for my own sake, but that he might serve the Lord. And I asked You to make him speak not to hear him call me mother or tell me that he loves me, his eyes and his kisses already told me. But I asked for it so that, like a little faultless lamb, he might be completely offered to the Lord to praise His Name."
To which Jesus replies: "The Lord heard the word of his soul because He, like a mother, changes one's feeling into words and deeds. But your wish was a good one and the Most High has satisfied it. Now have your son educated for perfect praise so that he may be perfect in serving the Lord."
"Yes, Rabbi, but tell me what I must do."
"Let him love the Lord with his whole being and perfect praise will spontaneously flourish in his heart, and he will be perfect in the service of the Lord."
"What You said is right, Rabbi. Wisdom is on Your lips. Please speak to all of us" says a dignified citizen of Gibeon who had made his way through the crowd as far as Jesus and invites Him to the synagogue. He is certainly the synagogue leader.
Jesus bends His steps towards it followed by everybody, and as it is impossible to let in all the people of the town and those who were already with Him, Jesus takes the advice of the synagogue leader that He should speak from the terrace of the latter's house which is adjacent to the synagogue. A low long house, two sides of which are covered with the tenacious green vegetation of a jasmine espalier. And Jesus' powerful harmonious voice spreads in the calm air of the approaching evening and all over the square and the three streets leading into it, while a multitude of heads look up listening.
"The woman of your town who wanted the faculty of speech for her little boy, not because she wished to hear loving words from his lips, but that he might be fit for the service of God, reminds Me of another remote word that flowed from the lips of a great man in this town. God consented to his word, as He did to that of your woman, because in both He saw a request of justice, a justice that should be in all prayers so that God may hear them and grant His grace. What is necessary to do in your lifetime in order to obtain the eternal reward, the true endless Life in an endless beatitude? It is necessary to love the Lord with your whole being and your neighbour as yourselves. And that is the most necessary condition to have God as a friend and receive graces and blessings from Him.
When Solomon who had become king after David's death, was invested with full powers, He came up to this town and he offered a large number of holocausts. And the Most High appeared to him that night saying: “Ask what you would like Me to give you”. A great kindness of God. And a great test for man. Because to each gift corresponds a great responsibility for him who receives it, and the greater the gift, the greater the responsibility. And it is a proof of the degree of improvement reached by the spirit. If a spirit blessed by God, instead of becoming more perfect descends towards materialism, it fails the test thus showing its lack of improvement, or its partial improvement. There are two signs of man's spiritual value: the way he behaves in joy and the way he behaves in sorrow. Only he who has progressed in justice knows how to be humble in glory, faithful in joy, grateful and persevering also after he has been satisfied and does not wish for anything else. And only he who is really a saint knows how to be patient and to continue loving his God, while afflictions persist."
"Master, can I ask You something?" says a man from Gibeon.
"Everything You say is true. And if I have understood correctly, You mean that Solomon passed the test successfully. But later he sinned. Now tell me: why did God benefit him so much if later he was to sin? The Lord certainly knew the future sin of the king. So why did He say to him: “Ask what you want Me to give you”.? Was it a good or a bad thing?"
"Always a good thing, because God does not do wicked things."
"But You said that a responsibility corresponds to each gift. Now, since Solomon asked for and received wisdom..."
"He had the responsibility of being wise and he was not, that is what you want to say. It is true. And I tell you that his failure in wisdom was punished and with justice. But the action of God granting him the requested wisdom was a good one. And Solomon's request for wisdom and not for material things was a good one. And as God is a Father and He is Justice, He forgave a large part of the error at the time it was made, considering that the sinner had once loved Wisdom more than any other thing and creature. One action must have diminished the other. The good action performed prior to the sin remains, and counts for forgiveness, when the sinner repents after his sin.
That is why I tell you not to miss any opportunity to do good actions, that they may be like money discounting your sins when, through the grace of God, you repent of them. Good actions, even if they seem to have gone by and consequently one may erroneously think that they no longer affect us by creating in us new incentives and strength for good things, are always active, at least with the remembrance which rises again from the depth of a downcast soul and provokes regret for the time when one was good. Regret is often the first step on the way back to Justice. I have said that even a chalice of water given with love to a thirsty person will not remain without reward. A drop of water is nothing, with regard to its material value, but charity makes it great. And it will not remain without reward. At times the reward may be a return to Goodness which is roused by the remembrance of that act, of the words of the thirsty brother, of the feelings of one's heart at that time, of the heart that offered a drink in the name of God and out of love. And so God, through a sequence of recollections, comes back, like the sun that rises after a dark night, and shines on the horizon of a poor heart that had lost Him and that, fascinated by His ineffable presence, humbles itself and cries: “Father, I have sinned! Forgive me. I love You once again”.
Love for God is wisdom. It is the Wisdom of wisdoms because he who loves knows everything and possesses everything. Here, while night is falling and the evening breeze makes your bodies shiver with cold and causes the lamps you have lit to flicker, I am not going to tell you what you already know: the passages of the Wisdom Book describing how Solomon obtained Wisdom and the prayer he said to obtain it. But I exhort you to read those pages with your synagogue leader, so that you may remember Me and proceed on a safe path and have a light to guide you. The Wisdom Book ought to be a code of spiritual life. Like a motherly hand it should guide you and lead you to a perfect knowledge of virtue and of My doctrine. Because Wisdom prepares My ways and makes of men “with little time to live, with little understanding of justice and the laws, servants and sons of God's serving maids” the gods of God's Paradise.
Seek Wisdom in the first place to honour the Lord and hear Him say to you, on the eternal day: “Since you have this at heart above all and you asked not for riches, goods, glory, a long life or victory over your enemies, Wisdom is granted you, that is, God Himself, because the Spirit of Wisdom is the Spirit of God. Seek holy Wisdom first of all and, I tell you, everything else will be given to you and in such a way that none of the mighty ones of the world can achieve so much.
Love God. Be only anxious to love Him. Love your neighbour to honour God. Devote yourselves to the service of God, to His triumph in men's hearts. Convert to the Lord those who are not God's friends. Be holy. Store up holy works as a defence against possible failings of the creature. Be faithful to the Lord. Do not criticise either the living or the dead. But strive to imitate good people, and not for your own earthly joy, but to give joy to God ask graces of the Lord and they will be given to you.
Let us go. Tomorrow we shall pray together and God will be with us."
And Jesus blesses them and dismisses them.