Orazio Gentileschi 1565-1647
Excerpted from THE NOTEBOOKS 1943, December 8.
"Luke, My evangelist, also writes that My Jesus, after having been circumcised and offered to the Lord, 'grew and was strengthened, full of wisdom, and the grace of the Lord was in Him'; and further on he repeats that, when He was a twelve-year-old boy, He remained subject to us and 'grew in wisdom, age, and grace before God and men'.
A deviation in the piety of the faithful has caused the order reserved by God even towards Himself, regarding His existence as the Son of Man, to be altered. Legend loves to make My Child, a prodigious, unnatural being, who from His birth on acted like a man and was thus so anomalous as to become monstrous.
This mistaken piety is not punished by God, who sees and pities it and judges it to be the work of a love which is not perfect in the form, but always pleasing because it is sincere.
But I want to speak to you about My Child just as He was when without His Mother, He would not have been able to do anything: a tender, delicate, blond tot, slightly rose-colored and beautiful, beautiful like no other child of man and good, better than the angels whom His Father and ours had created. His growth was neither more nor less like that of a healthy child cared for by His Mother.
My Child was intelligent. Very. As a perfect one can be. But His intelligence awakened day by day, following the rule common to all born of woman. It was as if the rising of a sun were opening a way for itself in His blond little head. The first glances, no longer indefinite, like those of the first days, began to rest upong things and especially on His Mother. The first smiles, uncertain and then increasingly certain when I would bend over His crib and take Him onto My lap to give Him milk, wash Him, dress Him, and kiss Him.
The first words, confused, and then clearer and clearer. What blessedness to be the Mother teaching the Son of God to say 'Mother!' And the first time He pronounced this word correctly, which no one ever knew how to say with so much Love as He did and which He said to Me until His final breath, what a celebration for Me and Joseph and how many kisses on His little mouth, where the first small teeth were appearing!
And His first steps on His tender little feet, pink like the petal of a flesh-colored rose, those feet which I would caress with a mother's love and the adoration of the devout and which they would later nail to the cross and I would see contracting in agony, growing leaden, and turning icy cold.
And His falls when He started to move on His own. I would run to lift Him up again and kiss His bruises... Oh, I could do so then! One day I would see Him fall under the cross, already agonizing, ragged, stained with blood and the filth hurled at Him by the cruel mob, and I would no longer be able to run to lift Him up again and kiss His bleeding contusions--the poor Mother of a poor executed Son!
And His first acts of attentiveness: a little flower picked in the small garden or along the road and brought to Me, a little stool dragged to My feet so that I would be more comfortable, the picking up of an object that I had dropped.
And His smile. The sun of our house! The wealth which covered the naked walls of My little house with silk and gold! Whoever has seen My Son's smile has seen Paradise on Earth. A smile that was serene as long as He was a child. An increasingly pensive smile to the point of being melancholy as He became an adult. But always a smile. For everyone. And it was one of the reasons for His divine charm, on account of which the crowds followed Him, enchanted.
His smile was already a word of love. When, moreover, the voice was joined to the smile, which was the most beautiful one in the world, even the sod and the stalks of grain trembled. It was the voice of God that was speaking, Maria. And it was a mystery, which only the inscrutable reasons of God account for, that Judas and the Jews, after having heard Him speak, were able to go so far as to betray and kill Him.
His intelligence, more and more open until reaching perfection, aroused My admiration and respect. But it was so tempered with goodness that it never humilated anyone. My sweet Son, You were gentle to all, and especially to Your Mother!
When He had become a young man, I prohibited Myself from kissing Him as when He was little. But I never lacked His kiss and His caress. It was He who urged His mother, whose thirst for love He understood, to drink in life by kissing His holy flesh, to drink in joy.
Before the Last Supper He came to draw comfort from His Mother. And He remained resting on My heart, as when He was a child. He wanted to fill Himself with a mother's love so as to be able to withstand the lovelessness of a whole world.
Afterwards I held Him, now cold and lifeless, to My heart in the leaden lights of Good Friday. And to see the one who was still My Child--for to a mother, her son is always a child, and the more suffering and lifeless he is, the more he is one--to see My Child turned entirely into a wound, disfigured by the suffering undergone, crusted over with blood, naked, slashed to the Heart, to see that blessed Mouth motionless which had pronounced only holy words, those adored Eyes, whose gaze was a blessing, those Hands, which had not moved except to work, bless, heal, and caress, and those Feet, which had grown weary to seek to gather together His flock and which the flock had pierced was a boundless agony which surged over the Earth to redeem it and invaded the firmaments, which shuddered with compassion.
I then gave Him all the kisses which I had in My heart and which, in the forced separations of those last three years, I had not been able to give Him. Not a bruise remained without a kiss and tears. And only I know how many there were. Kisses and tears were the first to wash His lifeless Body, nor was I ever satisfied with kissing Him before seeing Him disappear under the fragrances, the sudarium, the shroud, and the bandages, and, finally, beyond the stone rolled over the closed entrance to the Tomb.
But on the morning of the resurrection I was able to contemplate the glorified Body of My Son. He entered with the sunbeam, inferior to Him in splendor, and I saw Him in His perfect Beauty--mine, for I had formed Him, but God, for He had now surpassed the human hour and was returning to the Father, bearing Me into the heavens with His Divine Flesh, shaped in My womb in My human likeness.
The prohibition applied to Mary Magdalene did not exist for His Mother. I was able to touch Him. I would not contaminate His Perfection, which was rising to the Heavens, with My humanity, for that minimum of humanity which I possessed, in My condition of the Immaculate Conception, had been burned up like a flower cast into a fire in the expiatory pyre of Golgatha. The Woman-Mary had died with Her Son. Now Mary-as-soul remained, longing to rise with Her Son to Heaven. And My venerating embrace could not disturb the triumphant Divinity.
Oh, may He be blessed for that love of His! For, if afterwards I always bore His tormented Body in mind, and the memory of that torture has still not lost its sting, the remembrance of His glorified, triumphant Body, beautiful and majestic with a divine Beauty which is the joy of the Heavens, was my perennial comfort during the excessively long days of My life, and it was my perennial longing to end life so as to see it again.
Maria, two hours ago My feast (Immaculate Conception) began, and I have kept you with Me, making My Jesus known to you. Now rest, gazing at Those who love you and wait for you and seeing the Beauty which produces the rejoicing of the saints."
Also on December 8, 6:00 a.m.
"When in the wrath of Good Friday I encountered My Son at a crossroads which led to Golgatha, not a word emerged from our lips except 'Mother!' and 'Son!'
Around us there were Blasphemy, Ferocity, Mockery, and Curiosity. It is useless, in the face of these four Furies, to expose the heart with its holiest beats. They would have hurled themselves upon it to wound it even more, for when man touches the perfection of Evil, he is capable of crime not only towards bodies, but also towards the thought and feeling of his neighbor.
We looked at each other. Jesus, who had already spoken to the compassionate women, inciting them to weep over the sins of the world, just looked at me fixedly, through the veil of sweat, tears, dust, and blood which formed a crust over His eyelids.
He knew that I was praying for the world and that I would have wanted to bend Heaven to come to His aid by relieving not His torture--for it had to be fulfilled by the eternal decree--but its duration. I would have wanted to bend it at the cost of a martyrdom by Me thoughout life. But I could not. It was the hour of Justice.
He knew that I loved Him more than ever. And I knew that He loved Me and that His Mother's kiss would have been a relief for Him more than the veil of the compassionate Veronica and every other help. But even this torture was needed to redeem the sins of lovelessness.
Our gazes met, interlocked, and separated, lacerating our hearts. And then the mob overwhelmed and pushed the Victim towards His altar and hid Him from the other victim, who was already on the altar of sacrifice and who was I, the Mother of Sorrows.
When I see you so hard, obstinate in sin, and consider that our boundless twofold torture has been of no avail to make you good, I wonder what greater torment was needed to neutralize Satan's venom in you and do not find it, for there is no greater torment than ours.
From the moment of My Immaculate Conception I kept Satan's head under My heel as the sinless one. But, having been unable to corrupt My body and My soul with his venom, he has sprayed that venom like an infernal acid onto My motherly Heart, and, if it is immaculate by the grace of God, it is grieved to the utmost degree by the work of Satan, who has mortally pierced it through the work of the sons of man who are the slayers of My Son, from the hour of Gethsemane until the end of the world.
The Mother tells you, creature who are dear to Me, that in the blessedness of Heaven the offenses you committ against My Son rise to wound Me like arrows, and each of them reopens the wound from Good Friday. The wounds My Heart bears on your account are more numerous than the stars in the firmaments of God. And you do not have mercy on the Mother who has given you Her life.
I will come back to speak to you today because I want to keep you with Me all day. I am the Queen in Heaven more than ever today, and I am taking your soul with Me.
You are a girl who knows little about her Mother. But when you know many things and come to know Me not as a distant star, whose ray alone is seen and whose name is known, not just as an ideal and idealized entity, but as a living and loving reality, with My heart as the Mother of God and the Mother of Jesus, as the Woman who understands the pains of woman because the most atrocious ones were not spared Her and She has only to recall Her own to understand those of others, you will then love Me as you love My Son--that is, with your whole self."
Same Day, at 12:00 Noon
"It was the mercy of Longinus that allowed Me to approach the Cross, at which I had arrived by way of steep shortcuts, carried more by love than by My own strength.
Longinus was an upright soldier who did his duty and exercised his right with justice. He was already predisposed, then, towards the miracles of Grace. Because of that mercy of his, I obtained for him the gift of the drips from the Side, and they were his baptism in grace, for his soul was thirsty for Justice and Truth.
At dawn on the day of Jesus' birth, the angels had said: 'Peace on earth to men of good will.' At sunset on the day of His death, the same Christ was giving this man of good will His Peace. And Longinus was the first son born to Me from the labor of the Cross, for Disma was the last one to be redeemed through the word of Jesus of Nazareth, as John was the first one, and I might say that he, with his heart like a lily made of diamonds inflamed by love, was the light born of Light, and the Darkness was never able to obscure it.
I had done nothing but take this 'son of Christ' from the hands of My Son, initiating the period of My spiritual maternity with a flower which had already opened to Heaven--My spiritual maternity, rising like a purple rose from the palms nailed to the trunk of the Cross, but likewise provided to men by Christ's love for His Mother, who would no longer have a Son.
A miracle of love marked the era of evangelization; a miracle of love was the era of redemption, for all that comes from My Jesus is love and all that comes from Mary is also love. The Mother's heart does not differ from the Son's except in divine Perfection.
From the height of the Cross the words had descended slowly, spaced in time like the striking of hours on a heavenly clock. And I had gathered all of them in, including the ones referring least to Me, for even a sigh of the Dying One was gathered in, breathed in, by My hearing, My eyes, and My heart.
'Woman, here is Your son.' And from that moment on I have given children to Heaven, begotten by My pain. A virginal birth, like My first one, this mystical birth of you for Him. I give you to the light of the Heavens through My Son and My pain. And if this giving birth, which began with those words, lacks the wails of rent flesh, for My flesh was immune from sin and from the condemnation of giving birth through pain, my torn heart wailed voicelessly with the silent moaning of the spirit, and I can say that you are born by way of the passage opened by My pain as a Mother in My heart as a Virgin.
But the word that was the queen of that cruel April afternoon remained one alone: 'Mother!' My Son's only comfort was to call Me, for He knew how much I loved Him and how My spirit was ascending onto the Cross to kiss My holy Tortured One. It was repeated more and more frequently and painfully as the agony increased like a rising tide.
The great cry the evangelists speak about was this word. He had said everything and done everything; He had entrusted His Spirit to His Father and called upon the Father in His boundless pain. And the Father had not shown Himself to the One with whom He had been well pleased until that hour and who, burdened with a world's sins, was now looked upon with severity by God. The Victim called His Mother. With a wail of lacerating pain which pierced through the Heavens, causing forgiveness to rain down from them, and which pierced through My heart, causing blood and tears to rain down from it.
I gathered in that cry, in which, because of the contractions of death, and of that death, the word foundered in an agonizing lament, and I bore that sound within me like a sword of fire until Easter morning, when the Victor entered, gleaming more than the sun on that serene morning, more beautiful than I had ever seen Him before, for the Tomb had swallowed up My Man-God and was giving Me back a God-Man, perfect in His virile majesty, jubilant over the trial which had been fulfilled.
'Mother' then, too. But--O daughter!--this was the cry of His uncontainable joy, which He shared with Me by clasping Me to His Heart and cleansing His Mother's kiss of the absinthe of vinegar and gall.
Let it not cause you amazement if, on the feast of My purity, I have spoken to you of My pain. For the sake of justice, a gift of the one benefited is set against every gift of God. Every election brings with it duties which are at once tremendous and sweet and which become eternal rejoicing when the trial is over.