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.