Description of Heaven by Maria Valtorta


Maria Valtorta: “I shall attempt to describe the inexpressible, ineffable, beatific vision in the late evening yesterday, the one which led me from the dream of the soul to that of the body in order to appear to me even clearer and more beautiful when I returned to my senses. And before undertaking this description, which will remain farther from reality than we are from the sun […] And now I shall try to describe.

I have seen Paradise again. And I have understood what its Beauty, Nature, Light, and Song are made of. Everything, in short. Its Works, too, which, from such a height, inform, regulate, and provide for the whole created universe. As on the previous occasion, in the early days of this year, I believe, I have seen the Most Holy Trinity.

But let us proceed in orderly fashion. Even the eyes of the spirit -though much more capable of withstanding the Light than the poor eyes of the body, which cannot look fixedly at the sun, a star like the little flame of a smoking wick as compared to the Light which is God- need to accustom themselves by degrees to contemplation of this lofty Beauty.

God is so good that, though wanting to reveal Himself in his splendors, He does not forget that we are poor spirits still imprisoned in flesh and thus weakened by this imprisonment. Oh, how lovely, shining, and sparkling are the spirits God creates at every instant to be souls for new creatures! I have seen them, and I know. But we … until we return to Him, cannot withstand all the Splendor at once. And He, in his goodness, draws us towards it by degrees.

First of all, then, last night I saw a sort of immense rose. I say “rose” to provide an idea of these circles of jubilant light which centered increasingly around a point of unbearable splendor. A boundless rose! Its light was that which it received from the Holy Spirit. The most radiant light of eternal Love. Topaz and liquid gold turned into a flame…

Oh, I don’t know how to explain! He shone forth on high, on high and alone, set in the immaculate and most radiant sapphire of the Empyrean, and from Him the Light descended in unending waves. The Light which penetrated the rose of the blessed and the angelic choirs and rendered it luminous with its light, which is nothing but the product of the light of the Love penetrating it. But I did not distinguish saints or angels. I saw only the immeasurable festoons of the circles of the celestial flower.

I was already entirely blissful and would have blessed God for his goodness when, instead of crystallizing that way, the vision opened into broader splendors, as if coming_ closer and closer to me, enabling me to observe it with my spiritual eyes, now accustomed to the first splendor and capable of withstanding a brighter one. And I saw God the Father: Radiance in the radiance of Paradise.

Lines of most radiant light, extremely white, incandescent. Just think: if I was able to distinguish Him in that sea of light, what must his Light have been like, which, though surrounded by so much additional light, annulled it, turning it into a kind of reflected shadow compared to its splendor? Spirit… Oh, how one sees that it is spirit! It is All. So perfect that it is All. It is nothing because not even the touch of any other spirit in Paradise could touch God. A most perfect Spirit, even in his immateriality. Light, Light, nothing but Light.

In front of God the Father was God the Son. In the robe of his glorified Body, upon which there shone the royal garb covering his most holy Members without concealing his super indescribable beauty. Majesty and Goodness fused into this Beauty of his. The carbuncles of his five Wounds shot forth five swords of light over all of Paradise and increased its splendor and that of his glorified Person.

He had no halo or crown of any kind. But his whole Body emitted light, that special light of spiritualized bodies, which in Him and in the Mother is extremely intense and issues forth from his Flesh, which is flesh, but not opaque, like ours. Flesh which is light. This light condenses even more around his Head. Not into a halo, I repeat, but from his whole Head. His smile was light, and his gaze, light, light piercing from his most beautiful Brow, without wounds. But it seemed that, in the places where the thorns had once drawn blood and brought pain, there transuded brighter luminosity now.

Jesus was standing, holding his royal banner, as in the vision I had in January, I believe. A little below Him, very little, comparable to a step on an ordinary stairway, was the Most Blessed Virgin. As lovely as She is in Heaven-that is, with her perfect human beauty glorified into heavenly beauty.

She was standing between the Father and the Son, who were a few meters apart (just to use sensory comparisons). She was in the middle and with her hands crossed over her breast &mdashher gentle, snow-white, small, very lovely hands— and her face slightly upraised —her tender, perfect, loving, very delicate face— was gazing at the Father and the Son in adoration. Filled with veneration, She was looking at the Father. She did not say a word.

But her whole gaze was a voice of adoration and prayer and song. She was not kneeling. But She was so worshipful that her gaze made Her more prostrate than in the deepest genuflection. She was saying, “Sanctus!” and “I adore You!” with her look alone.

Filled with love, She was gazing at her Jesus. She did not say a word. But her whole gaze was a caress; every caress of her soft eyes was saying, “I love You!” She was not seated. She did not touch her Son. But her gaze received Him as if He were on her lap, surrounded by her motherly arms, just as -and more than in his Childhood and Death. She was saying, “My Son!” and “My joy!” and “My love!” with her look alone.

She took delight in gazing at the Father and the Son. And from time to time She would uplift her face and gaze even more to seek out the Love that was shining high above Her, perpendicularly. And then its dazzling light, made of a pearl turned into light, became ignited as if a flame were assailing it to set it on fire and make it more beautiful.

She would receive the kiss of Love and reach out with all her humility and purity, with her charity, to respond with a caress to the Caress and say, “Here I am. I am your Bride and I love You and am yours. Yours for eternity.” And the Spirit would flame forth more brightly when Mary’s gaze would merge with his splendors.

And Mary would turn her glance back to the Father and the Son. It seemed that, having been made the repository of Love, She was distributing it. What a poor image I convey! I shall state it better. It seemed that the Spirit was choosing Her to be the one who, gathering all Love into Herself, would then bear it to the Father and the Son so that the Three would join and kiss one another, becoming One. Oh, the joy of comprehending this poem of love! And to see the mission of Mary, the Seat of Love!

But the Spirit did not concentrate his splendors on Mary alone. Our Mother is great. Second only to God. But can a basin, even if very large, contain the ocean? No. It is filled and overflows. But the ocean has water for the whole earth. Such is the Light of Love. And It was descending in a perpetual caress upon the Father and the Son, clasping Them in a ring of splendor. And it expanded further, after having been beatified by contact with the Father and the Son, who responded with love to Love, and extended over all of Paradise.

And Paradise was thus revealed in its details…. There were angels. Higher than the blessed, circles around the Hub of Heaven that is the Triune God, with the virginal Gem of Mary as its heart. They more vividly resemble God the Father. Perfect and eternal spirits, they are outlines of light, inferior only to that of God the Father, with an indescribable form of beauty.

They adore… They send forth harmonies. With what? I do not know. Perhaps with the heartbeat of their love. For there are not words; and the lines of their mouths do not shift their luminosity. They shine like motionless waters struck by bright sun. But their love is a song. And it is such a sublime harmony that only a grace of God can allow one to hear it without dying of joy.

Below are the blessed. These, in their spiritualized appearance, bear a closer resemblance to the Son and Mary. They are more compact, perceptible to the eye, I would say, and -I get the impression- to touch than the angels are. But they are still immaterial. Physical traits are, however, more marked in them and distinguish them from each other. I therefore understand whether someone is an adult or a child, a man or a woman.

I do not see old people, in the sense of decrepitude. It seems that even when the spiritualized bodies belong to those who have died at an advanced age, the signs of the decay of our flesh cease up above. There is more grandeur in an elderly man than in a young person. But not that dreariness of wrinkles, baldness, toothless mouths, and curved backs proper to human beings. The maximum age seems to be forty or forty-five-that is, flourishing virility, even if the gaze and appearance possess patriarchal dignity.

Among the many -how large a people of saints… and how large a people of angels! The circles fade away, becoming a wake of light through the deep blue splendors of a boundless immensity! And from afar, from afar, from this celestial horizon there still comes the sound of the sublime alleluia, and the light flickers which is the love of this army of angels and the blessed…. Among the many I see an imposing spirit this time. Tall, severe, but good. With a long beard which flows half-way down his chest and with tablets in his hands.

The tablets look like the waxen ones the men of old used to write on. He is supporting himself on them with his left hand and holding them, in turn, against his left knee. I don’t know who he is. I think of Moses or Isaiah. I don’t know why. That’s what I think. He looks at me and smiles with great dignity. Nothing else. But what eyes! Made precisely to dominate the throngs and penetrate the secrets of God. My spirit is becoming increasingly capable of seeing in the Light. And I see that with every fusion of the three Persons, a fusion which is repeated with a pressing, incessant rhythm, as if spurred by an insatiable hunger for love, the unceasing miracles which are God’s works are produced.

I see that the Father, out of love for the Son, to whom He wants to give an ever greater number of followers, creates souls. Oh, how beautiful! They emerge like sparks, like petals of light, like globe-shaped gems in a way I am unable to describe, from the Father. It is an incessant issuing forth of new souls… Beautiful, joyous in descending to pervade a body out of obedience to their Author. How lovely they are when they emerge from God! I do not see —I cannot see while I am in Paradise&mdash when original sin sullies them.

The Son, out of zeal for his Father, without pause receives and judges those who, when life is over, return to the Origin to be judged. I do not see these spirits. I understand whether they are judged with joy, mercy, or implacability from the changes in Jesus’ expression.

What a radiant smile when a saint presents himself to Him! What a light of sad mercy when He must separate Himself from someone who has to be cleansed before entering the Kingdom! What a flash of offended, painful indignation when He must repudiate a rebel forever!

It is here that I understand what Paradise is. And what its Beauty, Nature, Light, and Song are made of. It is made by Love. Paradise is Love. It is Love that creates everything therein. Love is the foundation on which everything rests. Love is the apex from which everything comes.

The Father works out of Love. The Son judges out of Love. Mary lives by Love. The angels sing out of Love. The Light exists because it is Love. The Song exists because it is Love. Life exists because it is Love. Oh, Love, Love, Love…! I annul myself in You. I rise again in You. I die as a human creature because You consume me. I am born as a spiritual creature because You create me.

Be blessed, blessed, blessed, Love, Third Person! Be blessed, blessed, blessed, Love, who are the love of the First Two! Be blessed, blessed, blessed, Love, who love the Two preceding you! Be blessed, You that love me. Be blessed by me, who love You because You allow me to love You and know You, O my Light…