THE FIRST BOOK OF THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD: THE CONCEPTION
 BOOK 1  PARAGRAPHS  1-412

THE CHURCH APPROVED  HISTORY AND LIFE OF THE VIRGIN MOTHER OF GOD,
WHO IS OUR QUEEN AND OUR MOTHER AND MEDIATRIX OF GRACE
Manifested to Sr. Mary of Jesus, Prioress of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda, Spain For new enlightenment of the world, for rejoicing of the Catholic Church, and encouragement of men.
COMPLETED IN 1665
Translated from the Spanish by Fiscar Marison (Fr. George Blatter)
IMPRIMATUR: H.J. ALERDING, BISHOP OF FORT WAYNE, IND. 1912 
"Twelve years of labor in translation, and many more years of expense and sacrifice, are not too great a price to pay for opening up such a treasure as CIUDAD to the millions of English-speaking people." Respectfully, FISCAR MARISON, Translator, South Chicago, IL
RENDERED IN MODERN ENGLISH 
         God Himself taught Her.  

INTRODUCTION 

TO THE LIFE OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

1 I should not be astonished to hear myself condemned as audacious, foolhardy and presumptuous by any person who will begin to realize (if realized it can be) that I, a simple woman, who is of herself but sheer weakness and ignorance and who is, on account of her sins, most unworthy, has resolved and attempted to write of Divine and supernatural things. This condemnation will be the more justified in these, our present times, in which the Holy Church, our mother, is so abundantly supplied with teachers and holy men, so rich in doctrines of the holy Fathers and Doctors; in this our most opportune age, when even prudent and wise persons, full of holy zeal in the spiritual life, are disturbed and troubled at the least mention of a higher life, looking upon visions and revelations as most suspicious and dangerous paths for the pursuit of Christian perfection. If no excuse can be found for such an enterprise in itself, or even for attempting things that are so far above and superior to what man can hope to compass, and so far beyond all human capacities, then we can only conclude that to un­dertake them is either a sign of perverse judgment or the result of an activity far surpassing all the human power.

As faithful children of the Holy Church we must confess that all mortals, not only with the use of all their natural powers, but with the simultaneous use of all the common and ordinary graces, are but incapable and, as it were, mute and ignorant weaklings for so difficult an undertaking as to explain and describe the hidden mys­teries and magnificent sacraments which the Powerful Arm of the Most High has wrought in that Creature whom, as His Mother, He has designed to be an immense ocean of grace and privilege and the Depositary of the greatest treasures of the Divinity. How incapable must our weakness acknowledge itself to be, when even the angelic spirits confess that words fail them when at­tempting to describe that which is so far above their thoughts and capacities. The life of this Phoenix among the works of God is a book so sealed up that none is found among all the creatures of heaven and earth, worthy to open it (Rev 5:4).  It is evident then, that only the powerful Lord can unseal it; He Who made Her more perfect than all the creatures; or She Herself, our Queen and Mother, who was worthy to re­ceive and properly to appreciate Her ineffable gifts. It is in Her power to select suitable instruments, and such as for Her glory seem capable of manifesting these gifts in the proportion, at the time, and in the manner serviceable to Her Only Begotten Son.

I would willingly maintain that these instruments can be no other than the teachers and learned saints of the Catholic Church, or the doctors of the schools, who have all taught the way of truth and life. But the thoughts and the judgments of the Most High are ex­alted as much above our own as heaven is exalted above the earth and no one knows His Mind and no one can counsel Him in His Works (Rom 11:34); He it is that holds the scales of the sanctuary in His Hands (Rev. 6:5), and Who weighs the winds (Job 28:25); Who grasps in His Hands all the orbs (Is 40:12), and Who, by the equity of His Most Holy Counsels, disposes of all things with weight and measure (Wis 11:21), assign­ing to each one opportune time and place. He dispenses the light of wisdom (Sir 24:37) and by His most equitable bounty He distributes it, and no one can ascend to the heavens to draw it down (Baruch 3:29), or fetch it from the clouds, or know its ways or investigate the hidden paths thereof (Baruch 3:31). He alone observes it as it is in itself, and transfuses it as the vapor and emanation of His immense charity (Wis 7:25) as the brightness of His eternal light, as the flawless reflection and image of His eternal bounty, through holy souls among the nations in order to make them friends of the Most High and constitute them as Prophets (Wis.7:27). The Lord alone knows why and for what purpose He thus prepared me, the last of His creatures; why He thus called and raised me, obliged and compelled me, to write the life of His most holy Mother, our Queen. 

4 It is beyond the prudent surmise of any man that, without this influence and power of the Most High, the thought of such a work should enter into a human heart, or such an enterprise should take shape in my mind. For I acknowledge and confess myself to be a weak woman, lacking in all virtue; therefore, it should be far from my thoughts to approach such a work, but equally as far from me to refuse it on my own account. In order that a just estimate may be had in this matter I will mention in simple truth something of that which happened to me re­garding this history.

In the 8th year after the foundation of this con­vent, in the 25th of my life, obedience imposed upon me the office which I unworthily hold at the present day, namely to be the Abbess of this convent. I found myself much troubled, sorrowful and discouraged, because neither my age nor my inclinations were such as are requisite for governing and commanding, but they were rather such as befitted one who should be governed and obey. I knew also, that in order to invest me with this office a dispensation had been obtained. On account of these and other just reasons, the terrors with which the Most High has crucified me during all my life, were much augmented. In addition thereto God left me in dreadful doubt whether I was on the secure path or whether I should obtain or lose His friendship and grace.

6 In this tribulation I cried to the Lord with all my heart that He help me and if it be His will that I should be freed from this danger and burden. Although it is true that the Lord had prepared me sometime before ­hand and commanded me to accept the office, and although when I tried to excuse myself on account of my pusillanimity, He always consoled me and reiterated His command, I nevertheless did not cease my petitions, but rather augmented them. For I perceived and understood in the Lord that, although He showed this to be His Holy Will, which I could not hinder, yet I was aware at the same time that He left me free to retire and resist, and, if I wished, to act according to my weakness as a creature and in the consciousness of my total insufficiency; such is the prudence of the Lord in His dealings with men. Re­lying on this kindness of the Lord, I increased my efforts to be relieved from this evident danger, which is so little estimated by our human nature with its bad habits and disorderly passions. The Lord, however, repeated con­tinually that it was His will and He consoled me, admon­ishing me through His Holy Angels to obey.

7 I fled in this affliction to our Queen and Lady as to my only refuge in all troubles, and after I had mani­fested to Her my way of life and my desires, She answered me in these words: "My daughter, console yourself and do not be disturbed in your heart on account of this labor; prepare yourself for it and I will be your Mother and Superior, whom you shall obey; and I will be the same to your subjects. I will supplement your deficiencies and you shall be My agent, through whom the will of My Son and My God shall be fulfilled. In all your temptations and troubles you shall take refuge with Me, confer about them with Me, and take the advice, which I will give you in all things. Obey Me, and I will favor you and will continue to be attentive to your afflic­tion." These were the words of the Queen, as consoling as they were soothing to my soul. From that day on the Mother of Mercy multiplied Her mercies toward me, Her slave; for She became more intimate with me and continued Her communication with my soul, receiving me, listening to me, teaching me with ineffable condescension, giv­ing me counsel and encouragement in my affliction, filling my soul with the light and knowledge of eternal life and commanding me to renew the vows of my profession in Her presence. Finally this our most amiable Mother revealed Herself still more fully to Her slave, with­drawing the veil from the hidden sacraments and mag­nificent mysteries which are contained, though unknown to mortals, in Her most holy life. And, although this blessed and supernatural light was uninterrupted, and especially clear on Her festival days and on other occasions when I was instructed in many mysteries; yet it was not so full, frequent and clear as that which was after­wards given to me when She added the command that I write the history of Her life according as Her Ma­jesty Herself should dictate and inspire me. Particularly on one of these festivals of the most holy Mary, the Most High informed me that He had in reserve many hidden sacraments and blessings, which He had conferred upon this His heavenly Mother in the days of Her pilgrimage and that it was His intention to manifest them to me, in order that I might write them down according to Her guidance. This Will of the Most High, though I resisted it, was continually present to my mind for the space of 10 years, until I attempted the first writing of this history.

8 Consulting about my doubts with the Holy Angels, whom the Most High had appointed to direct this work of writing the history of our Queen, and manifesting to them how great was my disturbance and afflic­tion of heart and how stuttering and mute was my tongue for such an arduous task, they replied over and over again that it was the Will of the Most High that I write the life of His most pure Mother. On one day especially, when I made many objections and de­clared to them my difficulties, and my incapability and great fears, they spoke to me these words: "With good reason you fear and are disturbed, doubt and hesitate in a matter, where we Angels ourselves would do the same, as considering ourselves unable wor­thily to describe the high and magnificent deeds of the Omnipotent in the Mother of Piety and our own Queen. But remember, that the firmament, the whole machinery of the world and all things created will sooner fail, than the Words of the Most High. Many times He has promised to His creatures, and in the Holy Scriptures it is recorded, that the obedient man shall speak of victories over his enemies and shall not be repre­hensible in obeying (Prov 21:28). And when He created the first man and gave him the command not to eat of the tree of knowledge, He established the virtue of obedience, and swearing He swore, in order to give greater assurance to man. For the Lord has repeatedly given such an oath; for instance, when He promised to Abraham that the Messiah should descend from his race, He added thereto the assurance of an oath (Gen 22:16). He did the same when He created the first man, assuring him that the obedient shall not err. He also repeated this oath, when He ordained that His Most Holy Son should die (Lk 1:73); and He gave a like assur­ance to men that they, who should obey this second Adam, imitating Him in the obedience, by which He re­stored what the first lost through his disobedience, shall live forever and that the enemy shall have no part in them. Remember, that all obedience takes its rise from God as from its first and principal source, and we Angels obey the power of His Divine Right Hand and His Most Just Will. We cannot contravene or ignore it, be­cause we see the Immutable Being of God face to face and we perceive that His Will is Holy, Pure and True, Most Equitable and Just. Now this certainty, which we Angels possess through the beatific vision, you mortals also pos­sess in its proper proportion as wayfarers through the Words of the Lord concerning your prelates and supe­riors: "He who hears you, hears Me;” which means: “he who obeys you, obeys Me.” (Lk 10: 16). Now since obedience is ren­dered on account of God, Who is the principal Cause and Who is the Superior of all, it is befitting to His Almighty Providence that He take the consequences of obedience, whenever that which is commanded is not in itself sin­ful. Accordingly the Lord assures us of these things by an oath, and He will sooner cease to exist, though this is impossible, than that He will fail in His Word. In the same way as the children proceed from their parents, and all the living from Adam, multiplied from his natural being in his posterity; so also all superiors are consti­tuted by God as by the Supreme Lord on Whose account we yield obedience to them; human beings to their living su­periors, we Angels to our higher hierarchies of the same nature, and all beings together, in their superiors, obey the Eternal God. Remember now, that all of these have directed and commanded you to do that, about which you still hesitate; if you now should begin to write by mistake, intending thereby to fulfill His Commands in obedience, then the Most High would do with your pen the same as He did with the knife of Abraham, when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, for on that occasion the Lord commanded one of us Angels to withhold the arm and the knife. He did not thus command us to withhold your pen, but has ordered us with lightest breath to speed it on, and while gazing on His Majesty, to direct and assist you by illuminating your intellect."

9 Such encouragement and instruction my Holy Angels gave me at this time. On many other occa­sions the prince St. Michael informed me of the same wish and command of the Most High. By the enlightenments, favors and instructions of this great prince, I have understood great sacraments and Mysteries of the Lord and of the Queen of heaven; for this Angel was one of those, who guarded and assisted Her and who were delegated from the angelic choirs, as I will relate in Part I, 201-206. He is at the same time the general patron and protector of the Holy Church. He was a special witness and faithful minister of the Mys­teries of the Incarnation and Redemption. This I have often heard of St. Michael himself, who showed me singular favors in my troubles and dangers, and has promised me his assistance and direction in this undertaking. 

10 In addition to all this and other facts, which need not here be mentioned, and in addition to what I shall say farther on, the Lord has directly com­manded and manifested to me His Will many times. He said to me: "My spouse, many Mysteries per­taining to My Mother and the saints have been made manifest in the Church militant; but many are still hid­den, especially the interior secrets of their lives, and these I wish now to make known; and I desire you to put them down in writing according as you are directed by the most pure Mary. I will reveal and explain them to you; for until now I have, according to the hidden designs of My Wisdom, kept them in reserve, because the time for revealing them was not befitting or opportune to My Providence. Now, however, it is, and it is My Will that you write."

11 All these facts which I have mentioned, and many more which I could mention, would not have been urgent enough to rouse my will to an enterprise so arduous and so foreign to my condition, if to them had not been added the motive of obedience to my superiors, who are set to govern my soul and teach me the way of truth. For certainly my mistrusts and fears were not so unimportant as to permit me to come to a full decision without their commands in so great a matter, when in resolving upon others, also supernatural and vastly less difficult, I rely so much on the guidance of obedience. As an ignorant woman I have always sought this North star, for it is a duty incumbent on all to test all things, even though they seem to be most noble and excellent beyond suspicion, by the approbation of the teachers and ministers of the Holy Church. Such assurance I have been solicitous to procure for the direction of my soul, and more particularly in this undertaking of writing the life of the Queen of Heaven. I have frequently tried to prevent my superiors from being moved by any accounts of my interior experiences, disguising, as much as I could, many things, and in tears begging the Lord to enlighten them and to fill them with mistrust against me, to watch over them lest they be deceived or lest they permit me to be deceived or misdirected. Many times I have desired that the very thought of allowing me to engage in this enterprise would fade from their minds.

12 I will also confess that the devil, availing himself of my natural dispositions and of my fears, has made great efforts to hinder this work by seeking to terrify and afflict me. He would no doubt have succeeded in keeping me from it if the zeal and persistence of my superiors had not counteracted my cowardice. In this persecution the Lord, the most pure Virgin and the Holy Angels often took occasion to renew their enlightenment, their tokens and wonders. Nevertheless, in spite of all this, I de­ferred, or to speak more appropriately, I resisted this un­dertaking many years; I refused compliance, as I will de­scribe further on, not having the boldness to attempt the execution of something so far above all my powers. And I believe that this was not without special providence of His Majesty; for in the course of those years so many things have happened to me, and I may say, so many mysterious and various difficulties intervened, that I would not have been able to preserve the tranquility and quiet of spirit, which is necessary for retaining the proper light and information; for not in all states of mind, though they are of the highest and most advanced, can the soul engage in that exalted activity which is necessary to correspond to such exquisite and delicate influences. In addition to this, there was still another reason, namely: During this protracted delay I could inform myself and assure myself of the truth of these things not only by means of the new enlightenment, which grew as time passed on, and by the prudence which experience gives, but also by the persevering insistence of the Lord, of the Holy Angels and of my superiors, under whose obedience I lived. Likewise an opportunity was given me to quiet my fears and misgivings, to overcome my cowardice and perplexity, and to trust that to the Lord, which I would not trust to my weakness.   

13 Confiding then in the great virtue of obedience, I resolved in the Name of the Lord and of my Queen to lay aside my reluctance. I call this virtue great, not only because by it the most noble activities in the faculties of a creature, namely the mind, the judg­ment and free will, are offered as a holocaust to the Lord; but also because no other virtue ever assures suc­cess more unfailingly than obedience; for by it the crea­ture then does not operate of itself alone, but also as an instrument of him that governs and commands. This was the assurance of Abraham, when he overcame the force of the natural love for his son Isaac (Gen. 22:3). And if it was sufficient for such an act, and sufficient to detain the sun and the heavens in their swift course (Joshua 10:13), it can certainly be sufficient to influence the movement of the earth. Perchance if the hand of Uza had been guided by obedience, he would perhaps not have been punished as presumptuous in touching the ark. Well do I know that I am more unworthy than Uza in stretching out my hand to touch, not the lifeless and fig­urative Ark of the Old Covenant, but the living Ark of the New Testament, which contained the manna of the Di­vinity, the source of grace and the New Law. But if I remain silent, I fear with good reason to disobey most high commands, and I could exclaim with Isaiah: "Woe is me because I kept my peace!" (Is 6:5). Therefore, O my Queen and Lady, it is better that Your goodness and mercy and the blessings of Your liberal hand should shine forth through my base and unworthy ef­forts; it is better that I should experience Your blessings in obeying Your commands, than that I should fall into Your displeasure. It will be a work of Your clemency, O purest Mother, to raise the poor from the earth and to execute through a weak and unfit instrument, a work so difficult; for thereby You shall magnify Your condescension and the graces, which Your Most Holy Son communicates to You. Moreover You thereby shall exclude that deceit­ful presumption, which might make us imagine that by human efforts, or by earthly prudence, or by the force and authority of deep discussion, this work is accom­plished. You thereby show, that by divine virtue You awaken anew the hearts of the faithful, drawing them toward You, You fountain of kindness and mercy. Speak therefore, O Lady, that Your servant may hear with an ardent desire fully to obey You (1 Sam 3:10). But how can my desires ever reach or equal my indebtedness? A befitting response on my part will be impossible, but if it were possible, I would desire to give it. O powerful and exalted Queen, fulfill Your promises by manifesting to me Your graces and attributes, in order that Your greatness may be made known and heralded through the nations and generations. Speak, O Lady, for Your servant hears; speak and magnify the Most High in the powerful and wonderful works, which His Right Hand performed for You in Your most profound hu­mility. Let them flow from the hollow of His Hands filled with hyacinths into Yours (Song 5:14), and from Yours to Your devout servants, in order that the angels may bless Him, the just magnify Him, and the sinners seek Him. Let all of them see the example of Your highest sanctity and purity, and by the grace of Your Most Holy Son, let me be favored with this mirror and efficacious rule, by which I can set my life in order. For this is to be the principal purpose and first object of my solicitude in writing Your life. This You have repeatedly intimated to me, condescending to offer me a living pattern and a mirror without flaw, in which I should see and according to which I should adorn my soul, so as to become worthy to be Your daughter and the bride of Your Most Holy Son.  

14 This shall be my whole object and intention; and therefore I shall not write as a teacher, but as a disciplenot as one instructing, but as one trying to learn, know­ing that it is the duty of women to be silent in the Holy Church, and to listen to the teachers (I Cor 14:34). But as an instrument of the Queen of Heaven I will de­clare what She teaches me and whatever She commands me; for all the souls are capable of receiving the Spirit, which Her Divine Son has promised to pour out over men of all conditions (Joel 2:28). The souls are also able to communicate it in a befitting mannerwhenever higher authority acting according to the dis­pensations of Christ's Church so disposes. I am now convinced that the Church has authorized this history through my superiors. That I should err is possible, and to an ignorant woman, natural; but then I err, while obeying and not acting of my own free will; thus I remit myself and subject myself to those who are my guides and to the correction of the Holy Catholic Church, to whose ministers I flee in all my difficulties. And I wish that my superior, teacher and confessor be a witness and a censor of this doctrine, which I receive, and also a severe and vigilant judge of the manner in which I put it into practice, or fail in the fulfilling of the obligations consequent upon this blessing.                  

15 Pursuant to the will of the Lord and the command of obedience, I have written for the second time this heavenly history; for during the first writing of it, though the light by which I perceived the mysteries was abundant and fruitful in proportion as my shortcomings were great, my tongue was unequal to the task of finding the proper terms, and my pen not swift enough for a full statement. I omitted some things, and with the lapse of time and by the aid of new enlightenments, I found my­self better prepared to write at this second time Nevertheless there always remains much of what I understood and have seen, which I must leave unsaid; since to say all will never be possible. Besides these reasons, there was another known to me in the Lord, namely; That in my first writing my mind was much hindered from attending to the matter and arrangement of this work by my temptations and great fears. They raised such tempests of contrary thoughts and suggestions with­in me, that, deeming it the greatest presumption to have attempted such an arduous task, I concluded to burn it. And I believe that this did not happen without the permission of the Lord, for in the restlessness of my soul I could not present myself in a state entirely befitting and desirable to the Lord for writing and engraving into my heart and spirit His doctrine, as He commands me to do now and as can be seen from the following event. 

16 On one of the festival days of the Purification of Our Lady, after having received the Most Holy Sacra­ment, I wished to celebrate this holy festival, which was the anniversary of my profession, with many acts of thanksgiving and of total resignation to the Most High, Who without any merits of mine had chosen me as His spouse. While I was thus exciting these affections, I felt in my interior a most powerful change accompanied by abundant light which raised me and urged me strongly and sweetly toward the knowledge of the Essence of God, His goodness, perfections and attributes, and to the disclosing of my own misery. And these dif­ferent things, which were placed before my understand­ing at one and the same time, produced in me various effects: The first was that all the attention of my mind and all my aspirations were raised on high; the other effect was, that I was humbled in mind to the very dust, in such a way that it seemed to take away my own exist­ence. At the same time I felt a most vehement sorrow and contrition for my grievous sins, joined to the de­termination to amend and to renounce all worldly things, aspiring instead toward complete love of God. In these affects I remained as if annihilated, and the greatest pain seemed but consolation, and death, but life. The Lord having pity on my faintness, in sheer mercy, spoke to me: "Be not dismayed, My daughter and spouse, for in order to pardon, to wash and to purify you from your sins, I will apply My infinite merits and the Blood, Which I shed for you; animate yourself to desire all perfection in imitation of the life of the most Holy Mary. Write it a second time in order that you may supply what was lacking and impress Her doctrines on your heart. Do not again irritate My Justice, nor show yourself thankless for My Mercy by burning what you shall have written, lest My Indignation deprive you of the light which, without your merits, you have received for the manifestation of these Mysteries."  

17 I immediately thereupon saw the Mother of God, who also spoke to me: "My daughter, as yet you have not derived becoming fruit for your soul from the Tree of Life, which was offered you in the writing of My history, nor did you enter into the substance of its contents. You have scarcely yet thought of this hidden manna, nor have you attained that perfect and ultimate preparation, which the Almighty requires in order to engrave and imprint, in a proper manner, My virtues into your soul. I am to give you the befitting qualities and per­fections for that which the Divine Right Hand is to accomplish in you. I have asked Him that, through My intercession and through the abundant graces conferred upon Me, I be permitted to adorn you and compose your soul, so that you may turn again to the writing of My life with less attention to the material and more to the spir­itual and substantial part of it. Remove the hindrances, which oppose the currents of Divine Grace flowing to you from the Almighty through Me, and make yourself capable of readily accepting the full portion assigned to you by the Divine Will. See that you do not curtail or limit it by your shortcomings and imperfections." Thereupon I saw that the Heavenly Mother clothed me in a garment whiter than the snow and more shining than the sun; and She girded me with a most precious girdle and said: "This is a participation of My purity." I also asked for the infused science of the Lord, which should serve me as most beautiful hair for my adornment and for other precious gifts and presents, the value of which I saw and knew was great, but which I was not able fully to esti­mate. After having thus adorned me, the Heavenly Lady said: "Work faithfully and earnestly to imitate Me and to be My most perfect daughter, engendered of My spirit. I give you My blessing, in order that in My name and under My direction and assist­ance you may again resume your writing." 

18 The whole of this holy life of Mary is divided, for greater perspicuity, into 3 parts. The first treats of all that pertains to the first 15 years of Her life, from the moment of Her most pure Conception until the moment when in Her virginal womb the Eternal Word assumed flesh, including all that the Most High per­formed for Mary during these years. The second part embraces the Mystery of the Incarnation, the whole life of Christ our Lord, His Passion and Death and His Ascension into heaven, thus describing the life of our Queen in union with that of Her Divine Son and all that She did while living with Him. The third part contains the life of the Mother of Grace during the time She lived alone, deprived of the companionship of Christ our Redeemer, until the happy hour of Her Transition, Assumption and Crowning as the Empress of Heaven, where She is to live eternally as the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. These 3 parts I subdivided into 8 books, in order that they may be more convenient for use and always remain the subject of my thoughts, the spur of my will and my meditation day and night. 

19 In order to say something of the time in which I wrote this heavenly history, it must be noticed that my father, brother Francis Coronel, and my mother, Sr. Catharine de Arana, my parents, founded in their own house this convent of the discalced nuns of the Immacu­late Conception by the command and the Will of God, which was declared to my mother, Sr. Catharine, in a special vision and revelation. This foundation took place on the octave of the Epiphany, January 13th, 1619. On the same day we took the habit, my mother and her 2 daughters; and my father took refuge in the order of our seraphic Father St. Francis, in which 2 of his sons had already been living as religious. There he took the habit, made his profession, lived an exemplary life, and died a most holy death. My mother and myself received the veil on the day of the Purification of the Queen of heaven, on February 2, 1620. On account of the youth of the other daughter her profession was delayed. The Almighty in His sheer goodness favored our family so much, that all of us were consecrated to Him in the religious state. In the 8th year of the foundation of this convent, in the 25th of my age, in 1627, holy obedience imposed upon me the office of abbess, which to this day I un­worthily hold. During the first 10 years of the time in which I held this office, I received many commands from the Most High and from the Queen of heaven to write Her holy life, and I continued in fear and doubt to resist these heavenly commands during all that time until the year 1637, when I began to write it the first time. On finishing it, being full of fears and tribulations, and be­ing so counseled by a confessor (who directed me dur­ing the absence of my regular confessor), I burned all the writing containing not only this history, but many other grave and mysterious matters; for he told me, that women should not write in the Church. I obeyed his commands promptly; but I had to endure most severe re­proaches on this account from my superiors and from the confessor, who knew my whole life. In order to force me to rewrite this history, they threatened me with cen­sures. The Most High and the Queen of heaven also repeated their commands that I obey. During this 2nd writing, so abundant was the light concerning the Divine Essence, so copious were the blessings of the Di­vine Right Hand for the renewal and vivification of my soul in the teachings of my Heavenly Mother, so perfect were the instructions and so exalted were the sacraments communicated to me, that it was necessary to write an­other book in connection with this history, the title of which will be: "Laws of the Spouse; heights of His Di­vine Love and Fruits gathered from the Tree of Life of most holy Mary, our Lady." By Divine favor I begin re­writing this history on December 8, 1655, on the day of the Immaculate Conception. 

 MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD      THE CONCEPTION        BOOK 1

Treats of the Divine Fore-Ordainment of Christ and His Mother as the Highest Ideals of all Creation; of the Creation of the Angels and Men as their Servants; of the Lineage of the Just Men, Finally Resulting in the Immaculate Conception and Birth of the Queen of Heaven; and of Her Life up to Her Presentation in the Temple.
CHAPTER 1
CONCERNING 2 VISIONS I RECEIVED WHICH COMPELLED ME TO WITHDRAW FROM EARTHLY THINGS AND RAISED MY SPIRIT TO DWELL ABOVE THE EARTH.

1 I confess to You (Matt 11:25) and magnify You, King Most High, that in Your exalted Majesty You have hidden these high mysteries from the wise and from the teachers, and in Your condescension have revealed them to me, the most insignificant and useless slave of Your Church, in order that You may be the more admired as the omnipotent Author of this history in proportion as its instrument is despicable and weak.

2 After I had overcome the above mentioned reluc­tance and disorderly fears which caused so much timid hesitation, lest I suffer shipwreck in that sea of marvels, the most exalted Lord caused me to feel a virtue from on high, strong, sweet, efficacious and gentle; an enlighten­ment which illumined the intellect, subjected the rebel­lious will, tranquilizing, directing, governing and attracting the whole range of interior and exterior senses, thus subjecting my entire being to the Will and Pleasure of the Most High and directing it in all things toward His Honor and Glory alone. Being thus prepared, I heard a Voice from the Almighty, which called me and raised me up toward Him, exalting my dwelling-place on high and strengthening me against the lions, that hungrily roared about me in order to snatch my soul from the enjoyment of great blessings in the boundless Mysteries of this Holy Tabernacle and City of God. Sur­rounded by the sorrows of death and perdition (Ps 18:5) and beset by the flames of Sodom and Babylon, in which we live, it liberated me from the portals of sorrow, into which I was enticed to enter. My enemies, forming vis­ions of fallacious and deceitful delights for the misleading of my senses and the capture of them by pretended pleas­ures, set their allurements about me, in order that I might blindly turn toward these flames and be consumed by them. But from all these snares, laid for my footsteps (Ps 57:7), the Most High has delivered me, elevating my spirit and teaching me by the most efficacious admonitions the way of perfection. He invited me to a life spiritual­ized and angelic, and obliged me to live so cautiously, that in the midst of the furnace, the fire touched me not (Sir 51:4). He often liberated me from the impure tongue, when it sought to communicate to me its earthly fables (Ps 119:85). His Majesty invited me to rise from the dust and littleness of the law of sin, to resist the defec­tions of sin-infected nature and restrain its disorders, combating them by His enlightening inspirations and rais­ing myself above myself (Lam 3:28). He called me re­peatedly, sometimes by the power of His omnipotence, sometimes with the correction of a Father, and at others with the love of a Spouse, saying: Arise, my dove, creation of My Hands, make haste and come to Me (Sg 2:10). I am the Light and the Way (John 8:12). He, who follows Me, walks not in darkness. Come to Me, the secure truth, and unchangeable holiness; to Me, the Powerful and the Wise, and the Teacher of those who follow wisdom (Wis. 7:15). 

These words were like arrows of sweet love, which filled me with admiration, reverence, knowledge and dread of my sins and of my vileness, so that I retired from His Divine Presence, shrunken and annihilated in the knowledge of my nothingness. And the Lord spoke to me:  "Come, O soul, come to Me, your Omnipotent God, and although you have been a prodigal child and a sinner, arise from the earth and come to Me, your Father; receive the stole of My friendship and the ring of a spouse."

4 Still remaining in that secure retreat of which I have spoken, I saw on a certain day, 6 angels, whom the Almighty had appointed to assist and guide me in this undertaking and in other dangers. Coming toward me, they purified and prepared my soul, and then pre­sented me before the Lord. His Majesty gave to my in­terior being a new light and, as it were, a participation in glory, by which I was made capable and desirous of seeing and understanding the things, which are above the powers of a mere terrestrial creature. Soon after, 2 other angels, of a still higher order, appeared to me and I felt within me the power of the Lord by which they called me. I understood that they were most mysterious envoys and that they wished to reveal to me high and hidden sacraments. Eagerly I responded, and desirous of enjoying the blessing, which they pointed out to me, I declared to them, how ardently I longed to see what they wished to show me and yet so mysteriously concealed from me. Then they at once answered with great serenity: "Restrain yourself, O soul." I turned to the great princes of heaven and said: "Princes of the Almighty and messengers of the great King! Why do you now detain me contrary to my will and why do you defer my joy and my delight, after you have called me? What force is this of yours, and what power, which calls me, fills me with fervor, which allures and yet detains me, which attracts me to follow after the odor of my beloved Lord and of His ointments, and yet restrains me with strong bonds? Tell me the cause of all this!" They answered: "Because, in order to be instructed in all these Heavenly Mysteries, you need to come with bare feet and despoiled of all your desires and passions; for these Mysteries do not accommodate or lend themselves to dis­ordered inclinations. Take off your shoes like Moses (Ex 3:5), for such was the command given to him before he could see the wonderful bush." "Princes of heaven," I answered, "much was asked of Moses, when he received the command to perform the works of an angel while yet living in mortal flesh: but he was a saint, and I am but a sinner full of miseries. My heart is disturbed and I am in conflict with the slavery and the oppression of sin, which I feel in my members, and which are opposed to the Law of the Spirit" (Rom 7:23). To which they rejoined: "It would indeed be for you a most difficult enterprise, if you had to execute it merely with your own power; but the Most High, Who wishes to see in you this disposition, is powerful, and He will not deny to you His help, if from your heart you ask His assistance and you prepare yourself to receive it. And His power, which caused the bush to burn and at the same time prevented it from being consumed, can prevent also the fire of the passions, which encompass and beset the soul, from consuming it, if it truly desires to be saved. His Majesty asks for that which He desires, and can execute what He asks. Strengthened by Him, you can do that which He commands (Phil 4:13); take off your shoes and weep in bitter sorrow, 

Call Out To Him With All Your Heart, In Order That Your Prayers
 May Be Heard And Your Desires Fulfilled.”

5 Presently I saw a most precious veil covering a treasure and my heart burned with desire to see it rise and to look upon the sacred mystery which I understood was hidden beneath. My desire was answered in the fol­lowing manner: "Obey, in what was enjoined and commanded you; despoil yourself of yourself, and then this mystery will be revealed to you." I resolved to amend my life and to overcome my appetite; I sighed and wept with many aspirations from my inmost soul for the manifestation of this blessing. While I made my good resolves, the veil that covered the treasure, began to be lifted. Presently the veil fell entirely and my interior eyes saw what I shall not know how to describe in words. I saw a great and mysterious sign in heaven; I saw a Woman, a most beautiful Lady and Queen, crowned with the stars, clothed with the sun, and the moon was at Her feet (Rev 12:1). The Holy Angels spoke to me: "This is that blessed Woman, whom St. John saw in the Revelation, and in whom are enclosed, deposited and sealed up the wonderful mysteries of the Redemption. So much has the most high and pow­erful God favored this Creature, that we, His angelic spirits, are full of astonishment. Contemplate and admire Her prerogatives, record them in writing, because that is the purpose for which, according to the measure suitable to your circumstances, they will be made manifest to you." I was made to see such wonders, that the greatness of them took away my speech, and my admira­tion of them suspended my other faculties; nor do I think that all the created beings in this mortal life will ever comprehend them, as will appear in the sequel of my discourse.   

6 On another day, while my soul sweetly tarried in the aforesaid habitation, I heard a Voice from the Most High saying: "My spouse, I desire that you rouse yourself in earnest to seek Me, and to love Me with fervor; that you make your life more angelic than human, and that you forget entirely the terrestrial affairs. I wish to raise you as one that is poor from the dust, and as one full of need from the dunghill (Ps 113:7), so that, while I exalt you, you may humiliate yourself, and the nard of your sweet odor may remain in My Divine Presence; knowing your own misery, be convinced from the bottom of your heart, that you merit for yourself only tribulation and humiliation. Consider My greatness and your littleness; remember that I am Righteous and Holy; I deal with you considerately, making use rather of My Mercy and not chastising you as you deserve. Strive to build upon this foundation of humility all the other virtues in order to fulfill My wishes. I appoint My Virgin Mother to teach, correct and reprehend you. She will spur you onward and accompany your footsteps according to My liking and pleasure."

7 While the Most High spoke to me the Queen stood near by; and the Heavenly Princess disdained not to ac­cept the office, which His Majesty assigned to Her. She accepted it benignly and said to me: "My daughter; I desire that you be My disciple and My companion, and I will be your Teacher; but remember that you must obey Me courageously and from this day on no vestige of a daughter of Adam must be found in you. My conduct and My works during My pilgrimage on earth, and the wonders, which the Arm of the Almighty wrought through Me, shall be the mirror and the model of your life." I prostrated myself before the Throne of the King and Queen of the Universe and I offered to obey Her in all things; I gave thanks to the Most High for the favor, which He, so much in excess of my merits, conferred upon me in giving me such a Guide and Protector. Into Her hands I renewed the vows of my profession; I offered myself to Her and proposed to work anew at the amendment of my life. Again the Lord spoke to me: "Behold and see!" Turning I saw a most beautiful ladder with many rungs; around it were many angels, and a great number of them were ascending and descending upon it. His Majesty said to me: "This is the mysterious ladder of Jacob, the House of God and the portal of heaven (Gen 28:17); if you will earnestly strive to live irreprehensible in My Eyes, you will ascend upon it to Me."

8 This promise incited my desires, set my will aflame and enraptured my spirit; with many tears I grieved, that I should be a burden to myself in my sinfulness (Job 7:20). I sighed for the end of my captivity and longed to arrive where there would be no obstacle to my love. In this anxiety I passed some days, trying to re­form my life. I again made a general confession and corrected some of my imperfections. The vision of the ladder continued without intermission, but it was not explained to me. I made many promises to the Lord and proposed to free myself from all terrestrial things and to reserve the powers of my will entirely for His love, without allowing it to incline toward any creature, be it ever so small or unsuspicious. I repudiated all visible and sensible things. Having passed some days in these affections and sentiments, I was informed by the Most High, that the ladder signified the life of the most Holy Virgin, its virtues and sacraments. His Majesty said to me: "I desire, My spouse, that you ascend this stair of Jacob and enter through this door of heaven to acquire the knowledge of My attributes and occupy yourself in the contemplation of My Divinity. Arise then and walk, ascend by it to Me. These angels, who surround it and accompany it, are those that I appointed as the guardians of Mary, as the defenders and sentinels of the Citadel of Zion. Consider Her attentively, and, meditating on Her virtues, seek to imitate them." It seemed to me then, that I ascended the ladder and that I recognized the great wonders and the ineffable prodigies of the Lord in a mere Creature and the greatest sanctity and perfection of virtue ever worked by the Arm of the Almighty. At the top of the ladder I saw the Lord of Hosts and the Queen of all Creation. They commanded me to glorify, exalt and praise Him on account of these great mysteries and to write down so much of them, as I might bring myself to understand. The Lord gave me a law, written not only on tablets, as He gave to Moses (Ex 31:18), but one wrought by His Omnipo­tent Finger in order that it might be studied and ob­served (Ps. 1:2). He moved my will so that in Her presence I promised to overcome my repugnance and with Her assistance to set about writing Her history, pay­ing attention to 3 things: First, to remember that the creature must ever seek to acknowledge the profound reverence due to God and to abase itself in proportion to the condescension of His Majesty toward men and that the effect of greater favors and benefits must be a greater fear, reverence, attention and humility; secondly, to be ever mindful of the obligation of all men, who are so forgetful of their own salvation, to consider and learn what they owe to the Queen and Mother of piety on account of the part assumed by Her in the Redemption, to think of the love and the reverence which She showed to God and the honor in which we are to hold this great Lady; thirdly, to be willing to have my spiritual director, and if necessary the whole world, find out my littleness and vileness, and the small returns which I make for what I receive.

9 To these my protestations the most Holy Virgin answered: "My daughter, the world stands much in need of this doctrine, for it does not know, nor does it practice, the reverence due to the Omnipotent Lord. On account of this ignorance His Justice is provoked to afflict and humiliate men. They are sunken in their carelessness and filled with darkness, not knowing how to seek relief or attain to the light. This, however, is justly their lot, since they fail in the reverence and fear, which they ought to have." Besides this the Most High and the Queen gave me many other instructions, in order to make clear to me their will in regard to this work. It seemed to me temerity and lack of charity toward myself, to re­ject the instruction that She had promised me for narrating the course of Her most holy life. It seemed equally improper to put off the writing of it, since the Most High had intimated this as the fitting and oppor­tune time, saying to me in this regard: My daughter, when I sent My Only Begotten, the world, with the excep­tion of the few souls that served Me, was in worse condition than it ever had been since its beginning; for human nature is so imperfect that if it does not subject itself to the interior guidance of My light and to the fulfillment of the precepts of My ministers by sacrificing its own judgment and following Me, the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6), and by carefully observing My Commandments in order not to lose My friendship, it will presently fall into the abyss of darkness and innumerable miseries, until it arrives at obstinacy in sin. From the creation and sin of the first man until I gave the Law to Moses, men governed themselves according to their own inclinations and fell into many errors and sins (Rom  8:13). After having received the Law, they again com­mitted sin by not obeying it (Jn 7:19) and thus they lived on, separating themselves more and more from truth and light and arriving at the state of complete forgetfulness. In Fatherly Love I sent them eternal salvation and a remedy for the incurable infirmities of human na­ture, thus justifying My cause. And just as I then chose the opportune time for the greater manifestation of My Mercy, so I now select this time for showing toward them another very great favor. For now the hour has come and the opportune time to let men know the just cause of My Anger, and they are now justly charged and convinced of their guilt. Now I will make manifest My Indignation and exercise My Justice and Equity; I will show how well justified is My cause. In order that this may come to pass more speedily, and because it is now time that My Mercy show itself more openly and because My love must not be idle, I will offer to them an opportune remedy, if they will but make use of it for returning again to My favor. Now, at this hour, when the world has arrived at so unfortunate a pass, and when, though the Word has become Incarnate, mortals are more careless of the spiritual health of their souls and seek it less; when the day of their transitory life passes swiftly at the setting of the sun of time; when the night of eternity is approaching closer and closer for the wicked and the day without a night is being born for the just; when the majority of mortals are sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness of their ignorance and guilt, oppressing the just and mocking the children of God; when My Holy and Divine Law is despised in the management of the iniquitous affairs of state, which are as hostile as they are contrary to My Providence; when the wicked least deserve My Mercy; in these predestined times, I wish to open a portal for the just ones through which they can find access to My Mercy; I wish to give them a light by which they can dispel the gloom that envelops the eyes of their minds. I wish to furnish them a suitable remedy for restoring them to My Grace. Happy they who find it, and blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries. I desire to make known to mor­tals how much intercession of Her is worth, who brought restoration of life by giving mortal existence to the Im­mortal God. As recompense I desire that they look upon the wonders wrought by My Almighty Arm in that pure Creature, as upon a mirror by which they can estimate their own ingratitude. I wish to make known to them much of that, which according to My high judgment is still hidden concerning the Mother of the Word."

10 I have not revealed these Mysteries in the primitive Church, because they are so great, that the faithful would have been lost in the contemplation and admira­tion of them at a time when it was more necessary to establish firmly the Law of Grace and of the Gospel. Al­though all mysteries of religion are in perfect harmony with each other, yet human ignorance might have suf­fered recoil and doubt at their magnitude, when faith in the Incarnation and Redemption and the Precepts of the new Law of the Gospel were yet in their beginnings. On this same account the Person of the Incarnate Word said to His disciples at the last supper: "Many things have I to say to you; but you are not yet disposed to re­ceive them" (Jn 16:12). These words He addressed to all the world, for it was not yet capable of giving full obedience to the Law of Grace and full assent to the faith in the Son, much less was it prepared to be introduced into the Mysteries of His Mother. But now, mankind has greater need for this manifestation, and this neces­sity urges Me to disregard their evil disposition. And if men would now seek to please Me by reverencing, be­lieving, and studying the wonders, which are intimately connected with this Mother of Piety, and if they would all begin to solicit Her intercession from their whole heart, the world would find some relief. I will not longer withhold from men this Mystical City of Refuge; de­scribe and delineate it to them, as far as your shortcom­ings allow. I do not intend that your descriptions and declarations of the life of the Blessed Virgin shall be mere opinions or contemplations, but reliable truth. They that have ears to hear let them hear. Let those who thirst come to the living waters and leave the dried-out cisterns; let those that are seeking for the light, follow it to the end. Thus speaks the Lord God Almighty!

11 These are the words of the Most High on the occasion before mentioned. Obedient to the authority, which commands me, I will in the following chapter de­scribe the manner in which I receive my information and enlightenment, and how I see the Lord. Thus comply­ing with His orders, I will explain, once for all, the illu­minations and the favors, which are given to me for this work and to which I will refer in the sequel of this history. 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 2
HOW THE LORD MANIFESTED TO ME THE MYSTERIES OF THE LIFE OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

12 It seemed to me proper to preface this history with an explanatory chapter, describing and explaining once for all, as far as is given me and as far as I can, the manner in which the Lord manifested to me these wonders.

13 Ever since I have had the use of reason, I was con­scious of especially one blessing, which in my estimation is the greatest of all those bestowed upon me by God's liberality; namely, a great and penetrating fear, lest I should lose Him. And this moved and urged me on to strive after the better and more secure way and to follow after it and implore it from the Lord day after day. He has wounded my flesh with the dart of fear of His Judgments (Ps 119:120), and I live continually in the dread­ful thought: Have I perhaps lost the friendship of the Most High or am I still in His friendship? My bread, day and night, has been the tears, which this fear has drawn from my eyes (Ps 80:6). On account of this dread, since it is more necessary than ever that the friends of the Lord should practice their virtues in secret and without ostentation, I have in these latter times begun to send up earnest and heartfelt prayers and petitions to the Lord, asking also the intercession of the Queen and Vir­gin, that I may be guided and led along the secure paths hidden from the eyes of men.

14 In answer to these repeated prayers the Lord said: "Do not fear, soul, nor afflict yourself; for I will give you a state of mind and show you a path of light and secur­ity, which only its Author Himself could know of or even conceive. Whatever is exterior and dangerous shall leave you today and your treasure shall be altogether hidden. Take care of it on your part and preserve it by a perfect life. I will direct you toward a hidden path, unobstructed, unfailing and pure; walk in it." And presently I felt a change within me and a highly spiritualized state of mind. To my understanding was given a new light, which illuminated it and infused into it a knowledge of all things in God, and of His operations as they are in themselves and as they are known and seen by God, according to the measure of His communication. It is knowledge of light, holy, sweet and pure, subtle, penetrating, sure and agile, causing love of good and hatred of evil. It is a Breath of the Power of God and an emanation of a most subtle Light, which acts as a mirror for my understanding. Thus the higher faculties and the in­terior perception of my soul began to expand in their activity. For the Object, by means of the light, which flashed from it, showed itself to be infinite, though the perception of it remained limited and the understanding finite. It is a vision as it were of the Lord seated on a Throne of Great Majesty, where, always within mortal limitation, I perceive His attributes distinctly. A veil, which seems like purest crystal intervenes, through which the wonderful attributes and perfections of God appear distinctly and clearly perceptible; yet this vision is not entire, immediate or intuitive, or entirely free from obstruction, but always comes through a medium, which is nothing else than this crystalline covering above men­tioned. The perception of that which it covers is not painful to the understanding, but is marvelous, because the mind is aware that what is perceived is infinite, and that the one who perceives is finite. The mind reposes in the hope of once possessing that which it perceives, and of once seeing the veil removed and the medium done away with, as soon as the soul shall have been freed from the mortality of the body (2 Cor 4:6).

15 In this vision there are 3 different ways or degrees, according to the different methods, by which the Divine Will communicates it and according to the dispo­sitions of the human will. Sometimes He manifests Himself more clearly, at other times less. At times some Divine Mysteries are revealed to the exclusion of others of great importance. This difference is usually in accordance with the dispositions of the soul; for if the soul does not preserve itself in peace or if it is guilty of some fault, no matter how small; it will not experience this vision in its fullness. In the one I have described the Lord is per­ceived so plainly and so securely, that there is not the least room for doubt. However, the conviction of the Real Presence of God in the vision always precedes and impresses itself upon the mind, before one understands fully that which His Majesty speaks. And this knowl­edge produces a pleasing constraint, powerfully and effi­caciously urging the soul onward to love, serve, and obey God. In this vision great truths are made clear; how estimable virtue is, and what a valuable treas­ure is its exercise and preservation. The beauty and se­curity of virtue is exhibited and a powerful impulse given toward the good, while a hatred and disgust toward evil and all disorderly inclinations fills the soul, very often entirely subduing them. As long as the soul enjoys this vision and does not lose it, it will never be conquered (Wis 7:30), because it gives life, security, fervor and joy. Strongly and lovingly it calls and urges the soul onward, gives it lightness and alertness, and establishes the superior part of the being firmly above the inferior. Even the body becomes agile and spiritualized during such times, freeing itself from its grossness and weight.

16 And beginning to perceive and feel these delight­ful sensations, the soul lovingly calls out to the Most High: let us run to­gether; for, united to its Beloved, it does not have any more feelings for the undertakings of this earthly life. Seeking to fly after the odor of the ointments of its Beloved, it begins to live more where it loves, than where it lives. Having already left behind its lower nature, it turns back only for the purpose of reforming it and curtailing its animal appe­tites of the passions. If at any time they seek to rise in rebellion, the soul will subdue them with alacrity, for already not I live, but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).

17 To a certain extent, in all these holy operations and aspirations, is felt the assistance of the Spirit of Christ, Who is the God and the Life of the soul and Who is known as such by the fervor, by the enlightenment, by the holy desires, by the light, and by the facility of action inspired by Him. These are such, that only God can be the Author of them. One feels the un­interrupted activity of love that it causes, and of inti­mate conversation with God, living and continuous, which rivets the attention of the mind to the things of God and withdraws it from earthly things. Christ manifests Himself as living within the soul, exerting His power and dispersing the darkness by His light. This may be properly designated as standing in the entrance of the House of the Lord, for there the soul beholds the splendor emanating from the beacon-light of the Lamb of God (Rev 21:23).

18 I do not say that this is the whole light, but it is part of it; and it consists in knowledge superior to the faculties of a creature. In furtherance of this vision the Most High animates the intellect by a certain subtlety and light, thus adapting it for the exalted knowledge. Moreover the knowledge thus given is accompanied by the certainty, which is peculiar to faith, as experienced in regard to the more common truths of revelation. Faith accompanies the vision and the Omnip­otent gives to the soul power to appreciate the value of the knowledge and the light, which He infuses. Its light is inextinguishable (Wis. 7:10) and all good things and a nobility of great price come to me with it. This light goes before me, directing my ways, (Wis 8:16) and I took possession of it unerringly, and I desired to communicate it without envy, nor have I concealed its excellence. It is a participation of the Divinity and its Presence is a great delight and joy. It teaches great things freely and it disciplines the heart; with irresistible force it banishes and expels the deceitful things of this world, wherein, solely by looking upon them in this light, the spirit finds immeasurable bitterness. By it the soul leaves behind the perishable things and flees to the sacred refuge of eternal truths. It enters into the cellar of fer­mented wine (Song 2:4) where the Most High orders in me most holy charity. And by it He urges me to be patient and without envy (1 Cor 13:4), to be kind without offense, to be free from pride and ambition or anger, thinking ill of no one and suffering and tolerating all things. Its voice is ever within me (Prov 8:1) and se­cretly warns me powerfully to do what is most holy and most pure, teaching me in all things; and if I fall short in the slightest degree, it reprehends me without ever pass­ing over the smallest point.

19 This is the light, which at one and at the same time enlightens, raises to fervor, teaches and reprehends, chastens and enlivens, calls and deters, warns and com­pels, makes clear the distinction between good and evil, discloses the hidden and the profound, the length and the breadth (Eph 3:18) which reveals to me the world, its state, its inclinations, its deceits and the lies and falla­cies of its lovers and clients. Above all, it teaches me to despise the world, to tread it under foot and to raise my­self to the Most High Lord of the universe. And in His Majesty I see and learn the ordering of all things (Wis 7:17), the power of the elements, the beginning, the middle and the end of time, its changes and variations, the onward course of the years, the har­mony of all creatures and their innate qualities; all the secrets of men, their acts and their thoughts; how far they stray from the Lord; the dangers in which they live and the errors of their ways; the states and governments, their curtailed existence and their great instability, their beginning and their end, the true and the false principles which guide them. All this is learnt and seen distinctly in God through this light, even as far as pertains to the separate individuals and circumstances. But as soon as the soul descends to a lower condition and a more ordi­nary state, wherein it must make use only of the substance or acquired habit of this enlightenment and cannot enjoy its full splendor, this exalted knowledge of persons, of conditions, and of the secret thoughts before described is more circumscribed and limited. In this lower state I perceive only so much as is necessary to avoid danger and flee from sin, and to feel true compassion with others, though at the same time I am not permitted to speak clearly with anyone about that which is revealed to me of their evil state. I could not do it if I tried, for it seems as if I am made dumb, except at times, when the Author of this light gives me permission and commands me to admonish one of my neighbors. But even on such occasions I must not disclose the nature of my cognition, but I am constrained to speak to the heart, using plain arguments, simple, ordinary and charitable persuasion in God. At the same time I am urged to pray for their ne­cessities, which for that object becomes known to me.

20 Although all these things were revealed to me with the greatest clearness, yet never has the Lord shown me the final ruin of any soul, which has damned itself. This knowledge is withheld, from me by the Providence of God, because He is so Just, that He does not deem it befitting to reveal the damnation of a soul except for some great purpose; and if I were to come to the knowl­edge of such a great ruin, I think I should die of sorrow. This would doubtlessly be the effect of such a revelation, so great is the grief caused by the sight of a soul forever separated from God. I have besought Him not to show me anyone who will damn himself. I would not refuse, at the cost of my life, to liberate anyone who is in sin, nor would I object even to see the present state of such soul; but may I never see one, who is beyond redemption!

21 This light is given me, not that I may reveal my secrets in particular, but that I may make use of it with prudence and wisdom. Though it continues to be only accidental, it remains with me in the same way as some substance that vivifies and comes from God Himself; and in the manner of a habit, to insure the good government of my lower appetites and feelings. Moreover, in the superior part of my soul, I enjoy a vision and habitation of peace and I understand the Mysteries and Sacraments of the life of the Queen of heaven and of other Mysteries of Faith, which were thus continually made manifest and present to me in this never failing light. And if at any time I descend, creature-like, to attend to human affairs, the Lord presently calls me with a sweet yet rigorous severity and again draws my attention to His Words and Teachings and to the conscious meditation of these Sacra­ments, Graces and Virtues, and to the exterior and in­terior works of the Virgin Mother, as I will explain farther on. 

22 Thus, when in the state of enlightenment as previously mentioned, I see also and recognize the Queen as She speaks with me; also the Holy Angels, their na­ture and excellence. Sometimes I see and recognize them in the Lord; at other times I see them in themselves; but with this difference that in seeing them in themselves, I descend to a lower grade of knowledge. I perceive also this difference, which results from the object and from the kind of knowledge. In this lower degree of vision I see, speak and listen to the Holy Princes; they converse with me and explain many of the Mysteries, which the Lord has shown me. The Queen of heaven likewise manifests and propounds to me the Mysteries of Her most holy life and of its admirable events. With great clearness I recognize each one of these holy persons, feeling the divine effects, which each one excites in the soul.

23 But when I see these same persons in the Lord, I perceive them as through a mirror placed freely by His Majesty, in which He shows to me the saints according to His pleasure, with great clearness and producing most exalted effects in my soul. For this admirable light, the Lord Himself becomes known, as also the Saints and their excellent virtues and wonderful works; likewise the man­ner in which they exercised these virtues by the help of the graces, that made them capable of all this (Phil 4:13). In this state of knowledge the creature is more abundantly and completely filled with a joy, that still further increases the power and satisfaction of the soul, and poises it as if on its center of gravity. For, the more intellectual and the less corporeal or imaginary the light, so much the more powerful and exalted are the effects, and so much the more substantial and certain is the knowledge attained. Yet also here there is a difference: for the vision or knowledge of God Himself, of His attributes and His perfections is superior and its effects are most sweet and affable; while the vision and knowledge of the creatures, even in the Lord, is of an inferior order. This inferiority, it seems to me, arises in part from the soul itself, since its own vision is so limited, that it cannot attend to or perceive God so well, when seeing Him conjointly with creatures, as when seeing Him by Himself and without them. Also this vision of God by Himself is accom­panied by a greater plenitude of joy than the vision of creatures in God. So delicate is this cognition of the Divinity, that to attend to any other thing in conjunction with it, impairs to a certain extent its clearness, at least so long as we shall be in our mortal state.

24 In the inferior state, which I have mentioned, I see the most Holy Virgin and the angels in themselves and their mode of teaching me, speaking to me, and enlightening me. I understand this to be similar to the mode in which the angels themselves enlighten, communicate and speak with each other, when the superior orders en­lighten the inferior. The Lord is the first cause of this light, but the Queen who has received it in its highest plenitude, communicates it as through a channel to the superior part of my soul, so that I begin to know Her excellence, Her prerogatives and mysteries in the same manner as an inferior angel perceives that, which is communicated to him by the superior spirits. I recognize Her also by the doctrine that She teaches, by the ef­ficacy peculiar to it, and by other qualities, which are felt and tasted and which indicate the purity, elevation and certainty of these visions. There, nothing impure, or obscure, or false, or suspected is met with; and nothing that is holy, pure and true is withheld from view. The same happens to me in its proper proportion, when con­versing with the holy angels; for the Lord Himself has often informed me, that they enlighten and communicate with me in the same manner as they converse with each other. Often it happens that the enlightenments pass through all these channels and conduits in succession: the Lord gives the intelligence or light, the most Holy Virgin reveals it to me and the angels express it to me in words. At other times (and this is the most ordinary mode) the Lord communicates and teaches me His Holy Doctrine, sometimes the most Holy Queen, and sometimes the Holy Angels. It also happens, that I receive only the understanding of things, and then I am left to find for myself the terms that befit that which I hold in the intelligence. In finding these terms I may err, if the Lord allows, for I am only an ignorant woman and I must rely on what I have heard. If any difficulties arise in the explanation of my visions, I take counsel with my master and spir­itual guide, especially in more difficult and arduous matters.

25 In this condition and state I very seldom see corporeal visions, but imaginary visions I see sometimes; these are of a much lower grade than the exalted, more spiritual, or intellectual vision, of which I have until now spoken. But this I can assert with confidence: in all the spiritual enlightenments, which I receive, great and small, lower or higher, whether they come from the Lord, the most Blessed Virgin, or the Holy Angels, in all of them I obtain most abundant light and help of salvation, enabling me to see and know the truth and the possibility of greater perfection and sanctity. I feel within me a Divine force, which compels me to seek the greater purity of my soul, and advancement in the Grace of the Lord, which makes me ready to die for it and to act in all things according to greater perfection. With the help of the different grades and kinds of intelligence already described, I learn to know all the mysteries of the life of the Queen of Heaven to the great advancement and rejoicing of my spirit. For this I thank the Almighty with my whole heart and mind, I magnify Him, I adore and praise Him as the All Powerful and Holy God, strong and admirable, worthy of honor, magnificence, glory and reverence through all the ages. Amen. 

 CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
 CHAPTER 3
KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIVINITY; THE DECREE OF THE CREATION OF THE WORLD

26 O King, Most High and Most Wise Lord: How incomprehensible are Your Judgments, and inscrutable Your Ways (Rom 11:24)! Invincible God, enduring forever and Whose beginning is unknown (Sir 18:1)Who can understand Your greatness and who can be worthy of Your most magnificent works, or who can tell You why You have created them (Rom 9:20)? For You are exalted above all of them and our vision cannot reach You and our understanding cannot comprehend You. May You be blest, magnificent King, because You have shown me, great Sacraments and sublime Mysteries, exalting my habitation and raising my spirit to a height, in which I saw unspeakable things. I saw the Lord and Creator of all things; I perceived as it were the exalted­ness of a Being existing in Itself, before It created any other thing; I do not know the manner in which It showed Itself to me, but I know what I saw and per­ceived. His Majesty, comprehending all things, is aware that, while I am speaking of His Deity, my thoughts stand still, my soul is troubled, my faculties cease their operations, and the superior part of my being deserts the lower and animal parts, despises that which is of the senses and flies toward its Beloved, leaving lifeless the body which it should keep alive. In these excursions and abandonments of love my eyes flow over in tears and my tongue becomes mute. O my Most High and Incompre­hensible Lord, Infinite Object of my understanding! How am I annihilated at the sight of You, the Measureless and the Eternal, and how my being grovels in the dust, scarcely knowing what I am! How can my insignificance and misery dare to admire Your magnificence and Your Great Majesty? Vivify, O Lord, my being; strengthen my vision and give the breath of life to my fear, so that I may be able to describe what I saw and thus obey Your command.

27 I saw the Most High, at the same time under­standing how His Majesty is in Himself; I received a clear intelligence and a true perception of what is meant by a God, infinite in His substance and attributes, eternal, exalted above all, being 3 in Person, and one true God; 3 in Person, because of the 3 activities of knowing, comprehending and loving each other; One, so as to secure the boon of eternal unity. It is the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not made, nor created, nor begotten, nor can He be generated or have a beginning. I perceived that the Son derives His origin from the Father alone by eternal generation; and that They are equal in their duration from eternity; and that He is begotten by the fecundity of the intelligence of the Father. The Holy Spirit pro­ceeds from the Father and the Son through love. In their Indivisible Trinity there is nothing that can be called first or last, greater or smaller: all 3 Persons are equally eternal and eternally equal; there is Unity of Essence in a Trinity of Persons. Nor are the Persons mingled in order to form one God, nor the Divine Substance separated or divided in order to form 3 Persons, being distinct as the Father, as the Son and as the Holy Spirit. They are nevertheless One and the same Divinity, equal in Each is the Glory, and Majesty, the Power, the Eternity, the Immensity, the Wisdom and Sanc­tity, and all the attributes. And though there are 3 Persons, in Whom these infinite perfections subsist, He is the One and true God, the Holy, the Just, the Power­ful, the Eternal and the Measureless.

28 I also obtained an understanding of the manner in which this Trinity comprehends Itself by simple vision, so that no new or distinct cognition is necessary: the Father knows that, which is known to the Son, and the Son and the Holy Spirit know that which is in the in­telligence of the Father. I understood how they love One Another with one and the same immense and eternal love; how there is a single, indivisible and equal oneness of intelligence, love and action, how there is one simple, incorporeal and indivisible nature, a Divine Essence of the true God, in Which are joined and united all the perfections in their highest and in an infinite degree. 

29 learnt also to understand the quality of these perfections of the Most High Lord: that He is beautiful without a blemish, great without quantity, good without need of qualification, eternal without the duration of time, strong without any weakness, living without touch of decay, true without deceit, present in all places, filling them without occupying them, existing in all things without occupying any space. There is no contradiction in His kindness, nor any defect in His wisdom. In His wis­dom He is inscrutable, in His decrees He is awesome, in His judgments just, in His thoughts most hidden, in His words most true, in His works Holy, in His riches affluent. To Him no space is too wide, no narrowness causes re­straint, His Will does not vary, the sorrowful does not cause Him pain, the past has not passed for Him, nor does the future happen in regard to Him. O Eternal Immensity, what illimitable expansion have I seen in You? What vastness do I see in Your Infinite Being? Vision does not terminate, nor ever exhaust itself in Your abyss of Being. This is the unchangeable Essence, the Being above all other beings, the most perfect sanctity, the most constant truth; this is the infinite, the length, the breadth, the height and the depth, glory and its cause, test without fatigue, goodness immeasurable. All this I saw at the same time, but the power to describe it more fully fails me. 

30 I saw the Lord as He was before He had created anything and with great astonishment I looked to see where was the throne of the Most High, for the em­pyrean heavens were not, nor the lower ones, nor did the sun exist, nor the moon, nor the other stars, nor the elements, only the Creator was, without any of His creatures. All was void, without presence of angels, or men or animals. I saw how of necessity it must be admitted, that God has His Being in Himself, and that He stands in need of none of the created things. For He is as infinite in His attributes before as He is after creating them, and He will possess and hold these attributes during the whole of eternity, because they ex­ist in Him as in an independent Uncreated Essence. No perfection that is in itself purely and essentially such, can be lacking to His Divinity: for the Godhead is the only thing that is, and contains all the perfection of created beings in an eminent and ineffable manner. All the other beings, in so far as they exist, have their ex­istence solely in that infinite Being, as effects in their cause. 

31 I understood, that the Most High was in the quiescent state of His Own Being, when the 3 Persons (according to our way of understanding things), decreed to communicate His perfections as a free gift. For greater clearness, I must remark, that God comprehends in Himself all things by one indivisible, most simple and instantaneous act. He does not go on from the understanding of one thing to the understanding of another like we do, distinguishing and perceiving first one thing by an act of the understanding, and after that proceeding to the knowledge of others by their connection with those already known. God knows them conjointly all at once, without before or after, since all are together and at once contained in the Divine and uncreated knowledge and science, just as they are comprehended and enclosed in His Infinite Being, as in their first beginning. 

32 In this knowledge of God, which primarily is called the knowledge of pure intelligence (scientia simplicis intelligentiae), we must, according to the natural precedence of the intelligence before the will, not over­look a certain succession, not indeed of time, but of nature. Hence we perceive that the act of intelligence preceded by its nature the act of the will for in our way of reflecting on things, we think of the act of intelli­gence by itself, abstractedly from the decree of wishing to create anything. In this first stage or instant the 3 Persons through an act of intelligence confirmed the op­portuneness of the work ad extra and of all creatures, which have been, are, and are to be. 

33 Though I am unworthy to know the order which He followed, or which we, as men, are enabled to per­ceive in the decree of creation, His Majesty nevertheless took notice of a request, which I made in this regard. I petitioned Him to make known to me the place which was held by the Mother of God in the Divine Intelligence; and, as well as I can, I will state what He answered me and manifested to me and I will also say something of the order which I perceived by the help of God in these ideas. I divide them accord­ing to moments or instants, for it is impossible to accommodate the knowledge of this Divine Science to our capacity in any other way. This science is called the science of visionconstituting the Divine ideas or images of the creatures, which God decreed to call into existence and which are a production of His Mind. By them He knows creatures with an infinitely more precise knowl­edge, than we can ever have of them. 

34 Although this Divine knowledge is one, most sim­ple and indivisible, nevertheless, since the things which I see are many, and since there is a certain order, by which some are first and some come after, it is necessary to divide the knowledge of God's Intelligence and the knowledge of His Will into many instants, or into many different acts, according as they correspond to the diverse orders of created things. For as some of the creatures hold their existence because of others, there is a depen­dence of one upon the other. Accordingly we say that God intended and decreed this before that, the one on account of the other; and that if He had not desired or included in the science of vision the one, He would not have desired the other. But by this way of speaking, we must not try to convey the meaning that God placed many acts of intelligence, or of the will; rather we must intend merely to indicate, that the creatures are depen­dent on each other and that they succeed one another. In order to be able to comprehend the manner of cre­ation more easily, we apply the order of things as we see them objectively, to the acts of the Divine Intelligence and Will in creating them.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1  
 CHAPTER 4
HOW THE DIVINE DECREES ARE CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO INSTANTS, AND WHAT GOD IN EACH DETERMINED TO COMMUNICATE AD EXTRA.

35 I understood, that this order comprises the follow­ing instants. The first instant is: God recognizing His infinite attributes and perfections together with the pro­pensity and the ineffable inclination to communicate Him­self outwardly. This knowledge of God as being com­municative ad extra comes first. The Majesty of God, beholding the nature of His infinite perfections, their vir­tue and efficacy operating with magnificence, saw that it was just and most proper, and, as it were, a duty and a necessity, to communicate Himself and to follow that inclination of imparting and exercising His liberality and mercy, by distributing outside of Himself with magnifi­cence the plenitude of the infinite treasures, contained in the Divinity. For, being infinite in all things, it is much more natural that He communicate gifts and graces, than that fire should ascend, or the stone should gravitate toward its center, or that the sun should diffuse its light. This unfathomable depth of perfections, this affluence of treasures, this impetuous infinity of riches, is set in motion by its own inclinations to communicate it­self. At the same time God is in Himself conscious that to distribute gifts and graces, is not to diminish His riches, but to increase them in the only possible way, by giving an outlet to the inexhaustible fountain of His riches.

36 All this God saw in the first instant after the communication ad intra by means of the eternal emana­tions. Seeing this He found Himself, as it were, obliged, in Himself, to communicate Himself  ad extra, perceiving that it was Holy, Just, Merciful, and God-like to do so; hence nothing could impede Him. According to our mode of understanding, we can represent God to our minds as not being satisfied nor at rest with Himself until He reached the object of His desires, the creatures, where and with whom, by making them partakers of His Divinity and perfections, He seeks His delight.

37 In this enlightenment and knowledge that I pos­sess, 2 things hold my lukewarm heart in wonder and inflame it unto annihilation. The first is the inclination and urgent desire, which I see in God, and the strong Will, to communicate His Divinity and the treasures of His grace. The second is the unspeakable and incompre­hensible immensity of the good gifts, which I see He wishes to distribute according to this decree, assigning them for this purpose and yet remaining infinite, as if He had yet given nothing. In this desire and inclination, which fills His Majesty I see Him prepared to sanctify, justify, overwhelm with gifts and perfections all crea­tures together and each one in particular for itself. He would be ready to give to each of the creatures more than what is held by all the angels and seraphim together; even if all the drops in the ocean and the grains of sand on their shores, all the stars, the planets and the elements, and all creatures were capable of reason and of His gifts, they would receive them without measure, provided they would dispose themselves and place no obstacle toward receiving them. O fearful malice of sin, that alone escapable of holding up the impetuous stream of such great and eternal gifts!

38 The 2nd instant was to confirm and determine the object and intention of this communication of the Divinity ad extra, namely, that it should redound to His greater glory and to the exaltation of His Majesty and the manifestation of His greatness. This His own exal­tation God saw as the end, for which He would com­municate Himself, make Himself known by His liberality in the distribution of His attributes, and set in motion His Omnipotence in order that He might be known, praised and glorified.

39 The 3rd instant consisted in selecting and de­termining the order and arrangement, or the mode of this communication, so as to realize in an adequate man­ner the most exalted ends The order namely, which it is proper should be maintained in regard to the communi­cations of the Godhead and its Divine attributes; so that this activity of the Lord may have its proper reasons and objects, and so that it might proceed with the most beau­tiful and admirable sequence, harmony and subordina­tion. In this instant was decreed first of all, that the Di­vine Word should assume flesh and should become vis­ible. The perfection and the composition of the Most Holy Humanity of Christ our Lord was decreed and modeled in the Divine Intelligence. Secondarily, also were formed the ideals of the rest of men in imitation of the First. The Divine Mind prearranged the harmony and adornment of the human nature composed of organic body and a vivifying soul, endowed with facul­ties to know and enjoy its Creator, to discern between good and evil, and with a free will to love that same Lord.

40 This hypostatic union of the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity I understood necessarily to have been the first incentive and object on account of which, before all others, the Divine Intelligence and Will issued ad extra; and the reasons are most exalted, so that I cannot explain.  One of these reasons is, that God, having in Himself known and loved Himself, should, according to right or­der, know and love that, which approaches most inti­mately to His Divinity, as is the case in the hypostatic union. Another reason is, that the Divinity, having communicated Itself ad intrashould also communicate Itself ad extrafor thus the Divine Will and Intention would begin to execute its works with the highest end in view, and His attributes would be communicated in the most beautiful order. The fire of the Divinity expended itself in its fullest measure on that which was most immediately connected with It, namely, the hypo­statically united humanity; and His Divinity communicated Itself in the highest and most excellent degree to Him, Who was to be closest to God in Divine knowledge and love, and share the works and the glory of the Deity; for God (speaking according to our lowly comprehension) could not endanger the attainment of this end, since He alone could be an object proportionate and worthy of so wonderful an operation. It was also befitting and, as it were, necessary, that if God should create many creatures, He should create them in such harmony and sub­ordination, as would be the most admirable and glorious within the reach of possibility. In conformity with this therefore, they must be subordinate to a Supreme Chief, Who should be as far as possible united immediately with God, so that through Him, they may have communication and connection with His Divinity. For these and for other reasons (which I can not explain), the dignity of the works of God could be provided for only by the Incarnation of the Word. Through Him Creation should possess the most beautiful order, which without Him was im­possible. 

41 The 4th instant was to determine the gifts and graces that were to be conferred upon the Humanity of Christ, our Lord, in union with the Divinity. Here the Most High opened the Liberal Hands of His Omnipotence and His other attributes, in order to enrich the Most Sacred Humanity and the Soul of Christ with the highest possible plenitude of His gifts and graces. Then was fulfilled what afterward David said: The stream of the river makes the City of God joyful (Ps 45:5). When the stream of His gifts flowed toward the Humanity of the Word, communicating to it all the infused science, the grace and goodness of which His Blessed Soul was capable, and which fitted that Being, Which was to be God and True Man, and at the same time, the Head of all creatures capable of grace and glory, in order that from this impetuous stream they might partake in the manner in which it afterwards really happened.

42 To this instant also, and, as it were, in natural sequence, pertain the decree and predestination of the Mother of the Divine Word Incarnate; for here, I under­stand, was ordained that pure Creature before anyone else. Thus, before all other creatures, was She con­ceived in the Divine Mind, in such manner and such state as befitted and became the dignity, excellence and gifts of the Humanity of Her Most Holy Son. To Her flowed over, at once and immediately, the river of the Divinity and its attributes with all its impetuosity, in as far as a pure creature is capable and as is due to the dignity of the Mother of God.

43 In the knowledge of these exalted mysteries and decrees, I confess myself ravished in admiration and transported beyond my proper self. Perceiving this most holy and pure Creature formed and conceived in the Di­vine Mind from the beginning and before all the ages, I joyously and exultingly magnify the Omnipotent for the admirable and mysterious decree, by which He formed for us such a pure and grand, such a mysterious and godlike Creature, worthy rather to be admired and praised by all beings, than to be described by anyone. In my admiration I can say with St. Dionysius the Areopagite; If faith would not instruct me, and if the understanding of what I see would not teach me, that it is God, Who has conceived Her in His Mind, and Who Alone could and can in His Omnipotence form such an image of His Divinity, if this all were not present to my mind, I might begin to doubt, whether the Virgin Mother con­tain not in Herself Divinity.

44 O what tears flowed from my eyes, and what sor­rowful astonishment possessed my soul, to see that Divine prodigy not acknowledged and that wonder of the Most High not manifest to all the mortals. Much is known of it, but much more is unknown, as this sealed book has not been opened. I am ravished in the perception of this tabernacle of God, and I perceive that the Author of it is more admirable in Her creation, than in that of all the rest of the world, although the diversity of the creatures manifests the wonderful power of their Creator. In this Queen alone are comprehended and contained more treas­ures than in all the rest of things joined together, and the variety and the preciousness of Her riches honor the Lord above all the multitudes of the other creatures.

45 Here (according to our way of understanding) the promise and, as it were, the contract was made with the Word as to the degree of sanctity, and perfection and the gifts and graces, which were to be possessed by Mary His Mother. Also as to the protection, support and de­fense, which was to be provided for this true City of God, in which His Majesty contemplated the graces and merits, which She earned for Herself, as well as the fruits to be gathered for His people by the loving returns, which She was to make to His Majesty. In the same in­stant, and as it were in the 3rd and last place, God de­termined to create a locality and an abode, where the In­carnate Word and His Mother should converse and dwell. For Them primarily, He created heaven and earth with its stars and elements and all that is contained in them. Secondarily the intention and decree included the creation of the members, of which Jesus was to be the Head, and of whom He would be the King, in order that with Kingly providence, all the necessary and befitting ar­rangements might be made beforehand.

46 I pass over to the 5th instant, although in reality I have found that, which I sought. In this 5th decree the creation of the angelic nature which is more excellent and more like the spiritual being of the Divinity, was determined upon, and at the same time the division or arrangement of the angelic hosts into 9 choirs and 3 hierarchies, was provided and decreed. As they are created first of all for the glory of God, to assist before His Divine Majesty and to know and love Him, so secondarily they are ordained to assist, glorify and honor, reverence and serve the Deified Humanity of the Eternal Word, recognizing Him as Head, and honoring Him also in His Mother, the most Holy Mary, Queen of these same angels. Commission was given to these angels, "to bear them up in their hands" in all their ways (Ps 91:12). In this instant Christ our Lord earned for them by His infinite merits, present and foreseen, all the grace, which they were to receive. He was constituted as their Head, Exemplar and Supreme King, of Whom they should be subjects. Even if the number of angels had been infinite, the merits of Christ our highest Good, would be abundantly sufficient to supply them all with grace.

47 To this instant belongs also the predestination of the good, and the reprobation of the bad angels. God saw in it, by means of, His infinite science, all the works of the former and of the latter and the propriety of pre­destinating, by His free will and by His merciful liberality, those that would obey and give honor, and of reprobating by His justice those who would rise up against His Majesty in pride and disobedience on account of their disordered self love. In the same instant also was de­creed the creation of the empyrean heaven, for the manifestation of His glory and the reward of the good; also the earth and other heavenly bodies for the other creatures; moreover also in the center or depth of the earth, hell, for the punishment of the bad angels.

48 In the 6th instant was decreed the creation of a people and congregation of men for Christ, Who was al­ready formed in the Divine Mind and Will, and according to Whose Image and Likeness man was to be made, in order, that the Incarnate Word might find brethren, sim­ilar but inferior to Himself and a people of His own nat­ure, of whom He might be the Head. In this instant was determined the order of the creation of the whole human race, which was to begin from one man and woman and propagate itself, until the Virgin and Her Son should be born in the predestined order. On account of the merits of Christ, our Savior, the graces and gifts were prearranged, and also original justice, if they would only preserve it. The fall of Adam was foreseen and in him that of all others, except of the Queen, who did not enter into this decree. As a remedy was it ordained, that the Most Holy Humanity should be capable of suffering. The predestined were chosen by free grace, and the fore­known were reprobated with exact justice. All that was convenient and necessary for the conservation of the human race and for obtaining the end of the Redemp­tion and the Predestination was preordained, without in­terfering with the free will of men; for such ordainment was more conformable to God's nature and to Divine equity. There was no injustice done to them, for 

If With Their Free Will They Could Sin, So Also Could They 
Abstain From Sin By Means Of Grace And The Light Of Reason.

God violated the right of no one, since He forsook no one nor denied to anyone that which is necessary. Since His Law is written in the hearts of men, nobody is excused for not knowing and loving Him as the highest  good of all creation.

49 In the perception of these Mysteries I saw with great clearness and force the high motives which caused God to manifest and magnify Himself and which should induce men to praise and adore the greatness of the Cre­ator and Redeemer of all. I also saw how tardy they are in the acknowledgment of these obligations and in making return for these benefits; and I was made aware of the complaints and the indignation of the Most High on account of this forgetfulness. His Majesty com­manded and exhorted me not to be guilty of such in­gratitude, but to offer Him a sacrifice of praise, and a new song, and that I magnify Him in the name of all creatures.

50 O Most High and Incomprehensible Lord! Would that I had the love and the perfections of all the angels and the just in order to confess and praise worthily Your greatness! I acknowledge, Great and Almighty Lord, that such a vile creature, as I cannot merit the memorable benefit of receiving this clear and exalted knowledge and light concerning Your exalted Majesty. At the sight of Your greatness I perceive my littleness, which before that happy hour was unknown to me; and I was ignorant of the greatness and excellence of the virtue of humility, which is learnt in this science. I do not wish to say that I now possess that virtue, but neither can I deny that I have been shown the certain path that leads to it. Your light, O Most High Lord, illumines me and Your lamp shows me the paths (Ps 119:105)so that I see what I have been and what I am, and fear what I may become to be. You have lighted up, Most High King, my understanding and inflamed my will with its most exalted object. You have entirely drawn me on to seek You, and I wish to make this known to all mortals in order that they may leave me in peace and I them: I am for my Beloved (Sg 2:16), and (although I am unworthy), my Beloved is for me. Strengthen then, O Lord, my weakness that I may run after You, and reaching You, I may never leave You or lose You.

51 Very short and stammering is this chapter, for of this matter many books could be written; but I refrain, because I do not know how to speak and I am an ignorant woman. My sole object has been to explain, how the Virgin Mother has been formed and preordained in the Divine Mind before the ages (Sir 24:14). That which I have seen over and above concerning this high­est mystery, transforms my interior, and in silent admira­tion makes me praise the Author of such magnificence in company with the blessed, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Sabaoth (Is 6:3). 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 5
INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING HOLY SCRIPTURES, PARTICULARLY PROVERBS 8, 
IN CONFIRMATION OF THE PRECEDING PAGES

52 I will converse, O Lord, with Your great Majesty, since You are the God of Mercies, though I am only dust and ashes (Gen 18:17), and I will supplicate Your incomprehensible Immensity to look from Your exalted throne upon me, Your most vile and useless creature, and to be propitious to me by continuing to enlighten my under­standing. Speak, O Lord, for Your servant hears (1 Sam 3:10). Then the Most High, the Corrector of the wise, spoke to me (Wis. 7:15).  He referred me to Proverbs 8 and gave me the under­standing of its mysteries. First was given me the literal wording of the passage in Prov. 8, beginning with verse 22:

53 The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet and I was already conceived; neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out.  The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established; before the hills I was brought forth.  He had not yet made the earth, or the rivers, or the poles of the earth.  When He prepared the heavens, I was present; when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths. When He established the sky above and poised the fountains of the waters.  When He encompassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth.  I was with Him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before Him all the times.  Playing in the world; and My delights were to be with the children of men.

54 This is the portion of the Proverbs, of which the Most High gave me an understanding. I understood at first, that it treats of the ideas or decrees, which were in the Divine Mind before the Creation of the world; and that, in its literal sense, it speaks of the Person of the Incarnate Word and of His most Holy Mother, while in its mystical sense it refers to the Holy Angels and Prophets. For before decreeing or forming the ideals of the rest of the material creation, He formed and decreed their prototype, the Most Sacred Humanity of Christ and of His purest Motherand this is indicated by the first words

55 "The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways." In God there are no ways, and His Divinity does not need them; but He made use of them, in order, that by them we may know Him and that all of us creatures, who are capable of knowing Him, may tend toward Him. In this beginning, before He formed any other ideal in His Mind, because He desired to create paths and open ways in His Mind for the communication of the Divinity, He decreed, as a beginning, the formation of the Hu­manity of the Word, Who was to be the highway, by which the other creatures might come to the Father (Jn 14:6).  Joined with this decree was that of His most holy Mother, through whom His Divinity was to enter into the world, becoming Man and being born from Her as God and Man; therefore it is said: God possessed Me since both were possessed by His Majesty: for as to His Divinity, He was the possession, the property, and the Treasure of the Father without possibility of separation, because Father and Son are One, of the same Substance and Divinity with the Holy Spirit; and also as to His Humanity, the Father possessed the Son; because He Himself knew and decreed the plenitude of Grace and Glory, which He was to bestow upon it at the moment of its creation and its Hypostatical Union. Moreover, as this decree and possession was to be brought about by the mediation of the Mother, who was to conceive and bring forth the Word (since He did not decide to create it out of nothing, nor form His Soul and Body out of any other material), it followed that He possessed Her, who was to give Him the human form. Thus He possessed and claimed Her as His own in the same instant, provid­ing with solicitude, that in the order of grace neither the human race nor any other should have at any time a right or a part in Her. He alone retained the full right in Her as His portion, and so much His portion as the Dignity of Mother required. 

She Alone Was To Call Him Son, And 
She Alone Was To Be Called Mother, 
A Mother Worthy Of Having The Incarnate God For A Son.

 Now as all this far surpassed in dignity the whole creation, so did it also take the precedence in the Mind of the Supreme Creator. Hence He says:

56 Before He made anything from the beginning, I was set up from eternity and of old. We, in our present state, conceive this eternity of God as an interminable time. But what were the things "of old," since none had been created? It is clear that the 3 Persons are here spoken of, namely, that She was foreseen from the eternal ages of the Divinity, by the Beings, Which alone are ancient, namely, the Indivisible Trinity (since all the rest, having a beginning, are recent), that She was fore­seen when only the ancient Uncreated was, and before any ideals of the future creation were formed. Between these 2 extremes intervened the ideal of the Hypostatic Union that was to be verified ad extra through the in­tervention of most Holy Mary. Both were ordained to­gether, immediately next to God and before any other creature, and it was the most wonderful decree ever passed or ever to be passed. The first and most ad­mirable image in the Mind of God, next to the eternal generation, was that of Christ and next to it, that of His Mother.

57 And what other order could there be in God, in Whom all that pertains to Him is present at one and the same time, so that no part of His Being must await the perfection of another, or one perfection ever need succeed upon others? All is well ordered in His eternal nature, and so it was and will be forever. The new or­dainment, however, was that the Person of the Son should become Incarnate and that from His Deified Humanity should begin the order of God's desires and of His decrees ad extra. He was to be the Head and Ideal of all other men and creatures; for this was the most appropriate order and harmony to be instituted among creatures, that they have One, Who is the first and the highest, and that from Him should descend the order of all nature, and in a special manner, of the mortals. First among them all, however, was the Mother of the Man-God, as the Supreme among mere creatures, following immediately upon Christ, and, through Him, upon the Divinity. Thus the conduits, which led the crystalline fountains of the Divinity from the eternal throne, meet first in the Humanity of the Word and immediately thereafter in His Holy Mother in the degree and in the manner, as it was possible for a mere creature, and as it was proper for the Mother of the Creator. It was equitable, that all the Divine attributes should exert themselves in Her, without reserve, so far as She was capable, and that She be inferior only to Christ our Lord. She was to be superior in the degree of His incomparable graces to all the rest of the creatures that are deserving of graces and gifts. This then was the order, so well instituted by the Eternal Wisdom; that all was to commence with Christ and His Mother. Therefore the text adds:

58 Before the earth was made; and the depths were not as yet and I was already conceived. This earth was that of the first Adam; for before his creation was de­creed, and before the abysses of the ideas ad extra were formed in the Divine Mind, the likenesses of Christ and of His Mother were already conceived. The forms are called abysses, because there is an infinite distance be­tween the Being of God and that of creatures. This dis­tance was measured (speaking according to our own way of understanding), when the ideals of the creatures were formed; for then these very abysses were formed. Not only was the Word conceived before all these by eternal generation from the Father, but His temporal generation from the Virgin Mother, Full of Grace(Lk 1:28) had already been decreed and conceived in the Divine Mind. Inasmuch as no efficacious and complete decree of this temporal generation could exist without at the same time including His Mother, and such a Mother, the most Holy Mary, was then and there conceived within that beautiful Im­mensity, and Her eternal record was written in the Heart of the Divinity, in order that for all the ages it should never be blotted out. She was stamped and de­lineated in the Mind of the Eternal Artificer and possessed the inseparable embraces of His love.

59 Neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out. The images and ideals of creatures had not yet sprung from their source and origin; for they had not yet broken from the fountains through the channels of God's goodness and mercy, through which the Divine Will was to be moved to create the universe and to communicate His Divine attributes and perfections. In respect to the entire rest of the universe, these waters and fountains were still repressed and detained within the bounds of the immense ocean of the Divinity; in His Own Being there were as yet no founts or currents for outward man­ifestation, not having until then met their proper object, namely, men. But when these were encountered, the sacred humanity of Christ and His Virgin Mother had al­ready furnished proper objects of benevolence. And therefore it is added:

60 The mountains with their huge bulk had not been established, for God had not as yet then decreed the creation of the high mountains, the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs or the other saints of great holiness, and this was not yet exerting its full weight and force in the mighty and sweet manner (Wis. 8:1) in which God executes His counsels and great works. And not only before the mountains (which are the great saints) but also before the hills I was brought forth, which are the orders of the Holy Angels. Before them the Divine Mind had conceived the most holy Humanity united Hypostatically with the Divine Word, and the Mother, who bore Him. The Son and the Mother were conceived before the hierarchies of the angelic hosts, so, that, what David said in Psalm 8, becomes intelligible: What is man that You are mindful of him, or the Son of Man, that You visit Him? You have made Him a little less than the Angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor! You has set Him over the works of Your Hands; You have subjected all things under His Feet. Let all understand and know, that there is a God Man, Who is above all angels and men, and that all are His in­feriors and His servants, for being the first of men, He is God at the same time. He is the first in the Divine Mind and in the Divine Will, and with Him is associated and inseparably connected, one Woman and Virgin, His Mother, the exalted Queen of all creation.

61 And if man, as says the same psalm, was crowned with glory and was constituted above all the works of the Hand of the Lord, it was because the God-Man, His Chief, had merited both this crown, and also that, which is borne by the angels. The same psalm adds, that, after having made man a little less than the angels, He placed him over the works of His Hands: yet these very angels were works of His Hands. Thus David spoke to the whole human race, when he said: God made man a little less than the angels; but although man was in­ferior in his nature, one Man is found Who is of su­perior make and is set over these same angels, who were works of the Hand of God. This superiority is in the order of grace, not only as far as His Divinity united to the humanity is concerned, but also in regard to the Hu­manity Itself in so far as the Hy­postatic Union conferred grace. In a proportionate degree His most Holy Mother likewise attained this superiority, just as some saints in virtue of the same Incarnate Lord can reach a station and throne superior to that of the angels.

62 It is further said: I was brought forth or born, which means more than being conceived; for the latter refers to the Divine Intellect of the Blessed Trinity at the instant, when the Incarnation was known and, as it were, weighed in regard to its propriety. But to be brought forth refers to the act of the Divine Will, which de­termined upon this work, for the Most Holy Trinity, in Its Divine councils, resolved upon the efficacious execution of this work by determining, and preliminarily putting into effect, the wonderful decree of the Hypostatic Union and of calling into being Mary. That is the reason for using first the word "conceived" and then the words "brought forth," or born; for in reality the work was at first conceived and then immediately afterwards determined upon and willed.

63 He had not yet made the earth, or the rivers, or the poles of the (earth) world. Before the creation of the second earth, namely, the earthly paradise (the sense in which the earth is mentioned a second time), into which the first man, after he had been created from the first earth of the Damascene plains, was placed, and where he sinned, the Sacred Humanity of the Word and the material from which it was to spring, namely the Virgin, was determined upon. For it was necessary, that God should provide beforehand against Her participating in sin and against Her being in any way subject to it. The rivers and poles of the earth are the militant Church and the gifts of grace that were to flow from the sources of the Divinity. These were to flow toward all men and with efficacy to the saints and the foreknown. Fixed in God as in their pole or pivot and being dependent upon Him they nevertheless move around Him in seeking after the virtues of faith, hope and charity, through which they sustain, vivify and direct themselves though yet en­tangled in human conversation. They are drawn toward their last end and toward the highest good, without swerving from the center about which they turn. Also the Sacraments and the institutions of the Church are here signified, Her safety and stability, Her beauty and sanctity without blot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27), for this is what is meant by this circumference and these rivers. Before the Most High prepared all this and ordained this mystical sphere and system, of which Christ was to be the Center and Head, He decreed the union of the Word with human nature, and foresaw His Mother, through whom He was to execute these wonders in the world.

64 When He prepared the heavens, I was there. When He prepared and preordained the heaven and the reward, which was to be given to the just sons of the Church after their sojourn upon the earth, then already was decreed the Union of the Humanity with the Word, thereby meriting grace as their Head, and with Him His most Holy Mother. Having destined the greater part of this grace for the Mother and the Son, He then disposed and arranged similar gifts of glory for the other saints.

65 When with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths, namely, when He decided to close the abysses of His Divinity in the Person of the Son ac­cording to a certain law and measure, which no living being can ever compass or understand. He delineated this sphere and circumference, where none could nor ever can enter, except only the Word (since none but Himself can ever fill His place). For thus He was able to empty (Phil 2:7) and humiliate His Divinity in the Humanity, then, both Humanity and Divinity, in the womb of the most Holy Mary, afterwards, in the small quantity and species of the bread and wine, and finally, in the nar­row space of sinful, mortal hearts. All this is indicated by the words: abysses, law and circle or limits. They are called "certain" on account of their vast bearing and also on account of the certainty, with which they were to be fulfilled (in spite of seeming impossibility), and on account of the difficulty of explaining them in words. It certainly did not appear feasible, that the Divinity should be subject to law, nor that It should enclose Itself within determined limits. But the wisdom and the power of that same Lord made it possible and has accomplished it by enclosing Himself in a designated created being.

66 When He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of the waters; when He encompassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits. He calls here the just "heavens," for that is what they are, as God remains and dwells within them by grace, and through it, according to each one's disposition, gives them courage and firmness to rise above the earth as long as they are pilgrims. Afterwards He gives them a place and a dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem according to their merits. For them He poised the fountains and has di­vided them, distributing to each one with equity. He weighs the gifts of glory, the virtues, the helps, and the perfections, according to the dispositions of His Wisdom. When He resolved to make the distributions of these waters of grace, He also resolved to give to the humanity united to the Divinity all the ocean of graces and gifts, which naturally flowed from the Divinity in its union with the Only Begotten of the Father. Although this ocean was infinite, He placed confines to it, namely, the Humanity, in Which was to dwell the Plenitude of the Divinity (Col 2:9); and it was enclosed 33 years within these confines, in order that He might dwell among men, and in order that, what happened to the 3 Apostles on Mount Tabor might not happen to all men. In the same moment in which this Entire Ocean and all the rivers of grace reached Christ our Lord as being nearest to the Deity, they also redounded in His most Holy Mother as being nearest to Her Only Begotten Son. For without the Mother, and precisely such a Mother, the gifts and graces of Her Son could not have been disposed of in such order and with such high per­fection. Nor did the admirable harmony of the celestial and spiritual machinery, and the distribution of the gifts of the Church militant and triumphant rest on any other foundation.

67 When He balanced the foundation of the earth, I was with Him forming all things. The works ad extra are common to the 3 Divine Persons, for They are One God, One wisdom, One power; therefore it was un­avoidably necessary, that the Word, in Whom according to the Divinity all things are made, should be in union with the Father in making them. But here more is meant, for also the Incarnate Word was already present together with His most Holy Mother in the Divine Will. Thus, just as through the Word, as far as He is God, all things were made, so also for Him, in the first place and because He is the most noble and most worthy end, was created the foundations of the earth and all that is con­tained in it.        

68 Therefore it is farther said: And I was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in the world. The Incarnate Word diverted Himself at all times, because He knew all the ages and the lives of all mortals, all being as one day in comparison with eternity (Ps 90:4). He was delighted, because the whole course of Creation had found its end, for when the ultimate day with all its perfection should arrive, men were to enjoy the affluence of grace and the crown of glory. He diverted Himself as it were, counting the days, when He should descend from heaven to earth and assume human flesh. He knew that all the works and thoughts of men were like a play, wherein all is mere burlesque and deceit. He saw also the righteous, who, though so weak and limited in their capacity, nevertheless would be fit for the manifestation and communication of God’s Glory and Perfections. He compared His Immutability with the changefulness of men, and how He was never­theless to act in concert with them. He delighted in His own works, and especially in those, which He ordained in His most Holy Mother. He took a great delight in the prospect of assuming the form of man within Her and in making Her worthy of so great a privilege. And be­cause the conception of these ideals and the efficacious decree of the Divine Will in their regard were to be fol­lowed by their actual fulfillment, therefore the Divine Word adds:

69 And My delight is to be with the children of men. My recreation is to work for them and show them favors; My contentment is to die for them and My joy is to be their Teacher and their Redeemer. My delight is to raise the needy one from the dust and to unite Myself with the lowly one (Ps 113:7); My pleasure is to un­bend My Divinity for this purpose, and to clothe it with human nature, to constrain and debase Myself, and to sus­pend the Glory of My Body in order to make Myself capable of suffering and of meriting for men the friend­ship of the Father; to be a Mediator between His most Righteous Indignation and the malice of men, and to be their Model and Head, Whom they might imitate.

70 O Eternal and Incomprehensible Goodness! How am I ravished with admiration, when I compare the im­mensity of Your Immutable Being with the insignificance of man! When I see Your Eternal Love mediating between 2 extremes of such immeasurable distance; an In­finite Love, for a creature so insignificant and at the same time so ungrateful! O Lord, You cast Your Eyes on such a low and debased object, and on what a noble Object can and should man fix his thought and his affection in beholding such a Mystery! Filled with admiration and with sadness of heart, I lament over the unhappy state of men, their darkness and blindness, since they do not make any effort to understand how much Your Majesty has been beforehand in looking down upon them and in offering them true felicity with such great love and care as if Your own consisted in it.

71 All His works, and the disposition of them, as they were to be called into being, the Lord had in His Mind ab initioand He numbered and weighed them according to His equity and rectitude. He knew the constitution of the world before its creation,  (Wis 7:18). He knew the beginning, the middle and the end of time, the changes of the years and the courses of the ages, the disposition of the stars, the powers of the elements, the nature of animals, the wrath of wild beasts, the force of winds, the difference of plants, the virtues of roots and the thoughts of men. All He weighed and counted (Wis 11:20), not only that which is literally true of the rational and irrational creatures, but He preordained also all that which is sig­nified mystically by these creatures. But as this comes not within my scope at present, I do not speak of it in this place.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 6
CONCERNING A DOUBT, WHICH I HAD REGARDING THE DOCTRINE CONTAINED IN THESE CHAPTERS, 
AND THE ANSWER TO IT. 

72 In regard to the significance of the doctrine con­tained in the last 2 chapters a doubt occurred to me, and I have often heard and been informed by learned per­sons, that the same is discussed also in the schools. The doubt was as follows; If the principal motive of the Incarnation of the Word, was to make Him Head and the Firstborn of all creation (Col 1:15) and, through the Hypostatic Union with human nature, to communi­cate His attributes and perfections, in a manner befitting His Grace and Glory, to the predestined; and, if to as­sume flesh capable of suffering and dying for man was His secondary motive; then, if these assumptions are true, how comes it, that there is such a diversity of opinion in regard to it in the Church? The most common assumption is, that the Eternal Word descended from Heaven expressly for the purpose of redeeming men through His Most Holy Passion and Death.

73 This doubt I proposed humbly to the Lord. After giving me an understanding and a great enlightenment, by which I perceived and understood many mysteries, He answered me. The Mysteries themselves I cannot explain, because the words of the Lord compre­hend and mean so much. But His answer was as follows: "My spouse and dove, hear; for as a Father and a Teacher I will solve your doubt and instruct you.  Know, that the principal and legitimate end of the decree, which I had in view in resolving to communicate My Divinity in the Hypostatic Union of the Word with human nature, was the glory, which would redound to My Name through this communication, and also that which was to redound to the creatures capable thereof. This decree would without doubt have been executed in the Incarna­tion, even if the first man had not sinned: for it was an express decree, substantially independent of any con­dition. Therefore, the intention of My Will, which was primarily to communicate Myself to the Soul and Hu­manity of the Word, was to be efficaciously fulfilled. This was conformable to the justice and rectitude of My works, and, although it was subsequent in its execution, it was nevertheless antecedent in My intention. If I waited before sending My Only Begotten, it was because I had resolved to prepare for Him beforehand a holy and select congregation of the righteous, who, presupposing the fall of mankind, would be like roses among the thorns, that is, the sinners. Foreseeing the fall of the human race, I determined, by an express decree, that the Word should come in a form capable of Suffering and Death for the Redemption of His people, Whose Head He was to be. Thus My Infinite Love for man could be so much the more known and manifest and a just satisfaction would be ren­dered to My equity and justice; and if he, who was to be first in existence, was a sinner: He Who was to be first in dignity, would be the Redeemer (1 Cor 15:21). Thus also men might come to know the gravity of sin, and love one and the same Creator, Vivifier, Redeemer, and Judge of all mortals. I also wished as it were, to compel them to make a proper return of gratitude and love. Refusing to punish them without reprieve, as I have punished the apostate angels, but pardoning them and looking upon them with mercy, I offered them an opportune remedy by executing the rigor of My justice upon My Only Be­gotten Son and reserving for man the kindness of My Great Mercy."

74 "And in order that you may better understand the answer to your doubt, remember, that there is neither any succession of time in My decrees, nor any need of it for the perception and the execution of them. Those that say that the Word became Incarnate in order to redeem the world, say well; and those that say, that He would have become Incarnate also, if man had not sinned, like­wise speak well, only it must be understood in the right way. For if Adam had not sinned, Christ would have descended from heaven in that form, which would be suitable to the state of man's innocence; but as Adam sinned, I resolved by the secondary decree, that He should be made of passable nature; since foreseeing sin, it was proper, that it should be repaired in the way in which He has done it. And as you desire to know, how the Mystery of the Incarnation would have taken place, if man had preserved the state of innocence, know, that the human substance would have been essentially the same as now, only it would be clothed with the gifts of impassibility and immortality, such as My Only Begotten possessed after His Resurrection and before His Ascension. He would live and converse with men; the hidden Sacra­ments and Mysteries would all be manifest; and many times would His glory shine forth as it happened once in His mortal life (Mk 17:1). He would, in that state of man's innocence, have become manifest to all men in the same manner as He once showed Himself to the 3 apostles in His mortal state. All those on the way to Heaven would see the great glory of My Only Begotten; conversing with Him would console them and they would place no obstacle to His Divine Workings, for they would be without sin. But all this was impeded and spoiled by the guilt of sin and on that account it was proper, that He should come in passable and mortal nature." 

75 "The existence of different opinions regarding these Sacraments and other mysteries in the Church, arises from the fact that I manifest and give light con­cerning one set of Mysteries to some teachers, and illumine others concerning other Mysteries; for mortals are not capable of receiving all the light. It is not expedient, that the knowledge of all things be given to one man, as long as men are sinners. Also due to their state of comprehension, they obtain them in parts and according to the state and the merits of each. But the plenitude of all gifts is due only to the Humanity of My Only Begotten and to His Mother in proper proportion. The other mortals receive it neither entirely, nor is it always given so clearly, as to assure them altogether. Therefore they must acquire it by means of study and the use of letters and science. There are also many truths revealed in Holy Scriptures and to some men light is given from above. Yet, as I leave most men to work by their natural light, it must follow, that they understand these Divine Mysteries in different senses, and that there exist different explanations and different meanings regarding the different passages in Scripture; for each adheres to his opinion according to his understanding. Many have a good in­tention and the light and truth is essentially one, but it is made use of with diversity of judgment and inclinations, so that some adhere to these teachers, others to those and so the controversies arise among them."

76 "One of the reasons why the opinion, that the Word came from heaven mainly for the sake of redeeming the world, is more common can be partly explained by the fact, that the Mystery of the Redemption with its object has already been consummated and has been mentioned so often in Scriptures, thus causing it to be better understood and manifested. The impassibility of Christ on the contrary was neither affected, nor was it simply and absolutely decreed. All that pertained to this state remains concealed and nobody could be sure of it, except those particular ones, whom I select for the reception of that light, and for the revelation of this decree of My love for man. And although this would certainly be capable of moving men, if they would ponder over it and penetrate it; yet the decree and the work of His Redemption from sin is more powerful and efficacious to move them toward some acknowledgment and return of My immense love; for this is the end, which prompts My works. Therefore I fittingly provide, that these motives and mysteries be kept especially before the mind and be more frequently expounded. Advert also, that in one work, 2 results can well be intended, when one of them is conditional. Thus it was that the Word would not have descended in passable flesh, if man had not sinned, and if he would sin, He would come in a body capable of suffering: whatever would happen, the decree of the In­carnation would not be left unfulfilled. I desire, that the Sacraments of the Redemption be recognized and held in esteem and that they be always remembered, in order that they may bring the proper fruit. But just as much I desire, that the mortals recognize the Word as their Head and as the final Object of all Creation and of all the rest of the human race. For, conjointly with My own kindness, His formation was the principal motive for giving existence to creatures. Therefore He should be honored, not only because He has redeemed the human race, but also because He furnished the motive for its creation."

77 "Take notice also, My spouse, that very often I permit and cause differences of opinions among the doc­tors and teachers. Thus some of them maintain what is true and others, according to their natural disposition, defend what is doubtful. Others still again are per­mitted to say even what is not true, though not in open contradiction to the veiled truths of faith, which all must hold. Some also teach, what is possible according to their supposition. By this varied light, truth is traced, and the Mysteries of Faith become more manifest. Doubt serves as a stimulus to the understanding for the investi­gation of truth. Therefore controversies of the teachers fulfill a proper and holy end. They are also permitted in order, to make it known, that real science dwells in My Church more than in the combined study of all the holy and perfect teachers, and that she can make them wise above the wisdom of the worldly wise; that there is above them One, Who is the Prompter of the wise (Wis 7:15), namely, Myself; Who alone knows all and comprehends all; Who weighs and measures, without ever being measured or comprehended (Wis 9:13); that men, although they may search My Judgments and Testimonies ever so much, cannot attain them, unless I give the intelligence and light (Job 32:8), for I am the beginning and the Author of all Wisdom and Science. I desire that men, in acknowledging all this, give Me praise, exaltation, confession, dominion and glory forever."

78 "I desire also that the holy doctors acquire for themselves much grace, light and glory by their earnest, laudable and sacred study, and that the truth be more and more clearly detected and purified, and be traced to its source. By humbly investigating the Mysteries and the admirable works of My Right Hand, they come to be partakers of them and of the bread of the understanding, the Holy Scriptures (Sir 15:3). I have especially shown My Providence in regard to doctors and teachers, although their opinions and doubts have been so diverse and for such different ends. Sometimes, for My greater glory and honor, sometimes for earthly purposes, they are permitted to dispute, and to contradict each other; and there is a great inequality in the manner in which they have proceeded and do proceed to show their emula­tion and earnestness. But with all this I have directed, governed and enlightened them, giving them My protec­tion in such a manner, that the truth may be investigated and clearly manifested. The light has spread out, so that many of My perfections and wonderful works have been made known, and the Holy Scriptures have been in­terpreted according to high standards, which has been very pleasing to Me. For this reason the fury of hell, with inconceivable envy (especially in these, our times), has raised its throne of iniquity, pretending to engulf the waters of the Jordan (Job 40:18), and obscure the light of Holy Faith by heretical doctrines and seeking to sow its false seeds by the help of man (Matt 13:25). But the rest of the Church and its truths are in most perfect order; the Catholics, although much involved and blind in other respects, hold nevertheless the truths of faith and its holy light without diminution. I call all men with fatherly love to share this happiness, yet few are the elect, who choose to respond to My call."

79 "I also desire you to understand, My spouse, how well My Providence disposes things in such a way, that the teachers, by the diversity of their opinions, and by their own diligent exertion and study, scrutinize more deeply My Testimonies and thus lay bare the marrow of the Holy Scriptures to wayfaring men. But it would be very pleasing to Me and in harmony with My service, if learned persons would extinguish and do away with pride, envy and ambition after vain honors; also all the other passions and vices, which arise from them, together with the bad seeds, that are likely to be generated from that sort of occupation (Matt 13:25). But I do not root out this bad seed at present, in order that the good may not be rooted out with the bad." All this the Lord spoke to me and many other things, which I cannot make manifest. May His Majesty eternally be blessed, Who, without disdaining the insignificance of so insipient and useless a woman, deemed it proper to enlighten and to satisfy my ignorance in so bountiful and merciful a man­ner. May the blessed spirits and the righteous of the earth give Him praise and thanksgiving without end! 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 7
How The Most High Gave A Beginning To His Works And Created All Material Things For The Use Of Man, While Angels And Men Were Created To Be His People Under The Leadership Of The Incarnate Word

80 The Cause of all causes is God, Who created all things that have being. His powerful Arm gave exist­ence to all His wonderful works ad extra when and how He chose. Moses in Genesis 1, describes the beginning and succession of the work of Creation. Since the Lord has given me an understand­ing thereof, I will mention what I think useful for eluci­dating the mysterious origin of the Incarnation of the Word and of our Redemption.

81 The words of Genesis 1:1-5 are:  “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.  And the earth was void and empty, and dark­ness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: “ Let there be light.” And light was made.  And God saw the light that it was good; and He divided the light from the darkness.  And He called the light day, and the darkness night and there was evening and morning the first day. Of the first day Moses says that "In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”  Though He Himself is im­mutable in being, Almighty God, in calling creatures into existence, issued, so to say, forth from His own Self and of the first day Moses says that "In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”  Though He Himself is im­mutable in being, Almighty God, in calling creatures into existence, issued, so to say, forth from His own Self and gave to creatures a being of their own, in order that He might, as it were, rejoice in the works of His own Hands, as being the perfect and adequate results of His operations. And before creating intellectual and ra­tional creatures, desiring also the order of executing these works to be most perfect, He created Heaven for angels and men; and the earth as a place of pilgrimage for mortals. These places are so adapted to their end and so perfect, that as David says of them, the Heavens declare the Glory of the Lord, the firmament and the earth an­nounce the Glory of the works of His Hands (Ps 19:2). The heavens in their beauty manifest His magnificence and glory, because in them is deposited the predestined reward of the just. And the earthly firmament an­nounced that there would be creatures and men to in­habit the earth and that man should journey upon it to their Creator. Before He created them, the Most High wished to provide for them and create that which is necessary for the attainment of their end, and for living in the manner ordained for them. Thus all parts of the creation would be compelled as it were to obey and love their Creator and Benefactor and by his works to learn of His Holy Name and of His perfections (Rom. 1:20).

82 Of the earth Moses says, that it was void, which he does not say of the heavens; for God had created the angels at the instant indicated by the word of Moses: "God said: Let there be light, and light was made." He speaks here not only of material light, but also of the intellectual or angelic lights. He does not make express mention of them, but merely includes them in this word, on account of the proclivity of the Hebrews to attribute divinity to new things, even of much greater inferiority than the angels. But the metaphor of light was very appropriate to signify the angelic nature and mystically, the light of their science and grace, with which they were endowed at their creation. God created the earth conjointly with the heavens, in order to call into exist­ence hell in its center; for, at the instant of its creation, there were left in the interior of that globe spacious and wide cavities, suitable for hell, purgatory and limbo. And in hell was created at the same time, material fire and other requisites, which now serve for the punishment of the damned. The Lord was presently to divide the light from the darkness and to call the light day and the dark­ness night. And this happened not only in regard to the natural night and day, but in regard to the good and bad angels; for to the good, He gave the eternal light of His vision and called it day, the eternal day; and to the bad, the night of sin, casting them into the eternal darkness of hell. Thus we were to be taught the inti­mate relation between the Merciful Liberality of the Cre­ator and Life Giver and the Justice of the Most Just Judge in punishment.

83 The Angels were created in the empyrean heavens and in the state of grace by which they might be first to merit the reward of glory. For although they were in the midst of glory, the Divinity Itself was not to be made manifest to them face to face and unveiled, until they should have merited such a favor by obeying the Divine Will. The Holy Angels, as well as the bad ones, remained only a very short time in the state of proba­tion; for their creation and probation with its result were 3 distinct instants or moments, separated by short intermissions. In the first instant they were all created and endowed with graces and gifts, coming into existence as most beautiful and perfect creatures. Then followed a short pause, during which the Divine Will of the Creator was propounded and intimated, and the Law and Command was given them, to acknowledge Him as their Creator and Supreme Lord, and to fulfill the end for which they had been created. During this pause, in­stant or interval, St. Michael and his Angels fought that great battle with the dragon and his followers, (Rev 12). The Good Angels, persevering in grace, merited eternal happiness and the disobedient ones, rebelling against God, merited the pun­ishment, which they now suffer.

84 Although all this of the second instant could have happened in a very brief time on account of the subtle nature of the angels and the power of God, never­theless I understood, that the kind consideration of the Most High permitted a certain delay. With the inter­position of some intervals of time, He proposed to them the good and the bad, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, Divine Grace and friendship as opposed to sin and enmity of God. They were enabled to see eternal reward and eternal punishment, the perdition of satan and of those that would follow him. His Majesty showed them hell and its pains. They saw it all; for, by virtue of their superior and excellent nature, they understood the essence of other more qualified and limited creatures, so that, before falling from grace, they were clearly aware of the place of their chastise­ment. Although they did not know in the same man­ner the reward of glory, they had of it other knowledge and besides they had the manifest and express promise of the Lord. The Most High had therefore justified His cause and proceeded with the greatest equity and justice. But as all this goodness and equity did not suf­fice to restrain satan and his followers, they were chastised in their stubbornness and hurled into the depths of the hellish caverns, while the Good Angels were confirmed in eternal grace and glory. All this was con­summated in the third instant, and thus it became truly manifest that no being outside of God Himself is im­peccable by nature, since the angel, who held such an exalted position and was adorned with so many great gifts of knowledge and grace, nevertheless sinned and was lost. What will become of human frailty, if the Divine Power does not defend it and if it forces God to forsake it?

85 It remains to investigate the motive, which urged lucifer and his confederates to sin and what was the occasion of their disobedience and fall, for this is the point to which I wanted to come. In regard to this, it was made known to me that they could commit many sins as far as the guilt of sin (secundum reatum) is concerned, although they did not consummate them in acts. However, on account of those which they did actually commit freely and of their own depraved will, they acquired the disposition to all bad acts, inducing others to commit and approving in others those sins, which they could not commit themselves. Following the bad incli­nations that from that time on filled lucifer, he fell into a most disorderly self-love, which arose from the consciousness of being endowed with greater gifts and greater beauty of nature and grace, than the other in­ferior angels. He tarried with inordinate pleasure in this consciousness, and thus self-satisfied, he became lax and remiss in the gratitude which was due to God as the sole cause of all that he had received. Turning again and again in admiration toward himself, he took pleasure in his own beauty and grace, attributing them to himself and loving them as his own. This disorderly self love not only caused him to exalt himself on account of the superior virtues, which he had received, but also induced him to harbor envy and covetousness for other gifts and for excellences not his own. Then, because he could not attain them, he conceived a mortal hatred and indignation against God, Who created him out of nothing, and against all His creatures.

86 Hence arose his disobedience, presumption, injustice, infidelity, blasphemy, and perhaps also a certain kind of idolatry, for he coveted for himself the adora­tion and reverence due to God. He blasphemed the Di­vine Magnificence and Holiness, he failed in the trust and loyalty due to Him; he plotted to destroy all the creatures, and presumed to be able to do all this and much more by his own power. Thus his pride ascends continually (Ps. 73:23) and perseveres, though his ar­rogance is greater than his strength, for in this he can not increase (Is. 16:6) and in sin, one abyss calls the other (Ps.14:8). The first angel who sinned was lucifer(Is 14). He induced others to follow him and therefore he is called the prince of the demons; not on account of his natural gifts, for these would not secure to him that title, but on account of his guilt. Those that sinned were not all of one order or hierarchy, but among all hierarchies there were many who sinned.

87 It is proper, that I also explain what was made known to me concerning the kind of honor and excel­lence, which lucifer aspired to and envied. As in the works of God there is measure, number and weight (Wis. 11:21), His Providence decided to show to the angels, immediately after their creation and before they could incline to diverse ends, the purpose for which He had created them with such an exalted and perfect na­ture. Of all this I obtained the following information. At first they received a more explicit intelligence of the Being of God, One in substance, Triune in Person, and that they were commanded to adore and reverence Him as their Creator and highest Lord, Infinite in His Essence and Attributes. All subjected themselves to this com­mand and obeyed it, but with a certain difference; the Good Angels obeyed through love and on account of the justice of it, offering their love and good will, freely admitting and believing what was above their intelli­gence, and obeying with joy. lucifer, on the other hand, submitted himself, because the opposite seemed to him impossible. He did not do it with perfect char­ity, for he, as it were, was divided in his will between himself and the infallible truth of the Lord. In consequence it happened that the precept appeared to him in a measure difficult and violent, and his fulfilling of it was lacking in love and in the desire to do justice. Thus he exposed himself beforehand to the danger of not perse­vering. Although grace did not leave him on account of this remissness and slowness in the accomplishment of these first acts, nevertheless his bad disposition be­gan with them; for there remained with him a certain weakness and laxity of virtue and spirit, and the perfec­tion of his nature did not shine forth as it should. It appears to me that the effect of this remissness in lucifer is similar to that which is caused in the soul by a deliberate venial sin. I do not say that he sinned mor­tally, nor even venially at that time, since he fulfilled the precept of God; but this fulfillment was remiss and im­perfect, springing more from a sense of overwhelming compulsion, than from a loving willingness to obey. Thus he put himself in danger of falling.

88 In the second place, the angels were informed that God was to create a human nature and reasoning creatures lower than themselves, in order that they too should love, fear and reverence God, as their Author and eternal Good. They were informed that these were to stand in high favor, and that the second Person of the Blessed Trinity was to become Incarnate and assume their nature, raising it to the Hypostatic Union and to Divine Personality; that therefore they were to acknowl­edge Him as their Head, not only as God, but as God and Man, adoring Him and reverencing Him as GodMan. Moreover, these same angels were to be His in­feriors in dignity and grace and were to be His serv­ants.  God gave them an intelligence of the propriety and equity, of the justice and reasonableness of such a position; for the acceptation of the merits foreseen of this God-Man was exhibited to them as the source of the grace that they now possessed and of the glory that they were to obtain. They understood also that they themselves had been, and all the rest of the crea­tures should be created for His glory, and that He was to be their Head. All those that were capable of know­ing and enjoying God, were to be the people of the Son of God, to know and reverence Him as their Chief. These commands were at once given to the angels.

89 To this command all the obedient and Holy Angels submitted themselves and they gave their full assent and acknowledgment with a humble and loving subjection of the will. But lucifer, full of envy and pride, resisted and induced his followers to resist likewise, as they in reality did, preferring to follow him and disobey the Divine command. This wicked prince persuaded them, that he would be their chief and that he would set up a government independent and separate from Christ. So great was the blindness which envy and pride could cause in an angel, and so pernicious was the infection that the contagion of sin spread among innumerable other angels.

90 Then happened that great battle in heaven, which St. John describes (Rev. 12). For the obedient and Holy Angels, filled with an ardent desire of hastening the glory of the Most High and the honor of the Incarnate Word, asked permission and, as it were, the consent of God, to resist and contradict the dragon, and per­mission was granted. But also another mystery was con­cealed in all this. When it was revealed to the angels that they would have to obey the Incarnate Word, an­ other, a third precept was given them, namely, that they were to admit as a superior conjointly with Him, a Woman, in whose womb the Only Begotten of the Father was to assume flesh and that this Woman was to be the Queen of all the creatures. The Good An­gels by obeying this command of the Lord, with still in­creasing and more alert humility, freely subjected them­selves, praising the Power and the Mysteries of the Most High. The devil, however, and his confederates, rose to a higher pitch of pride and boastful insolence. In dis­orderly fury he aspired to be himself the head of the entire human race and of the angelic orders, and if there was to be a hypostatic union, he demanded that it be con­summated in him.

91 The decree constituting him inferior to the Mother of the Incarnate Word, our Queen, he op­posed with horrible blasphemies. Turning against the Author of these great wonders in unbridled indignation and calling upon the other angels, he exhorted them, saying: "Unjust are these commands and injury is done to my greatness; this human nature which You, Lord, look upon with so much love and which You favor so highly, I will persecute and destroy. To this end I will direct all my power and all my aspirations. And this Woman, Mother of the Word, I will hurl from the position in which You have proposed to place Her, and at my hands, the plan, which You set up, shall come to naught."

92 This proud boast so aroused the Indignation of the Lord that in order to humble it, He spoke to lucifer: "This Woman, whom you refuse to honor, shall crush your head and by Her shall you be vanquished and annihilated (Gen. 3:15). And if, through your pride, death enters into the world (Wis 2:24), life and salva­tion of mortals shall enter through the humility of this Woman. Those that are of the nature and likeness of that Man and Woman shall enjoy the gifts and the crowns, which you and your followers have lost." To all this the dragon, filled with indignation against what­ever he understood of the Divine Will and Decrees, an­swered only with pride and by threatening destruction to the whole human race. The Good Angels saw the just Indignation of the Most High against lucifer and his apostates and they combated them with the arms of the understanding, reason and truth.

93 The Almighty at this conjuncture worked an­other wonderful Mystery. Having given to all the angels a sufficiently clear intelligence of the great Mystery of the Hypostatic Union, He showed them the image of the most Holy Virgin by means of an imaginary vision (I speak here according to our way of understanding such things). They were shown the perfection of the human nature in the revelation of an image represent­ing a most perfect Woman, in whom the Almighty arm of the Most High would work more wonderfully than in all the rest of the creatures. For therein He was to deposit the graces and gifts of His Right Hand in a higher and more eminent manner. This sign or vision of the Queen of heaven and of the Mother of the Incarnate Word was made known and manifest to all the angels, good and bad. The good ones at the sign of it broke forth in admiration and in Songs of praise and from that time on began to defend the honor of the God In­carnate and of His Holy Mother, being armed with ardent zeal and with the invincible shield of that vision. The dragon and his allies on the contrary conceived implac­able hatred and fury against Christ and His most Holy Mother. Then happened all that which is described (Rev 12), which I will explain, as far as it has been given me, in the following chapter. 

 CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 8
FOLLOWS UP THE PREVIOUS DISCOURSE BY THE EXPLANATION OF REVELATION 12. 

94 The literal version of Revelation 12 is as follows: And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under Her feet, and on Her head a crown of 12 stars:  And being with Child, She cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.   And there was seen another sign in Heaven; and behold a great red dragon having 7 heads and 10 horns; and on his head 7 diadems.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven and cast them to the earth and the dragon stood before the Woman, who was ready to be deliv­ered; that, when She should be delivered, he might devour Her Son.  And She brought forth a Man-Child, Who was to rule all nations with an iron rod; and Her Son was taken up to God, and to His throne.  And the Woman fled into the wilderness where She had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed Her 1,260 days. And there was a great battle in Heaven; Michael and his Angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels.  And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in Heaven.  And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying: Now is come salvation and strength, and the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore rejoice, O Heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having a great wrath and knowing that he has but a short time.  And when the dragon saw that he was cast un­to the earth he persecuted the Woman, who brought forth the Man-Child.  And there were given to the Woman 2 wings of a great eagle, that She might fly into the desert unto Her place, where She is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent.  And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the Woman, water as if it were a river that he might cause Her to be carried away by the river.  And the earth helped the Woman and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth.  And the dragon was angry against the Woman and went to make war with the rest of Her seed, who keep the Commandments of God, and have the Testi­mony of Jesus Christ. And he stood upon the sands of the sea.

95 Such are the words of the Evangelist. He speaks in the past, because at that time was shown to him a vision of that which had already happened. He says: “And a great sign appeared in Heaven; a Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under Her feet and on Her head a crown of 12 stars." This sign appeared really in the heavens by Divine disposition and was shown to the good and the bad angels, in order that see­ing it; they might subject their will to the pleasure and the Commands of God. They saw it therefore before the good ones chose the good and before the bad ones had turned to evil. It was as it were a mirror of the wonderful perfection of the handiwork of God in creat­ing human nature. Although He had already revealed this perfection to the angels in making known to them the Mystery of the Hypostatic Union, yet He wished to reveal it to them also in a different manner by showing it to them in a mere Creature, the most perfect and holy which, next to the Humanity of our Lord, He was to create. It was also a sign for the assurance of the Good Angels and for confusion of the bad, since it manifested to them that in spite of the offense which was commit­ted, God would not let the decree of creating man be un­fulfilled, and that the Incarnate Word and this Woman, His Mother, would please Him infinitely more than the disobedient angels could ever displease Him. This sign was also like the rainbow, that appeared after the flood in the clouds of heaven, as a guarantee that even if men should sin like the angels and become disobedient, they were not to be punished like the angels without remis­sion, but would be furnished with salutary medicine and remedy by this wonderful sign. It was as if God said to the angels: I will not chastise in the same way the other creatures which I call into My existence, because this Woman, in whom My Only Begotten is to assume flesh, belongs to that race. My Son shall be the Restorer of Friendship and the Pacifier of My Justice; He shall open the way to the felicity, which sin would close.

96 In further testimony of this, after the punishment of the disobedient angels, God made use of the sign in order to show that His Anger, which the pride of satan had occasioned, was appeased and placated. And ac­cording to our way of understanding, He rejoiced in the presence of the Queen thus represented in that image. He gave the angels to understand that, through Christ and His Mother, He would now divert upon men the grace that the apostates had lost through their rebel­lion. There was also another effect of that great sign among the Good Angels; namely, that since they had been, as it were, made sorrowful and made unhappy (speaking according to our way of understanding) the Most High now wished to rejoice them with the sight of that image and to increase their essential beatitude by this accidental pleasure merited by their victory over lucifer. Seeing this Woman so full of clemency (Esther 4:11), appearing to them as a sign of peace, they understood at once that the decree of punishment was not issued against them, since they had obeyed the precepts of the Lord and His Divine Will. Much of the Mysteries and Sacraments of the Incarnation, and those of the Church militant and its members, were made manifest to them in this sign. They understood also, that they were to assist and help the human race, by watching over men, by defending them against their enemies and by leading them to eternal felicity. They saw that they themselves would owe their felicity to the merits of the Incarnate Word and that the Creator had preserved them also in grace through Christ preordained in the Divine Mind.

97 Just as all this was a great joy and happiness for the Good Angels, so it was a great torment for the evil spirits. It was to the latter a part and the beginning of their punishment. For they saw at once, that having failed to profit by this sign, they were to be con­quered and crushed by it (Gen 3:15). All these Mysteries, and many others, which I cannot explain, the Evangelist wished to comprehend in this chapter, and include in that great sign; although for us it will remain obscure and enigmatic until the proper time arrives.

98 The sun that is mentioned as clothing the Woman is the true Sun of Justice. The angels were to understand by it, that the Most High was to remain with this Woman by His grace in order to overshadow and defend Her by the protection of His invincible Right Hand. The moon was beneath Her feet; for as the sun and the moon, divide night and day, therefore the moon, being the symbol of the darkness of sin, is beneath Her feet, and the sun, being the symbol of the light of grace, clothes Her for all eternity. Thus also the deficiencies of grace in all mortals must be be­neath Her feet, and never must rise either to Her soul or to Her body, which on the contrary were to be ever su­perior to all angels and men. She alone was to be free from the darkness of satan and of Adam, treading them under foot without their being able to gain any advantage over Her. And just as She rose above all the guilt and the effects of original and of actual sin, God now placed these in a symbolical manner under Her feet. In order that the Good Angels might know, and the bad ones, (though they did not attain full knowl­edge of the Mysteries), might fear this Woman even before She came into actual existence.

99 The crown of 12 stars is evidently all the virtues, with which that Queen of Heaven and Earth was to be adorned. But the Mystery of its being composed of 12 stars has reference to the 12 tribes of Is­rael, by which all the elect and the predestined are desig­nated, as is mentioned in Rev 7:4. And since the gifts, graces and virtues of all the elect were to crown their Queen in a most eminent and exalted degree, a crown of 12 stars was placed around Her head. 

100 " And being with child."  (Rev 12:2)  In the presence of all the angels, for the rejoicing of the good and for the punishment of the evil ones, who resisted the Divine Will and the fulfillment of these Mysteries, it became manifest that the 3 Persons of the Blessed Trinity had selected this wonderful Woman as the Mother of the Only Begotten of the Father. And since the dignity of the Mother of the Word was the principal beginning and foundation of all the great excellences of this great Queen and of this Her symbol, She was shown to the angels as being the resting place of the Holy Trinity, represented in the Divine Personality of the Word Incarnate. For on account of their inseparable union and coexistence, all 3 Persons could not fail to be there, wherever anyone of Them was present, although only the Person of the Word assumed human flesh and with Him alone was She pregnant.

101  "  She cried travailing in birth."  (Rev 12:2)  Although the dignity of this Queen and of that Mystery was to be hid­den in the beginning in order that God might be born humble, poor and unknown; yet afterwards the news of that Birth was proclaimed so loudly, that its first echo excited King Herod and filled him with uneasiness. It drew the Magi from their palaces and kingdoms in order to find Him (Matt 2:3). Some hearts were touched with fear, others moved to interior affection. The Fruit of this Birth, growing until It was raised on the Cross, gave such loud voices, that It was heard from the rising to the setting sun (John 12:32), and from farthest north to farthest south (Rom 10:18). So far then was heard the voice of that Woman who gave birth to the Word of the Eternal Father. 

102 " And was in pain to be delivered."  (Rev 12:2)  He does not say this because She was to give birth in bodily pain, for that is not possible in this Divine Parturition. But because it was to be a great sorrow for that Mother to see that Divine Infant come forth from the secrecy of Her virginal womb in order to suffer and die as a victim for the satisfaction of the sins of the world. For this Queen could know and did know all this beforehand by Her knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. On account of the natural love of such a Mother for such a Son, She must be deeply afflicted thereby, although in subjection to the Will of God. In this pain was also foreshadowed the sorrow of this most gentle Mother at the thought of being deprived of the Divine Presence of Her Treasure, after He should have issued from Her virginal womb; for although Her soul always enjoyed His Presence as to His Divinity, yet She was to be a long time without His Bodily Presence, according to which He was exclusively Her Son. The Most High had determined to exempt Her from guilt, but not from the labors and sorrows corresponding to the reward, which was prepared for Her. Thus the sorrows of this Birth were not the effect of sin, as they are in the descendants of Eve, but they were the effect of the intense and perfect love of the most Holy Mother for Her Divine Son. All these Mysteries were motives of praise and admiration for the Good Angels and the beginning of punishment for the bad angels.

103 " And there was seen another sign in Heaven; and behold a great red dragon having 7 heads and 10 horns; and on his head were 7 diadems, and his tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven, and cast them to the earth."  (Rev 12:3 & 4) Thereupon followed the punish­ment of satan and his allies; for after uttering his blasphemies against the Woman, who had been symbol­ized in the heavenly sign, he found himself visibly and exteriorly transformed from the most beautiful angel Lucifer in­to the fierce and most horrid dragon, satan. He reared with fury his 7 heads, that is, he led on the 7 legions or squadrons of all those that followed and fell with him. To each principality or congregation of these fol­lowers he gave a head, commanding them to sin on their own account and undertake the leadership in the 7 Mortal (Capital) Sins:  Pride, Envy, Avarice, Anger, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth.   In these are contained the other sins and they constitute as it were the regiments that rise up against God.  They are the 7 diadems with which Lucifer, after being changed into a dragon, was crowned. This is the punishment with which the Most High visited him and which he acquired as a return for his horrible wickedness for himself and for his confederate angels. To all of them were apportioned the punishment and the pains, which corresponded to their malice and to the share which they had in originating the 7 capital sins.

104 The 10 horns were the triumphs of the iniquity and malice of the dragon, and the vain and arrogant glorification and exaltation that he attributed to himself in the execution of his wickedness. In his depraved desire of attaining the object of his arrogance, he offered to the unhappy angels his malicious and poisonous friendship and his counterfeit principalities, com­manderships and rewards. These promises, full of bestial ignorance and error, were the tail with which the dragon drew after him the third part of the stars of Heaven. These angels were the stars and if they would have persevered, they would have shone with the rest of the angels and the righteous, like the sun through the perpetual eternities (Dan. 12: 3). But the punishment that they merited drew them down to the earth of their unhappiness into its very center, which is hell, where they will for all eternity be deprived of light and happiness (Jude 6).

105 And the dragon stood before the Woman, who was ready to be delivered; that when She should be delivered, he might devour Her Son. The pride of satan was so boundless that he pretended to place his throne on high, and with the utmost boasting he spoke in presence of the Woman symbolized in the heavenly sign: "This Son, which that Woman is to bring forth, is of lower nature than mine: I shall devour Him and destroy Him. I shall lead on my followers against Him; I shall spread my doctrines against His decrees and against the laws, which He shall set up. I shall wage perpetual war and contradiction against Him." But the answer of the Most High Lord was that this Woman was to bring forth a Man-Child, Who was to reign over the nations with an iron rod. "This Man" (the Lord added) "shall be not only the Son of that Woman, but He shall also be My Son, True God and True Man, gifted with power to overcome your pride and crush your head. He will be to you and to all those who hear and follow you, a Powerful Judge, Who shall rule you with a rod of iron and bring to naught all your vain and aspiring thoughts. This Son shall be taken up to My Throne, where He shall be seated at My Right Hand as Judge, and I will place His enemies for a footstool beneath His Feet in order to triumph over them (Ps 2:9). He will be rewarded as the Righteous Man, Who, being at the same time True God, has done so much for His creatures; all shall know Him and shall give Him reverence and hon­or (Ps 110, 1). But you, as the unhappiest, shall know what is the Day of the Wrath of the All Powerful (Zeph 1:14). This Woman, too, shall be placed in solitude, where She will have a place assigned by Me" (Rev. 12:6). This solitude, to which the Woman fled, is the position which our great Queen holds, as be­ing only and alone, unsurpassed in sanctity and exempt from all sin. For She, being of the same nature as mor­tals, far excelled all the angels in grace, merits and gifts attained in common with them. Thus, She who was the only one and without compare among crea­tures, fled and was placed in solitude exalted above all the rest. This solitude was so far removed from all sin that the dragon could not even attain sight of it, nor could he from the time of Her Conception discern anything of Her. 

The Most High placed Her alone and as the only one in the world, who never had contact with, and never was in subordination to the serpent.

On the contrary, with solemn promise and assurance He affirmed and decreed: "This Woman, from the first in­stant of Her existence, shall be my only One, chosen for Myself; I exempt Her even now from the jurisdiction of Her enemies and I will assign to Her a position of grace most eminent and incomparable, in order that there She may be nourished 1,260 days" (Rev 12:6). That number of days the Queen was to remain in an interior and spiritual state of most exalted and extraordinary graces, which were to be more memorable and wonderful. This happened in the last years of Her life, as, with the help of God, I will relate in its place. In that state She was nourished in such a Divine manner, that our understand­ing would never be able to grasp it. And because these graces were in a certain measure the end toward which others of the life of the Queen of Heaven were ordained, and, as it were, their culmination, the Evangelist makes a special mention of them.    

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 9
THE REST OF REVELATION 12 EXPLAINED

106 "  And there was a great battle in Heaven; Michael and his Angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels."  (Rev 12:7). When the Lord had manifested these things to the good and to the bad angels, the holy prince Michael and his companions, with the per­mission of God, gave battle to the dragon and his fol­lowers. It was a wonderful battle, for it was fought with the understanding and the will. St. Michael, burning with zeal for the honor of God and armed with Divine power and with his own humility, resisted the arrogant pride of the dragon, saying: "  Worthy is the Most High of Honor, Praise and Reverence, and of being Loved, Feared and Obeyed by all creation. He is mighty to work whatever He desires. He, Who is Uncreated and without dependence on any other being, can not seek any­thing that is not most just. To us He gave grace such as we have, creating us and forming us out of noth­ing. He can create other beings, as many and in what manner He pleases. It is reasonable that we, submissive and prostrate in His Divine Presence, adore His Majesty and Kingly grandeur. Come then, angels, follow me, let us adore Him, and extol His admirable and secret judg­ments, His most perfect and holy works. God is most exalted and above all creatures, and He would not be the Most High, if we could attain or comprehend His great works. Infinite He is in wisdom and goodness, rich in the treasures of His benefits. As Lord of all and needing none, He can distribute them to whomsoever He wishes, and He cannot err in the selection. He can love and confer His favor to whomsoever He chooses, and He can love whom He likes; He can raise up, create and enrich according as it is His good pleasure. In all things He will be wise, holy and irresistible. Let us adore and thank Him for the wonderful work of the In­carnation that He has decreed, and for His favors to His people and for its restoration to grace after its fall. Let us adore this Person endowed with the Human and the Divine Nature, let us reverence Him and accept Him as our Head; let us confess, that He is worthy of all glory, praise and magnificence, and, as the Author of grace, let us give Him glory and acknowledge His Power and Di­vinity."

107 With such arms St. Michael and his angels gave battle, fighting as it were, with the powerful rays of truth against the dragon and his followers, who on their hand made use of blasphemies. But satan at the sight of the holy prince, not being able to resist, was torn with interior rage and sought to flee from his torments; it was the Will of God, however, that he should not only be punished, but also conquered, in order that by his fall he might know the Truth and Power of God. Nevertheless he blasphemed and cried out: "Unjust is God in raising the human nature above the angelic. I am the most exalted and beautiful angel and the triumph belongs to me. It is I who am to place my throne above the stars and who shall be like unto the Most High; I will subject myself to no one of an inferior nature, and I will not consent that anyone take precedence of me or be greater than I." The apostate followers of satan spoke in the same way. But St. Michael answered: "  Who is there like unto the Lord, Who dwells in the heavens, or who can compare himself to Him? Be silent, enemy, cease your dreadful blasphemies, and since iniquity has taken possession of you, depart from our midst, wretch, and be hurled in your blind ignorance and wickedness into the dark night and chaos of the infernal pains. But let us, O spirits of the Lord, honor and reverence this blessed Woman, who is to give Human Flesh to the Eternal Word; and let us recognize Her as our Queen."

108 The great sign of the Woman served the Good Angels as a shield and as arms of battle against the evil ones; for at the sight of it, all their power of reasoning weakened and was brought to confusion and silence, since they could not endure the Mysteries and Sacraments contained in this sign. And just as by Divine power this mysterious sign appeared, so also now the other figure or sign of the dragon appeared, in order that thus transformed he might be ignominiously hurled from Heaven amid the fright and terror of his followers and amid the astonishment of the Holy Angels. All this was the effect of this new manifestation of the Justice and Power of God.

109 It is difficult to describe in words what passed in that memorable battle, since there is such a wide dif­ference between our conceptions, founded on material objects, and those that would be appropriate to the nature and operations of such great spirits as these angels. "But the bad ones did not prevail" for injus­tice, lies, ignorance and malice could not prevail against equity, truth, light and goodness; nor could these virtues be overcome by vices. Therefore, it is also said: " From that time on their place was not found in Heaven"  (Rev 12:8). Through the sins which these disgraced angels had committed, they made themselves unworthy of the eternal vision and company of the Lord. Their memory was blotted out from His Mind, where they had been written by the excellences and graces of the nature given to them. Having lost the right to the places, which had been reserved for them, if they had obeyed, it passed over to mankind. To man these places were now transferred in such a way that the very vestiges of the apostate an­gels were blotted out and were no more found in Heaven. O unhappy wickedness and never to be described mis­fortune, which drew after itself such a horrible and dreadful chastisement! The Evangelist adds:

110 "  And the dragon was cast out, that ancient ser­pent who is called devil and satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth and his angels were thrown down with him."  (Rev 12:9)  The holy prince Michael hurled from Heaven the dragon with the invincible battle cry: "  Who is like God?"  So powerful was this cry that it sufficed to precipitate that proud giant and his entire host to the earth and cast him in dreadful ignominy to the center of the earth. From that time he began to be called dragon, serpent, devil and satan, imposed upon him by the Holy Archangel in that battle as a testimony of his iniquity and malice. Deprived of the happiness and honor, of which he had become unworthy, he was despoiled also of his names and honorable titles, acquiring in their stead such as designate his ignominy. The wicked plans that he proposed and enjoined upon his confederates, namely, that they should deceive and pervert all those that live in the world, manifest sufficiently his wickedness. He therefore, who intended to scourge the nations, was con­signed to hellish regions, (Is 14), to the profound abyss, and his cadaver was delivered to the moth and the worm of his own bad con­science; thus was fulfilled in satan all that the prophet says in that chapter.

111 When the Heavens had been cleared of the bad angels and the Divinity had been unveiled to the good and the obedient; when they were already admitted into glory and the bad ones chastised, then happened what the Evangelist further says: " And I heard a loud Voice in Heaven saying: Now is come Salvation and Strength and the Kingdom of our Lord, and the Power of His Christ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night."  (Rev 12:10) This Voice, which the Evangelist heard was that of the Word. And all the Holy Angels heard and listened to it. Its echoes reverberated through the infernal regions and filled with trembling and fear the demons. They did not, however, understand its Mystery in full, but only so much of it, as the Most High chose to manifest to them for their greater affliction and punishment. It was the Voice of the Son, Who in the Name of the Humanity, Which He was to assume, was asking the Eternal Father that the Salvation, Power and Kingdom of His Majesty, and the Reign of Christ might begin; since the accuser of the brethren of the same Christ our Lord, that is, of man, had been cast out. It was like a petition before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity, that the Salvation and Power and the Mysteries of the Redemption and In­carnation be put into execution. He asked that it be done so much the sooner as the devil, being filled with fury, envy and wrath against the human nature, which the Word was to assume, was now infesting the earth. Full of love and compassion the Word calls men His brethren. The devil is said to accuse them day and night,"  because, both during the day in which he still enjoyed Divine grace in the Presence of the Eternal Father and of the Holy Trinity, he belittled us in his pride, and much more, in the night of his own darkness and of our fall, he pursues us unceasingly with slander and persecution as long as this world will endure. The Word calls the Works and Mysteries of the Incarnation and His Death "Virtue," "Power" and "Reign," because in them, all these really had their beginning and in them was manifested His great virtue and power against the devil.

112 This was the first time in which the Word in the Name of His Humanity interceded for men before the Divinity, and in which, according to our mode of con­ceiving such things, the Eternal Father conferred with the other Persons of the Blessed Trinity in regard to this petition. He also partly revealed to the Holy Angels the decree of this Divine Consistory, saying, in regard to the Sacraments resolved upon: "The devil has raised the banner of pride and sin and will persecute with all his malice the whole human race. With cunning he will pervert many men, availing himself of their own pas­sions for their destruction. In the blindness of sin and vice, men will prevaricate, heedless of danger. But his lying pride, his sins and vices, are infinitely distant from our nature and wishes. We will therefore bring out the triumph of virtue and sanctity; for this purpose the Sec­ond Person will assume Human Nature; He will exalt and teach humility, obedience and all the virtues, and thus will secure the salvation of mortals. Being true God He will become humble and submissive. He will be the Righteous Man, the Model and Teacher of all virtues. These alone shall be accredited before Our Tribunal and shall always triumph over vices. We will raise up the lowly and humble the proud (Matt 11:28); We will make labors and endurance praiseworthy in Our Sight; We resolve to help the afflicted and the sorrowful. Let them be corrected by afflictions and thereby advance in Our Grace and Friendship and, according to their capa­bilities, reach salvation in the practice of virtue. Blessed will be they who weep (Matt 5:3), and happy the poor and those that suffer for the sake of righteousness and for Christ, their Chief; and the insignificant ones shall be magnified, the meek of heart exalted. The peaceful shall be loved as Our sons. Most dear shall those be to Us, who forgive and suffer injuries and love their ene­mies. We will assign to them copious benedictions of Our grace and an immortal glory in Heaven. Our Only Begotten will put in practice these decrees, and those that follow Him shall be Our chosen ones, Our cherished ones; they shall be refreshed and rewarded by Us; their good works shall be engendered in Our own Mind, Which is the first cause of all virtue. We give permis­sion to the bad ones to oppress the good, thus helping them to gain the crown, while for themselves they in­crease the punishment. Let there be scandals (Matt 18:7) for the common good; unhappy will be those that cause them, and blessed will they be who are proved by them. The vain and the proud will afflict and despise the hum­ble; the great and the powerful will oppress the lowly and abject ones. They will give benediction instead of curses (1 Cor 4:12). While they are pilgrims, men shall reject them, but afterwards they shall be ranked with the angelic spirits, Our sons, and they will enjoy the seats and crowns, which the unfortunate and unhappy apostates have lost. The stubborn and the proud shall be condemned to eternal death, where they will recognize their foolish proceedings and their per­verseness."

113 "In order that all may have a true model and superabundant grace, if they wish to use it, the Son will descend, capable of suffering and as a Redeemer, and He shall save men (whom satan defrauded of their happy state); and He shall raise them up through His infinite merits. We have resolved and determined upon the salvation of men, through a Redeemer and Teacher, Who shall be able to propitiate and to teach, Who shall be born and live poor, shall die despised, condemned by men to a most ignominious and frightful Death; Who shall be esteemed a sinner and a criminal, and yet shall satisfy Our Justice for the guilt of sin. On account of His foreseen merits, We will show mercy and kindness. All will understand, that those who are humble and peaceful, those that practice virtue, that suffer and yet forgive, are the followers of Christ and Our sons. No  one will be capable of entering by his own free will into Our Kingdom, unless he denies himself, and, taking up his cross, follows his Chief and Master (Matt 10:22). Our Kingdom shall be composed of the perfect, who have legitimately labored and fought, persevering to the end. These will take part in the Reign of Our Christ, now begun and determined upon. For the ac­cuser of His brethren has been cast down, the triumph of Christ is secured, to Him belong exaltations and glory, since He is to wash and purify men with His Blood. Therefore only He shall be worthy to open the Book of the Law of Grace (Rev 5:9), He is the Way, the Light, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6), through which men may come to Me. He alone shall open the gates of Heaven; He shall be the Mediator (I Tim 2:5) and the Advocate of mortals, in Him they will have a Father, a Brother (1 Jn 2:1), and Protector after having been freed from their accuser and persecutor.  And the Angels, who like true sons, have shared in the work of Our Salvation and Power and have defended the Reign of My Christ, shall likewise be honored and crowned through all the eternities of eternities in My Presence."

114 This Voice (which contains the Mysteries hidden since the constitution of the world and manifested by the Doctrine and the Life of Jesus Christ) issued forth from the Throne and imported more than I can explain. Through it were assigned the commissions, which the Holy Angels were to fulfill. Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel were appointed ambassadors of the Incarnate Word and of Mary His most Holy Mother; they were to be ministers for all the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. With these 2 princes, many other Angels were assigned to the same service, as I shall explain afterward (Nos. 201-206). Other angels the Almighty appointed as companions and guardians of souls, to teach them and inspire them with the virtues and sanc­tity opposed to the vices, into which satan had pro­posed to seduce mankind. They were to guard and de­fend souls and to carry them in their hands (Ps 91:12), in order that the just might not hurt their feet against the stones, which are the snares and the traps laid by their enemies.

115 Also other things were decreed on this occasion of which the Evangelist says that the Power, Salvation, Virtue and Kingdom of Christ began. But among the Mysterious works at this time was especially the desig­nation and enumeration of the predestined in the secret tablets of the Divine Mind through the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Oh the Mysteries and the inexplicable secrets, which then were evolved in the Heart of God! Oh, happy lot of the chosen ones! What can equal this in importance! What Sacrament is so worthy of the Omnipotence of God! How great was the Triumph of the Power of Christ! Happy, infinitely hap­py, the members who then were assigned and united to such a Head! Oh great Church! Oh mighty people and holy congregation of such a Leader and Master! At the thought of such exalted Mysteries the judgment of the creature is rendered powerless, my understanding is suspended, and my tongue becomes mute!

116 In the consistory of the Divine Persons the Mysterious Book spoken of in Revelation was given and, as it were, delivered to the Only-Begotten of the Father; at that time it was written, closed, and sealed with the 7 seals (Rev. 5:7), of which the Evan­gelist speaks. When He was made human flesh He opened it, solving in their order the seals by enacting the Mysteries of His Birth, Life and Death unto the consum­mation of all things. That which the Book contained were all the Decrees of the Most Holy Trinity after the fall of the angels; namely all that belongs to the Incarnation of the Word, and the Law of Grace, the 10 Commandments, the 7 Sacraments and all the articles of faith, and what is contained in them, the constitution of the whole militant Church. To the Word as having as­sumed human nature and as the High Priest and Holy Pontiff (Heb. 6:20), was given the power to communi­cate the necessary faculties and gifts to the Apostles and the other priests and ministers of the Church.

117 This was the mysterious beginning of the Law of the Gospel. In a most secret Consistory of the Trin­ity it was resolved and recorded in the Divine Mind that those who would observe that Law, shall be written in the Book of Life. Here was the beginning of that Law and from the Eternal Father the pontiffs and prelates have their power and their vicariate. From His infinite power flow the virtues of those that are meek, poor in spirit, humble and just. This is their most humble ori­gin, and on that account it is true to say, that he who obeys the superior obeys God (Luke 10:16), and he who despises them, despises God. All this was decreed and conceived in the Divine Mind and to Christ was given the power to open in its proper time this Book of De­crees, which was until then to be closed and sealed. In the meanwhile the Most High gave His Testament that is the testimonies of His Divine Words in the natural laws and in the written laws accompanying them with won­derful works and manifesting a part of His secrets through the Patriarchs and Prophets.

118 Through these testimonies and through the Blood of the Lamb, it is said: "They (the righteous) over­came him (the dragon)…" (Rev 12:11) For although the Blood of Christ was entirely sufficient and superabundant to en­able all the faithful to overcome the dragon, their accuser, and although the testimonies and teachings of the Prophets are of great power and help for eternal salvation; yet the just attain the fruit of the Passion and Redemption, by cooperating of their own free will with these Divine helps, conquering their own selves and the demons, and making use of grace. They not only succeed in fulfilling the ordinary commandments and counsels of God, but they go to the extent of sacrificing their lives for the Lord (Rev. 6:9) in testimony of Him and in the hope of the crown and triumph prom­ised by Christ, as the martyrs did in testimony of the faith and in defending His honor.

119 On account of all these Mysteries the sacred text adds:" Therefore rejoice, O Heaven, and all those  that dwell therein"  (Rev 12:12a). Rejoice, because you are to be the dwelling place of the just, and of their Chief, Jesus Christ, and of His most Holy Mother. Rejoice, O Heaven, because of all the material and inanimate crea­tures none obtained a better lot, for you are to be the House of God, who will endure through the eternal ages, and you are to receive as your Queen the most pure and most holy Creature, that emanated from the Power of the Most High. Therefore rejoice, heaven and all who dwell therein, you angels and you just, since you are to be the companions and ministers of the Son of the Eternal Father and of His Mother, and you are to be parts of that Mystical Body, Whose Head is Christ Himself. Re­joice, you Holy Angels, because ministering to them and serving them by your defense and custody, you increase your accidental joy. Let the Holy Archangel Michael, the prince of the celestial hosts, rejoice in particular be­cause he defended in battle the glory of the Most High and His adorable Mysteries, and because he is to be the minister of the Incarnation of the Word and a particu­lar witness of all its effect to the end. Let all his allies and all the defenders of Jesus Christ and His Mother re­joice, since during their ministry they do not lose the joys of essential glory already their own. On account of such Divine Sacraments let the Heavens rejoice!              

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 10
THE EXPLANATION OF REVELATION  12  IS CONCLUDED 

120 "  Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, know­ing that he has but a short time."  (Rev 12:12b) Woe to the earth, where so many sins and such wickedness shall be perpetrated! Woe to the sea, which refused to pour forth its floods and annihilate the transgressors at the sight of so great offenses against its Creator, and to avenge the in­sults against its Creator and Lord! But more woe to the profound and raging sea of those that follow the devil, after he had descended in their midst in order to war against them with great wrath and with such unheard of cruelty! It is the wrath of the most ferocious dragon, and greater than that of the devouring lion (I Pet. 5:8), who attempts to annihilate all creation and to whom all the days of the world seem a short time to execute his fury. Such is his hunger and thirst to do damage to mortals, that all the days of their life do not satisfy him, for they come to an end, whereas he desires eternal ages, if possible, in order to wage war against the children of God. But incomparably greater than against all others is his rage against that most Blessed Woman, who was to crush his head (Gen. 3:15).Therefore the Evangelist says:

121 " And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the Woman, who brought forth the Man-Child"  (Rev 12:13). When the ancient serpent saw the most unhappy place and state to which he had fallen, and that he was hurled from the empyrean heaven, he broke out in so much the greater rage and envy, like a wild beast tearing its own entrails. Against the Mother of the Word Incarnate he conceived such a furi­ous rage, as no human tongue or intelligence can ever describe or understand. But to a certain extent this anger can be surmised from that which followed im­mediately after that dragon found himself hurled with his hosts to the infernal regions. I will describe this event, as far as I can, and as far as it has been made plain to my understanding.

122 During the whole first week of the creation of the world and its contents, satan and the demons were occupied in machinations and projects of wickedness against the Word, Who was to become Incarnate, and against the Woman of whom He was to be born and made Man. On the first day, which corresponds to Sunday, were created the angels; laws and precepts were given to them, for the guidance of their actions. The bad ones disobeyed and transgressed the mandates of the Lord. By Divine Providence and disposition then succeeded all the other events, which have been recorded above, up to the morning of the 2nd day, corresponding to Monday, on which satan and his hosts were driven and hurled into hell. The duration of these days corresponds to the small periods, or delays, which inter­vened between their creation, activity, contest and fall, or glorification. As soon as satan with his followers entered hell, they assembled in general council, which lasted to the morning of Thursday. During this time, satan exerted all his astuteness and diabolical malice in conferring with the demons and concocting plans to offend God so much the more deeply, and to obtain revenge for the chastisement, to which he had been sub­jected. They came to the conclusion and resolved that the greatest vengeance and injury against God would be to impede the effects of the love, which they knew God bore toward mankind. This they hoped to attain by deceiving men, and persuading them, or even, as far as possible, compelling them to neglect the friendship of God, to be ungrateful toward Him, and to rebel against His Will.

123 "This we must strive to do," said satan, "to­ward this end we must apply all our forces, all our so­licitude and knowledge. We will subject human creatures to our influence and will, in order to destroy them. We will persecute this race of men and will de­prive them of the reward promised to them. We will exert all our vigilance, to prevent them from arriving at the vision of God, which was denied us unjustly. I will gain great triumphs over them; I will destroy them all and subject them to my designs. I will sow new sects and errors, and set up laws contrary to those of the Most High in all things. I will raise up from among men false prophets and leaders, who will spread these doctrines (Act 20:30) and I will scatter this seed through them and afterwards I will assign to them a place in these profound torments. I will afflict the poor, oppress the afflicted, and persecute the timid. I will sow discord, excite wars, and stir up nations against each other. I will raise up proud and haughty men to extend the dominion of sin and after they shall have executed my designs, I will bury them in this eternal fire, and in so much the greater torments, the more faithfully they followed me. This is my kingdom and this is the re­ward which I will give to those who follow me."

124 "I will wage fierce war against the Incarnate Word, for although He is God, He is also Man, and therefore of a lower nature than mine. I will exalt my throne and my dignity above His; I will conquer Him and will humble Him by my power and astuteness. The Woman who is to be His Mother shall perish at my hands. What is one Woman against my power and greatness? And you demons, who were injured to­gether with me, follow me and obey me in the pursuit of this vengeance, as you have followed me in disobe­dience! Pretend to love men, in order to destroy them; serve them, in order to ruin them and deceive them; help them, in order to pervert them and draw them into these my hellish regions." No human tongue can explain the malice and fury of this first council of satan and his hosts against the human race, which although not yet in existence, was to be created. In it were concocted all the vices and sins of the world, thence proceeded lies, sects and errors; all iniquity had its origin in that chaos and in that abominable gathering, and all those that do evil are in the service of the prince of this assembly.

125 Having closed this meeting, satan sought per­mission to speak with God, and His Majesty, for His own exalted ends, gave him permission. This was allowed in the same manner in which satan spoke to God when he asked permission to persecute Job (Job 1:6), and it happened on the day that corresponds to our Thurs­day. He addressed the Most High in the following words: "Lord, since You have laid Your Hand so heavily upon me in chastising me with so great cruelty, and since You have predetermined all that You desire to do for the men whom You are to create; and since You wish to exalt and elevate so high the Incarnate Word and enrich the Womanwho is to be His Mother, with all Your predestined gifts, be now equitable and just; as You have given me permission to persecute the rest of men, give me also permission to tempt and make war against Christ, the Man-God and the Woman, who is to be His Mother; give me freedom to exert all my powers against Them." Other things, satan said on that occa­sion, and, in spite of the great violence occasioned to his pride by the humiliation, he humbled himself never-the-­less in order to ask for this permission. His wrathful anxiety to obtain what he desired was so great that he was willing to subdue even his arrogance, thus forcing one iniquity to yield to another. He knew too well that without the permission of the omnipotent Lord, he could attempt nothing. In order to be able to tempt Christ our Lord, and His most Holy Mother in particular, he was willing to humiliate himself a thousand times, for he feared the threat, which had been made, that She should crush his head.

126 The Lord answered: "You must not, satan, ask such a permission as due to you in justice, for the Incarnate Word is God and Lord Most High and Omnipotent, though He is at the same time true Man, and you are His creature. Even if other men sin and subject themselves to your will, this will not be possible in My Only Begotten made Man. Though you may succeed in making men slaves of sin, Christ will be Holy and Righteous, separated from sinners. He will redeem them, if they fall. And this Woman against whom you have such wrath, although She is to be a mere creature and a true daughter of man, is to be preserved by My decree from sin. She is to be altogether Mine forever and on no account or title shall anyone else be allowed to have part in Her."

127 To this satan replied: "But what wonder that this Woman should be holy, since no one on this earth will be allowed to draw Her to the contrary, or persecute Her and incite Her to sin? This cannot be equity, nor righteous judgment, nor can this be proper and praiseworthy." The devil added yet other blasphemies in his arrogance. But the Most High, Who disposes all things with wisdom, answered him: "I will give you permission to tempt Christ, so that He will be an example and a teacher in this to all the rest of men. I also give you permission to persecute the Woman, but you must not touch Her in regard to the life of Her body. It is My will, that Christ and His Mother be not exempt from temptation, and that They be tempted by you like the rest of men." This permission was more pleasing to the dragon than that of being free to persecute all the rest of the human race. In this he resolved to use more care than in the pursuit of any other project, as afterwards really happened. To no one else than himself was he resolved to confide its execution. Therefore the Evangelist proceeds to say:

128 "…he persecuted the Woman, who brought forth the Man-Child"  (Rev 12:13b).  For with the permission of the Lord, he waged unheard of war and persecution against Her, whom he thought to be the Mother of God Incarnate. But since these persecutions and battles will be de­scribed later (No. 692-697, Part II 340-71; III 451-­528), I will only say here, that they were beyond all conception of man. Equally admirable, was Her glorious resistance and victory over them. Therefore in order to describe the manner in which She defended Herself, he says: "There were given to Her 2 wings of a great eagle, that She might fly into the desert unto Her place, where She is nourished for a time and times…"   (Rev 12:14).   These 2 wings were given to the most Holy Virgin before She entered upon the combat, for She was prepared by special gifts and favors. The one wing was an infused science, which revealed anew to Her vast mysteries and sacraments; the other was a new and sublime humility, as will be explained in its place (Part 2, 335-339, Part 3, 448-450). With these 2 wings She took Her flight to the Lord, Her proper habitation, for in Him alone She lived and in Him was centered all Her attention. She flew like the royal eagle, without ever di­recting Her flight towards the enemy, being alone in Her flight and living in seclusion from all earthly things, solely in communion with Her last End, which is the Divinity. In this solitude She "was nourished for a time and times,"  for though this nourishment lasted all Her life, yet it was more abundant in the times of Her great battles with satan. In those times She received favors more proportioned to the greatness of the con­flict. By "  time and times" I s also understood the felicity, by which Her victories were rewarded and crowned.

129 "  …and half a time from the face of the serpent."  This half a time was that, in which the most Holy Virgin was free from the persecution of the dragon and far from his sight during this life; for, having conquered him in Her battles, She was, by Divine Providence and as Victor freed from them. This freedom was con­ceded to Her in order that She might enjoy the peace and quiet, which She had merited after having con­quered the enemy, as I will describe farther on (Part 3, 526). Concerning the time of the combat the Evan­gelist says:

130 And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the Woman, water, as it were, a river, that he might cause Her to be carried away; and the earth helped the Woman and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth"  (Rev 12:15).    All his malice and all his forces, satan exerted and directed against the Queen; for all those, who were ever tempted by him, seemed to him of less importance than Holy Mary. With the same force as the current of a great swift river, so the malice, and the lies, and the temptations flowed from the mouth of that dragon against Her. But the earth helped Her, for the earth of Her body and of Her inclinations was not cursed, nor did the sentence and punishment, which God hurled against Adam and Eve, touch Her in any way. For in it our earth is cursed and produces thorns instead of fruit. It is wounded in its very nature by its inclina­tion to sin— "  fomes Peccati"  (Gen 3:17), which con­tinues to assault us and causes opposition. The devil avails himself of these inclinations for the ruin of men, for he finds within us arms for his offensive warfare; and catering to our evil inclinations by his false repre­sentations and apparent sweetness and delight, he draws us toward sensible and earthly things.

131 But the most Blessed Mary, the holy and sancti­fied earth without touch of bad inclinations or evil dis­positions, was free from all danger of corruption arising from the earth. On the contrary, since all Her inclina­tions were most orderly, composed and obedient to grace, the earth of Her body was in perfect harmony with Her soul. Thus this earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the stream of temptations which the dragon raised up for Her in vain; for he found that material indisposed and unfomented for sin, unlike the other offspring of Adam. Their terrestrial and disor­derly passions are more adapted to produce the floods of temptation, than to absorb them, since our passions and our corrupt nature are always in opposition to virtue.  On account of the futility of his efforts against this mysterious Woman, Scripture says:

132 "  And the dragon was angry against the Woman: and he went to make war with the rest of Her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  (Rev 12:17) The dragon, having been gloriously overcome in all things by the Queen of all creation and dreading the furious torments of his own confusion and the ruin of all hell power, fled from Her, determined to make cruel war against other souls belonging to the generation and race of the most Blessed Mother. These are the faithful, who are marked with the testimony and the Blood of Christ in Baptism as keepers of His Commands and constant witnesses. For all the wrath of the devil turned so much the more to­ward the Holy Church and its members, when he saw, that he would be unable to gain any advantage over Christ and His most Holy Mother. Especially does he war against the virgins of Christ, and with a more par­ticular hatred does he seek to destroy the virtue of vir­ginity or chastity, this being the seed and the inheritance of the most chaste Virgin and Mother of the Lamb. On account of all this the Evangelist says:

133 "  And I stood upon the sands of the sea"  (Rev 13:1).  This is the contemptible vanity of the world, on which the dragon feeds and which he eats like hay. All this passed in Heaven and many Mysteries were mani­fested to the Angels in the decrees of the Divine Will re­garding the privileges reserved for the Mother of the Incarnate Word." I have been short in describing what I saw; for the multitude of the Mysteries has made me poor and halting in the words needful for their manifestation.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 11
IN THE CREATION OF ALL THINGS THE LORD HAD BEFORE HIS MIND CHRIST OUR LORD AND HIS MOST HOLY MOTHER. HE CHOSE HIS PEOPLE AND HEAPED HIS BENEFITS ON THEM. 

134 In Proverbs 8, Wisdom says of Itself, that It was present in the Creation, or­dering all things conjointly with the Almighty (Prov 8:30). And I said above (No. 54) that this Wisdom is the Incarnate Word, Who with His most Holy Mother was present, in spirit, when God resolved upon the creation of the whole world; for in that instant the Son was not only coexistent in Divine Essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but also the human nature, which He was to assume, was foreseen and conceived as the pro­totype of all works in the Divine Mind of the Father. Conjointly with Him was also foreseen as present the human nature of His most Holy Mother, who was to conceive Him in Her most pure womb. In these 2 Persons were foreseen all His works, so that on account of Them (speaking in a human way) He overlooked all that could offend Him in the conduct of the men and angels that were to fall; for the conduct of the latter was an inducement rather to desist from the creation of the human race and of the things that were to sub-serve for their use.

135 The Most High looked upon His Son and upon His most Holy Mother as models, produced in the cul­mination of His Wisdom and Power, in order that They might serve as prototypes according to which He was to copy the whole human race. Thus the rest of men de­pended on these 2 as Mediators between themselves and God. He created also the necessary material beings required for human life, but with such wisdom, that some of them also serve as symbols, to represent in a certain way these 2 Beings, which He primarily in­tended and to which all others were to be subservient, namely, Christ and most Holy Mary. On this account He made the luminaries of heaven, the sun and the moon (Gen 1:16) so that in dividing the day and the night, they might symbolize the Sun of Justice, Christ, and His most Holy Mother, who is beautiful as the moon (Sg 6:9), for these 2 divide the day of grace and the night of sin. The sun illuminates the moon; and both, together with the stars of the firmament, illumine all other creatures within the confines of the universe.

136 He created the rest of the beings and added to their perfection, because they were to be subservient to Christ and most Holy Mary, and through them to the rest of men. Before the universe proceeded from its nothingness, He set it as a banquet abundant and un­failing, and more memorable than the feast of Assuerus (Est 1:3), for He was to create man for His delight and to draw him to the enjoyment of His knowledge and love. Like a most courteous and bounteous Lord He did not wish that the invited guests should wait, but that both the creation and the invitation to the ban­quet of His knowledge and love be one and the same act. Man was not to lose any time in that which con­cerned him so much; namely, to know and to praise His Almighty Creator.

137 On the 6th day He formed and created Adam, as it were of the age of 33 years. This was the age in which Christ was to suffer death, and Adam in regard to his body was so like Christ, that scarcely any difference existed. Also according to the soul Adam was similar to Christ. From Adam, God formed Eve so similar to the Blessed Virgin that she was like Her in personal appearance and in figure. God looked upon these 2 images of the great Originals with the highest pleasure and benevolence, and on ac­count of the Originals, He heaped many blessings upon them, as if He wanted to entertain Himself with them and their descendants until the time should arrive for forming Christ and Mary.

138 But the happy state in which God had created the parents of the human race lasted only a very short while. The envy of the serpent was immediately aroused against them, for satan was impatiently awaiting their creation, and no sooner were they created, than his hatred became active against them. However, he was not permitted to witness the formation of Adam and Eve, as he had witnessed the creation of all other things; for the Lord did not choose to manifest to him the cre­ation of man, nor the formation of Eve from a rib; all these things were concealed from him for a space of time until both of them were joined. But when the devil saw the admirable composition of the human nature, per­fect beyond that of any other creature, the beauty of the souls and also of the bodies of Adam and Eve; when he saw the paternal love with which the Lord regarded them, and how He made them the rulers of all creation, and that He gave them hope of eternal life; the wrath of the dragon was lashed to fury, and no tongue can de­scribe the rage with which that beast was filled, nor how great was his envy and his desire to take the life of these 2 beings. Like an enraged lion he certainly would have done so, if he had not known, that a superior force would prevent him. Nevertheless he studied and plotted out some means, which would suffice to deprive them of the grace of the Most High and make them God’s enemies.

139 Here satan was deceived; for the Lord had from the beginning mysteriously manifested to him, that the Word was to assume human nature in the womb of the most holy Mary, but not how and when; and thus He had also concealed the creation of Adam and the formation of Eve, in order that satan might from the beginning labor under his ignorance concerning the mys­tery and the time of the Incarnation. As his wrath and his watchfulness had thus been so signally forestalled in regard to Christ and Mary, he suspected that Adam had come forth from Eve, and that She was the Mother and Adam the Incarnate Word. His suspicions grew, when he felt the Divine power, which prevented him from harming the life of these creatures. On the other hand he soon became aware of the precepts of God, for these did not remain concealed from him, since he heard their conversation in regard to them. Being freed more and more from his doubt as he listened to the words of the first parents and sized up their natural gifts, he began to follow them like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8), seeking an entrance through those inclinations, which he found in each of them. Nevertheless, until he was undeceived in the course of the Redemption, he continued to hesitate between his wrath against Christ and Mary and the dread of being overcome by Them. Most of all he dreaded the confusion of being conquered by the Queen of heaven, who was to be a mere creature and not God.

140 Taking courage therefore in the precept, which was given to Adam and Eve, and having prepared the snare, satan entered with all his energy upon the work of entrapping them and of opposing and hindering the execution of the Divine Will. He first approached the woman, and not the man, because he knew her to be by nature more frail and weak, and because in tempting her, he would be more certain that it was not Christ Whom he was encountering. Against her also he was more en­raged ever since he had seen the sign in Heaven and since the threat, which God had made in it against him. On all these accounts his wrath was greater against Eve than against Adam. Before he showed himself to her, however, he aroused in her many disturbing thoughts or imaginations, in order to approach her in a state of excitement and preoccupation. But because I have written about this in another place, I will not enlarge here upon the violence and inhumanity of this tempta­tion; it is enough for my purpose to mention what Scrip­ture says that he took the form of a serpent (Gen 3:1), and this speaking to Eve drew her into a conversation, which she should not have permitted. Listening to him and answering, she began to believe him; then she vio­lated the command of God, and finally persuaded her husband likewise to transgress the precept. Thus ruin overtook them and all the rest; for themselves and for us they lost the happy position, in which God had placed them.

141 When satan saw the 2 fallen and their in­terior beauty and grace and original justice changed into the ugliness of sin, he celebrated his triumph with incredible joy and vaunting in the company of his demons. But he soon fell from his proud boasting, when he saw, contrary to his expectations, how kindly the merciful love of God dealt with the delinquents, and how He offered them a chance of doing penance by giving them hope of pardon and return of grace. More­over he saw how they were disposing themselves to­ward this forgiveness by sorrow and contrition, and how the beauty of grace was restored to them. When satan perceived the effect of contrition, all hell was again in confusion. His consternation grew, when he heard the sentence, which God pronounced against the guilty ones, in which he himself was implicated. More especially and above all was he tormented by the repeti­tion of that threat; The Woman shall crush your head (Gen 3:15), which he had already heard in Heaven.

142 The offspring of Eve multiplied after the fall and so arose the distinction and the multiplication of the good and the bad, the elect and the reprobate, the ones following Christ the Redeemer, and the others follow­ing satan. The elect cling to their Leader by faith, hu­mility, charity, patience and all the virtues and in order to obtain victory, they are assisted, helped and beauti­fied by divine grace and the gifts, which the Re­deemer and Lord of all merited for them. But the repro­bate, without receiving any such benefits from their false leader, or earning any other reward than the eternal pain and the confusion of hell, follow him in pride, pre­sumption, obscenity and wickedness, being led into these disorders by the father of lies and the originator of sin.

143 Notwithstanding all this the Most High, in His ineffable kindness, gave our first parents His blessing, in order that the human race might grow and multiply (Gen 4:3). The Most High Providence permitted, that Eve, in the unjust Cain, should bring forth a type of the evil fruits of sin, and in the innocent Abel, both in figure and in imitation, the type of Christ our Lord. For in the first righteous one, the Law and Doctrine of Christ began to exert its effects. All the rest of the righteous were to follow it, suffering for the sake of righteousness (Matt 10:22), hated and persecuted by the sinners and the reprobate and by their own brothers. Accordingly, patience, hu­mility and meekness began to appear in Abel, and in Cain, envy and all wickedness, for the benefit of the just and for his own perdition. The wicked triumph and the good suffer, exhibiting the spectacle, which the world in its progress shows to this day, namely, the Jerusalem of the God-fearing and the Babylon of the God-forsaken, each with its own leader and head.

144 The Most High also wished that the first Adam should be the type of the second in the manner of their creation; for, just as before the creation of the first, He created and ordered for him the republic of all the creatures, of which he was to be the lord and head; so be­fore the appearance of His Only Begotten, He allowed many ages to pass by, in order that His Son might, in the multiplied numbers of the human race, find prepared for Himself a people, of which He was to be the Head, the Teacher, and the King. He was not to be even for a moment without a people and without followers; such is the wonderful harmony and order, in which Divine Wisdom disposed all things, making that later in the execution, which was first in the intention.

145 As the world progressed in its course, in order that the Word might descend from the Heart of the Father and clothe Himself in our mortality, God selected and prepared a chosen and most noble people, the most admirable of past and future times. Within it also He constituted a most illustrious and holy race, from which He was to descend according to the flesh. I will not linger in detailing the genealogy of Christ our Lord, for the account of the holy Evangelists has made that unnecessary. I will only say, in praise of the Most High, that He has shown to me many times the incom­parable love, which He bore toward His people, the fa­vors shown to them, and the Mysteries and Holy Sacraments, which He entrusted to them, as was afterwards made mani­fest through His Holy Church. For at no time has slept nor slumbered He, Who has constituted Himself the Watcher of Israel (Ps 120:4).

146 He reared most holy Prophets and Patriarchs, who in figures and prophecies announced to us from far off, that, which we have now in possession. He wishes us to venerate them, knowing how they esteemed the Law of Grace and how earnestly they yearned and prayed for it. To this people God manifested His immutable Es­sence by many revelations, and they again transmitted these revelations to us by the Holy Scriptures, contain­ing immense mysteries, which we grasp and learn to know by faith. All of them, however, are brought to perfection and are made certain by the Incarnate Word, Who transmitted to us the secure rule of faith and the nourishment of the Sacred Scriptures in His Church. Al­though the Prophets and the righteous ones of that people were not so far favored as to see Christ in His Body, they nevertheless experienced the liberality of the Lord, Who manifested Himself to them by prophecies and Who moved their hearts to pray for His coming and for the Redemption of the whole human race. The consonance and harmony of all these prophecies, mysteries and as­pirations of the ancient fathers, were a sweet music to the Most High, which resounded in the secret recesses of the Divinity and which regaled and shortened the time (to speak in a human manner) until He should de­scend to converse with man.

147 In order not to be detained too much in that, which the Lord has revealed to me regarding this and in order to arrive at the preparations, which the Lord made for sending to the world the Incarnate Word and His most Holy Mother, I will rehearse these mysteries suc­cinctly according to the order given in the Holy Scrip­tures. Genesis contains that which concerns the begin­ning and the creation of the world for the human race; the division of the earth, the chastisement and the resto­ration, the confusion of tongues, and the origin of the chosen race, humbled in Egypt; and the many other great sacraments revealed to Moses by God, in order that we may be led to know His love and justice to­wards men from the beginning drawing them to His knowledge and service, and to foreshadow that, which He has resolved to do in the future.

148 Exodus contains what happened in Egypt with the chosen people, the plagues and punish­ments, which God sent in order to rescue them; their departure and march through the sea; the written Law given with such great preparations and wonders; and many other great sacraments, which the Lord provided for His people, visiting now their enemies, now them­selves with afflictions, chastising their enemies with the severity of a Judge, correcting the Israelites with the benignity of a Father and teaching them to appreciate His benefits by sending severe hardships. He worked great wonders with the staff of Moses, which prefigured the Cross, on which the Incarnate Word was to be sacri­ficed as the Lamb, a salvation to many, a ruin to others (Lk 2:34). It was like the staff of Moses, and like the Red Sea, the waves of which shielded the people and annihilated the Egyptians. Thus He filled the lives of the saints with joys and sorrows, with hardships and with comforts; with infinite wisdom and providence He symbolized in them the Life and the Death of Christ our Lord.

149 Leviticus describes and ordains many sacrifices and ceremonies of the Law for placating the Divinity; for they were to point out the Lamb, which was to be immolated for all men; and they pointed out also ourselves, immolated to the Majesty of God in reality, as was prefigured in these sacrifices. It also describes the vestments of Aaron, the High Priest and type of Christ, although Christ was not to be of that inferior order but of the order of Melchisedech (Ps 120:4).

150 Numbers describes the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, prefiguring what was to happen with the Holy Church, with the Only Begotten as Man, and with His most Holy Mother; and also with the rest of the righteous, who, in different aspects, were prefigured in the column of fire, in the manna, in the rock giving forth water. It contains also other great mysteries, which are comprehended in the events there recorded, likewise the mysteries pertaining to numbers, in all of which deep secrets are hidden.

151 Deuteronomy is like a Second Law, a repetition of the first, but given in a different way and prefiguring more closely the Law of the Gospels. For as according to the hidden judgments of God and according to the propriety known to His Wisdom, the Incarnation of the Son was to be deferred, He renewed and rearranged these Laws in order that they might be more like to those, which He was to establish for His Only Begotten.

152 Joshua conducts the people of God into the promised land; he divides the Jordan to allow the passage of the multitudes, achieves great things, typifying plainly the Redeemer as well in name as in deed. His history represents the destruction of the king­dom of the devil, the separation and the division of the good and bad, which will happen in the last day.

153 After Joshua, when the people had already come into the possession of the promised and wished-for land, which primarily and appropriately signifies the Church acquired by Jesus Christ through the price of His Blood, comes the Book of Judges. God ordained these for the government of His people, especially during the wars, which on account of their sins and idolatries were waged against them by the Philistines and other neighboring enemies. From these God freed and deliv­ered them, whenever they returned to God by penance and amendment of life. In it are also related the deeds of Deborah while judging the people and liberating them from great oppression; also those of Jahel, who helped them to victory, mighty and courageous women both. All these deeds of history prefigure and illustrate what was to happen in the Church.

154 After the generation of the Judges came the Kings, (1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings) for whom the Israelites petitioned in their desire of imitating the government of the surrounding nations. These books contain great mysteries concerning the com­ing of the Messiah. Heli, the priest, and Saul, the king, prefigure in their death the reprobation of the old law. Zadoc and David typify the new reign and priesthood of Christ and also the Church with the small number, which were to belong to it in comparison to the rest of men in the world. The other kings of Israel and Judah and their captivities personify other great mysteries of the Holy Church.

155 During the aforesaid times lived the most patient Job, whose words are so mysterious, that there is not one without its profound sacramental meaning concern­ing the Life of Christ our Lord, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment in the same flesh, in which each one lives, and concerning the violence and astuteness of devils and their warfare against men. Above all has God placed him as an example of patience for us, for in him we all may learn how we are to bear our adversities, especially as we have before our eyes the Death of Christ, whereas this saint saw Him only at such a distance and yet imitated Him so closely.

156 In the writings of the many and great Prophets moreover, which God sent in the time of the kings to provide for special necessities, not one of the great mysteries and sacraments pertaining to the Coming of the Messiah and His Law, remained undeclared or unrevealed. The same thing, although more at a distance, God accomplished in the ancient Fathers and Patriarchs. In all this He only multiplied the likenesses, and, as it were, the patterns of the Incarnate Word, and prearranged and prepared for Him a people, and the Law, which He was to teach.

157 In the 3 great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He deposited great and precious pledges calling Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He wished to honor Himself in the Name at the same time that He honored them, manifesting His dignity and His excellent virtues and sacraments, and confiding them to their care, in order that they might furnish so honorable a Name to God. The Patriarch Abraham, in order to prefigure vividly, that which the Eternal Father was to do with His Only Begotten, was tempted and tried by the command to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Gen 22:1). When, however, this obedient father was about to complete the sacrifice, the same Lord, Who had given the commandment, impeded its execution; for such a heroic sacrifice was to be reserved to the Eternal Father, Who Alone was to sacrifice in effect His Only Begotten: only in a symbolic manner can Abraham be said to have done the same: for thus it will appear, that the zeal of Divine Love is strong as death (Sg 8:6). It was not however satisfactory, that such an expressive figure should remain altogether unaccomplished and therefore the sacrifice of Abraham was fulfilled by the killing of a ram, being likewise a figure of the Lamb, Which was to pay forthe sins of the world  (John 1:29).  

158 To Jacob was shown that Mysterious Ladder, full of sacraments and hidden import (Gen 28:12), principally to represent the Incarnate Word as the way and the means of ascending to the Father, and of His descending to us. On it also ascend and descend the angelswho illuminate and guide us, bearing us up in their hands, so that we may not stumble over the rocks of the errors, heresies, and vices, with which the path of mortal life is strewn (Ps 91:12).  In the midst of them we pass securely up this stairs in the faith and hope of His Holy Church, which is the House of the Lord, the portal of heaven and holiness.

159 In order to make Him the God of Pharaoh and the leader of His people He showed to Moses the mystical thorn bush, which burned without being consumed and which foreshadowed the Divinity covered with our humanity, leaving the Divinity intact by the Humanity and the Humanity unconsumed by the Divinity. At the same time it also signified the perpetual virginity of the Mother of the Word, not only of Her body, but also of Her soul, so that although She was a daughter of Adam and came vested in the sin-tainted nature derived from Adam, She nevertheless was without stain or offense.

160 He raised also for Himself David according to His own Heart (1 Sam 13:14), who worthily sang the praise of the Most High, comprehending in his Psalms all the sacraments and mysteries not only of the Law of Grace, but of the written and natural law. And the testimonies, judgments and works of the Lord, which were pronounced by his lips, David also treasured up in his heart, meditating on them day and night. In pardoning his enemies, he was an express image and figure of God forgiving us. Thus all his promises con­cerning the coming of the Redeemer were made more certain to the world.

161 Solomon, the king of peace, was an image of the King of kings; for by his great wisdom he manifested in different kinds of writings the Sacraments and Mys­teries of Christ, especially in the similitudes of the Song of Songs. For there he exposed the Mysteries of the Incarnate Word, of His most Holy Mother, of His Church and of the faithful. He taught also right behavior in different ways, opening up a fountain of truth and life-giving knowledge for many other writers.

162 But who can worthily exalt the benefits He pro­vided for His people in the praiseworthy host of holy Prophets, through whom the Lord has spread the light of prophecy, lighting up as from afar the Holy Church, and commencing in advance to shed the rays of the Sun of Justice and of the efficacious Law of Grace? The 2 great Prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, were chosen to preach to us, in a sweet and exalted manner, the Mys­teries of the Incarnation of the Word, His Birth, Life and Death. Isaiah promised us, that a Virgin should conceive and give birth to a Son, Who would call Him­self Emmanuel; that a little Son shall be born to us, Who shall bear His kingdom on His Shoulder (Is 7:14; 9:6). All the rest of the Life of Christ he proclaims with such clearness, that his prophecies are like a gospel. Jeremiah announces the unheard of wonder, that God will cause a Woman to bear in Her womb a Man, Who is at the same time to be God and perfect man, Who alone can be Christ (Jer 31:22). He announced His Coming, His Passion, ignominy and Death (Lam 3:28). Wonder and suspense fill me in the consideration of these prophets. Isaiah asks the Lord to send the Lamb, Which is to rule the world from the rocks of the desert to the mountain of the daughter of Zion; for this Lamb, the Incarnate Word, calls the Heavens a desert, where as God He dwelt without the society of men (Is 16:1). He calls Him Rock, on account of the stability of His throne and of the unaltered rest of eternity that He enjoys. The Mountain, from which He is asked to come, is in the mystical sense, the Holy Church and first of all, the most Holy Mary, the Daughter of the vision of peace, that is Zion. The prophet interposes Her as the Mediatrix to induce the Eternal Father to send His Only Be­gotten, the Lamb. For in all the rest of the human race there was nothing to influence Him so much as to have Her as His Mother, Who was to clothe Him with the spotless fleece of the Most Holy Humanity. All this is contained in that most sweet prayer and prophecy of Isaiah.

163 Ezekiel also saw this Virgin Mother in the fig­ure and likeness of the closed gate (Ez 44:2), which was open only for the God of Israel and through which no other man could enter. Habakkuk contemplates Christ our Lord on the Cross and in most profound words prophesies the Mysteries of the Redemption and the wonderful effects of the Passion and Death of our Redeemer (Hab 3). Joel describes the land of the 12 tribes, prefiguring the apostles, who were to be the heads of all the sons of the Church. He also announces the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon His servants and handmaids, foretelling the time of the Coming, and of the Life of Christ. And all the other prophets announced in part the same thing, for God wished all His great works to be announced, prophesied and prefigured far in ad­vance and so completely, that they might testify the love and care, which He had for men and with which He enriched His Church. He wished also to reprehend us and convict us of our lukewarmness, since these ancient Fathers and Prophets, seeing only the shadows and figures, were inflamed with Divine love and broke forth in canticles of praise and exaltation of the Lord, whereas we, who enjoy the truth and the bright day of grace, remain buried in forgetfulness of so great bene­fits, and, forsaking the light, continue to seek the darkness. 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 12
THE CLAMORS OF THE RIGHTEOUS FOR THE COMING OF THE REDEEMER INCREASED. 
GOD SENT 2 HARBINGERS OF THE LAW OF GRACE

164 The posterity and race of Adam spread out in great numbers, for the just and the unjust were multi­plied; likewise the clamors of the just for the Redeemer increased, and the transgressions of the wicked in demerit of that benefit. The people of the Most High and the plans for the triumph of the Lord in assuming human nature were already in the last stages of prep­aration for the advent of the Messiah. The kingdom of sin in the generation of the wicked had now spread its dominion to the utmost limits and the opportune time for the remedy had arrived. The merits and the crowns of the just had been multiplied, the Prophets and the holy Fathers in the joy of heavenly enlightenment per­ceived the approach of the salvation and the Divine Presence of the Redeemer, and they increased their clamors, imploring­ God to fulfill the prophecies and the promises made to His people. Before the High Throne of the Di­vine Mercy, they asked God to remember the somber night of sin which had lasted since the creation of the first man, and the blindness of idolatry, which had taken hold of all the rest of the human race.

165 When the ancient serpent had infected the whole earth with its poisonous breath and apparently enjoyed peaceful control over mortals who had become blind to the light of reason (Rom 1:20) and to the precepts contained in the ancient written law, when, instead of seeking the true Divinity, men set up for themselves many false laws and each one created a god for himself according to his liking, without considering, that the con­fusion of so many gods was repugnant to all goodness, order, and peace, when by these errors malice, ignorance and forgetfulness of the true God had become naturalized; when, ignorant of its mortal disease and lethargy, the world had grown mute in its prayer for deliverance; when pride reigned supreme and fools had become innumerable (Eccl 7:15); when satan in his arrogance was about to swallow the pure waters of the Jordan (Job 40,18); when through these injuries God was more and more deeply offended and less and less beholden to man; when His justice had such an ex­cellent cause for annihilating all creation and reducing it to its original nothingness:

166 At this Juncture (according to our way of un­derstanding), the Most High directed His attention to the attribute of His Mercy, counterbalanced the weight of His Incomprehensible Justice with the Law of Clemency, and chose to yield more to His own goodness, to the clamors and faithful services of the righteous and the prophets of His people, than to His indignation at the wickedness and sins of all the rest of mankind. In this dark night of the ancient law, He resolved to give most certain pledges of the Day of Grace, sending into the world 2 most bright luminaries to announce the approach­ing dawn of the Sun of Justice, Christ our Salvation. These were Sts. Joachim and Anne, prepared and cre­ated by special decree according to His own Heart. St. Joachim had his home, his family and relations in Nazareth, a town of Galilee. Healways a just and holy man and illumined by especial grace and light from on high, had a knowledge of many mysteries of the Holy Scriptures and of the Prophets. In continual and fervent prayer, he asked of God the fulfillment of His promises, and his faith and charity penetrated the heav­ens. He was a man most humble and pure, leading a most holy and sincere life, yet he was most grave and earnest, and incomparably modest and honest.

167 The most fortunate Anne had a house in Bethle­hem and was a most chaste, humble and beautiful maiden. From her childhood she led a most virtuous, holy and retired life, enjoying great and continual en­lightenment in exalted contemplation. She was most diligent and industrious, thus attaining perfection in both the active and the contemplative life. She had an infused knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures and a profound understanding of its hidden mysteries and sacraments. In the infused virtues of faith, hope and love, she was unexcelled. Equipped with all these gifts, she continued to pray for the coming of the Messiah. Her prayers were so acceptable to the Lord, that to her He could but answer with the words of the Spouse; "You have wounded My Heart with one of the hairs of your neck"  (Sg 4:9). Therefore, without doubt, St. Anne holds a high position among the saints of the Old Testa­ment, who by their merits hastened the coming of the Redeemer.

168 This woman also prayed most fervently, that the Almighty would procure for her in matrimony a husband, who should help her to observe the ancient law and testament, and to be perfect in the fulfillment of all its precepts. At the moment in which St. Anne thus prayed to the Lord, His Providence ordained, that St. Joachim made the same petition; both prayers were pre­sented at the same time before the Tribunal of the Holy Trinity, where they were heard and fulfilled, it being then and there Divinely disposed, that Joachim and Anne unite in marriage and become the parents of Her, who was to be the Mother of the Incarnate God. In further­ance of this Divine decree Archangel Gabriel was sent to announce it to them both. To St. Anne he ap­peared in visible form, while she was engaged in fervent prayer for the coming of the Savior and the Redeemer of men. When she saw the holy prince, most beautiful and refulgent, she was disturbed and frightened and yet at the same time interiorly rejoiced and enlightened. The holy maiden prostrated herself in profound humility to reverence the messenger of heaven; but he prevented and encouraged her, as being destined to be the ark of the true manna, Mary most Holy, Mother of the Word. For this Holy Angel had been informed of this sacra­mental mystery on being sent with this message. The other angels did not yet know of it, as this revelation or illumination had been given directly from God only to Gabriel. Nevertheless the angel did not then manifest this great sacrament to St. Anne; but he asked her to attend and said to her: "The Most High gives you His blessing, servant of God, and is your Salvation. His Majesty has heard your petitions and He wishes you to persevere therein and that you continue to clamor for the coming of the Redeemer. It is His Will, that you accept Joachim as your spouse, for he is a man of upright heart and acceptable to the Lord: in his company you will be able to persevere in the observance of His Law and in His service. Continue your prayers and your supplica­tions and be not solicitous for anything else, for the Lord will see them fulfilled. Walk in the straight paths of righteousness and let your soul's conversation be in heaven. Continue to pray for the Messiah, be joyful in the Lord, Who is your Salvation." With these words the Angel disappeared, leaving her enlightened in many mys­teries of Holy Scriptures, and comforted and renewed in spirit. 

169 To Saint Joachim the archangel did not appear in a corporeal manner, but he spoke to the man of God in sleep as follows: "Joachim, be blessed by the Right Hand of the Most High! Persevere in your desires and live according to rectitude and perfection. It is the Will of the Almighty that you receive St. Anne as your spouse, for her the Lord has visited with His blessing. Take care of her and esteem her as a pledge of the Most High and give thanks to His Majesty, because He has given her into your charge." In consequence of this Heavenly message St. Joachim immediately asked for the hand of the most chaste Anne and, in joint obedience to the Divine ordainment, they espoused each other. But neither of them manifested to each other the secret of what had happened until several years afterwards, as I will relate in its place (Part 1, 184). The 2 holy spouses lived in Nazareth, continuing to walk in the justification of the Lord. In rectitude and sincerity they practiced all virtue in their works, making them­selves very acceptable and pleasing to the Most High and avoiding all blemish in all their activities. The rents and incomes of their estate they divided each year into 3 parts. The first one they offered to the Temple of Jerusalem for the worship of the Lord; the second they distributed to the poor, and the third they retained for the decent sustenance of themselves and family. God augmented their temporal goods on account of their generosity and charity.

170 They themselves lived with each other in undis­turbed peace and union of heart, without quarrel or shadow of a grudge. The most humble Anne subjected herself and conformed herself in all things to the will of Joachim: and that man of God, with equal emulation of humility, sought to know the desires of holy Anne, con­fiding in her with his whole heart (Prov 31:11), and he was not deceived. Thus they lived together in such perfect charity, that during their whole life they never experienced a time, during which one ceased to seek the same thing as the other (Matt 18:20). But rather as being united in the Lord, they enjoyed His Presence in holy fear. Saint Joachim, solicitous to obey the com­mand of the Angel, honored his spouse and lavished his attention upon her.

171 The Lord forestalled the holy Matron Anne with the blessings of His sweetness (Ps 20:4), communi­cating to her the most exalted graces and infused science, which prepared her for the happy destiny of becoming the mother of Her, who was to be the Mother of God Himself. As the works of God are perfect, it was natural to expect, that He should make her a worthy mother of that most pure Creature, who should be superior in sanctity to all creatures and inferior only to God.

172 This fortunate couple passed 20 years of their married life without issue. In those times and among the people of the Jews this was held to be the greatest misfortune and disgrace. On this account they had to bear much reproach and insult from their neigh­bors and acquaintances, for all those that were child­less, were considered as excluded from the benefits of the Messiah. But the Most High wished to afflict them and dispose them for the grace that awaited them, in order that in patience and submission they might tearfully sow the glorious Fruit, which they were afterwards to bring forth. They continued in most fervent prayers from the bottom of their hearts, mindful of the command from on high. They made an express vow to the Lord, that if He should give them issue, they would consecrate it to His service in the Temple of Jerusalem.

173 This offer was made by an especial impulse of the Holy Spirit, Who had ordained, that She who was to be the habitation of the Son of God, should, before com­ing into existence, be offered and, as it were, pledged by Her parents to the Lord. For if they had not obliged themselves by a special promise to offer Her to the Temple before they possessed Her, they would not have been able to make the sacrifice on account of the vehement love, which her sweetness and grace engen­dered. According to our mode of understanding such things, the Lord in a measure allayed His fears, lest His most Holy Mother should remain in possession of anyone else, and His love so to say, diverted itself by a certain delay in creating Her.

174 Having, at the command of the Lord, perse­vered a whole year in fervent petitions, it happened by Divine inspiration and ordainment, that Joachim was in the Temple of Jerusalem offering prayers and sacrifices for the coming of the Messiah, and for the fruit, which he desired. Arriving with others of his town to offer the common gifts and contributions in the presence of the high priest, Issachar, an inferior priest, harshly repre­hended the old and venerable Joachim, for presuming to come with the other people to make his offerings in spite of his being childless. Among other things he said to him: "Why do you, Joachim, come with your offer­ings and sacrifices, which are not pleasing in the Eyes of God, since you are a useless man? Leave this company and depart; do not annoy God with your offerings and sacrifices, which are not acceptable to Him." The holy man, full of shame and confusion, in humble love thus addressed the Lord: "Most High Lord and God, at Your command and desire I came to the Temple; he that takes your place, despises me; my sins merit this disgrace; but since I accept it according to Your Will, do not cast away the creature of Your Hands" (Ps 137:8). Joachim  hastened away from the Temple full of sorrow, though peaceful and contented, to a farm or storehouse, which he possessed, and there in solitude he called upon the Lord for some days, praying as follows:

175 "Most High and Eternal God, on Whom depends the whole existence and the reparation of the human race, prostrate in Your Living Presence, I supplicate Your Infinite Goodness to look upon the affliction of my soul and to hear my prayers and those of Your servant Anne. To Your Eyes are manifest all our desires (Ps 37:10) and if I am not worthy to be heard, do not despise my humble spouse. Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our first forefathers, do not hide Your kindness from us, nor permit, since You are a Father, that I be numbered among the reprobate and the outcasts in my offerings, because You give me no issue. Remember, O Lord, the sacrifices (Deut 9:27) and oblations of Your ser­vants and prophets, my ancestors, and look upon their works, which were pleasing to Your Divine Eyes. Since You command me, my Lord, to pray to You in con­fidence, grant me, according to the greatness of Your Mercy and Power, that which at Your wish I pray for. In imploring You I fulfill Your Will and render the obe­dience, in which You have promised to grant my petition. If my sins hinder the exercise of Your Mercies, take away what displeases and hinders You. You are Almighty, Lord God of Israel, and all that You wish, You can accomplish without hindrance. Let my prayer reach Your Ears, and if I am poor and insignificant, You are infinite and always ready to exercise mercy with the downcast. Where shall I flee from You, Who are the King of kings and the Lord of lords? You have filled Your sons and servants with blessings in their generations and You have instructed me to expect and desire from Your bounty what You have wrought in my brethren. If it is Your pleasure to yield to my pe­tition, and grant me issue I will offer it and consecrate it to Your Holy Temple in perpetual service. I have riveted my eyes and my will on Your Holy Will and have always desired to keep them free from the vanishing things of this world. Fulfill in regard to me, what is according to Your Pleasure, and rejoice our spirit with the accom­plishment of our hopes. Look down from Your throne upon this vile dust, and raise it up, in order that it may magnify You and adore You, and let in all things be fulfilled Your will, and not mine."

176 While Joachim was making these petitions in his retirement, the Holy Angel manifested to holy Anne, that her prayer for an issue, accompanied by such holy de­sires and intentions, was pleasing to the Almighty. Hav­ing thus recognized the Will of God and of her husband Joachim, she prayed with humble subjection and confi­dence, that it be fulfilled. "Most High God, my Lord, Creator and Preserver of the universe, Whom my soul reveres as the True God, Infinite, Holy and Eternal! Prostrate in Your Real Presence I will speak, though I am but dust and ashes (Est 13:9) proclaiming my need and my affliction. Lord God Uncreated, make us worthy of Your blessing, and give us holy fruit of the womb, in order that we may offer it to Your service in the Temple (Gen 18:27). Remember, O Lord, that Hannah, Your ser­vant, the mother of Samuel, was sterile and that by Your generous mercy she received the fulfillment of her de­sires. I feel within me a courage that incites and ani­mates me to ask You to show me the same mercy. Hear then, O sweetest Lord and Master, my humble petition: remember the sacrifices, offerings and services of my ancestors and the favors, which Your Almighty Arm wrought in them. I wish to offer to You, O Lord, an oblation pleasing and acceptable in Your Eyes: but the greatest in my power, is my soul, my faculties and in­clinations given to You, and my whole being. If You look upon me from Your throne giving me issue, I will from this moment sanctify and offer it for Your service in the Temple. Lord God of Israel, if it should be Your pleasure and good will to look upon this lowly and im­poverished creature, and to console Your servant Joachim, grant me my prayer and may in all things be fulfilled Your Holy and Eternal Will."

177 These were the prayers, which Sts. Joachim and Anne offered. On account of my great shortcom­ing and insufficiency I cannot fully describe what I was made to understand concerning the holiness of these prayers and of these saintly parents. It is impossible to tell all; nor is it necessary, since what I have said is sufficient for my purpose. In order to obtain a befitting idea of these saints, it is necessary to estimate and judge them in connection with the most high end and ministry, for which they were chosen by God; for they were the immediate grandparents of Christ our Lord, and parents of His most Holy Mother. 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 13
THE CONCEPTION OF THE MOST HOLY MARY WAS ANNOUNCED BY THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL, AND HOW GOD PREPARED FOR IT 

178 The petitions of the holy Joachim and Anne reached the Throne of the Holy Trinity, where they were accepted and the Will of God was made known to the Holy Angels. The 3 Divine Persons, according to our way of expressing such things, spoke to them as follows: "We have in Our condescension resolved, that the Person of the Word shall assume human flesh and that through Him all the race of mortals shall find a remedy. We have already manifested and promised this to Our servants, the Prophets, in order that they might an­nounce it to the world. The sins of the living, and their malice are so great, that We are much constrained by the rigor of justice. But Our goodness and mercy is greater than all their evil doing, nor can it extinguish Our love toward men. We will look with mercy upon the works of Our Hands, which We have created accord­ing to Our Image and Likeness, so as to enable them to become inheritors and participators of Our eternal glory” (1 Pet 3:22). We will consider the services and the pleasure derived from Our servants and friends and re­gard the multitude of those, who shall distinguish themselves in Our praise and friendship. And above all have We before Our Eyes Her, who is to be the chosen One, who is to be acceptable above all creatures and singled out for Our delight and pleasure; because She is to con­ceive the Person of the Word in Her womb and clothe Him with human flesh. Since there must be a beginning of this work, by which We shall manifest to the world the treasures of the Divinity, this shall be the acceptable and opportune time for its execution. Joachim and Anne have found grace in Our Eyes; We look upon them with pleasure and shall enrich them with choicest gifts and graces. They have been faithful and constant in their trials and in simplicity and uprightness their souls have become acceptable and pleasing before Us. Let Gabriel as our ambassador bring tidings of joy for them and for the whole human race; let him announce to them, that in Our condescension We have looked upon them and chosen them."

179 Thus the celestial spirits were instructed in re­gard to the Will and the Decree of the Almighty. The Holy Archangel Gabriel humbled himself before the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity, adoring and revering the Divine Majesty in the manner that befits these most pure and spiritual substances. From the throne an Intellectual Voice proceeded, saying: "Gabriel, enlighten, vivify and console Joachim and Anne, Our servants, and tell them, that their prayers have come to Our Presence and their petitions are heard in clemency. Promise them, that by the favor of Our Right Hand they will receive the Fruit of benediction, and that Anne shall conceive a Daughter, to whom We give the name of MARY."

180 Together with this mandate of the Most High many mysteries and sacraments pertaining to this mes­sage were revealed to St. Gabriel. With it, he de­scended from the vault of the empyrean heaven and ap­peared to holy Joachim, while he was in prayer, saying to him: "Just and upright man, the Almighty from His Sovereign Throne has taken notice of your desires and has heard your sighs and prayers, and has made you fortunate on earth. Your spouse Anne shall conceive and bear a Daughter, who shall be blessed among women (Lk 1:42,48). The nations shall know Her as the Blessed. He, Who is the Eternal God, Uncreated, and the Creator of all, most upright in His judgments, power­ful and strong, sends me to you, because your works and alms have been acceptable. 

Love has softened the Heart of the Almighty, and has hastened His Mercies,

and in His liberality He wishes to enrich your house and your family with a Daughter, whom Anne shall conceive; the Lord Himself has chosen for Her the name of MARY. From Her childhood let Her be consecrated to the Temple, and in it to God, as you have promised. She shall be elect, exalted, powerful and full of the Holy Spirit; on account of the sterility of Anne, Her conception shall be miraculous; She shall be a Daughter wonderful in all Her undertakings and in all Her life. Praise the Lord, Joachim, for this benefit and magnify Him, for in no other nation has He wrought the like. You shall go to give thanks in the Temple of Jerusalem and in testimony of the truth of this joyful message; you shall meet, in the Golden Gate, your sister Anne, who is coming to the Temple for the same purpose. Remember that marvelous is this message, for the Conception of this Child shall rejoice heaven and earth."

181 All this happened to St. Joachim during his prolonged prayer and in a miraculous sleep, into which he fell for the purpose of receiving this message. He experienced something similar to that which happened to St. Joseph, the spouse of the most Holy Mary, when it was made known to him, that Her pregnancy was the work of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20). The most fortunate St. Joachim awoke in great joy of soul and with solicitous and ingenuous prudence he concealed within his heart the sacrament of the King (Tob 12:7). With a lively faith and hope he poured forth his soul in the Presence of the Most High, and full of tenderness and gratitude, he thanked and praised Him for His inscrutable Judgments. In order to do this more appropriately he hastened to the Temple as he had been ordered.

182 In the meanwhile the thrice-blessed Anne was exalted in prayer and divine contemplation and totally wrapped up in the Mystery of the Incarnation, which, after having been previously filled with a most high un­derstanding and a specially infused light, she solicited from the Eternal Word. With the profoundest humility and lively faith she was praying for the hastening of the Coming of the Redeemer of the human race in the fol­lowing words: "Most High King and Lord of all creation, I, a most vile and despicable creature, and yet the work of Your Hands, desire at the price of the life which You have given me, to urge You to hasten in Your Mercy the time of our salvation. O may Your Infinite Kindness incline toward our need! O that our eyes might look upon the Restorer and the Redeemer of men! Remember, O Lord, the mercies of old shown to Your people, wherein You have promised Your Only Begotten, and may this promise of infinite kindness unbend You! May it come now, that day so much longed for! Is it possible, that the Most High should descend from His Holy Heaven? Is it possible, that He is to have a terrestrial Mother? What woman shall She be, that is so fortunate and blessed? O who shall be so favored as to look upon Her? Who shall be worthy to be the servant of Her servants? Blessed the race that shall be able to see Her and prostrate themselves at Her feet to reverence Her! How sweet shall be the sight of Her and Her company! Blessed the eyes, that shall see Her and the ears, that shall listen to Her words, and the family, from whom the Most High shall select His Mother. Execute, O Lord, this decree: fulfill Your Divine Benevolence!"

183 In this prayer and colloquy St. Anne occupied herself after having received enlightenment regarding this ineffable mystery. She weighed all the conferences, which she had had with her guardian angel, who on many occasions, and now more openly than ever before, had manifested himself to her. The Almighty ordained, that the message of the Conception of His Holy Mother should in some way be similar to the one, by which the Incarnation was announced. For St. Anne was medi­tating in humble fervor upon her, who was to bear the Mother of the Incarnate Word. And the most Holy Virgin was making the same reflections upon Her, who was to be the Mother of God, as I will relate in its place (Part 2, 117). It was also the same Angel, that brought both messages, and in human form, though he showed himself in a more beautiful and mysterious shape to the Virgin Mary.

184 Archangel Gabriel appeared to St. Anne in human form more resplendent than the sun, and said to her: "  Anne, servant of God, I am an Angel sent from the Council of the Most High, Who in Divine Condescension looks upon the humble of the earth (Ps 138:6). Good is incessant prayer and humble confidence. The Lord has heard your petitions, for He is near to those who call upon Him with living faith and hope, and who expect His salvation (Ps 145:18). If He delays hearing their clamors and defers the fulfillment of their prayers, it is in order to dispose them to receive and to oblige Himself to give much more than they ask and desire. Prayer and almsgiving open the treasures of the Lord, the omnipotent King, and incline Him to be lavish in Mercy toward those, who ask"   (Tob 11: 8). You and Joachim have prayed for the Fruit of benediction and the Most High has resolved to give you holy and wonderful Fruit; and by it He will enrich you with heavenly gifts, granting to you much more than you have asked. For having humiliated yourselves in prayer, the Lord wishes to magnify Himself in conceding your petitions, because thosewho in humble confidence pray to Him without belittling His Infinite Power, are most agreeable to the Lord. Persevere in prayer and ask without ceasing for the Redemption of the hu­man race in order to constrain the Most High. Moses by unceasing prayer brought victory to the people (Ex 17:11); Esther by prayer obtained liberation from the death sentence (Est 4:11); Judith by the same means was filled with fortitude to execute a most arduous task for the salvation of Israel: She fulfilled it, though a weak and frail woman (Judith 9:1). David came forth victorious in his combat with the giant, because he prayed, invoking the Name of the Lord (1 Sam 17:45).  Elias drew fire from heaven by his sacrifice and by his prayer opened and closed the heavens (1 Kgs 18:36). The humility, faith and the alms of Joachim and of yourself have come before the throne of the Most High and now He sends me, His Angel, in order to give you news full of joy for your heart: His Ma­jesty wishes, that you be most fortunate and blessed. He chooses you to be the mother of Her who is to conceive and bring forth the Only Begotten of the Father. You shall bring forth a Daughter, who by Divine disposition shall be called MARY. She shall be blessed among women and Full of the Holy Spirit. She shall be the cloud that shall drop the Dew of Heaven for the refreshment of men (1Kgs 18:44); and in Her shall be fulfilled the prophecies of your ancestors. She shall be the portal of life and salvation for the children of Adam. Know also that I have announced to Joachim, that he shall have a Daughter who shall be blessed and fortunate: but the full knowledge of the mystery is not given him by the Lord, for he does not know, that She is to be the Mother of the Messiah. Therefore you must guard this secret; and go now to the Temple to give thanks to the Most High for having been so highly favored by His Powerful Right Hand. In the Golden Gate you shall meet Joachim, where you will confer with him about this tiding. You are the one, who are especial­ly blessed of the Lord and whom He wishes to visit and enrich with more singular blessings. In solitude He will speak to your heart and there give a beginning to the Law of Grace, since in your womb He will give being to Her, who is to vest the Immortal with mortal flesh and hu­man form. In this Humanity, united with the Word, will be written, as with His own Blood, the True Law of Mercy."

185  In order that the humble heart of the holy Anne might not faint away with admiration and joy at these tidings of the Holy Angel, she was strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and thus she heard it and received it with magnanimity and incomparable joy. Immediately arising, she hastened to the Temple of Jerusalem, and there found St. Joachim, as the Angel had foretold to them both. Together they gave thanks to the Almighty for this won­derful blessing and offered special gifts and sacrifices. They were enlightened anew by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and, full of divine consolation, they returned to their home. Joyfully they conversed about the favors, which they had received from the Almighty, especially concerning each one's message from Archangel Gabrielwhereby, on behalf of the Lord, they had been promised a Daughter who should be most blessed and fortunate. On this occasion they also told each other, how the same Angel, before their espousal, had commanded each to ac­cept the other, in order that together they might serve God according to His Divine Will. This secret they had kept from each other for 20 years, without com­municating it, until the same Angel had promised them the issue of such a Daughter. Anew they made the vow to offer Her to the Temple and that each year on this day they would come to the Temple to offer special gifts, spend the day in praise and thanksgiving, and give many alms. This vow they fulfilled to the end of their lives, spending this day in great praise and exaltation of the Most High.

186 The prudent matron Anne never disclosed the secret that her Daughter was to be the Mother of the Messiah, neither to Joachim nor to anyone else. Nor did that holy parent in the course of his life know any more than that She was to be a Grand and Mysterious Woman. However, in the last moments of his life the Almighty made the secret known to him, as I will relate in its place (Conception No. 669). Although great revelations have been made to me concerning the vir­tues and the holiness of the 2 parents of the Queen of heaven, I shall not dilate upon that which all the faithful must presuppose. I shall rather hasten to the main point.

187 After the first conception of the body which was to be that of the Mother of Grace, and before creating Her most holy soul, God granted a singular favor to St. Anne. She had an intellectual and most exalted vision or appearance of His Majesty, in which, having communicated to her great enlightenment and gifts of grace, He disposed her and forestalled her with the blessings of His sweetness (Ps 20:4). Entirely purifying her, He spiritualized the inferior part of her body and elevated her soul and spirit to such a degree, that thenceforward she never attended to any human affair, which could im­pede her union with God in all the affections of her mind and will, and she never lost sight of Him. At the same time He said to her: "Anne, my servant, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: My blessing and My eternal light is with you. I have created man in order to raise him from the dust and to make him the in­heritor of My Glory and participator of My Divinity. I also showered My gifts upon him and placed him in a position and state of high perfection; but he listened to the serpent and lost all. Out of My goodness and in fulfillment of the promises made through My holy Prophets, I wish to forget his ingratitude and to repair the damage, by sending My Only Begotten as their Re­deemer. The Heavens are closed; the ancient Patriarchs are detained, deprived of the Sight of My Holy Face and of eternal life promised to them. The inclination of My bounteousness is as it were strained in not communicat­ing itself to the human race. Now, at this time, I wish to show Mercy, giving them the Person of the Eter­nal Word, to become Man, to be born of a Woman, who shall be Mother and Virgin, immaculate, pure, blessed and holy above all creatures. Of Her, My chosen and only One, I make you mother." (Sg 6:8).

188 I cannot easily explain the effect of these words in the upright heart of holy Anne, she being the first of those born of men, to whom was revealed the Mystery of her most Holy Daughter, who was to be the Mother of God and chosen for the greatest Sacrament of the Divine Omnipotence. It was befitting that she should know of this Mystery and properly estimate the Treasure that she was to possess and to which she was to give birth and existence. She heard with profound humility the Voice of the Most High and with a submissive heart she answered: "Lord, God Eternal, it is the essence of Your immense bounty and the work of Your Powerful Arm, to raise from the dust those that are poor and despised (Ps 113:7). I acknowledge myself, O Lord, a creature unworthy of such mercies and benefits. What shall this lowly worm do in Your Divine Presence? Your own Being and Your own magnificence alone can I offer in thanks­giving, and my soul and all its faculties in sacrifice. Use me, O Lord, according to Your Will, since to it I resign myself entirely. I wish to be as completely Your own as such a favor requires; but what shall I do, who am not worthy to be the slave of Her who is to be the Mother of the Only Begotten and my Daughter? This I know, and shall confess always; that I am a poor creature but at the Feet of Your greatness I await the course of Your Mercy, Who are a kind Father and the All-Powerful God. Make me, O Lord, worthy in Your Eyes of the dignity You bestow upon me."

189 During this vision St. Anne was wrapped in a marvelous ecstasy, in which she was favored with the highest understanding of the laws of nature, and of the written and the evangelical precepts. She was instruct­ed as to how the Divine Nature in the Eternal Word was to unite Itself to our own; how His Most Holy Humanity was to be elevated to the Being of God, and she under­stood many other mysteries, which were to be fulfilled in the Incarnation of the Divine Word. By these en­lightenments and by other gifts of grace, the Almighty disposed her for the Conception and the creation of her most Holy Daughter, the Mother of God. 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 14
THE ALMIGHTY MADE KNOWN TO THE HOLY ANGELS THE CONCEPTION OF MARY 
AND WHICH OF THEM HE SELECTED FOR HER CUSTODY. 

190 In the Tribunal of the Divine Will, as the inevit­able source and universal cause of the whole creation, all things with their conditions and circumstances, are decreed and determined, so that nothing is forgotten and no created power can in the least impede the fulfill­ment of the decree. All the spheres and the inhabitants contained in them are dependent on this ineffable gov­ernment that rules them and cooperates with the nat­ural causes unfailingly and unerringly in all that must be done. God works in all and sustains all by His sole will; in Him lies the preservation of all things or their annihilation, for without Him they would return to the non-existence, from which they were drawn. But since He has created the universe for His glory and for the glory of the Incarnate Word, therefore He has from the beginning opened the paths and prearranged the ways by which the same Word should lower Himself to as­sume human flesh and to live among men, and by which they might ascend toward God, know Him, fear Him, seek Him, serve Him, love Him, praise Him and enjoy Him eternally.

191 Admirable was His Name in all the lands of the earth, and magnified in the plenitude and congregation of the saints, whom He ordained and constituted as a people pleasing to Him and over whom He placed the Incarnate Word as their Chief. When the world had arrived at the last and befitting stage according to the wishes of His Divine Providence; and when the prede­termined time had come for the creation of that mar­velous woman, whose sign had appeared in the heavens clothed with the sun (Rev 12:1), and who was to re­joice and enrich the earth, the Most Holy Trinity exe­cuted the decree of forming Her. I will now manifest what within the narrow limits of my reason and concept I have been able to comprehend.

192 I have already said above (No. 34) that for God there is no past or future, since He holds all things present to His Divine and Infinite Mind and knows all by one simple act. But reducing this to our way of speak­ing and to our limited mode of understanding, we con­ceive that His Majesty remembered the decrees of the creation of a Mother befitting and worthy of the Incar­nation of the Word, for the fulfillment of His decree is inevitable. As the opportune and pre-ordained time had arrived, the 3 Divine Persons conferred with each other saying: "Now is the time to begin the work of Our Pleasure and to call into existence that pure Creature and that soul, which is to find grace in Our Eyes above all the rest. Let Us furnish Her with the richest gifts and let Us deposit in Her the great treasures of Our grace. Since all others, whom We called into existence, have turned out ungrateful and rebellious to Our wishes, frustrating Our intention and impeding by their own fault Our purpose, namely, that they conserve themselves in the happy state of their first parents, and since it is not proper, that Our Will should be entirely frustrated, let Us therefore create this being in entire sanctity and perfection, so that the disorder of the first sin shall have no part in Her. Let Us create a soul according to Our pleasure, a fruit of Our attributes, and a marvel of Our in­finite power, without touch or blemish of the sin of Adam. Let Us perfect a work, which is the object of Our Omnipotence and a pattern of the perfection, intended for Our children, and the finishing crown of cre­ation. All have sinned in the free will and resolve of the first man (Rom 5:12); let Her be the sole creature in which We restore and execute that which they in their aberration have lost. Let Her be a most special image and likeness of Our Divinity and let Her be in Our Presence for all eternity, the culmination of Our good will and pleasure. In Her We deposit all the preroga­tives and graces, which in Our first and conditional resolve, We had destined for angels and men, if they had remained in their first estate. What they have lost, We renew in that Creature and We will add to these gifts many others. Thus Our first decree shall not be frustrated, but it shall be fulfilled in a higher manner through this Our chosen and only One (Sg 6:8). And since We assigned and prepared the most perfect and estimable of Our gifts for the creatures that have lost them, We will divert the stream of Our bounty to Our Well-beloved. We will set Her apart from the ordinary law, by which the rest of men are brought into existence, for in Her the seed of the ser­pent shall have no part. I will descend from heaven into Her womb and in it vest Myself from Her substance with human nature."

193 "It is befitting and due to the infinite goodness of Our Divinity, that It be founded and enclosed in the most pure matter, untouched and unstained by fault. Nor is it proper that Our equity and providence over­look what is most apt, perfect and holy, and choose that which is inferior, since nothing can resist Our Will (Est 13:9). The Word, Which is to become man, being the Redeemer and Teacher of men, must lay the foun­dation of the most perfect Law of Grace, and must teach through it, that the father and mother are to be obeyed and honored as the secondary causes of the natural existence of man. The law is first to be fulfilled by the Divine Word by honoring Her as His chosen Mother, by exalting Her with a powerful Arm, and lavishing upon Her the most admirable, most holy and most excellent of all graces and gifts. Among these shall be that most singular honor and blessing of not subjecting Her to Our enemy, nor to his malice; and therefore She shall be free from the death of sin."

194 "On earth the Word shall have a Mother without a father, as in heaven He has a Father without a mother. And in order that there may be the proper cor­respondence, proportion and consonance in calling God His Father and this Woman His Mother, We desire that the highest correspondence and approach possible between a creature and its God be established. Therefore at no time shall the dragon boast of being superior to the Woman, whom God will obey as His true Mother. This dignity of being free from sin is due and corresponds to that of being Mother of the Word, and it is in itself even more estimable and useful. It is a greater good to be holy than to be only mother; but all sanctity and per­fection is nevertheless due to the Motherhood of God. The human flesh, from which He is to assume form, must be free from sin. Since He is to redeem in it sinners, He must not be under the necessity of redeem­ing His own flesh, like that of sinners. Being united to the Divinity His Humanity is to be the price of Redemp­tion, therefore it must before all be preserved from sin, and We have already foreseen and accepted the merits of the Word in this very flesh and human nature. We wish that for all eternities the Word should be glorified through this tabernacle and habitation of the human nature."

195 "She is to be a daughter of the first man; but in the order of grace She is to be singularly free and exempt from fault; and in the order of nature She is to be most perfect, and to be formed according to a special providence. And since the Incarnate Word is to be the Teacher of humility and holiness and for this end is to endure labors, confounding the vanity and deceitful fal­lacies of mortals by choosing for Himself sufferings as the treasure most estimable in Our Eyes, We wish that She, who is to be His Mother, experience the same labors and difficulties, that She be singularly distinguished in patience, admirable in sufferings, and that She, in union with the Only Begotten, offer the acceptable sacrifices of sorrow to Us for Her greater glory."

196 This was the decree that the 3 Divine Per­sons made known to the Holy Angels, exalting the glory and honor of their high and inscrutable judgments. And since His Divinity is a mirror in which He at the same time manifests new mysteries to the blessed that yield obedience, this explanation revealed in a new light the admirable order and marvelous harmony of His works. All this follows from that which we have said in the preceding chapters (7 & 8) concerning the works of the Almighty in the creation of the angels, telling them to reverence as their superiors the Incarnate Word and His most Holy Mother. Moreover, as the time for the formation of that great Queen had arrived, it was befitting that the Lord should not conceal the fact of His having disposed all this in weight and measure (Wis 11:21). Self-evidently, with human words and terms so limited as those at my disposal, the understanding given to me about these hidden mysteries will be obscured rather than explained; but within these limits I will tell what I can concerning their manifestation by the Al­mighty to the angels on this occasion.

197 "  Now the time has arrived"  added His Majesty, "  which was resolved upon by Our Providence for bringing to light the Creature most pleasing and acceptable to Our Eyes. That Creature, in whom the human nature is freed from its first sin, who is to crush the head of the dragon, who was typified by that singular sign, the Woman that appeared in the Heavens in Our Presence, and who is to clothe the Eternal Word with human flesh. The hour is at hand, so blessed for mortals, in which the Treasures of Our Divinity are to be opened and the Gates of Heaven to be unlocked. Let the rigor of Our Justice be softened by the chastisements, which We have until now executed upon  mortals; let the attribute of Our Mercy become manifest; let creatures be enriched, and let the Divine Word merit for them the treasures of grace and of eternal glory."

198 Now let the human race receive the Repairer, the Teacher, the Brother and Friend, to be Life for mortals, a Medicine for the sick, a Consoler for the sorrowful, a Balsam for the wounded, a Guide and Companion for those in difficulties. Let now the prophecies of Our servants and the promises made to them, that We would send a Savior to redeem them, be fulfilled. And in order that all may be executed according to Our Good Pleas­ure, and that We may give a beginning to the Mystery hidden since the constitution of the world, We select for the formation of Our beloved Mary the womb of Our servant Anne; in her be She conceived and in her let that most blessed Soul be created. Although Her generation and formation shall proceed according to the usual order of natural propagation, it shall be different in the order of grace, according to the ordainment of Our Almighty Power."

199 "You already know how the ancient serpent, since he saw the sign of this marvelous Woman, at­tempts to circumvent all women, and how, from the first one created, he persecutes all those, whom he sees ex­celling in the perfection of their works and life, expect­ing to find among them the One, who is to crush his head (Gen. 3:15). When he shall encounter this most pure and spotless Creature, he shall find Her so holy that he will exert all his powers to persecute Her in pur­suance of the concept which he forms of Her. But the arrogance of this dragon shall be greater than his powers (Is 16:6); and it is Our Will that you have par­ticular charge of this Our Holy City and Tabernacle of the Incarnate Word, protecting, guarding, assisting and defending Her against Our enemies, and that you en­lighten, strengthen and console Her with all due solici­tude and reverence, as long as She shall be a wayfarer among mortals."

200 At this proposal of the Most High all the Holy Angels, prostrate before the Royal Throne of the Most Holy Trinity, avowed their promptitude and eagerness to obey the Divine Mandate. Each one desired in holy emulation to be appointed, and offered himself for such a happy service; all of them gave to the Almighty praise and thanksgiving in new songs, because the hour had arrived for the fulfillment of that for which they had, with the most ardent desires, prayed through many ages. I perceived on this occasion that from the time of that great battle of St. Michael with the dragon and his allies, in which they were hurled into everlasting darkness while the hosts of Michael remained victorious and confirmed in grace and glory, these holy spirits commenced immediately to pray for the fulfillment of the Mysteries of the Incarnation of the Word, of which they became cognizant at that time. And they persevered in these oft-repeated prayers up to the hour in which God manifested to them the fulfillment of their desires and petitions.

201 On this account the celestial spirits at this new revelation conceived an additional joy and obtained new accidental glory, and they spoke to the Lord, "Most High and incomprehensible God and Lord, You are worthy of all reverence, praise and eternal glory; and we are Your creatures and made according to Your Divine Will. Send us, most powerful Lord, to execute Your most wonderful works and mysteries, in order that in all things Your most righteous Pleasure may be fulfilled." In such terms of affection the heavenly princes acknowledged themselves as subjects; and if it had been possible, they desired to increase in purity and perfection in order to be more worthy guardians and servants of Mary.

202 Then the Most High chose and appointed those who were to be occupied in this exalted service (the guardianship of Mary) from each of the 9 choirs of angels. He selected 100, being 900 in all. Moreover He assigned 12 others who should in a special manner assist Mary in corporeal and visible forms; and they were to bear the emblems or escutcheons of the Redemption. These are the 12, which are mentioned in Revelation 21 as guarding the portals of the city; of them I will speak in the explanation of that chapter later on. Be­sides these the Lord assigned 18 other angels, selected from the highest ranks, who were to ascend and descend by that mystical stairs of Jacob with the mes­sage of the Queen to His Majesty and those of the Lord to Her. For, many times did She send them to the Eternal Father in order to be governed in all Her actions by the Holy Spirit. She did nothing except what pleased the Almighty, and She sought His pleasures even in most insignificant things. Whenever She was not instructed by a special enlightenment, She sent these Holy Angels to the Lord in order to represent Her doubt and signify Her desire to do what was most pleasing to the Divine Will, and in order to be informed of His Pleas­ure, as we shall relate in the course of this history.

203 In addition to all these Holy Angels the Almighty assigned and appointed 70 Seraphim, choosing them from the highest ranks and from those nearest to the Divinity, in order that they might communicate and converse with this Princess of Heaven in the same way as they themselves have communication with each other, and as the higher communicate with the lower ones. This was a privilege conferred upon the Mother of God because She was to be a wayfarer on earth and in nature inferior, though in dignity and grace, superior to all the Seraphim. When at one time, the Lord withdrew and hid Himself from Her, as we shall see later on, these 70 Seraphim enlightened Her and consoled Her; to them She poured out the longings of Her most ardent love and Her anxieties in regard to Her hidden Treasure. That there were 70 of these spirits, had reference to the number of years of Her life, which was 70. Among this number are included the 60 strong ones, which in the Song of Songs are mentioned as guarding the chamber or couch of Solomon, their loins girded with swords against the terror of the night.

204 These mighty princes and captains were as­signed as a guard of the Queen of Heaven from among the highest orders of the angelic hierarchy; for these, in that ancient battle of the obedient spirits with the proud dragon, were as the armed champions of the Lord of all creation, encountering and overcoming satan and all his apostates with the sword of their virtue and of the Divine Word. Hence, because they distinguished themselves in that great battle and victory by their zeal for the honor of the Almighty, and had been valiant and skillful captains in divine love, and as they so zealously defended the honor of their Captain and Lord and of His most Holy Mother by the arms of divine grace given to them in view of the merits of the Incar­nate Word, therefore it is said, that they guard the couch of Solomon, that they form his guard, girded with the sword about the loins. For thus is indicated the human generation or humanity of Christ conceived in the virginal chamber of Mary of Her most pure blood and substance.

205 The other 10 Seraphim, which complete the number of 70, were likewise chosen from the more distinguished leaders of those who in their opposition to the dragon had manifested a greater reverence for the Divinity and Humanity of the Word and for His most Holy Mother; for all this was determined during that brief conflict of the Holy Angels. It was one of the prin­cipal distinctions merited by them at the time that they were to be selected as guardians of their Queen. Altogether 1,000 Angels were chosen from the Seraphim and the lower orders of Angels, and thus that City of God was superabundantly fortified against the infernal hosts.

206 In order that this invincible warrior-troop might be well appointed, St. Michael, the prince of the heavenly militia was placed at their head, and although not always in the company of the Queen, he was nevertheless often near Her and often showed himself to Her. The Almighty destined him as a special ambassador of Christ our Lord and to act in some of the Mysteries as the defender of His most Holy Mother. In a like manner the holy prince Gabriel was appointed to act as legate and minister of the Eternal Father in the affairs of the Princess of Heaven. Thus did the Most Holy Trinity provide for the custody and the defense of the Mother of God.

207 All the appointments of the Angels were a grace of the Almighty; but I understood that He observed, according to a certain measure, the Laws of Distributive Justice. In His Equity and Providence He took account of the manner in which the Holy Angels acted and felt in regard to the mysteries revealed to them in the begin­ning concerning His most Holy Mother. For in accepting the Divine Decree each was moved by different affections and inclinations toward the Sacraments, which became known, to them. Not in all were the same grace or willingness and affection. Some of them yielded with an especial devotion, when they recognized the union of the Divine and the Human Natures in the Person of the Word, Which was to be enclosed in the limits of a Human Body and yet raised to the sovereignty of all creation. Others in their affection were moved to admire the love of the Only Begotten of the Father, which caused Him to become mortal and offer Himself as a sacrifice for men. Others again signalized themselves in praising God for creating a Body and Soul of such excellence, that it would be superior to all the celestial spirits and that from it the Creator should take human flesh. According to these sentiments and in proportion to them, and as it were for accidental reward, these Holy Angels were selected to serve in the Mysteries of Christ and His most Holy Mother. In the same way those, who during this life have signalized themselves in the practice of certain virtues are rewarded with the special crowns of doctors, virgins and so forth.

208 In pursuance of this, when these holy princes appeared in visible shape to the Mother of God, they bore devices or badges representing the different mys­teries, as I will relate farther on. Some of them showed the emblems of the Incarnation, others those of the Pas­sion, others those of the Queen Herself, and of Her great dignity. But She did not immediately recognize these badges when they began to be shown to Her, for the Almighty had told all these Holy Angels not to make known to Her that She was to be the Mother of His Only Begotten until the hour appointed by His Divine Wis­dom; yet at the same time always to converse with Her about the Sacraments and Mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption, in order to excite Her fervor and Her prayers. Too tardy is human speech, and inade­quate my brief terms and words, for the manifestation of these exalted lights and intelligences.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 15
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

209 Divine Wisdom had now prepared all things for drawing forth the spotless image of the Mother of grace from the corruption of nature. The number and congregation of ancient Patriarchs and Prophets had been completed and gathered, and the mountains had been raised, on which this Mystical City of God was to be built (Ps 86:2). By the power of His Right Hand, He had already selected incomparable treasures of the Divinity to enrich and endow Her. A thousand An­gels were equipped for Her guard and custody that they might serve as most faithful vassals of their Queen and Lady. He had provided a noble and kingly ancestry from whom She should descend and had selected for Her most holy and perfect parents. None holier or more perfect could be found anywhere in the world. For there is no doubt that if better and more apt parents existed, the Almighty would have selected them for Her, who was to be chosen by God as His Mother.

210 He endowed these parents with abundant graces and blessings of His Right Hand, and enriched them with all virtues, with enlightenments of Divine Science and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After having announced to the 2 saints, Joachim and Anne, that He would grant them a Daughter, admirable and blessed among women, He permitted the work of the first Conception to take place, namely, that of the most pure body of Mary. Anne was 24, when She married Joachim, and Joachim, 46. They were childless for 20 years, and thus Anne, at the same time of the Conception of her Daughter, was 44 years old, and Joachim 66. Although the concep­tion happened according to the ordinary course of na­ture, yet the Most High freed it from the imperfections and disorders of lust, permitting only what was strictly required ac­cording to nature, in order that the proper material might be furnished for the formation of the most perfect substance within the limits of a mere creature.

211 God limited the natural activity in the 2 parents and by His Grace prevented any fault or imperfec­tion, substituting for them Virtue and Merit, and entire propriety in the manner of conception, which though natural and according to the common order, was nevertheless directed, supplemented and perfected by the action of Divine Grace, without disturbing the proper effect due to the law of nature. As regards the holy matron Anne, Divine power was more manifest on account of her natural sterility; in her the conception was mirac­ulous, not only in regard to the manner, but in regard to its very substance. In regard to the conceptions, which happen entirely according to the natural order and in virtue of the natural powers, there is no necessity of recurring to or of depending on any supernatural cause. The parents in concurring are sufficient causes of the propagation, even in case they furnish the material and the concurrent acts of generation with imperfection and without proper measure.

212 But in this Conception, although the father was not naturally sterile, yet on account of his age and mod­eration, his natural powers were in a measure suppressed and weakened; and therefore he was enlivened, restored and enabled to act on his part with entire perfection and with the plenitude of his faculties, proportionately to the sterility of the mother. In both of them nature and grace concurred; the former briefly, with measure, and in that which was necessary; the latter over flowingly, powerfully and generously; absorbing, yet not con­founding nature, exalting it and perfecting it in a mirac­ulous manner. Thus Grace was the origin of this Conception, while it called into its service the activity of nature in so far as was necessary for the birth of that ineffable Daughter from Her natural parents.

213 The mode of repairing the sterility of the most holy mother Anne did not consist in the restitution of that condition, which was wanting in her natural faculties of conception; for thus restored, she would have conceived in no way different from the rest of women; the Lord concurred with her sterile faculties in a more miraculous manner for the formation of the body from natural material. Thus the faculties and the material were of the natural order, but the manner of moving them happened by the miraculous power of the Divinity. As soon as the miracle of this Conception had ceased, the mother was left in her former sterility never to con­ceive again, since no new quality was taken from or added to the natural temperament. This wonder, it seems to me, can be made intelligible by that which our Savior wrought, when St. Peter walked over the water (Matt 14:29). In order to sustain him, the water was not necessarily changed into crystal or ice, over which he and others could have walked without requiring any miraculous intervention except that of thus sud­denly changing it into ice; but without thus changing the water, the Lord gave it the power to sustain the body of the Apostle. It remained in a liquid state both during and after the miracle; for when St. Peter ran over it, he began to sink and was about to drown. The miracle therefore was performed without changing the water by the addition of a new quality.

214 Much like to this, though much more wonderful, was the miracle of the Conception of most Holy Mary in Her mother Anne. The parents were so entirely governed by grace and withdrawn from concupiscence and delectation, which the accidental imperfections, which ordinarily are the material or the instruments of conception, and which induce original sin, were altogether lacking. Thus was furnished a material exempt from imperfection and furnished in such a manner that the act itself was meritorious. Hence in so far as this act was concerned it could easily be free from sin or imperfection, even if Divine Providence had not previously arranged every particular of this event. This miracle the Almighty reserved solely for Her, who was to be a Mother worthy of Himself. For if it was proper that the material part of His Being should have its origin according to the order maintained in the conception of the other children of Adam, it was likewise eminently proper that, without destroying nature, grace should concur in it with all its efficacy and power, and that it should excel in Her and act in Her more efficaciously than in all the children of Adam; yes, be greater than even in Adam and Eve, who gave origin to the corruption of nature and to its disorderly concupiscence.

215 In the formation of the body of the most holy Mary the wisdom and power of the Almighty proceeded so cautiously that the quantities and qualities of the 4 natural elements of the human body, the sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic and choleric, were compounded in exact proportion and measure; in order that by this most perfect proportion in its mixture and composition, it might assist the operations of that holy soul with which it was to be endowed and animated. This wonderfully composed temperament was afterwards the source and the cause, which in its own way made possible the serenity and peace that reigned in the powers and the faculties of the Queen of Heaven during all Her life.  Never did any of these elements oppose or contradict nor seek to predominate over the others, but each one of them supplemented and served the others, continuing in this well ordered fabric without corruption or decay. Never did the body of the most holy Mary suffer from the taint of corruption, nor was there anything lacking or anything excessive found in it; but all the conditions and proportions of the different elements were continuously adjusted, without any lack or excess in what was necessary for Her perfect existence and without excess or default in dryness or moisture. Neither was there more warmth than was necessary for maintenance of life or digestion; nor more cold than was necessary right temperature and for the maintenance of bodily humors.

216 Nor was this body on account of its admirable composition, less sensitive to the influence of heat and cold and the other inclemency of the weather, but rather, as it was more delicately and perfectly constituted, so it was more acutely affected by any extremes, not being able to furnish a defense against the excess of temperature in those parts, which were more subject to them. Certainly, on the one hand, these extremes would find in such a harmoniously constituted frame much less material in which they could work their changes; nevertheless, on the other hand, the delicacy of its composition made even ordinary influences much more penetrat­ing than greater ones in other bodies. This admirable body, thus formed in the womb of holy Anne, was not capable of spiritual gifts before it was animated by the soul; but it was capable of receiving the natural ones. These were given to this body in supernatural degree and by supernatural power, so as to accord with the high purpose and the singular gifts for which it was formed; and in this it surpassed all others in the order of nature and grace Thus were given to it a complexion and faculties so excellent that all nature would never of it­self be able to produce one similar to it.

217 Just as the Hand of our Lord formed the first parents Adam and Eve in such a way as to befit original justice and the state of innocence and therefore also more excellently than their descendants (for the works coming directly from the Lord must be more perfect than those of secondary causes), so His Omnipotence, in a more excellent and superior manner, operated in the formation of the virginal body of the most holy Mary. And this He did with so much the greater solicitude and abundance of grace, as this Creature was to exceed in perfection not only the first parents, who were to sin so soon, but also all the other creatures, corporal and spiritual. According to our way of speaking, God exerted more care in composing this little body of His most Holy Mother, than in creating all the celestial orbs and the whole universe. In accordance with this rule are to be measured the gifts and privileges of this City of God from its first beginnings and foundations to its highest pinnacle next to the infinity of the Most High.

218 Such was also the measure of the distance be­tween Her miraculous Conception and sin and its cause, concupiscence; for not only was She, as the dawn of grace, entirely free from sin, and always so exhibited and treated by the Lord; but also in Her parents, sin and concupiscence was restrained and withheld in view of Her Conception, in order that nature might not be disturbed or made imperfect in this work. For nature was to be subject to grace and served merely as an in­strument to the Supreme Artificer, Who is superior to the laws of nature and of grace. It was here that He com­menced to destroy sin, and to lay the foundations, build­ing up the castle of the Strong Armed One (Lk 11:22) Who was to undermine evil and deprive it of the possessions which it tyrannically held.

219 The day on which the first Conception of the body of the most holy Mary happened, was a Sunday, corresponding to the day of the week on which the angels were created, whose exalted Queen and Lady She was to be. For the formation and growth of other human bodies, according to the natural order, many days are necessary in order to organize and fit them for the reception of the rational soul. Thus for a man-child are required 40 and for females 80 days, more or less, according to the natural health and disposition of the mothers. In the formation of the virginal body of Mary the Almighty accelerated the natural time and that, which according to the natural rule required 80 days, was accomplished in Her within 7 days. Within these 7 days, by accelerated growth, was organized and prepared in the womb of holy Anne that wonderful body which was to receive the most holy soul of her Daughter and of our Lady and Queen.

220 On the Saturday next following this first Conception, the Almighty wrought the second Conception by creating the soul of His Mother and infusing it into the body; and thus entered into the world that pure Creature, more holy, perfect and agreeable to His Eyes than all those He had created, or will create to the end of the world, or through the eternities. God maintained a mysterious correspondence in the execution of this work with that of creating all the rest of the world in 7 days, as is related in Genesis. Then no doubt, He rested in truth, according to the figurative language of Scripture, since He has now created the most perfect Creature of all, giving through it a be­ginning to the work of the Divine Word and to the Re­demption of the human race. Thus was this day a Paschal Feast for God and also for all creatures.

221 On account of this Immaculate Conception of most Holy Mary the Holy Spirit has provided that Satur­day be consecrated to the Virgin in the Holy Churchsince that was the day on which She received the great­est benefit through the creation of Her soul and its union with its body without entailing sin or its effects. The Day of the Immaculate Conception, which the Church now celebrates, is not the day of Her first conception, when the body alone was conceived, but it is the day of Her second Conception or the infusion of Her soul. Body and soul, therefore, remained for 9 months in the womb of holy Anne, which are the days that intervene between the Conception to the Nativity of that Queen. During the other 7 days preceding the vivification of the inanimate body, it was disposed and organized by the Divine power, in order that this work might corre­spond with the account that Moses gives of the Creation of all things, comprising the formation of the whole world at its beginning. At the instant of the creation and infusion of the soul in the most Holy Mother, the Most Blessed Trinity, repeated with greater affection of love the words, recorded by Moses at that time concerning man; "  Let Us make Mary to Our Image and Likeness to be Our true Daughter and Spouse and a Mother to the Only Begotten of the Father."

222 By the force of this Divine pronouncement and through the Love with which it issued from the Mouth of Almighty, was created and infused into the body of most Holy Mary Her most blessed soul. At the same time She was filled with grace and gifts above those of the highest Seraphim of heaven, and there was not a single instant in which She was found lacking or deprived of the light, the friendship and love of the Creator, or in which She was touched by the stain or darkness of original sin. On the contrary She was possessed of the most perfect justice, superior to that of Adam and Eve in their first formation. To Her was also conceded the most perfect use of the light of reason, corresponding to the gifts of grace, which She had received.  Not for one instant was She to remain idle, but to engage in works most admirable and pleasing to Her Creator. In the perception of this great Mystery I confess myself overcome, so that my heart, unable to express itself in words, is dumbfounded in sentiments of admiration and of praise. I see the Ark of the Testament joined to­gether, enriched and placed in the Temple of a sterile mother with greater glory than the figurative one in the house of Obededon, and of David, or in the Temple of Solomon (2 Sam 6:11,  1 Kg 8:6). I see the altar of the Holy of Holies (Is 65:17), where the first sacrifice is to be of­fered that is to overcome and prove acceptable to God. I see the order of nature break from its laws to be rearranged; I see New Laws established against sin, disregarding those of the common order, overpowering those of guilt, conquering those of na­ture and supervening even those of grace itself. I see the formation of a new earth, and of a new Heaven (Is 65:17) being the womb of a most humble woman, where the Eyes of the Most Holy Trinity are directed, where the Divinity presides, where the courtiers of the ancient heavens gather, and where a thousand angels are delegated to form a guard over a tiny, animated body not larger than that of a little bee.

223 The Voice of the Creator is heard with a greater force in this new creation. God Who, pleased with the work of His Omnipotence, says that it is very good (Gen 1:31). Let human frailty with humble piety approach this wonder, confessing the grandeur of the Creator, and let it rejoice at this new benefit conceded to the entire human race in this its Reparator. Let the heat of disputation cease, overcome by Divine light; for if the Divine Bounty, as was shown to me, in the Conception of the most Holy Mother, looked upon Her with such pleasure and upon original sin with such hostility that He gloried in the occasion and just cause of restraining and with­holding its baneful currents, how can that appear proper to human wisdom, which was so abhorrent to God?

224 At the time of the infusion of the soul into the body of this Heavenly Lady, the Almighty desired that Her mother, the holy Anne, should feel and recognize the Presence of the Divinity in a most exalted manner. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and was moved in­teriorly with a joy and devotion altogether above the ordinary. She was wrapped in exalted ecstasy, in which she was enlightened with deep intelligences of the most hidden Mysteries and praised the Lord with new canticles of Joy. These effects lasted during all the rest of her life; but they were greater during the 9 months in which she bore in her womb the Treasure of Heaven. For during that time these benefits were more constantly renewed and repeated with continual intelligences of the Holy Scriptures and of their most profound sacraments. O most fortunate woman! Let all the nations and gen­erations of the world extol you and call you blessed! 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 16
THE VIRTUES, WITH WHICH GOD GIFTED  MARY'S SOUL. HER EXERCISES OF THEM 

225 The impetuous floods of the Divinity met in this Holy City of the sanctified soul of Mary. It took its origin from the foundation of His Wisdom and Goodness, by which and where He had resolved to deposit within this Heavenly Lady the greatest graces and vir­tues ever to be given to any other creature for all eter­nity. And when the hour had arrived for giving them into Her possession, namely the very moment of Her coming into natural life, the Almighty fulfilled accord­ing to His Pleasure and full satisfaction the desire, which He had held suspended from all eternity until the time for gratifying this wish should arrive. The Most Faithful Lord executed His design, showering down all His graces and gifts in the most holy soul of Mary at the time of Her Conception in such an overpowering measure as no other saint, nor all of them combined can ever reach, nor ever human tongue can manifest.

226 Although She was adorned as the Bride, descending from heaven, endowed with all perfections and with the whole range of infused virtues, it was not necessary that She should exercise all of them at once, it being sufficient that She exercise those, which were befitting Her state in the womb of Her mother. Among the first thus exercised were The 3 Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity, which relate immediately to God. These She at once practiced in the most ex­alted manner recognizing by a most sublime faith the Divinity with all its perfections and its infinite attributes, and the Trinity with its distinction of Persons. This knowledge by faith was not impeded by the higher knowledge that God gave Her, as I will soon demonstrate. She exercised also the virtue of hope, seeing in God the object of Her happiness and Her ultimate end. Toward this Her sanctified Soul at once hastened and aspired with the most intense desires of uniting Herself with God and without having for one moment turned to any other object or tarried one moment in Her up­ward flight. At the same instant also She put into action the virtue of charity, seeing in God the Infinite and Highest Good, and conceiving such an intense appreciation of the Divinity, that not all the Seraphim could ever reach such an eminent degree of fervor and virtue.

227 The other virtues which adorn and perfect the rational part of the creature, She possessed in a pro­portion corresponding to the theological virtues. The moral and natural virtues were Hers in a miraculous and supernatural measure, and in a still more exalted manner was She possessed of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in the order of grace. She had an infused knowledge and habit of all these virtues and of all the natural arts, so that She knew and was conversant with the whole natural and supernatural order of things, in accordance with the grandeur of God. Hence from Her first instant in the womb of Her mother, She was wiser, more prudent, more enlightened, and more capable of comprehending God and all His works, than all creatures have been or ever will be in eternity, excepting of course Her Most Holy Son. And all this perfection con­sisted not only in the habits, which were infused in Her in such a high degree; but in the acts which She exercised in correspondence with the excellence of Her state and in proportion to the activity of  Divine power. Therefore Her perfection was not circumscribed by any other bounds, nor was subject to any other limits than God's Divine and most Just Pleasure.

228  Since much will be said in the course of this history, of all these virtues and graces and of their exer­cise, I mention here only a little of that which She achieved at the instant of Her Conception by the help of the infused habits and the actual light bestowed upon Her. In the exercise of the theological virtues, as I have said, and of the virtue of religion, and of the car­dinal virtues consequent upon it, She perceived God as He is and as the Creator and Glorifier. In heroic acts She reverenced Him, praised Him, gave Him thanks for having created Her, loved Him, feared Him and adored Him, offering sacrifices of worship, praise and glory because of His Immutable Being. She recognized the gifts, which She had received, although some of them were yet hidden to Her, and She gave thanks with profound humility and prostrated Herself immediately in the womb of Her mother, though yet in a body so small; and by these acts She merited more than all the saints in the highest state of perfection and sanctity.

229 In addition to the facts of faith She possessed other knowledge of the Mystery of the Divinity and of the Most Holy Trinity. Although in this instant of Her Conception She did not see Him intuitively as the saints, yet She saw Him in abstraction by a light and vision which though inferior to the beatific vision, were never­ the less superior to all the other ways, in which God can manifest Himself or does manifest Himself to the cre­ated intelligence; for there were shown to Her images of the Divinity so clear and manifest that She under­stood the Immutable Being of God, and in Him, all cre­ation, with a greater light and clearness than any crea­ture ever is understood by another. And these images were like a shining mirror from which was resplendent the whole Divinity and in It all creatures; so that in God She saw and recognized, by means of this light and by means of these images of the Divine Nature, all things with a greater distinctness and clearness than was pos­sible by the images of the infused science already given Her.

230 In all these different ways was laid open to Her from the very instant of Her Conception the vision of all men and angels in their hierarchies, dignities and operations, and of all the irrational creatures with their natures and conditions. She saw the fall of the angels and their ruin; the justification and glory of the good ones, and the rejection and punishment of the bad ones; the first state of Adam and Eve in their innocence; their deception, their guilt, and the misery in which the first parents were thrown on account of it; and in what mis­fortune the whole human race was cast through them; the Divine resolve to repair it; the pre-ordaining and the disposing of the world, the nature of the heavens, the stars and planets; the condition and the arrangement of the elements; She saw purgatory, limbo and hell; She saw how all these things and whatever is contained in them were created by the Divine power and were main­tained and preserved by the infinite goodness, without having need of any of them (2 Mac 14:35). Above all She was informed of the Most High Sacraments connected with the Incarnation, by which God was to be­come Man in order to redeem the whole human race, while the fallen angels were left without a remedy.

231 In correspondence with this wonderful knowl­edge of Her most holy soul at the instant of its union with the body, Mary exerted Herself by eliciting heroic acts of virtue, of incomparable admiration, praise, glori­fication, adoration, humility, love of God and sorrow for the sins committed against Him, whom She recognized as the Author and end of these admirable works. She hastened to offer Herself as an acceptable sacrifice to the Most High, beginning from that instant with fer­vent desire to bless Him, love Him and honor Him, be­cause She perceived that the bad angels and men failed to know and love Him. She requested the Holy Angels who’s Queen She already was, to help Her to glorify the Creator and Lord of all, and to pray also for Her.

232 The Lord in this instant showed Her also Her Guardian Angels, whom She recognized and accepted with joyful submission, inviting them to sing canticles of praise to the Most High alternatively with Her. She announced to them beforehand that this was to be the service that they were to render Her during the whole time of Her mortal life, in which they were to act as Her assistants and guards. She was informed moreover of Her whole genealogy, and the genealogy of all of the rest of the holy people chosen by God, the Patriarchs and Prophets, and how admirable His Majesty was in the gifts, graces and favors wrought in them. It is worthy of admiration, that, although the exterior facul­ties of Her body at the creation of Her most holy Soul were hardly large enough to be distinguished, nevertheless, in order that none of the miraculous excellence with which God could endow His Mother might be wanting, He ordained by the power of His Right Hand that in perceiving the fall of man She shed tears of sorrow in the womb of Her mother at the gravity of the offense against the Highest Good.

233 In this wonderful sorrow at the instant of Her coming into existence, She began to seek a remedy for mankind and commenced the work of mediation, intercession and reparation. She offered to God the clamors of Her ancestors and of the righteous of the earth that His Mercy might not delay the salvation of men, whom She even then looked upon as Her brethren.  Before She ever conversed with them, She loved them with the most ardent charity and with the very beginning of Her existence, She assumed the office of Benefactress of men and exercised the Divine and fraternal love enkindled in Her heart. These petitions the Most High accepted with greater pleasure than the prayers of all the saints and angels and this Pleasure of God was also made known to Her, who was created to be the Mother of God. She perceived the love of God and His desire to descend from heaven in order to redeem men, though She knew not how it should be consummated. It was befitting that God should feel Himself impelled to hasten His Coming on account of the prayers and petitions of this Crea­ture; since it was principally for the love of Her that He came, and since in Her body He was to assume human flesh, accomplish the most admirable of all His works, and fulfill the end of all other creatures.

234 She also prayed at the moment of Her Conception for Her natural parents, Joachim and Anne, whom She knew in God before She had seen them in the body. Immediately She exercised the virtues of love, reverence and gratitude of a daughter, acknowledging them as the secondary causes of Her natural being. She made many other petitions in general and for particular objects. By aid of the infused science given to Her, She began to compose songs of gratitude in Her mind and heart for having, at the portal of life, found the precious drachma, which we all have lost in our first beginning (Luke 15:9). She found the grace, which issued forth to meet Her (Sir 15:1,2), She found the Divinity, which met Her at the threshold of Her existence (Wis 6:14). Her faculties of body and soul found, at the instant of Her creation, the Most Noble Object, Which attracted and en­tranced them; for they were created solely for It, and, as they were to be Her’s entirely, it was proper also that the first fruits of their activity, which were the knowl­edge and love of God, should be devoted to that Object. In this Queen there was no Existence without Knowledge of God, no Knowledge without Love, and no Love without its Merit. Nor was there in Her anything small, or measured merely by the common laws or by the general rules. Great was She altogether and great did She come forth from the Hands of the Most High in order to pro­ceed and arrive at such an excellence of being, that God alone would be greater. Oh how beautiful were those steps of Yours, Daughter of the King, since with Your first one You reached the Godhead(Sg 7:2). Twice beautiful You were, for Your grace and beauty! (Sg 4:1). Heavenly are Your eyes (Sg 7:5), and Your thoughts are like the kingly carmine, since You have enraptured His Heart and have made Him Prisoner by a thread of Your hair (Sg 4:9) and drawn Him captured by the love of Your virginal womb and heart.

235 There in truth the Spouse of the King slept, while Her heart was awake (Sg 5:2). There those bodily faculties, which scarcely had yet attained their natural form and had not yet seen the material light, were asleep, and that Heavenly Heart, more marvelous on account of the greatness of its gifts than by the small­ness of its size, was watching in the chamber of Her mother's womb with the light of the Divinity, which bathed it and enkindled it in the fire of its immense love. It was not befitting that in this Heavenly Creature the inferior faculties of the soul should act before the su­perior ones, or that they should operate in an inferior, or merely in a manner equal to those of any other crea­ture. For if the operations correspond to the essence of each creature, She, who always was superior to all of them in dignity and excellence, was also to be superior in Her operations to all creatures, angelic and human. Not only was She to be nothing short of the angelic spirits in so far as they immediately made use of their faculties at the instant of their creation, but this pre­rogative was due to Her in superior excellence as She was created as their Queen and Lady. And this by so much more, as the name and office of Mother of God excels that of servants, and that of Queen, the estate of vassals; for to none of the angels had the Word said; you shall be My Mother (Heb 1:5); nor could anyone of them say to Him; “You are My Son.” Mary alone could claim this commerce and relationship, which is therefore the real measure and foundation of the greatness of Mary, in the same way as the Apostle measured the greatness of Christ by His being the Son of the Eternal Father.

236 In writing of these Sacraments of the King, howsoever honorable it is to reveal His works, I confess my ineptitude and incapacity, being only a woman, and I am afflicted, because I am speaking in such common and vague terms, which fall entirely short of that, which I perceive in the light given to my soul for the understanding of these Mysteries. In order to do justice to such sublimity, there were need of other words, more particular and especially adapted terms and expressions, which are beyond my ignorance. And even if they were at my service, they would be weighed down and made insipid by human weakness. Let therefore this human imbecility acknowledge itself unequal and incapable of fixing its eyes on this Heavenly Sun, with which the rays of the Divinity break upon the world, although yet ­clouded in the maternal womb of holy Anne. If we seek permission to approach this wonderful sight, let us come near free and unshackled. Let us not allow our­selves to be detained, neither by our natural cowardice nor by a base fear and hesitation, even though it be under the cloak of humility. Let us all approach with the great­est devotion and piety, free from the spirit of contention (Rom 13:13); then we will be permitted to examine with our own eyes the fire of the Divinity burning in the bush without consuming it (Ex 3:2).

237 I have said that the most holy soul of Mary, at the moment of Her purest Conception, saw the Divine Essence abstractively, for it was not revealed to me, that She saw the essential Glory; rather I understood that this latter privilege was peculiar to the Most Holy Soul of Christ, such being due and consequent upon the Substantial Union of the Divinity in the Person of the Word. For it was befitting that for not one moment should the Soul of Christ be deprived in all its faculties of the Highest Grace and Glory. Just as the Man, Christ, our Highest Good, commenced to be conjointly God and Man, so He began at the same instant also to know and love God as one already possessing Him, that is as a comprehensor. But the soul of His most holy Mother was not united substantially with the Divinity and therefore She did not begin Her activity as a possessor of God, but entered into life as a wayfarer. However, She entered this state of wayfarer as one in closest proximity to the Hypostatic Union, and therefore She was endowed with a vision of God proportionate and most immediate to the beatific vision. Her vision was inferior to the beatific, but superior to all the visions and revelations which have been given to other creatures, always excepting the clear vision and fruition of the Blessed. Nevertheless in some respects and in regard to some qualities, the perception of God by the Mother of Christ in Her first instant, excelled even the intuitive vision of other creatures, in so far as She penetrated abstractively into greater Mysteries than they. Moreover, though, She did not see God face to face at that moment of Her Conception, She was favored with that kind of vision many times afterwards during the course of Her life, as I will say later on.  

INSTRUCTIONS OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN 

238 In the preceding chapters of this history I said a few times that the Queen and Mother of Mercy had promised that when I should begin to describe the first operations of Her faculties and virtues She would in­struct me how to model my life after Her own; for this would be the principal purpose of showing it to me as in a mirror. And this great Lady, most faithful to Her promises, besides continuing to assist me by Her heavenly presence and the explanation of these Mysteries, be­gan to fulfill this promise in this chapter and told me to expect the same as long as I should continue to write this history. Accordingly at the end of each chapter I will write down what Her Majesty shall teach me, as She has done even now, speaking to me in the following manner:

239 My daughter, I wish that you reap for yourself the fruits that you desire from the description of the mysteries and sacraments of My holy life; and let the reward of your labors be the greater purity and per­fection of your life, disposing yourself by the grace of the Most High to practice what you hear. It is the Will of My Divine Son, that you exert all your powers toward that which I shall teach you, and that you apply yourself with all your heart to My virtues and works. Hear Me with attentive faith, for I will speak to you words of eternal life and teach you the most holy things of a perfect Christian life and what is most acceptable to God. Begin even now to dispose yourself for the reception of the light, in which you shall see the hidden mysteries of My most holy life and the doctrine, which you desire. Continue in this exercise and write down that which I will teach you in this regard. And now listen.

240 It is an act of justice due to the eternal God that the creature coming to the use of reason, direct its very first movement toward God. By knowing, it should begin to love Him, reverence Him and adore Him as its Creator and only true Lord. The parents are naturally bound to instruct their children from their infancy in this knowledge of God and to direct them with solicitous care, so that they may at once see their ultimate end and seek it in their first acts of the intellect and will. They should with great watchfulness with­draw them from the childishness and puerile trickiness to which depraved nature will incline them if left without direction. If the fathers and mothers would be solicitous to prevent these vanities and perverted habits of their children and would instruct them from their infancy in the knowledge of their God and Creator, then they would afterwards easily accustom them to know and adore Him. My holy mother, who knew not of My wisdom and real condition, was most solicitously before­hand in this matter, for when She bore Me in her womb, she adored in My name the Creator and offered worship and thanks for His having created Me, imploring Him to defend Me and bring Me forth to the light of day from the condition in which I then was. So also parents should pray with fervor to God, that the souls of their children, through His Providence, may obtain Baptism and be freed from the servitude of original sin.

241 And if the rational creature has not known and adored the Creator from the first dawn of reason, it should do this as soon as it obtains knowledge of the Essential God by the light of faith. From that very mo­ment the soul must exert itself never to lose Him from her sight, always fearing Him, loving Him, and rever­encing Him. You, My daughter, owe this adoration to God from the beginning of your life; but now I desire you to practice it in a more perfect manner, as I shall show you. Direct the eyes of your soul toward the Essence of God, Which is without beginning and without limit, contemplate His infinite attributes and perfections. Consider that He alone is the True Holiness, the Highest Good, and the Noblest Object of creatures that He alone gave being to all things and without having need of them, sustains and governs them. He is consummate beauty without defect; He is Eternal in His Love, true in His Words and Most Faithful in His Promises. He it was Who gave His own Life and subjected Himself to Suffer­ings for the good of His creatures without waiting for any merits on their part. Over this wide field of good­ness and of benefits extend your vision and occupy your faculties without forgetting or wandering away there from. For, having obtained such a great knowledge of the Highest Good, yours would be a loathsome meanness and disloyalty to forget Him, and horrible would be your ingratitude, if, after having received an enlightenment so much above the common and ordinary, and Divinely in­fused by faith, you would allow your understanding and will to swerve from the course of Divine love. If at any time in your weakness it should nevertheless happen, then quickly seek it again with all dispatch and diligence and return more humbly to the Most High to give Him Honor, Glory and Eternal Praise. Remember that you must consider it your special duty to do this incessantly for yourself and for all the other creatures and in this I desire you to exert all your diligence.

242 In order to excite yourself to greater efforts, con­fer in your heart what you know of My own conduct; how at the first sight of the Highest Good, My heart was wounded with love, giving Myself entirely to Him in order never to separate Myself thereafter. My whole life was consumed in this and I ceased not to press for­ward in order to arrive at the center of My desires and affections, for since the Object is infinite, so love can have no rest or cessation until it is attained. With the knowledge of God and the love of Him should also go the knowledge of yourself, remembering and consider­ing your insignificance and vileness. Advert that when these truths are well understood, repeated, and meditat­ed upon, they will cause Divine effects in the soul.  Having heard these teachings and others of the Queen, I said to Her Majesty:

243 "My Queen and Mother, whose slave I am and to whom I dedicate and consecrate myself anew; not without cause has my heart desired and asked for this day, on which, according to Your maternal condescension, I might come to know Your heavenly endeavors and hear Your sweet and salutary words. I confess, O Queen, from all my heart, that I can claim no goodness on my part, which deserves such a benefit as a reward and, if I were not obeying Your will and that of Your Divine Son, I would look upon the attempt to write Your life as an unpardon­able presumption. Accept, O my Lady, this sacrifice of praise from me and speak, that Your servant may hear (1 Sam 3:10). Let Your most delightful voice, O sweetest Lady, resound in my ears (Song 2:14), for You have the words of life (John 6:69). Continue to teach me and enlighten me, O Lady, that my heart may dilate in the sea of Your perfections, furnishing me with worthy material for the praise of the Almighty. In my heart burns the fire, enkindled by Your kindness and longing for that, which is most holy and most acceptable to Your eyes. In my inferior members, however, I feel the law of re­pugnance to the law of the spirit, retarding me and em­barrassing me. I justly fear that it will hinder me from attaining the good which You, most loving Mother, offer to me. Look upon me, therefore, my Lady, as a daughter, teach me as Your disciple, correct me as Your servant, and compel me as Your slave, whenever I am tardy or disinclined; for, though unwillingly, I fall short through weakness. I will raise my aspirations to know the Being of God, and, may His Divine grace govern my affections, so that they may become enamored with His infinite perfections and if I attain Him, I will not dismiss Him (Sir 24:24). But You, O Lady, Mother of knowledge and of beautiful love, implore Your Son and my Lord, that He forsake me not in considera­tion of His liberality toward You, Queen and Mother of all creation.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 17
 THE MYSTERY OF THE CONCEPTION OF MARY AND REV. 21:1-8 EXPLAINED 

244 The Immaculate Conception of the most Holy Mary contains such great and such exalted sacraments that in order to make me more capable of understand­ing this admirable mystery, His Majesty opened up to me many of the hidden meanings of Revelation 21 and referred me to it for my guidance. In recording some of the things, which were manifested to me, I will divide this explana­tion into parts. First Rev: 21:1-8 is as fol­lows:

245 "  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were gone, and the sea was now no more. And I John saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great Voice from the Throne say­ing: Behold the Tabernacle of God with men, and He shall dwell with them. And they shall be His people and God Himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor crying, nor mourning, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.  And He Who sat upon the throne said: Behold I make all things new. And He said to me: Write, for these things are most faithful and true. And He said to me: It is done; I am the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end. To him who thirsts I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He who shall overcome shall possess these things and I will be his God ; and he shall be My Son. But the fearful and the unbeliever and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcer­ers and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

246 This is the first of the 3 parts of the literal rendering of this chapter and I will begin to explain it verse for verse. "  I saw,"   says the Evangelist, "  a new heaven and a new earth."   He speaks of the creation of Mary by the Hand of the Almighty and the formation of that material, from which the Most Holy Human Nature of the Word originated. With great propriety can that Divinely Human Nature and the virginal womb, where and from which the Word was formed, be called a New Heaven; for in that heaven, God began to dwell in a new way (Jer 31:21), different from that in which He had dwelt before in the old heaven and in any of His crea­tures. But also the old heaven after the Mystery of the Incarnation could be called new, for through it the nov­elty was made possible, that henceforth also mortal men could dwell therein. Moreover the renovation, which was wrought by the glory of the Humanity of Christ and that of His most pure Mother, was so splendid, that in addition to its former essential glory, it renewed the heaven and added to it unheard of beauty and splendor. Although the good angels already dwelt there, that was a thing as of old and of yore; therefore it was as it were a new event, that the Only Begotten of the Father should by His Death restore to men the glory lost through sin, and merit for them admittance into heaven, where they had been expelled and incapacitated as inhabitants through their own fault. And because all this renewal of heaven had its beginning in most Holy Mary, the Evangelist, in speaking of Mary born without sin, said that he saw a new heaven.

247 He saw also a new earth; for the old earth was stained and laden with the guilt of sin and the reprobation; but the holy and blessed earth of most Holy Mary was a new earth without the fault or the malediction of Adam; and it was so new, that since the creation of the first earth none other was seen until the creation of most Holy Mary. It was so new and free from the malediction of the old earth that in this blessed earth were renewed all the rest of the children of Adam. For on account of the blessed earth of Mary and through it, and in it, the earthly material of Adam was beginning to be blessed, renewed and vivified, having until then remained cursed and grown old in malediction. All was renewed in most Holy Mary and in Her innocence; and therefore the Evangelist, seeing that in Her this renova­tion of the human and earthly elements took its rise, says that in Mary conceived without sin he saw a new heaven and a new earth. He continues:

248 "  For the first heaven and the first earth were gone."   It naturally followed that as soon as the new earth and new heaven of Mary and Her Son the God-Man appeared in the world, the old heaven and the earth, grown old by the sin-tarnished human and earthly mat­ter, should disappear. There was now a new heaven for the Divinity in that human being, who, being pre­served from sin, could furnish a new habitation to God through the Hypostatic Union of the Person of the Word. Already the first heaven ceased to exist, that one which God had created in Adam and which had become de­ficient and unfit for the indwelling of a God. This disappeared and for it was substituted the other heaven in the coming of Mary. Then also arose the new heaven of glory for the human beings, not inasmuch as the empyrean heaven was removed, but in so far as from now on there would not be lacking the presence of men therein, who had been excluded for so many ages. In this respect it ceased to be the old heaven and it became a new one through the merits of Christ, now beginning to shine forth in the aurora of grace, most Holy Mary, His Mother. Thus vanished the first heaven and the first earth, which until then was without hope of remedy. "  And the sea was no more."   For the sea of abominations and sin, which had flooded the world and destroyed the earth of our being, ceased to exist with the coming of most Holy Mary and of Christ; for the sea of His Blood super-abounded, overwhelming the sea of sin in such an abundance, that no amount of guilt could pre­vail against it. If mortals would only approach This Infinite Sea of the Divine Mercy and merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, all the sins of the world would cease to exist, since the Lamb of God came to undo them and take them away.

249 "  And I, John, saw the Holy City and the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."  (21:2) As all these mysteries had their beginning in most Holy Mary, and were founded in Her, the Evangelist says, that he saw the Holy City Jerusalem, for under this figure he speaks of Her. To Him was given to see Her, in order that he might value so much more highly and watch with befitting solicitude over the Treasure, which was confided to his care at the foot of the Cross. And although nothing could ever fill up the void caused by the absence of Her Son, yet it was befitting that St. John should be enlightened as to the dignity of the office, which he was to assume, namely, that of a substitute for Her natural Son.

250 On account of the wonderful works, which God had accomplished in the city of Jerusalem, it was a most excellent symbol of Her, who was His Mother, the center and the focus of all wonders of the Almighty. For a similar reason it is also a figure of the works of the Church militant and triumphant; both were revealed to the eagle vision of St. John and he was shown the correspondence and similarity, which those 2 mystical Jerusalems presented. But in an especial manner he viewed as from a watchtower the exalted Jerusalem of the most Holy Mary, in which are portrayed and repro­duced all the graces, wonders, gifts and excellences of the Church militant and triumphant. Whatever was transacted in Jerusalem, the city of Palestine, and all that it signified together with its inhabitants, is reproduced in the most pure Mary, the Holy City of God, and with a greater and more marvelous excellence than in all the rest of heaven and earth and their inhabitants. Hence She is called the New Jerusalem, since all Her gifts, Her greatness and virtues are new and are the cause of new wonder to the saints. New also, because She came after all the ancient Fathers, Patriarchs and Prophets, and in Her were renewed and accomplished all their clamors, their prophecies and promises; new, because She came without the contagion of guilt and under a new dispensation far from the law of sin; new, because She entered into the world triumphant over sin, the devil and the first deceit, thus being the greatest new event since its beginning.

251 As all this was now on the earth and could not have proceeded from earthly causes, She is said to " come down from heaven."  Although She was derived from Adam according to the ordinary course of nature, She did not tread the well-worn paths of sin in Her coming, as had been done by all the preceding children of that first delinquent. For that Lady alone, there was a special decree of divine predestination and a new path was opened, by which She should descend into this world with Her Divine Son, neither being Herself the com­panion of any other mortal, nor any of them being found worthy of treading the same path as She and Christ our Lord. Thus She, as a new creature from the Heaven of the Divine Mind, descended from the exalted spheres of Divine forethought and pre-ordination. Just as the other children of Adam, derived from the earth, are earthly and tainted, so this Queen of all cre­ation comes from heaven derived from God Himself by innocence and grace; for ordinarily we say, that such a one is descended from this or that house or family, since he descends there from as from a source of his being. Now the natural substance of Mary, which She derived from Adam, scarcely comes into consideration, when we take into account Her dignity as Mother of God with all that it imports as bringing Her so near to the Eternal Father by grace and participation of the Divinity. This dignity causes Her natural being to appear as mere­ly accessory and of minor importance. Hence the Evan­gelist directed his gaze upon that which was in Her most exalted and heavenly, and not upon the insignificant part of Her being that came from the earth.

252 He continues saying that She came "  prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."   For the day of the espousal it is customary among mortals to procure the most precious adornments and presents obtainable for adorning the terrestrial bride, and the most precious jewels will even be borrowed, in order that nothing may be wanting to the array befitting her state and condition. Therefore, if we admit, as we are indeed forced to admit, that the most pure Mary was the Spouse of the Blessed Trinity, and Mother of the Second Person, and that She was adorned and prepared for these dignities by the omnipotent God, Who is infinite and rich without measure or limit: what adornments, what preparation, what jewels must those be with which He fitted Her out in order that She might be a worthy Spouse and Mother? Would He reserve any of His jewels in His treasury? Would He withhold any grace that could beautify and make Her precious? Would He permit Her to be deformed, ill favored, blemished in any way or for the least instant? Would He be sparing and nig­gardly with His Mother and Spouse, when He so pro­digiously lavishes the treasures of the Divinity upon other souls, who, in comparison, with Her, are less than ser­vants and slaves of His house? Let all confess with the Lord Himself, that She alone is the chosen One (Sg 6:8) and the perfect One, whom the rest must recog­nize, proclaim and magnify as the Immaculate and most happy among women, of whom in wonder and with joyful praise they ask: Who is She that comes forth like the morning, beautiful as the moon (Sg 6:9), and awesome as the serried armies?"   This is the most Holy Mary, the only Spouse and Mother of the Almighty, who descends to the world adorned and prepared as the Bride of the Blessed Trinity for Her Spouse and Her Son. This coming and entrance was made memorable by such great gifts of the Divinity, that the splendor of them made Her more agreeable than the sunrise, more beautiful than the moon, more exquisite and admirable than the sun, and without equal among things created; She came more valiant and powerful than the heavenly hosts of saints and angels. She descended adorned and prepared by God, Who gave Her all that He desired, and Who desired to give Her all that He could, and Who could give all that is not the essentially Divine, namely, all that is most approximate to the Divinity and farthest removed from any blemish of a creature. Entire and most perfect was this adornment, so that all defect was excluded, which would not have been the case, if in any regard She failed in grace and innocence. Without this, the treasures of grace would not suffice to make Her so beautiful, since they would adorn but a distorted visage, a nature infected with sin, or a garment soiled and be­smirched by guilt. Forever there would have been a stain, a shadow and blot of guilt, which no diligence on Her part could obliterate. All this was unbefitting the Mother and Spouse of God, and if it was unbefitting Her, it was also unbefitting Himself; for He would have failed to adorn and prepare Her, with the love of a Spouse, or the solicitude of a Son, if, having in His possession most rich and precious vestments, He would have clothed His Mother and Spouse, and Himself, in soiled and worn-out garments.

253 It is verily time, that the honor due to our great Queen should be unveiled and made clear to human in­sight, and that whosoever was misled by opposite opinions, should hesitate and cease to belittle and deny Her the adornments of Her immaculate purity at the instant of Her heavenly Conception. Compelled by the force of truth and by the light, in which I see these ineffable mysteries, I proclaim over and over again, that (as far as revealed to me), the privileges, graces, prerogatives, favors and gifts of most Holy Mary, not excluding even that of Her being the Mother of God, all depend upon, have their origin, and are founded upon the fact, that She was Immaculate and Full of Grace in the moment of Her most pure Conception, hence all of them would appear ill-proportioned and deficient without this favor, like a sumptuous edifice without a solid and well-built foundation. All depend and are founded in a certain way upon the purity and innocence of Her Conception and on this account it was necessary to refer so often in the course of this history to this Mystery, especially when treating of the Divine decree, the formation of most Holy Mary, and the Incarnation of Her Most Holy Son. I will not enlarge on this; but I will give notice to all, that the Queen of Heaven so esteems the beauty and adornment given to Her by Her Son and Spouse in Her purest Con­ception, that She will be correspondingly incensed against those, who, with evil intention and obstinacy, try to despoil Her and debase Her in this point, while Her Most Holy Son had deigned to show Her to the world thus adorned and beautified for His glory and for the en­couragement of the mortals. The Evangelist proceeds:

254 "  And I heard a great Voice from the Throne say­ing: Behold the Tabernacle of God with men, and He shall dwell with them. And they shall be His people and God Himself with them shall be their God."   The Voice of the Most High is great and strong, sweet and efficacious to move and draw toward Him all creation. Such was the Voice which St. John heard proceeding from the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity and which caused him to pay perfect attention, in order to under­stand thoroughly the mystery which was then shown to him. He was privileged to see the dwelling of God among men and that He lived among them, that He was their God and they His people. All this was contained in the mysterious figure of most Holy Mary descending from heaven in the form I have described. Since this heavenly Tabernacle of God had now come to the earth, it followed, that God also dwelt among men for He lived and remained in this Tabernacle. It is as if the Evangel­ist had said: the King has taken possession and is hold­ing His court in the world and for no other reason than, that He might remain and dwell on earth. And in such manner, that from this Tabernacle He was to assume the human form, in which He was to be a Dweller among men. In it He was to be their God and them His people, as the inheritance of the Father and also for His Mother. We were the inheritance of the Father to His Son, not only because in Him were all things created and because all was given to Him through the eternal generation; but also because He redeemed us as Man clothed in our human nature, buying us as His people and as the inheritance of the Father and making us His brethren. For the same reason, namely, on account of His Human Nature, we are the legitimate inheritance of most Holy Mary, since She gave Him the form of human flesh by which He purchased us for Himself. She, being the Mother and the Spouse of the Blessed Trinity, was also the Queen of all creation, which She left as an inheritance of Her Only Begotten; for the hu­man laws, are founded on right reason and therefore need not be invalid in the divine order of things.

255 This Voice proceeded from the Royal Throne through an angel, who with a sort of holy envy seemed to me to say to the Evangelist: Behold and see the Tabernacle of God among men, and He shall live with them and they shall be His people; He will be their Brother and He will assume human form in this Tabernacle Mary, whom you see descending from heaven, by Her conception and for­mation. But we can answer with equal joy to these heavenly courtiers: indeed the Tabernacle of God is with us, for it is our Tabernacle, and in it God becomes our own; He will receive from it Life and Blood, Which He offers in purchase for us in order to make us His people. He shall live in us as in His dwelling and habitation, since receiving Him in the Holy Sacrament we are made His Tabernacle (John 6:57). Let those heavenly spirits be content to be our elder brothers, less in need than we. We are the frail little ones, who must be strengthened and regaled by our Father and Brother. Let Him come to the Tabernacle of His Mother and to us; let Him as­sume human form in Her virginal womb; let the Divinity be encompassed and live among us and in us. Let us hold Him in our midst, in order that He may be our God and we His people and His resting-place. Let the angelic spirits break forth in wonder and praise at such great marvels; but let us mortals enjoy Him, uniting with them in praise and love toward Him. The text con­tinues:

256 " And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and death shall be no more, nor crying, nor mourning, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away."   (Rev 21:4)  In consequence of the Re­demption, of which the Conception of most holy Mary has assured us, the tears, which sin has caused to flow from the eyes of mortals, shall be dried. Those who avail themselves of the Mercy of the Most High, of the Blood and merits of His Son, of His Mysteries and Sacraments, of the Treasures of His Church, of the intercession of His Mother, there is no more death, no sorrow, no tears, since the death of sin and all that re­sulted from sin is abolished and has ceased. The true mourning is now left to the sons of perdition that dwell in the abyss whence there is no deliverance. The sorrows of labor are not mourning, not a true sorrow, but only an apparent one, entirely compatible with the true and the highest kind of joy. For when accepted with submission, it is of inestimable value and the Son of God chose it as a loving pledge for Himself, His Mother, and His brethren.

257 Nor will there be heard any clamor, nor the voice of quarrel; for the just and the wise, following the example of their Master and of His most humble Mother, must learn to bear themselves with silence, like the artless lamb, when it is slaughtered as victim of the sacrifice (Is 53:7). They must renounce the right of our weak nature to vent itself in cries and to complain, see­ing that His Majesty, their Supreme Lord and model, was slaughtered on the frightful Cross in order to re­pair the damages wrought by our impatience and lack of confidence (Phil 2:8). Why should our human na­ture be permitted to complain of labor and trouble, in view of such an example? Or how can hateful distinc­tion and uncharitable sentiments be allowed among men, when Christ has come to establish the law of eternal charity? The Evangelist repeats: "  and sorrow shall be no more,"   for if any sorrows remained among men, they are those of a bad conscience; but as a remedy of this kind of sorrow, there is the sweet medicine of the In­carnation of the Word in the womb of the most holy Mary, so that now this sorrow is become acceptable and the cause of rejoicing, not any more meriting the name of sorrow and containing within itself the highest and the sincerest joy. With its introduction the first things have passed away, namely, the sorrows and the useless hardships of the ancient laws, which are now sweetened and assuaged by the abundance of grace in the New Law. Therefore he adds:"… Behold, I make all things new."   This Voice proceeded from the One, Who is seated on the Throne, because He declares Himself as the Artificer of all the Mysteries of the New Law of the Gospel. Since all this newness was to begin with such an unheard of and such an inconceivable event, as the Incarnation of the Only Begotten of the Father and the preservation of the virginity of His Mother, it was necessary, that, just as in all things, so in this Mother, there should be nothing old and worn-out. But original sin clearly is as old as visible nature, and if the Mother of the Incarnate Word were to be infected with it, He would not have made all things new.

258 And He said to me: "  Write, for these things are most faithful and true. And He said to me: "  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."  According to our way of speaking, God was deeply grieved, because the great works of love per­formed for us in the Incarnation and Redemption should be so much forgotten; and as a remembrance of these great benefits and as a satisfaction for our ingratitude He commands them to be written. Therefore men should write them in their hearts and should begin to dread the offense, which they commit against God by their gross and execrable forgetfulness. Although it is true, that Catholics believe and trust in these Mysteries, yet by the contempt, which they show in their lack of esteem for them and in their forgetfulness, they seem tacitly to repudiate them, living as if they did not believe them. Protesting against their foul ingratitude, the Lord says: "  For these things are most faithful and true."   Let the torpid and listless mortals in their sloth and listlessness understand, that these words are most faithful as well as most powerful to stir the human heart from its torpidity, as soon as they become fixed in the memory, pondered and revolved in the mind as the most certain truth. For God has made them true for each one of us.

259 But as God does not repent of His gifts (Rom 11:29) and does not retract the good which He confers, even if man makes himself unworthy, He says: "  It is done;"   as if He wanted to say to us, that although by our ingratitude we have offended Him, He will not turn back from His course of love, but having already sent into the world the most holy Mary free from original sin, all that pertains to the Incarnation is already an accomplished fact. Since the most pure Mary was now on earth it appeared impossible, that the Divine Word should remain in heaven and not come to earth in order to assume human flesh in the womb of the Virgin. And He assured us again saying: "  I am the Alpha and the Omega,"   the first and the last letter, the beginning and the end, including the perfection of all things; for if I give them a beginning, it is for the purpose of raising them to the perfection of their ultimate end. This I will do through Christ and Mary, commencing and perfect­ing in Them all the works of grace. In man I will raise and draw all creatures toward Me, as to their Last End and their Center, where they shall find repose.

260 "  To him who thirsts, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He who overcomes shall possess these things."  Who among creatures shall presume to give counsel to God (Rom. 11:34) or who shall give so much to Him as to oblige Him to make a return? So says the Apostle, wishing to make it understood, that all that God does or has done for men, was of His free grace, and not through obligation toward anyone. The source of a fountain owes nothing to him that drinks from its stream; freely and gratuitously it flows for all that approach; and that all do not partake of its blessings is not the fault of the fountain, but of those that do not approach, for it invites all to partake of its joyful abundance. And if they do not seek it, it issues itself to seek such as will partake, flowing on without ceasing, in order that freely and without reward it might offer itself to all. O most reprehensible dull­ness of mortals! O most abominable ingratitude! If the true Lord is in no way obliged to us, and if He has given and gives all out of liberality, and if He has even ex­ceeded all His graces and benefits by becoming Man and dying for us, thus giving Himself to us entirely and letting flow the stream of His Divinity until it meets our human nature and unites Itself with us, how is it pos­sible, that we, being so desirous of honor, glory and de­light, do not hasten to drink from this freely flowing fountain (Is 55:1)? But well I see the cause. We do not thirst for the true glory, honor and happiness, but we seek only for the apparent and deceitful ones, despising the fountains of grace, which Jesus Christ has opened for us by the merits of His Death (Is 12:3). But to those that have thirst after the Divinity and its graces, the Lord promises, that He will give freely of the fountain of life (Jer 2:13). O what a great sor­row and pity it is, that having discovered the fountain of life, so few are thirsting for it, and that there are so many, who run after the waters of death! Those that conquer the devil, the world, and their own flesh within themselves, will certainly possess these things. And it is moreover said, that He offers them, for it might be doubtful, lest the waters of grace might at some time be denied or withdrawn: therefore in order to assure us, they are offered freely for our possession without limit or restriction.

261 Over and above, the Lord hastens to certify all this by another assurance, saying: "  I shall be his God and he shall be My son"   (Rev 21:7), and if He is to us a God, and we are to Him as sons, it is clear, that we are made to be sons of God, and being sons, also heirs of all His goods (Rom. 8:17) and being heirs (although all our heirship is that of grace) we are made secure of our inheritance, just as children are secure in the inheritance of the possession of their parents. As He is Father and God at the same time, infinite in His attributes and per­fections, who can estimate the goods, which He offers to us in making us sons? Therein is included the paternal love, our preservation, our vocation, our enlivenment and justification, all the means thereto, and finally our glorification and the state of happiness, which neither eyes have seen, nor ears have heard, nor ever has en­tered into the heart of man. All this is destined for those that conquer and have shown themselves true and courageous children.

262 "  But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sor­cerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."   On this formidable roster innumerable sons of perdition have written their names of their own accord, since infinite is the number of the foolish, who blindly have chosen death, blocking up for themselves the path of life. For this path is not hidden to those who use their eyes, but only to those who wil­lfully close their eyes and who have allowed and are al­lowing themselves to be fascinated and deceived by the fraudulent tricks of satan. According to the different inclinations and tastes he proffers them the poisonous cup of vice, after which they seek. " The fearful"  are those, who continually hesitate, and thus fail to taste of the manna of virtue and never enter into the pathway of Eternal Life; to whom virtue appears insipid and burdensome, though the yoke of the Lord is sweet and His burden is light (Matt 11:30); deceived by this fear they are overcome by their cowardice rather than by the difficulties. Those other ones, the unbelievers, neither admit that truths are revealed, nor give belief to them, like the heretics, pagans and infi­dels; or if they do believe them, like the Catholics, it seems as if they heard them from afar and only through the faith of others, not giving full assent to the evident truth contained therein. Thus they hold but a lifeless belief and they live like unbelievers.

263 " The abominable,"  are those who follow vice without distinction, without repentance or limit, and rather boast of their wickedness and contempt, making themselves hateful to God and drawing down His Wrath and Curse. Thus they arrive at a state of rebellion and become incapable of good works. They draw away from the path of Eternal Life, as if they were not created for it, they separate and become estranged from God and His Benefits and Blessings, objects of disgust to God and His saints. Likewise are mentioned "  the murderers,"  who, without fear or reverence for Divine Justice, usurp the right of the Supreme Lord, the sole Ruler of the universe, and presume to chastise and avenge injury; these deserve to be treated and judged according to the same measure, which they use in treating and judging others (Lk 6:38). "  The adulterers"  are excluded from that kingdom, since, for a short and impure pleasure, which is abhorred as soon as it is attained, and yet in its disorder is never satiated, they despise the friend­ship of God and the eternal joys, which on being tasted are the more sought and are an unfailing fountain of undiminished delight. The "  sorcerers"  likewise, who believe and testify to the false promises of the dragon, hidden under the cloak of friendship; they are deceived themselves and so perverted that they deceive and per­vert others. "  The idolaters"  cannot enter heaven for they seek after and feel the Presence of the Divinity and do not find it, though He is in all our surroundings (Act 17:27). They ascribe divinity to the works of their own hands, which are only inanimate shadows of the truth and empty cisterns, totally unsuitable to suggest an idea of the grandeur of the true God (Jer 2:13). " The liars"  also, who standing in opposition to the Highest Truth, Which is God, are deprived of His rectitude and virtue, occupying the opposite extreme, confiding more in fraudulent deceits than in the Author of truth and of all good.

264 Of all these the Evangelist says he heard the sentence, "  Their portion shall be in the pool of the fire burning with sulfur, which is the second death.” 

Nobody can complain of Divine Justice and equity since He has justified His cause by the greatness of His Benefits and numberless Mercies. He descended from heaven to live and die among men and rescue them by His own Life-Blood. He opened up vast foundations of grace, which are freely offered to us in the Holy Church. In addition to all this He gave us His Mother and the fountain of Her most holy life, through which we may attain it. Therefore, mortals cannot excuse themselves, if in spite of all these gifts, they have not made use of His grace, and if they have abandoned the inheritance of Eternal Life in the pursuit of momentary delights of their mortal life. No wonder that they harvest that which they have sown, and that their portion shall be in the awesome abyss of burning brimstone from where there is no redemption nor hope of life, when once the second death of punishment has overtaken them.

Although this second death is infinite in its duration, yet more wicked and abominable was the first death of their sin, into which they voluntarily precipitated themselves. For the death of grace caused by sin is opposed to the in­finite sanctity and goodness of God; it offends Him, Who is to be reverenced and adored. The death of infernal pains is the just punishment of these damnable souls and is the equitable retribution of His most unerring justice. Thereby this justice is exalted and proclaimed in the same measure in which it was outraged and despised by sin. Let it through all the ages be feared and adored. Amen.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 18
SEQUEL OF THE MYSTERY OF THE CONCEPTION OF HOLY MARY AS DESCRIBED IN REVELATION 21:9-21 

265 Revelation  21:9-21 is as follows: "  And there came one of the 7 angels, who had the vials full of the 7 last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.  And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the Holy City Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God, Having the glory of God; and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper-stone, even as crystal. And it had a great wall and high, having 12 gates; and in the gates 12 angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel, on the east, 3 gates; and on the north, 3 gates; and on the south, 3 gates; and on the west, 3 gates.  And the wall of the city had 12 founda­tions, and in them, the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.  And he who spoke with me had a measure of reed, of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall; And the city lies in a four-square, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth; and he measured the city with the golden reed for 12,000 stadia, and the length and the height and the breadth thereof are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, 144 cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel. And the buildings of the wall thereof was of jasper-stone; but the city itself pure gold, like to pure glass."

266 The angels of which the Evangelist speaks in this place, are 7 of those who attend in a special manner at the Throne of God and who have received commission and power to punish some of the sins of men. This Vengeance of the Wrath of the Omnipotent (Rev 15:1) will happen in the last ages of the world; but it shall be a new punishment, greater than which neither before nor after is possible during mortal existence. But since these Mysteries are deeply hidden and since not all have been revealed to me, nor concern this history, I do not consider it proper to expatiate upon them, but I will pass on to what more closely concerns my task. This angel, of whom St. John speaks, is the one through whom God will avenge with an especial and dreadful chastisement the injuries committed against His most Holy Mother; for the insane daring, with which they have despised Her, has roused the Indignation of His Omnipotence. As the Most Holy Trinity has pledged Itself to honor and exalt this Queen of Heaven above all human creatures and above the angels, placing Her in this world as a Mirror of the Divinity and as the special Mediatrix of mortals, God has taken it in a particular manner upon Himself to avenge the heresies, errors, outrages, and all injuries committed against Her, since thereby men have not glorified, acknowledged and adored Him in this Tabernacle and have not made use of this Incomparable Mercy. These punishments are prophesied to the Holy Church. Although the mysterious words of the Revelation enshroud in obscurity the rigor of this punishment, yet woe to the unhappy ones, that shall be overtaken by it! Woe to me, who has offended a God so strong and powerful to chastise! I am over­whelmed in the expectation of the great calamity here threatened.

267 The angel spoke to the Evangelist saying: "  Come, and I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb,"   etc. The angel declares in this passage, that the Holy City of Jerusalem, which he showed to him, is the espoused Wife of the Lamb, referring by this metaphor (as I have already said No. 248) to the most Holy Mary, whom St. John saw both as a Mother, or Woman, and as a Spouse of the Lamb, that is Christ. The Queen held and fulfilled in Heavenly manner both offices. She was the Spouse of the Divinity, the only One (Song 6:8) and incomparable on account of the unequalled faith and love, with which the espousals were entered into and accomplished; and She was the Mother of the Lord Incarnate, giving Him His mortal substance and flesh, nourishing and sustaining Him in His existence as man, which He derived from Her. In order to see and under­stand such high Mysteries the Evangelist was exalted in spirit to a great height of sanctity and light; for without going out of himself and being raised above human weakness, he could not understand them; just as we, imperfect, earthly and abject creatures, cannot encom­pass them for the same reason. Then elevated thus high, he says: "  He showed me the Holy City of Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven,"  for Mary was built up and formed, not on earth, where She was like a pilgrim and a stranger, but in heaven, where the common, earthly material was excluded. For though the material of Her being was taken from the earth, it was at the same time so elevated in heavenly perfection as to be fit for the building up of that Mystical City in a celestial and angelic manner, effulgent with the Divinity.

268 Therefore he adds: "Having the Glory of God," for the most holy soul of Mary was favored with such a participation of the Divinity and of its attributes and per­fections, that if it were possible to see Her in Her own essence, She would appear as if illumined with the eternal splendor of God Himself. Great and (Ps 87:3) glorious things are said in the Catholic Church of this City of God, and of the splendor, which She has received from the Lord; but all of it is insignificant, and all human words fall short of the truth. The created intellect, entirely overcome, can but assert, that the most Holy Mary partakes of the Divinity more than can be comprehended; confessing thereby the substance of the reality as well as the incapability of the mind to express in a proper manner, that which it wishes to confess. She is formed in the heavens, and only the Artificer Who formed Her, is able to comprehend Her greatness, He alone can estimate Her origin and the affinity, which He contracted with most holy Mary, by perfecting Her gifts to a resemblance of the attributes of His infinite greatness and Divinity.

269 "  And the light thereof was like to a precious stone, the jasper-stone, even as crystal,"   etc. It is not so difficult to understand how She can be similar at the same time to 2 such dissimilar stones as crystal and jasper, as it is to understand how She can be similar to God. But from this comparison we derive a certain un­derstanding of similarity to God. The jasper sparkles and glitters in colors of many different shades, while the crystal is characterized by limpid and uniform transpar­ency; both combined form a rare and beautiful variety. The most pure Mary, in Her formation, was endowed with the variety of virtues and perfections, which the Hand of God Itself selected and interwove in Her soul. These graces and perfections made Her soul like unto a most pure crystal, without blemish or stain of guilt; in Her purity and transparency it scattered the enrapturing rays of the Divinity, just as the crystal meeting the sun, seems to absorb and again send forth its rays as if it were itself the sun. Nevertheless this crystal-jasper sparkles also in many-colored hues because She is a Daughter of Adam and a mere creature, and all the splendors of the Divinity contained within Her are only a participation. Although it appears to be a Divine light, it is not a part of Her nature, but communicated and conferred by Grace. She is truly a creature formed and shaped by the Hand of God Himself, but in a manner befitting one who was to be His Mother.

270 "  And it had a great wall and high, having 12 gates."  The Mysteries enclosed in the walls and por­tals of this Mystical City, most Holy Mary, are so hidden and great that I, an ignorant and obscure woman, can with difficulty reduce to words that which was shown to me. However, in order to proceed: At the first mo­ment of the Conception of the most Holy Mary, when the Divinity manifested Itself to Her in the vision above referred to (No. 228-236), the whole Blessed Trinity, as if renewing the ancient decrees of Her creation and exaltation, made a kind of agreement or contract with this Lady, without however making it fully known to Her. It was as if the 3 Divine Persons conferred among Themselves and spoke to each other in the fol­lowing manner:

271 "It is befitting to the dignity of Our Bride and the Mother of the Word, that She be constituted the Queen of all creation. Besides the gifts and riches of the Divinity, which We give and confer upon Her for Her own sake, it is meet that She exercise the right of distributing the Treasures of Our Mercy, so that She may communicate according to Her pleasure the graces and favors necessary to mortals, especially to those who invoke Her as Her children and clients, thus enriching the needy, freeing the sinners, elevating the righteous and affording a universal refuge to all men. And in order that all creatures may recognize Her as their Queen and Mother, and as the Treasurer of Our Infinite Bounties, from where they are to be distributed, We entrust Her with the keys of Our Will and Heart; She shall be in all things the executor of Our pleasure to­wards creatures. Above all We shall give to Her dominion and power over the dragon, Our enemy, and over all his allied demons. Let them fear Her presence and Her name and in it, let their deceits be crushed and anni­hilated. Let all who flee to this City of Refuge, find in it a sure and certain protection, free from the dread of devils and their snares."

272 Without revealing to the soul of the most Holy Mary all that is contained in this decree or proposal, the Lord directed Her in that first instant to pray with great love, to intercede for all souls, and to solicit and procure for them eternal life, especially for those, who in the course of their lives should commend themselves to Her care. The Blessed Trinity made known to Her that before His most just tribunal nothing would ever be de­nied to Her; that She should command the devil and that She should have power, by virtue of Her commands, to keep him away from souls, since She would have at Her disposal the Arm of the Almighty. But the reason of this favor was not made known to Her, nor the reason for all Her other gifts, and this reason was no other than that She was to be the Mother of the Word. In saying that this City was surrounded by a great and high wall St. John refers to this God given prerogative of His Mother, that She was to be the secret refuge, pro­tection and defense of all men, wherein they would find all the security of a City of Refuge and of a strong for­tress against their enemies. To this powerful Queen and Mother of all creation and to this dispenser of all the Treasures of Heavenly Grace, all the sons of Adam were to flee. He says that the walls are very high, for the power of the most pure Mary to overcome the devil and to raise souls to grace is so great that it is in­ferior only to that of God Himself. So well armed for all this and so well defended and secure for Herself and for all those, who seek Her protection, is this City, that not all the forces created by God outside of Her can overthrow or surmount its walls.

273 "  Having 12 gates,"   for the entrance into this Holy City is free to all nations and generations excluding none, but inviting all; so that no one shall be deprived of the mediation of this Queen of Mercy for obtaining the gifts and graces, nor the eternal glory of the Most High. In the gates were 12 angels. These 12 princes are those mentioned above as being among the ones selected as the guardians of the Mother of the Incar­nate Word. The service of these 12 angels, besides attending to their Queen, was to assist especially and to defend those souls who devoutly call on Mary, our Queen, for help, and who distinguish themselves in their devotion, veneration and love for Her. Therefore the Evangelist says that he saw them in the gates of that City; they are the ministers and as it were, the servants, who are to help, encourage and accompany mortals in entering into the portals of piety, opened by the most Holy Mary to eternal happiness. Many times does She send them with inspirations and favors in order to snatch those from the dangers of body and soul, who invoke Her and are Her devout servants.

274 He continues: "  And names written thereon, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel;"   for the angels receive their names according to the ministry and service, for which they are sent to the earth. And because these 12 princes are espe­cially attached to the service of the Queen of heaven in order that they may assist in the salvation of men, and because all the elect are included with the 12 tribes of Israel, forming the holy people, of God: therefore the Evangelist says that the angels bear the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. To each one of the 12 tribes one of these angels is assigned. Under their charge and protection are all those that from every nation and gen­eration enter through the portals of the intercession of most Holy Mary into the celestial Jerusalem.

275 Wondering at this exaltation of the most pure Mary and that She should be the Mediatrix and the por­tal of all the predestined, I was given to understand that this prerogative befits Her, who as Mother of Christ was to do such great things for men conjointly with Her Most Holy Son. For She furnished Him from Her own purest blood and substance with a Body, in Which He suffered and redeemed men. On account of Her close connection with His Flesh and Blood, She in a manner died and suffered in Christ, freely of Her own will ac­companying Him in His Passion and Death, suffering with Him according to Her power with heavenly humility and fortitude. Thus, as She cooperated in His Pas­sion and offered Herself as a victim for the human race, so the Lord made Her a participant in His dignity of Redeemer and placed Her in charge of the merits and fruits of the Redemption, to be distributed by Her own hand and communicated to the redeemed. O ad­mirable Treasurer of God! How secure are in Your heav­enly and bountiful hands the riches of the Omnipotent! Hence this City "  had 3 gates on the east, 3 gates on the north, 3 gates on the south, and 3 gates on the west,"   etc. The 3 gates, corresponding to each of the 4 quarters of the world, invite all mortals to draw near to Him, Who is the Creator of all, namely, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of the 3 Persons, desires and ordains, that most Holy Mary should be in possession of the gates for soliciting the Divine treasures for mortals. Although there is but one God in 3 Persons, each One for Himself con­cedes free entrance and admission to this most pure Queen, in order that before the Tribunal of the Immu­table and Triune Being She may intercede, solicit and re­ceive gifts and graces for those who seek Her and honor Her in the world. Therefore as there are not one, but 3 portals in every direction, no one any­where in the universe and of any nation and tribe shall have an excuse. The entrance into free and open city gates is so easy, that if anyone fails to enter, it is not because the gates prevent him, but because he himself tarries and does not wish to seek safety. What then shall infidels, heretics and pagans say and what excuse have bad Christians and obstinate sinners? If the Treasures of Heaven are in the hands of our Mother and Lady, if She continues to call us and solicit us through Her angels, if She opens not one but many gates to heaven, how is it that there are so many who remain outside and so few who enter through them?

276 " And the walls of the city had 12 foundations, and in them the 12 names of the apostles of the Lamb."   The strong and unshakable foundations, upon which God built up the Holy City of Mary His Mother, are Her virtues, as governed and proportioned in Her by the Holy Spirit. He enumerated 12, corresponding with the names of the Apostles, in order to show that it is founded upon the surpassing sanctity of the Apostles, who are the leaders among the saints. For according to the saying of David, the foundations of the City of God are placed upon the holy mountains, and also inversely, the sanctity and wisdom of Mary grounded and confirmed the Apostles after the Death and Ascen­sion of Christ. She was always their In­structor and model and the chief support of the primitive Church. Now, because She was destined and endowed for this office by the corresponding virtues and gifts from the moment of Her Immaculate Conception, therefore they are called the 12 foundations of this City of God.

277"  And he who spoke with me had a measure of reed, of gold, and he measured the city with the golden reed for 12,000 stadia."   etc. By these meas­urements the Evangelist alludes to the great Mysteries of the dignity, graces and gifts and merits contained in the Mother of God. Although the measurements of the dig­nity and benefits, which the Almighty conferred upon Her, were exceedingly great, yet they were within possibility and they were also well proportioned. " And the length thereof is as great as the breadth."  From all sides She is equally well formed, without a sign of de­ficiency, inequality or disproportion. I do not expatiate thereon, but refer to what I will say about this in the course of this history of Her life. But I desire to men­tion that the measure of the dignity, the merits and graces of most Holy Mary, was none other than the Hu­manity of Her Most Blessed Son, united to the Divine Word.

278 The Evangelist calls the Humanity of Christ a reed because He assumed the frailty of our weak and carnal nature, and of gold, on account of His Divinity. In accordance with the dignity of the true God-Man, Christ, and correspondingly with the gifts and merits of the Incarnate God, was also His most Holy Mother measured. He measured Her with Himself, and She, being thus proportioned, seemed in Her office as Mother, exalted to a dignity corresponding to His. In the length of Her gifts and graces, and in the breadth of Her merits, in all things She seemed well proportioned without defect. She could not be equal absolutely to Her Most Holy Son with an equality which the learned call mathematical; for Christ our Lord was true God and Man, whereas She was a mere creature and thus the measure exceeded infinitely that which was measured by it; yet the most pure Mary was adjusted according to a certain equality of proportion to Her Divine Son. Just as there was lacking in Him nothing that corresponds and belongs to His dignity as the true Son of God, so nothing was lacking, nor was there any defect in that, which was due to Her as true Mother of God, in such a manner that to Her as Mother of God, and to Christ as Son of God, were conceded equal proportions of dignity, graces, gifts and merits. There was no created grace in Christ, which was not held in its proportion also by His most pure Mother.

279 The Evangelist says: "  And he measured the city with the golden reed for 12,000 stadia."   This measure of stadia and the number 12,000 with which the heavenly Queen at Her Conception was measured, indicate most exalted mysteries. The Evangelist calls the perfect measure, by which are meas­ured the high sanctity of the predestined, stadia, thereby referring to the graces and gifts, which God in His eternal foreknowledge decreed to communicate through the Incarnate Son, adjusting and pre-ordaining these gifts with infinite equity and mercy. By these stadia then are measured all the saints and the heights of their virtues and merits. Most unhappy will he be who does not come up to this measure and who cannot be measured by it when the Lord shall measure him. The number 12,000 is used in order to include all the rest of the elect and the predestined, headed in their thousands by the 12 Apostles, the princes of the Catholic Church. In the same way they are mentioned in Revelation 7 under the leadership of the 12 tribes of Israel. For all the elect must submit to the teaching of the Apostles of the Lamb, as I have already said above (No. 273).

280 From all this can be estimated the greatness of that City of God, the most holy Mary. For if we as­sume that the stadium which the Evangelist mentions measures at least 125 steps, then a city that extends 12,000 stadia on each of its 4 sides and in its height, must appear of huge dimensions. The measurement and number of stadia of all the predes­tined taken together was found to be equal to that of our Blessed Lady, the most holy Mary, and their length, breadth and height was not greater than hers. For She that was to be the Mother of God Himself and the Queen of all creatures, was equal to them joined in one mighty host. In Her alone was contained more than in all the rest of creation.

281 "And he measured the wall thereof 144 cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel." This measure of the walls of the City of God, was not of their length, but of their height. For if the length and the width of the city were 12,000 stadia, making a perfect square, it was certainly necessary that the walls should extend still farther on the outside in order to encompass the city. The measure of 144 cubits was certainly too short for a city of that extent; but that measurement would very well fit the height of the walls and would be well adapted for the security and defense of those dwelling therein. This measurement of their height indicates the security of all the gifts and graces, which the Almighty conferred on most Holy Mary as befitting Her dignity and sanctity. In order to make this more plain, it is said that the height was 144 cubits, an unequal number, referring to 3 walls: a high one, a medium sized and a small one, and corresponding to the activity of the Queen of heaven in great, in more ordinary and insignificant things. Not that in Her there was anything insignificant, but because the object matter of Her actions was of different kinds, and so were also Her actions themselves. Some were miraculous and supernatural, others belonged to the sphere of the moral virtues, and these latter again were either interior or exterior. All of them She performed with such a plenitude of perfec­tion that She omitted not the unimportant obligations on account of the important ones, nor did the latter suffer on account of Her exactitude in the former. She fulfilled them all with such an exalted holiness, and with such full approbation of the Lord that She was measured with the standard of Her Most Holy Son, as well in the natural as in the supernatural sphere of Her life. It was the measure of the God Man Himself, the Angel of the great council, excelling all men and angels. With Him She, as His Mother, was exalted above them in propor­tion to Her dignity. The Evangelist continues and says:

282 "  And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper-stone."   The walls of a city most conspicuously strike and engage the eyes of the beholder. The variety of colors and hues that distinguish the jasper-stone here mentioned as composing the walls of Mary, the City of God, bespeak the ineffable humility with which all the excellences and graces of the great Queen were clothed and permeated. For although She was the worthy Mother of Her Creator, exempt from all stain of sin and imperfection, She exhibits Herself to the view of mor­tals as dependent upon and as it were tinted with the shades of the ordinary laws, to which the daughters of Adam are subject; for She subjected Herself to the pen­alties and necessities of our common life, as I shall de­scribe later on. Nevertheless this wall of jasper, though apparently displaying these color-tints of the rest of womankind, was to serve as an invincible defense of the city. Inside, as the Evangelist says, the city was of "pure gold, like to most pure and flawless glass," for neither in the formation of the most Holy Mary, nor afterwards, during Her most innocent life, did She ever admit any stain, which could obscure Her crystalline clearness. For just as any stain or blemish, even if only the size of an atom, finding its way into glass during its formation will never disappear so as to leave no visible trace and will always interfere with its transparency and purity; so, if the most pure Mary had contracted in Her Conception the blemish or stain of original sin, it would always be discernible and forever degrade and prevent Her crystalline purity and transparency. Neither would She be pure gold, since Her sanctity and gifts would con­tain the defect of original sin, lessening its fineness by many carats; hence, this City was "  gold, like the purest glass."   because She was most pure and like the Divinity. 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 19
REVELATION 21:19-27 IN AS FAR AS IT DESCRIBES 
THE CONCEPTION OF THE MOST HOLY MARY

283 The text of Revelation 21:19-27 is as follows: " And the foundations and the wall were adorned by all manner of precious stones. The 1st foundation was jasper; the 2nd, sapphire; the 3rd, chalcedony; the 4th, an emerald; The 5th, sardonyx, the 6th, sardius; the 7th, chrysolite; the 8th, beryl; the 9th, topaz ; the 10th, chrysoprasus; the 11th, hyacinth; the 12th, amethyst.  And the 12 gates are 12 pearls, one to each; and every special gate was of one pearl; and the street of the City was of pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no Temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the Temple thereof, and the Lamb. And the City had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it; for the Glory of God has enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. And the nations shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day; for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that works abomination or makes a lie, but they that are written in the Book of Life of the Lamb."  So far, this is the text of  Revelation 21, which was explained to me.

284 The Almighty having chosen the Holy City of Mary for His habitation, and She being of all things out­side of God the most fit and appropriate, it was not im­proper that, from the treasures of His Divinity and from the merits of His Most Holy Son, He should adorn the foundations of this city's wall with all manner of precious stones. The fortitude and strength of Mary, typified by the walls, the beauty and excellence of Her sanctity and graces, symbolized by the precious stones, Her wonderful Conception, suggested by the foundations, were all well proportioned by God in regard to each other and in regard to the exalted end, for which this City was founded, namely, that God should live within it by His love and that from the virginal womb of Mary, He might accept His human nature. All this, the Evan­gelist describes just as he sees it in the most Holy Mary. For on account of the dignity, sanctity and stability which were required in Her as a dwelling-place and as a stronghold of God, it was befitting that the foundation walls of this City, which prefigure the beginnings of Her Immaculate Conception, should be built of such emi­nently precious stones or virtues that none more rich or precious could ever be found.

285 The first foundation, or stone, he says, was jasper, whose variegated tints and durability indicate the constancy and fortitude, which from the moment of Her Conception was infused into this great Lady in order that during the course of Her life She might con­tinue to exercise all the virtues with invincible magnanimity and constancy. The virtues and habits, conceded and infused into the most Holy Mary at Her Conception and typified by these precious stones, at the same time are connected with special privileges, and I will as far as possible, explain them, in order that the full Mystery of these 12 foundations may become known. This gift of strength included a special superiority and sov­ereignty for repressing, subduing and vanquishing the ancient serpent, and for inspiring all the demons with an inexpressible terror. On that account they flee from Her and fear Her from afar, being filled with trembling at Her mere presence. They cannot come near the most Holy Mary without excruciating pain. So liberal was Divine Providence with Her Majesty that She was not only exempt from the common laws of the children of Adam, but also freed from original guilt as well as from subjection to the devil contracted thereby. Setting Her apart from these evils, He at the same time endowed Her with sovereign power over the devil, which all men have lost together with their innocence. More than that, as Mother of the Son of the Eternal Father (Whom She bore in Her womb for the very purpose of putting an end to the evil power of the enemies) She was invested with actual authority which emanated from God Himself and in virtue of which this most exalted Queen subdued the demons and sent them repeatedly to the in­fernal dungeons, as I will relate farther on.

286 The 2nd, Sapphire. This stone imitates the color of the clear and serene firmament and shows a scat­tering of gold spots or atoms. Its color typifies the serenity and tranquility of the gifts and graces of the most Holy Mary, enabling Her to enjoy an unchanging, heavenly and serene peace, free from any cloud of disorder and illumined from the moment of Her Concep­tion with visions of the Divinity. By the likeness of Her virtues to the Divine attributes and by Her participation in them, especially in their unchangeableness, She made Herself worthy to see God. Many times during Her pilgrimage through life was She favored with unveiled and clear vision of God, as will be described. In virtue of this singular privilege the Almighty endowed Her with the power of communicating tranquility and peace of spirit to those, who will ask for Her intercession. Therefore let all the faithful, who are agitated and stirred up by the tormenting anxiety of their vices, pray to Her, that so they may obtain from Her this gift of peace.

287 The 3rd, a chalcedony. This stone takes its name from the country where it is found. It is of the color of the ruby and in the night, resplendent as a beacon light. The hidden signification, of this stone, points to the holiness and power of the name of Mary. For She took Her name from that part of the world, where She first came into being, calling herself a daughter of Adam, and Her name, by the mere change of the accent signifies in Latin the collective oceans, for She was the ocean of the graces and gifts of the Divinity. She came into the world in Her Immaculate Conception, submerging and inundating it with these gifts, sweeping off the malice of sin and its effects, illuminating the darkness of the abyss with the light of Her spirit and the brightness of Her heavenly wisdom. This foundation stone signifies that the Most High conceded to Her most holy name the power to disperse the clouds of infidelity spread over the earth, and to destroy the errors of heresy, of paganism, idolatry and all uncertainty in matters of the Catholic faith. If unbelievers would turn toward this light by invoking Mary's name, it is certain that their understanding would quickly expel the darkness, their errors would be drowned as in a sea in virtue of the power conceded to Her from on high.

288 The 4th, an emerald, the color of which is a pleasant green, delighting the sight without fatigue. It mysteriously typifies the graces of the most Holy Mary in Her Conception for, being most amiable and gracious in the Eyes of God and His creatures. She preserved in Herself, without the least offense against His Name and memory, all the verdure and strength of the holiness, virtues and gifts then conferred upon Her. According­ly the Most High granted Her the privilege of insuring a like stability to Her devout followers, obtaining for them perseverance and fidelity in the friendship of God and in the practice of virtue.

289 The 5th, sardonyx. This stone is transpar­ent, though favoring the flesh-color and usually containing different tints; dark below, whitish in the center, and nacreous or like mother-of-pearl above, a most graceful variety of color. The mysterious signification of this stone pointed to the close relation between the Mother and the Son, Whom She was to bring forth. The dark color points to the inferior and terrestrial portion of the body of Mary, which was obscured by mortification and la­bors during Her stay on earth. It also represents the Humanity of Her Son, obscured by taking upon Himself our guilt. The white typifies the purity of the soul of Mary, the Virgin, and of Christ, our highest good. The carnation bespeaks in Him the Hypostatical Union of His Humanity and Divinity, and in Mary Her participation in the love of Her Most Holy Son, and Her communication in all the splendors of the Divinity. In virtue of this foundation stone the great Queen of Heaven enjoys the power of interceding and obtaining for Her clients the efficacious application of the superabundant merits of the Incarnation and Redemption, including also a special devotion toward the Mysteries and the Life of Christ our Lord through His merits.

290 The 6th, sardius. This stone is transparent, and because it at the same time flashes like the clear flame of a fire, it is the symbol of the flame of Divine love, which incessantly burns in the Queen of Heaven, for there is neither cessation nor diminution of that conflagration of love in Her heart. From the very moment of Her Conception, which was the time and place of its be­ginning, it continued to grow, and now, having reached that highest state of exaltation, which ever can fall to the lot of a creature, it burns and shall burn still bright­er through all the eternities. This includes Her privilege of distributing the influence, the love and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who ask in Her name.

291  The 7th, chrysolite. This stone resembles in its color gold refulgent with flaming fire; and this latter is more apt to show itself by night than by day. It symbolized the ardent love that Mary entertains for the Church militant, its ministers, and for the Law of Grace in particular. This love shone forth more especial­ly during the night of the Death of Her Most Holy Son, also during the time, when in the beginnings of the Evan­gelical Law, She held the office of teacher and when She prayed so ardently for the establishment of the Church and its Sacraments. In those times, as will be said in its place, She cooperated by Her most burning love toward the salvation of the whole human race. She alone knew and appreciated the value of the Most Holy Law of Her Son. With this love She was prepared and endowed from the moment of Her Conception in order to be the Coadjutor of Christ our Lord. This includes the pre­rogative of being able to obtain for those that invoke Her, the grace of a good disposition toward the fruit­ful reception of the Sacraments of the Holy Church and of clearing away obstacles that prevent their full effects.

292 The 8th, beryl. This stone is of a green and yellow color; but the green predominates, having a great resemblance to olive and being of resplendent brilliancy. It represents the singular faith and hope given to Mary in Her Conception, enabling Her to understand and execute arduous and sublime works, such as She in reality accomplished for the glory of Her Creator. In virtue of this gift of unfailing assistance of the Lord, was conferred upon Her the power to endow Her ser­vants with fortitude and patience in the tribulations and difficulties of their undertakings.

293 The 9th, topaz.   This stone is transparent and of a mulberry color, much prized and esteemed. It represents the most honorable virginity of Mary, our Queen, and Her role as Mother in regard to the Incarnate Word; moreover during Her whole life She held these 2 pre­rogatives as of inestimable value and worthy of the most humble thanks. At the instant of Her Conception She asked the Most High for the virtue of chastity and She promised the observance of it during the rest of Her earthly life. She was aware that it was conceded to Her in a degree far above Her vows and desires. Not only that, but She knew that the Lord had made Her the Teacher and the Guide of all the virgins and lovers of chastity, and that through Her in­tercession, She could obtain these virtues and perse­verance in them for all Her devotees.

294 The 10th, chrysoprase, the color of which is green with touches of gold. It signified the firmest hope planted in the heart of Holy Mary at Her Conception, and the love with which it was impreg­nated and embellished. Hope lived inextinguishably in the heart of our Queen, as was befitting for Her who was to communicate similar quality to the rest of man­kind. The firmness of Her confidence was founded in the stability of Her high and generous nature during all the labors and exercises of Her most holy life, and especially in the Passion and Death of Her Most Holy Son. At the same time with this virtue the power of efficacious medi­ation was given Her, so that She might obtain the same firmness of hope for Her clients.

295 The 11th, hyacinth, is of an exquis­ite violet color. In this foundation stone is disclosed the love of Mary for the Redemption of the human race. This love was infused into Her at Her Conception and was applied to Her in view of the merits of the Death of the Redeemer, Her Divine Son. As the whole remedy of guilt and the justification of all the souls was to take its rise from the Redemption, this love of the great Queen for the Redemption from that first instant, earned Her the power of demanding that no sinner, how great and abominable whatsoever he might be, should be excluded from the fruit of the Redemption and justification, nor fail to attain Eternal Life if he invoked the intercession of this powerful Lady and Advocate.

296 The 12th, amethyst, is of a refulgent violet color. The mystery of this stone or foundation corresponds in part with that of the first. It imports a kind of inherent power conceded to Holy Mary from the moment of Her Conception against the entire devil­ish host, so that the demons, without any command or action on Her part, feel a distressing and torturing force proceeding from Her, as soon as they wish to approach Her presence. It was given to Her as a reward of Her incomparable zeal in exalting and defending the glory and honor of God. Hence the mere sound of Her sweetest name is sufficient to expel from the bodies of men the malignant spirits. For Her holy name is so powerful that at the mere intimation of it, they are overcome and de­prived of strength. These are in short the mysteries of the foundations upon which God built the Holy City of Mary. But they point to many other mysteries and favors received by Her, and in so far as the Lord will give me light and strength, I will manifest them in the farther course of this history.

297 The Evangelist proceeds and says: " And the 12 gates are 12 pearls, one to each; and every gate was of one pearl."   The great number of gates of this Mystical City signify that through Holy Mary and through Her ineffable dignity and merits, the entrance to life everlasting was to be just as easy as it is free. It was in a manner due and befitting to the excellence of this exalted Queen, that in Her and through Her the Infinite Mercy of the Most High should magnify Itself by opening all the many ways of com­munication with the Divinity, and that all mortals, if they wished to make use of Her merits and powerful in­tercession, should enter into participation of the Divin­ity. The priceless value, magnificence, beauty and fair­ness of these 12 gates, constructed of pearls, imply the greatness of the dignity and grace of this Empress of Heaven, and the sweetness of Her delightful name, which draws mortals toward God. Holy Mary knew that the Lord had bestowed upon Her the prerogative of being the special Mediatrix of the human race and the Dispenser of the Treasures of the Divinity for Her Son; and therefore the prudent and most diligent Mother and Queen exerted Herself to make the merits and dignity of Her works so precious and excellent that they are the astonishment of the blessed in heaven. Thus the gates of that city were indeed precious pearls in the Sight of the Lord and of men.

298 Accordingly it is said: "  And the square of the city was of pure gold, as it were transparent glass"  (21:21). The piazza or square of that City of God, most Holy Mary, is its interior or Her soul. Here, as in a square or mar­ketplace, all the life converges and here the commerce and trade of the republic of the soul is transacted; for it is the center of the activity of the senses and other faculties. This square in the most Holy Mary was of purest and transparent gold, because of being composed of the wisdom and love of God Himself. Never was it affected by dullness, ignorance or inattention; all Her thoughts were most exalted and Her affections were inflamed with immeasurable love. On this square the highest myster­ies of the Divinity were deliberated, from this square were heard the words "…LET IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD"  (Lk 1:38) which gave the beginning to the most exalted work that God ever accomplished or will ever accomplish. There the innumerable petitions in favor of the human race were devised and sent up to the tribunal of God. There those riches were amassed, which will expel pov­erty from the entire world, if men will enter into commerce with it. There also is the armory against the demons and all vice. For in most Holy Mary are the graces and vir­tues, which make Her awesome to hell and which afford us courage to overcome the devilish host.

299 He says farther: " And I saw no Temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the Temple thereof, and the Lamb"  (21:22). The Temples of the cities serve as places of prayer and worship to be rendered to God; and it would be a great defect, if in the City of God there were no Temple befitting its greatness and excellence. Hence in this City of Holy Mary is so sacred a Temple that the omnipotent God Himself and the Lamb, the Humanity and the Divinity of His Only Begotten Son, are reverenced and adored in spirit, and more worthily than in all the Temples of the world; for He dwelt in Her as in His proper habitation. He was also Himself the Temple of Mary, since She was encompassed, sur­rounded and enclosed by the Divinity and the humanity, both of which served Her as a habitation and a tabernacle. For being in God, She never ceased to adore, wor­ship and petition God and Incarnate Word within Her womb; thus in spirit living in God and in the Lamb as in a Temple since Her continual sanctity was be­fitting to such a Temple. In order to think worthily of this Heavenly Queen, we must always consider Her as enclosed in the Divinity and in Her Most Holy Son as in a Temple. Thus shall we understand what acts and processes of love, adoration and reverence, were accomplished by Her; what delights She experienced in the Lord, what petitions arose in Her for the human race, and how earnestly, from Her inmost heart and with burning charity, She cried and begged for the salvation of mortals, when in spirit She saw the great necessity of their salvation.

300 Further says the Evangelist: " And the city has no need of the sun and the moon, to shine in it ; for the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof" (22:5). The sun and the moon, are not necessary in the presence of greater light than their own; and thus, in the empyrean heaven, where the infinite Suns give their light, the absence of our sun is no defect, though it is so resplendent and beautiful In the most Holy Mary, our Queen, there was no need of created sun or moon to enlighten and direct Her; for without comparison She pleased and delighted God. Nor could the wisdom, sanctity and perfection of Her works have any other teacher and director, than the Sun of Justice, Her Most Holy Son. All other creatures were far too deficient to assist Her in being a worthy Mother of Her Creator. Nevertheless in this School of the Lord, She learned to be the most humble and obedient among the humble and obedient. Though God Himself taught Her, yet She hesitated not to supplicate and obey the most abject among men in those things in which it was not unbecoming. Being the dis­ciple of Him, Who corrects the wise, She drew the Divine philosophy of humility from Him, Her great Mas­ter. And She rose to such wisdom, that the Evangelist could say :

301" And the nations… shall walk in the light of it"  (22:24); for if Christ our Lord, calls the doctors and saints burning lights, placed upon the candlestick to enlighten the Church, lights such as were scattered through the ages in the Patriarchs and Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs and Doctors, filling the Catholic Church with such effulgence, that it appears to be a heaven with many suns and moons; what shall we say of the most Holy Mary, whose light and splendor incomparably exceeds all the doctors and teachers of the Church, yes that of the angels of heaven? If only mortals were possessed of clear sight to see the splendor of the light of the most Holy Mary, it alone would suffice to enlighten everyone in the world and to illumine for them the paths of heaven. Therefore, because all those who have attained to the knowledge of God, walked in the light of this Holy City, St. John says: " that the nations have walked in the light of it."   Moreover he adds most truly:

302 " And the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and their honor into it" (21:24).  Very blessed are those rulers, who with happy zeal use their power and influence to fulfill this prophecy. All of them should do so; but fortunate are they, that turn with sincere affection to most Holy Mary, employing their life, their honor, their riches, and their high position in the defense of that City of God, extending Her glory in the world and magnifying Her name in the Catholic Church in opposition to the unreasonableness of those who don’t believe. With the deepest sorrow I behold Catholic leaders, who are remiss in seeking the favor of this Queen, fail to ask Her assistance in the great dangers of their states, and do not look upon Her as a refuge and protection, as an Intercessor and Advocate. If the dangers of political  leaders are great, let them remember, that their obligation to be thankful is not any less; for this Heavenly Queen Herself says, that through Her kings reign, princes command, and the powerful administer justice (Prov 8:16); She loves those that love Her (Eccl 14:31) and those, that magnify Her, attain Eternal Life, since those, that work with Her do not sin.

303 I do not wish to conceal the light, which many times and especially on this occasion, has been given to me in order to be made known to others. In the Lord it was shown me, that all the afflictions of the Catholic Church and all the labors of the Christian people, have been invariably mitigated by the intercession of the most Holy Mary; that in the turbulence of the present times, when heretical pride surges up so high against God and His lamentably afflicted Church, only one remedy is left for these miseries, namely: that the Catholic government officials turn to the Mother of Grace and Mercy, most Holy Mary. Let them seek Her favor by rendering Her special homage, so that the devotion and honor of Mary may grow and spread over the whole earth and thus draw Her toward us with a look of pity. Then it may be, that She will obtain for us the grace of Her Most Holy Son that all the unbridled vices now infecting Christians through malice of the enemy, will be reformed, and through Her intercession the Wrath of the Lord, which so justly chastises us and threatens us with yet greater calamities and misfortunes, will be appeased. From this reforma­tion and amendment of our sins would also spring victory against the forces of the secular humanists and their allies and the extirpation of the false doctrines that oppress the Holy Church. For the most Holy Mary is the sword, which is to destroy and cut them down all over the world.

304 Even now the world suffers the losses consequent upon this forgetfulness. If Catholic government officials are not successful in the government of their countries, in the preservation and the spread of the Catholic faith, in overcoming their enemies, or in the warfare and battles against their enemies, all this happens, because they do not follow this guiding Star, which shows them the way; be­cause they have not placed Mary as the beginning and immediate end of their works and projects and because they forget that this Queen treads in the paths of justice in order to teach it, exalts and enriches those that love it (Prov. 8:20).

305 O you prince and head of the Holy Catholic Church! O you prelates, who are also called princes of the Church! And you, Catholic politicians, to whom, according to my natural obligation and through the great love and special providence of the Most High, I direct this humble and earnest appeal! Humble yourself at the feet of this Queen of heaven and earth; seek out this Co-Restorator of all the human race; listen to Her, who by power given to Her by God Himself has been placed over all the hosts of men and of all the infernal regions; turn your affection toward Her, who holds in Her hands the keys of the good will and treasures of the Most High; transport your honor and renown of that City of God, who has no need thereof in order to increase hers, but who can improve and exalt your own. Offer to Her with Catholic enthusiasm and with a whole heart some great and pleasing service, and the recompense will be immeasurably great; the conversion of unbelievers, the victory over heresies and paganism, the peace of the Church, new light and help to improve the lives of men and a great and glorious period in office for you in this life and the next.

306 O my fatherland, kingdom of Spain, which on account of your Catholic faith, are most fortunate! Even more fortunate shall you be if to the steadfastness and sincerity of your faith, given to you by the Almighty, you will add the Holy Fear of God corresponding to your distinguished faith! Would that in order to arrive at this summit of your happiness, all your inhabitants unite in a burning devotion to the most Holy Mary! How greatly would your glory then shine forth! How much would you be enlightened! How valiantly would you then be protected and defended by this Queen, and how would treasures from on high, and through their agency enrich your Catholic rulers, how widely would the sweet Law of the Gospel spread among the nations! Remember that this great Princess honors those that honor Her, enriches those that seek Her, makes illustrious those that praise Her, and defends those that hope in Her. Be assured, that in order thus to show Herself a Mother and shower Her mercies upon you, She hopes and desires to be approached and solicited. At the same time remember, that God is under no necessity to anyone (Ps 15:2) and that He can make out of stones, children of Abraham (Lk 3:8); if you make yourself unworthy of such great good, He can reserve this glory for those that serve Him better and make themselves less unworthy of the reward.

307 And in order that you may not remain ignorant of the service, which in our days should be rendered to this great Queen and Mother of men, consider the present position, which the Mystery of Her Immaculate Conception holds in the Catholic Church and direct your attention to supply what is still missing to establish firmly this fundamental doctrine of that City of God. Let no one despise this suggestion as coming from a weak and ignorant woman, or as a notion founded in a prejudiced love of a state and profession consecrated to the name and honor of Mary Immaculate; for the conviction and light, which I have received in the knowledge of Her life, is sufficient for me. Not for my own honor, nor relying upon my own judgment and authority, do I make this exhortation. I obey the command of the Lord, Who gives speech to the mute, and makes eloquent the tongues of infants. Let those that admire this merciful liberality, also take notice of what the Evangelist adds, saying:  

308 " And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day for there shall be no night there" (21:25). The portals of mercy of most Holy Mary never were and never are closed, nor was there in Her from the first instant of Her Conception, any darkness of guilt, which might close the gates of this City, as it happened in the rest of the saints. Just as in those places, where gates are always open, all those that wish, can issue forth or enter at all times, so no prohibition hinders mortals from entering freely to the Divinity through the gates of the mercy of the most pure Mary. For in that City is the storehouse of the treasures of heaven, open to all without limitation of time, place, age or sex. All were free to enter ever since its foundation; for that very purpose the Most High has opened so many portals in this foundation, leaving them unlocked, free and open to the light, so that from the first moment of Mary's purest Conception, mercies and benefits began to descend upon the whole human race. But though this City has so many gates, from which issue the riches of the Divinity, yet it is on that account not the less secure from its enemies. There­fore the text proceeds:

309 " There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that works abomination or makes a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb"  (21:27)Rehearsing again the glories of the City of God, the Evangelist closes Revelation 21, assuring us once more, that there was no blemish in Her, because She received an immaculate body and soul. This, how­ever, never could be said of Her, if She was tainted by original guilt; and much less have stains or blemishes of actual sins ever found entrance in Her. That which entered into this City of God is entirely similar to that which is written of the Lamb; Her Most Holy Son was taken as the pattern and model for Her formation and from no other being could any excellence of the most Holy Mary be copied, even when there is question of the smallest, if indeed anything can be called small in Her. Since this portal, Mary, was to be the portal of a city of refuge for the mortals, it could only be with the understanding, that he, who is the perpetrator of abom­ination and lies, should never find part or entrance through it. But let not on this account the sinful and guilty sons of Adam hesitate to approach the gates of this Holy City of God; for if they approach with con­trition and humility to seek the cleansing of grace, they will find it in these gates of the great Queen, and in no others. She is clean, pure, abounding in grace, and above all She is the Mother of Mercy; She is sweet, lov­ing and powerful to enrich our poverty and to cleanse us from the stains of all our sins.  

INSTRUCTION THAT THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME 

310 These chapters contain excellent direction and light Seek therefore to draw profit from all that you have understood and written. Beware lest you receive the light of grace in vain. This in brief I wish you to remember; be not dismayed, that you were conceived in sin, and, as an earthly creature, feel within yourself the earthly inclinations; but strive against your passions to the finish. In doing this you will at the same time battle against your enemies. With the help of the Almighty's Grace, you can rise above yourself and make yourself a Citizen of Heaven, where all grace comes. In order that you may attain this, let your habitation continue to be in the higher regions, keeping your mind fixed in the knowledge of the Immutable Be­ing and Perfections of God and never allowing your attention to be drawn away to another even otherwise necessary object. With this continual Presence and memory of God's greatness you will dispose yourself for the influx of the Holy Spirit and His gifts in closest friendship and communication with the Lord. In order to evade all hindrance to this His Holy Will, which I have already many times pointed out and made manifest to you. Mortify the inferior part of your being, the seat of the evil inclinations and passions. Die to all that is earthly, sacrifice, in the consciousness of the Presence of God, all your sensitive appetites, fulfill none of their impulses, nor ever satisfy your own will outside of the narrow limits of obedience. Do not leave the secret refuge of interior recollection, where the Lamb en­lightens you. Adorn yourself for entrance into the bridal chamber of your Spouse, and permit the Hand of the Almighty to array you in such a manner as He wishes, al­ways seeking to concur with Him and place no obstacle in His way. Purify your soul by many acts of sorrow for having offended Him, magnify and praise Him with a most ardent love. Seek Him, and rest not until you have found Him, Whom your soul desires, hold Him and do not let Him go (Sg 3:4). I wish you to proceed on your pilgrimage like one, who has already arrived at the journey's end, keeping your gaze continually on the Source of all glory. Let the rule of your life be to walk in the light of faith and in the brightness, with which the Omnipotent shall fill and illumine your soul, and to continue to love, adore and reverence Him, without any cessation or diminution. This being the Will of the Almighty in your regard; consider what shall be your gain, but remember also, what may be your loss. See you do not run this risk; subject yourself with your whole will and being to the guidance of your Spouse, of Myself, and of holy obedience, which must always be your standard. —Thus the Mother of the Lord instructed me, and I answered Her, filled with great confusion:

311 "  Queen and Mother of all creation, whose servant I am and wish to be for all eternity! Forever will I praise the Omnipotence of the Most High, be­cause He chose thus to exalt You. But since You are so fortunate and so powerful with the Almighty, I beg You, O my Lady, to look with an eye of mercy upon me, your poor and miserable servant. Make me partaker in the gifts, which the Lord has placed in Your hands for distribution among the needy, raise me up from my abject state, enrich my nakedness and poverty, and as a Queen compel me to desire and do what is most perfect, helping me to find grace in the Eyes of Your Most Holy Son and my Lord. In Your hands, I place my salvation, O Queen!  take charge of it to the end; for Your desires are holy and pow­erful on account of the merits of Your Most Holy Son and on account of the promises of the Most Holy Trinity, which are pledges for the fulfillment of all Your petitions and desires without fail. I myself have nothing to oblige You, as I am unworthy, but as a substitute I offer You, my Lady, Your own sanctity and clemency."  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 20
MOST HOLY MARY IN THE WOMB OF HER MOTHER, AND ST. ANNE DURING THAT TIME 

312 The most Holy Mary, being conceived without sin, was entirely absorbed in spirit and entranced by Her first vision of the Divinity. At the first instant, and in the narrow dwelling of the ma­ternal womb, began the love of God in Her most blessed soul, never to be interrupted, but to continue through all eternity of that high glory, which She now enjoys at the Right Hand of Her Divine Son. In order that She might grow in the contemplation and love of God not only by the infused knowledge of created things, but also by the direct vision of the Trinity Itself, and in order that She might exercise Herself in many acts of virtue befitting Her present state, the Lord repeated the won­derful vision and manifestation of His Divinity on 2 other occasions; so that, the Blessed Trinity manifested Itself to Her in abstract vision 3 times before Her birth: first at the instant of Her Conception, then in the 4th or 5th month, and the third time, on the day be­fore Her birth. This vision was not continual, but it must not be inferred, that She did not enjoy another kind of vision, very exalted and superior to the one by which She perceived the Essence of God in the light of faith. For in most Holy Mary these kinds of visions were incessant and continual, and superior to all visions of the saints during their earthly pilgrimage.

313 This abstract vision of the Divinity, though not incompatible with Her present condition on earth, was nevertheless so high and immediate, that it could not well be continuous in Her mortal state, where She was to merit the glory of intuitive vision by other acts. It was a special favor to assist Her in attaining it; for it left in Her soul the impress of the Lord's Image, and raised and consumed Her whole being with a burning love of God. These affections were renewed continually during these visions in the most holy soul of Mary while She remained in the womb of holy Anne. Thus it hap­pened, that, being in full possession of Her intellectual faculties and occupying Herself without intermission in prayer for the human race, in heroic acts of adoration, in reverence and love of God in company with the angels, She did not feel the narrowness and confinement of Her natural prison, nor the restriction of Her senses, nor the other restraints, inseparable from such a state. To all this She gave no heed, living more in Her Be­loved than in the womb of Her mother or in Herself.

314 The last of the 3 visions was accompanied by new and more wonderful favors of the Lord; it was to prepare Her for the entrance into the world and for association with mortals. In accordance with the Divine Will the Princess of Heaven said to the Lord: "Most High God, Lord of My being, Soul of My life and Life of My soul, infinite in Your attributes and perfections, Incomprehensible, Almighty and Rich in Mercies, My King and Sovereign: out of nothing have You given Me existence; without any merits of Mine You have enriched Me with the treasures of Your Divine Light and Grace, in order that by them I may instantly perceive Your Immutable Being and Divine perfections, and that thus You might be the first Object of My vision and love, not permitting Me to seek any other than You, the Highest Good and all My joy. You command Me, My Lord, to issue forth and enter into the material light and converse with creatures. In Your own Being, where all things are reflected as in a most perfect mirror, I have discerned the dangerous state and the miseries of mortal life. If, on account of My natural weakness and incapacity, there is danger lest even in the least point I fail in Your love and service, and if it is possible that I die here, let Me die now, before I pass into a state where I may lose You. But if Your Holy Will, My Lord and Master, is to be fulfilled, and I am to embark on the tempestuous sea of this world, I implore You, Most High and Almighty God of My soul, to govern My life, direct My steps and all My actions toward pleasing You. Order in Me Holy Love (Sg 2:4) that in the new use, which I am to make of creatures, and by Your aid, it may continue to grow. I have perceived in You the ingratitude of many souls, and as I am of their nature, I fear with good reason, that perhaps I may become guilty of the same fault. In this narrow cavity of My mother's womb I have enjoyed the infinite vastness of Your Divinity: here I possessed all Good, You Yourself, My Beloved; and since here, You Alone are My portion and possession (Ps 72), I know not, whether outside of this enclosure I may not lose it at the sight of the created light and in the use of My senses. If it was possible and appropriate to renounce the dealings of approaching life, I would gladly renounce and lose the experience of it; but let not My will, but Yours be done. Therefore since You wish it, confer upon Me Your blessing and good will at My entrance into the world, and do not deprive Me of Your Divine protection during the earthly course in which You place Me." Having thus poured forth Her prayer, the sweetest child Mary received the benediction of the Most High and the command to issue forth into the light of the visible sun, at the same time being enlightened for the fulfillment of all His desires.

315 The most happy mother, holy Anne, passed the days of her pregnancy altogether spiritualized by the Divine operations and by the sweet workings of the Holy Spirit in all her faculties. Divine Providence, however, in order to direct her course to greater merit and reward, ordained, that the ballast of trouble be not wanting, for without it the cargo of grace and love is scarcely ever secure. In order to understand better, what happened to this holy woman, it must be remembered, that satan, after he was hurled with the other bad angels from heaven into the infernal torments, never ceased, during the reign of the old Law, to search through the earth hovering with lurking vigilance above the women of dis­tinguished holiness, in order to find Her, whose sign he had seen (Gen 3:15) and whose heel was to bruise and crush his head. The devil's wrath against men was so fierce, that he would not trust this investigation to his inferiors alone; but leaving them to operate against the virtuous women in general, he himself attended to this matter and assiduously hovered around those, who sig­nalized themselves more particularly in the exercise of virtue and in the grace of the Most High.

316 Filled with malice and astuteness, he observed closely the exceeding great holiness of the excellent ma­tron Anne and all the events of her life: and although he could not estimate the richness of the Treasure, which was enclosed in her blessed womb (since the Lord concealed this as well as many other mysteries from him) yet he felt a powerful influence proceeding from St. Anne. The fact that he could not penetrate into the source of this activity, threw him at times into great fury and rage. At other times he quieted himself with the thought, that this pregnancy arose from the same causes as others in the course of nature and that there was no special cause for alarm; for the Lord left him to his own hallucinations and to the vagaries of his own fury. Nevertheless the whole event was a source of great misgiving to this perverse spirit, when he saw how quietly her pregnancy took its course and especially, when he saw, that many angels stood in attendance. Above all he was enraged at his weakness in resisting the force, which proceeded from the blessed Anne and he suspected that it was not she alone, who was the cause of it.

317 Filled with this mistrust, the dragon determined, if possible, to take the life of the most felicitous Anne; or, if that was impossible, to see that she should obtain little satisfaction from her pregnancy. For the pride of satan was so boundless as to persuade him of his abil­ity to overcome or take away the life of Her, who was to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, or even the life of the Messiah and Redeemer of the world, if only he could obtain knowledge of their whereabouts. His ar­rogance was founded upon the superiority of his angelic nature to the condition and power of mere human na­ture; as if both were not subject to grace and entirely dependent upon the Will of their Creator. Audaciously therefore he set himself to tempt holy Anne, with many suggestions, misgivings, doubts and diffidence about the truth of her pregnancy, alleging her protracted years. The devil attempted all this in order to test the virtue of the saint, and to see, whether these temptations would not afford some opening for the perversion of her will.

318 But the invincible matron resisted these on­slaughts with humble fortitude, patience, continued prayer and vivid faith in the Lord. She brought to naught the perplexing lies of the dragon and on account of them gained only additional grace and protection from on high. For besides the protection abundantly merited by her past life, She was defended and freed from the demons by the great princes, who were guard­ing her most holy Daughter. Nevertheless in his in­satiable malice the enemy did not desist on that account; and since his arrogance and pride far exceeds his pow­ers, he sought human aid; for with such help he always promises himself greater ease of victory. Having at first tried to overthrow the dwelling of Sts. Joachim and Anne, in order that she might be frightened and excited by the shock of its fall, but not being able to succeed on account of the resistance of the Holy Angels, he incited against St. Anne one of the foolish women of her acquaintance to quarrel with her. This the woman did with great fury, insolently attacking St. Anne with reproach and scorn; she did not hesitate to make mock­ery of her pregnancy, saying, that she was the sport of the devil in being thus found pregnant at the end of so many years and at so great an age.

319 The blessed Anne did not permit herself to be disturbed by this attack, but in all meekness and hu­mility bore the injuries and treated her assailants with kindness. From that time on she looked with greater love upon these women and lavished upon them so much the greater benefits. But their wrath was not imme­diately pacified, for the demon had taken possession of them, filling them with hate against the saint; and, as any concession to this cruel tyrant always increases his power over his victims, he incited these miserable dupes to plot even against the person and life of St. Anne. But they could not put their plots into execution, because Divine power interfered to foil their natural womanly weakness. They were not only powerless against the saint, but they were overcome by her admonitions and brought to the knowledge and amendment of their evil course by her prayers.

320 The dragon was repulsed, but not vanquished; for he immediately availed himself of a servant, who lived in the house with Joachim and Anne, and exasperated her against the holy matron. Through her, he cre­ated even a greater annoyance than through the other women, for she was a domestic enemy and more stub­born and dangerous than the others. I will not stay to describe, what the enemy attempted through this servant, since it was similar to that of the other woman, only more annoying and malicious. But with the help of God St. Anne won a more glorious victory than before; for the Watcher of Israel slumbered not, but guarded His Holy City (Ps 121:4) and furnished it so well with sentinels, chosen from the strongest of His hosts, that they put to ignominious flight satan and his followers. No more were they allowed to molest the fortunate mother, who was already expecting the birth of the most blessed Princess of Heaven, and who, en­riched by heroic acts of virtue and many merits in these conflicts, had now arrived at the fulfillment of all her highest wishes. I too desire to come to an end with this chapter in order to hear the salutary instructions of my Queen and Mother who, besides assisting me in all that I write, also favors me with Her maternal ad­monitions, which I receive with highest joy and exultation of my spirit.

321 Speak then, O Lady, and your servant will listen. If you will permit, although I am dust and ashes, I will state a doubt, which has occurred to me, in this chapter. Yet in all things I will remit myself to your sweet benevolence as of my Mother, Teacher and Queen. The doubt in which I find myself is this: How was it possible, that You, the Queen of all cre­ation, conceived without sin and endowed with a soul exalted so high in the knowledge of all things by the visions of the Divinity, should be filled in spite of all these graces, with so great a fear and anxiety of losing the friendship of God and of offending Him? If in the first instant of your existence You were preserved by grace, how could You at that very instant fear to lose it? If the Most High exempted You from original sin, how could You fall into others, or fear to offend Him, who had preserved You from the first offense?  

INSTRUCTION AND ANSWER OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

322 My daughter, hear the solution of your difficulty. In the vision of the Divinity I instantaneously recog­nized My innocence and the stainlessness of My Concep­tion. These favors and benefits of the Almighty are of such a nature, that the more they are understood and made secure, so much the more will they excite care and solicitude for their preservation and for the avoidance of any offense of their Author. They are given to His creatures out of pure goodness and are accompanied with such clear intuition regarding their dependence on the merits of My Most Holy Son, that the soul immediately centers its attention only on its own unworthiness and insufficiency, convinced that it cannot merit them and that it cannot appropriate them to itself as being foreign to its nature. As they are seen to belong to such a high Master, to Whom they can revert to be distributed according to His pleasure, a most deep-felt solicitude fills the soul lest it lose again, what is thus freely given. The soul therefore begins to work with great diligence in or­der to preserve them and to multiply the talent (Matt 25:15), since it understands that to be the only means of keeping the deposit and of fulfilling the object for which they were given, namely, to make them bear fruit and to contribute to the glory of the Creator. This care is precisely the condition necessary for the preservation of the benefits and graces received.

323 The soul is thus made to understand human frailty and the freedom of the will for good or evil. Of this knowledge the Almighty did not deprive Me, nor does He deprive anyone of it, as long as he wanders through this life; but He gives it to all accord­ing to measure, in order that by its guidance they may be filled with holy fear of falling into any fault, even the smallest. In Me this light was greater and I clearly saw that a small fault prepares the way for another, and that the second is only a punishment of the first. It is true that on account of the blessings and graces of the Lord sin was impossible in Me. But His Providence so disposed of this knowledge, that My absolute security from sin was hidden to Me; I saw that as far as depended on Me alone I could fall, and that it was the Divine Will that preserved Me. Thus He reserved to Himself His knowledge of My security, and left Me in solicitude and holy fear of sinning during My pilgrimage. From the instant of My Conception until My death I never lost this fear, but on the contrary grew in it as life flowed on.

324 The Most High also gave Me humility and dis­cretion, not to ask or to examine too closely this mystery, but solely to direct My attention toward increasing My confidence in His goodness with a view to obtain His assistance against sin. Thence resulted those 2 necessary dispositions of a Christian life; the one a quiet preservation of tranquility in the soul, the other the con­stant presence of a holy fear and watchfulness, lest the treasure be lost. As this latter was a filial fear, it did not diminish love, but inflamed and increased it more and more. These 2 dispositions of love and fear produced in My soul a perfect harmony with the Divine Will, governing all My actions, so as to draw Me away from evil and unite Me with the highest Good.

325 This, My dear friend, is the great test of spiritual things: that they come with true enlightenment and sound doctrine; that they teach greater perfection of virtues and excite a strong impulse toward seeking it. This is the ex­cellence of the benefits which descend from the Father of lights, that they give assurance and confidence while mak­ing the soul humble, and that they encourage while excit­ing solicitude and watchfulness, though still preserving tranquility and peace in this solicitude; for all these ef­fects are not incompatible in fulfilling the Will of God. You must offer humble and fervent thanks to the Lord, because with so little deserving of yours, He has been so liberal with you and has so greatly enlightened you with Divine light, breaking for you the seal of His secret archives and yet filling you with holy fear of His displeasure. Nevertheless make use of this fear with measure and strive instead to excel in love. Thus with these 2 wings raising yourself above the earth and above yourself, try to rid yourself of the inordinate dis­turbance of excessive fear, and leave your cause with the Lord and make His cause your own. Let fear be with you until you are purified and cleansed of your sins and of your ignorance, but also love the Lord in order that you may be transformed in Him, and set Him as the Mas­ter and the Arbiter of your actions without desiring to be above anyone. Do not trust your own judgment, and be not wise in your own conceit (Prov 3:7), for the judgments of men are only too easily blinded by their pas­sions, throwing them out of their course and drawing after them the will as their captive. Thus it comes, that men fear what is not to be feared, and rejoice in that which is not profitable. Take heed lest you be dissipated by every slight interior consolation, but hesitate and re­strain yourself until you find with tranquil solicitude the proper measure in all things. This happy medium you will always find, if you remain subject to your superiors and willingly accept that, which the Most High works in you and teaches you. Although your undertak­ings may be good as regarding the intentions, they must nevertheless also conform to the requirements of obe­dience and of prudence, for without this guidance they are usually deformed and without any profitable result. Therefore in all things, be solicitous about that, which is most holy and perfect.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 21.
THE  BIRTH OF HOLY MARY OUR QUEEN 

326 The day destined for the parturition of St. Anne and for the birth of Her, who was consecrated and sanctified to be the Mother of God, had arrived: a day most fortunate for the world. This birth happened on September 8, fully 9 months having elapsed since the Conception of the soul of our most holy Queen and Lady. St. Anne was prepared by an interior Voice of the Lord, informing her, that the hour of her parturition had come. Full of the joy of the Holy Spirit at this information, she prostrated herself before the Lord and sought the assistance of His grace and His protection for a happy deliverance. Presently she felt a movement in her womb similar to that which is proper to creatures being born to the light. The most blessed child Mary was at the same time by Divine Providence and power ravished into a most high ecstasy. Hence Mary was born into the world without perceiving it by Her senses, for their operations and faculties were held in suspense. As She had the use of Her reason, She would have perceived it by Her senses, if they had been left to operate in their natural manner at that time. However, the Almighty disposed otherwise, in order that the Princess of Heaven might be spared the sensible ex­perience otherwise connected with birth.

327 She was born pure and stainless, beautiful and Full of Grace, thereby demonstrating, that She was free from the law and the tribute of sin. Although She was born substantially like other daughters of Adam, yet Her birth was accompanied by such circumstances and condi­tions of grace, that it was the most wonderful and mi­raculous birth in all creation and will eternally redound to the praise of Her Creator. At 12 o'clock in the night this heavenly luminary issued forth, dividing the night of the ancient Law and its pristine darkness from the new day of grace, which now was about to break into dawn. She was clothed, handled and dressed like other infants, though Her soul dwelt in the Divinity; and She was treated as an infant, though She excelled all mortals and even all the angels in wisdom. Her mother did not allow Her to be touched by other hands than her own, but she herself wrapped Her in swaddling clothes; and in this St. Anne was not hindered by her present state of childbirth; for she was free from the toils and labors, which other mothers usually endure in such circum­stances.

328 So then St. Anne received in her arms Her, who was her Daughter, but at the same time the most exquisite Treasure of the entire universe, inferior only to God and superior to all other creatures. With fervent tears of joy she offered this Treasure to His Majesty, saying interiorly: " Lord of infinite wisdom and power, Creator of all that exists, this Fruit of my womb, which I have received of Your bounty, I offer to You with eternal thanks, for without any merit of mine You have given Her to me. Dispose of the mother and Child according to Your Most Holy Will and look propitiously down upon our lowliness from Your exalted throne. Be eternally blessed, because You have enriched the world with a Creature so pleasing to Your bounty and because in Her You have prepared a dwell­ing-place and a tabernacle for the Eternal Word (Wis 9:8). I tender my congratulations to my holy forefathers and to the holy Prophets, and in them to the whole human race, for this sure pledge of Redemption, which You have given them. But how shall I be able worthily to treat Her, whom You have given me as a Daughter? I am not worthy to be Her servant. How shall I handle the true Ark of the Testament? Give me, O my Lord and King, the necessary enlightenment to know Your Will and to execute it according to Your pleasure in the service of my Daughter."

329 The Lord answered the holy matron interiorly, that she was to treat her heavenly Child outwardly as mothers treat their daughters, without any demonstration of reverence; but to retain this reverence inwardly, ful­filling the laws of a true mother toward Her, and rearing Her up with all motherly love and solicitude. The happy mother complied with this; making use of this per­mission and her mother's rights without losing her rever­ence, she regaled herself with her most holy Daughter, embracing and caressing Her in the same way as other mothers do with their daughters. But it was always done with a proper reverence and consciousness of the hidden and Divine Sacrament known only to the mother and Daughter. The guardian angels of the sweet Child with others in great multitudes showed their veneration of Mary as She rested in the arms of Her mother; they joined in heavenly music, some of which was audible also to blessed Anne. The thousand angels appointed as guardians of the great Queen offered themselves and dedicated themselves to Her service. This was also the first time, in which the Heavenly Queen saw them in a corporeal form, as I shall describe in another chapter (Ch. 23) and the Child asked them to join with Her in the praise of the Most High and to exalt Him in Her name.

330 At the moment of the birth of our Princess Mary the Most High sent Archangel Gabriel as an envoy to bring this joyful news to the holy Fathers in limbo. Im­mediately the heavenly ambassador descended, illumining that deep cavern and rejoicing the just that were de­tained therein. He told them that already the dawn of eternal felicity had commenced and that the reparation of man, which was so earnestly desired and expected by the holy Patriarchs and foretold by the Prophets, had been begun, since She, who was to be the Mother of the Messiah, had now been born; soon would they now see the Salvation and the Glory of the Most High. The holy prince gave them an understanding of the excellence of the most holy Mary and of what the Omnipotent had begun to work in Her, in order that they might better comprehend the happy beginning of the Mystery, which was to end their prolonged imprisonment. Then all the holy Patriarchs and Prophets and the rest of the just in limbo rejoiced in spirit and in new canticles praised the Lord for this benefit

331 All these happenings at the birth of our Queen succeeded each other in a short space of time. The first exercise of Her senses in the light of the material sun, was to recognize Her parents and other creatures. The arms of the Most High began to work new wonders in Her far above all conceptions of men, and the first and most stupendous one was to send innumerable angels to bring the Mother of the Eternal Word, body and soul into the empyrean heaven for the fulfilling of His further intentions regarding Her. The holy princes obeyed the Divine mandate and receiving the child Mary from the arms of Her holy Mother Anne, they arranged a new and sol­emn procession bearing heavenward with incomparable songs of joy the true Ark of the Covenant, in order that for a short time it might rest, not in the house of Obede­don, but in the Temple of the King of kings and of the Lord of lords, where later on it was to be placed for all eternity. This was the second step, which most holy Mary made in Her life, namely, from this earth to the highest heaven.

332 Who can worthily extol this wonderful prodigy of the right hand of the Almighty? Who can describe the joy and the admiration of the celestial spirits, when they beheld this new and wonderful work of the Most High, and when they gathered to celebrate it in their songs? In these songs they acknowledged and reverenced as their Queen, Her, who was to be the Mother of their Lord, and the source of the grace and glory, which they possessed; for it was through His fore­seen merits, that they had been made the recipients of the Divine bounty. But above all, what human tongue, or what mortal could ever describe or comprehend the heart-secrets of that tender Child during these events? I leave the imagination of all this to Catholic piety, and still more to those who in the Lord are favored with an un­derstanding of it, but most of all to those who, by Divine bounty shall have arrived at the beatific vision face to face.

333 Borne by the hands of the angels the child Mary entered the empyrean heaven where She prostrated Herself full of love before the royal throne in the Pres­ence of the Most High. Then (according to our way of understanding), was verified what long before had hap­pened in figure, when Bathsheba entered into the presence of her son Solomon, who, while presiding over his people of Israel, arose from his throne, received her with honor and reverence, and seated her at his side as queen. Sim­ilarly, but in a more glorious and admirable manner, the Person of the Divine Word now received the Child Mary, whom He had chosen as Mother, as Queen of the uni­verse. Although Her real dignity and the purpose of these ineffable mysteries were unknown to Mary, yet Her infant faculties were strengthened by Divine power for the proper reception of these favors. New graces and gifts were bestowed upon Her, by which Her faculties were correspondingly elevated. Her powers of mind, besides being illumined and prepared by new grace and light, were raised and proportioned to the Divine manifes­tation, and the Divinity displayed Itself in the new light,  revealing Itself to Her intuitively and clearly in a most exalted manner. This was the first time in which the most holy soul of Mary saw the Most Blessed Trinity in unveiled beatific vision.

334 The sole witnesses of the glory of Mary in this beatific vision, of the sacraments then again revealed to Her, of the Divine effect that overflowed into Her most pure soul, was God the Author of this unheard of won­der, and the astonished angels, who in some measure per­ceived these mysteries in God Himself. The Queen seat­ed at the side of the Lord, Who was to be Her Son, and seeing Him face to face, was more successful in Her prayer than Bathsheba (1 Kgs 2:21). For she prayed, that he bestow the untouched Sunamite Abisag; She prayed that His promised coming from heaven to the earth and His marriage with human nature by the Hypostatic Union be fulfilled in the Person of the Word. Many times had He pledged Himself to it among men through the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and now Mary be­sought Him to accelerate the reparation of the human race, expected for so many ages amid the multiplied iniquity and the ruin of souls. The Most High heard this most pleasing petition of His Mother, and acting more graciously than Solomon of old toward His mother, He assured Her that soon His promises should be ful­filled, and that He should descend to the world in order to assume and redeem human nature.

335 In this Divine consistory and tribunal of the Most Holy Trinity it was determined to give a name to the Child Queen. As there is no proper and legitimate name, except it be found in the Immutable Being of God Himself (for from it are participated and determined according to their right weight and measure all things in infinite wis­dom) His Majesty wished Himself to give and impose that name in heaven. He thereby made known to the angelic spirits, that the 3 Divine Persons, had decreed and formed the sweet names of Jesus and Mary for the Son and Mother from the beginning before the ages, and that they had been delighted with them and had engraved them on their eternal memories to be as it were the Ob­jects for whose service They should create all things. Being informed of these and many other mysteries, the holy angels heard a Voice from the Throne speaking in the Person of the Father: "Our chosen One shall be called MARY, and this name is to be powerful and magnificent. Those that shall invoke it with devout affection shall re­ceive most abundant graces; those that shall honor it and pronounce it with reverence shall be consoled and vivified, and will find in it the remedy of their evils, the treasures for their enrichment, the light which shall guide them to heaven. It shall be awesome against the power of hell, it shall crush the head of the serpent and it shall win glorious victories over the princes of hell." The Lord commanded the angelic spirits to announce this glorious name to St. Anne, so that what was decreed in heaven might be executed on earth. The Heavenly Child, lov­ingly prostrate before the throne, rendered most accepta­ble and human thanks to the Eternal Being; and She re­ceived the name with most admirable and sweet jubila­tion. If the prerogatives and graces, which She then was favored with, were to be described, it would necessitate an extra book of many volumes. The Holy Angels hon­ored and acknowledged most holy Mary as the future Mother of the Word and as their Queen en­throned at the Right Hand of Her Son; they showed their veneration of Her holy name, prostrating themselves as it proceeded from the Throne in the Voice of the Eternal Father, especially those, who had it written on the devises over their breast. All of them gave forth Canticles of praise for these great and hidden Mysteries. In the mean­while the infant Queen remained ignorant of the real cause of all that She thus experienced, for Her dignity of Mother of the Incarnate Word was not revealed to Her till the time of the Incarnation. With the same reverential jubilee did the angels return in order to replace Her into the arms of holy Anne, to whom this event remained a secret, as was also the absence of Her Daughter; for a guardian angel, assuming an aerial body, supplied Her place for this very purpose. More than that, during a great part of the time in which the Heavenly Child re­mained in the empyrean heaven, Her mother was wrapped in an ecstasy of highest contemplation, and in it, although she did not know what was happening to the Child, ex­alted Mysteries concerning the dignity of Mother of God, to which She was to be chosen, were revealed to her. The prudent matron kept them enshrined within her heart, conferring them in her thoughts with the duties she owed to her Child.

336 On the 8th day after the birth of the great Queen multitudes of most beautiful angels in splendid array descended from on high bearing an escutcheon on which the name of MARY was engraved and shone forth in great brilliancy. Appearing to the blessed mother Anne, they told her, that the name of her daughter was to be MARY, which name they had brought from heav­en, and which Divine Providence had selected and now ordained to be given to their child by Joachim and her­self. The saint called for her husband and they con­ferred with each other about this disposition of God in regard to the name of their Daughter. The more than happy father accepted the name with joy and devout affection. They decided to call their relatives and a priest and then, with much solemnity and festivity, they imposed the name of MARY on their Child. The angels also celebrated this event with most sweet and ravishing music, which, however, was heard only by the mother and her most holy Daughter. Thus did the Holy Trinity name the Heavenly Princess: in heaven, on the day of Her nativity, and on earth, after 8 days. This name was written in the list of other names, when Her mother presented herself at the Temple according to the law, as I will relate further on. This was the birth, like to which none had been before, and the like of which cannot again happen in mere creatures. This was the most blessed birth of which nature was capable, for by it an In­fant came into existence, whose entrance into the world was not only free from all impurities of sin, but who was more pure and holy than the highest seraphim. The birth of Moses was celebrated on account of the beauty and handsomeness of the infant (Ex 2:2); all his beauty was only corruptible and apparent. But O how beautiful is our great Child! O how beauti­ful (Sg 7:6)! She is entirely beautiful and most sweet in Her delights, since She is possessed of all grace and beauty, without being lacking in any. The laughter and the joy of the house of Abraham was the birth of the promised Isaac (Gen 21:6), conceived in a sterile womb, but this joy was great only because it foreshad­owed and was derived from the birth of our infant Queen, toward which all this joy of Abraham was only a step. If that birth was so admirable and full of joy for the family of the Patriarch because it was a fore­shadowing of the birth of sweetest Mary, heaven and earth should rejoice at the birth of Her, who gave a be­ginning to the restoration of heaven and the sanctifica­tion of the world. When Noah was born, his father Lamech was consoled (Gen 5:29), because in that son God had provided a progenitor of the human race in the ark and assured a restoration of the blessings, which the sins of men had forfeited. But all this happened merely as a type to foreshadow the birth of this Child, who was to be the true Co-Reparator, being the Mystical Ark which contained the new and true Noah and which drew Him down from heaven, Who was to fill with benediction all the inhabitants of the earth. O blessed birth! O joyful nativity! The most pleasing to the Blessed Trinity in all the ages of the past, the joy of the angels, the relief of sinners, the delight of the just, and the singular consola­tion of all the holy souls in limbo!

337 O precious and rich Pearl that came forth to the light of the sun still enclosed within the rough shell of this world! O sublime Infant, who, though scarcely noticed by terrestrial eyes in the material light, yet in the Eyes of the Most High King and His courtiers, ex­celled all that is not God in dignity and grandeur! All generations bless You, all the nations recognize and praise Your grace and beauty! Let the earth be made illus­trious by Your birth, let mortals be rejoiced because their Mediatrix is born, who will fill up the vast emptiness of original sin. Let your gracious condescension toward me be blessed and extolled, who am the most dismal dust and ashes. If You give me permission, O my Lady, to speak in Your presence, I will propose a doubt which oc­curred to me in describing the Mystery of Your most ad­mirable and holy birth, namely; regarding an act of the Almighty at the hour of Your coming forth into the ma­terial light of the sun.

338 And this is the doubt: How are we to understand Your being raised in Your body by the hands of the Holy Angels into the empyrean heavens and to the vision of God? For according to the teaching of the Holy Church and her doctors, heaven was closed and as it were inter­dicted to man, until Your Most Holy Son should open it through His Life and Death, and until He Himself, as Re­deemer and Chief, should enter it on the day of His ad­mirable Ascension, He being the first One for Whom these eternal portals were to be opened after their being closed up by sin? 

ANSWER AND INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN 

339 My dear daughter, it is true, that Divine Jus­tice closed heaven against mortals on account of the first sin, until My Most Holy Son should open it by satisfying most abundantly for men through His earthly Life and Death. It was befitting and just, that this same Re­deemer, Who had united to Himself the redeemed members and opened heaven, should as their Chief enter before any of the children of Adam. If Adam had not sinned, it would not have been necessary to follow this course; for men would have ascended of themselves in order to enjoy the Divinity in the empyrean heavens; having however foreseen the fall of man, the Most Blessed Trinity provided for the course followed at present. This great mystery was referred to by David in Psalm 24, when speaking of the spirits of heaven he repeats twice "Lift up,  your gates; and be lifted up, eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in." They are here called the gates of the Angels, because only for them were they open, but for mortal men they were closed. Although these heavenly courtiers were aware of the fact that the Incarnate Word had already thrown back the bars and bolts of guilt, and that He was now ascending rich and glorious with the spoils of death and sin, bringing with Him the fruits of His Passion in the accompanying hosts of the glorious saints released from limbo; nevertheless the Holy Angels give vent to their admiration and breathless suspense at this wonderful novelty, asking: "Who is this King of glory?" For He was a man and of the same nature as the one who had lost for himself and for all his race the right to enter into heaven.                                                                

340 They themselves give answer to the question saying: "The Lord Who is strong and mighty; the Lord mighty in battle, the Lord of virtues, the King of Glory." This was as if they confessed their conviction, that this Man, Who was now coming up from the world in order to open the eternal gates, was not a mere man and is not included under the law of sin; but that He was true God and true Man, Who, strong and powerful in battle, had overcome the strong-armed one (Lk 11:22), that reigned in the world, had taken away his reign and despoiled him of his weapons. And He was the Lord of Virtues, as one that had exercised them as a Master, with sovereignty over them, and without any contradiction of  sin and defect. As the Lord of Virtues and as the Lord of Glory, He now came in triumph, distributing virtues and glory to His redeemed, for whom as man He had suffered and died, and whom as God He was now raising up to the Eternal and Beatific Vision, having broken the bars and shackles imposed by sin.   

341 Since this, O soul, was the work of My dear Son, the true God and Man, He, as the Lord of Virtues and Graces, exalted and adorned Me with them from the first moment of My Immaculate Conception. And as, moreover, the hindrance of sin did not touch Me, I was free from the impediments which prevented other mortals from entering into the eternal gates of heaven; on the contrary the powerful Arm of My Son acted with Me as being the Queen of all virtues and as the Queen of Heaven. Because He was to vest Himself and assume unto Himself human nature from My flesh and blood, He was beforehand in preparing Me and making Me like Himself in purity and exemption from fault and in other Divine gifts and privileges. As I was not a slave of sin, I exercised the virtues not as a subject, but as a Queen, without contradiction, but with sovereignty, not like the children of Adam, but like the Son of God, Who was also My Son.

342 For these reasons the celestial spirits, who had possession of the eternal gates as their own, opened them up for Me, perceiving that the Lord had created Me more pure than all the most exalted spirits in heaven, and made Me their Queen, and the Queen of all creation.  Remember also that He Who makes the law can also dispense with it freely, and this the Supreme Lord and Legislator did with Me, extending the scepter of His clemency toward Me more readily than Ahasuerus did to Esther. For the common laws regarding others and consequent on their guilt, applied not to Me, who was to be the Mother of the Author of Grace. Although I could not, as a mere creature, merit such blessed privi­leges, yet the Divine clemency and goodness of God turned toward Me with full liberality and He was pleased with the humility of His servant, in order that for all eternity the Author of such prodigies might be praised. You also, My daughter, according to My directions, bless and magnify Him for these benefits bestowed upon me.

343 My admonition to you, whom in spite of your weakness and poverty I have chosen with such generous kindness as My disciple and companion, is this: that you strive with all your powers to imitate Me in an exer­cise, in which I persevered during My whole life from the very first moment of my birth, omitting it on not a single day, however full of cares and labors it might have been. This exercise was the following: every day at beginning of dawn, I prostrated Myself in. the Presence of the Most High and gave Him thanks and praise for His Immutable Being, His infinite perfections, and for having created Me out of nothing; acknowledging Myself as His creature and the work of His Hands, I blessed Him and adored Him, giving Him honor, magnificence and Divinity, as the Supreme Lord and Creator of Myself and of all that exists. I raised up My spirit to place it into His Hands, offering Myself with profound humility and resignation to Him and asking Him to dispose of Me according to His Will during that day and during all the days of My life, and to teach Me to fulfill whatever would be to His greater pleasure. This I repeated many times during the external works of the day, and in the internal ones, I first consulted His Majesty, asking His advice, permission and blessing for all My actions.

344 Be very devout toward My most sweet name. I wish that you be convinced of the great prerogatives and privileges, which the Almighty concedes to it, so that I Myself, when I saw them in the Divinity, felt most deeply obliged and solicitous to make a proper return; and whenever the name MARY occurred to My mind (which happened often) and whenever I heard Myself called by that name, I was aroused to thankfulness and urged to new fervor in the service of the Lord, Who gave it to Me. You have the same name and I wish, that in proportion it should cause the same effects in you and that you imitate Me faithfully by following the lesson given you in this chapter, without failing in the least point from this day onward. And if in your weakness you should fail, rouse yourself immediately, and in the Presence of your Lord and Mine, acknowledge your fault, confessing it in sorrow. Repeating these holy exercises over and again with solicitous care, you shall find for­giveness for imperfections and grow accustomed to strive after what is highest in all virtues and most pleasing to the Lord. Then, following the light which He gives and in pursuance of that which is most pleasing and agreeable to your own tastes and Mine, you shall not be denied the grace of employing yourself entirely in listening, attending to and obeying in all things your Spouse and Lord, Who seeks in you only what is most pure, most holy and per­fect, and a will prompt and eager to put the same into practice.  

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 22
HOW SAINT ANNE COMPLIED WITH THE LAW OF MOSES IN REGARD TO CHILDBIRTH;
 AND HOW MOST HOLY MARY ACTED IN HER INFANCY 

345 It was a precept of the law, given in Leviticus 12, that a woman who had given birth to a daughter should be deemed impure for 2 weeks and should remain in the state of purification for 66 days after the birth, just double the time required for purification in case of a man-child Having completed the days of her purification she was to present herself in order to offer a lamb one year old as a holocaust for the daughter or the son, and also a young pigeon or tur­tle-dove as atonement for the sin. This she was to do at the door of the tabernacle, imploring the priest to offer them to the Lord and to pray for her; thereupon she was accounted pure. The parturition of the most happy Anne was pure and undefiled, as befitting her heavenly Daughter, in whose purity the mother was a sharer. Although on this account there was no need of a special purification, she nevertheless complied with the obligation of the law to the very last point. Though not subject to its penalties, she considered herself bound in the eyes of men.

346 St. Anne departed for the Temple, after 60 days of the purification, her mind inflamed with Divine ardor and bearing in her arms her blessed Daugh­ter. With the offerings prescribed by law and accompanied by innumerable Angels, she went to the gate of the Temple and spoke with the high priest, Simeon. He was accustomed to spend much time in the Temple and enjoyed the privi­lege and favor of seeing the child Mary, not only when She was offered and presented to the Lord in the Temple, but on other occasions. Although this holy priest was not on each of these occasions fully aware of the dig­nity of our heavenly Queen, as I will say farther on (No. 423, 710, 742), yet he always experienced great promptings and impulses of the spirit regarding the greatness of this Child in the Sight of God.

347 St. Anne offered to him the lamb and the tur­tle-dove with the rest of the gifts, and with tears of humility she asked him to pray for her and her Daughter, that the Lord forgive them any fault of which perhaps they might be guilty. His Majesty cer­tainly had nothing to forgive in a Daughter and mother, who were so full of grace; but He found Himself bound to reward the humility, with which notwithstanding their holiness they presented themselves as sinners. The holy priest received the oblation and in his spirit he was in­flamed and moved to extraordinary joy. Careful not to manifest anything exteriorly and communing with him­self, he said: "What strange feeling is this within me? Are these women perhaps the parents of the Messiah, Who is to come?" Moved by this joyful suspense he showed them great benevolence. The blessed mother Anne entered the Temple, bearing her most holy Daugh­ter on her arms, and She offered Her to the Lord with most devout and tender tears. For she alone in the entire world knew what Treasure was given into her charge.

348 St. Anne renewed the vow, which she had al­ready made, to offer her Firstborn to the Temple on arriving at the proper age. In renewing this offer she was enlightened by new graces and promptings of the Most High, and in her heart she heard a secret voice urging her to fulfill this vow and offer her Child to the Temple within 3 years. It was as it were the echo of the voice of the most holy Queen, who in Her prayer touched the Heart of God, in order that it might resound in the heart of the mother. For when both entered the Temple, the sweet Child seeing with Her bodily eyes its grandeur and magnificence, dedicated to the worship and adoration of the Divinity, experienced wonderful effects of the Spirit and wished to prostrate Herself in the Temple, to kiss its floor, and adore the Lord. But as She could not execute these desires in external actions, She supplied the defect with interior fervor, and She adored and blessed the Lord with a love more ardent, and humility more profound than ever before or ever after was possible to be rendered by any creature. Addressing the Lord in Her heart, She offered the following prayer:

349 "Most High and Incomprehensible God, My King and My Lord, worthy of all glory and reverence, I, ab­ject dust, but also a creature of Yours, adore You in this Your Holy Place and Temple. I magnify and exalt You on account of Your Infinite Being and perfections, and I give thanks in as far as My insignificance is worthy of Your regard. For You have permitted My eyes to see this holy Temple and House of Prayer, where Your holy Prophets and My forefathers have worshipped and blessed You, and where Your generous Mercy has wrought so many wonders and mysteries in their behalf. Accept Me, O Lord, in order that I may serve You in this Holy House according to Your blessed Will."

350 Thus She who was the Queen of heaven and of the universe, offered Herself as if She were the lowest slave of the Lord. As a testimony of its acceptation by the Most High, a most resplendent light shone down from heaven, enveloping the mother and Child, and fill­ing them with new splendors of grace. Again St. Anne was made aware that she would be expected to de­vote Her Daughter to the Temple within 3 years; she was given to understand that the delight with which God looked forward to such an offer, and the love with which the Heavenly Child desired its consummation would not permit a longer delay. The Holy Angels of Her guard and innumerable others who were present on this occa­sion sang sweetest songs of praise to the Author of these wonders; but they did not therefore have a more perfect knowledge of these happenings than St. Anne or her most holy Daughter, who perceived interiorly what was spiritual, and felt exteriorly what was subject to the senses in these things. St. Simeon saw dimly the sen­sible light. Thereupon St. Anne, rich in her Treasure and endowed with new gifts of the Most High God, re­turned to her home.

351 The ancient serpent eagerly observed all these events. Yet the Lord concealed from him what he was not to know, and permitted him to obtain knowledge only of what was necessary for his own undoing in his desire of destroying others and only so much as might serve to make him an instrument in the execution of the secret judgments of the Most High. This enemy was full of conjectures in regard to the unheard of things, which had come to pass in connection with this Mother and Child. But when he saw that they brought offerings to the Temple and that they, like sinners, observed the prescrip­tions of the law, even begging of the priest to intercede for their forgiveness; he was deceived and assuaged in his fury, believing that this mother and her Daughter were of ordinary condition although they might be more perfect and holy than other women,

352 The sovereign Child was treated like other chil­dren of Her age. Her nourishment was of the usual kind, though less in quantity; and so was Her sleep, although Her parents were solicitous that She take more sleep. She was not troublesome, nor did She ever cry for mere an­noyance, as is done by other children, but She was most amiable and caused no trouble to anyone. That She did not act in this regard as other children caused no wonder; for She often wept and sighed (as far as Her age and Her dignity of Queen would per­mit) for the sins of the world and for its Redemption through the coming of the Savior. Ordinarily She main­tained, even in Her infancy, a pleasant countenance, yet mixed with gravity and a peculiar Majesty, never show­ing any childishness. She sometimes permitted Herself to be caressed, though, by a secret influence and a cer­tain outward austerity, She knew how to repress the im­perfections connected with such endearments. Her pru­dent mother Anne treated Her Child with incomparable solicitude and caressing tenderness; also Her father Joachim loved Her as a father and as a saint, although he was ignorant of the mystery at that time. The Child on its part showed a special love toward him, as one whom She knew for Her father and one much beloved of God. Although She permitted more tender caresses from Her father than from others, yet God inspired the father as well as all others, with such an extraordinary rever­ence and modesty towards Her whom He had chosen for His Mother, that even his pure and fatherly affection was outwardly manifested only with the greatest moderation and reserve.

353 In all things the infant Queen was most gracious, perfect and admirable. Though She passed Her infancy subject to the common laws of nature, yet this did not hinder the influx of grace. During Her sleep Her interior acts of love, and all other exercises of Her faculties, which were not dependent on the exterior senses, were never in­terrupted. This special privilege is possible also in other creatures, if Divine power confers it on them; but it is certain that in regard to Her whom He had chosen as His Mother and the Queen of all creation, He extended this special favor beyond all previous or subsequent meas­ure in other creatures and beyond the conception of any created mind. God spoke to Samuel and to other saints and Prophets in their sleep, (1 Sam 3:4) and to many He sent mysterious dreams or visions (Gen 37:5,9) for to His Omnipotence it is easy to enlighten the mind during the inactivity of the senses in natural sleep or during their ravishment in ecstasy; they cease to act in the one as well as in the other, and without their activity the soul hears, accepts and transacts the things of the Spirit. This was the rule, which the Queen followed from the moment of Her Conception till now and for all eternity; for the activity of grace in Her during Her pil­grimage through life was not intermittent, like in other creatures. When She was alone, or when She was laid to sleep, which was in Her most moderate, She was engaged in the contemplation of the Mysteries and the excellences of the Most High, and in the enjoyment of the heavenly visions and the conversation of His Majesty. Her interaction with the Angels was likewise very frequent and in the following chapter something will be said of the manner of their manifestation and of some of their eminent perfections.

354 My Queen and Heavenly Lady, if without being offended, You will, as a kind Mother, listen to my ignorant talk, I will ask of Your kindness the solution of some doubts, which have occurred to me in this chapter. If my ignorance and boldness should transgress the limits, instead of answering me, my Queen, correct me with maternal mercy. My doubt is: Whether in this Your infancy You felt the necessities and hunger which according to the natural order, children do feel? And if You felt them, how did You suffer these an­noying inconveniences? And how did You ask for the nourishment and the other help necessary, since You were so wonderfully patient that You would not make use of tears, which serve other infants as speech and words? I am also ignorant, whether the hardships of that age were not most irksome to Your majesty, such as to have Your virginal body clothed and unclothed as in­fants are, to be fed with the food of other children, and to undergo the other experiences of that age? For other children undergo them bereft of reason, while nothing was concealed from You, O Lady. When I look upon You as a child in age and yet as grown up in Your capacity of judging of things, it seems to me almost impossible that there should have been no inconveniences in this matter, in the time or the measure, or in other cir­cumstances regarding the treatment allotted to You dur­ing Your infant life. Your celestial prudence taught You to preserve dignity and composure, yet You did not intimate the wants and needs of Your age and condition by crying, as an infant, or by word of mouth, as one grown up. Thus they could not know Your needs and could not treat You as one endowed with reason; for even Your mother could not know all these things, nor could she provide for all that was necessary, since she knew not the time nor the manner of serving Your ma­jesty in all things. All these considerations excite my admiration and arouse in me the desire of knowing the mysteries thus concealed.

ANSWER AND INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN 

355 My daughter, since you are full of wonder, I will inform you in all kindness. It is true that I was in pos­session of grace and of the use of reason from the first instant of My Conception, as I have so often shown you; I underwent the hardships of infancy as other children and I was reared and treated as others of the same con­dition. I felt hunger, thirst, sleepiness and other infirm­ities of the body, and as a daughter of Adam I was sub­ject to these accidental necessities; for it was just that I should imitate My Most Holy Son, Who subjected Himself to these hardships and defects, in order that He might merit so much the more and in order that He might be an example to the rest of mortals for their imitation. As I was governed by Divine grace, I made use of eating and sleep in moderation, allowing Myself less than others, and only so much as was proper for the aug­mentation and the preservation of My life and health. Disorder in these things is not only against virtue, but also against the well being of nature itself, which is invaded and ravaged by it. On account of My exquisite compo­sition I was affected by hunger and thirst more painfully than other children; and the lack of nourishment was more dangerous to Me; but if it was given to Me at unseasonable times, or in excess, I bore it with patience, until by some befitting sign I could manifest My needs. I felt less the lack of sleep on account of the oppor­tunity that it furnished Me for the presence and the heavenly conversation of the Angels.

356 That I was bound and wrapped in clothes was not painful to Me, but it was a cause of much joy, for I understood by Divine light, that the Incarnate Lord was to suffer a most cruel Death and was to be bound most shamefully. Whenever I was alone during My childhood I placed Myself in the form of a Cross, praying in imitation of Him; for I knew that My Beloved was to die in that position, although I did not know then that the Cru­cified was to be My Son. In all the difficulties, which I underwent after I was born into the world, I was resigned and contented, for I never lost sight of one con­sideration, which I desire you always to keep in mind. It is this; that you ponder in your heart and in your soul the truths, which I saw, so that you may form a cor­rect judgment of all things, giving to each that esteem and value which is its due. In regard to this the children of Adam are ordinarily full of error and blindness, but I desire that you, My daughter, share it not with them.

357 “As soon as I was born into the world and made aware of the light, which shone upon me, I felt the effects of the elements, the influence of the planets and of the stars, of the earth that sustained Me, of the nourish­ments that preserved Me, and of all the other things of this life. I gave thanks to the Author of all things, ac­knowledging His works as benefits freely bestowed upon Me, and not as dues, which He owed to Me. Therefore, when anything was lacking of the necessaries of life I re­mained in peace and contentedness and deemed it all per­fectly reasonable and proper in My regard, since I had merited none of the gifts and could justly be deprived of all of themHence, if I acknowledged this, thereby merely asserting a truth which the human reason cannot ignore nor deny, where have mortals their intellect, or what use do they make of their understanding when, at the refusal of things which they desire and of which per­haps they do not even profit, they begin to get sad and lash themselves into fury one against the other, and even against their God, as if they were suffering some injury at His Hands? Let them inquire what treasures and riches they possessed before they came into life? What services had they rendered to God in order to merit them? And if out of nothing there cannot arise any­thing, and if they could not merit the being that they have received, what obligation is there on the part of God to preserve out of justice, what was freely given to them? That God created man was of no benefit to Himself; but to man it was a benefit, and one as great as the being given to him, and as high as the object for which it was given. And if in his creation, man becomes indebted so much that he never can pay his debt, tell Me what right can he invoke at present for his preservation? Has he not received his being without merit and many times forfeited it? How can he claim the guarantee and pledge of unfailing plenty?”

358 “If the first transaction and operation was a mort­gage and a debt by which man binds himself, how can he with such impatience demand favors? And if in spite of all this, the supreme goodness of the Creator furnishes him graciously with what is necessary, why should he be agitated by the want of superfluities? O My daughter, what an execrable disorder and what a despicable blind­ness of mortals is this? For that, which the Lord gives them freely, they do not thank Him, or even give Him acknowledgment, and for that which He denies them justly and sometimes most mercifully, they are rest­less and proudly desirous, and they try to procure it by unjust and forbidden means, throwing themselves into the very destruction that flies from them. The first sin alone, committed by man, was sufficient to cancel man's right to the friendly service of all the other creatures; and if the Lord Himself would not restrain them, they would turn in vengeance upon man and refuse to render any service or help for sustaining his life. The heavens would deny them their light and benign influences, the fire would refuse its heat, the air would cease to serve for respiration, and all the other things would in their par­ticular way refuse their services, since they would in jus­tice be bound to refuse them. Then when the earth would deny its fruits, and the elements their moderation and their assistance, and all the other creatures would arm themselves to avenge the wrongs of their Creator (Wis 5:18), perhaps disgraced man would humiliate himself in his vileness and would not heap up the Wrath of the Lord for the unerring day of accountancy, when all his dreadful guilt will be exposed.”

359 “But you, My dear friend, flee from such base in­gratitude, and humbly acknowledge that you have re­ceived your being and life freely, and that, freely, its Author preserves it for you. freely you receive all the other benefits, without any merit of yours; and thus, receiving much and repaying little, you mak­e yourself daily less worthy of favors, while the liberality of the Most High grows continually with your indebted­ness. Let this thought be uppermost in you always, in order that it awaken and move you to many acts of vir­tue. If any of the irrational creatures fail you, I desire you to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks to His Ma­jesty, and bless them for their obedience to the Creator. If the rational creatures persecute you, love them with all your heart and regard them as the instruments of Divine Justice, which afford you some opportunity of rendering satisfaction for your deficiency. Rather strengthen and con­sole yourself in labors, adversities and tribulations, not only considering them as fully deserved by the faults committed, but also deeming them ornaments of the soul and most rich jewels given you by your Spouse.”

360 “Let this be the answer to your doubt; over and above this I wish to give you an instruction, which may be found in all the chapters. Consider, My soul the punctuality of My mother Anne in fulfilling the precept of the Law of the Lord, to Whose Majesty this solicitude was very pleasing. In this you should imitate her by observing inviolate each and every one of the precepts of your rules and constitutions; for God will reward most lib­erally this fidelity and severely punish any negligence in this matter.  I was conceived without sin and it was not necessary to present Me to the priest in order that the Lord might purify Me; nor was this necessary for My mother, since she was very holy. Nevertheless we hum­bly obeyed the law and thereby we merited great in­crease of virtue and grace. Despising just and wise laws and frequently dispensing with them, destroys the wor­ship and fear of God, and fatally confuses government among men. Beware of easily dispensing in the obliga­tions of the religious state, either for yourself or for others. If infirmity or some other just cause make it advisable, let it be done with moderation and with the approbation of the confessor, thus justifying dispensation before God and before men by the approbation of holy obedience. If you find yourself weary or weakened, do not at once become remiss in the strict observance, for God will give you strength according to your faith in Him. Do not give any dispensation on pretext of being overworked. Make that which is less serve and advance that which is the greater, let the creatures serve the Cre­ator. On account of your position as superior you have less excuse; for in the observation of the laws you must give a good example, leading on the others. Therefore, for yourself, no merely human motive can serve as an ex­cuse, though you may sometimes excuse your sisters and subjects on such account. Note moreover, that I desire you to lead in perfection; therefore this rigor is necessary, not even taking into consideration, that the observance of the precepts is a duty to God and men. Let no one think that it is enough to fulfill all obligations toward the Lord, and at the same time tread under foot the duty towards his neighbor, to whom is due good example and avoidance of all real scandal.” O Queen and Mother of all creation, would that I could attain the purity and the virtue of the supernal spirits, in order that this inferior part of my being, which weighs down the soul (Wis 9:15), may prompt me to fulfill Your heavenly teachings. I have become burdensome unto myself (Job 7:20); but with Your intercession and the gracious favor of the Most High I will be able to obey Your will and His with a loving promptitude of heart. Let not Your intercession and support, and the guidance of Your holy and wise counsels ever fail me! 

CITY OF GOD     THE CONCEPTION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 23
THE EMBLEMS OF THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS IN THEIR 
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BLESSED MARY, AND THEIR PERFECTIONS

361 It has already been said that 1,000 Angels were appointed as guardians of Mary, just as there is one for each soul. On account of the great dignity of the most holy Mary we must assume, that each of the guardian Angels watched over Mary more solici­tously than other guardian Angels watch over other souls. Besides these 1,000 Angels, who formed Her ordinary and constant guard, many others were at Her service on different occasions, especially after She had conceived in Her womb the Divine Word Incarnate. I have mentioned above (No. 204) that the selection of these Angels was made after the creation of the angelic hosts, and after the justification of the good and fall of the bad. The Divinity of the Word, to be clothed in its human nature, and also His most pure Mother was proposed and manifested to them, while they were yet in the state of probationthey were then made to understand, that they were to revere Them as their superiors.

362 When the apostate angels were chastised and the faithful ones rewarded, the Lord proceeded according to a most just measure and equity. As I said: in the acci­dental reward there was a certain diversity among the Angels according to the difference in their dispositions regarding the Mysteries of the Incarnate Word and His most pure Mother, which were made known to them before and during the probation. This accidental reward consisted especially in being selected to assist and serve the most holy Mary and the Incarnate Word, and also in the manner and form of their visible appearance to the Queen and of serving Her. This is what I wish to explain in this chapter; but at the same time I must acknowledge my inability to do so, since it is difficult to reduce to ma­terial images and words the perfections and the opera­tions of such exalted spiritual beings. Nevertheless if I should pass over this matter in silence, I would fail to give a proper idea of a great portion of the most exalted operations of the Queen of heaven during Her mortal life. For next to Her communication with the Lord, that with His ministers, the angelic spirits, was the most con­tinual. Therefore without the mention of this association the history of Her life would be defective.

363 I presuppose all that I have until now said about the orders, hierarchies and distinctions of the 1,000 Angels of Her guardBut I wish here to describe in what corporeal forms they appeared to their Queen. The intellectual and imaginary apparitions I reserve for another chapter, where I intend to describe especially the different kinds of visions, with which Her Highness was favored. The 900 Angels, who were chosen from the 9 choirs, 100 from each, were selected from the number of those, who had distinguished themselves by their esteem, love and rev­erence for the most holy Mary. They were made visible to the Blessed Virgin under the form of young men in their early years, but of the most exquisite beauty and courteousness, Their bodily forms showed but little resemblance to earthly matter, for they were transpar­ently pure and like animated crystals bathed in glory, similar to a glorified and transfigured body. With their beauty they combined a grave and amiable composure. Their garments covered them in flowing folds, but were resplendent, like the most clear burnished gold, enameled or stained with exquisite shades of color, presenting a most wonderful and varied beauty to the sight. At the same time all this ornament and visible presence seemed of such a kind, that it could not be subject to the sense of feeling nor be touched by the hand, although it could be seen and perceived like the rays of the sun entering into the open window and revealing the particles of dust in the air. But the splendor of the Angels was incomparably more beautiful and pleasing than any light of the sun.

364 In addition, all these Angels were crowned with wreaths woven of the most tender and exquisite flowers, that sent forth the sweetest fragrance, not of this earth but altogether spiritual and heavenly. In their hands they held palms of wonderful beauty and variety, which were to signify the virtues, which most holy Mary was to exercise, and the victories, which She was to gain by Her sanctity and glory. All this they as it were offered Her beforehand, with great joy and jubilation. On their breasts they bore certain devices or emblems, such as we are accustomed to see exhibited in the uniforms or habits of the military orders. They contained letters, which stood for: "Mary, Mother of God," and which contributed much toward the splendor of their adorn­ment and beauty. Their significance, however, was not made known to Mary until the moment of the Incarnation of the Word.

365 This emblem or device was most wonderful to be­hold, on account of the great splendor, with which it showed forth Her name above all the other beauty of the angelic ornaments. Its aspects and brilliancies were changeable, in order to indicate the variety of the mys­teries and excellences enclosed within that City of God. It contained the most exalted name and title, and inti­mated the highest dignity, which ever can fall to the lot of a mere creature: that of Mother of God. In this title the Angels honored in the highest degree their and our Queen. They themselves were honored in that title, since it was the outward sign of their allegiance to Her and of their preferment consequent upon their devotion and veneration for Her who deserved the veneration of all creatures. A thousand times blessed were they, to merit the special love of Mary and of Her Most Holy Son.

366 The effects of this association with the holy princes, and of their outward beauty in Mary, our Queen, no one beside Herself could ever properly de­scribe. They manifested to Her in a mysterious manner the greatness of the attributes of God, the blessings, which He showered upon Her in creating Her and choosing Her, in enriching Her and endowing Her with such great gifts of grace and treasures of the Divine Right Hand, moving Her and inciting Her to such ecstasies of love and praise. All these gifts increased with Her age and with the events of Her life and, as the great work of the Incarnation drew near, they expanded more and more; for then was gradually revealed to Her the mean­ing of the emblem, which these Angels bore across their breasts, which until then had been concealed from Her. It would be impossible to describe, what ardors of love, what profound humility, what tender affections filled the pure heart of Mary, when this was revealed to Her and when it dawned upon Her, what dignity and what obli­gation toward God this most peerless title involved, for She held Herself entirely incapable and unworthy of such an ineffable and mysterious dignity as that of Mother of God.

367 The 70 Seraphim, who assisted the Queen, were of the number of those nearest to the throne of God, who had most signally distinguished themselves in their devotion and admiration toward the Hypostatic Union of the Divine and Human Nature in the Person of the Divine Word. For as they were most closely bound to God by their greater knowledge and love, they also desired more earnestly, that this mystery should be con­summated in the womb of a woman. Their reward of essential and accidental glory corresponded to their par­ticular and signal love. This latter, the accidental glory, which I have mentioned, consisted in their being privi­leged specially to attend upon most holy Mary and take a part in the mysteries consummated in Her.

368 Whenever these 70 Seraphim showed them­selves to Her in a visible manner, the Queen saw them in the same form in which Isaiah saw them in imagination that is with 6 wings. With they covered the head, wishing to signify by this humble gesture the in­sufficiency of their intellect for the comprehension of the Sacramental Mystery at which they were assisting, and also their belief and acknowledgment of these Mysteries, which they confessed, prostrate before the Majesty and Grandeur of God. Thereby they also wished to extol with eternal praise the incomprehensible and sacred judgments of the Most High. With the other wings they covered the feet, which are the inferior extremities in closest contact with the earth, referring thereby to the Queen of heaven and earth as being human and earthly in nature and acknowledging Her as the Creature excelling all others in dig­nity and grandeur above all understanding and calcula­tion of the created mind; moreover they thereby wished to show, that though exalted as seraphim, they could not keep pace with the dignity and excellence of Mary.

369 With the wings of their breast they beat the air or seemed to flee, thereby intimating 2 things: on the one hand, by their incessant motion and flight, the love, the praise and reverence, which they gave to God; on the other, in disclosing their breasts, they wished to serve as it were to the most holy Mary as a most pure mirror of the Divinity, reflecting its essence and opera­tions to Her during the time of Her earthly pilgrimage; for it was not possible nor proper, that the Divinity should be manifest to Her in open vision during all that time. The Blessed Trinity wished, that Their Daughter and Spouse should, in these seraphim, the creatures clos­est to the Divinity and encircling the throne, see most faithfully presented in living images, what She could not continually see in its own essence and in the original.

370 By this means the Heavenly Spouse enjoyed the portrait of Her Beloved even in the banishment of Her pilgrimage; being thus inflamed body and soul with His love by His vision and association through these exalted and love-consumed princes. The manner of this communication, over and above that which was sensible in it, was the same as that which they maintained among themselves, namely, that those of a higher order enlighten those of a lower, as I have said elsewhere (No. 202). For although the Queen of heaven was higher and greater in dignity and merit, yet, as David intimated (Ps 8:6), on account of Her human nature, She was lower than the Angels. The ordinary manner of divine influence and enlightenment adapts itself to the conditions of nature and not of grace.

371 The other 12 Angels are the guardian Angels of the 12 gates, of which St. John speaks in Rev. 21:12 as ex­plained above. They distinguished themselves by the loving praise, with which they celebrated the goodness of God in becoming Man to teach and converse with men, and next to their joy at the Redemption of men and their readmission into the gates of heaven by His mer­its, was their loving wonder at the important part, which most holy Mary performed in this Mystery of the Re­demption. They were especially attentive to these great and wonderful works, by which God was to open up heaven, in order that men might enter into eternal life, and this latter is signified by these 12 gates of the tribes of Israel. The reward of their signal devotion was, that God appointed them as witnesses and, as it were, secretaries of the Mysteries of the Redemption and that they were privileged to cooperate with the Queen of Heaven as Mother of Mercy and Mediatrix of those, who turn to Her for their salvation. Therefore I said above (No. 273) that Her Majesty, the Queen, makes use especially of these 12 Angels to assist, enlighten and defend Her clients in their necessities and particu­larly in order to draw them from sin, whenever they in­voke them and the most holy Mary.

372 These 12 Angels appeared in the same corpo­real shape as those which I have first mentioned except that they bore palms and crowns, reserved for the devout servants of the Queen. Their service consisted especial­ly in bringing to Her mind the ineffable kindness of the Lord toward the human race, and in inciting Her to praise Him and petition Him for the fulfillment of His Mercy. She sent them as messengers of Her prayers to the Throne of the Eternal Father. They were sent also to those of Her clients, who invoked Her or whom She wished to help and benefit, in order to enlighten them and assist them, as happened many times to the holy Apostles; for often She aided them by the ministry of Angels in their labors for the primitive Church. Even now in our days these 12 Angels are engaged in the same ministry, helping the devout servants of their and our Queen.

373 The 18 Angels, who completed the number of 1,000, were those who signalized themselves in their compassion for the Sufferings of the Incarnate Word. Their reward for this compassion was great. They appeared to most holy Mary in wonderful beauty, bearing many emblems of the Passion and of other Mysteries of the Redemption, especially 2 Crosses of the most refulgent splendor and beauty, one on their breast and one on their arms. The sight of this wonderful display excited great admiration in the Queen, a most tender and compassionate love toward the Suffer­ings of the Redeemer of the world, and most fervent thanks and acknowledgment of the benefits, which men were to receive in their Redemption and rescue from cap­tivity. The great Princess very often sent these Angels to Her Divine Son with diverse messages and petitions on behalf of souls.

374 In describing the forms and the ornaments of these angels I have at the same time mentioned some of their perfections and operations, although necessarily in a limited way, if compared to the reality. For they are invisible rays of the Divinity, most alert in their move­ments and operations, most powerful in strength, most penetrating in their understanding, incapable of mistake, unchangeable in their condition and in their purpose, never forgetting or losing sight of that which once they have undertaken. They are full of grace and glory without any fear of ever losing them. As they are without a body and invisible, therefore whenever God wishes to grant to man the favor of being able to see them, they assume an aerial and apparent body, one that is adapted to the senses and to the object intended. All these angels of Queen Mary were selected from the most distinguished of their respective orders and choirs, their superiority consisting principally in that of grace and glory. They guarded their Lady without neglecting the least point of their service during Her holy life, and even now in heaven they derive an especial accidental enjoy­ment from Her presence and company. Although or­dinarily only some of them are sent to execute the spe­cial mandates of Her will, yet all of them together are at times engaged in Her service, fulfilling the decrees of the Divinity in Her regard. 

INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN 

375 My daughter, on 3 different points, I wish to instruct you in this chapter. The first is that you, by incessant praise and acknowledgment, show yourself thank­ful for the favor that God gave you in appoint­ing angels to assist you, teach you, and guide you through tribulations and sorrows. Mortals, in their abominable ingratitude and grossness, ordinarily forget this blessing. They do not consider, what great mercy and condescension of the Most High it is to have or­dained these holy princes as helpers, guardians and de­fenders of men, their earthly fellow creatures so full of miseries and sins. In forgetting how exalted in glory, dignity and beauty these spirits are, many men deprive themselves of numerous blessings, which they would oth