What is temptation? The Catechism says: "It is an incitement to sin which comes to us from the demon, or from wicked men, or from our passions." It is an incitement. Therefore if it incites to sin, then, it is a sign that it is not a sin in itself. No. It is not a sin. It is rather a means for growing in justice and increasing our merits by remaining faithful to the Law of the Lord. It starts to become a sin of imprudence when a man willingly puts himself in a condition of sinning, approaching things or persons who could induce him to sin.
From whom does temptation come? From the demon, from the wicked, from the passions. Therefore it comes from external and from internal elements. Truly I tell you, however, that the most dangerous are the internal elements, that is, the disordered inclinations and the instincts or incitements2 which remained in man with the other miseries resulting from the Sin of Adam. These internal elements Satan goads, or tries to goad, by every means in this work which is very well served by the men who surround all of you, and by the human ego which is a field of ever reborn temptations, with a great tendency toward egoism in material things and toward sensuality of the mind: the first pushing the flesh to rebel against God and one's own spirit; the second bringing the mind to a foolish pride that believes all is permitted, even to criticizing the works and justice of God.
Truly I say to you that you give the greatest help to Satan by welcoming and cultivating in yourselves "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life" (1 John 2:16), things which come not from the Father but from the world. Because without your consent in preparing a propitious terrain for the invasions of external elements, they could not penetrate into you, troubling your interior, inflaming your internal elements. The incitements2 of sin could not of themselves lead to damnation if, as happens in the majority of individuals, man did not cultivate them, like evil flowers that satisfy his disordered feelings by their gaudy and inviting appearance, and which afterward change into the fruits of guilt.
If, with holy ruthlessness, man's good will would throw down sins' incitements,2 they would remain sterile, dried up like bad plants or, however little withered, at least be less able to grow and subject to a constant weakening, until their total destruction. Instead, man allows them to exist in himself, and they grow. They grow, invigorated by the appetizing bites which a man carelessly grants himself, not knowing that every surrender to something illicit even if small and seemingly negligible and innocuous prepares for a still greater surrender. For the appetite of one's lusts increases the more one samples their rousing taste. And that appetite, when satisfied in its ever reborn and growing violence, thus increases the strength of the disordered instincts. And then these latter grow to the point of completely filling a man and throwing down the barriers of conscience.
Oh! It is the same as what happens when a plant is put in a confined place. While not yet fully developed, it remains content in the enclosure where they put it, but when it is completely grown and its roots are as wide as its foliage, then no longer can the roots be squeezed into that constricted place, and they insinuate themselves under the foundations of the bordering walls in order to seek space, just as the branches have sought it on high. And in growing, the roots then lift up the walls, break them up and crumble them, opening up gaps by which thieves or children can enter to tamper with the plant, to strip it of its fruits and branches, sometimes so manhandling it as to cause its death. In the case of the soul in contrast with the tendency of the spirit to its end: God the plant of disordered tendencies toward one's lusts opens up a gap to Satan and to the world, which ally to themselves seducers against the careless ego bringing death, or at least a tampering with, a mutilation of the beautiful integrity of the spirit.
Truly I say to you: it is not being tempted that should cause fear. Nor should the strength of the temptation and its repeated violent attacks induce the soul to demean itself with the thought that this happens because it is outside of the Lord's grace and destined for eternal death. Rather congratulate yourselves, oh all you who are so strongly harassed by Satan. It is a sign that you are Satan's enemies and that Satan already feels that you are like prey which has escaped him forever. Satan's wrath always occurs against prey that has escaped his hunger, and against the conquests of God.
It is logical that it be so. Even in battles between two enemy armies, where does the enemy repeat his strongest attacks? Is it perhaps against the weakest and least important positions? No. Rather against the principal and strongest ones. The others are easily conquered. The enemy keeps these latter for last, when his soldiers are already weary, thus giving them the incentive of some victories so they may be spurred on to harder struggles. Very foolish would be that army leader who would weary his men and his means by making powerless deployments of his forces, and who would waste his ammunition against a city whose defenses have already crumbled from the carelessness of its defenders, or which is ready to surrender itself without any battle.
But Satan is never a foolish conqueror. He knows very well how to conduct his attacks. And where he sees spiritual and moral weakness and the defensive protections of conscience very weakened because a man's wicked tendencies have made battering rams against such protections or even where he sees full consent to accept him as a friend, there he makes no violent attacks, but uses only flattery. But where he sees any resistance and foresees a strong defeat, he rushes in with every means: from flattery to terror. Nor does he tire of repeating attacks a hundred, a thousand times, directly or with the help of the world and circumstances of all external means therefore in order to conquer the prey, or to torment. This at least he wants that eternal Hater of the good to torment the sons of God.
Truly I say to you that when a creature has reached heroism in virtue or, as Paul says, the creature "has become strong in the Lord and in His mighty strength" [= virtue], then it is that he must clothe himself "with the armor of God to be able to resist the wiles of the devil," because it is then that, again as the Apostle says, the creature "does not fight any more with flesh and with blood, but against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this dark world, against the wicked spirits of the air" (Eph 6:10-12), that is, against a very strong Hell which quickly unleashes great storms of powerful temptations in a final effort to try to pull down the giant spirit that resists it.
Is temptation then a sin, or a glory? A good, or an evil? It is not a sin. And, even though it is an element of evil, one can transmute it into a means of good and of glory through the free will with which a man rejects it. The free decision to be able to yield or not to yield to temptations is not forced on any man; it was not forced even on the Christ. Temptation rejected, is merit acquired. For this reason God has left man the splendid freedom of willing. Because through it and by his own merits, a man can arrive at a merited glory.
Remember that, always. And always remember too that a man's life is the expiation of the evil which he commits. In the best of cases, that is, when one does not commit even a conscious fault, it is always an expiation or, if you will, a suffering resulting from the Original Fault, and therefore however much My Sacrifice, and the reintegration into Grace which I obtained for you through this Sacrifice, have reduced that expiation in superabundant measure every man is obliged to undergo some suffering to arrive anew at that degree of justice which your Forebears had possessed, given them gratuitously together with their life. Oh! holy, immaculate innocence of those first Creatures, and whom present-day creatures should reconstruct with their sorrow along with the gratuitous gifts that I obtained for all of you with My Sacrifice!
Therefore, when you see the Saint of saints,3 or even just a saint, strongly tempted, do not say: "This is unbecoming". But observe how the one tempted reacts. And if you see that he remains indifferent to the temptation a fact which testifies that he has reached the perfection "like that of My Father" to which I have admonished you (Matt 5:48), a perfection which no agent can disturb if you see that he remains indifferent to the temptation, having conquered in himself the battle against all the reactions of the flesh and of the blood; or if you see a just man who knows how to struggle against the disorder which, being goaded from the outside wants to be realized, and at the same time knows also how to struggle against the Beast who goads him and throws out invitations to the disorder, do not say "that is unbecoming," but say that it serves to brighten or illuminate the degree of perfection reached by the one tempted.
Who can suffer temptation? God? The angels? Men? God, being God, cannot suffer any temptation. The angels, having remained faithful even during the rebellion of Lucifer and his followers, cannot suffer temptation, being elevated as they were after the trial to the supernatural order: to the contemplation and praise of God. Therefore it is only man who can be tempted, man composed of both material substance and spiritual substance, endowed with his freedom of reason, of intelligence and conscience, so as to be able to discern the good and the evil and to will4 the good or the evil. It is only man, still fighting his battle, who can be subject to temptation through the sad heritage that came to him from the sin of the founder of Humanity.
From the day of Adam's fall from the state of innocence to that of guilt, from the day that the woman wanted4 to know from close up the forbidden tree, and the Serpent could thus talk to Eve who listened to him attentively instead of fleeing from him, and welcomed his lying words and his suggestions of ruin from that day, man finds himself perpetually near the tree of Good and of Evil round which Lucifer is coiled, and he suffers temptation. But it is through his victory against Lucifer's introductions to guilt that man acquires justice and conquers his immortal crown. Otherwise, if he repeats the gesture of Eve and, obeying the Suggestor, gathers the forbidden fruit, he poisons himself, sometimes to the point of dying from it. It is just through your victory over external temptations and through ruling over your senses and over pride and therefore over the internal urges that you men make yourselves "gods and sons of the Most High,"5 like your most holy Brother, Jesus, Who suffered temptations but never sinned, because He did not will4 to sin. We can be tempted without our consent. We become sinners only with our consent.
I, Jesus, have never consented to sin. Rather, having fought against every human reaction unacceptable to God through a spirit of willing and loving justice, and even from my tenderest years having been subject to My (supposed) father and to My Mother, two just ones who taught Me justice. And while growing in wisdom, age and grace (Luke 2:51-52), I eliminated in Myself, and for always, any possibility of sudden disorder or internal disturbance from pressures and circumstances which rose up around Me as I advanced in age, intensifying to the point of death.
Do not misunderstand Me! I say pressures and circumstances. I do not say lusts. Pressures and circumstances of uncomprehending relatives, of fellow-citizens still more obtuse than My relatives, of spiteful compatriots, of cunning enemies, of traitorous friends. It is not only our senses which serve to make one sin. There are so many causes through which man can sin. And what do you say? For example, do you say that Judas' s behavior would not have been a cause in anyone else for a sin against love? Do you say, for instance, that it would not have been a perpetual temptation to react humanly at the malice of the scribes and pharisees and of all My adversaries, so subtle in opposing Me and even so vile in the means and accusations which they used to oppose Me?
I did not sin. I said: "And who of you can convict Me of sin?" (John 8:46) I said it to My enemies then. I can say it to My enemies of today, and also to the incredulous and to those doubting My holiness. But even if I do not say it to you whom I want to regard as friends even if you give Me sorrow through the sorrow you give to My little John,6 My works say it to you.
Is there perhaps a word or action written in the Work which I have dictated and illustrated,7 which could convince you of a sin, a single sin, of your Master? I am that Work.7 Not only is it I Who dictated it and illustrated it, but it is I Who live it, I Who present Myself to you as I was in My mortal days, in the ambient which surrounded Me, in the small holy world of My family, in that wider and diverse world according to the beings who comprised it of My disciples; and in that still wider and unstable world all of Palestine agitated and running with various currents, like a sea moving itself around Me under a variable March sky, sometimes all calm and serene; then suddenly covered with clouds and running with storm winds which raised up that sea into roaring billows of their spite against Me, menacing and even attacking, until the final violence of the Friday Pasch.
Why do you not want to recognize Me?8 Why do you not grasp My language? Why do you want to be like those who opposed Me in the Temple saying: "We do not know who You are" (John 9:29)? Are you too like the Apostles who at the last Supper showed that they still did not know Me for what I was: the Word, Child of the Father, Who returned to the Father after He had been at length among men to give them the words which the Father gave Him? But they, My poor Apostles, had not yet received the Holy Spirit, He Who illumines all truth. You, on the other hand, have received Him. Does not even His Light illumine for you the Christ Who is in these pages: the eternal most wise Word Who accomplishes a new work of love and salvation because He has pity on too many who die from spiritual starvation? But they are excused because they do not know Me. They freeze because they do not know the fires of apostolic love. They have gone away because they are blind and there is no one who extends a hand to them to guide them to Me Whom they seek, so they become lost on other roads which you condemn, but from which you do not draw them away these poor sons whom you condemn because they run through those roads like blind men seeking the Light, but whom I do not condemn because I see the movements of their heart and I draw them to Myself, for I am the Savior of the Hebrews and the Gentiles, of all those who seek the Truth.
I ask you again: Why do you make Me dictate these words? Are these the words that I want to say to you? Do not cause me sorrow. My greatest sorrow is the sorrow given Me by those whom I want to consider My friends....
I, Jesus, have never consented to sin, I have never felt troubled by sin. The only trouble remember it the only trouble that the stench of evil could cause Me, stirring itself up around Me, was My disgust, My horror of guilt. I preferred to draw near a leper dying of sickness than near a healthy man scabby with vice and reeking of lust, especially if he was impenitent. My infinite love for sinners who were to be saved always made Me overcome the nausea of their spiritual stench. My Father only My Father knows what a long passion it had been for Me to have to live wrapped in a whirlwind of temptations, and in the muddy waves of sin that overrun the Earth, bending and overthrowing men. To have to live with and see the shipwreck of so many, without being able to imprison the Beast because it was not yet the time to do it. It is still not the time to do it. And the Beast runs about spewing out his infernal smoking breath, sowing his poisons and followed by a colossal wave of sins, ever growing, ever growing. Even now I have nausea and sorrow from it.
Who was I? I was the Word incarnate. Therefore I was God. And therefore I was Man. I was truly God and I was truly Man. I was the Redeemer, the new Adam, "The Firstborn among the dead" (Rev 1:5) as says My John9 who in his Apocalypse also writes: Jesus Christ Who has loved us and washed us from our sins in His Blood" (Rev 1:5), and in his Letter: "There are Three Who give testimony in Heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these Three are only One; and there are three that give testimony on Earth: the spirit, the water and the blood, and these three are only one thing" (1 John 5:6,8).
There are Three from Heaven Who witness about the divine Nature of Jesus Who is the Christ [i.e., Messiah] from His Birth to His Death and beyond His Death and Resurrection for all ages of ages, and without any interruption, as certain heretics have wanted to hold.
The Father bears witness, Who three times during My public life, pointed Me out as His beloved Child, and His pleasure and glory. And if on Tabor the Voice of the Eternal Father was heard by only three persons who, for their condition as disciples, could be accused by the deniers of being fanatics or liars; at the Jordan, and especially at Jerusalem overcrowded from the imminence of the Pasch of Azymes, many persons enough to be able already to be called a crowd and in which Israelites were mixed up with gentiles, Jews with proselytes, disciples with enemies of the Christ many such persons heard the testimony of My Father.
Three times, on three occasions and in three different places and circumstances, the Father gave testimony about Me without ever belying Himself. Now, only the true versions remain unchangeable while, with the passage of time, the untrue undergo changes that uncover their lying source. If, then, three times, on three occasions and in different places and circumstances, a Voice, always equal in power and very different from My own and that of any other man, thundered from Heaven to give the same testimony about Me, it is a sign that I really was God like the Father, since God, being Father only of one Child Who is God like Him, could say that He is glorified by having begotten that Child, and is pleased with Him, seeing Him to be perfect by divine Nature as He, the Father, is thus perfect, and seeing Him perfect also by His own will4 and grace in His assumed Nature.
The Word bears witness, with His very wise Doctrine and His Works, which are of such a nature and power that by themselves alone they bear witness that the One Who teaches that Doctrine and Who accomplishes the works is: a God.
The Holy Spirit bears witness, by manifesting Himself in the form of a Dove at the Jordan, and as Fire in the Cenacle at Pentecost, to finalize the work of the Christ [Messiah], purifying and perfecting the Apostles for their ministry, just as I had promised them. And, for those who know how to see, He bears witness by His presence in and shining through every word of infinite, loving wisdom that issued from the lips of the Master, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit never helps liars. He abandons them to the Father of Lies and flees far from them. On the other hand, He had always been with Me because I am Jesus Christ, God and Man, just as I said I was.
There are also three things which bear witness on Earth of My true humanity: the spirit which I, like all men, had given back after a painful agony; My Blood shed in the Passion; and the water which issued from my lifeless side along with the last drops of My corpse's blood collected in the cavity of My exhausted Heart. Now, you know that only a true body gives blood if it is wounded, and that only a true corpse presents a separation of its watery part of the blood you say "serum" from the other part which coagulates in clots, or at least which is already thicker and darker than living blood, if there is still too little time intervening between death and the outflow of blood. But I, I had emitted blood that was already clotted, and My Shroud witnesses to it since I was already dead for some time when I was struck in the side, and I had already become cold and stiff, quickly, from the particular conditions which had given Me My swift death.
Therefore, by the testimony of the apostle John, witness of My death, I am true Man.
Paul of Tarsus wrote and it was to those who would have refuted him if he had exaggerated or lied in describing Me he wrote: "That Jesus, made a little lower than the angels, because of the death He suffered, was crowned with glory and honor, for having by the grace of God tasted death for all (Heb 2:9).13And it certainly well befits Him for Whom and from Whom are all things...to make perfect by the way of suffering the author of their salvation... (Heb 2:10). He also had, in common with men, flesh and blood in order by dying to destroy him who had the empire of death... (Heb 2:14). In fact, He did not assume the angels, but the seed of Adam is what He assumed. Therefore, He had to be in all things like His brethren in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest before God and to expiate the sins of the people, since having suffered and having been tested Himself, He could help those who are in the test... (Heb 2:17-18) We have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our weakness, He Himself having been tempted in all like us, but without sin... (Heb 4:15). Every high priest...is constituted...so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, and he can have compassion for the ignorant and the wayward being himself surrounded with weakness... Certainly it was fitting that we ourselves have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the Heavens" (Heb 7:26).
Therefore Saul too, a scholar and contemporary of the Hebrews of My time, became Paul, full of wisdom and truth, and with the reality of My historical figure and with the lights of the Holy Spirit, he witnesses that I am true God and true Man, equal to the Father through My divine and uncreated Nature, equal to My Mother through My human and created Nature, Christ [Messiah] without interruption and for eternity the perfect Repairer, Savior and Redeemer.
If then I was Man, why should I not have had to suffer temptation as every other man suffers? If My Father wanted to make Me "in all things like" all of you, why should He have given Me an unjust privilege, and why should I have claimed the unjust privilege of not knowing the suffering and fatigue of temptations which all men suffer and to which they react in different ways, according to the prevalence or absence in them of a good will to sanctify themselves, that is according to their spirituality or their carnality? But it is just because I was perfected by way of continual suffering, that I have been the perfect Host-Victim. If the Father had not wanted the Demon to approach the Man Who was His incarnate Word, would He not perhaps have hindered him from it? Did He not perhaps with a complexity of providential circumstances, and for thirty years, keep Me hidden from Satan's searching? And if He had wanted to, could He not have placed fixed limits on the temptations which happened to Me, had He wanted to permit some of them but not all, not that one,10 as unbecoming for the Christ? And could He not have made Me superior to men and to angels? Why then had He made Me a little lower than the angels and similar to men? And is there not a contradiction in this word of the Apostle who says that I am Man in all things like men, and who therefore also says that I am a little lower than the angels? Then I am not like you men? Then I am not like God, because God is more than the angels? Has the Apostle therefore spoken blasphemy, foolishness or a lie? But if he has not spoken these, in what does this difference consist, this equality and this inferiority of being different than the angels, a little lower than them, and equal to men, and yet at the same time unequal, since I am a little lower than the angels? But is it not blasphemy to say that the incarnate Word is lower than the angels? In what then does it consist, this difference with angels and with men that is in Me?
Have you never posed this question to yourselves with a sincere will to answer it, making your intellect work under the light of God? For, My children, you have the duty, all of you, of placing yourselves under the Divine light and striving to understand, striving to understand for yourselves; not just lazily accommodating yourselves to explanations given by others so as not to be fatigued in understanding it. Read all the books that speak of Me and of the Most High Lord: if you read them mechanically, they will not profit you as much as one single bit of knowledge reached with your own effort at understanding, with a loving humility which has recourse to the Holy Spirit in order to be able to understand; and with heroic justice in order to have the Holy Spirit as a friend and to be led by Him to comprehend the divine language. For only "those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons of God." It is again Paul who says it (Rom 8:14).
But I will tell you the difference, and how it can be that I am like you and at the same time a little lower than the angels.
I am like you, I am Man, therefore I am without doubt lower than the angels, because man is not a spiritual creature or the noblest of creation, as are the angels, purely spiritual, highly intelligent and promptly intelligent because not weighed down by flesh and the senses. And they are confirmed in grace, always adoring the Lord Whose thought they understand and accomplish with no obstacle. But can man raise himself up to a supernatural level? He can, by living willingly in purity, obedience, humility, charity as do the angels. And this I Myself did. That Jesus, made a little lower than the angels, was Man by the Father's divine desire, so that He could be the Redeemer. He made Himself, then, a little lower than the angels by His own Will4 and to give all of you the example that man can, if he wills4, raise himself up to angelic perfection and by leading an angelic life.
Oh! human life, so fused with the supernatural as to annul what is material in its voices and weakness, in order to assume to itself the voices and perfection of the angels! A life oblivious of lust, living from love and in love! Man who becomes an angel, that is a creature composed of two substances, and who purifies his lowest part with the fires of Charity. And in Charity all virtues are enclosed, like so many seeds in a single fruit to such an extent that one could say that he is stripped of that lower part, or rather, better: that he strips it of all that is materiality, to the point of making even matter worthy of penetrating one day into the Kingdom of the Spirit. Placed in the tomb, the purified garment awaits the final command. But then it will rise glorified, even to being the admiration of the angels, because the beauty of these risen and glorified bodies will cause reverent amazement even to the angels of God, who will admire these their brothers of creation, saying: "We knew how to remain in grace through only one substance; but these men are victors of the trial with both the spirit and the flesh. Glory to God for the double victory of the elect."
The Christ, like unto men in all things, wanted4 to reach the beauty of that angelic perfection with a life without shadow not just without shadow of sin, but without even a shadow of the attraction of sin. And remaining Man in order to suffer death with His flesh and His blood and so expiate the faults of the flesh, of the blood, and of the mind and the pride of life with all pain, in order to repair all of the Original Fault, He made Himself a little lower than the angels, ennobling human nature with angelic perfection.
Therefore, I am God. And I am Man. And as the angel is the intermediate link between man and God, I, Who had to re-weld the broken chain, to reunite all of you to God, I had made of My perfect Humanity a union between earth: men, and Heaven: the angels, bringing humanity back to a perfection equal to or rather greater, much greater than that which Adam and Eve had at the beginning of time, when Man was innocent and happy through the gratuitous gift of God, without knowing and undergoing the hard struggle against the Evil one and the incitements2 of sin. Therefore the Divinity did not debase Itself in assuming the seed of Adam, but rather, Humanity was divinized, brought back by Man's free will4 to the perfection which makes him like My Father, Who knows no injustice.
The Apostle does not lie, does not blaspheme and does not contradict himself in saying through the inspired word that Jesus, the Man, made Himself a little lower than the angels in heroic spirituality. God the Father did not blunder, nor God the Son, nor God the Holy Spirit in giving the only garment that was fitting for the Redeemer so that He might be such and redeem all of you, as well as doing so with the great action of His Sacrifice: doing so with the continual lesson of His growth in grace to the point of reaching spiritual perfection (cf. Luke 2:51-52), and doing it in order to redeem you from your ignorance from that ignorance which results from sin, debasing man's strength, and which influences him with the insinuation that he, because made more of matter than spirit, cannot attempt his own evolution in his spirit.
No. Matter looms so much and seems so overbearing to you because you see it, and you hear it howl its bestial voices. It seems so much to you because you fear it, and because you do not want4 to make it suffer, because of your fear of suffering. Matter looms so much for you because Satan alters its contours on you. It looms so much for you because you do not know: you are ignorant, still, of what a truly great thing the soul is, and of what is that most powerful thing: the soul united to God.
Let go of fear. Let go of ignorance. Look at Me. I, Man, reached the perfection of justice being a man like all of you, because I willed4 it (cf. Luke 2:51-52). Imitate Me. Do not fear. Keep your soul united to God and go forward. And rise up. Rise up into the luminous regions of the supernatural. With your ardent will4 draw your flesh there where your spirit rises up. Make yourselves angels. Make yourselves seraphim. The demon can no longer wound you deeply. His darts fall at your feet after striking your breastplate (cf. Eph. 6:14) and you will not be disturbed, as I was not.
So, then, it had been right that My Father should not have granted Me a nature different from man's, even though He was able to do so. It was right. Thus, when I offer My Gospel Book and say to you: "Follow Me if you want4 to be where I am," no one will be able to say to Me: "You can be there, because You are different from me in whom the flesh fights fiercely. You are victorious over Satan because in You the flesh is not allied with Satan." No one can reproach Me for an easy victory nor be disheartened about a difference in our creation. For the same things are in Me and in you: the flesh, the intellect and the spirit, in order to be able to live, to understand and to conquer. I am the seed of Adam. You are the seed of Adam.
Oh! I hear you murmur: "You were without the Original Fault. But we...". Adam, too, was without that Fault, and yet he sinned because he wanted4 to sin. And I did not sin. I, a Man, did not sin. My Father made me of your same seed to show you that to be men does not mean to be sinners. In human nature I am like you. Know, then, how to be like Me in victory. The Father made Me Man, having in common with all of you flesh and blood with which to conquer Satan by dying. He demanded that the Author of your salvation should have become perfect as Man by His own will4 and by way of suffering, and that He should obtain glory because of the death He suffered.
Oh! Is it not also death to know how to die to all seduction? Is it not a continual death to all that is lust, in order to live eternally in Heaven? (cf. Col. 3:5) With the first act of My Will4 against the voices of the flesh and the world and its dark king who were victors for too long I began to consummate My Sacrifice to conquer Satan, the world and the flesh. I died to Myself in order to live. I died to Myself in order to make all of you live by My example. I died on the Cross to give you Life.
Destined as I was to become your merciful High Priest, I had to know well the struggles of man through man's own knowledge, and to remain faithful before God so as to teach you to remain so. I would be a merciful High Priest because, having suffered and been tried, I would not have the haughty disgust and frigid isolation of those who, in looking at their brothers, sinners or weak, say: "I am above them and I move away from them, not wanting to contaminate my perfection," and yet they do not know they are of the eternal race of the pharisees. I would be a High Priest experienced and merciful, so that I would be compassionate and ready to stretch out a hand I, Victor over the Evil One ready to stretch out a hand to the weak who do not always know how to trample upon him as I did.
Tell Me, you for whom it is scandalous to read that I suffered that temptation,10 is it perhaps that I wounded My divine and human Perfection, because I was approached by the Tempter? Is it that it was altered in Me? That it was corrupted? Nothing of the sort. There was not even the most fleeting thought.
That temptation,10 is it not the most common and most favored by men? Is it not perhaps the one used most by Satan precisely because he knows it is the easiest by which to obtain consent? Is it not through that door, through impurity, through lust, that Satan enters many times into hearts? Is not this perhaps his preferred way and his preferred weapon to obtain entry and to corrupt?
What other way did he take at the beginning of man's days to flaw the tree and flaw Humanity?11 How did he succeed in corrupting the innocence of the two Forebears? If Eve's act had been limited to the imprudence of approaching the forbidden tree, and even of listening to the Serpent but without obeying him nor giving in to his insinuations, would it have issued in the Original Sin? Would the Condemnation have come? No. Rather, these two Forebears by repulsing the satanic allurements would have imitated the good angels tempted in vain to rebellion by Lucifer, and they would have had an increase in grace.
I repeat: to be tempted is not a fault. The fault is in acquiescing to the temptation. Eve, Adam, would not have been punished for their imprudence, which would have already been expiated by resistance to the temptation. God is a loving and patient Father. But Eve, Adam, did not repulse the temptation. The lust of the mind: that is, pride, and the lust of the heart: that is, disobedience, which they received into their soul till then uncorrupted thus corrupted it by awakening impure fevers which Satan sharpened to a frenzy, and to committing the crime. I do not speak erroneous words. I say "crime," and that is right. By sinning, had they not perhaps done violence to their spirit, wounding it, injuring it harshly? Is it not a crime that a sinner commits against his spirit when he kills his own spirit with a mortal fault, or wounds it by continually weakening it with venial faults?
Let us observe together the growing eruption of the fault and the degrees of their fall, and then let us compare the episode of My temptation. If one has a limpid eye and an honest heart, one cannot fail to conclude that temptation undoubtedly an element of the Evil One does not become sin, but rather a merit for those who know how to suffer it without yielding to it. To suffer does not mean to enjoy. If a martyr suffers, he does not "suffer" an enjoyment. Temptation is suffered by the saints; but temptation is a perverse enjoyment for the non-saints, who welcome it and obey it.
Therefore: Eve, endowed with a knowledge proportionate to her state note this well because it worsens the fault and therefore aware of the value of prudence, goes to the forbidden Tree her first slight error.12 She goes with frivolity, not with the good intention of recollecting herself at the center of Eden to isolate herself in prayer. On arriving there she engages in conversation with the Unknown One. This does not make her wary, this phenomenon of a speaking animal, while all the others have a voice but do not have words that can be understood by man her second error. Her third: in her amazement, she does not call upon God so He may explain the mystery. She does not recall nor even reflect that God said to His children that it was the Tree of Good and Evil, and that therefore she was to refrain from imprudently welcoming any thing that would come from it without having first asked of the Lord its true nature. Her fourth error: having stronger faith in believing the assertion of an Unknown Being, rather than in the counsels of her Creator. Her fifth: the greed to know what only God knew, and thus to become like God. Her Sixth: the gluttony of her senses which wanted to taste by looking, feeling, smelling, eating what the Unknown One had suggested that she gather and taste. Her seventh: from being the one tempted, becoming herself the temptress: to pass from the service of God to that of Satan; forgetting the words of God in order to repeat those of Satan to her companion, and to persuade him to commit the theft of that which is God's right. The feverish passion was now at its greatest degree. The ascent of the fatal arc had reached its highest point. There the sin was consummated completely with Adam's adherence to the enticements of his companion, and the fall of them both along the other side of the arc. A swift fall, much swifter than the ascent, because weighted down with the consummated fault, and the fault was worsened in its weight by its own consequences: that is, flight from God, excuses that were insufficient and deprived of charity and justice, and even of sincerity in confessing the failure, and a spirit of hidden rebellion which hindered their asking forgiveness.
They do not hide themselves out of sorrow at being soiled by the fault and appearing so in the eyes of God, but because they are naked: that is, from the malice which has now entered into them and given new aspects to everything, and which makes them so ignorant that they no longer know how to reflect that God Who had created them and given them all Creation, well knew that they were naked. He did not bother to clothe them, nor had He disdained to contemplate them thus naked, because there was no need to cover innocence nor any disdain in contemplating an innocent body.
Hear the answers of these two guilty ones an exact indication of the unrejected temptation and its consequences from the fault: "I heard Your Voice and was afraid, because I am naked; I hid myself." "The woman whom You gave me for a companion offered me the fruit11 and I ate of it." "The serpent seduced me and I ate of it" (Gen 3:9-13).
Lacking among so many words is the only one which should be there: "Forgive, because I have sinned." Hence charity towards God is lacking. Charity towards one's neighbor is lacking: Adam accuses Eve. Eve accuses the serpent. Finally, sincerity is lacking in the confession: Eve confesses what is undeniable. But she believes she can hide from God the preliminaries of the sin, that is, her frivolity, her imprudence, her feeble will4 suddenly made sick after taking the first step toward disobedience of the holy command: not to place oneself in temptation to gather the forbidden fruit. That command should have been a warning to them to her, so very intelligent to make them understand that they were not so strong as to be able with impunity to put themselves in conditions of sin, without coming to sin. They would have reached that strength by perfecting with their own will4 the freedom granted them by God, using it only only for the Good. Eve therefore lies to God, by keeping quiet about the reason why she ate the fruit: to become like God. Here is why the triple lust is in Man (1 John 2:16). All the signs of friendship with the serpent are evident in the pride, rebellion, lying, lust, egoism: these vices substituting themselves for the previously existing virtues.
And now let us compare this meeting of Lucifer with your Forebears, to the meeting of Lucifer with Me, the new Adam, come to restore the order violated by the first Man.
I, too, go into a solitary place. But why? When? To do what? To prepare Myself with penance an indispensable preparation for the works of God to prepare for My mission which is about to begin. The protective peace of the house, of the family, of My city has ceased, a peace which could hardly be touched by the inevitable contrasts of thought between Me and My relatives: I, all spirit, they all humanness and dreaming of human joys for Me. Now was coming the epoch of evangelization, the dangers of exaltation and of hate, the contacts with sinners and with all that forms what is commonly called: the world.
I prepare Myself with penance and prayer. I complete My preparation with the victory over Satan. Oh! He well sensed that the Victor had come out, seeing Me firm and upright toward impure seduction,3 and strong against hunger, against pride and greed. But I want you to contemplate Me in the part that you judge unbecoming, and that you compare the Pure Jesus with the pure Couple of your Forebears, in whom the venom of the Serpent could act because they wanted4 to receive it, and because they did not want4 to suffer the effort of repulsing it after they had imprudently drawn near to it. But I did not seek Satan. I had been sought by him. And having found that he had Me, I suffered his nearness. It was a necessary experience in order to be your merciful High Priest, tested like all of you, not disdainful of you, but an example to you.
Here I am, Oh men, here is the Christ tempted because He is a man, but unconquered because He had willingly4 brought His humanity to a perfection "a little lower than the angelic nature" (Heb 2:9). The angels have no body, therefore they have no senses, therefore impurity cannot hurt them any more or any differently than it had disturbed Me3: with horror for this sin of a brute animal.
Here is the Christ Who did not cravenly flee only to be pursued, nor bargain, barter or discuss with the Tempter so base a thing which deserved no discussion. Man, noblest creature of the earth, endowed with reason, with spirit, and aware of his end, does not corrupt himself with real or metaphorical contact with Lust. Do not contemplate it. Do not discuss it. Raise your eyes. Look at God. Love, like a son of God, love God and neighbor. Call on God. Keep quiet with Satan and with yourself, in that part of self that would want to discuss carnal things. Silence of the lips and silence of thought about topics that exhale lethal fumes. There is not always silence where the lips are still. Sometimes, underneath, there is the heart, the thought, the will4 which speak and are in a frenzy about impure things even if the lips are silent and the eyes remain lowered or roll in inspired posturing to deceive men. Men who see a man's exterior. Not God, Who sees a man's interior and Who holds as disgraceful any form of mental lying in order to make others believe one is holy, and any form of mental lust and calculated or calculating lie.
Why did Satan begin his temptation with Impurity?3 Because this sin is the most widespread. It is in every place and part of the world, in all classes and, unfortunately, in all conditions. It has many names. Sometimes it is even cloaked with legitimacy, but it dirties lawful nuptial beds as the beds of prostitutes and I will keep quiet about other considerations. Satan began with this temptation because it served him so well the first time for putting malice in man's heart.11 And because he thought that only with that means would he have been able to tear to pieces forever any redemptive thought by thus corrupting the irreplaceable Redeemer. And, finally, because he needed to assure himself if I was the Redeemer.
He had an intuition that I was now in the world. He sought for Me. He was everywhere that there was any holiness. But in all others he saw only relative holiness, which made him uncertain. For so many years he had not succeeded in tearing the veil that enveloped the mystery of My Mother and Me. The manifestation at the Jordan had shaken him (Matt 3:13-17). But his terror of Me had made him hesitant still, in order to give himself peace. He both wanted and did not want to know who I was. To know, so as to delude himself about conquering Me. But not to know, so as to delude himself about not being conquered by Man.
He tempted Me with that.10 My firm behavior, so different from that of every other man who either flees or is frightened, or yields, or scoffs saying he is strong, and then falls further than the one who flees My firm behavior told him Who I was. Thus persuaded about My being, he yet insists. In his first temptation the other three were already foreshadowed, and especially the last. My eyes freeze him. My silence exasperates him. My tranquility dismays him. He senses that he is against a force that it is futile to hope to bend. He senses that the Pure One can have only disgust for the dishonest fruit that he holds out to Him.
Then he tempts with a seemingly licit seduction: "Tell the stones to become bread" (Matt 4:3). To hunger for bread is of man, is no longer of a brute beast like lust: hunger for flesh. So it was as man, then, a son of God, not because I was the Word but because I was seed of Adam like all of you it was as man, then, that I answered: I answered to honor the Lord three times. And Satan, convinced that it was useless to tempt Me with other tests, did not offer lust to Me any more. But it was not so for men. No. They are greater fools than Satan, and they tempted Me in order to be able to say to the crowds: "He is a sinner." On this score the pages of the Work7 show you how men never had any greater luck than Satan. In anything.
Tempted in all and by all, I remained without sin. Eternal High Priest, by My own will4 I kept Myself innocent, immaculate, segregated from sinners, having become an angel by abolishing the senses in order to serve only the spirit.
Can you still say this episode is unbecoming? That it is heretical? Is Paul perhaps heretical who, in his letter, says I was "tempted in all, tried in all, being a man among men" (cf. Heb 4:14),13 having flesh, blood, intellect, will,4 like all of you? Is Paul a heretic who wrote to the Phillipians: "Have in yourselves these same sentiments of Jesus Christ Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider this equality as a robbery, but annihilated Himself taking the form of a servant, and becoming like men He appeared a simple man" (Phil 2:5-8)? Does it not seem to you that in this act of the Son of God "annihilating Himself" be it not only by the disgraceful death of the cross, but also by the misery of being treated as man by Satan and the world, both of which with tireless pestering assailed and surrounded Me with temptations, causing Me suffering does it not seem to you that in not considering My equality with God a robbery, but by wanting4 to be Man: Man the repairer, Man the expiator, Man the redeemer treated as man, showing Himself to be God by His daily heroism does it not seem that there resides in this such beauty and justice? And that there is in Me what you others do not have? And that I Myself did what you could not do? I speak of one's own sanctification to become perfect as our Heavenly Father (Matt 5:48).
Re-read with a pure heart and without preconceived thought, after this My lesson, the episodes which you attack as unbecoming, and tell Me if you can still say they are such.14
You object, you stubborn people, in order not to say that word, second in beauty among all words, which is: "forgive me" as the first in beauty is: "I love You." You say: "But You Yourself said to Judas that in You were Good and Evil. That is not becoming! And further, You said: 'A temptation is biting. The act satisfies and sometimes nauseates, while the temptation does not diminish but, like a pruned tree, throws out more robust foliage' and that supports the fact that You were disturbed, and always more strongly, for not having favored the impure temptation."15
Are you too like Judas, perhaps, who never understood Me? who did not know how to understand Me? who could not understand Me because too full of his sick humanity which threw its reflections onto everything? If you are like him, I say to you: change your thought. And I say to you: recall to whom I was speaking. To a man who, being deliberately and tenaciously a sinner and especially a lustful one, could not accept with due respect the confidences of Christ and believe they were the truth.
To John I could open My Heart. The pure one among the disciples of Christ knew how to believe and to grasp the secrets of the Pure Christ. The other...was an incorrigibly unclean man and a demon. I was quiet with him as with Satan. Thus I acted toward the father as toward the son, because in truth Judas wanted Satan for a father in place of God. To this disciple, then, sick with sensuality, I spoke as I could in order still to be listened to, ending with the assertion: "I have never yielded" and limiting Myself to demonstrating to him that one can live as the angels provided only that one wants4 to. A demonstration: it is the only thing that can make those who are satans —if it does not make them good —at least makes them silent, not scoffing.
I did not yield. I say it to all of you as I said it to Judas. No one forbade Me to yield. My Father had given Me free choice as He does to everyone born of woman. I had therefore been able to welcome the Evil as well as the Good and to follow whatever I wanted.4 I wanted4 to follow the Good. I did not want4 to follow Evil. No. The Son of Man did not want4 to sin. To arouse human reactions in Me, Satan blew on his fires to keep them kindled around Me, kindled with hate or an unhealthy love in the heart of him who was often around Me. I suffered temptations of every kind. My will4 had always dominated them, My purity extinguished lust where it was kindled to tempt Me.
Purity, and not just My own, works this action around it, and even veils those details which are raw and teasing only for those who feed on impure things. For the others, no. I have said: "To the pure all is pure" (Titus 1:15).16It is a word of Divine Wisdom. In the pure, thought is pure, the heart is pure, the eye is pure, the flesh is pure, because they are fixed on the vision of God.
The more a man grows in perfection, the more he is also attacked by the external forces of evil, which are Satan, the world, and men. But in the man full of God, saturated with purity, made a little lower than the angels by his will4 for perfection, the attacks are not death but life, not disgrace but glory. There is not a saint who has not suffered temptations. Not a crowned soul in Heaven whose crown is not woven with the pearls and rubies of his weeping and his sorrow, sometimes martyred even to shedding his blood from the harassment of Satan and his allies.
The martyrs are not only those fallen in the arenas and the tribunals of their persecutors. "The Great Tribulation" of which John speaks (Rev 7:14) is also that, yes, and the robe of the blessed is made clean in the Blood of the Lamb. But it is also made clean on the pyre and in the torture of a loving will4 hating temptation.
I did not want4 to be different from any of you, nor that you should be unable to come where I am. I am like you. You are like Me. Tempted and victors for being "gods" in the Kingdom of God. As true God and true Man, I manifested the power of God and the capacity of man to become a "god" according to the word of the Psalm and of Paul (Ps 82:6; John 10:34).17 I have answered you with the words of My apostles united to Mine, because you have difficulty accepting as holy the words which little John6 transmits to you. These words of My apostles you cannot have difficulty in accepting, they cannot put doubts in you about their supernatural authority. You read them at the altar, you comment on them in the pulpits, you teach them from your cathedras. Therefore you take them as words of truth. And these words support, not your thesis, but Mine: that being Man, it was natural that I would have been tempted; that temptation is not unbecoming for the Christ; that Christ did not come out of it debased but still more glorified, because the High Priest, Who should have compassion on the feeble and on the wayward, having been tried like them and been enveloped with weakness like them, knew how to keep Himself holy, innocent, immaculate, separated from sinners as far as not imitating them in evil, but their merciful Brother in order to say to all: "Come to Me, you who are saddened and weary, and I will console you."
And I end with the words said three years ago to little John6: "Do not think any more on Satan's lowest actions toward the Christ,10 when you have thousands of choice actions of the Christ to meditate on and imitate in the Work."7
1. Maria Valtorta, I
Quaderni dal 1945 al 1950, Ed. Emilio Pisani, Centro Editoriale Valtortiano
(Isola del Liri, 1985), pp. 415-435.
2. "Incitements": the Italian word is "fomite", literally: "tinder, fuel for fire."
3. ..."Saint of saints": that is, Christ. As previously pointed out, this whole instruction on Temptation was given initially as a response by Christ to those who had raised questions to Valtorta with regard to His temptations in the desert and throughout His earthly life especially "sensual", i.e., sexual temptations with which Satan tempted Him in the desert, as portrayed in The Poem of the Man-God, Valtorta's masterwork. Such temptations the questioners deemed unbecoming for Christ to have experienced. (As suggested in the Introduction: to better understand the context and arguments of this and subsequent paragraphs, the reader is again advised to read or re-read the episodes of Christ's temptation in the desert in The Poem of the Man-God, Vol. 1: "Jesus is Tempted in the Desert by the Devil" [pp. 247 ff 24 Feb. 1944], as well as in that same volume: "Jesus Meets James and John" [pp. 253 ff - 25 Feb. 1944]; "Jesus Meets Judas Iscariot" [pp. 355 ff - 3 Jan. 1945]; and "Jesus Returns to the Mountain where He Fasted and to the Rock of Temptation" [pp.424 ff - 17 Jan. 1945].)
4. The Italian verb, volere, is a technical term for the faculty of the will and thus can be translated as to will, or to want. So too, volunta (the will), its associated noun form.
5. Psalm 82:6; John 10:34.
6. "...little John": an epithet or "pet name" which Christ gave to Valtorta both because of her love for and devotion to St. John the Evangelist, and also because, like him, she also mystically "laid on the breast of Jesus" to receive His revelations. The sorrow Christ refers to that "you give to My little John" probably refers to the incredulity she often met with, especially among the clergy, at her unyielding claim that the Dictations and Visions she recorded were from Christ. This idea was mocked and met with the accusation that they were instead a product of her imagination an allegation which gave Valtorta much pain because of her conviction of their Divine origin, a conviction which an unbiased and complete reading of her works could readily confirm.
7. "...the Work which I have dictated..."/..."I am that Work"/"...pages of the Work."/"...imitate in the Work." is, of course, the great masterwork recorded by Valtorta, The Poem of the Man-God. The new Italian edition restores the original titled requested by Valtorta: The Gospel As It Was Revealed to Me ['Evangelo come mi è stato rivelato].
8. As stated in Note 6 above, Christ is here probably referring to the incredulity of those who refuse to accept Valtorta's claim of the Divine origin of her writings.
9. "...as says My John...": the concept of Christ as "The Firstborn" also appears in St. Paul's letter to the Colossians (1:15).
10. "...not that one..."/"...that temptation..."/" ...with that..."/"...lowest actions toward the Christ." again refers to "sensual" or sexual temptations (see Note 3 above).
11. According to the Dictations given by Christ to Valtorta in her masterwork, The Poem of the Man-God, the Original Sin of our Forebears, Adam and Eve, was complex but contained two principal elements: a spiritual, and a material or carnal element. The spiritual element was the "lust of the mind and heart", i.e. their pride in wanting to be "as God" and its resulting disobedience. While the material-carnal element as explained in The Poem..., was primarily sexual: God had not yet revealed to them His own plan for the propagation of the race, so Satan showed them how the animals propagated themselves and suggested that they could thus be "as God" bearing "fruit," i.e., offspring by themselves in the same way as the animals did. This seemingly was their preemptive "tasting" of the forbidden "fruit" before God chose to reveal His own way for them to do this. This explanation implies, then, that the tasting of the forbidden fruit was a symbolic depiction of Adam and Eve's preemptive snatching of God's authority over life.
12. "...Her first slight error." In this and the following paragraphs, the detailed analysis of the Fall dictated here by Christ to Valtorta clearly implies, except for the symbolism of the "fruit," the literal historicity of this Genesis episode. It thus contradicts the popular dogma of modern biblical scholarship that the Genesis account is merely a theologumenon: that is, symbolic myth or story composed by the human author of Genesis and projected back into pre-history to illustrate a theological idea he wished to convey.
13. "...tasted death for all." Here as in other passages quoted elsewhere from the Letter to the Hebrews, Christ contradicts the current opinion held by most modern biblical scholars, and even some early Church Fathers, that Hebrews was not written by St. Paul.
14. "Re-read...the episodes..." Christ refers again here to the account in The Poem... of His Temptations in the Desert (Cf. Note 3 above).
15. cf. "Jesus Teaches Judas Iscariot" (under date of January 3, 1945) in The Poem of the Man-God, Vol. 1, pp. 355 ff.
16. "To the pure..." Though this quotation is actually from St. Paul's Letter to Titus, Christ, in appropriating it as His own, implies that St. Paul was in fact quoting one of Christ's sayings, not recorded in the Gospels, but known in the early Church.
17. "...according to the word of the Psalm and Paul." The latter reference is actually found in the Gospel of John. A footnote in the Italian by the editor, Pisani, or the theological annotator, Fr. Conrad Berti, OSM, states that "'Paul' could have been written in error instead of 'John'" probably Valtorta's error or disremembering.