THE DEATH OF JOSEPH
(Vol. 1, p. 223-31 , 197) The Poem Of The Man God –
Maria Valtorta (from 5 Volume set)
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(Jesus is working at a carpentry bench, in the workshop of the house in Nazareth … ) He is by Himself. He works diligently, but peacefully… Now and again He raises His head and looks towards the southern wall, where there is a closed door, and He listens…
While He is busy making something, which I think is part of a wheel, His Mother comes in by the southern door, and rushes towards Jesus… Who caresses Her, passing His arm over Her shoulder and comforts Her
Oh! Jesus! Come, come. He is very ill! These words are uttered with trembling lips and tears shining in Her reddened and tired eyes. Jesus says only: Mother! but that word means everything. He leaves His work, takes His apron off and goes out with Her.
They go into the adjoining room, full of bright sunshine coming from a door which opens onto the little kitchen garden … There is a low bed, covered with small mattresses… On it, leaning on many cushions, is Joseph. He is dying. This is obvious from the livid paleness of his face, his lifeless eyes, his panting chest, and the total relaxation of all his body.
Mary goes to his left-hand side, takes his wrinkled hand now livid near its nails, rubs it, caresses it, and kisses it. With a small piece of cloth She dries the perspiration that forms shiny lines at his temples; She wipes a glassy tear in the corner of his eye; She moistens his lips with a piece of linen dipped into a liquid …
Jesus goes to his right-hand side. Quickly and carefully He lifts the sunken body and straightens him onto the cushions, which He and Mary then adjust. He caresses the forehead of the dying man, and endeavours to encourage him.
Mary is weeping softly, without any noise. Large tears run down·Her pale cheeks to Her dark blue dress, and they look like bright sapphires.
Joseph recovers somewhat, and stares at Jesus. He takes His hand as if he wanted to say something, but also to receive strength, for the last trial, from the divine contact. Jesus bends over that hand and kisses it. Joseph smiles. He then turns around, looks for Mary, and smiles at Her. Mary kneels down near the bed, endeavouring to smile. But She does not succeed, and She bends Her head. Joseph lays his hand on Her head, with a chaste caress that looks like a blessing …
Jesus goes around the bed, takes a stool and makes Mary sit on it, and once again calls Her simply: Mother He then goes back to His place, and takes Joseph’s hand into His own once again. The scene is so real , that I can’t help crying because of Mary’s pain.
Then Jesus, bending over the dying man, whispers a psalm …
“Look after me, O Lord, because I hoped in You …
In favour of his friends who live on his earth, he has accomplished all my wishes in a wonderful way I will bless the Lord Who is my advisor. The Lord is always before me. He is on my right-hand side, that I may not fall. Therefore my heart exults and my tongue rejoices, and also my body will rest in hope. Because You will not abandon my soul in the dwelling place of the dead, neither will You allow Your friend to see corruption. You will reveal the path of light to me and will fill me with joy, showing me Your face”
Joseph cheers up a little, and with a more lively look, he smiles at Jesus and presses His fingers.
Jesus replies to the smile with a smile of His own, and to the pressure on His fingers with a caress. Still bending over His attributed father, He goes on softly:
“How I love your Tabernacles, O Lord. My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. Also the sparrow has found a home and the little dove a nest for its young. I am longing for your Altars, Lord. Happy those who live in Your house happy the man who finds his strength in You. He inspired into his heart the ascents from the valley of tears to the chosen place. 0 Lord hear my prayer … 0 God, turn Your eyes and look at the face of Your Anointed”.
Joseph, sobbing, looks at Jesus, and makes an effort to speak, as if to bless Him. But he cannot. He obviously understands, but has an impediment in his speech. But he is happy, and looks at his Jesus with liveliness and trust.
“Oh! Lord” Jesus goes on.
“You have favoured Your own country, You brought back the captives of Jacob. Show us, O Lord, Your mercy, and bring us back Your Saviour.
I want to listen to what the Lord is saying to me. He will certainly speak of peace to His people for His friends, and for those who convert their hearts to Him. Yes, His saving help is near … and the glory will live in our country. Love and loyalty have now met, righteousness and peace have now embraced. Loyalty reaches up from the earth, and righteousness leans down from Heaven. Yes, the Lord Himself bestows happiness, and our soil gives its harvest. Righteousness will always precede Him, and will leave its footprints on the path”.
You have seen that hour, father, and you have worked for it. You have cooperated in the formation of this hour, and the Lord will reward you for it. I am telling you adds Jesus, wiping a tear of joy which slowly runs down Joseph’s cheek.
He then resumes:
“O Lord, remember David and all his kindness.
How he swore to the Lord: I will not enter my house, nor climb into the bed of my rest, nor allow my eyes to sleep, nor give rest to my eyelids, nor peace to my temples until I have found a place for the Lord, a home for the God of Jacob. Rise, O Lord and come to Your resting place, You and Your Ark of holiness (Mary understands, and She bursts into tears). May Your priests vest in virtue and Your devoted shout for joy. For the sake of Your servant David, do not deprive us of the face of Your Anointed. The Lord swore to David and will remain true to His word: ‘I will put on your throne the fruit of your womb’. The Lord has chosen His home … I will make a horn sprout for David, I will trim a lamp for My Anointed”.
Thank you, My father, on My behalf and on behalf of My Mother. You have been a Just father to Me, and the Eternal Father chose you as the guardian of His Christ, and of His Ark·. You have been the lamp trimmed for Him, and for the Fruit of the holy womb, you have had a loving heart. Go in peace, father. Your Widow will not be helpless. God has arranged that She must not be alone. Go peacefully to your rest. I tell You.
Mary is crying, with Her face bent down on the blankets stretched on Joseph’s body, which is now getting cold. Jesus hastens to comfort him, because he is breathing with great difficulty and his eyes are growing dim once again.
“Happy the man who fears the Lord and joyfully keeps His commandments. His righteousness will last forever. For the upright He shines like a lamp in the dark, He is merciful, tender-hearted, virtuous …
The just man will be remembered forever. His justice is eternal, and
his power will rise and become a glory”
You, father, will have that glory. I will soon come to take you, with the Patriarchs who have preceded you, to the glory which is waiting for you. May your spirit rejoice in My word.
“Who lives in the shelter of the Most High, lives under the protection of the God of Heaven” You live there, O father. “He rescued me from the snares of fowlers and from rough words. He will cover you with His wings, and under His feathers you will find shelter.
His truth will protect you like a shield, and you need not fear the terrors of night. No evil will come near you, because He ordered His angels to guard you wherever you go. They will support you on their hands, so that you may not hurt your foot against stones.
You will tread on lions and adders you will trample on savage lions and dragons. Because you have hoped in the Lord, He says to you,
O father, that He will free you and protect you. Because you have lifted your voice to Him, He will hear you, He will be with you in your last affliction, He will glorify you after this life, showing you even now His Salvation”.
And in future life, He will let you enter, because of the Saviour Who is now comforting you, and Who, very soon -oh! I repeat it, He will come very soon -hold you in His divine embrace and take you, at the head of all the Patriarchs, where the dwelling place has been prepared, for the Just man of God who was My blessed father. Go before Me, and tell the Patriarchs that the Saviour is in the world and the Kingdom of Heaven will soon be opened to them. Go, father. May My blessing accompany you.
Jesus has raised His voice to reach the heart of Joseph, who is sinking into the mists of death. His end is impending. He is panting very painfully. Mary caresses him, Jesus sits on the edge of the little bed, embraces him, and draws to Himself the dying man, who collapses, and passes away peacefully.
The scene is full of a solemn peace. Jesus lays the Patriarch down again and embraces Mary, Who at the last moment, broken-hearted, had gone near Jesus.
Those who think that Mary did not love Joseph deeply -because he was the spouse of Her soul and not of Her flesh -are mistaken. Mary did love Joseph deeply, and She devoted thirty years of faithful life to him. Joseph was Her father, Her spouse, Her brother, Her friend, and Her protector.
Now She felt as lonely as the shoot of a vine when the tree to which it is tied is cut down. It was as if Her house had been struck by thunder. It was splitting. Before, it was a unit in which the members supported one another. Now the main wall was missing. This was the first blow to the Family, and a sign of the impending parting of Her beloved Jesus.
The will of the Eternal Father, Who had asked Her to be a spouse and a Mother, was now imposing widowhood upon Her, and separation from Her Creature. But Mary utters, shedding tears, one of Her most sublime remarks: “Yes. Yes, Lord, let it be done to Me according to Your word”.
And to have enough strength for that hour, She drew close to Me… Learn, you who are crying. Learn, you who are dying. Learn, you who are living, to die. Endeavour to deserve the words I said to Joseph. They will be your peace in the struggle of death. Learn, you who are dying, to deserve to have Jesus near you, comforting you. And if you have not deserved it dare just the same, and call Me near you. I will come with My hands full of graces and consolation, My Heart full of forgiveness and love, and My lips full of words of absolution and encouragement.
Death loses its bitterness, if it takes place between My arms. Believe Me. I cannot abolish death, but I can make it sweet, for those who die trusting in Me … »
(Mary comments on the family life of Jesus … )
He works miracles in the humility of a common life … He works them in Joseph, opening his spirit to the light of such a sublime truth, which he could not understand by himself, although he was just. And after Me, Joseph is the most blessed, by this shower of divine gifts.
Consider how much progress he makes -I mean spiritual progress from the moment he comes into My house, to the moment of the flight into Egypt. At the beginning, he was but a just man of his times. Then by successive steps, he becomes the just man of Christian times. He acquires faith in Christ, and he relies so securely on that faith, that from the sentence he pronounced at the beginning of the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem: “What shall we do?” -a sentence which reveals the whole man with his human fears and his human worries he passes on to hope. In the grotto, before the birth, he says: “It will be better tomorrow”. Jesus, Who is approaching, already fortifies him with this hope, which is one of the most magnificent gifts of God. And from this hope, when he is sanctified by the contact with Jesus, he progresses on to daring. He always wanted to be guided by Me, because of the venerable respect he felt for Me. Now he manages himself in both spiritual and material matters, and as head of the Family, he decides when there is a decision to be taken. In the painful hour of our flight, and after months of union with the Divine Son had filled him with holiness, it is he who comforts My affliction and says to Me: “Even if we should have nothing else, we shall always have everything, because we shall have Him”.
It is enough if you say with Joseph: “If Jesus is left with me, I have everything.” And we will come with heavenly gifts to comfort your spirits.
Many think that I did not suffer as a human being, when the holy glance of the guardian of our home was extinguished by death. I was God, and as such I was aware of the happy destiny of Joseph. Consequently I was not sorry for his death, because after a short time in Limbo, I was going to open Heaven to him. As a Man I cried bitterly, in the house now empty and deprived of his presence. I cried over My dead friend. And should I not have cried over My holy friend -on whose chest I had slept when I was a little boy, and from whom I had received so much love, in so many years?