"Here He comes" many shout.
"Mercy! I am ashamed!" says the guilty man who is about to run away.
"Where are you running, My son? Is there so much darkness in your heart that you hate the Light to the extent of having to flee before it? Have you sinned so much as to be afraid of Me, Who am Forgiveness? What sin can you have committed? Even if you had killed God you should not be afraid, if you were truly repentant. Do not weep! Or come: we will weep together." Jesus, Who by lifting one hand had ordered the fleeing man to stop, now holds him tight to Himself, and then turns to those who are waiting and says:
"Just one moment. That I may comfort this heart. Then I will come to you."
And He walks beyond the house and going round the corner He knocks against the veiled woman, who was standing there listening. Jesus stares at her for a moment. He walks ten more steps and stops.
"What have you done, son?"
The man falls on his knees. He is about fifty years old. His face is ravaged by many passions and a secret torture. He stretches his arms and shouts: "I killed my mother and brother... to have all my father's heritage and enjoy it with women... I have had no more peace... My food... blood! My sleep... nightmares... My pleasures... Ah! in the lap of women, in their lustful cries, I felt the cold body of my dead mother and I heard the death-rattle of my poisoned brother. Cursed be pleasure women, they are asps, medusae, unappeasable morays... my ruIn!"
"Do not curse. I do not curse you..."
"Are You not cursing me?"
"No. I weep and I take your sin upon Me!... How heavy it is! It breaks My limbs. But I clasp it to consume it for you... and I give you forgiveness. Yes. I forgive you your big sin." He lays His hands on the head of the sobbing man and prays: Father, My Blood will be shed also for him. For the time being, here are My tears and My prayer. Father, forgive, because he is repentant. Your Son, to Whose judgement everything is left, wants it!...
He remains thus for a few minutes, He then bends, raises the man and says to him. Your sin is forgiven. It is for you to expiate what is left of your crime, through a life of penance."
"God has forgiven me. And my mother? My brother?"
"What Gods forgives, everybody forgives. Go and sin no more." The man cries louder and kisses His hand. Jesus leaves him to let him weep. He goes back to the house. The veiled woman makes a gesture as if she wanted to go and meet Him, but she bends her head and does not move. Jesus passes in front of her without looking at her.
He is now in His place. He speaks: A soul has gone back to the Lord. Blessed be His omnipotence that snatches from the demon's snares the souls He created and takes them back on to the way to Heaven. Why was that soul lost? Because it had lost sight of the Law. It is said in the Book that the Lord showed Himself on Sinai in all His fearful might, to say by means of it: "I am God. This is My will. And this is the lightning I hold ready for those who will rebel against the will of God". And before speaking He ordered that none of the people should go up to contemplate Him Who is, and that also the priests should be purified before approaching the limit of God, that they might not be struck. Because it was the time of justice and of trials. Heaven was closed, as if by a stone, on the mystery of Heaven and on the wrath of God, and only the swords of justice flashed from Heaven on the guilty children. But not now. Now the Just One has come to consume all justice and the time has come, when without lightning and without limitations, the Word of God speaks to man to give him Grace and Life."
"The first word of the Father and Lord is this: "I am the Lord Your God".
"There is not one instant of the day in which this word is not uttered by the voice of God and is not written by His finger. Where?"
"Everywhere. It is repeated continuously by everything. By grass and stars, by water and fire, by wool and food, by light and darkness, by health and illness, by wealth and poverty. Everything says: "I am the Lord. You received that from Me. One thought of Mine gives it to you, another thought takes it away from you, there is no power of armies or of defence that can shield you from My will". It shouts in the voice of the wind, it sings in the murmur of water, it gives off scent in the sweet smell of flowers, it is engraved on mountain tops, and it whispers, speaks, calls, shouts in consciences: "I am the Lord your God".
"Never forget that! Do not close your eyes, your ears, do not suffocate your consciences, so that you may not hear that word. In any case it stands and the moment will come when it will be written by the fiery finger of God on the walls of banqueting halls or on the waves of rough seas, on the smiling lips of a child, or on the pallor of a dying old man, on a sweet-smelling rose or on a fetid sepulchre. The moment will come when in the exhilaration of wine and pleasure, in the bustle of business, in the rest at night, during a lonely walk, it will raise its voice and say: "I am the Lord your God" and not the flesh that you kiss so avidly, and not the food that you gobble so greedily, and not the gold that you hoard so stingily, and not the bed in which you idle, and neither taciturnity, nor loneliness, nor sleep can silence it. "I am the Lord your God", the Companion Who will not abandon you, the Guest you cannot drive out. Are you good? Then the guest and companion is a good Friend. Are you wicked and guilty? Then the guest and companion becomes the angry King and gives no peace. But He does not leave you. Separation from God is granted only to damned souls. But the separation is their unappeasable and eternal torture.
"I am the Lord your God" and it adds "Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery". Oh! He really says that just now! And from what Egypt He is bringing you out, towards the promised land, which is not this place, but Heaven! The eternal Kingdom of the Lord, where there is no hunger or thirst, cold or death, but everything will exude joy and peace and every soul will be replete with peace and joy. He is now releasing you from real slavery. Here is the Redeemer. It is I. Every human rulermay die, and through his death slaves may be set free. But Satan does not die. He is eternal. He is the ruler who has fettered you in order to drag you wherever he wishes. You are sinners and sin is the chain by means of which Satan holds you. I have come to break the chain. I am coming in the name of the Father and because I wanted to come. The promise which has not been understood is therefore now being fulfilled: "I brought you out of Egypt and of slavery".
"This is now being fulfilled spiritually. The Lord your God is bringing you out of the land of the idol who seduced the First Parents, He frees you from the slavery of sin, He clothes you once again with Grace and admits you to His Kingdom. I solemnly tell you that those who come to Me will be able to hear the Most High say to the blessed hearts, in a soft fatherly voice: "I am the Lord your God and I am drawing you to Me, free and happy".
"Come. Turn your hearts and faces, your prayers and will to the Lord. The hour of Grace has come."
Jesus has finished. He passes by blessing and He caresses an old woman and a swarthy smiling little girl.
"Cure me, Master. I am suffering so much! says the man affected with gangrene.
"Your soul first. Do penance..."
"Baptise me as John did. I cannot go to him. I am not well."
"Come." Jesus goes down towards the river, which is on the other side of two very large meadows and is hidden by a wood. He takes His sandals off and so does the man who has dragged himself there on crutches. They go down to the river bank and Jesus, cupping His hands, pours the water on the head of the man, who is in the river up to half his shin.
"Take your bandages off, now." Jesus tells him while going back up to the path.
The man obeys. His leg is healed. The crowd shout their astonishment.
"Baptise me, too!" shout many.
Jesus, Who is already half way along the path, turns round: "Tomorrow. Go now and be good. Peace be with you."
It all ends and Jesus goes back to the house, to the dark kitchen although it is early afternoon.
The disciples gather round Him. Peter asks: "What was the matter with the man You took behind the house?
"He needed to be purified."
"But he did not come back and he was not there asking to be baptised.
"He went to where I sent him."
"To expiate, Peter."
"No. To do penance for the rest of his life." Does one not get purified by water?"
"Also tears are water."
"That is true. Now that You have worked a miracle, I wonder how many people will come!... They were already twice as many today..."
"Yes. If I had to do everything, I would not be able to. You will baptise. At first, one at a time, then two, three, then many. And I will preach and cure the sick people and the guilty ones."
"Are we to baptise? Oh! I am not worthy! Dispense me, Lord, from that mission! I need to be baptised!" Peter is on his knees imploring.
But Jesus bends down and says: "You will be the very first one to baptise, as from tomorrow."
"No, Lord! How can I do that if I am blacker than that chimney?" Jesus smiles at the sincere humility of His apostle on his knees against His own knees, on which he has joined his coarse big fisherman's hands. He then kisses Peter on his forehead, just below his rough grey curly hair: "There you are. I baptise you with a kiss. Are you happy?"
"I would commit another sin to have another kiss!"
"No. You must not mock at God by taking advantage of His gifts."
"Will You not give a kiss also to me? I have sins, too" says the Iscariot.
Jesus stares at him. His look, which changes so easily, turns from the brightness of joy that made it so clear while speaking to Peter, to a severe, and I would say, tired gloom, and He says:
"Yes... also to you. Come. I am not unfair to anybody. Be good, Judas. If you only wanted!... You are young. You have a whole lifetime to climb higher and higher, up to the perfection of holiness..." and He kisses him.
"Now, it is your turn, Simon, My friend. And yours, Matthew, My victory. And yours, wise Bartholomew. And yours, faithful Philip. And yours, cheerful Thomas. Come, Andrew, silently active. And you, James, of our first meeting. And you now, joy of your Master. And you, Judas, companion of my childhood and youth. And you, James, whose look and heart remind Me of the Just One. You have all had My kiss. But remember that great is My love, but also your good will is required. Tomorrow you will be taking one step forward in your lives as My disciples. And remember that every step forward is an honour and an obligation."
"Master... one day You said to me, John, James and Andrew, that You would teach us how to pray. I think that if we prayed as You do, we would become worthy of doing the work that You want us to do" says Peter.
"Also then I replied to you: "When you are sufficiently formed, I will teach you the sublime prayer. To leave you My prayer. But even that prayer will be nothing if you say it only with your lips. For the time being, ascend to God with your souls and your will. Prayer is a gift God grants to man and that man presents to God."
"What? Are we not yet worthy of praying? The whole of Israel pray..." says the Iscariot.
"Yes, Judas. But from her deeds, you can see how Israel prays. I do not want to make traitors of you. Who prays with an external attitude, and internally is against good, is a traitor."
"And when are You going to make us work miracles?" Judas asks again.
"We... miracles? Eternal mercy! And yet, we drink nothing but water! Miracles... us? Boy, are you crazy?" Peter is scandalised, frightened and is beside himself.
"He told us, in Judaea. Did You not?
"Yes, it is true. I did. And you will work them. But as long as there is too much flesh in you, you will not work miracles."
"We will fast" says the Iscariot.
"It is of no use. By flesh I mean the corrupted passions, the triple craving and the train of vices that follow the treacherous triple craving... Like the children of a filthy bigamous union, the pride of the mind gives birth, through the greed for flesh and power, to all the evil that is in man and in the world."
"For You we have left everything" replies Judas.
"But not yourselves."
"Must we die then? We would do it to be with You. At least I would..."
"No. I am not asking for your material death. I want animality and Satanism to die in you, and they do not die as long as the flesh is satisfied and falsehood, pride, anger, arrogance, gluttony, avarice, sloth are in you."
"We are such faulty men near You, Who are so holy!" whispers Bartholomew.
"And He has always been so holy. We know" states His cousin James.
"He knows what we are... Therefore we must not lose heart. We must just say: give us day by day strength to serve You. If we said: "We are without sin" we would be deceived and we would be deceivers. Of whom? Of ourselves who know what we are, even if we do not want to tell? Of God, Who cannot be deceived? But if we saywe say: "We are weak and sinners. Help us with Your strength and forgiveness" God will not disappoint us and in His goodness and justice He will forgive us and cleanse us of the iniquity of our poor hearts."
"May you be blessed, John. Because the Truth speaks through your lips which are scented with innocence and only kiss the adorable Love" says Jesus standing up, and He draws to His heart His best-loved disciple, who had spoken from his dark corner.
Written by Maria Valtorta, Feb. 27, 1945
Excerpted from POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume #1, chapter 119