Sun 24 November 2019
Luke 23: 35-43

And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.

From The Gospel as Revealed to Me by Maria Valtorta (Chapter 609.9-14):
609.9 The people, beginning with priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and the like, amuse themselves by going on a kind of roundabout, climbing the steep road, passing along the elevation at the end, and descending along the other road, or viceversa. And while they pass at the foot of the summit, on the second open space, they do not fail to offer their blasphemous words as a compliment to the Dying Victim. All the baseness, cruelty, hatred and folly, which men are capable of expressing with their tongues, is amply testified by those infernal mouths. The fiercest are the members of the Temple, with the assistance of the Pharisees.

«Well? You, the Saviour of mankind, why do You not save Yourself? Has Your king Beelzebub abandoned You? Has he disowned You?» shout three priests.

And a group of Judaeans shout: «You, Who not more than five days ago, with the help of the Demon, made the Father say… ha! ha! ha! that He would glorify You, how come You do not remind Him to keep His promise?»

And three Pharisees add: «Blasphemer! He said that He saved the others with the help of God! And He cannot save Himself! Do You want us to believe You? Then work the miracle. Hey, are You no longer able? Your hands are now nailed and You are naked.»

And some Sadducees and Herodians say to the soldiers: «Watch His witchcraft, you who have taken His garments! He has the infernal sign within Himself!»

A crowd howls in chorus: «Descend from the cross and we will believe You. You Who want to destroy the Temple… Fool!… Look at it over there, the glorious and holy Temple of Israel. It is untouchable, o profaner! And You are dying.»

Other priests say: «Blasphemous! You the Son of God? Come down from there, then. Strike us by lightning, if You are God. We are not afraid of You and we spit at You.»

Others who are passing by shake their heads saying: «He can but weep. Save Yourself, if it is true that You are the Chosen One!»

And the soldiers remark: «So, save Yourself! Burn to ashes this hell-hole of the hell-hole! Yes! You are the hell-hole of the empire, you Judaean rabble. Do so! Rome will put You on Capitol and will worship You as a god!»

The priests and their accomplices say: «The arms of women were more pleasant than those of the cross, were they not? But, look, Your… (and they utter a disgraceful word) are already there waiting to receive You. You have the whole of Jerusalem as Your matchmaker.» And they hiss like snakes.

Others throw stones shouting: «Change these into bread, since You multiply loaves.»

Others mimicking the Hosannas of Palm Sunday, throw branches and shout: «Curses on He Who comes in the name of the Demon! Cursed be His kingdom! Glory to Zion that cuts Him off the living!»

A Pharisee stands in front of the cross, he raises his hand in an indecent gesture, and says: «“I entrust You to the God of Sinai” didn’t You say 3 ? Now the God of Sinai is preparing You for the eternal fire. Why don’t You call Jonah so that he may repay Your kindness?»

Another one says: «Don’t ruin the cross with the strokes of Your head. It is to be used for Your followers. A whole legion of them will die on Your cross, I swear it on Jehovah. And Lazarus will be the first one I’ll put there. We shall see whether You free him from death, now.»

«Yes. Let us go to Lazarus. Let us nail him on the other side of the cross» and parrot-like they speak slowly as Jesus did, saying: «Lazarus, My friend, come out! Unbind him and let him go.»

«No! He used to say to Martha and Mary, His women: “I am the Resurrection and Life” Ha! Ha! Ha! The Resurrection cannot drive death back, and the Life is dying!»

609.10 «There is Mary with Martha over there. Let us ask them where Lazarus is and let us look for him.» And they come forward, towards the women, asking arrogantly: «Where is Lazarus? At his mansion?»

And while the other women, struck with terror, run behind the shepherds, Mary Magdalene comes forward, and finding in her grief the ancient boldness of her days of sin, she says: «Go. You will already find the soldiers of Rome in the mansion, with five hundred armed men of my land, and they will castrate you like old billygoats destined to feed the slaves of millstones.»

«Impudent! Is that how you speak to priests?»

«Sacrilegious! Filthy! Cursed! Turn round! On your backs, I can see them, you have tongues of infernal flames.»

Mary’s assertion sounds so certain that the cowards, who are really struck with terror, turn round; but if they have no flames on their shoulders, they have the sharp-pointed Roman lances at their backs. In fact Longinus has given an order, and the fifty soldiers, who were resting, have come into action and they prick the buttocks of the first Judaeans they find. The latter run away shouting and the soldiers stop to block the entrances to the two roads and protect the open space. The Judaeans curse, but Rome is the stronger.

The Magdalene lowers her veil again – she had raised it to speak to the revilers – and goes back to her place. The other women join her.

609.11 But the robber on the left hand side continues to insult from his cross. He seems to have summarised all the curses of the other people and he repeats them all, and ends by saying: «Save Yourself and save us, if You want people to believe You. You the Christ? You are mad! The world belongs to crafty people, and God does not exist. I do. That is true and everything is permitted to me. God?… Nonsense! Invented to keep us quiet. Long live our egos! Man’s ego alone is king and god!»

The other robber, who is on the right hand side with Mary almost near his feet, and looks at Her almost more than he looks at Jesus, and for some moments has been weeping murmuring: «My mother», says: «Be silent. Do you not fear God even now that you suffer this pain? Why do you insult He Who is good? And His torture is even greater than ours. And He has done nothing wrong.»

But the robber continues to curse.

609.12 Jesus is silent. Panting as a result of the effort He has to make by reason of His position, because of His fever and heart and breathing conditions, the consequence of the flagellation He suffered in such a violent form, and also of the deep anguish that had made Him sweat blood, He tries to find some relief by reducing the weight on His feet, pulling Himself up with His arms and hanging from His hands. Perhaps He does so also to overcome the cramp that tortures His feet and is revealed by the trembling of His muscles. But the same trembling is noticeable in the fibres of His arms, which are constrained in that position and must be frozen at their ends, because they are higher up and deprived of blood, which arrives at the wrists with difficulty and trickles from the holes of the nails, leaving the fingers without circulation. Those of the left hand in particular are already cadaveric and motionless, bent towards the palm. Also the toes of the feet show their pain, especially the big toes move up and down and open out, probably because their nerves have not been injured so seriously.

And the trunk reveals all its pain with its movement, which is fast but not deep, and tires Him without giving any relief. His ribs, wide and high as they are, because the structure of this Body is perfect, are now enlarged beyond measure, as a consequence of the position taken by the body and of the pulmonary oedema that has certainly developed inside. And yet they do not serve to relieve the effort in breathing, all the more that the abdomen with its movement helps the diaphgram, which is becoming more and more paralyzed.

And the congestion and asphyxia increase every minute, as is shown by the cyanotic colour that emphasises the lips, which the fever has made bright red, and by the red-violet streaks, which tinge the neck along the turgid jugular veins, and widen out as far as the cheeks, towards the ears and temples, while the nose is thin and bloodless, and the eyes are sunken in a circle, which is livid where no blood has trickled from the crown.

Under the left costal arch one can see the throbbing imparted by the point of the heart, an irregular but violent palpitation, and now and again, owing to an internal convulsion, the diaphragm has a deep pulsation, which is revealed by a total stretching of the skin, for what it can stretch on that poor wounded dying Body.

The Face already has the aspect we see in photographs of the Holy Shroud, with the nose diverged and swollen on one side; and the likeness is increased by the fact that the right eye is almost closed, owing to a swelling on this side. The mouth, instead is open, with the wound on the upper lip by now turned into a crust.

His thirst, caused by the loss of blood, by the fever and by the sun, must be burning, so much so that He, with automatic movements, drinks the drops of His perspiration and His tears, as well as those of blood, that run down from His forehead to His moustache, and He wets His tongue with them…

The crown of thorns prevents Him from leaning against the trunk of the cross to help the suspension on His arms and lighten the weight on His feet. His kidneys and all His spine are curved outwards, detached from the cross from His pelvis upwards, owing to force of inertia that makes a body, suspended like His, hang forward.

609.13 The Judaeans, driven beyond the open space, do not stop insulting, and the unrepentant robber echoes their insults.

The other one, who now looks at the Mother with deeper and deeper compassion, and weeps, answers him back sharply, when he hears that She also is included in the insult. «Be silent. Remember that you were born of a woman. And consider that our mothers have wept because of their sons. And they were tears of shame… because we are criminals. Our mothers are dead… I would like to ask mine to forgive me… But shall I be able? She was a holy woman… I killed her with the sorrow I gave her… I am a sinner… Who will forgive me? Mother, in the name of Your dying Son, pray for me.»

The Mother for a moment raises Her tortured face and looks at him, the poor wretch who through the remembrance of his mother and the contemplation of the Mother moves towards repentance, and She seems to caress him with Her kind gentle eyes.

Disma weeps louder, which raises even more the mockery of the crowd and of his companion. The former shout: «Very well. Take Her as your mother. So She will have two criminal sons!» The latter aggravates the situation saying: «She loves you because you are a smaller copy of Her darling.»

609.14 Jesus speaks for the first time: «Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing!»

This prayer overcomes all fear in Disma. He dares to look at the Christ and says: «Lord, remember me when You are in Your Kingdom. It is just that I should suffer. But give me mercy and peace hereafter. I heard You speak once and I foolishly rejected Your word. I now repent. And I repent of my sins before You, the Son of the Most High. I believe that You come from God. I believe in Your power. I believe in Your mercy. Christ, forgive me in the name of Your Mother and of Your Most Holy Father.»

Jesus turns round and looks at him with deep compassion, and He smiles a still beautiful smile with His poor tortured lips. He says: «I tell you: today you will be with Me in Paradise.»

The repentant robber calms down, and as he no longer remembers the prayers he learned when a child, he repeats as a litany: «Jesus Nazarene, king of the Jews, have mercy on me; Jesus Nazarene, king of the Jews, I hope in You; Jesus Nazarene, king of the Jesus, I believe in Your Divinity.»

The other robber continues cursing.