I see my little Jesus appear as sweet as a ray of sun on a rainy day. He is a little child about five years old, completely blond and most beautiful in His simple blue dress which reaches down to half His well-shaped calves. He is playing with some earth in the little kitchen garden. He makes little heaps with it and on top He plants little branches as if He were making a miniature forest, with little stones He builds little roads and then He would like to build a little lake at the foot of His tiny hills. He therefor takes the bottom part of an old pot and inters it up to the brim and then fills it with water with a pitcher which He dips into a vessel, which is certainly used either for washing purposes or to water the little garden. But the only result is that He wets His dress, particularly its sleeves. The water runs out of the chipped pot which is probably also cracked and... the lake dries up.
Joseph appears at the door and for some time he stands, very quietly watching the work of the Child and smiles. It is a sight, indeed, that makes one smile happily. Then, to prevent Jesus from getting more wet. he calls Him. Jesus turns round smiling, and when He sees Joseph, He runs towards him with His little arms stretched out. Joseph with the edge of his short working tunic dries the little hands which are soiled and wet, and kisses them. And then there is a sweet conversation between the two.
Jesus explains His work and His game and the difficulties He met in it. He wanted to make a little lake like the lake of Gennesaret. (I therefor suppose that they have either spoken to Him about it of they had taken Him to see it.) He wanted to make a little one for His own delight. This was Tiberias, there was Magdala, over there was Capernaum. This was the road that took to Nazareth going through Cana. He wanted to launch some little boats in the lake; these leaves are boats, and He wanted to go over to the other shore. But the water runs away...
Joseph watches and takes an interest as if it were a very serious matter. He then proposes to make a small lake, the following day, but not with an old cracked pot, but with a small wooden basin, well coated with pitch and stucco, in which Jesus would be able to launch small real wooden boats which Joseph would teach Him how to make. Just then, he was bringing Him some small working tools, suitable for Him, that He might learn to use them, without any fatigue.
"So I will be able to help you!" Jesus says, smiling.
"So you will help me, and You will become a clever carpenter. Come and see them."
And they go into the workshop. Joseph shows Him a small hammer, a tiny saw, some very small screwdrivers* (chisels?), a plane suitable for a doll, which are all lying on the bench of a budding carpenter: a bench suitable for little Jesus' size.
"See, to saw, You must put this piece of wood like that. You then take the saw like that, and making sure that You do not catch your fingers, You start sawing. Try..."
And the lesson begins. And Jesus, blushing with the effort and pressing His lips together, saws the piece of wood carefully and then planes it, and although it is not perfectly straight, He thinks it is nice. Joseph praises Him and with patience and love teaches Him how to work.
Mary comes back. She had certainly gone out, and She looks in at the door. Joseph and Jesus do not see Her because She is behind them. Mother smiles seeing how zealously Jesus is working with the plane and how loving Joseph is in teaching Him.
But Jesus must have perceived Her smile. He turns round, sees His Mother and runs towards Her, showing Her the little piece of wood not yet finished. Mary admires it, and She bends down to kiss Jesus. She tidies up His ruffled curls, wipes the perspiration on His hot face, and listens with loving attention to Jesus, Who promises to make Her a little stool so that She will be more comfortable when working. Joseph standing near the tiny bench, with one hand resting on his side, looks and smiles.
I have thus been present at the first work lesson of my Jesus. And all the peace of this Holy Family is within me.
*on page 223 of Volume 1, Maria describes an older Jesus with what she describes as a "screwdriver". She then parenthetically adds that she "thinks it is a screwdriver" thus anticipating critics who doubt that screwdrivers existed in the first century, even though there were of course objects such as chisels that would look like screwdrivers. Quibblers will look in vain for Maria to mention any "heretical" screws.
"I have consoled you, My dear soul, with a vision of My childhood, which was happy in its poverty, because it was surrounded by the love of two saints, the greatest the world ever had.
They say that Joseph was My foster-father. Oh! If, being a man he could not feed Me with milk, as My Mother Mary did, he worked very hard indeed, to give Me bread and comfort and he had the loving kindness of a real mother. From him I learned--and never had a pupil a kinder teacher--I learned everything that makes a man of a child, and a man who is to earn his own bread.
If My intelligence, that of the Son of God was perfect, you must consider and believe that I did not want to deviate from the attributes and attainments of My own age group ostentatiously. Therefor, by lowering My divine intellectual perfection to that of a human intellectual perfection, I submitted Myself to having a man as My teacher, and to the need of a teacher. If I learned quickly and willingly, that does not deprive the just man of the merit of being the person who nourished My young mind with the ideas which are necessary to life.
Not even now that I am in Heaven can I forget the happy hours I spent beside Joseph, who, as if he were playing with Me, guided Me to the point of being capable of working. And when I look at My putative father, I see once again the little kitchen garden and the smoky workshop, and I still appear to see Mother peep in with Her beautiful smile which turned the place into Paradise and made us so happy.
How much families should learn from the perfection of this couple who loved each other as nobody else ever loved!
Joseph was the head of the family, and as such, his authority was undisputed and indisputable: before it the Spouse and Mother of God bent reverently and the Son of God submitted Himself willingly. Whatever Joseph decided to do, was well done: there were no discussions, no punctiliousness, no oppositions. His word was our little law. And yet, how much humility there was in him! There never was any abuse of power, or any decision against reason only because he was the head of the family. His Spouse was his sweet adviser. And if in Her deep humility She considered Herself the servant of Her consort, he drew from Her wisdom Full of Grace, light to guide him in all events.
And I grew like a flower protected by vigorous trees, between those two loves that interlaced above Me, to protect Me, and love Me.
No. As long as I was able to ignore the world because of My age, I did not regret being absent from Paradise. God the Father and the Holy Spirit were not absent, because Mary was full of Them. And the angels dwelt there, because nothing drove them away from that house. And one of them, I might say, had become flesh and was Joseph, an angelical soul freed from the burden of the flesh, intent only on serving God and His cause and loving Him as the seraphim love Him. Joseph's look! It was as placid and pure as the brightness of a star unaware of worldly concupiscence. It was our peace, and our strength.
Many think that I did not suffer as a human being when the holy glance of the guardian of our home was extinguished by death. If I was God, and as such I was aware of the happy destiny of Joseph, and consequently I was not sorry for his death, because after a short time in Limbo, I was going to open Heaven to him. As a Man I cried bitterly in the house now empty and deprived of his presence. I cried over My dead friend, and should I not have cried over My holy friend, on whose chest I had slept when I was a little boy, and from whom I had received so much love in so many years?
Finally I would like to draw the attention of parents to how Joseph made a clever workman of Me, without any help of pedagogical learning. As soon as I was old enough to handle tools, he did not let Me lead a life of idleness, but he started Me to work and he made use of My love for Mary as the means to spur Me to work. I was to make useful things for Mother. That is how inculcated the respect which every son should have for his mother and the teaching for the future carpenter was based on that respectful and loving incentive.
Where are now the families in which the little ones are taught to love work as a means of pleasing their parents? Children, nowadays, are the tyrants of the house. They grow hard, indifferent, ill-mannered towards their parents. They consider their parents as their servants, their slaves. They do not love their parents and they are scarcely loved by them. The reason is that, while you allow your children to become objectionable overbearing fellows, you become detached from them with shameful indifference.
They are everybody's children, except yours, o parents of the twentieth century. They are the children of the nurse, of the governess, of the college, if you are rich people. They belong to their companions, they are children of the streets, of the schools, if you are poor. But they are not yours. You, mothers, give birth to them and that is all. And you, fathers, do exactly the same. But a son is not only flesh. He has a mind, a heart, a soul. Believe Me, no one is more entitled and more obliged than a father and a mother to form that mind, that heart, that soul.
A family is necessary: it exists and must exist. There is no theory or progress capable of destroying this truth without causing ruin. A shattered family can but yield men and women who in future will be more perverted, and will cause greater and greater ruin. And I tell you most solemnly that it would be better if there were no more marriages and no more children on the earth, rather than have families less united than the tribes of monkeys, families which are not schools of virtue, of work, of love, of religion, but a babel in which everyone lives on his own like disengaged gears, which end up by breaking.
Broken families. You break up the most holy way of social living and you see and suffer the consequences. You may continue thus, if you so wish. But do not complain if this world is becoming a deeper and deeper hell, a dwelling place of monsters who devour familes and nations. You want it. Let it be so."
Written by Maria Valtorta, March 21, 1944.
THE POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, volume #1, pages 194-198.