The Gospel as revealed to me

Jesus says:
"That Work is Me.
It is not only I who say it and illustrate it, but it is I who live it,
I, presenting myself as I was in my mortal days..."

The Notebooks 1945 - 1950, February 18, 1947

The main work, among the writings of Maria Valtorta, is published in ten volumes under the title: The Gospel as it was revealed to me.

It narrates the birth and childhood of the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, the three years of Jesus' public life (which constitute the amplest part of the work), His passion, death, resurrection and ascension, the beginnings of the Church and the assumption of Mary.

Literally elevated, the work describes landscapes, environments, people, events, with the vividness of a representation; it outlines characters and situations with introspective skill; it exposes joys and dramas with the feeling of those who really participate in them; informs about environmental characteristics, customs, rites, cultures, with impeccable details. Through the compelling story of the Redeemer's earthly life, rich in speeches and dialogues, it illustrates the whole doctrine of Christianity in conformity with Catholic orthodoxy.

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Thirteen years ago I sealed you under the weight of infirmity, breaking word and activity.
You had to save with pain for years.
Then I made you a fountain to save with the Word. I made you a "spokesperson".
Today, my hidden violet, I authorise you to dispose of the things heard and seen.
With prudence, without avarice, with holiness and for a holy purpose.

The Notebooks 1945 - 1950, December 18, 1947

The writing of the work

Maria Valtorta wrote this work from 1944 to 1947. Some of the latest episodes are from 1951.

She did not always proceed according to the narrative order. Sometimes, for contingent spiritual needs, she had to write one or more episodes outside the plot, and later Jesus Himself indicated where they should be inserted. Despite the sporadic discontinuity in the drafting and despite the absolute lack of preparatory schemes, both written and mental, the work has a perfectly organic structure from start to finish.

In addition, Maria Valtorta interposed it with pages of various topics, started in 1943 (the Autobiography just finished) and continued in the following years until 1950. These writings gave substance to the minor works, which are published in five volumes, as well as to that of the Autobiography. Three volumes - entitled respectively The Notebooks - 1943, The Notebooks - 1944 and The Notebooks - 1945-1950 - collect a mixture of writings on ascetic, biblical, doctrinal, autobiographical topics, as well as descriptions of evangelical scenes and martyrdom of the first Christians . One volume, entitled Book of Azariah, offers commentaries on the texts (excluding those of the Gospel) of the festive missal. The last volume is that of the Lectures on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans.

Other scattered writings, which remained unpublished for many years, have been collected and published under the title of The Small Notebooks. It has been started also the publication of the correspondence with the Letters to Mother Teresa, vol. 1 and vol. 2; the letters to Mons. Carinci and the Letters to Father Migliorini.

Translations

The existing translations of the writings of Maria Valtorta cover the languages ​​spoken in every part of the world, from European to Indian dialects. In some, especially the main European ones, the major works have been translated in their entirety and also, in whole or in part, the minor works. per intero ed anche, in tutto o in parte, le opere minori.

Altogether there are just under 30 languages:

Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Czech, Chinese,
Korean, Croatian, French, Japanese,
Indonesian, English, Lithuanian, Malayalam,
Dutch-Flemish, Polish, Portuguese,
Romanian, Russian, Rwandan, Slovak,
Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil,
German, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Vietnamese.

Maria's way to write

Maria Valtorta wrote almost every day since when, on April 23, 1943, Good Friday, she received the first "dictation" of the Lord, until 1947, intermittently in the following years until 1951. The notebooks became 122 (in addition to the 7 of the Autobiography) and the handwritten pages about fifteen thousand.

She wrote while sitting in bed, holding a notebook on her lap, leaning against a folder made with her hands, and using a fountain pen. She did not prepare schemes, she did not even know what she would write day by day, at times she did not grasp the profound meaning of certain pages while she was writing them, she did not reread to correct. She did not need to concentrate or consult books, except the Bible and the Catechism of Pius X. She could be interrupted even for trivialities and resumed without losing the thread, nor it was stopping her the acute phases of her daily suffering or the urgent need to rest. She participated with her whole self in the writing that flowed spontaneously from her pen as a gifted writer.

It could happen that, having finished writing a good episode or an uplifting lesson, he would call Marta to make her listen to them, removing her from the chores of the house. She would then revise the typewritten copies of Father Migliorini, who took each autographed notebook to the convent and returned it after having faithfully transcribed it.

Her occupation as a full-time writer did not alienate her from the world. Maria Valtorta read the newspaper, listened to the radio, received a few visits, wrote letters, followed events and commented on them with insight. She even lent herself to those household chores that she could do without moving from the bed, such as cleaning vegetables or resetting the bird cage. Good at everything, she knew how to use needle, crochet and pillow lace with mastery. As long as she was able to do so, she took care of herself.

Above all, she prayed and suffered, trying not to show it. Her prayers and her ecstasies, documented in her writings, had no witnesses. Protected by a healthy appearance, she did not reveal the sufferings embraced with spiritual joy out of anxiety of redemption. She appeared normal in everything, even in eating: she did it very sparingly but with taste. Sometimes she sang: she had a beautiful voice.

The title

The Gospel of Jesus as revealed to little John. This is the original title of the work. A private revelation is credible if it conforms to and subordinate to public revelation. The nickname given to Maria Valtorta is like the certificate of conformity to the spirit of the fourth Evangelist, who is dominant in the relationship between "big" and "small".

Words of Eternal Life is the title that the work would have taken if it had been published by a publishing house specifically designed, and no longer actualised, by some lay people in collaboration with two religious.

The divine tragedy is the title given to the work by Maria Valtorta and Michele Pisani in the contract signed in Viareggio on 6 October 1952. In the non-formalized intentions of the writer and publisher it was a provisional title, just to start the typographic composition of the 'work, the title of which would have been established at the time of going to press with the first volume.

The poem of Jesus is the title suggested by an authoritative admirer of the work. Approved by the writer and the publisher, the title was printed on the first volume, but it had to be changed because a publishing house claimed its exclusive use for having put it on an already published book in verse.

The poem of the Man-God is the modified title. It is featured on the first edition of the four-volume work, which was written by an anonymous author because Maria Valtorta did not want her name to be mentioned while she was alive. The same title was placed on the new ten-volume edition, followed by the caption "Writings of Maria Valtorta", since the first of the ten volumes came out in the year of the writer's death.

El Hombre-Dios is the resized title that the Spanish language edition of the work had to take to avoid the ambiguity of the word "poem". The same problem would arise in translations into other languages.

L’Evangile tel qu’il m’a été révélé is the title of the edition of the work in French. The author of the translation would have allowed the publication of her work only if the publisher had put a title conforming to the original Italian one. Formulated in the first person in the French version, the title is preceded by the name of Maria Valtorta, who thus appears to be the author of the work and also of the title, with which she declares (exempting the publisher) not to be the author in full sense of the work, but of having written with her own abilities what she saw and heard by revelation.

The Gospel as it was revealed to me, preceded by the name of Maria Valtorta as author, is the title put on the original Italian edition by translating it from French after fourteen years of diffusion in that language. Being able to be translated into any language without difficulty, it has become the title of all versions of the work. It is the final title.

Partition

  1. Birth and hidden life of Mary and Jesus
  2. First year of the public life of Jesus
  3. Second year of the public life of Jesus
  4. Third year of the public life of Jesus
  5. Preparation for the Passion of Jesus
  6. Passion and Death of Jesus
  7. Glorification of Jesus and Mary + Farewell to the Work

7 parts - 652 chapters divided into 10 volumes

L evangelo come mi è stato rivelato

The Notebooks
Handwritten pages
time of writing in years
books
translations of the work

The literary genre of Maria Valtorta's work

Is it possible to define the literary genre of Maria Valtorta's work? Let's try to understand this matter by starting from an expression, the simplest and most usual, of its readers: “It reads like a novel”.

A novel? Certainly yes, at least as a starting point. It is, in fact, a large narrative composition, the majority of which (five thousand pages, ten volumes) fails to brake a smooth reading. There are, as we know, those who stop at the first pages, or read here and there a volume taken randomly to close it immediately afterwards and put it, with the others of the series, on the shelf of the library. But how many are, on the contrary, those who repeat the reading of the entire work and do not leave it for the desire to have continuous nourishment? Sometimes, just those who had refused it after a hasty and apparently insipid taste, and for a long time had only gazed at it as one looks at an ornament, become assiduous readers. A mixture of prejudice for everything that has a supernatural flavour and dismay for the bulkiness of the ten volumes can be a brake on the reader's will, until it is discovered that that monumental work ... reads like a novel.

Therefore, it is not the shortness or relative length that makes a novel appealing, but rather the plot of a story that is compelling and written in good shape. If these two requirements are present in Maria Valtorta's work, her story can be compared to that of a pleasant novel.

On the leitmotif of an orderly narrative plot, just like a novel, the Valtortian work takes up and develops the concise and episodic matter of a literary product that everyone already knows, for better or worse, and of which no one can say they have never heard of: the Gospel. 

It is the history of Christ, a subject that has never failed to interest, fascinate, or just intrigue. 

THE SCIENTIFIC ACCOUNT

However, it is necessary to ascertain whether the plot of the work, that it is proposes in an expanded version, is drawn on imaginary elements, so as to configure a sort of fictional novel, or if the writings are based on data that have scientific confirmation, such as those of a good historical novel.

The science of the author of a historical novel must be able to embrace the most disparate knowledge, such as to reconstruct with appreciable fidelity an environment in its own time, populated by characters and animated by events. Making a list would involve inadvertent omissions. To explain it with an example, it is a question of having knowledge of a culture, a civilization, customs and traditions, topographical and archaeological sites, climate and botany, behavior, mentality and whatever else constitutes the essence or the backdrop of the story you want to tell.

Equally, with examples we can proceed for a scientific examination of the work of Maria Valtorta, considered at this stage as a historical novel. Here is what some experts tell us about its peculiarities of science and not science fiction.

Vittorio Tredici

Vittorio Tredici (1892-1967) was a highly experienced mineralogist who carried out research on behalf of mining companies specializing in the study of phosphates in Transjordan. From his certificate on Valtortian work, we take up the more specific passages regarding his competence:

What struck me most deeply, from a critical point of view, in the Work was the perfect knowledge that the writer had of Palestine and the Places where the Preaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ took place. Knowledge that in some passages goes beyond the normal geographical or panoramic knowledge, to become even topographical and even more geological and mineralogical. From this point of view, especially for the area beyond the Jordan (present day Jordan), there are no publications - as far as I know - so detailed as to make it possible even for a scientist, who has not been on site on purpose, to be able to imagine and describe entire paths with such perfection as to make those who have had this possibility perplexed.

I have traveled through Palestine and Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries on numerous trips. I paused, in particular, in Jordan for mining research and therefore I was able to see and follow with a careful eye what brief and not precise English publications (the only ones that I believe exist on the subject, for those areas) cannot even remotely offer.

Therefore I can declare, in clear conscience, that by reading the description made in the Work of one of the travels of Jesus beyond Jordan up to Gerasa, I recognised, in a perfect way, with the living memory that leapt to my mind from the reading, the path of Our Lord, and I recognised the description made with such precision that only those who could either see or have seen it had the chance to be able to portray it! But my surprise was accentuated when, continuing to read, I read a declaration of a mineralogical nature, where representing protruding dikes similar to granite she states that they are not granites but limestones! I declare that this distinction could only be appreciated - on site - by an expert! And continuing, I still read that on the summit, not far away, before resuming the slight descent to Gerasa, there is a small spring where Jesus stopped with the convoy to have a short breakfast. Now I think that this source, which exists, is of such a modest entity that it would have escaped anyone who had not been particularly attentive, even passing through it.

The writing that we have reported in part is from 1952.

Nicola Pende

 The work had not yet been published and althought it was made known in a typewritten copy to some authoritative figures, both ecclesiastical and lay. Among them, wanting to move on to a very different kind of science, we now choose Nicola Pende (1880-1970), a world-renowned doctor, considered a leader in the field of endocrinology and constitutional pathology. Here are the most interesting passages from his certificate of five autographed folders: 

... I, who deal with the human characteristics of Jesus with my modest strengths as they result from the Gospels, and as a Christian biologist can see them, I must affirm that I have found in the writing of Valtorta this humanity of Jesus not only corresponding in its essential features to the one that the four Evangelists handed down to us, but sculpted and illuminated even more in detail and deeply, so as to be able to say that Valtorta fills with her story the gaps in the human life of the Redeemer ...

But what aroused the greatest admiration and amazement in me as a doctor is the expertise with which Valtorta describes, a phenomenology that only a few consummate doctors would be able to expose, the scene of Jesus' agony on the cross. The spasmodic pain, the most atrocious pain suffered by the Redeemer from the wounds of the head and hands and feet bearing the weight of the body in the wounds, cause, in the tale of Valtorta, tonic contractions of the whole body, tetaniform stiffening of the trunk and limbs, which cloud not blur neither the conscience nor the will of the dying person, despite being the expression of the greatest physical pain produced by the greatest of tortures. And the whole phenomenal procession of the agony of Jesus, as described in this work, shows that it was the immense pain of the body that stopped the breath and heart of the Son of Man. Pity and the greatest emotion invade the Christian reader upon reading this wonderful page, in a truly medical style, from the manuscript of Maria Valtorta.

Ugo Lattanzi

The personal science of a historical writer is also the ability to enter the psychology of the characters that are brought to life in their era, imbued with a culture to be rediscovered. With regard to this aspect of Maria Valtorta's work, we report brief passages from the certificates of two monsignors.

Ugo Lattanzi (1899-1969), humanist, professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Lateran University: 

In these volumes there are truly splendid pages for thought and form; descriptions of psychological situations worthy of Shakespeare and dialogues conducted in the Socratic manner, worthy of Plato, and descriptions of nature and environment worthy of the most imaginative writer.

Maurizio Raffa

Maurizio Raffa (1906-1957), eclectic, founder and director of the "International Center of Comparison and Synthesis", where scholars of various sciences met: 

... I have found incomparable riches there. All the characters portrayed in these pages live their unmistakable characteristics. The language of nature is always majestic and exalts the glory of God. Wanting to express a judgment on the intrinsic and aesthetic value, I observe that, to write only one of the many volumes making up the Work, an Author (who does not exist today) would be needed to be at the same time a great poet, a talented biblical scholar, a profound theologian, an expert in archeology and topography, and a profound connoisseur of human psychology.

Jean-François Lavère & Liberato De Caro

The multiple skills that the writer Maria Valtorta manifests in her work are, therefore, so exceptional that cannot be found in any author of our time and, perhaps, of all times. This is demonstrated by a particularly versed scholar, the Frenchman Jean-François Lavère, whose researches arrive to scrutinise not only the validity of the data of all kinds that emerge from the descriptions, speeches and dialogues of the work, but also the perfect concordance of information with what the sacred scriptures hand down to us.

Lavère reports on his work in the volumes entitled L’Enigma Valtorta. The Centro Editoriale Valtortiano publishes them, in the Italian edition, in conjunction with the volumes entitled "I Cieli Raccontano" - "The sky recounts", where a physicist and researcher of the National Research Council, Liberato De Caro, through his knowledge of astronomy, conducts a historical investigation on Jesus in the Valtorta's work, also making unexpected discoveries especially in dating the events narrated by Valtorta. The two scholars (the first in France, the second in Italy) confront each other at a distance in a debate in which some Valtortian readers who are competent on the subject partecipate too. 

The scientific interest in Valtorta's work has made it exceed the level of solo studies published after the historical certificates of the fifties. 

The latter, all very favourable to the substance of Maria Valtorta's work, expressed some reservations about the form, which is the other element to be evaluated, even if only in relation to a good novel. Here is what some of those scholars wrote after justifying their appreciation of the intrinsic value of the work:

  • ... it seems to me that the work, duly shortened, purged and corrected, could do a great deal of good in Catholic families ... (Agostino Bea S. J., rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, later cardinal, 1881-1968)
  • I noticed some flaws in this narrative part ... Moreover, I believe that these shortcomings must be attributed to the personal action of the writer and are correctable. (Alfonso Carinci, archbishop, secretary of the Congregation of Rites, then of the causes of the Saints, 1862-1963)
  • ... Unusual expressions can be seen near pages of extraordinary theological depth ... In my humble opinion, the volumes, stripped of some exuberant descriptions, purged and pruned of the scenes I have said, and corrected in the "unusual" expressions, could be published ... (Ugo Lattanzi, quoted above)

THE FIRST PUBLICATIONS AND THE FINAL VERSION

Influenced, perhaps, by suggestions of this kind, coming from authoritative people, Father Berti, the religious Servita who taught sacramental theology at the "Marianum" and to whom a triple merit must be recognised (having prevented the manuscript of the work from falling without return in the clutches of the Holy Office; having requested and collected the certificates we have discussed; having directed and edited the first publications of the work with self-denial and personal risk), he had a crazy idea. Once published the work (it was the first edition, that of four large volumes), he entrusted a person of his acquaintance, who was a doctor with literary qualities, the task of retouching it in its expressive forms.

The work of Dr. Diego Lentini (this is the name of the reviewer) proceeded with great accuracy and was also compensated; but it caused a sense of rejection in those who are now recalling it, who believed that Valtorta's work should be published with the absolute fidelity of a document of historical significance, with strengths and weaknesses. Overcoming, therefore, the natural subjection of his young age to the authority of Father Berti, with whom he actively collaborated, he was able to interrupt that work and obtain the personal care of a much more necessary and appropriate literary reclamation work. Thus it happened that the printed pages of the first edition - composed in the typography by copying mechanically from the typewritten copy delivered to the Pisani publisher as if it were the original of the work - could be compared word for word with the writing of Maria Valtorta's autographed notebooks. Those pages, already printed but corrected by hand to restore the authenticity of the original text on them, were used to compose a new edition of the work, the first to be divided into ten volumes.

The comparison was useful to highlight and amend mistakes and oversights of Father Migliorini, the spiritual director of the author, whom, while typewriting multiple copies of the original of Maria Valtorta, transcribed for example "schiava" (slave) rather than "schiva" (timid), or a grain of goodness (bene) from a grain of wool (lana). The refinement of a term could, at times, have caused the transcriber to read it distorted. An example for all. In the work of the Gospel, the verb to clearing up, which gives a good idea of ​​cleaning up, referred to the action of some proud Pharisees who chase away unknown strangers from a hotel so as not to feel contaminated by their contact (137.3), was became "evict" on the typewritten copy, reproduced with its imperfections in the first edition of the work. 

The richness of vocabulary, embellished with some archaism, is a notable part of the literary style of Maria Valtorta's work, to the point that collating with the original manuscript meant to have a good vocabulary of the Italian language at hand in order to check the terms that are unusual or have become unusual. Tuscanisms are also frequent in the work, both in terms (for example: ne ho basta to say I have enough; è peso instead of it is heavy), and in the impersonal forms of verbs (for example: si va instead andiamo - we go ). In the complexity of its expressive form, now faithfully reproduced in the printed edition, the work reflects the personality of the writer, capable of giving life to the story with her cultural background, interspersed with the idioms of the environment in which she lived.

THE WRITER

Maria Valtorta was a natural writer. Her innate ability to write straight away, with correct use of language and without second thoughts that could induce her to correct herself, noticeable already in her manuscript of the Autobiography, the very first of her works, written (while in bed, already ill) within a couple of months. Destined to her spiritual father, who had requested it, it is in the form of letters. The same style reappears at times in writings of very different kinds, started immediately after the Autobiography, and among which is the manuscript of the Gospel, which is the subject of our examination. There is like a glimmer of stylistic continuity. In her Autobiography, Valtorta illustrated herself to the good Father Migliorini; now she continues to turn to him, but only sporadically, to tell him what she "sees" and "hears". In the second case, the epistolary style is marginal and secondary, so as not to authorise the redefinition of the literary genre of the work.

Moreover, there is another aspect to mention and it consists in the fact that the extraordinary material of the work does not prevent Maria Valtorta from dealing, at the same time, with an ordinariness of relationships, feelings, events, noticable in the letters to various recipients, including Father Migliorini. This ability to alternate the writing of a colossal, highly complex work with a dense correspondence of letters, would indicate that the "science" of the work does not engage the writer as a creative activity, because it does not lead her to concentrate and isolate herself.

Writing letters, as to have written her own memoirs, is congenial to Maria Valtorta. She still uses the same genius to record what she is given to transmit. It is a particular aspect that concerns the nature of the work, but it could also be an element capable of reconsidering her literary genre.

NOVEL OR NOT?

"Maria Valtorta's work was published as a novel, and I hope it will continue to be reprinted in this capacity and often in the future, but it is not a novel". The lapidary sentence is by P. Gabriele M. Allegra (1907-1976), Franciscan missionary in China, first translator of the Bible into Chinese, proclaimed Blessed on 29 September 2012. He continues: “… it is not a novel. It is the complement of the four evangelical traditions and the explanation of them”.

An exegete and man of letters, a man of faith and science, an apostle in mission land, Father Allegra declares his appreciation for the Valtortian work in the notes of the diary and in the letters to brothers, relatives and acquaintances. Here are some excerpts:

… I feel the Gospel in this book, or rather the inebriating perfume of the Gospel.

It is a work that makes one grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus and his Holy Mother.

... certain talks of the Lord, of which only the main topic is hinted at in the Gospels, are developed in this work with a naturalness, with a concatenation of thought so logical, so spontaneous, so close to time, place, circumstances, which I have not found in the most famous exegetes.

… It never contradicts the Gospel, but completes it admirably and makes it alive and powerful, tender and demanding.

We would have to write a book about the exegesis of Valtorta ...

So: it reads like a novel, but it's not a novel. Nor can be said to be strictly an exegetical work, as an interpretation of the Gospel texts, because we find this intent only in some "dictations", commenting on a well-known evangelical fact: when, for example, it has been rectified and clarified the expression "the day after" in a passage from John's Gospel (47.10), or when Jesus' response to the Mother at the wedding at Cana is integrated with a "plus" (52.7), or corrected “To drink my cup” in “drink from my cup” (577.11). The inaccuracies are to be attributed not to the original works of the evangelists but to the work of the translators. However, even the evangelists are not spared of some criticism, perhaps with a motivation that justifies them, as when (in 594.9) Jesus explains the reasons why they have not handed down the lesson on the sterile fig tree.

Exegetical criticism is marginal in the work, yet the whole work constitutes a formidable contribution to the exegesis of the four Gospels. This book demonstrates this by bringing the example of significant evangelical passages that Valtorta's work "makes us understand in their fullness", as it is written in the introduction, adding "the story of Jesus' earthly life". Here is the point: it is a biographical work. Some readers, with commendable audacity, have called it the Autobiography of Jesus, not being able to renounce to believe it "revealed". 

If it can be accepted as such, in compliance with the rules that the Catholic theology dictates to qualify private revelations, there is no doubt that the living and real knowledge of all that Jesus did and said day after day, with the corollary of the description of His birth and childhood and, finally, of His passion, death and resurrection, is none other than the full knowledge of the Gospel. Therefore the biographical genre, referring to the Person of Jesus, responds well to the evangelising purpose of the work of Maria Valtorta.

The trait of the "revelation" entails to distinguish the figure of the Author, who conceived, wanted and transmitted the work, from the figure of the person who materially wrote it with a spirit of service.

You are nothing more than a spokesperson and a channel in which the wave of my Voice flows - Jesus says to Maria Valtorta on July 19, 1943 - ... you are nothing. Nothing more than a lover.

As a nullity, Maria Valtorta is as an "instrument" (spokesperson or channel) who can do nothing on her own; but as a "lover" all she can. By falling in love she annihilates herself by offering herself. Whom makes use of her could do nothing if did not have the passionate totality of her. Divine wisdom and science are revealed to Maria Valtorta, so that she learns everything with her strong intellectual and sensitive skills and transmits it in her own language as a gifted writer. It is not possible to draw the dividing line between the author and the writer. The work is conceived by Him. Her potential has made it happen.

The spokesperson, or channel, is only required to execute. She is exempted from thinking and foreordering. Otherwise, the immediacy of Maria Valtorta's writing would not be explained, who does not have to have the time necessary for all the mental operations (preceding, simultaneous and subsequent to the writing of the work) that are proper to an author. She did not even know where the Lord would lead her day after day (according to one of her expressions, reported by the witness Marta Diciotti). Yet her work is not at all affected by disorganisation or illogicality in the sequence of events, speeches, characters of the characters, characteristics of various kinds. Without the guidance of a superior mind, the work, being written straight away, could not have avoided stretch marks of oversights and inconsistencies in the plot of its very long story.

THE HUMAN INSTRUMENT

The writer Maria Valtorta always remains a human instrument. The editor of the edition of his work pointed out in the notes some of her obvious slips, which is the involuntary error of the hand writer. In fact, she never corrected her manuscript; however, she would then revise one of the typewritten copies of Father Migliorini and sometimes correct herself on it. The printed edition of the work, which faithfully reproduces the original manuscript, notes and documents in the notes these subsequent interventions on the typescript, which correct some terms in the descriptions of what she "saw" and almost never intervene on the terminology of what she "heard" ". In the two ways of "receiving" a diversity of style and also of attitude is shown. In fact she is responsible for observing and describing, but she is not responsible for the content of speeches and dialogues. These are not her competence.

Let's take a small example. One of the minor characters in the work (there are hundreds) is the Roman blacksmith Tito, a good-natured and honest worker. He married the Jewish Esther, who loves him and would like to make him a proselyte. The woman pleads with Jesus after having listened to his speech and confided in him:

«… Pray for my spouse! That it belongs to the true God… ».

"It will be. Be sure of it. You ask what is holy and you will have it. You have understood the duties of the wife toward God and toward your husband. So it should be with all brides! Truly I tell you that many should imitate you. Continue to be like this and you will have the joy of having your Titus by your side, in prayer and in Heaven. Show me your children ».

The woman calls her numerous offspring: "Jacob, Judas, Levi, Maria, Giovanni, Anna, Elisa, Marco". And then he enters the house and goes out with one who barely walks and one who is three months at the most: «And this is Isaac, and this little girl is Giuditta», he says, finishing the presentation.

«Abundance!» Says James of Zebedee laughing.

And Judas exclaims: «All males! And all circumcised! And with pure names! Bravo! ». (331.12-13)

The cultured Judas Thaddeus could not elude the fact that the name of one of the six males (Marco, of Latin origin) was not "pure" according to the Hebrew conception, despite being a name in common use in Palestine. Was Valtorta wrong? Not at all. Instead, it is a question of entering into the mentality of Judas, who had listened to Esther speak of her husband to Jesus with great praise: “… He always lets me deal with the children. Customs, rituals, all Jewish here! ... Titus is good ... For our feasts he closes the farriery, with great loss of money, and accompanies me with his children to the Temple. Because he says that you can't live without religion. He says that his is that of family and work, as before was that of the duty of a soldier… ". The apostle must have been impressed by this and, perhaps, did not want to offend the good Titus with a clarification: "And with pure names, ... except one!".

It is an example of historical realism, given not to the brilliant reconstruction of Maria Valtorta, who even shows herself unaware of it, but to the source of the “revelation”. The historicity of the great speeches and the close dialogues that are in the work is due to the same source, compared to which the example cited is of minimal importance.

INSTRUCTIONS FROM HEAVEN

The "revelation", however, does not constitute the determining element in the logic of the author of the work, for whose circulation He gives instructions and directives (published among the minor writings of Valtorta) in which prevails an interest that could be defined, in modern term, of apostolate. The work should be offered as nourishment to souls in our time of bewilderment and moral and spiritual deviations.

To this end, the divine tactic follows a line of correctness that can only be understood in a plan of teaching and of warning, since it is not conditioned by the foresight of failure. The authority of the Catholic Church, on whose ground the work was born, is recognised. Maria Valtorta herself defines herself as the "most obedient daughter of the Church", and such she is. The Church, which is in Rome but is universal, is asked to be able to publish the work with the approval of its "imprimatur". The request passes through a consolidated religious Order (that of the Servants of Mary, in the seventh century of life) to which the work is destined as a "gift" and entrusted together with the duty to take care of the writer, who is the instrument.

It is a full-blown path. At a certain point, it is pointed out to the writer that the expressive forms that denote the "revelation" could represent an obstacle to the ecclesiastical approval. And then, invalid, she gets one of the typewritten copies of the work and on it, she begins to cross out or correct the "I see" and "I feel" and make any other verbal form impersonal. Useless effort. The religious Order, unwilling to accept the directives that Valtorta transmits by divine mandate, is not as zealous as she is and takes false steps. The ecclesiastical authorities are stiffening and imposing prohibitions to the point of threatening the condemnation of the work if it is published (as in fact will happen ten years later).

The Author's voice changes tone (from Quadernetti di Maria Valtorta, dated January 6, 1949):

"... if it is definitively decreed, with sacrilegious stubbornness, that my work is condemnable, ... I allow the work to be published like any man's writing. But this not by my consent to their judgment, not by my disavowal of the nature of the work and the true Author of it, but only out of pity for souls ... I want souls to be able to drink from the vital Source of my Word ... Let's open then for them another outlet to the Divine Source, and the Good Master, the One who brings the Good News, the Word of Life that "coming out of my Mouth will not return to Me without fruit, but will do everything I want and will do those things for which I sent "[Isaiah 55,11], the Word of Life, of Health, of Guide, of Truth, of Love, for all, will go again and equally to the blind, the deaf, the crippled and paralysed, to the lepers, the insane, the dead, the thirsty and hungry for the spirit, to open eyes and ears to the Truth, to restore agility to the crippled or paralysed spirit, healing from the feelings to those whom whose feelings are leper of sin, reason to the delusional minds through demonic possession of antidium doctrines, to the dead in the soul to revive their spirit, to those who are hungry and thirsty of Me and of Heaven so that they can satiate themselves, to everyone, everyone, everyone, even those who do not think they will meet Me by reading a work. "

It cannot be denied that the lack of official ecclesiastical approval penalises the Catholic faithful, but we must also admit that it favours non-faithful and non-Catholics, who generally have prejudices towards the seal of an established religious authority. In fact the work has been able to reach, and continues to reach, an universality of readers because it spreads in accordance with the prophetic intuition of Blessed Gabriele M. Allegra: ... it was published as a novel, and I hope that in this capacity it continues to reprint and often in the future, but it is not a novel.

Emilio Pisani

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Leggi l'opera completa

Read the main work of Maria Valtorta, The Gospel as revealed to me, published in ten volumes.

It is possible to purchase the books at the Valtortian Editorial Center as eBooks or paper books.

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