25th February 1944.
I see Jesus walking along the green strip of vegetation that borders the Jordan. He has gone back to the same place where He was baptised. He is near the ford that apparently was well known and commonly used to cross to the other bank towards Perea. But the place, which was so crowded before, is now deserted. There are only a few travellers, going on foot, or riding donkeys or horses.
Jesus does not seem to be aware of them. He proceeds along His way, northwards, absorbed in His thoughts. When He reaches the ford, He meets a group of men of different ages, who are discussing animatedly, and then they part, some southwards, some northwards.
Amongst those going northwards, I see John and James. John is the first to see Jesus, and he points Him out to his brother and companions. They talk a little amongst themselves, and then John starts walking quickly to reach Jesus. James follows him, walking a little slower. The others do not show any interest. They walk slowly, while discussing.
When John is near Jesus, about two or three metres behind Him, he shouts: « Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world! »
Jesus turns round, and looks at him. There are now only a few steps between them. They look at each other: Jesus with His serious, scrutinising look, John with his pure eyes smiling in his beautiful, youthful face, that looks like the face of a girl. He is about twenty years old, and on his rosy cheeks there is only the sign of a blond down, like a golden veil.
« Whom are you looking for? » asks Jesus.
« For You, Master. »
« How do you know I am a Master? »
« The Baptist told me. »
« Well then, why do you call Me Lamb? »
« Because I heard him call You so one day, when You were passing by, just over a month ago. »
« What do you want from Me? »
« I want You to tell us words of eternal life and to comfort us. »
« But who are you? »
« I am John of Zebedee, and this is James, my brother. We are from Galilee, and we are fishermen. But we are also disciples of John. He spoke words of life to us and we listened to him, because we want to follow God, and deserve His forgiveness doing penance and thus prepare our hearts for the coming of the Messiah. You are the Messiah. John said so, because he saw the sign of the Dove descending on You. He said to us: “Here is the Lamb of God.” I say to you: “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, give us peace, because we no longer have anyone who may guide us, and our souls are upset.” »
« Where is John? »
« Herod has taken him. He is in prison, at Machaerus. The most faithful amongst his disciples have tried to free him. But it is not possible. We are coming from there. Let us come with You, Master. Show us where You live. »
« Come. But do you know what you are asking for? Who follows Me will have to leave everything: his home, his relatives, his way of thinking, also his life. I will make you My disciples and My friends, if you wish so. But I have neither wealth nor protection. I am poor, and I shall be even poorer, to the extent of not having a place where I may rest My head and I will be persecuted by My enemies, even more than a lost sheep is pursued by wolves. My doctrine is even more rigid than John's, because it forbids also resentment. And My doctrine is concerned not so much with external matters, as it is with the soul. You must be re-born if you want to be My disciples. Are you willing to do that? »
« Yes, Master. Only You have words that can give us light. They descend upon us, and where there was darkness and desolation because we had no guide, they shed light and sunshine.»
« Come, then. Let us go. I will teach you on our way. »
« The crowd that met Me was a large one. But only one recognized Me. He, whose soul, mind and flesh were pure and free from all lewdness.
I insist on the value of purity. Chastity is always the source of clear ideas. Virginity refines and then preserves intellectual and emotional sensitiveness, elevating it to such a perfection that only a virgin can experience.
There are many ways of being a virgin. By compulsion, and this applies particularly to women, when no one ever proposed to them. The same should apply to men. But it does not. And that is bad, because only heads of families, with unhealthy minds and often diseased bodies, can be born of youth soiled with lust before time.
There is wanted virginity, that is the virginity of those who consecrate themselves to the Lord with the ardour of their souls. A beautiful virginity! A sacrifice pleasing to God! But they do not all persist in their purity like lilies which stand upright on their stalks, looking towards Heaven, unaware of the mud on the ground, open to the kisses of God's sun and His dews.
Many are faithful only in a material way. But they are unfaithful in their thoughts, which regret and wish for what they sacrificed. They are virgins only by half. If their flesh is intact, their hearts are not. Their hearts ferment, boil, exhale fumes of sensuality, the more refined and reproved, the more it is the invention of a mind that caresses, nourishes and continually enlarges the images of satisfactions, illicit even for those who are free, more than illicit for those consecrated to God.
Then you have the hypocrisy of the vow. Its appearance is there, its essence is not. And I tell you that between those who come to Me with their lilies broken by the brutality of a tyrant, and those who come with their lilies materially intact, but covered with the slaver of a sensuality they have caressed and cultivated to fill their hours of solitude, I will call “virgins” the former, and “non virgins” the latter. I will give the former the crown of virgins and a double crown of martyrs, because of their flesh which has been wounded and of their hearts which have been ulcerated by a mutilation they did not want.
The value of purity is such that, as you have seen, the first thing Satan was anxious about, was to deceive Me about impurity. He knows very well that sensual sins dismantle the soul and make it an easy prey to other sins. Satan's efforts aimed at this capital point, in order to defeat Me.
Bread, hunger, are the material forms for the allegory of appetite, of the appetites that Satan takes advantage of for his own purpose. The food he offered Me to make Me fall intoxicated at his feet is quite a different thing! Greed would have followed, then avarice, power, idolatry, blasphemy and the abjuration of the divine Law. But that was the first step to catch Me. Exactly as he did to injure Adam.
The world sneers at pure people. Those who are guilty of lewdness strike them. John the Baptist is the victim of the lust of an obscene couple. But if there is still some light in the world, this is due to the pure of the world. They are the servants of God, they understand God and repeat God's words. I said: “Happy the pure in heart, they shall see God.” Also in this world: since the fumes of sensuality do not perturb their hearts, they “see” God, they hear Him, they follow Him and they show Him to other people.
John of Zebedee is a pure soul. He is the Pure One amongst My disciples. A soul as beautiful as a flower in an angelical body! He calls Me with the words of his first master and asks Me to give him peace. But he already has peace in his heart because of his purity, and I loved him because of his purity, to which I entrusted My teachings, My secrets, and the most dear Creature I had.
He was My first disciple, who loved Me from the very first instant he saw Me. His soul had melted with Mine from the day he saw Me passing near the Jordan and he saw the Baptist pointing to Me. Even if he had not found Me later, when I came back from the desert, he would have looked for Me until he found Me, because who is pure, is humble and anxious to be taught in the science of God, and like the water that flows to the sea, he goes towards those he knows to be masters in the celestial doctrine. »
Jesus says also:
« I did not want you to speak about the sensual temptation of your Jesus. Even if your internal voice had made you understand Satan's motive in attracting Me towards sensuality, I preferred to speak of it Myself. Think no more about it. It was necessary to mention it. Go on now. Leave Satan's flower on its sands. Follow Jesus as John did. You will be walking among thorns, but as roses you will find the drops of blood of Him Who shed them for you, to defeat the flesh also in you.
I will forestall a remark as well. In his Gospel, John mentioning his meeting with Me says: “And the following day”. It would therefore appear that the Baptist pointed Me out the day after My baptism and that John and James followed Me at once. But that conflicts with what the other Evangelists said about the forty days spent in the desert. But you should read as follows: “(John having already been arrested), one day, later, the two disciples of John the Baptist, the ones to whom he had pointed Me out saying: ‘Here is the Lamb of God', on seeing Me again, called Me and followed Me.” After I had come back from the desert.
And we went back together to the shores of the lake of Galilee, where I had taken shelter to begin evangelising from there, and the two – after being with Me during the whole journey and then for one day in the hospitable house of a friend of My relatives – spoke of Me to the other fishermen. But it was the initiative of John, whose will to do penance had made his soul, already so limpid owing to his purity, a masterpiece of pellucidity in which the Truth was clearly reflected, bestowing on him also the holy daring of the pure and generous, who are never afraid of stepping forward, wherever they see that there is God, and truth and doctrine and the way of God. How much I loved him for that simple, heroical feature of his! »