Jesus has gathered His apostles. I am given to understand that they are still at Lazarus' estate, but have gone to a remote corner for privacy.
Our Lady says that what is important to note here is the love, the desire to be faithful to Jesus. I see our dear Lord seated upon a stone bench benath the canopy of a leafy tree. The apostles have spread their mantles upon the ground, and are sitting on them, as close to Jesus as possible. John, the beloved discipline of pure heart, is next to Jesus, leaning against His right knee in an attitude of a trusting child, hungering for every word from His Master's lips. Peter is close, also. He is short of stature, but very intense, almost pensive. In fact, I am given to understand that all of the apostles, except John, are pensive. This is an interior agitation as they fight internally to deny or put off the reality that their Master, the Messiah, is soon to be condemned, to die, that Scripture might be fulfilled.
Our Lord knows well their interior struggle. But He is gentle and kind, constantly praying for them that their fear may dissipate and their faith be strengthened.
As our Lady directs me to look about I notice one apostle is leaning nonchalantly against an arbor over which vines have grown and whose cool greenery contrasts dramatically with his pompous attire and attitude.
This is Judas the Iscariot, Judas of Kerioth, who leans like a mischievous school boy, whose gaze is not fixed upon the Master, but whose eyes scan his brother apostles. There enfolds his lips a cynical smile, and then his entire attention wanders off, as if he were impatient for Jesus to be finished.
It troubles me greatly to look at Judas. But for now I am unable to look away. In his eyes, the cock of his head, the curve of his lips, the manner of his dress and his over-all posture, I see much of myself at various times of my life. I "see" with my soul's eyes the outer markings of pride. I "see" how this pride stiffens one's spine, while killing the true strength of the soul. His inattentiveness instantly recalls to my mind the many times I have been bored and have allowed my attention to stray - to day dream of things not of God.
It becomes very clear to me that in all men there is a little Judas Iscariot, but that these evil tendencies can be and must be completetly subdued and rooted out by our "attentiveness" to Jesus, Who is life.
Then I look again at Jesus and see how attentive He is to all His beloved apostles. He is very aware of Judas, but shows no reaction. I am given to understand that Jesus loves Judas for what he might yet be, should he will to be repentant and humble. Jesus, as God, loathes what exists already in Judas' heart and soul: evil that is so obvious to the eyes of the soul. How hideous does evil appear before God, Who is all-good! Yet even at this moment Jesus is praying for Judas, as He prays for the other apostles, each of whom still has great weaknesses and will face many purifying trials ahead.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of Lesson 3: WITH THE APOSTLES ON THE EVE OF PASSOVER