The Firstborn Among the Dead

ascension-of-jesus

The Holy Spirit to Maria Valtorta:

“(Revelation 1:5) The Firstborn Among the Dead

“When this sentence is read, a certain confusion takes shape in the thought of readers with little training; a kind of doubt arises, and a question is posed as a result: “But isn’t there an error here or a contradiction, since the Firstborn in Adam, the firstborn in the life of Grace, to the point where Christ is called the “the new Adam or second Adam,” and since, even if the first man is excluded because he fell from supernatural life and remained that way until the thirty-third year of Christ, Mary, his mother, both by the word of Wisdom and because She was conceived and born before Christ, her Son, in the fullness of Grace, is called the Firstborn?”

There is no error or contradiction.

Adam is the first man, but not the firstborn, since he was not begotten by any father or any mother, but created directly by God.

Jesus is the Only-Begotten of the Father, whose Firstborn He also is. From Divine Thought, which had no beginning, the Word was begotten-He, too, having no beginning. He, as God, is thus the absolute Firstborn. And He is the also the Firstborn as a Man, though born to Mary-in turn, called the “Firstborn Woman” by Wisdom and by the Church, for, by virtue of the paternity of God the Father in relation to Him, He is the true Firstborn among the children of God, not by participation, but by direct generation: “The Holy Spirit will descend into you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and the Holy One who will be born to you will thus be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

The Firstborn, then, even if before Him his Mother was acclaimed as the “Firstborn Daughter of the Most High” (Sirach 24:5) and Wisdom, whose Seat She is, says regarding Her, “The Lord possessed me from the beginning, before He made all things. I was established from eternity” (Proverbs 8:22-23). And, in addition, “He who created me rested in my tabernacle” (Sirach 24:12). The Firstborn, because, if his Mother is most holy and most pure through a singular privilege, the Son is infinitely holy and infinitely pure and superior, infinitely superior, to his Mother because He is God.

She, the firstborn Daughter by the choice of the Father, who possessed Her, his holy Ark, from the moment his Though conceived of Her and established that through Her Grace would come to restore grace to men, and from the moment when, after creating Her full of grace, He always rested in Her, before, during, and after her Maternity. She was truly full of Grace, and by Grace She was made fertile, and incarnate, infinite Grace in Her and from Her took on the flesh and blood of Man, being formed in her virginal womb, with her blood, formed exclusively by her action and the action of the Holy Spirit.

He, the Firstborn Son by eternal generation. In Him the Father saw all future things, which were not yet made, both material and spiritual, for in his Word the Father saw creation and redemption, both effected by the Word and through the Word.

The admirable mystery of God! The Immense One loves Himself, not with a selfish love, but with an active, most powerful-indeed, infinite-love, and by this act alone, which is most perfect, He begets his Word, in all respects equal to Him, the Father, except in the difference of his Person. For if God is Triune-that is, an admirable unity, so to speak-with three faces, in order to make the explanation clear to the uninstructed, it is also a truth of faith that the individual faces are quite different-that is, in theological terms there is one single God and there are Three Persons, equal in all respects as regards Divinity, Eternity, Immensity, and Omnipotence, but not confused in relation to one another, but, rather, quite distinct, and One is not the Other, and yet there are not three gods, but a single God, who in and of Himself has given being to the individual Divine Persons in generating the Son, and by that very act, originating the procession of the Holy Spirit.

Power sees and does all through Wisdom, and through Charity, who is the Holy Spirit, He carries out his greatest works: the Generation and the Incarnation of the Word, the creation and the deification of man, the preservation of Mary from original sin, her divine Motherhood, and the Redemption of fallen humanity. He sees and does all through Wisdom-that is, through Him who existed before all things existed and who, consequently, is fully entitled to be called the “Firstborn”.

When Creation-which has existed and lived its life for millennia, in the individual forms and natures which God wished to introduce into Creation-did not exist, He, the Word of the Father, already existed. And by means of Him all the things which did not exist and which, then, in not possessing life, were dead, were made and thus received “life”. The Divine Word brought them into being from the chaos in which all the elements tosses and turned in a disorderly and useless manner. The Divine Word ordered all things, and all became useful and vital, and the visible, perceptible Creation thus existed and did so through laws of perfect freedom and with a loving purpose.

For nothing was made without a loving end or wise law. From the drops of water gathered in basins to the molecules collected to form stars emitting light and heat, from the plant lives predestined to nourish animal lives, foreordained to serve and bring joy to man, the masterpiece of creation, who, because of his animal and rational perfection and, above all, the immortal part enclosed in him, a breath of the Eternal Himself, is predestined to return to his Origin to rejoice in God and be the cause of God’s rejoicing-for God rejoices at the sight of his children-everything was made through love. A love which, if it had been faithfully returned would not have allowed death and pain to prompt man to doubt God’s love for him.

Death. Among the many things made by God, death had not been made. And pain had not been made, or sin, the cause of death and pain. The Enemy introduced them into the marvelous Creation. And through man, the perfection of Creation, who had let himself be corrupted by the Enemy, by Hatred, death came, first of Grace and then of the flesh; and there came all the sorrows and troubles following upon the death of Grace in Adam and his life companion and in all the descendants of the First Parents.

How,then, is Jesus said to be the “Firstborn from among the dead” if He was born to a woman descending from Adam? Even if, the Mother had clearly been born to two who were certainly just, but stained with the hereditary sin coming from Adam to every man, the sin which deprives us of supernatural life? These are the objections of many.

Christ was doubly the “firstborn” from the time of his birth. For He was born as a man had not yet been born, since when the first child was born to Adam, Adam could no longer beget children who were supernaturally alive. Conceived when the first parents were already corrupted and had fallen into the threefold concupiscence, their children were born dead to supernatural life. And every father and mother from Adam and Eve on procreated that way.

Joachim and Anna would also have procreated that way, though both were just, both because they, too, were wounded by original sin and because Mary’s conception took place in a simply human and common manner. The only extraordinary element in the birth of Mary, the predestined Mother of God, was the infusion, through a singular divine privilege granted in view of the Virgin’s future mission, of a soul preserved from original sin-a unique soul among those of all born to man and woman-which was immaculate.

Christ, however, born to Mary, is the firstborn from a spiritually inviolate womb, since Mary, faithful to Grace as no other woman was able to be from Eve on, did not experience, I won’t say the smallest venial sin, but even the smallest turbulence capable of upsetting her state of perfect innocence and her perfect balance, whereby her intellect always ruled over her inferior part, and her soul, over her intellect, as happened in Adam and Eve as long as they did not allow themselves to be seduced by the Tempter; and the firstborn from a materially inviolate womb because, since God is both He who made Her a Mother and He who was born to Her and was thus endowed with the gift proper to spirits of penetrating and emerging without opening any door or removing any stone, God entered Her to take on human nature and emerged from Her to begin his mission as the Savior without harming any organs or tissues.

The Firstborn and Only-Begotten was born in this way, from the Woman Full of Grace-the Living One par excellence, He who would restore Life to all those dead to Grace. He was born not from the hunger of two bodies, but in the way in which the children of men would have received life if they had maintained themselves alive to Grace. Not a sensual appetite, but a holy love for God, to whom they would consecrate those born in Grace, and a love devoid of malice towards woman, should have guided the increase and multiplication commanded by God-only love, not corrupted by animality.

When this order had been violated, God, to create the new Adam, had to form Him from an Immaculate Woman, no longer from the mud which, having risen up in pride, had wanted to be like God, but with the elements which were indispensable for forming a new man, provided exclusively by the Most Pure and Most Humble Woman-humble to the point where for this reason alone She would already have deserved to become the Mother of the Word.

And the Firstborn from among the dead saw the light of day to bring light to those lying in darkness, Life for those dead to Grace, whether still on earth or already gathered into the netherworld, waiting for the Redemption to open the gates of Heaven for them. And He was also the Firstborn of those who are to return alive to Heaven in the flesh as well. For Him it is true to the full, but since He was born to an Immaculate Woman faithful to the Grace received, who did not leave this treasure inactive, but, rather, always used it actively, with a constant increase of Grace because of Mary’s perfect response to all motions or divine inspirations, for this reason as well, the condemnation common to all the sinners in Adam and on account of Adam, and his life companion-“You shall return to the dust”-would not have been applied.

The Mother of God, too, did not return to the dust, since She was exempt, in being sinless, from the common condemnation and because it was not appropriate for her flesh, which had been the ark and terrain to contain the Word and to give the Divine Seed all the elements needed for it to become the God-Man, to become putrefaction and dust. But the Mother passed from the earth to Heaven many years after her Son. The Firstborn of those risen from the dead, in the flesh as well, is and remain Jesus alone, who, after his supreme humiliation and total immolation through complete obedience to the Father’s desires, received supreme glorification with his undeniable resurrection. For many-and not all of them his friends-saw his glorified Body and even more saw Him ascend in the midst of the worshipping Angels and later remained to testify to these two truths. “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is no longer here. He has risen” (Luke 24:5-6 and also Matthew and Mark). He rose so transfigured in beauty that Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him until He did allowed Himself to be recognized. And, in addition: “Why are you standing there looking towards Heaven? Jesus, who has been taken away from you, has ascended into Heaven, and He will return just as He has risen” (Acts 1:11).

In this way, the Word of Truth; and all the angels, who cannot lie; and the Mother, whose perfection in all respects was inferior only to that of God, her Father, her Son, and her Spouse; and the Apostles, who saw Him ascend; and Stephen, the first martyr, and, after him, many others confirmed that Jesus is the Firstborn from among the dead because He was the first Man to enter Heaven in his flesh. The day when a just man rises with his spirit liberated from the flesh to form part of the people of the blessed spirits is called a birthday. Jesus, on his birthday as a Most Holy Man, took up his dwelling with all his qualities as the God-Man: in flesh, blood, soul and divinity, for He was the Perfect Innocent.

But there is a second death: that of the spirit devoid of Grace. A great number of the just had been waiting for centuries and millennia for the Redemption, in purifying them from sin, to allow them to come to form part of the Kingdom of God, where only those who have supernatural Life in themselves can enter. An even greater number of men who have come after Christ are waiting to enter when their purification from serious voluntary sins is completed or when Most Perfect Justice opens the Heavens to all who lived and acted with charity and justice, according to the law of conscience, to serve and honor thereby the Being who they felt existed, thus forming part of the soul of the Church.

It is unthinkable that God, Perfect Charity who has created all souls, predestining them to Grace, should exclude from his Kingdom those who, through no fault of their own, have not received Baptism. What sin have they committed? Did they spontaneously wish to be born in place which were not Catholic? Are the newborn who die at birth responsible for not being baptized? Can God act cruelly towards all of these, who are not the “church” in the strict sense of the word, but are such in having received their souls from God and having died as innocents because they died at birth or lived as just people through their natural tendency to do good in order, in that way, to honor the Supreme Good, to whose existence everything in and around them bore witness. No, and a convincing indication in and around them bore witness. No, and a convincing indication that such is not the case is the inexorable, very severe judgment of God regarding those who suppress a life, even an embryonic one, or one just born, keeping it from receiving the Sacrament which removes original sin. Why this severity, if not because for centuries and millennia those souls of innocents are separated from God, in a state which is not a punishment, but not joyful either? Can it be thought that the Most Good, who has predestined all men to Grace, would deprive those who by no spontaneous choice are not Catholics of it?

“My Father has many mansions in Heaven,” Christ said. When this world is no more, but there is a new world, a new heaven, and the new tabernacles of the Eternal Jerusalem, and all the rational creation receives its glorification with the exaltation of the Risen Ones, who were the just, to possess the Eternal Kingdom of God, those were united only to the soul of the Church will also have their dwelling in Heaven, for only Heaven and Hell will remain eternally, and it cannot be thought that Charity would damn to eternal torment creatures undeserving of it.

Jesus Christ, having returned his spirit to the hands of the Father, was the first to enter with his Most Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of Life, going to the place of Adam, who should have been the first man entering to form part of the heavenly people and who, because of his abuse of power, had to wait for millennia to enter with his spirit and has to wait for many more millennia to enter with his flesh reunited to his spirit. Jesus did not. At the very instant in which “with a loud cry” He offered up his spirit, his most just soul-which, because of the infinite charity of his nature as the God-Man, had burdened itself with all the past, present, and future sins of mankind, but not with the sin which takes away Grace, which is the life of the spirit, and He had burdened Himself with them to consume them all through his complete immolation-was, like every human soul, judged by the Father, who as before the consummation of the Sacrifice, “treated Him who did not know sin as if He were sin itself” (Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:21), in the same way, after everything had been accomplished, “exalted Him and gave Him a name above every other name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee must bend in Heaven, on earth, and in the netherworld, and every tongue must confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father” (Paul to the Philippians 2:9-11). And, having been judged, his human soul, a soul that had reached perfection, at once rejoiced in the Lord and found rest in Him until the moment when, rejoined to his Body, it made the Living One, who had been slain, the glorious Risen One, the first to rise gloriously with his flesh as well, the first Man born to Heaven in body and soul, the first fruits of the risen, the promise of resurrection for the just, and the pledge of possession of the Kingdom whose King and firstborn heir He is.

It is always to the firstborn that the Father’s inheritance is given, that inheritance which He has established for his children. And so that all the brothers and sisters of Christ would have a share in this eternal, holy, regal inheritance, He bound it to them with a holy testament, written with his own blood; and so that men would take their share in the Kingdom, which the Father gave to Him and He accepted in order to give it to men, his brothers and sisters, He let Himself be slain, for only the death of the testator gives value to a testament (Paul, Hebrews 9:16-17).

Jesus, the Firstborn with many primogenitures, was thus the first to take possession of the Kingdom where He is the King of Kings and Lord of the eternal age, according to the Will of the Father, of Him who is the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning, the End, the Power, Wisdom, and Charity, of Him who knows everything about what He does and does all that He does with perfection and a good purpose, and for this reason He begot his Word, and, when the time came, gave Him flesh and then immolated Him and afterwards raised and exalted Him and placed in his pierced hands all power to judge, whereby all who see Him from among those who either materially or by the offense of their sins pierced Him will beat their breasts once and once again at the private judgment and at the final appearance of Christ the Judge. For so it has been established and so it will be.

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