492. The Pharisees and the Adulterous Woman.
20th March 1944.
I see the inside of the enclosure of the Temple, that is, one of the many courts surrounded by porches. And I see also Jesus, Who, well enveloped in His mantle that covers His tunic - the latter is dark red and not white, and seems to be made of a heavy woollen cloth - is speaking to a crowd of people standing around Him.
I would say that it is a winter day because I notice that everybody is muffled up, and that it must be rather cold because people, instead of standing, are walking fast as if they wished to warm themselves. The wind is blowing shaking mantles and raising dust in the courts.
The group pressing round Jesus, the only one to be still, whilst all the others standing around this or that master are walking up and down, opens out to let a small group of gesticulating venomous scribes and Pharisees pass. They are spurting venom from their eyes, their livid faces and mouths. What vipers they are! Rather than lead they are dragging a woman, about thirty years old; her hair is ruffled and her dress untidy and she is weeping, as if she had been ill-treated. They throw her at Jesus' feet as if she were a bundle of rags or a dead body. And she remains there, crouched, with her face resting on her arms, which hide it and are like a cushion between it and the ground.
« Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Her husband loved her and ensured that she lacked nothing. She was the queen in her house. And she has been unfaithful to him because she is a vicious ungrateful sinner and profaner. She is an adulteress and as such she is to be stoned. Moses ordered so. In his law he orders us to stone such women like unclean animals. And they are unclean. Because they betray faith and the man who loves them and takes care of them, and because like earth never sated, they always crave for lust. They are worse than prostitutes because without the sting of need they give themselves to satisfy their lewdness. They are corrupted and corrupters. They are to be sentenced to death. Moses said so. What have You to say, Master? »
Jesus, Who had stopped speaking at the tumultuous arrival of the Pharisees and had looked at the pack of angry men with piercing eyes and then had lowered them on the depressed woman thrown at His feet, is silent. Still sitting, He has bent, and with His finger He begins to write on the stones of the porch covered with the dust raised by the wind. While they speak He writes.
« Master? We are speaking to You. Listen to us. Reply to us. Have You not understood? This woman has been caught in the very act of committing adultery. In her house. In the bed of her husband. She has polluted it with her lechery. »
Jesus is writing.
« But this man is a fool! Don't you see that He does not understand anything and that He is drawing signs on the dust like a poor fool? »
« Master, for the sake of Your name, speak. Let Your wisdom reply to our question. We repeat it: this woman lacked nothing. She had clothes, food, love. And she has been unfaithful. »
Jesus is writing.
« She lied to the man who trusted her. With mendacious lips she greeted him and went to the door with him, smiling, she then opened the secret door and let her lover in. And while her husband was away working for her, like an unclean animal, she wallowed in her lewdness. »
« Master, she is a desecrator of the Law as well as of her nuptial bed. She is a rebel, an impious person, a blasphemer. »
Jesus is writing. He writes and cancels with His sandal-shod foot what He has written and writes further on, turning round slowly to find more room. He looks like a little boy playing. But what He writes are not playful words. He has written successively: « Usurer », « False », « Irreverent son », « Fornicator », « Murderer », « Desecrator of the Law », « Thief », « Libidinous », « Usurper », « Unworthy husband and father », « Blasphemer », « Rebellious to God », « Adulterer ». The words are written over and over again while fresh accusers speak.
« Well, Master! Your opinion. The woman is to be judged. She must not contaminate the Earth with her weight. Her breath is poison that upsets hearts. »
Jesus stands up. Good gracious! What a face! His eyes flash like lightning striking the accusers. He holds His head so upright that He looks even taller. And He is so severe and solemn that He seems a king on his throne. His mantle has fallen off one shoulder forming a short train behind Him. But He does not mind that. With stern countenance and not even the least trace of a smile on His lips or in His eyes, He glares with such eyes at the crowds which withdraw as they would before two sharp blades. He stares at them one by one. With such searching intensity that frightens. Those who are stared at try to withdraw into the crowd and hide there. The circle thus widens and breaks up as if it were mined by an occult power.
He finally speaks: « If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. » And His voice sounds like thunder while His eyes flash even more brightly. Jesus has folded His arms across His chest and remains thus: as straight as a judge, awaiting. His eyes give no peace: they search, penetrate and accuse.
First one, then two, then five, then in groups, all the people present go away with lowered heads. Not only the scribes and the Pharisees, but also those who were previously around Jesus, and others who had approached Him to hear His opinion and the sentence, and both the former and the latter had joined together to abuse the guilty woman and demand her lapidation.
Jesus is left alone with Peter and John. I do not see the other apostles.
Jesus has resumed writing, while the flight of the accusers is taking place, and He now writes: « Pharisees », « Vipers », « Sepulchres of rottenness », « Liars », « Traitors », « Enemies of God », « Revilers of His Word »…
When the court is completely empty and there is a solemn silence in it - only the rustling of the wind and the murmur of a little fountain in a corner can be heard - Jesus raises His head and looks. His countenance is now placid. He is sad, but no longer angry. He casts a look at Peter, who has moved away a little, leaning against a column, and one at John, who almost behind Jesus, looks at Him with his loving eyes. Jesus smiles slightly looking at Peter and more brightly when He looks at John. Two different smiles.
He then looks at the woman, still prostrated and weeping at His feet. He gets up, He adjusts His mantle as if He were about to set off. He beckons to the two apostles to go to the exit.
When He is alone He calls the woman. « Woman, listen to Me. Look at Me. » He repeats His order because she dare not look up. « Woman, we are alone. Look at Me. »
The poor wretch raises her face that tears and dust have turned into a mask of dejection.
« Woman, where are now those who were accusing you? » Jesus is speaking in a low voice, with gravity full of pity. His head and body are lightly bent forward, toward so much misery, and His eyes are full of an indulgent restoring expression. « Did no one condemn you? »
The woman replies sobbing: « No one, Master. »
« Neither do I condemn you. Go. And do not sin any more. Go home. And behave in such a way that you may be forgiven by God and by the man you offended. And do not trespass on the benignity of the Lord. Go. »
And He helps her to get up taking her by the hand. But He does not bless, neither does He greet her with the salutation of peace. He looks at her going away, her head lowered and slightly staggering in her shame, and when she disappears, He sets off Himself with the two disciples.
« What hurt Me was the lack of charity and sincerity in the accusers.
Not because they lied in accusing. The woman was really guilty. But they were insincere being scandalised at something they had committed thousands of times and that only greater cunning and better luck had allowed to remain concealed. The woman, at her first sin, had not been so cunning and lucky. But none of the accusers, both male and female - because also women accused her in their hearts even if they did not raise their voices - were free from sin.
He is an adulterer who commits the act and he who desires the act and craves for it with all his might. Both he who sins and he who wishes to sin are lustful. It is not sufficient not to do evil. It is also necessary not to desire to do it. Remember, Mary, the first word of your Master, when I called you from the edge of the precipice where you were: "It is not sufficient not to do evil. It is also necessary not to desire to do it" He who cherishes sensual thoughts and excites sensual feelings by means of literature and performances sought for such purpose and through pernicious habits, is equally impure as he who commits the sin materially. I dare say: he is more guilty. Because with his thoughts he goes against nature, not only against morals. I am not referring to those who commit real acts against nature. The only extenuating circumstance for such person is an organic disease or mental illness. He who does not have such an extenuating circumstance is inferior to the filthiest beast by ten degrees.
One ought to be free from sin in order to condemn with justice. I refer you to past dictations, when I speak of the essential conditions to be a judge.
I was not unaware of the hearts of those Pharisees and scribes, or of the hearts of those people who had joined them in insulting the guilty woman. Sinners against God and their neighbour, they had sinned against faith, against their parents, against their neighbour and above all they had committed many sins against their wives. If by means of a miracle I had ordered their blood to write their sins on their foreheads, among the many charges that of "adulterers" by deed or by desire would have reigned supreme. I said: "It is what comes from the heart that contaminates man". And with the exception of My heart there was no one among the judges whose heart was pure. They lacked sincerity and charity. Not even their being like her in their hunger for lust induced them to be charitable.
It was I Who was charitable to the dejected woman. I, the Only One, Who should have been disgusted with her. But remember this: "The kinder one is, the more compassionate one is to culprits". One is not lenient to the fault itself. No. But one is indulgent to weak people who have not resisted temptation.
Man! Oh! More than a fragile reed and a thin bearbine, he is easily inclined to yield to temptation and to cling to whatever may make him hope to find solace. Because many times sin is committed, particularly by the weaker sex, owing to such search for comfort. I therefore say that he who has no love for his wife, or for his own daughter, is ninety per cent responsible for the sin of his wife or of his daughter and will have to answer for them. Both the stupid love, which is nothing but foolish slavery imposed by a man on his wife or by a father on his daughter, and the neglect of love or even worse, a sin of lechery which leads a man to other love affairs and parents to other cares than their children, are incentives to adultery and prostitution and are condemned by Me as such.
You are beings gifted with reason and guided by a divine law and by a moral law. To degrade yourselves to the behaviour of savages or of brutes should horrify your great pride. But pride, which in this case would be also useful, is used by you for completely different matters.
I looked at Peter and John in different ways, because I wanted to say to the former: "Peter, make sure you are not lacking in charity and sincerity as well", and I also wanted to say to him as My future Pontiff: "Remember this hour and in future judge as your Master did"; whilst to the latter, a young man with the soul of a child, I wanted to say: "You can judge, but you do not, because your heart is like Mine. Thank you, My beloved, for being so much Mine, as to be a second I". I sent the two disciples away before calling the woman as I did not wish to increase her mortification wit the presence of two witnesses. Learn, o pitiless men. No matter how guilty a man is, he is to be treated with respect and charity. You must not rejoice at his annihilation, you must not be pitiless, not even with curious glances. Have mercy on those who fall!
I pointed out to the guilty woman the way she should follow to redeem herself: to go back to her house, to ask humbly to be forgiven and to obtain forgiveness through an upright life; not to yield any more to the flesh; not to trespass on divine Goodness and human kindness in order not to expiate more severely than at present for two or many sins. God forgives and He forgives because He is Goodness. But man, although I said: "Forgive your brother seventy times seven", is not capable of forgiving twice.
I did not wish her peace and I did not give her My blessing because she was not fully detached from her sin, as is required to be forgiven. In her flesh and unfortunately not even in her heart there was no nausea for sin. When Mary of Magdala savoured My Word, she became disgusted with sin and came to Me, full of good will to change completely. But this woman still hesitated between the voices of the flesh and those of the spirit. And in the excitement of the moment, she had not yet been able to use the axe against the stump of the flesh and cut it off in order to go, once she was mutilated of her greedy weight, to the Kingdom of God. Mutilated of what is ruin, but increased with what is salvation.
Do you want to know whether she was saved? I was not the Saviour for everybody. I wanted to be so, but I was not because not everyone wanted to be saved. And that was one of the most piercing arrows in My agony at Gethsemane.
Go in peace, Mary of Mary, and do not sin any more, not even in trifles. Under Mary's mantle there is nothing but pure things. Bear that in mind.
One day Mary, My Mother, said to you: "I ask My Son with tears to give you to Me". And another time: "I leave it to My Jesus to have Me loved… When you love Me I come. And My coming is joy and salvation".
Mother wanted you. And I gave you to Her. Nay, I took you there, because I know that where I can bend with authority, She takes you with the caress of love and She takes you there even better than I do. Her touch is a seal before which Satan runs away. Now you have Her dress and if you are faithful to the prayers of the two Orders, you will meditate on all the life of our Mother every day: on Her joys and sorrows. That is, My joys and My sorrows. Because since I, the Word, became Jesus, I have rejoiced and wept with Her and for the same reasons.
So you can see that to love Mary is to love Jesus. It is to love Him more easily. Because I make you carry the cross and I put you on the cross. Mother instead carries you or stands at the foot of the cross to receive you on Her heart that can only love. Also at the moment of death Mary's bosom is more pleasant than a cradle. Whoever breathes his last in Her, hears nothing but the voices of the angelical choruses whirling round Mary. He does not see darkness, but sees the sweet ray of the Morning Star. He hears no weeping, but sees Her smile. He knows no terror. Of Us who love Her, who would dare tear from Mary's arms a creature of Her's?
Do not say "Thanks" to Me. Thank Her, Who did not want to remember anything of you, except the little good you have done and the love you have for Me, and that is why She wanted you, to subdue under Her foot what your good will did not succeed in subjugating. Shout: "Long live Mary!" And remain at Her feet at the foot of the Cross. You will adorn your garment with the rubies of My Blood and with the pearls of Her tears. You will have a queen's robe for your entrance into My Kingdom.
Go in peace. I bless you. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume 4, Chapter 492.
Copyright 1989 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, Isola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.