P A R A B L E
O F T H E
P E A R L
– From the Mystical Revelations of Maria Valtorta –
– INTRODUCTION –
Narrative Theology is very much in vogue today. Theologians and teachers are rediscovering the importance of the story in the pedagogy of man's spirit. Storytelling is that instinctive form of wisdom-teaching that pervades Scripture and, indeed, much of the ancient wisdom literature which man down the ages has handed on to his children, and to his children's children. One of the principal forms of this narrative pedgogy from ancient times is the Parable. Traditionally, the Parable conveys its central point of wisdom through multiple images or characters, each with a symbolic meaning relative to the Parable's central teaching.
In her masterwork The Poem of the Man-God,1 the great modern Italian mystic, Maria Valtorta has also handed on to us, at the cost of intense labor and suffering, a consummate example of Narrative Theology "produced and directed," as she often insists, by THE Narrative Theologian and Master Storyteller: Christ Himself. Through Valtorta's "eye-witness" accounts, the Poem's "video-replay" of Christ's life from the Gospels is fleshed out, so to speak, enabling us to hear and even "see" the Master telling His parables. These are not only more ample and probably original versions of the Parables recorded in the Gospels, but in the Poem we hear many other beautiful parables created with the naturalness and ease that only the Master of parables could have. And we hear Him interpret them according to His exegetical method for the Parable of the Sower recorded in the Gospels2, a method He there implied was the key to understanding all the parables.3
Besides her great masterwork of The Poem..., Valtorta also bequeathed us many other Visions and Dictations which she always insists were given her directly by Christ. These are collected mainly in three volumes which she called her "Quaderni" (Notebooks), for the years 1943, 1944, and 1945-1950. In these additional Revelations, we find other beautiful parables expounded and exegeted by Christ: among these, the Parable of the Pearl being presented here. This brief Parable and Christ's exegesis of it, was taken from Valtorta's I Quaderni del 1943 4 ["The Notebooks of 1943"], and was translated especially for this Web site. May it be for Valtorta's readers, as it was for her, the inspiring instruction on the soul and the Kingdom that the Master intended it to be.
"My soul5, listen to the parable of the Pearl:
A grain of sand moved by the waves of the sea, was swallowed by the valves of a mollusk; a coarse and despicable little stone, a minuscule fragment of rock, a splinter of pumice: all things which do not even merit man's glance.
That grain of sand thus swallowed certainly felt regret, at first, for the boundless meadows of the sea where it had rolled around, free, under the thrust of the currents, and where it saw so many beautiful things created by My Father. But after some time, there formed around the coarse and rough little grain, a white film: ever more beautiful, more hardened, more regular. And now the little stone has no more regret over its former wild freedom, but blesses the moment in which it was thrown down -- by a will higher than its own intentions -- between the valves of that mollusk. If the little grain could speak, it would say: 'Blessed be that moment in which I lost my freedom! Blessed be the force which has taken away my liberty and made of me -- who was poor and brutish -- a precious pearl.'
The soul, with its coarse nature, is such a little stone. It bears the sign of its Divine creation, but reduced so badly by its downward tumble, that it has become ever more rough and more gray. Grace, like a Heavenly current, thrusts it through the limitless spaces of the universe toward the Heart of God, open to receive His creatures. Your God stands with Heart open desiring you, poor creatures.
But often you resist the currents of grace and the invitation of God who desires to close you up in His Heart. You believe that you are happier, more free, more masters of yourselves by remaining outside. No, My poor sons. Happiness, freedom, mastership, are within the Heart of God. Outside are the ambushes of the flesh, the world, of Satan.
You believe you have freedom, but you are tied like [galley] slaves to the oar. You believe you are happy, but cares -- these alone -- are already unhappiness. And then there is all the rest. You believe you are masters, but you are servants of all: servants of yourselves in your lower part; and no joy comes of it for you, even if you work to give yourselves joy.
I give joy because I give Peace, because I give continence, because I give resignation, patience, every virtue. Blessed those souls who do not make too stiff an opposition to the grace that thrusts them toward Me. And most blessed those who not only let themselves be brought to Me, but come to Me with the anxiousness of their desire to be swallowed by My Heart. My Heart rejects no one for the meanness and coarseness that he is. It welcomes all, and the more miserable you are -- but at the same time convinced that I can make you beautiful -- the more I work your meanness, re-clothing it with a new, precious, pure garment. My merits and My Love perform the metamorphosis. You enter, creatures, and go forth to the light of the Day of God, most precious pearls.
The soul at times has regrets about its former freedom. Especially at first, since My work is severe even under the garment of love. But the more willing the soul is, the more quickly also does it understand. The more the soul renounces every desire of false freedom and prefers the royal slavery of Love, so much the more quickly also does it taste the bliss of its imprisonment in Me and hastens the sanctifying prodigy of Love.
The world loses all attraction for that happy soul which lives closed up in Me like a pearl in a jewel-case. All the riches of the earth, all its fleeting suns, all its insincere joys and pseudo-freedoms lose their lights and voices, and there remains only the will -- always more vast and deep -- of Our reciprocal Love, of Our wanting to be one for the other, one in the other, one of the other.
Oh! too little known bliss of all blisses: to live with Me who know how to Love! For if Peter exclaimed on Tabor at only seeing Me transfigured: 'Lord, it is good for us to stay here,' what would the soul say that is itself transfigured, becoming a molecule of My Heart of a God?
But think, Maria: who lives in Me, becomes part of Me. You understand? Of Me, Jesus, Son of the true God, Wisdom of the Father, Redeemer of the world, eternal Judge and King of the future age, King forever. All this the soul becomes that has sunk into My Heart; an integral and living part of the Heart of a God, it will Live eternally like God in the Light, in the Pearl, in the Glory of My Divinity. "
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N O T E S
1. Maria Valtorta, The Poem of the Man-God, trans., Nicandro Picozzi and Patrick McLaughlin (Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, 1986-1990), 5 Volumes, hardbound, $35.00 U.S. Distributed in select bookstores in the U.S. and by Valtorta Publishing Company in Rochester, New York: for On-Line ordering of The Poem and other available Valtorta writings, see their Valtorta Publishing Company [Site No.1] for mail or telephone orders, go to their Valtorta Publishing Company [Site No.2]. In Canada, distributed by Saint Raphael's Publications Inc., 31 King St. W., Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, JIH IN5. [It should be noted that the new Italian edition of The Poem... will revert back to its original title: The Gospel as it was Revealed to Me.]
2. Matthew 13:18-23, 37-43.
3. Mark 4:13-20. Most
scripture scholars and theologians today, led by modernism's hyper-rationalism,
usually pontificate the view that the Gospel parables contain only one central
point or meaning. Hence no additional "allegorical" [--read: "symbolic"]
meanings should be attributed to or sought in the Parable's individual elements.
Contrary to this erroneous viewpoint, the traditional parable's individual images or personages most often carried their own individual symbolic meanings in support of the central point taught by the parable. This is verified by the majority of Patristic and Liturgical interpretations, and above all by Christ's own exegesis of His parable of the Sower (cf. Notes 3 & 4 above). Clearly this is an embarrassing refutation from the very Gospel itself of the "single point" dogma pontificated by modern scholars.
Not to worry. Modern scholars deftly dodge this obvious Gospel refutation by the subterfuge of another authoritarian dogma: they declare that Christ's seeming point by point exegesis of the Sower Parable is, in fact, a post-ascension composition of the early Church, "ghost written" for Christ by the evangelists and placed in His mouth when they wrote the Gospels. In other words, the exegesis of the Sower Parable in the Gospel does not represent Christ's very own words ("ipsissima verba").
This neo-modernist assertion flies in the face of the entire Patristic and Liturgical Tradition of the Church. It is in fact a blatant rash judgment, tantamount to accusing the evangelists and the early Church of falsification and lying deception. Modern scholars proclaim these unchallengeable "dogmas," moreover, with the very same authoritarianism of which they so readily accuse the Magisterium: a classic example of projection excoriated long ago by Christ and St. Paul (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3).
4. Maria Valtorta, I Quaderni Del 1943 (Edizioni Pisani / Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, Via Po 95, 03036 Isola del Liri [FR], Italia, 1985): 124-126.
5. "My soul..." -- a frequent epithet with which Christ addresses Valtorta, but at the same time each of her readers.