A COMPILATION AND COMMENTARY
INTRODUCTORY NOTE —
The text translated and presented here is a compilation of excerpts on Original Sin with interspersed commentary by Fr. Corrado Berti, OSM. The excerpts are taken mainly from Valtorta’s Il Poema Dell’Uomo-Dio [The Poem of the Man-God]. This treatise is found in an Appendix at the end of Vol. I, of the  Italian edition of The Poem..., but is omitted in the English translations of The Poem
Fr. Corrado Berti, OSM (1911-1980), was a priest and theologian of the
Order of the Servites of Mary, and
for a time
he was also Valtorta’s
spiritual director, adviser and official negotiator with the Holy See
for approval of her revelations recorded in The Poem of the Man-God
and her other writings. Valtorta was herself a 3rd Order
member of the Servites, and so it was to this Order that Christ bid her to
entrust, for their preservation, protection and eventual approval, the
revelations He gave her as recorded in her voluminous writings.
Unfortunately also, as stated above, this present text on “Original Sin” found in the 1975 Italian edition of Il Poema Dell’Uomo-Dio, has likewise been omitted from any current English translations. It is hoped that its inclusion here will therefore be a welcome addition to the site and throw a needed light on this mystery that so darkened and marred the origin and history of our human species.
— ORIGINAL SIN —
Compilation and Commentary
Fr. Corrado Berti, OSM
1. God created the angels: all good without distinction. But one of them became evil and drew with him a multitude of other angelic spirits: “Lucifer was an angel, the most beautiful of the angels: a perfect Spirit, inferior only to God. And yet, in his luminous being was born a vapor2 of pride which he did not dispel, but rather condensed it, brooded on it, hatched it. And from this incubation was born, Evil.” In another writing it was established that this sin of pride consisted in the disordered desire to be like God, to be as God: creator. The angels who, following the divinely revealed example of the very humble, very obedient, very chaste Mother (begetter) of God, remained humble, obedient and spiritually controlled: these obtained as their reward a fixed dwelling in Heaven from God. Lucifer, instead, and the other proud, disobedient, and spiritually uncontrolled [angels] were, in punishment, driven forever from the heavenly Paradise.
2. Moreover, God created the physical universe and, in it, the world with minerals, plants, animals: and all these things were good [Gen 1:1-25].
3. Finally, God formed man and woman to His image and likeness, drawing the woman from the man. He blessed them, telling them to be fertile, to multiply themselves, to fill the earth, to rule all the animals. And Adam intuited or prophesied that for the sake of a woman a man would leave father and mother, would join himself to his wife, and the two would become one single flesh. The two lived naked and neither was ashamed of the other. God placed them in the earthly Paradise so that they might cultivate it and keep it, and He gave them for food the herbs and plants [Gen 1:26; 2:25]. Not the animals, (except after the Sin and the Deluge: Gen 9:1-7).
4. Among the plants were distinguished the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Gen 2:9]. True trees, or only symbolic? True trees, and also a symbol and cause of reality or of real effects? [Valtorta] seems to lean toward true trees with true fruit, but with a symbolic import, if one observes the text...and note 9 of paragraph 26. 3
5. God, Who had permitted the man to feed himself from any herb or tree, forbids him instead under pain of death from nourishing himself with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Gen 2:16-17]. The profound meaning of such a prohibition, according to the writer [Valtorta], would be the following: “...God had said to the man and the woman: ‘Know all the laws and mysteries of creation. But do not wish to usurp My right to be the Creator of man. To propagate the human stock My love will suffice; It will circulate in you both. Without sensual lust but solely through the throbbing of charity It will raise up new Adams from your stock. I give you all. I only reserve to Myself this mystery of the forming of man’.”
According to [Valtorta], then, this “knowledge” would be related to procreation, to the mystery and rite of procreation, a little like in Genesis [4:1] and later throughout the whole Bible. And as long as they [the Man and the Woman] did not have this particular “knowledge”, they were not ashamed of their nakedness, just as little children even today and universally do not blush while they have no capacity to discern between good and moral evil, or at least of having any awareness of such evil.
6. But as in Lucifer there was born spontaneously a vapor of pride (the desire to become like God, that is, creator), so out of hate, envy, a craving to see the man associated with the demon in sin and in expulsion from Paradise—there was thus born in Eve through a satanic instigation a vapor of pride, a disordered desire to be like God, equal to God, a (pro)creator... To come to know this mystery, these laws of life: presuming on herself, she did not keep away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but drew near to it: ready to receive the revelation of the mystery. And this, not from a pure instruction and divine influence, but from an impure instruction and diabolic influence: “Eve went to the tree...Her presumption ruined her. Presumption is already the leaven, the ferment, of pride” (Il Poema...p.113).
7. At the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve finds the Seducer who, with a lie, leads her into disobedience, that is, to transgress the command of God [Gen 3:1-5]. That is, according to the writer [Valtorta], he leads her to a disordered desire for a likeness to God the creator in procreation (pride), and therefore to disobey Him (disobedience) by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “At the tree she finds the Seducer who... sings the song of the lie: ‘You believe that there is evil here? No. God said that to you because He wants to keep you both as slaves of His power. You believe you are kings? You are not even as free as a wild animal. It is granted to love itself with a true love... to be a creator like God...: for, true life is to know the laws of life. Then you will be like gods and be able to say to God: “We are your equals’”. ” (Il Poema...p.113)
8. However, to reach the goal of the proposed and extolled likeness or equality with God-creator through procreation, Eve, deceived by these words and yielding to the flattery of the Seducer, does not shun the means to it: hence she transgresses the divine command or divine prohibition [Gen 3:6], she abandons herself to the pleasure of gluttony and of the flesh. Therefore, besides sinning through pride, she sins through disobedience, gluttony, lust: “...God had said to the man and to the woman: ‘...I give you all. I reserve to Myself only this mystery of the forming of man’.”
Satan wanted to take away this intellectual virginity of the man, and with his serpent’s tongue he had flattered and caressed the member and eyes of Eve, arousing reflections and a sharpness in her that she did not have before, because malice had not yet intoxicated her. [Then] she ‘sees’. And seeing, she wants to try it, to experience it. Her flesh was awakened. Oh! If she had called God!... The Father would have...healed her... But Eve did not go to the Father. Eve returned to the Serpent. That sensation is sweet for her. ‘Seeing that the fruit of the tree was good to eat and beautiful to the eye and pleasing in appearance, she plucked it and ate of it.’ And: ‘she understood’. Now the malice descended to bite her very bowels. She sees with new eyes and hears with new ears the habits and voices of the wild animals. And she craves for these with a mad craving. She began the sin alone. She brought it to term with her companion...” (Il Poema... pp.108-109)
9. Taught and seduced by Satan, by the Serpent, Eve therefore fell into a sin with four branches: pride, disobedience, gluttony, lust. And from being a disciple [of Satan] and seduced, Eve becomes for Adam a teacher and seductress: that fourfold sin which Eve had committed through diabolic instigation, Adam commits through a woman’s instigation: “...She began the sin alone. She brought it to term with her companion. Here is why the greater condemnation weighs on the woman. It is through her that man has become a rebel toward God and that he has known lust and death. It is through her that he has no longer known how to rule his three kingdoms: of his spirit, because he permitted his spirit to disobey God; of his morals, because he permitted his passions to rule him; of his flesh, because he debased it to the instinctive laws of the beasts. ‘The Serpent seduced me,’ says Eve. ‘The woman offered me the fruit and I ate of it,’ says Adam. And the triple cupidity clings ever after to the three kingdoms of man.” And elsewhere: “...the forbidden tree becomes, for the race, truly deadly, because from its branches hangs the fruit of a bitter knowing that comes from Satan. Thus the woman becomes a female, and with the leaven of that satanic knowledge in her heart, she goes off to corrupt Adam...” (Il Poema...p.113)
10. In consequence of such a fourfold sin (that is, of pride, disobedience, gluttony, lust), and particularly because of the fourth sin (lust), crowning the whole unhappy, sinful work as something that could be connected to the fault of pride or disobedience or gluttony, but which is better linked with the fault of lust, the eyes of Adam and Eve are opened and they notice that they are naked; they make loincloths of fig leaves and put them on [Gen 3:7].
11. By sinning thus, the Two die in their spirit to Grace, and in punishment of that sin God strikes the Progenitors and their heirs with the penalty of death and to undergo the reduction of their body to ashes in its time. Moreover, God strikes the woman in her quality as mother and spouse, and the man in that of laborer [Gen 3:16-19]. To these condemnations God adds the expulsion from the earthly Paradise (image of exclusion from the heavenly Paradise), and therefore the loss of the divine familiarity [Gen 3:22-24]. “...Having thus debased their flesh, corrupted their morals, degraded their spirit, they came to know the sorrow and death of their spirit deprived of Grace, and of their flesh deprived of immortality. The wound of Eve bred suffering, which will not be appeased until the last couple on earth is extinct.” And elsewhere [Mary speaks]: “Motherhood, lacking what now debases it, had been granted by the Father Creator also to Eve. Sweet and pure motherhood without the heaviness of sensuality!... How much Eve despoiled herself of by renouncing this richness!—more than of immortality... But motherhood, without violations of this kind, had come to me alone, the new Eve, so that I could say to the world what sweetness was the lot of the woman called to be a mother without the sorrows of the flesh...” (Il Poema...pp.111-112)
12. Genesis narrates the sin of the Progenitors and the punishments inflicted by God on them and on their heirs. It is above all St. Paul [Rom 5] who has brought to light the fault which is transmitted from the Progenitors to their heirs, that is, to humanity from generation to generation, and which precisely constitutes Original Sin. The Apostle proposes his doctrine by instituting a kind of parallelism or comparison between Adam and Jesus, between the first and the Second Adam. The Holy Fathers early on, even from the 2nd century, e.g., Justin and Irenaeus, extended such parallelism; and thus having before their eyes the Annunciation, they compared Eve and Mary, that is, the first and Second Eve. Our writer [Valtorta] proceeds in an analogous manner and puts in the mouth of Mary4 the following expressions: “I went back through the ways of the two Sinners... In every way I had obeyed... [Though a virgin] God asked me to be a Mother...I had obeyed... I did not think: ‘Now the world will admire me, because I am like God, creating the flesh of God.’ No. I annihilated myself in humility...I became the handmaid of God in the flesh... I had said “Yes”...That “yes” had annulled the Eve’s “no” to God’s command... From my bosom will be born the new Tree which will bear the Fruit that will know all evil, from having suffered it in Himself, and It will give all good...” (Il Poema...pp.114-115)
13. Such parallelism or comparison between Mary and Eve, retouched or completed in some point for the sake of clarity, can be expressed and summarized thus:
a) A good angel appears and speaks to Mary, an evil angel to Eve.14.
b) To Mary the angel speaks of divine Motherhood, to Eve of human procreation.
c) Mary, with her divine Motherhood, would become like God—Begetter of His Word and Creator of every being; Eve, with human procreation, would become like God the Creator.
d) Mary, at such a proposal, is profoundly humble; Eve is supremely proud.
e) Mary obeys God and resists the Seducer; Eve disobeys God (Who has reserved to Himself the revelation of the mystery of the forming of man) and she obeys the Seducer.
f) In Mary, there is no spiritual gluttony for the Fruit; in Eve, an unbridled gluttony for the fruit (physical and symbolic).
g) God does not violate Mary but, in making her fertile, He makes her Chastity sublime, and the Virgin remains most chaste in mind and body; the seducing Serpent cajoles Eve and this virgin falls, becoming lustful in spirit and in flesh.
h) Mary remains for eternity as God thought, willed and created her; rather, the “Full of Grace” becomes the Bearer of Grace and of Life in herself and for Humanity; Eve, instead, empties herself of Grace and becomes the cause of the loss of Grace for Adam and, by means of Adam, for Humanity.
i) Mary remains the Daughter of God and does not want to know anything about the father of lies; Eve becomes the prodigal and rebellious daughter and binds herself to the father of lies.
j) Mary, through divine instruction and intervention, is elevated to the singular dignity of the Spouse of God and Mother of the Incarnate Word. Eve is not abandoned by God, the mystical Spouse, Who rather will continue to influence every marriage, communicating to the human spouse a fertilizing energy. He will preside hiddenly in the forming of the body, creating and infusing the soul of every child of Eve till the end of the world: [He] more a Spouse than any human spouse, more a Father than any human father. But Eve, and therefore Adam and thus all the race which inherited human nature from these first Two by way of generation—Eve, being taught and seduced by Satan, betrayed and abandoned God, thereby becoming an unfaithful, fornicating and adulterous spouse with Satan: and he continues to inject universally and unceasingly that proud, disobedient, gluttonous and lustful desire to be a procreator, not according to, but contrary to, the divine Will. And happy he is that, in the instant in which God creates—pure—a soul and infuses it in a flesh that had joined itself with Satan: in that identical moment that soul contracts the Original Sin, that is, a relationship with the seducer Demon and (through lack of the clarity of Grace) the obscuring of its filial and spousal relationship with God. For this reason the woman, after childbirth, feels the need in the Old Testament, and the desire in the New, to submit to Purification.
a) God therefore, by means of an angel, treated with Mary about divine generation or maternity; Satan, by means of a serpent, treated with Eve about human generation or maternity.15. These comparisons, parallelisms and clarifications would partly fall or limp if it were shown to be impossible or inadmissible that the evil angel had spoken to Eve about human generation (the fruit), as later the good angel spoke to Mary about human-divine generation (the Fruit).
b) Mary, therefore, awaited from God the revelation of the mystery of the Incarnation of God; Eve did not wait on God but accepted to receive from a usurping being [Satan]—in an impure manner and not at the divinely established time—the revelation of the mystery of the forming of man.
c) Mary is therefore more profoundly penetrated and possessed by God and related always more to Him: as daughter, spouse, mother; Eve is profaned by Satan and falls under his power: becoming in regard to God a prodigal daughter, an unfaithful spouse, an adulterous mother, and relates herself to the Demon: a false father and seducer.
d) In this relationship of Mary with God is the root of all Her greatness and of every blessing for us; in the relationship of Eve with Satan is the root of all her misery and of every curse for us.
e) Because of the sublime graces of the Holy Spirit, that is, in virtue of Mary’s eternal Predestination and Immaculate Conception, She was preserved from any relationship with Satan, and therefore from Original Sin. In virtue of these same privileges, and also of Her divine Maternity, Her intimate Association with the life and sacrifice of Jesus, and Her Assumption in body and soul into Heaven, the marvelous relationship of Mary with God found its origin and fulfillment.
f) Because of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, and therefore in virtue of good will [Her good will?] (where it is possible), and of the act and Sacrament of Faith, a work of death and life was accomplished: of death, that is, the breaking of the relationship with Satan (even though on this earth he remains the Seducer, and every creature continues to have a tendency toward him); and a work of life, that is, the restoring of divine sonship and incorporation in the Church—spouse of Christ and mother (or regenerator) and teacher with Christ: this work of restoration will be unceasingly nourished and intensified by the other Sacraments, Sacramentals, touches of God’s grace, and will find in Purgatory, in the resurrection of the flesh and the entrance into Heaven with the fullness of the human substance, so lofty a crowning as to far surpass the state to which man would have been elevated if, in consequence of sin, he had not been restored by Christ.
* * * * *
— NOTES —
1 ...”this Work”: i.e., The Poem of the Man-God, a.k.a., The Gospel as It Was Revealed to Me.
2 Italian: vapore—an image Jesus uses probably to depict the tenuous, fleeting character of a thought
3 Mss. D2: “The tree of good and evil, a true tree by nature and structure, it was also symbolic.”
4 “...Puts in the mouth of Mary...” No! Valtorta would not agree with this “spin” that Fr. Berti, perhaps to avoid Vatican censorship, implies are Valtorta's words attributed to Mary. Valtorta heads the chapter from which these expressions are taken with the words: “Mary says:”—her usual way of indicating whether it is Jesus or Mary speaking in the Locution or Vision. In this case, Valtorta is not putting the expressions “in the mouth of Mary, but recording them from the mouth of Mary. In fact, she heads the very next chapter , with: “Jesus speaks:” Who confirms that the words are from His Mother, and He comments on them.