THE contemporary Italian mystic, Maria Valtorta [1897-1961†], has become increasingly well known now in the West, especially among the laity, through her great masterwork, The Poem of the Man-God.1 Valtorta has, in fact been declared one of the eighteen greatest mystics of all time by Fr. Gabriel Roschini, O.S.M., Mariologist, philosopher and professor at the Lateran Pontifical University, one-time consultor to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and one of the participating experts at the Second Vatican Council. In fact, as material for a course which he taught at the 'Marianum' Pontifical Theological Faculty in Rome on the Marian intuitions of the great mystics, Fr. Roschini used both Valtorta's Poem..., as well as her other mystical writings. For Valtorta has also bequeathed us several other volumes of writings, not yet translated into English, containing what she attests to be, like The Poem..., direct Revelations or Dictations from Christ and Mary.
Now Valtorta's editor, Emilio Pisani, has published another new little book of her Italian writings entitled, Preghiere 2 ["Prayers"], which appeared for the first time in 1993. In it he has collected under one cover a number of her spontaneous prayers scattered throughout her other writings. Among these, however, is a "Meditation" entitled: "The Hour of Gethsemani" ["L'ora del Getsemani"], which is not found among Valtorta's other published writings and hence also appears for the first time in this little Italian collection of her prayers. It is in fact a long Meditation, not by Valtorta, but by Christ Himself dictated to Valtorta, in which He describes and even re-lives part of His Agony in Gethsemani and the temptations that caused it. The English translation of this "Meditation" is thus being presented here for the first time also to English readers.
For this presentation, however, the Meditation has been given the title of : "The Garden", inspired by the symbolism of the mystic Apostle and Evangelist, St. John. For of all the evangelists only St. John, from the lofty eyrie of his eagle-vision, sees and calls Gethsemani a "Garden".3 As he alone of the Evangelists also calls the Place of Christ's crucifixion and tomb a "Garden".4 For John surely contemplates again in this dark and sorrowful "Garden" of Gethsemani, that first "Garden" in the Beginning where Man, Adam, was created its king, placed there by his loving Creator to stroll at will among its magnificent beauties and soothing peace: a "Paradise", i.e., a "Garden of delights and beauty" which, in its turn, mirrored Man's inner Paradise: that more beautiful "Garden of delights" in his heart, where his Creator loved to stroll and converse with him in the "cool of the day".5
But we know the rest of the tragic story -- our own: into this idyllic Garden, both the Outer as the Inner, the Ancient Enemy of God and Man gained entrance. And cunningly seducing Man with his lying promise, beguiled him without a struggle into a treacherous betrayal of his loving Creator: into a proud rebellion that repeated that ancient Foe's defiant cry, eons before Man's creation: "I WILL NOT SERVE!".6 And thus was Man changed from the likeness of His Creator, into the likeness of his Enemy. And the Garden? Horrified at this tragic change, this incredible treachery in Man, its king, the Garden -- both that of Man's soul, and the Outer Garden, its reflection -- were changed into a gloomy, dreadful place: the Sun was darkened, the Moon no more gave her light, the Stars fell from Heaven, and the Garden's king, Man, was cast out from its midst.
John sees again this Garden of the Beginning now dark and dreadful: its ancient, gnarled olive trees stand as mute witnesses of its anguished suffering and lost peace. But then he sees the King of the Garden, Man: Adam, again reenter it, bowed in sorrow under the weight of guilt and sin of the ancient treachery. And, trembling , he sees the Ancient Enemy too entering it again to repeat his cunning seduction of its King. But lo! this time something changes: a terrible struggle ensues, a cosmic, titanic battle between two Wills: that of Man, King of the Garden, and that of Absolute Evil. And John sees the earth of the Garden open its mouth to drink the Tears, the Sweat, and the Blood wrested in the mighty battle from this new Abel. John sees too in this dark Garden the seeming defeat again of its King, Man: prostrate first upon the earth, and later upon a Tree.
But then!... John sees again that Garden three days hence, newly transfigured, reflecting in new Light its pristine beauty and peace, as its King, its Sun, rises again from its womb, resplendent and finally victorious!
Divine Wisdom decreed that Man's redemption should be wrought upon the Tree of the Cross so that, as the Church sings: "...whence death arose, Life might also rise again, and he [Man's Enemy] who conquered by a tree might by the Tree be conquered." 7
But St John shows us too that as Man was conquered without a struggle in a Garden, so in a Garden and only by a mighty struggle must he undo his first defeat and the Enemy's ancient conquest. Only so is the Garden -- within and without -- restored to its pristine beauty and peace where Man's Creator may stroll again in the cool of the day.
[To Valtorta]: "You see, My soul, that I was quite right to say: 'The intimate knowledge of My torment in Gethsemani would not be understood and would become a scandal?' People do not acknowledge the Demon. Those who do acknowledge him do not admit that the Demon had been able to harass the soul of Christ10 to the point of making Him sweat blood. But you, who have had a little bit of this temptation: you can understand. Let us then talk together."
"You asked Me: 'How many of the agonies that You give me are those of Gethsemani?'
Oh! So many! Not for the pleasure of tormenting you. Only through the goodness of your Master and Spouse. I could not bring down upon you all at once, little spouse, the whole mass of desolation which discouraged Me that evening, and which no one guessed, no one understood, apart from My Mother and My Angel. You would die, insane, from it. And so I give you a little bit now, tomorrow another bit, in such a way as to make you taste all My food and to obtain from your suffering the maximum of love and compassion for your sorrowful Spouse, and of redemption for your brethren.
Here is why I give you so many hours of Gethsemani. Join them together and, as the artist of a mosaic, by joining the pieces together, sees the complete picture being formed little by little ; so you, by joining together in your thought the remembrance of the different hours, will see the true Agony of your Lord.
Reflect on how I love you. The first time I gave you only the sight of My physical frenzy. And just seeing Me with My Face contorted, pacing to and fro, raising My arms, wringing My hands, weeping and depressed, you had such pain from it yourself that, just a little more, and you would have died on Me.
I presented that visible torture to you more and more often until you knew it intimately and were able to endure it. Then, every so often I revealed to you My sadnesses. My sadnesses: those of a man. All of man's passions had risen up like maddened serpents, hissing their right to exist, and I had to strangle them one by one in order to be free to climb My Calvary.
Not all the passions are evil. I already explained that to you. I give this word [passion] its philosophical meaning, not the one you all give it by changing its meaning to 'feelings'. Even the good passions can become enemies at certain times, when with their voice they forge a chain: and a chain of the hardest, strongest and most twisted steel, in order to prevent us from accomplishing the Will of God.
To love life, a gift of God, is a duty: so much so that whoever kills himself is as guilty and even more so than one who kills [another]; since he who kills [another] fails in charity towards his neighbor. But he can have the attenuating circumstance of a provocation which deranged him. While whoever kills himself fails against himself and against God Who gave him life that he might live it until his summons. To kill oneself is to snatch back the gift of God and, yelling a curse, to throw it into the Face of God. Whoever kills himself despairs of having a Father, a Friend, a [Supreme] Good. Whoever kills himself denies every dogma of faith and every assertion of faith. Whoever kills himself denies God. Therefore life must be held dear.
But how to hold it dear? By making ourselves its slaves? No. Life is a good friend. A friend of that other Life. Of the True Life. For this latter is the great Life. The former is the little life. But as a handmaid serves and procures food for her Lady, so does the little life serve and nourish the great Life, which reaches its perfect age through the care which the little life gives it.
It is precisely this little life which procures for you the beautiful garments you will don when you become Ladies of the Kingdom of Life. It is precisely this little life which fortifies you with that bitter bread, soaked in strong vinegar, of everyday things, and which makes you adults and perfect in order to possess that Life which does not end. Here is why we must call 'dear' this sad existence of exile and sorrow. It is the 'bank' wherein mature the fruits of eternal riches.
Is it passably good? Praise the Lord for it. Is it sprinkled with pains? Give 'thanks' to the Lord. Is it sad beyond measure? Never say: 'It's too much.' Never say, 'God is wicked.'
I said it a thousand times: Evil does not come from God. And what is sadness but the fruit of evil? It is villainous man who causes suffering.
I said it a thousand times: God knows how long you can suffer, and if He sees that what your neighbor is doing you is too much, He intervenes: not only by increasing your strength to endure it, but with heavenly comforts; and when the hour comes: by breaking the wicked. For it is not permitted to torture beyond measure the one who is the better neighbor.
Life is dear for the honest satisfactions which it procures us. God does not censure them. Work: It is He Who put it there. As a punishment, yes, but also as a diversion for guilty man. Woe, if you had had to live in idleness. For ages past the Earth would have become an enormous insane-asylum of the enraged who would be tearing each other apart. You already do that, because you are still too idle. Honest toil clears and calms the mind, and gives us joy and serene rest.
Life is more dear still for the holy affections with which it blossoms. God does not censure them. Could God Who is Love censure an honest love? O joy of being sons! and joy of being fathers! O joy of finding a feminine companion who will beget sons for one's own name, and children for God! O joy of having a sweet sister, a good brother, and sincere friends! No: these sweet, honest affections God does not censure.
He Himself put love on Earth, and not like work: as a punishment and diversion for the guilty but, in the earthly Paradise, as a basis for the great joy of being sons of God, children of God. 'It is not good that man should be alone,' He said.11 King of creation, Man would have been in a desert without a feminine companion. Good were all the animals with their king, but too inferior, always too inferior to a son of God. Good, infinitely good, was God with His son, but always too superior to him. Man would have suffered the solitude of being equally distant from the divine and from the animal. And so God gave him a feminine companion.
Not only that. But for his chaste love with this same companion God would have granted him sweet sons, so that the man and the woman could have said that next sweetest word after the Name of God: 'My son!' And their children could have said that next holiest word after the Name of God: 'Mama!' 12
Mama! Whoever says 'Mama,' already prays.
To say 'Mama,' means to thank God for His Providence which gives a mother to the children of man and even to the little 'children' of the wild animals, of the domestic animals, of the flying birds and even of the mute fish, so that man would not know the horror of growing up alone, and would not fall from lack of support when he is still too feeble to know the Good and the Evil. To say 'Mama,' means to bless the God Who makes us know what love is through the kiss of a mother and the words of her lips. To say 'Mama,' means to know the God Who gives us a reflection of His principal attribute, Goodness, through the indulgence of a mother. And to know God means to hope, to believe, to love. It means to be saved.
And to have a brother: --is it not like a tree having its twin tree to support it in hours of storm, intertwining its branches in it; and which in hours of joy increases its blossoms with the pollen of its own love?
This is why I wanted Christians to call each other 'brothers,' since it is just, given that all of you come from one God and from one man's blood; and because it is holy, since it is a comfort for those who have no brothers of the flesh to be able to say to their neighbor: 'Brother, I love you. Love me.'
And to have a sincere friend: is it not like having a companion on our journey? Going alone is too sad. When God chooses a soul for the solitude of a victim, then He makes Himself its companion, since alone it could not stand without bending.
Life is a steep road, stony, often interrupted by crevices and swirling currents. Vipers and briars tear and bite on its bristling path. To be alone would be to perish. God created friendship for this. With two, strength and courage grow. Even a hero has moments of weakness. If he is alone, on what will he support himself? On the briars? What will he grasp? The vipers? Where will he lie down? In the swirling torrent or in the horrible darkness? Everywhere he would find a new wound and a new peril. But here is the friend: his breast is a support, his arm a prop, his affection a rest. And the hero recovers his strength. The traveler once again journeys secure.
To give value to friendship, I wanted to call My apostles 'friends,' and so much did I appreciate this affection that in the hour of My sorrow I wanted the three dearest apostles with Me in Gethsemani. I entreated them to watch and pray with Me, for Me...; and at seeing them incapable of doing it I suffered so much from it that I went forth weakened, and hence more susceptible to the Satanic seductions. One word! --had I been able to exchange one word with My friends, awake and understanding the state I was in, I would not have reached the point of bleeding profusely, before My torture, in My struggle to repel Satan.
But life and affections should not become our enemies. Never. If such they become, they must be broken.
I broke them. One by one.
I had already broken the human turmoil of outrage toward My Traitor. And a sinew of My Heart was torn in the effort.
It was now that the fear arose of losing My life. --Life! I was thirty-three years old. I was man in that hour. I was the Man. I had therefore a virginal love of life as had Adam in the earthly Paradise: a joy of being alive, of being healthy, strong, handsome, intelligent, loved, respected. A joy of seeing, of understanding, of being able to be expressive. A joy of breathing the pure and fragrant air, of listening to the harp of the wind among the olive trees and the brook among the stones, and the flute-like voice of the nightingale in love; of seeing the stars shining in the heavens: so many eyes of fire that looked on Me with love; the joy of seeing the earth made silver by the moon, so white and shining, which each evening made the world once more virginal; and it seemed impossible that under its waves of white peace someone could commit the Crime.
And all this I had to lose. Never again to see, never again to hear, never more to move, never more to be healthy, never again respected. To become a putrid abortion that one avoids with his feet, his head turned in disgust: an abortion expelled from the society which condemned Me, so as to be free to give itself to its filthy loves.
Those friends!... One had betrayed Me. And while I was waiting for death, he hastened to bring it to Me. He thought to give himself joy with My death... The others were sleeping. And yet, I loved them. I would have been able to wake them, to flee with them, elsewhere, far away, and to save both life and friendship. And instead I had to be silent and remain. To remain meant losing both friends and life. It meant being an outcast.
My Mama!13 O love of My Mama! Your love: invoked, it bent over My sorrow! Your love: repelled, in order not to cause you to die from My sorrow! Love of My Mama! Yes, I know: My every sob reached you, O Holy One. My every call to you crossed that space and penetrated like a spirit into the closed room where you, as always, passed your night praying, and praying in that night, not with ecstasy, but with torture of soul. I know. And I forbade Myself from calling you so as not to cause the moans of your Son to reach you, O martyr Mother who began your Passion, solitary as I was solitary, on that paschal Thursday night!
The son who dies in the arms of his mother does not die: he falls asleep cradled by a lullaby of kisses, which the angels continue till the moment when the vision of God makes the son forget his desire for his mother. But I had to die in the arms of executioners and a cross, and to close My sight and hearing on a bedlam of curses and menacing gestures.
How I loved you, Mother, in that hour of Gethsemani!
All the love that I had given you and which you had given Me in thirty-three years of life were before Me and pleaded their cause and begged Me to have pity on them, recalling your every kiss, your every care, the drops of milk you had given Me, the warm cup of your hands for My cold little feet as a poor infant, the songs from your mouth, the nimbleness of your fingers on the thick locks of My hair, and your smile and your look, your words and your silences, and your step of a dove: placing its rosy feet on the ground but keeping its wings already half-open for flight, and not even bending a stem, so lightly does it go; since you were on Earth for My joy, O Mother, but you had your wings always anxious for Heaven, O holy, holy, holy and beloved!
All the tears that I had already cost you, and all those that now fell from your eyelids and those that would have fallen in the three days to come, I heard them in the Garden, falling like moaning rain. O tears of My Mama!
But who can see his mama weeping, who can hear her weeping and, while life lasts, not have the torture of that weeping present from then on to him? I had to lose, to strangle My human love for you, Mama, and to trample both your love and Mine, in order to walk on the way of the Will of God.
And I was alone. Alone! ALONE! Earth and Heaven had no inhabitants for Me anymore. I was the Man loaded with the sins of the world. Hated therefore by God. I had to pay in order to redeem Myself and be loved again. I was the Man loaded with the Goodness of Heaven. Hated therefore by men to whom Goodness is repugnant. I had to be killed as punishment for being good.
And you too: you honest joys of work, accomplished to give daily bread to Myself first, so as then to give spiritual bread to men --you had come before Me [in the Garden] to say to Me: 'Why do you leave us?'
Then nostalgia for that quiet house made holy by so many prayers of the just; made a Temple from having welcomed the espousals of God; made Heaven by giving hospitality within its walls to the Trinity enclosed in the soul of the Christ of God!
And nostalgia for the humble, candid crowds to which I gave lights and graces, and from whom came love for Me! Voices of little children who called Me with a smile, voices of mothers who called Me with a sob, voices of the sick who called Me with a groan, voices of sinners who called Me with trembling! I heard them all in the Garden, and they said to Me:
'Why do You abandon us? You do not want to caress us anymore? Who will give us caresses like Yours on our blond or brown curls?' [said the children].I had to break these throats that wailed: to strangle them in order to stop them from wailing anymore -- in order to have the strength to break My Heart, snatching out Its sinews one by one, so as to accomplish the Will of God.
'You do not want to restore our dead children to us, to heal the dying for us? Who will have pity on mothers like You do, Holy Son?' [said the mothers].
'You do not want to restore our health anymore? Who will heal us if You disappear?' [said the sick].
'You do not want to redeem us anymore? For us there is only You Who are Redemption. Your every word is strength which breaks a cord of sin in our dark heart. We are more ill than lepers, since for them the illness ceases with death, but for us it increases. And You? --You are going away? Who will understand us? Who be just and pitying? Who will raise us up again? Stay, Lord!' [said the sinners].
'Stay! Stay! Remain!' wails the good crowd.
'Son!' wails My Mother.
'Save Yourself!' wails life.
And I was alone. That is: I was with Satan.
The first part of My prayer had been painful, but I could still feel the Gaze of God and hope in the love of My friends.
The second [part] was more painful, because God was withdrawing Himself and My friends were sleeping. They were reaffirming that hiss of Satan and the voice of life: 'You sacrifice Yourself for nothing. Men are not going to love You for Your sacrifice. Men do not understand.'
The third... The third [part] was madness, desperation, agony; it was death. The death of My Soul. Not only did My Body rise again. My Soul too had to rise again. Since It knew Death.
Let this not seem heresy to you. What is the death of the spirit?
separation from God. Well then: I was separated from God. My Spirit was
dead. This is the true hour of eternity which I grant to My favorites.
That hour which you, Maria, little spouse, asked to be yours from when
told you that your lot is similar to Veronica Juiliani14
who, at the end of her existence, knew intimately this torture
all suprahuman tortures.
Without having merited it, we ourselves know this death of the spirit intimately, in order to comprehend the horror of that damnation which is the torment of unrepentant sinners. We know it in order to obtain their salvation.
I know: the heart is broken. I know: reason wavers. I know all, beloved soul. I experienced it before you. It is an infernal horror. We are at the mercy of the Demon since we are separated from God.
Do you think that Martha,15 who defeated the dragon, had trembled more than we? No. In us the suffering is greater. The beast defeated by Martha was a frightful beast, but always a beast of Earth. We defeat the Lucifer-Beast. Oh! there is no comparison! And the Lucifer-Beast comes always nearer, as all both in Heaven and on Earth, becomes more distant.
I was already tempted in the desert. A crowd of temptations, since at that time I had only weakness from lack of material food. Now I was famished for spiritual food, and for moral food, and there was no bread for My Spirit nor bread for My Heart. No God anymore for My Spirit. No affections anymore for My Heart.
And then: slight as a breeze,16 piercing as a bee's sting, irritating as a viper's venom: the voice of Lucifer. A flute that sounds muted: so soft, so soft, which does not awaken our vigilant attention. Piercing with the seduction of its magic harmony, it makes us doze, it seems a comfort, it has the appearance of supernatural comfort.
Oh! eternal Deceiver, how subtle you are! The I [ ego], asks only to be helped. And that sound seems to help. Words of compassion and understanding, sweet as caresses on a fevered brow, calming as ointment on a burn, stupefying as a heady wine poured out for one who is fasting.
The weary soul sleeps. If it were no longer vigilant in its subconscious -- which is itself vigilant only in those who nourish themselves by constant union with Love -- it would end by falling into a lethargy that would put it totally at Satan's mercy: into a hypnotic sleep during which Lucifer would make it accomplish any action whatsoever. But the soul which has constantly nourished itself from Love does not lose the integrity of its subconscious, not even in the hours when men and God seem to join together in making it insane. And the subconscious awakes the soul. It shouts to it: 'Act! Get up! Satan is at your back'!
The terrible struggle has begun. The venom is already in us. We must therefore struggle with its effects and against the quickening waves, always faster and more vehement, of the new venom of the satanic word which pours over us.
The uproar grows louder: no longer the sound of a muted flute, no longer a caress and ointment. It is the din of blaring instruments, it is a blow, a sword-wound, a flame that suffocates and burns us.
And there, in the flame: life which passes before our spiritual gaze. It had already passed with its resigned aspect of a sacrificed thing. Now it returns with the garments of a haughty queen and says:
'Adore me! It is I who reign! These are my gifts. The gifts I have given you; and still more beautiful gifts will I give you if you will be faithful to me.'And in the sound of the instruments: the voices of things and of persons return. They no longer plead. They command, they call down evil on us, they insult, they curse us, because we abandon them. They all return to torment us. All. And the soul, dazed, struggles always more feebly.
When the soul, like a badly bleeding warrior, staggers and seeks some support in Heaven or on Earth so as not to fall down, then lo: Lucifer gives it his shoulder. There is none but him... The soul calls for help. No one answers but him... The soul seeks a look of pity... It finds none but his...
Woe to the soul that deludes itself about his sincerity! With the remains of its surviving energy it must get away from that support, reenter into solitude, close its eyes and contemplate the horror of our destiny rather than his deceptive appearance, raise its trembling hands and clamp them on its ears to block out that deceiving voice.
But in doing so, every weapon falls. One is nothing more than a poor dying thing --and alone. We no longer succeed in praying with words, because the acrid breath of Satan chokes our jaws. Only our subconscious prays. It prays and it prays. Like the convulsive beating of a stabbed butterfly, it flutters its wings in agony, and every blow of its wing says: 'I believe, I hope, I love. I believe You all the same, I hope in You all the same, I love You all the same.'
It does not say: 'God.' It no longer dares to pronounce His Name. It feels itself too dirtied by Satan's nearness. But the tears of blood from its heart traces that Name on the angelic wings of its spirit which men call the subconscious, while in reality it is the superconscious. And at every blow of its wing that Name sparkles like a ruby struck by the sun, and God sees it. And the Tears of God's Pity surround with pearls the ruby of your blood that drips in heroic weeping...
Oh! souls who go up to God with that Name thus written in rubies and pearls!... Flowers of My Paradise!
Satan said to Me -- since that voice entered despite My every defense:
"See? You are not yet dead and already you are abandoned. See? You have brought benefits, and You are hated. See? God Himself does not help You. If God, Whose Son You are, does not love You, can You ever hope for men to be grateful to You for Your sacrifice?
You know what they need? -- Vengeance. Not Love, as You believe. Avenge Yourself, O Christ, on all these fools, on all these cruel men. Avenge Yourself. Hit them with a miracle that will strike them with a thunderbolt. Show Yourself for what You are: God. The terrible God of Sinai. The terrible God Who struck me with a thunderbolt and Who drove Adam from Paradise.
Till now You have spoken words of goodness. Your rare rebukes were always too sweet for these beasts with skin thicker than the hide of a hippopotamus. Your Look medicates Your words. You know only how to love. Hate! And You will reign! Hate keeps their backs bent under its lash and passes triumphant over these servile backs. Crush them! They are happy to be crushed. They are nothing but sadists, and torture is the only caress they appreciate and remember.
It's late? No, it's not late. Armed men are already coming at this time? No matter. I know that You have prepared Yourself to be meek. You are wrong. Once I taught You to triumph in life. You did not want to listen to me, and You see that You are a conquered Man. Listen to me now. -- Now that I am teaching You to triumph over death.
Be King and God. You have no weapons? No soldiers? No riches? I already told You once that a remnant of love, that little which could have remained to me from the treasure of love which was my angelic life, is still in me for You Who are good. I love You, my Lord, and I want to serve You.
You are the Redeemer of men. Why do You not want to be that for Your fallen angel? I was Your favorite because I was the most luminous, and You are the Light. Now I am Darkness. But the tears of my torment are so numerous, they have filled Hell with liquid fire. Let me redeem myself. Just a little. So that from a demon I may become a man. Man is always so inferior to the angels. But how superior he is to me, a demon!
Make me become a man. Give me the life of a man troubled, tortured, anguished: as much as seems good to You. It will always be a paradise compared to my demonic torment. And I could live it in a such a way as to merit to expiate for millennia, and at last to reach again the Light: --You.
Let me serve You in exchange for this which I am asking of You. No weapon conquers mine. No army outnumbers mine. The riches that I dispose of have no measure, so that I will make You king of the world if you accept my help, and all the rich will be Your slaves. Look: Your angels, Your Father's angels are absent. But mine are ready to clothe themselves in the guise of angels to make You a crown and amaze this ignorant and wicked rabble.
You do not know how to speak words of authority? I will suggest them to you. I am here for that. Thunder and threaten. Listen to me. Speak lying words. But triumph. Speak words that curse. Say that Your Father suggests them to You.
You want me to fake the Voice of the Eternal? I will do it. I can do everything. I am King of the world and of Hell. You are only the King of Heaven. I am therefore greater than You. But I put all at Your feet if You wish it.
The Will of Your Father? But how can You think that He wants the death of His Son? You think He can delude Himself on its usefulness? You do wrong to God's Intelligence.
You have already redeemed with Your holy Word those who are open to redemption . Nothing more is necessary. Believe it: whoever does not change through the Word does not change through Your sacrifice. Believe that the Father wanted to test You. But Your obedience is enough for Him. He wants nothing more.
How much more You will serve Him by living! You could run through the world. Evangelize. Cure. Uplift. O happy lot! The Earth inhabited by God! Here is the true redemption: to make of Earth again the terrestrial Paradise where man lives once more in holy friendship with God, and hears His Voice, and sees His Appearance. Happier still than the lot of those first Two. Since now men will see You: true God, true Man.
Death! Your Death! The torture of Your Mother! The scorn of the world! Why? You want to be faithful to God? Why? Is He faithful to You? No. Where are His angels? Where is His Smile? What have You for a soul now? A rag: torn, sagging, abandoned.
Make up Your mind. Tell me: 'Yes.'
-- You hear? The assassins are coming out of the Temple. Make up Your mind. Free Yourself. Be worthy of Your Nature.
You are sacrilegious, because You allow hands filthy with blood and lust to touch You: the Saint of saints. You are the first sacrilegious person of the world. You give the Word of God into the hands of swine, into the mouths of swine.
Make up Your mind. You know that death awaits You. I offer You life, joy. I will bring Your Mother back to You.
Poor Mother! She has no one but You! Look at her, how she agonizes...and You are getting ready to agonize her still more. What kind of Son are You? What respect do You bring to the Law? You do not respect Yourself-God. You do not respect Her who bore You. Your Mother!... Your Mother!... Your Mother!..."
"I answered... Maria, --I answered, gathering My strength, drinking the tears and blood that flowed from My eyes and from My pores, I answered:
'I no longer have a mother. I no longer have a life. I no longer have Divinity. I no longer have a mission. I no longer have anything. Apart from doing the Will of the Lord My God. Go back, Satan! I said it the first and the second time. I say it again for the third time: "Father, if it is possible let this chalice pass from Me. But yet not My Will: Thy Will be done."17 --Go back, Satan. I belong to God!.'
Thus did I answer, Maria... And My Heart was broken in the effort. My sweat became no longer drops, but streams of blood. No matter. I conquered. I conquered Death. I. Not Satan. Death is conquered by accepting death."
"I had promised you a great present, Maria. I have granted it as to few others. I have given it to you.
You have known the last, extreme temptation of your Jesus. I had revealed it once to you. But you were still too immature to know it fully. Now you are able.
You see that I was right to say that it would not be understood and admitted by those little Christians who are but larval Christians, and not formed Christians?
Go in peace, for I am with you."
1. Maria Valtorta, The Poem of the Man-God, trans., Nicandro Picozzi and Patrick McLaughlin (Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, 1986-1990), 5 Volumes, hardbound, $35.00 U.S. Distributed (among others) by Saint Raphael's Publications Inc., 31 King St. W., Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, J1H 1N5, and in select bookstores in the U.S. [Note: Beginning with the Summer of 1993, according to Valtorta's publisher, Emilio Pisani, subsequent Italian editions of The Poem... will be published under the title: L'Evangelo Come Mi è Stato Rivelato ("The Gospel as It was Revealed to Me"). [ --Trans.]
2. Maria Valtorta, Preghiere (Edizioni Pisani / Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, Viale Piscicelli 89-91, 03036 Isola del Liri, Italia, 1993).
3. John 18:1.
4. John 19:41-42.
5. Genesis 1:28-30; 2:15-20; 3:8.
6. Jeremiah 2:20.
7. Preface in the Catholic Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14.
8. John 19:41.
9. Genesis 2:8.
10. "Christ" (Italian: "Christo") is, of course, the translation of the Hebrew "Messiah" or "Anointed One". [ --Trans.]
11. Genesis 2:18.
12. Corresponding in English to the Italian "Mamma". It is this more intimate and familiar term that Jesus uses in the original Italian both here and throughout The Poem of the Man-God referring to and especially in addressing His own Mother, rather than the more formal "Madre" ("Mother"), which He uses rarely and usually only in public. [ --Trans.]
13. See previous note.
14. Perhaps a saintly Italian woman known to Valtorta. [ --Trans.]
15. There is no indication in the Italian original as to the identity of this "Martha". It could possibly refer to Valtorta's friend Martha Diciotti, still living today, who for many years lived with and looked after Valtorta's needs as a bed-ridden invalid until the latter's death in 1961. But the context makes it unlikely. [ --Trans.].
16. Reading "lena" ["breath/wind", hence: "breeze"] for "lama" ["blade"]. The publisher, Pisani, has indicated this little work as still "unedited". It is therefore assumed that "lama" is an uncorrected reading in Valtorta's original manuscript. [ --Trans.]
17. Matthew 26:39