Jesus Is Driven Out of Nazareth and He Comforts His Mother. Reflections on Four Contemplations.
The evening of 13th February 1944.
I see a large square room. I call it a large room, although I realise it is the synagogue in Nazareth (as my internal informant tells me) because there is nothing but the bare walls painted pale yellow and a sort of desk on one side. There is also a tall lectern with some rolls on it. Lectern or bookcase, call it as you wish. It is, in short, a kind of an inclined table, supported by one leg, and on which there are some rolls lined up.. There are some people praying, but not as we pray, they are all facing on one direction, with their hands not joined, but approximately as a priest stands at the altar. Above the desk and the lectern there are some lamps.
I do not understand the reason for this vision, which does not change but remains fixed for some time. But Jesus tells me to write it and I do so.
I am once again in the synagogue in Nazareth. The rabbi is now reading. I hear his singsong nasal voice, but I do not understand the words, which are pronounced in a language unknown to me.
Amongst the people there is also Jesus with His apostle-cousins and with others who are obviously relatives, but I do not know them.
After the reading the rabbi looks at the crowd in a mute invitation.
Jesus comes forward and asks to preside at the meeting today. I hear His beautiful voice reading the passage of Isaiah quoted by the Gospel: « The spirit of the Lord has been given to me… » And I hear the comment He makes, calling Himself « the bearer of the Gospel, of the law of love that replaces the previous rigour with mercy, so that health will be granted to all those who on account of the sin of Adam were diseased in their souls and indirectly also in their bodies, because sin always gives rise to vice and vice to bodily illness. Therefore all those who are prisoners of the Evil Spirit will be freed. I have come to break their chains, to reopen the way to Heaven, to give light to blind souls and hearing to deaf ones. The time of the Grace of the Lord has come. The Grace is amongst you and is speaking to you. The Patriarchs desired to see this day, the existence of which was proclaimed by the Most High and its time was foretold by the Prophets. And informed by a supernatural inspiration, they already know that the dawn of this day has risen and their entry to Paradise is now close at hand and they exult in their souls, saints who require only My blessing to be citizens of Heaven. You see it. Come to the light which has risen. Divest Yourselves of your passions to be agile in following Christ. Have a good will to believe, to improve yourselves, to desire health and you will be given health. It is in My hands. But I only give it to those who have a good will to receive it. Because it would be an offence to Grace to give it to those who want to continue to serve Mammon. »
A murmur runs through the synagogue. Jesus looks round. He reads on faces and into hearts and goes on: « I understand your thoughts. Because I am from Nazareth, you would like a privileged favour. But you want it not out of power of faith, but out of selfishness. So I solemnly tell you that no prophet is made welcome in his own country. Other countries have accepted Me and will accept Me with greater faith, also those, whose names are a scandal for you. There I will gather My followers, whereas I will not be able to do anything in this country, because it is closed and hostile to Me. But I wish to remind you of Elijah and Elisha. The former found faith in a Phoenician woman, the latter in a Syrian. And they were able to work a miracle for her and for him. The people dying of starvation in Israel and the lepers in Israel did not receive bread and cleanliness, because their hearts had not the good will, the fine pearl, that the Prophets could see. The same will happen also to you, who are hostile to and incredulous of the Word of God. »
The crowds become enraged, they curse and endeavour to lay hands on Jesus. But the apostle-cousins, Judas, James and Simon, defend Him and the enraged Nazarenes then hustle Jesus out of the town. They follow Him as far as the brow of the hill, threatening Him, not only with words. But Jesus turns round, immobilises them with His magnetic glance and walks through them uninjured and disappears along a mountain path.
I see a small, very small village. A handful of houses. A hamlet, as we would call it nowadays. It is higher up than Nazareth which can be seen below and it is only a few miles from it. A very poor hamlet.
Jesus is speaking to Mary sitting on a low wall near a little house. It is perhaps the house of friends or perhaps a hospitable one, according to the eastern laws of hospitality. And Jesus has taken shelter there after He was driven out of Nazareth, waiting for His apostles, who have certainly scattered through the countryside, while Jesus was with His Mother.
His three apostle-cousins are not with Him just now. They are inside, in the kitchen, and they are talking to an elderly woman whom Thaddeus calls « mother ». I thus understand that she is Mary of Clopas. She is a rather elderly woman and I recognise her as the woman who was with the Most Holy Virgin at the wedding at Cana. Mary of Clopas and her sons have certainly withdrawn there to leave Jesus and Mary free to speak.
Mary is distressed. She has heard what happened at the synagogue and She is sorrowful. Jesus comforts Her. Mary entreats Her Son to keep away from Nazareth, where everybody is ill-disposed towards Him, even their other relatives, who consider Him a madman anxious to give rise to ill-feeling and discussions. But Jesus makes a gesture smiling. He seems to be saying: « It takes more than that! Never mind! » But Mary insists.
He then answers: « Mother, if the Son of man should go only where He is loved, He should turn His step from this world and go back to Heaven. I have enemies everywhere. Because the Truth is hated, and I am the Truth. But I did not come to find easy love. I came to do the will of the Father and to redeem man. You are love, Mother, My love, that compensates Me for everything. You, and this little herd, which grows in numbers every day with some little sheep that I snatch from the wolves of passions and I lead to the fold of God. All the rest is duty. I have come to fulfill this duty and I must accomplish it even to the extent of crashing against the stony hearts unyielding to good. Nay, only after I have fallen, wetting their hearts with blood, I will soften them, stamping on them My Sign that will cancel the Enemy's sign. Mother, I descended from Heaven for that. I can only wish to accomplish that. »
« Oh! Son! My Son! » Mary's voice is heart-rending. Jesus caresses Her. I notice that Mary is wearing on Her head, besides a veil, also Her mantle. She is more than ever veiled, like a priestess.
« I shall be away for some time, to make You happy. When I am nearby, I will send someone to inform You. »
« Send John. I seem to be seeing you, somehow, when I see John. Also his mother is full of care for Me and for You. It is true that she hopes to have privileged positions for her sons. She is a woman and a mother, Jesus. We must bear with her. She will speak also to You about it. But she is sincerely affectionate. And when she is freed from the humanity which ferments in her as in her sons, as in the others, as in everybody, My Son, she will be great in her faith. It is painful that everybody should hope to receive worldly welfare from You, a welfare, that even if it is not human, is selfish. But sin is in them with its lust. The blessed hour, so much dreaded, although the love of God and of man makes Me desire it, when You will cancel Sin, has not yet come. Oh! that hour! How your Mother's heart trembles because of that hour! What will they do to You, Son? Son Redeemer, of Whom the Prophets predict such a martyrdom? »
« Do not think about it, Mother. God will help You at that hour. God will help Me and You. And after there will be peace. I tell You once again. Now go, because it is growing dark and You have a long way to go. I bless You. »
« Little John: much work today. But we are one day late and it is not possible to go slow. That is why I have given you strength today. I granted you the four contemplations to be able to speak to you of Mary's sorrows and Mine, in preparation for My passion. I should have spoken to you about them yesterday, Saturday, the day dedicated to My Mother. But I had pity on you. Today we must make up for the time lost. After the sorrows which I have made known to you, Mary had also these. And I with Her.
My eyes had seen into the heart of Judas Iscariot. No one must think that the Wisdom of God has not been able to understand that heart. But, as I told My Mother, he was necessary. Woe to him for being the traitor! But a traitor was necessary. Deceitful, shrewd, greedy, lustful, dishonest, more intelligent and cultured than the masses, he had been able to impose himself on everybody. Daring as he was, he smoothed the way for Me, also when the way was a difficult one. He was above all fond of standing out and showing his position of trust near Me. He was not obliging out of instinctive charity, but only because he was one of those whom you would call a "hustler". That enabled him also to look after the purse and approach women. Two things which he loved without restraint, together with a third one: position amongst men.
The Pure, Humble Virgin, Detached from earthly wealth, could but feel disgust for that serpent. I felt disgust, too. And only I and the Father and the Spirit know what I had to overcome to be able to endure him at My side. But I will tell you later.
Likewise I was aware of the hostility of priests, Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees. They were shrewd foxes who endeavoured to drive Me into their dens to tear Me to pieces. They were thirsty for My blood. And they tried to set traps for Me everywhere to catch Me, to bring accusations against Me and get rid of Me. Their intrigue lasted three long years and it was appeased only when they learned that I was dead. They slept happily that night. The voice of the accuser had been silenced for ever. That is what they thought. No. It was not yet dead. It will never be and it thunders and thunders and curses those who nowadays are like them. How much pain My Mother suffered through their fault! And I cannot forget that pain.
That the crowd was inconstant, was nothing new. It is the beast that licks the hand of the tamer if it is armed with a whip or offers a piece of meat to satisfy its hunger. But if the tamer falls and can no longer make use of the lash, or if he has no more food for its hunger, then it rushes at him and tears him to pieces. It is sufficient to tell the truth and to be good, to be hated by the crowd, after the first moment of enthusiasm. The truth is a reproach and a warning. Goodness deprives one of the lash and causes those who are not good to be no longer afraid. Thus: "crucify Him", after shouting: "hosanna". My life as a Master is overwhelmed by these two voices. And the last one was "crucify Him". The hosanna is like the deep breath taken by a singer before high notes. Mary, on Good Friday evening, heard once again within Herself all the false hosannas, which had turned into shouts for the death of Her Creature, and She was pierced by them. I will not forget that either.
The humanity of the apostles! How much of it! I was carrying in My arms, to lift them up to Heaven, stones which weighed down towards the earth. Even those who did not contemplate the possibility of becoming ministers of an earthly king, as Judas Iscariot did, those who did not think of coming to the throne in My place, if need be, as he did, were still eager for glory. The day came when also My John and his brother craved for that glory, that dazzles you like a mirage also in celestial matters. It is not the holy longing for Paradise, that I want you to have. But it is a human desire that your holiness may be known. Not only, but it is like the greediness of a money-changer, of a usurer, whereby, in exchange for a little love given to Him to Whom I told you that you must give yourselves entirely, you claim a place at His right hand side in Heaven.
No, My children. No. Before you must be able to drink all the chalice that I drank. All of it: with its charity given in return for hatred, its chastity against the allurements of sensuality, with its heroism in trials, with its holocaust for the love of God and one's brothers. Then, when you have fulfilled your duty completely, you must still say: "We are useless servants", and wait for My Father and yours to grant you, out of His goodness, a place in His Kingdom. You must strip yourselves, as you saw Me stripped in the Praetorium, of everything that is human, keeping only the indispensable, which is respect towards the gift of God, that is life, and towards your brothers to whom we may be more useful from Heaven than on the earth, and leaving to God to clothe you with the immortal stole, made immaculate in the blood of the Lamb.
I have shown you the sorrows preparatory to My Passion. I shall show you more. Although they are sorrows, your soul rested contemplating them. That is enough now. Be in peace. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume #1, chapter 106.
Copyright 1986 Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.