Sunday, December 31, 2023

Eight New Year's "Resolutions" from Padre Pio.

May the Lord grant a blessed 2024 to you.   These resolutions are taken from the booklet "Buona Giornata," (Have a Good Day), which is a compilation of daily meditations and observations from St. Pio's writings and comments, published by his Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo.  

Here are his thoughts - exhortations - admonitions for Dec. 31 thru Jan 7.

1.  The palm of glory is reserved only for those who fight valiantly to the end.  Therefore, let us begin our holy battle this year.  God will help us and crown us with eternal triumph. 

2.  We are by Divine Grace at the dawn of a new year.  Since only God knows whether we will finish this year, we should spend it in reparation for the past, and in preparation for the future.  Good works go hand in hand with good intentions.  

3.  Let us say to ourselves, with the full conviction of telling the truth, "My soul: begin today to do the good works which to date you have not done."  Let us be moved by the presence of God.  "God sees me," let us often say to ourselves, "and by my actions will He judge me."  Let us be sure the He will always see only goodness in us.

4.  If you have time, do not wait for time.  Let us not put off until tomorrow what we can do today.  The graves are full of good intentions that never came to pass.  Besides, what assurance do we have that we will be alive tomorrow?  Let us listen to the voice of our conscience, as said the royal prophet: "Today, if you hear the voice of the Lord, do not turn a deaf ear."  Let us come forth and treasure the fleeting moment which alone is ours.  Let us not waste time, from one moment to another, because the latter is not yet ours.

5.  When you waste time, you disdain God's gift - the present - which He, in His infinite goodness, relinquishes to your love and to your generosity. 

6.  "Let us begin today, my brothers, to do good because until now we have done nothing."  These words, which the Seraphic Father, St. Francis, In his humility, applied to himself, should be made ours at the beginning of the new year.   We have lived thoughtlessly, as if the Eternal Judge were not going to call us to Him one day and ask us to account for our works, for how we have spent our time.

7.  Love does not brook being delayed, and the Magi, immediately upon arrival, did everything in their power to make known Him, Who had conquered their hearts through an influx of grace.  He filled them with the kind of charity which must overflow, because it cannot be contained in the small structure of the heart, and must therefore be communicated.  

8.  In your actions, seek neither the most nor the least merit,  but rather the greatest honor and glory for God. 


View my Padre Pio books.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

As a boy, Jesus was homeschooled by the Blessed Virgin.

In the century before the birth of Jesus, Simeon ben Shetach, a powerful Pharisee who was the president of the Sanhedrin, introduced schooling for children. Until then, instruction of children was primarily the responsibility of their fathers. The schooling was compulsory for boys, who were to learn the Scriptures and the Law. Simeon established the schools in the district towns as well as in Jerusalem. 


Consequently, it was most unusual for Mary, the mother of Jesus, to insist that she would teach her young son herself, at home. Certainly she was well qualified, since she had lived, and was taught, in the Temple at Jerusalem from her youngest years until her espousal to St. Joseph.


I will never send Jesus to school!” says Mary resolutely. Maria Valtorta reveals why.


On October 29, 1944, Jesus asks Maria to come back to the years of His childhood. “What you are now going to see is not without a reason. On the contrary it enlightens details of My early years and relationship among relatives. And it is a present for you […] as you feel the peace of the house in Nazareth being transfused into you whenever you see it. Write.”


Maria then has a vision of the Holy House in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph:


I see the room where they usually take their meals and where Mary works at Her loom or needlework. The room is near Joseph's workshop and I can hear the sound of his working. […] Jesus is playing under the trees with two children who are about His own age. [They are Judas and James, his cousins; Judas would become known as St. Jude Thaddeus, and James as St. James the Less.] 


They are playing in perfect harmony with some little carts on which there are... various articles: leaves, little stones, wood shavings, little pieces of wood. They must be playing at shops, and Jesus is the one who buys things for His Mummy, to Whom He takes now one thing, then another one. Mary accepts all the purchases with a smile.


Then the game changes. Jesus says: « Let us play this other one: when Joshua is elected Moses' successor [...] and Judas will be happy to be a man and My successor. Are you happy? »


« Yes I am, Jesus. But then You will have to die, because Moses dies afterwards. But I do not want You to die; You have always been so fond of me. »


« Everybody dies... but before dying I shall bless Israel, and since you are the only ones here, I shall bless the whole of Israel in you. »


Then Jesus clambers up the side of the mountain that forms the boundary of the house, or rather the garden; He stands up straight on top of the little grotto, and speaks to... Israel. He repeats the orders and the promises of God, He appoints Joshua as the leader, calls him, and then Judas in his turn climbs up the cliff. He encourages and blesses him. He then asks for a... tablet (it is a large fig leaf) and He writes the canticle [Deuteronomy 32] and reads it. It is not quite complete, but contains a large part of it, and He seems to be reading it from the leaf. 


He then dismisses Joshua who embraces Him crying, and He then climbs further up, right up to the edge of the cliff. And from there He blesses the whole of Israel, that is the two who are prostrated on the ground, He then lies down on the short grass, closes His eyes and... dies.


Mary, who has been watching from the doorstep smiling, when She sees Him lying still on the ground shouts: « Jesus, Jesus! Get up! Don't lie down like that! Your Mummy does not want to see You dead! »


Jesus gets up smiling, runs towards Her, and kisses Her. Also James and Judas come. They also receive Mary's caresses.


« How can Jesus remember that canticle which is so long and difficult and all those blessings?» asks James.


Mary smiles and answers: « His memory is very good and He pays a lot of attention when I read. »


« I too, at school, pay attention. But then I get sleepy with all the hubbub... shall I never learn then? »


« You will learn, be good. »


There is a knock at the door. Joseph walks quickly across the orchard and the room and opens it. « Peace to you, Alphaeus and Mary! »


« And to you, and blessings. »


It is Joseph's brother with his wife. [They are the parents of Judas and James.] A rustic cart, drawn by a strong donkey, is outside in the street. « Did you have a good trip? »


« Very good. And the children? »


« They are in the garden with Mary. »


But the children have already come to greet their mother. Also Mary comes, holding Jesus by the hand. The two sisters-in-law kiss each other. « Have they been good? »


« Very good, and very dear. Are the relatives all well? »


« Yes they all are. They send You their regards, and they have sent You many presents from Cana. Grapes, apples, cheese, eggs, honey. And... Joseph? I have found just what you wanted for Jesus. It is on the cart, in the round basket. »


Alphaeus' wife smiles. She bends over Jesus Who is looking at her with His eyes wide open, […] and she says: « Do you know what I have for you? Guess. »


Jesus thinks, but He cannot guess. […] Joseph in fact comes in, carrying a large round basket. He lays it down on the floor in front of Jesus, unties the rope which is holding the lid on, he lifts it... and a little white sheep, a real flock of foam, appears sleeping in the very clean hay.


Jesus utters an « Oh! » of surprise and happiness and He is about to rush towards the little animal, but then He turns round and runs to Joseph, who is still bent down as before, He embraces him, and kisses him, thanking him.


Jesus continues saying, « For me! For me! Thank you, father! »


« Do you like it so much! »


« Oh! Very much! White, clean... a little lamb... Oh! » and He throws His little arms round the sheep's neck, He lays His blond head on its little head and remains thus, happy.


« I brought two, also for you » says Alphaeus to his sons. « But they are dark. You are not quite so tidy as Jesus and your sheep would always be untidy, if they were white. They will be your herd, you will keep them together and so you will no longer be loitering in the streets, you two little rascals, throwing stones at each other. »

     Saint Jude Thaddeus

Soon the guests are sitting at table and Mary offers them bread, olives and cheese. […] The elder people are talking and Alphaeus says: « I hope I have solved the matter of the boys' quarrels. I got the idea from your request, Joseph. I said to myself: “My brother wants a little sheep for Jesus, that He may have something to play with. I will get two, also for those naughty boys, to keep them quiet a little, and avoid continuous arguments with other parents with regard to bruised heads and skinned knees. What with the school and what with the sheep, I will manage to keep them quiet.” But this year You also will have to send Jesus to school. It is time. »


« I will never send Jesus to school » says Mary resolutely. It is most unusual to hear Her talk thus and above all to hear Her talk before Joseph.


« Why? The Child must learn to be ready in good time to pass His exam when He comes of age... »


« The Child will be ready. But He will not go to school. That is quite definite. »


« You will be the only woman in Israel to do that. »


« I will be the only one. But that is what I am going to do. Isn't that right, Joseph? »


« Yes, that's correct. There is no need for Jesus to go to school. Mary was brought up in the Temple, and She knows the Law as well as any doctor. She will be His Teacher. That's what I want, too. »


« You are spoiling the Boy. »


« You cannot say that. He is the best boy in Nazareth. 


Have you ever heard Him cry, or be naughty, or be disobedient, or lack respect? »


« No. That's true. But He will do all that if You continue to spoil Him. »


« You do not necessarily spoil your children just because you keep them at home. To keep them at home implies loving them with good common sense and wholeheartedly. And that is how we love our Jesus, and since Mary is better educated than a teacher, She will be Jesus' Teacher. »


« And when Your Jesus is a Man, He will be like a silly little woman frightened even of flies. »


« He will not. Mary is a strong woman, and She will give Him a manly education. I am not a coward, and I can give Him man-like examples. Jesus is a creature without any physical or moral faults. He will grow, therefore, upright and strong, both in His body and in His spirit. You can be sure of that, Alphaeus. He will not be a disgrace to the family. In any case, that is what I have decided, and that is all. »


« Perhaps Mary has decided, and you... »


« And if it were so? Is it not fair that two, who love each other, should have the same thoughts and the same wishes, so that each may accept the wishes of the other as if they were his own? If Mary should wish silly things, I would say to Her: “No.” But She is asking for something which is full of wisdom, and I agree, and I make it my own. We love each other, we do as we did the first day, and we shall go on doing so as long as we live. Is that right, Mary? »


« Yes, Joseph. And let us hope it will never happen, but when one should die without the other, we will still go on loving each other. »


Joseph pats Mary on the head as if She were a young daughter and She looks at him with Her serene loving eyes.


Her sister-in-law interferes: « You are quite right. I wish I could teach! Our children at school learn evil and good. At home they only learn what is good. But I do not know whether... if Mary... »


« What is it you want, My dear sister-in-law? Speak freely. You know that I love you and I am happy when I can do something that pleases you. »


« I was thinking... James and Judas are only a little older than Jesus. They are already going to school... for what they have learned!... Jesus instead already knows the Law so well... I would like... eh, I mean, if I asked You to take them as well, when You teach Jesus? I think they would behave better and be better educated. After all, they are cousins, and it is only fair that they should love one another like brothers. Oh! I would be so happy! »


« If Joseph wants, and your husband agrees, I am quite willing. It is the same to speak to one as to speak to three. And it is a joy to go through the whole of Scripture. Let them come. » The three children, who have come in very quietly, are listening and are awaiting the final decision.


« They will drive You to despair, Mary » says Alphaeus.


« No! They are always good with Me. You will be good if I teach you, will you not? »


The two boys move near Mary, one on Her left side, the other on Her right, they place their arms around Her shoulders, they lean their little heads on Her shoulders, and they promise all the good in the world.


« Let them try, Alphaeus, and let Me try. I am sure you will not be dissatisfied with the test. They can come every day from the sixth hour [around noon] until evening. It will be enough, believe Me. I know how to teach without tiring them. You must hold their attention and let them relax at the same time. You must understand them, love them, and be loved by them, if you wish to get good results. And you will love Me, will you not? »


Two big kisses are the answer.


« See? »


« I see. I can only say: “Thank You.” And what will Jesus say, when He sees His Mummy busy with others? What do you say, Jesus? »


« I say: “Happy those who listen to Her and build their dwelling near Hers.” As for Wisdom, happy are those who are My Mother's friends, and I am happy that those whom I love are Her friends. »


« But who puts such words on the lips of the Child » Alphaeus asks, astonished.


« Nobody, brother. Nobody in this world ».



At the close of the vision, Jesus says to Maria Valtorta:


« And Mary was My teacher and the teacher of James and Judas. That is why we loved one another like brothers, not only because of our relationship, but for our science and the fact that we had grown up together, like three shoots supported by one pole only: My Mother. 


There was no other doctor in Israel like My sweet Mother. Seat of Wisdom, and of true Wisdom, She taught us for the world, and for Heaven. I say: “She taught us” because I was Her pupil exactly as My cousins. And the “seal” was kept on the secret of God against Satan's investigations, and it was safeguarded by the appearance of a normal life.


Did you enjoy this sweet scene? Now be in peace. Jesus is with you. »



Based on The Gospel as Revealed to Me, by Maria Valtorta, Chapter 38. 


Learn more about Maria Valtorta’s works HERE.


View my Catholic books HERE.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Shepherds of the Nativity were Twelve.

The Shepherds who visited Baby Jesus were twelve, according to Maria Valtorta. They were the first to come and adore the Incarnate Word. And we know their names! After the Lord began His public ministry, he sought out the shepherds, many of whom were still living.



Mary and Joseph are nearing Bethlehem when they meet a shepherd, who cuts across the road with his herd […]. Joseph bends down to say something to him. The shepherd nods in assent. Joseph takes the donkey and leads it behind the herd into the grazing ground. The shepherd pulls a coarse bowl out of his knapsack, he milks a big sheep with swollen udders and hands the bowl to Joseph who offers it to Mary.


« May God bless you both » exclaims Mary. « You for your love, and you for your kindness. I will pray for you. »


« Are you coming from far? » asks the shepherd.

« From Nazareth » replies Joseph.

« And where are you going? »

« To Bethlehem. »

« A Long journey for a woman in Her state. Is She your wife? »

« Yes, She is. »

« Have you got a place where to go? »

« No, we haven't. » 

« That's bad! Bethlehem is overcrowded with people who have come from all over to register there, or are on their way to register elsewhere. I don't know whether you will find lodgings. Are you familiar with the place? »


« Not very. »


« Well... I will explain it to you... for Her... (and he points to Mary). Find the hotel, but it will be full. But I will tell you just the same, to guide you. It's in the square, in the largest one. This main road will take you to it. You can't miss it. There is a fountain in front of it, it is a long and low building with a very big door. It will be full. But if you do not find room in the hotel, or in any of the houses, go round to the back of the hotel, towards the country. 


There are some stables in the mountain, which are used sometimes by merchants to keep their animals there, on their way to Jerusalem, when they don't find room in the hotel. They are stables […], they are damp and cold and there are no doors. But they are always a shelter, because your wife can't be left on the road. Perhaps you will find room there and some hay to sleep on and for the donkey. And may God guide you. »


« And may God give you joy » answers Mary. Joseph instead replies: « Peace be with you. »


They take to the road again. 


That night the Savior is born, and Maria Valtorta is graced with a vision of the announcement of His birth to the shepherds. 


She writes: […] I see a very wide country. The moon is at its zenith and she is sailing smoothly in a sky crowded with stars [...], the moon is smiling in the middle of them with her big white face, from which streams of light descend and make the earth white […].


On my right I see a place enclosed by a thorn-bush hedge on two sides and by a low rugged wall on the other two. The wall supports a kind of low wide shed, which inside the enclosure is built in masonry and part in wood […]. From the enclosure intermittent short bleatings can be heard now and again. 


It must be the little sheep which dream or perhaps sense that it is almost daybreak because of the very bright moonlight. The brightness is intense to an excessive degree and it is increasing more and more […]. 


A shepherd looks out of the door, and lifting one arm to his forehead to shield his eyes, he looks up. It seems improbable that one should protect one's eyes from moonlight. But the moonlight in this case is so bright that it blinds people, particularly those who come out from a dark enclosure. Everything is calm. But the bright moonlight is surprising. The shepherd calls his companions. They all come to the door: a group of hairy men of various ages. Some are just teenagers, some are already white haired, They comment on the strange event and the younger ones are afraid. One in particular, a boy about twelve years old, starts crying, and the older shepherds jeer at him.


« What are you afraid of, you fool? » the oldest man says to him. « Can't you see that the air is very quiet? Have you never seen clear moonlight? You have always been tied to your mother's apron strings, haven't you? But there are many things for you to see! [...] Oh! Many things you will see, if you live long enough. »


But the little shepherd is no longer listening to him. He looks as if he is no longer frightened, because he leaves the threshold and steals from behind the shoulders of a brawny herdsman, behind whom he had previously sought shelter, and goes out on to the grassy fold in front of the shed. He looks up and walks about like a sleep-walker or one hypnotized by something that compellingly attracts him.


At a certain moment he shouts: « Oh! » and remains petrified with his arms slightly stretched out. His mates look at one another dumbfounded.


« But what is the matter with the fool? » says one.


« I will send him back to his mother tomorrow. I don't want mad people as guardians of the sheep » says another.


And the old man who had spoken earlier says: « Let us go and see before we judge him. Call also the others who are sleeping and bring your sticks. It might be a wild animal or some robber... »


They go in, they call the other shepherds and they come out with torches and clubs. They join the boy.


« There, there » he whispers smiling. « Above the tree, look at the light that is coming. It seems to be coming on the ray of the moon. There it is, it is coming near. How beautiful it is! »


« I can only see a rather brighter light. »

« So can I. »

« So can I » say the others.

« No. I see something like a body » says one whom I recognize to be the shepherd who gave the milk to Mary. 


« It is... it is an angel! » shouts the boy. « Here he is, he is coming down, he is coming near... Down! On your knees before the angel of God! »


A long and venerable « Oh! » comes from the group of shepherds, who fall down face to the ground and the older they are, the more they appear to be crushed by the refulgent apparition. The young ones are on their knees, looking at the angel who is coming nearer and nearer, and then he stops mid-air above the enclosure wall, waving his large wings, a pearly brightness in the white moonlight surrounding him.


« Do not fear. I am not bringing you misfortune. I announce you a great joy for the people of Israel and for all the people of the world. » The angelic voice is the harmony of a harp and of singing nightingales.


« Today, in the City of David, the Savior has been born! » In saying so, the angel spreads out his wings wider and wider, moving them as a sign of overwhelming joy, and a stream of golden sparks and precious stones seem to fall from them: a real rainbow describing a triumphal arch above the poor shed.


« ... the Savior, Who is Christ. » The angel shines with a brighter light. His two wings, now motionless, pointed upright towards the sky like two still sails on the sapphire of the sea, seem two bright flames ascending to Heaven.


« ... Christ, the Lord! » The angel gathers his sparkling wings and covers himself with them as if they were a coat of diamonds on a dress of pearls, he bows down in adoration, with his arms crossed over his heart, while his head bent down as it is, disappears in the shade of the tops of the folded wings […].


But now he stirs. He spreads out his wings, lifts his head, bright with a heavenly smile, and says: « You will recognize Him from the following signs: in a poor stable, behind Bethlehem, you will find a baby in swaddling clothes, in a manger for animals, because no roof was found for the Messiah in the city of David. » The angel becomes grave, almost sad, in saying that.


But from the Heavens many angels – oh! how many! – come down, all like him – a ladder of angels descending and rejoicing and dimming the moonlight with their heavenly brightness. They all gather round the announcing angel, fluttering their wings, exhaling perfumes, playing notes in which the most beautiful voices of creation find a recollection, but elevated to uniform perfection [...]. To hear this melody is to know Paradise, where everything is harmony of love which emanates from God to make the blessed souls happy, and then from them returns to God to say to Him: « We love You! »


The angelical « Glory » spreads throughout the quiet country in wider and wider circles and the bright light with it. And the birds join their singing to greet the early light, and the sheep add their bleatings for the early sun. […] I love to believe that the animals are greeting their Creator, Who has come down among them to love them both as a Man and as God.


They set out in the moonlight aided by their torches, after closing the shed and the enclosure […]. They go round Bethlehem. They reach the stable not the way Mary came, but from the opposite direction, so that they do not pass in front of the better stables, instead they find this one first. They go near the hole.


« Go in! »

« I wouldn't dare! »

« You go in! »

« No. »

« At least have a look. » 


« You, Levi, who saw the angel first, obviously because you are better than we are, look in. » Before they said he was mad... but now it suits them if he dare what they do not.


The boy hesitates, but then he makes up his mind. He goes near the hole, pulls the mantle a little to one side, looks... and remains enraptured. [St. Joseph had hung his mantle in front of the opening to the stable.]


« What can you see? » they ask him anxiously in low voices. 


« I can see a beautiful young woman and a man bending over a manger and I can hear... I can hear a little baby crying, and the woman is speaking to Him in a voice...oh! what a voice! »


« What is She saying? »


« She is saying: “Jesus, little one! Jesus, love of Your Mummy! Don't cry, little Son..”.. She is saying: “Oh! If I could only say to You: 'Take some milk, little one'. But I have not got any yet..”.. She says: “You are so cold, My love! And the hay is stinging You! How painful it is for Your Mummy to hear You crying so, without being able to help You!.”.. She says: “Sleep, soul of Mine! Because it breaks My heart to hear You crying and see Your tears!” and She kisses Him, and She must be warming His little feet with Her hands, because She is bent with Her arms in the manger. »


« Call Her! Let them hear you. »


The shepherd opens his mouth, but he only utters a faint moaning noise.


Joseph turns round and comes to the door. « Who are you? »


« Shepherds. We brought you some food and some wool. We have come to worship the Savior. »


« Come in. »


They go in, and the stable becomes brighter because of the light of the torches. The older men push the young ones in front of them. Mary turns round and smiles. « Come » She says. « Come!», and She invites them with Her hand and Her smile, and She takes the boy who saw the angel and She draws him to Herself, against the manger. And the boy looks, and is happy.


The others, invited also by Joseph, move forward with their gifts and they place them at Mary's feet with few deep-felt words. They then look at the Baby Who is weeping a little and they smile moved and happy.


And one of them […] says: «Mother, take this wool. It's soft and clean. I prepared it for my child who is about to be born. But I offer it to You. Lay your Son in this wool. It will be soft and warm. » And he offers the sheep hide, a beautiful hide, well covered with white soft wool.


Mary lifts Jesus, and puts it round Him. And She shows Him to the shepherds, who, kneeling on the hay on the ground, look at Him ecstatically!


They become bolder, and one suggests: « He should be given a mouthful of milk, better still, some water and honey. But we have no honey. We give it to little babies. I have seven children, and I know... »


« There is some milk here. Take it, Woman. »


« But it is cold. It should be warm. Where is Elias? He has the sheep. »


Elias must be the shepherd who gave the milk. But he is not there. He remained outside and is looking from the hole, but he cannot be seen in the dark night.


« Who led you here? »


« An angel told us to come, and Elias showed us the way. But where is he now? » The sheep declares his presence with a bleat.


« Come in. You are wanted. » He enters with his sheep, embarrassed because they all look at him.


« It's you! » says Joseph, who recognizes him, and Mary smiles at him saying: « You are good. »


They milk the sheep and with the hem of a piece of linen dipped into the warm creamy milk, Mary moistens the lips of the Baby Who sucks the sweet cream. They all smile, and even more so, when Jesus falls asleep in the warmth of the wool, with the little bit of linen still between His lips.


« But You can't stay here. It's cold and damp. And... there is too strong a smell of animals. It's not good... it's not good for the Savior. »


« I know » replies Mary with a deep sigh. « But there is no room for us in Bethlehem. »


« Take heart, Woman. We will look for a house for You. »


« I will tell my mistress » says Elias. « She is good. She will receive You, even if she had to give You her own room. As soon as it is daylight, I will tell her. Her house is full of people. But she will find room for You. »


« For My Child, at least. Joseph and I can lie also on the floor. But for the Little One... »


« Don't worry, Woman. I will see to it. And we will tell many people what we were told. You will lack nothing. For the time being, take what our poverty can give You. We are shepherds... »


« We are poor, too. And we cannot reward you » says Joseph.


« Oh! We don't want it. Even if You could afford it, we would not want it. The Lord has already rewarded us. He promised peace to everybody. The angels said: “Peace to men of good will.” But He has already given it to us, because the angel said that this Child is the Savior, Who is Christ, the Lord. We are poor and ignorant, but we know that the Prophets say that the Savior will be the Prince of Peace. And he told us to come and adore Him. That is why He gave us His peace. Glory be to God in the Most High Heaven and glory to His Christ here, and You are blessed, Woman, Who gave birth to Him: You are holy, because You deserved to bear Him! Give us orders as our Queen, because we will be happy to serve You. What can we do for You? »


« You can love My Son, and always cherish the same thoughts as you have now. »


« But what about You? Is there anything You wish? Have You no relatives whom You would like to inform that He has been born? »


« Yes, I have them. But they are far away. They are at Hebron... »


« I will go » says Elias. « Who are they? »


« Zacharias, the priest, and My cousin Elizabeth. »


« Zacharias? Oh! I know him well. In summer I go up those mountains because the pastures are rich and beautiful, and I am a friend of his shepherd. When I know you are settled, I will go to Zacharias. »


« Thank you, Elias. »


« You need not thank me. It is a great honor for me, a poor shepherd, to go and speak to the priest and say to him: “The Savior has been born.” »


« No. You must say to him: “Your cousin, Mary of Nazareth, has said that Jesus has been born, and that you should come to Bethlehem.” »


« I will say that. »


« May God reward You. I will remember you, Elias, and every one of you. »


« Will You tell Your Baby about us? »


« I certainly will. »


« I am Elias. », « And I am Levi. », « And I am Samuel. », «And I Jonah. », « And I Isaac. », « And I Tobias. », « And I Jonathan. », « And I Daniel. », « And I Simeon. », « My name is John. », « I am Joseph and my brother Benjamin, we are twins. »


« I will remember your names. »


« We must go... But we will come back... And we will bring others to worship Him. »


« How can we go back to the sheep-fold, leaving the Child? »


« Glory be to God Who has shown Him to us! »


« Will You let us kiss His dress? » asks Levi, with an angelic smile.


And Mary lifts Jesus slowly, and sitting on the hay, envelops the tiny little feet in a linen, and offers them to be kissed. And the shepherds bow down to the ground and kiss the tiny feet, veiled by the linen. Those with a beard clean it first; almost everyone is crying, and when they have to go, they walk out backwards, leaving their hearts there...


The vision ends thus, with Mary sitting on the straw with the Child on Her lap and Joseph who, leaning with his elbow on the manger, looks and adores.

Based on chapter 28 and chapter 30 of Maria Valtorta’s The Gospel as Revealed to Me. 


Learn more about Maria Valtorta’s works HERE.


View my Catholic books HERE.



Sunday, November 12, 2023

St. Joseph Miraculously Chosen as Mary’s Spouse.

They reveal to each other their vows of chastity. 


[Numbers 17:1-23]: In order to convince the Israelites that Aaron was the chosen High Priest, God said to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and get one staff from each of them ... Mark each man’s name on his staff; and mark Aaron’s name . . . Then lay them down in the Meeting Tent . . . There the staff of the man of My choice will sprout.” . . . The next day, when Moses entered the Tent, Aaron’s staff . . . had sprouted and put forth not only shoots, but blossoms as well, and even bore ripe almonds.


According to Catholic Tradition, and to renowned mystics Venerable Mary of Agreda and Blessed Anne Katherine Emmerich, something analogous to this occurred when the Priests of the Temple sought a spouse for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Maria Valtorta’s vision of the miraculous choice of St Joseph to be the husband of Mary is in perfect conformity to the ancient traditional belief. 


On September 4, 1944, Maria reported on what she saw: 


I see a rich hall with a beautiful floor, curtains, carpets and inlaid furniture. It must be still part of the Temple: there are priests in it, including Zacharias, and many men of every age, from twenty to fifty years approximately. They are all talking in low but animated voices […]. They are dressed in their best clothes, which seem to be new or just recently washed and they are obviously dressed for some special feast. Many have removed the piece of cloth covering their heads, others still wear it, particularly the elder ones […]. They do not all know one another, because they observe one another inquisitively. But they seem to be akin somehow, because it is clear that they are all concerned with the same matter.


In a corner I can see Joseph. He is talking to a hale and hearty elderly man. Joseph is about thirty years old. He is a handsome man with short and rather curly hair, dark brown like his beard and his moustache, which cover a well shaped chin and rise towards his rosy-brown cheeks, which are not olive-coloured as is normal in most people with a brown complexion. His eyes are dark, kindly and deep, very serious and perhaps somewhat sad. But when he smiles, as he does now, they become gay and young looking. He is dressed in light brown, very simple but very tidy.


A group of young Levites comes in and they take up position between the door and a long narrow table, which is against the same wall as the door, which is left wide open. A single curtain […] is drawn to cover the empty space. The curiosity of the group increases. It grows more so when a hand pulls the curtain to one side to admit a Levite, who is carrying in his arms a bundle of dry branches on which one in blossom is gently laid: it looks like a light foam of white petals, with a vague pinkish hue that spreads softer and softer from the centre to the top of the light petals.


The Levite lays the bundle of branches on the table very gently to avoid detracting from the miracle of the branch full of flowers among so many dry ones. Whispering spreads in the hall. They all stretch their necks and sharpen their eyes to see. Zacharias, who is near the table with the other priests, also endeavours to see. But he can see nothing. Joseph, in his corner, gives a quick glance to the bundle of branches and when the man he was speaking to says something to him, he shakes his head in denial as if to say: « Impossible » and smiles.


A trumpet is heard beyond the curtain. They all become quiet and turn in an orderly way towards the door […]. The High Priest enters surrounded by elders. They all make a deep bow. The Pontiff goes to the table and begins to speak, standing up.


« Men of the race of David, gathered here at my request, please listen. The Lord has spoken, glory be to Him! From His Glory a ray has descended and, like the sun in springtime, it has given life to a dry branch which has blossomed miraculously, whereas no other branch on earth is in bloom to-day […], and the snow that fell on the mountains in Judah has not yet melted and everything is white between Zion and Bethany.


« God has spoken and has made Himself the father and the guardian of the Virgin of David Who has Him alone as Her protection. A holy girl, the glory of the Temple, She deserved the word of God to learn the name of a husband agreeable to the Eternal One. And he must be very just to be chosen by the Lord as the protector of the Virgin so dear to Him! For this reason our sorrow in losing Her is alleviated and all worries about Her destiny as a wife cease. And to the man appointed by God we entrust with full confidence the Virgin blessed by God and by ourselves. The name of the husband is Joseph of Jacob of Bethlehem, of the tribe of David, a carpenter in Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph: come forward. It is an order of the High Priest ... »


There is a lot of whispering. Heads move round, eyes cast inquisitive glances, hands make signs: there are expressions of disappointment and relief […]. Joseph, blushing and embarrassed moves forward. He is now near the table, in front of the Pontiff, whom he has greeted reverently.


« Everyone must come here to see the name engraved on the branch. And everyone must take his own branch to make sure that there is no deception.»


The men obey. They look at the branch gently held by the High Priest and then each takes his own […]. They all look at Joseph. Some look and are silent, others look and congratulate him. The elderly man to whom Joseph was speaking before, exclaims: « I told you, Joseph! Who feels less certain, is the one who wins the game! » 


They have all now passed before the Pontiff. The High Priest gives Joseph his branch in bloom, he lays his hand on his shoulder and says to him: « The spouse the Lord has presented you with, is not rich, as you know. But all virtues are in Her. Be more and more worthy of Her. There is no flower in Israel as beautiful and pure as She is. Please, all go out now. You, Joseph, stay here. And you, Zacharias, since you are Her relative, please bring in the bride.»


They all go out, except the High Priest and Joseph. The curtain is drawn once again over the door. Joseph is standing in a very humble attitude, near the Priest. There is silence, then the Priest says to Joseph: « Mary wishes to inform you of a vow She made. Please help Her shyness. Be good to Her, Who is so good.»


« I will put my strength and my manly authority at Her service and no sacrifice on Her behalf will be heavy for me. Be sure of that. »


Mary enters with Zacharias and Anna of Phanuel.


« Come, Mary » says the Pontiff. « Here is the spouse that God has destined to You. He is Joseph of Nazareth. You will therefore go back to Your own town. I will leave You now. May God give You His blessing. May the Lord protect You and bless You, may He show His face to You and have mercy on You. May He turn His face to You and give You peace. »


Zacharias goes out escorting the Pontiff. Anna congratulates Joseph and then she goes out, too.


The betrothed are now facing each other. Mary, full of blushes, is standing with Her head bowed. Joseph, who is also red in the face, looks at Her and tries to find the first words to be said. He eventually finds them and a bright smile lights up his eyes. 


He says: « I welcome you, Mary. I saw You when You were a little baby, only a few days old... I was a friend of Your father's and I have a nephew, the son of my brother Alphaeus, who was a great friend of Your mother [...]. You do not know us because You were only a little girl when You came here. But everyone in Nazareth loves You and they all think and speak of Joachim's little Mary, Whose birth was a miracle of the Lord, Who made the barren old lady blossom wonderfully... And I remember the evening You were born... We all remember it because of the prodigy of a heavy rain that saved the country and of a violent storm during which the thunderbolts did not damage even a stem of heather and it ended with such a large and beautiful rainbow that the like has never been seen again. 


« And then... who does not remember Joachim's happiness? He dandled You showing You to his neighbours... As if You were a flower that had descended from Heaven, he admired You and wanted everyone to admire You, a happy old father who died talking about his Mary, Who was so beautiful and good and Whose words were so full of wisdom end grace... He was quite right in admiring You and in saying that there is no other woman lovelier than You are! And Your mother? She filled Your house and the neighbourhood with her songs and she sang like a skylark in springtime when she was carrying You, and afterwards when she held You in her arms.


« I made a cradle for You. A tiny little cradle, with roses carved all over it, because Your mother wanted it like that. Perhaps it is still in the house... I am old, Mary. When You were born I was beginning to work. I was already working... I would never have believed that I was going to have You as a spouse! Perhaps Your parents would have died a happier death if they had known, because they were my friends. I buried Your father, mourning over his death with a sincere heart, because he was a good teacher to me.»


Mary raises Her face, little by little, taking heart, as She hears Joseph speak to Her thus, and when he mentions the cradle She smiles gently and when Joseph speaks of Her father, She holds out Her hand to him and says: « Thank you, Joseph. » A very timid and gentle « thank you.»


Joseph holds Her little jasmine hand in his short and strong hands of a carpenter and he caresses it with an affection that expresses more and more confidence. Perhaps he is waiting for more words. But Mary is silent once again. He then goes on: « As You know, Your house is still intact, with the exception of the part that was demolished by order of the consul, to build a road for the wagons of the Romans […]. You know that because of Your father's illness much of the property had to be disposed of […], the fields have been rather neglected. For over three years the trees and the vines have never been pruned and the land is untilled and hard. But the trees that saw You when You were a little girl are still there, and if You agree, I will at once take care of them.»


« Thank you, Joseph. But you have your work ... »


« I will work in Your orchard in the morning and in the evening. The days are getting longer and longer. By springtime I want everything to be in order for Your happiness. Look: this is a branch of the almond tree near the house. I wanted to pick it […] because I thought that if I should be the chosen one, You would have been pleased to have a flower from Your garden. But I was not expecting to be the chosen one as I am a Nazirite [A Hebrew consecrated to the Lord by renewable vows] and I have obeyed because it is an order of the Priest, not because I wish to get married. Here is the branch, Mary. With it I offer You my heart, that, like it, has bloomed up till now only for the Lord and is now blooming for You, my spouse.»


Mary takes the branch. She is moved and looks at Joseph with a face that has become more and more confident and bright. She feels certain of him. When he says to Her « I am a Nazirite », Her face becomes bright and She takes courage: « Also I am all of the Lord, Joseph. I do not know whether the High Priest told you ... »


« He only told me that You are good and pure, that You wish to inform me of a vow, and that I must be good to you. Speak, Mary. Your Joseph wants You to be happy in all Your desires. I do not love You my with body. I love You with my soul, holy girl given to me by God! Please see in me a father and a brother, in addition to a husband. And open Your heart to me as to a father and rely on me as on a brother ... »


« Since My childhood I have consecrated Myself to the Lord. I know this is not the custom in Israel. But I heard a voice requesting My virginity as a sacrifice of love for the coming of the Messiah. Israel has been waiting for Him for such a long time!... It is not too much to forgo the joy of being a mother for that! »


Joseph gazes at Her as if he wanted to read Her heart, then he takes Her tiny hands which are still holding the branch in blossom and he says: « I will join my sacrifice to Yours and we shall love the Eternal Father so much with our chastity that He will send His Saviour to the world earlier, and will allow us to see His Light shining in the world. Come, Mary. Let us go before His House [the Temple] and [to] Nazareth to prepare everything for You, in Your house, if You wish to go there, or elsewhere if You wish so.»


« In My house... There was a grotto down at the bottom... Is it still there? »


« It is, but it is no longer Yours... But I will build another one for You where it will be cool and quiet during the hottest hours of the day. I will make it as much as possible identical to the older one. And tell me: whom do You want with You? »


« Nobody. I am not afraid. Alphaeus' mother, who has always come to see Me, will keep Me company during the day. At night I prefer to be alone. No harm can befall Me.»


« And now I am there, too. When shall I come and get You? »


« Whenever you wish, Joseph.»


« Then I will come as soon as the house is ready. I will not touch anything. I want You to find it as Your mother left it. But I want it to be bright and clean, to receive You without any sadness. Come, Mary. Let us go and tell the Most High that we bless Him.»



Based on Chapter 12 of The Gospel as Revealed to Me, Volume One, by Maria Valtorta.


Learn more about MariaValtorta’s works HERE.


View my Catholic books HERE.