(CEV) “The Notebooks 1944”, p. 22 Jesus says: “My Peter says: “The devil, your adversary, is prowling around you like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour; withstand him, strong in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters, scattered over the world, share the same sufferings you endure”.
In the African regions where the lion dwells, men and animals know how to orient themselves with respect to him. I once took you with me to the east, alongside a fount rich in water… and I said to you, Be like this. Today I am taking you with Me into the eternal forests, whose giant trees are the descendants of the ones emerging from nothing by the will of the Father and admired by the astonished eyes of your first parents. You will thus see something different from what is making you gloomy.
Look. The peaks of these millenary green giants stand tall against the sky, a darker blue than my own eyes. And they interweave up above to speak to the winds and the stars about the events below which they do not see, for the green roof conceals them.
Beneath is the undergrowth, as thick as an intricate labyrinth, with lianas and roots that look like serpents, and adorned with deceitful necklaces which are snakes lying in ambush. Even further down is the thick plush grass, emerging on virgin land rich in a thousand juices, where it is sweet for antelopes and gazelles to find pasture and rest, and for millions of birds of every kind of song and color to find food. Flowers, ferns, necklaces of corollas, green caverns, moss-covered grottoes, and fresh currents of water, and a green light, resting in the midst of the sun, which dazzles wherever it penetrates, on roads opened up by human exertion or along a watery mirror, so vast that it forces the vegetable dome to open out into a green well.
In these forests the lion is the king. No one else stands up to him among those running or leaping, or crawling or climbing, or flying or walking. Man, passing by with his herds on the fringes of the forest, migrating towards areas where there is pasture or a market, constructs fences with sharp points for himself and his fellows to protect the herd on cold, peaceful nights. The animals hole up in the brush or huddle at the top of plants as night falls, to flee from his assault. For the lion does not attack as long as the sun is in the sky. He waits for the night, the deceitful shadow of the moon, or deep darkness, to go after his prey. He goes out and roars as the night comes on. He roars around man’s enclosures and the caverns of animals. He does not penetrate-he waits. He waits for the imprudent one who comes out of his refuge.
There is always so much imprudence! The desire for relief, being curious to see, being in a hurry to arrive. The lion is there. He waits, tasting his prey in advance, beating his sides out of impatience and wrath over the long wait, and circles around, seeking the point where the imprudent one will come out, and when he finds him, he is on the lookout, or studies the signs of his habitual movement and lies in ambush. And he is now silent, for he knows that the imprudent one is coming. He is silent to leave the impression that he is no longer there. And he is never there so much as when he is silent.
[…] The devil acts like the lion. Taking advantage of nightfall, he circles around your souls. He does not dare to come out and attack as long as the Sun is high over your spirit. He roars, but does not attack.
And what does it matter if he roars? Let him roar with rage. Remain in the Sun, your God, and do not be afraid. Do you no longer see the Sun? But He is there. If an hour of trial makes you blind, be able to feel Him from his warmth, since you cannot see his appearance. Don’t you know that you would die of cold if your Sun were dead for you? If your spirit lives, though God has made it blind, it is because the Sun is still kissing it.
Oh, if souls were able always to remain under the eternal Sun and, even in the darkness of trial, not emerge from the solar zenith, and say, ‘I will stay in my place. God will find me here, where He left me, for I do not change my way of thinking as regards faith and love’!
The devil goes around looking for an aperture to stretch out his claws and tear away the incautious one who is too close to the opening-to temptation. Or he waits for him to come out as a voluntary prey through the allurement of sensuality. Or he may be silent and lie in ambush-this is the craftiest trick. And those proceeding without a connection to the divine fall into his trap.
I repeat: as long as he roars, he is not very dangerous; when, after letting himself be heard, he is silent, he is then dangerous to the utmost he is silent because he has discovered your weak point and your habits and is already prepared to leap upon you.
Be watchful. If the light of God is upon you, it illuminates you, and nothing else is needed. But if you are in darkness, remain anchored in faith. Let nothing move you from it for any reason. Does everything seem dead and nullified? Tell yourselves, ‘No. Everything is as before.’ Say to Satan, ‘No. Everything is as before.’
Before you, how many have endured the same tortures as you! `Your brothers and sisters scattered over the world.’ Your brothers and sisters. Around the world. World, here, is not so much this Earth, which you inhabit, with those living on it. World is the Communion of all the living. `Of all the living,’ I say. That is, of all those who are in eternal Life after having been willing and able to remain in `Life’ while they were on Earth.
Well then, these brothers and sisters of yours, scattered like eternal flowers in my celestial gardens, not only remember their past combats and are thus able to understand yours, but, because of the Charity which is now their Life, they suffer, in blessedness, on seeing you suffer. A suffering of love which does not dull their joy, but mixes into it a vein of superactive charity and makes them merciful and helpful in regard to your troubles. All of Heaven reaches out to you that struggle, with my Name in your hearts and for the sake of my Name, and helps you.
Do not go outside the threefold barrier of the theological virtues and the secure defense of the fourfold cardinal virtues. Faith, hope, and charity. Justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence-this is your defense. Satan’s claws break against them, and he loses his power, not harming you.
When the Sun, your God, returns to shine on your spirits, victorious over the night which tortured you, you remain astonished on seeing what a labor of liberation the devil himself has carried out, against his own will, by circling furiously around you. In his impotent fury, by placing you on the defensive he made small imperfections, like tenuous blades of grass stepped on excessively, die definitively and the light descend triumphantly onto the bare ground to make your flower, your spirit, created to live in Heaven, grow more vigorously.
[…]The lion, I said, knows the habits -he studies them in order to know them- of those he wants to tear to pieces. He is very intelligent. He understands at once. Satan is also very intelligent and understands at once. He is still an angel. Fallen, but remaining such in his mind, which he now uses for evil, whereas I gave him a powerful mind to do good. The lion knows that his quarries go to quench their thirst in the evening to the channels of water which furrow sun-scorched lands. He knows which pastures they go to in order to graze on the thick grass. He knows when man returns from work to his dwellings. He has only to pause alongside these resting places.
The wish for physical relief or human imprudence leads man and animals towards his inexorable claws. The meek gazelles and the swift antelopes -so cautious and fearful by day- thus become bold at nightfall. Thirst and hunger spur them on. And they go out to meet death. Man, too eager for gain, thus lingers on to work after sunset. And death brings him to a halt forever on his return. Carnal appetite thus pushes two people beyond the protection of inhabited areas to seek refuge for their illicit love. And the beast eternally dissolves what their lust has joined. But in African lands or in icy regions it is always the same three pointed goad which spurs men towards Satan’s clawing. It is always concupiscence involving the flesh, money, and power that brings you within reach of the one who, like a roaring lion prowls around you tirelessly.
Remember that I, too, was tempted in my flesh by hunger in my belly and the offering of fleshly food to my senses, in my mind by the craving for power, and in my spirit by the suggestion that I tempt God. Imprudence is to tempt God.
Be able to imitate Me. Put Satan to flight by imitating Jesus, your Master. ‘Man lives not only on bread, but on the word of God.’ ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ `You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.’
Wrap your flesh and your spirit in the bands soaked in balms of the Law of God. Those who live wrapped in them preserve their flesh and their spirit from the germs bringing the putrefaction of diseases and death. […] Be off-in peace. “
Maria Valtorta: The Notebooks