You Shall Not Fornicate
Jesus says to me:
"Be patient, My dear soul, with regard to the double work. This is a period of endurance. You know how tired I was in My last days?! You see it. When walking I lean on John, on Peter, on Simon, also on Judas... Yes. And although miracles emanated from Me, even by simple contact with My clothes, I was not able to change that heart! Let Me lean on you, little John, to repeat the words which I spoke in the last days to those stubborn dull-minded people who heard the announcement of My torture without being affected by it. And let the Master preach for hours in the sad plain of the Clear Water. And I shall bless you twice: for your fatigue and for your pity. I count your efforts, I gather your tears. For your efforts on behalf of your brothers you will be rewarded as those who wear themselves out to make God known to men. The tears shed for My suffering during the last week will be rewarded with Jesus' kiss. Write and may you be blessed.
Jesus is standing on a kind of platform made with boards in one of the large rooms, the last one, and is speaking in a very loud voice, near the door, so that He may be heard by those in the room and also by those in the shed or on the threshing floor, which is flooded by the rain. The people standing there in their large dark coarse mantles, which are proof against water, look like so many lay brothers. The weakest people are in the room, the women under the shed, the strongest, mainly men, are in the yard, in the rain.
Peter, barefooted and wearing only his short tunic and with a piece of cloth on his head, comes and goes, and is always in a good humour even if he has to paddle in water and take unexpected showers. John, Andrew and James are with him. They are cautiously transferring from the other room sick people and are guiding or supporting blind or lame people.
Jesus is patiently waiting for them all to be settled. He is only sorry that the four disciples are wet like sponges dipped into a pail of water.
"It is nothing! We are like pitched wood. Don't worry. We are getting baptised again and the baptiser is God Himself." replies Peter to Jesus' commiserations.
At last they are all settled and Peter thinks he can go and put on a dry tunic. And he goes away with the other three.
But when he comes back again to the Master, he sees the large grey mantle of the veiled woman appear round the corner of the shed and he goes towards her without considering that to do so he must cross the yard diagonally in a heavy shower of rain which is getting heavier and heavier, while the water of the pools splashes up to his knees. He takes her by the elbow, without displacing her mantle, and pulls her towards the wall of the large room, out of the rain. He then places himself beside her, as stern and still as a sentry.
Jesus sees him and He smiles bending His head to conceal the brightness of His smile. He starts speaking.
"Those amongst you, who have been coming to Me regularly, must not say that I do not speak orderly, and that I skip some of the ten commandments. You hear. I see. You listen. I apply My speech to the pains and the sores that I see in you. I am the Doctor. A doctor calls first on those who are more seriously ill, on those who are closer to death. He then visits those who are not so dangerously ill. I do the same."
"Today I say to you: "Do not fornicate".
"Do not look round endeavouring to read the word "lustful" on somebody's face. Love one another. Would you love anyone who read that word on your face? No, you would not. Well, then, do not try to read it in the worried eyes of your neighbour or on his forehead that blushes and bows to the ground. And then... Oh! tell Me, especially you men. Which of you has not tasted this bread made with ashes and excrement, which is sexual satisfaction? And is lust only what carries you for one hour between the arms of a prostitute? Is lust not also the desecrated union with your wife, desecrated because it is ratified vice as it is reciprocal sensual satisfaction, which, however, evades its consequences?"
"Marriage means procreation and its act means and must be fecundation. Otherwise it is immoral. You must not make a brothel of your nuptial beds. And that is what they become if they are soiled by lust and are not consecrated by maternity. The earth does not reject the seed. It receives it and makes a plant of it. The seed does not escape from the furrow after being laid there. But it takes root at once and it strives to grow and bear fruit, that is the vegetable creature born of the union between soil and seed. Man is the seed, woman is the soil, the fruit is the son. It is sinful to refuse to bear fruit and scatter strength in vice. It is prostitution performed on the nuptial bed, and in no way differs from the other prostitution, on the contrary it is aggravated by disobedience to the commandment that says: "Be one flesh and multiply by bearing children".
"Therefor, women deliberately barren, legal and honest wives in the eyes of the world, but not in the eyes of God, you can see that you may be considered prostitutes and you fornicate just the same even if only with your husbands, because you do not seek maternity but too often you are only after pleasure. And do you not consider that pleasure is a poison that contaminates every mouth that tastes it? It burns with a fire that seems to satisfy, instead it falls out of the fireplace and devours, more and more insatiable, leaving a sour taste of ash on the tongue as well as disgust, nausea and contempt both of oneself and of the partner in pleasure, because when a conscience revives, and it does revive between two heats, one can but feel such contempt of oneself, being lowered below the level of beasts.
"You shall not fornicate" it is said. A great deal of the carnal actions of men are fornications. And I do not take into consideration the inconceivable obsessive union which Leviticus condemns with the following words: "Man: you must not lie with a man as with a woman" and "You must not lie with any animal, you would thereby become unclean. And woman will do likewise and will not offer herself to an animal, because it would be a foul thing". But after mentioning the duty of husband and wife in marriage, which is no longer holy when it becomes barren through malice, I am going to speak of the true and proper fornication between man and woman performed out of reciprocal vice or for compensation in money or in gifts."
"The human body is a magnificent temple that contains an altar. God should be on the altar. But God is not where there is corruption. Therefore an impure body has a desecrated altar without God. Like a drunken person who wallows in mire and in the regurgitations of his own drunkenness, man lowers himself in the brutality of fornication and becomes worse than the most impure worm and beast."
"Tell Me, if among you there is anyone who has perverted himself to the extent of dealing with his body as one deals in fodder or animals at the market, which benefit did he gain? Take your hearts in your hands, examine them, question them, listen to them, note their wounds, their pangs and then tell Me: was the fruit so sweet as to deserve such pain to a heart that was born pure and that you have compelled to live in an impure body, and to beat to give life and heat to lust, and to be worn out by vice? Tell Me: are you so perverted that you do not sob secretly, hearing the voice of a child calling: "mummy", or thinking of your mothers, you women of pleasure who have run away from home or have been driven out of them, so that the rotten fruit may not contaminate with its oozing rottenness the other good ones? Thinking of your mothers who probably died broken-hearted, having to say: "I gave birth to disgrace?"
"Do you not feel your hearts shudder with shame, when you meet an old solemn looking man because of his white hair and you consider that you have soiled your fathers' heads with handfuls of mud and have exposed them to the scorn of their native country?"
"Do you not feel your entrails writhe with regret when you see a happy wife or an innocent virgin and you have to say: "I have given up all that and I will never be like that again!?"
"Do you not realise how miserable you are when you are thirsty for the kiss of a child and you dare not say: "Give me it" because you have killed lives at their birth, you have rejected them as boring burdens and as a useless hindrance, detached from the tree that had borne them, and thrown out to make dung, and now those little lives shout at you: "murderers!"?
"But, above all, are you not terrified of the Judge Who created you and is waiting for you to ask you: "What have you done of yourself? Did I, perhaps, give you life for that? How dare you come to My presence, you nest swarming with worms and putrefaction? You have had everything of what was your god: pleasure. Go to the place of eternal malediction"."
"Who is weeping? Nobody? Are you saying: nobody? And yet My soul is going to meet another soul that is weeping. Why is it going to meet her? To anathematize her because she is a prostitute? No. Because I feel sorry for her soul. I feel repulsion for all her filthy body, sweaty with wanton exertion. But her soul!"
"Oh! Father! Father! Also for this soul I have taken flesh and I left Heaven to be her Redeemer and the Redeemer of many souls like hers! Why should I not pick up this stray sheep and take her to the fold, clean her, unite her to the flock, give her pastures and a love as perfect as only Mine can be, so different from the love that so far she called love, but instead was hatred, such a pitiful, complete, sweet love that she may no longer regret the past or may regret it only to say: "Too many days have I lost away from You, eternal Beauty. Who will give me back the time I lost? How can I enjoy in the short time which is left to me, what I would have enjoyed if I had always been pure?"
"And yet, o soul oppressed by all the lust of the world, do not weep. Listen: you are a filthy rag. But you can become a flower once again. You are a dunghill. But you can become a flower-bed. You are an impure animal. But you can become an angel. Once you were an angel. And you used to dance on the flowery meadows, a rose amongst the roses, as fresh as they were, sweet-smelling with virginity. And you happily sang your childish songs, and then you would run to your mother, to your father and say to them: "You are my love". And the invisible guardian who is at the side of each creature would smile at your blue-white soul... And then? Why? Why did you tear off your wings, those of a little innocent being? Why did you tread on the hearts of your father and mother to run after other unreliable hearts? Why did you compel your pure voice to utter false sensual words? Why did you break the stem of the rose and desecrate yourself?"
"Repent, daughter of God. Repentance invigorates, purifies and elevates. Can man not forgive you? Not even your father could forgive you? But God can. Because the bounty of God is not to be compared to human goodness and His mercy is infinitely greater than human misery. Honor yourself by making your soul honorable through an honest life. Justify yourself with God committing no more sins against your soul. Obtain from God a new name. That is what matters. You are vicious. Become honest. Become the sacrifice and the martyr of your repentance. You knew how to make a martyr of your heart to give pleasure to your flesh. Now make a martyr of your flesh to give eternal peace to your heart."
"Go. You may all go away. Each with his burden and his thoughts, and meditate. God awaits everybody and rejects none of those who repent. May God grant you His light that you may know your souls. Go."
Many go away towards the village. Some go into the large room. Jesus goes towards the sick people and cures them.
One of the five resumes speaking: "I am Samuel, the scribe; this is Sadoc, another scribe; and this is Eleazar, a well known and mighty Judaean; and this is Callascebona, the famous elder; and, finally, this is Nahum. Do you understand? Nahum!. the tone of his voice is really bombastic.
Peter bows lightly at each name, but at the last one his head stops half way and with the greatest indifference he says: "I don't know. Never heard of it. And... I don't understand anything."
"You rough fisherman! Bear in mind that he is Annas' trustee!"
"I don't know Annas; or rather I know many women whose name is Anna. There is a swarm of them also in Capernaum. But I don't know of which one he is the trustee.."
"He? Am I being addressed as "he"?"
What do you want me to say to you? Ass or bird? When I went to school the teacher taught me to say "he" when speaking of a man, and, if I am not mistaken, you are a man."
The man becomes infuriated, as if he were tortured by the words. The other man, who spoke first, explains: "Annas is Caiaphas' father-in-law..."
"Ah!... I see!!! Well?"
"I am telling you that we are indignant!"
"At what? At the weather? I am indignant too. I have changed my clothes three times and I have no more dry ones."
"Don't be silly!"
"Silly? It's the truth. If you are not indignant at the weather, at what then? With the Romans?"
"With your Master! With the false prophet!"
"Hey! Dear Samuel! Be careful because if I wake up I am like the lake. From dead calm I become stormy in a moment. So watch how you speak..."
Also the sons of Zebedee and of Alphaeus have come in together with the Iscariot and Simon and they gather round Peter who shouts louder and louder.
"You shall not touch with your plebeian hands the great men of Zion!"
"Oh! The handsome young gentlemen! And you shall not touch my Master otherwise you will be flying into the well at once and then you will really get purified, both internally and externally."
"I wish to draw the attention of the doctors of the Temple to the fact that this house is a private one," says Simon calmly. And the Iscariot corroborates the situation saying: "And I can guarantee that the Master has always had the greatest respect for other people's houses, and above all for the House of the Lord. Have the same respect for His."
"Be quiet, you sly worm."
"Sly in what? You are disgusting and I came where there is no disgust. And God grant I have not been completely corrupted by being with you!"
"Summing up: what do you want?" asks James of Alphaeus sharply.
"And who are you?"
"I am James of Alphaeus, and Alphaeus of James, and James of Matan, and Matan of Eleazar, and if you wish so, I will mention all my ancestors up to king David from whom I descend. And I am a cousin of the Messiah. So I ask you to speak to me, since I am of the royal family and a Judaean, if your arrogance feels disgust in speaking to an honest Israelite who knows God better than Gamaliel and Caiaphas. So, speak up."
"Your Master and relative gets prostitutes to follow Him. That veiled woman is one of them. I saw her while she was selling some gold. And I recognised her. She is Shammai's lover and has run away from him. Which is a disgrace to him."
"To whom? To Shammai the rabbi? In that case she must be an old crock. And thus out of danger..." remarks the Iscariot teasingly.
"Be quiet, you fool! To Shammai of Elchi, Herod's favourite."
"Well now! It means that she is no longer particularly fond of the favorite. She has to go to bed with him. Not you. Why worry then?" Judas Iscariot is superlatively ironical.
"Man, do you not think that you are dishonouring yourself by playing the spy?" asks Judas of Alphaeus. "And do you not consider that he dishonors himself who lowers himself to commit a sin, not he who endeavours to save a sinner? Why is my Master and brother dishonoured, if, when speaking, His voice reaches also the ears profaned by the slaver of lustful people in Zion?"
"His voice? Ah! Ah! Your Master and cousin is thirty years old and He is a greater hypocrite than the others. And you all sleep soundly at night..."
"You vile reptile. Get out of here or I will strangle you," shouts Peter, and James and John echo his words, while Simon simply says: "Shame on you! Your hypocrisy is so great that it regurgitates and overflows and you slaver like a snail on a pure flower. Go out and become a man, because now you are but slaver. I recognise you, Samuel. Your heart is always the same. May God forgive you. Go away from my presence."
While the Iscariot and James of Alphaeus are holding Peter, who is seething with anger, Judas Thaddeus, who more than ever is now like his Cousin, having the same blue flashing look and stately expression, says in a thundering voice: "He dishonours himself who dishonours an innocent person. God gave us sight and speech to accomplish holy deeds. A slanderer misuses and degrades them, employing them for evil deeds. I will not soil myself by a rude deed offensive to your white hair. But I will remind you that wicked people hate an upright man and a fool vents his spleen without considering that he betrays himself. Who lives in darkness mistakes a branch in bloom for a reptile. But who lives in light sees things as they are, and if they are denigrated, he defends them for justice' sake. We live in light. We are the chaste, beautiful generation of the children of light, and our Leader is the Holy One Who knows neither woman nor sin. We follow Him and defend Him from His enemies, Whom He has taught us not to hate but to pray for. Old as you are, you may learn from a young man, who has become ripe because Wisdom is his teacher, not to be so quick in speaking and not good at all in doing good. Go. And inform those who sent you that God rests on His glory in this poor dwelling, not in the desecrated house which is on mount Moriah. Goodbye."
The five men dare not reply and they go away.
The disciples discuss whether they should tell Jesus Who is still with the people He has cured. They decide it is better to inform Him. They go to meet Him, they call Him and they tell Him.
Jesus smiles peacefully and replies: "Thank you for defending Me. . . but what can you do? One gives what one has."
"However, they are not entirely wrong. We have eyes to see and many people do see. She is always out there, like a dog. It does You no good." say many of the disciples.
"Leave her alone. She will not be the stone that will strike My head. And if she is saved... it is well worth being criticised for such a joy!"
It all ends on that sweet reply.
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, volume #1, chapter 123.
Copyright 1986 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.