W H A T
M A N ?
– From the Mystical Revelations of Maria Valtorta –
[Sept. 2, 1944]4
Man's Animal and Spiritual Nature
What is man? He is the creature whom God wanted to be formed from an animal flesh and a spiritual soul. Thus he has in himself an animal nature and a spiritual nature.
The part that has the animal nature is made to the physical image and likeness of the first created [man], who is also the first father of men.
The part that has the spiritual nature is made to the image and likeness of his Uncreated Creator, Who is the Purest Spirit of infinite perfections: of infinite Beauty, Wisdom, Goodness, Will, Power, Charity, Liberty, and Eternity. The soul is beautiful, as are all things that come forth from the creative Thought of God. Then when Grace is in the soul, she is more beautiful than all the beauty of creation, more than the stars and planets. She is beautiful, rich with divine gifts, luminous with supernatural intelligence, on fire with supernatural love, moved by a supernatural will. And, like God, she is spiritual, immortal, free.
Man, a rational creature, spontaneously loves his father and mother who have given him life. If he has lost them, he remembers them and hopes in the future life that will reunite him to them. If he does not remember their features because he was orphaned too soon, he seeks their likeness in himself to give him a vision, even if confused, of what they were, gathering as much news about them as he can in order to know them at least a little.
Man, a creature not only rational but also spiritual,
loves his Most Holy Father Who has given him the life of his soul and a
likeness to Himself. To this distant Father Whose Essence is
incomprehensible Mystery, man directs the light of his intellect and the
throbbing of his heart, and desires to know Him. He hopes and invokes
His divine help so that this Father may aid man to know Him and love Him.
Nor does God disappoint him, because God Himself wants this, and for
this reason He has formed man with infinite wisdom: to love Him
and serve Him in this, man's [earthly] day, in order afterward to enjoy
God in eternity, in Heaven, fashioned for the joy of His faithful
children—unless man does not want to do so from a spirit of obstinate
injustice and to cause pain, and thus denies at the same time the words
of inspired writers defined by the Church as saints.
These helps, given universally and individually by Infinite Love, are enjoyed—although in different measures—by primitives, by those belonging to different religions, as well as by the living members of the One true Church. These helps are:
[First]: faith, instinctive in savages, conscious in the faithful of any religion or church, supernatural in Christians of the holy Sheepfold of the true Shepherd. That faith incites the first [group, the primitives] to search for this unknown deity whose evidence they see in themselves and in whatever surrounds them. Faith brings the second [group of various religions] to accomplish acts of worship to honor the deity, as also to obedience of a moral code already much more complete than that natural law which is the rule for the primitive. Faith makes the third [group, members of the true Church] live in the Law which is the divine Word that leads to a supernaturalized life.
[Second]: hope, a common hope in a future reward granted to whoever has loved and practiced the good, fleeing whatever is evil.
[Third]: charity, without which there would be neither faith nor hope nor the possibility of following the divine law, or at least that natural [law] which it is not wrong to define as: an indelible memory, an undying echo of the supernatural law given by God to His children of adoption. Thus by living according to the spirit of the first end for which they were created—to know, love and serve the Lord—they can gain their last end: the beatific vision of God in the Kingdom of Glory. The fact that every man has been predestined to Grace cannot be denied, unless one wants to deny the teaching of the Church. And that every man has an angel who sees and knows God, and who develops his ministry in charity near his charge—this, too, cannot be denied: because the Church teaches it, gathering and making its own the testimony of the Divine Master [Matt 13:10].
All the helps contemplated up to this point are the fruit
of [Divine] Love, because all that comes from God is Love. Creation is
love, the Law is love, the Incarnation is love, and the Redemption is
love. The Spirit of God is love. And everything made by Him is made out
of love. His every will is moved and aroused by love.
The Church too is a work of love. And like God, she is moved by love, and her every action is the fruit of love, because her soul is Eternal Love. He [Eternal Love] gladdens the Church Triumphant, to which He gives Himself with no more limitation or mystery. He inspires, instructs and sanctifies the teaching and learning Church Militant, being the origin of all those movements which have their root and end in the supernatural. He [Eternal Love] kindles the fires of the Church suffering, so that souls may be purified in that Love in order to rise to the eternal Kingdom.
And Infinite Love, Who willed the annihilation of the Word in [human] flesh—[i.e.,] His Passion and His Death—in order to restore the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men and to reopen the heavenly Kingdom to Its heirs: He, Infinite Love, could not have left without His help these, His children of adoption.
And Incarnate Love, Who said: "I will draw all to Me" [Jn 12:32], showing how the One and Triune Charity wanted by every means to draw to Himself every creature endowed with a soul and reason and which, willingly and unchangeably, would not sell itself to the Evil One. He could not leave without His help these His creatures through which He assumed human nature and suffered death.
And the Paraclete-Love, of Whom it is said by the Word of God "that He will teach every truth," and that "He will glorify the Word," [Jn 16:13-14]—[the Paraclete] cannot leave without His quiet, continual, mysterious instruction, the spirits of men through whom the Son of God gave all of Himself, God and Man, so that the Father would be glorified. Thus [the Son] receives from eternity all from the Father in view of and as a reward of His Perfection as Man—besides [His Perfection] as God—for His obedience and charity pushed even to His immolation, so that as many as had believed in His Word and welcomed Him, would have divine sonship and eternal Life.
The Holy Spirit, Who is Love, works untiringly in announcing the truth, bringing light, infusing charity, guiding those who are docile in following the movements toward holiness which He stirs up in souls, so that the desire of the Father does not remain unsatisfied, and the Sacrifice of the Son has fruit proportionate to its merit: an endless people of Saints around the throne of the Lamb singing with hosannas the eternal Alleluia to the Victor and to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
For this reason, and so that all this may be accomplished, God has left in the soul a mysterious faculty, commonly called "conscience,” which speaks, admonishes, urges to the Good and restrains one from Evil. For conscience is the law which God has traced on the incorruptible pages of the soul, because it is the divine will that man remember his origin from God and his end: God. This is an act of infinite charity and justice.
Out of justice, God left the consequences of Adam's Fault in him, and the heritage of those consequences in his descendents. Had Adam remained innocent, he would have forever enjoyed God's gratuitous gifts, and his descendents would have inherited from him grace, innocence, integrity, immortality, immunity and knowledge, because the father transmits what is his to his heirs.
Adam sinned, willingly taking the garment of guilt, and he transmitted such a garment to his descendents in the flesh.
But God's plan to give His Kingdom and the bliss of the
divine vision to Adam and to his children, He did not change.
And see how God, unable out of justice to leave the life of Grace in those who had fallen, in order to counter the incitements resulting from Original Sin, left in [Adam’s children] spiritual urges or memories which arouse the desire for God, the Supreme Good, that was lost by only one man’s Fault—urges to live justly, in order to succeed in winning again that Good.
See too how, thanks to this instinctive memory in the soul of its origin from God, man's intellect feels impelled to search for God, for knowledge of Him and the law of the good that is His—not through vain curiosity or cold scientific investigation, but through a pure impulse of love.
Love passes by successive degrees [from the lowest] to an infused love: from the confused craving of the primitive, to that awareness of one who responds with love to [Eternal] Love, and forms himself fully in love by loving with that charity which Jesus gave as the first and greatest commandment, and in the measure indicated by Him: "Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself" [Mk 12:29-31]. This he does in order to have God in himself and to be in God, thus wanting to overcome the voices of the flesh and the temptations of evil. For where God is, the Adversary is not, and every other voice is overpowered which is not of [man's] spirit indwelt by God. "We know that he who is born of God does not sin; but the divine generation keeps him and the Evil one does not touch him. We know we are of God. We know that the Son of God has come and given us understanding to know the true God and to be in His true Son," says the Apostle of love [1 Jn 5:18-20].
He who loves God does not sin, being born through His Spirit. He has welcomed love into himself, and Love makes in him a new creation: that of a divinized creature. Through the Son of God we have had a way to love and know the true God and to be in His true Son, being strengthened even to the perfection that gives eternal life, the fruits of all the gifts that God has given us so that we would inherit the Kingdom.
O infinite Charity that disposes all so that the exile of
your children is less hard, and also less hard the conquest of
Heaven—the attainment of the Supreme Good: seeing You as You are,
that You may be blessed by every creature who has reason. And that You
may be blessed threefold, sevenfold, a thousand and ten thousand times
by those who through Grace, that is, still through Your Word, have been
raised from the natural human order to the supernatural order, and
already have by anticipation a foretaste of the future joy, which is
knowledge of You and the capacity to love You without any limits.
What are the Saints? I speak of those still living among men. They are precisely those who know how to live supernaturally, leaving no gift of God inactive, having purified their souls with the obedience of love [1 Pet 1:22] to every command of the Law and of the Church, "growing in health by nourishing themselves only with sincere spiritual milk" [1 Pet 2:2], allowing themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, knowing by faith that His every inspiration is good and able to be realized since He, in His infinite charity, cannot stir up desires that cannot be realized, or promises that could become a cause of harm for a creature unable to keep them.
"Alive" through Jesus Christ, they [the saints] want to be "alive" in Christ's way as God. Hence at the beginning of their action they ask themselves: "Would Jesus, my only and adored Master, have done that? And how would He have done it?" And in the light of the Spirit they undertake the action, bringing it to completion according to the example of their Divine Model.
Again, not satisfied with living for Jesus and as Jesus, they want to live the same life of Jesus, the Man-God, Who lived in perfect obedience. Being obedient as Word and as Man to the Will of His Father, He lived obedient to the Law of Sinai of which He changed not one iota, and was obedient to His supposed father and His Blessed Mother, under whose tutelage He remained—He Who was their Lord—and grew in wisdom and favor, in perfect charity. Assuming flesh in order to suffer the death of a cross, after having suffered during life all that comprises man's suffering: poverty, fatigue, misunderstanding, persecutions, the desertions of His disciples, the betrayal of His Apostle, the three-fold denial of Peter, the hatred of His People rioting at the foot of His Cross, [He grew] in the perfection of every virtue to the point of being able to say as Man to men: "I have given you the example. Imitate Me, and you will become perfect as My Father and yours Who is in Heaven."
As Christ lived, so does He want the saint to live: in perfect obedience to God, to the Law of God, to the Church, His Spouse. In perfect charity, by loving God as His perfection merits, and [by loving] his brothers, even if they have for him the spirit of Judas and return hatred to him for [his] love; and by loving them even to giving his life for them, in the heroic perfection of virtue, in order to be able by his example to say to them—these poor imperfect brothers—what that life is which leads to peace, to Life, to supernatural and eternal joy.
The saint lives the life of Jesus and becomes another Christ, as Paul says [Gal 2:20]. The will of Jesus wills in him, the desires of Jesus are stirred in him, the prayers of Jesus implore in him, the charity of Jesus flames up in him, the wisdom of Jesus speaks in him, the virtues of Jesus are in him, the sacrifice of Jesus wants to be suffered again by him.
And the heavenly Father, looking at this faithful servant of His, sees His Christ Who wills and desires, Who prays, Who loves, Who speaks, shouting, “Father” and says, “I must be baptized with a baptism, and how constrained I am until it is accomplished!” [Lk 12:49] And the saint implores: "I want to be immolated like Christ, nor will I be content until my immolation is accomplished like that of Christ."
And the Father lifts [these saints] up very high on their cross so that the world may see them as a light which guides it to God; so that the world may hear their words, alive with faith, hope, charity, descending from their scaffold—which is a glorious altar—to awake the sleeping, to shake up sinners, to answer those who deny God, saying: "Father! Forgive them and do not abandon them! Father, into Your hands I entrust their spirits" [cf Lk 23:34; 23:46].
"Father": the word which speaks faith in the being and the fatherhood of God.
"Forgive, and do not abandon them": the word of charity.
"Into Your hands I entrust their spirits": the word of hope in the infinite mercy of God.
The saints pray for all Humanity, and the hand of God weighs heavy upon them as it weighed upon Christ so that He would be the Redeemer.
They suffer for all. But they do not complain, because they know that the strictness and pain given them by God are the veil that Justice puts in front of the ardent love of the Father which already assails them so that it may not consume them in a joyous rapture, while all their part of the passion must be suffered in pain to be meritorious.
The saints love for all—for all of Humanity which hardly knows how to love anymore, does not know how to believe or hope anymore, and [so] despairs. It feels itself abandoned for its iniquity, but does not know how to say the word which would open for it the rivers of the Father's mercy, of forgiveness, of individual and collective peace—the word: "Father!"
But the saints know how to say it, and they say it for
all. They are able to say it since they are one with Christ and, hence,
one with the Heavenly Father. And being already members of the eternal
Kingdom, they serve the Kingdom and [serve] for the Kingdom of God in
the way that God wants them to, and according to the gifts they have
received, working differently but united in their origin and aim:
the Spirit of God and the common good, as Paul says in the First
[Letter] to the Corinthians [12:27-28].
The Gifts of the Spirit
Thus, there is one who comprehends wisdom and who teaches it, not so much from having learned it by study and according to the letter, but by having received it from the Holy Spirit, with the faculty in his own spirit of understanding it. And there is one who heals and does miracles, and one who discerns spirits, and one who prophesies the future, and one who understands the mystery of the ancient prophecies. And there is one who has revelations about future times and those of the last times, and one who speaks all kinds of tongues, and one who interprets them. And there is one who is in ecstasy with his spirit in God, and contemplates and hears hidden things and words which cannot be repeated except in figures, and which another—sometimes centuries later and at the moment established by God—interprets without error, either through direct or indirect revelation.
To contemplate, to hear the Word Who fills the sensible universe and the spiritual Heaven, and Who can do whatever He wills: drawing worlds from nothing, sinners from the abyss, the saints from earth to Heaven, so that these [saints] may have an anticipation of the future Life as a reward of their present perfection: [the saints] having become lovers of what is a scandal to the Jews and foolishness for the gentiles—that is, of Christ crucified—they want to complete in their flesh whatever is still lacking to the Passion of Christ—not because it is incomplete, but because the great love of Christ for His true imitators grants them to be able to imitate Him even in this: by consigning their own life to death in order to restore life to those dead in spirit. And this is the perfection of charity. There is nothing greater. It is the gospel perfection lived in the spirit of the Gospel. To strip oneself of even the riches of health and life, to impose on oneself the yoke of Christ—not only the sweet yoke of His teaching, but that most bitter yoke of His cross: to be the grain of wheat which dies in order to give much fruit.
We bless You, O Lord, for what Your Spirit anticipates
for Your saints "of that which You have prepared for him who waits for
You, O Most High, Who go to meet him who practices justice with joy;
in Your ways these remember You, because You are our Father" [Is
The Soul of Mary Remembers God
What is Mary? [She is] the all beautiful, the all-Grace. Upon Her the One and Triune Divinity has poured out the abundance of His gifts, to make of Her His Dwelling. [She is] immaculate, in view of Her future mission as Mother of God and Co-Redemptrix. Holy from Her birth with a holiness which finds no comparison with that of any other saint, with Her eager will she grew in holiness throughout all Her life, mounting to Heaven to be Queen there, adorned with a holiness superior to that of all the Saints taken together.
Beloved daughter of the Father, predestined Mother of the Son, dearly beloved Spouse of the Holy Spirit, living Tabernacle of the Divine Three and but one thing with Their Unity in order to give flesh to the Uncreated Word, last of the Prophetesses of the Old Testament, first of the mystic adorers of the Word made Flesh, from the first beatings of Her heart indwelt by God and, hence, full of His Wisdom, she intones in Her spirit the first verse of the Magnificat which will later gush fully from Her when the Son will already be throbbing in Her womb.
Two notes dominate the eternal canticle of Mary: one of praise, one of obedience. And thus both notes are notes of love: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit exults in God, my Savior. Behold Your handmaid, O Lord, be it done to me according to Your word" [Lk 1:46, 38].
And again she sings: "Let the heavens be opened and the Savior descend" [cf. Is 64:1].
All the sighs of the patriarchs and prophets are echoed in Her Heart full of Grace and Charity.
She is indeed the new Eve, just as Her Son will be the new Adam, the Firstborn. She is the holy Eve. The guilty Eve reaped the horrible voices of haughtiness, rebellion, and lying. She, the Most Pure, the Most Loved, the Most Humble, reaps all the voices of the just scattered throughout the centuries of waiting, and raises them up and offers them to the Most High, because she is the Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of those who are redeemed. She is already the Mother and Mediatrix by the eternal will of God, and with the words of the Psalmist, and even more with the shouts of Her love, she sings the "beautiful song that gushes from Her heart," saying: "As the hart pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God. My soul thirsts for You. When can I present myself to You?" [Ps. 41(42): 1-2] "For You I watch from my first light. I remember You in my rest, I meditate on You in my vigils [Ps 62]. I seek God, stretching my hands out to Him untiringly. I remember God and I am comforted. I think of the days of old; I keep in mind the eternal years. I remember the works of the Lord; I remember His marvels. O God turn toward us, give us Life. Your salvation now is near. You have said it: 'My mercy will be eternally lifted up in the heavens.' Send the Savior out of pity for Your children. Send Him Who is the most beautiful among the sons of men, on Whose lips Grace is poured out, because God His Father has blessed Him forever."
And from the opened Heavens the Voice of God came down: "Listen, O daughter, and look, lend your ear. The King is enamored with your beauty which is all within. All generations and peoples will remember your name, they will praise you forever. Come, hasten, O My beloved, O soul of Mine, O all beautiful one, My hidden dove, arise and come. Arise and come, because with but one of your looks you have conquered My Love. Come, come O My garden of aromas, fountain sealed from which I will draw My honey and My milk, My eternal sweetness."
This is Mary: Living immortal in the incandescent bosom of the One and Triune Love.
This is Mary: blazing altar in which was gathered all the majesty of the Lord.
God in Mary and Mary in God eternally, just as for nine months the Divine Son would have been in Her womb.
This is Mary. If Infinite Justice has granted to every man a memory of Himself, if Infinite Charity has granted to the saints still living the revelation through His Spirit of even the depths of God [ I Cor. 2], of the things that He prepares for one who walks in the ways of the Lord: will He not have given much more to Her who is the Saint of Saints? —This Woman who, by not sinning, was never subject to the loss of Grace? But rather, [being] “Full of Grace” in order to bring forth to the world, not a ray of light, but the Ocean of Light she had in Herself, and saw all within that Ocean of Light—will He not have given much more to Her, preordained to be the "Godbearer", and by divine decree divinized at birth, as no other ever was who is born of woman by man’s will, or regenerated through faith in Christ and in grace?
And is it then not permitted to say that "the soul of Mary, Her intellect, Her heart, remembered God, knew by direct revelation whatever the Lord was pleased to reveal to Her, and that [Her faculties] thus loved with a love that was an absolute union between the Creator and the creature"?
Or more briefly: "The most glorious Virgin, by a singular privilege, continually and always loved God actively." [St. Bernardine of Bustis]
Mary, sanctified even from the womb of Her mother by Her singular condition had, together with Grace, supernatural gifts, and the preternatural gifts of knowledge, integrity and immortality like Her First Parents—with a single exception of immunity from moral suffering since She was to be the Co-Redemptrix—and She had the natural gifts. [Hence], She had a trinity of supernatural, preternatural and natural gifts, which made of Mary a perfect creature.
If one considers that God always dwelt in Her and that, by Mary's approaching Elizabeth while the Word became flesh in her womb, the Baptist was [thereby] sanctified and thus, in the common tradition of the Fathers, he had the use of reason from that moment: could one think that, as St. Bernard says, such a gift had been denied to Mary, [who was] holy through a singular privilege of Her conception? And having the use of a perfect reason because She was immune from the damages of [Original] Sin, and [having] a perfect conscience for these same reasons, and an immaculate purity in which the Eternal was pleased to be mirrored—could She ever be deprived, then, of the memory of God, as a very vivid Presence?
— NOTES —
1. More fully: NOTES estratte da L'Evangelo di Maria Valtorta,
[NOTES extracted from the Gospel of Maria Valtorta], Centro
Editoriale Valtortiano, srl (Viale Piscicelli, 03036 Isola del Liri,