Maria Valtorta –The “Pen” of Jesus
Maria Valtorta (1897-1961) was an extraordinary Italian laywoman and mystic who was given an series of visions of the life of our Lord, beginning prior to His birth, and ending with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven.
Asked by our Lord to write down these visions, she lovingly complied, even though at the time (and until the end of her life) she was completely bedridden due to a spine injury, and was suffering intensely due to a combination of at least two other serious illnesses. She began writing the visions into notebooks beginning in the year 1943 and continued (even during the war) until 1953. When completed, the visions, covering the entire life of our Lord, consisted of about ten thousand hand written pages, which were compiled and published into a monumental work entitled “The Poem of the Man-God”, Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl, 1989.
Along with the extraordinary work of The Poem of the Man-God, she was also given another five thousand pages of additional writings, which include commentaries on Biblical texts that her guardian Angel (named Azariah) gave to her, along with some extraordinary biographal information and histories of the first Christian martyrs (some of whose martyrdoms she saw in the visions that she was given), and some doctrinal lessons that she was given through a “interior voice” also known as an interior locution. Some of these other works have now been published under the title of “Maria Valtorta –Notebooks” which have been published in series, and also “The Book of Azariah” which contain the spiritual guidance and enlightening information that her guardian Angel gave her.
Maria had an extraordinary love for God and for souls. People often came to visit her, to be strengthened and encouraged by her kind words and her gentle smile. Having suffered deeply herself, she understood their pains and sufferings, and was able to guide and encourage them in accepting their daily crosses. This “spiritual apostolate” for souls was only a part of her life as a victim soul, which consisted primarily in the offering of her many sufferings in union with Jesus in reparation for sinners. In her visions, Jesus often called her “little John”, in reference to His beloved Apostle John, the great lover of Jesus. Her life may be divided into two stages: Firstly, from her birth to the paralysis of her legs, which disabled her at the age of 37; the secondly from the time of her paralysis, which left her completely bedridden until her death in 1961, 27 years later.
A few excerpts from The Poem of the Man-God
About ten years ago, over the course of about 6 months, I read all five volumes of “The Poem of the Man-God”. Since then, I have re-read certain parts a number of times. I cannot even begin to explain the spiritual impact that this work made upon me. What an extraordinary grace it was to have read them! One is literally “transported” to the time of Jesus, walking along with Him and the apostles through the roads and towns of Israel. Not only does one get to know Jesus in a most intimate way, but also one gets to know and see the personality of each Apostle, along with some of the other disciples. And then, there is our Blessed Mother and St Joseph! What an extraordinary grace it is to get to know them! And then also Mary Magdelene, Lazarus, Martha and the other women disciples, the shepherds…one can go on and on! But suffice it to say, The Poem of the Man-God is a most extraordinary work. Of course, it is not intended to supplant or replace the Holy Scriptures, but it does supplement them in a most wonderful way.
And so, here are a few excerpts of “The Poem of the Man-God” to give an idea of the spiritual treasure of this work:
Cure of a paralytic child
[Jesus has just finished speaking to a crowd] “….The crowd that had gathered utters cries of joy and applause for the Messiah. Then they become quiet and open out to let pass a mother, who is carrying in her arms a paralytic child, child, about ten years old. At the foot of the staircase, she holds him out, as if she were offering him to Jesus.
«She is one of my servants. Her boy last year fell from the terrace and broke his back. He will lie on his back all his life» explains the landlord.
«She has been hoping in You all these months ... » adds the landlady.
«Tell her to come to Me.»
But the poor woman is so excited, that she seems to be paralyzed.
She trembles all over and trips on her long dress while climbing up the high steps with her son in her arms.
Mary, compassionate, stands up and goes down to meet her. «Come. Do not be afraid. My Son loves you. Give Me your child. It will be easier for you to climb up. Come, My daughter. I am a Mother, too» and She takes the child, smiling kindly at him, and then goes up with Her piteous load weighing on Her arms. The boy's mother follows Her crying.
Mary is now before Jesus. She kneels down and says: «Son! For the sake of this mother!» Nothing else.
Jesus does not .even ask the usual question: «What do you want Me to do for you? Do you believe that I can do it?» No. Today He smiles and says: «Woman, come here.»
The woman goes beside Mary. Jesus lays His hand on her head and says only: «Be happy», and He has not yet finished saying the words, when the boy, who so far had been lying heavily on Mary's arms, with his legs hanging loose, sits up all of a sudden and with a cry of joy: «Mummy!», he runs to take refuge in his mother's lap.
The shouts of hosanna seem to be penetrating the sky now all red at sunset.
The woman, clasping her son to heart, does not know what to say and she asks: «What must I do to tell You that I am so grateful?» And Jesus, caressing her once again: «You must be good and love God and your neighbour and bring your son up in this love.» But the woman is not yet content. She would like to ... she would like to ... and at last she asks: «A kiss of Yours and of Your Mother's to my child.»
Jesus bends down and kisses him and Mary does likewise. And while the woman is going away happy, surrounded by cheering friends, Jesus explains to the landlord: «Nothing else was needed. He was in My Mother's arms. Even without any word I would have cured him, because She is happy when She can relieve distress and I want to make Her happy.»
And Jesus and Mary exchange one of those glances that only one who has seen them can understand, so deeply meaningful are they.”
Cure of a blind man at Capernaum
The poor man is coming forward between James and John. He is holding a walking stick in his hand, but is not using it at present. He walks better, supported by the two men. «Here, man, the Master is in front of you.»
The blind man kneels down: «My Lord! Have mercy on me!
«Seven years, Lord. Before, when I could see well, I worked. I was a blacksmith at Caesarea on Sea. I was doing well. The harbour, the good trading, they always needed me for one job or another.
But while striking a piece of iron to make an anchor, and You can imagine how red hot it was to be pliable, a splinter came off it, and burnt my eye. My eyes were already sore because of the heat of the forge. I lost the wounded eye, and also the other one became blind after three months. I have finished all my savings, and now I live on charity ... »
«Are you alone?»
«I am married with three little children ... I have not even seen the face of one of them ... and I have an old mother. And yet she and my wife earn a little bread, and with what they earn and the alms! take home, we manage not to starve. If I were cured! ... I would go back to work. All I ask for is to be able to work like a good Israelite and thus feed those I love.»
«And you came to Me? Who told you?»
«A leper who was cured by You at the foot of Mount Tabor, when You were coming back to the lake after that beautiful speech of Yours.»
«What did he tell you?»
«That You can do everything. That You are the health of bodies and of souls. That You are a light for souls and bodies, because You are the Light of God. He, although a leper, had dared to mingle with the crowd, at the risk of being stoned, all enveloped in his mantle, because he had seen You passing by on the way to the mountain, and Your face had kindled hope in his heart. He said to me: "I saw something in that face that whispered to me: 'There is health there. Go!' And I went. Then he repeated Your speech to me and he told me that You cured him, touching him with Your hand, without any disgust. He was coming back from the priest after his purification. I knew him. I had done some work for him when he had a store at Caesarea. I came, asking for You in every town and village. Now I have found You! ... Have mercy on me!»
«Come. The light is still too bright for one coming out of darkness»
«Are you going to cure me, then?»
Jesus takes him to Peter's house, in the dim light of the kitchen garden, he places him in front of Himself, in such a position that his cured eyes may not see, as first sight, the lake still sparkling with light. The man looks like a very docile child, he obeys without asking questions.
A moment. Then the man blinks, rubs his eyelids as if he were awakening from sleep, and his eyes were dimmed.
«What do you see?»
«Oh!. .. oh! ... oh!. .. Eternal God! I think ... I think ... oh! that I can see ... I see Your mantle ... it's red, isn't it? And a white hand ... and a woollen belt... oh! Good Jesus ... I can see better and better, the more I get used to seeing ... There is the grass of the earth ... and that is certainly a well ... and there is a vine ... »
«Stand up, My friend.»
The man who is crying and laughing, stands up, and after a moment's hesitation between respect and desire, he lifts his face and meets Jesus' eyes: Jesus is smiling full of merciful love. It must be beautiful to recover your sight and see that face as the first thing! The man gives a scream and stretches his arms. It is an instinctive action. But he controls himself.
But Jesus opens His arms and draws to Himself the man who is much lower than He. «Go home, now, and be happy and just. Go with My peace.»
«Master, Master! Lord! Jesus! Holy! Blessed! The light... I see ... I see everything! ... There is the blue lake, the clear sky, the setting sun, and then the horns of the waxing moon ... But it is in Your eyes that I see the most beautiful and clear blue, and in You I see the beauty of the most real sun, and the pure light of the blessed moon. You are the Star of those who suffer, the Light of the blind, the living, active Mercy!»
«I am the Light of souls. Be a son of the Light.»
«Yes, Jesus, always. Every time I close my re-born eyes, I will renew my oath. May You and the Most High be blessed.»
«Blessed be the Most High Father! Go!»
And the man goes away, happy, sure of himself, while Jesus and His dumbfounded apostles get into two boats and begin their navigation manoeuvres.
And the vision ends.
A summary of the life of Maria Valtorta
Maria Valtorta was born on March 14, 1897 at Caserta, Italy, where her father, Joseph, who was a staff officer in the military, was temporarily stationed. Her mother, Iside Fioravanzi, an educated and at times very cruel woman, reacted as though the child was not born to her, and she hired a wet-nurse to care for Maria. Soon after her birth, they moved to Faenza, and then in September 1901, the family relocated in Milan. There, Maria, a little over four, started attending a kindergarten run by Ursuline Sisters. There, she wrote: "I met the face of God and His love," (Autobiography, p.22) and "I never let go of Him" (ibid., p.24).
By the age of seven, in October 1904, Maria had entered the Institute of Marcelline Sisters to begin her elementary education. On May 30, 1905 she received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the hands of the Servant of God, Cardinal Ferrari. The Sacrament of Confirmation was, she said, "my Pentecost" (Ibid, p.25). A few years later, her family moved to Voghera where Maria made her First Communion, at age 10 ,on October 5, 1908. On that day, her fusion with Jesus became "perfect" (ibid., p.72).
She entered the College of the Sisters of St. Bartolomea Capitanio in Monza on May 1, 1909 at the age of twelve. She remained there four years (five school years), and was held up to all as a role model. During this time, she was received into the congregation of the Daughters of Mary. In 1911, she obtained her diploma in technical studies. During the next two years she did supplementary studies in literature and the history of various countries. The Valtortas again moved on March 1, 1913, this time to Florence; Maria was almost 16. Her lifestyle remained like that of college. Twice, in 1914 and 1919 respectively, her mother, for selfish reasons, mercilessly and brutally broke up Maria's engagements with two fine young men.
From early November 1917 until the summer of 1920, Maria generously sacrificed her time in war hospitals with the Samaritan nurses. There she caught a violent Spanish flu. After she had recovered from the flu, in September 1920, her cousin Belfanti invited her to Reggio in Calabria. Almost two years later, in 1922, she returned to Florence. In the spring of 1923, Maria Valtorta made an initial offering of herself to God.
By October of 1924, the Valtorta family had permanently established themselves in Viareggio, where Maria remained the rest of her life.. In Viareggio, on January 28, 1925, following the example of St. Teresa of Lisieux, Maria offered herself as a victim to Merciful Love. She renewed this offering daily for the rest of her life.
In December 1929, she joined Catholic Action and worked zealously for three years as a delegate for the culture of Catholic youth, giving numerous presentations and conferences. On July 1, 1930, Maria offered herself as a "victim to divine Justice." And, Divine Justice did not spare her: physical and spiritual suffering began to rain on her, and increased to the point where, by January 4, 1933, she could not leave her house. From April 1, 1934 until she died (that is, for 27 and a half years), she was forced to remain in bed.
In 1943, she began receiving extraordinary visions of the life our Lord, which she was asked to write down, which later became the remarkable and unforgettable series of books entitled “The Poem of the Man-God”. In the countless visions, she was placed amidst the vision, almost like a spectator, and she thus saw the sights and smelled the various smells that were occurring in the vision. Her descriptions of the 1st century Israel contain such extraordinary descriptions and details that they have been studied by Archeologists and experts of various other natural Sciences, and have surprisingly confirmed numerous facts that were only known within some very small circles of academic science.
As Jesus was nailed to the cross, so, for the last 27 and a half years of her life, Maria Valtorta was nailed to her bed by various diseases. She found effective spiritual support in Father Romualdo Migliorini, O.S.M. On March 25, 1944, he received her in the third order of the Servants of Mary. At that time she was already a secular Franciscan.
In the spring of 1949, Maria Valtorta, to complete her preceding offerings, generously gave to God everything which was "exclusively hers and which she had received from God: her intellect and the satisfaction to see her work approved" (Letter to Mother Teresa Maria of St. Joseph, Discalced Carmelite, April 18, 1949). God accepted Maria at her word. She saw the planned publication of her writings become hindered. Then from 1956 until her death, her mental faculties declined. She died in the morning of October 12, 1961, at the very moment Father Innocenzo M. Rovetti, the Examiner of the Third Order of the Servants of Mary, was pronouncing the words recommending her soul: "Depart from this world, o’ Christian soul."
Obeying, as she had always done, she left the earth for Heaven. People noticed that her right hand - with which she had written so many sublime texts - contrarily to her left hand, retained the color, suppleness and beauty of someone alive rather than dead. Thus in the end, the hand that became the “Pen of Jesus” was honored by God in a befitting testimony to the sacrifice of Maria, which was made with an extraordinary love and devotion.
Some words of Maria Valtorta from her Autobiography:
“Oh, I am so happy when I suffer very, very much! My mission is to suffer.”
“Everything, everything has its reason in Creation, and everything has its mission given to it by the Creator. And I have mine: to suffer, to expiate and to love. To suffer for those who are unable to suffer, to expiate for those who are unable to expiate, and to love for those who are unable to love. I do not think of myself. I say to the good Lord –‘I trust You’ and that is all that I say to Him."
“When we love God, the warmth flows from the center outwards, and in this way we love our neighbor, not for what he is worth, but for what he is: the work of God, redeemed by Christ, dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. We necessarily love him, for in having God in us- for whoever has charity has God- we have His mercy, which covers the base [sinful] actions of others, and clothes bodies, even if they are repellent with moral disease, in a supernatural robe.”
"…I do not become disheartened if I fall once more into new imperfections. These increase my humility and my gratitude when I see how merciful Jesus is to whoever trusts Him. He is the “Savior” and I present my faults to Him as I commit them so that He will annul them, and continue His work as Savior within me….The more I realize that I have been imperfect, the more I go to Him, crying ‘Jesus have mercy on me!’. If souls knew with what love Jesus loves them, not a single soul would be lost, for at every one of their errors, they would run to take refuge in His merciful Heart. The mistake is that people are instead not confident, but afraid of God and His punishment.”
"The Poem of the Man-God" and Maria Valtorta's other writings are availible here:
I would also highly recommend this excellent website on Maria Valtorta, located here:
~Maria Valtorta, pray for us!
“No fault is so great that it is not amenable to Redemption; no memory of past sins or blame should be an obstacle to our advancing in Goodness, and we must not offend the good Lord by thinking that He is so little a Father, as to be more of a Judge than a Saviour.” –Maria Valtorta