”The Poem of the Man-God” – tale sublime,
Truth of the Gospel, retold for our time.
Concerning the “Poem of the Man-God” by Maria Valtorta (1897–1961), a life of Our Lord extending to ten volumes written in Italian in the 1940’s, an Italian priest, Don Ottavio Michelini, is alleged to have heard in the 1970’s, from Our Lord himself, the following comments:—
“I have dictated to Maria Valtorta, a victim soul, a marvellous work (The Poem of the Man-God). Of this work I am the Author. You yourself, my son, have recognized Satan reacting with fury to it . . . . You have observed yourself the resistance that many priests oppose to this work. ( . . . ) If it were – I do not say “read” – but studied and meditated, it would do an immense good to souls. This work is a well-spring of serious and solid culture . . . . This is a work willed by Wisdom and Divine Providence for the new times. It is a spring of living and pure water. It is I, the Word living and eternal, Who have given Myself anew as nourishment to the souls that I love. I, Myself, am the Light, and the Light cannot be confused with, and still less blend Itself with, the darkness. Where I am found, the darkness is dissolved to make way for the Light.”
Maria Valtorta is the 20th century equivalent of Maria of Agreda and Anne-Catherine Emmerich, of the 17th and 19th centuries respectively. The two earlier visionaries have by now gained wide respect within the Catholic Church, but Maria Valtorta is still controversial. Now one may admit that her “Poem” is not to everybody’s taste. It need not be forced on anybody. It is not a substitute for the Gospel. It is not necessary for salvation. And it may seem highly dubious to support the writings of one alleged visionary with the words of another, especially when the supporting witness is as little well known as Don Michelini.
However, there are souls all over the world for whom the “Poem” has ac ted like a stupendous gift of God himself, for whom it has seemed to be designed to alleviate the spiritual distress of our own times, which is becoming more and more unbearable for many. Therefore these “Comments” will dare to put before readers, once more, reasons to take seriously the testimony of Don Michelini and to interest themselves in the “Poem,” so as possibly to profit by it before God intervenes in spectacular fashion to relieve that distress. Let these reasons be the briefest of summaries of the seven reasons given supposedly by Our Lord at the end of the “Poem” for his having revealed its contents to Maria Valtorta:—
1 Doctrine – while modernism wreaks havoc with the Church’s unchanging teaching, souls need to see how I gave the selfsame teaching to the Church, from the start: divine, perfect, immutable.
2 Love – when charity is growing cold and sentimental, priests and layfolk need their love for Christ and for all that concerns Christ to be re-awakened, especially for his Mother.
3 Direction – when souls are going astray in so many different directions, spiritual directors need to see in how many different ways I looked after them.
4 Reality – when love is so widely falsified and sullied, human beings need to see Jesus and Mary as true human beings of flesh and blood, with a perfect love, but truly human, between them.
5 Suffering – when comfort everywhere comes first, pleasure-seekers need to know how long and varied were the sufferings of my Mother and myself, starting tens of years before the Passion.
6 Word – when language is utterly debased, people need to see the power of my Word, of my words, to transform souls, e.g. from rough sinners into great Apostles.
7 Judas – when evil is so sentimentalized as to be denied, sinners must be shown the mystery of iniquity in human form, so as not to follow Judas to Hell.