And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his Name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before He was conceived in the womb.
From The Gospel as Revealed to Me by Maria Valtorta (Chapter 30.6-11):
30.6They set out in the moonlight aided by their torches, after closing the shed and the enclosure. They go along country paths, among thorn-bush hedges stripped by winter.
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 entrance.
«I wouldn’t dare!»
«You go in!»
«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.
«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.»
«I won’t. You should call Her, because you brought us here and you know Her!»
The shepherd opens his mouth, but he only utters a faint moaning noise.
30.7Joseph 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 Saviour.»
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, somewhat bolder than the rest, 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 soft white wool.
Mary lifts Jesus, and puts it around Him. And She shows Him to the shepherds, who, kneeling on the hay on the ground, look at Him ecstatically!
One of the boldest says: «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 recognises 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.
30.8«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 Saviour.»
«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 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 goodwill’. But He has already given it to us, because the angel said that this Child is the Saviour, Who is Christ, the Lord. We are poor and ignorant, but we know that the Prophets say that the Saviour 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 honour for me, a poor shepherd, to go and speak to the priest and say to him: ‘The Saviour 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. 30.9I 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, wraps the tiny little feet in 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 in this way, 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.
«I will speak today. You are very tired, but have a little more patience.
It is the eve of Corpus Christi. I could speak to you about the Eucharist and the saints who became apostles of Its cult, as I spoke to you of the saints who were apostles of the Sacred Heart. But I want to speak to you of something else and of a class of worshippers of My Body who are the forerunners of Its cult. That is: the shepherds. They were the first worshippers of My Body of the Word, Who had become Man.
Once I told you and also My Church says this, the Holy Innocents are the protomartyrs of Christ. Now I tell you that the shepherds are the first worshippers of the Body of God. And they have all the qualifications to be the worshippers of My Body, o Eucharistic souls.
Firm faith: they believe the angel promptly and unquestioningly.
Generosity: they give all their wealth to their Lord.
Humility: they approach people, who from the human point of view, are poorer than they, and they do so with a modest attitude that does not humiliate them, and they profess themselves their servants.
Desire: what they are unable to offer, they endeavour to obtain by means of charitable work.
Prompt obedience: Mary wishes to inform Zacharias and Elias goes at once. He does not postpone the matter.
Love finally: they suffer in departing from the grotto and you say: ‘They leave their hearts there’. And you are right.
But should the same not happen with My Sacrament?
30.11And there is another point, and it is entirely for you: note to whom the angel reveals himself first and who deserves to hear Mary’s love effusions. Levi: the boy.
God shows Himself to those who have a child’s soul and He shows them also His mysteries and allows them to hear His divine words and Mary’s. And those with a child’s soul have also Levi’s holy daring and they say: ‘Let us kiss Jesus’ dress’. They say that to Mary. Because it is always Mary Who gives you Jesus. She is the Bearer of the Eucharist. She is the Living Pyx.
He who goes to Mary, finds Me. He who asks Her for Me receives Me from Her. When a creature says to Mary: ‘Give me Your Jesus that I may love Him’, My Mother’s smile causes Heaven’s colours to change into a more lively brightness because of its greater delight.
Say, therefore, to Her: ‘Let me kiss Jesus’ dress, let me kiss His wounds’. And dare even more: ‘Let me rest my head on Your Jesus’ Heart, that I may delight in It’.
Come. And rest. Like Jesus in His cradle, between Jesus and Mary.»