297. The Little Orphans Mary and Matthias
8th October 1945.
I see the lake of Merom again, in a dull wet day... Mud and clouds. Silence and fog. The horizon disappears in the fog. The Hermon chains are buried under blankets of low clouds. But from the place where I am − a high tableland near the little lake, which is grey and yellowish because of the mud of a thousand swollen little streams and because of the November overcast sky − one has a good view of this little sheet of water fed by the High Jordan, which flows out of it to feed the larger lake of Gennesaret.
It is getting dark and the evening is becoming more and more gloomy and wet while Jesus walks along the road which crosses the Jordan after lake Merom, and He then takes a lane towards a house...
(Jesus says: "You will put here the vision of the little orphans Matthias and Mary, which you saw on August 20th, 1944.")
20th August 1944.
Another sweet vision of Jesus and two children. I say so because I see that Jesus, while passing along a path between fields which must have been sown recently, because the soil is still soft and dark as it looks just after being sown, stops to caress two children: a little boy not more than four years old and a little girl about eight or nine. They must be very poor children because they are wearing poor faded garments, which are also torn and their faces are sad and thin. Jesus does not ask any questions. He only gazes at them while He caresses them.
He then hastens towards a house at the end of the path. It is a country house, well built, with an outside staircase leading from the ground up to a terrace on which there is a vine pergola, now bare of grapes and leaves. Only an odd yellow leaf hangs swinging in the damp wind of a bad autumn day. Some doves are cooing on the parapet of the house waiting for the rain which the overcast sky is promising.
Jesus, followed by His apostles, pushes the little rustic gate of the low rubble wall surrounding the house, and enters the yard, which we would rather call a threshing-floor, where there is a well and a stone-oven in a corner. I suppose that is what the little closet is, the walls of which are black with smoke, which is coming out even now and is blown towards the ground by the wind.
Hearing the sound of footsteps a woman looks out of the closet and when she sees Jesus she greets Him joyfully and runs to inform the people in the house. An elderly stout man comes to the door of the house and hastens towards Jesus. "It is a great honour, Master, to see You!" he exclaims greeting Him.
Jesus greets him: "Peace be with you" and adds: "It is getting dark and it is about to rain. I beg you to give shelter and a piece of bread to Me and My disciples."
"Come in, Master. My house is Yours. The maid-servant is about to take the bread out of the oven. I am happy to offer it to You with the cheese of my sheep and the fruit of my fields. Come in, because the wind is cold and damp..." and he kindly holds the door open and bows when Jesus passes. But he suddenly changes tone addressing somebody he sees and he says wrathfully: "Are you still here? Go away. There is nothing for you. Go away. Have you understood? There is no room here for vagabonds..." And he mumbles: "...and perhaps thieves like you."
A thin weeping voice replies: "Have mercy, sir. At least a piece of bread for my little brother. We are hungry..."
Jesus, Who had gone into the large kitchen, which is cosy because of the big fire which serves also as a light, comes to the threshold. His countenance has already changed. With a severe and sad expression He asks, not the host, but in general, He seems to be asking the silent yard, the bare fig-tree, the dark well: "Who is it that is hungry?"
"I, sir. I and my brother. Just a piece of bread and we shall go away." Jesus is by now outside, where it is getting darker and darker because of the twilight and the impending rain. "Come here" He says.
"I am afraid, sir!"
"Come, I tell you. Do not be afraid of Me."
The poor girl appears from behind the corner of the house. Her little brother is holding on to her shabby little tunic. They look timidly at Jesus and with fear in their eyes at the landlord, who casts a nasty look at them and says: "They are vagabonds, Master. And thieves. Only a little while ago I found her scraping near the oil-mill. She certainly wanted to go and steal something. I wonder where they come from. They do not belong to this area."
Jesus pays little or no attention to him. He gazes at the little girl's emaciated face and untidy plaits, two pigtails beside her ears, tied at the ends with strips of a rag. But Jesus' countenance is not severe while He looks at the poor wretch. He is sad, but He smiles to encourage her. "Is it true that you wanted to steal? Tell Me the truth."
"No, sir. I asked for a little bread, because I am hungry. They did not give me any. I saw an oily crust over there, on the ground, near the oil-mill and I went there to pick it up. I am hungry, sir. I was given only one piece of bread yesterday and I kept it for Matthias... Why did they not put us into the grave with our mother?" The little girl weeps desolately and her little brother imitates her.
"Do not weep." Jesus comforts her caressing her and drawing her close to Himself. "Tell Me: where are you from?"
"From the plain of Esdraelon."
"And have you come so far?"
"Has your mother been dead long? Have you no father?"
"My father died killed by sunstroke at harvest time and my mother died last month... and the baby she was giving birth to died with her..." She weeps more and more.
"Have you no relative?"
"We come from so far! We were not poor... Then my father had to work as a servant. But he is now dead and mother with him."
"Who was his master?"
"Ishmael, the Pharisee."
"Ishmael, the Pharisee! (it is not possible to describe how Jesus repeats that name). Did you come away of your own will, or did he send you away?"
"He sent me away, sir. He said: “The street is the place for starving dogs.”"
"And you, Jacob, why did you not give some bread to these children? Some bread, a little milk and a handful of hay on which they might rest their tired bodies?..."
"But... Master... I have just enough bread for myself... and there is only little milk in the house... They are like stray animals. If you treat them kindly, they will not go away any more..."
"And you have no room and food for these two unhappy children? Can you truthfully say that? The rich crops, the plenty wine, the much oil and fruit which made your estate famous this year, why did they come to you? Do you remember? The previous year hail destroyed your crops and you were worried about your future life... I came and I asked for some bread. You had heard Me speak one day and you remained faithful to Me... and in your affliction you opened your heart and your house to Me and you gave Me bread and shelter. And what did I say to you going out the following morning? “Jacob, you have understood the Truth. Be always merciful and you will receive mercy. Because of the bread you gave the Son of man, these fields will give you rich crops and your olive trees will be laden with olives like the grains of sand on the sea shore and the branches of your apple-trees will bend towards the ground.” You received all that and this year you are the richest man in the district. And you refuse two children a piece of bread!..."
"But You were the Rabbi..."
"And because I was, I could have turned stones into bread. They cannot. I now say to you: you shall see a new miracle and you shall regret it very sorely... But beating your chest then say: “I deserved it.”"
Jesus turns to the children: "Do not weep. Go to that tree and pick the fruit."
"But it is bare, sir" objects the little girl.
The girl goes and comes back with her dress lifted up and full of beautiful red apples.
"Eat of them and come with Me" and to the apostles: "Let us go and take these two little ones to Johanna of Chuza. She remembers the benefits she received and out of love she is merciful to those who were merciful to her. Let us go."
The dumbfounded and mortified man endeavours to be forgiven: "It is night, Master. It may rain while You are on the way. Come back into my house. There is the maid-servant going to take the bread out of the oven... I will give You some also for them."
"It is not necessary. You would give it for fear of the punishment I promised you, not out of love."
"So is this not the miracle?" (and he points at the apples picked on the bare tree and which the two starving children are eating greedily).
"No." Jesus is most severe.
"Oh! Lord, have mercy on me! I understand. You want to punish me in the crops! Have mercy, Lord!"
"Not all those who call Me “Lord” will have Me, because love and respect are not testified by words, but by deeds. You will receive the mercy which you had."
"I love You, my Lord."
"That is not true. He loves Me who loves his neighbour. That is what I taught. You love but yourself. When you love Me as I taught, the Lord will come back. I am now going. My abode is to do good, to comfort the afflicted, to wipe the tears of orphans. As a mother hen stretches its wings over the helpless chicks, so I spread My power over those who suffer and are tormented. Come, children. You will soon have a home and bread. Goodbye, Jacob."
And not satisfied with going away, he orders the apostles to take up the tired girl: Andrew takes her up in his arms and envelops her in his mantle, while Jesus takes the little boy and they thus proceed along the path which is now dark, with their pitiful loads which no longer weep.
Peter says: "Master! These children were very lucky that You arrived. But for Jacob!... What will You do, Master?"
"Justice. He will not starve, because his granaries are well stocked for a long time. But he will suffer shortage, because the seed he sows will yield no corn and his olive and apple-trees will be covered with leaves only. These innocent children have received bread and shelter from the Father, not from Me. Because My Father is the Father of orphans also. And He gives nests and food to the birds of forests. These children and all poor wretches with them, the poor wretches who are His “innocent and loving children” can say that God put food in their little hands and leads them with fatherly love to a hospitable home."
The vision ends thus and I am left with a great peace.
"This is just for you, o soul which weeps looking at the crosses of the past and at the clouds of the future. The Father will always have bread to put in your hand and a nest to shelter His weeping dove.
The lesson that I am the “Just Lord” applies to everybody. And I am not deceived or adulated by false homage. He who closes his heart to his brother, closes it to God and God to him.
Men, it is the first commandment: Love and love. He who does not love lies in professing to be a Christian. It is useless to frequent the Sacraments and rites, it is useless to pray if one lacks charity. They become formulae and even sacrileges. How can you come to the eternal Bread and satisfy your hunger with it, when you have denied a starving person a piece of bread? Is your bread more precious than Mine? Is it more holy? O hypocrites! I put no limit in giving Myself to your misery, and you, who are misery itself, have no pity on the miseries which, in the eyes of God, are not so hideous as yours. Because those are misfortunes, yours are sins. Too often you say to Me: “Lord, Lord”, to have Me propitious to your interests. But you do not say so for your neighbour's sake. You do nothing for your neighbour in the name of the Lord. Look: what have your false religion and true lack of charity given you, both with regard to your community and to its individuals? To be abandoned by God. And the Lord will come back when you learn to love as I taught.
But I say to you, little flock of good people who suffer: “You are never orphans. You are never waifs. There would have to be no God, before His children could lack Providence. Stretch out your hands: the Father will give you everything, as a 'father', that is, with love which does not humiliate. Wipe your tears. I will take you and lead you because I have pity on your languor.” Man is the best loved in creation. Can you doubt that the Father may be more merciful to birds than to faithful men, since He is indulgent towards sinners and gives them time and the opportunity to come to Him? Oh! if the world understood what God is!
Go in peace, Mary. You are as dear to Me as the two little orphans you saw, and you are even dearer. Go in peace. I am with you."
21st August 1944.
"Mary, Mother is speaking. My Jesus has spoken of the infancy of the spirit, a necessary requisite to conquer the Kingdom. Yesterday He showed you a page of His life as a Master. You saw some children. Some poor children. Is there nothing else to be said? Yes, there is, and I am saying it to you, as I want to make you dearer and dearer to Jesus. It is a nuance in the picture which spoke to your spirit, on behalf of the spirits of many people. But it is nuances that make a picture beautiful and reveal the skill of the painter and the erudition of the observer.
I want to point out the humility of My Jesus to you.
That poor girl, in her ignorant simplicity, does not treat the hard-hearted sinner differently from My Son. She is not aware of the Rabbi or the Messiah. She has never heard Him or seen Him, because she lived, almost like a little savage in the fields and in a house where the Master was despised, in fact the Pharisee did despise My Jesus.
Her father and mother, worn out by the hateful work which their cruel master exacted, had no time and possibility of raising their heads from the clods they broke up. While they were mowing hay or cutting crops or picking fruit and grapes, or crushing olives at the mill, they may have heard people singing hosannas and may have raised their tired heads for a moment. But fear and fatigue lowered those heads at once under their yoke. And they died thinking that the world was nothing but hatred and sorrow. Whereas the world was love and wealth since the most holy feet of My Jesus trod upon it. The poor servants of a cruel master died without seeing even once the look and smile of My Jesus, without hearing His word, which gave comfort to souls, so that the poor felt as if they were rich, the hungry as if they were full, the sick as if they were healthy, the sorrowful as if they were comforted.
Jesus does not say: “I am the Lord and I say to you: do that.” He remains anonymous. And the little girl, who was so ignorant that she did not understand even when she saw the miracle of the apple-tree bare of leaves, a branch of which became laden with apples to satisfy their hunger, continues to call Him: “sir”, as she called Ishmael, her master, and the cruel Jacob. She feels attracted to the good Lord, because kindness always attracts. But nothing more. She follows Him confidently. And the poor girl lost in the world and in the ignorance encouraged by the world, by the “great world of mighty pleasure-loving people”, who are keen in keeping inferiors in darkness in order to torture them more easily and exploit them more greedily, the poor girl loves Him at once instinctively.
She will learn later who was that “sir”, who was as poor, as homeless and motherless as she was, who had no food, because He had left everything out of His love for men, also for her, a poor little frail girl; and she will understand that the Lord had given her miraculous fruit, to remove from her lips and from her heart the bitterness of human wickedness, which makes poor people hate mighty ones, and He had done so by means of a fruit of the Father, and not by means of a crust of bread, which was offered too late and in any case would have savoured of hardship and tears. Those apples really called to mind the apple of the Earthly Paradise. They appeared on the branch for Good and for Evil, they were the sign of redemption from all miseries, first of all from the ignorance of God, with regard to the two little orphans, and the sign of punishment for the man, who, although he already was aware of the Word, had behaved as if he were not. And she will learn from the good woman who made her welcome in Jesus' name, who was Jesus. He was her manifold Saviour: from starvation, from the inclemency of the weather, from the dangers of the world and from original sin.
But Jesus always had for her the light of that day, and He always appeared to her in that light: the good Lord, as good as in fairy-tales, the Lord Who had caresses and gifts, the Lord Who had made her forget that she had no father, mother, home and clothes, because He had been as kind to her as a father, as sweet as a mother, He had given a home to their tired bodies and clothes to their naked limbs, with His own chest and mantle and with the assistance of other good people who were with Him. A kind fatherly light which did not fade in a stream of tears, not even when she learned that He had died tortured on a cross, not even when, a little faithful believer of the early Church, she saw how the face of her “Lord” had been disfigured by blows and thorns and she considered how He was now, in Heaven, at the right hand of the Father. A light that smiled at her in her last hour on the earth, leading her fearlessly towards her Saviour. A light that smiled once again at her, in such an ineffably sweet manner, in the splendour of Paradise.
Jesus looks also at you thus. Always think of Him as your remote namesake did and be happy to be loved by Him. Be as simple, humble, and faithful as the poor little Mary you have known. See how far she arrived, notwithstanding that she was a poor little ignorant girl of Israel: at the Heart of God. Love revealed Himself to her as He did to you and she became learned in the true Wisdom. Have faith. Be at peace. There is no misery which My Son cannot turn into riches and there is no solitude which He cannot replenish as there is no fault which He cannot cancel. The past no longer exists, once love has cancelled it. Not even a dreadful past. Are you going to be afraid when Disma, the robber, was not? Love and be afraid of nothing.
Mother leaves you with Her blessing."