Sun 22 December 2019
Matthew 1: 18-24

Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. [ Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.

From The Gospel as Revealed to Me by Maria Valtorta (Chapter 136.6-10):

[…] But now I will speak to you, or rather, we will speak to you of My past. I will tell you what even the shepherds do not know, and they will tell you what they saw. And you will be acquainted with the dawn of Christ. Listen:

When the time of Grace had come, God prepared His Virgin. You will readily understand that God could not dwell where Satan had put an undelible mark. The Power therefore took action to prepare Its future spotless tabernacle. And She, on Whom there is no stain, was conceived of two just people, in their old age, against the common rules of procreation. Who brought that soul into the embryonal flesh that rekindled the old womb of My grandmother, Anna of Aaron? Levi, you saw the Archangel of all the announcements. You can say: it is he. Because the “Strength of God” has always been the victorious archangel who brought joyful tidings to saints and prophets, he has been the unconquerable warrior who smashed even Satan’s great power as if it were the stem of withered moss, he is the intelligent spirit who with clever and bright intelligence warded off the snares of the other intelligent but wicked spirit, and thus had God’s command promptly accomplished.

The Announcer, who was already familiar with the ways of the earth, as he had descended to speak to the Prophets, with a cry of joy took from the divine Fire the spark which was the soul of the eternal Maid and clasping it in the circle of the angelical flames of his spiritual love, brought it down onto the earth, into a house, into a womb. And the world, from that moment, had the Adoring Maid; and God, from that moment, could look at a spot on the earth, without feeling disgusted. And a little creature was born: the Child Beloved by God and the angels, the Child consecrated to God, the Daughter piously loved by Her parents. “And Abel gave the first-born of his flock to God”. Oh! Truly the grandparents of the eternal Abel gave God the early fruit of their property, they gave Him all their goods, and they died because they had given everything back to Him, Who had given it to them!

My Mother was the Maid of the Temple from Her third to Her fifteenth year of age and She hastened the coming of Christ with the power of Her love. A virgin before being conceived, a virgin in the obscurity of a womb, a virgin in Her whimpers, a virgin in Her first steps, the Virgin was of God and of God only, and She proclaimed Her right, which was above the decree of the Law of Israel, and obtained from the husband given to Her by God, to remain inviolate after the wedding.

Joseph of Nazareth was a just man. The Lily of God could be given only to him, and he was the only one to have it. And, being an angel both in his body and his soul, he loved as the angels of God love. The depth of that strong love, which enjoyed all the fondness of married life, without going beyond the barrier of celestial fire beyond which was the Ark of the Lord, will be understood only by few people on the earth. It is the evidence of what a just man can do, if he only wants to, because also the soul, even if it is injured by the original sin, has a powerful strength of elevation, to remember and to go back to its dignity of a Child of God, and it works in a divine way for the sake of the Father.

Mary was still in Her house, waiting to be married to Her spouse, when Gabriel, the angel of divine announcements came back to the earth and asked the Virgin to become a Mother. He had already promised the Precursor to Zacharias, who had not believed him. But the Virgin believed that it could happen by the will of God, and sublime as She was in Her ignorance, She only asked: “How can that happen?” And the Angel replied to Her: “You are Full of Grace, Mary. Do not be afraid, for You have won God’s favour also with regards to Your virginity. You will conceive and bear a Son and You will name Him Jesus, because He is the Saviour promised to Jacob and to all the Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel. He will be great and the true Son of the Most High because He will be conceived by deed of the Holy Spirit. His Father will give Him the throne of David, as it is predicted, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and His true Reign will have no end. Now the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are awaiting Your obedience to fulfill the promise. The Precursor of Christ is already in the womb of Elizabeth, Your cousin, and if You agree, the Holy Spirit will descend upon You, and so the Child born of You will be holy and will bear His true name of Son of God”.

Mary then replied: “I am the Handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to Me according to His word”. And the Spirit of God descended upon His Bride and in the first embrace He bestowed upon Her His light, which super-perfected Her virtues of silence, humility, prudence and charity, of which She was full, and She was one thing with the Wisdom and could no longer be separated from Charity, and the Obedient and Chaste One was lost in the ocean of Obedience, which I am, and She knew the joy of being a Mother, without the perturbation of being touched. She was the snow that became a flower and offered Herself to

«And Her husband?» asks Peter dumbfounded.

«The seal of God closed Mary’s lips. And Joseph became aware of the prodigy only when Mary came back from the house of Her relative Zacharias and appeared a mother to the eyes of Her spouse.»

«And what did he do?»

«He suffered… and Mary suffered.»

«If it had been I…».

«Joseph was a saint, Simon of Jonas. God knows where to lay His gifts… He suffered bitterly and he decided to desert Her, taking upon himself the reputation of an unfair man. But the Angel descended and said to him: “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is growing in Her is the Son of God and She is a Mother by the deed of God. And when the Son is born, you will name Him Jesus, because He is the Saviour”.»

«Was Joseph a learned man?» asks Bartholomew.

«Like a descendant of David.»

«Then he will have received light at once remembering the Prophet: “Here, a virgin will conceive…”.»

«Yes, he did receive it. And joy followed the trial…»

«Had it been I» resumes Peter «it would not have happened, because before I would have… Oh! Lord, what a good job it was not I! I would have broken Her like the stem of a flower without giving Her time to speak. And after, if I had not been a murderer, I would have been afraid of Her… The fear for the Tabernacle, which the whole of Israel has had for centuries…»

«Also Moses was afraid of God, and yet he was helped and stayed with Him on the mountain… So Joseph went to the holy house of his Spouse and saw to the needs of the Virgin and of the Unborn Child. And when the time of the edict came for all the people, he went with Mary to the land of his fathers, and Bethlehem rejected them because the hearts of men are closed to charity. Now you go on.»

«Towards evening I met a young smiling woman riding a little donkey. There was a man with Her. He asked for some milk and information. I told him what I knew… Then night fell… and a great light… and we went out… and Levi saw an angel near the pen. And the Angel said: “The Saviour is born”. It was the dead of night. And the sky was full of stars. But their light faded in the light of the Angel and of thousands and thousands of angels… (Elias still weeps remembering). And the Angel said to us: “Go and worship Him. He is in a little stable, in a manger, between two animals… You will find a little Baby wrapped in poor swaddling clothes…” Oh! How bright the Angel was when saying these words!… Do you remember, Levi, how his wings emitted flames when, after bowing to mention the Saviour, he said: “…Who is Christ the Lord”?»

«Oh! If I remember! And the voices of the thousands of angels? Oh!… “Glory to God in the Highest Heaven and peace on earth to men of goodwill!” That music is still here, in me, and it carries me to Heaven every time I hear it» and Levi raises an ecstatic face shining with tears.

«And we went» says Isaac. «Laden like pack-animals, as happy as if we were going to a wedding, and then… we were not capable of doing anything when we heard Your thin voice and Your Mother’s, and we pushed Levi, the boy, forward, that he might look. We felt like lepers near so much purity… And Levi listened and he smiled weeping and he repeated to us what he heard, with a voice so like that of a lamb, that Isaac’s sheep bleated. And Joseph came to the entrance and let us in… Oh! How tiny and beautiful You were! A flesh-coloured rosebud on coarse hay… and You were crying… Then You smiled because of the warmth of the sheepskin we offered You and of the milk we milked for You… Your first meal… Oh!… and then… and then we kissed You… You smelt of almonds and jasmine… and we could not bring ourselves to leave You…»

«In fact, you have never left Me.»

«It is true» says Jonathan. «Your face, Your voice and Your smiles remained within us… And You were growing… more and more beautiful… the world of good people came to delight in You… and the world of the wicked did not see You… Anna… Your first steps… the three Wise Men… the star.»

«Oh! What a light, that night! The world seemed to be ablaze with thousands of lights. Instead, the night of Your birth, the light was pearly and steady. Now they were dancing stars, then they were adoring stars. And from the top of a hill we saw the caravan passing and we followed it to see whether it was going to stop… And the following day the whole of Bethlehem saw the adoration of the Wise Men. 136.9 And then… Oh! Don’t let us mention the horror! Don’t let us talk about it!..» Elias turns pale remembering.

«Yes, do not tell. Silence on hatred…»

«Our greatest pain was that we no longer had You and we knew nothing about You. Not even Zacharias knew. Our last hope… And nothing more.»

«Why, Lord, did You not comfort Your servants?»

«Are you asking why, Philip? Because it was wise to do so. You can see that also Zacharias, whose spiritual formation was completed after that hour, did not want to lift the veil. Zacharias…»

«But You told us that he took care of the shepherds. So, why did he not tell them first, and then You, that you were looking for one another?»

«Zacharias was a just man, completely man. He became less man and more just during the nine months of dumbness, he improved himself in the months following the birth of John, but he became a just spirit when the refusal of God fell on his human pride. He had said: “I, a priest of God, say that the Saviour must live in Bethlehem” and God had shown to him that human judgement, even that of a priest, is a poor one, if it is not enlightened by God. Horrified by the thought: “I could have had Jesus killed because of my word” Zacharias became the just man, who is now resting awaiting Paradise. And justice taught him prudence and charity. Charity with regards to the shepherds, prudence with regard to the world, to which Christ was to be unknown. When, on our way back to our fatherland, we directed our steps towards Nazareth, with the same prudence that now guided Zacharias, we avoided Hebron and Bethlehem, and coasting the sea we went back to Galilee. Not even on the day that I became of age, was it possible to see Zacharias, who had left the day before with his son for the same ceremony.

God watched, God tested, God provided, God perfected. To have God implies restraints, not only joy. My father by love and My Mother by My soul and flesh suffered from restraints. They were forbidden also what is lawful, so that mystery might wrap the Child Messiah with a shadow. And that should clarify to many people, who do not understand it, the twofold reason for the worry when I was lost for three days. The love of a Mother, the love of a father for the lost Child; fear of the guardians for the Messiah Who might be revealed before the time; terror of having badly protected the Health of the world and the great gift of God. That is the reason for the unusual cry: “Son, why have You done this to us? See how Your father and I have been worried looking for You!” Your father, Your Mother… A veil was cast on the splendour of the Divine Incarnate. And the reassuring reply: “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be busy with My Father’s affairs?” A reply which the Full of Grace accepted and understood for what it means. That is: “Do not be afraid. I am small, a child. But if I grow, according to My human nature, in height, wisdom and grace in the eyes of men, I am the Perfect One because I am the Son of the Father and thus I know how to behave perfectly, serving the Father by making His light shine, serving God by preserving the Saviour”. And that is what I have done up to a year ago.

The time has now come. The veils are being lifted. And the Son of Joseph is showing Himself in His true nature: the Messiah of the Good News, the Saviour, the Redeemer, and the King of the future century.»[…]