Mary Magdalene: Faith, Strength

 

In a thundering voice says Mary: «The Master said that we must hope beyond hope, and in God only. And we will do that.»

       «But he is dying, according to what I hear!» says Doras.

«So what? Let him die! I will not obstruct God’s decree and I will not disobey the Rabbi.»

       «And what do you expect after his death, foolish woman?» says the Herodian mockingly.

«What? Life!»

– Referring to Lazarus, Mary’s voice is a cry of absolute faith.

 

540.    «Oh! You are bold, woman. The Rabbi may have driven many demons out of you, but He did not make you become mild!» says one to Mary.

«No, Jonathan ben Annas. He did not make me weak. He made me stronger with the boldness of one who is honest, of one who wants to become honest once again and has broken all ties with the past to start a new life. Come on! Who is coming to see Lazarus?» She is as authoritative as a queen. She dominates them all with her frankness, with no mercy even towards herself. Martha, instead, is dejected, with tears in her eyes looking imploringly at Mary that she may keep quiet.

«I will come!» says Helkai, sighing like a victim, and he is as false as a serpent. They go out together.

The others address Martha: «Your sister!… Still the same character. But she should not behave like that. She has so much to be forgiven for» says Uriel, the rabbi seen at Giscala, the one who struck Jesus with stones.

Under the lash of such words, Martha recovers her strength and she says: «God has forgiven her. No other forgiveness is thus required. And her present life is an example for the world.» But her daring soon abates and turns into tears. She moans weeping: «You are cruel! Towards her… and towards me… You have no pity for our past or our present sorrow. Why did you come? To offend and grieve us?»

«And now we tell you, out of the love we have for you and we had for your mother and for Lazarus’ sake, send for the Master. Are you shaking your head? Do you mean that it is too late by now? What? You, Martha, the faithful disciple, have no faith in Him? That’s bad! Are you beginning to doubt as well?» says Archelaus.

«You are blaspheming, scribe. I believe in the Master as I believe in the true God.»

«Why do you not want to try, then? He has raised the dead… At least so they say… Perhaps you do not know where He is? If you wish, we will look for Him, we will help you» says Felix in an insinuating way.

«No! In Lazarus’ house they certainly know where the Rabbi is. Tell us frankly, woman, and we will depart and look for Him and we will bring Him to you, and we shall be present at the miracle to rejoice with you, with all of you» says Sadoc tempting her.

Martha is hesitant, she is almost tempted to yield. The others insist while she says: «I do not know where He is… I really do not know… He went away some days ago and He said goodbye to us like one who goes away for a long time… I would be relieved if I knew where He is… If at least I knew… But I do not know, that is the truth…»

«Poor woman! But we will help you… We will bring Him to you» says Cornelius.

In a thundering voice says Mary: «No! It is not necessary. The Master… You are speaking of Him, are you not? The Master said that we must hope beyond hope, and in God only. And we will do that» as she comes back with Helkai, who departs from her at once and goes towards three Pharisees bending down to speak to them.

«But he is dying, according to what I hear!» says Doras, who is one of the three.

«So what? Let him die! I will not obstruct God’s decree and I will not disobey the Rabbi.»

«And what do you expect after his death, foolish woman?» says the Herodian mockingly.

«What? Life!» Her voice is a cry of absolute faith.

«Life? Ha! Ha! Be sincere. You know that He has no power against real death, and in your foolish love for Him you do not want that to become known.»

«Go out, all of you! It would be for Martha to tell you. But she is afraid of you. I am only afraid of offending God, Who has forgiven me. And I am telling you in Martha’s stead. Go out, all of you. There is no room in this house for those who hate Jesus Christ. Out! Go to your gloomy dens! All out! Or I will get the servants to drive you out like a herd of unclean beggars.»

She is imposing in her wrath. The Judaeans slink away in the most cowardly way, in front of the woman. It is true that that woman looks like an enraged archangel…

As they leave the hall and cross the threshold passing in front of Mary, she glares at them, creating for each an immaterial Caudine Fork under which the pride of the defeated Judaeans is compelled to stoop. The hall is at last cleared out.

Martha collapses on the carpet bursting into tears.

«Why are you weeping, sister? I do not see why you should…»

«Oh! you offended them… and they offended you, they offended us… and now they will avenge themselves… and…»

«Be silent, silly woman! On whom do you expect them to avenge themselves? On Lazarus? They must decide first, and before they do that… No one revenges oneself on a man who is done for! On us? Are we in need of their bread to live? They will not touch our property. The shadow of Rome is cast over it. On what then? And even if they were able to do that, are we not both young and strong? Shall we not be able to work? Is Jesus not poor? Was our Jesus not a workman? Shall we not be more like Him, if we are poor and workers? You ought to be proud in becoming so! Hope for it! Ask God to grant it!»

«But what they said to you…»

«Ah! What they said to me! It’s the truth. And I repeat it to myself. I was unclean. I am now the ewe-lamb of the Shepherd! And the past is dead. Come on, come to see Lazarus.»

 The Visions of Maria Valtorta

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