[Valtorta: “Says the Sweet Guest”:]
The Holy Spirit:
“Charity, faith and hope allow carnal man to follow the spiritual law, thus in opposition to the law of sin living in his members.
“And who will free us from this body of death? The Grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rm 7:24-25).2
Grace does not abolish man, but makes the old man, a new man. Nor is Grace limited to regenerating you one time only, by means of the saving waters of Baptism: tomb of Original Sin, bosom from which emerges a creature that is new, innocent, holy, divinized. But it regenerates and helps you as many times as a man: repents after a voluntary fall in a grave matter; or weeps over his weakness, cause of involuntary falls; or is even just troubled, feeling the wind of urges, of incitements stirred up in himself, and fearing it may provoke a storm of the senses in which his nearness to God will be lost, and His peaceful voice—always “like the breath of a light breeze” [1Kgs (Vulg. 3 Kgs) 19: 12-13]—will be overwhelmed. As many times as there is need of it, Baptism regenerates you, or consoles you, or reassures you with its divine help—through Jesus Christ and by the mediation of the Sacraments, the means instituted by Him to regenerate and reinforce you in Grace.
And who can resist Him Who conquers the demon, sin, and death? No one and nothing, if you remain faithful to Him. Faithful in your interior man, which is what really has value—as Jesus said to Nicodemus [Jn 3:1-21], and not to him only.
Because it is the spirit that animates the weak flesh, just as the blood maintains life in man’s body. But if a man loses all his blood, or if all the blood is corrupted, it is of no use for a man to have healthy limbs. Death will take him all the same, because the vital liquid is his blood and, lost or corrupted as it is, the body perishes; while a body—even though much wounded but not bled out dry or having corrupted blood—will certainly heal.
Remain faithful therefore in the interior man, and do not fear.
The angels, who see God and know His thought, announced this grace to you in the night of the Birth of the Son of God and of Mary: the grace of peace to men of good will
[Lk 2:14]. 3
God knows and sees. God is Father and Love. God is Justice and Mercy. He knows how to be compassionate and to reward. But He wants “good will“. This does not always remain a good and constant reality. It has vacillations and even falls. But the divine Eye, which sees you fall or vacillate, sees also what assails you in your interior good will, and sees your pain at having fallen or yielded in the clash of a sudden assault. And He pardons, because He does not see, in you, consent to the evil that you hate, but He sees your aspiration to accomplish the good” [Rm 7:19], even if you are not always successful in accomplishing it. He sees that it is not your intellectual I [ego, self], but the consequences of Adam’s Sin in your lower part—the incitements, the urges—that work in you.
There is a conflict between the two forces that fight in you, and the two wills that oppose each other. One is a movement of love of God and toward God. The other is one of Hate, which keeps its venom awake through hatred for you and for God. From this conflict, the Lord draws the riches which will give you access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Wedding Garment
[These riches] are your wedding garment: that garment Jesus spoke of in the parable of the royal wedding feast [Mt 22:1-14]. And woe to whoever does not spin and weave his wedding garment during his earthly days, drawing both his spinning material, as well as his weaving tool: from the diligent interior will to do what the Law of God proposes, or what God presents; from the continual struggle between the will of the interior man and the law of sin that is in one’s members; or from the struggle between one’s good will, and whatever evil surrounds you: i.e., the world—or tempts you: i.e., the demon. Woe to those who do not weave their wedding garment daily and do not adorn it with the jewels they won—by suffering the “great tribulation”. This tribulation makes them worthy to stand around the throne of the Lamb, with palm branches of the victorious in their hands [Rv 6: 9-17].
Have you never reflected on those palm branches seen by John4 in the hands of the elect? In Christian symbolism, the glorious palm branch is put solely in the hands of the martyrs. But John—who was seized by the Spirit of God to contemplate and to know, and to write high mysteries and those of the last times—says that the palm branches are in the hands of the elect: the 144,000 who stand around the throne of the Lamb.
The multitude of the saints, of the elect, is composed not only of martyrs who have suffered a bloody martyrdom, but truly every saint is worthy to carry the palm branch of the martyrs. Because every saint is a martyr of Love and of Hate, of the spirit and of the flesh. And all the powers of Heaven, as well as those of the world, of the carnal I [ego, self] , and those of the abysses of Darkness, have assailed the saint on earth to test him, to tempt him, and to martyr him daily.
Truly cunning, tenacious, ferocious is the martyrdom which is given from a “murderer from the beginning”! [Jn 8:44]—as he is described by Christ. Nor is there a murderer like him. No assassin can do any violence other than to the flesh of man. But Satan kills—or tries to kill—the immortal part of man. He wants to deprive it not of its existence—for the soul, created though it is, does not perish any more for eternity—but of its Life, that is, of its God. God has, for the [final] end of His creation, the reward of giving Himself to men, that is, reuniting men to Himself after their death. He does this with their spirit immediately after death reunited to their flesh after the resurrection and final judgment—to make them blissful with the Knowledge and Vision of Himself, and to exult among the People of His children. But Satan has for the [final] end of his rebellion the purposes of depriving the Creator of as many creatures paternally loved by Him as he can, and of depriving as many creatures as he can of the enjoyment of their Creator.
The “ape” of God wants that he too should be given his own people, and he achieves this by taking prey, because he is a thief. But God, to create for Himself His own people, has endowed man, created in His image and likeness, with all the supernatural gifts suited to lead him to the eternal Kingdom. And still not content with that, He has given His Only Begotten and beloved Son, to be immolated in order to be the Savior of men. Because whereas Satan is the principle and beginning of evil, and is hate, a lie, disorder and a thief; God is the Principle and Beginning of Good, and He is Love, Truth, Order, and the divinely generous Giver of every grace.
Satan wanted to be equal to God in all His actions, liberty, power and will to act. He, a created creature, desired inordinately to be equal to Him Who is Uncreated—because [He is] God, like the Father by Whom He is begotten: the Only Begotten Son. And Satan desired this, so that creation could say of him what is said of the Word Incarnate at the beginning of the Gospel of John—dictated to the Evangelist of Love and Light, by the Spirit of God Who is Love and Light—namely, that “all things have been made through Him” [Jn 1:3I] From the moment [when Satan wanted to be equal to God], the struck-down archangel was a sacrilege, a murderer, a plunderer.
He was Lucifer [=”light bearer”]. He thought he was Light. But to be a “bearer of light” is not to be the Light. “Bearing” is quite different from “being”. The Light is the Son of God, the Word of the Father, the Uncreated and Eternal, Immense and Most Perfect, “begotten, not made, consubstantial to the Father, by means of Whom all things have been made.” This Light has no equality with, or anything in common with, the angelic creature created to be a bearer of light and messenger of God. At his origin, he was Lucifer, but he prevaricated by wanting to be the Light, so freely and willingly he wanted to be unfaithful to the Lord his Creator, and to His Grace. He was deliriously proud of wanting to believe he was God, and hence not subject to obedience and adoration toward God—Who struck down this rebel [Is 14:12].
From that moment Satan wanted his own people to oppose the People of God. And he pursues this end without ceasing, in hatred toward God, and toward the creatures whom God loves as Father. And with this aim he uses both his intelligence—a most acute intelligence which befits the prince of the angelic people, and retained even after he was divinely struck down—as well as his power. He spies on every action of man, listening to his every word. He draws on his knowledge of every human action and word—of the physical constitution of the individual, of his illnesses, his misfortunes, his projects, his affections, his occupations, and of all such earthly things—in order to throw his weeds there [Mt 13:24-25]. And he creates prodigious acts, to seduce the individual and to draw him into error. These prodigies are those of which Jesus Christ spoke [Mt 24:31; 25:31-46 et alia] when preaching of the last times, putting men on guard toward them, and toward the voices of false prophets and false christs who will arise and appear here and there. But these will be nothing other than satanic traps and satanic prophets, servants of the prophesied Antichrist. They will be stirred up to seduce men by the Lie, and by the false teaching of lies. They will cause them to be found unprepared: at the terrible moment of the reign of the Antichrist on Earth: at the subsequent last coming of the Son of Man, the Victor Christ for the Last Judgment; and at the separation of the lambs and the sheep from the goats and the rams—for election and condemnation and for blessing and cursing [Mt. 25:31-46]. These prodigies are those of which Paul spoke, in his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians [2:1-12]. They are the prodigies of which John spoke, in the 13th chapter of his Apocalypse.4
The Martyrdom of Suffering
Yes, Truly cunning, tenacious and ferocious is the martyrdom that Satan gives to spirits faithful to the Lord!
No less constant, biting, piercing and consuming is the martyrdom which the strength of individual urges gives the interior man, and whatever has been introduced into the world from when Satan became its dark prince. [Satan’s tools include] the triple lust, and the accursed weeds thrown into the fields of the Lord—to harm the elect: the choice grain [Mt 13:24-25]. [These weeds are meant] to suffocate and bend it to the ground, to pervert it to the point of making it capable of scorning God, and of making an idol of self.
And no less a cause of martyrdom is suffering—which can be of different kinds, but which is always suffering. Sometimes it is very great suffering—which is never lacking in the life of the elect.
Suffering is permitted by God, and can come from sickness or misfortune, or from spite, envy, or hatred from creatures. Spite, envy and hatred can reach the point of a material crime or a moral crime: by taking away a neighbor’s life, reputation or freedom: by trampling him with regard to his rights; or by appropriating for oneself the things of others, be they material or intellectual riches. [And it can be done] by altering the truth of things—even to presenting as the work of a lunatic, a demon or a fake, something that is rather the work and action of a genius, or of a just soul chosen by God for extraordinary works.5
Suffering is permitted by God. But what is condemned by God is suffering given by creatures to their fellow creatures—given in a thousand ways—to torture the just soul with calumnies and mockery. Also with experiments—which are odious to God: those carried out on the psyche of the holy soul to incite it, to put doubts in its heart about itself, about the divine acceptance of its sacrifice, or about what it sees or hears;those [experiments] without prudence, charity and justice, accomplished for an unrighteous end that offends and saddens both God and the creature; and those experiments that are illicit, because they exceed that sacred limit which charity toward one’s neighbor has set, and which should not be exceeded with any specious excuse.
Suffering can come from the I [ego, self], from feeling oneself still so unlike, imperfect, weak, and distant from that perfection which every just soul aspires to reach, through pure love of God and obedience to the counsels of Jesus.
Generous souls, do not crucify yourselves. Bear with yourselves, just as you bear with others. Have patience with your little spiritual miseries, as you do with the little illnesses of the body. Have patience, and always unite it to confidence, even at those moments—comparable to dangerous and sudden illnesses—in which: “in order that the greatness of the extraordinary gifts do not make you proud, a prod in the flesh is given you, an angel of Satan to harass you” [2 Cor 12:8]. It is a nearness and a thorn that repels you, like filth that touches you, or nausea that is stirred up in you and overflows in vomit. But bear [these spiritual miseries]with patience—without consenting to them, and without losing confidence or becoming dejected because of them.
Remain in peace by thinking of God’s love. He hurries to help your weakness with the power of His grace. And precisely with a greater abundance, He hurries in those hours in which the prod of the flesh or the angel of Satan comes, to insinuate the thought in you that, despite every supernatural or extraordinary gift, man remains man—a creature in whom his spiritual nature, divinized by grace, finds itself in conflict with his human nature subject to the disordered appetites of lust—and hence you cannot remain faithful to justice. Remain indifferent to these lower or satanic voices, that speak to discourage you. Remain in peace, and do not be troubled by the stench—of this ferment, of the world, or of Satan.
Do not be troubled, thinking that God could distance Himself from you because of this boiling up of urges, and because of this unchaining of assaults that has suddenly formed in you and around you—to trouble you and make you doubt your mission of being true sons of God. Only if you consented, would you distance the Lord from you. For it is consent to temptation, as it is consent to inspiration, that has the value of making an act a reality—whether in evil or good, in hate or love—and thus deserving of condemnation or reward.
If there is no consent, the lower voices remain useless noise. If there is no consent, the upper voices remain useless appeals. If there is no consent to evil, remain faithful to God—even if coarsely tempted to the point of being momentarily overwhelmed. If there is no consent to good, only in this case are you lacking in love. Because love is consent. If there is no reciprocal consent between two beings, love is not created. But if there is no consent—that is, prompt obedience to the voices of eternal Love—there exists no reciprocal love between God Who loves, and the creature who loves little or badly. Then true love is not created, and does not grow.
Hatred too is consent. However, hatred has no need of reciprocal consent between the hater and the hated. But it does, however, always need the consent of an accomplice, in order to rise up. I speak of spiritual hatred. This accomplice can only be your I [ego, self], that is yourselves, with your will and reason departing from order to enter into disorder. For even in hatred among creatures, even if motivated by certain faults toward the hater by the one hated, there is always a disorder established in the relations between one man and another. Because there is order in love, order is love, and whoever departs from love, departs from order.
Sin is hatred toward the Creator, because by sinning, one comes to despise the Law; just as justice is love of the creature for his Creator, because by loving, one comes to practice the Law in spirit and truth. In hatred, then, of the creature toward his Creator, it is always only the I [ego, self] that is the accomplice, or the indispensable element for hatred or love to exist.
There is no love, if the free will and reason of man do not consent to the commands and inspirations of God, and do not support the desires rising up in the soul: those desires that the same God stirs up in the spirit of man, so that his degree of glory may always be greater. And after stirring them up, God powerfully helps the limited will and faculties of man, thus making him able to realize the holy desires which the Lord has stirred up in his spirit. So also: if there is no consent of the will and reason to internal and external incitements of the flesh, the world, and Satan; and if there is no support for the irritable or lustful appetites—that is, if the soul does not offend the Lord with full reflection and will—then there is no hatred of the creature toward its Creator.
The Eighth Sacrament and Ninth Beatitude
The martyrdom of suffering is always [found] in the life of the elect, who also show their justice by means of their love in suffering. This is not only borne with resignation, but even asked for as the eighth sacrament and ninth beatitude, in order to be anointed victims, and to be true effigies of Jesus-Victim.
This is the sacrament not instituted, and the beatitude not openly proposed, by the divine Master and eternal Priest. But those who know how to read and understand the Gospel—not in its letter but in its spirit—find that this beatitude is always proposed by the very actions of Jesus, the Man of Sacrifice and Suffering. And they find that this sacrament—which needs no matter and form, nor any minister to be made into a sensible and efficacious sign of grace—is itself the matter and form of grace. And by making man a resigned victim—or reaching a higher degree of identification with the divine Master and Most Holy Redeemer: awilling victim and accepted by God—it makes him the minister of his own immolation, and a little Christ who is a continuer of the divine Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
For it is through His suffering and death that Jesus was “Jesus”, that is, Savior. It was through His suffering and death that Jesus reached the end for which He became Man, and fulfilled the plan of God: that of making His Only Begotten—the Word—a Man-God, so that He could be Redeemer and Giver of Grace to Adam’s children, disinherited through Adam’s fault from so sublime a gift.
And it is still and always through suffering and a holocaust, that man saves, continuing the work of salvation begun by Christ. Suffering—pondered, understood, and contemplated supernaturally—is not a chastisement of divine severity, but is a grace of divine love. A grace which God grants to His better children to make them christs—by sharing, by participation.
Yes. It is received by sharing in the bitter chalice, in the painful passion from Gethsemani to Golgotha, to the Cross, which was the yoke of Christ. It was a very heavy and crushing yoke, a yoke which could not have been borne had not love for God and neighbor made it “sweet and light” [cf. Mt 11:30]—if not to the flesh, at least to the heart, to the mind, and to the spirit. It was the perfect love for God and neighbor, that made the Word of God run to meet His Cross with a holy anxiousness to “have accomplished all.”
All His Life—that is, His Eternity as Word—was a longing, a panting for this accomplishment. All His Life He had this longing: while he was still with His Father in Heaven; when He descended to incarnate Himself in the womb of Mary; when He took His first breath; when He grew in age, grace, and wisdom while being subject to Mary and Joseph [Lk 2:51-52], or later to the Law and the supreme Will of His Most Holy Father; to the point of consuming Himself so He could breathe forth His spirit, saying: “It is accomplished” [Jn 19:30]. He had taught that if the grain does not die, it gives no fruit [Jn 12:24]. And He had died—He, the Living One, the Eternal—so that from being the Grain of a virginal ear [of wheat], He made Himself the Bread of Life for men.
Suffering and holocaust is sharing in the lot of that Most Holy Grain, born of the immaculate and virginal ear: Jesus. It is a participation in the perfect love of the Son of man for His brothers, to the point of giving His life for them. It is sharing in the holiness of Christ—a holiness which is attained through renunciation, sacrifice, even death.
After being humiliated even to death on a cross, Jesus was exalted by the Father, and received a Name that is above every other name—such that at that Name, one should prostrate in adoration, on Earth and in Heaven [Phil 2:6-11].
Hence, whoever loves his soul and wants to give it the eternal and blessed life, must hate his flesh, loving even persecution and infirmities that destroy [his] matter. He must love even to be raised up—materially or spiritually: on a cross of whatever martyrdom; on a cross detached from the Earth and lifted toward Heaven in a mystic elevation; and in a continual “Mass” of the Christian, truly formed, who has been changed from man into a host. This is a little host which wants to be consumed with the great Host, the Eucharist-Jesus, in adoring, eucharistic, atoning, and entreating sacrifice.
The Martyrdom of Love
And with the martyrdom of suffering, is that of love. No less consuming, in its burning sweetness, than that of suffering.
The martyrdom of love. The demands of love. The absolutism of love, which isolates, in a holy madness, the creature embraced by Love—immersing itself with a full and willing consent into the flaming ocean of love. The total generosity of love, now reigning in that spirit with the power of an absolute king. A generosity which no longer measures anything—neither renunciation, nor pains, nor pardons, nor [giving] assistance in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy—so long as God has glory, and one’s neighbor has relief, pardon and grace.
The absolute and continual adherence to the Most Holy Will of God, by the creature that has given itself to love, preserving—with its free will as man—a single branch: that of wanting to do what God wants. To do what God—living in souls, inhabiting souls who love—what God indicates, commands or proposes to do. This love—obedient, active, constant—puts the divine life in you and completes your identification with God:God Who is Love, besides being Spirit, as your soul is spirit; God Who is Free—as you yourselves are free to will; and God Who is the Eternal—as your spirit, from when it is created, is eternal.
The divine likeness—of [your] spiritual nature, of [your] movements of love, and of [your] intellectual lights—puts love, the greatest of the commandments, in you. This is not through an irresponsible prevarication like that of Adam’s, following the insinuation and suggestion of the Serpent, and biting into the forbidden fruit so as to become “as gods” [Gen 3:4-5]. But it is through participation in what is the essence of the Supreme Being: love, which makes you “gods and sons of the Most High” [Ps 82(81):6; Jn 10:34]. Because love presupposes Grace in the spirit that loves, and Grace is a participation of the divine life. And through the capacity of perceiving Who God is, Grace is to work according to His Will, to love as you are loved. It is a preparation to see that which you have believed, to know the Mystery of God and all the mysteries of God, and to know all the mysterious movements of God’s actions—which are at times incomprehensible while you are in this earthly exile, and in its clouds. Grace is to contemplate God face to face, to possess the full knowledge of every Truth, and to become one single thing with God in the perfection of a union that can only be had in Heaven, after your testing and after your elevation to glory. And it will be in that perfection of Love which will now have reached the perfect measure, or rather, the three perfect measures.
Love is truly the gift of gifts: the means of maintaining the gift of Grace, of growth in virtue, and of reaching one’s final end. Therefore it is given by the Holy Spirit: Spirit of the divine Spirit; Essence of the most perfect and reciprocal love of the Father and the Son; and proceeding from Their Kiss, from Their mutual attraction, and from Their jubilant contemplation.
The will of man can make this gift of the Spirit of Love very active, sufficient of itself to attain the end for which men were created: predestination to Grace and to Glory. For in truth, all those who are moved by love become “sons of God” [Rm 8:16]. Because they inspire their every action by love, that is, for a good toward Him Whom they sense is there—even if they do know Him exactly—and toward their fellowmen. They live therefore according to the natural-moral law, placed and preserved by God the Creator in the heart of man.
It is of these that St. Paul writes: “When the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do naturally what the law imposes, and not having the law, are a law unto themselves, and show that the fear of the law is written in their heart, their conscience bearing witness…, they will be justified on the day in which God, by means of Jesus Christ, will judge the secret actions of men” [Rm 2:14-16].
In fact, whoever acts with an upright conscience, following the dictates of the moral law, shows that he has a soul naturally Christian, open to the Good and the True. And Jesus, Who died so that men of good will3might have eternal Life, will be their justification. There are those who do not know about God as He is known by Catholics, but who believe firmly that there is a God, a just God, and the Provider and Rewarder—to each person—of whatever each has merited. All those—through the charity which they feel for God, through the charity and justice that they have toward their neighbor and toward themselves, through their desire for God, and through the perfect contrition for sins they were able to commit—all those belong to the soul of the Church.
I have said that suffering is the eighth sacrament and the ninth beatitude. So I say that love truly lived and practiced, and the sincere repentance of evil one can involuntarily commit: these are a baptism of desire, valid for giving one an implicit participation in the Mystical Body and, hence, a participation in Grace. Only God, and the men in whom God works, know the divine actions to bring human creatures to that salvation and that heavenly knowledge of the Truth, for which they have been created.
Love is a holy activity which moves all man’s forces, drawing them to their final end. Love is wisdom. Wisdom is freedom from transient and limited things. And freedom—from what is limited and keeps one attached to the Earth—opens the spirit to the spaces of the infinite so that it may fly there, hurling itself to meet the eternal Truth. This eternal Truth stoops toward His lover, and already yields Himself, enabling Himself to be tasted and loved, as much as a creature can who is still mortal. He snatches man from his sad exile into the clouds, to lift him up to Himself and to partially reveal Himself, in order that He may always be loved more, but without thereby making man detached and a stranger to the needs of his brothers. Rather, the man lost in God, adores God, and draws from Him graces and benefits—not only for himself, but also for his brothers—upon whom he spreads [such graces and benefits] with holy and continual acts of charity.
Through these many martyrdoms given by suffering and by love, those who remain faithful to the interior man will have, in Heaven, the garment and palm branch described by John. Because with their will, they shall have made that garment themselves, cleansing their robe in the Blood of the Lamb. And the Lamb will have canceled, with His purifying wave, the shadows of their initial small lapses and those of their last imperfections. And the martyrdoms endured—those of love more than any other, supporting with all man’s strength the action of divine Grace obtained through Jesus Christ your Lord—these martyrdoms will cause them to be conquerors with a new name. To them will be given the hidden manna [Rv 2:17], the crown of life [Rv 2:10], power over nations [Rv 2:26], and the glory of sitting around the high Throne. They will remain for eternity before the Lamb [Rv 3:21], and before the Morning Star [Rv 2:28; 22:16] which guided them during their life from Earth to Heaven. They will remain before the Star of their earthly morning—whose quick end they begged for at every throb of their heart, with the cry of their loving soul: “Come, Lord Jesus!” [Rv 22:20]. And they will remain before the Star of their heavenly and eternal morning, from the day on which they enter forever into the heavenly Kingdom.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
— NOTES —
1. Maria Valtorta, Lezioni Sull’Epistola Di Paolo Ai Romani (Edizioni Pisani / Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, Via Po 95, I 03036 Isola del Liri Fr, Italia, 1986), pp.169-182.
2. “The Grace of God…” —This reading follows the Vulgate and a few other ancient New Testament manuscripts. But most modern translations
follow the alternate reading in many Greek manuscripts: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
3. …”peace to men of good will” —this translation by the Holy Spirit Himself is identical to and confirms that of the Vulgate and traditional Latin liturgy, as well as the Greek of Luke, and clearly challenges the wimpy modern liturgical translation: “peace to His people on earth” in the “Glory to God” of the Mass.
4. “… palms seen by John…” —Here as throughout Valtorta’s revelations, St. John the Evangelist is affirmed to be the author of the Book of Revelation [or Apocalypse]. Whereas most modern scripture scholars today assert the contrary, usually holding that Revelation was written, not by John the Evangelist, but probably by a disciple in the Johannine community of the early Church who wrote under the name of St. John.
5. “…works of a lunatic…” —quite possibly an allusion to such criticisms and opposition to Valtorta’s Visions and Dictations by some of the clergy in her hometown and in Rome. Often elsewhere in Valtorta’s revelations Christ rebukes these “caviling” clergy as the new “Pharisees and doctors of the law” in the Church today.