235. Mary Magdalene in the House of Simon, the Pharisee.
21st January 1944.
To comfort me in my complex suffering and make me forget the wickedness of men, my Jesus grants me this sweet contemplation.
I see a sumptuous hall. A many-branched candlestick is hanging in the centre and is completely lit. The hall is hung with beautiful tapestry; there are magnificent pieces of furniture and chairs inlaid and decorated with ivory and precious metal leaves.
There is a large square table in the centre, consisting of four tables assembled together. The table has been laid for many guests (all men) and is covered with beautiful table-cloths and very expensive tableware. There are valuable amphorae and cups and many servants are moving round the table carrying dishes and pouring out wines. There is no one in the centre of the square. I can see the magnificent floor which reflects the lights of the oil chandelier. Around the table there are many couches, all occupied by the guests.
I appear to be in the half-dark corner at the end of the hall, near a door, which is wide open, although screened by a heavy piece of tapestry hanging from its architrave.
The landlord and the most important guests are on the opposite side, that is, the farthest side from the door. The landlord is elderly, wearing a wide white tunic tied round his waist by an embroidered belt. Round the collar, the cuffs and the hem of the tunic there are strips of embroidered work, which have been attached as if they were embroidered ribbons or strips. But I do not like his expression. It is malicious, cold, proud and greedy.
On the opposite side, facing him, there is my Jesus. I see Him sideways, almost from behind His back. He is wearing His usual white tunic, sandals, and His long hair is parted on His forehead.
I see that both He and all the guests are not sitting up to the table, as I thought one would on those couches, instead they are reclined parallelly. In the vision of the wedding at Cana I did not pay much attention to this detail. I saw that they were eating leaning on their left elbows, but they did not appear to be so reclined, probably because the couches were shorter and not so sumptuous. Those I see now are real beds, and look like modern Turkish divans.
John is near Jesus and since Jesus is leaning on His left elbow, like everybody else, John is between the table and Jesus' body, with his elbow at the height of the Master's groin, so that he does not hinder Him while eating, but if he wishes, he can lie confidentially on His chest.
There is no woman at the table. They are all talking and the landlord now and again addresses Jesus with evident affected condescension. It is obvious that he wants to show to Him and to all those present as well, that he has greatly honoured Him, a poor and rather hot-headed prophet, as many people consider Him, by inviting Him to his wealthy house… I see Jesus reply kindly and quietly. He smiles faintly at those who ask Him questions, but His smile becomes bright when John speaks to Him or even looks at Him.
I see the magnificent curtain covering the door-space being raised and a young woman come in. She is beautiful, sumptuously dressed and her hair is splendidly arranged. The artistically interlaced locks of her very thick blond hair form a beautiful ornament on her head. Her hair is so bright and abundant that she seems to be wearing a golden helmet wrought in relief. If I should have to compare the dress she has on with the ones I have always seen the Blessed Virgin Mary wear, I would say that it is very peculiar and complicated. There are buckles on the shoulders, jewels to hold together the pleats at the top of the breast, little gold chains to outline the breast, and the belt is adorned with studs and gems. It is a provoking dress, which emphasises the features of her beautiful body. The veil on her head is so light that… it veils nothing: it is an additional charm and nothing else. Her sandals are very expensive ones, of red leather with gold buckles and strips interlaced round her ankles.
Everybody, except Jesus, turns round to look at her. John watches her for a moment, then looks at Jesus. The others stare at her with evident malicious avidity. But the woman does not look at them, neither does she pay attention to the whispering that has arisen at her entrance, or to the winking of the people present, with the exception of Jesus and His disciple. Jesus pretends He has seen nothing. He continues His conversation with the landlord.
The woman goes towards Jesus and kneels down at the feet of the Master. She lays on the floor a little vase, shaped like a potbellied amphora, takes off her veil after removing a long valuable pin, which fastened it to her hair, she removes rings from her fingers and lays everything on the couch near Jesus' feet. She then takes His feet in her hands, first the right one and then the left one, unlaces His sandals and lays them on the floor. She then kisses His feet bursting into tears, she rests her forehead on them, caresses them, while tears stream down her face like drops of rain, shining in the light of the chandelier and wetting those adorable feet.
Jesus turns His head round very slightly and slowly, and His deep eyes rest for a moment on the woman's reclined head. An absolving glance. He then looks again at the centre of the hall, leaving her free in her outburst.
But the others do not: they scoff, wink and sneer. The Pharisee sits up for a moment to have a better view and his eyes express desire, vexation and irony. He desires the woman, and that feeling is evident. He is vexed because she has come in so freely, which may cause the others to think that she is a habitual guest in the house. And he is ironical with regard to Jesus…
But the woman is not aware of anything. She continues to shed torrents of tears noiselessly. She weeps and now and again she sobs. She then lets her hair down, after removing the gold hairpins, which held up her complicated hairdress and she puts also the hairpins near the rings and the long veil-pin. Her golden locks roll down her back. She takes them with both hands, brings them in front of her and rubs them on Jesus' wet feet, until she sees that they are dry. She dips her fingers into the little vase and takes out a yellowish highly scented ointment. A sweet-smelling perfume, a mixture of lily and tuberose, spreads throughout the hall. The woman uses it profusely, she spreads it, kissing and caressing His feet at the same time.
Jesus looks at her now and again with so much loving pity. John, who looked round in amazement when she burst into tears, cannot detach his eyes from Jesus and the woman and looks at them alternately.
The face of the Pharisee has become more and more sullen. I now hear the well known words of the Gospel and I hear them uttered in a tone and with a look, which cause the old resentful man to lower his head.
I hear the words absolving the woman, who goes away leaving her jewels at Jesus' feet. She has tied her veil round her head, thus gathering together her dishevelled hair as best she can. Jesus, while saying to her: « Go in peace », lays His hand on her reclined head for a moment. A very gentle gesture.
Jesus now says to me:
« What made the Pharisee and his companions lower their heads and is not mentioned in the Gospel, are the words that My spirit, in one glance darted at him and drove into his arid avid soul. I answered him much more than has been reported, because none of the thoughts of those men was concealed from Me. And he understood My mute language, which was more meaningful and reproachful than My words were.
I said to him: "No. Do not make wicked insinuations to justify yourself to yourself. I am not affected by lewdness as you are. She does not come to Me attracted by sensuality. I am not you or like those who are like you. She comes to Me because My countenance and My word, which she heard by chance, have enlightened her soul, which lust had left in utter darkness. And she comes because she wants to overcome her sensuality and she realises, poor creature, that she will never succeed by herself. She loves My spirit, nothing but My spirit, which she perceives is supernaturally good. After so much evil that she received from you all, who have taken advantage of her weakness for your own vices, rewarding her with your lashing scorn, she comes to Me, because she realises that she has found Goodness, Joy and Peace, which she sought in vain in the pomps and vanities of this wicked world. Cure the leprosy of your soul, o hypocritical Pharisee, that you may have the right view of things. Forsake pride of mind and lust of flesh. Their leprosy is much more fetid than the leprosy of your bodies. My touch can cure you of the latter, because you beg Me to cure you, but I cannot cure you of the leprosy of your souls, because you do not wish to be cured, as you like it. But she wants to recover. And thus I cleanse her, and I free her from the chains of her slavery. The sinner is dead. She is still over there, in those ornaments that she is ashamed to offer Me that I may sanctify them, using them for the needs of My disciples and Mine and for the poor, whom I help by means of the surplus of other people, because I, the Master of the universe, possess nothing now that I am the Saviour of man. She is still here, in the perfume spread on My feet, the perfume that has been humiliated like her hair, on that part of My body that you disdained to refresh with the water of your well, notwithstanding I have walked so far to bring light to you also. The sinner is dead. And Mary is reborn, as beautiful as a modest girl, through her deep sorrow and her righteous love. She washed herself in her tears. And I solemnly tell you, o Pharisee, that between this young man who loves Me in the purity of his youth, and that woman who loves Me in the sincerity of repentance of a heart reborn to Grace, I make no difference. And to the Pure young man and the Repentant woman I entrust the task of understanding My thought as no one else can, as well as the task of rendering the last honours to My Body, and the first greetings (I am not taking into account My Mother's special greetings) when I will rise from the dead". That is what I wanted to tell the Pharisee by means of My countenance.
But I will draw your attention to something else: for your joy and the joy of many. Also at Bethany Mary repeated the gesture that marked the dawn of her redemption. There are personal gestures, which are repeated and are peculiar to a person like the person's style. They are unmistakable gestures. But, as it was fair, at Bethany the gesture was not humiliated so much and it was more confidential in its reverent adoration.
Mary has gone a long way since that dawn of her redemption. A very long way. Love, like a high wind, has blown her high up and far ahead. Love has burnt her like a fire, destroying her impure flesh and making a purified spirit her new master. And Mary, now different in her revived womanly dignity, as she is different in her clothing, which is now as simple as My Mother's, in her hair-style, her looks, her behaviour, her words, this new Mary has a new way to honour Me by means of the same gesture. She takes the last of her vases of perfume, which she kept for Me, and pours it on My feet and My head, without shedding any tears, with a happy countenance due to love and the certainty that she had been forgiven and saved. Mary can now touch My head and anoint Me. Repentance and love have cleansed her by means of the fire of seraphim and she is a seraph.
Repeat that to yourself, Mary, My little "voice" and repeat it to souls. Go, tell the souls that dare not come to Me because they feel guilty. He who loves much is pardoned much. That is, He who loves Me. You, poor souls, do not know how much the Saviour loves you! Be not afraid of Me. Come. Confidently. Courageously. I open My Heart and My arms to you.
Always remember: "I make no difference between him who loves Me with his spotless purity and him who loves Me in the sincere contrition of a heart reborn to Grace". I am the Saviour. Always remember that.
Go in peace. I bless you. »
22nd January 1944.
I have been thinking all day of Jesus' dictation of yesterday evening and of what I saw and understood, even if it was not said.
In the meantime, by the way, I tell you that the conversation of the commensals, as far as I could understand, that is, the part addressed to Jesus, was about daily events: the Romans, the Law opposed by them, and then the mission of Jesus as Master of a new school. But under the seeming benevolence it was clear that they asked vicious and captious questions to embarrass Him. A difficult task, because Jesus in a few words gave the right and conclusive answer to each subject.
For instance, when they asked Him of which particular school or sect He had become the new master, He replied simply: « Of God's school. It is He Whom I follow in His holy Law and to Whose interests I devote Myself, ensuring that it may be renewed for these little ones (and He lovingly looked at John and in John at all honesthearted people) in all its essence, as it was on the day that the Lord God promulgated it on Sinai. I take men back to the Light of God. »
To the other question, as to what He thought of the abuse of power by Caesar, who had become the ruler of Palestine, He replied: « Caesar is what he is because that is what God wants. Remember the prophet Isaiah. Through divine inspiration, does he not call Asshur "the rod" of His anger? The rod that punishes the people of God, because it has become too detached from God and its outer appearance and spirit are hypocrisy? And does He not say that after using him as a punishment, He will destroy him because he will have abused his task, by becoming too proud and cruel? »
Those are the two replies that impressed me most.
Then this evening my Jesus says to me smiling:
« I should call you as I called Daniel. You are the woman of wishes and you are dear to Me because you want your God so much. And I could continue saying to you what was said to Daniel by My angel: "Be not afraid, because from the first day when you applied your heart to understand and grieve in the presence of God, your prayers have been heard and they are the reason why I have come". But here it is not the angel who is speaking. I am speaking to you: Jesus.
Mary, I always come when "a heart is anxious to understand". I am not a hard severe God. I am Living Mercy. And I come faster than thought to those who apply to Me. And I went immediately to poor Mary of Magdala, so immersed in sin, with My spirit, as soon as I perceived that the desire to understand was rising in her. The desire to understand the light of God and her own state of darkness. And I became her Light.
I was speaking to many that day, but in actual fact I was speaking only for her. I saw but her who had approached us driven by the vehemence of her soul, which rebelled against the flesh enslaving it. I saw but her with her poor face in turmoil, her forced smile, which endeavoured to hide so much weeping of her heart, under the appearance of false confidence and joy, which were a challenge to the world and herself. I saw but her, more entangled in the bramble than the lost sheep of the parable and she was drowning in the disgust of her own life, a disgust brought to the surface like those deep waves that bring up the water of the bottom.
I did not say great words, neither did I touch any specific subject concerning her, a well known sinner, as I did not wish to mortify her, compelling her to run away, to be ashamed or to come to Me. I left her in peace… I let My word and My look descend into her, fermenting there to turn the impulse of a moment into her glorious holy future. I spoke by means of one of the most gentle parables: a beam of light and kindness flashing just for her. And that evening, while I was setting foot in the house of the proud rich Pharisee, where My word could not fermentate into future glory because it was killed by Pharisaic pride, I already knew that she would come after weeping bitterly in her room of vice and that she had already decided on her future in the light of her tears.
Both the flesh and the thoughts of the men were inflamed with lust when they saw her enter. Everybody looked at her lustfully, except the two "pure ones" present at the banquet: John and I. They all thought that she came because of one of her usual caprices, a true diabolic possession, which drove her to extemporaneous affairs. But Satan was already defeated. And when they all noticed that she did not look at them, they enviously thought that she had come for Me. Man always fouls also the purest things, when he is but flesh and blood. Only the pure have the right view because there is no sin in them upsetting their thoughts.
But there is no reason to be frightened because man does not understand, Mary. God understands. And that is enough for
Heaven. The glory that comes from men does not add an ounce to the glory that is the destiny of the blessed souls in Paradise. Always remember that. Poor Mary of Magdala was always wrongly judged in her good deeds. But she was not wrongly judged in her bad deeds because they were lustful mouthfuls offered to the insatiable hunger of lewd men. She was criticised and wrongly judged at Nain, in the house of the Pharisee and she was criticised and reproached at Bethany, in her own home.
But John, who says a great word, has the key to the last bit of criticism: "Judas… because he was a thief". I say: "The Pharisee and his friends because they were lewd". See? Lust for sensuality, greed for money raise their voices to criticise good deeds. Good people do not criticise. Never. They understand.
But, I would repeat it, the criticism of the world is of no importance. What matters is the judgement of God. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Chapter 235.
Copyright 1987 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Lrir, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.