To Jesus

 

I write trembling

 

Dear Jesus,

 

     I have been a target of some critics. "He is a Bishop, a Cardinal - they say - has worked exhaustingly writing letters in all directions: to M. Twain, to Péguy, Casella, Penelope, Dickens, Marlowe, Goldoni and I don' t know how many more. And not even a single line to Jesus Christ!"

 

You know. I make an effort to keep a continuous dialogue with You. But translated into a letter, it is difficult for me: they are private things. And so insignificant! Besides, what am I going to write You, on You, after so many books that have been written on You?

 

On the other hand, we have the Gospel. As lighting surpasses any fire, and radius all the other metals; as a missile surpasses in speed the wild poor man' s arrow, so the Gospel surpasses all the books.

 

However, my letter is here. I write it trembling, feeling like a poor deafmute who makes great efforts to be made him understand, and with the same mood as Jeremy, when, being sent to preach, he told You, plenty of loathing: "I am not nothing more than a child, Lord, and I do not know how to speak!"

 

***

 

Pilato, when introducing You to the people, said: Here it is the Man! He thought he knew You, but he did not know even a single bit of your Heart, whose tenderness and mercy You showed one hundred times in one hundred different ways.

 

Your Mother. Hanging from the Cross, You did not want to leave this world without giving her a second son who took care of her, and You told John: Here it is your mother.

 

The apostles. You lived day and night with them, treating them as true friends, standing their defects. You teached them with tireless patience. The mother of two of them requests You a position of privilege for her children and You replies her: "Honours have not been searched by my side, but sufferings". Also the others yearn for the first positions and You teach them: "It must be necessary to become small, to put oneself in the last place, to serve".

 

In the Cenacle, You put themselves on their guard: "You will be frightened and run away!". They protest. First and more, Peter, who would deny You soon three times. You forgive Peter and You tell him three times: Feed my sheeps.

 

Regarding the other apostles, your forgiveness shines mainly on John, chapter 21. They spend all the night on the boat. Before the sunrise, You, the Resurrected, are on the lake shore. And You become a cook, a servant, You light fire, cook and prepare roasted fish and bread for them.

 

The sinners. You are the shepherd who are looking for the lost sheep and is glad when finding it and he celebrates when he gives it back to the fold. You are that good father who, when the prodigal son comes back, jumps on his neck and embraces him for a long time. Scene repeated in all Gospel pages: You approach the sinners, You eat with them, You invite Yourself, if they do not dare to invite You. You seem - it is what I feel - to be more worried about the sufferings that the sin causes on sinners than the offense it can cause to God. By filling them with the hope of forgiveness, You seem to tell them: "You can' t even imagine the joy your conversion causes Me!"

 

Besides your heart, the practical intelligence shines on You.

 

You always aimed at the interior of the man. Pharisees had an emaciated face due to prolonged religious fasts and You declared: "I don' t like those faces. The hearts of these men are far from God. Impulses are born from the interior and, for that reason, the heart is used as a module to judge men. Bad thoughts went out from inside the human heart: trivialities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greeds, prides, vanities".

 

You hated useless words: Be your speaking: yes, yes, no, no; all that goes beyond this, comes from the evil. When you pray, don' t multiply your words.

 

You wanted real facts and moderation: If you fast, wash your face and put perfume on your head. When you make charity, don't let your left hand know what the right one does. To the leper when You ordered him: Do not say it to anybody. To the revived girl' s parents, You have emphatically ordered them not to go and announce the happened miracle with much ballyhoo. You used to say: I am not looking for my glory. My food is to make Father' s Will.

 

  On the cross, before dying, you said: Everything is fulfilled. But you always make sure that things were not made in half. When the apostles suggested you: People are following us since a long time; let us send them at home so that they can eat, You replied: No, let us give them something to eat. When they finished eating bread and fish miraculously multiplied, you added: Pick the leftovers up; it is not right they go to waste.

 

You wanted to pay attention to the smaller details, when doing the good. When reviving Jairo' s daughter, You advised: Now, give her something to eat. People declared about You: He has done all the things well!

 

***

 

What a radiance of intelligence appeared from your preach! Your opponents sent guards to arrest You from Jerusalem temple and these ones returned with empty hands. "Why haven' t you arrested Him?" The guards replied: No man has ever spoken like Him! You charmed the people, who stated about You since the first days: This one really speaks with authority! The opposite made by the writers!

 

Poor writers! Chained to the 634 rules of the Law, they were saying that God Himself was dedicated to study the Law every day and He, from Heaven, reviewed the writers' opinions to be in the know about their progress.

 

You, on the contrary: You have heard it was said... I, however, say to you... You claimed the right and the power to improve the Law as Lord of the Law. With extraordinary courage, You stated: I am greater than Solomon' s temple; Heaven and Earth will pass, but my words will not pass.

 

And you never got tired to teach in the synagogues, in the temple, seated on the squares or on the field, on the roads, in the houses and even during meals.

 

***

 

Today everybody are asking for dialogue, dialogue. I have counted your dialogues in the Gospel. They are 86: 37 with the disciples, 22 with the people and 27 with your opponents. The current pedagogy demands the common activity around the centers of interest. When the Baptist sent his disciples from the jail so that they could ask You who you were, You did not waste your time in wordinesses. You have miraculously healed to all the sick present and said to the messengers: Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.

 

For the Jews of your time, Solomon, David and Jonah represented what for us are Dante, Garibaldi and Mazzini. You spoke continuously about David, Solomon, Jonah and other popular personages. And always corageously.

 

The day in which You taught: Blessed the poor, blessed the persecuted, I was not there. If I had been next to You, I had whispered to your ear: "Please, change your speech, Lord, if You want somebody follows you. Don' t You see that everybody aspire after wealth and comforts? Caton promised his soldiers the figs of Africa and Caesar the wealth of Gaul and, good or not, they found followers. You promise poverty, persecutions. Who do you want to follow You?" Imperturbable, you continue and I hear You saying: I am the wheat grain that must die before fructifying. It is necessary I am raised on a cross; I will attract towards Me the whole world from it.

 

This prophecy was already fulfilled: You were raised on the cross. You took advantage of it to extend your arms and attract people towards You. Who will ever be able to count the men who have arrived at the foot of the Cross, to jump on your arms?

 

***

 

  Before this scene of the crowds that, from all parts of the world and during so many centuries, go incessantly to the Crucifixed, the question appears: Is it only about an extraordinary and beneficent man or about a God? You yourself gave the answer, and who has not the eyes blinded by prejudices, but thirsty for light, accepts it.

 

When Peter declared: You are the Christ, the Son of living God, You, not only have accepted his confession, but also You awarded it. You always claimed for You what Jews considered exclusive of God. In spite of their scandal, You forgave the sins, You showed Yoursef as Lord of Saturday, You taught with supreme authority, and You declared to be equal the Father.

 

They often tried to stone You as blasphemous, because You claimed to be God. Finally, when they caught You and took You before the Sanhedrin, the High Priest asked You solemnly: Are you or not the Son of God? You replied: I am. And you will see Me seated at the right-hand side of the Father. And You accepted the death rather than retracting from this statement and denying your divine essence.

 

  I am finishing writing this letter. I have never felt so dissatisfied when writing as in this occasion. It seems to me that I have omitted most of the things that could say of You and that I have said badly what I should have said much better. Only this can consolate myself: the important thing is not what one writes on Christ, but that many can love and imitate Christ.

 

  And, luckyly - in spite of everything -, this continues happening today, too.

 

 

May 1974

 

 

 

GCM 2002