Maria Valtorta's Visions of the Risen Jesus

Apparition to the apostles in the Cenacle

(...)The room is brightly illuminated, as if by a dazzling flash of lightning. The apostles, fearing it might be lightning, cover their faces. But when they heard no sound, they raised their heads.

Jesus is in the middle of the room, at the table. He opens his arms, saying, "Peace be with you.

No one responds. Who is paler, who is redder, they all stare at him, fearful and pregnant; spellbound and, at the same time, eager to flee.

Jesus takes a step forward, increasing his smile.

-Do not be afraid! It is I. Why so troubled? did you not want to see me? had I not told you that I was coming? had I not already told you on the Paschal night?

No one dares to open his mouth. Peter already weeps, and John smiles while the two cousins, with shining eyes and a movement of words on their silent lips, look like two statues representing desire.

-Why do doubt and faith, love and fear struggle so much in your hearts? Why do you still want to be flesh and not spirit, and do not want only with the spirit to see, understand, judge and act? In the flame of pain has not all the old self been consumed, and has not the new self of a new life arisen? I am Jesus. Your Jesus, risen, as He had said. Behold. You who saw the wounds and you who ignore my torture. For what you know is very different from the exact knowledge that John has. Come, you first. You are already entirely clean. So clean that you can touch me without fear. Love, obedience, fidelity had already purified you. My Blood, the Blood that sprinkled all over you when you took Me down from the scaffold, finished purifying you. Look. They are real hands, and real wounds. Look at My feet, do you see the sign of the nail? Yes, it is truly Me, not a ghost. Touch me. Ghosts have no body. I have real flesh on a real skeleton.

He puts His Hand on the head of John, who has dared to approach Him: "Do you feel? It is hot and heavy. He breathes His breath on his face:

-And this is breath.

-Oh, my Lord! - John whispers softly.

-Yes, your Lord. John, weep not for fear and desire. Come to me. I am still the one who loves you. Let us sit down, as always, at the table. Do you have anything left to eat? Pass it to me, then.

(...) Now they are all around Jesus. Little by little they gain new confidence. They find again what they had

lost or that they feared they had lost forever. Confidence, tranquility, and despite the fact that Jesus appears so majestic that he instills a new respect in his apostles, they finally find the courage to speak.

It is James, Jesus' cousin, who sighs:

-Why have you done this to us, Lord? You knew that we are nothing and that everything comes from God. Why have you not given us the strength to stand by your side?

Jesus looks at him and smiles.

-Everything has already been verified. And you have nothing more to suffer. But do not ask me again for this obedience. I have grown five years older for every hour that passed, and your sufferings, which love and Satan increased in my imagination by five times what they already were, have really consumed all my strength. I only had strength left to continue to obey, holding - as one who was drowning and had broken hands - my strength with my will, as with teeth sunk into a board, so as not to perish.... Oh, do not ask this again of your leper!

Jesus looks at Simon the Zealot and smiles.

-Lord, You know what my heart desired. But then my courage failed me... as if it had been torn out of me by the scoundrels who seized you... and what was left was a hole through which all my former thoughts escaped. Why did you allow this, Lord? - Andres asks.

-I... You say the heart? I say it was like one who had lost his mind. Like someone who has received a nail in the back of the head. When, at night, I found myself in Jericho... Oh! God! God! But can a man perish like that? Now I understand what this tremendous thing is.... - Philip still opens his eyes wide at the memory of what he has suffered.

-Felipe is right. I was looking back. I am old and not poor in knowledge. And I stopped knowing everything I had known up to that moment. I looked at Lazarus, so distressed but so sure, and I said to myself, "How is it possible that he still knows how to find a reason and I know nothing?" - Bartholomew says.

-I also looked at Lazarus. And, since I have just learned what You have explained to us, I did not think of knowledge, but said: "If only in my heart I were like him!"; and yet I had only pain, pain, pain. Lazarus had pain and peace? Why so much peace for him?

Jesus looks in turn, first at Philip, then at Bartholomew, then at James of Zebedee. He smiles and is silent.

Judas says:

-I had the hope of seeing what Lazarus undoubtedly saw. That's why I was always close to him.... His face!... A mirror.

A little before Friday's earthquake, Lazarus looked like one who had been crushed to death. Then, suddenly, in his sorrow, he appeared majestic. Do you remember when he said: "Duty done gives peace"? We all thought it was only a reproach to us, or an approval of himself. Now I think he meant it for you. Lazarus was a beacon in our darkness. How much you have given him, Lord!

Jesus smiles and is silent.

-Yes, life. And perhaps with it you have given him a different soul. Because, after all, how is he different from us? And, anyway, he is no longer a man, he is something more than a man. And, for what he was in the past, he should have been even less perfect in spirit than we are. But he has become, and we.... Lord, my love has been empty like certain ears of corn. I have only given husk," says Andrew.

And Matthew:

-"I can ask for nothing. Because I have already received much with my conversion. But, yes, I too would have liked to have what Lazarus received: a soul given by you. Because I also think like Andrew...

-Magdalene and Martha were also beacons. It must be the race. You have not seen them. One was pity and silence. The other! Oh, if we were all like a bundle around the Blessed One, it was because Mary of Magdala enveloped us with the flames of her courageous love! Yes. I said: the race. But I must say: love. They have surpassed us in love. That is why they have been what they have been - says John.

Jesus is still smiling and silent.

-Well, but they have received a great prize..... -You appeared to them.

-To all three of them.

-To Mary immediately after having appeared to your Mother.....

It is clear in the apostles the longing for these privileged apparitions.

-Mary has known for many hours that you have risen. We can only see you now...

-They already without doubt. We, however... only now do we feel that nothing is over. Why them, Lord, if you still love us and do not repeat us? asks Judas of Alphaeus.

-Yes, why the women, and especially Mary? You have even touched her on the forehead, and she says that she seems to wear an eternal crown. And to us, your apostles, nothing?

Jesus is no longer smiling. His face is not troubled, but his smile ceases. He looks seriously at Peter - who is the last one to speak, and who has been regaining his courage as his fear has passed - and says:

-I had twelve apostles. I loved them with all my heart. I had chosen them and, like a mother, I had taken care of their development in my Life.

development in my Life. I had no secrets for them. I said everything, explained everything, forgave everything. What was human, the carelessness, the stubbornness... everything. And I had disciples, rich and poor. I had with me women of obscure past or of weak constitution. But the favorite ones were the apostles.

My hour came. One betrayed me and handed me over to the executioners. Three fell asleep while I was sweating blood. All but two fled out of cowardice. One, out of fear, despite having the example of the other, young and faithful, disowned me. And, as if that were not enough, among the twelve there was a desperate suicide and one who doubted My forgiveness so much that only with difficulty and thanks to motherly words did he believe in God's mercy. So, if I had looked at this flock of mine, if I had looked at it with human eyes, I should have said: "Except for John, faithful out of love, and Simon, faithful to obedience, I no longer have any apostles". This is what I should have said while I was suffering in the Temple precincts, in the Praetorium, in the streets, on the Cross.

I had women with me... And one, the most guilty in the past, was, as John said, the flame that welded the broken fibers of hearts. That woman is Mary of Magdala. You have disowned me and fled, she has defied death to be by my side; insulted, she has uncovered her face, ready to receive spit and blows, thinking to become more like her crucified King; vexed in the depths of hearts by her tenacious faith in my Resurrection, she has been able to continue believing; full of sorrow, she has acted; this morning, desolate, she has said: "I divest myself of everything, but give me my Master". Can you still dare to ask her why?

She had poor disciples: shepherds. I have been little with them, and yet, how they have known how to confess me with their fidelity!

I had meditating disciples, like all the Hebrew women. And yet, they knew how to leave the house and enter among the tide of a people who blasphemed against me, to offer me the help that my apostles had denied me.

I had heathens who admired the "philosopher". For them it was that. But they knew how to accommodate themselves to Hebrew customs, they, the powerful Romans, to tell me, in the hour of abandonment of a world of ingrates: "We are for you friends".

My face was covered with sputum and blood; tears and sweat dripped on my wounds; filth and dust scabbed over me. Whose hand was it that cleaned me? Was it yours? Or yours? Or yours? Or yours? None of your hands. This one was at the Mother's side. This one gathered the scattered sheep: you. And if my sheep were scattered, how could they help me? You hid your face for fear of the contempt of the world while the contempt of all covered your Master, He who was innocent.

I was thirsty. Yes. You must also know this. I was dying of thirst. I had nothing but fever and pain. The blood had already flowed in Gethsemane, drawn by the pain of betrayal, of abandonment, of abjuration, of the blows that fell upon me; for seeing myself submerged under the infinite guilt and under the rigor of God.... And I had sprung up in the Praetorium.... Who wanted to give me a drop for my parched throat? A hand of Israel? No. The pity of a pagan. The same hand that, by eternal decree, opened my chest to show that the Heart already had a mortal wound: the one that had been made in it by lack of love, cowardice, betrayal. A pagan. I remind you: "I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink". None that could relieve me in all Israel. Either by impossibility of doing so, like my Mother and the faithful women, or by guilty will not to do so. And a heathen found for the Unknown that pity which my people had denied me. He will find in Heaven that sip he gave me.

Truly I tell you, though I refused all consolation - for when one is a Victim one must not mitigate one's destiny - I did not want to refuse the heathen. In what he offered me I felt the honey of all the love that the Gentiles will give me as compensation for the bitterness that Israel gave me. It did not quench my thirst, but it did quench my disconsolation. That is why I accepted that ignored sip, to attract to me the one who was already inclined towards the Good. May the Father bless him for his mercy!

Why do you still not ask why I have acted as I did? Do you not dare to ask? I will tell you. I will tell you all about the whys and wherefores of this hour.

Who are you? My followers. Yes. You are, in spite of your wandering. What must you do? Convert the world to Christ. Convert! It is the most delicate and difficult thing, my friends. Disdain, repulse, pride, exaggerated zeal are deleterious, poisonous, to it. But, since nothing and no one would have convinced you of kindness, of condescension, of charity towards those who are in darkness, it has been necessary - do you understand - it has been necessary for you to see once and for all your pride as Hebrews, as men, as apostles, broken, to make room only for the true wisdom of your ministry; for gentleness, patience, piety, love without haughtiness or repulsions.

You see that all those whom you looked upon either with contempt or with proud compassion have surpassed you in believing and acting. All. The sinner of the past. Lazarus, impregnated with profane culture, the first who in my Name has forgiven and guided. The pagan women. The weak woman of Cusa. Weak? Truly she surpasses you all! First martyr of my faith. The soldiers of Rome. The Astors. The herodian Manahen. And even Gamaliel, the rabbi. Do not shudder, John. Do you think my Spirit was in darkness? All. So that in the future, remembering your error, you will not close your hearts to those who approach the Cross.

I tell you this, although I know that, in spite of saying it, you will do it only when the Force of the Lord will fold you like weak stalks to my Will, which is to have Christians of the whole Earth. I have conquered Death, but Death is less hard than the old Hebraism. However, I will bend you.

You, Peter, instead of being tearful and dejected, you who must be the Stone of my Church, write these bitter truths in your heart. Myrrh is used to preserve from corruption. So anoint thyself well with myrrh. And when you feel the desire to close your heart and the Church to one of another faith, remember that not Israel, not Israel, not Israel, but Rome, defended me and wanted to have mercy. Remember that not you, but a sinner, knew how to stand at the foot of the Cross and deserved to see me first. And, so as not to deserve reproach, be an imitator of your God. Open your heart and the Church, saying, "I, poor Peter, cannot despise, for if I despise I shall be despised by God, and my error will revive in His sight." Ah, if I had not broken you thus! You would have become not a shepherd, but a wolf.

Jesus rises. Most majestic.

-My children, I will speak to you at other times during the time that I will be with you. In the meantime, I absolve and forgive you. After the trial, this trial which, although humiliating and cruel, has also been salutary and necessary, let the peace of forgiveness descend upon you. And with it in your hearts, become my faithful and strong friends again. The Father has sent me into the world. I send you into the world to continue my evangelization. Miseries of all kinds will come to you asking for comfort. Be good, thinking of your misery when you were left without your Jesus. Have light in you. In darkness it is not possible to see. Be clean in order to communicate cleanliness. Be love to love. Then will come the One who is Light, Purification and Love. But in the meantime, to prepare you for this ministry, I communicate to you the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive will be forgiven, whose sins you withhold will be withheld. May your experience make you righteous to judge. May the Holy Spirit make you holy to sanctify. May the sincere desire to overcome your deficiency make you heroic for the life that awaits you. What remains to be said to you I will tell you when the absent one comes. Pray for him. Remain with my peace and without anguish of doubts concerning my love.

Jesus disappears in the same way he had entered. He leaves an empty place between John and Peter. He disappears in the midst of a radiance so intense that it makes one close one's eyes. And when the dazzled eyes open again, they only find that the peace of Jesus has remained there, a flame that burns and heals and consumes the bitterness of the past in a single desire: to serve.