20. From Jerusalem to Zacharias' House.
We are in Jerusalem. I know the town very well now, with its streets and gates.
The first thing Mary and Joseph do is to go to the Temple. I recognise the stable where Joseph left his donkey on the day of Jesus' presentation in the Temple. Also now He leaves the two donkeys there, after feeding them, and then he goes with Mary to worship the Lord.
When they come out, they enter a house which apparently belongs to people they know. They take some refreshment there and Mary rests until Joseph comes back with a little old man. « This man is going Your way. You will not have to travel a long way by Yourself to get to Your relatives. You can trust him because I know him. »
They get on their donkeys again and Joseph goes with Mary as far as the Gate (it is not the one they entered but a different one) and they part there. Mary proceeds with the little old man who is as talkative as Joseph was silent and takes an interest in many things. Mary answers him patiently. In front of the saddle She has now the little trunk which Joseph's donkey had carried earlier and She is no longer wearing the large mantle. Neither has She on the shawl, which is folded on the trunk, and She is really beautiful in Her dark blue dress and white veil that protects Her from the sun. How beautiful She is!
The old man must be somewhat deaf, because Mary, Who is wont to speak in a very low voice, had to speak loudly to make Herself heard. And now he is tired. He has finished with all his questions and news and is dozing on the saddle, led by the donkey that is familiar with the road.
Mary takes advantage of this respite to collect Her thoughts and to pray. It must be a prayer that She sings in a low voice, looking at the blue sky, with Her arms crossed over Her breast, while Her face is bright and happy because of some internal emotion.
I see nothing else.
And even now that the vision is interrupted, as it happened yesterday, I am left with Mother near me, visible to my internal sight so clearly that I can describe for you the light rosy hue of Her cheeks, not very chubby but gently soft, the bright red of Her little lips and Her clear blue eyes sweetly shining between Her darkblond eyelashes.
I can tell you how Her hair, divided into two on the crown of Her head, falls softly with three undulations on each side, as far down as to cover half of Her little rosy ears, and then disappears with its pale shiny gold behind the veil covering Her head (because I see Her with Her mantle over Her head, wearing a dress of paradisiac silk and a dark mantle, as thin as a veil, of the same cloth as the dress).
I can tell you that Her dress is tight round Her neck by means of a sheathing inside which runs a cord the ends of which form a knot in front at the base of Her neck. Likewise Her dress is gathered at Her waist by a thicker cord, also of white silk, hanging down Her side with two tassels.
I can even tell you that Her dress, tight as it is at Her neck and waist, forms seven round soft folds on Her breast, the only ornament of Her very modest garment.
I can inform you of the chastity emanating from all Her aspect, from Her so delicate and harmonious forms which make Her such an angelical woman.
And the more I look at Her the more I suffer thinking of how much they made Her suffer and I wonder how they could have had no mercy on Her, so meek and kind, so delicate also in Her physical appearance. I look at Her and I can hear once again all the shouting on Calvary, also against Her, all the mockery and insults, all the maledictions shouted against Her because She was the Mother of the Convict. Now I see Her beautiful and tranquil. But Her present countenance does not cancel the memory of Her tragical face during those hours of agony, or that of Her desolate face in the house in Jerusalem, after Jesus' death. And I would like to be able to caress and kiss Her cheek, so delicately rosy and soft, to remove with my kiss that remembrance of grievous tears, as She certainly remembers as I do.
You cannot believe how much peace it gives me to have Her near me. I think that to die seeing Her must be as sweet and even sweeter than the sweetest hour of one's lifetime. During the time that I did not see Her thus, all for myself, Her absence was a great sorrow to me, just like the absence of a mother. I now feel once again the ineffable joy which was my companion in December and early January. And I am happy, notwithstanding that the sight of the torture of the Passion casts a veil of grief on all my happiness.
It is difficult to explain and make you understand what I feel and what has been happening since February the eleventh, when in the evening I saw Jesus suffer in His Passion. That sight has changed me completely. Whether I die now or in one hundred years' time, that vision will always be the same in intensity and consequences. Previously I used to think of the sorrows of Christ, now I live them, because one word, or a glance at an image is enough to make me suffer all over again what I suffered that evening and be horrified at those tortures; and I grieve over His desolate sufferings, and even if nothing reminds me of them, their remembrance tears my heart.
Mary is beginning to speak and I become silent.
« I will not speak much, because you are very tired, My poor daughter. I only wish to draw Your attention and the attention of readers to the constant habit of Joseph and Mine of giving priority to prayer. Tiredness, haste, worries, occupations never hindered our prayer, on the contrary they helped it. It was always the queen of our occupations, our relief, our light, our hope. If in sad moments it was a consolation, in happy ones it was a song. But it was always the constant friend of our souls. It detached us from the earth, from our exile, and it raised us up towards Heaven, our Fatherland.
Not only I, Who by now had God with Me and I had but to look at My bosom to worship the Holy of Holies, but also Joseph felt united to God when he prayed, because our prayers were a true adoration of our whole beings, which melted with God by worshipping Him and by being embraced by Him.
And please note that not even I, although I had the Eternal God in Me, not even I felt exempted from respectful homage to the Temple. The deepest holiness does not exempt anyone from feeling a mere nothing with regard to God and from converting such nothingness into an endless hosanna to God's glory, since He allows us to do so.
Are you weak, poor, faulty? Invoke the holiness of the Lord: "Holy, Holy, Holy!" Invoke the Blessed Holy One to assist you in your misery. He will come and instil His holiness into you. Are you holy and rich in merits in the eyes of God? Invoke the holiness of the Lord just the same. It is infinite and will increase yours. The angels, who are superior to the weaknesses of mankind, do not cease singing their "Sanctus" not even for an instant, and their supernatural beauty increases with each invocation of the holiness of our God. Imitate the angels.
Never divest yourselves of the protection of prayer, which blunts the weapons of Satan, the malice of the world, the incentives of the flesh and mental pride. Never lay down this weapon, which causes Heaven to open and pour out Its graces and blessings.
The world needs a shower of prayers to be purified from the sins that draw punishments from God. And since only few people pray, those few must pray as if they were many. They must multiply their living prayers to make up the necessary amount to obtain graces. Prayers are living when they are flavoured with true love and sacrifice.
My dear daughter, it is a good thing, pleasing to God and meritorious, that you should suffer because of the sufferings of My Jesus and Mine, in addition to your own. Your sympathetic love is so dear to Me. But do you want to kiss Me? Kiss the wounds of My Son. Dress them with the balm of your love. I suffered spiritually the pangs of the scourges, of the thorns and the torture of the nails and of the cross. And likewise I feel spiritually all the caresses given to My Jesus, as they are as many kisses given to Me. And then come. I am the Queen of Heaven. But I am always the Mother… »
And I am happy.
21. Arrival at Zacharias' House.
1st April 1944.
I am now in a mountainous place. They are not high mountains, neither are they just hills. There are ridges and creeks as we see in our Apennines in Tuscany and Umbria. The vegetation is thick and beautiful and there is plenty fresh water, that keeps the pastures green and the orchards fruitful: apple and fig-trees are mostly cultivated in the orchards and grapes near the houses. It must be springtime because the grapes are rather big, about the size of vetch grains, and the apple-blossoms have already sprung and they look like so many little green pellets; on top of the fig branches the first fruits can be seen, still in the embryo stage, but already well formed. The meadows are real soft multicoloured carpets. Sheep are grazing or resting on them and they look like white spots on the emerald of the grass.
Mary on Her donkey is climbing up a rather well kept road, probably the main road. She is climbing because the village is higher up and it looks quite tidy. My internal warner says to me: « This place is Hebron. » You spoke to me of Montana. I cannot help it. It is indicated to me with this name. I do not know whether Hebron is the whole area or only the village. That is what I hear and that is what I say.
Mary is now entering the village. It is evening. Some women on their doorsteps watch the arrival of the stranger and gossip with one another. Their eyes follow Her and they are not happy until they see Her stop in front of one of the prettiest houses, in the centre of the village, with a kitchen garden in the front and rear and a well cultivated orchard around it. The orchard continues into a large meadow that rises and slopes according to the sinuosity of the mountain and ends in a wood of tall trees, beyond which I do not know what there is. The whole place is surrounded by a hedge of blackberries or wild roses. I cannot tell exactly which, because, if you remember, the flowers and leaves of these two thorny hedges are very much alike and until their branches bear fruit it is easy to confuse them. In front of the house, that is on the side that skirts the village, the place is enclosed by a small low white wall, on top of which there are rows of rose-bushes, at present without flowers, but already full of buds. In the centre there is an iron gate. It is easily understood that it is the house of a notable of the village or of a well-to-do family, because everything shows comfort and great order, if not riches and pomp.
Mary gets off the donkey and goes to the gate. She looks through the iron bars, but does not see anyone. She endeavours then to make Herself heard. A little old woman, who more curious than the others has followed Her, shows Her a strange gadget that is used as a bell. It consists of two pieces of metal balanced on a kind of yoke, at the end of which there is a rope. When the rope is pulled, the two metal pieces strike each other and give the sound of a bell or gong.
Mary pulls the rope, but so gently, that there is only a faint tinkling, which no one hears. Then the little old woman, whose face is all nose and slipper-chin and whose tongue is worth ten put together, gets hold of the rope and pulls it several times with all her might. She makes enough noise to raise a dead man! « That's how You do it, woman. Otherwise, how can they hear You? You know, Elizabeth is old and Zacharias also is old. Now he is also dumb, as well as deaf. Also the two servants are old, don't You know? Have You ever been here before? Don't You know Zacharias? Are You… »
Mary is rescued from the deluge of information and questions by a little old man who suddenly appears panting. He must be a gardener or a farmer, for he is holding a hoe in his hand and there is a pruning knife tied to his belt. He opens the gate and Mary enters thanking the little woman but… leaving her fairly recent question unanswered. What a disappointment for the curious soul!
As soon as She is inside Mary says: « I am Mary of Joachim and Anne, from Nazareth. I am your masters' cousin ».
The man bows down and welcomes Her, he then calls out in a loud voice: « Sarah! Sarah! » He opens the gate again to let in the donkey that had been left outside. Mary, in fact, to get rid of the persistent little woman, had slipped inside very quickly and the gardener just as quickly had closed the gate in the face of the gossip. And while taking the donkey in, he exclaims: « Oh! What a great happiness and what an upheaval to this household! Heaven has granted a child to the barren one, may the Most High be blessed! But seven months ago, Zacharias came back dumb from Jerusalem. He now makes himself understood by gestures or by writing. Perhaps You already know. My landlady has longed so much for You in this joy and this travail! She always spoke to Sarah about You and she would say: "If I only had little Mary with Me! I wish She were still in the Temple! I would send Zacharias to fetch Her. But now the Lord wanted Her married to Joseph of Nazareth. She is the only one who can comfort me in my pain and help me to pray to God, because She is so good. And they all miss Her in the Temple. On the last feast day, the last time I went to Jerusalem with Zacharias to thank the Lord for the child He has given me, Her teachers said to me: 'The Temple seems to be without the Cherubim of the Glory since Mary's voice is no longer heard inside these walls' ". » He then shouts again: « Sarah, Sarah! My wife is a little deaf. But come, please, I'll show You the way. »
Instead of Sarah, a fairly old woman appears at the top of the staircase on one side of the house. Her face is all wrinkles and her hair is very grey. It must have been very black at one time because her eyelashes and eyebrows are still very dark and also from the colour of her face one can tell that she was swarthy. Her present very obvious pregnant condition is a strange contradiction to her evident old age, notwithstanding her wide and loose dress. She looks down shading her eyes with her hand. As soon as she recognizes Mary she raises her arms to the sky and utters an « Oh! » of joy and surprise. She then rushes, as fast as she can, towards Mary. Also Mary, who always moves very quietly, now runs, as swift as a little deer, and reaches the foot of the staircase at the same time as Elizabeth. And She embraces with great affection Her cousin who is crying with joy at seeing Her.
They remain embraced for an instant and then Elizabeth detaches herself exclaiming: « Ah! », an exclamation of mingled joy and sorrow and she places her hands on her enlarged abdomen. She bows her face and turns red and pale alternately. Mary and the servant hold out their hands to support her because she staggers, as if she were unwell. But Elizabeth, after a moment of concentration, lifts her face which is now so bright that she looks much younger. She then looks at Mary with evident veneration as if she sees an angel, she bows in a deep salutation exclaiming: « You are blessed amongst all women! Blessed is the Fruit of Your womb! (She says exactly that: two clearly separate sentences). How did I deserve that the Mother of my Lord should come to me, Your servant? There, at the sound of Your voice, the child leaped out of joy in my womb and when I embraced You, the Spirit of the Lord whispered deepest truths to my heart. You are blessed, because You believed that it was possible for God also what does not appear possible to the human mind! You are blessed, because by Your faith You will accomplish the things the Lord predicted to You and the Prophets foretold for our times! You are blessed, for the Salvation You have brought to the house of Jacob! You are blessed for the Holiness You have brought to my son, whom I feel leaping with joy, like a happy little kid, in my womb, because he feels free from the burden of guilt, and is called to be the Predecessor, sanctified before Redemption by the Holy One Who is growing within You! »
Mary, with two tears that run down like two pearls from Her sparkling eyes to Her smiling lips, with Her face raised to heaven and also Her arms raised up, in the attitude that Her Jesus will take so often, exclaims: « My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord » and She continues the canticle as it has been handed down to us. At the end, at the verse: « He has come to the help of Israel his servant etc. », she puts Her hands on Her breast, kneels down stooping to the ground, adoring God.
The servant, who quite wisely had disappeared when he realised that Elizabeth was not really physically unwell, on the contrary, she was confiding her thoughts to Mary, is now coming back from the orchard with a solemn old man, whose hair and beard are completely white, and who greets Mary from a distance with great gestures and loud guttural sounds.
Zacharias is arriving says Elizabeth, touching the shoulder of Mary, engrossed in prayer. « My Zacharias is dumb. God has punished him because he did not believe. I will tell You later. But now I hope that God will forgive him, because You have come. You, full of Grace. »
Mary rises and goes to meet Zacharias. She stoops to the ground in front of him, kissing the hem of his white robe that reaches down to the ground. It is a very wide robe, held tight to the waist by a large embroidered braid.
Zacharias welcomes Mary by gestures and they both move toward Elizabeth. They all enter a room on the ground floor. It is a wide room, tastefully arranged, where they make Mary sit down and they offer Her some new milk - there is still foam on it - and some small cakes.
Elizabeth gives some orders to the maid servant, who has appeared at last, her hands still covered with flour and her hair whiter than usually because of the flour dust on it. Perhaps she was baking bread. She gives orders also to the male servant, whose name I hear is Samuel, and tells him to take Mary's trunk to a room which she indicates to him. She thus fulfils her duties of a landlady towards her guest.
In the meantime Mary is replying to the questions Zacharias is asking Her, writing them on a wax tablet with a style. From Her answers I understand that he is asking Her about Joseph and Her married life with him. I also understand that Zacharias has been denied all supernatural light about Mary's state and Her condition of Mother of the Messiah. Elizabeth goes near her husband and laying her hand on his shoulder, in a loving attitude, as if she were caressing him chastely, she says to him: « Also Mary is a mother. Rejoice over Her happiness. » But she does not say anything else. She looks at Mary. And Mary looks at her but does not encourage her to say more and Elizabeth keeps silent.
A sweet, very sweet vision! It obliterates the horror of the sight of Judas' suicide.
Last night, before falling asleep, I saw Mary crying, bent over the unction stone, on the dead body of Our Redeemer. She was on His right-hand side, with Her back to the opening of the sepulchre grotto. The torches lit up Her face so that I could see Her poor face ravaged by sorrow and washed by tears. She would take Jesus' hand, caress it, warm it against her cheeks, kiss it, stretch its fingers out… kiss them one by one, those poor motionless fingers. Then She would caress His face, would bend down to kiss His open mouth, His half-open eyes, His wounded forehead. The reddish light of the torches made the wounds of the tortured body appear more real and rendered the cruelty of His torture and the realism of His death more true and real.
And I remained in contemplation until my mind was clear. When I came out of my sopor, I prayed and I lay down to go to sleep. Then the above vision began. But Mother said to me: « Don't move. Just look. You will write it tomorrow » In my sleep I dreamt it all over again. When I woke up at 6.30 I saw what I had already seen both when I was awake and in my sleep. And I wrote while I was seeing. Then you came and I asked you if I could add the following. They are various sketches of Mary's stay in Zacharias' house.
22. Mary and Elizabeth Speak of their Children.
2nd April 1944.
It is morning. I see Mary sewing, sitting in the room on the ground floor. Elizabeth is going to and fro, busy with the housework. And when she comes into Mary's room, she never fails to go and caress Her fair head, which looks even more fair against the rather dark walls and in the beautiful sun rays that enter through the door open on to the garden.
Elizabeth bends down to look at Mary's work - the embroidery She had in Nazareth - and she praises its beauty.
« I have also some linen to spin » says Mary.
« For your Child? »
« No. I had it already when I never thought… » Mary does not say anything else. But I understand: «… when I never thought I was to be the Mother of God »
« But now You will have to use it for Him. Is it good? Fine? Children, You know, need very soft material. »
« I know. »
« I had begun… Late, because I wanted to be sure that it was not a deception of the Evil One. Although… I felt such a joy within me, that it could not possibly come from Satan. After… I suffered so much. I am old, Mary, really old, to be in this state. I suffered so much. Don't You suffer… »
« No. I don't. I have never been so well. »
« Of course. Quite right. You… there is no stain in You, as God chose You for His Mother. And that is why You are not subject to Eve's sufferings. The One You bear is holy. »
« I feel as if I had a wing in My heart and not a burden. I seem to have within Me all the flowers and all the birds that sing in springtime, and all the honey and all the sunshine… Oh! I am so happy! »
« Blessed Mary! Neither do I feel any longer burden, tiredness or pain, since I saw You. I seem to be new, young, freed from the miseries of woman's flesh. My child, after leaping happily at the sound of Your voice, is now quiet in his joy. And I seem to have him, in me, as in a living cradle, and I see him sleeping satisfied and happy, breathing like a little bird under the wing of its mother… I will now start working. He will no longer be a weight. I cannot see very well, but… »
« Never mind, Elizabeth. I will see to the spinning and weaving both for you and for your baby. I am quick and My sight is very good. »
« But you will have to see to Your… »
« Oh! There will be plenty time!… First I will take care of you, since you are going to have your baby very shortly, and later I will see to My Jesus. »
It is beyond human possibility to tell you how sweet are Mary's expression and voice, how bright Her eyes are with sweet happy tears, and how She smiles in pronouncing that Name, looking at the clear blue sky. She seems to be enraptured simply saying: « Jesus ».
Elizabeth exclaims: « What a beautiful name! The name of the Son of God, of Our Redeemer! »
« Oh! Elizabeth! » Mary becomes sad and She seizes the hands of Her relative who had laid them across her enlarged abdomen. « Tell Me, since you were illuminated by the Spirit of the Lord, when I came here, and you prophesied what the world does not know, tell Me: what will My Creature have to suffer to save the world? The Prophets… Oh! What do the Prophets say of the Saviour? Isaiah… Do you remember Isaiah? "He is the Man of sorrows. Through His wounds we are healed. He was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. Yahweh has been pleased to crush Him with suffering. After being condemned He was lifted up… " What lifting is he referring to? They call Him the Lamb and I cannot help thinking of the lamb of the Passover, of the lamb of Moses, and I associate it with the serpent elevated by Moses on a cross. Elizabeth!… Elizabeth!… What will they do to My Creature? What will He have to suffer to save the world? » Mary is crying.
Elizabeth comforts Her. « Mary, don't cry. He is Your Son, but He is also the Son of God. God will see to His Son, and will look after You, His Mother . And if so many will be cruel to Him, so many will love Him. So many!… For ever and ever. The world will look at Your Son and will bless You with Him. They will bless You, for You are the Spring from which redemption gushes out. The destiny of Your Son! He will be raised to the rank of King of the whole creation. Just think of that, Mary. King, because He will redeem the whole creation, and as such, He will be universal King. And He will be loved also in the world, in its lifetime. My son will precede Yours and will love Him. The angel told Zacharias. And he wrote it down for me. How painful it is to see him dumb, my Zacharias! But I hope that when the baby is born also the father will be freed from his punishment. Will You pray, too, since You are the Seat of the Power of God and the Cause of delight in the world. To obtain this grace I make my offers to the Lord, as best I can. I offer my creature: because it belongs to Him, as He lent it to His servant to grant her the joy of being called "mother". It is the testimony of what God has done for me. I want his name to be "John". Isn't my son a grace? And didn't God grant me it? »
« And God, I am sure, will grant you the grace. I will pray… with you ».
« I suffer so much seeing him dumb!… » Elizabeth is crying. « When he writes, as he can no longer speak to me, there seem to be mountains and oceans between me and my Zacharias. After so many years of sweet conversation, now there is nothing but silence from his mouth. And particularly now, when it would be so nice to talk about who is about to come. I even refrain from speaking to avoid seeing him getting strained in his efforts to reply to me by gestures. I have cried so much! How much did I long for You! The people of the village watch, talk and criticise. Such is the world. But when one has a pain or a joy, one needs to be understood, not criticised. But now my life seems completely improved. I feel a joy in me since You came here. I feel that my test is about to end and that I will soon be completely happy. I am right, am I not? I have resigned myself to everything. But if God would only forgive my husband! If I could only hear him pray once again! »
Mary caresses and comforts her and in order to divert her attention, she invites her to take a little walk in the sunny garden.
They walk under a well cultivated pergola, as far as a little rustic tower, in the holes of which doves have nested.
Mary scatters the birdseed laughing, because the doves have rushed on Her, cooing loudly and flapping noisily, forming iridescent circles around Her. They alight on Her head, shoulders, arms and on Her hands, stretching their rosy beaks to snatch the grains from Her hands, gracefully pecking the Virgin's rosy lips and Her teeth that shine in the sun. Mary takes the golden corn from a little sack and She laughs in the middle of that tournament of intrusive greed.
« How fond they are of You! » points out Elizabeth. « You have only been here a few days and they love You more than me, although I have always taken care of them. »
They continue walking until they reach an enclosure, at the end of the orchard, where there are about twenty goats with their little kids.
« Have you come back from the pasture? » Mary asks a little shepherd, caressing him.
« Yes, because my father said to me: "Go home, because it is going to rain shortly and there are some sheep about to lamb. Make sure they have dry herb and litter". There he is, he is coming. » And he points to the wood, whence a continual trembling bleating can be heard.
Mary caresses a little kid, as fair as a child, which rubs itself against Her, and together with Elizabeth She drinks some new milk that the little shepherd offers them.
Then the sheep arrive led by a shepherd as hairy as a bear. But he is obviously a good man because he is carrying a groaning sheep on his shoulders. He puts her down gently and explains: « She is about to lamb. She can only walk with difficulty. I put her on my shoulders and I hurried all the way to get here in time. » The sheep, still limping painfully, is led into the fold by the boy.
Mary is sitting on a stone and is playing with the little kids and the lambs, offering clover flowers to their pretty rosy little faces. A black and white kid puts its little hooves on Her shoulder and smells Her hair. « It is not bread » says Mary laughing. « I will bring you some crumbs tomorrow. Be good, now. »
Once again cheerful, Elizabeth also laughs.
I see Mary Who is spinning very quickly under the pergola, where the grapes are growing bigger and bigger. Some time must have elapsed because the apples are beginning to redden on the trees and the bees are humming near the fig flowers already mature.
Elizabeth is now quite stout, and she is walking heavily. Mary looks at her carefully and lovingly. Also Mary's sides appear more round when She gets up to pick up the spindle which has fallen far away from Her. The expression on Her face has changed. It is more mature; before She was a girl, now She is a woman.
The women go into the house because it is now getting dark, and the lamps are lit in the room. While waiting for supper, Mary begins to weave.
« Does it never tire You? » asks Elizabeth, pointing to the loom.
« No, you can be sure of that. »
« I am exhausted by this heat. I have not suffered any longer, but now the weight is too heavy for my old kidneys. »
« Take courage. You will soon be free. How happy you will then be. I am longing to be a mother. My Child! My Jesus! What will He be like? »
« As beautiful as You are, Mary. »
« Oh no! More beautiful! He is God. I am His maid. What I meant is, will He be fair or dark? Will His eyes be like a clear sky, or like the eyes of a mountain deer? I imagine Him more beautiful than a cherub, with golden curly hair, His eyes the same colour as the Sea of Galilee when the stars begin to peep on the horizon, His tiny little mouth as red as a pomegranate that bursts when it matures in the sun, and His cheeks as pink as this pale rose, with two little hands that could be contained in the hollow of a lily, they are so small and tiny, and two tiny feet that I can hold in the hollow of My hand, so soft and smooth, even more so than the petal of a flower. See. The idea I form of Him is taken from all the beautiful things that nature suggests to Me. And I can hear His voice. When He cries - because My Child will cry a little when He is hungry or sleepy, and it will always be a great pain for His Mummy Whose heart will be pierced every time She hears Him cry - when He cries, His voice will be like the bleating that now comes from a little lamb, only a few hours old, when it seeks its mother's breast, and her warm maternal fleece to sleep. When He laughs - and My heart in love with my Creature will then be full of Heaven, for I can be in love with Him, because He is My God, and it will not be against My consecrated virginity to love Him as a lover - His voice when He laughs will be like the merry cooing of a happy little dove which is full and content in its cosy little nest. And I think of Him when He is taking His first steps… a little bird hopping on a flowery meadow. The meadow will be His Mother's heart, it will
be laid under His tiny pink feet with all Her love, so that He may not tread on anything that may hurt Him. Oh, how I will love My Child! My Son! Also Joseph will love Him. »
« But You will have to tell Joseph. »
Mary's face darkens, and She sighs. « Yes, I will have to tell him… I wish Heaven would tell him, because it is so difficult to tell. »
« Shall I tell him? We will ask him to come for John's circumcision… »
« No. I have entrusted God with the task of informing him of his happy destiny of putative father of the Son of God, and He will do so. The Spirit said to Me that evening: "Be silent. Entrust Me with the task of justifying You". And He will do so. God never lies. It is a great trial, but with the help of the Eternal Father, it will be overcome. No one must learn from My mouth what the benignity of the Lord has done. Certainly you are the exception, because the Spirit revealed it to you. »
« I have not mentioned it to anybody, not even to Zacharias who would have been very happy. He thinks you are a mother according to nature. »
« I know. And I decided that out of prudence. The secrets of God are holy. The angel of the Lord did not reveal My divine maternity to Zacharias. He could have done so, if God had wanted, because God knew that the time for the Incarnation of His Word in Me was already imminent. But God hid this joyful light from Zacharias, who rejected your late maternity as something impossible. I have complied with the will of God, as you have seen. You perceived the secret living in Me. He did not perceive anything. Until the screen of his incredulity does not fall before the power of God, he will be separated from supernatural lights. »
Elizabeth sighs and becomes silent.
Zacharias comes in. He offers some parchment rolls to Mary. It is the hour of prayer before supper. Mary prays in a loud voice in place of Zacharias. Then they settle down at the table.
« When You are no longer with us, how we shall regret having no longer anyone to pray for us » says Elizabeth, looking at her dumb husband.
« You will pray then, Zacharias » says Mary.
He shakes his head and writes: « I will never be able to pray again for other people. I became unworthy when I doubted of my God. »
« Zacharias, you will pray. God forgives. »
The old man wipes a tear and sighs.
After supper, Mary goes back to the loom.
« That's enough! » says Elizabeth. « You will become too tired. »
« Your time is approaching, Elizabeth. I want to prepare for your child clothes worthy of him who will precede the King of the House of David. »
Zacharias writes: « Of whom will He be born? And where? »
Mary replies: « Where the Prophets said, and of whom the Eternal Father will choose. Whatever our Most High Lord does, is well done. »
Zacharias writes: « Well, in Bethlehem then! In Judah. We shall go and worship Him, woman. And You will come to Bethlehem, too, with Joseph. »
And Mary, bowing Her head over the loom says: « I will come. » The vision ends thus.
« The first charity towards our neighbours is to be exerted towards our neighbours. This must not seem a pun to you. There is charity towards God and charity towards our neighbours. Charity towards our neighbours comprises also charity towards ourselves. But if we love ourselves more than our neighbours, we are no longer charitable, we are selfish. Also in lawful matters, we must be so holy as to always give priority to the needs of our neighbour. Be sure, My children, that God provides for the generous by means of His power and His bounty.
It was this certainty that led Me to Hebron to assist My relative in her condition. And to My eagerness for human help, God, giving beyond measure as He is wont, added an unforeseen gift of supernatural assistance. I went to give material help and God sanctified My good intention by sanctifying, through it, the fruit of Elizabeth's womb, and by means of that sanctification, by which the Baptist was presanctified, He relieved the physical pain of the elderly daughter of Eve, who had conceived at an unusual age.
Elizabeth, a woman of fearless faith and confident submission to God's will, deserved to understand the mystery that was enclosed within Me. The Spirit spoke to her through the bouncing in her womb. The Baptist pronounced his first speech, as the Announcer of the Word, through the veils and the diaphragms of veins and flesh that separated and united him at the same time to his holy mother.
Neither did I deny My prerogative of being the Mother of the Lord, because she was worthy of the information and the Light had revealed Itself to her. To deny it would have meant denying God the praise that it was just should be given to Him, the praise that I bore in Me, and which, since I could not tell anyone, I repeated to the herbs, to the flowers, to the stars, to the sun, to the singing birds and the patient sheep, to the warbling waters, to the golden light that kissed Me descending from Heaven. But it is sweeter to pray together rather than say our prayers by ourselves.
I would have liked all the world to know of My destiny, not for My own sake, but that they might join Me in praising My Lord.
Prudence forbade me to reveal the truth to Zacharias. That would have implied going beyond the work of God. And if I was His Spouse and Mother, I was still His servant, and I could not take the liberty of substituting Him and exceeding Him in a decree, simply because He had loved Me beyond measure.
Elizabeth in her holiness understood, and was silent. Because a holy person is always submissive and humble.
The gift of God must increase our goodness. The more we receive from Him, the more we must give. Because the more we receive, the more obvious it is that He is with us and within us. And the more He is with us and within us, the more we must endeavour to reach His perfection.
That is why I worked for Elizabeth, postponing My own work. I was not afraid that I would not have time. God is the master of time. He provides for those who hope in Him, also in normal things. Selfishness does not speed matters up, it delays them. Charity does not delay, it speeds up. Always bear that in mind.
How much peace there was in Elizabeth's house! If I had not been worried about Joseph and… and my Child, Who was the Redeemer of the world, I would have been happy, But the cross was already casting its shadow on My life and I heard the voices of the Prophets like a knell…
My name was Mary. Bitterness was always mingled with the sweetness that God poured into My heart. And it increased more and more until the death of My Son. But when God calls us, Mary, to the destiny of victims for His glory, oh! it is sweet to be ground like corn in the millstone, to convert our pain into a bread that can strengthen the weak and make them capable of reaching Heaven!
Now, it is enough. You are tired and happy. Rest now with My blessing »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, volume one, pp. 96-110.
Copyright 1986 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries