T H E
"Your Adversary prowls around...
Seeking someone to devour."
– From the Mystical Revelations of Maria Valtorta –
– INTRODUCTORY NOTE –
THE CIRCUS! --The very word excites the sleeping child within us, stirs the memories of thrills we've known in the "Big Top": the crazy clowns and their antics, the athletic performers, the high-wire and trapeze artists. But most of all the dangerous wild animals put through their tricks: the lions, the tigers, the leopards -- arousing in us that secret, perverse, thrill at the peril for the trainer surrounded by the big cats, should they choose another course of action than what the trainer's commands!
With its varied attractions, the Circus dates back to the antiquity of pre-Christian Roman times. And the spectacles of the "Big Top" that thrill us today derive from those that thrilled the Roman crowds in the great amphitheaters and Coliseums. Indeed, the word "Circus" comes from the Latin (Roman) circus: the "circuit" round which racing chariots were driven as one of its featured attractions, along with its performers, its athletes, its games and -- yes: the secret thrill of its wild animals too. Only then the wild animals had a rather different role for the thrill of the roaring crowds: instead of being put through their tricks, they were released, enraged by hunger, into the arena to feed on the prey provided.
And what better prey to feed the bloodlust of the emperors and the insatiable crowds than human prey? And at the dawn of the Christian era, what more suitable human prey than the Christians: heretics who disturbed the fatherland, overthrowing the great Roman pantheon of the gods with their heresy of but one God and His Christ? Indeed, it seems the Roman producers of the Circus at times outdid themselves in devising entertainments, in some cases using the animals to mimic and mock the Paradise in which the Christians believed man began on earth -- though his relationship there with the wild animals was a bit different than in the Circus.
The document presented here depicts the preludes and aftermath of such Circuses for the Christians featured in them, leaving largely to the reader's imagination the "thrills" for the crowds that must have preceded. It is a translation of two separate Visions from the mystical Revelations of the great contemporairy Italian mystic, Maria Valtorta, acclaimed by the theologian/mariologist, Gabriel Roschini, OSM, as among the 18 greatest mystics of the Church.
Valtorta, who died in 1961, was given these Visions in 1946 by Christ for His Church of today. In this presentation, these Visions are followed by a three-fold Commentary Dictated subsequently to Valtorta on the Conquests of the Martyrs. The complete document therefore is in 3 Parts:
I ) The Martyrs and Their Conquests: Part I
II ) The Martyrs and Their Conquests: Part II
III ) Three-fold Commentary of Christ on the Conquests of the Martyrs
The blood of the Martyrs has always been the seed of new life in the Church, and in our day it seems a new era of Christian persecution and martyrdom is at hand. If, as its Divine Author intended, the material presented here helps to instill the courage of the early martyrs in those called to give their life for Christ today, and to nurture that seed of life in the Church of our day, its purpose will have been served.
To Part I