376. Mary Has Chosen the Better Part.
14th August 1944.
I realise at once that we are still dealing with the Magdalene, because she is the first person I see, wearing a plain pink lilac dress like the mallow flower. She is not wearing any precious ornament, her hair is plaited and collected at the back of her neck. She looks younger than when she wore sumptuous dresses. Her eyes are no longer shameless, as when she was a "sinner", neither are they discouraged as when she was listening to the parable of the lost sheep, or shameful and shining with tears as when she was in the hall of the Pharisee... Her eyes are now peaceful and they have become as clear as those of a boy and they shine with a calm look.
She is leaning against a tree near the border of the Bethany property, looking towards the road. She is waiting. She then utters a cry of joy. She turns towards the house and shouts loudly − to be heard by everybody − in her earnest unmistakable voice: "He is arriving!... Martha, they told us the truth. The Rabbi is here!" and she runs to open the heavy creaking gate. She does not give the servants time to open it and she runs out onto the road, with her arms stretched out, as does a boy towards his mother, and with a cry of loving joy: "O Rabboni!" (I am writing "Rabboni" because I see that it is spelt so in the Gospel. But every time I hear Mary call Him, she seems to be saying "Rabboni", with an 'm' and not with an 'n') she prostrates herself at Jesus' feet, kissing them in the dust of the road.
"Peace to you, Mary. I have come to rest under your roof."
"O my Master!" repeats Mary, looking up with an expression of respect and love, which is so meaningful... it is thanksgiving, joy, an invitation to come in, happiness because He is entering...
Jesus has laid His hand on her head and seems to be absolving her once again. Mary stands up and walking beside Jesus she goes into the enclosure of the property. In the meantime servants and Martha have arrived, the servants with amphoras and cups. Martha with just her love, which is so great.
The apostles, who are warm, take the fresh drinks poured by the servants. They would like to give some to Jesus first, but Martha has forestalled them. She has taken a cup full of milk and has offered it to Jesus. She must be aware that He likes it very much.
After the disciples have taken some refreshments, Jesus says to them: "Go and inform the believers. I will speak to them this evening."
The apostles scatter in various directions as soon as they are out of the garden. Jesus proceeds between Martha and Mary.
"Come, Master" says Martha. "While waiting for Lazarus have a rest and take some refreshment."
While they are entering a cool room which opens onto the shady porch, Mary, who had gone away quickly, comes back. She is carrying a pitcher of water and is followed by a servant with a washhand basin. But it is Mary who wants to wash Jesus' feet. She unlaces His dusty sandals and hands them to the servant to be cleaned, together with His mantle, which needs brushing. She then dips His feet in the water, which some spices have made pale pink, she dries them and kisses them. She then changes the water, and offers it to Jesus for His hands. And while waiting for the servant with the sandals, crouching on the carpet at Jesus' feet, she caresses them, and before putting His sandals on, she kisses them once again saying: "O holy feet, which have walked so far looking for me!"
Martha, who is more practical in her love, considers the human side and asks: "Master, is anybody else coming, besides Your disciples?"
And Jesus replies: "I am not sure, as yet. But you can prepare for five more people in addition to the apostles."
Martha goes away.
Jesus goes out into the cool shady garden. He is wearing His dark-blue tunic only. His mantle, which Mary has carefully folded, is lying on a chest in the room. Mary goes out with Jesus.
They walk along well-kept paths, among blooming flowerbeds, as far as the fish-pond, which looks like a mirror lying in the greenery. The very clear water is rippled here and there by the silvery wriggling of fish and by the drizzle of a very tall slender jet in the centre of the pond. There are seats around the wide basin, which looks like a little lake with irrigation canals departing from it. Actually I think that one of the canals feeds the pond, while the other smaller ones discharge the water for irrigation purposes.
Jesus sits on a seat placed against the border of the pond. Mary sits at His feet, on the green well-kept grass. At first they do not speak. Jesus is clearly enjoying the silent restful cool garden. Mary delights in looking at Him.
Jesus plays with the clear water of the pond. He dips His fingers into it, He combs its surface forming little wakes and then He immerses His whole hand in the pure cool water. "How lovely this clear water is!" He says.
And Mary: "Do You like it so much, Master?"
"Yes, Mary. Because it is so limpid. Look. There is not the least trace of mud. The basin is full of water, but it is so clear that it does not seem to contain anything, as if the water were not a material but a spiritual element. On the bottom we can read the words which the little fish whisper to one another..."
"As one can read in the depth of pure souls. Is that right, Master?" and Mary sighs with secret regret.
Jesus perceives the stifled sigh and reads her regret disguised by a smile and He at once relieves Mary's grief.
"Mary, where do we find pure souls? It is easier for a mountain to walk than it is for a human being to be pure with the three purities. Too many things stir and ferment around adults. And it is not always possible to prevent them from penetrating inside. Only children have angelical souls, which their innocence preserves from knowledge liable to change into mud. That is why I love them so much. I can see in them a reflection of the Infinite Purity. They are the only ones who have within themselves this remembrance of Heaven. My Mother is the Woman with a child's soul. Even more. She is the Woman with an angel's soul. As Eve was when the Father made her. Can you imagine, Mary, what the first lily in bloom in the earthly garden was like? Also these ones, which lead to this water are beautiful. But the first one, which came out of the hands of the Creator! Was it a flower or a diamond? Were they petals or plates of the most pure silver? And yet My Mother is purer than that first lily that scented the winds. And Her scent of inviolate Virgin fills Heaven and Earth, and good people will follow it in future centuries. Paradise is light, perfume, harmony. But if in it the Father did not delight in contemplating the Most Beautiful Lady Who changes the Earth into a paradise, if Paradise in future should not have the living Lily in Whose bosom are the three pistils of fire of the Divine Trinity, the light, perfume and harmony, which are the delight of Paradise, would be halved. The purity of My Mother will be the gem of Paradise. But Paradise is boundless! What would you think of a king who had but one gem in his Treasure? Even if it were the pre-eminent Gem? When I open the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven... − do not sigh, Mary, I have come for that − many souls of just people and children will come in, like a brilliant immaculate wake, behind the purple of the Redeemer. But they will be too few to populate Heaven with gems and form the citizens of the eternal Jerusalem. And later... after My Doctrine of truth and holiness has become known to men, after My Death has restored Grace to men, how could men conquer Heaven, if the poor life of men is continuously soiled with mud, which makes them impure? So, will My Paradise be populated only by children? Oh! no! One must learn how to become like a child. The Kingdom is open also to adults. Like children... That is purity. See this water? It looks so limpid. But watch: if I only stir its bottom with this rush, it becomes muddy. Waste and mud come to the surface. From clear it becomes yellowish and no one would drink it any more. But if I remove the rush, it settles and little by little it becomes once again limpid and beautiful. The rush: sin. The same applies to souls. It is repentance, believe Me, that cleanses..."
Martha arrives panting: "Are you still here, Mary? And I am so busy!... Time is flying. The guests will soon be here and there is so much to be done. The maids are busy baking bread, the servants flaying and cooking. I am preparing drinks, dishes and I am laying the tables. But the fruit is still to be picked and the honey and mint water is to be prepared..."
Mary does not pay much attention to her sister's complaints. Smiling blissfully she continues to look at Jesus, without moving from her position.
Martha begs Jesus' help: "Master, look how hot I am. Do You think that I should be the only one to be so busy? Tell her to help me." Martha is really annoyed.
Jesus looks at her smiling half kindly and half ironically, or rather jokingly. Martha becomes rather impatient: "I really mean it. Look how idle she is while I am so busy. And she sees..."
Jesus becomes serious: "It is not idleness, Martha. It is love. It was idleness previously. And you wept so bitterly because of that worthless idleness. Your tears lent wings to My efforts to save her and bring her back to your honest love. Do you want to forbid her to love her Saviour? Would you prefer her to be far from here, so that she would not see you work, but would be far also from Me? Martha, Martha! Have I to say that she (and Jesus lays His hand on her head) who has come from so far, has excelled you in love? Have I to say that she, who did not know one word of love, is now learned in the science of love? Leave her to her peace! She was so ill! She is now convalescent and she is recovering by drinking what fortifies her. She was tormented so violently... Now that she has come out of her nightmare, she looks around and within herself and finds herself new and discovers a new world. Let her become certain. With her “new ego” she has to forget her past and conquer what is eternal... And the latter will not be conquered only through work, but also through adoration. He who gives a piece of bread to an apostle and a prophet will receive his reward. But double reward will be given to him who will forget to feed himself in order to love Me, because his soul will be greater than his body, a soul that will cry even louder than human needs, also when the latter are lawful and right. You worry and fret about too many things, Martha. She is concerned with one only. That which is sufficient for her soul and above all for her and your Lord. Forget useless things. Imitate your sister. Mary has chosen the better part, which will never be taken from her. When all virtues become superfluous, because they are no longer necessary to the citizens of the Kingdom, Charity alone will remain. It will last forever. Alone and supreme. That is what Mary has chosen and has taken as her shield and pilgrim's staff. Through it, as if she were flying with angelical wings, she will come to My Heaven."
Martha, who feels mortified, lowers her head and goes away.
"My sister loves You very much and is anxious to honour You..." says Mary to excuse her.
"I know, and she will be rewarded for that. But she needs to be purified of her human way of thinking, as this water was purified. Look how limpid it has become again, while we were speaking. Martha will be purified by the words I spoke to her. You... through the sincerity of your repentance."
"No, through Your forgiveness, Master. My repenting was not sufficient to wash my great sin..."
"It was and will be sufficient for the sisters who will imitate you. It will be sufficient for all the poor whose souls are diseased. Sincere repentance is a purifying filter; love, then, preserves from further defilement. Thus, those who through life become adults and sinners, will be able to become as innocent as children again and enter My Kingdom like them. Let us go home now. So that Martha may not be left too long in her grief. Let us go and smile at her as Friend and sister."
"No comment is required. The parable of the water is the comment on the repenting action of hearts.
You have thus seen the complete cycle of the Magdalene. From her death to the Life. Of all the resurrected people of My Gospel she is the greatest. She was raised from seven deaths. She was reborn. You have seen her raise the stalk of her new flower higher and higher above the mud of the earth, like a flowery plant, and then bloom and smell sweetly for Me, and die for Me. You have seen her when she was a sinner, then when, thirsty, she approached the Fountain, then when she repented, then when she was forgiven, then you saw her as a lover, then as a pitiful woman bent over the slain Body of her Lord, then as a servant of My Mother, Whom she loves because She is My Mother; and finally you have seen her as a repentant soul at the threshold of her Paradise. O souls who are afraid, learn not to be afraid of Me by reading the life of Mary of Magdala. O souls who love, learn from her how to love with seraphic ardour. O souls who have erred, learn from her the Science that will prepare you for Heaven.
I bless you all to help you to rise. Go in peace."