Today’s Gospel is on Zaccheus. He was the self-admitted thief, cheat and immoral high living tax collector, who GENUINELY repented. Proof of his remorse and sorrow was his ultra-generous RESTITUTION to the victims of his injustice, from out of his own wealth. Whether ill-gotten, obtained prior to his being a tax collector, or NOT!
Thus for the benefit of all of us, and not just for Erap Estrada and people in high government positions who have similar past or present proclivities, I am incorporating in this blog article, all the major accounts in Volume 4 of Maria Valtorta’s 5-volume Poem of the Man God which directly involve Zaccheus and Christ Jesus. These Gospel-like accounts of vignettes in our Lord’s public life, should hopefully, convince ALL OF US, that God is not a naïve simpleton. And that He will not allow Himself to be taken for a fool and to be mocked (especially if REPEATEDLY and PUBLICLY), with impunity and hypocrisy!
Maria Valtorta by the way, was a willing victim soul for the Lord during the World War II, period. She lived her martyrdom as a bed-ridden patient while laboriously describing and writing down by hand, the actual visions of the Blessed Virgin’s and our Lord’s life,including verbation dictations given by the Lord Himself. She died after her visions had ended, in the obvious “odor of God’s grace”. The Poem of the Man God in its original Italian manuscript was spontaneously albeit non-officially given positive affirmation by Pope Pius XII before he died. Thus for many of those who have avidly read all five (5) volumes of the “Poem” many times like yours truly, they even consider it as the unofficial “Fifth Gospel” of sorts.
For the Poem does not contradict nor will ever supplant the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the PRIMARY sources of God’s Word. But just like all other genuine private supernatural revelations, the Poem will lead many of its readers with good faith, to a further deepening and LIVING of their faith in “the Way, the Truth and the Life”, even in the midst of pain and sorrow.
Believe you me, you have to read it but prayerfully, to appreciate it!
Note: For those who wish to get copies of Valtorta’s books you can contact the following:
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415. The Conversion of Zacchaeus.
17th July 1944.
I see a large square, which looks like a market and is shaded by palms and other lower leafy trees. The palm-trees grow here and there, without any order and their top leaves rustle in the warm upper breeze, which raises a reddish dust, as if it came from a desert or from uncultivated places of reddish earth. The other trees, instead, form shady porches along the sides of the square, and vendors and buyers have taken shelter under them, in a restless shouting din.
In a corner of the square, exactly where the main road leads into it, there is a primitive excise office. There are scales and measures, and a bench at which is sat a little man who oversees, watches and deals in cash and to whom everybody speaks, as if he were very well known. I know that he is Zacchaeus, the exciseman, as many people address him, some to ask about the events of the town, and they are mainly strangers, some to pay their taxes. Many are surprised at seeing him worried. He seems in fact absent-minded and engrossed in thought. He replies in monosyllables and at times with gestures, which amazes many, who know that Zacchaeus is usually talkative. Some ask him whether he is not feeling well or if any of his relatives is ill. But he says no.
Only twice he shows keen interest. The first time when he questions two people who have come from Jerusalem and are speaking of the Nazarene, of His miracles and teaching. Zacchaeus then asks many questions: “Is He really as good as they say? And do His words correspond to facts? Does He really make use of the mercy which He preaches? On behalf of everybody, also of publicans? Is it true that He does not reject anybody?” And he listens, thinks and sighs. The second time when someone points out to him a bearded man, who is passing by with a little donkey laden with household goods. “See, Zacchaeus? That is Zacharias, the leper. He lived in a sepulchre for ten years. Now that he is cured, he has bought the furnishings for his house, which was emptied according to the Law, when he and his relatives were declared lepers.” “Call him.”
“Were you a leper?”
“I was and so were my wife and my two children. My wife was the first to be infected and we did not notice it at once. The children became infected sleeping with their mother, and I, when I approached my wife. We were all lepers! When it was found out, they sent us away from the village ... They could have left us in our house, as it was the last one ... at the end of the street. We would not have caused any trouble ... I had already grown a very high hedge, so that we might not even be seen. It was already a sepulchre ... but it was our home ... They sent us away. Away! Away! No town wanted us. And quite rightly! Not even our own town had wanted us. We stayed near Jerusalem, in an empty sepulchre. Many poor wretches are there. But the children died, in the cold of the cave. The disease, cold and starvation soon killed them ... They were two boys ... they were beautiful before the disease. They were strong and beautiful, dark brown like two blackberries in August, curly and lively. They had become two skeletons covered with sores ... They had no hair left, their eyes were sealed with scabs, their feet and hands were falling off in white scales. I watched the bodies of my children waste away!. .. They no longer looked like human beings the morning they died ... one after the other within a few hours ... I buried them under a little earth and many stones, like the carrion of animals, while their mother screamed ... A few months later their mother died ... and I was left alone ... I was waiting to die and.no one would dig a hole to bury me ...
I was almost blind when one day the Nazarene passed by. From my sepulchre I shouted: "Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me!" A beggar, who was not afraid to bring me his bread, had told me that he had been cured of his blindness, by shouting that invocation. And he said: "He did not only give me the sight of my eyes, but also of my soul. I saw that He is the Son of God and I see everyone through Him. That is why, brother, I do not shun you, but I bring you bread and faith. Go to the Christ. So that one more soul may bless Him". I could not go. My feet, ulcerated to the bone, would not let me walk ... in any case ... I would have been stoned, if they saw me. I waited carefully for Him to pass. He often passed by coming to Jerusalem. One day I saw, as far as I could see, a cloud of dust on the road and many people and I heard shouts. I dragged myself to the brow of the hill, where the sepulchral caves were, and when I thought I could see a bare fair-haired head shine among other covered ones, I shouted aloud, at the top of my voice. I shouted three times, until my voice reached Him.
He turned round. He stopped. Then He came towards me: all alone. He came right under the spot where I was and He looked at me. He was handsome, kind, with a voice, a smile! ... He asked:
"What do you want Me to do for you?"
"I want to be cleansed"
"Do you believe that I can? Why?" He asked me. "Because You are the Son of God"
"Do you believe that?"
"I believe it" I replied. "I see the Most High flash in His glory above Your head. Son of God, have mercy on me!"
He then stretched out a hand and His face was ablaze. His eyes seemed two blue suns, and he said: "I want it. Be cleansed" and He blessed me with a smile! ... Ah! What a smile! I perceived a strength enter me. Like a sword of fire which ran searching for my heart, it ran through my veins. My heart, which was so diseased, became as it was when I was twenty years old, and the ice-cold blood became warm and fast-flowing in my veins. No more pains, no more weakness, and a joy, what a joy! ... He was looking at me; with His smile He made me blissful. He then said: "Go, show yourself to the priests. Your faith has saved you".
I then realized that I had been cured and I looked at my hands and legs. There were no more sores. There was fresh rosy flesh where previously the bone was uncovered. I ran to a little stream and I looked at myself. My face also was clean. I was clean! Clean after being loathsome for ten years!. .. Oh! Why did He not pass by before? When my wife and children were alive? He would have cured us. Now, see? I am buying things for my house ... But I am all alone! ...
“Have you not seen Him any more?”
“No, but I know that He is in this area and that is why I have come. I would like to bless Him once again and be blessed by Him to have strength in my solitude.”
Zacchaeus lowers his head and is silent. The group breaks up.
Some time passes. It gets warmer. The market place empties. The exciseman with his head resting on one hand is pensive, sitting at his desk.
“Here is the Nazarene!” shout some children, pointing at the main road.
Women, men, sick people, beggars rush towards Him. The square is empty. Only some donkeys and camels, tied to the palm trees, remain where they were, and Zacchaeus remains at his desk.
He then stands up and climbs on his desk. But he cannot see anything because many people have pulled off branches and are waving them joyfully and Jesus is bending over sick people. Zacchaeus then takes off his garment and having on only his short tunic he climbs one of the trees. He goes up the large smooth trunk with difficulty as his short arms and legs make climbing difficult. But he succeeds and sits astride two branches as on a perch. His legs hang from that kind of railing and from his waist upwards he leans out as if he were at a window and he watches.
The crowds arrive in the square. Jesus looks up and smiles at the solitary spectator perched on the branches. “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I am staying at your house today” He orders.
And Zacchaeus, after a moment of astonishment, his face purple with excitement, lets himself slide down on the ground like a sack. He is so excited that he is hardly able to put on his clothes. He closes his books and cash-desk with gestures which he would like to be very fast, but instead are very slow. But Jesus is patient: He caresses some children while waiting.
Zacchaeus is ready at last. He approaches the Master and leads Him to a beautiful house with a large garden around it, in the centre of the town. A beautiful town. Not much inferior to Jerusalem with regard to its buildings, if not to its size.
Jesus goes in and while waiting for the meal to be made ready, he takes care of sick and healthy people. With such patience ... as He only is capable.
Zacchaeus comes and goes, busying himself. He is beside himself with joy. He would like to speak to Jesus. But Jesus is always surrounded by a crowd of people.
At last Jesus dismisses everybody saying: “Come back at sunset. Go to your homes now. Peace be with you.
The garden empties and the meal is served in a beautiful cool hall facing the garden. Zacchaeus has done things in great style. I do not see any other relatives, so I think that Zacchaeus is single and lives only with many servants.
At the end of the meal, when the disciples scatter in the shade of bushes to rest, Zacchaeus remains with Jesus in the cool hall. In actual fact Jesus remains alone for a little while, because Zacchaeus withdraws to let Him rest. But he comes back and looks through a slit in the curtains. He sees that Jesus is not sleeping, but is pensive. He then approaches Him. He is carrying a heavy coffer, which he lays on the table near Jesus and says: “Master ... they have spoken to me about You. For some time. One day on a mountain side You said so many truthful things, that our doctors cannot excel them. They remained in my heart... and since then I have been thinking of You ... Then I was told that You are good and that You do not reject sinners. I am a sinner, Master. They told me that You cure sick people. My heart is diseased, because I defrauded, I practiced usury, I have been a depraved fellow, a thief, hard on the poor. But now, I have been cured, because You spoke to me. You approached me and the demon of sensuality and riches fled. And as from today, I belong to You, if You do not reject me, and to prove to You that I am reborn in You, I divest myself of the ill-acquired riches and I give You half of my wealth for the poor and I will use the other half to give back, multiplied by four, what I got by fraud. I know whom I cheated. Then, after handing back to each of them what belongs to them, I will follow You, Master, if You allow me ...”
“I do want that. Come. I have come to save and call people to the Light. Today Light and Salvation have come to the house of your heart. Those who over there, beyond the gate, are grumbling because I have redeemed you sitting at your banquet, are forgetting that you are a son of Abraham as they are, and that I have come to save who was lost and to give Life to those whose spirits were dead. Come, Zacchaeus. You have understood My word better than many people who follow Me only to be able to accuse Me.
Therefore you will be with Me as from now on.”
The vision ends here.
18th July 1944. 5Jesus says:
“There is yeast and yeast. There is the yeast of Good and the yeast of Evil The yeast of Evil, a Satanic poison, ferments more easily than the yeast of Good, because it finds matter more suitable for fermentation in the heart of man, in the thought of man, in the flesh of man, seduced all three by a selfish will, contrary therefore to the universal Will, which is the Will of God.
The will of God is universal because it is never confined to a personal thought, but it takes into consideration the welfare of the whole universe. Nothing can increase the perfection of God in any way, as He has always possessed everything in a perfect manner. Thus there can be no thought in Him of personal gain inciting any of His actions. When we say: "This is done to the greater glory of God, in the interest of God", we do not mean that divine glory is in Itself susceptible to improvement, but that everything which in Creation bears the mark of good and any person doing good, and thus deserving to possess it, is adorned with the sign of divine Glory and thus gives glory to Glory itself, Which has created all things gloriously. It is, in short, the testimony which people and things bear to God, giving evidence, with their deeds, of the perfect Origin from Which they come.
Thus, when God orders or-advises you to do an action or inspires you with one, He does not aim at any selfish interest, but at your welfare, with altruistic charitable mind. That is, therefore, the reason why the Will of God is never selfish, on the contrary it is a Will which aims entirely at altruism and universality. It is the only and true Strength in the universe which considers universal welfare.
On the contrary, the yeast of Good, spiritual embryo coming from God, grows through difficulties and hardships, as it has against itself the reactions propitious to the other one: the flesh, the heart, the thought of man, pervaded with selfishness, the antithesis of Good, which by its origin can be but Love. Most men lack the will of Good and consequently Good becomes sterile and dies, or lives so poorly that it does not leaven: it remains as it was. There is no grave fault. But there is not even the effort to do the greatest good. The spirit thus lies inert: not dead, but unfruitful.
Bear in mind that not to do evil serves only to avoid Hell. To enjoy at once beautiful Paradise one must do good. It is essential. As much good as one can do, struggling against oneself and other people. Because I said that I had come not to bring peace but war, also between father and children, brothers and sisters, when such war was to defend the Will of God and His Law against the abuse of human wills aiming at what is contrary to what God wants.
In Zacchaeus the tiny quantity of yeast of good had leavened a huge mass. Only an original small particle had fallen into his heart: they had related My Sermon on the Mount to him. And they had done it so badly, mutilating it of many parts, as happens with reported speeches.
Zacchaeus was a publican and a sinner, but not through bad will.
He was like one who sees things badly because the veil of cataract covers his eye-lenses. But he knows that once the veil is removed, he can see properly once again. And that sick person wants the veil to be removed. Zacchaeus was like that. He was neither convinced nor happy. He was not convinced of Pharisaic practices, which had already replaced the true Law. And he was not happy with his way of living.
He was instinctively seeking Light. The true Light. He saw a flash of it in that fragment of My speech and he hid it in his heart like a treasure. Because he loved it - bear this in mind, Mary because he loved it, the flash became more and more lively, vast and vehement, and caused him to see Good and Evil clearly and to choose rightly, generously cutting off all the tentacles which previously, from things to his heart and from his heart to things, had enveloped him in a net of malicious slavery.
"Because he loved it". That is the secret of success or failure. One succeeds when one loves. One has little success when one loves niggardly. One has no success at all when one does not love. In anything. All the more in the things of God, where, as God is invisible to corporal senses, I dare say, one must love perfectly, as far as a creature can reach perfection, in order to succeed in an enterprise. In holiness, in this case.
Zacchaeus, disgusted with the world and the flesh, as he was disgusted with the meanness of Pharisaic practices, so captious and severe for other people, so indulgent for them, loved the little treasure of a word of Mine, which reached him by chance, speaking from a human point of view. He loved it as the most beautiful thing that his forty-year-old life had ever possessed, and from that moment he concentrated his heart and thought on that point.
It is not only in evil that man's heart is where his treasure is. But also in good. Did saints perhaps during their lifetime not have their hearts where their treasure was: in God? Yes, they did. And that is why, looking only at God, they passed on the Earth, without contaminating their souls with the mud of the Earth.
That morning, even if I had not appeared there, I would have conquered a proselyte. Because the speech of the leper had completed Zacchaeus' metamorphosis. At the bench of the excisehouse there was no longer a cheating vicious publican, but a man repenting his past and decided to change life. If I had not gone to Jericho, he would have closed his office, he would have taken his money and come looking for Me, because he could no longer live without the water of Truth, without the bread of Love, without the kiss of Forgiveness.
The usual harsh critics who always watched Me to reproach Me, did not see that and they could understand it even less. And that is why they were amazed at My having a meal with a sinner. Oh! I wish you never judged, leaving that task to God, you poor blind people, who cannot even judge yourselves! I never went with sinners to approve of their sin. I went to remove them from sin, because they often had only the exterior aspect of sin: their contrite souls had already changed into new souls, living to expiate. So was I with a sinner? No, I was with a redeemed soul, in need only of a guide to stand up in its weakness of a soul risen from death.
7How much Zacchaeus' episode can teach you! The power of upright intention that excites desire. Upright desire that urges one to seek deeper and deeper knowledge of Good and to long for God continuously until one reaches Him, true repentance that gives the courage of abnegation. Zacchaeus had the upright intention of listening to words of true Doctrine. When he heard some, his upright desire urged him to greater desire and thus to uninterrupted research for that Doctrine; the research for God, hidden in the true Doctrine, detached him from the mean gods of richness and sensuality and made him a hero of renunciation.
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and follow Me" I said to the rich young man, but he did not do that. But Zacchaeus, although more hardened in avarice and sensuality, was able to do it. Because, through the few Words related to him, like the blind beggar and the leper cured by Me, he saw God. Can a soul that has seen God, find any more attraction in the little things of the Earth? Is that ever possible, My little bride?
19th July 1944. 8Jesus says:
“In My several beatitudes I enunciated the requisites necessary to achieve them and the rewards that will be given to the blessed ones. But while the categories mentioned are different, the reward is the same, if you consider the situation carefully: to enjoy the same things that God enjoys.
Different categories. I have already explained that God with His thought creates souls of different tendency, so that the Earth may enjoy a just balance in all its inferior and superior necessities. If the rebellion of man upsets that balance, as he always wants to go against the divine Will, Which guides him lovingly along the just way, it is not God's fault. Men, perpetually dissatisfied with their situation, invade or upset other people's estates, either by means of true and proper abuse of power, or by attempts at such abuse. What are world wars, family feuds, professional warfare, but such active abuse? What are social revolutions, what are the doctrines that clothe themselves with the name "social", but in actual fact are nothing but arrogance and the very opposite of charity, because they neither want nor practise the justice they preach, on the contrary they overflow with outbreaks of violence, which do not relieve oppressed people, but increase their numbers to the advantage of a few arrogant fellows?
But where I, God, reign, such alterations do not take place. Nothing upsets order in My Kingdom and in the spirits which are really Mine. Thus the several-aspects of the multiform holiness of God are lived and rewarded, because God is just, pure, peaceful, merciful, free from the greed of fleeting riches, joyful in the happiness of His love. Some souls tend to one form, some to another. They tend in an eminent manner, because all virtues are present in saints. But one predominates, and on account of it, that saint is particularly celebrated among men. But I bless and reward him on account of all of them, because the reward is "to enjoy God" both for the peaceful and the merciful, for those who love justice and for those who are persecuted by injustice, for the pure and the distressed, for the meek and for the pure in spirit.
The pure in spirit! How badly is this definition always understood, even by those who perceive its right meaning! According to human superficiality and to foolish human irony, and according to ignorance, which considers itself wise, pure in spirit means "stupid".
The better class of people think that the spirit is intelligence, thought; those who are more material consider it artfulness and malice. No. The spirit is by far superior to intelligence. It is the king of everything in you. All physical and moral qualities are subjects and servants of that king. That is the situation where a creature devoted to God in a filial manner knows how to keep things in the right place. Where instead a creature is not devoted in a filial manner, idolatries take place, and the maidservants become queens and depose the spirit king. Anarchy which causes disaster like all anarchies.
Poverty in spirit consists in having the sovereign freedom from everything that is the delight of man, and for which man goes to the extent of committing material crime or the unpunished moral crime that too often escapes human law, but does not make fewer victims, on the contrary it makes more and with consequences which are not limited to taking the life of the victim, but often deprive both the victims and their relatives of their good reputation and livelihood.
The man poor in spirit is no longer enslaved by riches. Even if he does not go so far as to repudiate them materially, depriving himself of them and of every comfort by joining a monastic order, he knows how to use them sparingly for himself, which is a double sacrifice, in order to be prodigal of gifts to the poor of the world. He has understood My sentence: "Make friends by means of unjust riches". Of his money, which might be the enemy of his spirit, leading it to lust, greed and anticharity, he makes a servant that levels the way to Heaven for him - the rich: poor in spirit - a way completely spread with his mortifications and his charitable deeds for the miseries of his fellow-creatures. How many injustices the man poor in spirit mends and cures! His own injustices of the time when, like Zacchaeus, he was but a greedy hard-hearted man. Injustices of his neighbours, whether alive or dead. Social injustices.
You erect monuments to people who were great only because they were overbearing. Why do you not erect monuments to the secret benefactors of destitute mankind, to the poor and working classes, to those who use their wealth not to make their own lives a perpetual feast, but to make life brighter, better and more elevated for those who are poor, for those who suffer, for those whose functional faculties are impaired, for those left in ignorance by overbearing people, because ignorance serves their hateful aims better? How many there are, also among those who are not rich, nay, who are little less than poor, and yet they can sacrifice the "two farthings" they possess, in order to relieve a misery, which, being without the Light which they have - and their behaviour makes one understand that they do have it - is greater than their own!
Those are poor in spirit who, losing their possessions, whether large or small, know how to keep their peace and hope, without cursing or hating anyone, either God or men.
The wide category of the "poor in spirit", which I mentioned as the first one - because I could say that without such freedom of the spirit from all the delights of life, it is not possible to have the other virtues which give beatitude - is divided and subdivided into many forms.
Humility of thought which does not swell with pride and does not proclaim itself super-thought, but makes use of the gift of God acknowledging its Origin, for Good. Only for that.
Generosity in affections, whereby one can deprive oneself also of them, in order to follow God, also of life, the most real wealth and the most loved instinctively by the animal creature. All My martyrs were generous in that way, because their spirits had become poor, in order to become "rich" in the only eternal riches: God.
Justice in loving our personal things. It is our duty to love them, because they are testimony of Providence in our favour. I have already spoken about that in previous dictations. But we must not love them more than we love God or His Will; you must not love them to the extent of cursing God, if man snatches them from you.
And finally, I would repeat it, freedom from the slavery of money.
Those are the different forms of that spiritual poverty that I said will possess Heaven out of justice. Put under your feet all the fleeting riches of human life to possess the eternal riches. Consider the Earth and its deceitful fruit, which is sweet outside and bitter inside, as the last thing, and live working to conquer Heaven. Oh! there is no fruit there with a false flavour. There is the ineffable fruit of the enjoyment of God.
Zacchaeus had understood that. That sentence was the arrow that opened his heart to Light and Charity. It opened it to Me as I approached him to say to him: "Come". And when I came up to him to call him, he was already "poor in spirit". He was therefore capable of possessing Heaven.»
520. Arrival at Jericho. Zacchaeus' Apostolate.
1st November 1946.
Jesus is anxiously awaited. A large crowd is in the fields near the town waiting for Him, and as soon as a look-out man, who has climbed a tall walnut-tree, shouts: «Here is the Lamb of God!» the people stand up and run towards Jesus, Who is coming forward in the early misty twilight.
“Master! Master! We have been waiting for You for such a long time! Our sick people! Our children! Your blessing! The old people are waiting for You to die in peace! If You bless us, Lord, no misfortune will befall us!” they all speak at the same time, while Jesus raises His hand repeatedly to bless and continues to say: “Peace, peace to all of you!” The apostles who are still with Him are caught in the crowd and carried away from Jesus, Who is almost prevented from walking by the very ones who gently complain of the long wait.
Poor Zacchaeus struggles convulsively to reach Jesus, to make himself heard by Him, or at least to be seen. But so short as he is and not very agile or strong, he is always pushed back by fresh waves of people, his voice is lost in the clamour, and in the confusion of restless heads, arms and garments, his person disappears. In vain he implores and at times he reproaches to have some compassion. People are always selfish with regard to what gives them pleasure, and are cruel to their weaker neighbour. Poor Zacchaeus feeling exhausted after all his efforts and convinced of their uselessness, is no longer willing to struggle and utterly disheartened resigns himself. In fact how can he possibly succeed if more people come rushing from every street, which look like streams flowing into the same river: the street along which Jesus is walking? And each new affluent, with a fresh wave that makes the crowd thicker and thicker, to the extent of making it frightening to be caught in it, pushes back poor Zacchaeus.
Thaddeus sees him and tries to elbow his way through the crowd to tear him away from the corner into which the crowd has pushed and confined him. But Judas Thaddeus in turn is pushed by those pressing in upon him from behind and his attempt fails. Thomas relying on his strength, elbows his way and shouts in his powerful voice: “Make way!" for the same purpose ... Not a hope! The crowd is a wall more solid than rock, and at the same time as pliable as caoutchouc. It bends but will not break. It is no longer an embrace: it is an unbreakable chain. Thomas also resigns himself.
And Zacchaeus loses all hope, because Didimus is the last of the apostles caught in the stream of people. And at last it passes ... It has passed ... Strips of cloth, tassels, fringes, hairpins, clothes-clasps are lying on the ground witnessing the violence. There is also a little child's sandal, completely crushed, and seems to be sadly awaiting the little foot that lost it... Zacchaeus queues up behind them all looking sad as well, just like the little sandal snatched from its little owner by the crowd.
Jesus cannot be seen any longer. A bend in the street has concealed him from poor Zacchaeus' eyes ... When, last in the crowd, he arrives at the square where once he had his bench, he sees the crowds have stopped shouting, praying, imploring. And he sees Jesus, Who has mounted the little step of a house, shake His head and arms. And He says something that cannot be understood because of the roar of the crowd. And finally he sees Jesus, Who has come off His pedestal with difficulty, take to the road again and turn towards that part of the town where his house is. Zacchaeus then grows daring again. The crowd is a large one, but the square is wide, the people therefore are not so compact and ... one can go through it, as if it were not too thick a hedge, if one is willing to do so and is not afraid of being injured. And Zacchaeus, who has now become a wedge, a catapult, a battering-ram, butts and bumps against people, insinuates himself, delivering and receiving punches on the nose, thrusts with elbows in the stomach and kicks in the shin, but he pushes his way through and moves forward ... He is now at the opposite side ... But the square narrows here, and he meets the impenetrable wall again. He is only a few steps from Jesus, Who is already standing near his house. But if deserts and rivers separated him from it, he could have better hopes to succeed in reaching Him. He gets angry, and he shouts in a commanding voice: «I have to go home! Let me pass! Can't you see that He wants to go into my house?
He should never have said so! That rekindles the wishes of the people to have the Master in other houses. Some people laugh making fun of poor Zacchaeus, some give him rude answers. There is not one person who feels sorry for him. On the contrary they begin to shout and get excited so that the Master may not hear or see Zacchaeus. And some shout: “You have already had even too much from Him, you old sinner!” I think that the memory of old tax collections and vexations influences so much ill-will... Even the man who is more inclined to the supernatural almost always has a little corner in which the love for his hoard is lively and even more lively is the memory of whoever has been detrimental to that hoard ...
But the time for Zacchaeus' trial has passed and Jesus rewards his perseverance. Jesus shouts at the top of His voice: “Zacchaeus! Come to Me. Let him pass, because I want to go into his house.
It is absolutely necessary to obey. The people press against one another in order to open out and Zacchaeus comes forward, flushed with fatigue and blushing for joy, and he tries to tidy his ruffled hair, his unbuttoned garment, and his belt the tassels of which are around his back instead of being in front of him. He looks for his mantle ... Who knows where it is!. .. It does not matter. He is by no"", in front of Jesus, stooping to pay his respects to Him. It is impossible for him to do more than that as he has hardly enough room to bend a little.
“Peace to you, Zacchaeus. Come here, that I may give you the kiss of peace. You deserve it” says Jesus smiling a really cheerful juvenile smile that makes Him look rejuvenated.
“Oh! yes, Lord. I did deserve it. How difficult it is to reach You, Lord” says Zacchaeus, raising himself up as much as possible on the tips of his toes to be at the level of Jesus Who bends to kiss him. As he does so, his face appears to be bleeding because of a scratch on his right cheek, and one of his eyes is bruised, probably because of a thrust of an elbow on his eye-socket.
Jesus kisses him and then says:
“But I am not rewarding you for this effort. But for the others you have made, unknown to many people, but known to Me. Yes, it is true. It is difficult to reach Me, and the crowd is not the only obstacle, and it is not even the most difficult obstacle one finds t0 meet Me.
But, 0 people who have almost carried Me shoulder-high, the most difficult, the most composed obstacle, and which is always recomposed after one tries to destroy it or overcome it, is one's ego. I did not seem to be seeing, but I saw everything. And I evaluated everything. And what did I see? I saw a converted sinner, one who was hard-hearted, who loved comfort, was proud, vain, lascivious and avaricious. And I saw him divest himself of his old ego also in minor matters, and change in his behaviour and affections, in order to come to his Saviour, as he did by struggling to reach Him by imploring with humbleness, by accepting gibes and reproaches patiently, suffering in his body to be knocked about by the crowd and in his heart to be pushed to the very end of it, without even one glance from Me. And I saw other things in him. Things which you know as well, but you do not want to take them into account although they have given you relief.
You may say: "How do You know them, since You do not live among us?". I reply: as I read the hearts of men so I am aware of the actions of men and I know how to be just and reward in proportion to the distance covered to reach Me, to the efforts made to uproot the wild forest which covered the spirit, to improve it eliminating what was not the vital tree, and making it the king of one's ego, surrounding it with plants of virtues so that it may be honoured, and watching that no animal that is unclean because it creeps, or is eager for corruption, or lascivious, or idle - the various wicked passions - should nestle in the thicket, but this spirit of yours should be inhabited only by what is good and capable of praising the Lord, that is supernatural affections, singing birds and meek lambs willing to be sacrificed, inclined to perfect praise out of love for God.
And as I noticed Zacchaeus' action, thoughts and labour, so I noticed that in this town the love of many people who have acclaimed Me, is more sensitive than spiritual. If you loved Me according to justice, you would have taken pity on your fellow citizen and you would not have mortified him by reminding him of his past. That past that he has cancelled and God does not remember, because He does not go back on forgiveness granted, unless man sins again. And he is judged again only for the new sin, not for the one already forgiven. Now I say to you, and I give this as a subject for meditation at night, that true love for Me does not consist in acclamations, but in doing what I do and teach, in practicing reciprocal love, in being humble and merciful, bearing in mind that your material part was made with one only dust, and that dust always has an attraction for mire, and that consequently, if so far what in you is the strength that has held you up above the mire, the spirit, has never known defeats - and that is impossible because man is a sinner and God only is without sin - in future your spirit might have to admit defeats, and in greater number and gravity than those of the old sinner now reborn to Grace. In fact through Grace he has become juvenile and new, just like a new-born baby, with in his favour the humility deriving from his recollection of having been a sinner and the firm will to do, during the rest of his lifetime, as much good as is necessary to fill a long life entirely consecrated to doing good, and thus make amends, and with full and overflowing measure, for all the wrongs he may have done.
I will speak to you tomorrow. I have said enough for this evening. Go and bear in mind My warning and bless God Who has sent you the Doctor Who amputates your sensuality hidden under a veil of spiritual health, like hidden diseases that corrode life under a veil of seeming health ... Come Zacchaeus.
“Yes, my Lord. I have only one old servant and I will open the door myself, and with it my deeply moved heart, oh! how moved it is, because of Your infinite goodness.”
And after opening the gate he lets Jesus and the apostles go in, and leads Him towards the house, through the garden, now turned into a kitchen garden. The house also has been stripped of all superfluous items. Zacchaeus lights a lamp and calls the servant.
“Here we are. The Master is here. He will be sleeping here with His apostles and will have dinner here. Have you prepared everything as I told you?”
“Yes, I have. With the exception of the vegetables, which I boil now, everything is ready.”
“Change your clothes, then, and go and inform those I told you that He is here and ask them to come.”
“I am going, master. May You be blessed, Master, as You are letting me die a happy death!” He goes away.
“He is the servant of my father and has remained with me. I dismissed all the others. But he is dear to me. He is the voice that was never silent when I sinned. And because of that I used to illtreat him. After You, he is the one I love more than anybody else ... Come, my friends. There is a fireplace there and what can give comfort to tired cold limbs. You, Master, to my room ... » and he takes Him towards a room at the end of a corridor.
He goes in, closes the door, pours hot water into a pitcher, takes off Jesus' sandals and serves Him. Before putting the sandals 0n again, he kisses the bare foot and places it on his neck saying: “Thus! That it may crush the residue of the old Zacchaeus!” He stands up. He looks at Jesus, with a smile that trembles on his lips, a humble smile, which looks as if it were moistened with tears. He makes a gesture indicating the whole room and says: “I sinned so much in here! But I have changed everything, so that that savour should no longer be present ... Memories ... I am weak ... I wanted only the memory of my conversion to be alive on these bare walls in this hard bed ... The rest ... I made money of it, because I was left without any and I wanted to accomplish good deeds. Sit down Master ...”
Jesus sits on a wooden seat and Zacchaeus places himself on the floor, at Jesus' feet, half sitting, half kneeling. He resumes speaking.
“I do not know whether I have done the right thing, and whether You can approve of my behaviour. Perhaps I began where I should have finished. But they exist, too. And only an old publican can show no repugnance against them in Israel. No, I am wrong. Not only an old publican, but You as well, nay it is You Who taught me to love them truly. Previously they were my accomplices in vice but I did not love them. Now I reproach them but I love them. You and I. The all Holy One, the converted sinner. You because You have never sinned and You want to give us the joy that is Yours, of the Man without sin. And I because I sinned so much and I know how sweet is the peace that comes from being forgiven, redeemed, renewed ... I wanted it for them. I looked for them. Oh! it was hard at the beginning! I wanted to make them good and I had myself t0 improve ... What a difficult task! I had to watch over myself because I felt that they were watching over me. A mere nothing would have sufficed to drive them away ... And then ... Many sinned out of need, urged by their occupation. I sold everything to have money to keep them until they found other jobs, less profitable, more laborious, but honest. And some of them still come, and they are half curious, half willing to be men, not only animals. And I have to give them hospitality until they become submissive to the new yoke. Many have been circumcised. The first step towards the true God. But I do not compel them. I have wide arms to embrace their miseries, and I cannot be disgusted with them. I also would like to give them what You would like to give everybody: the joy of being without remorse, since we cannot be, like You, without sin. Now, tell me, my Lord, whether I have been too daring.”
“You have acted well, Zacchaeus. You are giving them more than what you hope and think I want to give men. Not only the joy of being forgiven, without remorse, but the joy of being soon citizens of My heavenly Kingdom. I was aware of these deeds of yours. I followed you while you proceeded along the hard but glorious path of charity; because that is charity, and of the purest quality. You have understood the word of the Kingdom. Few people have understood it because the ancient idea survives in them with the firm belief that they are already holy and learned. After removing the past from your heart, you remained empty and you were able to, nay you wanted to put the new words, the future, the eternal into your heart. Continue so, Zacchaeus, and you will be the collector of your Lord Jesus” concludes Jesus smiling and laying His hand on Zacchaeus' head.
“Do You approve of what I did, Lord? Of everything?”
“Of everything, Zacchaeus. I also told Nike, who was speaking to Me about you. Nike understands you. She is open to universal mercy.” (Referring to Veronica who wiped Jesus' bloody face on the road to Calvary)
“Nike used to help me a lot. But now I see her only once a month, at the new moon ... I would have liked to follow her. But Jericho is favourable to my new work ... “
“She will not stay long in Jerusalem ... You would move for no time. Afterwards Nike will come back here ... “
“After how long, Lord?”
“After My Kingdom has been proclaimed.”
“Your Kingdom ... I am afraid of that moment. Will those who now say that they are faithful to you, be able to be so, then? Because there will certainly be risings and struggles between those who love You and those who hate You ... Do You know, Lord, that they engage even highwaymen, the scum of the people, to have followers ready to form a large mass and thus impose themselves on others? I was told by one of my poor brothers ... Oh! is there much difference between him who steals lawfully, between him who steels somebody's honour and him who robs a wayfarer? I also used to steal lawfully until You saved me, but even then I would not have countenanced those who hate You ... It was a young man. A thief. Yes, a thief. One evening, when I had gone towards mount Adummim awaiting three peers of mine, who were coming from Ephraim with some cattle purchased at a low price, I found him lying in wait in a gorge. I spoke to him ... I have never had a family; and yet I think that if I had had children, I would have spoken to them thus to convince them to change life. He explained to me how and why he had become a thief ... Eh! how often the true culprits are those who do not seem to be doing anything wrong!. .. I said to him: "Don't steal any more. If you are hungry, there is some bread for you, too. I will find you an honest job. As you have not yet become a killer stop, save yourself". And I convinced him. He told me that he was by himself, as all the others had been bought over with much money by those who hate You, and now they are ready to foment risings and to say that they are Your followers, in order to scandalise the people, and they hide in the caves of the Kidron, in the sepulchres, towards the Phasael, in the caves to the north of the town, among the tombs of the Kings and Judges, everywhere ... What do they want to do, Lord?”
“Joshua was able to stop the sun, but by no means whatsoever will they be able to stop the will of God.”
“They have money, Lord! The Temple is rich, and the gold offered to the Temple is not Corban for them, if it serves them to triumph.”
“They have nothing. The power is Mine. Their building will collapse as if it were built with leaves dried by the autumn winds and shaped into a castle by a little boy. Do not be afraid, Zacchaeus. Your Jesus will be Jesus.”
“God grant it!. .. They are calling us. Let us go.” ...
522. In Zacchaeus' House with the Converts. The Soul and the Error of Reincarnation.
They are all gathered in a large bare room. It was certainly beautiful once. Now it is nothing but a large room. From the dining-room and the bedrooms they have brought chairs and small beds into it and they are all sitting round the Master, Whom they have seated on a kind of armchair, of engraved wood, covered with a long-pile carpet. It is the most luxurious piece of furniture in the house.
Zacchaeus is speaking of a croft bought with the money gathered among them: «After all we had to do something. Idleness is not a good medicine to avoid sin. The ground is not fertile as yet, because it was neglected, just like us, and like us it was full of bramble, stones, barrenness and weeds. Nike sent us her peasants to show us how to clear neglected wells, to clean the fields, to prune the few trees left, and plant new ones. We were aware of so many things ... but not of the holy work of man. But in this work so new to us, we really find a new life. Nothing around us reminds us of our past. Only our consciences remember it. But that is a good thing ... We are sinners ... Will You come to see it?
“We shall depart together from here going towards the Jordan, and we shall stop at your croft. You told Me that it is just on the road to the river ... “
“Yes, Master. But it is not a pleasant sight. The house is dilapidated. There is no fumiture in it. We did not have enough money for everything ... after making amends, as far as we could, for the wrongs done to our neighbour. With the exception of Demetis, Valens and Levi, who are too old for certain sacrifices and sleep here, the others must make shift with some hay, Lord.”
“Very often I do not even have that. I will sleep on hay, too, Zacchaeus. I slept My first sleeps on it and they were peaceful because they were watched over by love. I can sleep on it also tonight and it will not be a restless sleep, because I shall be among men whose good will has revived.” And He looks at those first redeemed men from every country so kindly that He seems to be caressing them.
And they look at Him ... They are not men ready to weep. On the contrary who knows how many tears they have caused people to shed. Their faces are like books in which their wicked past is written, and if now their new life veils the brutality of those words, they can still be deciphered so clearly as to enable one to realise from which abyss they are rising towards Light. And yet their faces clear up and brighten, their eyes look reassured, a light of supernatural hope, of moral satisfaction shines in them upon hearing the Master say that they are men of good will once again.
Zacchaeus then says: “So You approve of what I have done? See, Master. On that day I said: “I will follow You", and I really wanted to follow You physically. But that very evening Demetis came to me for one of those ... for one of his ill-famed affairs ... and he was in need of money. He came from Jerusalem ... they say that she is holy, but she is covered with shame, and the first to bring such shame on her are the very ones who then want to stone us as if we were lepers ... But I must tell my sins, not theirs. I had no money left. I had given it all to You. Also what was left in the house was as good as given, because I had divided it up to give it back to those from whom I had extorted it by practising usury. So I said to him: "I have no money, but I have more than a treasure". And I told him about my conversion, Your words and the peace I had in me ... I spoke so much that the light of the new day came in making our faces look pale, and the lamps useless, while I was still speaking. I do not know what I exactly said. I know that with his fist he violently struck the table at which we were sitting and exclaimed: "Mercury has lost a follower and his satyrs a companion. Take this money as well, it is not enough for the criminal deed, but it will buy some bread for a beggar, and take me with you. I want to become acquainted with a perfume after so many foul smells". And he remained with me. We went to Jerusalem together, I to sell some items, he to free himself from all engagements. And on our way back I said - I had prayed in the Temple, after such a long time, with the pure pacified heart of a boy - I said to myself: "Is this not to follow the Master, and perhaps follow Him in a better way, by remaining in Jericho, where my wretched publican friends like me, gamblers, procurers, usurers, after being superintendents of galley slaves and convicts, of slaves, torturers of all miserable people, lawless and pitiless soldiers, used to carousing to forget remorses in drunkenness, come to see me to invest their cursed money, or to propose affairs, or to invite me to banquets or to other infamous filthiness? The town despises me. The Hebrews will always consider me a sinner. But they will not consider themselves such. But they are like me. They are filthy, but they may have something in them urging them to be good and they do not find who can give them a helping hand. I helped them in evil. Perhaps they sinned also because of my advice, for what at times I asked of them. It is my duty to help them to come towards goodness. As I paid those whom I had injured, as I made amends with regard to my fellow-citizens, so I must try and redress any wrongs done to them". And I remained here. Now one, now another one would come from this or that town, and I spoke to them. They did not all behave like Demetis. Some ran away after mocking at me. Some were hesitant. Some stayed here but after some time they went back to their miserable life. These ones have remained. And now I feel that this is the way I must follow You, that we must follow You thus, struggling against ourselves, putting up with the scorn of the world that cannot forgive us. Our hearts bleed when we see that the world does not forget, when recollections come back ... and are so many and so painful... In some they are ... “
“The dreadful Nemesis that always throws our crimes in our faces and promises vengeance in the hereafter” says one.
“They are the cries of those whom I struck to make them work, although they were exhausted.”
“They are the curses of those I enslaved after taking all their properties through usurious practices.”
“They are the entreaties of widows and orphans who could no afford to pay and whose last belongings I had sequestered in the name of the law.”
“They are the cruelties accomplished in conquered countries against defenceless people terrorised by their defeat.”
“They are the tears of my mother, of my wife, of my daughter who died of privations while I was squandering everything in banquets.”
“They are ... oh! there is no name for my crime! Lord, my hands are not stained with blood, I did not steal money, I did not impose exorbitant taxes, I did not fleece anybody, I did not strike the defeated enemy, but I exploited all miseries, and I made money at the expense of innocent girls of the beaten enemy, of orphan girls, of women sold like merchandise for a piece of bread. I travelled round the world seizing such opportunities, following armies, where there was famine, where an overflowing river had deprived people of food, where pestilence had left young lives without protection, and I treated them as goods, infamous yet innocent goods. Infamous with regard to me, as I made money out of it, innocent because they were not yet aware of so much horror. Lord, I have in my hands the virginity of young girls seduced, and the honour of young wives taken in conquered towns. My trade centres ... and my brothels were famous, Lord ... Do not curse me, now that You know! ... “
The apostles have unintentionally moved away from the last man who has spoken. Jesus stands up and approaches him. He lays a hand on his shoulder and says: It is true! Your crime is grave. You have much to redress. But I, the Mercy, tell you that even if you were the demon himself and you were responsible for all the crimes of the Earth, if you want, you can make amends for everything and be forgiven by God, the true, great, paternal God. If you want. Join your will to Mine. I also want you to be forgiven. Join Me. Give Me your poor spirit, so ill-famed, ruined, full of scars and disheartened after you abandoned sin. I will put it on My Heart, where I place the biggest sinners and I will take it with Me to the redeeming Sacrifice. The holiest Blood, that of My Heart, the last Blood of Him Consumed on behalf of men, will be shed on the greatest ruins and will regenerate them. Have hope for the time being. Let your hope be greater than your immense crime, in the mercy of God, because it has no limit, 0 man, for those who can trust in it.”
The man would like to take and kiss the hand resting on his shoulder, so pale and thin against his brown garment and his strong shoulder. But he dare not. Jesus understands and stretches out His hand saying: «Kiss the palm of it, man. I will find that kiss again and it will cure My torture. A kissed hand, a wounded hand. Kissed out of love. Wounded for love. Oh! I wish all men could kiss the great Victim, and the great Victim could die in its clothes made of sores, knowing that in each are the kisses, the love, of all men redeemed!» and He holds his hand pressed against the cleanshaven lips of the man, who, judging from his overall appearance, I would say is a Roman. He holds it there until the man moves away as if he were sated with it after quenching the parching thirst of his remorses by drinking the Mercy of the Lord in the hollow of the divine hand.
Jesus goes back to His place and when passing He lays His hand on the curly hair of a very young man. I would say that he is hardly twenty years old, if that. One who has never spoken, and is certainly of Hebrew race. Jesus asks him: «And you, My son, are you not saying anything to your Saviour?”
The young man raises his head and looks at Him ... A full speech is in his look. A story of grief, of hatred, of repentance, of love.
Jesus, bending lightly over him, staring at his eyes, reads a mute story and then says: “That is why I call you "son". You are no longer alone. Forgive all those of your own blood and those who are strangers, as God forgives you. And love the Love Who saved you. Come with Me for a moment. I want to say a word to you privately.”
The young man stands up and follows Him. When they are alone, Jesus says: «I want to tell you this, son. The Lord has loved you very much, although it may not appear to be so to a superficial judge. You have been sorely tried by life. Men have harmed you seriously. Both could have ruined you irreparably. Behind them there was Satan, jealous of your soul. But above you there was the eye of God. And that blessed eye stopped your enemies. His love sent Zacchaeus along your path. And, with Zacchaeus, He sent Me, Who am now speaking to you. And now I tell you that in this love you must find what you have not had, you must forget what embittered you, and forgive, forgive your mother, your ill-famed master, and yourself. Do not hate yourself in an evil way, son. Hate your time of sin, but not your spirit that has been successful in leaving that sin. Let your thought be a good friend of your spirit, so that together they may reach perfection.”
“Did you hear what I said to that man? And yet he was in the depth of the abyss! ... And thank you, son!” “For what, my Lord? I have to thank You ...”
“For not going to those who buy men to betray Me.”
'Oh! Lord! How could I do it, if I knew that You do not despise even us highwaymen? I also was among those who brought You the lamb at the Cherit. And one of us, who has now been captured by the Romans - at least so they say, he has certainly not been seen in the refuge of the highwaymen since before the Tabernacles - told me the words You spoke in a valley near Modin ... Because at that time I had not yet of Ethanim. But I did not do anything that deserves Your thanks. You were good. I wanted to be good, and to warn a friend of Yours ... can I say so of Zacchaeus?”
“Yes, you can. All those who love Me are My friends. You are one, too.”
“Oh!... I wanted to warn him so that You should be on the lookout. But a warning does not deserve thanks ... “
“I will repeat it to you again: I thank you for not selling yourself o those who are against Me. That is important.”
“And is the warning not?”
“Son, nothing will be able to prevent Hatred from assailing Me. Have you ever seen a torrent overflow?”
“Yes, I have. I was near Jabesh-Gilead and I saw the damage caused by the river that had overflowed before flowing into the Jordan.”
“And could anything stop the water?”
“No, it flooded and ruined everything. Even some houses were swept away.”
“Hatred is like that. But it will not carry Me away. I shall be submerged but not destroyed. And in the very bitter hour the love of those who would not hate the Innocent One will be My consolation, my light in the dark of that hour of Darkness, My sweetness in the chalice of wine mixed with gall and myrrh.”
“You? .. You are speaking of Yourself as if ... That chalice is for highwaymen, for those who go to die on the cross. But You are not a thief! You are not guilty! You are ...”
“The Redeemer. Give Me a kiss, son.”
He takes the man's head in His hands and kisses his forehead, then He bends to receive his kiss. A timid kiss that hardly touches the emaciated cheek ... Then the young man collapses on Jesus' chest weeping.
“Do not weep, son! I am sacrificed by love. And it is always a sweet sacrifice even if it is grievous to human nature.”
He holds him in His arms until he stops weeping and then He goes back, holding him by the hand close to Himself, to the place where Peter was previously.
He resumes speaking: “While we were taking our food, one of you, not from Israel, said that he wanted to ask Me to explain something. Let him do so now, because we shall soon have to go back to the crowd and then part.”
“It is I who said that. But many wish to know. Zacchaeus cannot explain it clearly, neither can any of us who follow Your religion. We asked Your disciples, when they passed through here. But they did not give us a clear explanation.”
“So what do you wish to know?”
“We did not even know that we had a soul. That is ... we, at least, should have known, because our ancestors ... But we did not read the old books. We were like animals ... And we no longer knew what this soul is. We do not know even now. What is the soul? Is it
perhaps our reason? We do not think so, because in that case we would have been without it, and we have been told that without soul one cannot live. So what is the soul, which we have been told is incorporeal and immortal, if it is not our reason? Thought is incorporeal, but it is not immortal because it ends with our life. Even the wisest man thinks no more after his death.”
“A soul is not a thought, man. The soul is the spirit, the immaterial prime cause of life, the impalpable but true principle that animates the whole man and lasts after man. That is why it is said to be immortal. It is so sublime that even the most powerful thought is nothing in comparison with it. A thought comes to an end. The soul, instead, has a beginning, but has no end. Whether blissful or damned it continues to exist. Blessed are those who know how to keep it pure, or to restore it to its purity after making it impure, in order to give it back to the Creator as He gave it to man to enliven his humanity.”
“But is it within us, or above us, like the eye of God?” “In us.”
“Imprisoned in us until death, then? A slave?”
“No. A queen. In the eternal thought, the soul, the spirit is what reigns in man, in the animal created and named man. The soul was created queen, with the authority and destiny of a queen, as it came from the King and Father of all kings and fathers, His breath and image, His gift and right, and its mission is to make of the creature named man a king of the great eternal kingdom and a god in the hereafter, a "living being" in the Abode of the most sublime only God. Its maidservants are all the virtues and faculties of man, its minister is the good will of man, the thought of man is its servant and disciple. It is from the spirit that thought acquires power and truthfulness, justice and wisdom, and can rise to regal perfection. A thought deprived of the light of the spirit will always be lacunose and obscure, it will never be able to understand the reason for truths that are more incomprehensible than mysteries to those who are separated from God, having lost the royalty of their souls. The thought of man will be obscure and dull, if it lacks the basic point, the lever indispensable to understand, to rise leaving the Earth and dashing upwards, towards the Intelligence, the Power, the Divinity, in one word. I am speaking thus to you Demetis, because you have not always been a money-changer, so you can understand and explain this to the others.”
“You are really a seer, Master. No, I have not been only a moneychanger ... Nay, that was the last step of my descent... Tell me, Master. If the soul is a queen, why then does it not reign and subdue the evil thought and evil flesh of man?”
“Subjection would be neither freedom nor merit; it would be oppression.”
“But thought and the flesh overwhelm also the soul, I am speaking of myself, of us, and they enslave it too often. That is why I asked whether it was in us in the form of a slave. How can God allow such a sublime thing - You called it "breath of God and His image" - to be degraded by inferior beings?”
“According to the divine Thought the soul was not to be aware of slavery. But are you forgetting about the enemy of God and of man? The infernal spirits are known to you as well.”
“Yes, and all of them with cruel desires. And remembering my childhood, I can say that I must ascribe only to those infernal spirits the man I became and was, up to the threshold of old age. I have now found the lost child of those days. But shall I be able to become such a child as to go back to the purity of my childhood? Is it possible to go backwards in time?”
“It is not necessary to go backwards. You would not be able to do it. Bygone days will not come back, one cannot make them come back or go back to them. And it is not necessary. Some of you come from places where the theory of Pythagoras' school is known. A wrong theory. Souls, when they end their stay on the Earth, do not come back to it again in any body. Not in the body of an animal, as it would not befit such a supernatural being to dwell in a brute. Not in the body of a man, because how could the body be rewarded when it is reunited to the soul in the Last Judgement, if that soul had been clothed with many bodies? Those who believe in that theory say that it is the last body that rejoices, because the soul through successive purifications, in successive lives, reaches the perfection deserving a reward only in the last reincarnation. An error and an offence! Error and offence against God, as it admits that God was able to create only a limited number of souls. Error and offence against man, as it considers him so corrupt that he deserves a reward only with great difficulty. The reward may not be granted at once, ninety-nine times in a hundred a purification will be required in life to come. But purification is preparation to joy. So he who is being purified is already saved. And once he is saved he will rejoice, after Doomsday, with his body. He will have only one body for his soul, as he had one life here, and with the body that his parents made for him, and with the soul that the Creator created for him to give life to his body, he will take delight in the reward. It is not possible to be reincarnated, as it is not possible to go back in time. But it is possible to be re-created through one's free will, and God blesses and assists such will. Each of you has had that will. And then man, who was sinful, vicious, filthy, delinquent, thieving, corrupt, corrupting, murderous, impious, adulterous, revives spiritually through the purification of repentance, he destroys the corrupt kernel of the old man, he dispels the mental ego which is even more corrupt, as if the will to be redeemed were an acid that attacks and destroys the unwholesome case concealing a treasure, and after laying bare his spirit, purifying it and restoring it to health, he clothes it with a new mentality, with a new, pure, good juvenile garment. Oh! a garment that can go close to God, that can worthily cover the recreated soul, protect and assist it until its supercreation, that is its complete holiness, that in future - perhaps a remote future if measured with human mind and means; very close if contemplated with the thought of eternity - will be glorious in the Kingdom of God. And every man can, if he so wishes, recreate in himself the boy of his childhood, the loving, humble, sincere, kind boy, whom the mother used to press to her breast and the father looked a glorying, whom the angel of God loved and God admired with love. Your mothers! Perhaps they were women of great virtue ... God will not leave their virtue unrewarded. Strive therefore to be equally virtuous, to be united to them when there will be only one thing for all the virtuous people: the Kingdom of God for good people. Perhaps they were not good and they contributed to your ruin. But if they did not love you, if you do not know what love is, if the lack of love made you bad, now that a divine Love has embraced you, be holy so that with heavenly joy you may take delight in the Love that exceeds all love. Have you anything else to ask?
“No, Lord. We have everything to learn. But for the moment we
have nothing else ...”
“I will leave John and Andrew with you for a few days. Later I will send you some good wise disciples. I want wild colts to know the ways of the Lord and His pastures, like the people of Israel, because I have come for everybody and I love everybody in the same way. Stand up and let us go.”
And He is the first to go out into the changed garden, closely followed by His apostles who complain gently saying: “Master, You have spoken to them as You have seldom done to Your chosen ones ...”
“And do you complain of that? Do you not know that they do so also in the world, when they want to conquer someone they love? But with those who we know love us with their whole beings, there is no need for the art of conquering. It is sufficient to see one another in order to be in one another with joy and peace” says Jesus with a divine smile, really divine, so much being the joy it communicates.
And the apostles no longer complain, on the contrary they look at Him blissfully, lost as they are in the exultation of loving one another.