THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD 

THE CORONATION

THE HISTORY AND LIFE OF THE VIRGIN MOTHER OF GOD OUR QUEEN AND MEDIATRIX OF GRACE Manifested to SISTER 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.
"12 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.
IMPRIMATUR: H.J. ALERDING, BISHOP OF FORT WAYNE, IN. 1912 
In 4 volumes
THE CONCEPTIONTHE INCARNATIONTHE TRANSFIXIONTHE CORONATION.

Each volume is divided into 2 books

INTRODUCTION TO THE CORONATION
EMBRACES THE LATTER PART OF THE MOST HOLY LIFE OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD.

1In navigating a deep and dangerous sea, the naviga­tor is so much the more dangerously beset with its terrors and the attacks of pirates, the farther he has penetrated into its wide expanses. His cares are vastly increased on account of his weakness and want of certainty; for he does not know when or from where danger may come, and he is powerless to avert its coming and unable to resist it when at hand. This is just what is now happening to me since I am engulfed in the immense ocean of the ex­cellence and magnificence of the works of the most Holy Mary. And yet it is a sea full of repose and tranquility, as I know and confess. Nor can the fact, that I have advanced so far upon this sea of grace, and that I have finished the first and second part of Her life, give me assurance; for in this work I have, as in a most clear mirror, only so much the more clearly perceived my own incapability and vileness, and the deepest conviction forces itself upon me, that Her history is most impene­trable and incomprehensible to all created understand­ing. Nor are the enemies, the princes of darkness, ever at rest; for, like the most persistent pirates, they con­tinue to afflict and discourage me by false illusions and temptations with a malice and astuteness beyond all cal­culation. The navigator has no other recourse than to fix his sight upon the North Star, according to which, as his star of the sea, he must guide and direct his course amid the waves. I am trying to do the same in the midst of these multitudinous and tormenting temptations and fears. Guided by my Star, the most Holy Mary, in whom, through obedience, I can ascertain and fix my will upon the Will of the Eternal, and being many times afflicted, full of unquietness and fear, I cry out from the bottom of my heart and say: "My Lord and Most High God, what shall I do in my doubts? Shall I proceed, or shall I desist, in writing this history? O Mother of Grace and my Teacher, make known to me Your will and that of Your Divine Son."
2 I must confess truly, and as due to the Divine con­descension, that God has always answered my clamors and has never denied me His Paternal kindness in making known His Will in many ways. Although this is suf­ficiently evident in the assistance rendered to me in the writing of Part 1 and 2, yet besides this proof, there are innumerable other assurances given me by the Lord Himself, by His most Holy Mother, and His Angels, so that evidences have been heaped upon evidences, and testimonies upon testimonies, to counter­act my cowardice and fear. What is more, the Angels themselves in visible shapes, being the prelates and min­isters of the Lord in His Holy Church, have pointed out and reiterated the Divine Commandment, bidding me to believe and execute this commission, and to continue to the end. Nor was there lacking to me the light of infused science, which sweetly and forcefully called, en­lightened and moved my heart to the knowledge of the highest perfection, the most immaculate holiness, the most perfect virtue and the most desirable of what can be sought by the will. It has at the same time referred me to all this as enclosed and reserved, like a hidden manna, in that ark of the covenant, most Holy Mary, open for all that wish to approach and taste thereof.
3 Nevertheless, on entering upon the writing of Part 3, I was beset by new and harassing contradic­tions, not less formidable than those experienced in the first 2 portions of this history. I can say without fear, that I have not composed a sentence or a word, nor have I brought myself to write the least part of it, without experiencing more temptations than the letters of the alphabet of which it is composed. Although the hindrances caused by my own fear would have been sufficient (since I know who I am, and cannot help being cowardly, nor can ever put less confidence in myself than what my own weakness will warrant); yet neither this, nor the mag­nitude of the undertaking were the real impediments, though these were at first unsuspected. I presented to the Lord Part 2, which I had written, in the same way as I had presented the first. Under strict obedience I was compelled to begin Part 3, and, by the strength which this virtue gives to all that prac­tice it, I allayed the fear and faintness of my heart in executing what had been assigned to me. But fluctu­ating between my desire and fear of commencing, I was cast about like a vessel, combated by violent and con­trary winds.
4 On the one hand, the Lord bade me proceed in what I had begun, as such was His Will; nor, in my continual prayers, did I ever feel impelled to a different course. It is true, for some time I paid no attention to these directions of the Most High and did not mani­fest them immediately to my superior and to my con­fessor (not because I wished to conceal them, but in order to act more securely and in order that they might not suspect I followed only my own insight). But the Lord, Who is so even and equable in all His Works, inspired them with a new energy in pressing their continual ex­hortations and commands. Yet on the other hand, the envy and malice of the ancient serpent maligned all that I did or was moved to undertake. He raised up against me tormenting and alluring temptations, by which he sometimes sought to inspire me with his own boundless pride. At others, and very often, he sought to cast me down to deepest dejection and involve me in darkest and most disorderly fears, increasing his efforts as this history progressed, and especially as it was coming to a close. This enemy also availed himself of the judgment of some persons, who justly could claim my respect and who would not further this work. He caused also dis­turbances among the religious under my charge. It seemed to me that I had no time to spare and was obliged to attend to the welfare of the community, as the most important duty of a superior. With all these molesta­tions I came to no such interior peace, as is necessary for and befitting the actual enlightenment and intelli­gence concerning the mysteries to be treated of. For this light cannot be perceived, nor is it properly communi­cated, amid the spiritual storms of temptation, but will shine only in the peace and serenity of the soul's fac­ulties.
5 Afflicted and harassed by such a variety of tempta­tions, I ceased not in my clamors. On one day in par­ticular I spoke to the Lord: "Most High Lord and Good of my soul, my sighs and my desire to please You and to avoid errors in Your service (Ps 38:10) are not concealed to Your Wisdom. Lovingly I lament in Your Royal Presence; for, either You command me, O Lord, what I cannot fulfill, or You permit the enemy to hinder by their malice what You com­mand." The Lord answered my complaint and with some severity, said: "Remember, soul, that you can not continue what you have begun, nor will you finish the writings of My Mother's life, if you will not become altogether perfect and pleasing in My Eyes. For I wish that you gather within you the copious fruits of this benefit, and that you among the first, profit by it in greatest abundance. In order that you may share its fruits as I wish, it is necessary, that all that is earthly in you and savoring of a daughter of Adam be con­sumed. You must be free from the effects of sin with all its evil inclinations and habits." This answer of the Lord excited in me new solicitudes and the most burning desire of performing all that it implied; namely, not only a common mortification of all the inclinations and passions, but an absolute death of the animal and terrestrial life and its renovation and transformation into a celestial and angelic state of existence.
6 Desiring to apply my powers to what was proposed to me, I examined my inclinations and appetites, I searched the byways and corners of my interior and felt a most ardent wish to die to all that is visible and earthly. For some days I suffered in these exercises great affliction and melancholy; for, in proportion to my anxiety, increased also the dangers and occasions of being diverted by attention to creatures. The more I sought to withdraw myself from all my sur­roundings, so much the more did I find myself bound and oppressed by what I abhorred. Of all this the enemy availed himself for my discouragement, repre­senting such a life as altogether impossible to me. To this affliction was suddenly added another new, strange disorder. I felt in my body a condition so sensitive that the least exertion, even the most insignificant mortification, became more intolerable to me than until then the most severe penances. Those that I was accustomed to undergo most willingly, required now the most violent exertion, and I found myself become so delicate that they seemed to inflict upon me mortal wounds. To undergo discipline was an excruciating pain, causing swoons, and each stroke cut through my very heart. Without exag­geration I say, that merely to touch one hand with the other forced out my tears, so that I felt great confusion and grief at being so miserable. In forcing myself to labor in spite of this infirmity, I found my blood oozing from my fingernails. 
7 I could not account for this new experience, and in considering it, I impatiently exclaimed: "Ah me! What misery is this? What change do I feel within me? The Lord commands me to mortify myself and die to all creatures, and I feel myself much more alive to pain and much less mortified." For some days I suffered in great bitterness and impatience of my soul. In order to moderate my disturbance, the Most High consoled me, saying: "My Daughter and Spouse, let not your heart be afflicted at the vividness of your sufferings. I have sought by this means to distinguish in you the effects of sin and to restore you to a new life and pre­pare you for works more exalted and pleasing to Me. Until you shall have attained this state, you can not begin to write what remains of the life of My Mother and your Queen." This answer of the Lord somewhat encouraged me; for His Words are Words of Life, vivifying the heart (John 6:63). Although my troubles and temp­tations were not abated, I prepared myself for labor and battle; yet I continued to distrust my weakness and in­ability and despaired of finding a remedy. I sought it in the Mother of Life, and I resolved to ask for help in sincerity and constancy. For She is the only and most certain refuge of the needy and afflicted and She has continually heaped Her many favors upon me, the most useless creature of the world.
8 I prostrated myself at the feet of the great Queen of Heaven and Earth, and pouring out my spirit in Her presence, I besought Her mercifully to remedy my im­perfections and defects. I represented to Her my desire of pleasing Her and Her Divine Son and again offered myself for Her service, even if I should have to pass through fire and torments and shed my blood. The kind Mother answered my supplications by saying: "My daughter, understand well, that these desires, which the Most High again excites in your heart, are pledges and effects of His Love, by which He calls you to His inti­mate association and familiarity. It is His Most Holy Will and Mine, that you on your part correspond to them in order that you may not hinder your vocation or retard any longer the pleasure of His Majesty in what He requires of you. During all the writing of My life I exhorted and reminded you of your obligations con­nected with this blessing, namely that you imprint in yourself the living image of its teachings and of My example according to the graces you receive. You have now arrived at the third and last part of this his­tory; and it is time you raise yourself to a perfect imita­tion of Me, clothing yourself with new strength and extending your hand to strong deeds (Prov 31:17). By such a life and behavior you will be able to begin what still remains to be written; for it must be written in such a way, that you put in practice the lessons it inculcates. Without such a disposition you will not be able to write it; since it is the Will of the Lord, that My history shall be written more in your heart than on paper, and that you feel what you write, in order that you may write what you feel."
9 “Therefore I desire that your interior be cleared from all earthly images and inclinations (Ps 45:11); so that, having put away and forgotten all visible things, you may center all your conversation and association upon your Lord (Phil 3:20), upon Me, and upon His Angels; and let all other things be strange and foreign to you. In the strength of this virtue and purity, which I require of you, you shall crush the head of the ancient serpent and conquer his opposition to your writing and laboring. Because you are so tardy in responding to the wishes of the Lord, in entering upon the path He wishes you to pursue, and in placing full confidence in His blessed intentions, Divine Provi­dence has permitted the dragon to be the minister of His Justice in punishing your unbelief and your lack of submission to His Will. That same enemy has concocted schemes to draw you into some faults by setting before you his deceits in the garb of a good intention and of virtuous ends, and by seeking falsely to persuade you, that you are not destined for such high favors and exalted blessings; and, in order that you may not merit them, he has made you dull and tardy in rendering thanks for them. You have been taken in by the deceit of deeming these Works of the Most High due to you in justice, and not as works of grace; and so you have neglected to co-operate to the fullest extent with Divine Graces and have not corresponded to those you receive without any merit of your own. It is time that you be assured, and that you believe the Lord and Me; for I teach you the highest perfection, namely the imitation of Me. Thus shall be conquered the pride and cruelty of the demon and his head crushed by Divine Power. There is no reason why you should impede its effects; but, Forgetting All Things, Consign Yourself Lovingly Into The Hands of My Divine Son and Mine; for We desire of you what is most holy, most praiseworthy and pleasing in our eyes and estimation.”
10 By this instruction of my Heavenly Lady, Mother and Teacher, my soul was replenished with new light and with the desire of obeying Her in all things. I renewed my good resolutions, I resolved to raise myself by the help of Divine Grace, and I strove to prepare myself for the fulfillment of the Will of the Most High without resistance. I availed myself of my bodily con­dition, by which, as mentioned above, my sensibility to mortification had been so much enlivened and increased. But the devil would not abate in his strife and opposition. He knew that the enterprise I was to assume was very arduous and that the state to which the Lord raised me was a refuge, but one far above human weakness and earthly dullness. Gladly will I confess this truth and the slowness caused by my frailty and sluggishness. I acknowledge, that the Lord has labored with me during my whole life in order to raise me from the dust and from the dunghill of my vileness, multiplying His bless­ings and favors beyond all my comprehension. More­over He has seconded all these blessings by the aid of His Right Hand in order to gain His end. I cannot at present mention all that He did for me; but at the same time it seems unjust to pass it over in silence entirely, since it will show to what misery sin has brought us and what distance there is between the capacity of the reasoning creature and the summit of virtue and perfection it can attain. It will also show what it costs to restore man to that capacity.
11 Some years before writing this I was repeatedly favored with an extraordinary blessing at the Hands of God. It was a sort of death to all the animal and terrestrial operations, like that of civil death; and this state was followed by another, which was one of new enlightenment and of more exalted operations. But since the soul always remains clothed in mortal and earthly corruption, I continue to feel the heavy weight of the flesh overwhelming and degrading the soul (Wis 9:15), unless the Lord renews His wonders and favors me with the assistance of Divine Grace. On that occasion this renewal was wrought in me through the Mother of Piety, who, speaking to me in a vision, said: "Take heed, My daughter, that now you must begin to live not your own life, but the life of your Spouse Christ in you (Gal 2:20); He is to be the Life of your soul, and the Soul of your life. For this purpose I wish to cause in you the death of your old life, which has so far operated in you, and establish in you the new life, which We ask of you. Let it then today be known to heaven and earth, that Sister Mary of Jesus, My daughter and servant, dies to the world, and that the Most High works this change, in order that this soul may live only to what faith teaches. Just as in natural death all things are left behind; so shall this, My daughter, thus freed, by her last will and testament consign her soul to her Creator and Redeemer and her body to the earth of self-knowledge and patient suffering. Of this soul My Divine Son and I shall take charge, in order to fulfill entirely His Holy Will, if she will obey Us promptly. We will celebrate her funeral rights and ceremonies with Our courtiers, in order to bury her in the Heart of the Divine Humanity of the Word, Which is the Sepulcher of those who die to the world while still in mortal life. From now on she must not live in her own self, nor for herself, after the fashion of Adam; but in all things she is now to manifest in her the Life of Christ, Who is her Life. I shall implore Him to look kindly upon this deceased one and to receive her soul as His own; to acknowledge her as a stranger and pilgrim, living not on earth, but in the higher and Divine regions. I shall instruct the Angels to accept her as a companion and to treat and converse with her as if she were freed from mortal flesh.”
12 “I command the demons to let alone this dead one, just as they must let alone the other dead, who are not under their jurisdiction and in whom they have no part; for from this day on she shall be more dead to visible things than those who have passed from this world. I conjure men to lose her out of sight and forget her, as they forget the dead, in order that they may thus allow her to remain in peace and tranquility. And I command and exhort you, to consider yourself as one who has finished life in this world and has entered eternal life in the Presence of the Most High. I desire you to imitate the life of the blessed in faith; since the certainty and assurance of truth is the same for you as for them. Your conversation is to be on high (Phil 3:20); your communication, with the Lord of all creation and your Spouse; your conference shall be with the Angels and Saints, and you must rivet your whole attention upon Me, your Mother and Teacher. For all the rest that is earthly and visible you must have neither movement of life, nor any activity; no more than a dead body, which shows no feeling of life in response to anything that may happen to it or may be done with it. Neither must difficulties disquiet you, nor flattery or pleasures affect you; you must not respond to injuries, nor be elated by honors; let neither presumption inflate you, nor mistrust cast you down; you must not give consent to any feeling of concupiscence or anger; because your model in all these passions must be a dead body, already freed from all of them. Nor must you have any more dealings with the world than the dead; for the world immediately forgets those whom it has praised in life, and to such an extent, that, though they be father or brother, and the most intimate relatives, it hastens to put them out of sight. All this the deceased permit, without a murmur or a feeling of offense; nor do the dead make any account of the living, much less do they attend to them or to anything they may have left among their survivors.”
13 “Having thus died to yourself, it remains for you to consider yourself as the food of worms, fit only for vilest corruption. Thus shall you bury yourself in the earth of your self-knowledge, in order that your senses and passions may not presume to give forth their bad odor in the Sight of the Lord, nor, like an ill-covered and half-buried corpse, may not presume to give forth its bad odor in the Presence of the Lord and of those that have entered the blessed life. Let your horror of showing any signs of life, or of not being entirely mor­tified in the Sight of your God and of the saints, be much greater than that caused by unburied bodies among men. The use of your senses such as sight, hearing, touch and others for the purpose of entertainment or delight, should be a greater surprise and offense to you, than to see a corpse moving about. By this death you shall be prepared and fit to be the only spouse of My Divine Son, and My true and most beloved disciple and daughter.  Such is the state which I require of you, and so high is the wisdom, which I am to teach you in following My footsteps and in imitating My life, reproducing in yourself, as far as is granted you, all My virtues. This should be the fruit of recording the wonders and sac­raments of My sanctity manifested to you by the Lord. I wish that they escape not the secrecy of your heart and be made known without having moved you to the perfect fulfillment of the Will of My Divine Son and of Mine, which tends to nothing else than toward your own highest perfection. Drink then the waters of wisdom from their fountainhead, the Savior; there is no reason why you should remain void and un­satiated of that, which you are to administer to others, nor that you should finish writing this history without deriving the fruits of this blessing. Prepare your heart then for this death, which I urge upon you, and you shall attain your wishes and mine.”
14 Such were the words of the great Lady of Heaven to me on this occasion, and on many others She has repeated this teaching of the salutary and eternal life. Of these teachings I have written much in the chap­ters of Part 1 and 2, and shall continue to do so in Part 3. From all this my sluggish­ness and ingratitude toward such great benefits is very apparent. For, though this great Queen and Her Divine Son have so often promised to raise me to a most exalted state and habitation, once I die to the earth and to myself, and though in their heavenly kindness They now promise it freely and anew; yet I find myself con­tinually backward in virtue and much entangled in the pursuits of a daughter of Adam. This state is a solitude and desert, created for the soul in the midst of the surrounding creatures. In it my soul has no familiarity with the rest of visible creatures, but enjoys the presence and the communications of the Lord, of His Holy Mother and the Angels, at the same time per­mitting all its activity and all its dealings to be gov­erned by the promptings of the Divine Will for God's greater glory and honor.
15 During the whole course of my life, from earliest childhood, the Most High has exercised me in continual infirmities, sorrows and other molestations of creatures. But with the advance of years He increased also the sufferings of another kind of trial, which made me forget much of those already suffered in the past; it was like a 2-edged sword which divided my soul and spirit, as the Apostle says (Heb 4:12). This trial was that constant fear, of which I have so often spoken, and for which I have been reprehended in this history. Much of it I felt even from childhood, but it developed and rose to the highest pitch since my en­trance into religion, where I applied myself entirely to the spiritual life, and experienced the manifestations of the Lord to my soul. Since that time God has placed me upon this cross, or into this wine-press of the heart, namely, permitting me to remain in the continual dread of not being on the right path, of being deceived, or of having lost the grace and the friendship of God. My difficulties were much augmented by the publicity, which some persons incautiously and to my great grief, gave to my affairs, and by the terrors with which others filled me at my danger. So deeply rooted in my heart was this terror, that it has never ceased, and could never be allayed by the satisfaction and complete as­surances of my confessor and superiors, nor by their kind encouragement, nor by their corrections, nor by the many other means they used for this purpose. What is more, although the Angels and the Queen of Heaven, and the Lord Himself continually reassured and soothed me, and although I feel myself free in Their Presence; yet, as soon as I issue from this sphere of Heavenly Light I am again assailed with incredible violence. This might easily be recognized as the cruel machination of the infernal dragon, if my troubles, afflictions and fears had not the appearance of arising from other sources than the devil. This fiend especially assails me, when­ever I am about to open my heart to my confessors, particularly to the superior, who directs me; for nothing does this prince of darkness fear more than the light and the power possessed by the ministers of the Lord.
16 In the bitterness of this sorrow and the most ardent desire of grace and of not losing God, I have lived many years, and the various and numerous hap­penings amid this constant strife I cannot record. The root of this fear, I believe, was holy, but many of its branches have been fruitless, although the Divine Wis­dom knew how to use them all for His different ends. On this account He permitted the enemy to avail him­self of the blessings of the Lord for my affliction. For the inordinate fear, which hinders the good, though it appear to imitate ever so much the good, is evil and of the devil. My afflictions have at times reached such a pass, that I considered it a great gain not to lose the life of my body, and especially that of my soul. But the Lord, Whom the winds and the waves obey (Matt 8:27) and Whom all things serve (Ps 119:91), Who gives nourishment to every creature in op­portune time (Ps 145:15), has now in His condescen­sion wished to give peace to my spirit in order that I might enjoy more tranquility in writing the rest of this history. It is some years ago, that the Lord consoled me and promised me peace and interior quiet before I should die; informing me at the same time, that the dragon is so furious against me, because he suspects there is little time left him for persecution.
17 In order to set about writing this third part the Lord on a certain day, with singular condescension and complacency, spoke to me as follows: “My dear Spouse, I wish to alleviate your pains and moderate your afflictions; quiet yourself, My dove, and rest securely in the sweetness of My love and of My powerful and Kingly Word; for I assure you upon this Word, that it is I, Who speak to you and Who have selected your paths ac­cording to My pleasure. It is I, Who lead you along these ways; it is I, the same One, Who is at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father and present in the Sacra­ment of the Holy Eucharist in the species of bread. I give you this assurance, in order that you quiet and convince yourself. For I do not wish you, My beloved, to be My slave, but My daughter and spouse, and I de­sire you to enjoy My gifts and delights. You have suffered enough from fear and bitterness; let peace and tranquility enter into your afflicted heart.” Such favors and assurances of the Lord, often repeated, one would think, should not be humiliating, but should afford only the greatest joy; but they are of such a kind, that they abase the heart to the low dust and fill me with solici­tude and anxiety. Those that think different, have little experience and are only slightly capable of the secret operations of the Most High. It is certain, that I have been instructed in many new things interiorly and was much alleviated in the troubles and temptations caused by these disorderly fears. But the Lord is so wise and powerful, that on the one hand He assures, and on the other He stirs up the soul, injecting new fear of falling and thereby preserving it in the knowledge and humiliation of self.
18 I must acknowledge that by these and other con­tinual favors, the Lord has not so much freed me from fears, as confirmed me in them; for I live in continual dread, lest I show myself ungrateful and fail to cor­respond by displeasing Him or losing Him; lest I be lacking in the perfect love of Him, Who is so good in Himself; and lest I should not deserve to retain the fullest possible love toward Him, or even that which is not possible. Filled with these anxieties, and on ac­count of my great misery, solicitude and many faults, I said on one occasion to the Most High: “My sweetest Love, Lord and Master of my soul, although You give me so many assurances to quiet my troubled heart, how can I do away with my fears amid the dan­gers of this laborious and dreadful life, full of tempta­tions and persecutions, during which I hold my treasure in a vase more fragile and weak than that of any other creature?” With paternal condescension He responded; “My cherished spouse, I do not wish you to lose the just fear of offending Me; but it is My will, that you be not disturbed and grieved in a disorderly manner, nor so as to hinder you from rising to My exalted and perfect love. You have My Mother for a Teacher and a model, for your instruction and imitation. I shall assist you by My grace and support you with My direction. Tell Me then, what you ask, or what you desire for your peace and security.”
19 With the greatest resignation that I could muster I replied: “Highest Lord and Father, much is that which You ask, although Your goodness and immense love deserve that I fulfill it all. But I know my weakness and inconstancy, and I shall be satisfied in no other way than by not offending You, neither by the slightest thought, nor by the least movement of my faculties; and I shall rest only when all my actions shall be ac­cording to Your pleasure and good will.” The Lord an­swered: “My continual help and favors shall not fail you, if you correspond to them. In order that you may do it so much the better, I wish to perform a work, which is in keeping with the love I have for you. I will connect My Immutable Being with your insignifi­cance by an Special Providence, chaining and binding you in such a way, that, whenever you shall, in the weakness of your will, do anything less pleasing to Me, you shall feel My influence detaining and recalling you to Me. The effect of this blessing You shall know and feel immediately within you, just like a slave, who is bound by chains in order that she may not flee.”
20 To the great joy and advantage of my soul the Almighty fulfilled His Promise and among many other favors and blessings (which may not be mentioned and which do not concern my purpose), none has been so precious to me as this one. I perceive it not only in great dangers, but in the smallest; and in such a way, that if I neglect or carelessly omit any work or ceremony, although it be no more than to humiliate myself or to kiss the floor on entering the choir to adore the Lord, as is customary in the convent, I at once feel a sweet force, which draws me and calls my attention to the defect, and which, on its part, permits not the least im­perfection. If sometimes in my weakness I fall into any, this Divine Force is at once present, causing in me heart­rending pain. This pain serves as a check to the least disorderly inclination and at the same time as a goad toward seeking immediate remedy for the fault or im­perfection committed. As the gifts of the Lord are without regret (Rom 11:29), He has not only bound me with this mysterious chain, but, in His Divine Con­descension, on a certain day, that of His Holy Name and Circumcision, I perceived that He tripled it, in order to restrain me and bind me still more forcibly, since a triple cord, as the wise man says, is difficult to break (Ecc 4:12). All this was necessary on account of my weakness, in order that I might not be overcome by the importunate and astute temptations of the ancient serpent.
21 In the meanwhile these temptations increased so much, that in spite of the blessings and commandments of the Lord mentioned above, in spite of the demands of obedience and of others not to be mentioned here, I nevertheless hesitated to begin the last part of this history; for I felt again the fury of the powers of dark­ness, which tried to overwhelm me. I understood this and I will explain it by what St. John says in Revelation 12: That the great red dragon shot forth from its mouth a river of water against that Heavenly Woman (Rev 12:15), whom he had pursued from heaven, and that, since he could not touch or destroy Her, he turned in great rage against the rem­nants and the seed of that great Lady, against those who are sealed with the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17) in His Church. During the time of which I am speaking this ancient serpent strained all his wrath to disquiet me and, as far as he could, force me to commit some faults, which retarded the purity and per­fection of life required of me and necessary for writing what I was commanded. While this interior battle con­tinued, the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels on March 1st intervened. Reciting matins in the choir I suddenly felt a noise or great disturbance, so that I shrank and humiliated myself to the very dust. Then I saw a great multitude of angels, which filled the whole choir, and from their midst proceeded a still greater re­fulgence or splendor as of a judge, seated upon a tribunal or judgment-seat. I understood at once, that it was Archangel Michael. Without delay they intimated to me, that they were sent by the Most High with special power and authority to arraign me for my negligence and for my faults.'
22 I desired to prostrate myself on the earth to acknowledge my transgressions and humbly to weep be­fore those celestial judges, but as I was surrounded by the nuns, I dared not make the presence of the angels known by prostrating myself in body. I did what was possible interiorly, bitterly weeping over my sins. In the meantime I saw the Holy Angels speaking and con­ferring with each other, saying: “This creature is use­less, slow, and not at all fervent in fulfilling the com­mands of the Most High and of our Queen. She will not come to a full trust in the blessings and the en­lightenments, which she continually receives at our hands. Let us deprive her of all those blessings, since she does not put them to use, nor earnestly strive to be so pure and perfect as the Lord teaches her to be; neither does she proceed to write the life of His most Blessed Mother, as He has commanded her so many times. If she does not mend, it is not just that she should receive so many and such great favors and instructions in holiness.” Hearing these words I was sadly afflicted at heart and I wept the more. Full of confusion and grief I spoke to the Holy Angels in the bitterness of my soul and I promised amendment of my faults and obedience unto death to the Lord and to His most Holy Mother.
23 At my humiliation and my promises the angelic spirits relaxed somewhat in their severity and with greater kindness they told me that, if I would dili­gently fulfill what I had promised, they would assure me of their continual favor and assistance, admit me as their companion and friend, and converse with me in the same way as they conversed with each other. I thanked them for their kindness and besought them to present my thanks also before the Most High. They disappeared, warning me, that for the favors they would show me, I must imitate them in purity, committing no fault or imperfection willfully; and this they intimated as the condition upon which this promise depended.

24 After these and many other happenings, which need not be mentioned, I was left in a state of greater humiliation, as was natural with one who had been so severely reprehended for ingratitude, unworthiness and insensibility toward so many blessings, exhortations and commandments. Full of confusion and sorrow I con­sidered within myself, what little excuse or pretext I had for resisting the Divine Will, in view of all that I had come to know and in view of its importance to my welfare. I resolved firmly to execute the command or die in the attempt, and I sought for some powerful and tangible means which should rouse and urge me on to combat my lack of attention, and which should keep me alert, if possible, against any imperfection in all my operations and movements, so that I might always do what is most holy and pleasing in the Eyes of the Lord. I implored my confessor and superior, in all the sincerity and submission of my heart, to reprehend me severely and force me to be per­fect and solicitous in the most exact fulfillment of the Divine Will and in the execution of what the Divine Majesty required of me. Although he was most zealous and vigilant as one who took the place of God and one who knew His Will and my prescribed path; yet he could not always come to my assistance or be present on ac­count of the absences required by his duties as a religious and as a superior. I resolved therefore also to engage one of the nuns to assist me, asking her to reprehend and advise me often, or warn me and stir me up by threats. All these means and others I sought in the most ardent desire of pleasing the Lord, His most Holy Mother and my Teacher, the Holy Angels, all of whom were of the same mind in regard to my advance in perfection.
25 In the midst of these solicitudes it happened to me one night, that my Holy Guardian Angel showed him­self to me as being particularly pleased and said: “The Most High wishes to condescend to your desires and has appointed me to serve you as a guide to spur you on.  I shall be your faithful friend and companion in order to advise you and rouse your attention; and you shall find me present, just as now, whenever you shall turn your eyes toward me in the desire of pleasing and faith­fully serving your Lord and Spouse. I will teach you how to praise Him continually and how to alternate with me in canticles. I will manifest to you new mysteries and treasures of His greatness; I will give you deeper understandings of His Immutable Being and Divine Per­fections. And whenever you are engaged in outward works of obedience or charity, or when, through some negligence, you turn to earthly and exterior things, I shall call you to flee to the Lord; and for this purpose I shall use some words of admonition, which often shall be these: “Who is like unto God, Who dwells on high and in the hearts of the humble?” At other times I shall call to your mind the blessings you have received from God and your duty to His love. At still others, I shall remind you to look upon Him and raise up to Him your heart. But to all these warnings you must be punctual, attentive and obedient.”
26  “The Most High also desires me not to conceal to you any longer a favor, which until now you have overlooked among the many conferred upon you by His most liberal bounty; and for this you must now begin to thank Him. It is this, that I am one of the 1000 Angels, who served as a guard to our great Queen in this world, and one of those, who bear the device of His Admirable and Holy Name. Look upon me and you will see it upon my breast.” I looked and there recognized the Holy Name in refulgent splendor, filling my soul with new consolation and jubilee. The Holy Angel proceeded and said: “He has also commanded me to call your atten­tion to the fact, that of us 1000 Angels very rarely any are appointed as guardian angels of souls and what­ever souls so far have been committed to our care, have all been of the number of the saints and none of them of the reprobate. Take heed then, O soul, of your obliga­tion not to interrupt this series; for if in spite of this blessing you are lost, your punishment and chastisement shall be of the severest ever inflicted upon the damned and you shall be known as the most unhappy and un­grateful of all the daughters of Adam. That you should be favored by having me as your guardian, who was one of the guardians of our great Queen, most Holy Mary and the Mother of the Creator, was ordained by the Most High Providence and in view of your being chosen to write and imitate the life of His most Blessed Mother. I was appointed to instruct you and assist you, because I was an eye-witness of Her great works and excellences.”
27 “This office of a guide will be fulfilled principally by the great Lady Herself; but I am to furnish you with the necessary images in order to elucidate what the Heavenly Queen shall teach you, and I am to give you other understandings ordained by the Most High, for the clearer recording of the mysteries manifested to you. You shall experience all of them although you shall not always know the connection and the sacraments hidden under this providential guidance. You shall also perceive that the Lord Himself, making use of this special providence in your regard, has commissioned me to com­pel you, with sweetest urgency, to imitate the purest Mary our Queen, and to follow Her and obey Her in Her doctrine. From now on I shall execute this mandate of the Lord with greater insistence and force. Resolve then to be most faithful and thankful in regard to these blessings and seek to scale the highest summits of the perfection taught you and asked of you. Remember, that even if you reach the perfection of the highest sera­phim, you shall still be in great debt to God's copious and liberal mercy. The new mode of life, which the Lord asks of you, is contained and is made clear in the instructions given to you by our great Queen and Lady, and in what you shall understand and write in Part 3 of Her life. Listen to Her with a submissive heart, thank Her humbly, execute Her doctrine anxiously and carefully; for if you do this, you shall be fortunate and eternally blessed.”
28 Other things, which the angels told me, need not be mentioned for my present purpose. But what is con­tained in this introduction, will manifest partly the provi­dence of the Most High toward me and it will also make known the high purposes of Divine Wisdom in the writing of this history. These are, that not only I, but all who desire, may reap the fruits of this blessing, and that each one for himself may use it as an efficacious means of salvation. It will also become evident, that Christian perfection cannot be attained without great battles with the devil or without incessant labor in overcoming and subjecting the passions and evil inclinations of our de­praved human nature. Finally, the heavenly Mother and Teacher, that I might begin to write this third part of her history, in sweetest kindness, said to me: “My eternal blessing, and that of My Most Holy Son, come over you, in order that you may write the rest of My life and in order that you may labor and strive after the perfection We desire of you. Amen.”
                                 CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
How the Divine Right Hand showered upon the Queen of Heaven highest Gifts, in order that She might labor In the Holy Church; the Coming of the Holy Spirit; the copious Fruit of the Redemption and the Preaching of the Apostles;  the first Persecution of the Church, the Conversion of St. Paul and the arrival of St. Jacob In Spain; the Apparition of the Mother of God in Saragossa, and the Founding of the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Pillar.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER I
OUR LADY DESCENDS FROM HEAVEN IN ORDER TO ASSIST AND INSTRUCT THE CHURCH
1 In finishing Part 2 of this history I showed how our great Queen and Lady, most Holy Mary, was privileged by God to be miraculously present in body at 2 places, in the Cenacle as well as in the empyrean heavens, where She was seated at the Right Hand of Her Son and Eternal God (Ps 45:10); how, in order to make His Glorious Ascension more wonderful, the Son of God and of the Virgin, took Her with Him for the purpose of putting Her in possession of the ineffable rewards She had until then merited and to assign Her the place, which, for Her past and future merits, He had prepared for Her from all eternity. I said also, that the 3 Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity left it to the free choice of the Heavenly Mother either to return to the world for the consolation of the first children of the Church and for its foundation, or permanently to estab­lish Herself even then in the most blessed state and re­main in the possession of the glory They had conferred upon Her. For, conditional to Her choice and in pur­suance of the great love They had for this peerless Creature, the Will of the Divine Persons inclined toward retaining Her in the abyss of their glory and not to restore Her to the banished children of Adam upon earth. In a certain sense justice seemed to demand this; since the world was already redeemed by the Passion and Death of Her Son, toward which She had co-operated in all plenitude and perfection. Death had in Her no further claims, not only because She had suffered its pains in that of Christ our Savior (as explained by me in its place); but also because the great Lady never was tributary to death, nor the devil, nor to sin, and there­fore was not subject to the common law of the children of Adam (Heb 9:27). According to our mode of thinking, the Lord desired that She, without dying like the others, should pass by another kind of transition from the state of pilgrimage to that of comprehension, from mortality to immortality, and that She should not suffer death upon the earth, who, while remaining upon it, had committed no fault to merit death; for the Most High could have passed Her from one state into the other in another way.
2 Against this, however, stood the charity and hu­mility of this admirable and sweetest Mother; for Her love urged Her to come to the assistance of Her children and to seek the manifestation and exaltation of the Name of the Most High in the new Evangelical Church. She desired also to gather into the faith many faithful followers by Her solicitation and intercession and to imitate Her children and brethren by dying upon the earth; though, by reason of Her sinlessness, She owed no such tribute (Rom 6:23). In Her vast wisdom and admirable prudence She knew how much more precious it is to merit a reward and crown, than to possess them gratui­tously in advance, even if they happen to be those of eternal glory. Her wisdom and humility were not without their present reward; for the Eternal Father made known to all the courtiers of heaven, at the same time both His own desires and the choice of most Holy Mary for the good of the militant Church and for the help of the faithful. All the inhabitants of heaven then began to know what is but just that we should know also on earth; namely, that, as we are told by St. John, the Eternal Father so loved the world as to give not only His Son for its Redemption (Jn 3:16); but also His Daughter, the most Holy Mary, sending Her from Her glory to build up the Church, which Christ its Artificer had established; and in like manner and for the same pur­pose the Son delivered up His most loving and beloved Mother, and the Holy Spirit His sweetest Spouse. To this must be added another circumstance enhancing this bless­ing: namely that it followed closely upon the injuries which Christ our Redeemer received in His Passion and frightful Death, making the world altogether unworthy of this benefit. O infinite love! O immense charity! How evident is it become, that the multitudinous waters of our sins cannot extinguish you! (Song 8:7)
3 After most Holy Mary had remained in heaven for 3 whole days and had enjoyed in body and soul the glory of the Right Hand of Her Son and true God, She departed with the blessing of the Blessed Trinity from the highest heaven and returned, according to Her desire, to this nether world of the earth. God or­dered an innumerable multitude of angels, selected from all the choirs and from the highest seraphim nearest to His throne, to accompany their Queen. She was enveloped in a cloud or globe of the most resplendent light, which served Her as a couch or reliquary and in which She was borne downward by the seraphim. The beauty and exterior splendor in which this Heavenly Queen came to the earth can never be compassed by the human mind in mortal life; and it is certain that no living creature could have looked upon Her in merely natural powers without losing its life. On this account it was necessary, that the Most High should hide Her reful­gence from those that saw Her, until the splendors of Her beauty should have moderated. St. John the Evangelist alone was privileged to see the Queen in the full redundance of the Heavenly Glory which She had en­joyed. The immense beauty of this magnificent Queen of the Heavens, as She descended from the Throne of the Blessed Trinity, can easily be understood, when we consider how the face of Moses, after having spoken with the Lord and received the law on the moun­tain, shone with such light that the Israelites could not bear it or look upon his face. We are not informed that the Prophet saw the Divinity face to face; and if he saw It, his vision of God certainly did not ap­proach in the least to that enjoyed by the Mother of God.
4 The great Lady arrived at the Cenacle as a sub­stitute of Her Divine Son in the New Evangelical Church. In the gifts of grace, which She had received for this ministry, She showed such a plenitude and abundance, that She excited the wonder of the angels and the as­tonishment of the saints; for She was a living image of Christ our Redeemer and Master. Beneath the globe of light, in which, unseen, She arrived in the Cenacle, She was restored to Her natural existence, in so far as to be thenceforward present only in that place. Immediately the Queen of Holy Humility prostrated Herself to the ground and abasing Herself to the dust, said: “Most High God and My Lord, behold this vile worm of the earth, acknowledging itself formed from it (Gen 2:7), and coming from nothingness to this existence, which I hold through Your most liberal clem­ency. I acknowledge also, O Most High Father, that Your ineffable condescension, without any merits of Mine, has raised me from the dust, to the dignity of being the Mother of Your Only Begotten. From My whole heart I praise and exalt Your immense goodness in so favoring me. In gratitude for such great blessings I offer myself to live and labor anew in this mortal life, according to all the decrees of Your Divine Will. I consecrate myself as Your faithful servant and as the servant of the children of the Church. All of them I present before Your im­mense charity and implore You from My inmost heart to look upon them as their kind God and Father. For them I offer up the sacrifice of being deprived of Your glory and peace, and of having chosen of My own free will suffering rather than joy, denying Myself the vision of You in order to perform what is so pleasing in Your Sight.”
5 The Holy Angels who came with the Queen took leave of Her to return to heaven, congratulating the earth for again possessing as its inhabitant their great Queen and Lady. I wish to mention, that while I wrote of this, the holy princes asked me, why I did not more frequently call Mary the Queen of the Angels, and they told me not to neglect the use of that title in the balance of this history, since they derived such great delight thereby. In order to obey and please them I shall use it many times from now on. But returning to our history, we must take notice, that the Heavenly Mother, during the first 3 days after Her descent from heaven, remained much withdrawn from earthly things, still lingering in the overflow of the joy and admirable influences of Her triduum of glory in the heavens. Of all men, the Evangelist St. John alone had cognizance of this mystery; for in a vision he had seen the Great Queen of Heaven ascend with Her Divine Son and had also seen Her descend in Her glory and graces for the enrichment of the Church. He remained entranced and sus­pended in admiration at this extraordinary mystery for 2 days. Knowing that his most holy Mother had descended from on high he desired to speak to Her, but dared not presume.
6 Battling between the urgency of his love and the restraint of his humility, the beloved Apostle hesitated nearly a whole day. Conquered by his filial love, he at last resolved to seek the presence of his Heavenly Mother in the Cenacle, and on his way there, he stopped to argue with himself. “How can I presume to do what I desire, before knowing the Will of the Most High and of my Queen? Yet my Redeemer and Master has given Her to me as a Mother and favored and bound me to Her as a son; hence it is my duty to serve and assist Her. She is not ignorant of my desire, and will not despise it; She is kind and sweet, and will pardon me. I wish to prostrate myself at Her feet.” Therewith St. John came to a resolve, and he went to the place where the Queen was in prayer with the rest of the faithful. At the instant in which he raised his eyes to look upon Her, he fell down prostrate just as he and the other 2 Apostles had fallen at seeing the transfigured Lord on mount Tabor (Matt 17:2). For the splendors which he now saw in the countenance of most Blessed Mary were very like to those seen on our Savior Jesus at that time. As the impression caused by the vision of Her descent from heaven was also still enduring, his human weakness was so much the more completely overwhelmed and he fell to the earth, without power of again rising to his feet for the space of an hour. Nor were the Apostles and disciples, who were present in the Cenacle, necessarily astonished at this fall; because, in imitation of their Divine Master, and moved by the example and instruc­tions of the most Holy Mary, they were frequently, during the time they were expecting the Holy Spirit, lying prostrate and in the form of a cross praying for the coming of the Paraclete.
7 The kindest Mother then approached the humble and blessed Apostle, and raised him from his prostrate position, and, assuming a more natural appearance, fell Herself upon Her knees, and said to him: “My master and son, you already know that I am to be governed in all My actions by obedience to you; for you take the place of My Divine Son and Master, in order to command Me in all that I am to do. I now ask you anew to be solicitous in commanding Me, on account of the consolation I derive from obeying in all things.” Hearing these words, St. John felt great confusion and perplexity on account of what he had seen and experi­enced concerning Her, and he once more prostrated himself before Her, offering himself as Her slave and begging Her to command and govern him entirely. In this urgent request St. John persevered for some time, until, overcome by the humility of our Queen, he subjected himself to Her will and was persuaded to yield to Her, agreeing to command Her as She wished. For this was of the greatest profit for his own advance­ment, and for us a unique and efficacious example, re­minding us of our pride and teaching us to crush it. If we acknowledge ourselves devout children of this Heavenly Mother and Queen of Humility, we are justly obliged to imitate and follow Her. The vision of the great Queen of the Angels in Her state of glory was so deeply impressed upon the understanding and the in­terior faculties of the Evangelist, that the image of it remained within him during all his life. At the moment when he saw Her descend from heaven, he cried out in great wonder. The intelligence he then received con­cerning Her, he afterwards manifested in Revelation 12, as I will explain later on.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME.

 8 My daughter, although I have urged you, many times, to detach yourself from all visible and earthly things and to die to yourself and to all that savors of a child of Adam, and though I have fully exhorted and instructed you in Part 1 and 2 of my life already written, I now call upon you anew, with the affection of a kind and loving Mother, and I invite you in the Name of My Divine Son, in My own name and in that of the Angels, who also love you so much, that, forgetting all else, you raise your­self to another life, more exalted and heavenly, approach­ing that of the eternal felicity. I desire that you leave entirely the ancient Babylon, your enemies and all their false and harassing vanities, and that you approach the holy and celestial Jerusalem, live in its porches, where you are to occupy yourself in the true and per­fect imitation of My life and thus arrive by divine grace at the intimate union of My Lord and your Most Faithful Spouse. Hear me then, with a joyful attention and alacrity of soul follow Me fervently, reproducing in your life the image of what you write, and study what works I performed after I came back from the Right Hand of My Divine Son to this world. Meditate upon and penetrate into all My endeavors, in order that, according to the graces you receive, you may continually copy, what you understand and write. Divine Grace will not fail you, for the Most High will not deny it to those, who on their part exert themselves according to their power, and He will not refuse you His assistance to attain what is pleasing and acceptable to Him, if you do not by your negligence make yourself unworthy. Prepare and expand your heart, inflame your will, purify your understanding, and cast out from your faculties every image and impression of visible crea­tures. For thus will none of them interfere with you, nor any of them draw you into venial sin or imperfec­tions; the Most High will deposit in you His hidden wisdom and thus you shall be prepared and anxious to execute all that is most pleasing in Our Eyes and en­joined upon you by Us.
9 From now on your life is to be like that of one newly called from the grave. Just as such a one is apt to turn to a new life, as if estranged and foreign to all that he loved in his former life, changed in all his desires, reformed and alienated from all his former in­clinations; so I desire, that you, My daughter, be re­newed. For you must live as if you were re-endowed with the highest possible gifts of the soul by the divine power within you. But for these divine operations it is necessary that you use your own efforts and prepare your whole heart, so that you may be entirely free and become a blank tablet as it were, whereon the Lord, with His own Fingers, may write and stamp, as in soft and yielding wax, the seal of My virtues. His Majesty desires you to be an instrument in His Hands wherewith to operate His own Holy and Perfect Will; and you know, that an instrument does not offer re­sistance to the artisan, and if it possesses free will, it uses it only in order to permit itself to be freely moved. Now then, come where I call you; and remember that if it is natural to the Highest Good to bestow favors and communicate Itself to the creatures at all times, yet in the present age, this Lord and Father of Mercies seeks to manifest more abundantly His liberal kindness toward men. For the times have advanced toward their end and there are few, who are willing to dispose themselves for the reception of His divine gifts. Do not lose such a favorable occasion; fol­low Me, and tread in My footsteps; and since I invite you to such a happiness in motherly love and by such high and perfect doctrine, do not grieve the Holy Spirit by your tardiness.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 2
REVELATION 21 DESCRIBES OUR LADY DESCENDING FROM HEAVEN
10 It befitted the exalted dignity of St. John as being appointed the son of most Holy Mary by Jesus on the Cross, that he should be the secretary of the ineffable sacraments and mysteries of the great Queen, which were kept concealed from others. For this reason many of Her mysteries were revealed to him before Her excursion into heaven, and he was made an eye-witness of the hidden mysteries on the day of the Ascension, when this sacred Eagle saw the Divine Sun, Christ (Is 30:26), ascend in 7-fold light, as Isaiah said, and with it, the moon Mary shining as the sun, on account of Her likeness to Christ. The most fortunate Evangelist saw Her ascend and seated at the Right Hand of Her Son; he saw Her also descend, as I have said, with renewed astonishment; because he rec­ognized the change and renovation at Her return to the earth after having experienced the influences of the Divine Glory and godlike attributes. As is said in Part 2, our Savior Jesus had already promised the Apos­tles, that before going to heaven He would arrange for the stay of His most Blessed Mother for the consolation and direction of His Holy Church. But the Apostle St. John, during his first joy and wonder at seeing the great Queen seated at the Right Hand of Christ our Savior, forgot this promise and, absorbed in the consideration of this unthought of event, he began to fear or get anx­ious, lest the Heavenly Mother should remain in the glory which She enjoyed. Agitated by this uncertainty, St. John, amid the jubilee of his soul, felt also the afflicting pangs of love at the loss; and these lasted until he again remembered the promises of his Master and Savior and saw His most Holy Mother descending to the earth. 
11 The mysteries of this vision remained impressed upon the memory of St. John, so that neither these, nor all the others revealed to him by the Queen of the Angels, ever escaped his mind; and the Holy Evangelist sought to spread the knowledge of them in the Holy Church. But the humility of the most prudent Mary our Lady deterred him as long as She lived and persuaded him to keep them hidden within his heart until the Most High should command otherwise; for it was not opportune to mani­fest them to the world beforehand. The Apostle obeyed the wishes of the Heavenly Mother. Before his death, at the time when God commissioned him to enrich the Church with the hidden treasures of these sacraments, he was instructed by the Holy Spirit to reveal them in deeply metaphorical and enigmatic language, which, as the Church itself confesses, is difficult to understand. It was proper that they should not be open to all, but shut up as the pearl is in nacre or in its shell, or as the gold is hidden in the minerals of the earth. The Holy Church, gradually more enlightened and studying them diligently, could draw upon these treasures as necessity required; and in the meanwhile preserve them in deposit within the obscurity, which the holy doctors have met with and ac­knowledge in the Holy Scriptures, and especially in Revelation.
12 In the course of this history I have already spoken of the Providence of the Most High in concealing the greatness of His most Holy Mother in the primitive Church, (Part 2, 413) and I will offer no excuse for pointing it out anew, because of the admiration it will cause in those, who now come to know of it. In order to moderate our doubts (if any should be entertained), we need only consider what the various saints and doctors have said about the providential concealment of the body and the burial of Moses (Deut 34:6). This was ordained they say, in order that the people of the Jews, so given to idolatry, might not be led astray into giving adoration to the body of the Prophet, whom they esteemed so highly, or that they might not begin to venerate him by some superstitious and vain cult. For the same reason they say, that Moses, writing of the creation of the world and of all creatures, although the angels were the most noble of all, did not expressly mention their creation, but only indicated it by the words; “God created light;” be­cause these words can be understood as well of the ma­terial light of this visible world, as also, by a hidden metaphor, of those substantial and spiritual lights, the Holy Angels, of whom a more open mention was at that time not opportune.
13 If the Hebrews were subject to the danger of idolatry because of the interaction and vicinity of heath­enism and because of their blind inclination to attribute Divinity to men or to whatever seemed great, powerful or in any way superior; then, if, in the first preaching of the Gospel and the faith of Christ our Savior, the great excellences of His most Holy Mother had been propounded to them, the gentiles would have been in still greater danger of this error. In corroboration of this we have the saying of Dionysius the Areopagite, who, though he was such a great philosopher that he had found out the existence of the true God even by his natural acumen of mind, openly maintained, after he had become a Catholic, that, when he had seen and conversed with the most Holy Mary, he would certainly have esteemed and adored Her as God, if faith had not taught him otherwise. In this danger then would have fallen, much more easily, the ignorant, and they would certainly have confounded the Divinity of Christ the Redeemer, which they were obliged to believe together with the greatness of His most pure Mother, thinking that, since they were propounded at the same time and showed such similarity in holiness, She was God just as Her Son. But this danger vanished after the faith and practice of the Church had taken such deep roots and after it had been so clearly established by the teachings of the holy doctors and by so many miracles wrought by God in testimony of the Redeemer. Enlight­ened by these testimonies we know that He alone is God and true man, full of Grace and Truth; and that His Mother is a mere creature, Full of Grace without possess­ing the Divinity and next to God above all the rest of creation. In our times then, so enlightened by the Divine Truths, the Lord knows when and how it is proper to spread the glory of His most Holy Mother by opening up the enigmas and secrets of the Holy Scriptures wherein He holds them enshrined.
14 The Mystery of which I am about to speak, with many others concerning our great Queen, was recorded by the Evangelist in the metaphors of Revelation 21; especially introducing the most Holy Mary under the type of the Holy Jerusalem and de­scribing Her under cover of all the circumstances men­tioned in that chapter. Although in the first part I have explained it at length in 3 chapters, applying it, as it was then given me to understand, to the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mother; yet it is necessary now to interpret it in relation to the Mystery of the descent of the Queen of Angels after the Ascension of the Lord. Let it not be objected that there is a contradiction or repugnance in these different appli­cations; for both of them are legitimately founded on the literal text of the Scriptures, and there can be no doubt, that Divine Wisdom can comprehend in the same and identical words many mysteries and sacraments. In one word we can include more than one thing, and God certainly included a double meaning in the same words without equivocation or contradiction (Ps 62:12). This is one of the sources of the difficul­ties found in Holy Scripture, and one that was necessary in order to make it more significant and precious in its meaning and in order that the faithful may study it with greater humility and reverence. That it should be so full of enigmas and metaphors is necessary, since in that style and wording, the Sacred Mysteries, which would be strained by the more proper terms, can be expressed much more fully.
15 This will be better understood in the mysteries now under consideration, for St. John says that he saw the Holy City of the New Jerusalem, prepared and adorned as a bride, descending from heaven, etc (Rev 21:2). There is no doubt that this metaphor of a city refers truly to the most Holy Mary, and points out Her descent after having ascended with Her Most Blessed Son. At the same time it also refers to Her descent in the Divine Mind by Her Immaculate Conception, in which She was formed as the new earth and the new heaven, as explained on in the first part. The Evangelist included both these sacra­ments, when he speaks of this event in Revelation 21. Therefore it will be necessary to explain it in this new sense, though this will imply a repetition of the sacred text; but I will explain it more briefly on account of what I have already said in the first part. 
16 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more” (Rev 21:1). He calls the Most Sacred Humanity of the Incarnate Word and that of His heavenly Mother, a new heaven and a new earth; a heaven, on account of the inhabitation of the Divinity in humanity, and a new one, on account of the renovation of mankind. In Christ Jesus, our Savior lives the Divinity (Col 2:9), in a oneness of personality following from the indissoluble substantial union; while in Mary another kind of union is effected, an extraordinary union of graces. These heavens are now new; the passible hu­manity, which the Evangelist had seen wounded and dead in the sepulcher, he now saw elevated and placed at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father, crowned with glory and with the gifts merited by His Life and Death. He saw also the Mother, who had given to Christ this passible nature and had co-operated in the Redemption of the human race, seated at the Right Hand of Her Son (Ps 45:10) and absorbed in the ocean of the inaccessible light of the Divinity, participating in the glory of Her Son as His Mother and meriting it in justice and on account of Her ineffable works of charity. He called also the earth of the living a new heaven and a new earth, as it was re­newed by the lamp of the Lamb (Rev 21:23), replen­ished with the spoils of His triumph and newly illumined by the presence of His Mother; renewed also because as Sovereigns They had taken possession of their reign through all the eternities. They renewed it also by having afforded its inhabitants the opportunity to see Them with their own eyes and to partake of their benefits, by having populated this earth with the new children of Adam as its citizens and their allies and by having turned it over to them without any danger of loss. On account of these different kinds of renewal he said that the first heaven and the first earth had gone; not only because the sacred humanity of Christ and that of most Holy Mary, in which He had lived as in the first heaven, had risen to the eternal habitations, bearing with them also the earth of their human essence; but also because men themselves from the ancient heaven and earth of their passible being, had passed to the state of impassibility. Gone were the rigors of justice, and blessed rest was attained. The winter of troubles had fled (Song 2:11) and the eternal springtime of joy and delight had come. The first earth and heaven of all the mortals had also vanished; for the celestial Jerusalem had been barred and locked during 5,200 years, so that none could enter and all men would have been confined to the old sin-stained earth, if through the entrance of Christ and His most Blessed Mother these bars and locks had not been shattered and the Divine Justice had not been satisfied.
17 In a special sense the most Blessed Mary was a new heaven and earth and new earth by ascending with Her Son, the Savior Jesus, and by taking possession at His Right Hand in the glory of body and soul without having passed through the death common to all the sons of men. But even in Her human condition upon earth She was a heaven.  Thus She saw the Divinity; but this condition of the great Lady passed away, to take the place of another condition, making Her, by an admirable dis­position of Divine Providence, a new heaven, in which God might dwell among all creatures in the high­est glory. In this new order of things, in this new hea­ven, there was no sea; for through Her, the bitterness and sorrows of labor had come to an end, if She would have consented to remain from that time on in that most happy state. In regard to the other saints, who in body and soul, or only in the soul, remained in glory, all storms and dangers of the first earth in mortal life now really had an end. 
I WILL NOW SPEAK IN THE NAME OF THE EVANGELIST, FOR THE SAKE OF GREATER BREVITY.
18 The Evangelist proceeds: “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.” I, an unworthy Apostle of Jesus Christ, am the one to whom this hidden sacrament was revealed in order that it might become known to the world: and I saw the Mother of the Incarnate Word, the true Mystical City of Jerusalem, the vision of peace, descending from the Throne of God Himself to the earth, and I saw Her clothed with Glory and adorned with a new participation in God's attributes, His Wisdom, Power, Holi­ness, Immutability, and Amiability, and resembling His Son in Her actions and behavior. She came as an instru­ment of His Omnipotence and taking the place of God by a new participation. Although She came to the earth in order to labor upon it for the benefit of the faithful and for this purpose deprived Herself voluntarily of the vision of Eternal Glory, nevertheless the Most High re­solved to send Her adorned and furnished with the power of His own Arm and to compensate Her for the beatific vision She relinquished. Instead of it She was favored with another sort of vision and participation in His In­comprehensible Divinity, suited to Her present state of pil­grimage, but yet so exalted, that it exceeds all the thoughts of angels and men. He adorned Her with gifts limited only by Herself and has prepared Her as a Bride for Her Spouse, the Incarnate Word, enriching Her so that no grace or excellence was lacking in Her. Nor should Her absence from His Right Hand deprive Her of the Presence and Communication of Her Man, Who was to re­main in Her, as in His proper Heaven and Throne. Just as the sponge receives and soaks up the fluids into its hollow spaces, so, according to our mode of understand­ing, this great Lady was filled with influences and com­munications of the Divinity.
19 The text further states: “And I heard a great Voice from the throne, saying: Behold the Tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they shall be His people; and God Himself with them shall be their God.” This Voice proceeding from the Throne, filled all my mind with sweetness and joy. I understood how the great Lady, before Her death, attained possession of the great reward merited as a singular favor and the prerogative due only to Her among all mortals. None of these, after attaining possession of their glory, had permission or authority to return to life; yet this privilege was conceded to this only Bride for the increase of Her glory. She, in full possession of eternal beati­tudes and proclaimed by all the courtiers of heaven as their legitimate Queen and Lady, wished of Her own free will to descend and become the Servant of Her vassals, educating and governing them as Her children. On ac­count of this charity She deserved to have all men as Her subjects, and to be put in possession of the militant Church, where She was to dwell, over which She was to preside and draw the blessing, the Mercy and Forgiveness of God; for in Her heart the Lord was sacramentally present during the whole time in which She lived in the primitive Church after Her descent from heaven. If there had been no other reason, Her Son would have in­stituted the Most Holy Sacrament in the world in order thus to dwell in Her; and through Her merits and peti­tions He remained among men with new graces and bene­fits; wherefore the Evangelist adds:
20 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying.” This great Lady came as the Mother of Grace, of Mercy, of Joy, and of Life. She it is, who fills the world with joy, who dries away the tears brought on by the sin of our mother Eve. She turned mourning into rejoicing, tears into new jubilee, clamors into praise and glory, the death of sin into life for all who seek it. Now the death of sin is at an end, and all the clamors and the pains of the wicked are at an end, if only, before their damnation, they will flee to this sanctuary and there find pardon, mercy and consolation. The first ages, which were not blessed with the presence of Mary, the Queen of Angels, have fled and passed with all the sorrows and sighs of those that sought Her and could not see Her; for now the world possesses Her for a refuge and help, and for a Shield of Mercy against the Divine Justice that hangs over the sinner's head.
21 And He Who sat upon the throne, said: Behold I make all things new.” This was the Voice of the Eter­nal Father, Who gave me to understand, how He would make all things new; a New Church, a New Law, New Sacraments. Having conferred upon men such new bless­ings as to give them His Only Begotten Son, He added to this blessing by sending them the most Holy Mary thus renewed, endowed with such wonderful gifts and power as to enable Her to distribute the Treasures of the Re­demption, and by placing them altogether into Her hands to be scattered broadcast according to Her most prudent will. For this purpose did He send Her from the royal throne, a faithful reproduction of His Son, and, like a faithful copy of the Original, sealed Her, in as far as is possible in a mere creature, with the attributes of the Divinity. Her holiness was also to be copied by the New Evangelical Church.
22 “And He said to me: Write, for these words are most faithful and true. And He said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. To him who thirst, I will give of the fountain of waters, freely. He who overcomes shall possess these things, and I will be his God ; and he shall be My son.” The Lord from His throne (says St. John), commanded me to write down this mystery, in order to give witness to the fidelity and truth of His words and of the works of the most Holy Mary, into whose hands He has pawned His Omnipotence. And because these sacraments are so ex­alted and hidden, I announce them in figures and riddles, leaving it to the Lord to manifest them in the world at His own time, and letting all understand, that 
Whatever Is Possible Has Been Done For The Restoration
And Welfare Of Man. 
In saying: “It is finished,” God reminds men of their obligations toward Him for sending His Only Begotten to suffer and die for them and to teach them His Doc­trine; and for sending His Mother to assist and help the Church; and for sending the Holy Spirit to promote and enlighten, to strengthen and comfort it with the gifts He had promised. And since the Eternal Father had nothing more to give us, He says: “It is finished.” As if He had said: “All that is possible to My Omnipotence and proper to My equity and bounty, I have given, and the One Who is the beginning and end of all that has being. As the beginning, I give it by the omnipotence of My Will; and as the end of all, I receive all things, providing in My Wisdom the means by which they attain their last end. These means are all under the control of My Most Divine Son and His Mother, My chosen and beloved One among the children of Adam. In Her are the pure and living waters of grace, from which all men, who thirst after their eternal salvation, may draw it as from its fount and source (Jn 7:37). For them these waters are distributed freely; since they could not merit them, yet with His own Life, My Incarnate Son has merited them, and His Blessed Mother gains and merits them for those that apply to Her. And whoever shall overcome the hindrances to these waters of grace, that is, Whoever overcomes himself, the world and the devil, shall find Me a liberal, loving and Almighty God; he shall possess all My goods and whatever through My Son and His Mother I have prepared for him; for I shall adopt him as My son and as an inheritor of My eternal glory.”
23 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and 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.” To all the sons of Adam I give My Only Begotten as a Master, Redeemer, and Brother and His Mother as a Protector, Mediatrix and Advocate powerful be­fore Me; and as such I send Her again into the world, that all may understand how much I wish them to avail themselves of Her protection. But those that do not over­come the repugnance of their flesh to suffering, or do not believe My testimonies and wonders wrought in their be­half, or those witnessed by My Holy Scriptures; and those who, having believed, have entangled themselves in the base impurities of carnal delights, the sorcerers, idolaters, who forsake My true power and Divinity, fol­lowing the devil; all those that work deceit and malice, shall have no other inheritance than what they thus choose for themselves. This will be the dreadful fire of hell, which is a pool of burning sulphur, full of darkness and stench, where for each of the damned there shall be different pains and torments according to the abomina­tions committed by each one; but all of them shall be eternal and connected with the loss of the divine and beatific vision enjoyed by the saints. This shall be the second death, from which there shall be no salvation; because those overtaken by it have not availed themselves of the Redemption from the first death of sin through the Redeemer and His Blessed Mother in grace. Still de­scribing his vision the Evangelist proceeds:
24 "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" (Rev 21:9). I saw that this Angel and the others were of the highest and closest to the throne of the Blessed Trinity; and that they were endowed with special powers to chastise the presumption of men who should commit the above-mentioned sins, after the Mys­tery of the Redemption, the Life, Teaching and Death of the Savior had been proclaimed, and the excellence and power of His most Blessed Mother in assisting sin­ners had become known. And as, in the course of time, these sacraments, with their miracles and enlightenment, with the example of the saints, and especially that of the apostolic men, of the founders of religious communities, and of the great number of martyrs and confessors, have become more and more manifest; therefore the sins of men in the last ages are more heinous and detestable, their ingratitude toward such blessings is more abomi­nable and worthy of greater punishments. Consequently they rouse so much the greater Indignation and Wrath of Divine Justice. Thus in the future times (which are the present ones for us), God shall punish men with greater rigor, sending upon them the plagues reserved for the rapidly approaching days of the final judgment. Let the reader refer to The Conception Bk 1:266.
25 "And He took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain; and He showed me the Holy City of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev 21:10). I was raised by the power of God to a high mountain of exalted intelli­gence and enlightenment concerning the hidden sacra­ments, and in this state I saw the Bride of the Lamb, His Woman, like the City of Jerusalem; the Bride of the Lamb, on account of Her likeness in reciprocal love to Him, Who took away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29); His Woman, because She accompanied Him inseparably through all His works and wonders, and because for Her, He came forth from the Heart of His Eternal Father to have His delight with the children of men, who were the brethren of this Bride and, through Her, also His own brethren. I saw Her also as the City of Jerusalem, who enclosed Him within Herself and afforded Him a spa­cious habitation, though He cannot be encompassed by heaven or earth; and because He placed in that City the Temple and the Propitiatory, where He wished to be sought and propitiated by mankind. And although on earth She humiliated and prostrated Herself beneath the feet of all, as if She had been the least of creatures, I saw Her raised on high to the throne and the Right Hand of Her Only Begotten, from where She again descended, pros­perous and bountiful, to enrich the faithful children of the Church.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 3
EXPLANATION OF REVELATION 21 CONCLUDED
26 This Holy City of Jerusalem, Mary our Queen, according to the Evangelist, Having the Glory of God, and the light thereof, was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone, even as a crystal”(Rev 20:11). From Her very be­ginning, the soul of the most Holy Mary was filled and, as it were, bathed, in new participations of the Divinity, such as was never seen or known of any other creature; for She alone was the aurora sending forth the splendors of the Sun, Christ, true God and Man, to Whom She was to give birth. And this divine light and clearness went on increasing until She reached the highest state, seated at the Right Hand of Her Son on the very Throne of the Blessed Trinity and clothed in the variety of all the gifts, graces, virtues, merits and glory beyond all creatures (Ps 45:10). When I saw Her in this place of inacces­sible light, it seemed to me, that She possessed no other splendor than that of God Himself, Who seemed to com­municate it to Her from the fount and origin of His Im­mutable Being. Through the Humanity of His Only-Begotten, the same light and clearness seemed to be both in the Mother and the Son, each according to their de­gree; yet in substance seeming one and the same, not found in any of the other blessed, nor in all of them to­gether. In variety She seemed like jasper, in precious­ness She was inestimable, and in beauty of body and soul She was like translucent crystal, permeated by the very substance of clearness and light.
27 And it had a wall great 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” (Rev 21:12,13). The wall which defended and enclosed this Holy City of most Holy Mary, was so great and high as is God Himself and all His Omnipotence and Divine Attributes; for all the power and greatness of God, His Immense Wisdom, were called in requisition to fortify, to secure and defend this great Lady from the enemies that might assault Her. And this invincible de­fense was redoubled, when She descended to live alone in the world, without the company of Her Divine Son, and to establish the New Church of the Gospel. For this purpose She held at the disposal of Her will, in a new manner, God's own power against all the enemies of the Church, visible and invisible. Since, after the founda­tion of this New City of Mary, the Most High threw open most liberally all His treasures, and since He wished to call through Her all mortals to the knowledge of Him­self and to the eternal happiness, the gentiles, Jews, bar­barians, without distinction of nationality or estate: there­fore He built this Holy City with 12 gates opening up toward all directions of the world. In them He placed the 12 Angels, who were to call and invite all the children of Adam; and especially rouse all men to devo­tion and piety toward their Queen. In these gates are also the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, in order that no one might think himself excluded from the sacred refuge of this Heavenly Jerusalem, and in order that all might understand, that most Holy Mary holds their names written in Her heart and intimately connected with the favors She received of the Most High as the Mother of Clemency and Mercy, and not of justice.
28 “And the wall of that city had 12 foundations, and in them, the 12 names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb”(Rev 21:14). When our great Mother and Queen was at the Right Hand of Her Son and God in the Throne of His glory, She offered Herself to come back to the world to plant the Church; thereupon the Lord charged Her es­pecially with the care of the Apostles and wrote their names in the inflamed and pure heart of that heavenly Instructor, where we would see them written, if that were possible to our mortal eyes. Although at that time there were only 11 names of the Apostles, that of Mathias was selected beforehand to take the place of judas. And because upon the wisdom and love of this great Lady depended the doctrine, the instruction, the firmness and entire government, by which the 12 Apostles and St. Paul were to found the Church, on this account our names are written in the foundation of this Mystical City of Mary; for She was to be the mainstay and the groundwork of the Holy Church and of its founders, the Apostles. By Her doctrine, She taught us.  By Her wis­dom She enlightened; by Her charity She inflamed us. By Her patience She bore with us. By Her meekness She drew us on. By Her counsel She governed us, by Her advice She prepared us for Her work, and by the dispensation of Her heavenly powers She delivered us from dangers. To all She rendered assistance as if there were but one that needed it, and each one She helped as if each were a multitude. To the 12 Apostles were these gates opened up more widely than to all the children of Adam. While our Queen lived, She never failed in protecting each one of us, but remained present with us at all times and places, defending us and protecting us without fail in all our necessities and labors. From this great and powerful Queen, and through Her, we participated and received all the blessings, graces and gifts of the Most High, in order that we might be fit ministers of the New Testament (2 Cor 3:6). For these reasons were our names written in the foundations of the walls of this mystical City, the most Blessed Mary.
29 “And he who spoke to me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall. And the city lies in a foursquare, and the length 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”(Rev 21:16). In order that I might understand the immensity of this Holy City of God, the one that spoke to me measured it in my presence. For measurement he had a hollow cane or a reed of gold, which symbolized the deified humanity of the Word, with its gifts, graces and merits; and in which were united the frailty of the human and terrestrial nature with the precious and ines­timable Essence of God, exalting the humanity and its merits. Although this measure so greatly exceeds that which it was to measure, namely the Blessed Mary; yet in all the heavens and the earth nothing else could be found to measure the most Holy Mary and Her greatness, than Her own Son and true God. For all the creatures, human and angelical, were inferior and unsuited to the measurement and exploration of this Mystical and Heavenly City. But measured by Her Son, She was found com­mensurate with Him, as a Mother worthy of Him, without failing in anything belonging to this dignity. Her greatness was 12,000 stadia, equal in all its di­mensions; hence it forms a cube, proportionate in all its parts. Such was also the proportion and immensity of the gifts of the great Queen; so that if the saints each re­ceived 2 or 5 talents, She received in proportion 12,000 of each gift, reaching immense magni­tude. Though She was already measured thus when She passed into existence by Her Immaculate Conception and prepared for the Mothership of God; yet She was measured again on this occasion, when She returned from the Right Hand of the Eternal Son and Her dimensions were proportionate to take the place and office of Her Son and Redeemer of the world.
30 “And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass. And the foundations of the walls of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones” (Rev 21:18). The undertakings and the outward behavior of most Holy Mary, which, like the walls surrounding a city, are visible to all, were of such wondrous beauty and variety, that merely by Her example She conquered and attracted the hearts of all that looked upon Her or conversed with Her. By Her sole presence She routed devils and all their fan­tastical illusions; and therefore the walls of this City were of jasper. By Her conduct and labors, as far as they became known exteriorly, our Queen produced more fruits and wrought greater wonders in the primitive Church, than all the Apostles and saints of that age. The interior of this city was of the finest gold of inex­plicable clearness, participated from Her own Son and so closely resembling the light of the Infinite Being, that it seemed but the reflex of it. And this City was not only of the finest and most precious gold, but it seemed as of the purest and transparent glass; for She was an im­maculate mirror of the Divinity, admitting no other image. She was like a crystalline tablet on which was written the Evangelical Law. In Her it should become known to the whole world; therefore this tablet was of clear glass and not of opaque stone, as that of Moses, for one people only. All the foundations in the walls of this great City were of precious stones; for it was founded by the Hand of the Most High, Who, being rich and powerful, built it without stint or measure, with whatever was most precious, estimable and secure of all His gifts, privileges and favors. These were typified by the most solid, rich, beautiful and valuable stones known among men.
31 “And the 12 gates of the city are 12 pearls, one to each: and one of the gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no Temple therein. For the Lord Almighty is the Temple thereof, and the Lamb” (Rev 21:22,23). He who comes to this Holy City of Mary and enters through faith, hope, veneration, piety and de­votion, will find it a precious pearl that will make him fortunate, rich and prosperous in this life and blessed through Her intercession in the next. He will feel no re­pugnance in entering this City of Refuge, because its gates are lovely and desirable, like rich and precious gems. Hence no one will have an excuse, if he does not avail himself of the most Blessed Mary and of Her kindness toward sinners. For there is nothing in Her which is not capable of attracting the soul to Her and to eter­nal salvation. If the gates then are so beautiful and precious to all that approach them, much more beautiful will be the square of this City; for it is of the purest gold and translucent, which signifies Her most ardent love and desire to admit all and enrich them with the treasures of eternal happiness. For this purpose She manifests Herself to all in the clearest light; and no one will find in Her the darkness of deceit or falsehood. And because into this Holy City of Mary came God Himself and in a special manner, and the Lamb, Her own Son in sacra­mental form, thus filling and occupying Her: therefore I saw in Her no Temple and no propitiatory except the Omnipotent God and the Lamb. Nor was it necessary to build a Temple in this City for the ceremonious offering of prayers and petitions as in other cities. For God Him­self and Her Divine Son were Her temple and They were attentive and propitious to all Her petitions, prayers, and requests offered for the faithful of the Church.
32 “And the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of the Lord has enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof”(21:23). After our Queen had returned to the world from the Right Hand of Her Divine Son, Her spirit was enlightened not only in the manner common to the saints, nor only in the manner She had been enlightened before Her ascension, but, in recompense for the clear vision and fruition of which She deprived Herself in order to return to the militant Church, another kind of vision, an ab­stractive and continual vision of the Divinity, was con­ferred upon Her, and with it was joined another kind of fruition proportionate to it. Hence, in a manner pecu­liar to Her, She participated in the state of the compre­hensors, though She was yet a pilgrim. Besides this privilege She enjoyed also another: that Her Divine Son in the sacramental species of bread remained continually within Her heart, as in His proper Tabernacle: for when­ever She received Holy Communion, the sacred species were not dissolved until She received them the next time; so that as long as She lived in the world after Her de­scent from heaven, She bore with Her without inter­mission Her Divine Son and Sacramental God. By a spe­cial kind of vision She also saw Him within Herself and conversed with Him without the necessity of seeking His Royal Presence anywhere outside of Herself. She bore Him within Her heart and could say with the Spouse: I hold Him and will not let Him go (Song 3:4). Hence there could be no night in this Holy City, where grace shone as the moon, nor was there need of any other rays than those of the Sun of Justice, since She possessed them in all plenitude, and not only in part, as the rest of the saints.
33 “And the nations shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it.”(21:24) No excuse or justification can the banished chil­dren of Eve have, if by the Divine Light, Which Mary gave to the world, they do not walk in the path of true happi­ness. In order that She might enlighten His Church in the first age, Her Son sent Her and made Her known to the first children of His Holy Church. In the course of ages He has continued to manifest Her holiness and great­ness by the wonders performed by this Queen and by in­numerable favors and blessings flowing from Her hands upon mankind. In these last ages, which are the pres­ent, He will spread Her glory and make Her known in new splendor, on account of the Church's great need of Her intercession and of Her help against the world, the flesh and the devil. For these, through men's own fault, as we see even in our day, will assume greater sway and strength to hinder the working of grace in men and to make them more unworthy of glory. Against this new malice of satan and his followers the Lord wishes to oppose the merits and intercession of purest Mary and the light sent into this world by the example of Her life. She is to be the refuge and sanctuary of sinners and the straight and secure way, full of splendor for all that wish to walk upon it.
34 If world rulers would walk in that light and seek their honor and glory in this City of Mary and employ the greatness, power, wealth of their countries in advancing the honor of Her name and that of Her Most Holy Son, then they could rest assured, that being directed by this Northstar, they would be assisted in the exercise of their duties and would govern with great success. In order to renew this confi­dence in our Catholic rulers, educators and defenders of the faith, He discloses all that I now and in the course of this history have been made to understand and record. For this reason the Most High King of kings and the Re­storer of countries has given the most holy Mary the title of Patroness, Protector and Advocate of these Catholic nations. Through this singular blessing the Most High has resolved to remedy the calamities and difficulties, which Christians on account of their sins, are to endure and suffer and which in our own times we sorrowfully and tearfully are sustaining. The infernal dragon has poured out his froth and fury against the Holy Church, because he sees the carelessness of its heads and members and because he sees so many men in love with vanity and delusive pleasures. The greater part of the guilt and its punishment falls upon those who call them­selves Catholic, whose offenses, as being those of chil­dren, are more heinous; for they know the Will of their Heavenly Father, Who dwells on high, and yet do not strive to fulfill it more earnestly than strangers. Though knowing that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers vio­lence and must be gained by labors, they have neverthe­less given themselves over to idleness and pleasure, deferring with the world and the flesh. This dangerous deceit of the devil, the Just Judge punishes by the devil himself, giving him, in His Just Judgments, the liberty to afflict the Holy Church and scourge its children with rigor.
35 But the Father of Mercies, Who is in heaven, does not permit the works of His kindness to be entirely un­done; and in order to preserve them He offers us the opportune protection of most Holy Mary, in order that through Her prayers and intercession His Divine Jus­tice may find some pretext or excuse for the suspension of the rigorous chastisements hanging over us. He wishes to wait and see, whether we shall avail ourselves of the intercession of this great Queen and Lady of Heaven for pacifying the righteous indignation of Her Divine Son, and whether we shall amend our lives, by which we make ourselves unworthy of His Mercy and provoke His Justice. Let not Catholic rulers and the inhabitants of their countries neglect this occasion, wherein the Blessed Mary offers the days of salvation and the acceptable time of Her protection. Let them exalt the glory and honor of this Queen by devoting themselves entirely to the service of Her Divine Son and of Her, in thankfulness of the blessing of the Catholic faith, which has been preserved in these countries. For both Mother and Son have through this preservation of the faith shown to the world their singular love toward them, and they now show it again, by giving this salutary advice. Let them therefore zealously strive to employ their power and their influence for spreading and exalting the Name of Christ and of His most Holy Mother throughout the world. Let them believe, that in order to oblige the Son, there can be no more efficacious means than to exalt His Mother with due reverence and to spread the knowledge and veneration of Her through all the world.
36 For a still greater proof and testimony of the clemency of the most blessed Mary, the Evangelist adds: “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.”(21:25) Let no one, even though he has been neglectful and a sinner, an in­fidel or a pagan, hesitate in approaching the Mother of Mercy. She who deprived Herself of the glory of the Right Hand of Her Son in order to assist us, cannot shut the portals of kindness to anyone who seeks relief with an humble heart. Whether he arrives in the night of sinfulness or in the day of grace, at any hour of his life, he shall be admitted and assisted. If he who calls in the middle of the night at the door of a true friend, will force him, either through his necessity or impor­tunity, to rise and help him with the desired bread, what will not She do, who is so loving a Mother, who calls us and earnestly invites us to the remedy? (Lk 11:8). She will not wait until we ourselves importune Her; for She hastens to assist. She is eager to respond, most sweet and delightful in Her favors, and most liberal in enriching us. She is the leaven of mercy, inducing the Most High to grant it; She is the portal of heaven, opened up for our entering through Her intercession and prayers: There shall not enter into it anything defiled, nor deceitful.”(21:27) She is never roused to indignation or hatred against men. In Her there is no deceit, no fault or defect.  She cannot fail in anything that men may need for their salvation. We have no excuse or pre­text for not going to Her with humble acknowledgment; since She, being pure and spotless Herself, will purify and cleanse also us. She holds the keys to the foun­tains, from which, as Isaiah says, we may draw the waters of the Redeemer.  Her intercession, in response to our petitions, will turn these keys, so that the waters will gush forth to wash us and to make us worthy of Her most blessed company, and that of Her Divine Son for all eternity.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE GREAT QUEEN OF THE ANGELS

37 My daughter, I wish to tell you for your comfort and the comfort of My servants, that you have written of these mysteries in these chapters to My great satisfac­tion and with the approbation of the Most High. He wishes the world to know what I have done for the Church in coming back from the empyrean heaven to assist the faithful, and how much I desire to help Catholics who seek My aid in accordance with the com­mands of God and My own maternal affection. The saints also, and especially St. John, were particularly rejoiced, that you have made mention of their jubilee at seeing Me ascend with My Son and Lord; for it is time that the children of the Church should know this and understand more fully the blessings to which the Omnip­otent has raised Me. They are thereby to enliven their hope and make themselves more capable of the favors I can and will bestow upon them. Let them know that I, as a loving Mother, am filled with pity at seeing them so deceived and oppressed by the tyranny of satan, to whom they have blindly fallen victims. St. John My servant has concealed many other sacraments in Revelation 12 and 21 concerning the favors shown Me by the Almighty. In the course of this history you have revealed those that the faithful can profitably know at present, and you shall reveal still more.
38 But you must without delay gather for yourself the fruits of all you have understood and written. First of all you must advance in heartfelt love and devotion toward Me, and be convinced that I shall be your help in all tribulations, your constant assistance in all your works; that the portals of My mercy are opened up for you and for all whom you recommend to me, if only you shall make yourself such as I desire. Therefore I inform you, My beloved, and urgently remind you, that, in the same manner as I was fitted out in heaven for return­ing and engaging in a more perfect activity on this earth, so the Lord desires you to be renewed in the heaven of your interior, in the secret and superior parts of your spirit, in those private exercises by which you have created the interior solitude for writing the rest of this life. Understand that all this has not been brought about without special providence of God, which you will easily see in pondering over and recording your experi­ences before beginning this third part. Now that you are left alone and are freed from the government and daily dealings of this community, I give you this advice; and there is now special reason, that with the Divine favor you renew yourself in the imitation of My life and in putting into practice, as far as possible, what you know of Me. This is the Will of My Divine Son, and is in harmony with your own wishes. Hear then My teaching and gird yourself with fortitude (Prov 31:17). Resolve with all the powers of your will to be attentive, fervent, constant, eager and diligent in seeking to please your Spouse and Lord. Accustom yourself never to lose Him out of sight, even when you descend to in­teract with creatures and engage in the works of Martha. I shall be your Teacher. The angels shall stand by you, so that with them and by means of their enlight­enments you continually praise the Lord. The Most High will lend you His strength, so that you may fight His battles with His and your enemies. Do not make yourself unworthy of such great blessings and favors.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 4
OUR LADY DESCENDS FROM HEAVEN; MEETS WITH THE APOSTLES. OUR LORD VISITS HER
39 I again remind those who shall read this history not to be astonished at the hidden sacraments recorded of the most Blessed Mary therein, nor to hold them unworthy of belief, because they have not been until now revealed to the world. For, even setting aside the fact that they are all worthy and befitting this great Queen, we cannot deny, that, though we have until now no writ­ten record of Her wonderful accomplishments after the Ascension of the Lord, yet we must suppose Her to have wrought many and exceeding great wonders in Her office as Teacher, Protector and Mother of the New Evangelical Church, which was to be introduced into the world under Her assistance and supervision. And if the Lord reno­vated Her in all Her powers, as was stated, and if He ex­erted all His Omnipotence through Her, no favor or blessing, no matter how great, can consistently with the Catholic truth be disputed as pertaining justly to this peerless and singular Creature.
40 Mary was 3 days in heaven enjoying the bea­tific vision (as I said in the first chapter) and She came back from Her heavenly seat on the day which corre­sponds to the Sunday after the day of the Ascension, called in the Holy Church the Sunday within the octave of that feast. She remained in the Cenacle 3 suc­ceeding days enjoying the after-effects of the beatific vision. During this time the heavenly splendors, which still clothed Her, were tempered and only the Evangelist St. John had full knowledge of the mystery; for it was not opportune, that it should become known to the rest of the Apostles at that time, because they were scarcely as yet capable of such sacraments. Although She remained in their company, it was necessary that Her glory should be hidden from them. For even the Evangelist, though he was especially strengthened by grace for the privilege of looking upon Her with that veil withdrawn, fell pros­trate upon the ground as soon as he came into Her pres­ence. Nor, on the other hand, was it befitting that the Lord should suddenly deprive our great Queen of Her refulgence and the other exterior and interior effects of Her admission into the glory of His Throne. He ordained in His infinite wisdom, that the effects of those divine gifts and favors diminish by degrees and that Her vir­ginal body return gradually to the more common visible state for conversing with the Apostles and the rest of the faithful of the Holy Church.
41 I have also said above, that this miracle of Mary's admission into heaven does not conflict with what is written in the Acts of the Apostles, though we there read, that the Apostles and the holy women persevered unani­mously in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren after the Lord had ascended into heav­en (Acts 1:14). What I have said evidently agrees with this passage; for St. Luke writes his history ac­cording to what he and the Apostles saw in the Cenacle of Jerusalem, and irrespective of the mystery of which they were ignorant. The sanctified body of Mary was in 2 places at the same time. Although the attention and use of the senses and faculties was more perfect and real in heaven, nevertheless it could be truly said, that She was in the company of the Apostles and that She was seen by all. Moreover it was true that the most Blessed Mary persevered with them in prayer; for She saw them from Her place in heaven and there She united Her prayers and petitions with those of all the holy refugees of the Cenacle; She presented them to Her Divine Son, at Whose Right Hand She was seated, and obtained for them perseverance and many other great favors of the Most High.
42 The 3 days in which the great Lady enjoyed the after-effects of glory and while the redundance of its splendors gradually lessened, She spent in most ardent and divine sentiments of love, gratitude and ineffable humility, beyond all the terms or words, which I can find for manifesting what I have been made to understand of this sacrament, for they fall far short of the truth. The Angels and Seraphim, who attended upon Her, conferred in new wonder with each other on these miracles, and they discussed among themselves, which was the greatest miracle: that the Most High should raise a mere Crea­ture to such favors and greatness, or that anyone, after having been raised to such heights of grace and glory, should abase Herself beneath the lowest of creation and deem Herself the most insignificant of all that is created. I perceived that the highest Seraphim stood, as it were, with bated breath at beholding the endeavors of their Queen. Speaking to each other they said: “If the demons before their fall had been privileged to behold this example of humility, it would have been impossible for them to yield to their pride. This our great Lady is She, who, without any defect, without any deficiency, not only in part, but in all plenitude, has filled up the lack of humil­ity in all creatures. She alone has worthily conceived the majesty and supereminent greatness of the Creator and the littleness of all creation. She is the One, who knows when and how He must be obeyed and reverenced; and She faithfully acts out Her knowledge. Is it pos­sible, that among the thorns sown by sin among the chil­dren of Adam the earth should produce such a pure Lily, emitting such fragrance for the delight of the Creator and for man (Song 2;2), that from the desert of the world, void of grace and full of earthliness, such a heavenly Creature, affluent with the delights of the Al­mighty, should arise? (Song 8:5) Let Him be eter­nally praised in His wisdom and goodness, Who formed such a Creature, so wonderfully appointed for our emu­lation in holiness and for an example and for the glory of the human kind. And You, blessed among women, distinguished and chosen among all creatures, be congratulated, known and praised by all generations! (Lk 1:48) May You enjoy for all eternity the excellence given to You by Your Son and Creator! May He find His pleasure and complaisance in You on ac­count of the beauty of Your works and gifts.  May His immense charity be satiated in You for the justification of all men. You, for all of them render Him satisfac­tion, and looking upon You He shall not repent of hav­ing called into existence ungrateful man. If they grieve and irritate Him, You appease Him and turn Him to mercy and kindness. We do not wonder that He should favor men so much, since You, our Lady and Queen, live among them and call them Your people.”
43 With these praises and many other hymns the Holy Angels celebrated the humility and the works of the most Blessed Mary after She descended from heaven; and to some of these praises She Herself joined Her responses. After dismissing the host of the Angels, who had accompanied Her from heaven, and after having re­mained in seclusion still filled with the splendors of heaven perceived only by St. John, She knew that it was time to deal and converse with the faithful. She there­fore left Her retirement and, like a loving Mother, began to hold tender relations with the Apostles and dis­ciples. With them She offered tearful prayers to Her Divine Son, including them and all who in future ages were to receive the grace of the Holy Catholic faith. From that day also, as long as She lived upon earth, She asked the Lord to hasten the times, when the feasts of the Sacred Mysteries should be celebrated on earth in the same way as She knew they would be celebrated in heaven. She also asked the Lord to send men of exalted and distinguished holiness for the conversion of sinners, having at the same time a foreknowledge of their send­ing. In these prayers Her burning charity for men rose to such a pitch, that according to the natural course it would have destroyed Her life. In order to sustain Her and moderate the force of these desires, Her Divine Son frequently sent one of His highest Seraphim, who should answer Her and promise Her the fulfillment of Her de­sires and petitions, at the same time revealing to Her in what order Divine Providence would arrange all this for the greater advantage of men.
44 By the abstractive vision of the Divinity, which, as I have said, She continued to enjoy, the conflagration of love which swept through that purest and chastest of hearts, became so ineffable, that beyond all comparison it exceeded that of the most love-inflamed Seraphim next to the throne of the Godhead. If at times She permitted these flames of divine love to abate somewhat, it was in order to contemplate the Humanity of Her Most Holy Son;  for no other image of visible things was ever allowed to take up Her interior faculties, except when She actually employed Her senses in dealing with creatures. At the consciousness and memory of Her absent Son She felt some natural tenderness; but this was always a moderate and reasonable one, as She was the most prudent Mother. But as the Heart of the Son re-echoed to this love, He permitted Himself to be wounded by the loving desires of His Mother: and the words of the Canticle were lit­erally fulfilled, that the eyes of His beloved Spouse and Mother drew Him down to the earth (Song 4:4).
45 This happened many times, as will be said later on, and it took place the first time during the few days which passed between Her descent from heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit, not more than 6 days after She again began to converse with the Apostles. Christ our Savior would not permit Himself a longer delay than these few days before He again descended personally to visit and fill Her with new gifts and ineffable consolation. The purest Dove was fainting with love and with those pangs, which She says, cause well ordered charity in the wine-cellar of the King (Song 2:4). The Lord then coming to Her permitted Her to recline upon His breast in the left arm of His humanity, and with the right arm of His Divinity He illumined Her and enriched Her, filled Her anew with vivifying and strengthening influences. Then again were quieted the loving anxieties of this wounded deer, now drinking to Her satisfaction from the fountain of the Savior. She was refreshed and strengthened anew, in order that She might be inflamed still more by the fires of Her inextinguishable love. She was made whole by being so much the more deeply wounded. She was healed by a new sickness and vivified by delivering Herself over so much the more completely to the agonies of Her affection; for this kind of sickness neither knows nor admits of any other kind of remedy. When the sweetest Mother by these favors had regained strength and when the Divine Presence of the Savior was re­vealed to Her senses, She prostrated Herself before His Royal Majesty in order to ask Him humbly for His Bless­ing and to give Him most fervent thanks for the favor of His Visit.
46 The most prudent Lady was surprised at this favor not only because it was such a short time since She was deprived of Her Divine Son, but also because the Lord had not informed Her of the time of His visit, nor had Her most profound humility permitted Her to expect such a divine condescension in affording Her relief. As this was the first favor of this kind, She was so much the more abashed and annihilated in Her own mind. She spent 5 hours with the Word enjoying His Presence; and none of the Apostles at that time knew of the favor, although they knew, from what they noticed in the coun­tenance and in the bearing of their Blessed Lady, that something wonderful was transpiring. None of them, however, on account of their timidity and reverence, pre­sumed to inquire further into the cause. In order to take leave of Her Divine Son, when She became aware that He wished to return to heaven, She prostrated Her­self again to the ground, asking Him for His blessing and for His guidance in correcting any deficiency in Her be­havior for the time when He should return to visit Her in the future. She asked this favor, because the Lord Himself had offered to visit Her sometimes in Her lone­liness. Moreover, often before His Ascension, She had prostrated Herself at His Feet in acknowledgment of Her unworthiness and of Her lack of fervor thanking Him for His favors, as I have narrated in the first part. Al­though She could accuse Herself of no fault, because as the Mother of Holiness, She never committed any; and although She could not, as the Mother of Wisdom, com­mit any fault; yet the Lord permitted full sway to Her humility and love in the worthy acknowledgment of Her debt to God as a mere creature. In Her most exalted knowledge and humility all that She did seemed small in recompense for the supernatural blessings. This inequal­ity She attributed to Herself and although this could not be called a fault, She wished to acknowledge the inferior­ity of earthly things in comparison with divine excellence.
47 But among the ineffable mysteries and favors which She received since the day of the Ascension of Her Divine Son our Savior, were those connected with the worthy preparation of the Apostles and disciples for the Advent of the Holy Spirit. The great Queen well knew how estimable and divine was to be the blessing which was held in store for them by the Father of Lights.  She considered also the fleshly affection of the Apostles for the Humanity of their Master Jesus. For the purpose of correcting this defect and perfecting them in all things, as a tender Mother and powerful Queen, She, on arriving in heaven with Her Divine Son, sent some of Her angels to the Cenacle as Her messengers in order to intimate to the faithful Her own and Her Son's Will, that they should raise themselves above themselves and henceforth live more by faith and love of God, than in the operations of their sensual nature; that they should not be borne along solely by the Sight of God's humanity, but that they let it serve them as a portal and a path to the Divinity, where they would find adequate satisfaction and repose. Such advice and exhortation the heavenly Queen ordered the angel to give to the Apostles. Afterwards, when She again descended from on high, She consoled them in their sorrow and soothed them in their dismay, speaking to them for one hour every day and explaining to them the Mysteries of the Faith taught Her by Her Divine Son. She did this however not by any formal instruction, but in the manner of a conference, exhorting them also to spend another hour during the day in discussing among themselves the admonitions, promises, doctrine and teach­ings of their Divine Master Jesus and to occupy them­selves during some other part of the day in reciting vo­cally the Our Father and some Psalms, while the rest of the time they were to spend in mental prayer. Towards evening they were to partake of bread and fish and then indulge in moderate sleep. Through these prayers and fasts they were to dispose themselves for the Advent and reception of the Holy Spirit.
48 The vigilant Mother, empowered by the Right Hand of Her Divine Son, took care of that happy family in order to bring all their works up to the highest per­fection. After Her descent from heaven, She instructed the Apostles, yet She never entered upon this duty without first being requested by St. Peter or St. John. Through Her prayers She moved Her Divine Son to in­spire them with these commands, in order that She might obey them as His vicars and priests. Thus all things hap­pened as arranged by the Mother of Humility and She obeyed as a handmaid. Laying aside all pretense to Her dignity as Queen, and making no use of Her sovereignty and dominion, She obeyed as a servant and conducted Herself as if She were an inferior, and in this spirit She conferred with the Apostles and the other faith­ful. During those days She explained to them the Mys­tery of the Blessed Trinity in terms most exalted and mysterious, yet suited to the understanding of all. She explained also the Mystery of the Hypostatic Union, and those of the Incarnation, adding many others, which they had already been taught by the Master; telling them at the same time that they would be enlightened by the Holy Spirit for a deeper understanding of all these things.
49 She taught them how to pray mentally, insisting on the excellence and necessity of that kind of prayer; how the principal duty and the most noble occupation of the rational creature was to raise itself, by the under­standing and the will, above all that is created to the knowledge and love of God; and that no other object or occupation should ever be preferred or should ever inter­rupt this duty, so as not to deprive the soul of this su­preme benefit, the beginning of eternal life and happi­ness. She taught them also how to thank the Eternal Father for having given us His Only Son for our Re­deemer and Master, and for the love with which the Lord redeemed us at the cost of His Passion and Death. She exhorted them to give thanks to God for having singled them out as His Apostles, as His companions and as the founders of His Holy Church. Such were the exhorta­tions and teachings, with which the Heavenly Mother at that time enlightened the hearts of the 11 Apostles and the other disciples and by which She prepared and disposed them for the reception of the Holy Spirit and His divine effects. As She saw into the inmost recesses of their hearts and knew the natural condition and char­acter of each one, She accommodated Herself to the ne­cessities, the bent of mind and the graces of each in order to fill them with joy, consolation and constancy in the practice of virtue. She exhorted them to persevere in humble prostrations and other actions of worship and reverence in adoring the greatness and majesty of the Most High.
50 Every morning and evening She approached the Apostles to receive their blessing, first that of St. Peter, as their chief, then of St. John and of the rest according to their age. At first they all shrank from performing this ceremony, beholding in Her their Queen and the Mother of their Master Jesus. But the most prudent Lady insisted that all should bless Her as minis­ters and priests of the Most High, explaining to them how the highest reverence and respect was due to them on account of their supreme dignity and office. As this was a contest of humility, it was certain that the Mother of Humility would be victorious and the disciples would be overcome and instructed by Her example. Besides, the words of Mary were so sweet and persuasive for moving the hearts of those first believers, that She urged them on with a heavenly force and enlightened them to practice the highest perfections of virtue and holiness. Perceiving these wonderful effects upon themselves, they wonderingly commented upon them among each other, saying: “Truly in this pure Creature we have found again the teaching and consoling doctrine, of which we are deprived by the absence of Her Son, our Master. Her words and endeavors, Her counsels, Her sweet and gentle conversation, teach us and draw us on in the same way as the conversation of the Lord, when He lived in our midst. Our hearts are inflamed by the teachings and exhortations of this wonderful Being as with those of Jesus our Savior. There is no doubt that He as the om­nipotent God, has deposited in the Mother of the Only-Begotten His own Divine Wisdom and Grace. We can now dry our tears, since for our instruction and consolation He has given us such a Mother and Queen, and since He has left with us this living Ark of the Testament, wherein He has placed for us His Law, His wonderful staff, and the sweetest manna for our sustenance and comfort” (Heb 9:4).
51 If the holy Apostles and the other firstborn chil­dren of the Church had recorded in writing what they saw as eye-witnesses of Her deeds of eminent wisdom; what they heard and what passed in their interaction with Her for so long a time, then we might be filled with higher conceptions of the holy and heroic works of the sovereign lady. We would then see that as well in the doctrine which She taught, as in the wonders which She wrought, Her Most Holy Son had communicated to Her a virtue, which although coming from the Lord as from its fountain, yet, in the Heavenly Lady, was in a certain manner heavenly and was distributed from Her as from an aqueduct to all the men. The Apostles however had the happiness and good fortune of drinking the waters of the Savior and of the teachings of His purest Mother in their very fount, receiving them in a sensible manner and thus preparing them for their office and ministry in founding the Holy Church and planting the Evangelic Faith throughout the world.
52 By the treason and death of that unhappy one among all men, his episcopacy, as David says, had become vacant and it was necessary to provide some other one worthy of the apostolate (Ps 109:8). For it was the Will of the Most High, that the number 12, which had been determined upon by the Master of Life as the proper number when He chose His Apostles, should also be their number at the coming of the Holy Spirit. This decree of the Lord was explained to the Apostles by the Blessed Mary in one of Her instructions; all of them acceded to it and they asked Her as their Mother and Queen to choose one who should seem worthy and most fit for the apostolate. The Heavenly Lady knew beforehand who was to be chosen; for the names of the 12, including St. Mathias, were written in Her heart, as is said in Chapter 3. But in Her pro­found humility and wisdom She judged it right to leave this to St. Peter in order that he might begin to ex­ercise in the New Church the office of Pontiff and head, as vicar of Jesus Christ, its Author and Master. She therefore instructed the Apostle to hold this election in the presence of all the disciples and other faithful so that all might see him act as the supreme head of the Church. St. Peter thereupon arranged it all according to Her directions.
53 The proceedings of this first election in the Church are related by St. Luke in Acts 1. He says, that in the days intervening between the Ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle St. Peter, having called to­gether the 120, who had been present at the Ascension, reminded them that the prophecy of David concerning the treason of judas in Psalm 41 must be fulfilled; that judas, having been chosen as one of the 12 Apostles, had unhappily prevaricated and made himself the leader of those that captured Jesus; that with the price of his treason had been bought the field called Haceldama; that at the end, as unworthy of Divine Mercy, he had hung himself, had burst in the middle and his entrails had fallen out, as was known to all who lived in Jerusalem; that therefore it was be­coming, another should be chosen to the apostolate in his place in order to give testimony to the Resurrection of the Savior, in accordance with another prophecy of David (Ps 109:8); and that the one to be chosen should be from the number of those who had followed Christ the Master in His preaching ever since His Baptism by St. John.
54 Having thus persuaded all the faithful of the propriety of electing the 12th Apostle, they left it to St. Peter to determine the manner of this election. The Apostle then ordained, that from the 72 disciples 2, Joseph, called the just, and Mathias, should be selected. Between these 2 lots were to be drawn and that one should be assigned to the apostleship, who would draw the proper lot. All approved of this manner of election, which at that time was a very secure way, since the divine power wrought great miracles for the foundation of the Church. They wrote the 2 names, with the title of Disciple and Apostle of Christ, upon as many cards and placed them in an urn, where they could not be seen. All of them then fell to prayer, asking God to choose the one pleasing to Him, since, as the Lord, He knew the hearts of all (Acts 1:25). St. Peter thereupon drew out one of the lots, on which was written the name of Mathias as Apostle and Disciple of Christ; joyfully Mathias was accepted and acknowledged as the legitimate Apostle, and the 11 embraced him. The most Holy Mary, who was present at all these proceed­ings, asked his blessing and, in imitation of Her, all the other faithful did the same. Then all of them con­tinued their prayers and fasting until the coming of the Holy Spirit.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, MOST BLESSED MARY, GAVE ME.

55 My daughter, you have rightly wondered at the hidden and supernatural favors, which I received at the Hands of My Son, and at the humility and thankfulness, with which I received them; likewise the loving attention which I paid to the necessities of the Apostles and the faithful of the Church amid all My joy. It is time, My beloved, that you gather the fruits of this knowledge; for neither can you now comprehend more, nor do I desire less of you than that you be to Me a faithful daughter, who imitates Me fervently, and a disciple, who listens to Me and follows Me with all her heart. Stir up your faith then in order to be convinced, that I am powerful to con­fer favors, and trust, that I will enrich you in unstinted liberality with gifts beyond all your desires. But at the same time, humiliate yourself to the very earth and shrink to the very last place among creatures; for of yourself you are more useless than the most vile and despicable dust and you can call nothing your own except misery and want. Consider well within yourself how great and exquisite is the kindness and condescension of the Most High in regard to you, and what kind of thanks you owe Him. If the one who pays his debts, even entirely, cannot take to himself special credit; then it is just, that you, who can not satisfy your debt, should remain humble, for though you labor ever so much and according to all your powers, you shall nevertheless remain a debtor. What shall then be your indebtedness, if you remain remiss and negligent?
56 In this prudent alertness you will understand, how closely you must imitate Me in living faith, in confident hope and in fervent love, in profound humility and in the worship and reverence due to the infinite greatness of the Lord. I warn you again of the cunning vigilance of the serpent, who seeks to induce men to neglect the veneration and worship due to God and presump­tuously to despise this virtue and what it implies. Into the minds of the worldly and of the vicious he instills a most foolish forgetfulness of the Catholic truths, in order that divine faith may not keep alive in them the fear and veneration of the Most High; and thus he suc­ceeds in making them like to the heathens, who do not know the true God. Others, who strive after virtue and perform some good works, the enemy leads into a dan­gerous lukewarmness and negligence, wherein they over­look what they are losing on account of their lack of fervor. Those that concern themselves more earnestly about perfection, the dragon deceives with a certain coarse over-confidence, so that on account of the favors they receive and on account of the Divine Mercy which they experience, they begin to consider themselves as special favorites of the Lord, forgetting the humble fear and veneration, which they ought to experience in the Divine Presence of Him, before Whom, according to the teaching of the Holy Church, the powers of heaven tremble. But since I have on other occasion reminded and admonished you concerning this danger, let My mentioning it here suffice.
57 In this manner I desire that you be faithful and punctual in the practice of this doctrine, exercising it in all your exterior actions without affectation or excess, and teaching others by your own example the holy fear and veneration due from creatures to their Creator. I desire that you teach and impress this science especially upon your religious, so that they may not be ignorant of the humility and reverence, with which they are to converse with God. The most efficacious instruction you can give, will be your example in fulfilling all your obligations; for these works you must neither conceal, nor ever omit for fear of vanity. This example is due in much greater degree from those that govern others, since it is their duty to exhort, move and accompany their subjects in the holy fear of the Lord, which is done more effica­ciously by example than by words. Admonish them particularly to hold in veneration the priests as the anointed of the Lord. In imitation of Me, always ask for their blessing, when you approach or leave them. The more you see your own self favored by the divine condescension, so much the more bear in mind the necessities and the afflictions of your neighbors and the dangers of those in sin, praying for all in great faith and confidence. For, your love of God cannot be true, if you are content with enjoying only yourself, and in the meanwhile forget your brethren. You must anxiously solicit the highest goods, which you know of and participate in, for all men, since no one is excluded therefrom and since all need the help and communication of God. In the love of Me you will understand, how you must imitate Me in everything.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 5
THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
58 In the company of the great Queen of heaven, and encouraged by Her, the 12 Apostles and the rest of the disciples and faithful joyfully waited for the ful­fillment of the promise of the Savior, that He would send them the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, Who should instruct them and administer unto them all that they had heard in the teaching of their Lord (Jn 14:26). They were so unanimous and united in charity, that during all these days none of them had any thought, affection or inclination contrary to those of the rest. They were of one heart and soul in thought and action. Although the election of St. Mathias had occurred, not the least movement or sign of discord arose among all those first-born children of the Church; yet this was a transaction, which is otherwise apt to arouse differences of opinion in the most excellently disposed; since each one is apt to follow his own insight and does not easily yield to the opinion of others. But into this holy con­gregation no discord found entrance, because they were united in prayer, in fasting and in the expectation of the Holy Spirit, Who does not seek repose in discordant and unyielding hearts. In order that it may be inferred, how powerful was this union in charity, not only for disposing them toward the reception of the Holy Spirit, but for overcoming and dispersing the evil spirits, I will say; that the devils, who since the Death of the Savior had lain prostrate in hell, felt in themselves a new kind of oppression and terror, resulting from the virtues of those assembled in the Cenacle. Although they could not explain it to themselves, they perceived a new terrifying force, emanating from that place, and when they per­ceived the effects of the doctrine and example of Christ in the behavior of the disciples, they feared the ruin of their dominion.
59 The Queen of the Angels, most Holy Mary, in the plenitude of Her wisdom and grace, knew the time and predestined hour for the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the apostolic college. When the days of Pentecost were about to be fulfilled (Acts 2:1), (which happened 50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord our Redeemer), the most Blessed Mother saw, how in heaven the humanity (Jn 14:26) of the Word conferred with the Eternal Father concerning the promised sending of the Divine Paraclete to the Apostles, and that the time predetermined by His Infinite Wisdom for planting the faith and all His gifts in His Holy Church, was at hand. The Lord also referred to the merits acquired by Him in the flesh through His Most Holy Life, Passion and Death, to the Mysteries wrought by Him for the salvation of the human race and to the fact, that He was the Mediator, Advocate and Intercessor between the Eternal Father and men, and that among them lived His sweetest Mother, in whom the Divine Persons were so well pleased. He besought His Father also, that, besides bringing grace and the invisible gifts, the Holy Spirit appear in the world in visible form, that so the Evangelical law might be honored before all the world; that the Apostles and faithful, who were to spread the divine truth, might be encouraged, and that the enemies of the Lord, who had in this life persecuted and despised Him unto the Death of the Cross, might be filled with terror.
60 This petition of our Redeemer in heaven was sup­ported on earth by most Holy Mary in a manner befitting the Merciful Mother of the faithful. Prostrate upon the earth in the form of a cross and in profoundest hu­mility, She saw, how in that consistory of the Blessed Trinity, the request of the Savior was favorably ac­cepted, and how, to fulfill and execute it, the Persons of the Father and the Son, as the Principle from Which the Holy Spirit proceeded, decreed the active mission of the Holy Spirit; for to these 2 is attributed the send­ing of the 3rd Person, because He proceeds from Both; and the 3rd Person passively took upon Himself this mission and consented to come into the world.  Although all the 3 Divine Persons and Their operations spring from the same Infinite and Eternal Will without any in­equality; yet the same powers, which in all the Persons are indivisible and equal, have certain operations ad intra in each Person, which are not in the others and thus the Understanding engenders in the Father, not in the Son, Who is engendered; and the Will breathes forth in the Father and the Son, and not in the Holy Spirit, Who is breathed forth. On account of this reason the Father and the Son, as the active Principle, are said to send the Holy Spirit ad extra, while to the Latter is attributed the being sent, as if in a passive manner.
61 On Pentecost morning the Blessed Virgin Mary exhorted the Apostles, the disciples and the pious women, numbering about 120, to pray more fervently and renew their hopes, since the hour was at hand in which they were to be visited by the Divine Spirit from on high. At the 3rd hour (9 o'clock), when all of them were gathered around their Heavenly Queen and engaged in fervent prayer, the air resounded with a tremendous thunder and the blowing of a violent wind mixed with the brightness of fire or lightning, all cen­tering upon the house of the Cenacle. The house was enveloped in light and the divine fire was poured out over all of that holy gathering (Acts 2:2). Over the head of each of the 120 persons ap­peared a tongue of that same fire, in which the Holy Spirit had come, filling each one with divine influences and heavenly gifts and causing at one and the same time the most diverse and contrary effects in the Cenacle and in the whole of Jerusalem, according to the diversity of the persons affected.
62 In the most Holy Mary these effects were alto­gether heavenly, and most wonderful in the sight of all the heavenly courtiers; for as regard us men, we are incapable of understanding and explaining them. The purest Lady was transformed and exalted in God; for She saw intuitively and clearly the Holy Spirit, and for a short time enjoyed the beatific vision of the Divinity. Of His gifts and divine influences She by Herself received more than all the rest of the saints combined. Her glory for that space of time, exceeded that of the angels and of the blessed. She alone gave to the Lord more glory, praise and thanksgiving than all the universe for the benefit of the Descent of His Holy Spirit upon His Church and for His having pledged Himself so many times to send Him and through Him to govern it to the end of the world. The Blessed Trinity was so pleased with the conduct of Mary on this occasion, that It considered Itself fully repaid and compensated for having created the world; and not only compensated, but God acted as if He were under a certain obligation for possessing such a peerless Creature, whom the Father could look upon as His Daughter, the Son as His Mother, and the Holy Spirit as His Spouse; and whom (according to our way of thinking) He was now obliged to visit and enrich after having conferred upon Her such high dignity. In this exalted and blessed Spouse were renewed all the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, creating new effects and operations altogether beyond our capacity to under­stand.
63 The Apostles, as St. Luke says (Acts 2:2), were also replenished and filled with the Holy Spirit; for they received a wonderful increase of justifying grace of a most exalted degree. The 12 Apostles were confirmed in this sanctifying grace and were never to lose it. In all of them, according to each one's con­dition, were infused the habits of the 7 gifts: Wis­dom, Understanding, Knowledge, Piety, Counsel, Fortitude and Fear of the Lord. In this magnificent blessing, as new as it was admirable in the world, the 12 Apostles were created fit ministers of the New Testament and founders of the Evangelical Church for the whole world; for this new grace and blessing communicated to them a heavenly strength most efficacious and sweet, which inclined them to practice the most heroic virtue and the highest sanc­tity. Thus strengthened they prayed, they labored will­ingly and accomplished the most difficult and arduous tasks, engaging in their labors not with sorrow or from necessity, but with the greatest joy and alacrity.
64 In all the rest of the disciples and the faithful, who received the Holy Spirit in the Cenacle, the Most High wrought proportionally and respectively the same effects, except that they were not confirmed in grace like the Apostles. According to the disposition of each the gifts of grace were communicated in greater or less abundance in view of the ministry they were to hold in the Holy Church. The same proportion was maintained in regard to the Apostles; yet St. Peter and St. John were more singularly favored on account of the high offices assigned to them; the one to govern the Church as its head, and the other to attend upon and serve the Queen of Heaven and Earth, most Holy Mary. The sacred text of Sr. Luke says, that the Holy Spirit filled the whole house in which this happy congre­gation was gathered (Acts 2;7), not only because all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and His admir­able gifts, but because the house itself was filled with wonderful light and splendor. This plenitude of won­ders and prodigies overflowed and communicated itself also to others outside of the Cenacle; for it caused diverse and various effects of the Holy Spirit among the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its vicinity. All those, who with some piety had compassion for our Savior Jesus in His Passion and Death, denouncing His most bitter torments and reverencing His Sacred Person, were inte­riorly visited with new light and grace, which disposed them afterwards to accept the doctrine of the Apostles. Those that were converted by the first sermon of St. Peter, were to a great extent of the number of those who, by their compassion and sorrow at the Death of the Lord, had merited for themselves such a great bless­ing. Other righteous souls who were in Jerusalem outside of the Cenacle, also felt great interior consolations, by which they were moved and predisposed by new effects of grace wrought in each one proportionately by the Holy Spirit.
65 Not less wonderful, although more hidden, were some contrary effects produced on that day by the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. By the dreadful thunders and violent commotion of the atmosphere and the lightnings accompanying His Advent, He disturbed and terrified the enemies of the Lord in that city, each one according to his own malice and perfidy. This chastisement was particularly evident in those who had actively concurred in procuring the Death of Christ, and who had signalized themselves in their rabid fury against Him. All these fell to the ground on their faces and remained thus for 3 hours. Those that had scourged the Lord were suddenly choked in their own blood, which shot forth from their veins in punishment for shedding that of the Master. The audacious servant, who had buffeted the Lord, not only suddenly died, but was hurled into hell body and soul. Other Jews, although they did not die, were chastised with intense pains and abominable sicknesses. These disorders, consequent upon shedding the Blood of Christ, descended to their posterity and even to this day continue to afflict their children with most horrible impurities. This chastisement became notorious in Jerusalem, although the priests and pharisees diligently sought to cover it up, just as they had tried to conceal the Resurrection of the Savior. As these events, how­ever, were not so important, neither the Apostles nor the Evangelists wrote about them, and in the confusion of the city the multitude soon forgot them.
66 The chastisement and terror extended also to the depths of hell, where the devils felt themselves seized with new confusion and oppression for 3 days, just as the Jews lay on the earth for 3 hours. During these 3 days, satan and his demons broke forth in fearful howlings, communicating new terror and con­fusion of torments to all the damned. O Ineffable and Powerful Spirit! The Holy Church calls You the Finger of God, because You proceed from the Father and the Son, as the finger from the arm and the body; but on this occasion it was manifested to me, that You hold the same infinite power with the Father and the Son. Through Your Divine Presence, the heaven and the earth are moved by such opposite effects in all its inhabi­tants at one and the same time; but they are similar to those, that will happen at the Last Judgment. The saints and the just, You fill with Your grace, Your gifts and Your Ineffable consolations; and the impious and the proud You chastise and overwhelm with confusion and pain. Truly I see here fulfilled what You say through the mouth of David; that You are a God of Vengeance and work freely, dealing out retribution to the wicked, in order that they may not glory in their unjust malice nor say in their heart that You fail in perception or judgment while reproving and chastising their sins (Ps 94:1).
67 Let the insipid of this world then understand, and let the foolish be warned, that the Most High knows the vain thoughts of men; that if He is liberal and most kind to the righteous, He is also rigid in punishing the im­pious and the wicked (Ps 94:11). It was befitting that the Holy Spirit should show Himself to be the One as well as the Other on this occasion; for He proceeded from the Incarnate Word, Who had assumed human nature for the sake of men, Who had died for their sal­vation, and had suffered ignominies and torments without opening His Mouth or seeking retribution for those in­sults and offenses. In coming down into this world it was just that the Holy Spirit should be zealous for the honor of that same Incarnate Word; though He did not punish all His enemies, yet He indicated in the punishment of the most wicked, what all the others deserved, who, in their stubborn perfidy had despised Him, if by the respite allowed them, they did not return to truth in heartfelt repentance. It was also befitting, that the few, who had received the Word and had followed Him as their Master and Redeemer, and those who were to preach His faith and doctrine, be rewarded and furnished with the proper means for establishing the Church and the Evangelical Law. The Apostle says, that leaving one's father and mother and uniting oneself with a wife (as also Moses had said), is a great Sacrament in Christ and the Church (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:32), because He descended from the Heart of the Father in order to unite Himself with it in His humanity. Since then Christ came down from heaven in order to be with His spouse, the Church, it follows that the Holy Spirit came down on account of the most Holy Mary, who was not less His Spouse than Christ was of the Church, and who was not less beloved by Him than the Church was beloved of Christ.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND OUR LADY GAVE ME

68 My daughter, in small esteem and thankfulness do the children of the Church hold this blessing of the Most High, by which, in addition to sending of His Son as their Master and Redeemer, He sent also the Holy Spirit into His Church. So great was the love, by which He sought to draw them to Himself, that, in order to make them sharers of His Divine Perfections, He sent them first the Son, Who is Wisdom (Jn 3:16) and afterwards the Holy Spirit, Who is Love, so that all might be enriched in the manner in which they were capable. The Divine Spirit, in coming for the first time upon the Apostles and the others gathered with them, intended it as a pledge and testimony, that He would confer the same favor on the rest of the children of the Church, of light and of the Gospel, and that He was ready to communicate His gifts to all, if all will dispose themselves toward receiving them. In witness to this truth the Holy Spirit came upon many of the faithful in visible form and with visible effects (Acts 8:17; 10:44; 11:15), because they were truly faithful servants, humble and sincere, pure and ready of heart to receive Him. Also in our times He comes to many just souls, although not with such open manifestations, because it is neither necessary nor proper. The interior effects and gifts are all of the same nature, acting ac­cording to the disposition and state of the one who re­ceives them.
69 Blessed is the soul who sighs and aspires after this blessing and seeks to participate in this Divine Fire, which enkindles, enlightens and consumes all that is ter­restrial and carnal, which purifies and raises it up to a new existence, union and participation with God Himself. This happiness, as your true and loving Mother, I desire for you, My daughter, and in order that you may attain it in its fullness, I again exhort you to prepare your heart by seeking to preserve inviolable tranquility and peace in all that may happen to you. The Divine Clemency wishes to raise you to a habitation very exalted and secure, where the torments of your spirit shall come to an end and where the assaults neither of the world nor of hell can reach; where in your own repose the Lord shall rest and find in you a worthy dwelling-place and a temple of His glory. You shall not escape the attacks and temptations, directed against you by the dragon with the most cunning astuteness; but live in con­tinued wariness, lest you be disturbed or disquieted in the interior of your soul. Guard your treasures in secret; enjoy the delights of the Lord, the sweet effects of His chaste love, the influences of His holy science; for in this regard He has singled you out from many generations in utmost liberality.
70 Take heed then of your calling and assure yourself, that the Most High offers you anew the participation and communication of His Divine Spirit and His gifts. Re­member however, that when He confers them, He does not take away the freedom of your will; for He ever leaves the election of good or evil to your free choice. Hence, trusting in the divine favor, you must effica­ciously resolve to imitate Me in the works shown to you of My life and you must never hinder the effects and the operations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In order that you may understand better this My doctrine, I will explain to you The Effects Of All His 7 Gifts.
71 The First One, which is The Gift of Wisdom, fills the mind with the knowledge and the delight of divine things and moves the heart to a sincere love toward the practice and exercise of all that is good, all that is best, most perfect and agreeable in the Eyes of the Lord. With this impulse you must concur, yielding yourself entirely to the pleasure of His Divine Will and despising all that might hinder you, no matter how pleasant it may seem to your inclinations or alluring to your appetite. Wisdom is aided by The 2nd Gift, that of Intellect, which gives special light to penetrate profoundly into the object presented to the understanding. With this gift you must co-operate by diverting and turning aside your attention and thoughts from all the bastard and foreign objects of knowledge, which the devil either by himself or through other creatures shall present to your mind in order to distract it and prevent it from penetrating deeply into the truth of divine things. This kind of distraction greatly embarrasses the mind, for the 2 kinds of knowledge are incompatible with each other, and whenever the limited faculties of man are divided into their attention to many objects, they enter into them less and attend less, than if all their operations were riveted on one alone. In this is evident the truth of what the Gospel says: that no one can serve 2 mas­ters (Matt 6:24). When the whole attention of the soul has thus been riveted on understanding the good, The 3rd Gift, Fortitude, is necessary, in order to exe­cute resolutely all that the understanding has perceived as most holy, perfect and agreeable before the Lord. The difficulties and hindrances in the pursuit of the good are to be overcome by Fortitude, making the creature ready to suffer whatever labor or pain, in order not to be deprived of the true and highest Good it has come to know.
72 But it often happens, that natural ignorance and doubt added to temptation withhold the creature from following out the conclusions and consequences of the divine truth, and thus create hindrances in the execution of what is more perfect. Hence, against the false prudence of the flesh, God furnishes The 4th Gift, that of Knowledge, which gives light to distinguish between different kinds of good, teaches the most certain and secure way, and de­cides upon it, when necessary. To this is joined The 5th Gift Of Piety, which inclines the soul with sweet urgency to all that is truly pleasing and acceptable to the Lord and to what is of real spiritual benefit to the one executing it. It inclines the creatures to these things not through the natural passions, but by holy, perfect and virtuous motives. Then, in order that man may be guided by high prudence, The 6th Gift, that of Counsel, supports his understanding, in order that he may act with precision and without temerity; weighing the means and taking counsel with himself and with others discreetly for gaining honest and holy ends by the selection of the proper means. To all these is added The 7th Gift, The Fear of the Lord, which guards and sets the seal upon all of them. This gift inclines the heart to flee and avoid all that is imperfect, dangerous or alien to the virtues and perfections of the soul, thus serving as a wall of defense. It is necessary to understand the object and the manner of this Holy Fear, lest it grow excessive and cause the creature to fear, where there is no occasion. Such has often hap­pened to you through the astuteness of the serpent, when, under guise of Holy Fear, the devil entangled you in an inordinate liking for the blessings of the Lord. But by this instruction you are now informed how you must exercise in you the gifts of the Most High and prepare yourself for them. I remind and admonish you, that this discipline of Holy Fear is the accompaniment of the favors communicated to you by the Most High, and that it fills the soul with sweetness, peace and tranquility. It enables the creature properly to estimate and appreciate the gifts, which come from the powerful Hand of the Almighty; neither are any of them unimportant, nor does this Fear hinder a proper estimate of these gifts. It induces the soul to give thanks with all its powers and to humiliate itself to the dust. In under­standing these truths without error and in suppressing the cowardly fear of slaves, you shall be filled with filial Fear, which, as your guiding star, will help you to navigate securely in this ocean of tears.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 6
THE APOSTLES PREACH TO THE MULTITUDE. ABOUT 3,000 CONVERTED
73 On account of the visible and open signs, by which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, the whole city of Jerusalem was stirred to wonder. When the news of the astounding events at the house of the Cenacle spread about, the multitude of the people gathered in crowds to know more of the hap­penings (Acts 2:6). On that day was being celebrated one of the feasts of the Jews; and as well on this account, as on account of the special dispensation of heaven, the city was crowded with foreigners and strangers from all parts of the world. For to them the Most High wished to manifest the wonders of the first preaching and spreading of The New Law Of Grace, which the Incarnate Word, our Redeemer and Master, had or­dained for the salvation of men.
74 The sanctified Apostles, who were filled with charity by the plenitude of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and who knew that all Jerusalem was gathering at the doors of the Cenacle, asked permission of their Queen to go forth and preach to them; in order that such great graces might not even for a moment fail to redound to the benefit of souls and to new glory of their Author. They all left the house of the Cenacle and, placing themselves before the multitudes, began to preach the mysteries of the faith and of eternal life. Though until then they had been so shy and reclusive, they now stepped forth with unhesitating boldness and poured forth burning words, that like a flashing fire penetrated to the souls of their hearers. All the people were filled with wonder and astonishment at these events, the like of which had never before been heard or seen in the world. They looked at each other and in conster­nation asked each other, saying: “What is this that we witness? Are not all these that speak Galileans? How then do we hear them speaking in the language in which we were born? We Jews and Proselytes, Romans, Latins, Greeks, Cretans, Arabs, Parthians, Medes and all the rest of us from different parts of the world, hear them speak and we understand them in our own lan­guages? O greatness of God! How admirable is He in all His works!”
75 This miracle, that all the men of so many dif­ferent tongues then assembled in Jerusalem should hear the Apostles in their own language, joined to the doc­trine which they preached, caused great astonishment. Yet I wish to remark, that though all the Apostles, on account of the plenitude of gifts gratui­tously received, were able to speak in the languages of all nations, because that was necessary for the preaching of the Gospel, yet on that occasion they all spoke the language of Palestine. Using only this idiom they were understood by all the different nationalities there present, as if they had spoken in the several idioms. This mir­acle the Lord wrought at the time in order that they might be understood and believed by those different na­tions, and in order that St. Peter might not be obliged to repeat in the different languages of those present, what he preached to them concerning the mysteries of faith. He preached only once and all heard and under­stood him, each in his own language, and so it happened also with the other Apostles. For if each one had spoken in the language of those who heard them, and which they knew as their mother tongue, it would have been necessary for them to repeat what they said at least 7 or 8 times according to the different nation­alities mentioned by St. Luke (Acts 2:9). This would have consumed a longer time than is intimated by the sacred text, and it would have caused great confusion and trouble to repeat the same doctrines over and over again or to speak so many languages on one occasion; nor would the miracle be so intelligible to us as the one mentioned.
76 The people who heard the Apostles did not under­stand the miracle, although they wondered at hearing each their own idiom. What St. Luke says about their speaking different languages, must be understood as meaning, that the Apostles were then and there able to understand them, as I shall mention later on (Acts 2:4), and because on that day, those that came to the Cenacle understood them all speaking in their own language. But this miracle and wonderment caused in their hearers different effects and opinions, according to the disposi­tions of each one. Those who listened piously received a deep understanding of the Divinity and of the Re­demption of man, now so eloquently and fervently pro­pounded to them. They were moved eagerly to desire the knowledge of the truth; by the divine light they were filled with compunction and sorrow for their sins and with desire of Divine Mercy and forgiveness. With tears in their eyes they cried out to the Apostles and asked what they must do to gain eternal life. Others, who hardened their hearts, altogether untouched by the divine truths preached by them, became indignant at the Apostles, and instead of yielding to them, called them innovators and adventurers. Many of the Jews, more impious in their perfidy and envy, inveighed against the Apostles, saying they were drunk and insane (Acts 2:13). Among these were some of those who had again come to their senses after having fallen to the ground at the thunder caused by the coming of the Holy Spirit; for they had risen still more obstinate and rebellious against God.
77 In order to refute their blasphemies St. Peter, as the head of the Church, stepped forth and, speaking in a louder voice, said: “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel: (2:28-32) ‘And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (says the Lord) I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young ones shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon My servants indeed, and upon My handmaids I will pour out My Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire, and vapor and smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord arrives; and it shall come to pass, that who­soever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved.’ You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you, by mir­acles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you also know; this same, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowl­edge of God, you, by the hands of wicked men, have crucified and slain. He was a holy Man, approved of God in His virtues, by miracles and prodigies wrought in the midst of your people, of which you know and are witnesses. And God has raised Him from the dead, according to the prophecies of David. For that holy king could not speak of himself, since you have his sepulcher in your midst, where lies his body. He spoke as a Prophet of Christ, and we are ourselves witnesses as having seen Him risen and ascending into heaven by His own power, to be seated at the Right Hand of the Father, as likewise David has prophesied (Ps 110:1). Let the unbelievers understand these words of truth, which they wish to deny in the perfidy of their malice; for against them stand the wonders of the Most High that wrought in us as witnesses to the doctrine of Christ and to His admirable Resurrection.”
78 “Let then the whole house of Israel understand, and let them be assured, that God has made this Jesus, Whom you have crucified, His Anointed and the Lord of all, and that He has raised Him from the dead on the third day.” On hearing these words the hearts of many, that stood there, were moved to compunction and with great wailing they asked St. Peter and the rest of the Apostles, what they should do for their salvation (Acts 2:37). Thereupon St. Peter said to them: “Repent*and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and you shall re­ceive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. Seek there­fore now to make use of the remedy, and to save your­selves from this perverse and incredulous generation.”  Many other words of life St. Peter and the other Apostles spoke to them, by which the perfidious Jews and the other unbelievers were much confounded; and as no one could answer, they withdrew and left the Cenacle. But the number of those that received the true faith of Jesus Christ amounted to about 3,000 (Acts 2:41). They all attached themselves to the Apostles and were baptized by them to the great consternation and fear of all Jerusalem; for the wonders and prodigies performed by the Apostles filled with terror and dismay all the unbelievers.  *Repentance includes Sorrow for sin, Changing your mind, Atonement or making Reparation for sins and Doing Penance. (ED.)
79 The 3,000 who were converted by the first sermon of St. Peter, were from all the nations then gathered in Jerusalem, so that immediately all nations, without excluding any, might partake of the fruits of the Redemption, all might be gathered to the Church, and all might experience the grace of the Holy Spirit; for the Holy Church was to be composed of all nations and tribes. Many were Jews, who had followed Christ our Savior with kindly feelings and witnessed His suf­ferings and Death with compassion, as I said above. Some also of those, who had concurred in His Passion, were converted, though these were few, because many would not alter their disposition; for, if they had done so, all of them would have been admitted to mercy and received pardon for their error. After their preaching the Apostles retired that evening within the Cenacle, in order to give an account to the Mother of Mercy, the purest Mary. With them also entered a great number of the new children of the Church, in order that they might come to know and honor the Mother of Mercy.
80 But the great Queen of the Angels was ignorant of nothing that had happened; for from Her retreat She had heard the preaching of the Apostles and She knew the secret hearts and thoughts of all the hearers. The tender Mother remained prostrate with Her face upon the ground during the whole time, tearfully pray­ing for the conversion of all that subjected themselves to the faith of the Savior, and for all the rest, if they should consent to co-operate with the helps and the graces of the Lord. In order to help the Apostles in their great work of beginning to preach, and the bystanders in prop­erly listening to them, the most Holy Mary sent many of Her accompanying Angels with holy inspirations, encour­aging the Apostles and giving them strength to inquire and to manifest more explicitly the Hidden Mys­teries of the Humanity and Divinity of Christ our Re­deemer. The angels fulfilled all the commands of their Queen, while She Herself exercised Her own power and gifts according to the circumstances of the occasion. When the Apostles came to Her with those copious first-fruits of their preaching and of the Holy Spirit, She received them with incredible joy and sweetness and with the most loving kindness of a true Mother.
81 The Apostle St. Peter spoke to the recently converted and said to them: “My brethren, and servants of the Most High, this is the Mother of our Redeemer and Master, Jesus Christ, Whose faith you have received in acknowledging Him as true God and Man. She has given Him the human form, conceiving Him in Her womb, and She bore Him, remaining a Virgin before, during and after His birth. Receive Her as your Mother, as your Refuge and Intercessor, for through Her you, and we shall receive light, direction, and release from our sins and miseries.” At these words of the Apostle and at the sight of most Holy Mary, these new adherents of the faith were filled with admirable light and consola­tion; for this privilege of conferring great interior blessings and of giving light to those who looked upon Her with pious veneration, was renewed and extended in Her at the time when She was at the Right Hand of Her Divine Son in Heaven. As all of those faithful partook of these blessings in the presence of their Queen, they prostrated themselves at Her feet and with tears besought Her as­sistance and blessing. But the humble and prudent Queen evaded this latter, because of the presence of the Apostles, who were priests, and of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ. Then this Apostle said to Her: “Lady, do not refuse to these faithful what they piously ask for the consolation of their souls.” The blessed Mary obeyed the head of the Church and in humble serenity of a Queen, She gave Her blessing to the newly converted.
82 The love which filled their hearts made them de­sire to hear from their Heavenly Mother some words of consolation; yet their humility and reverence prevented them from asking for this favor. As they perceived how obediently She had yielded to St. Peter, they turned to him and begged him to ask Her not to send them away without some word of encouragement. St. Peter, though he considered this favor very proper for these souls who had been born again to Christ by his preaching and that of the other Apostles, nevertheless, aware that the Mother of Wisdom knew well what was to be done, presumed to say no more than these words; “Lady, listen to the petitions of your servants and children.” Then the great Lady obeyed and said to the converts: My dearest brethren in the Lord, give thanks and praise with your whole hearts to the Almighty God, because from among all men, He has called and drawn you to the sure path of eternal life in the knowledge of the holy faith you have received. Be firm in your confession of it from all your hearts and in hearing and believing all that the Law of Grace contains as preached and or­dained by its true Teacher Jesus, My Son and your Re­deemer. Be eager to hear and obey His Apostles, who teach and instruct you, so that you may be signed and marked by Baptism in the character of children of the Most High. I offer myself as your handmaid to assist you in all that serves toward your consolation, and I shall ask Him to look upon you as a kind Father and to manifest to you the true joy of His Countenance, com­municating to you also His grace.”
83 By this sweetest of exhortations those new children of the Church were filled with consolation, light, venera­tion and admiration of what they saw of the Victorious Queen of the world; asking again for Her blessing, they for that day left Her presence, renewed and replete with the won­derful gifts of the Most High. The Apostles and dis­ciples from that day on continued without intermission their preaching and their miracles, and through the entire octave they instructed not only the 3,000, who had been converted on Pentecost day, but multitudes of others, who day by day accepted the faith. Since they came from all parts of the world, they conversed and spoke with each one in his own language; for as I have said above, they spoke in various languages from that time on. This grace was given not only to the Apostles, although it was more complete and noticeable in them; also the disciples and all the 120, who were in the Cenacle at the time, and also the holy women, who received the Holy Spirit, were thus favored. This was really necessary at the time on account of the great multitudes, who came to the faith. Although all the men and many of the women came to the Apostles, yet many, after having heard them, went to Magdalen and her companions, who catechized, instructed and converted them and others that came at the report of the miracles they performed. For this gift was also con­ferred on the women, who, by the imposition of hands, cured all the sicknesses, gave sight to the blind, tongue to the mute, motion to the lame, and life to many of the dead. These and other wonders were principally wrought by the Apostles, nevertheless both their miracles and those of the women excited the wonder and astonishment of all Jerusalem; so that nothing else was talked about except the prodigies and the preaching of the Apostles of Jesus, of His disciples, and followers of His Doctrine.
84 The fame of these events soon extended beyond the city; for no one sought a cure in vain. Such mir­acles were at that time very necessary, not only for the confirmation of the new law and doctrine of Christ our Savior, but also because the natural desire of health and life would stimulate men to seek the welfare of their body and thus bring them within hearing and influence of the Divine Word. Thus they returned cured as well in body as in soul, which generally happened to those, who came to the Apostles in their maladies. Hence the number of the faithful daily increased, and their fervor in faith and charity was so ardent, that all of them began to imitate the poverty of Christ, despising their riches and property and laying all their possessions at the feet of the Apostles without reserving anything for themselves as their own (Acts 2:45). They wished to possess all things in common and thus free themselves from the dangers of riches, preferring to live in poverty, sincerity, humility and continual prayer without any other care than that of eternal life. All of them considered themselves as brethren and children of one Father in heaven (Matt 23:9). As faith, hope and charity, and the sacraments were the common blessing of all, and as they were all seeking the same grace and eternal life, in­equality in other things seemed dangerous to these Chris­tian children of one Father, the inheritors of His goods and professors of His Law. It seemed to them inappro­priate, that, having such a bond of union in the principal and essential things, some should be rich and others poor, and that temporal things should not be communicated, where each one enjoyed those of grace; for all gifts are from one and the same Father for all of His children.
85 This was the happy beginning and the Golden Age of the Evangelical Church, where the rushing of the stream rejoiced the City of God (Ps 45:5) and the cur­rent of grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit fertilized this new paradise recently planted by the Hands of the Savior Jesus, while in its midst stood the Tree of Life, most Holy Mary. Then was faith alive, hope firm, charity ardent, sincerity pure, humility true, justice most equit­able, when the faithful neither knew avarice nor followed vanity, when they trod under foot vain pomp, were free from covetousness, pride, ambition, which later pre­vailed among the professors of the faith, who while con­fessing themselves followers of Christ, denied Him in their works. We are inclined to object, that those were the first-fruits of the Church, of the Spirit (Rom 8:23), that the faithful were few; that now the times are dif­ferent, that in those times the Mother of Wisdom and Grace lived in the Church, whose presence, prayers and protection, defended and encouraged the faithful to bring forth heroic works of the faith.
86 To this we answer by what will be said in the course of this history, where it will appear that none other than the faithful have permitted so many vices to creep into the fold of the Church; such as the devil himself, with all his pride and malice, never expected to see established among Christians. I content myself with saying, that the power and grace of the Holy Spirit were not exhausted in those first-fruits. His influence is always the same and would be just as efficacious with the many to the end of the Church, as it was with a few in its beginnings, if those many were as faithful as those few. It is true that the times have changed; but this change from virtue to vice, from good to evil, consists not in any change of the heavens and the stars, but in a change of men, who have strayed from the straight way of life eternal and walk the way of perdition. I do not speak now of the pagans or of the heretics, who have fallen away not only from the light of true faith, but even from right reason. I speak of the faithful, who pride themselves in being children of light, but content themselves with only the name, and who sometimes use it merely to cloak their vices and to cover up their crimes.
87 It will not be possible in this third part to describe even the least part of the wonderful and great works accomplished by the mighty Queen in the primitive Church; but from those which I will describe, and from Her life in this world after the Ascension, much can be inferred. For She did not rest or lose one moment or occasion of conferring some singular favor either upon the whole Church or some of its members. For She con­sumed Herself either in praying and begging Her Divine Son, without ever experiencing a refusal; or in exhorting, instructing, counseling, and, as Treasurer and Dispenser of Divine favors, distributing graces in diverse manners among the children of the Gospel. Among the hidden mysteries, which were made known to me concerning this power of the Blessed Mary, was also this, that in those first ages, during which She lived in the Holy Church, the number of the damned was proportionately very small; and that, comparatively, in those few years a greater number were saved than in many succeeding ages.
88 I acknowledge, that, if the lapse of time had de­creased the power, the charity and clemency of that high­est Sovereign, the good fortune of those living in that happy time might cause a holy envy in those living by the light of faith in our more protracted and less favored times. It is true we have not the happiness of seeing Her, conversing with Her and listening to Her with our bodily senses; and in this respect those first children of the Church were more fortunate. But let us all remem­ber, that in the heavenly knowledge and charity of this most loving Mother we were all present to Her, also dur­ing those times; for She saw and knew us all in the order and succession in which we were to be born in the Church; and She prayed and interceded for us no less than for those who lived in Her times. Nor is She at present less powerful in heaven, than She was then upon earth; nor less our Mother, than of those first children; and She held us as Her own, just as well as them. But alas! that our faith and our fervor and devotion should be so very different! Not She has changed, nor is Her love less ardent, nor would we experience less of Her intercession and protection, if in these troubled times we would hasten to Her with the same sentiments of humility and fervor, asking for Her prayers and trustfully relying upon Her for help, as was the case with those devoted Christians in the first be­ginning. Without a doubt the whole Catholic Church would then immediately experience the same assistance of the Queen throughout the whole world.
89 Let us return to the solicitude of the kind Mother for the Apostles and for the recently converted, attending to the consolation and necessities of all and of each one in particular. She exhorted and animated the Apostles and the ministers of the Divine Word, fixing their attention upon the prodigious manifestation of the Divine Power, by which Her Most Holy Son began to plant the faith of His Church; the virtue which the Holy Spirit had communicated to them in order to make them fit ministers; the ever present assistance of the Divine Right Hand. She exhorted them to acknowledge and praise Him as the author of all these wonderful works and to render Him humble thanks for all of them; to follow up in secure confidence their preaching and exhortation, the exaltation of the Name of the Lord, in order that He might be known, extolled and loved by all the faithful. She herself practiced what She taught and inculcated, by prostrating and humiliating Herself before the Most High and by breaking forth in canticles of praise and exaltation. These duties She fulfilled with such pleni­tude, that for none of the converted did She ever omit giving thanks and offering fervent prayers to the Eternal Father; all of them remained distinctly present in Her mind.
90 Not only did She do all these things for each one of them; but She received all, listened to all, and endeared Herself to them with words of light and life. During those days following upon the coming of the Holy Spirit many conversed with Her in private, open­ing up their inmost souls, and the same happened also with those who were converted afterwards in Jerusalem. Not that She was ignorant of their secrets; for She knew the hearts of all, their affections, inclinations and condi­tions, enabling Her by this heavenly knowledge and wisdom to accommodate Herself to the necessities and natural character and to render salutary assistance against the maladies of each of Her clients. Hence the most Blessed Mother conferred such exquisite blessings and vast favors to innumerable souls, that they never can be known in this world.
91 There were many who were privileged to be in­structed and catechized in the Holy Faith by the Heavenly Mother and not one of them was lost; for at that time, and as long as they lived, She continued to offer special prayers for them, so that all of them were written in the Book of Life. In order to bind Her Divine Son She said to Him: “My Lord and Life of My soul! According to Your Will and Pleasure have I returned to the world in order to be the Mother of Your children, My brethren and the faithful sons of the Church. Let not My heart be torn by seeing the fruit of Your Priceless Blood fail in anyone of these that seek My intercession; and let them not reap unhappiness from their having availed themselves of Me, the insignificant worm of the earth, for obtaining Your clemency. Admit them, My Son, into the number of Your friends, predestined for Your glory.” To these Her prayers the Lord immediately responded, promising that what She asked would be done. And I believe the same happens in our day to all those that merit Her intercession and ask for it with all their hearts; for if this purest Mother comes to Her Son with sim­ilar petitions, how can it be imagined, that He shall deny to Her that little, to whom He has given His own Self, in order that She might clothe it in human flesh and nature, and then nurse Him at Her own virginal breast?
92 Many of those new faithful, highly impressed with Her greatness by their conversation with the Heavenly Queen, returned to present to Her jewels and the rich­est gifts; especially the women despoiled themselves of fineries to lay them at Her feet. But She would receive or permit none of these gifts. When it seemed to Her appropriate not to refuse entirely, She secretly inspired the minds of the givers to bring them to the Apostles, in order that they might be equitably and justly distributed in charity among the most poor and needy of the faith­ful. But the humble Mother gratefully acknowledged them as if they had been given to Her. The poor and the sick She received with ineffable kindness, and many of them She cured of inveterate and long-standing infirm­ities. Through the hands of St. John She supplied many secret wants, never omitting the least point of vir­tue. As the Apostles and disciples were engaged all day in preaching the faith and in converting those that came, the great Queen busied Herself in preparing their food and attending to their comfort; and at stated times She served the priests on Her knees and with incredible hu­mility and reverence asked to kiss their hands. This She observed especially with the Apostles, knowing and be­holding their souls confirmed in grace, endowed with all that the Holy Spirit had wrought in them and exalted by their dignity of being the high priests and the found­ers of the Church (Eph 2:20). Sometimes She saw them clothed in great splendor, which elicited from Her increased reverence and veneration.

INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS

93 My daughter, in what you have come to know of the events related in this chapter, you will find a great deal that points to the mystery of the predestina­tion of souls.  Be convinced that, since the Redemption was so overflowing and copious, it was sufficient for the salvation of all men (Rom 5:20). The Divine Truth was made known to all, whoever heard its preaching or who saw the effects of the coming of the God-Man into the world. Besides the outward preaching and knowl­edge of the remedy, all received interior inspirations and helps in order to seek and accept the means. You are surprised that, in spite of all this, only 3,000 were converted by the first sermon of the Apostle among all that great multitude then in Jerusalem. It should cause a greater surprise that in our times so few are con­verted to the way of eternal life, as the Gospel is more widespread, its preaching is frequent, its ministers nu­merous, the light of the Church clearer and the knowl­edge of the Divine Mysteries more definite. With all this men are blinder, hearts more hardened, pride more inflated, avarice more bold, and all the vices are practiced without fear of God and without consideration.
94 In this most perverse and unhappy state, mortals cannot complain of the Most High and equitable Provi­dence of the Lord, Who offers to all and everyone His Fatherly Mercy, and points out to them both the way of life and the way of death; so that if any man hardens his heart, God can permit it in strictest justice. The rep­robate will have none but themselves to blame, if after­wards, when there is no more time, they shall be uselessly dismayed with what in opportune time they could and should have known. If in the short and transient life, which is given to them in order to merit the eternal, they close their eyes and ears to the truth and to the light, and if they listen to the devil, giving themselves up to all the promptings of his malice; if they thus abuse the good­ness and clemency of the Lord, what can they then allege as their excuse? If they do not know how to pardon an injury and for the slightest offense meditate the dreadful vengeance; if, for the sake of increasing their property, they pervert the entire order of reason and of natural brotherhood; if for a passing delight they forget the eternal pains, and if, in addition to all this, they despise the warnings, helps and admonitions sent to them by God to inspire them with the fear of perdition and induce them to avoid it, how shall they afterwards find fault with Divine clemency? Let then those, who have sinned against God, undeceive themselves; without repentance there shall be no grace, without reform no pardon, without pardon no glory. But just as these are not con­ceded to those that are unworthy, so they are also never denied to those that are worthy; nor is ever the Mercy of God withheld from anyone who seeks to obtain it.
95 From all these truths I desire, My daughter, that you collect for yourself what will be for your welfare. Let the first be, that you receive attentively each holy inspiration, each advice or instruction, although it come from the most inferior minister of the Lord, or from whatever creature. You must prudently consider, that none comes to your notice by chance and without divine predisposition.  For there is no doubt that the Providence of the Most High ordains all things for your instruction.  Therefore, in this light you must look upon them with humble thanks, trying to find the virtue, which you can and should practice in accordance with the reminder and to exercise it in the manner in which you understand and know it. Do not despise anyone of them, though it may seem only a trifle; for by it you must dispose yourself for other works of greater virtue and merit. Consider secondly, what a damage is wrought in souls by the neglect of so many helps, inspirations, callings and other blessings of the Lord; for their ingratitude vindicates the justice of the Most High in allowing so many sinners to become hardened in their sins. If this is such a formidable danger for all men, how much more will it be a danger for you, if you abuse the abundant graces and favors, which the kindness of the Lord has showered upon you in preference to many generations of men? And since My Divine Son ordains all these things for your own good and for the good of other souls, I wish, lastly, that in imitation of Me, as has been shown you, you saturate your heart with a most sincere determina­tion to assist all the children of the Church, and all other men, as far as you can, clamoring to the Lord from your inmost heart and asking Him to look upon their souls with mercy for their salvation. And in order that they may gain this blessing, offer to suffer for them as a victim if necessary; remembering, that they cost My Divine Son and your Spouse the shedding of His Blood and His Life.  Remember also My own labors in the Church. Implore Divine Mercy continually for the fruit of Redemption for sinners, and this practice I com­mand you under obedience.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 7
SOME DIFFICULTIES RESOLVED; NEW CONVERTS BAPTIZED; THE FIRST MASS
96 It is not the object of this history to relate all the endeavors of the Apostles in the order followed by St. Luke, nor to record all that they did after the Descent of the Holy Spirit; for, though the great Queen and Lady certainly knew all that passed, yet many things happened where She was not personally present. Of such it is not necessary to speak here, nor would it be possible to de­scribe the manner in which the Heavenly Queen co­operated in the works of the Apostles and disciples, and in all else that happened; for in order to do this, there were need of many large volumes. It is sufficient for my purpose and for the sequence of this history to select the salient points of the Acts of the Apostles written by the Evangelist, and make intelligible much of what he omits concerning our Queen, and what was not to his purpose nor proper for him to write at that time.
97 As the Apostles continued their preaching and wonders in Jerusalem the number of the faithful in­creased and, as St. Luke says in Acts 4, after 7 days reached 5,000. All of them were busy catechizing the newcomers in prepara­tion for Baptism, though that work was done principally by the disciples; for the Apostles were preaching and were conducting some controversies with the Pharisees and Sadducees. On this 7th day the Queen of An­gels, being in the retirement of Her oratory and consid­ering how the little flock of Her Divine Son was increas­ing, asked the Lord to give light to the Apostles in order that they might begin to institute a government for the better direction of those new children of the faith. Pros­trate upon the floor She adored the Lord and said: “Most High and Eternal God, as a vile worm of the earth I wish to praise and exalt You for the immense love You have manifested for the human race; and because You show the mercy of a Father by calling so many to the knowledge and faith of Your Divine Son, glorifying and spreading the honor of Your Name through the world. I implore Your Majesty, O Lord, to enlighten and instruct Your Apostles, My masters, to dispose and order all that concerns the government, amplification and preservation of Your Holy Church.”
98 Then the most prudent Mother, in the vision of the Divinity She had at that time, perceived that the Lord was very well pleased and answered Her: “Mary My Spouse, what do You wish? and for what do You ask Me? Your voice and Your sighs have sounded sweetly in My Ears (Song 2:14). Ask what You wish, My will is inclined toward Your petitions.” The Heavenly Mary answered: “My Lord and My God, Master of all My being, My desires and My sighs are not unknown to Your infinite wisdom (Ps 38:10). I desire, seek and so­licit Your greater pleasure and satisfaction, Your greater glory and the exaltation of Your Name in the Holy Church. I present to You these new children, with whom You have so quickly made fruitful Your Church and also my desire that they receive Holy Baptism, since they have already been in­structed in the faith. And if it is according to Your Will and service, I desire also that the Apostles commence even now to consecrate the Body and the Blood of Your and My Son, in order that by this new and admirable sacrifice they may give You praise and thanks for the blessing of the Redemption and all the favors You have through it conferred upon the world, and also that according to Your Will the children of the Church may receive in It the Nourishment of Eternal Life. I am but dust and ashes, the least handmaid of Your faithful, and a woman; and on that account I hesitate in proposing this to Your priests and Apostles. But inspire, O Lord, the heart of St. Peter, Your Vicar, to ordain what You wish.”
99 The Church therefore owes thanks to most Holy Mary for this special blessing: that by Her most discreet attention and intercession the Body and Blood of Her Divine Son was consecrated for the first time after the Ascension and after the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was natural, that through Her efforts the Bread of Life should begin to be distributed among Her children (Prov 31:14), since She was the richly laden and prosperous vessel, which brought it from heaven. The Lord then answered Her: “My beloved Dove, let what You wish, be done. My Apostles, with Sts. Peter and John, shall speak to You and You shall order through them what You wish to be done.” Immediately all of the Apostles entered the presence of the great Queen, and She received them as usual by reverently falling on Her knees before them and asking their blessing. This St. Peter, as the head of the Apostles, imparted. He spoke for all of them and represented to Mary, how the newly con­verted had already been instructed in the mysteries of the Lord's faith; how it was just, that they should receive Baptism, and that they should be marked as the children of Christ and admitted to the Church.  He therefore asked the Heavenly Queen to point out the order to be followed as most appropriate and pleasing to the Most High. The most prudent Lady answered: "My master, you are the head of the Church and the vicar of My Divine Son in it; all that shall be ordained by you in His Name, shall be approved of Him and His Will with yours shall be Mine."
100 Thereupon St. Peter ordained that on the fol­lowing day (which corresponds to the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity), Baptism should be given to those who had been converted during that week; this arrange­ment of St. Peter was satisfactory to our Queen and to the other Apostles. Immediately there arose a doubt as to what Baptism was to be given to them; the baptism of St. John, or the Baptism of Christ our Savior. To some it seemed that the baptism of St. John, which was that of penance, should be given to them, and that through it they were to enter into the faith and justification of their souls. Others, on the contrary, said, that with the Baptism and the Death of Christ the baptism of St. John had expired, since it had served merely to prepare the souls for the reception of Christ the Redeemer, and that the Baptism of the Lord gives grace sufficient for justifying the souls and for washing off all the sins from those properly disposed; and that it was necessary to introduce it immediately into the Church.
101 This opinion was approved of by St. John and St. Peter, and was confirmed by the most Holy Mary. Hence they determined to institute at once the Baptism of Christ our Lord and to confer it on the new converts and the rest who came to the Church. In regard to the material and form of that Baptism there was no doubt among the Apostles; for all of them agreed that the material should be natural and elementary water, and the form should be: I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; because these were the matter and form designated by the Lord our Savior and these words He had made use of in the Baptisms He had Himself administered. This way of baptizing was observed always from that day on. Wher­ever in the Acts of the Apostles it is said that they bap­tized in the Name of Jesus, this saying does not refer to the form, but to the Author of the Baptism, namely Jesus, in contradistinction to the author of the other baptism, that of St. John. To baptize in the Name of Jesus was the same as to baptize with the Baptism of Jesus; but its form was that which the Lord Himself had given and contains the express mention of the 3 Persons of the Most Holy Trinity (Matt 27:19), as the foundation and beginning of all the Catholic truth and faith. The Apos­tles therefore ordained, that all the catechumens should gather in the house of the Cenacle in order to be bap­tized; and that the 72 disciples should have charge of preparing them for that occasion.
102 Then the great Lady, having asked permission, spoke to that whole congregation and said: "My masters, the Redeemer of the world, the true God and My Son, out of the love which He had for men, offered to the Eternal Father the Sacrifice of His Sacred Body and Blood, consecrating Himself under the species of bread and wine. Under these appearances He resolved to remain in His Church, in order that its children might have in it the Sacrifice and Food of Eternal Life they are to expect here­after. Through this Sacrifice, which embodies the mys­teries of the Life and Death of the Son, the Father is to be placated; and in it and through it, the Church shall give the thanks and praise which it owes to Him as its God and Benefactor. You are the priests and ministers, who alone are to offer it. It is My desire, if such be your will, that you begin to offer this Unbloody Sacrifice and that you consecrate the Body and Blood of My Divine Son, in order that we may render fit thanks for the benefit of His Redemption and of the sending of the Holy Spirit into the Church; and in order that the faithful, by re­ceiving this Sacrament, may begin to enjoy this Bread of Life in all its Divine effects. All those may partake of the Sacred Body, who shall have received Baptism and who seem to be more fit and better prepared; but Bap­tism is the first requisite for its reception."
103 All the Apostles and disciples conformed to the wish of the Blessed Mary, and they thanked Her for Her solicitude and Her instruction. It was resolved, that on the following day, after the Baptism of the catechumens, the Body and Blood of Christ should be consecrated, and that St. Peter should be the celebrant, since he was the head of the Church. The holy Apostle consented. But before dismissing them he proposed another difficulty to the consideration of all, namely, concerning the order to be observed in receiving and distributing the alms and the goods of the newly converted.
104 He therefore said: “My dearest brethren, you already know, that our Redeemer and Master, Jesus, by His example, His doctrines and commands ordained and taught that true poverty (Matt 8:20) in which we should live, abhorring and shunning the cares entailed by riches and possessions, and neither desiring or amass­ing wealth in this life. Besides this salutary doctrine we have before our eyes the recent and formidable example of the perdition of judas, who was an apostle as we our­selves, and who, by his avarice and covetousness, went astray and has fallen from the dignity of the apostolate into the abyss of wickedness and eternal damnation. This tremendous danger we must avoid, so that no one may hold in possession or handle money and that all may imitate and follow the strictest poverty of our Head and Master. I know that all of you desire this, well understanding that in order to preserve us from this con­tagion the Lord has placed this risk and chastisement be­fore our eyes. Therefore that we all may be free from the hindrances connected with the gifts and alms brought us by the faithful, it is necessary to arrange some form of administration. It is proper that you now determine upon the manner and order to be maintained in the re­ception and the distribution of the moneys and gifts of the faithful.”
105 The whole gathering of the Apostles and disci­ples were somewhat at a loss to find the proper course to be pursued; and several opinions were proposed. Some of them suggested that a chief steward be chosen, who should receive all the money and gifts, and who should distribute it according to the necessities of all. But this suggestion was not favored by this gathering of the poor and of the disciples of the Master of poverty, on ac­count of the example of judas so recently before their eyes. To others it seemed good to make a deposit of all the goods into the hands of a reliable person not belong­ing to the apostolic college, who should be master of it and apply the profits or rents according to the needs of the faithful; but also this seemed inappropriate, just as other measures also proposed. The great Queen of Humility, the Blessed Mary, listened to all without say­ing a word; as well because She wished to show this reverence to the Apostles, as because no one would have advanced his own opinion, if She had first made known Her view. Although She was the Teacher of all, She always conducted Herself as a disciple anxious to listen and learn. But St. Peter and St. John, perceiving the diversity of opinion among the rest, besought the Heavenly Mother to show them the right way in their doubts and to declare what should be most pleasing to Her Divine Son.
106 She obeyed and speaking to the whole gathering, She said: “My masters and brethren, I was in the school of our true Teacher, My Divine Son, from the time when He was conceived in My womb, until He died and as­cended into heaven; I have never seen Him touch or handle money, nor accept a gift of much value or price. When, shortly after His birth, He accepted the presents offered to Him by the Kings at their adoration (Matt 2:11), it was because of the mysterious signification connected with them and in order that He might not frustrate the pious intentions of those Kings, who were the first-fruits among the heathens. But without delay, while resting on My arms, He ordered Me immediately to distribute them among the poor and the Temple, as I also did. Many times during His life He told Me, that one of the high purposes of His coming into the world was to raise up poverty and to teach it to mortals, who stand in horror of it. In His conversations, His teachings and His most holy life He manifested to Me, and made Me understand, that the holiness and perfection, which He had come to teach, was to be founded on the most perfect voluntary poverty and the contempt of riches. The more earnestly these were cultivated in the Church, so much greater would be Her sanctity in the course of the ages; and this will be evident in the coming times.”
107 “Since we are to follow the footsteps of our true Master and practice His teachings, in order that we may found His Church by imitating His example; it is neces­sary that we all embrace the most strict poverty and that we honor and revere it as the mother of all virtues and holiness. Hence I am of opinion that we all should detach our hearts from the love of money and riches and that all of us should refuse to handle it or to accept val­uable and precious gifts. In order that no one may be defiled by avarice, 6 or 7 persons of approved life and established virtue might be appointed, who are to receive the alms and offerings and whatever else the faithful wish to deposit in their desire to live more se­curely and to follow Christ My Divine Son without the embarrassment of possessions. All this must be given in the form of alms, not in the manner of rents, or income, or capital. All of it should be used for supplying the needs of the community and of our brethren and poor, the needy and the infirm; and let none of the congre­gation, nor the Church, consider any of these goods as belonging to themselves any more than to any of the brethren. If the alms thus offered for the sake of God should not suffice for the maintenance of all, let those that are appointed for this work ask for more in the Name of God. Let all of us understand, that our lives depend upon the Most High Providence of My Divine Son and not upon the solicitude for acquiring money, nor upon increasing our possessions under pretext of pro­viding for our sustenance. Let us rather have confidence and if necessary, rely on the beneficence of almsgiving.”
108 None of the Apostles nor the other faithful of that gathering objected to the decision of their Great Queen and Teacher; but all of them heartily embraced Her doctrine, knowing that She was the only and legiti­mate disciple of the Lord, and that She was the Teacher of the Church. The most prudent Mother, by Divine disposition, would not delegate to one of the Apostles this instruction and the laying of this solid foundation of evangelical and Christian perfection in the Church; because such an arduous task required the authorship and example of Christ and His most Holy Mother. They were the Inventors and Institutors of this most noble poverty and They were the first to honor it by an open profession of it. These 2 Leaders were followed by the Apostles and by all the children of the primitive Church. This kind of poverty flourished afterwards for many years. Later on, through human frailty and through malice of the enemy, it decayed in some Christians, so that finally it came to be restricted to the ecclesiastical state. And because the course of time made this form of poverty difficult or impossible also for this state, God raised up the religious communi­ties, where, with some diversity, the primitive poverty was renewed and kept alive in its entirety or in its main intent. Thus it will be preserved in the Church to the end, securing its privileges to its devotees according to the degree in which they follow, honor and love this virtue. None of the states of life approved by the Church is excluded from its proportionate measure; and none of those living in those states are excused from striving after its highest perfection in their own lives. But as in the House of God there are many mansions (Jn 14:2), so there are also different orders and grades of in­habitants.  Let each one live up to the poverty which is in accordance with his state. But let all of us under­stand, that the first step in the imitation and following of Christ is voluntary poverty; and those that pursue it more closely, can so much the more freely rejoice in sharing with Christ its advantages and perfections.
109 With the decision of the Blessed Mary the meet­ing of the Apostolic College was closed, and 6 prudent men were chosen to receive and dispense the alms. The great Lady asked the blessing of the Apostles, who again returned to their work of preparing the catechu­mens for Baptism on the following day. The Queen, with the assistance of Her Angels and of the other Marys, proceeded to prepare and adorn the hall, in which Her Divine Son had celebrated the Last Supper; and with Her own hands She cleansed it and scrubbed it for His return in the consecration to be performed on the next day. She asked the owner to furnish it in the same way as I have described for the Thursday of the Last Supper and the devout host deferred to Her wishes with deepest rev­erence. She also prepared the unleavened bread and the wine necessary for the consecration, together with the same paten and chalice in which the Savior had conse­crated. For the Baptism She provided pure water and the basins for administering it with ease and reverence. Then the loving Mother retired and passed the night in most fervent aspirations, prostrations, thanksgiving and other exercises of exalted prayer; offering to the Eternal Father all that She, in Her heavenly wisdom, knew would help worthily to prepare Herself and all the rest for the worthy administration of Baptism.
110 Early the next day, which was the octave of the coming of the Holy Spirit, all the faithful and catechu­mens gathered with the Apostles and disciples in the house of the Cenacle. St. Peter preached to this gathering instructing them in the nature and excellence of Baptism, the need in which they stood of it and its divine effects, how they would, through it, be made mem­bers of the Mystical Body of the Church, receive an in­terior character; be regenerated to a new existence as children of God and inheritors of His glory through the remission of sins and sanctifying grace. He exhorted them to the observance of the Divine Law, to which they subjected themselves by their own free will, and to humble thanksgiving for this benefit and for all the others, which they received from the Hands of the Most High. He explained to them also the mysterious and sacred truth of the Holy Eucharist, which was to be cel­ebrated in the consecration of the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and he admonished all those especially, who were to receive Holy Communion after their Bap­tism.
111 Through this sermon all the converts were in­spired with additional fervor; for their dispositions were altogether sincere, the words of the Apostles full of life and penetration, and the interior grace very abundant. Then the Apostles themselves began to baptize amid the most devout and orderly attention of the others. The catechumens entered one door of the Cenacle and after being baptized, they passed out through another, while the disciples and others of the faithful acted as ushers. The most Holy Mary was present at the entire ceremony, al­though keeping to one side of the hall. She prayed for all of them and broke forth in canticles of praise. She recognized the effects of Baptism in each one, according to the greater or less degree of virtues infused in their souls. She beheld them renewed and washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and their souls restored to a divine purity and spotlessness. In witness of these effects, a most clear light, visible to all that were present, descended upon each one who was baptized. By this miracle God wished to authenticate the first beginnings of this Sacrament in His Holy Church, and to console both those first children and us, who are made partakers of this blessing without much adverting to it or giving thanks for it.
112 This administration of Baptism was continued on that day until all were baptized, although there were about 5,000 to receive it. While the baptized were making their thanksgiving for this admirable bless­ing, the Apostles with all the disciples and the faithful spent some time in prayer. All of them prostrated them­selves on the ground adoring the Infinite and Immutable God, and confessing their own unworthiness of receiv­ing Him in the Most Eminent Sacrament of the Altar. In this profound humility and adoration they prepared themselves more immediately for Communion. And then they recited the same Psalms and prayers which Christ had recited before consecrating, imitating faith­fully that sacred function just as they had seen it per­formed by their Divine Master. St. Peter took in his hands the unleavened bread, and, after raising up his eyes to heaven with admirable devotion, he pronounced over the bread the words of consecration of the Most Holy Body of Christ, as had been done before by the Lord Jesus (2 Cor 11:24). Immediately the Cenacle was filled with the visible splendor of innumerable angels; and this light converged in a most singular manner on the Queen of Heaven and Earth and was seen by all these present. Then St. Peter consecrated the chalice and performed all the ceremonies, which Christ had observed with the consecrated Body and Blood, raising them up for the adoration of all the faithful. The Apostle partook himself of the Sacrament and communicated it to the 11 Apostles as most Holy Mary had instructed him. Thereupon, at the hands of St. Peter, the Heavenly Mother partook of it, while the celestial spirits there present attended with ineffable reverence. In approach­ing the altar the great Lady made 3 profound pros­trations, touching the ground with Her face.
113 She returned to Her place, and it is impossible to describe in words the effects of this participation of the Holy Eucharist in this most exalted of creatures. She was entirely transformed and elevated, completely ab­sorbed in this Divine Conflagration of the love of Her Most Holy Son, Whom She had now received bodily. She re­mained in a trance, elevated from the floor; but the Holy Angels shielded Her somewhat from view according to Her own wish, in order that the attention of those pres­ent might not be unduly attracted by the divine effects apparent in Her. The disciples continued to distribute Holy Communion, first to the disciples and then to the others who had been believers before the Ascension. But of the 5,000 newly baptized only 1,000 received Communion on that day; because not all were entirely prepared or furnished with the insight and attention required for receiving the Lord in this great sacrament and mystery of the Altar. With regard to the manner of Communion in that day, the Apostles ob­served the distinction of giving to the most Holy Mother and the 120, upon whom the Holy Spirit had come, both species, of bread and of wine; but the recently baptized partook only of the species of bread. But this difference was not made because the new faithful were less worthy of the one species than of the other; but because the Apostles knew, that in either one of the species they received the same Object in its en­tirety, namely the Sacramental God; and that there was no precept, and likewise no necessity that each one re­ceive both species. They considered, that there would be great danger of irreverence and other very grave in­conveniences to permit the multitude to partake of the species of the Blood, while this was not to be feared in the Communion of the few, who then partook of them at that time. I have been made to understand, that, for all those who were not consecrating or celebrating, the prac­tice of communicating only the specie of bread obtained from the very beginning of the Church. Although some, who were not priests, for some time partook of both species; yet, as soon as the Church increased and spread over the whole world, She, being guided by the Holy Spirit, very wisely ordained, that laymen and those not celebrating Mass should communicate only in the specie of the Sacred Body; and that it was to pertain to those who were celebrating these Divine Mysteries, to partake of both species. Such is the secure practice of the Roman Catholic Church.
114 All having received Holy Communion, St. Peter ended the Sacred Mysteries by reciting some psalms and prayers, which he and the other Apostles offered up in thanksgiving; for at that time the other rites and cere­monies, which later on were added for the worthy cele­bration of Mass, as well before as after the Consecra­tion and Communion, had not yet been instituted. In our times the most blessed and wise Church has es­tablished all that is contained in the Holy Mass as cele­brated by the priests of the Lord. The Apostles spent some more time in prayer, and when the day had already declined toward evening they proceeded to other busi­ness and to partake of the necessary nourishment. Our great Queen and Lady gave thanks to the Most High for all of them, and the Lord was pleased with Her thanksgiving, granting the petitions which His Beloved offered up for the present and the absent in His Holy Church. 

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE BLESSED MARY, GAVE ME.

115 My daughter, although in the present life you can not penetrate into the mystery of the love which I had and still have for men; yet, in addition to that which you have understood, I wish, for your better in­formation, that you consider again, how the Lord has given Me the title of Mother and Teacher of the Church. With it He infused into My soul an ineffable participation of charity and mercy for the children of Adam. As I was a mere creature and since this blessing was so im­mense, its effects would have deprived Me many times of life, if Divine Power had not miraculously sus­tained Me. These effects I felt frequently in My thanks­giving, when souls were received into the Church or were made partakers of  eternal glory for I alone could know and estimate this happiness in its entirety, and since I realized it, I gave thanks for it to the Almighty with intense fervor and deepest humility. But the oc­casions in which I was affected most deeply, was when I asked for the conversion of sinners and when any of the faithful fell into eternal perdition. At such and other times, experiencing the extreme opposite of My joys, I suffered much more than the martyrs in all their tor­ments. I exerted Myself for each soul with an eminent and supernatural force. For all this the children of Adam stand in debt to Me, since I offered up for them so many times My own life. Though at present I am not any more in a condition to offer it for them, yet My love, which seeks their eternal salvation, is not diminished, but is more exalted and perfect.
116 If such was the force of My love of God, when My fellow men were concerned, you can understand what was My love toward the Lord Himself, when re­ceiving Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I will tell you a secret concerning what happened when I received Holy Communion for the first time from the hands of St. Peter. On this occasion the Most High gave such sway to the violence of My love, that My heart opened up in fact and, as was My desire, permitted the Sacramental Lord to enter and take His rest there as in His legitimate throne and tabernacle. From this you will understand, that, if in the glory which I now enjoy I could be sorrow­ful, one of the reasons for being so would be the dreadful carelessness and presumption with which men ap­proach to receive the Sacred Body and Blood of My Di­vine Son; some of them unclean and abominable, others without veneration and respect, and nearly all of them without attention, without appreciation or consideration for the value of that Food, Which is nothing less than God Himself for eternal life or eternal death.
117 Fear then, this dreadful danger; weep to see it in so many children of the Church and ask the intervention of the Lord. In pondering over My teachings, make yourself worthy to understand profoundly this Mystery of Love, and when you are permitted to re­ceive Him, detach and cleanse your interior from all earthly things, attending only to the fact, that you are about to receive the Infinite and Incomprehensible God Himself. Surpass yourself in love, in humility, and thanksgiving; since all that you can ever do, will be less than is demanded by such an exalted mystery. For your better preparation, let that which I did on such oc­casions be your model and example. I desire especially that you imitate Me, as in the 3 bodily prostrations. Observe also that which you have added yourself in order to do reverence to the Sacramental Flesh and Blood as coming from My womb and as having been nourished and grown from My milk. Ever keep up this devotion; for the truth you have perceived, that this Consecrated Body contains part of My own blood and substance, is in fact real. And if in your love you would deeply grieve to see the Sacred Body and Blood ignomini­ously and sacrilegiously trampled under foot; you should feel the same grief and shed bitter tears at see­ing so many children of the Church treat it with irrever­ence and without any fear or decorum. Weep then over this misfortune; weep, because there are few who weep over it, and weep, because the evident designs of the love of My Divine Son are thus frustrated. And in order that you may weep more bitterly, I tell you, that, just as in the primitive Church there were so many, who were saved by it, now there are countless souls, who damn themselves through it. I do not tell you what happens in this regard everyday; lest, if you knew it, and have within you any love, you should die of grief. This damage is done, because the children of the faith are following darkness, love vanity, covet riches, and nearly all of them seek after vain and deceitful pleasure, which blinds and obscures the understanding and covers up the light with darkness, which knows no distinction between the good and the bad and penetrates not the truths of the evangelical doctrine.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 8
EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE AND OUR LADY
118 Until now I have only very slightly touched upon the miracle mentioned in the above heading, and, in order that so great a miracle of the Lord in favor of His most loving Mother may not be without the special mention demanded by our piety, I have reserved it for this chap­ter. My own limited powers of explanation grieve me; for not only am I ignorant of infinitely more than what I perceive concerning it, but even what I know, I can de­scribe only in most unsatisfactory and inadequate terms and by language falling far short of my conceptions. Nevertheless I dare not pass over in silence the benefits conferred upon our great Queen by the Right Hand of Her Divine Son, after She had descended from heaven to take charge of His Church on earth; for if they were great and ineffable before that time, they now increased in eminent variety and exhibited at the same time the in­finite power of Him Who conferred them, and the im­mense capacity of that singular and chosen Creature, who received them.
119 To explain this rare and prodigious blessing, that the Sacramental Body of Christ in the sacred species should be preserved continually in the heart of Mary, it is not necessary to seek for another cause than that underlying all the other favors with which God dis­tinguished this great Lady, namely: that it was His Holy Will and according to His Infinite Wisdom, by which He performs according to measure and weight all that is befitting (Wis 11:21). Christian prudence and piety will be content to know as a reason, that God had singled this mere Creature out to be His natural Mother, and that therefore She alone, of all creatures, deserved this distinction. As this miracle of Her Mothership was unique and without parallel, it would be shameful igno­rance to seek proofs of what the Lord did in Her by com­paring it with what He did or ever will do in other souls; since Mary alone rises super eminently above the com­mon order of all. Yet, though all this is true, the Lord nevertheless wishes that by the light of faith and by other enlightenment, we seek the reasons of the propriety and equity, according to which the Powerful Arm of the Almighty wrought these wonders in His most worthy Mother, so that in them we may know and bless Him in Her and through Her; and so that we may understand, how secure our salvation, all our hope, and our lot are in the hands of that powerful Queen, toward whom Her Son has directed all the excess of His love. In accordance with these truths I will explain what has been made known to me of this mystery.
120 The Heavenly Mother lived 33 years in the company of Her Son and true God; and from the time when He was born of Her virginal womb She never left Him to the time of His Death on the Cross. She nursed Him, served Him, followed Him and imitated Him, conducting Herself always as a Mother, Daughter and Spouse, as a most faithful Servant and Friend; She enjoyed the sight of Him, His conversation, His doctrine and the favors, which, by all these meritorious services, She attained in this mortal life. Christ ascended into heaven, and the force of love and right reason demanded, that He should take to heaven with Him His most loving Mother, in order that He should not be deprived of Her there, nor She in this world of His Divine Presence and company. But the most ardent love which both of Them had for men, dissolved in a manner these bonds of union, in­ducing our kind Mother to return to the world in or­der to establish the Church; and moving the Son to give His consent to Her absence from Him during that time. But as the Son of God was powerful enough to recom­pense Her for this privation to a certain extent, it be­came for Him an obligation of His love to make such a recompense. And the fulfillment of this obligation would not have been so publicly acknowledged or made so manifest, if He denied His Blessed Mother the favor of accompanying Her upon earth, while He remained seated at the Glory of the Right Hand of His Father. Besides, the most ardent love of the Blessed Mother, having been accustomed and nourished in the Presence of the Lord Her Son, would have inflicted upon Her insufferable vio­lence, if for so many years She was to be deprived of that kind of Presence of Him, which was possible during Her stay in the Church.
121 For all this the Lord our Savior provided by con­tinuing His Sacramental Presence in the heart of the most fortunate Mother as long as She lived in the Church after His taking His seat in heaven. To a certain extent He abun­dantly recompensed Her by this Sacramental Presence for that which She had enjoyed, when He had yet lived with Her in this world; for in those times He often ab­sented Himself in order to attend to the work of our salvation and thus afflicted Her heart with anxieties and fears, roused by the works in which He had to engage; and even when He returned, He could not remain always in Her company; and when this was possible, His very Presence filled Her mind with the terrors of His coming Passion and Death on the Cross. This sorrow sometimes cast a shadow on the joy of Her possessing Him and at­tending upon Him. But when He was established at the Right Hand of His Eternal Father, having sustained the torment of His Passion, and when this, Her same Lord and Son, took His rest sacramentally in Her virginal heart, then the Heavenly Mother enjoyed His Divine Presence without fear or disturbance. In the Son She continually enjoyed the Presence of the entire Trinity by that man­ner of vision, which I have described before. Thus was fulfilled and realized literally, what this great Queen says in the Canticles: I shall hold Him, and will not leave Him, until I bring Him to the house of My Mother the Church. There I will give Him to drink of the spiced wine and of the juice of My pomegranates (Song 8:2).
122 In this blessing the Lord fulfilled His promise made to the Church in His Apostles, that He should be with them to the end of time (Matt 28:20). He had already anticipated the fulfillment of this promise even at that time, when He resolved to ascend into heaven, for He had remained Sacramentally Present in His Mother since the last Supper, as related above. But it would not have been entirely fulfilled after His Ascension, if He had not wrought this new miracle in the Church; for in those first years the Apostles had no Temple or proper arrange­ment for preserving continually the Holy Eucharist, and therefore they always consumed it entirely on the day of its consecration. The most Holy Mary alone was the Sanctuary and the Temple, in which for some years the Most Blessed Sacrament was preserved, in order that the Church of Christ might not be deprived even for one moment of the Word made flesh, from the time when He ascended into heaven until the end of the world. Although He was not there present in that Tabernacle for the use of the faithful, yet He was there for their benefit and for other more glorious ends; since the great Queen of­fered up Her prayers and intercessions for all Christians in the Temple of Her own heart and She adored the Sacramental Christ in the name of the whole Church; while by His indwelling in that virginal heart, Christ was present and united to the Mystical Body of the faith­ful. Above all, this great Lady was the cause of that age's being supremely fortunate; for, by thus sheltering within Her heart Her Sacramental Son and God, just as He is now harbored within the Sanctuaries and Taber­nacles, He was continually adored with highest rever­ence and piety by the most Blessed Mary, and was never offended, as He is now in our churches. In Mary He was satiated with the delights, which He desired to enjoy for the eternal ages among the children of men (Prov 8:31), and since all the assistance rendered to the Church was rendered with these delights as an object, the Lord could not have gained this end more fully than by re­maining sacramentally present in the heart of His purest Mother. She was the most legitimate sphere of the divinity, and, as it were, the proper element and the focusing point of its proper activity; and all the other creatures outside of the Heavenly Mary were in com­parison with Her, foreign to it, since this conflagration of Divine Love, which continues to burn with infinite charity, found no room or element for its flames.
123 From the understanding which has been given me of the Mystery of the love of Christ the Lord for His most Holy Mother and of the force with which He was drawn toward Her, I would go so far as to say, that if He had not found this way of remaining with Her in the Sacramental Species, He would have come down from the Right Hand of the Father to the world in order to render companionship to His Mother while She sojourned with His Church. And if it had been necessary that the heav­enly mansions and the celestial courtiers should be de­prived of the Presence of the Most Sacred Humanity from that time, He would have considered that of less im­portance than to be deprived of the company of His Mother. It is no exaggeration to say this, when we all must confess, that in the purest Mary the Lord found a correspondence and a degree of love more conformable to His Divine Will than in all the blessed combined; and conse­quently, His own love for Her exceeded His love for all others. If the Shepherd of the Gospel leaves the 99 sheep in order to go in search of only one that is lost, and if we nevertheless dare not say of Him that He leaves the greater for the less; it should not cause won­der in us that this Divine Shepherd should leave all the rest of the saints in order to be in the company of His most sincere Sheep, who clothed Him with Her own nature and raised and nourished Him as a Mother. With­out a doubt the eyes of His beloved Spouse and Mother would attract Him in swiftest flight from those heights (Song 6:4) to that earth, where He had lived, where He had before this come for the salvation of the children of Adam, toward whom He was less attracted, yes rather repelled by their sins and by the necessity of suf­fering for them. If now He descended to live with His beloved Mother, it would not be to suffer and die; but to enjoy the delights of Her company. Fortunately it was not necessary to rob Heaven of His Presence; since by descending in sacramental form He could satisfy both His own love and that of His most Blessed Mother, in whose heart, as in His couch, this true Solomon could take up His rest without leaving the Right Hand of His Eternal Father (Song 3:7).
124 The manner of operating this miracle was as fol­lows: at the Communion of the most Blessed Mary, the Sacramental Species, instead of entering the portion of the stomach where the natural food is commingled and rarified, and instead of being mixed up or digested with even the little nourishment sometimes taken by the great Lady, halted on their passage and lodged within the heart of Mary, as if in repayment of the blood which it had given up at the Incarnation of the Word and from which was formed the Sacred Humanity for Hypostatical Union with the Word, as has been explained in Part 2. The participation in the Holy Eucharist is called an extension of the Incarnation, and therefore it was proper that the Blessed Mother should share in this par­ticipation in a new and singular manner, since She also concurred in the Incarnation of the Word in a miraculous and extraordinary manner.
125 The heat of the heart in healthy beings is very great, and in man it is certainly not the less on account of his greater excellence and nobility of nature and of his prolonged life and activity; and the providence of nature supplies it with air and ventilation for its refreshment and for moderating that heat, which is the source of all animal warmth. Yet, though in the noble constitution of our Queen the ardors of Her heart were intense, and though the affections and opera­tions of Her inflamed love still more increased them, nevertheless the Sacred Species, while lodged in Her heart, were not changed or consumed. Moreover, although mul­tiplied miracles were required in order to preserve them, they are not to be attributed sparingly in this singular Being; a Creature, who was altogether a prodigy and a sum­mary of wonders. This favor began at the first Com­munion and through the preservation of the species con­tinued until the second Communion received at the hands of St. Peter on the octave of Pentecost. Then, as the new species took their place in Her heart, the former ones were consumed. By this miraculous exchange, the previous Sacramental Species continued to yield their place to those She received in Her Communions until the end of Her life, so that She was never deprived of the Presence of Her Son and God in Sacramental Form.
126 Through this privilege, and that of the continual and abstractive vision of the Divinity mentioned before, the most Blessed Mary was made so heavenly, and Her operations and faculties were raised so far above human conception, that it will be impossible to understand them in this mortal life, or to attain of them a proportionate idea as is possible for us concerning other things. Nor can I find words to explain the little which could be made clear to me. After She returned from heaven She was en­tirely renewed and transformed in regard to the use of Her senses; for on the one hand, She was absent from Her Divine Son, in Whom She had worthily employed them, when He was sensibly present; on the other hand, She felt and perceived Him resting in Her heart, whereon all Her attention was centered. From the day on which She descended She made a new treaty with Her eyes and ex­ercised a new dominion and sway over them of not per­mitting any worldly and visible images to enter ex­cept those that were necessary for the government of the Church and for the discharge of Her duties. She made no use of these images, nor were they necessary to Her, for conversing or meditating interiorly, and they were merely stored in Her memory and understanding; Her interior meditations and contemplations were actuated by infused images and by the science connected with the ab­stract vision of the Divinity, after the manner in which the saints know and see in God, or through vision, or knowledge of the creature in themselves. In this manner our Queen understood the Will of God in all Her works, and She did not make use of Her sight in knowing or learning any of these things, although She used Her eyes to see where She was going or with whom She was con­versing in all the sincerity of heart.
127 The sense of hearing She made use of somewhat more frequently; for it was necessary to listen to the faithful and to the Apostles in what they reported of the state of souls, of the Church, and of its needs and spir­itual advancement, in order to answer them, and give them Her instruction and counsels. But She governed Her sense of hearing so completely, that it was affected by no sound or word, which disagreed in the least with the holi­ness and perfection of Her state, or which were not neces­sary for the advance of charity toward Her fellow men. Of Her sense of smell She made no use for terrestrial odors, or of the common objects of that sense; but by the intervention of the angels She was regaled by the celestial perfumes, which were perceived by Her in praise of the Creator. She experienced a great change also in the sense of taste; for She was made aware, that, after Her sojourn in heaven, She could live without earthly nourishment, though that was not commanded Her, but left to Her own free will. Therefore She ate very sel­dom and sparingly, and this only at times, when St. Peter or St. John asked Her, or in order to avoid as­tonishment in others at not seeing Her eat. But when She thus in obedience or in humility tasted food, She per­ceived not the common taste or savor of it, so that Her sense reacted not upon it any more than if She had eaten some apparent or glorified substance. Her touch like­wise conformed to this kind of change, for through it She perceived little of that which She touched and had in it no sensible delight; but She felt the contact of the Sacramental Species in Her heart, to which She ordinarily attended with feelings of admirable sweetness and joy.
128 All these privileges in regard to the senses were granted Her at Her petition; for She consecrated all of them and Her faculties anew to the greater glory of the Most High and for producing in Her the plenitude of virtue, holiness and the most eminent perfection. And though through Her whole life, from the first instant of Her Immaculate Conception, She had complied with all the requirements of a faithful servant (Matt 25:20) and of a prudent dispenser of the plenitude of Her graces and gifts (as appears from the whole course of this his­tory), yet after She ascended to heaven with Her Son, She was perfected in all things and was furnished by the Divine Omnipotence with new faculties of operating. Though She was yet a pilgrim, since She did not yet en­joy the beatific vision as a comprehensor, nevertheless the operations of Her senses partook of and were rather similar to those of the saints glorified in body and soul than to the operations of the other viators. There is no other way of comparing this state so singular, so blessed and divine, in which our great Queen and Lady returned from heaven to govern the Holy Church.
129 To this exalted activity of the sensible faculties corresponded Her interior wisdom and knowledge; for She knew the decrees of the Most High Will in all that She wished and was obliged to do; in what time, in what manner, in what order and circumstance each work was to be accomplished; with what words and under what ar­rangements; so that in this She was not excelled even by the Angels, who assist us without ever losing sight of the Lord. The great Queen practiced the virtues with such high wisdom, that She excited their admiration; for they saw that no other mere creature could exceed Her or could arrive at that summit of perfection and holiness, which they saw Her attain. One of the things that filled Her with highest joy was the adoration and reverence exhibited by the supernal spirits to the Lord sacramentally present in Her heart. The same was also shown by the saints, whenever She ascended into heaven bearing Her Most Divine Son with Her in Her heart; and this was a sight furnishing new joy and jubilee for all the blessed. The joy of seeing the Blessed Sacrament thus honored by the Angels was a recompense for the gross negligence of men in venerating the Sacred Body of the Lord. And as such the Blessed Lady also offered up the worship and reverence of the heavenly spirits, who knew how to estimate this mystery and venerated it with­out fail or negligence.
130 Sometimes the Body of Her Son manifested itself to Her openly within Her; at other times with all the beauty of His Most Holy Humanity; at other times, and almost continually, all the miracles contained in the Most Majestic Sacrament were made known to Her. All these wonders, and many others, which we cannot un­derstand in this corruptible life, most Holy Mary enjoyed, sometimes becoming manifest to Her in themselves, sometimes in the abstractive vision of the Divinity; and with the images of the Divinity were presented to Her also all that She was to do for Herself and for all the Church. What was most consoling to Her, was to per­ceive the joy and pleasure of Her Divine Son in remaining Sacramentally Present in Her sincere heart, which without a doubt (according to what was made known to me) was greater than to be in the company of the saints. O extraordinary, singular and exalted privilege! You by Yourself were more pleasing to the Creator than the high heavens He had made for His habitation (Ps 113:6). He Who cannot be contained in those illimitable spaces, measured and enclosed Himself in You alone, and found a pleasant throne and resting place, not only in Your vir­ginal womb, but in the immensity of Your capacious love. You alone were a heaven from the first of Your existence, so that God lived in You after He gave You being and shall rest in You in fullest delight through all the ages of His eternity. Let all the nations know You; for in You they know and praise their true God and Redeemer, since through You alone He has visited us and repaired our unfortunate fall (Luke 1:68).
131 Who of mortals, or even of the Angels, can de­scribe the conflagration of love burning in the purest heart of this great Queen so full of wisdom? Who can comprehend the impetus of the river of the Divinity, which inundated and absorbed this City of God? (Ps 45:5). What aspirations and acts of virtue did She not enter into while exercising the measureless gifts of grace showered upon Her! What prayers and petitions did She not send forth for the Holy Church! What entrance­ments of love for us did not overwhelm Her! What gifts did She not merit and obtain for us! Only the Author of this prodigy could know them. But let us on our part raise our hopes, enliven our faith, and incite our love in union with this kind Mother; let us solicit Her interces­sion and assistance, since He, Who is Her Son and our Brother, will deny nothing to Her whom He has so singled out for His love, as I have described, and will de­scribe further on. 

INSTRUCTION THAT MOST HOLY MARY, GAVE ME

132 My daughter, you have so far been well in­formed of My life and activity, considering that you are a mere creature. Besides Me, there is no other created being, which you can better use as your model and original for your greater holiness and perfection. But now you have entered upon the description of the su­preme state of virtue reached by Me in mortal life. This favor should oblige you to renew your desires and direct all the attention of your faculties toward the perfect imitation of all that I teach you. It is time, My dear, and there is reason, that you deliver yourself entirely over to My will in what I seek of you. In order that you may animate yourself to the attainment of this blessing, I wish you to take notice, that, though the Species of the Sacrament are consumed, My Divine Son, whenever souls receive Him with reverence and fervor and prepare for Him a pure and ardent heart, remains with them with special graces, by which He assists them, enriches and directs them in return for their hospitality. Few are the souls, who partake of this blessing, because many know­ing of it, approach the Holy Sacrament without the proper disposition, as if by haphazard or habit, and with­out being solicitous for the reverence and holy fear due to it. But as you are now informed of this secret, I de­sire that, since by the orders of your superiors you re­ceive it everyday, you prepare yourself worthily each time and thus partake of this great blessing.
133 For this end you must avail yourself of the re­membrance of what I did, and by it regulate your aspira­tions, your fervor, your love, and all that is necessary to prepare your heart as a Temple and Habitation of your Spouse and Most High King. Labor then to collect all your powers within yourself; before and after receiving ob­serve all that pertains to the fidelity of a Spouse, and especially must you place a guard over your eyes and a watch over all your senses, in order that no profane or foreign image may enter into the Temple of the Lord. Keep your heart entirely pure and unspotted; for when it is impure or preoccupied, the plenitude of Divine Light and Wisdom cannot enter (Wis 1:4). All this you will know from what God has shown you, if you have attended to it with an upright purpose. Even supposing that you can not exempt yourself from all interaction with creatures, it is befitting that you hold your senses in great subjection, and that you do not permit them to introduce the image of any sensible thing, by which you would not be assisted in striving after the Most Holy and Pure of Virtue. Separate the precious from the worthless, the truth from deceit. In order that you may imitate Me perfectly, I wish that from now on you attend to the choice you are to make in all things great or small, so that you err in none, perverting the order of divine light.
134. Consider attentively the common deception of men and the woeful damage they suffer. For in the decisions of their will they ordinarily are moved solely by what they perceive through the senses, and they im­mediately proceed to act upon their choice without fur­ther consideration or counsel. Since the sensible impressions immediately move the animal passions and inclinations, it is evident that men do not act according to right reason, but according to the impulse of passion, ex­cited by the senses and their objects. Hence, he that considers only the injury and pain caused, is straightway moved to vengeance; he that follows only his hankering after strange property, as soon as he lays his eyes upon it, is impelled to injustice. In the same manner act so many unfortunates, who follow the concupiscence of the eyes, the movements of the flesh, and the pride of life, because these are the only things offered by the world and the devil. In their blind deception they follow dark­ness as their light, taste the bitter as sweet, take deadly poison for remedy of their souls, and hold that for wis­dom which is nothing but diabolical and earthly ignor­ance. Guard yourself against these pernicious errors, and never resolve on anything, or govern yourself by anything that is merely sensible or arising from sensi­ble impressions, nor pursue the advantages held out through them. In your actions take counsel first of all from the interior knowledge and light communicated to you by God, in order that you may not go blindly forward; and He shall always grant you sufficient guidance. Immediately seek the advice of your superiors and teachers, if you can do so before making your choice. And if your superior or teacher is not at hand, seek counsel of others, even inferiors; for this is more secure than to follow your own will, which may be dis­turbed and blinded by passion. This is the rule to be fol­lowed especially in the exterior works, pursuing them with recollection, with secrecy, and according to the de­mands of circumstances and fraternal charity as they occur. In all of them it is necessary not to lose out of sight the North star of interior light, while moving in the profound gulf of the association with creatures, where there is continual danger of perishing. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 9
Our Lady defends the faithful against the devil
135 Elevated to the highest degree of grace and holi­ness possible in a mere creature, the great Lady of the world saw with eyes of heavenly knowledge the little flock of the Church increasing day by day. As a most watch­ful Mother and Shepherdess, from the heights in which She was placed by the Right Hand of Her omnipotent Son, She watched with deepest insight lest any assault or at­tack from the ravenous wolves of hell threatened the lit­tle sheep of Her fold; for She well knew their hatred against the new-born children of the Gospel. The watch­fulness of the Mother of light served as a wall of de­fense to this Holy Family, which the loving Queen had accepted as Her own and which She looked upon as the portion and inheritance of Her Divine Son, selected from the rest of men and chosen by the Most High. For some days the little ship of the Church, governed by this heavenly Commander, proceeded prosperously on­ward; being assisted as well by Her counsels, Her teach­ings and warnings, as by Her incessant prayers and peti­tions. Not for one moment did She remit Her diligence in attending to all that was necessary for consolation of the Apostles and the other faithful.
136 A few days after the coming of the Holy Spirit, while at Her prayers, She spoke to the Lord: “My Son, the God of true love, I know, My Lord, that the little flock of Your Church, of which You have made Me the Mother and Defender, is of no less price to You than Your own Life and Blood, by Which You have redeemed it from the powers of darkness (Col 1:13). It is there­fore reasonable that I also offer My life and all My being for the preservation and increase of what is so highly es­teemed by You. Let Me die, My God, if it is necessary for the enhancement of Your Name and for the spread of Your Glory throughout the world. Receive, My Son, the offering of My lips and of My entire will in union with Your own merits. Look kindly upon Your faithful; receive those who hope solely in You and give themselves to You in faith. Govern Your vicar Peter, that he may rightly direct the sheep You have given him in charge. Watch over all Your Apostles, Your ministers and My mas­ters; meet them with the blessings of Your sweetness, so that we all may execute Your Perfect and Holy Will.”
137 The Most High answered the petition of our Queen: “My Spouse and Beloved, I am attentive to Your desires and petitions. But You already know, that My Church is to follow in My footsteps and My teach­ings, imitating Me in the way of My suffering and the Cross, which My Apostles and disciples and all My inti­mate friends and followers are to embrace; for such they cannot be, without this condition of labor and sufferings (Matt 10:38). It is also necessary that My Church should bear the ballast of persecutions, by which it will pass securely through the prosperity of the world and its dangers. Such is My high Providence in regard to the faithful and the predestined. Attend therefore, and be­hold the manner in which this is to be brought about.”
138 Immediately the great Queen in a vision saw satan and a great multitude of hellish followers rising out of the depths of the infernal caverns, where they had lain oppressed since the time they had been van­quished on Mt. Calvary and hurled to hell, as I have described above. She saw that dragon with 7 heads coming up as it were from the depths of the sea, followed by the rest. Although he came forth very much weak­ened, in the manner of convalescents, unable, after a long and grievous sickness, to drag themselves along; yet in his pride and chagrin he was lashed to implacable fury and arrogance, having on that occasion experienced that these passions in him are greater than his power, as Isaiah says (Is 14:9). For on the one hand he exhibited the effects of the crushing defeat which he had undergone in the Victory and Triumph of the Savior on the Cross; and on the other hand he exhibited his wrath and fury, which now was bursting forth like the fires of a volcano against the Holy Church and Her children. Having come upon the earth, he roamed all over it and reconnoitered; then he hastened to Jerusalem in order to strain all his rabid fury in persecuting the sheep of Christ. He began to spy from afar, gradually approaching and veering around that fold, which was so humble and yet so formidable to his arrogant malice.
139 The dragon saw what a multitude had subjected themselves to the faith, and how many were hourly re­ceiving Holy Baptism; how the Apostles continued to preach and to perform such great miracles for the good of souls; how the new converts renounced and abhorred riches; how the Holy Church was founded with all the principles of invincible sanctity. At such astonishing changes the wrath of the devil increased and his con­centrated malice and wrath vented itself in fearful howls. Lashing himself into fury on account of his being so powerless against God, and, thirsting to drink up the pure waters of Jordan (Is 16:6), he sought to approach nearer to the congregation of the faithful; but in this he could not succeed, because they were all united in perfect charity. This virtue, together with faith, hope and hu­mility, rose like an unapproachable fortification against the dragon and his ministers of malice. He roamed about in the vicinity to find some little sheep, that might have carelessly strayed from the fold of Christ, in order to attack and devour it. He schemed and plotted in many ways to attract someone of them, who should give him an opportunity of entering the fortress of virtue, by which all were protected; but everywhere he found his entrance forestalled and prevented by the vigilance of the Apostles and the power of grace, and especially by the protection of most Holy Mary.
140 When the great Mother saw satan and such an army of demons rising up with malicious wrath against the Evangelical Church, Her loving heart was pierced by a dart of compassion and sorrow; for She knew on the one hand the weakness and ignorance of men, and on the other hand the malicious and cunning hatred of the ancient serpent. In order to restrain and check his pride, the Heavenly Mother turned upon them and said: “Who is like God, Who dwells in the highest? (Ps 113:5). O foolish and vainglorious enemy of the Omnipotent! The same One Who vanquished you on the Cross and crushed your arrogance, redeeming the human race from your cruel tyranny, commands you now; this Power annihilates you, His Wisdom confounds you, and hurls you back to hell. In His Name now shall I do this, so as to deprive you of the power to hinder the exaltation and glory due to Him from all men as their God and Redeemer.” Then the solicitous Mother continued Her prayers and spoke to the Lord: “Supreme God and Father, if the Power of Your Arm does not restrain and quench the fury, which I see in the infernal dragon and his hosts, I doubt not that he will cover the whole face of the earth with the ruin of its inhabitants. Be a God of kindness and mercy to Your creatures: do not permit, O Lord, that this venomous serpent pour out its poison upon the souls re­deemed and washed in the Blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14), Your Son and the true God. Is it possible, that the souls themselves should ever deliver themselves over to such a bloodthirsty beast, their mortal enemy? How is My heart constrained with fear, lest any soul, en­riched with the Fruit of this Blood, fall into such a de­plorable misfortune? O that the wrath of this dragon might be turned upon Me alone, and that Your redeemed be placed in safety! Let Me, Eternal Lord, fight the battles against Your enemies. Clothe Me with Your power in order that I may humiliate them and crush their pride and haughtiness.”
141 In virtue of this prayer and the resistance of the powerful Queen, satan was struck with great fear, and for the time being he dared not approach any of the congregation of the faithful. Yet his fury was not al­layed on that account, but he plotted to enlist the scribes and Pharisees, and all of the Jews, whom he perceived still clinging to their obstinate perfidy. He betook him­self to them and by many suggestions filled them with envy and hatred against the Apostles and the faithful of the Church; thus, through the unbelievers, he roused the persecution, which he could not begin himself. He filled them with dread, lest by the preaching of the Apostles and disciples a like or greater damage would arise, than from the preaching of Jesus the Nazarene. He suggested to them, how evidently the followers of Christ intended to spread the Glory of His Name; how, since they themselves had crucified Him as a malefactor, His Glory would redound to their dishonor. And, as there were so many disciples and as so many miracles were wrought in His Name, how all the people would be drawn toward them; the teachers and the learned in the law would be de­spised, and lose the accustomed donations, as the new believers would donate all their goods to the new teachers; and how inevitably this damage would very soon overtake the teachers of the law, on account of the great multitudes following the Apostles.
142 These malicious suggestions appealed very strongly to the avarice and ambition of the Jews and therefore they accepted them readily as sane and as very conformable to their own desires. Hence arose the many meetings and schemes of the Pharisees, Sadducees, magistrates, and priests against the Apostles, as men­tioned by St. Luke in Acts. The first occasion arose at the miracle wrought by St. Peter and St. John in healing the paralytic, who had suffered under his mal­ady for 40 years from the time of his birth and who was known throughout the city. As this miracle was so evident and remarkable, the inhabitants gathered in great multitudes, all astonished and excited beyond con­trol. St. Peter preached them a great sermon, proving that they could not be saved except by the Name of Jesus, in virtue of which he and St. John had cured this pa­ralytic of 40 years standing. In reference to this event the priests held a meeting, in which they called the 2 Apostles to account. But as the miracle was so notorious and as the people glorified God in it, the iniquitous judges were too much confused to attempt to punish the Apos­tles, although they commanded them not to preach or teach in the Name of Jesus the Nazarene for the future. But St. Peter with invincible courage told them, that they could not obey this command; because God com­manded them the contrary, and it was not right to obey men in opposition to God (Acts 4:19.) With this warn­ing they were dismissed and the 2 Apostles immediate­ly repaired to the most Holy Queen to report their ex­perience, although She, by a special vision, had been in­formed of it all. Then they engaged in most exalted prayer, in which the Holy Spirit again came upon all of them with visible signs.
143 A few days afterwards happened the miraculous chastisement of Ananias and Sapphira, who, tempted by their avarice, tried to deceive St. Peter. They lied to the Apostle in bringing to him a portion of the price of an inheritance they had sold and secreting the other part. Shortly before, Barnabas, also called Joseph, a levite and a native of Cyprus, had likewise sold his inheritance and brought all the proceeds of it to the Apostles. In order that it might be impressed upon all, that each one should act with the same integrity, Ananias and Sapphira were punished, falling dead at the feet of St. Peter one after the other. Through this formidable wonder all in Jeru­salem were struck with fear and the Apostles preached with greater freedom. But the magistrates and saddu­cees were roused to anger and had them seized and cast into the public prison. There they remained but a short time, because the Queen liberated them, as I shall soon relate.
144 I will not pass over in silence the mystery con­nected with the fall of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife. When the great Queen of Heaven and earth perceived, that satan and his demons incited the priests and mag­istrates against the preaching of the Apostles, and that through his suggestions, they had dragged St. Peter and St. John before their tribunals after the miracle of the paralytic, this loving Mother feared lest the con­version of other souls might be prevented and therefore, as Her Divine Son had enjoined Her, She, with greater courage than that of Judith, took up their cause as Her own and addressed that cruel tyrant: “enemy of the Most High, how do you dare, and how shall you be able to rise up against His creatures, when by the Passion and Death of My Son and True God you are so completely vanquished, subjected and despoiled of your tyrannous empire? What can you do, O venom­ous basilisk, chained and imprisoned in hellish torments for all eternity by the Almighty? Do you not know, that you are subjected to His Infinite Power, and that you can not resist His Invincible Will? He commands you, and I in His Name and power command you, imme­diately to descend with your hordes to the depths, from which you have risen to persecute the children of the Church.”
145 The infernal dragon could not resist the mandate of the powerful Queen; for Her Divine Son, to the greater terror of the demons, permitted them all to see Him Sacramentally Present in the heart of the invincible Mother, as in the Throne of His Omnipotence and Majesty. This happened also on other occasions, whenever Mary put satan to confusion, as I shall relate farther on. This time he hurled himself into the abysses with all that had accompanied him, and they fell oppressed and annihilat­ed by the heavenly strength of that peerless Woman. For some time the demons remained there in consternation and lashed themselves to fury on account of their woeful state, which they could not escape, and because they de­spaired of overcoming this powerful Queen or all those who should come under Her protection. In this furious dismay satan conferred with his demons and said: “In what calamity do I see myself plunged! Tell me, what can I do against this my Enemy, who thus torments and overwhelms me? She alone battles against me more strenuously than all creatures together. Shall I then give up persecuting Her, in order that She may not suc­ceed in destroying me? All the time, I come forth from battle with Her vanquished, while She remains victorious. I must acknowledge, that She is continually diminishing my powers and that step by step She will succeed in an­nihilating me, so that I shall be powerless against the followers of Her Son. Yet how am I to suffer such an unjust oppression? Where is my exalted sovereignty? Am I then to subject myself to a Woman of a condition and nature so inferior and vile in comparison with mine? But I dare not at present battle with Her. Let us seek to overthrow some of Her followers, so that in some measure my confusion may be allayed and my revenge satisfied.”
146 The Lord permitted the dragon and his hordes to return and tempt the faithful for their probation. But on becoming acquainted with the state of their souls and the great virtues, with which they were adorned, they found no approach open, nor any of the faithful that would listen to their insane deceits and illusions. Yet on searching the dispositions and natural inclinations of each one, through which unfortunately they always carry on their fierce war against us, the demons found that Ananias and Sapphira were attached to money and had always sought after it with a certain amount of avarice. Of this weakness they availed themselves for their at­tack and they suggested to their imagination the ex­pediency of reserving a part of the price of a heritage, which they had sold in order to give its proceeds to the Apostles in thankful acknowledgment of the faith and Baptism received at their hands. They permitted them­selves to be entrapped by this low deceit, because they found it harmonizing with their base inclination, and they sought to deceive St. Peter. The Apostle knew of their sin through a revelation and he chastised them by permitting them both, first Ananias then Sapphira, suddenly to fall dead at his feet. Sapphira, without know­ing what had happened to Her husband, shortly after­wards practiced the same deceit and expired in the same way in the presence of the Apostles.
147 Our Queen knew from the very beginning what satan was plotting and that Ananias and Saphira were listening to his wily suggestions. Full of compassion and sorrow the loving Mother prostrated Herself in the Divine Presence and called out from the bottom of Her soul: “Alas, My Son and Lord, that this bloodthirsty dragon should snatch these simple sheep of our flock! How does My heart suffer, O My God, to see the con­tagion of avarice and deceit infect the souls, who have tasted Life and Your Blood! If this most cruel enemy scathlessly thus mixes up with them, the evil example of sin will do great damage on account of the weakness of men, and one will follow the other in their fall. I shall lose My life, O Lord, for grief, since I know what an evil sin is in Your Eyes, and especially the sin, not of strangers, but of Your children. My Beloved, provide some remedy of this evil, which You have made known to Me.” The Lord answered Her: “My Beloved Mother, let not Your heart, in which I reside, be afflicted; for I shall draw much good out of this evil for My Church, and it is for this end that My Providence shall permit it. In chastising these sins I shall teach the other faithful, by a visible example, to fear such sins in the Church; and thus shall caution them against the deceit and the covetousness of money. For the same chastise­ment, or My Anger, impends over all that shall commit the same fault; since My Justice shall always remain the same against all that are rebellious to My Will as taught by My Holy Law.”
148 With this answer the most holy Mary consoled Herself, although She continued to pity those 2 en­snared ones, Ananias and Sapphira, on account of the Divine Vengeance about to fall upon them in chastisement. In the meanwhile She offered up most exalted prayers for the rest of the faithful, in order that they might not fall into the snares of satan; and She again turned upon him, to frighten and repel him from irritating the Jews against the Apostles. Prevented by Her power he desist­ed, and the first children of the Church enjoyed much peace and tranquility. This happiness under the pro­tection of the great Queen and Lady would have con­tinued forever, if men had not thought little of it, giving themselves up to the same and worse deceits than Ananias and Sapphira. O that the faithful would fear this ex­ample and imitate that of the Apostles!
149 When the Apostles were taken prisoners as re­lated above, they called upon the Divine Mercy and the protection of their Heavenly Queen and Mother; and when She by divine enlightenment became aware of their condition, She prostrated Herself in the form of a cross before the Throne of God and made for them the follow­ing petition: “My Supreme Lord, Creator of the uni­verse! From My whole heart I subject Myself to Your Divine Will, and I know it is according to the dispositions and ordainment of Your Infinite Wisdom, that the disciples follow You as their Master, the true light and guide of Your chosen ones. This I confess, My Son, because You came upon this world in the appearance and habit of humility, in order to give it credit and destroy pride and in order to teach the Way of the Cross by patience in labor and in the contempt coming from men. I know al­so that Your Apostles and disciples must follow this doc­trine and establish it in Your Church. But if it is possible, God of My soul, that they at present retain their freedom and their life in order to found the Church, preach Your Holy Name and bring the world to the true faith, I entreat You, My Lord, to permit Me to favor Your vicar Peter, and My son, Your beloved disciple John, and all those who by the cunning of satan, are imprisoned. Let not that enemy glory in having now triumphed over Your servants, nor let him raise his head over the other children of the Church. Crush his haughtiness, My Lord, and let him be confounded in Your Presence.”
150 To Her petition the Most High answered: “My Spouse, let what You desire be done, for this is also My Will. Send Your Angels to undo the work of satan, for My power is with You.” With this loving consent the Queen of Angels immediately sent one of Her guard, of a very high hierarchy, to the prison of the Apostles in order to free them from their fetters and draw them from their dungeon. This was the angel of whom St. Luke speaks in Acts 5, freeing the Apostles at night at the order of the Heavenly Mother; although the Evangelist makes no mention of the secret connected with this miracle. But he was seen by the Apostles, appearing to them full of light and glory and telling them, that he was sent by his Queen to liberate them from prison. He commanded them to preach, as they also did. Besides this Angel, She sent also others to the magistrates and priests in order to drive away from them satan and his demons, who were irritating and inciting them against the Apostles. They were to inspire them instead with holy thoughts, and instill into them the fear of injuring these men or hindering their preaching. The Heavenly Spirits obeyed, and they fulfilled their mission so well, that the venerable Gamaliel delivered himself of the opinion recorded by St. Luke (Acts 5:34). For when the other judges were thrown into consternation at the news, that the Apostles, whom they had cast into prison, were freely preaching in the Temple without its being known through whom and how they had been freed from the prison, Gamaliel counseled the priests not to trouble these men, but to let them continue their preaching; since if this was the work of God they could not hinder it, and if it was not, it would soon come to naught of itself. For the same would happen as what had happened sometime before with the false prophets, Theodas and Judas of Galilee, who had risen in Jerusalem and Palestine and who had both perished with all their followers.
151 This counsel was inspired by the Holy Angels of the Queen and through their influence the judges acted upon it, though their own reputation and worldly inter­est induced them to forbid the Apostles to preach anymore in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. When therefore they had again brought the Apostles before their tribunal after their liberation from prison, they dismissed them with a punishment. The Apostles immediately reported all their undertakings and experiences to the most Blessed Mary as to their Mother and Teacher; and the most pru­dent Queen received them with maternal affection and joy to see them so constant in suffering and so zealous for the welfare of souls. “Now, My masters,” She said, “you appear to Me true imitators and disciples of your Master, since you suffer affronts and injury for His Name and with a joyous heart help Him to bear the Cross. You become His worthy ministers and assistants in applying the Fruit of the Blood He has shed for the salvation of men. May His Right Hand bless you and strengthen you with divine virtue.” This she said to them on Her knees and kissing their hands; whereupon She ministered to their wants, as described above.

INSTRUCTION OF MOST BLESSED MARY

152 My daughter, in what you have understood and written in this chapter, you possess many and impor­tant admonitions for your salvation and for the salvation of the faithful in the Church. First of all you must meditate upon the solicitude and watchfulness with which I sought after the eternal salvation of all the faithful without overlooking the least of their necessities and dangers. I taught them the truth, prayed incessantly, encouraged them in their labors, urged the Lord to assist them; and above all I defended them from devils and their cunning and furious wrath. All these bless­ings I procure for Christians from heaven in our times; and if not all experience them, it is not because I do not solicit them, but because there are very few of the faithful who call to Me with all their heart and who dispose themselves toward meriting and reaping the fruit of My maternal love. I would defend them all from the dragon, if all would call upon Me and if all would fear his per­nicious deceits, by which they are ensnared and entrapped to eternal damnation. In order that all may wake up to this frightful danger, I now give them this new remind­er. I assure you, My daughter, that all those, who damn themselves after the Death of My Son and in spite of the benefits and favors procured by My intercession, will suf­fer greater torments in hell than those who were lost before His coming and before I was in the world. Thus those who from now on understand these mysteries and despise them to their loss, shall be subject to new and greater punishments.
153 They must also remember in what estimation they should hold their souls, since I did and am doing so much everyday for them, after they have been redeemed by the Passion and Death of My Divine Son. This forget­fulness among men is very blameworthy and deserves a fearful chastisement. How unreasonable and how dam­nable is the conduct of a man, who for a momentary sen­sible pleasure, which at most must end with life and generally lasts only for a short time, labors so much and still claims to have the faith, while at the same time he takes no account of his immortal soul, and forgets it, as if it ended and were consumed with the visible things? They consider not, that when all comes to an end, the soul begins to suffer or enjoy the eternal and everlasting things. As you know this truth and the perversity of mortals, you will not be astonished at the power of the dragon in our days; for where there is continual combat, he who comes out victorious will gain the strength, which the vanquished loses. This is especially true of the cruel and incessant conflict of the demons, where the souls will gain in strength by victory and the devils will be weak­ened, as happened when My Son conquered them and I afterwards. But when this serpent finds itself victorious over men, then it will raise its proud head, gain new strength from its weakness and a greater sway, as it does now in the world; for the lovers of its vanity have sub­jected themselves and are following the standard and the fabulations of the devil. In the midst of this ruin hell has opened its jaws and the more it is glutted, the more insatiable becomes its hunger, seeking to bury in its in­fernal caverns all the rest of mankind.
154 Fear this danger as you know it, and live in a continual watchfulness not to open the gate of your heart to the wiles of this bloodthirsty beast. You have a warning in Ananias and Saphira, in­to whose soul the demon entered as soon as he had found out their desire of money and could assault them through this portal. I do not wish you to strive after anything pertaining to this mortal life; and I wish you so to suppress and extinguish within yourself all the passions and inclinations of weak nature, that not even the evil spirits, with all their watchfulness, shall find in you the least disorderly movement of pride, covetousness, van­ity, anger or any other passion. This is the science of the saints, and without it no one can live secure in mortal flesh. On account of ignoring it, innumerable souls per­ish. Learn it diligently, and teach it to your religious, in order that each one may be vigilant over her own self. With it they shall live in true peace and charity without deception; each one, and all of them together, united in the peaceful tranquility of the Divine Spirit and adorned by the exercise of all virtues, will be an impregnable for­tress for their enemies. Remind yourself and your religious of the chastisement of Ananias and Sapphira, exhort them to be very solicitous in the observance of their rules and constitutions; for thus shall they merit My protection and special assistance.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 10
OUR LADY BLESSES THE APOSTLES THROUGH HER ANGELS; A DEATH BED CONVERSION; 
THOSE WHO DAMNED THEMSELVES.
155 The New Law of Grace continued to spread in Jerusalem so the number of the faithful increased and the New Evangelical Church was augmented day by day (Acts 5:14). In like manner did the solicitude and at­tention of its great Queen and Teacher, Mary, expand toward the new children engendered by the Apostles through their preaching. As they were the foundation-stones of the Church, on which the security of that build­ing was to depend, the most prudent Lady lavished especial care upon the Apostolic College. Her heavenly solicitude augmented in proportion to the wrath of the devil against the followers of Christ and especially against the Apostles, as the ministers of eternal salvation to the other faithful. It will never be possible to describe or to estimate in this life the blessings and favors con­ferred by Her upon the Church and upon each of its mystical members. This happened especially in regard to the Apostles and disciples; for as has been revealed to me not a day or hour passed, in which She did not work for them many wonders. I will relate in this chapter some of the events, which are very instructive on account of the secrets of Divine Providence therein contained. From them we can form an estimate of the most vigilant charity and zeal of the Blessed Mary for souls.
156 All the Apostles She loved and served with in­credible affection and reverence, both on account of their great holiness and on account of their dignity as priests, as ministers, preachers and founders of the Gospel. Dur­ing all their stay in Jerusalem, She attended upon them, counseled and directed them in the manner noted above. With the increase of the Church they were obliged to go outside of Jerusalem in order to baptize and admit to the faith many of the inhabitants of the neighboring places; but they always returned to the city, because they had purposely delayed separating from each other, or leaving Jerusalem, until they should receive orders to do so. From Acts we learn that St. Peter went to Lydda and Jaffa, where he raised Tabitha from the dead and performed other miracles, returning again to Jerusalem. Although St. Luke relates these excursions after speaking of the death of St. Stephen (of which I shall treat in the following chapter), yet during these events, many were converted throughout Palestine, and it was necessary, that the Apostles go forth to preach to them and to confirm them in the faith, always return­ing in order to give an account of their endeavors to their Heavenly Queen.
157 During all their journeys and preachings the common enemy of all sought to hinder the spread of the Divine Word, or its fruit, by rousing the unbelievers to many contradictions and altercations with the Apostles and their listeners or converts; for it seemed to the infernal dragon more easy to assault them, when he saw them removed and far from the protection of their Queen. So formidable the great Queen of the Angels ap­peared to the hellish hosts, that in spite of the eminent holiness of the Apostles, satan imagined them disarmed and at his mercy, easily approachable to his temptations, as soon as they left the presence of Mary. The furious pride of this dragon, as is written in Job (41:18), esteems the toughest steel as weak straw, and the hardest bronze as a stick of rotten wood. He fears not the dart nor the sling; but he dreaded the protection of the most Blessed Mary, and in tempting the Apostles, he waited until they should have left Her presence.
158 But Her protection did not fail them on that ac­count; for the great Lady, from the watch-tower of Her exalted knowledge, reached out in every direction. Like a most vigilant sentinel She discovered the assaults of the devil and hastened to the relief of Her sons and minis­ters of Her Lord. When in Her absence She could not speak to the Apostles in any of their afflictions, She im­mediately sent Her Holy Angels to their assistance in order to encourage, forewarn and console them; and sometimes also to drive away the assaulting demons. All this the Heavenly Spirits executed promptly in compliance with the orders of their Queen. At times they would do it se­cretly by inspirations and interior consolations; at others, and more frequently, they manifested themselves visibly, assuming most beautiful and refulgent bodies and in­forming the Apostles of what was proper for the oc­casion, or what had been ordered by their Queen. This happened very often on account of their purity and holi­ness and on account of the necessity of favoring them with such an abundance of consolation and encourage­ment. In all their difficulties and labors the most loving Mother thus assisted them, besides offering up for them Her continual prayers and thanksgiving. She was the strong Woman, whose domestics were sheltered by dou­ble garments; the Mother of the family, who supplied all with nourishment and who by the labors of Her hands planted the vineyard of the Lord (Prov 31:10-28).
159 With all the other faithful, She proportionately exhibited the same care; and although there were many converts in Jerusalem and in Palestine, She remembered them all in thir necessities and tribulations. And She thought not only of the needs of their souls, but of those of the body, and many She cured of most grave sick­nesses. Others, whom She knew were not to be cured miraculously, She visited and assisted in person. Of the poor She took a still greater care, with Her own hand administering to them food on their beds of sickness, and seeing to their being kept clean, as if She were the ser­vant of all, infirm with the infirm. So great was the hu­mility, the charity and solicitude of the great Queen of the world, that She refused no service or lowliest minis­try to the faithful, no matter how humble and insignifi­cant the condition of those applying for Her assistance. She filled each one with joy and consolation and lightened all their labors. Those upon whom on account of their absence She could not personally attend, She assisted secretly through Her Holy Angels or by Her prayers and petitions.
160 In an especial manner Her maternal kindness ex­hibited itself to those who were in the agony of death; for she attended many of the dying and would not leave them, until they had secured their eternal salvation. For those who went to purgatory She offered up most fervent prayers and performed some works of penance, such as prostrations in the form of a cross, genuflections and other exercises, by which She satisfied for their faults. Then She sent one of Her angels in order to draw them from purgatory and present them to Her Son in heaven as His own and as the fruits of His Blood and Redemp­tion. This happiness the Queen of Heaven procured to many souls during Her stay upon earth. And, as far as was made known to me, this favor is not denied in our days to those, who during their earthly life dispose them­selves properly for meriting Her presence, as I have writ­ten in another place. But, since it would be necessary to extend the scope of this history very much, if I were to describe how the most Blessed Mary assisted many in the hour of death, I cannot dilate upon this matter. I will recount only one incident, in which She freed a girl from the jaws of the infernal dragon. It is one which is so extraordinary and worthy of the attention of us all, that it would not be right to omit it in this history, or deprive ourselves of the lesson it contains.
161 Among the 5,000 who were first con­verted and who received Baptism in Jerusalem, there was also a young girl of poor and humble parentage. This young woman, busying herself with her household du­ties, took ill and for many days She dragged on in her sickness without improvement. As happens to many other souls, she on that account fell from her first fervor and in her neglect committed some sins endangering her baptismal grace. The devil, who never relaxed in his thirst for the ruin of souls, approached this woman and attack­ed her with fierce cruelty, being thus permitted by God to do so for His greater glory and that of His most Blessed Mother. The devil appeared to her in the form of an­other woman and with much cajolery told her to with­draw from those people, who were preaching the Cruci­fied, and not to believe anything they said, because it was all falsehood; that, if she would not follow this advice, she would be punished by the priests and judges who had crucified the Teacher of that new and counterfeit religion; whereas, if she obeyed, she would live peace­fully and free from danger. The girl answered: “I will do what you say; but what shall I do in regard to that Lady, whom I have seen with these men and women and who appears to be so kind and peaceful? I desire Her good will very much.” The demon replied: “This One, whom you mention, is worse than all the rest, and Her you must shun before all. It is most impor­tant, that you withdraw from Her snares.”
162 Infested with this deadly poison of the ancient serpent, the soul of this simple dove was brought near to eternal death and her body, instead of being relieved, dropped into more serious illness and was in danger of a premature end. One of the 72 disciples, who visited the faithful, was informed of the dangerous illness of the girl; for from her neighbors he heard that one of his sect living in that house, was on the point of expiring. The disciple entered in order to visit her and encourage her according to her necessities. But the sick girl was so ensnared by the demons, that she did not receive him or answer him one word, although he zeal­ously sought to exhort and instruct her; she on the con­trary sought to hide and stop her ears in order not to hear him. From these signs the Apostle saw the immi­nent peril of this soul, although he did not know the cause. Eagerly he hastened to report to the Apostle St. John, who without delay visited the patient, admonishing her and speaking to her words of eternal life, if she would only listen. But she treated him in the same way as the disciple, obstinately resisting the efforts of both. The Apostle saw many legions of devils surrounding the girl, and, though they retired at his approach, they failed not immediately afterward to renew the illusion with which they had filled the unhappy girl.
163 Seeing her obstinacy, the greatly afflicted Apostle sought the help of the most Blessed Mary. Immediately the great Queen turned Her greatly afflicted interior vision upon the sick one and She recognized the unhappy and dangerous condition, in which the enemy had drawn that soul. The kind Mother bewailed this simple sheep, thus deceived by the bloodthirsty infernal wolf; and prostrate upon the floor She prayed for her rescue. But the Lord answered not a word to the pe­tition of His Blessed Mother; not because Her petition was disagreeable to Him, but for the contrary reason and because He was pleased with Her clamors, pretending deafness in order to hear them so much the longer; also in order to teach us how great was the prudence and char­ity of our Mother on these occasions. The Lord left Her for this purpose to the common and ordinary state without favoring Her with a new inspiration in regard to what She was asking. She however did not cease on that account, nor did She permit Her ardent charity to relax; for She knew that She was not to be lacking in Her office as Mother on account of the silence of the Lord as long as She did not know expressly the Divine Will. Proceed­ing thus prudently She dispatched one of Her Angels to bring aid to that soul by defending it against the devil and exhorting it by holy inspirations to forsake his deceits and return to God. The Holy Angel fulfilled this com­mission with the speed in which they are accustomed to obey the Most High; but, even though he made a diligent use of all his powers as an Angel, he could not overcome the girl's obstinacy in clinging to her illusions. To such a state can a soul be reduced by delivering itself over to the devil.
164 The Holy Angel returned to his Queen and said: “My Queen, I return from the task of assisting this girl in her mortal danger, as You, the Mother of Mercy, have imposed upon me; but her hardness of heart is such, that she will not receive or listen to the holy inspirations I have given her. I have fought against the demons in her defense, but they resisted, standing on the rights which this soul has freely yielded and continues to yield to them. The power of Divine Justice has not co-operated with me as I desired in trying to fulfill Your will; and I cannot, O Lady, give You the consolation You ex­pect.” The loving Mother was much afflicted at this answer; but as She is the Mother of Love, of Knowledge and Holy Hope, She would not yield in what She had merited for all of us and what She teaches. Retiring once more to pray for the salvation of that erring soul, She prostrated Herself upon the ground and said: “My Lord and God of Mercy, behold here this vile wormlet of the earth; chastise and afflict me, but let me not see this soul, which was marked as one of the first-fruits of Your Blood and is now deceived by the serpent, become the spoil of his malice and of his hatred against Your faithful.”
165 The most Blessed Mary continued for some time in this petition; but she received no answer from the Lord, in order that Her invincible heart and Her charity toward Her neighbor might be put to the proof. The most prudent Virgin remembered what had happened to the Prophet Elisha (2 Kgs 4:34), who had vainly sent his staff with his servant Gehazi to resus­citate the boy and had found that he himself must touch and stretch himself over his body in order to restore him to life. Neither the Angel nor the Apostle were power­ful enough to awaken from sin and from the stupor of satan that unfortunate girl; therefore the great Lady resolved to go and heal her in person. This resolve She recommended to the Lord in Her prayer, and, although She received no answer, She considered that the work it­self was a sufficient warranty to proceed. She arose therefore to leave Her room and to walk with St. John to the dwelling of the sick woman, which was at some distance from the Cenacle. But no sooner had She taken the first steps than the Holy Angels, at the command of the Lord, approached to bear Her up on the way. As God had not manifested His intention, She asked them, why they thus detained Her; to which they answered: “There is no reason why we should consent to Your walk­ing through the city, when we can bear You along with greater propriety.” Immediately they placed Her upon a throne of resplendent clouds, on which they bore Her along and placed Her in the sick-room. The dying girl, being poor and now speechless, had been forsaken by all and was surrounded only by the demons, who waited to snatch off her soul.
166 But as soon as the Queen of Angels made Her appearance all the evil spirits vanished like flashes of lightning and as if falling over each other in their dis­may. The powerful Queen commanded them to descend into hell and remain there until She should permit them to come forth, and this they were forced to do without the least power of resistance. The kind Mother then ap­proached the sick woman and taking her by the hand and calling her by her name, spoke sweetest words of life. Instantly a complete change came over the girl, and she began to breathe more freely and recover herself. Then she said to the Heavenly Mary: “My Lady, a woman came to me, who persuaded me to believe, that the dis­ciples of Jesus were deceiving me and that I had better immediately separate myself from them and from You; otherwise, if I should accept their way of life, I should fall into great misfortune.” The Queen answered: “My daughter, she, who seemed to you a woman, was your enemy, the devil. I come in the Name of the Most High to give you Eternal Life; return then to His true faith, which you have received, and confess Him with all your heart as your God and Redeemer, Who, for your salvation and that of all the world, has died upon the Cross. Adore and call upon Him, and ask Him for the pardon of your sins.”
167 “All this,” the patient answered, “I have believed before; but they told me, it was very bad, and that they would punish me, if I should ever confess it.” The Heavenly Teacher replied: "My friend, do not fear this deceit; but remember that the chastisement and pains which are really to be feared are those of hell, to which the demons wish to bring you. You are now very near death and you can avail yourself of the remedy I now offer you, if you will only believe Me; and you shall thus free yourself of the eternal fire, which threatens you on account of your mistake.” Through this exhortation and the graces procured for this poor woman by Mary, she was moved to abundant tears of compunction and implored the Blessed Lady further to assist her in this danger, declaring herself ready to obey all Her commands. Then the loving Mother made her openly profess her faith in Jesus Christ and elicit an act of contrition in preparation for confession. At the same time She sent for the Apostles to administer the Sacraments to her. The sick girl, repeating the acts of contrition and love, and invoking Jesus and Mary, who was directing her, happily expired in the arms of Her Protector. The Blessed Mary had remained with her 2 hours, in order to prevent the demons from again renewing their as­saults. Her assistance was so effectual, that She not only brought back the young woman to the path of eternal life, but delivered her soul from all guilt and punishment. She sent her immediately to heaven accompanied by some of the 12 Angels that bore on their breasts the sign of the Redemption and palms and crowns in their hands as special guardians of the devotees of the great Queen. Of these Angels I have spoken on a former occasion, and it is not necessary to describe them here. I will only re­mark, that the Heavenly Queen chose the Angels for dif­ferent offices in the service of men, in accordance with the graces and virtues, of which they were possessed.
168 After the rescue of that soul, the rest of the Angels brought back their Queen, seated on the same cloud, to Her oratory. She immediately humiliated Her­self, prostrating Herself and adoring the Lord, and giv­ing Him thanks for having snatched that soul from the jaws of the infernal dragon. She composed thereon a hymn of praise in His honor. This wonder was wrought by the Wisdom of God, in order that the Angels, the Saints of Heaven, the Apostles and also the devils might know the resistless power of most Holy Mary and in order that they might learn, that, as She was the Queen of all, so not all of them together could equal Her in power; that nothing would ever be denied to Her prayers in favor of those who loved Her, served Her or called upon Her. For this fortunate girl, having loved this Heavenly Lady, secured salvation through Her; while the devils, op­pressed and confounded, were left in despair of ever prevailing against the power of Mary when exerted in favor of Her clients. Other lessons might be drawn from this example, which I leave to the prudent meditation of the faithful.
169 The same blessing was not attained by 2 other converts, who failed to merit the efficacious intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Since their fate may serve as a lesson and as a warning, like that of Ananias and Sa­phira, against the astuteness of the devil in tempting and ruining human souls, I shall relate it likewise, as far as it was made known to me. May the instruction it con­veys inculcate the fear of the Righteous Judgments of the Most High (Ps 119:120). After the miracle just related the devil was permitted to return with his host to the world in order to test the constancy of the faithful; for thus must the righteous and the predestined gain their crowns. He came forth filled with still greater wrath and began to seek entrance into the hearts of the faithful by searching out the evil inclinations of each one, as he does even now. For experience has given him confidence, that we chil­dren of Adam usually follow our inclinations and pas­sions more than the dictates of reason and of virtue. A multitude cannot be perfect in all its components, and as the Church went on increasing in number, so also the fer­vor of charity began to cool in some, thus affording a greater field for the sowing of his hellish cockle. Among the faithful St. John found 2, who were beset with evil inclinations and habits before their conversion and who sought favor and alliance with some of the Jewish princes in the hope of worldly gain and honor. Infect­ed by this covetousness (which always was the root of all evils), they temporized with the powerful and flattered them in order to retain their friendship.
170 On account of these dealings the devil judged them to be weak in their faith and virtue. He thought he might be able to pervert them through the influence of the Jewish priests, upon whom they depended. Fol­lowing up his plot, the serpent suggested to those priests many ways of reprehending and intimidating the 2 converts for having accepted the faith in Christ and re­ceived Baptism. Yielding to the instigations of satan the priests pressed their threats with great show of authority and severity, As the anger of those in authority is apt to frighten weak subjects, such as these 2 in their attachment to their own interest happened to be, they pro­ceeded from weakness to apostasy from the faith of Christ in order not to incur the displeasure of those pow­erful Jews. They moreover still retained a certain un­happy and deceitful confidence in their patrons and therefore soon dropped away from the gathering and the other faithful, ceasing to attend the preaching and the other holy exercises of the converts and thus making ap­parent their treasonable falling away.
171 The Apostles were much aggrieved at the ruin of these converts and at the scandal, which would be occasioned by such a pernicious example in the begin­nings of the Church. They conferred among themselves, whether they should notify the Blessed Mary of this event, but they hesitated to cause Her this sorrow and pain. St. John told them, that the great Lady knew all the affairs of the Church and that therefore also this one could not have escaped Her most vigilant attention and charity. Thereupon all went to give Her an account of those 2 apostates, whom they had already exhorted and tried to lead back to the faith. The loving and pru­dent Mother saw no occasion for hiding Her sorrow at the threatened loss of souls already aggregated to the Church. It was also proper, that the Apostles should learn from the sorrow of the great Lady, how they must esteem the children of the Church and with what zeal they were to preserve them in the faith and bring them to eternal life. Our Queen returned immediately to Her chamber and, prostrate on the floor as usual, She poured out a most fervent prayer for the 2 apostates, shedding copious and bloody tears.
172 In order to lessen somewhat Her grief by the knowledge of His hidden judgments, the Lord answered: “My Spouse, chosen among all the creatures, I wish you to understand My just decrees concerning those 2 souls, for whom you pray, and concerning others, who are to enter My Church. These 2, who have apostatized from My true faith, might do more harm than good among the other faithful, if they continue their in­teraction with them; for they have very depraved habits and have become still more hardened in their evil inclina­tions. Hence in My infinite knowledge I foresee that they will be reprobates and that it will be better to separate them from the flock of the faithful and cut them off from the Mystical Body of the Church. Thus they shall be prevented from infecting others by their contagion. It has already become necessary, My beloved One, that, in conformity with My Most High Providence, both the pre­destined and of the foreknown should join My Church: some, who by their sins shall incur damnation, and others, who, through My grace, are to save themselves by good works. My teachings and My Gospel are to be as the net, which gathers in all kinds of fish, good and bad, the wise and the foolish, and the enemy is to sow his cockle among the pure grain of truth (Matt 13:28), in order that the just may justify themselves so much the more, and the impure, if so they choose in their malice, may de­file themselves still more.”
173 This was the answer given by the Lord to this prayer of the most Holy Mary. At the same time He re­newed within Her the participation in His knowledge, in order that She, perceiving the equity of the Most High in condemning those unworthy of His friendship and glory, might dilate Her afflicted heart. But as the Heaven­ly Mother alone held the measure of the Sanctuary in Her most eminent wisdom, knowledge and charity, She alone also, among all creatures, estimated and pondered fully what it meant to lose God eternally and to be condemned to eternal torments in the company of demons; and so Her sorrow was in proportion. We are aware, that the Angels and the Saints of heaven, who know this mystery in God, cannot feel sorrow or pain, because that would be inappropriate to their happy state. If it would be compatible with their state of glory, their sorrow would be in proportion to the loss caused by the eternal per­dition to those, whom they love with perfect charity and whom they desire to have with them in glory.
174 Hence, the sorrow and pain for the perdition of souls, which was impossible to them, the Blessed Mary felt in a degree so much the greater as She exceeded them in wisdom and charity. For She was in the state of pilgrimage, in which She could feel this pain; She was endowed with the knowledge of the blessed by which She understood its cause; for when She enjoyed the beatific vision, She saw in the Essence of God, His Love and Infinite Goodness for the salvation of men, together with the sorrow which He would have for the perdition of souls, if such sorrow were possible. She knew the horrible character of the demons, their wrath against men, the terrors of the infernal torments and of the end­less company of the devils and the damned. As the most Holy Mary saw, that these 2 souls and an almost in­finite number of others in the church were to draw upon themselves eternal damnation, what a sorrow, what pains and commiseration were caused in that tender, kind and loving heart at these evils and many others far beyond my power of describing? Many times did She lament such misfortunes and exclaim: “Is it possible, that any soul, of its own free will, should ever deprive itself eter­nally of seeing the Face of God, and should choose rather to look upon so many demons in hell?”
175 The secret of the reprobation of these first apostates the most prudent Queen reserved to Herself without manifesting it to the Apostles. But while she was thus retired in Her affliction, St. John the Evangelist entered to visit Her and to inquire as to Her wishes and how to serve Her. When he saw Her so afflicted and sorrow­ful, he was filled with consternation and asked permis­sion to speak, saying: “My Lady and Mother of my Lord Jesus Christ, since our Master died I have never seen on your countenance such grief and sorrow as now, when your face and your eyes are bathed in tears of blood. Tell me, Lady, if possible, the cause of this new affliction, and whether I can alleviate it at the cost of my life.” The most Blessed Mary answered: “My Son, weep now for this very reason.” St. John conceived that the memory of the Passion had renewed in the loving Mother this bitter grief and under that impression he said: “My Lady, as Your Son and our Redeemer is now glorious and tri­umphant in heaven at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father, You can moderate Your tears. Although it is not just, that we forget what He suffered for men, yet it is also right that we rejoice in the blessings following upon His Passion and Death.”
176 She answered: “It is also just that I weep when I see, that after He died, some are seeking to crucify Him anew by their sins and their apostasy and by the abuse of the fruits of His Precious Blood; for I know that in His most ardent love for men, He has suffered for the salvation of each one in particular whatever He suffered for all together. I see this immense love so little requit­ed and so many lost who should know Him, that I can­not constrain My sorrow, nor continue to live, unless the Lord preserves My life. O children of Adam, formed according to the image of My Son and Lord, what are you thinking of? Where is your judgment and your justification for thus incurring the calamity of losing God forever? St. John replied: “My Mother, if Your sorrow is occasioned by those 2 apostates, you must know that among so many there must be un­faithful servants; for even in our apostolate itself was numbered judas, a disciple in the school of our Redeem­er and Teacher.” “O John,” answered the Queen, “if God Himself wished the perdition of some souls, I should be able to restrain My sorrow; but, though He permits the damnation of the reprobate since they themselves seek it, this is not the absolute will of Divine Goodness; He wishes all to attain salvation, if only they would not of their own free will resist. That not all should be predes­tined and gain the fruit of the Blood shed for them, has cost My Son the sweating of Blood. And if even now He could be aggrieved for a soul that damns itself, He would doubtlessly be more aggrieved than if He had again to suffer for it. Hence I, who know this truth and am still living in the flesh, rightfully feel what My Son desires to feel if it were possible.” By these and other words of the Mother of Mercy St. John was moved to tears and lamentations, in which he joined with Her for a con­siderable time. 

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, MOST BLESSED MARY, GAVE ME

177 My daughter, since in this chapter you have par­ticularly learnt of the matchless and bitter sorrow, with which I bewailed the perdition of souls, you yourself must learn also what you must do for the salvation of your own and that of others in order to imitate Me in the per­fection which I require of you. No torment, nor death itself, would I have refused, if such had been neces­sary to save any of the damned, and to save them, I would have esteemed all sufferings a sweet alleviation in My most ardent charity. Hence, if you do not die of this kind of sorrow, you are at least not excused from willingness to suffer all that the Lord sends you for ad­vancing this cause, or from praying and laboring all in your power to prevent any sin in your neighbor; and when you can not all at once obtain your object, or do not know whether the Lord has heard you, do not lose con­fidence, but enliven it and persevere in your efforts; for such a solicitude can never displease Him, Who desires the salvation of all His redeemed more than you. If never­theless you are not heard in your prayers, make use of the means, which prudence and charity require, and return anew to your prayers. The Most High is always attract­ed by this sort of charity for the neighbor and by the love which seeks to hinder sin. He desires not the death of the sinner (Ez 33:11); and, as you have written, He does not entertain an absolute and antecedent decree of damning His creatures, but seeks to save them all, if they do not pursue perdition of their own free will. Although He permits this in His Justice as being inseparable from the free will of man, it is against His inclination. Do not restrict yourself in these petitions, and in those concerning temporal things, pray that His Holy Will be done in all that is proper.
178 If I desire that you labor with such fervor of charity for the salvation of your brethren, consider what you must do to save yourself, and in what estimation you must hold your own soul, for which an infinite price was offered. I wish to admonish you as a Mother, that when temptations and passions incline you toward the commission of any sin, no matter how small, remember the sorrows and the tears which the knowledge of the sins of men and the desire to prevent them has caused Me. Do not cause the like in Me; for although I am now incapable of that pain, yet you de­prive Me of the accidental joy of seeing you, to whom I condescended to become a Mother and Teacher, really endowed with the perfection taught in My school. If you are unfaithful in this, you will frustrate My great desire of seeing you please My Divine Son and accom­plish His Holy Will in all its plenitude. By the infused light which you receive, ponder how great are any faults you may commit after being so favored and bound in duty to the Lord and to Myself. Dangers and temptations will not be wanting to you during the rest of your earthly life; but in all of them remember My teach­ing, My sorrows and My tears, and above all what you owe to My Divine Son, Who is so liberal toward you in applying to you the fruit of His Blood for the purpose of eliciting your grateful correspondence. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 11
The Prudence Of Our Lady In Governing The Faithful; Her Dealings With St. Stephen
179 The office of Mother and Teacher of the Holy Church, which the Lord had conferred upon most Holy Mary, was necessarily accompanied by a knowledge and light proportionate to those high offices. For She was to know all the members of this Mystical Body which She governed, so that She might apply Her teachings and Her ministrations according to each one's station, condition and necessity. This blessing our Queen received with the plenitude and abundance of wisdom and knowledge as is clear from all that I am writing. She knew all the faithful who joined the Church, was informed of the natural inclinations, of the degree of virtue and grace they possessed, the merit of their works, their beginning and end. She was ignorant of nothing pertaining to the Church, except when sometimes the Lord concealed from Her some affair, which afterwards was made known to Her at its conclusion. Her knowledge was not bar­ren or profitless, but was inspired with the charity of Her Divine Son toward all She saw and knew. As She at the same time was aware of the Sacraments of Divine Providence, She used all Her wisdom according to the measure and weight of Her interior charity; for She gave neither more nor less than was proper according to the deserts of love and estimation due to each one; and this is a defect which we children of Adam ordinarily incur, even if we think we have used the nicest equity.
180 But the Mother of beautiful love and knowledge did not pervert the order of distributive justice, mixing up Her affections; She dispensed it by the light of the Lamb, Who enlightened and governed Her, dealing out Her heartfelt love to each according to his merits, neither more nor less. Nevertheless She conducted Herself as a most loving Mother, without niggardliness or forget­fulness. But in Her exterior manifestations of this love She governed Herself according to other rules of highest prudence, carefully avoiding special predilections in Her association with others and the slightest grounds of envy or emulation. For these are very apt to disrupt commu­nities and families, where many eyes are always watch­ing the public proceedings. It is a common and natural passion in men to seek estimation and distinction, especially in the eyes of those who are powerful; and there is scarcely anyone, who does not presume on pos­sessing equal merits with all the rest and deserving equal, or even greater favors. This kind of emulation is not lacking even among those who are in the highest po­sition, or have attained high virtue, as is seen in the Apostolic College, where, on account of some distinction shown to one, the question of precedence and dignity was immediately raised and broached before the Lord (Matt 18:1).
181 In order to prevent and forestall these heartburn­ings the great Queen was most solicitous to show un­biased and uniform favor to all the members of the Church in public. This conduct was not only worthy of such a Queen, but most necessary in the beginnings of Her government. For the principles upon which Her be­havior was founded, were to be well established for the guidance of prelates in the future government of the Church. Moreover in those happy beginnings all the Apostles and disciples, and others of the faithful, ex­celled in the working of miracles and in divine gifts, while in the latter times many were to signalize themselves in holy science and learning. It was proper to teach all, that neither on account of great gifts, nor for lesser ones, should anyone exalt himself in vain presumption, or deem himself worthy of great honors, or of being favored more highly, especially by God or by His most Holy Moth­er, as far as outward appearances are concerned. Let the just be satisfied with being loved by the Lord and favored by His friendship; and whoever is not satisfied with this, will not be benefited by exterior honor and es­timation.
182 But the great Queen did not, on account of this restraint, fail in the veneration and honor which She knew to be due to the dignity or office of the Apostles or the other faithful. For just as She taught moderation in all that was to be rendered to each one freely and gra­tuitously, so She was also an example in all that was due under obligation to each one. Our admirable Queen was so prudent in all Her dealings, that not one of the faithful ever left Her dissatisfied, nor could anyone with any show of reason, even if it were only apparent, deny Her esteem and respect; all of them loved and blessed Her, and were filled with joy and gratitude for Her loving and maternal kindness. No one ever suspected Her of forsaking him in his necessity, or denying him Her con­solation. No one perceived himself to be less esteemed, or that She favored or loved some more than others; nor did She give anyone an occasion of making a com­parison in this regard. Moreover She did not wish to assign, on Her own responsibility, any of the offices or dignities, which were to be filled among the faithful; nor would She use Her influence in favor of anyone in this matter. All such appointments She left to the well-seeming and the wishes of the Apostles, and relied upon Her secret prayer for guiding them aright.
183 She was led also to this wise disposition of Her actions by Her profound humility. In this She was an example to all, since they knew that She was the Moth­er of Wisdom, who knew all things and could not err in Her conduct. She wished to leave this shining example in the Church, in order that no one may presume on his own knowledge, prudence or virtue, especially not in serious matters; but that all may understand, that true insight is conditioned by humility and good counsel, and that, in all matters that are not to be decided merely by private judgment, such private judgment implies pre­sumption. She likewise took into consideration, that to intercede and favor others in temporal matters, has the appearance of superiority, and still more does it expose one to desire thankful returns from those so favored. All these inequalities and defects in the practice of virtue were far removed from the supreme sanctity of our Heavenly Queen; and therefore She taught us by Her liv­ing example the rules of our exterior conduct, which ex­clude as well the loss of merit as the hindrance of the greatest perfection. Thus in Her modesty She never re­fused to give counsel to the Apostles when they so fre­quently applied to Her for direction in the exercise of their office and in their undertakings; and the same line of conduct She observed with the other disciples and faithful of the Church, because She conducted Herself in all things according to the plenitude of wisdom and charity.
184 Among the saints who were especially fortunate in meriting the greater love of the Queen of Heaven, there was one by the name of Stephen, who belonged to the 72 disciples; for from the very beginning of his following Christ our Savior, She looked upon him with an special love, placing him first, or among the first, in Her estimation. She immediately saw, that this Saint was chosen by the Master of Life for the defense of His honor and His Holy Name, and that he was to give up his life for Him. Moreover this courageous Saint was of a sweet and peaceful disposition; and he was rendered much more amiable and docile to all holiness by the work­ings of grace. Such dispositions made him very pleas­ing to the sweet Mother; and whenever She found anyone naturally of a peaceful and meek character, She was liable to say, that they resembled Her Divine Son. On this account and on account of many heroic virtues of St. Stephen She loved him tenderly, procured him many blessings, and thanked the Lord for having created, called and chosen such a one for the first-fruits of His martyrs. In consideration of his coming martyrdom, re­vealed to Her by Her Divine Son, Her heart was filled with additional affection for this great Saint.
185 The blessed Saint corresponded in most faithful attention and deepest reverence with the benefits con­ferred upon him by Christ our Savior and His Heavenly Mother; for he was not only of a peaceful, but of an humble heart, and those that are so disposed in truth, are thankful for all benefits, even though they may not be so great as those conferred on St. Stephen. He always entertained the highest conceptions concerning the Mother of Mercy, and in his high esteem and fervent devotion he continued to seek Her favor. He asked information on many mysterious matters; for he was very wise, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, as is told us by St. Luke. The great Lady answered all his inquiries, encouraged and exhorted him zealously to work for the honor of Christ. In order to confirm him more in his strong faith, Mary forewarned him of his coming martyrdom and said: “You, Stephen, shall be the first-born of the martyrs, engendered by My Divine Son and Lord by the example of His Death; you shall follow His footsteps, like a privileged disciple His Master, and like a courageous soldier His Captain; and at the head of the army of martyrs, you shall carry His banner of the Cross. Hence it is meet you arm yourself with fortitude under the shield of faith, and be assured, that the strength of the Most High shall be with you in the conflict.”
186 This warning of the Queen of the Angels inflamed the heart of St. Stephen with the desire of martyrdom. As is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, he was filled with grace and fortitude and wrought great wonders in Jerusalem. Besides the Apostles St. Peter and St. John, no one except he dared to dispute with the Jews. His wisdom and spirit they could not resist, because he preached to them with an intrepid heart, refuted and accused them oftener and more courageously than the other disciples (Acts 6:9). All this St. Stephen did with burning desire of attaining the martyrdom of which he had been assured by the great Lady. As if he were afraid of anyone gaining this crown in advance of him, he offered himself before all others to engage in the dis­putes with the rabbis and teachers of the Law of Moses, so eager was he to defend the honor of Christ, for Whom he knew he would lay down his life. The infernal dragon, gradually becoming observant of the ambitions of St. Stephen, directed his malignant attention toward him and strove to hinder his attaining public martyrdom in testi­mony of the faith of Christ. In order to destroy him, he incited the most incredulous of the Jews to kill St. Stephen in secret.  The devil was tormented by the virtue and courage of St. Stephen and he feared lest great things should be accomplished by him alive or in dying for the confirmation of the faith and teachings of His Master. On account of the hatred of the Jews against this disciple, the devils easily persuaded them to make away with him in secret.
187 They attempted it often during the short time, which intervened between the coming of the Holy Spirit and his martyrdom. But the great Queen of the World, who knew the cunning and malicious attempts of satan and of the Jews, protected the Saint from all their as­saults, until the proper time for his being stoned to death should have arrived. The Queen sent one of Her Angels 3 times to lead him from a house, in which his enemies had made arrangements to choke him to death. The Holy Angel, while remaining invisible to the assassins, was seen by St. Stephen, when he was delivered from their hands and carried to the Cenacle into the presence of his Queen. At other times She warned him by the same Angel not to go to a certain street or house, where his enemies were lying in ambush; and sometimes She detained him in the Cenacle, because She knew they were waylaying to kill him. They not only surrounded the Cenacle to murder him on his way to his lodging, but they made the same attempts at other houses. For St. Stephen, as I have mentioned, in his ardent zeal hastened about to bring help and consolation to many of the faithful, and not only was without fear in all these mortal dangers, but sought them out and welcomed them. As he did not know how long the Lord would let him wait for this happiness and saw how many times the Blessed Mother freed him from dangers, he was liable lovingly to com­plain to Her, saying: “My Lady and Protector, when shall the day arrive, in which I shall pay to my God and Master the debt of my life, by sacrificing it for the honor and glory of His Holy Name?”
188 To the Heavenly Mother these loving complaints of Her servant Stephen afforded incomparable joy; and with maternal and sweetest affection She would answer: “My son and most faithful servant of the Lord, the time appointed by His infinite wisdom is drawing near and your hopes shall not be frustrated. At present fulfill the rest of your task in the Holy Church, so that you may secure for yourself your crown; give thanks continually to the Lord, Who has it in store for you.” The purity and holiness of St. Stephen were most exalted and per­fect, so that the devil could not approach within a great distance of him; and he was much beloved by Christ and His Blessed Mother. The Apostles ordained him a dea­con. Even before he was martyred, his virtues reached a heroic degree, meriting for him the distinction of being the first one after the Passion to receive the palm of martyrdom. I will add here what was made known to me in explanation of what St. Luke wrote in Acts 6.
189 A difference arose among the newly converted in Jerusalem. The Greek complained of the Hebrew con­verts, that in the daily service and work of relief, the widows of the Greeks were not admitted in the same way to office as those of the Jews (Acts 6:1). Both the ones as well as the others were Israelites, though the Jews born in Greece were called Greeks, and those born in Palestine, Hebrews; and in this distinction was found­ed the complaint of the Greeks. The daily administra­tion consisted in the distribution of the alms and offerings for the support of the faithful, as has been described in Chapter 7. This duty had been assigned to 6 approved men with the consent of all, according to the direction of the Blessed Mary. But as the number of the faithful increased it became necessary to appoint also some widows of a mature age, to help along in the same work of providing for the needs of the faithful, espe­cially of the women and the sick; these widows were to distribute, whatever they received from the 6 almoners. They were of Hebrew birth, and as the Greek Jews saw, that none of theirs were admitted to this office they com­plained to the Apostles of this lack of confidence in their own widows.
190 In order to compose this difference, the Apostles called together the faithful and spoke to them: “It is not meet, that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look out among you 7 men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we ourselves will give all our time to prayer and to the ministry of the word, while these men may solve your doubts and difficulties in regard to the support of the faithful” (Acts 6:2). All approved of this expedient, and without regard to nationality they elected the 7 men mentioned by St. Luke. The first and principal one was St. Stephen, whose faith and wisdom was universally known. These 7 were su­perintendents over the 6 first ones and over the widows without excluding the Greeks; for they looked to virtue rather than nationality. It was St. Stephen who by his admirable wisdom and holiness extinguished the resent­ment of the Greeks and smoothed over their differences with the Hebrews, so that at least during the months in which he lived, all again united like children of Christ in sincere charity without partiality or distinction of per­sons.
191 But St. Stephen did not on that account neglect preaching or arguing with the unbelieving Jews. As these Jews could not murder him in secret, nor over­come his wisdom in public, they vented their mortal hatred in seeking false testimony against him (Acts 6:1). They accused him of blasphemy against God and against Moses, of ranting continually against the holy Tem­ple and the Law, and of asserting that Jesus would de­stroy as well the one, as the other. As the witnesses loudly proclaimed their slander and the people were being roused by their falsehoods, they brought him into the hall where the priests were gathered as the judges of these accusations. The presiding judge first took the deposition of St. Stephen before the court. The saint took occasion to prove with highest wisdom, that Christ was the true Messiah promised to them in the Holy Scriptures; and in conclusion he reprehended them for their unbelief and hardness of heart so strongly, that they could find no answer and, gnashing their teeth, they stopped their ears, in order not to be obliged to hear his words.
192 The Queen of Heaven knew of the seizure of St. Stephen; and, in order to animate him in Her name for the approaching conflict, She immediately sent him one of Her Angels, even before He entered into dispute with the priests. Through the Holy Angel St. Stephen sent Her answer, that he went with joy to confess his Master and with unflinching heart to give his life for Him, as he had always desired. Through the same mes­senger, he begged Her, as his kindest Teacher and Mother, to assist him and, from Her retirement, to send him Her blessing, since his not having been able to obtain Her parting blessing was the only regret he felt now, when he was about to lay down his life according to Her wishes. These last words of St. Stephen moved the maternal heart of Mary to even greater love and esteem than hitherto; and She desired to attend upon him in person, at this hour, when Her beloved disciple was to give up his life for the honor and defense of his God and Redeemer. But the Blessed Mother hesitated at the difficulties, which would arise in Her passing through the streets of Jerusalem at a time of popular excitement and also in finding an opportunity of speaking publicly to St. Stephen.
193 She prostrated Herself in prayer, begging the divine favor for Her beloved disciple; and She presented to the Lord Her desire of helping him in the last hour. The clemency of the Most High, which is always at the beck of His Spouse and Mother and which was anxious to enhance the death of His faithful disciple and servant Stephen, sent from heaven a multitude of Angels, who, with those of Her guard, should carry their Queen to the place where the Saint then was. And immediately the mandate of the Lord was executed: the Angels placed Her upon a refulgent cloud and bore Her to the tribunal, where the highpriest was examining into the charges against St. Stephen. The vision of the Queen of Heaven was hidden from all except the Saint. He how­ever saw Her before him, supported in the air by the Holy Angels in a cloud of heavenly splendor and glory. This extraordinary favor inflamed anew the divine love and the ardent zeal of this champion of the honor of God. In addition to the joy of seeing Mary, the splendors of the Queen shone from the countenance of St. Stephen, so that it gleamed with wonderful beauty and light.
194 On account of this unusual spectacle the Jews listened with great attention to his words, as is evident from Acts 6. Those that were in that hall looked upon St. Stephen and saw his countenance shining as that of an Angel; and without a doubt he seemed to them more than man. God did not wish to hide that much of the effects of the presence of the great Queen, in order that the perfidious Jews might be so much the more confounded for not ac­cepting the truth preached in such a miraculous way. They did not know the cause of this supernatural beauty of St. Stephen; for they were not worthy to know it, nor was it a proper occasion to make it known, and there­fore St. Luke did not speak of it at that time. The most Blessed Mary spoke to Stephen words of life and of wonderful consolation; She assisted him with the blessings of sweetness and asked the Eternal Father to fill him anew with the Holy Spirit. All happened accord­ing to the prayers of the Queen and he manifested his invincible courage and wisdom to the princes of the Jews, proving by the unanswerable testimony of all the ancient Scriptures, from the calling of Abraham to the Kings and Prophets, that Christ was their Messiah and Savior.
195 At the end of this discourse, through the inter­cession of the Queen and as a reward of the unconquered zeal of St. Stephen, the heavens opened and the Savior appeared to him standing at the Right Hand of the Father in the act of assisting him in the conflict. St. Stephen raised his eyes and said: “Behold I see the heavens opened and its glory, and in it I see Jesus at the Right Hand of God Himself ” (Acts 7:55). But the obdurate perfidy of the Jews esteemed these words as blasphemy and they stopped their ears in order not to hear them. As the punishment of blasphemers according to the law, was death by stoning, they passed upon him that sen­tence. Then they all surrounded him like wolves and dragged him from the city with great haste and noise. At this juncture the Blessed Mother gave him Her blessing; and speaking to him words of encouragement and endearment, She left him in charge of Her Angels, whom She ordered to accompany him and to remain with him until they should present his soul to the Most High. Only one of the Guardian Angels, in company with those that had descended from heaven as Her escort to St. Stephen, now returned with Her to the Cenacle.
196 From Her retirement the great Lady by an es­pecial vision saw all that happened in the martyrdom of St. Stephen: how they led him forth from the city with great haste and violence, shouting that he was a blas­phemer worthy of death; how Saul was among them, more zealous than the rest, guarding the vestments of those who had taken them off to stone St. Stephen; how the shower of stones fell upon the saint and wounded him, some of them remaining fixed in his head and stained by his blood. Great and tender was the com­passion of our Queen at such cruel martyrdom; but still greater Her joy in seeing St. Stephen meeting it so gloriously. The kindest Mother failed him not in Her tearful prayers from Her oratory. When the invincible martyr saw himself near to death, he prayed: “Lord re­ceive my spirit!” Then, on his knees, he exclaimed with a loud voice: “Lord lay not this sin to their charge!” (Acts 7:59). In these prayers he was supported by those of the Blessed Mary, who was filled with incredible joy to see the faithful disciple imitating so closely his Divine Master by praying for his enemies and persecutors and commending his spirit into the Hands of His Creator and Redeemer.
197 Covered with wounds from the shower of stones thrown by the Jews, St. Stephen expired, while they became still more hardened in their perfidy. Imme­dtatcly the Angels of the Queen bore his pure soul to the Presence of God in order to be crowned with eternal honor and glory. Christ our Savior received him with those words of the Gospel: “Friend, ascend higher; come to Me, you faithful servant; for, since you have been faithful in small things and for a short time, I shall re­ward you with abundance, and I shall confess you before My Father as My faithful servant and friend, just as you have confessed Me before men.” All the Angels, Pa­triarchs, Prophets and all the Saints were filled with a special accidental joy on that day and welcomed the invincible martyr as the first fruits of the Passion of the Lord and as the captain of all those that should follow him in martyrdom. This most fortunate soul was placed very high in glory and close to the most sacred humanity of Christ our Savior. The most Blessed Mother partici­pated in the joy through a vision granted to Her; and in praise of the Most High, She composed hymns and canticles with Her Angels. Those that returned after leaving St. Stephen in heaven, gave thanks to Her for the favor shown to the Saint in securing him his eternal happiness.
198 St. Stephen died about 9 months after the Passion and Death of Christ, our Redeemer, on December 26, the same date on which the Church celebrates his feast. On that day he had com­pleted his 34th year, which, with the addition of one day, was also the 34th year of the birth of the Savior. Hence St. Stephen was born one day later than Jesus, being only 12 months older, and his birth and death happened on the same day of the year, as was clearly shown to me. The prayer of the Blessed Virgin and of St. Stephen merited the conversion of Saul, as we will see later on. In order that this con­version might be so much the more glorious, the Lord permitted Saul, from that day on, to take upon himself the task of persecuting and destroying the Church of God; for he began to signalize himself above all other Jews in the persecution, which the wrath of the Jews, highly inflamed by the death of St. Stephen, now began to stir up against the new believers. The disciples secured the body of the invincible martyr and buried it with great mourning, because they had now lost such a wise and strong defender of the Law of Grace. I have dilated upon his history, because I have been shown the great holiness of this first martyr, and because he was such a devout and highly favored disciple of the most Holy Mary.

INSTRUCTION OF THE GREAT QUEEN OF THE ANGELS

199 My daughter, the Divine Mysteries, when they are presented and explained to such men as are accustomed only to the perception of earthly and sensible things, ap­pear to be insignificant, especially if at the same time their souls are not purified from sin and cleared of the darkness of guilt. For the human faculties, which, be­sides being of limited capacity, are embarrassed by their attention and affection to what is apparent, draw away from the truth, and, being accustomed to obscurity, are dazzled by the light. On this account the earthly and animal men conceive such distorted and low ideas of the wonderful works of the Most High (1 Cor 2:14), and also of the works which I do for them day after day. They tread under foot the gems, and they do not dis­tinguish the bread of the children from the gross food of irrational brutes. All that is heavenly and divine seems to them insipid, because they fail to perceive the savor of the senses; thus they become incapable of attending to the high things and of profiting from the science of life and the understanding contained in them.
200 But the Most High, my dear, has sought to preserve you from this danger and has given you knowl­edge and light, improving your senses and faculties, in order that you, being made capable and enlivened by the force of divine grace, may perceive and distinguish without error the mysteries and sacraments, which I manifest to you. Although I have many times told you, that in this mortal life, you shall never penetrate or value them in their entirety, yet you can and you must, according to your powers, show your appreciation of them by learning and imitating My works. From the variety and bitterness of My pains and sorrows, with which My whole life was interwoven, even after I had returned from the Right Hand of My Son in heaven to the earth, you will understand, that your own life must be of the same texture, if you wish to follow Me as My faithful dis­ciple. In the prudent and impartial humility, with which I governed the Apostles and all the faithful, you have an example of how you must proceed in the government of your subjects, in meekness, in modesty, with humble dignity, and especially without acceptation of persons and without making a distinction in favor of any person in those things that can and ought to be common to all. This facilitates the true charity and humility of those that govern; for if they show these virtues, they will not be so dictatory in their commands, nor so presumptuous in their own opinion, nor will they pervert the order of justice, as is nowadays done with so much damage throughout Christianity. Pride, vanity, self-interest, self-love and the love of their own relations have infected nearly all the course and conduct of government; and hence all has gone wrong, and all the governments have been filled with injustice and thrown into frightful con­fusion.
201 In the most ardent zeal, which I had for the honor of My Son and true God and for the preaching and defense of His Holy Name; in My joy at seeing the Divine will fulfilled and at seeing the fruit of the Passion and Death of Christ spreading with the Church among souls in the favors which I procured for the glorious martyr Stephen as the first who offered his life for that object; in all this, My daughter, you will find great motives for praising the Most High in His divine works, so worthy of veneration and glory; and you will like­wise find cause for imitating Me, and blessing His im­mense goodness for the wisdom He gave Me, in order to fulfill all His Holy Will and pleasure. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 12
The Persecution Of The Church; The Apostles Compose The Apostle’s Creed
202 St. Luke says, that on the same day on which St. Stephen was stoned to death, a great persecution arose against the Church in Jerusalem. He mentions especially that Saul devastated it, searching through the whole city for the followers of Christ in order to seize and denounce them before the magistrates. This he did to many of the believers, who were arrested, ill-treated, and killed in this persecution. Although it was very severe on account of the hatred, which the princes and priests had conceived against the Christians, and on ac­count of the zealous efforts of Saul in his jealous de­fense of the Law of Moses of which he himself speaks in the letter to the Galatians (1:13); yet there was another cause for this severity, the effects of which they felt, though they knew not its origin.
203 This secret cause was the dismay of satan and his demons, who were much disturbed by the death of St. Stephen and began to stir up and excite themselves to diabolical wrath against the faithful, especially against the Queen and Mother of the Church, the most Holy Mary. For their greater confusion the Lord had per­mitted them to see, how the Angels had carried Her to St. Stephen. From this instance of Her extraordinary solicitude and from the constancy and wisdom of St. Stephen, satan concluded, that the powerful Queen would do the same with other martyrs, who were to die for Christ; or at least, that She would aid and encourage them to despise torments or death and meet such per­secutions with invincible courage. In his diabolical as­tuteness he had calculated on torments and sorrows as a means of disheartening the faithful and drawing them from the following of Christ; for it seemed to him, that men love their life so much and are so afraid especially of violent death and pain, that they would be deterred and fall away from the faith rather than encounter such a fate. On this expectation the devil continued to set his hopes, though through the ages his own malice deceived him, just as it had deceived him in the first attempt at the Death of Christ, the Leader of all the saints.
204 But in this first beginning of the Church the dragon found himself quite disturbed and confused in his eagerness to irritate the Jews against St. Stephen. When he saw the martyr die so gloriously, he called to­gether his demons and said to them: “I am much dis­turbed by the death of this disciple and by the favors he has received at the hands of this Woman, our Enemy; for if She thus helps the other disciples and followers of Her Son, we shall not be able to overcome or mislead any of them by the threat of torments or death. They will on the contrary all be animated by mutual example to suffer and die like their Master and, instead of suc­ceeding in destroying them, we ourselves shall be over­come and humbled; for our greatest torment and the signal triumph, which they can bring over us, will be their dying for the faith, which we wish to wipe out. We shall ruin ourselves by following this course; yet I do not find any other, nor can I discover the proper mode of fighting against this Incarnate God, His Mother and His followers. Is it possible, that men, who cling so much to life, should be so prodigal of it, and, being so sensitive in regard to suffering, should deliver themselves up to torments to imitate their Master? But nevertheless my just wrath will not be placated on this account. I will persuade others to give up their lives in support of my fallacies, just as they do it for God. Nor will all men merit the protection of that invincible Woman, or be so courageous as to undergo such inhuman torments as I shall devise. Let us go and excite the Jews our friends, so that they may destroy this people and blot out from the face of the earth the Name of their Master.”
205 Then satan proceeded to put into execution his accursed designs and with the innumerable multitudes of the demons he approached the princes and magistrates of the Jews and all the rabid unbelievers among the people, filling them with ungoverned fury and envy against the followers of Christ and, by his deceitful sug­gestions, inflaming them with a false zeal for the Law of Moses and the ancient traditions. It was not difficult to sow this cockle in hearts so perfidious and ravaged by sins; they therefore readily embraced the infernal suggestions. Immediately, in many gatherings and con­ferences, they consulted about putting a sudden end to all the disciples and followers of Christ. Some were for banishing them from Jerusalem; others, from Palestine; and still others, killing them all, so that this sect might be stamped out at once; some of them again were of the opinion, that they should be subjected to rigorous tor­ments, so as to deter others from joining, and that they should be immediately dispossessed of their goods before they should have given all to the Apostles. This perse­cution was so severe, as St. Luke tells us, that the 72 disciples fled from Jerusalem, scattering through Judea and Samaria, but at the same time they be­gan to preach through all the land with unfaltering cour­age. The Apostles, with Mary and many of the faithful, remained in Jerusalem although they kept under cover and in fear, hiding themselves from the diligent search, which Saul instituted for their arrest.
206 The most Blessed Mary, amid all this trouble, re­mained watchful, and first of all, after the death of St. Stephen, ordered his body to be secured and buried. She asked those that attended to this duty, to bring Her a Cross, which St. Stephen had habitually carried with him. He had made it in imitation of the one which the Lady Herself had borne about with Her since the coming of the Holy Spirit. In this She was imitated also by the other faithful. She received the cross of St. Stephen with especial veneration, not only on its own account, but on account of its having been in possession of the martyr. She called him a Saint, and requested, that as far as could be, all his blood should be gathered and preserved rever­ently as of a martyr already glorified. She extolled his holiness and constancy in the presence of the Apostles and many of the faithful, in order to console and en­courage them in their tribulation.
207 In order to understand, at least in part, the mag­nanimity of heart manifested by the Queen in this and the other persecutions during Her earthly life, it is neces­sary to have in mind a summary of Her gifts, which were such that the heart of Her Man could rely entirely upon Her (Prov 31:11) and entrust Her with all the works ad extra of His Omnipotence. For in Her manner of op­erating the most Blessed Mary transcended all the powers of mere creatures and approached to that of God, Whose special image She was. No act or thought of men was hidden from Her; and She penetrated all the schemes and machinations of the demons. She was ignorant of nothing that was to be done through the Holy Church. Yet, though all this was in Her mind, She was not con­fused in the disposition of so many different matters; nor did She ever mix up one with the other; nor was She ever flurried in their management; nor tired of the diffi­culties; nor oppressed by their multitude; nor was She forgetful of the more remote on account of the more proximate affairs; nor was Her prudence ever deficient, because it appeared to be immense and without limit. Hence She attended to all as if She had only one affair, and to each matter as if She had nothing else to attend to. Just as the sun, without trouble, without rest and without intermittence, illumines, vivifies and warms all without diminution of itself; so our great Queen, chosen as the Sun of the Church, governed, vivified and encour­aged all its children, without excluding anyone of them.
208 When She therefore saw the Church disturbed, persecuted and afflicted by the persecution of the demons and of the men instigated by them, She turned upon the originators of this evil and imperiously commanded satan and his ministers to descend into hell, and they fell howling into the abyss without power of resistance; thus they remained bound and imprisoned for 8 entire days, until they were again permitted to rise. Thereupon She called the Apostles and with consoling words en­couraged them to remain firm and hope for the Divine assistance in this tribulation. Strengthened by this ex­hortation none of them left Jerusalem. The disciples, who on account of their great number could not conceal themselves properly, took leave of their Mother and Queen and departed from Jerusalem with Her blessing. All of them She exhorted and encouraged, admonishing them not to be disheartened on account of persecutions, nor to give up preaching Christ Crucified; and they faith­fully continued their preaching in Judea, Samaria and other provinces. In their labors She comforted and as­sisted them through Her Holy Angels, inspiring them with courage and bearing them to different localities, when­ever necessary. The latter according to St. Luke, hap­pened to Philip on the way to Gaza, when he baptized the Ethiopian, the servant of Queen Candace. In order to assist the faithful in the hour of death, She likewise was accustomed to send Her Angels, and after death She took care to assist the souls, who went to purgatory.
209 The cares and labors of the Apostles in this per­secution were much greater than those of the other faith­ful; for as the founders and masters of the Church it behooved them to extend their solicitude to all as well in as outside of Jerusalem. Although they were full of knowledge and of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, yet the work was so arduous and the opposition so powerful, that without the counsel and direction of their Queen they would often have felt dejected and oppressed. On this account they frequently consulted Her, and She called them to the meetings and conferences which she arranged for transacting the necessary business. For She alone fully understood the present affairs and fore­saw clearly those of the future. By Her orders they went forth to attend upon matters wherever necessary outside of Jerusalem, as when St. Peter and St. John went to Samaria on hearing that it had accepted the word of God (Acts 8:14). Amid all these occupations of Her own and the tribulations of the faithful, whom She loved as Her children, the great Lady retained all the serenity and tranquil peace of Her spirit, without falling away in the least point from utmost perfection.
210 She so disposed of things, that She could fre­quently retire; for, although the exterior actions did not hinder Her continued prayer, She reserved many secret and special works for times of solitude. She prostrated Herself, humbled Herself to the dust, sighed and wept for the salvation of men and bewailed the fall of so many, whom She recognized as reprobates. As She held written in Her heart the Evangelical Law and stamped therein the image of the Church, She deeply pondered within Herself all that concerned it: the trials and tribu­lations of its members. In Her conferences with the Lord and with Herself, She sought to dispose and order all its affairs with heavenly knowledge and insight ac­cording to the Holy Will of the Most High. At such times She would renew Her participation with the Essence and the Perfections of God to capacitate Her for such a heavenly work as the governing of His Church. This there­fore She did, without failing in anything and with such a fullness of wisdom and holiness, as made Her seem more than a mere creature, though in truth She was one. In all Her thoughts, She was most exalted; in wisdom She was beyond comparison; in counsel, most prudent; in Her decisions most equitable and clear-sighted; in Her works, most holy; in Her words, true and sincere; in all goodness, lovable. Toward the weak, She was most kind; toward the humble, sweet and loving; toward the proud, reserved and majestic. Neither did Her own excellence inflate Her, nor adversity disturb Her, nor labors cast Her down: in all Her activities She was a faithful copy of Her Divine Son.
211 The most prudent Mother bore in mind, that the disciples, having dispersed to preach the Name and Faith of Christ the Savior, had as yet no formula or express creed to guide themselves uniformly and without differences, so that all the faithful might believe one and the same express truths. Moreover She knew that the Apostles would soon have to go forth over the whole world in order to spread and establish the Church through their preaching, and that it was proper that all should be united in their doctrine, upon which was to be founded all the perfection of a Christian life. Therefore the most prudent Mother of wisdom wished to see all the Divine Mysteries, which the Apostles were to preach and the faithful to believe, reduced to a short formula. For if those truths were molded into a few articles, they could more conveniently be brought to the mind of all, the whole Church would be united in one belief without any essential difference, and the whole spiritual edifice of the Gospel would thus rest and be built up on the same firm columns of one foundation.
212 In order to prepare for this work, the impor­tance of which She recognized, She presented Her wishes to the Lord, Who had inspired them, and for more than 40 days She persevered in this prayer with fasting, prostrations and other exercises. Thus, in the same way as it was proper for the giving of the written law that Moses, as mediator between God and the people, should fast and pray for 40 days on Mount Sinai; so also, for the New Law of Grace (Christ our Savior being its Author and the Mediator between the Eternal Father and men), it was proper that the most Blessed Mary should mediate between men and Her Divine Son. The Church was to have this New Law written into the hearts, reduced to Articles of Faith, which should never change and never show any deficiency, because they are Divine and Indefectible Truths. One day, while persevering in these petitions, She spoke to the Lord thus: “Most High Lord and Eternal God, Creator and Ruler of all the universe, in Your ineffable kindness You have begun the magnificent work of Your Holy Church. It is not accord­ing to Your Wisdom to leave imperfect any works of Your Divine Right Hand; raise then to its high perfection this work, which You have so gloriously commenced. Let not the sins of mortals, O My God, hinder You, since the Blood and Death of Your and My Only Begotten out-clamor their malice; for they do not call out for vengeance, as the blood of Abel (Gen 4:11), but ask pardon for all that are guilty. Look upon the new children which the Blood of Christ has engendered for You, and upon those who are to be engendered in the Church during the fu­ture ages. Give then Your Holy Spirit to Peter Your vicar, and to the rest of the Apostles, in order that they may arrange into a convenient form the truths, upon which Your Church is to be founded, and in order that its chil­dren may know what to believe without differences of opinion.”
213 In order to answer in person to these prayers of His Mother, Her Divine Son descended from heaven with immense glory and spoke to Her: “My beloved Mother, be relieved of Your affectionate anxiety and let Your ardent thirst for My glory and for the increase of the Church be satiated in My Presence and converse. It is in My Power to fulfill Your desires and You are the one to oblige Me to do it, since I will deny nothing to Your desires and prayers.” During these words the Blessed Mary was prostrate on the ground in adoration of the Divinity and Humanity of Her Son and true God. But the Lord raised Her up and filled Her with ineffable joy and jubilee, by giving Her His blessing and enriching Her with new favors and gifts of His Right Hand. She remained in this ecstasy of delight enjoying the most exalted and mysterious converse of Her Son and Lord, and Her anxiety for the welfare of the Church was appeased; for He promised Her great gifts and favors for the Church.
214 In answer to Her prayer for the Apostles, besides promising to assist them in preparing the symbol of the faith, the Lord informed His Mother of the very word­ing of the propositions or articles, of which the Creed was to be composed. Of all this the most prudent Lady was well capable, as was explained more fully in the second part of this history; but now, when the time had arrived for executing what had been intended so long before, He wished to renew it all in the purest heart of His Virgin Mother, in order that the fundamental truths of the Church might flow from the Lips of Christ Him­self. It was also proper to counteract again the humility of the great Lady, so that She might consent to be called by those with whom She yet lived in mortal flesh and who were to preach and believe in this symbol, the Mother of God and a Virgin before and after His Birth. For it was not to be expected, that She, who had been chosen by God for Her humility in order to work the greatest of His wonders, would be willing of Herself to publish this prerogative; although it was greater to be the Mother and Virgin in the Sight of God, than to be so called in the Church of God (Luke 1:48).
215 Christ our Lord took leave of His Blessed Mother and returned to the Right Hand of the Father. Immedi­ately He inspired St. Peter His vicar and the rest with the desire of setting up a symbol of the Universal Faith of the Church. Accordingly they sought conference with the Heavenly Queen concerning its opportuneness and the measures to be taken for this purpose. They resolved to fast and persevere in prayer for 10 continuous days, in order to receive the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit in this arduous affair. Having completed these 10 days, which were also the last 10 of the 40, in which the Queen had treated with the Lord about this matter, the 12 Apostles met in the presence of Mary, and St. Peter spoke to them as follows:
216 “My dear brethren, the Divine Mercy, in its in­finite goodness and through the merits of our Savior and Master Jesus, has favored His Holy Church by gloriously multiplying its children, as we have seen and experienced in this short time. For this purpose the Almighty has multiplied miracles and prodigies and daily renews them through our ministry, having chosen us (though un­worthy) as the instruments of His Divine Will in this work and for the glory and honor of His Holy Name. To­gether with these favors He has sent us tribulations and persecutions of the devil and of the world, in order that we may imitate our Savior and Captain, and in order that the Church, evenly ballasted, might reach more se­curely the port of rest and eternal felicity. The disciples have evaded the wrath of the chief priest and spread through the neighboring cities, preaching the faith of Christ our Redeemer and Lord. We must also soon de­part and preach throughout the globe, according to the command of the Lord before ascending into heaven (Matt 28:19). Just as there is but one Baptism in which men are to receive this faith, so there must be but one doctrine, which the faithful are to believe. Hence it is meet that we, who are as yet gathered harmoniously in the Lord, define the truths and mysteries which we are to propound expressly to all the nations of the world, and thus, without difference of opinions, believe the same doctrines. It is the infallible promise of the Lord, that where 2 or 3 shall be gathered in His Name, He shall be in their midst (Matt 18:20). Confiding in His word we firmly hope, that He will now assist us with His Divine Spirit to understand and define, in His Name and by an unchangeable decree, the Articles to be estab­lished in His Holy Church as long as it shall last, to the end of the world.”
217 All the Apostles consented to this proposal of St. Peter. Then he celebrated a Mass, in which he gave Communion to the most Holy Mary and the Apos­tles, whereupon they all, including the Blessed Mother, prostrated themselves in prayer calling upon the Holy Spirit. After continuing their prayers for some time, they heard the rumbling of thunder, as on the first coming down of the Holy Spirit upon the gathering of the faithful; at the same time the Cenacle was filled with light and splendor and all were enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Then the most Blessed Mary asked each of the Apostles to define a mystery, according as the Divine Spirit should inspire them. Thereupon St. Peter be­gan, and was followed by the rest in the following order:
St. Peter:                           I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
St. Andrew:                     And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
St. Jacob the Greater:     Who was conceived through operation of the Holy Spirit, born of  the Virgin Mary.
St. John:                          Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
St. Thomas:                    Descended into hell, arose from the dead on the third day.
St. Jacob the Less:         Ascended into heaven, is seated at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty.
St. Philip:                       From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
St. Bartholomew:          I believe in the Holy Spirit.
St. Matthew:                 In the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints.
St. Simon:                    The Forgiveness of sins.
St. Thaddeus:               The resurrection of the body.
St. Mathias :                 Life everlasting. Amen.
218 This symbol, which we ordinarily call the Creed, the Apostles established after the martyrdom of St. Stephen and before the end of the first year after the death of the Savior. Afterwards, in order to refute the Arian and other heresies, the Church, in the councils held on their account, explained more fully the mysteries contained in the Apostles' Creed and composed the one now chanted in the Mass. But in substance both are one and the same and contain the 14 Articles, which are the basis for the catechetical teaching of the Christian faith and which we are all bound to believe in order to be saved. As soon as the Apostles had finished pro­nouncing this Creed, the Holy Spirit approved of it by permitting a Voice to be heard in their midst saying: “You have decided well.” Then the great Queen and Lady of Heaven with all the Apostles gave thanks to the Most High; and She thanked also them for having merited the assistance of the Divine Spirit, so as to be his apt instruments in promoting the glory of the Lord and the good of the Church. In confirmation of Her faith and as an example to the faithful, the most prudent Queen fell at the feet of St. Peter, loudly proclaimed Her belief in the Catholic doctrine as contained in the symbol they had just now composed and formulated. This She did for Herself and in the name of all the faith­ful, saying to St. Peter: “My lord, whom I recognize as the vicar of My Most Holy Son, in your hands, I, a vile wormlet, in My name and in the name of all the faithful of the Church, confess and proclaim all that you have set down as the Divine and Infallible Truth of the Catho­lic Church; and in it I bless and exalt the Most High, from Whom it proceeds.” She kissed the hands of the vicar of Christ and of the rest of the Apostles. Thus She was the first one thus openly to profess the Catholic faith after it had been formulated into articles.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF THE ANGELS GAVE ME.

219 My daughter, besides the mysteries you have re­corded in this chapter, I wish for your greater informa­tion and consolation, to manifest to you other secrets of My activity. After the. Apostles had formulated the Creed, you must know that I repeated it many times during the day on My knees and with the profoundest reverence. And whenever the words "born of the Vir­gin Mary" occurred, I prostrated myself upon the earth with such humility, gratitude and praise of the Most High, as no creature can comprehend. In these acts of devotion I had present in My mind all mortals in order to make up for the irreverence with which they pronounce these sacred words. Through My interces­sion the Lord was induced to inspire the Church to re­peat so many times the Creedthe Our Father, and Hail Mary in the divine office; to accustom the religious to humiliate themselves in reciting them, and to genuflect in the Credo of the Mass at the words: "And He was Incarnate…" Thus the Church, at least partially, seeks to pay the debt it owes to the Lord for having given such knowledge, and for the mysteries, so worthy of rever­ence and gratitude, contained in the Creed.
220 Many times the Holy Angels sang to Me the Credo with wonderful harmony and sweetness, rejoicing My spirit. Sometimes they would sing the Hail Mary, including those words: “Blessed is the fruit of Your womb Jesus.” Whenever they pronounced this Most Holy Name, or the name Mary, they made a most profound bow, causing in Me new effects of loving humility, abasing Me to the very earth at the thought of how far exalted is the Being of God above My own terrestrial existence. O My daughter, Bear In Mind The Reverence With Which You Should Recite The Creed, The Our Father And Hail Mary, and do not make yourself guilty of the thoughtless rudeness of many of the faithful in this matter. The frequency with which these prayers and heavenly words are repeated in the Church should not infringe upon the proper reverence due to them. This presumption arises from pronouncing them merely by the lips without meditating upon their meaning. I desire that they be to you a subject of con­tinuous meditation; and for this purpose the Most High has given you a taste for studying the catechism; and you will please the Lord and Me, if you carry it with you and read it many times, as you have been accustomed to and as I again charge you to do from now on. Recom­mend it also to your religious, for this kind of knowledge is the jewel which should adorn the spouses of Christ and which all Christians should bear about with them.
221 It should also impress you, that I was so anxious to see the Creed written as soon as it was necessary for the welfare of the Church. To know what will advance the glory and service of God and benefit one's own con­science, and not to execute it, or at least to make no effort toward it, is a very reprehensible lukewarmness. And it is especially shameful in those men, who, whenever they are in want of any temporal good, brook no delay and clamorously ask God to satisfy their wishes; as for instance, when they fail in health or fear bad crops, or when they dread being deprived of much less necessary, or even superfluous and dangerous things. At the same time, although they recognize their deep obligations to God, they pretend not to understand them, or delay their fulfillment out of negligence and want of love. Guard yourself against and never permit this disorder. Just as I was most anxious in that which pertained to the service of the children of the Church, so you must be punctual in all that you perceive to be the Will of God, whether it is for the benefit of your soul or for the benefit of your neighbor; and thus you will imitate My example. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 13
Our Lady Sends The Creed Out; The Apostles Partition The Earth Among Themselves
222 In the diligence, watchfulness and solicitude, which the most prudent Mother devoted to the govern­ment of Her family, the Church, She was like a mother and like to the strong woman, of whom Solomon says, that she considered the paths and the ways of her house­hold in order not to eat Her bread in idleness (Prov 31:27). The great Lady knew and considered them with the plenitude and knowledge; and as She was clothed in the purple of Her charity and in the spotless white of Her peerless purity, therefore, in the fullness of Her insight, She forgot nothing that was needed by Her children and domestics, the faithful. As soon as the symbol of the faith was established, She, both with Her own hands and with the assistance of the Holy Angels serving as Her sec­retaries, provided innumerable copies of the Creed, which were sent without delay to all the disciples preaching in different parts of Palestine. She sent several copies to each one for distribution together with a special letter, in which She informed them of the measures taken by the Apostles and of their orders, that it should be accept­ed and professed by all the faithful.
223 As the disciples were scattered through different cities, some near and others far, She sent the symbol and letter to those in the neighborhood by some of the faithful, and to those farther off, by Her Angels. To some of the disciples, in fact to the greater number of them, the Angels appeared visibly; while to others they did not appear, but they placed these documents into their hands in an invisible manner, at the same time admirably mov­ing their hearts. As well through these inspirations, as from the letter of the Queen, the disciples knew the source of these messages. Moreover She exhorted the Apostles to distribute the written Creed in Jerusalem and in other places and to instruct the faithful, how the Lord had sent the Holy Spirit to inspire and approve it in such a signal manner and thereby imposed its venera­tion upon all. She told them to omit no means of mak­ing it well understood, that this was the only, invariable and secure doctrine, which was to be believed, confessed and preached throughout the Church as the sole means of obtaining grace and life everlasting.
224 The written copies of the Creed of the Apostles were distributed in a very few days among the faithful to their incredible benefit and consolation; for in their fervor they received them with highest reverence and devotion. The Holy Spirit, who had ordained this Creed for the security of the Church, immediately began to confirm it by new miracles and prodigies, operating not only through the hands of the Apostles and disciples, but also through many of the believers. Many who received it with special veneration and love, were suddenly en­veloped in divine splendor, filled with heavenly science and celestial manifestations of the Holy Spirit. By these miracles others were in their turn moved to a desire of possessing and reverencing these documents. Others re­stored the sick to health, raised the dead or expelled the demons from the possessed by merely placing the Credo upon them. Among other marvels it happened one day that a Jew, who was roused to anger at hearing a Christian devoutly reading the Creed and was about to tear it from his hands, fell dead before he could execute his design. From that time on, those that were baptized, being adults, were required to profess the faith accord­ing to the Apostolic Creed; and while they pronounced it, the Holy Spirit visibly appeared above them.
225 The gift of tongues likewise continued; for the Holy Spirit gave it not only on the day of Pentecost, but to many of the faithful afterwards, who assisted in preaching or in giving instruction to the new believers; and whenever they spoke or preached to many together of different nationalities, they were understood by each nationality, though they spoke only in the Hebrew language.* In like manner they were able to speak in other languages, when they happened upon a gathering of people all speaking the same foreign language. Thus was renewed all that had happened at the first coming down of the Holy Spirit. Besides these miracles the Apostles wrought many others, and whenever they laid their hands upon the believers, or confirmed them, the Divine Spirit descended. So many miracles and prodi­gies were dispensed by the hands of the Almighty, that if they were all recorded, they would fill many volumes. St. Luke in the Acts describes those in particular, which in justice should not be altogether left unnoticed in the Church of God. He adds in a general way, that they were very numerous, and therefore could not be in­cluded in his short history. *Archeological evidence confirms that Hebrew was the common spoken language among Jews, not Aramaic. Unfortunately, it is common among theologians to ignore the evidence. ED.
226 In pondering and writing of these things I was greatly astonished at the liberal bounty of the Almighty in thus often sending the Holy Spirit upon the believers in the primitive Church. In response to my wonder I was informed of 2 reasons for this liberality: first, just as the wisdom, goodness and power of God so ar­dently desired men to participate in His Divinity by shar­ing with Him His eternal happiness and glory, that He induced the Eternal Word to appear in this world in visible and passible flesh, so also the 3rd Person de­scended many times in visible and appropriate form upon His Church, in order to establish it and confirm it with like and equally secure demonstrations of His omnipo­tence and love. Secondly, in the beginnings of the Church the merits of the Passion and Death of Christ, together with the prayers and intercession of His most Holy Mother, were in a certain sense more acceptable and therefore (according to our way of understanding) more powerful with the Eternal Father. For the children of the Church had not yet interposed the many and grievous sins, which have been committed since then and which have placed such great obstacles to the benefits of the Lord and to His Holy Spirit. Hence He does not now manifest Himself so familiarly to men as in the primitive Church.
227 Already a full year had passed since the Death of the Savior, and now the Apostles, by divine impulse, be­gan to consider about going forth to preach the faith throughout the world; for it was time that the Name of God be preached also to the heathens and that they be taught the way of eternal salvation. In order to consult the Will of God in the assignment of the kingdoms and provinces in which each one was to preach, they, upon the advice of their Queen, resolved to fast and pray for 10 successive days. This practice of fasting and praying for 10 days, which they had observed immediately after the Ascension in disposing themselves for the coming of the Holy Spirit, they afterwards also retained in preparing themselves for the more important undertakings. Having completed these exercises, the vicar of Christ celebrated Mass and communicated the most Blessed Mary and the 11 Apostles, as they had done in preparing the Creed and as is mentioned in the last chapter. After Mass they all persevered with their Queen for some time in most exalted prayer, ardently invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit for the manifestation of His Will in this matter.
228 Having done this, St. Peter spoke to them as follows: “My dearest brethren, let us prostrate our­selves all together before the Throne of God and with all our heart and with deepest reverence let us confess our Lord Jesus Christ as the True God, the Lord and Re­deemer of the world, professing His Holy Faith in the Creed which He has given us by the Holy Spirit and our subjection to His Divine Will.” This they did and there­upon uttered aloud with St. Peter the following prayer: “Most High and Eternal God, we, vile and insignificant men, worms of the earth, whom the Lord Jesus Christ in His clemency condescended to choose as ministers of His Holy Doctrine and Law and founders of His Church through the whole world, with one heart and soul pros­trate ourselves to suffer and die for the confession and spread of the Holy Faith in the world according to the commands of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. We wish to be spared no labors, difficulties or tribulations in the performance of this work, even unto death. But distrusting our weakness, we entreat You, Lord God most High, send upon us Your Divine Spirit to govern and direct our footsteps in the imitation of our Master and to visit us with His strength. Manifest and in­struct us to which kingdoms and provinces each of us shall depart according to Your good pleasure for the preaching of Your Holy Name.”
229 At the ending of this prayer a wonderful light descended upon the Cenacle surrounding them all and a Voice was heard saying: “My vicar Peter shall point out the province, which falls to each one. I shall govern and direct him by My Light and Spirit.” The appoint­ments themselves the Holy Spirit left to St. Peter in order to confirm anew his power as head and universal pastor of the Church, and in order that the Apostles might understand, that it was to be founded throughout the world under the direction of St. Peter and his suc­cessors, to whom they were to be subject as the vicars of Christ. In this sense the Apostles understood it, and I was given to understand, that such was the Will of the Most High. St. Peter hearing this Voice, proceeded to partition out the provinces. He began with himself, and said: “I, my Lord, offer myself to suffer and die in imitation of my Lord and Redeemer, preaching the faith at present in Jerusalem, and afterwards in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia and Cappadocia, provinces of Asia; and I shall take up my residence at first in Antioch and after­wards in Rome, where I will establish my seat and found the Cathedra of Christ our Redeemer and Master, and where the head of His Church shall have his residence.” These words of St. Peter were spoken in obedience to a positive command of the Lord, pointing out the Roman Church as the center and capital of the universal Church. Without such a command of the Lord, St. Peter would not have decided this difficult and important matter.
230 St. Peter then continued: “The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Andrew, will follow his Master preaching His faith in the Scythian provinces of Europe, Epirus and Thrace; and from the city of Petra in Achaia he will govern all that province, and the others of his lot, as far as possible.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Jacob the greater, will follow his Master preaching the faith in Judea, in Samaria and in Spain; thence he shall return in order to preach the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ in this city of Jerusalem.”
“The most dear brother John shall obey the Will of our Savior and Master as made known to him from the Cross, discharging the duties of a son toward our great Mother and Queen. He shall serve Her and assist Her with filial reverence and fidelity; he shall administer to Her the Sacred Mysteries of the Eucharist and shall also take care of the faithful in Jerusalem during our absence. And when our God and Redeemer shall have taken into heaven His most Blessed Mother, he shall follow His Master in the preaching of the faith in Asia Minor, governing the churches there established from the island of Patmos, whither he shall retire on account of perse­cution.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians, Medes, Hircanians, Brahmans, Bactrians. He shall baptize the 3 Magi Kings and, as they shall be attracted by the rumor of his preaching and his miracles, he shall instruct them fully in all things according to their expectations.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Jacob, shall follow his Master in his office of pastor and bishop of Jerusalem, where he shall preach to all the Jews and shall assist John in the attendance and service of the great Mother of our Savior.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Philip, shall follow his Master preaching and teaching in the provinces Phrygia and Scythia of Asia, and in the city called Hieropolis in Phrygia.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Bartholo­mew, shall follow his Master preaching in Lycaonia, part of Cappadocia in Asia; and he shall go to further India and afterwards to Armenia Minor.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Matthew, shall first teach the Hebrews, and then shall follow his Master, preaching in Egypt and Ethiopia.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Simon, shall follow his Master preaching in Babylon, Persia and also in the kingdom of Ethiopia.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Judas Thaddeus, shall follow our Master, preaching in Meso­potamia, and afterwards shall join Simon to preach in Babylon and in Persia.”
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Mathias, shall follow our Master, preaching his holy faith in the interior of Ethiopia and in Arabia, and afterwards he shall return to Palestine. And may the Spirit of God accompany us all, govern and assist us, so that in all places we fulfill His Holy and Perfect Will, and may He give us His Blessing, in Whose Name I now give it to all.”
231 These were the words of St. Peter. When he ceased speaking a loud thunder was heard and the Cenacle was filled with splendor and refulgence in witness of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. From the midst of this splendor was heard a sweet and soft voice saying: “Let each one accept his allotment.” They prostrated themselves upon the ground and with one voice said: “Most High Lord, Your word and the word of Your vicar we obey with a prompt and joyous heart, and our souls rejoice and are filled with Your sweetness in the abun­dance of Your wonderful works.” This entire and ready obedience of the Apostles to the vicar of Christ our Savior, since it was the effect of their ardent and loving desire to die for His Holy Faith, disposed them on that occasion for the grace of once more receiving the Holy Spirit, Who confirmed and augmented the favors they had already received. They were filled with a new light and knowledge concerning the peoples and provinces assigned to them by St. Peter, and each one recognized the conditions, nature and customs of the kingdoms singled out for him, being furnished interiorly with the most distinct and abundant information concerning each. The Most High gave them new fortitude to encounter labors; agility for overcoming distances, although in this regard they were afterwards to be frequently assisted by the Holy Angels; and the fire of divine love, so that they became inflamed like Seraphim lifted far beyond the condition and sphere of mere human creatures.
232 The most Blessed Queen was present at all these events, and the workings of divine power in the Apostles and in Herself, were very clear to Her; for on this occasion, She experienced more of the divine in­fluences than all of them together. As She was exalted supereminently above all creatures, so the increase of Her gifts was in like proportion, transcending immeasurably those of others. The Most High renewed in the purest spirit of His Mother the infused knowledge concerning all creatures, and especially concerning the kingdoms and nations assigned to the Apostles. She knew all that each one knew, and more than they all together, because She received a personal and individual knowledge of each person to whom the faith of Christ was to be preached; and She was made relatively just as familiar with all the earth and its inhabitants, as She was with Her oratory and all those that entered therein.
233 As I have said above and shall often repeat farther on, the knowledge of Mary was the knowledge of a supreme Mother, Governess and Sovereign of the Church, which the Almighty had placed in Her hands. She was to take care of all, from the highest to the lowest of the saints, and also of the sinners as the chil­dren of Eve. As no one was to receive any blessing or favor from the Hands of Her Son except through that of His Mother, it was necessary that this most faithful Distributor of Grace should know all of Her family, whom She was to guard as a Mother, and such a Mother! The great Lady therefore had not only infused images and knowledge of all this, but She actually experienced it according as the disciples and Apostles proceeded in their work of preaching. Before Her lay open all their labors and dangers, and the attacks of devils against them; the petitions and prayers of these and of all the faithful, so that She might be able to support them with Her own, or aid them through Her Angels or by Herself in person; for in all these different ways, She render Her assistance, as we shall see in many events yet to be described.
234 I wish merely to state here, that besides the knowledge derived by our Queen from infused images She had also in God Himself another knowledge of things through Her abstractive vision, by which She continually saw the Divinity. But there was a difference between these 2 different kinds of knowledge: since, when She saw in God the labors of the Apostles and of all the faith­ful of the Church, enjoying at the same time through this vision a certain participation of the eternal beatitude, the most loving Mother was not affected with the sensible sorrow and compassion, which filled Her when perceiving these tribulations themselves through images. In this latter kind of vision She felt and bewailed them with maternal compassion. In order that this merit might not be wanting in Her, the Lord conferred this second kind of knowledge upon Her for all the time of Her pilgrimage here below. Joined with this plenitude of infused species and knowledge, She held also absolute command of Her faculties, as I said above, so that She admitted no images or ideas except those that were absolutely necessary for sustaining life, or for some work of charity or perfec­tion. With this adornment and beauty, which was patent to the angels and saints, the Heavenly Lady was an ob­ject of admiration, inducing them to praise and glorify the Most High for the worthy exercise of all His attri­butes in Mary, His most holy instrument.
235 On this occasion She offered a most profound prayer for the perseverance and courage of the Apostles in their preaching throughout the world. And the Lord promised Her, that He would guard and assist them to manifest the glory of His Holy Name, and that He would at the end worthily reward them for their labors and merits. By this promise most Holy Mary was filled with grateful jubilee and She exhorted the Apostles to give themselves up to this work with all their heart, to set out joyfully and confidently for the conversion of the world. Speak­ing to them many other words of sweetness and life, She congratulated them on Her knees in the Name of Her Divine Son for the obedience they had shown, and in Her own name, She thanked them for the zeal they had mani­fested for the honor of the Lord and for the blessings they had brought to souls by their sacrifice. She kissed the hands of each of the Apostles, offering Her prayers and Her services and asking them for their blessing, which they, as priests of God, gave Her.
236 A few days after the partition of the earth among the Apostles, they began to leave Jerusalem, especially those that were allotted the provinces of Palestine, and first among them was St. Jacob the greater. Others stayed longer in Jerusalem, because the Lord wished the faith to be preached there more abundantly and the Jews to be called before all others, if they chose to come and accept the invitation to the Marriage-Feast of the Gospel; for in the blessing of the Redemption this people, al­though more ungrateful than the heathens, was especial­ly favored. Afterwards all the Apostles gradually de­parted for the regions assigned to them, according as time and season demanded and as obedience to the Divine Spirit, the counsel of the most Holy Mary, and the order of St. Peter dictated. But before leaving Jerusalem each one visited the Holy Places, such as the Garden, Cal­vary, the Holy Sepulcher, the place of the Ascension, Bethany and the other memorable spots as far as possi­ble. All of them showed their veneration, moved even to tears and regarding with loving wonder the very earth, which the Savior had touched. Then they visited the Cenacle, reverencing the spot where so many mysteries had taken place. There, again commending themselves to Her protection, they took leave of the great Queen of Heaven. The Blessed Mother dismissed them with words full of sweetness and divine virtue.
237 But admirable was the solicitude and care of the most prudent Lady in showing Herself as the true Moth­er of the Apostles at their departure. For each of the 12 She made a woven tunic similar to that of Christ our Savior, of a color between brown and ash-gray; and in order to weave these garments She called to aid Her Holy Angels. She furnished each of the Apostles garments of the same kind and like to that formerly worn by their Master Jesus: for She wished that they should imitate Him even in their garments and thereby be known exteriorly as His disciples. The great Lady procured also 12 Crosses of the height and size of each of the Apostles and gave one to each, so that, as a witness of their doctrine and for their consolation, they might carry it along in their wanderings and their preaching. Each of the Apostles preserved and carried this Cross with him to his death; and as they were so loud in praise of the Cross, some of the tyrants made use of this very instru­ment to torment them happily to death.
238 Moreover the devout Mother furnished each one of them with a small metal case, in which She placed 3 of the Thorns from the Crown of Her Divine Son, some pieces of the cloths in which She had wrapped the infant Savior, and of the linen with which She had wiped and caught the Most Precious Blood of the Circum­cision and Passion of the Lord. All these sacred pledges She had preserved with the greatest care and veneration, as the Mother and the Treasure-keeper of Heaven. In order to consign them to the Apostles She called them together and, with the majesty of a Queen and the ten­derness of a Mother, She told them that these remem­brances, with which She would enrich them on their departure, were the greatest treasures in Her possession; for in them they would carry with them vivid remem­brances of Her Divine Son and the certain assurance, that the Lord loved them as His children and as ministers of the Most High. Then She handed them those relics, which they received with tears of consolation and joy. They thanked the great Queen for these favors and pros­trated themselves in veneration of the sacred relics. Em­bracing they bade farewell to each other, St. Jacob being the first to depart and commence his mission.
239 I was given to understand, that the Apostles preached not only in the countries assigned to them by St. Peter, but in many other neighboring and more re­mote regions. This is not difficult to understand; be­cause many times they were carried from one country to another by the Angels, not only in order to preach, but in order to consult with each other, especially with the vicar of Christ St. Peter, and still much more frequent­ly were they brought in the presence of their Queen, whose sympathy and counsel they needed in the arduous enterprise of planting the faith in so many different and barbarous nations. If, in order to bring nourish­ment to Daniel, the Angel took Habbacuc to Babylon (Dan 14:35), it is nothing strange, that such miracles should be performed for the Apostles in order that they might preach Christ, make known the Divinity, and plant the Universal Church for the salvation of the human race. Above, I have made mention of the Angel, who carried Philip, one of the 72 disciples, from the road of Gaza to Azotus, as related by St. Luke (Acts 8:40). All these miracles, and innumerable others un­known to us, were necessary to these men, who were to be sent to so many kingdoms, provinces, and peoples yet in possession of the devil, full of idolatries, errors and abominations, which was the condition of the world at the time the Incarnate Word came to save the human race. 

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS.

240 My daughter, by the lessons contained in this chapter I wish to draw you to deplore, with inmost groaning and sighing and, if possible, with tears of blood, the difference between the state of the Holy Church in our times and that of those primitive times; how its purest gold of holiness has been obscured (Lam 4:1), and the ancient beauty in which the Apostles have found­ed it, is lost; how it has sought foreign and deceitful powders and paints to cover the horrid and distorted ugliness of vice. In order that you may penetrate into this truth, you must renew in yourself the considera­tion of the force and eagerness, with which the Divinity seeks to communicate His goodness and perfection to creatures. So great is the impetus of the river of God's goodness overflowing on mankind, that only the free will of man, which He has given to him in order to receive its benefits, can raise a dam against it; and whenever, through this free will, man resists the influence and force of Divine Goodness, He (according to your mode of understanding), violates and grieves this immense love in its very essence. But if creatures would place no ob­stacle and permit its operations, the whole soul would be inundated and satiated with participation in its Divine Essence and attributes. It would raise the fallen from the dust, enrich the indigent children of Adam, place them above all their miseries and seat them with the princes of His glory (I Sam 2:8).
241 From this, my daughter, you will understand 2 things unknown to human wisdom. First, how pleasing to the Highest Goodness is the service of those who, with an ardent zeal for God's glory, devote their labor and solicitude toward removing the obstacles, which men place to their own justification and the communica­tion of His favors. The satisfaction of the Most High, arising from this work in others, cannot be estimated in this mortal life. On this account the ministry of the Apostles, the prelates, the priests and preachers of the Divine Word are so highly exalted; for they succeed in office those, who founded the Church and who labored in its preservation and extension; all of them are to be co-operators and executors of the immense love of God for the souls created to be sharers in His Divinity. Sec­ondly, you must ponder the greatness and abundance of the gifts and favors, which the Infinite Power communi­cates to those souls, who do not hinder His most liberal bounty. The Lord manifested this truth immediately in the beginnings of the Evangelical Church, when, to all those who were to enter into it, He showed His bounty by such great prodigies and wonders, frequently sending the Holy Spirit in a visible manner, working miracles in those who accepted the Creed, and showering forth other hidden favors on the faithful.
242 But most of all shone forth His Almighty Power and munificence in the Apostles and disciples, because in them there was no hindrance to His Eternal and Holy Will and they were true instruments and executors of the Divine Love, imitators and successors of Christ and fol­lowers of truth. Hence they were elevated to an in­effable participation in the Attributes of God, especially as regards His Science, Holiness and Power, working for themselves and for the souls such great miracles, as mortal man cannot ever sufficiently extol. After the Apostles, other children were born to the Church, in which, from generation to generation, this Divine Wisdom and its effects were transplanted (Ps 45:17). Leaving aside at present the innumerable martyrs who shed their blood for Christ and gave their lives for the Holy Faith, consider the founders of religions, the great saints, who flourished in them, the doctors, the bishops, the prelates and apostolical men, through whom the bounty and om­nipotence of God was so abundantly manifested. They are so great, that others, who are ministers of God for the welfare of souls, and all the faithful, can have no excuse, even if God does not work similar ones in those He finds fit for His operations.
243 And to the greater confusion of the negligent ministers of the Church in our days, I desire you to un­derstand, that in His eternal decrees the Most High dis­penses His infinite treasures of the souls through the ministry of the prelates, priests, preachers, and teachers of His Divine Word. As far as His Will is concerned, they might all be angelic rather than human in their holiness and perfection; they might enjoy many privileges and exemptions of nature and grace, and thus become fit ministers of the Most High, if only they would not per­vert the order of His Infinite Wisdom and if they lived up to the dignity to which they are called and chosen before all others. This infinite kindness of God is just as great now, as in the first ages of the Church; the inclination of the Highest Goodness to enrich souls is not changed, nor can it be; His condescending liberality has not diminished; the love of His Church is always at its height; His Mercy is just as much concerned at the miseries of men, which in our times are become innumerable; the clamor of the sheep of Christ is louder than ever; the prelates, priests and ministers are more numerous than heretofore. If this is so, to what is to be attributed the loss of so many souls and the ruin of the Christian people? Why is it that the infidels not only do not enter the Church, but subject it to so much affliction and sorrow? Why is it that the prel­ates and ministers do not shine before the world, ex­hibiting the splendors of Christ, as in the ages gone by and in the primitive Church?
244 O My daughter, I invite you to let your tears flow over this loss and ruin. Consider how the stones of the sanctuary are scattered about in streets of the city (Lam 4:1). See how the priests of the Lord have assimilated themselves to the people (Is 24:2), when, on the contrary, they should raise the people to the holiness, which is due to priesthood. The sacerdotal dignity and the precious vestments of virtue are soiled by con­tagion with the worldly; the anointed of the Lord, conse­crated solely to His worship and association, have lapsed from their noble and godlike station; they have lost their beauty in debasing themselves to vile actions, unworthy of their exalted position among men. They affect vanity; they indulge greed and avarice; they serve their own in­terest; they love money, they place their hopes in treas­ures of silver and gold; they submit to the flatteries and to the slavery of the worldly and powerful; and, to their still lower degradation, they subject themselves to the pet­ty whims of women, and sometimes make themselves par­ticipants in their counsels of malice and wickedness. There is hardly a sheep in the fold of Christ, which rec­ognizes in them the voice of its Pastor, or finds from them the nourishment of that redeeming virtue and holi­ness, which they should show forth. The little ones ask for bread, and there is none to distribute (Lam 4:4). And if it is dealt out in self-interest or as a compliment, how can it afford wholesome nourishment to the needy and infirm from such leprous hands? How shall the Heavenly Physician confide to such administrators the Medicine of Life? Or how can the guilty ones intercede and mediate mercy for those who are less, or even equal­ly guilty?
245 These are the reasons why the prelates and priests of our times do not perform the miracles of the Apostles and disciples, and of those who in the primitive Church imitated their lives by an ardent zeal for the honor of the Lord and the conversion of souls. On this account the treasures of the Blood and Death of Christ in the Church do not bear the same fruits, either in His priests and ministers, nor in the other mortals; for if they neglect and forget to make them fruitful in themselves, how can they expect them to flow over on the rest of the hu­man family? On this account the infidels are not con­verted on learning of the true faith, although they live within sight of the princes of the Church, the ministers and preachers of the Gospel. The Church in our times is richer in temporal goods, rents and possessions; it abounds with learned men, great prelacies, and multiplied dignities. As all these advantages are due to the Blood of Christ, they ought all to be used in His honor and ser­vice, promoting the conversion of souls, supporting His poor and enhancing the worship and veneration of His Holy Name.
246 Is this, the use made of the temporal riches of the Church? Let the captives answer, whether they are ransomed by the rents of the Church; let the infi­dels testify, whether they are converted, whether here­sies are extirpated at the expense of the ecclesiastical treasures. But the public voice will loudly proclaim, that from these same treasures palaces were built, the airy nothingness of noble titles bought; and, what is most deplorable, it is known to what profane and vile uses those that succeed in the ec­clesiastical office put the treasures of the Church, how they dishonor the High Priest Christ and in their lives depart just as far from the imitation of Christ and the Apostles, as the most profane men of the world. If the preaching of the Divine Word by these ministers is so dead and without power of vivifying the hearers, it is not the fault of truth or of the Holy Scriptures; but it is because of the abuse and of the distorted intentions of those that preach it. They seek to compromise the Glory of Christ with their own selfish honor and vain esteem, the spirit­ual goods, with base acquisition of stipends; and if those 2 selfish ends are reached, they care not for other re­sults of their preaching. Therefore they wander away from the pure and sincere doctrine, and sometimes even from the truth, which the sacred authors have recorded in the Scriptures and according to which the holy teach­ers have explained them; they slime it over with their own ingenious subtleties, seeking to cause rather the pleasure and admiration of their hearers than their ad­vancement. As the Divine Truths reach the ears of the sinners so adulterated, they impress upon the mind rath­er the ingenious sophistry of the preacher, than the charity of Christ; they bring with it no force or efficacy for penetrating the hearts, although full of ingenious arti­fice to delight the ears.
247 Let not the chastisement of these vanities and abuses, and of others unknown to the world, astonish you, My dear, and be not surprised, that Divine Justice has so much forsaken the prelates, ministers and preach­ers of His Word, or that the Catholic Church, having such an exalted position in its beginnings, should now be brought to such low estate. And if there are some priests and ministers, who are not infected with these lamentable vices, the Church owes so much the more to My Divine Son in these times, when He is so deeply offended and outraged. With those that are zealous, He is most liber­al; but they are few in number, as is evident from the ruin of the Christian people and from the contempt into which the priests and preachers of the Gospel have fallen. For if the number of the perfect and the zealous workers were great, without a doubt sinners would reform and amend their lives; many infidels would be converted; all would look upon and hear with reverence and fear such preachers, priests and prelates, they would respect them for their dignity and holiness, and not for their usurped authority and outward show, which induces a reverence too much like worldly applause and altogether without fruit. Do not be afraid or abashed for having written all this for they themselves know that it is the truth and you do not write of your own choice, but at my command. Hence bewail such a sad state, and invite heaven and earth to help you in your weeping; for there are few who sorrow on account of it, and this is the greatest of all the injuries committed against the Lord by the children of the Church. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 14
OUR LADY’S ROLE IN THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
248 Our mother the Church, governed by the Divine Spirit, celebrates the conversion of St. Paul as one of the greatest miracles of grace for the consolation of sin­ners; for, from a virulent and blasphemous persecutor of the Name of Christ, as St. Paul calls himself (1 Tim 1:13), he was changed to an Apostle obtaining mercy through Divine Grace. Our great Queen played such a prominent part in this rare miracle of the Om­nipotent that the full story must be told in this history. But its greatness can be better understood if the state of St. Paul as a persecutor of the Church at the time of his calling is explained, and when the causes, which induced him to signalize himself as such a strong champion of the Law of Moses and bitter persecutor of Christ, are known.
249 St. Paul was distinguished in Judaism for 2 reasons. The one was his own character, and the other was the diligence of the devil in availing himself of his naturally good qualities. St. Paul was of a disposition generous, magnanimous, most noble, kind, active, cour­ageous and constant. He had acquired many of the moral virtues. He glorified in being a staunch professor of the Law of Moses, and in being studious and learned in it; although in truth he was ignorant of its essence, as he himself confesses to Timothy, because all his learning was human and terrestrial; like many Jews, he knew the law merely from the outside, without its spirit and without that divine insight, which was necessary to under­stand it rightly and to penetrate its mysteries. But as his ignorance seemed to him real knowledge and as he was gifted with a retentive memory and keen understanding, he was a great zealot for the traditions of the rabbis (Gal 1:14). He judged it an outrage and absurdity, that (as he thought), a New Law, invented by a Man crucified as a criminal, should be published in opposition to them and to that Law, which was given by God Himself and received by Moses on the Mount (Ex 24). Hence he conceived a great hatred and contempt for Christ, His Law and His disciples. Steeped in this error he called into activity all his moral virtues, (if that can be called virtue which was devoid of true charity), and prided himself much in combating the errors of others. For that is a common fault with the children of Adam, that they please themselves in some good work without making the much more important effort to reform some of their vices. In this self-deception lived and acted Saul, deeply con­vinced that he was zealously promoting the honor of God in upholding the ancient Law of Moses and its divine or­dainments. It appeared to him that in acting thus he was defending God's honor; for he had not really under­stood this law, which in its ceremonies and figures was but temporal and not eternal and which was necessarily to be abrogated by a more wise and powerful Legislator, as Moses himself foretold (Deut 18:15).
250 This indiscreet zeal and vehemence was fanned by the malice of the devil and his ministers, who irritated and roused him to even greater hatred against the Law of our Savior Jesus Christ. Many times have I in the course of this history mentioned the malicious attempts and infernal schemes of this dragon against the Holy Church. Among them was his anxious search for men, who should serve as apt and efficient instruments and executors of his malice. The devil by himself or his demons, although they are able to tempt men singly, are yet unable to raise up their rebellious banners in public or become leaders in any sect or sedition against God, unless it be through the assistance of some human being in leading on the blind and unenlightened. This cruel enemy was infuriated by the happy beginnings of the Holy Church; he feared its progress, and burned with envy to see beings of a lower nature than himself raised to the participation of the Divinity and glory, which he himself had lost. He recognized the inclinations of Saul, his habits and the state of his interior, and all seemed to harmonize well with his own designs of de­stroying the Church of Christ through the willing hands of unbelievers.
251 The devil consulted the other demons concerning this wicked plan in a meeting held especially for this purpose. With common accord the dragon and others of the demons resolved ceaselessly to urge on Saul by stirring up his anger against the Apostles and the whole flock of Christ, using suggestions and reasonings adapted to his state of mind; and, in order that he might be the sooner influenced by them, they were to represent his in­dignation as a virtue to be gloried in. The demons exe­cuted this resolve to the letter and without losing any occasion. Although Paul was dissatisfied and opposed to the teaching of our Lord even before His Death on the Cross; yet he had not yet declared himself so zealous a defender of the Law of Moses and adversary of the Lord. It was only at the death of St. Stephen, that he showed the wrath, which the infernal dragon had roused against the followers of Christ. As that enemy had found the heart of Saul on that occasion so ready to exe­cute all his malicious suggestions, he became so arrogant in his malice, that it seemed to him he need not desire more, and that this man would offer no resistance to any malice he ever could propose.
252 In his impious presumption the devil tried to in­duce Saul to attempt single-handed the life of all the Apostles, and, with still greater presumption, even the life of the most Blessed Mary. To such a point of in­sanity rose the pride of this most bloodthirsty dragon. But he deceived himself. The disposition of Saul was most noble and generous, and therefore it appeared to him beneath his dignity and honor to stoop to such crimes and act the part of an assassin, when he could, as it seemed to him, destroy the Law of Christ by the power of reasoning and open justice. He felt a still greater horror at the thought of killing the most Blessed Mother, on ac­count of the regard due to Her as a woman; and because he had seen Her so composed and constant in the labors and in the Passion of Christ. On this account She seemed to him a magnanimous Woman and worthy of veneration. She had indeed won his respect, together with some compassion for Her sorrows and afflictions, the magnitude of which had become publicly known. Hence he gave no admittance to the inhuman suggestions of the demon against the life of the most Blessed Mary. This compassion for Her hastened not a little the con­version of Saul. Neither did he further entertain the treacherous designs against the Apostles, although the devil sought to make their assassination appear as a deed worthy of his courageous spirit. Rejecting all these wick­ed thoughts, he resolved to incite all the Jews to perse­cute the Church, until it should be destroyed together with the Name of Christ.
253 As the dragon and his cohorts could not attain more, they contented themselves with having brought Saul at least to this resolve. The dreadful wrath of these demons against God and His creatures can be esti­mated from the fact, that on that very day they held another meeting in order to consult how they could pre­serve the life of this man, whom they had found so well adapted to execute their malice. These deadly enemies well know, that they have no jurisdiction over the lives of men, and that they can neither give nor take life, un­less permitted by God on some particular occasion; never­theless they wished to make themselves the guardians and the physicians of the life and health of Saul as far as their power extended, namely, by keeping active his fore­thought against whatever was harmful and suggesting the use of what was naturally beneficial to the welfare of life and limb. Yet with all their efforts they were unable to hinder the work of grace, when God so wished it. Far were they from suspecting, that Saul would ever accept the Faith of Christ, and that the life, which they were trying to preserve and lengthen, was to re­dound to their own ruin and torment. Such events are provided by the Wisdom of the Most High, in order that the devil, being deceived by his evil counsels, may fall in­to his own pits and snares, and in order that all his machinations may serve for the fulfillment of the Divine and Irresistible Will.
254 Such were the decrees of the highest Wisdom in order that the conversion of Saul might be more wonder­ful and glorious. With this intention God permitted satan, after the death of St. Stephen, to instigate Saul to go to the chief priests with fierce threats against the disciples of Christ, who had left Jerusalem, and to solicit permission for bringing them as prisoners to Jerusalem from wherever he should find them (Acts 9:1). For this enterprise Saul offered his person and possessions, and even his life; at his own cost and without salary he made this journey in order that the New Law, preached by the disciples of the Crucified, might not prevail against the Law of his ancestors. This offer was readily favored by the high-priest and his counselors; they im­mediately gave to Saul the commission he asked, especial­ly to go to Damascus, where, according to report, some of the disciples had retired after leaving Jerusalem. He prepared for the journey, hiring officers of justice and some soldiers to accompany him. But his by far most numerous escort were the many legions of demons, who in order to assist him in this enterprise, came forth from hell, hoping that with all this show of force and through Saul, they might be able to make an end of the Church and entirely devastate it with fire and blood. This was really the intention of Saul, and the one with which the devil and his demons sought to inspire him and his com­panions. But let us leave him for the present on his journey to Damascus, anxious to seize all the disciples of Christ, whom he should find in the synagogues of that city.
255 Nothing of all this was unknown to the Queen of Heaven; for in addition to Her science and vision pene­trating to the inmost thoughts of men and demons, the Apostles were solicitous in keeping Her informed of all that befell the followers of Her Son. Long before this time She had known that Saul was to be an Apostle of Christ, a preacher to the gentiles, and a man distinguished and wonderful in the Church; for of all these things Her Son informed Her, as I said in Part 2 of this history. But as She saw the persecution becoming more violent and the glorious fruits and results of the conversion of Saul delayed, and as She moreover saw how the disciples of Christ, who knew nothing of the secret intentions of the Most High, were afflicted and some­what discouraged at the fury and persistence of his per­secution, the kind Mother was filled with great sorrow. Considering, in Her heavenly prudence, how im­portant was this affair, She roused Herself to new cour­age and confidence in Her prayers for the welfare of the Church and the conversion of Saul. Prostrate in the Presence of Her Son, She poured forth the following prayer :
256 “Most High Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, true God of the true God, engendered of His own and indivisi­ble substance and, by the ineffable condescension of Your infinite goodness, became My Son and the life of My soul, how shall I, Your slave, continue to live, if the per­secution of the beloved Church You have commended to My care shall prevail and be not put down by Your Al­mighty Power? How shall My heart behold the fruit of Your Precious Blood despised and trodden under foot? If You, My Lord, give to Me the children begotten by You in the Church and if I am to love them and look upon them as a Mother, how shall I be consoled, when I see them thus oppressed and destroyed for confessing Your Holy Name and loving You with a sincere heart? Yours is the Power and the Wisdom; and it is not proper that he should glory against You, who is the dragon of hell, the enemy of Your Name, and the slanderer of My children and Your brethren. My Son, confound the pride of this ancient serpent, which in its pride rises up anew to vent its fury against the simple sheep of Your flock. Behold how the devil has drawn into his deceits Saul, whom You have chosen and set apart as Your Apostle. It is time, O My God, that You show Your Omnipotence and save this soul, through whom and in whom Your Name is to be so highly exalted, and so much good to be secured for all the world.”
257 The most Blessed Lady persevered in this prayer for a long time, offering to suffer and die, if necessary, for the welfare of the Holy Church and the conversion of Saul. As in His infinite Wisdom Her Divine Son had fore­seen this mediation of His Beloved Mother, He descended from Heaven and appeared to Her in person, while She was praying in the retirement of Her oratory. He said to Her: “My beloved Mother, in whom I find the ful­fillment of all My will and pleasure, what are Your re­quests? Tell Me what you wish?” As usual She prostrated Herself in the Presence of Her Divine Son and adoring Him as the true God, said: “My highest Lord, far in advance do You know the hearts and the thoughts of Your creatures, and My desires are open to Your Eyes. My petitions are those of one knowing Your in­finite charity for men, of the Mother of Your Church, the advocate of sinners and Your slave. If I have received all from You without My merit, I cannot fear to be un­heard in My desires for Your Glory. I ask, O My Son, that You look upon the affliction of Your Church and that, like a loving Father, You hasten the relief of Your chil­dren engendered by Your Most Precious Blood.”
258 The Lord delighted in the voice and clamors of His most loving Mother and Spouse; and therefore He asked more particularly, as if ignorant of what She de­sired Him to grant and what beforehand could not be denied to Her great merits and love. In these ruses of love Christ our Lord continued for some time con­versing with His sweetest Mother, while She pleaded for the end of persecution and the conversion of Saul. Among other things He said: “My Mother, if in My mercy I show clemency to Saul, how shall My justice be satisfied, since Saul persists in the deepest unbelief and malice and with all his heart serves My enemies for the destruction of My Church and the blotting out of My Name from the face of the earth, thus meriting My Wrath and chastisement?” To this argument, which was so con­clusive on the side of justice, the Mother of Mercy and Wisdom was not at a loss for response, and She answered: “My Lord and Eternal God, My Son, the turgid floods of guilt in Saul were not sufficient to extinguish the fire of Your Divine Love, when, as You have yourself manifested to Me, You chose Paul as Your Apostle and as a vase of election, acceptable to Your Divine Mind and worthy to be written in Your memory. More powerful and effica­cious were Your infinite mercies, by which You have founded Your beloved Church, and therefore I do not ask anything, which You yourself have not resolved upon beforehand; but I grieve, My Son, that this soul should proceed to greater length for the ruin and perdition of itself and of others (if it can be like that of others), and that a hindrance should be placed to the Glory of Your Name, to the joy of the Angels and Saints, to the consola­tion of the righteous, to the confidence afforded to sinners, and to the confusion of Your enemies. Do not then, My Son and Lord, despise the prayers of Your Mother; let Your decrees be executed and let me see Your Name magnified; for the time and the occasion are opportune and My heart cannot suffer such a blessing to be delayed.”
259 During this appeal the charity in the heart of the most chaste Virgin Queen broke out into such a flame, that without a doubt it would have consumed Her nat­ural life, if the Lord had not preserved Her by the miracu­lous interference of His Almighty Power. Although in order to enjoy the delight of the excessive love of this Creature, He permitted His Blessed Mother to suffer some sensible pain and, as it were, to fall into a kind of swoon, yet Her Son, Who according to our way of understanding, could not longer resist the love which wounded His Heart, consoled and restored Her by yielding to Her prayers. He said: “My Mother, chosen among all creatures, let Your will be done without delay. I will do with Saul as You ask, and will so change him, that from this mo­ment he will be a defender of the Church which he per­secutes, and a preacher of My Name and Glory. I shall now proceed to receive him immediately into My friend­ship and grace.”
260 Thereupon Jesus Christ our Lord disappeared from the presence of His most Blessed Mother leaving Her still engaged in prayer and furnished with a clear insight into what was to happen. Shortly afterward the Lord appeared to Saul on the road near Damascus, where, in his ever increasing fury against Jesus, his accelerated journey had already brought him. The Lord showed Himself to Saul in a resplendent cloud amid im­mense glory, and at the same time Saul was flooded with divine light without and within, and his heart and senses were overwhelmed beyond power of resistance (Acts 9:4). He fell suddenly from his horse to the ground and at the same time he heard a Voice from on high saying: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Full of fear and consternation he answered: “Who are You, Lord?” The Voice replied: “I am Jesus Whom you persecute; it is hard for you to kick against the goad of My Omnip­otence.” Again Saul answered with greater fear and trembling: “Lord, what do You command and de­sire to do with me?” The companions of Saul heard these questions and answers, though they did not see the Savior. They saw the splendor surrounding Him and all of them were filled with dread and astonishment at this sudden and unthought-of event, and they were for some time dumbfounded.
261 This new wonder, surpassing all that had been seen in the world before, was greater and more far-reach­ing than what could be taken in by the senses. For Saul was not only prostrated in body, blinded and bereft of his strength so that, if the Divine Power had not sustained him, he would have immediately expired; but also as to his interior he suffered more of a change than when he passed from nothingness into existence at his con­ception, farther removed from what he was before than light from darkness, or the highest heaven from the lowest earth; for he was changed from an image of the demon to that of one of the highest and most ardent Seraphim. This triumph over the devil and his demons had been especially reserved by God for His Divine Wis­dom and Omnipotence; so that, in virtue of the Passion and Death of Christ this dragon and his malice might be vanquished by the human nature of one man, in whom the effects of Grace and Redemption were set in oppo­sition to the sin of the devil and all its effects. Thus it happened that in the same short time, in which the devil through pride was changed from an angel to a devil, the Power of Christ changed Saul from a demon into an Angel in Grace. In the angelic nature the highest beauty turned into the deepest ugliness; and in the human nature the greatest perversity into the highest moral perfection. The devil descended as the enemy of God from heaven to the deepest abyss of the earth, and a man ascended as a friend of God from the earth to the highest heaven.
262 And since this triumph would not have been suf­ficiently glorious, if the Lord had not given more than the devil had lost, the Omnipotent wished to add in St. Paul an additional triumph to His victory over the devil. For the devil, although he fell from that exceedingly high grace which he had received, had never possessed beatific vision, nor had he made himself worthy of it, and hence could not lose what he did not possess. But Paul, im­mediately on disposing himself for justification and on gaining grace, began to partake of glory and clearly saw the Divinity, though this vision was gradual. O invin­cible virtue of the Divine Power! O infinite efficacy of the merits of the Life and Death of Christ! It was cer­tainly reasonable and just, that if the malice of sin in one instant changed the angel into a devil, that the Grace of the Redeemer should be more powerful and abound more than sin (Rom 5:20), raising up from it a man, not only to place him into original grace, but into glory. Greater is this wonder than the creation of heaven and earth with all the creatures; greater than to give sight to the blind, health to the sick, life to the dead. Let us congratulate the sinners on the hope inspired by this won­derful justification, since we have for our Restorer, for our Father, and for our Brother the same Lord, Who justified Paul; and He is not less powerful nor less holy for us, than for St. Paul.
263 During the time in which Paul lay prostrate up­on the earth, he was entirely renewed by sanctifying grace and other infused gifts, restored and illumined pro­portionately in all his interior faculties, and thus he was prepared to be elevated to the empyrean heaven, which is called the third heaven. He himself confesses, that he did not know whether he was thus elevated in body or only in spirit (I Cor 12:4). But there, by more than ordi­nary vision, though in a transient manner, he saw the Divinity clearly and intuitively. Besides the Being of God and His attributes of infinite perfection, he recog­nized the Mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, and all the Secrets of the Law of Grace and of the state of the Church. He saw the peerless blessing of his justi­fication and of the prayer of St. Stephen for him; and still more clearly was he made aware of the prayers of the most Holy Mary and how his conversion had been hastened through Her; and that, after Christ, Her merits had made him acceptable in the Sight of God. From that hour on he was filled with gratitude and with deep­est veneration and devotion to the great Queen of Heaven, whose dignity was now manifest to him and whom he thenceforth acknowledged as his Restorer. At the same time he recognized the office of Apostle to which he was called, and that in it he was to labor and suffer unto death. In conjunction with these mysteries were re­vealed to him many others, of which he himself says that they are not to be disclosed (2 Cor 12:4). He offered himself in sacrifice to the Will of God in all things, as he showed afterwards in the course of his life. The Most Blessed Trinity accepted this sacrifice and offer­ing of his lips and in the presence of the whole court of heaven named and designated him as the preacher and teacher of the gentiles, and as a vase of election for carrying through the world the Name of the Most High.
264 For the Blessed in Heaven this day was one of great accidental joy and jubilee, and all of them com­posed new songs of praise and exaltation of the Divine Power for such a rare and extraordinary miracle. If at the conversion of any sinner they are filled with joy (Luke 15:7), with what joy were they not filled at see­ing the greatness of the Lord's Mercy thus manifested and such an immense blessing conferred upon all the mortals for the glory of His Holy Church? Saul came out of his rapture changed into Paul; and rising from the ground he seemed to be blind and could not see the light of the sun. His companions brought him to Damascus to the house of one of his acquaintances and there to the ad­miration of all, he remained 3 days without eating or drinking engaged in earnest prayer. He prostrated himself on the ground and, as he was now in a state to deplore his sins, with deepest sorrow and detestation of his past life, he prayed: “Woe is me, in what dark­ness and blindness have I lived, and how far have I hastened on the way of eternal perdition. O infinite love ! O charity without measure ! O infinite sweetness of the eternal bounty! Who, O my Lord and God, has induced You to act thus toward me the vile worm of the earth, your enemy and blasphemer? But who could in­duce You except Yourself and the prayers of Your Mother and Spouse? When I in blindness and darkness perse­cuted You, You, most kind Lord, came to meet me. While I was busy shedding the innocent blood which shall always cry out against me, You, the God of Mercies, washed and purified me with Your Own and made me a partaker of Your ineffable Divinity. How Shall I Praise Eternally Such Unheard Of Mercies? How Shall I Suffi­ciently Bewail A Life So Hateful In Your Eyes? The heavens and the earth proclaim Your glory. I shall preach Your Holy Name and shall defend it in the midst of Your ene­mies.” Such and other aspirations St. Paul repeated with matchless sorrow and with acts of the most ardent charity and with the deepest and most humble gratitude.
265 On the third day after the disablement and con­version of Saul the Lord spoke in a vision to one of the disciples, Ananias, living in Damascus (Acts 9:10). Calling him by name as His servant and friend, the Lord told him to go to the house of a man named Judas in a certain district of the city and there to find Saul of Tarsus, whom he would find engaged in prayer. At the same time Saul had also a vision, in which he saw and recognized the disciple Ananias coming to him and re­storing sight to him by the imposition of hands. But of this vision of Saul, Ananias at that time had no knowl­edge. Therefore he answered: “Lord, I have informa­tion of this man having persecuted Your Saints in Jerusa­lem and caused a great slaughter of them in Jerusalem; and not satisfied with this, he has now come with war­rants from the high-priests in order to seize whomever he can find invoking Your Holy Name. Do you then send a simple sheep like myself to go in search of the wolf, that desires to devour it?” The Lord replied: “Go, for the one you judge to be My enemy, is for Me a vase of election, in order that he may carry My Name through all the nations and kingdoms, and to the children of Israel. And I can, as I shall, assign to him what he is to suffer for My Name.” And the disciple was at once informed of all that had happened.
266 Relying on this word of the Lord, Ananias obeyed and went at once to the house, in which St. Paul then was. He found him in prayer and said to him: “Brother Saul, our Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your journey, sends me in order that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” He received Holy Communion at the hands of Ananias and was strengthened and made whole, giving thanks to the Author of all these blessings. Then he partook of some corporal nourishment, of which he had not tasted for 3 days. He remained for some time in Damas­cus, conferring and conversing with the disciples in that city. He prostrated himself at their feet asking their pardon and begging them to receive him as their servant and brother, even as the least and most unworthy of them all. At their approval and counsel he went forth publicly to preach Christ as the Messiah and Redeemer of the world and with such fervor, wisdom and zeal, that he brought confusion to the unbelieving Jews in the numerous synagogues of Damascus. All wondered at this unexpected change and, in great astonishment, said: Is not this the man, who in Jerusalem has persecuted with fire and sword all who invoke that Name? And has he not come to bring them prisoners to the chief priests of that city? What change then is this, which we see in him?
267 St. Paul grew stronger each day and with in­creasing force continued his preaching to the gathering of the Jews and gentiles. Accordingly they schemed to take away his life and then happened, what we shall touch upon later. The miraculous conversion of St. Paul took place 13 months after the martyrdom of St. Stephen, on January 25, the same day on which the Church celebrates that feast; and it was in the year 36 of the birth of our Lord; because St. Stephen, as is said in Chapter 12, died completing his 34th year and one day of his 35th; whereas the conversion of St. Paul took place after he had completed one month of the 36th; and then St. Jacob departed on his missionary journey, as I will say in its place.
268 Let us return to our great Queen of the Angels, who by means of Her vision knew all that was happening to Saul; his first and most unhappy state of mind, his fury against the Name of Christ, his sudden casting down and its cause, his conversion, and above all his extraordinary and miraculous elevation to the empyrean heaven and vision of God, besides all the rest, that happened to him in Damascus. This knowledge was not only proper and due to Her, because She was the Mother of the Lord and of His Holy Church and the in­strument of this great wonder; but also because She alone could properly estimate this miracle, even more so than St. Paul and more than the whole Mystical Body of the Church; for it was not just, that such an unheard of blessing and such a prodigious work of the Omnipo­tent should remain without recognition and gratitude among mortals. This the most Blessed Mary rendered in all plenitude and She was the first One, who celebrated this solemn event with the acknowledgment due to it from the whole human race. The Holy Mother invited all Her Holy Angels and many others from heaven, who, forming into alternate choirs, sang with Her canticles of praise in exaltation of the Power, Wisdom and liberal Mercy of the Almighty toward Paul; and others on the merits of Her Most Holy Son, in virtue of which this con­version, so full of prodigies and miracles, had been wrought. By this thanksgiving and fidelity of most Holy Mary the Most High (according to our way of understanding such things), as it were, compensated Himself for having so highly favored the Church in this conversion of St. Paul.
269 But let us not pass over in silence the reflections of the new Apostle concerning what the kindest Mother might think of him now, and must have thought of him as such an enemy and persecutor of Her Most Holy Son and His disciples, intent on the destruction of the Church. The loving conjectures of St. Paul in this matter arose not so much from ignorance, as from his humility and veneration toward the Mother of Jesus. But he did not know that the great Lady was cognizant of all that had happened in connection with him. Although from this newly acquired knowledge of heavenly things in God he had recognized Her as his most kind Helper in his con­version and salvation; yet the wickedness of his past life abashed, humiliated and somewhat frightened him, as one unworthy of the favor of such a Mother, whose Son he had persecuted so furiously and blindly. It seemed to him that for the pardoning of such grave sins an in­finite Mercy was necessary, and Mary was a mere creature. On the other hand, he was encouraged by the thought, that She, in imitation of Her Son, had pardoned His executioners. The disciples also told him, how kind and sweet She was with sinners and the needy; and then he was inflamed with the ardent desire of seeing Her and he resolved in his mind to throw himself at Her feet and to kiss the ground whereon She walked. But im­mediately he was again overcome by shame at the thought of appearing before Her, who was the true Mother of Jesus, still in mortal flesh and so deeply wronged by his conduct. He discussed within himself, whether he should not ask Her to punish him, because that would be some sort of satisfaction; yet again this vengeance seemed foreign to Her gentleness, since She had ob­tained for him through Her prayers such immense mercy.
270 Amid these and other disquieting thoughts the Lord permitted St. Paul to suffer a harrowing, yet sweet sorrow; and at last he said to himself: “Take heart, vile and sinful man, for without a doubt She will receive and pardon you, since She has interceded for you as the true Mother of Him Who died for your salva­tion, and She will act as the Mother of such a Son, since both of Them are all mercy and kindness and will not despise the contrite and humble heart” (Ps 51:19). The fears and doubts of St. Paul were not hidden from the Heavenly Mother; for She knew all through Her exalted science. She knew also that the Apostle would not find an occasion to see Her for a long time. Moved by Her maternal love and compassion, She would not permit this consolation to be postponed to such a distant period. Therefore, in order to bring it to him from Jerusalem, She called one of Her Angels and said to him: “Heavenly spirit and minister of My Son and Lord, I am moved to compassion at the sorrow and trouble in the humble heart of Paul. I beg you, My Angel, go immediately to Damascus and console and comfort him in his fears. Congratulate him on his good fortune and remind him of the thanks he owes eternally to My Son and Lord for the clemency with which He has drawn him to His friend­ship and chosen him as His Apostle. Tell him, that never has such Mercy been shown to any man as to him. And in My own name tell him, that I shall aid him as a Mother in all his labors and serve him as the Handmaid of all the Apostles and ministers of the Name and doctrine of My Son. Give him My blessing in the Name of Him, Who condescended to assume flesh in My womb and to be nursed at My breast.”
271 The Holy Angel immediately fulfilled the com­mission of his Queen and quickly appeared to St. Paul, who had remained in continued prayer; for this happened on the day after his Baptism and on the 4th after his conversion. The Angel manifested himself in human form, wonderfully beautiful and resplendent, and ful­filled all the orders of Mary. St. Paul listened to his message with incomparable humility, reverence, and joy of spirit, and thus replied to the Angel: “Minister of the Omnipotent and Eternal God, I, the most vile of men, entreat you, sweetest heavenly spirit, according as you see me indebted to the condescending Mercy of the Infinite God, give Him thanks and due praise, for having so undeservedly marked me with the character and divine light of His children. The more I flew from His immense bounty, the more He followed me and advanced to meet me; when I delivered myself over to death, He gave me life; when I persecuted Him as an enemy, He raised me to His grace and friendship, recompensing the greatest injuries with the most extraordinary blessings. No one ever rendered himself so hateful and abominable as I; yet no one was so freely pardoned and favored (1 Tim 1:13). He snatched me from the mouth of the lion in order that I might be one of the sheep of His flock. You are a witness of it all, my lord; help me to be eternally grateful. And I entreat you, tell the Mother of Mercy and my Lady, that this Her unworthy slave lies prostrate at Her feet, esteeming the ground on which they tread and with a contrite heart asking Her to pardon him for having so daringly sought to destroy the Honor and Name of Her Son and true God. Beg Her to forget my offense and deal with this blasphemous sinner as the Mother who as a Virgin conceived, brought forth and nursed the Lord, Who had given Her life and had chosen Her for this purpose from among all creatures. I am deserving of chastisement and retribu­tion for so many sins and I am prepared to suffer all; but I am aware of the clemency of Her heart and I shall not declare myself undesirous of Her favor and protec­tion. Let Her receive me as a child of the Church which She loves so much. All the days of my life I shall de­vote myself entirely to its increase and defense and to the service of Her, whom I recognize as my salvation and as the Mother of Grace.”
272 The Holy Angel returned with this answer to the most Blessed Mary; and although in Her wisdom She well knew it, he repeated it to Her, She heard it with a special joy and again gave thanks and praise to the Most High for the works of His Divine Right Hand in the new Apostle St. Paul, and for the benefits which would re­sult therefrom to His Holy Church and the faithful. Of the confusion and rout of the demons at the conversion of St. Paul, and of many other secrets made known to me concerning the malice of the devils I shall speak, as far as possible, in the next chapter. 

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS, MOST HOLY MARY. 

273 My daughter, none of the faithful should be ig­norant of the fact, that the Most High could have drawn and converted St. Paul without resorting to such miracles of His infinite power. But He made use of them in order to show men, how much His bounty is in­clined to pardon them and raise them to His friendship and grace, and in order to teach them, by the example of this great Apostle, how they, on their part, should co­operate and respond to His calls. Many souls the Lord wakes up and urges on by His inspiration and help. Many respond and justify themselves through the Sacra­ments of the Church; but not all persevere in their justi­fication and still a fewer number follow it up or strive after perfection: beginning in spirit, they relax, and finish in the flesh. The cause of their want of perseverance in grace and relapse into their sins is their not imitating the spirit of St. Paul at his conversion, when he ex­claimed: "Lord, what is it You wish with me, and what shall I do for You ?" If some of them proclaim this sentiment with their lips, it is not from their whole heart, and they always retain some love of themselves, of honor, of possessions, of sensual pleasure or of some occasion of sin, and thus they soon again stumble and fall.
274 But the Apostle was a true and living example of one converted by the light of grace, not only because he passed from an extreme of sin into that of wonder­ful grace and friendship of God; but also because he co­operated to his utmost with the call of God, departing at once and entirely from all his evil dispositions and self-seeking and placing himself entirely at the disposal of the Divine Will and pleasure. This total denegation of self and surrender to the Will of God is contained in those words: “Lord, what do You wish to do with me?” and in it consisted, as far as depended upon him, all his salvation. As he pronounced them with all the sincerity of a contrite and humbled heart, he renounced his own will and delivered himself over to that of the Lord, re­solved from that moment forward to permit none of his faculties of mind or sense to serve the animal or sensual life into which he had strayed. He delivered himself over to the service of the Almighty in whatever manner or direction should become known to him as being the Divine Will, ready to execute it without delay or questioning. And this he immediately set about by entering the city and obeying the command of the Lord given through the disciple Ananias. As the Most High searches the secrets of the human heart, He saw the sincerity, with which St. Paul corresponded to his vocation and yield­ed to His Divine Will and disposition. He not only received him with great pleasure, but multiplied exceed­ingly His graces, gifts and wonderful favors, which even Paul would not have received or ever have merited with­out this entire submission to the wishes of the Lord.
275 Conformably to these truths, My daughter, I de­sire you to execute fully My oft-repeated commands and exhortations, that you forget the visible, the apparent and deceitful. Repeat very often, and more with the heart than with the lips those words of St. Paul: “Lord, what do You wish to do with me?” For as soon as you begin to do anything of your own choice, it will not be true, that you seek solely the Will of the Lord. The instrument has no motion or action except that imparted to it by the artisan; and if it had its own will, it would be able to resist and act contrary to the will of the one using it. The same holds true between God and the soul: for, if it entertains any desire of its own independently of God, it will militate against the pleasure of the Lord. As He keeps inviolate the liberty of action conceded to man, He will permit it to lead man astray, as soon as he decides for himself without refer­ence to the direction of His Creator.
276 And since it is not proper that the endeavors of creatures in this mortal life should be miraculously gov­erned by Divine Power, God, in order that men might not advance false excuses, has implanted a law into their hearts and also constituted His Holy Church, in order that they might know the Divine Will and regulate their conduct in the fulfilling of it. Moreover, for additional security, He has appointed superiors and ministers in His Church, in order that hearing and obeying them, men might obey the Lord in them. All this security you, My treasured, possess in fullness, so that you should neither admit of any movement, thought, desire of your own, nor fulfill your own will in anything independently of the will and direction of him who has charge of your soul; for him the Lord sends to you, just as He sent Ananias to St. Paul. Moreover you are in a particu­lar manner obliged to this obedience, because the Most High looks upon you with a special love and grace and desires to use you as an instrument in His Hands, as­sists you, governs you, and moves you directly as well as indirectly through Me and His Holy Angels; and all this He continues to do faithfully, as is well known to you. Consider then, how much reason you have to die to your own desires and live only for the Will of God, and that it alone should give life to all your actions and operations. Cut short therefore all your reflections and self-reliance and remember, that, even if you should have the wis­dom of the most learned, the counsel of the most pru­dent, and the natural intelligence of the Angels, you could, with all this, know how to execute His Will far less perfectly than by resigning and leaving all to His Divine Pleasure. He alone knows what is suitable to you and seeks it with an eternal love; He chose your ways and governs you in them. Permit yourself to be guided by His Divine Light, without losing time in doing your duty; for in this delay lurks the danger of erring, and in My doc­trine lies all security and success. Write it in your heart and fulfill it with all your strength, in order that you may merit My intercession and, through it, to be brought near to the Most High. 
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 15
The Immortal Combat; How God defends us; the demons plot against the Queen and the Church
277 By the abundant testimony of Holy Scriptures and later, by the teaching of the holy doctors and masters of the spiritual life, the whole Catholic Church and all its children are informed of the malice and most vigilant cruelty of hell against all men in seeking to draw them to the eternal torments. From the same sources we know also how the infinite power of God defends us, so that, if we wish to avail ourselves of His invincible friend­ship and protection, and if we on our part make ourselves worthy of the merits of Christ our Savior, we shall walk securely on the path of eternal salvation. In order to assure us in this hope and to console us, all the Holy Scriptures were written. But at the same time we must exert ourselves, lest our hopes be made vain through want of our co-operation. Hence Sacred Scripture joins one with the other; for, having admon­ished us to throw all our care upon the Lord Who cares for us, we are admonished to: “Be sober and watch, because your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet 5:7&8)
278 These and other advices of Sacred Scripture are given both in general and for each one in particular. And although from them and from continued experience the children of the Church might arrive at a more definite and particular knowledge of the attacks and persecutions of the devils against all men; yet, because in their earth­liness and gross sensuality they are accustomed to attend only to what they perceive by the senses and never lift their thoughts to higher things, they live in a false se­curity, ignoring the inhuman and hidden cruelty with which the devils solicit and draw them to perdition and therein succeed. Men are ignorant also of the divine pro­tection by which they are surrounded and defended; and like ignorant persons, they neither give thanks for this blessing, nor pay any attention to their danger. Woe is to the earth, says St. John (Rev 12:12), because satan has come down to you with great the indignation of his wrath. This lamenting voice the Evangelist heard in heaven, where, if the saints could feel sorrow, they certainly would feel it for us on account of the hidden war, which our powerful, and mortally en­raged enemy wages against men. But although the saints cannot feel sorrow, they pity us for this danger; while we, sunk in a formidable lethargy and forgetful­ness, have neither sorrow nor compassion for ourselves. In order to rouse from their torpor those that read this history, I understand, that throughout the course of these revelations I have been enlightened concerning the hid­den schemes of malice concocted by devils against the Mysteries of Christ, against the Church and Her chil­dren. These I have described in many passages, particu­larly dilating upon some of the secrets of this terrible war against men, which the devils wage in order to draw us to their side. On this present occasion of the con­version of St. Paul, the Lord has shown to me this truth more openly, enabling me to describe and make known the continual combat and strife, which goes on, unperceived by our senses, between our Angels and the demons, and to make known the manner in which we are defended by Divine power, either through our Angels, or through the most Blessed Mary, or directly by Christ or the Omnipotence of God.
279 Of the altercations and contentions of the Holy Angels in defending us against the hellish envy and malice of devils the Holy Scriptures contain the most clear testimony, to which, for my purpose, it will suffice mere­ly to refer. Well known is what the holy Apostle Judas Thaddeus says in his epistle: that St. Michael contended with the devil against his design of making known the resting-place of the body of Moses, whom the Holy Archangel, at the command of God, had buried in a place concealed from the Jews. The devil wished to make it known, in order to tempt the Jews to fall away from the lawful worship into idolatry by inducing them to offer sacrifices at his sepulchre; but St. Michael op­posed the attempt of satan to reveal it. The enmity of the devil and his demons against man is as old as their disobedience against God; and, as said in the first part, their fury and cruelty, after they had come to know that the Eternal Word was to take flesh and to be born of that Woman clothed with the sun (Rev 12:1), are pro­portionate to their rebellious pride against God. Because the proud angel rejected these decrees of God and would not bow his neck in obedience, he conceived this hatred against God and His creatures. As he cannot vent it upon the Omnipotent, he executes it upon the works of His Right Hand. Besides this, possessing the nature of an angel, he resolves irrevocably and never ceases to strive after what he has once determined to attain; hence, al­though changing the means to attain his end, he never changes his will in regard to persecuting mankind. On the contrary his hatred has increased and will increase in proportion to the favors lavished by God upon the righteous and upon the holy children of His Church, and in pro­portion to the victories gained by the seed of that Woman, his Enemy, in whom God had threatened to crush his head, while he should be able to do no more than lie in ambush at Her heels (Gen 3:15).
280 Moreover, this fiend is a pure spirit and is not fatigued or ever in need of rest. Therefore he is so vigi­lant in persecuting us, that he commences the combat from the very first instant of our existence in the mother's womb and he does not abate his fury and strife against the soul until it leaves the body. The saying of Job is verified: that the life of man on earth is a war­fare (Job 7:1). This battle does not consist merely in our being born in original sin and therefore subject to the “fomes peccati” and the disorderly passions inclining us to evil; but, besides fomenting the continual battle within our own selves, the devil wages war against us on his own account, availing himself of all his own astute­ness and malice, and, as far as his power goes, of our own senses, faculties, inclinations and passions. Above all he seeks to make use of other natural causes to de­prive us of salvation together with our life. And if he does not succeed in this, he misses no chance of causing us damage or leading us into sin and robbing us of grace, even from the moment of our conception until that of our death. Hence so long must last also our defense.
281 All this, especially with the children of the Church, happens in the following manner. As soon as the devil suspects that the conception of a human body is to take place, he first notes the intention of the parents, and whether they are in the state of grace or not, or whether they have committed any excess in the act of generation; he studies also the complexion of the humors of their bodies, for ordinarily these humors influence also those of the body generated. The devils also take note of the particular as well as of the general natural causes and conditions of nature, which unite in bringing about the generation and the organization of the human body. From these different concurring elements of generation, the devils, with their vast experience, judge as much as possible of the complexion or inclinations of the one con­ceived and they are apt to lay out great plans for future action. If they fear good results, they seek to hinder as much as possible the last generation or infusion of the soul, waylaying the mother with dangers or temptations to bring about an abortion before the creation of the soul, which is ordinarily delayed 40 or 80 days. But as soon as they see God create or infuse the soul, the wrath of these dragons exerts itself in furious activity to prevent the creature from issuing to light, and from attaining Baptism, if it is to be born where this Sacra­ment can easily be administered. For this purpose they suggest and tempt the mothers to many disorders and ex­cesses, whereby the parturition is forced and a premature birth or the death of the child in the womb might be caused; for among Catholics and heretics, who still ad­minister Baptism, the demons content themselves with depriving children of Baptism and thus withholding them in limbo from the vision of God. Among pagans and idolaters they are not so solicitous, because among them damnation is in certain prospect.
282 Against their malign influence the Most High provides defense and protection in various ways. The most common is that of His vast and universal Provi­dence, which insures the proper effects of natural causes in their time, independently of the perversion or hindrance of the demons. For this is the limit set to their power. Otherwise, if God would give free scope to their implacable malice, they would overturn the whole world. The goodness of the Creator will not allow this, nor does He wish to deliver over His works or the government of inferior matters, much less that of men, to His sworn and mortal enemies. For the demons, in their scheme of the universe, hold the places merely of vile executioners; and even in this office they do no more than what is com­manded or permitted them. If depraved men would not join hands with these enemies, entertaining their deceits and by their sins meriting punishment, all nature would preserve the common order of cause and effect both in general and in particular; and there would be no occasion for such great misfortunes and losses among the faith­ful, in the diminution of crops, in contagious diseases, in sudden deaths, and in other devastations invented by the devil. All these and many other evils, happening even at the birth of children through vices and disorders, we merit ourselves by uniting with the demons for our own chastisement and by delivering ourselves over to their malice.
283 Besides this general providence of God for the protection of His creatures must be mentioned the par­ticular protection of the Angels, whom, according to David, the Most High has commanded to bear us up in their hands, lest we stumble into the slings of satan (Ps 91:12); and in another place of Holy Scripture, it is said, that He sends His Angels to surround us with His defense and free us from evils (Ps 34:7). This de­fense, like the persecution of the devil, commences from the womb in which we receive being, and continues until our souls are presented at the tribunal of God to be adjudged to the state merited by each one. At the moment in which a human being is conceived, the Lord com­mands the Angels to stand guard over it and its mother. Afterwards, at the right time, He assigns a particular Angel as its guardian, as I said in the first part of this history (Part I, 114). From the very beginning the Angels enter into violent combat with the demons for the protection of the souls committed to their care. The demons contend that they have jurisdiction over the creature, because it is conceived in sin, a child of male­diction, unworthy of grace and divine favor, and a slave of hell. The Angel refutes them by maintaining that it was conceived according to the laws of nature, over which hell has no power; that, if it is conceived in sin, it was due to its human nature, by default of the first parents and not of its own free will; and that, even if conceived in sin, God has created it to know, praise and serve Him, and, by virtue of His Passion, to merit eternal glory; and that these high ends are not to be frustrated by the mere will of the demons.
284 These enemies also argue, that in the begetting of the human being its parents had not the proper inten­tion or rightful purpose, that they committed excess and sin in the act of generation. This is the strongest argu­ment which the devils can advance for their right over human creatures yet in the womb; for without a doubt, sins make the child unworthy of Divine protection and justly hinder its conception. Yet, although this latter often happens and a number of human beings are con­ceived without ever seeing the light, ordinarily the Holy Angels prevent such a sad result. If they are legitimate children, the Angels allege, that the parents have received the Sacraments and blessings of the Church; likewise, that they have some virtues, such as having given alms, being kind, having practised some devotions or good works. The Holy Angels avail themselves of these things as powerful arms to ward off the devils and defend their charges.. Over illegitimate children the combat becomes more difficult; the enemy exercises a greater right, be­cause in the begetting of such children, wherein God has been so grievously offended, the enemies obtain a greater right and the parents justly deserve rigorous chastise­ment. Hence, in defending and preserving illegitimate children, God manifests His most liberal mercy in a special manner. The Angels base their arguments against the demon on this mercy, and that, after all, the children are the results of natural causes, as I have said above. If the parents have no merits of their own, neither any virtues, but are sullied by sins and vices, then the Holy Angels refer to the merits found in the forefathers of the child, in its brothers or relations; to the prayers of its friends and acquaintances, and that it is no fault of the child if the parents are sinners or have committed ex­cess in its generation. They also contend, that those children, if they live, may reach a high degree of virtue and holiness, and that the demon has no right to hinder them from arriving at the knowledge and love of their Creator. Sometimes God manifests to them His design of choosing them for some great work in the service of the Church; and then the defense of the Angels is most vigilant and powerful; but also the demons exercise greater fury in their persecution, being incited thereto by the greater solicitude of the Angels.
285 All these combats, and those we shall yet speak of, are spiritual, for they take place between pure spirits, the Angels and the demons, and are conducted by weapons appropriate to the Angels and to the Lord. The most ef­fective arms against the malign spirits are the Divine Truths and Mysteries of the Divinity and of the Most Holy Trinity, of Christ the Savior, of the hypostatic union, of the Redemption, and of the immense love with which the Lord, as God and man, seeks our eternal salvation; likewise the holiness and purity of most Holy Mary, Her mysteries and merits. All these sacraments they present in ever new aspects to the view of the demons, so that they are forced to understand and take notice of them through the activity of the Holy Angels and of God Him­self. And then happens, what St. Jacob says, that the devils believe and tremble (Jacob 2:19), for these truths terrify and torment them so much, that in order not to be obliged to take notice of them, they take refuge in deepest hell; and they are so tormented by their horror of the Mysteries of Christ, that they are apt to ask God to take away the knowledge and remembrance of the hypostatic union and other great wonders of Divine Love. Hence the Angels in their contentions with them often re­peat those words: “Who is like to God? Who is equal to Christ, the True God and Man, Who died for the human race? Who is to be compared to the most Holy Mary, our Queen, who was exempt from all sin, and gave Flesh and Bodily Form to the Eternal Word in Her womb, a Virgin before and after?”
286 The persecutions of the demons and the defense of the Angels continue at the birth of the child. At that hour the mortal hatred of this serpent exceeds itself, especially with those children who might receive Bap­tism; because he strives to hinder it by any means in his power. Hence the innocence of the infant cries loudly to the Lord in the words of Isaiah: “Lord, I suffer violence, answer for me” (38:14). For it seems, that the Angels, after the child has left the shelter of its mother's womb and is unable either to protect itself or to secure from its elders sufficient protection against so many perils, are filled with great anxiety and thus be­gin to solicit for it direct interference of God. Hence the care of the elders is very often supplemented by that of the Holy Angels, shielding the child in its sleep, when alone, and in other situations, in which many children would perish, if they were not protected by their Angels. All of us, who attain the happiness of receiving Baptism and Confirmation, possess in these Sacraments a most powerful defense against the attacks of hell; because through them we are marked as children of the Holy Church, being regenerated to justification as children of God and heirs of glory. The Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, and other virtues, adorn and strengthen us to good works, and we participate in the other sacraments and suffrages of the Church, wherein the merits of Christ and His saints, and all the other great blessings are ap­plied to us. If we would avail ourselves of these ad­vantages, we would vanquish the devil, and hell would have no part in any of the children of the Church.
287 But, O sad misfortune, that there should be so few who on arriving at the use of reason do not lose the grace of Baptism and join hands with the devil against their God! In view of this it would seem just, that we should be deprived and cut off from the protection of His Providence and of His Holy Angels. He however does not act thus: on the contrary, at the time when we begin to be unworthy of it, He meets us with greater kindness in order to manifest in us the riches of His infinite bounty. Words cannot describe what and how great are the as­tuteness and diligence of the devil in order to ruin man by inducing him to commit some sin, as soon as he comes to the years of discretion and the use of reason. For this they prepare from afar, seeking to accustom them to vicious actions during the years of their infancy; to present to their ears and eyes the example of evil conduct in their parents, their nurses, and older companions; to make the parents neglectful in counteracting this bad ex­ample. For in this tender age, like in soft wax on the unwritten tablet, all sensible impressions are deeply en­graved and thus afford devils an opportunity to move the inclinations and passions of the children; and it is well known, that men ordinarily follow these incli­nations and passions, unless prevented by special in­fluences. Hence these children, coming to the use of reason, will follow the bent of the inclinations and pas­sions in regard to sensible pleasures, with which their imagination and phantasy are filled. As soon as they fall into some sin, the devil immediately takes pos­session of their souls, acquiring new right and power for drawing them into other sins.
288 Not less active is the diligence and care of the Holy Angels to prevent such damage and defend us from the devil. They frequently inspire the parents with holy thoughts, urging them to watch over the education of their children, to catechize them in the Law of God, to enjoin upon them pious works and devotions, to with­draw from evil and exercise themselves in the virtues. The same good thoughts they instill into the children as they grow up, or according to the light given them by God as to His intentions with the souls. In conducting this defense they enter into great disputes with the de­vils; because those malign spirits allege all the sins of the parents against the children and likewise the wrong­ful actions of the children themselves; for if they are not guilty, the demons claim that their actions are the result of his own activity and therefore that he has a right to continue them in their souls. If the child, on coming to the use of reason, commences to sin, they put up a great fight to prevent the Good Angels from with­drawing them from evil. The Good Angels on their part allege the virtues of the parents and forefathers, and the good actions of the children themselves. Even if it were no more than that of having pronounced the Name of Jesus or Mary as taught them by their parents, they bring this as a defense as their having begun to honor the Name of their Lord and of their Mother; and likewise, if they practice other devotions, or know the Christian prayers and recite them. Of all this the Angels avail themselves as serviceable arms in our defense against the devil; for with each good action we rob the devils of some of the right acquired over us by original sin, and still more by actual sin.
289 As soon as man enters into the use of his reason the battle between devils and Angels becomes still more bitter; for whenever we commit some sin, the, dragon exerts all his powers to deprive us of our lives before we have time to repent and thus to seal our eternal damnation. In order that we may commit new crimes, he besets all our ways with slings and dangers peculiar to each one's state of life, and he overlooks none of us, although he does not tempt one as dangerously as the other. But if men would see into these secret work­ings of devils just as they happen, and if they could perceive the traps and pitfalls, which of their own fault they permit the devil to prepare for them, all would live in trembling and fear, many would change their state of life, or would refuse to enter upon it, others would forsake the positions, offices and dignities, which they now esteem so highly. But in ignorance of their risk, they live on in pernicious security; they do not know enough to understand or believe more than is evident to their senses and therefore they do not fear the hellish traps and pitfalls set for their ruin. Hence the number of fools is so great, and that of the truly prudent and wise so small; many are called and few are chosen; the wicked and the sinners are countless, while the virtuous and the perfect are very scarce. In proportion as anyone multiplies his sins, in that proportion the devil acquires positive rights over his soul, and if he cannot put an end to the life of his victim, he at least seeks to treat him as his vile slave. For he claims, that each day this soul becomes more his own, and that of its own will it so chooses; that therefore it cannot justly be snatched from his hands, nor deserve the assistance which it will not accept; that the merits of Christ should not be ap­plied to it, when it spurns them; that it should not bene­fit from the intercession of the saints, when it entirely forgets them.
290 By these and other pretenses, which cannot be all mentioned here, the devil tries to cut short the time of repentance for those whom he claims as his own. If he does not succeed in this, he tries to block the way of their justification; and his attempts are successful with many souls. But the protection of God and of the Holy Angels is not lacking to any of us and thus we are delivered from dangers of death by innumerable ways; and this is so certain that there is scarcely anyone, who could not verify it in the course of his life. They furnish us with ceaseless inspirations and warnings; they make us of all occasions and means available for our admonishment and exhortation. What is still more valuable, they defend us against the rabid fury of devils and set in motion against them all that the intellect of an Angel or of a Blessed Spirit can devise, and all that their power and their most ardent charity can command for our safety. All this is necessary many times for some souls and at times for all souls, who have delivered themselves over to the jurisdiction of devils and who use their liberty and their faculties only for such temerity. I do not speak of the pagans, the idolaters and heretics. These indeed, the Angels likewise defend and inspire to the practice of the moral virtues, which they afterwards use as arguments against the devils; but ordinarily the most they do for them is to protect their lives, in order that God, having allowed them so much time for their conversion, may be justified in His behavior toward them. The Angels also labor to prevent them from committing such great sins as the devils incite them to; for the charity of the Angels exerts itself, so that at least they may not incur such great punishments, as the malice of  devils seeks to fasten upon them.
291 Within the mystical communion of the Church however are fought the hardest battles between the Angels and devils, according to the different state of souls. All its members they commonly defend with the ordi­nary weapons furnished them by the sacramental char­acter impressed upon the soul in Baptism, by grace, by virtues, by the performance of good and meritorious works, by devotions to the Saints, by the prayers of the just, and by all the good movements Catholics may have during their life. This defense of the just is most power­ful; for since they are in grace and friendship of God, the Angels obtain a greater right against the demons, and thus they rout them by showing up the holiness and per­fection of these souls, which are so formidable to the powers of hell; and therefore this by itself ought to cause us to esteem grace beyond all creation. There are other lukewarm and imperfect souls who fall into sin and occasionally rise again. Against these, devils obtain more power to persecute them with their cruelty. But the Holy Angels strenuously exert themselves in their defense, so that, as Isaiah tells us (42:3); the brok­en reed may not be crushed, and the smoking flax be not entirely extinguished.
292 There are other souls so unhappy and depraved, that during their whole life after their Baptism they have not performed one good work; or if they have ever risen from sin, they have returned to it with such eager­ness, that they seemed to have renounced their God, liv­ing and acting as if they had no hope of another life, no fear of hell, no repentance for any of their sins. In these souls there is no vitality of grace, no attempt at true virtue, nor have the Holy Angels any good or avail­able grounds for their defense. The devils cry out: This soul at least is altogether ours, subject to our com­mands, and has no part in grace. They point out to the Good Angels all the sins, wickedness and vices of such souls, which of their own free will serve such evil mas­ters. What then passes between the Angels and devils is incredible and indescribable; because devils exert all their fury to prevent such souls from receiving in­spirations and helps. As they cannot resist the Divine Power, they seek at least with all their power to hinder them from attending or yielding to the call of heaven. With such souls ordinarily it happens, that whenever God Himself or through His Holy Angels sends them a holy inspiration or movement, these devils must first be put to flight and the soul snatched from their midst, lest these birds of prey immediately pounce upon and destroy the Holy Seed. This defense the Angels usually conduct with the words, which I have quoted above: “Who is like God, Who dwells on high? Who like Christ, at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father? Who is like the most Holy Mary?” together with other sayings, before which the infernal dragons take flight; sometimes they are thereby hurled back into hell, although, not abating in their fury, they again return to the conflict.
293 The hellish foes also strive with all their force to induce men to multiply their sins, in order that the measure of their sins may so much the sooner be com­plete and their time of repentance and of life may come to an end; for then the demons would be enabled to carry them off to eternal torments. But the Angels, who rejoice at the repentance of sinners (Lk 8:12), even though they may not be able to bring them to re­pentance, labor diligently to do away with occasions of sin and to lessen the number of sins or prevent them altogether. And when, with all their efforts, unknown to men, they cannot bring back the souls from sin, they resort to the intercession of the most Holy Mother of God, asking Her to be their Mediatrix with the Lord and lend Her aid in confounding the demons. In order to move Her merciful kindness the sooner, they induce the souls of sinners to practice some special devotion or perform some service in honor of the great Lady. Al­though it is true, that all good works performed in the state of sin are dead and very weak weapons against the devil, yet they always retain some remote appro­priateness, on account of the good end in view; and thus the sinner is less indisposed toward grace than without them. Moreover these good works, when presented by the Angels and especially by the Heavenly Mother, possess, in the Eyes of the Lord, a certain life, or the resemblance of it, altogether different from that given to them by the sinners; and therefore though He does not bind Himself to respond to them, He nevertheless does it on account of the One so asking.
294 In these different ways an infinite number of souls come out of their sinful ways and are snatched from the claws of the dragon; and as there are innum­erable souls who fall into such a dreadful state, that they need a powerful aid, the most Holy Queen interposes Hers, whenever the Angels fail in their defense. The demons are fiercely tormented by their own fury when­ever they perceive any sinner calling upon or remember­ing his Queen; since they know by experience how kindly She receives sinners and how readily She makes their cause Her own. Without hope or spirit of resist­ance the devils immediately give themselves up as foiled and vanquished. It often happens, when God desires to bring about some special conversion, that the great Queen Herself peremptorily commands the demons to withdraw from that soul and sink into the abyss, and Her commands are always obeyed. At other times, without such peremptory orders, God permits them to see the mys­teries, the power, and holiness of His Mother, and this new knowledge, filling them with consternation and con­fusion, puts them to flight. If the souls respond and co-operate with the grace obtained for them by the Heavenly Sovereign, they are freed from the attacks of the demons.
295 Yet though the intercession of the great Queen and Her power is so formidable to the devils and though the Most High confers no favor upon the Church or upon souls without Her, there are nevertheless many occasions in which the Humanity of the Incarnate Word Himself battles for us and defends us against the devil de­claring Himself openly with His Mother in our favor and annihilating and vanquishing the demons. So great is His love for men and for all that pertains to their welfare, that this happens not only when demons are made to feel directly the virtues of Christ and His merits through the operation of the Sacraments in the souls, but also when, in other miraculous conversions, He fills them with particular knowledge of one or more mysteries to their confusion and rout. Of such a kind was the conversion of St. Paul, St. Mary Magdalen and other saints; or whenever it is necessary to protect some Catholic kingdom, or the Church, from the treach­ery and malice of hell for their destruction. On such occasions not only His Sacred Humanity, but even the Infinite Divinity, armed with the Omnipotence of the Father, advances upon the demoniacal hosts, filling them in the above-mentioned manner with the knowledge of the Mysteries and of His Omnipotence, by which He overwhelms them and forestalls them in their real or intended conquests.
296 Whenever the Lord thus interposes such power­ful aid the whole infernal reign of confusion is terror­ized and stricken down into the hellish abysses for many days, giving forth howls of mournful despair and totally unable to move from their places until the Lord again gives them permission to rise. But as soon as they receive permission, they again issue forth with their former fury for the ruin of souls. Although it may not seem in har­mony with their pride and arrogance to enter into a new contest with the One, by Whom they have been over­thrown and vanquished, nevertheless their jealous fear lest we come to the enjoyment of God and their furious desire to prevent it, again prevail and urge them to con­tinue their persecutions to the end of our lives. I was made to understand, that if God were not so outra­geously misused in His Mercy, He would often interpose, even miraculously, His Divine Omnipotence in our be­half. Especially would He do this in defense of the Mystical Body of the Church and of some Catholic gov­ernments, bringing to naught the counsels of hell for the destruction of Christianity in our times. We do not merit this protection of the infinite power, because all are united in rousing the Divine Wrath and the whole world has joined hands with the infernal fiends, into whose power it has fallen on account of the blind and insane pursuit of evil rampant among men.
297 In the conversion of St. Paul this assistance of the Most High is openly manifest; for He had set him apart even in the womb of his mother, and chosen him as an Apostle and as a vase of election. Although his life before the persecution of the Church was a series of events, which deceived the demons just as he is de­ceived in many other souls, yet God watched him from the moment of his conception and regulated his natural character and the care of the Angels in his defense and protection. Hence the hatred of the devil and their de­sire of causing his death in the first years of his life increased. As they failed in this, and as they later saw him become a persecutor of the Church, they were solici­tous to preserve his life. When the Holy Angels found themselves powerless to withdraw Paul from the error, to which he had entirely dedicated himself, the powerful Queen entered the combat and made his cause Her own. Through Her, Christ and the Eternal Father interposed His Divine Assistance and snatched him from the grasp of the dragon. In one instant at the Apparition of the Lord, all the demons that accompanied St. Paul on the way to Damascus, were hurled to the abyss.
298 On that occasion the devil and his cohorts felt the lash of the Divine Omnipotence; filled with fear and consternation they for some days lay lifeless in the depths of the infernal caverns. But as soon as the Lord took away from their minds the remembrance of the Divine Mysteries, they began to breathe forth new wrath. The great dragon called together the rest and spoke to them: “How is it possible to rest, when everyday I see new injuries heaped upon me by this Incarnate Word and by this Woman, who conceived and bore Him as Man? Where is my strength? Where is my Power, and of what use is my fury and the triumphs which I gained over Him among mortals ever since God without reason cast me from the heavens to this abyss? It seems, my friends, that the Omnipotent intends to seal up the portals of these infernal regions and open up those of heaven, which would be the destruction of our reign and of all my coveted designs to drag to these torments the rest of mankind. If God, besides having redeemed men, works for them such miracles, if He shows them such love and seeks to draw them to His friendship by such powerful works of His Right Hand, they will permit them­selves to be overcome, even if they have the disposition of wild beasts and hearts of adamant. All will love and serve Him, if they are not more obstinate and rebellious than we ourselves. What soul can be so callous as not to be drawn to this God-Man, Who with such a tender love seeks its eternal glory? Saul was our friend, a willing instrument of my designs, subject to my will and com­mand, an enemy of the Crucified, and I had destined him for most cruel torments in this hell. In the midst of all this God suddenly snatches him from my hands, and by His Divine Power raises this insignificant creature of the earth to such high grace and favors, that we, his enemies, are astounded. What has Paul done to deserve such an exceeding good fortune? Was he not in my service offending his God? If God has been so liberal with him, what protection will He not lavish upon other less grievous sinners? And even if He does not convert them by such great miracles, He will gain them through Baptism and the other Sacraments, by which they can jus­tify themselves day by day. This example of God's mighty defense of the Church, at the time when I attempted to destroy it through Saul, will draw all the world to His Service. Is it possible that I should see vile human kind raised to the grace and happiness which I have lost, and that it should occupy the heaven from which I have been hurled? This thought torments me more furiously than the fires of hell. I am filled with a powerless rage against myself for not being able to destroy myself in my wrath. Would that God Himself would do it, instead of preserving me in these torments. But since this is not to be, tell me, my vassals, what shall we do against this so powerful God? Him we cannot injure; but in those whom He loves so much, we can avenge ourselves, because in them we can oppose His Will. And since my majesty is most offended and incensed against this Woman, our Enemy, who gave Him Human Nature, I wish to inaugurate new ways of destroying Her and avenging ourselves for having robbed us of Saul and cast us into these Abysses. I shall not rest until I shall have vanquished Her. For this purpose I resolve to execute all the plans formed against God and man after my fall from heaven. Come, all of you, to help me in my designs and to execute my will.”
299 Such were the words of exhortation addressed to the demons by the devil. Some of them answered: “Our captain and leader, we are ready to obey you, knowing how much this Woman, our Foe, oppresses and torments us; but it is possible that She by Herself without other aid may resist us, despising all our efforts and attacks, as we have seen on other occasions, when She showed Herself altogether our superior in strength. What She feels most, is to see us attack the followers of Her Son; because She loves them and is solicitous about them as a Mother. Let us raise a general persecution against the faithful, for we have at our service the whole of Juda­ism, now incensed against the New Church of the Cruci­fied; through the priests and Pharisees we may succeed in all our attempts against the faithful and thus vent our wrath against this hostile Woman.” The devil approved of this counsel and showed favors to the demons, who had given it. Thus agreed, they issued forth to destroy the Church by the hands of others, just as they had at­tempted it through Saul. Thence resulted what I shall relate further on, and also the battle of the most Holy Mary against the dragon and his hosts, wherein She gained such great victories for the Holy Church. To this battle I referred in Chapter 6 of the first part, and there stated, that I had reserved it for this place. Of it I shall speak in the next chapter. 

INSTRUCTION THAT THE GREAT QUEEN OF THE ANGELS GAVE ME

300 My daughter, by no power of human words will you in this mortal life ever succeed in describing the envy of the devil and his demons against men, or the malice, astuteness, deceits and ruses, with which in his wrath he seeks to bring them into sin and later on to the eternal torments. He tries to hinder all good works, and such as are performed he tries to minimize, or to destroy and pervert as to their merits. All the malice of which his own mind is capable, he attempts to inject into the souls. Against these attacks God provides ad­mirable protection if men will only co-operate and corres­pond on their part. Hence the Apostle admonishes them to walk carefully amid all these dangers and conflicts; not like the foolish, but as wise, redeeming their time; because the days of mortal life are evil and full of dangers (Eph 5:15). Again he exhorts them to be fixed and constant in good works, because their labor shall not be in vain before the Lord (1 Cor 15:58). The truth of this our enemy knows and dreads, hence he seeks with deepest malice to cause dismay in the souls at the commission of one sin, in order that they may ruin themselves by despair and leave off all good works; for thus would they throw aside the weapons with which the Holy Angels can defend them and do battle with the demons. Although these works in the sinner have not the life of charity or of merit for grace or glory yet they are very useful. Sometime it happens, that on account of the habit of doing good the divine clemency furnishes efficacious help for performing these works with greater fervor, or with sorrow for sins and true charity, by which the soul regains justification.
301 By all our good deeds as creatures we open up ways to the Blessed for defending us and for asking Divine Mercy to look upon us and snatch us from sin. The Saints also feel obliged to come to the assistance of those that sincerely invoke them in danger and that show them a special devotion. If the Saints in their charity are so inclined to favor men in the dangerous conflicts with the devils, you must not be surprised, my dear, that I am so merciful with the sinners who take refuge in My clemency; for I desire their salvation infinitely more than they themselves. Innumerable are those whom I have saved from the infernal dragon because of their devotion to Me, even though they have recited only one Hail Mary, or have said only one word in My honor and in­vocation. So great is My love for them, that if they would call upon Me in time and with sincerity, none of them would perish. But the sinners and the reprobate do no such thing; because the wounds of sin, not being of the body, do not distress them, and the oftener they are committed, the less regret or sorrow do they cause. The second sin is already like wounding a dead body which knows neither fear, nor defense, nor sensation.
302 The result of this torpid insensibility to eternal damnation, and to the deceits of the devils in fastening it upon men, is dreadful. Without knowing upon what they rest their false security, sinners are asleep and perfectly at ease as to their ruin, when they ought justly to fear and take heed of the swiftly approaching eternal death; or at least seek help by praying to the Lord, or to Me, or the saints. But even this, which costs them so little, they do not know how to begin, until the time, in which the conditions of their salvation can be realized, has, for many of them, passed away. If for some of them. I still procure salvation in the last agony, this privilege cannot be common to all. Hence are lost so many children of the Church, who in their ingratitude and foolishness despise the many and powerful helps given by the Divine Clemency in most opportune time. Therefore also it will increase their confusion, when they shall see, that, with the Mercy of their God, My own kindest wishes to save them, and the charity of the Saints before their eyes, they have robbed God of the glory of their conversion; and not afforded Me or to the Angels or Saints the joy of saving them in answer to their heartfelt invocation.
303 I wish, my daughter, to manifest to you still another secret. You already know, that My Son and Lord in the Gospel says: That the Angels have joy in heaven whenever any sinner repents and is con­verted to the way of life through his justification (Lk 15:10). The same happens when the righteous perform works of true virtue and merit new degrees of glory. Now that which happens among the heavenly inhab­itants in the conversion of sinners and in the increase of merit of the just, has a counterpart in what happens with devils at the sins of the just and the deeper falls of sinners; for no sin is committed by men, however small, in which devils do not take pleasure; and those that attend to the business of tempting mortals im­mediately give notice to the demons in the eternal dun­geons of their successes. There they enjoy them and record them for further use, both in order to press their claims before the Divine Judge, and in order that their greater dominion and jurisdiction over sinners according to the measure of the offense may be publicly known. In this manner they show their treacherous hate of men, whenever they succeed in deceiving them into sin by some momentary and apparent pleasure. But the Most High, Who is just in all His works, ordained that also the con­version of sinners and the good works of the just should redound to the torment of the envious demons, since they rejoice so much at the perdition of man.
304 This sort of chastisement therefore causes great torments to all the demons; because by it they are not only confounded and oppressed in their mortal hatred of men, but by the victories of the Saints and the conversion of sinners they are deprived of a great part of their power over those, whom they have drawn into sin by their plots. The new torments thus caused to them they seek to vent upon the damned in hell; and just as there is new joy in heaven at the repentance and good works of sinners, so, for the same reason, there arise new con­fusion and misfortune in hell at the good works of the honorable. On such occasions, amid howls of despair, the demons inflict new accidental torments upon all that live in those dungeons of dismay and horror. Thus heaven and hell are affected at the same time in contrary ways by the conversion and justification of the sinner. Whenever souls justify themselves through the Sac­raments, especially by a truly sorrowful confession, it often happens that the devils for a long time dare not appear before the penitent, nor for many hours even presume to look at him, if he himself does not again encourage them by losing divine favor and returning again to the dangers and occasions of sin; for then the demons quickly cast off the fear inspired by true repentance and justification.
305 In heaven there can be no sorrow or pain; but if there could be, then the saints would feel it on account of nothing in the world so much as to see the justified souls falling back and losing grace, and the sinner drawing away further or making it impossible for him to regain divine favor. Sin of its own nature is just as powerful to move heaven to sorrow and pain as repentance and virtue are to torment hell. Consider then in what dangerous ignorance men ordinarily live, depriving heaven of its joy in the justification of souls, hindering the external glory connected therewith, hold­ing up the punishment due to devils, and affording them on the contrary the joyful triumph of the fall and perdition of men. I desire that you, as a faithful and prudent servant, be guided by your higher knowledge, labor in compensating these evils. See that you always approach the Sacrament of Confession with fervor, esteem and veneration, and with a heartfelt sorrow for your sins; for this Sacrament inspires the dragon with great terror and he exerts himself diligently to hinder souls by his deceits, in order to cause them to receive this Sacrament lukewarmly, out of mere habit, without sorrow, and without proper disposition. He is so eager in this matter not only because he wishes to cause the loss of souls, but also to avoid the fierce torments of being oppressed and confounded in his malignity by the true penance and justification of his escaped victims.
306 Besides all this, my friend, I wish to remind you, that, although the infernal dragons are indeed the au­thors and masters of lies and although they deal with men only in order to mislead and ruin them by their de­ceits, yet these enemies, whenever in their meetings they confer among themselves in regard to misleading men, are forced to admit certain truths, which they know and cannot deny. They understand them, yet they communi­cate them to men, not in good faith, but obscured and mixed with their own errors and falsehoods for the promotion of their own malicious designs. Since you have in this chapter, and in the whole course of this history, laid bare so many of their counsels, meetings and secrets, they are highly enraged against you; for they flattered themselves, that these secrets and all their machinations would never come to the knowledge of men. Therefore they are furious to take vengeance upon you; but the Most High will protect you, if you call upon Him to crush the head of the dragon. Also plead for Divine Clemency, that these advices and instructions may help to undeceive men, and by the Divine Light redound to their benefit. On your own part seek faithfully to correspond, as being under greater obliga­tions to Him than all others living in the present age. For if, understanding their malice, you do not exert yourself to vanquish them with the assistance of the Most High and of His Holy Angels, your ingratitude and the triumph of hell will grow in proportion to the favors you have received.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 16
The demons new attempt to persecute the Church; Our Lady visits St. Jacob in Spain 
307 When the devil and the infernal chiefs, after the conversion of St. Paul, were plotting vengeance on the most Holy Mary and the children of the Church, as de­scribed in the last chapter, they did not know that the knowledge of this Great Queen and Mother of the World penetrated into those obscure and profound abysses of hell and extended to the most hidden secrets of their evil counsels. Thus deceived, the blood-thirsty dragons esteemed their victory and the full execution of their schemes against Her and the disciples of Her Son as most certain. But from Her retreat, the Blessed Mother with the clearness of Her heavenly science, knew of all their conferences and understood all the intrigues of these enemies of the light. She perceived all their aims and the means which they intended to use; their wrath against God and against Her, and their mortal hatred against the Apostles and the rest of the faithful. Although the most prudent Lady was well aware that the demons could execute none of their fury without the permission of the Lord, yet, as this conflict in mortal life is unavoidable and as She knew the weakness of men and their only too common ignorance of the demoniacal astuteness and malice intent on their perdition, She was filled with great solicitude and sorrow at the unanimous resolve of those jealous enemies for the destruction of the faithful.
308 In addition to this knowledge and to the charity directly drawn from the Lord, She was endowed with another kind of tireless activity, similar to that of the Divinity, which continues without interruption as one pure act. The most diligent Mother was ceaselessly actuated by Her love and solicitude for the glory of the Most High and the consolation and protection of Her children. At the same time She pondered in Her most pure heart upon the supernal mysteries, conferring the past with the present, and both with the future, and preparing for it with a more than human discretion and foresight. Her most ardent desire of the salvation of all the faithful and Her maternal compassion for their labors and dangers, compelled Her to estimate all their tribu­lations and perils as Her own and, as far as Her love was concerned, She desired to suffer them all Herself, if pos­sible, while the rest of the followers of Christ should labor in the Church without molestation, meriting in joyful peace, grace and life eternal for themselves and leaving to Her alone all sorrows and tribulations. Although this was not possible according to the equitable Providence of God, yet we stand indebted to Holy Mary for this extraordinary and wonderful token of love, and not unfrequently Her anxious and restless love merits for us great blessings, which the Omnipotent concedes in order to satisfy Her yearnings for our sal­vation.
309 She did not know on this occasion, what in particular were the resolves of the hellish foes in their conference; for She understood only in general, that their fury was directed against Her in a special man­ner. Divine Providence concealed from Her some of their designs, in order that the triumph She would gain over hell might afterwards be so much the more glorious. Nor was it necessary to prepare Her for temptations and persecutions, as was conceded to other faithful, whom She so excelled in high and magnanimous spirit, and of whose trials and tribulations She had a clearer knowledge. In all affairs, she resorted to prayer, consulting about them with God in pursuance of the example and teaching of the Lord. For this purpose She retired and, prostrating Herself in ad­mirable reverence and fervor upon the ground, thus be­sought Him:
310 “Most High Lord and Eternal God, Holy and In­comprehensible, behold here prostrate before You, Your humble handmaid and vile wormlet of the earth, suppli­cating You, Eternal Father, through Your Only Begotten Son and My Lord Jesus Christ. Do not despise My peti­tions and sighs, which from My inmost soul I present to Your immense charity in union with that which, derived from the furnace of Your own love, You have communi­cated to Your slave. In the name of all Your Holy Church, of Your Apostles and Your faithful servants, I present to You, O Lord, the Sacrifice of the Passion and Death of Your Only Begotten; that of His Sacramental Body, the most acceptable petitions and prayers He offered to You dur­ing the time of His mortal and passible Life, the love with which He assumed flesh for the Redemption of the world in My womb, His imprisonment there and His rear­ing at My breast; all this I offer in order to be permitted to ask You for that which You see is the desire of My heart.”
311 During this prayer the great Queen was raised in divine ecstasy, in which She saw Her Only Begotten at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father, asking Him to concede to His most Blessed Mother all Her petitions and representing to Him, that She was His true Mother, en­tirely pleasing to the Divinity and worthy of being re­ceived and heard in all Her prayers. She saw also, that the Eternal Father assented and was pleased with His request, and that looking upon Her, He said: “Mary, My daughter, ascend higher.” At this bidding of the Most High, an innumerable multitude of Angels of dif­ferent hierarchies descended from heaven, who surround­ed Her and raised Her from the earth on which She lay prostrate. They then bore Her up body and soul to the empyrean heaven and placed Her before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity, Which manifested Itself to Her by a most exalted, not intuitive, but imaginary vision. She prostrated Herself before the Throne and adored God in the 3 Persons with the most profound humility and reverence, at the same time thanking Her Divine Son for having presented Her petition to the Eternal Father and asking Him again to do so. The Divine Lord, at the Right Hand of His Father, acknowledging Her as His worthy Mother and the Queen of Heaven, would not forget the obedience He had shown Her on earth (Lk 2:51); but, in the presence of all the courtiers of heaven, renewed the acknowledgment of His filial obligations and again presented to the Father the wishes and prayers of His most Blessed Mother. And the Eternal Father answered in these words:
312 “My Son, in Whom My Will finds the plenitude of satisfaction, My Ears are attentive to clamors of Your Mother and My clemency is inclined toward all Her de­sires and petitions.” Then turning to the most Blessed Mary, He said: “My beloved Daughter, chosen from myriads according to My pleasure, You shall be the in­strument of My Omnipotence and the Treasure of My love. Let Your anxiety rest and tell Me, My Daughter, what you ask; for, toward Your desires and petitions, which are holy in My Eyes, My Will inclines.” Thus favored the Blessed Mary answered. “My Eternal Father and Most High God, Who are the Author and Preserver of the whole world, Your Holy Church is the object of My solicitude and prayer. Remember in Your kindness, that it is the work of Your Only Begotten, Who became man and acquired and planted it by His own Blood (Act 20:28). Anew the infernal dragon and all Your enemies, his allies, are raising up against it and are attempting the ruin and perdition of all Your faithful, who are the fruit of the Redemption of Your Son. Confound the evil councils of the ancient serpent and defend Your servants, the Apostles, and the other faithful of the Church. In order that they may be freed from the attacks and fury of these enemies, let them all direct their assaults against Me, if possible. I, My Lord, am only one poor creature, and Your servants are many: let them enjoy Your favors and Your peace, by which they advance Your exaltation and glory, and let Me suffer the tribulations, which threaten them. Let Me battle against Your enemies and You, by the power of Your Arm, shall overcome and confound their malice.”
313 “My spouse and My Beloved,” answered the Eternal Father, “Your desires are acceptable in My Eyes and I will grant Your petition as far as is possible. I shall defend My servants in what is proper and conducive to My glory, and permit them to suffer in what is necessary for their crown. In order that You may understand the secret of My wisdom, by which these mysteries are to be fulfilled, I wish to raise You to My throne, where Your ardent charity merits You a place in the consistory of Our great counsels and in the participation of Our divine attributes. Come, My Beloved, and You shall understand Our secrets for the government of the Church, its increase and progress; and You shall follow Your will, which is Ours, now about to be manifested to You.” By the force of these most sweet words Mary felt Herself raised to the Throne of the Divinity and placed at the Right Hand of Her Son to the admiration and joy of all the blessed, who recognized the Voice and the Will of the Almighty. And truly it was wonderful and new to all the Angels and Saints to see a Woman, in mortal flesh, called and elevated to the Throne and Council of the Most Blessed Trinity in order to be informed of the mysteries hidden to the rest and enshrined in the Heart of God for the government of the Church.
314 It would seem astounding, if in some city of this world some woman were called to the councils of the government, and still more surprising to introduce Her into the select and close circles, where the more difficult the important matters of the whole government are dis­cussed and transacted. Such a course would of right seem hazardous, since Solomon says, that in seeking truth and reason among men he found but one out of a thousand who followed it, and among women not one. On account of their natural frailty, there are so few of them who possess constancy and integrity of judgment, that ordinarily it is presumed in none, and if there are any, they are scarcely capable of managing affairs that are difficult of understanding and require deep insight, unless they are aided by other light beyond the ordinary and natural. This common law did not extend to our great Queen; for if on the one hand our mother Eve, in her ignorance, began by destroying the palace of this world built by God, on the other hand the most Blessed Mary, who was most wise and the Mother of Wisdom, rebuilt it and restored it by Her peerless prudence; and therefore She was worthy to enter into the Councils of the Most Holy Trinity where its restoration was to be planned.
315 There She was again asked what favors She requested and desired for Herself and for the whole Church, in particular for the Apostles and disciples of the Lord. The most prudent Mother repeated Her most fervent desires for the glory and exalta­tion of God's Holy Name, and for restriction of the persecution designed by the enemies of the Lord against the faithful. Although the 3 Persons of the Most Holy Trinity well knew all Her desires, yet they com­manded the great Lady to propose them, in order to elicit their approbation and delight and in order to make Her more capable of new mysteries of their Divine Wisdom and the predestination of the elect. To explain what has been shown me of this sacrament, I will say, that, be­cause the will of the most Holy Mary was most just, holy, and in all things pleasing and conformable to the Most Blessed Trinity, it seems (according to our way of under­standing such things) God could not will anything con­trary to this most pure Lady; for He was bent in the direction of Her holiness and was wounded by the hair and eyes of so beloved a Spouse (Song 4:9), and One so singular among all creatures; and since the Father looked upon Her as His Daughter, the Son as His Mother, and the Holy Spirit as His Spouse, and since all 3 had entrusted to Her the Church in fullest confidence, there­fore the 3 Persons did not wish to decree the exe­cution of anything without, as it were, consulting the wisdom and the pleasure of the Queen of all Creation.
316 In order that the Will of the Most High and of the most Blessed Mary might coincide in these decrees, it was necessary that the great Lady should first receive a new measure of science and insight into the most hidden counsels of His Providence, by which all the affairs of His creatures are arranged in weight and mea­sure (Wis 11:21) and all their means and ends in high­est equity and propriety. For this purpose the most Holy Mary received on this occasion a most clear insight in all that was to be done and preordained by Divine Power in the Church Militant. She saw the most hidden reason for all that was to be done; how many and which of the Apostles were to die before She should pass from this life; the labors they were to undertake for the Name of the Lord; the reason why all this should be so according to the secret judgments of God, and the pre­destination of Saints; and why they should thus shed their blood for the planting of the Church, just as the Lord and Redeemer had shed His for its foundation in His Passion and Death. She understood also how, through Her own compassion and sorrow at seeing the sufferings of the Apostles and followers of Christ, She could com­pensate Herself for not being allowed to take upon Her­self their sufferings as She desired; for this momentary labor could not be spared them, if they were to reach the eternal reward in store for them (2 Cor 4:17). To afford the great Lady an opportunity for this kind of merit, She was informed of the near death of St. Jacob and the imprisonment of St. Peter, but not of his liberation by an Angel. She understood also, that the Lord portioned out to the Apostles and the faithful that kind of suffering or martyrdom, which corresponded with each one's grace and strength of soul. 
317 In order to satisfy in all things the most ardent charity of this purest Mother, the Lord permitted Her to fight anew all the battles with the dragons of hell and gain over them victories and triumphs, which the rest of mortals shall never attain. By this means She was to crush their head and humble their pride, weakening their forces and breaking their strength, which they were mustering against the faithful. God renewed in Her all His gifts and participations in His Divine Attributes, and each of the 3 Persons gave Her His Blessings. The Holy Angels brought Her back to the Cenacle in the way as they had brought Her to the empyrean heaven. As soon as She found Herself recovered from Her ec­stasy, She prostrated Herself with Her face upon the ground in the form of a cross and with most tender tears and incredible humility thanked the Almighty for this new blessing conferred upon Her in answer to Her most humble petitions. For some time She conferred with Her Holy Angels concerning the mysteries and neces­sities of the Church in order to attend to its most press­ing needs. It seemed advisable to prepare and encourage the Apostles for coming trouble, since the common enemy was to direct his main battle against them. For this purpose She spoke to St. Peter, St. John and the rest in Jerusalem, advising them of many particulars, that were to happen to them and to the whole Church, confirming the report of the conversion of St. Paul and telling them of the zeal, with which he was preach­ing the Name of his Master and Lord.
318 To those Apostles and disciples, who were not in Jerusalem, She sent Angels, in order to notify them of the conversion of St. Paul and in order to prepare and encourage them with the same good counsels as those in Jerusalem. She sent a special angelic messenger to warn St. Paul of the intended assaults of the devil and to animate and confirm him with the hope of divine assist­ance in his tribulations. Obediently the Angels fulfilled all these errands with their accustomed rapidity, mani­festing themselves in visible forms to the Apostles and disciples. All of them were exceedingly consoled and en­couraged by these favors of the most Blessed Mary; and each one answered through the same envoys, sending humble acknowledgment and offering themselves to die for the honor of their Redeemer and Master. St. Paul especially showed his gratitude in his answer; for his desire of seeing and thanking his Protector urged him to demonstrate his devotion in a more fervent man­ner. He was at that time in Damascus preaching and disputing in the synagogues, although soon after he went to Arabia to preach; but from there he afterwards came to Damascus a second time, as I shall relate further on.
319 St. Jacob the great was farther away than any of the others. He was the first one to leave Jerusa­lem, and, having preached some days in Judea, he de­parted for Spain. For this journey he embarked at Joppe, which is now called Jaffa, in the year 35 in the month of August, called Sextilis, one year and 5 months after the Passion of the Lord, 8 months after the martyrdom of St. Stephen and 5 months before the conversion of St. Paul, all according to what I said in Chapters 11 and 14 of this last part. Sailing from Jaffa, St. Jacob touched at Sardinia and shortly afterwards arrived in Spain, disembarking at the port of Carthagena where he began his preaching. He tarried but a short time in Carthagena, and guided by the Spirit of the Lord, He took his way to Granada, where he was made aware that the harvest was bountiful and the occasion opportune for beginning his labors for his Master; and so it really turned out.
320 Before going farther I will state, that St. Jacob was one of the most intimate and beloved disciples of the great Queen of the world. Though he was related to Her, as was also St. John, his brother, not much of this predilection could be seen in Her exterior conduct, on account of the impartiality of the most prudent Lady, already referred to in Chapter 11. With regard to St. John the whole Apostolic College knew that the Lord had appointed him as the Son of His most pure Mother; therefore the most prudent Lady was not under such restrictions in regard to exterior tokens of love with St. John as She was with St. Jacob and the other Apostles. But interiorly the Blessed Lady loved St.Jacob with special tenderness, as I have already stated in Part 2, and She manifested it in extraordinary favors, conferred upon him during his life until his martyrdom. St. Jacob deserved these favors on ac­count of his special piety and affection toward Mary, distinguishing himself therein from all the rest. He needed the protection of the great Queen, because he was of a generous and magnanimous heart, and of a most fervent spirit, being resistlessly drawn on to offer him­self for labors and dangers. Hence he was the first one to go forth preaching the faith and the first of all the Apostles to suffer martyrdom. While on his missionary journeys he was indeed like the lightning flash, like the son of thunder, as he was called and designated by his brethren upon entering into the apostolate (Mk 3:17).
321 During his labors in Spain the demons raised up incredible persecutions through the unbelieving Jews. Nor were those of small import which he afterwards met in Italy and Asia Minor, where he had returned to preach and to suffer his martyrdom. This he under­went in Jerusalem, having in the few years of his apostolate traveled to many distant countries. As it cannot be my purpose to relate all that St. Jacob suffered in his extensive journeys, I will record only what concerns more closely this history. In general I have understood that the great Queen of Heaven watched over him with a special love, for reasons already stated, and that through Her Angels She defended and rescued him from many and great dangers, consoled him and comforted him many times, sending information and advice, such as he needed more particularly and oftener than the other Apostles during his short life. Many times also Christ our Savior sent Angels from Heaven to defend His great Apostle and to carry him from one region to another during his missionary travels.
322 During the time of his preaching in these Spanish kingdoms, the great Queen, besides many other tokens of Her love, twice favored St. Jacob by a personal visit in order to defend him in his tribulations and dangers. In Saragossa happened one of these visits or apparitions, which is no less certain than celebrated in the world and which cannot be denied without doing violence to a well-known fact, corroborated and witnessed by great mir­acles and the traditions of more than 1600 years. Of this I will speak in the next chapter. Of the other miraculous visit I do not know whether there is any record in Spain; for it happened not so publicly. As was revealed to me, it took place in Granada, and in the following manner. The Jews had in that city some synagogues, maintained there ever since the time of their first coming from Palestine to Spain; for, on ac­count of the fertility of the soil and the facility of com­munication with Palestine by sea, they could live there more comfortably. When St. Jacob came to preach in Granada, they were already informed of what concerned Christ our Redeemer. Although some of them desired to become acquainted with His doctrine and the grounds upon which it rested, yet others, the greater number, hav­ing been influenced by the devil not to believe, and to reject His teaching, would not permit His doctrines to be preached even to the heathens, as being contrary to the rites of the Jews and of Moses and as endangering Judaism, if once received by the gentiles. Stirred on by this diabolical deceit the Jews hindered the faith from spreading among heathens, who knowing Christ to be a Jew and seeing His own countrymen and co-religionists persecuting Him as a false deceiver, hesitated in becoming His adherents in the beginnings of the Church.
323 When St. Jacob therefore came to preach in Granada, the Jews commenced their opposition, proclaim­ing him as an adventurer, a deceiver, the author of false sects, an enchanter. St. Jacob brought 12 disciples with him, in imitation of his Master. As all of them persisted in preaching, the hatred of the Jews and of their followers increased, so that they wished to assassinate the disciples; and they really killed one of them, who in his ardent zeal had opposed the Jews. But as the holy Apostle and his disciples not only not feared death, but courted suffering for the Name of Christ, they continued to preach the faith with still greater zeal. Having thus labored for many days and converted many of the infidels of that city and province, the fury of the Jews rose to a higher pitch. They seized them all and led them forth bound and fettered beyond the city walls and there likewise chained their feet, for they considered them to be magicians and sorcerers who might otherwise escape. As their enemies made preparations to decapitate them all immediately, the holy Apostle ceased not to call upon the Most High and upon His Virgin Mother, praying as follows: “Most Holy Mary, Mother of my Lord the Redeemer Jesus Christ, extend Your favor in this hour to Your humble servant. Pray for me, sweet and kind Mother, and for these faithful professors of the faith. If it is the Will of the Most High, that we here give our lives for the glory of His Holy Name, ask, O Lady, that my soul may be received in His Presence. Remember me, most clement Mother, and bless me in the Name of Him Who chose You among all creatures. Receive in sacrifice my resig­nation to the misfortune of not seeing You, if this is to be the last day of my life. O Mary ! O Mary !
324 These last words St. Jacob repeated many times. But from Her oratory in the Cenacle, where She was favored by an especially clear vision, the great Queen heard all and saw what was passing with Her most be­loved apostle St. Jacob. Thus informed She was moved with tenderest compassion at the tribulation of Her servant and at his clamors. She felt still more sorrow at being so far away, and, as She knew that nothing is difficult to the divine power, She entertained the loving desire of helping and defending the Apostle in his dan­ger. As She knew moreover that this Apostle was to be the first to shed his blood for Her Divine Son, Her compassion became more vehement. But She did not ask the Lord or the Angels to bring Her to the place where St. Jacob then was; because Her admirable prudence prevented Her from making such a petition. For She knew that Divine Providence would need no such re­minder on Her part, nor fail in anything that was neces­sary. In asking such miracles, as long as She lived in the flesh, She exercised highest discretion and restraint always subjecting Her desires to the Will of the Lord.
325 But Her Son and true God, Who took notice of the wishes of such a Mother, knowing that they were holy, just and full of piety, immediately commanded the thousand Angels of Her guard to assist Her and fulfill the will of their Queen and Lady. They all manifested themselves to Her in human shape and told Her what the Most High had commanded. Without delay they placed Her upon a throne made of a beautiful cloud and carried Her to the field in Spain, where St. Jacob and his companions were awaiting martyrdom in their fetters. Their enemies had already bared their scimitars or swords to strike off their heads. The Apostle alone saw the Queen of Heaven in the clouds from which She spoke to him in most endearing terms, saying: “Jacob, My son and dearest friend of My Lord Jesus Christ, be of good heart and be blessed eternally by Him Who called and brought you to His divine light. Rise then, faithful servant of the Most High, and be free of your bonds.” The Apostle, as far as he had been able in his fetters, had prostrated himself upon the ground. At the words of the powerful Queen his fetters and those of his dis­ciples instantly fell and they found themselves free. The Jews, on the contrary, who stood with drawn weapons, all fell to the earth where they remained for some hours deprived of their senses. The demons, who had ac­companied them and stirred them on, were hurled to the profound abysses, thus leaving St. Jacob and his dis­ciples at liberty and giving thanks to the Almighty for this blessing. The Apostle most fervently thanked the Heavenly Mother with exceeding humility and in the jubilee of his soul. His disciples, although they did not see the Queen or Her Angels, understood the miracle and were informed by the Apostle of some of the particulars, by which they might be confirmed in faith, hope and devotion toward the most Blessed Mary.
326 The Heavenly Queen still more extended this favor; for She not only freed St. Jacob from imminent death, but wished all Spain to benefit from his preaching and instruction. From Granada She ordered him to continue his journeys, commanding 100 of Her Guardian Angels to accompany him and show him the way from one place to another, to defend him and his disciples from all dangers, and finally, after having trav­ersed all the provinces of Spain, to bring him to Saragossa. All this the Angels set about doing according to the orders of their Queen, while the rest brought Her back to Jerusalem. In such celestial company and guardianship St. Jacob traveled through all the Spanish realm, more securely than the Israelites through the desert. In Granada he left some of his disciples, who afterwards suffered martyrdom, and with the others and those he afterwards gathered, he continued his mission­ary tours in many parts of Andalusia. Then he came to Toledo, Portugal Galicia and Asturia. Af­terwards, making digressions to different places, he arrived in Rioja, thence, passing through Lograno, he went to Tudela and Saragossa, where happened what I shall relate in the next chapter. During his journeys, St. Jacob left disciples as bishops in the different cities of Spain, planting the faith and divine worship. So great and prodigious were the mir­acles he performed in this kingdom, that those of which we know must not appear extraordinary in comparison with those we know nothing of, since these are much more astonishing. The fruit of his preaching in Spain was immense in proportion to the shortness of his stay; and it would be a great error to say or think, that the conversions he made were few, for in all the places reached by him, he established the faith and ordained many bishops for the government of the children he en­gendered to Christ in this kingdom.
327 In concluding this chapter I wish to state, that by different means I was made acquainted with the many contrary opinions of ecclesiastical historians concerning the things which I am describing; as for instance, con­cerning the departure of the Apostles from Jerusalem for the purpose of preaching the faith, the partition among them of the world by lot, the establishing of the Creed, the departure of St. Jacob and his death. About all these and other events, I understand, writers differ very much in assigning the years or dates of their hap­pening and in harmonizing them with the text of the canonical writings. But I have no commission from the Lord to clear up these and other doubts, or decide the controversies. From the very beginning I have said, that the Lord commanded me to write this history without regard to opinions, and without mixing up my certain knowledge with opinions. If what I write follows nat­urally and does not contradict in any way the sacred text, and at the same time maintains the dignity corresponding to the matter, I cannot undertake to add to the authen­ticity of this history, and Christian piety will ask for no more. It is also possible that, by proceeding in this manner, some of the differences of historians may be made to harmonize, and to this the well-read and the learned will attend.

INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN.

328 My daughter, the miracle of My being raised by the divine power to the sovereign throne of God in order that I might be consulted in the decrees of His Divine Wisdom and Will, as described by you in this chapter, is so great and extraordinary, that it exceeds all the ca­pacity of man in this mortal life, and only in eternal glory and in beatific vision men shall recognize this sacrament with a most special joy of accidental glory. As this blessing and wonderful privilege was the effect and the reward of the most ardent charity with which I loved and do love the Highest Good, and of the humility by which I considered Myself as His slave, and as these virtues truly raised Me to the throne of the Divinity and established Me there even while yet in mortal flesh, I wish you to have a more intimate knowledge of this mystery, which without a doubt was one of the most exalted wrought in Me by the Divine Omnipotence and which excited the greatest wonder in the Angels and Saints. Your own admiration I wish you to turn into a most vigi­lant care and into a most lively desire of imitating Me and in following Me in the virtues, by which I merited such favors.
329 Remember then, My treasured one, that not only once, but many times was I raised to the throne of the Most Holy Trinity in mortal flesh during the time which inter­vened from the Descent of the Holy Spirit to My Assump­tion to eternal glory. In what still remains for you to write of My life, you will understand many other secrets connected with this privilege. And every time the Right Hand of the Most High showed me this favor I experienced most copious effects of graces and gifts, according to the different ways of Divine Omnipotence and according to My, as it were, ineffable and boundless capacity of participating in divine per­fections. Sometimes in conferring upon Me these favors the Eternal Father said to Me: “My Daughter and Spouse, Your love and fidelity bind Us to You more than to any other creature and fill Us with the plenitude of satisfac­tion. Ascend to Our Throne, so that You may be absorbed in the abyss of Our Divinity and hold in this Trinity the 4th place, as far as is possible to a mere creature. Take possession of Our glory, the treasures of which We place in Your hands. Yours are the heavens, the earth and all the abysses. Enjoy in this mortal life all the privileges of the blessed more fully than all the Saints. Let all the nations and creatures, whom We have called into existence, serve You; let the powers of heaven obey You, let the supreme Seraphim be subject to You and let all blessings be Your own in Our Divine Consistory. Be enlightened as to the great counsels of Our wisdom and Divine Will and take part, in Our decrees, since Your will is most equitous and faithful. Penetrate into the reasons for whatever We resolve in Justice and Holiness; and let Your will and Your motives be one with Ours in whatever We provide for Our Holy Church.”
330 In such ineffable condescension the Most High governed My will, that He conformed it entirely to His own and that nothing was done in the Church without My decision, which was to be conformable to that of the Lord Himself, since He knew the appropriate reasons and motives for each of the decrees of His Eternal Coun­sels. I saw that it was not possible for Me according to the common law to suffer all the labors and tribulations of the Church and especially not of the Apostles, as I had desired. This charitable desire, though it was im­possible of execution, was not a deviation from Divine Will, but was given to Me by God as a token and witness of the boundless love with which I loved Him; for it was on account of the love of the Lord toward men, that I desired to take upon Myself the labors and sufferings of all men. And because on My part this love was true and My heart was prepared to fulfill this charity, and as I truly grieved not to be able to suffer for all, therefore it was so acceptable in the Eyes of the Lord and He rewarded it as if I had really fulfilled it in deed. Hence arose My compassion for the martyrdom and tor­ments of the Apostles and the others persecuted for Christ; in all of them and with all of them I was afflicted and tormented, and in some measure died their death. Such was the love I had for My faithful children; and, with the exception of suffering, it is the same now, although Christians do not suspect or know how much My charity deserves their gratitude.
331 I received these ineffable blessings from the Right Hand of My Divine Son at the time when I was raised from the world and placed at His side, partaking of His exaltation and glory in the full measure possible to a mere creature. The hidden decrees and sacraments of Infinite Wisdom were first made manifest to the Most Holy Humanity of My Lord, which, being united to the Eternal Word, was the admirable medium of the Divinity. Through this humanity in another manner, they were communicated to Me; for the union of His Humanity with the Word is immediate and substantial and hence it participates intrinsically of the Divinity and of its de­crees, in a manner corresponding to the substantial and personal union. I however partook of this favor by another wonderful and unexampled process, considering that I was a mere creature and not having the divine nature; in a manner similar to the most holy humanity and as one, who, next to the God-Man, was closest to the Divinity. You can not at present understand more or penetrate deeper into this mystery. But the blessed understood it, each one according to his degree of heavenly science; and all of them understood this con­formity and similitude of Myself with My Divine Son, as well as the difference between Me and Him. All of this was, and is now, to them a motive for new canticles of glory and praise of the Omnipotent; for this was one of the great wonders wrought in Me by the powerful Right Hand of God.
332 In order that you may increase the force of your holy affections and desires as well of nature as of grace, although they may not be within the possibility of execution, I will reveal to you another secret. It is this: when I perceived the effects of the Redemption in the justification of souls by the operation of grace through contrition, or through Baptism and the other Sacraments, I conceived such an esteem for them, that I was filled with a holy emulation and desire to participate in their effects. As I had no sins of which I could be cleansed and justified, I could not partake of their effects in the same degree as the sinners who received them. But because I wept over their sins more than they all, and as I thanked the Lord for these blessings so liberally conferred upon them, I gained more graces than were necessary to justify all the children of Adam. So much the Most High per­mitted Himself to be indebted to My works and such was their merit of grace in the Eyes of God.
333And now, My daughter, consider under what ob­ligations you are, after being informed and enlightened concerning these great and venerable secrets. Let not these talents lie idle, nor waste or despise such great blessings of the Lord.  Follow Me in perfect imitation of all My endeavors manifested to you. In order that you may nourish the Flame of Divine Love, ceaselessly bear in mind how My Most Holy Son and I in this mortal life sighed and ardently yearned for the salvation of all the children of Adam and wept over the eternal perdition incurred by so many in their deceitful and counterfeit pleasures. In this charitable zeal, I wish you to distin­guish yourself very much, as My daughter and disciple, and as a most faithful spouse of My Son, Who delivered Himself to the Death of the Cross on this very account. For if the force of this love did not take away My life, it was because the Lord miraculously preserved it; and this is the love which placed Me upon the Throne of God and made Me partaker of the counsels of the Most Blessed Trinity. If you, My dear, shall be as diligent and fervent in imitating Me and as anxious to obey Me, as I expect of you, I assure you of a participation in the fa­vors shown to My servant Jacob; I will hasten to your aid in your tribulations; I will govern you, as I have so often promised you; and more than this, the Most High will be more liberal with you than all your highest wishes can ever hope to compass.
CITY OF GOD     THE CORONATION     BOOK 1
CHAPTER 17
Another Persecution; Our Lady Moves To Ephesus; Then Visits St. Jacob In Spain
334 In Acts 8, St. Luke narrates the persecution incited by hell against the Church after the death of St. Stephen. He calls it a great persecution, because, through the zealous efforts of St. Paul before his conversion, the infernal dragon succeeded in raising it to highest pitch. Of this persecution I have spoken in the 12th and 14th chapter of this part. But from what I have said there, it will be understood that this enemy of God did not rest or consider himself so completely overcome, as not to venture new battles against the Church and the most Blessed Lady. From what St. Luke himself says in Acts 12 concerning the imprisonment of St. Peter and Jacob by Herod, it is clear that this perse­cution began anew after the conversion of St. Paul, not even considering his express statement, that Herod sent soldiers to afflict some of the faithful of the Church (Acts 8:1). In order that what I said and will say may be better understood, I repeat, that these persecutions were all plotted and set in motion through the demons, by incit­ing certain malicious men. And because Divine Providence at times gave the demons this permission, and at others withdrew it, casting them into hell, as at the conversion of St. Paul and at other occasions, it naturally happened, that the primitive Church sometimes enjoyed peace and tranquility, at other times, when this truce was again broken, it was molested and afflicted; and this is the lot of the Church in all ages.
335 Peace was favorable to the conversion of the faithful, and persecution increased their merit and prac­tice of virtues; and this kind of variation was ordained, and will always be maintained, by Divine Providence. Hence, after the conversion of St. Paul, the Church en­joyed some months of peace, namely, from the time when satan and his demons were hurled vanquished into hell until their return to the earth, of which I will speak directly. Of this time of tranquility St. Luke speaks in Acts 9 where, after relating the conversion of St. Paul, he says, that the Church had peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and that it increased and walked the way of the Lord in consolation of the Spirit. Although the Evangelist mentions this after speaking of the coming of St. Paul to Jerusalem, yet it occurred long before; for St. Paul's coming to Jerusalem happened more than 5 years after his conversion and St. Luke, in writing his history, mentions this coming of St. Paul to Jerusalem before mentioning his conversion, as is the case with many events in the Evangelists, who were in the habit of anticipating historical facts in order to finish and illustrate their present point; for they did not intend to write the history of all the events, although in the main they did follow the course of events according as they happened.
336 This being understood and following up what I said in Chapter 15 concerning the hellish meeting called by satan after the conversion of St. Paul, I wish to say, that this conference lasted for some time and the infernal dragon with his demons promoted diverse schemes and resolved on different measures for the de­struction of the Church and for the possible debasement of the great Queen from Her high state of reputed holi­ness. But the serpent's ignorance about Her was incom­parably greater than his knowledge. The days of peace enjoyed by the Church being past, the princes of darkness issued forth from the abysses in order to execute their malicious designs fabricated in the infernal dungeons, and at the head of them all came forth satan. It is worthy of attention, that so great was the fury and indig­nation of this blood-thirsty beast against the Church and the most Blessed Mary, that he brought with him from hell more than 2 thirds of his demons for this enter­prise and without doubt he would have emptied hell of all its demons, if a part had not been necessary for the torture of the damned souls. For not only are the damned ceaselessly burning in the fires lighted by Divine Justice, but this dragon never permits the absence of all the demons to relieve them of the sight and companion­ship of their tormentors. Though the devil is so ravenous for the destruction of mortals on earth, he is just as unwilling to grant any relief to the damned in hell, and therefore he will never entirely empty it of the demons. Such an impious, cruel and inhuman master the un­fortunate sinners on earth continue to serve!
337 The holiness of the Blessed Mother, the divine favor and protection lavished on the faithful as exhibited in St. Stephen and St. Paul, and all the other events after the Death of the Savior, which all came to the knowledge of the dragon, had raised his wrath to the highest and to inconceivable pitch. Therefore he took up his seat in Jerusalem personally to erect his batteries against the very stronghold of the faith and in order to direct the operation of all the infernal squadrons; for the demons preserve order among themselves only for the purpose of warfare against men, while in all the rest they are full of discord and confusion. The Most High has never permitted full sway to their envy, for in one moment they would overturn and destroy the whole world; but He gave them a limited freedom, in order that by affliction the Church might take deep roots in the blood and the merits of the Saints and so that in persecu­tion and torments might be manifested the Wisdom and Power of the Navigator directing this little ship of the Church. Immediately satan commanded his satellites to scour the whole earth in order to find out where the Apostles and disciples were preaching the Name of the Lord. The dragon in Jerusalem sought the localities most remote from the places consecrated by the Mysteries and the Blood of the Lord; for he and all the demons dreaded these spots and the nearer they approached, the more they felt themselves weakened and oppressed by Divine Power. These effects they feel to this day, and will feel to the end of the world. Sorrowful it is indeed, that this sanctuary of the faithful, on account of the sins of men, is now in the hands of pagans; and happy are the few children of the Church who are within its precincts, such as the sons of our great father and re­storer of the Church, St. Francis!
338 Through the information brought by his demons, satan learned the condition of the faithful in all the places where the faith of Christ was being preached. He issued new orders for the persecution of Christians, assigning more or less powerful demons according as he thought it necessary against the different Apostles, disciples or followers of the faith. Others he appointed as messengers to furnish him with accounts of what was happening, or to transmit his orders for conducting the warfare against the Church. The devil also pointed out to his demons unbelieving, perfidious, evil-minded and depraved men, whom they were to excite and provoke to envious wrath against the followers of Christ. Among these were Herod and many Jews, who abhored the Cruci­fied and wished to blot out His very Name from the land of the living (Jer 11:19). They also availed themselves of the gentiles that were most depraved and most given to idolatry. They selected, both from the ones as from the others, the worst and most perfidious to act as helpers and instruments of their malice. In this way they began the persecution of the Church, and they continued in succeeding ages to use similar diabolical arts for the ruin of virtue, of the fruits of the Redemption and the Blood of Christ. In the primitive Church the infernal dragon caused great havoc among the faithful, overwhelming them with diverse kinds of tribulation, not recorded or known to us; although we know, that what St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews says of the persecution of the ancient Saints, was repeated in the Saints of the New Testament. In addition to these exterior persecutions, the demons afflicted all the righteous, the Apostles, disciples and believers with hidden temptations, suggestions, illu­sions and malicious promptings, as he continues to do now with all those who desire to walk in the divine law and follow Christ our Redeemer and Master.
339 But nothing of all this was hidden to the great Mother of Wisdom, because in the clearness of Her emi­nent knowledge, She perceived all the secrets of hell, that were hidden to the rest of men. Although blows and wounds, when they find us prepared, are apt to cause us less damage, and although the most prudent Virgin was so well fortified against the coming troubles of the Holy Church that She could not be surprised by them, yet, as they concerned the Apostles and the faithful whom She loved from Her inmost soul, the prospect of these afflictions wounded Her most tender heart and filled Her with sorrow in proportion to Her almost boundless char­ity. It would have deprived Her of life many times, if, as I have often said, the Lord had not wonderfully pre­served it. And in truth, all righteous souls, who are perfected in divine love, would be moved at seeing the wrath and fury of such a host of demons, so vigilant and astute, exerted against the few faithful in their needy and frail condition and burdened with so many miseries of their own. In consideration of their danger, the most Blessed Mary forgot all that concerned Herself and was ready to undergo any possible suffering for the protection and consolation of Her children. She multiplied Her sighs and tears, Her exertions and prayers, for their safety. She sought to fortify and encourage espe­cially the Apostles and disciples by renewing Her counsels and exhortations. Many times She restrained the demons by Her sovereign commands as Queen, and snatched from their claws in­numerable souls, whom they were deceiving and pervert­ing, and thus She rescued them from eternal death. At other times She prevented great cruelties intended for the ministers of Christ; for the devil sought the life of the Apostles, as he had already done before through Saul. All this happened likewise to the disciples, who were preaching the faith.
340 Though the Heavenly Queen preserved Her in­terior peace and tranquility and Her exterior equanimity and serenity, yet Her compassionate anxiety and maternal solicitude failed not to reveal, in some measure, the sorrow of Her heart in Her coun­tenance. And as St. John attended upon Her with the watchful devotion of a son, the slight change in Her appearance could not remain concealed from the eagle eyes of this seer. He was deeply afflicted, and having in vain battled with his anxiety, he sought  enlightenment from the Lord saying: “My Lord and God, Savior of the world, I acknowledge my indebtedness to You for having, without my merits and out of pure condescension, given Her to me as a Mother, who is Your own; who conceived You, bore and nursed You. Through this blessing I am made rich and pros­perous in the possession of the greatest Treasure of heaven and earth. But without Your Royal Presence Your Mother, my Mother, is forsaken and alone, and for it neither men nor angels can compensate, much less I, a vile worm and a slave. My God and Savior of the world, I now see Her sorrowful, who gave You human form and who is the joy of Your people. I desire to con­sole Her and alleviate Her grief, but I find myself in­capable of doing it. Reason and love urge me on; but reverence and my frailty prohibits it. Give me, O Lord, light and spirit for doing what will please You and serve Your Mother.”
341 After this prayer the Saint debated with himself for some time, whether he should ask the great Queen of Heaven concerning Her sorrow or not. On the one side his love urged him thereto, on the other he was restrained by his holy fear and reverence for Her. He approached the door of Her oratory 3 times, and was as many times withheld by his reverence from asking the question. The Heavenly Mother knew all that St. John was doing and what passed through his heart. Out of respect for him as a priest and minister of the Lord, She thereupon rose from Her prayer and sought him out saying: “Master, tell me what you ask of your serv­ant.” I have already stated, that the Lady called the priests and ministers of Her Son “masters.” The Evan­gelist was consoled and encouraged by this advance and with some hesitation answered: “My Lady, my office and desire of serving You has caused me to notice Your sorrow and I am troubled at Your suffering, which I am anxious to alleviate.”
342 St. John added no more words; but the Queen knew his desire to be informed of Her trouble, and in promptest obedience She fulfilled his wishes as those of Her superior, even before he should express them. Most holy Mary turned to the Lord and said: “My God and Son, You have wished Your servant John to take Your place as My companion and attendant, and I have re­ceived him as My prelate and superior, whose will and desire, as soon as they become known to Me, I wish to obey in order that I, Your humble servant, may live and be governed by Your obedience. Give Me permission to tell him of My anxiety according to his wish.” She felt at once the fiat of the Divine Will and falling on Her knees at the feet of St. John, She asked his blessing and kissed his hands. Having asked his permission to speak, She said: “My master, the sorrow of My heart is well founded, for the Most High has shown to Me the tribulations which are to come over the Church, and the persecutions, which all its children, especially the Apos­tles, shall suffer. In preparation and for the execution of this wickedness in the world, I have seen the infernal dragon with innumerable hosts of evil spirits issuing forth from the caverns of the abyss, all filled with im­placable wrath and fury for the destruction of the Church. This city of Jerusalem will be the first and foremost in their assault. In it one of the Apostles will meet his death, and others will be imprisoned and afflicted at the instigation of the devil. My heart is filled with compassion and sorrow at the opposition of these enemies to the exaltation of the Holy Name of God and to the salvation of souls.”
343 Thus informed the Apostle was likewise aggrieved and somewhat troubled. But strengthened by Divine Grace, he answered the Queen saying: “My Mother and Lady, Your wisdom cannot ignore that the Most High will draw great fruits for His Church and for His faithful chil­dren from these trials and tribulations, and that He will assist them in their affliction. We Apostles are prepared to sacrifice our lives for the Lord, Who has offered His own for the whole human race. We have received great blessings and it is not just that they remain idle and useless. When we were little ones in the school of our Teacher and Lord, we behaved like children. But since He has enriched us with the Holy Spirit and enkindled in us the fire of love, we have lost our cowardice and desire to walk The Way of the Cross, taught us by His doctrine and example. We know that the Church is to be established and preserved by the blood of its min­isters and children. Pray for us, my Lady, that by Divine Power and Your protection, we gain the victory over our enemies and that, for the glory of the Most High, we triumph over all of them. But if this city of Jerusalem is to bear the brunt of the persecution, it seems to me, My Lady, that You should not await it here, lest the fury of hell, by inciting the malice of men, attempt some indignity to the Tabernacle of God.”
344 The great Queen and Lady of heaven, full of love and compassion for the Apostles and all the other faithful, and spurning all fear, would rather have stayed in Jerusalem, in order to visit, console and encourage all in their impending tribulation. But this preference, though so holy, She did not make known to St. John; for, as it was the choice of Her heart, She preferred to disregard it and yield in humble obedience to the wishes of the Apostle, whom She held as Her prelate and su­perior. In this subjection, giving no direct answer, She thanked the Evangelist for his courageous desire of suffering and dying for Christ; and, as for departing from Jerusalem, She told him to command and dispose as he thought fit; for She would obey him in all as his subject and would ask the Lord to guide him by His Divine Light according to His Glory and Pleasure. On getting this consent of the Blessed Mother, (affording us such a great example and reprehending so much our disobedience), the Evangelist proposed to go to Ephesus, as the confines of Asia Minor. In suggesting this jour­ney to the most Holy Mary, he said: “My Lady and Mother, in order to leave Jerusalem and seek occasion to labor for the exaltation of the Name of the Most High, it seems best for us to retire to the city of Ephesus, where You can bring forth the fruits of faith, which are not to be expected in Jerusalem. Would I were one of the Angels, who assist at the Throne of the Blessed Trinity, so as to serve You worthily in this journey; but I am only a vile worm of the earth. The Lord however will be with us, and You shall have Him a propitious Helper as Your God and Your Son.”
345 Having resolved upon this journey, the necessary notice and advice was yet to be given to the faithful in Jerusalem. The great Lady therefore retired to Her oratory and prayed as follows: “Most High and Eternal God, this humble handmaid prostrates Herself before Your Royal Presence and from My inmost heart I implore You to direct and guide Me in Your greater Pleasure and Good Will. I will make this journey in obedience to Your servant John, whose will shall be as Your own. It is not just that Your handmaid and Mother, who has been so favored by the Right Hand, should take any step which is not for the greater glory and exaltation of Your Holy Name. Attend, O Lord to My desires and prayers, in order that I may act most appropriately and justly.” Then the Lord answered Her and said: “My Dove and dearest Spouse, I have ordained this journey for My greater pleasure. Obey John, and go to Ephesus; for there in due time I wish to manifest My clemency to some souls through Your mediation and presence.” By this answer of the Lord the most Blessed Mary was con­soled in the knowledge of the Divine Will, and She asked the Lord for His blessing and for permission to prepare for Her departure at the time set by the Apostle. Full of the fire of charity She was inflamed with the desire of promoting the good of souls in Ephesus, of which the Lord had given Her hopes. I will now relate, how the most Blessed Mary, in obedience to Her Son's, our Savior's, Will, came to Saragossa in Spain to visit St. Jacob, in what year and day this happened, and what took place on this occasion.
346 All the solicitude of our great Mother and Lady was centered upon the increase and spread of the Holy Church, the consolation of the Apostles, disciples and the other faithful, and in defending them from the persecutions and assaults prepared by the infernal dragon and his hosts. In Her matchless charity, before She departed from Jerusalem to take up Her abode in Ephesus, She ordered and arranged many things, both by Herself and through Her Holy Angels, in order, as much as possible, to provide all that seemed proper for the needs of the Church in Her absence; for at that time She had no knowledge of the duration of Her so­journ or of Her return to Jerusalem. The most effec­tual service She could render to the faithful was Her continual prayer to secure the assistance of the infinite power of Her Son for the defense of the Apostles and the faithful against the proud and vaunting schemes of the devil's wickedness. The most prudent Mother knew, that among the Apostles Jacob would be the first one to shed his blood for Christ our Savior, and because She loved him in a special manner, as I have stated above, She offered up more particular prayers for him than for the other Apostles.
347 While the Heavenly Mother continued in these prayers, on one of the days, the 4th before leaving for Ephesus, She felt in Her pure heart new and sweetest affections, as was usual, when She was about to receive some signal favor. They are called Words of the Lord in the language of Holy Scriptures. Respond­ing to them, the most Blessed Lady said: “Lord, what do You command Me to do? What do You desire of Me? Speak, O Lord, for Your handmaid hears.” Repeating these words She saw Her Divine Son, descending in person to visit Her, seated upon a throne of ineffable majesty and accompanied by innumerable Angels of all the heav­enly choirs and hierarchies. With all His court the Lord entered the oratory of His most Blessed Mother, and the humble and devout Virgin worshipped Him in deepest reverence from the inmost of Her purest soul. Then the Lord spoke to Her saying: “My most beloved Mother, of whom I have received human being for the salvation of the world, I am attentive to Your petitions and holy desires and they are pleasing to Me. I shall defend My Apostles and My Church, and I shall be their Father and Protector, so that it shall not be overcome nor the gates of hell prevail against it (Matt 16:18). As you already know, it is necessary for My glory, that the Apostles labor with My Grace, and that at the end they must follow Me to the Cross and to the Death I have suffered for the whole human race. The first one who is to imitate Me therein is My faithful servant Jacob, and I wish that he suffer martyrdom in this city of Jerusalem. In order that he come here, and for other purposes of My Glory and Yours, I desire You to visit him in Spain, where he is preaching My Name. I desire My Mother, that You go to Saragossa where he now is, and command him to return to Jerusalem. But before he leaves that city, he is to build a Temple in Your name and title, where you shall be venerated and invoked for the welfare of that country, for My glory and pleasure, and that of the Most Blessed Trinity.”
348 The great Queen of Heaven accepted this com­mission from Her Divine Son with new jubilee of Her soul. And with sincerest gratitude She answered: “My Lord and true God, let Your Holy Will be done in Your servant and Mother for all eternity, and let all the creatures praise You for the admirable works of kind­ness done to Your servants. I, O Lord, bless and magnify You in them and give humble thanks for them in the name of the entire Church and in My own name. Grant Me, My Son, that in the Temple You command to be built by Your servant Jacob, I may be permitted to promise the special protection of Your Almighty Arm, and that this sacred place shall be part of My inheritance for the use of all those that call with devotion upon Your Holy Name and ask Me to intercede for them for Your clemency.”
349 Christ our Redeemer answered Her: “My Mother, in whom I am well pleased, I give You My Royal Word, that I shall look with especial clemency and fill with blessings all those who with devotion and humility call upon Me through Your intercession in that Temple. In Your hands have I deposited and consigned all My treasures. As My Mother, who holds My place and power, You can signalize that place by depositing therein Your riches and promising in it Your favors; for all will be fulfilled according to Your will and pleasure.” Again the most Blessed Mary thanked Her Son and God for this promise. Then, at the command of the Lord, a great number of the Angels who accompanied Her formed a royal throne of a most resplendent cloud and placed Her thereon as the Queen of all Crea­tion. Christ the Savior gave them His blessing and as­cended with the rest of the Angels to heaven. The purest Mother, borne by the hands of the Seraphim and accom­panied by Her thousand Angels and the rest, departed body and soul for Saragossa in Spain. Although this journey could have been made in the shortest moment of time, the Lord ordered the Angels to move along singing hymns of praise and jubilee to their Queen in choirs of sweetest harmony.
350 Some of them sang the “Hail Mary,” others the “Salve sancta Parens” and “Salve Regina,” others the “Regina coeli laetare,” etc, choir answering choir in such harmony and concord of sounds, as no human art could ever attain. The great lady also, with a heart as humble as this favor was exalted, opportunely re­sponded, referring all this glory to the Most High. She repeated many times: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Sabaoth (Is 6:3), have pity on the poor children of Eve. Yours is the glory, Yours the power and majesty. You alone are holy, the Most High and the Lord of all the celestial armies and of all creation.” The angels then would respond also to these songs of the Virgin, so sweet in the hearing of the Lord. Proceeding in this manner till about midnight, they arrived in Saragossa.
351 The most fortunate Apostle St. Jacob was encamped with his disciples outside of the wall running along the banks of the river Ebro. In order to engage in prayer, he had separated some distance from his companions. Some of his disciples had fallen asleep and others were absorbed in prayer, all of them far from expecting the strange event. The procession of the Angels spread out somewhat and sang still louder, so that not only St. Jacob, but also his disciples could hear them from afar. Those that were asleep awoke and all of them were filled with interior sweetness and won­der, with heavenly consolation, which caused them to re­main speechless with admiration and to shed tears of joy. They saw in the sky a most brilliant light, brighter than that of the sun; but it was not diffused beyond a certain space and seemed like a large luminous globe. Lost in admiration and joy they stood motionless until called by their teacher. Through the miraculous effects, which they felt within them, the Lord wished to prepare them for what would be manifested to them concerning this great mystery. The Holy Angels placed the throne of their Queen and Lady within sight of the Apostle, who was still wrapt in most exalted prayer and heard much more plainly the celestial music and saw more of the light than his disciples. The Angels bore with them a small column hewn of marble or jasper; and a not very large image of their Queen, made of some other ma­terial. This image was carried by the Angels with great veneration. During that night, the Angels, exerting their skill in fashioning the things of nature, had prepared all this for the occasion.
352 Seated on Her throne in the cloud and surrounded by the angelic choirs the Queen of Heaven manifested Herself to St. Jacob. In wonderful beauty and reful­gence the great Lady far outshone all the Angels. The blessed Apostle prostrated himself upon the earth and in deepest reverence venerated the Mother of his Creator and Redeemer. He was shown at the same time the image and the pillar or column in the hands of some of the Angels. The loving Queen gave him Her blessing in the Name of Her Divine Son and said: “Jacob, servant of the Most High, be blest by His Right Hand; may He raise you up and show you the light of His Divine Countenance.” All the Angels answered: “Amen.” The Queen of Heaven continued: “My son Jacob, this place the Most High and Omnipotent God of Heaven has des­tined to be consecrated by you upon earth for the erec­tion of a Temple and House of Prayer, where, under My patronage and name He wishes to be glorified and mag­nified, where the treasures of His Right Hand shall be distributed, and all His ancient Mercies shall be opened up for the faithful through My intercession, if they ask for them in true faith and sincere piety. In the Name of the Almighty I promise them great favors and blessings of sweetness, and My protection and assist­ance; for this is to be My House and Temple, My inher­itance and possession. A pledge of this truth and of My promise shall be this column with My image placed upon it. In the Temple which you shall build for Me, it shall remain and be preserved, together with the Holy faith, until the end of the world. You shall imme­diately begin to build this Temple of God, and after you have completed it, you shall depart for Jerusalem; for My Divine Son wishes you to offer the sacrifice of your life in the same place where He offered His for the sal­vation of the human race.”
353 The great Queen finished speaking and ordered the Holy Angels to set up the column, and upon it the sacred image, in the same place where they now stand; and the Angels fulfilled Her command in one moment. As soon as the column and the image were in place, the Angels and the holy Apostles recognized that spot as a house and portal of God, as holy ground, consecrated as a Temple to the glory of the Most High and the invo­cation of His Holy Mother. As witness to this fact they immediately worshipped and gave thanks to God. St. Jacob prostrated himself upon the ground and with the Holy Angels celebrated with new canticles the first dedication of a Temple instituted in this world under the name and title of the great Queen of Heaven and Earth. This was the happy origin of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar in Saragossa, which is justly called the angelic chamber, the House of God and of His purest Mother, worthy of the veneration of the whole world and a secure pledge and earnest of the favors and benefits not prevented by our sins. It seems to me, that our great patron and Apostle, the second Jacob, gave a more glorious beginning to this Temple, than the first Jacob to his in Bethel, when he journeyed to Mesopo­tamia, although in that name and on that rock was built the Temple of Solomon. There Jacob saw in his sleep the mystical and figurative representation of the ladder with the accompanying Angels; but here our Jacob saw the true Stair of Heaven with his bodily eyes, and accompanied by many more Angels. There the stone was consecrated as a Temple, which was to be destroyed many times and after some centuries was to cease to exist; but here, in the firmness of this truly consecrated pillar, was established the Temple, the faith and the wor­ship of the Most High until the end of the world, where the Angels were to ascend with the prayers of the faith­ful and to descend with incomparable blessings and favors to be distributed to all those that in this place devoutly call upon and venerate this great Queen and Lady.
354 Our Apostle gave most humble thanks to the most Blessed Mary and asked Her for the special protection of this Spanish kingdom and particularly of this place consecrated to Her devotion and name. The Heavenly Mother granted him all his requests; and having again given him Her blessing, She was carried back to Jeru­salem in the same order by the Holy Angels. At Her petition the Most High charged an Angel with the care and defense of this sanctuary, and from that day until now this Angel fulfills this office and will continue it as long as the sacred image and column shall remain there. All the faithful Catholics may see with their own eyes the wonderful preservation of this sanctuary, since it has remained intact and uninjured for more than 1600 years* amid all the perfidy of the Jews, the idolatry of the Romans, the heresy of the Arians, and the savage fury of the Moors and pagans; and still greater would the astonishment of Catholics be, if they could know of the plots and schemes which all hell has fabricated in different ages through the hands of these infidel nations for the destruction of this Sanctuary. I will not detain myself in relating these events, because it is not necessary and does not belong to my purpose. It is enough to say, that the devil has set all these ene­mies to attack it many times and the Guardian Angel of this Sanctuary has foiled all his attempts.  * Editor .1600 years to the time this book was written.
355 But I wish to mention 2 points which have been made known to me for record here. First, that in regard to the promises of Jesus Christ and of His most Blessed Mother, although they seem absolutely to assure the preservation of this Temple and Sanctuary, yet they con­tain an implicit condition, as is the case with many other promises of Holy Scripture in regard to particular bless­ings of divine grace. This implicit condition here is, that we on our part conduct ourselves in such a way as not to oblige God to deprive us of this merciful privi­lege, thus promised and offered to us. Because the Lord, beneath the mysterious decrees of His Justice, hides this compelling measure of sins, therefore this condition is not declared or made manifest to us; and moreover, we know from the teachings of Holy Church, that His favors and promises are not to be used by us against the Lord and that we must not sin in reliance upon His liberal Mercy, since this, more than anything else, will make us unworthy of it. So many and so great may become the sins of these kingdoms and of that devout city of Saragossa, that we justly draw upon ourselves the loss of this wonderful blessing and of the protection of the great Queen and Lady of the Angels.
356 The second point which I will touch upon and which is not less worthy of our consideration, is, that the devil and his demons, since they know of these facts and of the promises of the Lord, have attempted and are still attempting to introduce into this illustrious city, with a more refined malice than elsewhere, heinous vices and sins, especially such as may offend against the purity of the most Blessed Mary. The purpose of the ancient serpent is to bring about 2 most execrable effects: first, either to induce the inhabitants of that city, if possible, so to offend God, as to cause Him to abolish the sanctuary, thus reaching the end which he could not otherwise attain; or, if that is not possible, at least to hinder souls from showing proper reverence and devo­tion to the Sacred Temple and to the great blessings prom­ised through Mary to all Her devout supplicants. The devil and his demons know very well that the inhabitants of Saragossa and its neighborhood are much more heavily indebted to the great Queen of Heaven than many other cities and provinces of Christianity. For it holds within its walls the storehouse and fountainhead of the favors and blessings, to draw which, others must come from afar; therefore if its inhabitants, while pos­sessing these advantages, would lead a more wicked life and consequently treat with contempt this conde­scending clemency, which no one can ever merit, then certainly their ingratitude to God and His most Blessed Mother would provoke a greater indignation and pun­ishment in Divine Justice. Joyfully I will confess to all that shall read this history, that I consider myself extremely fortunate in being permitted to write it in a place which is only 2 days journey from the city of Saragossa by foot and I look upon that sanctuary with inmost affection of soul, in acknowledgment of the debt, which, as all know, I owe to the great Queen of the world. I acknowledge also my obligations and my gratitude toward the piety of that city. In return I desire urgently to bring to the remembrance of its inhabitants the sin­cere and ardent devotion they owe to the most Blessed Mary, the favors they can obtain for themselves by it, and the blessings they may lose by forgetfulness and inattention. Let them consider themselves as more fa­vored and indebted than other faithful. Let them es­teem their treasure, happily enjoy it, and let them not make the propitiatory of their God a useless and com­mon dwelling, converting it into a court of justice; for the most Holy Mary has appointed it as a Workhouse of Her mercies.
357 The vision of the most Blessed Mary having faded away, St. Jacob called his disciples, who were absorbed in the music and in wonder at the brightness, though they did not hear or see anything else. Their great teacher revealed to them as much as was calculated to animate them toward helping to build the Temple, with which he had been commissioned; and, with the assist­ance of the Holy Angels, before he left Saragossa, com­pleted the little chapel, in which now the image and the column are still preserved. Afterwards the Catho­lics erected the sumptuous Temple and whatever else sur­rounds and adorns that celebrated sanctuary. The evangelist St. John at the time knew nothing of this excursion of the Heavenly Mother to Spain, nor did She tell him about it; for these privileges and favors did not concern the faith of the Universal Church, therefore She kept the secret of them to Herself. Other greater ones however She made known to St. John and the other Evangelists, because they were necessary for the common instruction and faith of all Christians. But when St. Jacob arrived from Spain and saw his brother John in Jerusalem, He related what had hap­pened to him in his preaching-tours through Spain. He told him also of the 2 visions of the most Blessed Mary and of what had happened in Saragossa in con­nection with the Temple he had erected in that city. Through the Evangelist many of the other Apostles and disciples learned about this miracle, for he afterwards told them about it in Jerusalem in order to confirm them in their faith and devotion to the Queen of Heaven and awaken their confidence in Her protection. Hence, those that knew of these favors to St. Jacob, from that time called upon Her in their labors and necessities; and the loving Mother helped some of them often, and all of them at different times in certain difficulties and dangers.
358 The miraculous appearance of the most Blessed Mary in Saragossa took place in the beginning of the 40th year of the Birth of the Lord, during the night of January 2nd. St. Jacob had been away from Jerusalem on his missionary tour 4 years, 4 months and 10 days up to this event; for he had left in the year 35, on August 20th, as I mentioned above (No. 319); and after the apparition he spent, in building the temple, in return­ing to Jerusalem and in preaching, 1 year, 2 months and 23 days. He died on March 25 in the year 41. The great Queen of the Angels, at the time She appeared to him in Saragossa, was 54 years, 3 months and 24 days of age. For immediately on coming back to Jerusalem, She prepared to depart for Ephesus, as I will relate in the next book and chapter; and She left 4 days after­wards. Thus this Temple was dedicated many years before Her glorious transition, as will be evident, when I shall mention Her age at Her death; for from this ap­parition to Her death intervened a longer time than is ordinarily assumed. During all these years She was already publicly venerated in Spain and had Temples built in Her honor; for in imitation of that in Saragossa others were soon erected, where altars were raised in Her honor and solemn veneration.
359 This wonderful distinction without a doubt exalts Spain beyond all that can be said in its praise; since thereby it signalized itself before all nations and kingdoms in the public veneration, reverence and devo­tion due to the great Queen of Heaven and Earth, and was more zealous to honor and invoke Her even while She was yet living, than other nations were after Her death and transition to heaven. In return for this ancient and universal devotion, the most Blessed Mary, as I was given to understand, has enriched these realms more than the other kingdoms of the earth by spreading the public veneration of so many miraculous images, and sanctuaries dedicated, in Spain to Her honor. By multiplying these favors the Heavenly Mother has sought to familiarize association with Her throughout the kingdoms, offering Her protection in so many Temples and Sanctuaries and meeting the devotions of the faithful in so many places throughout the provinces. This should induce us to acknowledge Her as our Mother and Patroness and give us to understand, that the de­fense and the spreading of Her honor through the whole world is a special privilege of this nation.
360 Therefore I pray and humbly request all inhabitants of Spain, and, in the name of this great Lady, exhort all of them to refresh their memory, enliven their faith, renew and excite their an­cient devotion toward the most Blessed Mary, and con­sider themselves more bound and obliged to Her service than other nations. Let them hold especially the Sanc­tuary of Saragossa in highest veneration, as excelling all the others and as being the starting place of the piety and devotion toward this Queen in Spain. And let all those who read this history believe, that the former hap­piness and greatness of Spain was a gift of the most Blessed Mary and a reward for the service rendered to Her by the Spanish people. If we in our days see the glory and happiness of Spain so much diminished, it is the fault of our negligence by which we oblige Her to withdraw Her protection. If we desire a remedy for so many calamities, we can obtain it only through this powerful Queen, gaining Her favor by new and extraor­dinary proofs of our devotion. And as the admirable blessing of the Catholic faith and the other benefits I have mentioned, have come to us through our great patron and Apostle St. Jacob, let our devotion and confidence toward him likewise be renewed, in order that the Almighty through his intercession may renew his wonders.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, MOST BLESSED MARY, GAVE ME.

361 My daughter, you know, that not without some mysterious reason I have in the course of this history so many times shown you the secret machina­tions and treacherous counsels of hell for the ruin of mankind, and the furious and restless wrath with which the devil seeks to encompass it. In this assault hell misses no opening, no occasion, and lets no stone un­turned, nor forgets any path, any state or person in laying snares for their fall and in trying to find ways so much the more dangerous and deceitful, the more they find their victims desirous of eternal life and of the friendship of God. Besides these general warnings you have often been shown the council meetings and the plots laid against you. It is important for all the children of the Church to escape the ignorance in which they live concerning the dangers besetting their eternal salvation; for they do not know or take notice, that their igno­rance of these secrets is the chastisement of the sin of Adam, and how, after being enlightened, they again lose it and become more unworthy of it than before through their own sins. Many of the faithful are as oblivious and careless, as if there were no demons to persecute and deceive them; and if they sometimes think of them, it is superficially and lightly, falling immediately back into their forgetfulness, which for many of them means no less than eternal punishment. If at all times and in all places, in all their works and on all oc­casions the demons set their snares, it is but just and proper that Christians on their part take not one step without asking Divine Light to see and avoid the danger. But as the children of Adam are so torpid in regard to this matter, they perform scarcely one work without being assailed by the infernal serpent and infected by his poison. Thus they accumulate sins upon sins, evil upon evil, irritating Divine Justice and shutting out mercy.
362 In these dangers I exhort you, My daughter, that just as the fury and watchfulness of hell against you is greater, so also, with  Divine Grace, your watch­fulness be more earnest and continual in order to van­quish those astute enemies. Consider what I did, when I saw the designs of the devil to persecute Me and the Holy Church; I multiplied My prayers, tears, sighs and supplications; and when the demons tried to avail them­selves of the help of Herod and the Jews of Jerusalem, although I needed not fear the least for Myself in the city and desired to remain there, I nevertheless gave up My desire of staying in order to furnish an example of caution and of obedience by fleeing from danger and by yielding to the will of St. John. You are not strong and are in great danger from creatures; and, what is still more, you are My disciple, and have My life and works for your model. Therefore I desire you to flee from danger as soon as you see it; and if necessary, avoid it at the cost of the greatest sensible pain, always acting under obedience, which you must look upon as your guiding-star and as your support against the danger of a fall. Cautiously examine, whether beneath some apparent work of piety there lurk not the snares of the demon and see that you do not suffer evil in doing good to others. Do not trust in your own judgment, although it may seem, good and secure to you; never hesitate to obey in all things, seeing that I by obedience safely passed through many labors and difficulties.
363 Renew also the loving desire of following My footsteps and of imitating Me perfectly, so as to finish what still remains of My history, at the same time writ­ing it in your heart. Run on the way of humility and obedience after the order of My life and virtues, and if you obey Me (as I have wished and so often asked of you) I will assist you as My daughter in your necessities and tribulations, My Divine Son shall execute His de­signs in regard to you, as you have desired before begin­ning this work; His promises so often repeated to you will be fulfilled and you will be blessed by His powerful Right Hand. Praise and magnify the Most High for the favor shown to My servant Jacob in Saragossa, for the Temple there erected before My Assumption into heaven, and for all the wonders concerning it. Remem­ber that this was the first Temple of the Evangelical Law and was most pleasing to the Will of the Most Blessed Trinity.
END OF CORONATION BOOK 1
BEGINNING OF
MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION     BOOK 2

PARAGRAPHS  365 -791
Describes the Journey of the Most Blessed Mary with Saint John to Ephesus, the Death and Chastisement of Herod, the Destruction of the Temple of Diana; the Return of the Most Blessed Mary from Ephesus to Jerusalem, the Instructions She gave to the Evangelists, the exalted State of Her purest Soul before Her death, Her most blessed Transition, Assumption and Coronation in heaven.  

CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER I.
OUR LADY DEPARTS WITH SAINT JOHN FROM JERUSALEM FOR EPHESUS;  SAINT PAUL GOES FROM DAMASCUS TO JERUSALEM; SAINT JACOB ARRIVES THERE.
365 The most Blessed Mary, having enriched and blessed Saragossa and the kingdom of Spain by Her presence, and Her promises of protection, and having established through St. Jacob and Her Angels the Temple as a monument to Her sacred name, was borne by the hands of the Seraphim back to Jerusalem. As soon as the great Lady of Heaven and Queen of the Angels had left the cloud-throne, on which She had been borne, and set Her foot upon the floor of the Cenacle, She prostrated Herself upon it, humbling Herself to the dust in order to praise the Most High for the favors conferred upon Her, upon St. Jacob and upon the kingdom of Spain in this miraculous journey. At the thought of a Temple built in Her honor and for Her invocation, She, in Her ineffable humility, so annihilated Herself in Her own estimation, as seemingly to have entirely forgotten that She was the Mother of God, a sinless Creature and without measure superior to all the highest Seraphim. She humbled Herself and gave thanks for these benefits, as if She were a mere worm of the earth, of less value and guilty of more sins than all mankind. This new debt seemed to Her so great, that She felt obliged to aspire to new and more exalted degrees of holiness in recompense. This She resolved to do and really accomplished, arriving at a degree of wisdom and humility beyond all our capacity to conceive.
366 In these exercises, and in praying with great fervor for the defense and increase of the Church, She spent the greater part of the 4 days after Her return to Jerusalem. In the meanwhile the evangelist St. John made preparations for the journey and embarkation for Ephesus, and on the 4th day, which was the 5th of January of the year 40, St. John notified Her that it was time to leave; for there would be a ship and all things had been arranged for the journey. The great Queen of obedience, without answer or delay, knelt down and asked permission of the Lord to leave the Cenacle and Jerusalem; and then She proceeded to take leave of the owner of the house and its inhabitants. It can easily be imagined, how sorrowful they were at Her leaving; for on account of Her most sweet conversation, and because of the favors and blessings received at Her liberal hands, all were held captives and prisoners in love and veneration of Her, whereas now all at once they were to be deprived of Her consoling presence and of this rich Treasure, the well spring of so many blessings. All of them offered to follow and  accompany Her; but as this was not opportune, they asked Her to hasten Her return and not to forsake forever this house, which was entirely at Her disposal. The Heavenly Mother thanked them for these pious and loving wishes by expressing Her own humble love, and She somewhat allayed their grief by giving them hope of Her return.
367 Then She asked permission of St. John to visit the Holy Places of our Redemption and there to worship and adore the Lord, Who had consecrated them by His Presence and His Precious Blood. With the Apostle She made these sacred stations, exhibiting incredible devotion and tears of reverent love, and St. John, deeply consoled at being permitted to accompany Her, exercised himself in heroic acts of virtue. The most Blessed Mother  saw at each of the Holy Places the Angels, who had been deputed to guard and defend them; and anew She charged them to resist the devil and his demons, lest they destroy or profane by irreverence those Sacred Spots, as they desired and intended to do through the unbelieving Jews. She told the Angels to drive away by holy inspirations the bad thoughts and diabolical suggestions, by which the infernal dragon sought to excite the Jews and other mortals to blot out the memory of Christ our Savior in those Holy Places, and She charged them with this duty for all the future times, since the wrath of the evil spirits against the places and the works of the Redemption endures through all ages. The Holy Angels obeyed their Queen in all that She ordained.
368 Having satisfied Her piety, She asked St. John on Her knees to bless Her for the journey, just as She had been apt to do with Her Divine Son; for She continued to exercise the same great virtues of obedience and humility toward the beloved disciple, His substitute. Many of the faithful of Jerusalem offered Her money, jewels, vehicles and all things necessary for Her journey to the sea and to Ephesus. The most prudent Lady humbly showed Her appreciation to all, but accepted nothing. For Her journey to the sea She made use of an unpretentious beast of burden, on which She was carried along as the Queen of the Virtues and of the Poor. She recollected the journeys and pilgrimages She had made with Her Divine Son and with Her spouse Joseph, and these recollections, together with the heavenly love, which had induced Her once more to travel, awakened in Her dove-like heart tender and devout affections. In order to be in all things most perfect, She excited new acts of resignation to the Divine Will in being deprived, for the glory and exaltation of His Holy Name, of the company of Her Son and of Her spouse, whose consoling Presence She had enjoyed on Her former journeys. She also resigned Herself to the Divine Will in regard to leaving the quiet of the Cenacle, the neighborhood of the Sacred Places, and the association with so many of the faithful and devout children of the Church, and praised the Most High, because He had given Her the beloved disciple as a companion in Her banishment.
369 For Her greater alleviation and comfort during this journey all Her Holy Angels on Her leaving the Cenacle, appeared to Her in visible and corporeal forms surrounding Her and protecting Her in their midst. With this escort of the heavenly host and the human company of St. John She journeyed to the port, where the vessel was ready to sail for Ephesus. She spent Her time in repeating sweet canticles with the heavenly spirits, sounding the praises of the Most High. At other times She conversed with St. John, who with admirable reverence was tenderly solicitous to serve Her in all that occurred and seemed opportune.  This solicitude of St. John was met by the Heavenly Mother with incredible humility and gratitude; for these 2 virtues, gratitude and humility, made all the favors She received appear to Her very great, and although all service was due Her in justice, She nevertheless acknowledged it as the most voluntary favor. 
370 They came to the harbor and immediately embarked in the ship with other passengers. The great Queen of the World was now for the first time upon the sea. She saw and comprehended with clearness the vast Mediterranean and its contact with the great ocean. She beheld its height and depth, its length and breadth, its caverns and secret recesses, its sands and minerals, its ebb and tide, its animals, its whales and fishes of all sizes, and whatever other, portentous animals it enclosed. She knew how many men had drowned and perished in voyaging it and She remembered the saying of Sirach: That those who navigate the sea, narrate its dangers (Sir 43:26), and that of David: Wonderful are the surges and pride of the swollen waves (Ps 93:4). The Heavenly Mother could easily know all this, as well because of a special dispensation of Her Divine Son, as on account of Her supreme angelic privilege and grace, and of Her singular participation in the Divine attributes, which resembled those of the Most Sacred Humanity of Christ our Savior. In virtue of these gifts and privileges, Her knowledge extended to all these things not only as they are in themselves and without deceit, but far beyond the sphere of angelic knowledge. 
371 When this great panorama of creatures, in which were reflected, as from a most clear mirror, the greatness and omnipotence of the Creator, was presented to Her faculties filled with heavenly wisdom, Her spirit winged its ardent flight to the Very Being of God, so wonderfully reflected in those creatures, and for all of them, and in all of them, She gave praise and glory and magnificence to the Most High. With the compassion of a most loving Mother for those who trusted their lives to the indomitable fury of the sea in navigating over its waves, She most fervently besought the Almighty to protect from its dangers all who should call upon Her name and ask for Her intercession. The Lord immediately granted this petition and promised to favor whoever upon the sea should carry some image of Her and should sincerely look upon this Star of the Sea, most Blessed Mary, for help in its perils.  Accordingly it will be understood, that, if the Catholics and the faithful encounter ill success and perish in navigation, it is because they ignore the favors to be obtained from the Queen of the Angels, or because on account of their sins they fail to remember Her in the raging storms, or fail to seek Her favors with sincere faith and devotion; for neither can the Word of the Lord ever fail, nor will the great Mother ever deny assistance to those endangered by the perils of the sea.
372 Another wonder also happened; for when the most Blessed Mary saw the sea with the fishes and other maritime animals, She gave them all Her blessing and commanded them to acknowledge and praise their Creator in the manner they were capable of. Then it was wonderful to see all the fishes of the sea obeying Her command and with incredible swiftness placing themselves in front of the ship. None of the species of sea animals was missing, each being represented by an innumerable multitude. All of them surrounded the ship and showed their heads above the water and with unwonted motions and signs of pleasure for a long time acknowledged Her as the Queen of creatures and showed themselves grateful to Her for coming upon the waters and visiting them in their place of habitation. This strange event astonished all the passengers as something never before seen. The multitudes of large and small fishes, so crowded and packed together, somewhat impeded the progress of the vessel, and the passengers gazed upon this spectacle and wonderingly discussed it, for they did not know the cause of this miracle. St. John alone understood it, and for a while he could not restrain his tears of devoted joy. After some time he asked the Heavenly Mother to give them Her blessing and Her permission to depart since they had so promptly obeyed Her when asked to praise the Most High. The sweetest Mother complied, and immediately that army of fishes disappeared and churned the sea into foam by their quick motion. Thereupon the ship pursued its way over the tranquil and serene waters, arriving at Ephesus in a few days. 
373 When they landed the great Queen continued to work miracles equal to those wrought upon the sea. She cured the sick and the possessed, who, as soon as they came into Her presence, were set free. I will not tarry to relate all these wonders; for many books would be necessary and much time to describe all the accomplishments of the most Blessed Mary and the favors of Heaven, which She dispensed as the instrument and medium of the Omnipotence of the Most High. I will record only those, which are necessary for this history and which shall suffice to manifest in some measure the unknown and wonderful works of our great Queen and Lady. In Ephesus lived some Christians, who had come from Jerusalem. There were not many, but on learning of the arrival of the Mother of Christ the Redeemer, they hastened to pay Her a visit and offer their dwellings and their possessions for Her use. But the great Queen of virtues, who sought neither ostentation nor temporal commodities, chose for Her dwelling the house of a few retired and poor women, who were living by themselves free from association with men. By the intervention of the Angels, they lovingly and generously placed their home at the disposition of the Lady. In it they selected a very retired room for the Queen and another for St. John, which these 2 occupied during their stay in Ephesus.
374 The most Blessed Mary thanked the owners, who were to live with Her. Then She retired to Her room and, prostrate upon the ground as was usual in Her prayers, She adored the Immutable Essence of God, offering to sacrifice Herself in His service in this city and saying: “Lord God omnipotent, by the immensity of Your Divinity You fill all the heavens and the earth (Jer 23:24). I, Your humble handmaid, desire to fulfill entirely Your Holy Will, on all occasions, in all places, and at all times, in which Your Providence shall choose to place Me; for You are My only Good, My being and My life, and toward Your Pleasure and Satisfaction tend all My thoughts, words and actions.” The most prudent Mother perceived that the Lord accepted Her prayer and Her offering, and that He responded to Her desires with Divine Power, ready to assist and govern Her always. 
375 She continued Her prayer for the Holy Church and laid out Her plans for the assistance of all the faithful. She called Her Angels and sent some of them to aid the Apostles and disciples, whom She knew to be much pressed in the persecutions, raised by the demons through infidel men. In those days St. Paul fled from Damascus before the attacks of the Jews, being let down from the walls of the city in a basket (2 Cor 11:23). To defend him from these perils and those with which the devil threatened him on his way to Jerusalem, the great Queen of Angels sent Her Angels to be his guard and protection; for the wrath and fury of hell was roused against St. Paul more than against any of the other Apostles. This is the journey the Apostle himself refers to where he says, that after 3 years he went to Jerusalem to visit St.Peter (Gal. 1:18). These 3 years are not to be counted from the time of his conversion, but from the time he had returned from Arabia to Damascus. This is to be inferred from the text itself, for after stating that he returned from Arabia to Damascus, he immediately adds, that after 3 years, he went up to Jerusalem. If those 3 years are counted from the time before his sojourn in Arabia, the text would occasion much confusion.
376 With greater clearness this may be proved by computing the time of the death of St. Stephen and the journey of the most Blessed Virgin to Ephesus. For counting from the day of his Nativity, St. Stephen died at the end of the 34th year of Christ, but counting them from the day of the Circumcision, as the Church does now, St. Stephen died 7 days before the completion of the 34 years, being the 7 days before the first of January. The conversion of St. Paul happened in the year 36, on the 25th of January. If he had come to Jerusalem 3 years afterwards, he would have found there the most Holy Mary and St. John, while he himself says, that he had not seen anyone of the Apostles there, except St. Peter and St. Jacob the less, who was called Alpheus.  If the Holy Queen and St. John had at that time been in Jerusalem St. Paul would certainly not have missed seeing them, and he would have mentioned at least St. John; yet he says, that he had not seen him. The explanation is, that St. Paul came to Jerusalem in the year 40, 4 years after his conversion, and a little less than a month after the most blessed Mary had departed for Ephesus.  St. Paul had entered the fifth year of his conversion and the other Apostles, except the 2 he saw, had already left Jerusalem and were preaching- the Gospel of Christ, each one in his appointed province.
377 Conformably with this reckoning we must assume, that St. Paul spent the first year after his conversion, or the greater part of it, in journeying to Arabia and preaching the Gospel there; then, the 3 following years, in Damascus. Hence the Evangelist Luke, in Acts 9, although he says nothing of Paul s journey to Arabia, nevertheless says that for many days after his conversion the Jews of Damascus plotted to take his life, these many days referring to the 4 years thus passed. Then he adds, that his disciples, aware of the plots of the Jews, on a certain night lowered him in a basket from the city walls and thus despatched him on his journey to Jerusalem. There, although knowing of his miraculous conversion, the Apostles and the new disciples, nevertheless retained a certain fear and suspicion of his not persevering, because he had been such a professed enemy of Christ, our Savior. Hence they at first held themselves aloof from St. Paul, until St. Barnabas spoke to them and introduced him to St. Peter, St. Jacob and other disciples (Acts 26:27). St. Paul prostrated himself at the feet of the vicar of Christ, kissed them in acknowledgment of his errors and sins, and begging to be admitted as one of his subjects and as a follower of his Master, Whose Holy Name and Faith he desired to preach at the cost of his blood.
378 From the fear and suspicion of Sts. Peter and Jacob concerning the perseverance of St. Paul we can likewise deduct that he arrived in Jerusalem in the absence of the most Blessed Mary and St. John; for he would have presented himself first of all to Her to allay suspicion against him; and the 2 Apostles would likewise have first asked Her, whether they could trust St. Paul. All of them would have been set at ease by the most prudent Lady, as She was so solicitous and attentive in consoling and instructing the Apostles, especially St. Peter. But since the great Lady had already left for Ephesus, they had no one to assure them of the constancy of St. Paul, until St. Peter reassured himself of it at seeing him thus prostrate at his feet. Thereupon he was received with great joy of soul by St. Peter and the other disciples.  All of them gave humble and fervent thanks to the Most High, and commissioned St. Paul to preach in Jerusalem. This he gladly did, to the astonishment of all the Jews who knew him. As his words were like burning arrows, that penetrated into the hearts of all that heard him, they were struck with terror; and in 2 days all Jerusalem was roused by the news of his arrival, flocking to see him with their own eyes.
379 The devil and his demons were not asleep on this occasion, for they were visited by the Almighty with an increase of torment at the arrival of St. Paul. The Power of God operating through St. Paul, oppressed and paralyzed the infernal dragons. But as their pride and malice shall never be extinguished through all the eternity of their existence (Ps 73:23), they were roused to fury, as soon as they recognized this divine virtue as flowing from Paul.  The devil, with incredible rage, called together many legions of the demons and exhorted them anew to rouse themselves and exert all the forces of their malice for the entire destruction of St. Paul, and not to leave any stone unturned in Jerusalem and in all the world for the attainment of this object The demons without delay set about this work, exciting Herod and the Jews against the Apostle, and directing their attention to the burning zeal with which he began to preach in Jerusalem.
380 The great Queen of Heaven perceived all this from Her retirement in Ephesus; for in addition to the knowledge of all things through Her heavenly science, She received information of all that happened to St. Paul from the Angels She had sent for his defense. As the most Blessed Mother expected the disturbance about to be raised by the malice of Herod and the Jews, especially against St. Paul, and as, on the other hand, She knew the importance of preserving his life for the exaltation of the Name of God and the spread of the Gospel, the great Queen was filled with new solicitude and regret at being absent from Palestine, where She could have rendered more immediate assistance to the Apostles. Therefore She sought to furnish it so much the more abundantly from Ephesus by multiplying Her prayers and petitions, Her ceaseless tears and sighs, and by other measures through the hands of Her Holy Angels. In order to allay Her anxieties, the Lord, one day in Her prayer, assured Her, that He would fulfill Her petitions and protect the life of St. Paul in this danger and in these assaults of the devil. And so He did: for one day St. Paul, while praying in the temple, was raised to an ecstatic rapture and filled with most exalted enlightenment and understanding, wherein the Lord commanded him immediately to leave Jerusalem and save his life from the hatred of the unbelieving Jews.
381 Hence St. Paul sojourned in Jerusalem at that time not more than 15 days, as he himself says (Gal 1:18). After some years he returned there from Miletus and Ephesus and was taken prisoner, and he refers to this ecstasy in the Temple and to the command of the Lord to leave Jerusalem in Acts 22. Of this vision and command he informed St. Peter, as the head of the Apostolic College; and after consultation concerning his mortal danger, he was secretly sent to Caesarea and Tarsus with orders to preach indiscriminately to the gentiles, which he did. The most Blessed Mary was the instrument and Mediatrix of all these miraculous favors. It was through Her that Her Divine Son operated them, and from Her, God received the proper thanks for the graces distributed to the whole Church.
382 Having thus been reassured in regard to the life of St. Paul, the most Blessed Mother entertained the hope that through the assistance of Divine Providence She might save the life of Her cousin Jacob, who was very dear to Her and who was still in Saragossa, protected by 100 Angels She had appointed for his guardians and companions at Granada. These Holy Angels frequently went back and forth, bringing the petitions of the Apostles to the most Blessed Mary and Her counsels back to him. In this way St. Jacob learned of the sojourn of the great Queen in Ephesus. When he had brought the chapel or small Temple of the Pillar in Saragossa to a sufficient state of completion, he consigned it to the care of the bishop and the disciples appointed by him here as in other cities in Spain. Some months after the apparition of the Queen, he departed from Saragossa, continuing to preach through different provinces. Having come to Catalonia, he embarked for Italy, where without much delay, he pursued his journey overland always preaching until he again embarked for Asia, and ardently desiring to see there the most Blessed Mary, his Queen and Protector.
383 St. Jacob happily attained his object and reached Ephesus. There he prostrated himself at the feet of the Mother of his Creator, shedding copious tears of joy and veneration. From his inmost heart he thanked Her for the peerless favors obtained at Her hands from the Most High during his travels and his preaching in Spain, and especially for Her having visited him and conferred such blessings upon him during Her visits. The Heavenly Mother, as Queen of Humility, immediately raised him from the ground and said to him: “My Master, remember you are the anointed of the Lord and His minister, and that I am an humble wormlet.” With these words the great Lady fell on Her knees and asked the blessing of St. Jacob as a priest of the Most High. He remained for some days in Ephesus in the company of the most Blessed Mary and of his brother John, to whom he gave an account of all that had happened to him in Spain. With the most prudent Mother during those days he held most exalted colloquies and conferences, of which it will suffice to record the following.
384 In order to prepare St. Jacob for his leavetaking the blessed Mary one day said to him: “Jacob, My son, these will be the last few days of Your life. You know how deeply I love you in the Lord, and how I desire to raise you to His intimate love and eternal friendship, for which He has created you, redeemed and called you. In the few days that still remain of Your life, I desire to demonstrate to you My love and I offer you all that by Divine Grace I can do for you as a true Mother.” To this exceedingly great favor St. Jacob responded with deepest veneration: “My Queen and Mother of my God and Redeemer, from the bottom of my soul I thank You for this new benefit, possible only to Your unbounded charity. My Lady, I implore You, give me Your blessing that I may suffer martyrdom for Your Son, my true God and Savior. If it is His Will and for His Glory, I entreat You from my soul, not to forsake me in the sacrifice of my life, but that I may see You with my own eyes in my passage and that You offer me as an acceptable victim in His Divine Presence.”
385 The most Holy Mary promised to present his petition to the Lord and that She would fulfill it, if the Divine Will and condescension should so permit. Thus inspiring him with the hope of Her assistance and with other consolations of eternal life, She comforted the Apostle and strengthened him for his expected martyrdom. Among other words She spoke to him also as follows: “My son Jacob, what torments or suffering shall ever seem great at the prospect of entering the eternal joys of the Lord? The most bitter shall seem sweet and the most terrible, welcome and desirable to him who knows the Infinite and Highest Good, Which he shall possess in return for a momentary sorrow (2 Cor 4:17). I congratulate you, My master, for Your most happy lot and that you are so soon to leave the tribulations of this mortal life in order to enjoy the Infinite Good as a comprehensor in the gladness of His Divine Countenance. In this My heart is lightened that you are so shortly to obtain what My soul desires for you; and that you give Your temporal life for the unending possession of eternal rest. I give you the blessing of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in order that all 3 Persons, in the Oneness of their Essence, assist you in tribulation and lead you to the desired end; and My own blessing shall be with you in Your glorious martyrdom.”
386 The great Queen added other words of admirable wisdom and highest consolation in parting from St. Jacob. She asked him, in Her name and in the name of all men to praise God, and to intercede for the Holy Church, as soon as He should come to the vision of the Blessed Trinity. St. Jacob offered to do all She desired and again asked Her favor and protection in the hour of his martyrdom. This She once more promised, and taking leave of Her, St. Jacob said: “My Queen, blessed among women, Your life and intercession is the prop on which the Holy Church, now and during the ages in which it is to exist, shall rest securely in the midst of the persecutions and temptations of the enemies of the Lord.  Your charity shall be to You the instrument of Your martyrdom. Keep in mind always, as our sweetest Mother, the kingdom of Spain, where the Holy Church and the faith of Your Divine Son and Redeemer has now been planted.  Receive it under Your special protection and preserve in it Your sacred Temple and the Faith, which I unworthily have preached; and give me Your holy blessing.” The most holy Mary promised to fulfill his petition and desires, and She parted from him, bestowing upon him Her reiterated blessing.
387 St. Jacob took leave also of his brother St. John, who shed abundant tears, not so much of sorrow as of joy, on account of the happy lot of the elder brother, since he was to be the first of the Apostles to attain eternal happiness and the palm of martyrdom. Thereupon St. Jacob journeyed without much delay to Jerusalem, where he preached for some days before he died, as I shall show in the next chapter. The great Lady of the world remained in Ephesus, attentive to all that happened to St. Jacob and all the other Apostles, without losing them from Her interior vision or intermitting Her prayers for them and for all the faithful of the Church. At the thought of the martyrdom of St. Jacob for the Name of Christ, such conflagrations of love and desires of giving Her life for the Lord welled up in the purest heart of Mary, that She merited, many times over, the crowns gained by the Apostle and by all others together; for with each one of the martyrs She suffered many martyrdoms of love, more excruciating to Her chaste and burning heart than the torments of sword and fire to the bodies of the martyrs.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME.

388 My daughter, in the events of this chapter you will find much guidance for a perfect life. Consider then, that just as God is the beginning and origin of all the being and faculties of creatures, so also, according to right reason, He is to be their sole last end; for if man has received all without meriting it, then he likewise owes all to Him Who has given it freely; and if men have received all in order to bear fruit, then all the fruit belong to the Creator and not to the creatures. This truth, which I understood fully and pondered in My heart, urged me to prostrate myself and lower myself to the very dust in adoring the Immutable Being of God. I reflected how I was created out of nothing, formed of earth, and in the Presence of God I annihilated Myself, acknowledging Him as the Creator, to Whom I owed My life, being and motion (Acts 17:28), and protesting that without Him I was nothing, and that all was due to Him as the one beginning and end of all creation. In the light of this truth, all that I did and suffered seemed little; and although I ceased not to do good, I continually longed and sighed to do and suffer still more. Never was My heart satisfied, because I still found myself a debtor, getting poorer and ever more indebted. This state of mind is very well founded in right reason and still more on faith, and this debt is manifest and common to all men, if they would only direct their attention toward it. But amid the universal forgetfulness of men I wish, My daughter, that you solicitously imitate Me in the practices and exercises described to you, and especially that you humble yourself to the dust and abase yourself in proportion as the Most High raises you up by the favors and blessings of His Right Hand. The example of My humility you will see clearly evident in the special favors, as for instance, when He commanded a Temple to be built, in which I was to be honored and invoked even during My mortal life. This, and other favors humbled Me beyond all human imagination. Therefore, if I thus humbled myself after performing such great things, consider how much more you must do it in response to such great liberality of the Lord toward you and after such niggardly correspondence on Your part.
389 I wish also, My daughter, that you imitate Me in being very careful to practice poverty of spirit concerning the use of necessities and comforts, offered you by Your sister-nuns or by Your well-wishers. Choose and accept only the most poor and most ordinary, the most undesirable and humble things for Your use; for otherwise you can not imitate Me in the spirit, in which without ostentation I refused all comforts and good things of this life offered to Me by the faithful of Jerusalem, and of which I accepted only what was absolutely necessary during My sojourn in Ephesus.  In the exercise of this virtue is contained much that will make man happy, while the deceived and blind worldlings please themselves in pursuing what is entirely opposed to this virtue and truth.
390 Seek also to guard yourself from another very common mistake: namely that by which men, instead of acknowledging that all the goods of body and soul belong to the Lord, nevertheless appropriate all of them to themselves and consider them so much their own, that they not only refuse to offer them freely to their Creator, but even, if at anytime they must part with them, lament and are aggrieved over their loss, as if they had been injured or as if God had treated them unjustly. With such a disorderly affection parents are inclined to love their children, and children their parents, married men their wives, and wives their husbands, and all of them, their possessions, honor, health and other temporal goods, while many souls thus love even the spiritual goods; and they go so far in this disorderly love, that they have no measure in their sorrow, when they lose them. Though it be impossible to recover them, they live in unrest and dejection, passing from the disorder of their sensible affection to the disorder of their reason and to unjust complaint. Hence they dare not only condemn the rulings of Divine Providence and lose the merit of sacrificing what is the Lord’s, but they wish to have it understood, that they esteem the possession of these transitory goods as their highest aim, and that, if they were permitted, they would live many ages content with these apparent and perishing things.
391 No son of Adam can have a love greater, or one equal to that, with which I loved My Divine Son and My spouse St. Joseph; yet this love was so well ordered while I lived in their company, that I willingly sacrificed their conversation and association during all the time in which I was deprived of their presence.  This conformity and resignation I desire you to imitate, whenever something is lacking to you, which you should love in God; for outside of God you are permitted to love nothing. The anxious desire of seeing the Supreme Good and of loving God eternally and forever in heaven must alone be perpetual in you. For this happiness you must sigh in tears from Your inmost heart; for it you must gladly suffer all the hardships and afflictions of this mortal life. You must live in these aspirations in such a way, that from now on in trying to make yourself worthy of God you be anxious to suffer all that you hear or understand as having been suffered by the saints. But remember these desires of suffering and these aspirations and attempts to see God are to be of such a kind, that Your suffering becomes real through Your sorrow at not being able actually to encounter actual torments and at not being found worthy of bearing all the martyrdom you thus desire. In Your flights of desire to arrive at the beatific vision you must permit no other lower motive to intermingle, such as the relief afforded by the joy of God s vision against the hardships of this life; for to desire the vision of the Highest Good, is not love of God, but love of self and of one s own comfort, and cannot merit reward in the Eyes of the All-Penetrating and All-Weighing Omnipotent God. But if you do all these things sincerely and in all perfection, as a faithful servant and spouse of My Divine Son, desiring to see Him in order to love Him, praise Him, and never to offend Him eternally, and if you covet all labors and sufferings only for these ends, believe Me and assure yourself, that you will draw Us to you and that you will arrive at the kind of love you continually desire; since precisely for this purpose, We are so liberal with you.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 2.
THE GLORIOUS MARTYRDOM OF ST. JACOB; THE IMPRISONMENT OF ST. PETER AND HIS LIBERATION.
392 Our great Apostle St. Jacob came to Jerusalem at a time when that whole city was very much incensed against the disciples and followers of Christ our Lord. This new fury the demons had secretly roused by stirring up the zeal of the Jews for the Old Law and their jealousy against the New Evangelical Law. The immediate cause of these movements was the preaching of St. Paul, who, although he remained not more than 15 days in Jerusalem, nevertheless in that short time had converted many and excited the wonder and admiration of everyone. Although the unbelieving Jews felt relieved somewhat by the news of his having left Jerusalem, yet they were again thrown into consternation by the speedy arrival of St. Jacob, who showed no less zeal and heavenly wisdom in proclaiming the Name of Christ our Redeemer. The devil, who was not ignorant of his coming, availed himself of it as a new means of exciting the spleen and rousing the wrath of the high priests, priests and scribes. St. Jacob began to preach most fervently the Name of the Crucified, His Mysterious Death and Resurrection. In the first few days he converted to the faith some of the Jews, among whom were especially Hermogenes and Philetus, both of them magicians and sorcerers, who had a pact with the devil. Hermogenes was deeply versed in magic and Philetus was his disciple; the Jews wanted to engage the services of these 2 in order either to overcome St. Jacob in dispute, or if that was impossible, to take away his life by their magic arts.
393 This wickedness the devils had intended to execute through the instrumentality of the unbelieving Jews; for they themselves could not come near St. Jacob on account of the terrors of  Divine Grace emanating from the Apostle. Philetus first began the dispute with St. Jacob, so that, if he should gain no advantage, Hermogenes, as the more skillful master in the magic art, might enter the combat. Philetus brought forth his sophistical and false arguments, but the holy Apostle spoke with such wisdom and force, that all his sophism yielded as the darkness before the light. Philetus was overcome and converted to the truth of Christ, becoming from that time on a defender of the Apostle, and his doctrine. But fearing the diabolical arts of his master Hermogenes, he sought the protection of St. Jacob. The Holy Apostle gave him a piece of cloth or linen, which he had received from Mary, and with this relic Philetus protected himself against the power of Hermogenes for some days, until the latter himself entered the dispute.
394 Although Hermogenes feared St. Jacob, he could not evade the meeting, because he had pledged himself to the Jews to enter the discussion and convince St. Jacob. Accordingly he tried to enforce his errors by more cogent arguments than his disciple. But all that he could do was unavailing against the heavenly force and wisdom of the Apostle, which was like an impetuous torrent. He brought Hermogenes to silence and obliged him to confess his belief in the Mysteries of the Faith of Christ, just as he had done with Philetus. Both of them accepted the faith and doctrine preached by the Apostle. The demons were roused to fury against Hermogenes and, through the power they had acquired over him, began to maltreat him on account of his conversion. As he learned how Philetus had defended himself by the relic obtained from the Apostle, he sought a like favor against his enemies. St. Jacob gave him the scarf he had used in his travels and with it Hermogenes put to flight the demons and made them powerless to approach or afflict him further. 
395 These conversions and others made by St. Jacob in Jerusalem were hastened by the tearful sighs and prayers of the great Queen in Her retreat at Ephesus, where (as I have often said) She knew by vision all that was done by the Apostles and the other faithful of the Church; and particularly what happened with the beloved Apostle Jacob for whom She was especially solicitous as being so near his martyrdom. Hermogenes and Philetus persevered for some time in the Faith of Christ; but after wards they fell away and lost it in Asia, as is evident from 2nd Timothy, where St. Paul says that Philetus, and Hermogenes had left him. Although the seed of the faith had sprung up in the hearts of these men, it took no sufficient root to resist the temptations of the devil, whom they had served and familiarly entertained for so long a time. The evil and perverse inclinations of their vices still remained and again prevailed, withdrawing them from the faith they had accepted.
396 When the Jews, through the conviction and conversion of Philetus and Hermogenes, saw their hopes frustrated, they were incited anew against the Apostle St. Jacob and they determined to put an end to his life. For this purpose they bribed Democritus and Lysias, centurions of the Roman militia, to furnish them with soldiers for the arrest of the Apostle. In order to hide their treachery they were to raise a feigned quarrel or disturbance on a certain day during his preaching and thus get him within their power. The execution of this wicked design was left to Abiator, the high-priest of that year, and to Josias, a scribe of the same mind as the highpriest. As they had planned, so they executed their scheme ; for, while the Saint was preaching to the people about the mystery of the Redemption, proving it to them with admirable wisdom from the testimonies of the ancient writings and moving his audience to tears of compunction, the priest and the scribe were roused to diabolical fury. Giving the signal to the Roman soldiers, the priest sent Josias to throw a rope around the neck of St. Jacob and fell upon him, proclaiming him a disturber of the people and the author of a new religion in opposition to the Roman empire.
397 Democritus and Lysias thereupon rushed up with their soldiers and brought the Apostle bound to Herod, the son of Archelaus, whose malice had been roused interiorly through the astuteness of satan and exteriorly by the evil-minded and hateful Jews. Thus doubly incited, Herod began the persecution against the disciples of the Lord, whom he abhorred, (Acts 12) and sent his soldiers to afflict and imprison them. He instantly commanded St. Jacob to be beheaded, as the Jews had asked. Incredible was the joy of the holy Apostle at being seized and bound like his Master and at seeing himself conducted to the place, where he was to pass from this mortal life to the eternal through martyrdom, as he had been informed by the Queen of Heaven. He offered most humble thanks for this benefit and publicly reiterated the open profession of his faith in Christ our Lord. Remembering the petition he had made in Ephesus, that She be present at his death, he called upon Her from his inmost Soul.
398 The most Holy Mary from Her oratory heard these prayers of Her beloved Apostle and cousin; for She was attentive to all that happened to him and She helped and favored him with Her own efficacious petitions. During this Her prayer, She saw a great multitude of Angels and Heavenly Spirits of all hierarchies descending from heaven, part of them surrounding the Apostle in Jerusalem as he was led to the place of execution, while numerous others approached their Queen at Ephesus. Presently one of them addressed Her saying: “Empress of Heaven and our Lady, the Most High Lord and God bids You immediately to hasten to Jerusalem to console His great servant Jacob, to assist him in his death and to grant all his loving and holy desires.” This favor the most Blessed Mary joyfully and gratefully acknowledged. She praised the Most High for the protection granted to those who trust in His Mercy and put their lives in His Hands. In the meanwhile the Apostle was led to execution and on the way, he wrought great miracles upon the sick and ailing and on some possessed by devils. There were a great number of them, because the rumor of his execution by Herod had spread about and many of the unfortunates hastened to receive his last ministrations and counsels. All that applied were healed by the great Apostle.
399 In the meanwhile the Holy Angels placed their Queen upon a most refulgent throne, as they had done on other occasions, and on it bore Her to Jerusalem and to the place of the execution of St. Jacob. The holy Apostle fell upon his knees in order to offer his life to the Most High in sacrifice, and when he raised his eyes toward heaven, he saw in the air near him the Queen of Heaven, whom he had been invoking in his heart. He beheld Her clothed in heavenly splendors and great beauty, surrounded by multitudes of the Angels. At this heavenly spectacle the soul of Jacob was moved to new jubilee and his heart was seized with the ardors of a Divine love. He wished to proclaim the most Blessed Mary as the Mother of God and the Queen of all creation. But one of the sovereign spirits restrained him in this fervent desire and said: “Jacob, servant of our Creator, restrain within Your own heart these precious sentiments and do not manifest to the Jews the presence and assistance of our Queen; for they are not worthy or capable of knowing Her, but instead of reverencing Her will only harden themselves in their hatred.” Thus advised the Apostle forebore and moving his lips in silence, he spoke to the Heavenly Queen as follows:
400 “Mother of My Lord Jesus Christ, My Queen and Protector, consolation of the afflicted and refuge of the needy, in this hour bestow upon me, My Lady, Your so much desired blessing. Offer for me to Your Son and Redeemer of the world, the sacrifice of My life, since I am burning with desire to be a holocaust for the Glory of His Name. Let today Your most pure and spotless hands be the altar of My sacrifice, in order that it may become acceptable in the Eyes of Him, Who died for me upon the Cross. Into Your hands, and through them into the Hands of My Creator, I commend My spirit.” Having said these words, and keeping his eyes fixed upon the most Holy Mary, who spoke to his heart, the holy Apostle was beheaded by the executioner. The great Lady and Queen of the world (O wonderful condescension!) received the soul of Her beloved Apostle and placing it at Her side on the throne, ascended with it to the empyrean heavens and presented it to Her Divine Son. As the most Blessed Mary entered the heavenly court with this offering, She caused new joy and accidental glory to all the heavenly inhabitants and was received with songs of praise. The Most High received the soul of Jacob and placed it in eminent glory among the princes of his people. The most Blessed Mary, prostrate before the throne of the Almighty, composed a song of praise and thanksgiving for the triumphal martyrdom first gained by one of his Apostles. On this occasion the great Lady did not see the Divinity by intuitive vision, but by an abstractive one, such as I have described before this. But the Blessed Trinity filled Her with new blessings and favors for Herself and for the Holy Church, for which She had made great preparations.  All the saints likewise blessed Her and then the Holy Angels brought Her back to Her oratory in Ephesus, where in the meanwhile an Angel had impersonated Her. On arriving the Heavenly Mother of Virtues prostrated Herself as usual in order to give thanks to the Most High for all that had happened.
401 The disciples of St. Jacob during the following night secured his sacred body and secretly brought it to Jaffa, where by divine disposition they embarked with it for Galicia in Spain. The Heavenly Lady sent an Angel to guide and accompany them to the port, where according to the Divine Will they were to disembark. Although they did not see the Angel, they felt his protection during the whole voyage and often in a miraculous manner. Thus Spain, just as it owed its first instruction in the faith so deeply rooted in the hearts of its people, to the protection lavished by most Holy Mary upon the Apostle, now also owes to Her the possession of his sacred body for its consolation and defense. St. Jacob died in the year 41 of our Lord, on the 25th of March, 5 years and 7 months after his setting out to preach in Spain. According to this count and that which I gave above, the martyrdom of St. Jacob happened 7 full years after the death of our Savior Jesus Christ.
402 That his martyrdom was at the end of March is clear from Acts 12, where St. Luke says, that because of the rejoicings of the Jews in the death of St. Jacob, Herod imprisoned also St. Peter with the intention of beheading him after the feast of the Pasch, which was that of the paschal lamb, or of unleavened bread. This the Jews celebrated on the 14th of the moon of March. From this passage it appears that the seizure of St. Peter was during this Pasch or very near it; and that the death of Jacob had preceded it a few days, the 14th of the moon of March in the year 41, according to our present computation of the years and months, occurred in the last days of March. Accordingly the death of St. Jacob happened on the 25th, before the 14th of the moon, and soon thereupon took place the imprisonment of Peter and the Pasch of the Jews. The Holy Church does not celebrate the feast of St. Jacob on the day of his death, because it falls on the same day as the Incarnation and ordinarily also in the time of the Lord’s Passion.  It was therefore transferred to the 25th of July, which is the day on which the body of the Apostle was brought to Spain.
403 The death of St. Jacob and the haste of Herod in inflicting it, greatly increased the most impious cruelty of the Jews; for in the savage brutality of the wicked king they saw a valuable means of pursuing their vengeance against the followers of Christ the Lord. The devil and his demons were of like opinion; they, by their suggestions, and the Jews, by their insistent flatteries, persuaded him to seize St. Peter, which he readily did in order to gain the good will of the Jews for his own temporal ends.  The demons stood in great awe of the vicar of Christ on account of the power emanating from him against them; and therefore they secretly sought to hasten his imprisonment. St. Peter, bound with many chains, lay in the dungeon awaiting his execution after the holidays of the Pasch (Acts 12:4). Although the undaunted heart of the Apostle was as free from anxiety or solicitude as if he had been at liberty, yet the whole body of the Church of Jerusalem was in consternation, and all the disciples and the faithful were greatly afflicted at the news that Herod was to execute him without delay.  In their affliction they multiplied their prayers and petitions to the Lord for the preservation of St. Peter, whose death threatened the whole Church with great havoc and tribulation. They invoked also the protection and powerful intercession of the most Blessed Mary, from whom they all expected deliverance.
404 The dangerous crisis impending over the Church was not unknown to the Heavenly Mother, for, from Her retreat in Ephesus, by Her clearest interior vision of all things, She saw all things that passed in Jerusalem. She likewise increased Her ardent requests, Her sighs, prostrations and bloody tears, supplicating the Lord for the liberation of St. Peter and the protection of the Holy Church. These prayers of the Blessed Mother penetrated the heavens and wounded the Heart of Her Son Jesus, our Savior. In response the Lord descended in person to Her oratory, where She was lying prostrate with Her virginal face upon the ground mingling with the dust. The sovereign King entered and raised Her lovingly from the ground, saying: “My Mother, moderate Your sorrow and ask whatever You wish; for I shall grant it all and You shall find grace in My Eyes to obtain it.”
405 By the Presence and loving caresses of Her Son the Heavenly Mother was reanimated and filled with glad consolation; for the tribulations of the Church were the sole cause of Her martyrdom, and to see St. Peter in prison condemned to death, and the dangers thus threatening the primitive Church, afflicted Her more than can be conceived. She renewed Her petition in the Presence of Christ the Redeemer, and said: “Lord and true God, My Son, You know the tribulations of Your Holy Church and Her clamors sound in Your Ears, while they penetrate to the inmost of My afflicted heart. Your enemies are resolved to take away the life of Her Pastor, Your vicar; and if You, My Lord permit it now, they will scatter Your little flock and the infernal wolves will triumph over Your Name in seeing their wishes fulfilled. Issue then, My Lord God and life of My soul, Your sovereign command over this sea of tribulation, and the winds and waves, that batter this little ship, shall be quieted and I shall live.  Protect Your vicar and confound Your enemies. And if it is to Your glory and according to Your Will let these tribulations come over Me, so that I may suffer for Your faithful children and by the aid of Your Right Arm, I may battle with the invisible enemies in the defense of Your Holy Church.”
406 Her Divine Son answered: “I desire that You act according to Your wishes, using the powers I have given You: do or undo whatever is necessary for the welfare of My Church, and You may be sure, that all the fury of the demons will be turned toward You.” She thanked him for this new favor and offered to undertake the battles of the Lord for His faithful, saying: “Most High Lord, hope and life of My soul, prepared is the heart and spirit of Your servant to labor for the souls bought with Your Blood and Life. Although I am but useless dust, I know You to be infinite in power and wisdom; with the favor of Your assistance I fear not the infernal dragon. As You wish Me to dispose and act in Your Name for the welfare of the Church, I now command satan and all his ministers of wickedness, who are disturbing the Church, to descend to the abyss and there be silenced until it shall please Your Providence to permit their return to the earth. This command of the Queen of the World in Ephesus was so powerful, that at the very moment of Her issuing it, all the devils in Jerusalem were precipitated into hell, the whole multitude descending into the eternal caverns without power of resisting the Divine force exerted through the most Blessed Mary.
407 The devil and his companions knew that this chastisement proceeded from our Queen, whom they called their enemy because they dared not pronounce Her name.  They remained in hell, confounded and dismayed as on other occasions, until they were permitted to rise in order to battle against Mary, as will be related further on.  During that time they consulted anew about the means of attaining this end. Having obtained this triumph over the demons the most Blessed Mary thought of also overcoming the opposition of Herod and the Jews, and therefore She said to Her Divine Son: “Now, My Son and Lord, if it is Your Will, let one of Your Holy Angels be sent to deliver Your servant Peter from prison.” Christ our Lord approved of Her wish and, at the orders of both these Sovereigns, one of the Heavenly Spirits there present hastened to liberate St. Peter from his prison in Jerusalem.
408 The Angel executed these orders very swiftly.  Coming to the dungeon, he found St. Peter fastened with 2 chains, guarded by 2 soldiers at his side and by a number of other soldiers at the entrance of the prison.  The Pasch had already been celebrated and it was the night before he was to be executed according to the sentence passed upon him. But the Apostle was so little disturbed that he was sleeping with as much unconcern as his guards (Acts 12:6). When the Angel arrived, he was obliged to wake him by force and while St. Peter was still drowsy, said to him: “Arise quickly; put on Your girdle and Your shoes, take Your mantle and follow me.” St. Peter found himself free of the chains and, without understanding what was happening to him and ignorant of what this vision could mean, followed the Angel. Having conducted him through some streets, the Angel told him, that the Almighty had freed him from prison through the intercession of His most Blessed Mother, and thereupon disappeared. St. Peter, coming to himself understood the mystery and gave thanks to the Lord for this favor.
409 St. Peter thought it best first to give an account of his liberation and consult with Jacob the Less and others of the faithful, before seeking safety in flight.  Hastening his steps he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, who was also called Mark. This was the house of the Cenacle, where many of the disciples had gathered in their affliction. St. Peter called to them from the street, and a servant-maid, by the name of Rhode, descended to see who was calling. As she recognized the voice of Peter, she left him standing at the door outside and fled excitedly to the disciples, telling them that it was Peter. They thought it some foolish misunderstanding of the servant ; but she maintained, that it was Peter; so they, far from guessing the liberation of Peter, concluded that it might be his Angel. During these questions and answers St. Peter was in the street clamoring at the door, until they opened it and with incredible joy and gladness saw the holy Apostle and head of the Church freed from the sorrows of prison and death. He gave them an account of all that had happened to him through aid of the Angel, in order that they might in strict secrecy notify St. Jacob and all his brethren. Foreseeing that Herod would search for him with great diligence, they unanimously decided that he leave Jerusalem that very night and not return, lest he should be taken in some future search. St. Peter therefore fled, and Herod, having instituted a search in vain, executed the guards, and was roused to new fury against the disciples. But on account of his pride and impious designs, God cut short his activity by a severe punishment, of which I shall speak in the following chapter.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS GAVE ME.

410 My daughter, Your astonishment at the singular favor conferred by Me on My servant Jacob at his death, affords Me an occasion to tell you of a privilege confirmed to Me by the Almighty at the time when I bore the soul of the Apostle to heaven. Although I have already on other occasions revealed to you something of this secret, you shall now understand it more fully in order to increase Your filial devotion toward me. When I brought to heaven the happy soul of Jacob, the Eternal Father spoke to Me in the hearing of all the blessed: “My Daughter and Dove, chosen for My acceptation from all creatures, let My courtiers, Angels and Saints understand that, for the exaltation of My Holy Name, for Your glory and for the benefit of mortals, I now give you My Royal Word, that if men, in the hour of their death invoke You and call upon You with affection in imitation of My servant Jacob, soliciting Your intercession with Me, I will bend to them in clemency and look upon them with Eyes of Fatherly Mercy; I will defend and guard them against the dangers of that last hour; I will ward off the cruel enemies that seek the perdition of souls in that hour; I will furnish them through You with great helps for resisting these enemies and gaining grace, if they wish to avail themselves of this help; and You shall present to Me their souls to be rewarded by My liberal Hands.”
411 For this privilege the whole triumphant Church, and I with it, sang hymns of thanks and praise to the Most High. Although the Angels have the office of presenting the souls when they issue from the captivity of mortal life, to the tribunal of the just Judge, yet I have this same Privilege in a more exalted degree than is granted to any other creature by the Omnipotent; for I possess it by an other title and by a particular and supereminent right.  Many times I make use of this privilege and I have done so with some of the Apostles. Since I see you desirous of knowing how you can obtain from Me this favor so precious to the soul, I answer your pious wish by exhorting you to take care lest you make yourself unworthy by ingratitude and forgetfulness; and before all, to gain for yourself that inviolate purity, which I expect of you and of the other souls. For the great love which I owe and cherish toward God, obliges me, with sincerest affection and charity to demand of all men the observance of His Holy Law and the preservation of their friendship and grace with God. This you must prefer before your life and be willing to die rather than offend your God and highest Good.
412 I wish that you set about obeying Me, act out My instructions, and work with all your might to imitate what you see and write of Me; that you permit no intermission in your love, nor forget for one moment the heartfelt affection you owe to the Liberal Mercy of your Lord; that you be thankful for all His blessings and to Me, since your obligations are far beyond the power of fulfillment by you in this mortal life. Be faithful in your correspondence, fervent in your devotion, ready to do what is most holy and perfect. Let your heart expand and do not narrow it in pusillanimity, following the instigations of the devil. Extend your hand to strong and powerful deeds, filled with confidence in the Lord; be not oppressed by adversities, thus impeding the Will of the Lord in you, and the high ends of His Glory. Retain vivid faith and hope, even in the greatest assaults and temptations. In all this let the example of My servants Jacob and Peter assist you, and the certain knowledge of possessing through Me the happy security of those who live under the protection of the Most High. In this confidence and in devotion to Me, Jacob obtained the singular favor I showed him in his martyrdom; trusting in Me he undertook immense labors in order to reach that crown. In this confidence St. Peter remained so tranquil and content in his prison chains, nor lost for a moment the serenity of his soul.  Thus he merited at the same time, that My Divine Son and Myself should plan his liberation. Of such favors the children of darkness make themselves unworthy, because they build all their hopes on that which is visible and on their diabolical earthly astuteness. Raise up your heart, My daughter, and withdraw it from these deceits; aspire to that which is most pure and holy, since with you shall be the Arm of the Almighty, Who wrought such great wonders in Me.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 3
The death and chastisement of Herod. St. John preaches in Ephesus.
The devil battles The Queen Of Heaven. 
413 In the rational creature, love produces on the heart effects similar to those of the force of gravity on the stone.  The stone tends to move wherever its own weight draws it, that is to its center of attraction; love is the weight of the heart, drawing it to its center, namely, to that which it loves. If at anytime the heart is diverted by necessity or inadvertence, love will immediately make it recoil like a liberated spring returning again to its normal position. This weight or sway of love in a manner seems to take away the liberty of the heart, in so far as it becomes subject and subservient to what it loves, and prevents the will from commanding any other course of action than that sought and ordered by the urgency of this love. The happiness or unhappiness of a creature arises from the good or evil use it makes of love, for what man loves that he makes his master; if this master is evil and vile, so will also the man be tyrannized and degraded; if good, then will he be ennobled and made happy, and so much the more, the more noble and excellent the good is, that he loves. By these principles I hope to be able to explain in part, what has been made known to me concerning the exalted state in which the most Holy Mary lived never having dropped from it but rising higher and higher from the first instant of Her Conception without interruption or relaxation, until She entered the state of a comprehensor in the beatific vision.
414 If all the love of the Holy Angels and of men could be united in one person, it would be less than that of the most Holy Mary; yet, if we could unite the love of all the other creatures into one whole, it is certain that such a conflagration of love would result, that, without being infinite, it would seem so to us, on account of its surpassing all our comprehension. If then the charity of our great Queen exceeded all this, only the infinite Wisdom could measure the love of this Creature and estimate the intensity, with which it inclined and tended toward the Divinity. We however can at least understand that in this chastest, purest and most inflamed heart there could be no other mastery or sway, no other movement or liberty, except that of loving supremely the Highest Good; and this in such an exalted degree, that with our limited capacity we can much sooner believe than understand it, confess than penetrate it. This charity of the most pure Virgin filled Her at the same time with the most ardent desires of seeing the Holy Face of God, Who was absent, and assisting the Holy Church, which was present to Her. Thus She was consumed by 2 opposite tendencies; but She governed them with such wisdom, that there arose from them no conflict within Her, nor did She give Herself up to the one to the neglect of the other; but She attended to both, exciting wonder in all the saints and fullest complacency in the Lord of the saints.
415 In this exalted and eminent state of holiness, the most Holy Mary often consulted within Her heart about the condition of the primitive Church left in Her charge; and how She could exert Herself for its peace and progress. In these aspirations the liberation of St. Peter, which made it possible for him to continue the government of the faithful, and also the casting forth of satan and his demons from Jerusalem, which freed the faithful from their tyranny and allowed them some respite, afforded the most Holy Mary some relief and consolation in Her anxiety. The Divine Wisdom, which dispenses labors and consolations with weight and measure (Wis 11:21), ordained that the most Blessed Mother should at that time have a very intimate knowledge of the evil disposition of Herod. She perceived the abominable ugliness of that most unfortunate soul brought on by his boundless vices and oft-repeated crimes, which had roused the Wrath of the Righteous and Almighty Judge. She knew how greatly Herod and the Jews were enraged against Jesus and His disciples after the escape of St. Peter. She saw, also, how the seed of rage, sown by the demons in the hearts of Herod and the Jews, had grown, and how furious their hatred against Jesus our Redeemer and His disciples had become; how the iniquitous ruler had conceived the purpose of exterminating all the faithful within the confines of Judea and Galilee and how he would employ in this work all his forces and means. Although the most Blessed Mary was aware of this design of Herod, She was not informed at that time of his horrid death. But as She knew his power and the depravity of his soul, She was horrified at his evil state, and deeply grieved at his wrath against the followers of the faith.
416 In Her anxieties and in Her reliance upon divine help our Queen labored incessantly in prayers and tears, travailing in Her clamors as I have shown on other occasions. Ever governed by Her most exalted prudence, She spoke to one of the highest Angels of Her guard, saying: “Minister of the Most High and creature of His Hands, My solicitude for the Holy Church strongly urges Me to seek its welfare and progress.  I implore you to ascend to the throne of the Most High, represent to Him My affliction; ask Him in My name, that I may be permitted to suffer instead of his faithful servants and that Herod be prevented from executing his designs for the destruction of the Church.” Immediately the Angel took this message to the Lord, while the Queen of Heaven, like another Esther, remained in prayer for the liberty and salvation of Her people and of Herself  (Est 4:16). The heavenly ambassador was sent back by the Blessed Trinity with the answer: “Princess of Heaven, the Lord of Hosts says, that You are the Mother, the Queen and the Governess of the Church, and that You hold His power while You are upon earth; and He desires You, as the Queen and Queen of the Heaven and Earth, to execute sentence upon Herod.”
417 In Her humility the most Blessed Virgin was some what disturbed by this answer, and urged by Her charity, She replied to the Angel: “Am I then to pronounce sentence against a creature who is the image of the Lord?  Since I came forth from His Hands I have known many reprobates among men and I have never called for vengeance against them; but as far as I was concerned, always desired their salvation if possible, and never hastened their punishment. Return to the Lord, Angel, and tell Him that My tribunal and power is inferior to and dependent upon His, and that I cannot sentence anyone to death without consulting My Superior; and if it is possible to bring Herod to the way of Salvation, I am willing to suffer all the travails of the world according to the disposition of His Divine Providence in order that this soul may not be lost.” The Angel hastened back with this second message of his Queen and having presented it before the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity, was sent back to Her with the following answer: “Our Queen, the Most High says, that Herod is of the number of the foreknown, since he is so obstinate in his malice, that he will take no admonition or instruction; he will not co-operate with the helps given to him; nor will he avail himself of the fruits of the Redemption, nor of the intercession of the Saints, nor of Your own efforts, O Queen and Lady, in his behalf.”
418 For the third time the most Holy Mary despatched the heavenly prince with still another message to the Most High, saying: “If it must be that Herod die in order to hinder him from persecuting the Church, you, O Angel, represent to the Almighty, how in the infinite condescension of His charity, He has granted Me in mortal life to be the Refuge of the children of Adam, the Advocate and Intercessor of sinners; that My tribunal should be that of kindness and clemency for the refuge and assistance of all that seek My intercession; and that all should leave it with the assurance of pardon in the Name of My Divine Son. If then I am to be a loving Mother to men, who are the creatures of His Hands and the price of His Life Blood, how can I now be a severe judge against one of them? Never was I charged with dealing out justice, always mercy, to which all My heart inclines; and now it is troubled by this conflict of love with obedience to rigorous justice. Present anew, O Angel, this My anxiety to the Lord, and learn whether it is not His pleasure that Herod die without My condemning him.”
419 The holy messenger ascended for the third time and the Most Blessed Trinity listened to his message with the plenitude of pleasure and complacency at the pitying love of His Spouse. Returning, the Angel thus informed the loving Queen: “Our Queen, Mother of our Creator and My Lady, the Almighty Majesty says that Your Mercy is for those mortals who wish to avail themselves of Your powerful intercession, not for those who despise and abhor it like Herod; that You are the Queen of the Church invested with all the Divine Power, and that therefore it is meet You use it as is opportune: that Herod must die; but it shall be through Your sentence and according to Your order.” The most Blessed Mary answered: “Just is the Lord and equitable are His judgments (Ps 119:137). Many times would I suffer death to rescue this soul of Herod, if he himself would not by his own free will make himself unworthy of mercy and choose perdition. He is a work of the Most High (Job 10:8), formed according to His image and likeness (Gen 1:27); he was redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, Which takes away the sins of the world (Rev 1:5). But I set aside all this and, considering only his having become an obstinate enemy of God, unworthy of His eternal friendship, by the most equitable Justice of God, I condemn him to the death he has merited, in order that he may not incur greater torments by executing the evil he has planned.”
420 This wonder the Lord wrought for the glory of His most Blessed Mother and in witness of His having constituted Her as the Queen of all creatures with supreme power to act as their Sovereign like Her Divine Son. I cannot explain this mystery better than in the words of the Lord in  John 5 where He says of Himself: “The Son cannot do anything that the Father does not; but He does the same, because the Father loves Him; and if the Father raises the dead, the Son also raises whom He pleases, and the Father has given to the Son to judge all, in order that just as all honor the Father, they may also honor the Son; for no one can honor the Father without honoring the Son.” And immediately He adds: that He has given Him the power of judging, because He is the Son of Man, Which He is through His most Blessed Mother.  On account of the likeness of the Heavenly Mother to Her Son (of which I have often spoken) the relation or proportion of the Mother with the Son in this power of judgment must be transferred to the Mother in the same manner as that of the Son from the Father. Mary is the Mother of Mercy and clemency to all the children of Adam that call upon Her; but in addition to this the Almighty wishes it to be understood that She possesses full power of judging all men and that all should honor Her, just as they honor Her Son and true God. As His true Mother He has given Her the same power with Him in the degree and proportion due to Her as His Mother and a mere creature.
421 Making use of this power the great Lady sent the Angel to Cesesarea, where Herod then was, to take away his life as the minister of Divine Justice. The Angel executed the sentence without delay. The evangelist St. Luke says, that the Angel of the Lord struck Herod and, eaten up by worms, the unhappy man died the temporal and eternal death. The wound of this stroke was interior and from it sprang the corruption and the worms that so miserably finished him. From the same text it appears that, after having beheaded St. Jacob and after St. Peter had escaped, Herod descended to Csesarea in order to compose some differences that had arisen between him and the inhabitants of Sidon and Tyre (Acts 12:23). Within a few days, vested in the royal purple and seated upon a throne, he harangued the people with great show of words. The people, full of vain flattery, proclaimed him as a victor and as a god; and Herod, in foolish vanity, was pleased with this adulation of the people. Because he had not given honor to God, but usurped to himself divine honor in vain pride, as St. Luke says, the Angel of the Lord struck him. Although this was his last crime, which filled the measure of his iniquity, he merited the chastisement not only for this, but for so many other crimes committed by him in persecuting the Apostles, mocking the Lord our Savior (Luke 23:11), beheading the Baptist (Mark 6:27), committing adultery with his sister-in-law Herodias, and for many other abominations.
422 Immediately the Angel returned to Ephesus and gave an account of the execution of the sentence against Herod. The Merciful Mother wept over the loss of this soul; but praised the Judgments of the Lord and gave Him thanks for the benefit, which the Church would derive from his chastisement; for, as St. Luke says (Acts 12:24), the Church grew and increased by the Word of God. This was true not only in Galilee and Judea, where the persecutor Herod was removed, but, through St. John and the help of the most Holy Mother, the Church was taking root in Ephesus. The science of the blessed Apostle was full as that of the Cherubim, and the love of his heart was inflamed like that of the Seraphim; and he had with him as his Mother and Teacher, the Queen of Wisdom and Grace. On account of these precious advantages the Evangelist could undertake great and wonderful works for the foundation of the Law of Grace, not only in Ephesus, but in all neighboring regions of Asia and in the borderlands of Europe.
423 Arriving at Ephesus the Evangelist began to preach in the city, baptizing those whom he converted to the faith of Christ our Savior and confirming the faith by great miracles and prodigies, such as had never been witnessed by those gentiles. Since the Greek schools in those countries turned out many philosophers and men learned in what, notwithstanding the admixture of many errors, could be called human sciences, the blessed Apostle convincingly taught them the true science, making use not only of miracles and signs, but of argumentation for the credibility of the Christian faith. All his catechumens he immediately sent to the most Holy Mary and She instructed many; as She knew the interior inclinations of all, She spoke to the heart of each one and filled it with heavenly light. She wrought prodigies and miracles for the benefit of the unfortunate, curing the possessed and the infirm, comforted the poor and the needy and, by the labor of Her own hands, gave assistance to the sick in the infirmaries, attending upon them in person. In Her house the kind Queen had a supply of clothes for the most poor and forsaken of Her fellowmen. She helped many in the hour of their death, gaining these souls in their last agony and bringing them safely through all the assaults of the demon to their Creator. So many souls did She draw to the path of truth and life eternal, and so numerous were the wonders She wrought for this end, that they could not be recorded in many books; for no day passed in which She did not increase the possessions of the Lord by the copious and abundant fruit of souls.
424 On account of the growth of the primitive Church through the holiness, solicitude and labors of the Queen of Heaven, the demons were filled with confusion and furious disappointment. Although they rejoiced in the condemnation of all souls because it swelled the numbers of the damned in hell yet they were grievously put out at the death of Herod; for on account of his obstinacy they had expected from him no amendment of his vile and abominable life and therefore had considered him a powerful instrument for the persecution of the followers of Christ our Lord. Divine Providence permitted satan and the other infernal dragons to emerge from the depths of hell, where they had been cast forth from Jerusalem by the most Blessed Mother, as I have related in the last chapter. After having spent their time in hell in planning and preparing temptations for their conflict with the invincible Queen of the Angels, The devil resolved to make complaint against Her to the Lord Himself, as he had done against holy Job (Job 1:9); although he now did it with greater wrath. With this intent, before issuing from the abyss, he spoke to his ministers as follows :
425 “If we do not vanquish this Woman, our Enemy, I fear that without a doubt She will destroy My sovereignty; for we all find in Her a strength more than human, which annihilates and oppresses us, whenever and in whatsoever manner She pleases to exercise it. This is what makes Her intolerable to me; for if She were God, Who is offended by my high aspirations and hostility and Who has infinite power to destroy us, I would not feel so much confusion at being overcome; but this Woman, though She is the Mother of God, of the Incarnate Word, is not God; She is a mere creature of a nature inferior to ours. I shall not further endure to be treated by Her in such an imperious manner and be ruined by Her opposition to me. Let us all go forth to destroy Her and let us make our complaint to the Omnipotent as we have now concluded to do.” In reliance upon his pretended rights the dragon executed his resolve; for he alleged, that God, instead of leaving Her in Her humble condition exposed to the persecutions and temptations of the demons, had by His Graces and Gifts unjustly raised this Woman above him, though She was but dust of the earth while he was an angel of such superior essence. But I must remark, that these hellish foes did not present themselves before the Lord so as to see Him, being entirely incapable thereof; but through their knowledge and belief in the supernatural mysteries, which is conceded to them in a curtailed yet by them unavoidable measure, they are permitted to speak to God. This is what is meant, when they are mentioned as being in the Presence of God to make complaint or to have converse with Him.
426 The Almighty gave satan permission to go forth in battle against the most Blessed Mother; but the conditions asked by satan were unjust, and therefore many of them were not conceded.  Divine Wisdom furnished those weapons, which were appropriate to each combatant, in order that the victory of His Mother might be so much the more glorious and crush the head of this ancient and poisonous serpent (Gen 3:15). This battle was mysterious, no less than its triumphant issue, as we shall see in the following chapters; moreover its mysterious character is plainly evident in Rev 12 and from the other mysteries of which I have spoken in My explanations of the first part of this history (Part 1, No. 94).  I wish only to state here, that Divine Providence foreordained all this, not only for the greater glory of His most Holy Mother and for the exaltation of Divine Power and Wisdom, but also in order to bring relief to the Church from the persecutions roused against it by the demons; and also to bind Himself with some show of justice to the bestowal of the infinite favors and blessings which the most Holy Mary alone and no other souls could ever merit for the whole Church. The Lord continually works in this manner in His Church: preparing and fortifying some chosen souls, against which, as members and parts of His Holy Church, the dragon may exert all his wrath and fury. If they overcome him by the help of Divine Grace, their victories redound to the benefit of the whole mystical body of the faithful and the enemy loses some of his right and power over them.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF THE ANGELS GAVE ME.

427 My daughter, when in the course of this history I so often call Your attention to the lamentable state of the world and to that of the Holy Church in which you live, and when I so often express My maternal solicitude that you imitate Me, remember, My dear, that I have great reasons for obliging you to lament with Me and for wishing you to weep over that which I bewailed in My mortal life; and which would afflict Me in My present state, if in it I were capable of sorrow. I assure you that you have reached times, in which you ought to shed tears of blood because of the calamities coming over the children of Adam. Since you can not at one and the same time attain a full knowledge of them all, I remind you of what from My place in heaven I see going on in the whole world among the believers of the Holy Faith. Turn then your eyes upon those multitudes and behold the greater part of the children of Adam in the darkness and errors of unbelief, rushing without hope of salvation to eternal perdition. Behold also the children of the faith and of the Church, how heedless and forgetful of this damage they continue to be, so that there are none who seem to deplore it. For in contempt of their own salvation, they care not about that of others and, their faith being dead and their love extinct, they sorrow not for the loss of souls created by God and redeemed by the Blood of the Incarnate Word.
428 All are the children of the Eternal Father Who is in Heaven (Matt 23:9) and all are obliged to have a care of their brethren according to each one’s condition.  This obligation rests more especially upon the children of the Church, who can live up to it by their prayers and supplications. But this duty lies still more directly upon those who have influence, upon those who are nourished by the Christian Faith, and who enjoy more of the benefits of the liberal Hand of the Almighty. Those who through the Law of Christ are favored with temporal advantages and who make use of them for the service and the delights of the flesh, are they who, as the powerful, are to be more powerfully tormented (Matt 23:9).  If the pastors and the chiefs of the House of the Lord seek only a life of ease, without caring to engage in true earnest labor, they will make themselves accountable for the ruin of the flock of Christ and for the carnage brought on by the infernal wolves. O My daughter, into what a lamentable state has the Christian people been cast by the powerful, by the pastors, and by the wicked ministers, whom God has given them in His secret judgments! O what confusion and chastisements await them! Before the tribunal of the Just Judge they will have no excuse; since the Catholic truth undeceives them, their conscience loudly protests, while they willfully remain deaf to all warnings.
429 The cause of God remains neglected and without a champion; His possessions, which are souls, are left without increase; all as it were look but to their own interest and preservation, each one according to his own diabolical cunning and according to his state of life. Truth is obscured, flattery raises its voice, avarice is unbridled, the Blood of Christ is trodden underfoot, the fruits of the Redemption are held in contempt; no one wishes to risk his own comfort or interest in order to save what has cost the Savior His Blood and Life. Even the friends of God are influenced by evils; for they do not make use of their charity and its holy liberty as they ought; and most of them allow themselves to be overcome by their cowardice and content themselves with working for themselves alone, forsaking the common cause of the souls of others. Hence you may understand, My daughter, that now, after the evangelical Church has been established by My Divine Son and fertilized by His own Blood, those unhappy times have come, of which the Lord Himself complains through His holy Prophets, saying: what the palmerworm has left the locust has eaten, and what the locust left the bruchus consumed, and the residue is destroyed by the mildew; (Joel 1:4) and in order to gather some fruits from His vineyard, the Lord goes about like the gleaner after the vintage, Who seeks some remaining grape, or some olive, which is not dried up, or carried away by the demons (Is 24:13).
430 Tell me now, My daughter, how is it possible, if you still has a true love for My Divine Son and for Me, that you find consolation or rest in your heart at the sight of the loss of souls, which He redeemed by His Blood and I have sought with blood-mingled tears? Even today, if I could shed them, I would begin to do so with new weeping and compassion; and since it is not possible for Me now to weep over the dangers threatening the Church, I wish that you do it and that you spurn consolation in a misfortune so calamitous and so worthy of lament. Weep bitterly then, and lose not the merit of such a sorrow; and let it be so deep, that you find no relief except in affliction for the sake of the Lord Whom you love. Think of what I did, in order to stave off the damnation of Herod and to prevent it for those who wish to avail themselves of My intercession. In the beatific vision I pray without ceasing for the salvation of My clients. Let not the labors and tribulations sent to you by My Divine Son intimidate you from helping your brethren and acquiring them for the possession of Christ.  Amidst the injuries done to Him by the children of Adam, labor to recompense them in some measure by the purity of your soul, which I desire shall be rather that of an Angel than of an earthborn woman.  Fight the battles of the Lord against His enemies and in His Name and mine, crush their head, reign over their pride and cast them into hell. Also counsel the ministers of Christ with whom you converse, to use their power to do the same, to defend souls with lively faith and with them, the honor and glory of the Lord; for thus shall they repress and vanquish them with Divine Power.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 4
Our Lady destroys a pagan temple.  The Lord prepares Her for battle with the devil.
431 Most celebrated is the history of the city of Ephesus, situated on the western confines of Asia; for many renowned events of past ages made that city famous and illustrious throughout the globe. But its greatest privilege and excellence consists in having entertained and harbored within its walls the supreme Queen of Heaven and Earth. This privilege was a most fortunate one for Ephesus; since the other things which are mentioned for its renown made it truly unhappy and infamous, because through them the prince of darkness had permanently set up his throne in that city. But as our great Lady and Mother of Grace found Herself hospitably entertained and thus considered Herself under obligation to its inhabitants, who received Her liberally and offered Her gifts, it naturally followed, that She, in accordance with Her most perfectly ordered and burning charity deeming Herself brought nearer to these Her benefactors, should repay their hospitality with greater blessings. For if She was liberal to all, even strangers, She would certainly be much more free with Her gifts and favors to the inhabitants of Ephesus. Her own gratitude moved Her to this, since She considered Herself indebted to the whole commonwealth. She offered up for it special prayers, asking Her Divine Son to pour out over its inhabitants His blessings and as a kind Father to illumine and bring it to the knowledge of the True Faith.
432 The Lady received answer that, as the Queen of the whole Church, She was free to do as She pleased; that, however, She should take notice of the obstacles, which this city placed in the way of Divine Clemency by its ancient and still existing abominations; that its inhabitants had thereby locked the Gates of Mercy and merited the Rigors of Justice, which would have already been executed upon them, if the Lord had not ordained Her to live among them just at the time, when their wickedness had reached the highest point and called the loudest for punishment. Together with this answer the most Blessed Mother perceived, that Divine Justice, as it were, asked Her permission and consent to the destruction of that idolatrous people of Ephesus and its neighborhood. At this answer and what it implied the kind heart of the sweetest Mother was much afflicted; but Her immense charity was not intimidated, and multiplying Her prayers, She answered the Lord:
433 “Most High, Just and Merciful King! I know well that the Rigor of Your Justice will be executed, if Your Mercy is excluded; but for Your Mercy any motive found by Your Wisdom is sufficient, although small may be the inducement presented on the part of sinners. Consider therefore, O Lord, how this city has afforded Me a dwelling according to Your Divine Will and how its inhabitants have helped Me and offered Me and Your servant John their goods. Temper Your rigor, My God, and let it be exercised on Me, for I am willing to suffer for the salvation of these unfortunates. You, O All-Powerful, Whose Infinite Goodness and Mercy forever conquers in good or evil, can take away the obstacle, which prevents their profiting of Your blessings; let not My eyes behold the destruction of so many souls, the works of Your Hands, purchased by Your Blood.” The Lord replied: “My Mother, I desire that You see for Yourself the cause of My Just Indignation and how much these men, for whom you plead, have merited it. Pay attention, and You shall see.” And immediately, by a most clear vision, She saw what follows.
434 She perceived that many centuries before the Incarnation of the Word in Her virginal womb, among the many councils held by the devil for the destruction of men, one was held in which he thus spoke to his demons, “From the delights of my former state in heaven, from the prophecies made by God to man and from the favors shown to many of His friends, I conjecture how much God shall be beholden to men and women for abstaining from certain vices, which I desire to maintain upon the world. These vices are especially those connected with the delights of the flesh and with the pleasures of possession or avarice; in these He seeks to induce them to renounce even what is allowed. In order that they may be so induced, He shall furnish them with many helps, so that they may be chaste and poor of their own accord, and subject their free will to that of others. If through these virtues they overcome us, they will merit great reward before God, as I have spied out in some who were chaste, poor and obedient. My plans will be seriously frustrated, if we do not take measures to counteract this damage and seek to compensate for it in all the ways open to our astuteness. I take into consideration also,that, if the Divine Word is to assume human flesh, as I have been given to understand, He will be very chaste and pure, and that He will teach chastity to others, not only men, but women, who, though they are weaker, yet usually are more tenacious. If they, whom I overcame in the first woman, shall thus vanquish me, it will be so much the more tormenting to me. Besides all this, the Scriptures of the ancients speak much of the favors, which men shall enjoy through the Incarnate Word. For the human nature of the Son of God is to enrich and raise up earthborn men by His power.”
435 “In order to oppose all this,”  the devil continued, “I desire your counsel and your diligent help; and we must begin even now to hinder men from attaining such great benefits.” Thus the hateful plotting of hell against evangelical perfection was far in advance of its profession in the religious orders. This matter was thoroughly considered by the demons and the result of their deliberations was, that a great many demons should be appointed as heads of hellish legions, who were to tempt those desirous of living a life of chastity, poverty and obedience. In derision of chastity especially, they were to institute a sort of false and apparent state of virginity, in which counterfeit and hypocritical virgins were to consecrate themselves to the devil and all the demons. The enemies hoped thereby to gain over these persons to themselves not only for their own triumph, but also to cast discredit upon the chaste life of religious orders, which they presumed would be instituted by the Incarnate Word and His Mother in the world. In order that this false religion might be propagated so much the better in the world, they resolved to found it upon worldly abundance and on whatever is most pleasing to nature, as in reality it was; for in secret those interested agreed to live licentiously under the name of chastity in honor of false gods.
436 But immediately the question arose, whether this religion was to be for men or for women. Some of the demons wanted it to be for men only, in order that through their greater constancy those religious orders might be more permanent; others again thought that men are not so easily deceived as women, since they reason more deeply and could more easily detect error; while there was not so much of this risk in women, who were of weak judgment, ready to believe earnestly in what they like and have once settled upon, and inclined to persevere in their error. This argument prevailed and was approved by satan, although he did not entirely exclude men; for he judged, that some would be found, who would embrace the fallacy on account of the influence they would thereby gain over others. This could be expected especially if the demons would help along by nourishing their fear of losing the estimation of their fellowmen and by astutely making use of public opinion to keep alive the fallacies in those who would engage in this service.
437 Following up their infernal schemes the demons set about instituting a counterfeit and false religious order or congregation of virgins; for satan said to the other demons: “Although it would be a great pleasure to me to have real virgins consecrated and dedicated to my worship and adoration in the same way as God wishes them for Himself; yet chastity and purity of the body so offends me, that I cannot endure this virtue, even if practiced entirely in honor of my greatness.  Therefore we must see to it, that these virgins be the object of our basest attempts.  If any of them should remain chaste in body, we shall fill Her with bad thoughts and desires, so that in reality none of them will be chaste, though they may strive to contain themselves out of vain pride; and as they are to be impure in their thoughts, we will seek to maintain them in the vainglorious conceit of their virginity.”
438 In order to start these false religious orders the demons scoured through the whole earth, and it seemed to them, that among all the nations, certain women called Amazons were best suited for the execution of their devilish plans. These Amazons had come from Scythia to Asia Minor where they now lived. They were warlike, covering up by their arrogance and pride the weakness of their sex. By force of arms they had possessed complete provinces, and had constituted Ephesus as the center of their power. For a long time they governed themselves, disdaining subjection to men and life in their company, for such a life, they in their presumptuous pride, called slavery or servitude. Since much is said of them in histories, though with many contradictions, I will not dilate upon this matter. For My purpose it is sufficient to state, that, since these Amazons were proud, vainglorious and averse to men, satan found them predisposed toward his counterfeit virginity. He filled them with vain hopes of gaining great veneration and renown in the world by being known as pledged to virginity and stirred them with the desire of becoming famous and admired of men and perhaps of one of them reaching the position and worship of a goddess. In their unbridled desire of this worldy honor they gathered around them many Amazons, both true and counterfeit virgins, and instituted their spurious congregation of virgins at Ephesus, the place of their origin.
439 In a short time these more than foolish virgins grew very numerous and through the instigations of the demons were much admired and applauded by the world.  Among them one signalized herself and became very celebrated for her beauty, nobility, high intellect, chastity and other allurements. She was called Diana and the fame and admiration of her became widespread. The veneration of her and the multitude of her companions were the occasion of the building of the renowned temple of Ephesus, which the world estimated as one of its marvels and which took many years to construct. As Diana gradually gained the worship and title of goddess among the blind multitude, this rich and sumptuous temple was finally dedicated to her, and was called the temple of Diana. In imitation of it and under the same title, many others were built in other parts of the world. In order to spread the renown of this counterfeit virgin during her lifetime in Ephesus, the devil communicated with her and filled her with diabolical illusions; many times he surrounded her with a false splendor and manifested to her secrets to be promulgated. He taught her also some ceremonies and forms of worship similar to those of the people of God; by which she and the people might worship him. The rest of the virgins venerated her as a goddess; which was also done by the other heathens, who were as prodigal as they were blind in attributing divinity to all that seemed to them wonderful. 
440 These diabolical frauds had thus been established when the neighboring kings defeated the Amazons and assumed the government of Ephesus. They preserved this temple of Ephesus as something sacred and divine, and they permitted the continuance of that gathering of foolish virgins. Although some man of the people burned this temple, the city and the government authorities rebuilt it, being especially helped by the contributions of women. This was a little more or less than 30 years before the Redemption of the human race. Hence at the time when the most Blessed Mother was in Ephesus, it was the second temple, built later. In this temple the virgins occupied different apartments. But as, during the time of the Incarnation and Death of Christ, idolatry was so firmly established in the world, those diabolical women not only had not improved in their customs, but deteriorated, and nearly all of them held abominable association with the demons. In connection therewith they committed other most loathsome crimes and deceived the world by their humbugging prophecies, by which the devil filled both them and their dupes with their insanities.
441 This and much more did the most Blessed Mary behold around Her in Ephesus and on account of it She was struck with a sorrow certainly mortal, if She had not been preserved by the Lord. But having seen that satan had appropriated the statue of Diana as a seat or throne of his wickedness, She prostrated Herself upon the ground before Her Divine Son and said: “Lord God Most High, worthy of all reverence and praise! It is proper that these abominations, which have lasted for so many ages, should cease. My heart cannot bear to see that an unhappy and abominable woman receive the worship due to the True God, such as You alone as the Infinite deserve; nor can I endure to see the name of chastity so profaned and prostituted in honor of the demons. Your Infinite Condescension has made Me the guide and the Mother of Virgins, as a most noble part of Your Church, the most precious fruit of Your Redemption, most pleasing to You. The title of chastity must be consecrated to You in souls, which shall be My children, and I cannot consent to leave it any longer to these adulterous women. I make complaint against satan and against hell, for their presumption in unjustly appropriating such a right.  I implore You, My Son, to chastise them by rescuing these souls from his tyranny and conferring on them the liberty of Your faith and true light.”
442 The Lord answered: “My Mother, I grant Your petition, for it is not just that, even were it only in name, this virtue of chastity, which was so ennobled in You and is so pleasing to Me, should be ascribed to My enemies. But many of those counterfeit virgins are foreknown as reprobates on account of their abominations and their obstinacy, and all of them will not embrace the way of eternal life. Some few of them will accept the faith, which shall be taught them.” At this juncture St. John came to the oratory of the most Blessed Mother; but he did not then know of the mystery She was then engaged in, nor of the Presence of Her Divine Son. But the true Mother of the humble wished to join to Her prayers those of his beloved disciple. She therefore  secretly asked permission of Her Son to speak to him and said to him: “John, My Son, My heart is grieved on acount of the abominable crimes committed against the Most High in the temple of Diana and My soul desires to see them ended and atoned.” The holy Apostle answered: “My Lady, I have seen something of what passes in that abominable place. I cannot restrain My sorrow and My tears, that the devil should be there venerated and worshipped as is due to God alone; and no one can put a stop to such great evils, unless You, My Mother, will take this matter in hand.”
443 The most Blessed Mary then ordered the Apostle to join Her in prayer for a remedy of these evils. St. John departed for his chamber, while the most Blessed Lady remained with the Savior in hers. Prostrate before the Lord and shedding copious tears, She resumed Her prayers and petitions. She persevered therein with most burning fervor and as it were in agonizing sorrow. Appealing to Her Divine Son for comfort and consolation, She received the following response to Her petitions and prayers: “My Mother and My Dove, let what You ask be done without delay; give Your orders and commands according to Your heart’s wishes as the powerful Queen.” By this favor the love of the most Blessed Virgin was inflamed with zeal for the honor of the Divinity. As Queen She imperiously commanded all the demons in the temple of Diana to descend immediately to the depths of hell and to leave the place, which they had infested as their own for so many years. Many legions of them inhabited that temple, deceiving men by their superstitions and profaning the souls; but in the shortest twinkling of an eye, in virtue of the powerful command of the Queen, most Holy Mary, all of them were hurled into hell. So great was the terror by which She struck them down, that as soon as She opened Her lips to pronounce the first word they waited not for the second; for they were then already in hell and the swiftness of an angel, proper to them as pure spirits, seemed to them tardy in their flight from the Mother of the Omnipotent.
444 They were unable to leave the abyssmal caverns until, as I shall soon relate, they received permission to come forth with the great dragon to do battle with the Queen of Heaven; and in hell itself they sought the localities farthest removed from the place where She was upon earth, I must remark, that by these triumphs the most Holy Mary so vanquished the demon, that he could not return to reassume the same position or jurisdiction in those places of which he was dispossessed. But this infernal serpent was and is so venomous, that new heads grow upon him where the former are cut off, continually evolving new schemes of malice and wickedness against God and His Church. Following up Her victory the great Queen of the World, with the consent of Christ our Savior, immediately ordered one of Her Holy Angels to destroy the temple of Diana without leaving a stone upon a stone. Of all the women that dwelt there he was to save only 9 designated by Her, while all the rest should die and be buried in the ruins of the building. These were reprobates, whose souls, before they could increase their punishment by more sins, should be buried in hell with the demons, whom they had obeyed and worshipped.
445 The Angel of the Lord executed the mandate of his Queen, and in the shortest space of time the rich and famous temple of Diana, the establishment of which had consumed many ages, was shattered to the dust: so sudden was the destruction and ruin of it, that it roused the astonishment and fear of the inhabitants of Ephesus. He saved the 9 women designated by the most Holy Mary in pursuance of the Command of Christ our Savior; for these alone accepted the faith, as I shall relate. All the others perished in the ruins, not leaving even a remembrance of themselves. Although the inhabitants of Ephesus instituted an inquiry, they could find no one upon whom to put the blame, as they had been able to do in the burning of the first temple when, for the sake of the fame attached to his crime, the incendiary delivered himself up of his own accord. The Evangelist St. John took occasion from this event to preach with still greater fervor the Divine truth and to free the Ephesians from the deceits and errors of the demons. The Evangelist joined the Queen of Heaven in giving thanks to the Most High for this triumph over satan and over idolatry.
446 But it is necessary here to explain, that this event must not be connected with that mentioned in Acts 19 concerning the temple of Diana, which St. Luke relates, that a renowned artificer of Ephesus, called Demetrius, who manufactured silver images of the goddess Diana, conspired with others, who were interested in his trade, against St. Paul; for the Apostle preached all through Asia, that those were no gods, which were manufactured by the hands of men. On account of this new doctrine Demetrius persuaded his associates, that St. Paul was not only ruining their trade, but causing the temple of Diana, so greatly venerated in Asia and the whole world, to be despised. This conspiracy roused the artisans, and they, the whole city, so that the cry went up: “Great is the Diana of the Ephesians,” bringing on what St. Luke relates in that chapter. In order to make intelligible what I have said above, I will add, that this temple, of which St. Luke speaks, was another, less costly and more ordinary temple, which the Ephesians began to build after the most Blessed Virgin had returned to Jerusalem. When St. Paul came to preach in Ephesus this temple had already been completed. From what St. Luke says, we can gather how deeply ingrown idolatry and the cult of Diana was in the Ephesians and in the whole of Asia. This was natural not only on account of the length of the time in which this error had held sway, but also because that city had made itself illustrious and famous throughout the world by the worship of Diana and by its  temple. The inhabitants of Ephesus having been delivered from this deceit and vanity by the Blessed Virgin, and their city being the seat and source of this worldwide superstition, imagined that they could not live without their goddess or without their building temples in Her honor. So ingrained was the ignorance of the true God among the heathens, that many Apostles and many years were required for making known the truth and rooting out the cockle of idolatry, especially among the Romans and the Greeks, who esteemed themselves the most wise and civilized of all the nations of the earth.
447 Having destroyed the temple of Diana the most Holy Mary conceived still greater desires of laboring for the exaltation of the Name of Christ and for the spread of the Holy Church, in order that the triumph gained over the enemies might bring its proper fruit. While She was thus multiplying Her prayers and petitions for this purpose, it happened one day that the Holy Angels manifested themselves to Her in visible forms and said to Her: “Our Queen, the Great God of Heavenly Hosts commands us to bring You to Heaven before His Royal Throne to which He calls You.” The most Holy Mother answered: “Behold here the handmaid of the Lord; let His Holy Will be done in Me.” Then the Angels received Her on a throne of light, such as I have described on other occasions, and bore Her to the empyrean heavens and to the Presence of the Most Holy Trinity, which manifested Itself not by an intuitive, but by an abstractive vision. She prostrated Herself before the sovereign throne, adored the Immutable Being of God in profound humility and reverence. Then the Eternal Father spoke to Her and said: “My Daughter and meekest Dove, the cries of Your inflamed heart for the exaltation of My Holy Name have come to My Ears, and Your petitions for the Holy Church are acceptable in My Eyes, inclining Me to Mercy and Clemency. In response to Your love I wish to renew in You My Power, in order that You may defend My honor and glory, triumph over My enemies and their ancient pride, bind and crush their necks, and in order that through Your victories You may assist My Church and acquire new blessings and favors for its members, Your brethren.”
448 The most Holy Mary replied: “Behold, O Lord, I am the least of Your creatures; My heart is prepared for all that shall be Your Pleasure and for all that shall promote the exaltation of Your Ineffable Name and Your Greater Glory; let Your Divine Will be done in me.” The Eternal Father added: “Let all My courtiers of heaven understand, that I appoint Mary as the chief and leader of all My hosts, and as the conqueror of all My enemies gloriously to triumph over them.” The other 2 Divine Persons, the Son and the Holy Spirit, added their approval; and all the Blessed with the Angels answered: “Your Holy Will be done, O Lord, in Heaven and on earth.” Thereupon the Lord ordered 18 of the highest Seraphim to adorn, strengthen, and arm their Queen for battle against the infernal dragon. On that occasion were mysteriously fulfilled the promise in the Book of Wisdom: that the Lord armed the creatures for vengeance upon His enemies, and the other sayings there recorded (Wis 5:18). Six of the Seraphim first came forward to adorn the most Blessed Lady with a sort of light as with an impenetrable armor, which at the same time manifested the holiness and justice of the Queen, so invincible and impenetrable to the demons, that in an ineffable manner She was made godlike in strength. For this wonder the Seraphim and the Saints gave thanks to God. 
449 Immediately another 6 Seraphim approached and, in obedience to the command of the Lord, they furnished Her with another new enlightenment.  It was a sort of reflection of the Divinity in Her countenance, unbearable to the sight of the demons. In virtue of this gift, the enemies, although, as we shall see, they came to tempt Her, could not look upon Her godlike face, not being deemed worthy of this privilege by the Lord.  Then came also the last 6 Seraphim and at the command of the Lord they furnished Her with offensive weapons, since She was to take upon Herself the defense of the Divinity and its honor. In pursuance of their Divine Commission the Angels added to all the faculties of the great Lady new qualities of Divine Virtue, corresponding to the gifts with which the Most High had endowed Her.  In virtue of this privilege the great Queen received the power to impede, restrain and counteract at Her will the most secret schemes and attempts of all the demons, so that all of them became subject to the will and mandate of the most Holy Mary, without liberty to hinder Her decrees; and of this power She availed Herself frequently in favor of the faithful and of Her clients. All these special powers, and whatever they implied, the 3 Divine Persons confirmed, each One separately conferring upon Her gifts corresponding to His Divine attributes and bidding Her return to the Church and by them triumph over the enemies of the Lord.
450 In parting the 3 Divine Persons gave Their blessing to the most Blessed Mary and She adored Them in deepest reverence. Then the Angels, full of wonder at the works of the Most High, brought Her back to Her oratory, exclaiming: “Who is She, that so godlike, rich and prosperous, descends from the highest heaven to the world to defend the honor of the Name of God? How well appointed and how beautiful does She advance to battle for the Lord? O Queen, O most exalted Lady, proceed prosperous in Your beauty, go forth and reign over all creatures, and let all of them praise and magnify You; because He has shown Himself so liberal and powerful in Your blessings. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Sabbaoth, the Lord of the heavenly hosts (Is 6:3) and in You shall bless Him all the generations of men." Arriving at Her oratory the most Blessed Mary gave humblest thanks to the Almighty, prostrating Herself to the dust as She was wont to do on such occasions.
451 The most prudent Mary conferred within Herself for some time, in order to prepare for Her conflict with the demons. While thus meditating She saw issuing upon the earth, as from the abyss, a fearful red dragon with 7 heads, from each of which came forth the smoke and fire of vast wrath and fury, while many other demons followed him in similar shapes. This vision was so horrible that no one else could have looked upon it without losing his life; and it was indeed necessary, that the most Blessed Mary should be forewarned and made so invincible in order to enter into battle with these blood-thirsty beasts of hell. They gathered around the great Queen in furious howlings and began to vaunt their threats, saying; “Come, come let us destroy this our enemy; we have the permission of the Almighty to tempt Her and make war upon Her. This time we shall make an end of Her, we shall take vengeance for the injuries She has continually inflicted on us and for the destruction of our temple of Diana. Let us destroy Her likewise; She is but a Woman, a mere Creature, whereas we are knowing, astute and powerful spirits; we need not fear this earthly creature.”
452 That entire host of infernal dragons advanced upon the invincible Queen, satan leading them on and challenging Her to battle. As the most deadly poison of this serpent is his pride, by which he usually instills his vices for the destruction of innumerable souls, it seemed to him proper to begin with this vice, outwardly concealing it in accordance with the state of sanctity, which he attributed to the most Holy Mary. For this purpose the dragon and his followers transformed themselves into angels of light and thus manifested themselves Her, imagining that She had not yet seen and recognized them as demons and dragons of hell. They began with praise and flattery saying: “Powerful are You, Mary, great and valorous among women; all the world honors and celebrates You for the virtues it sees in You and for the prodigies and wonders You perform through them. You are worthy of glory, since no one equals You in holiness. We know this better than all the rest, and therefore we proclaim it and sing to You in festive joy at Your activities.” By these counterfeit acknowledgments, satan sought to excite in the mind of the humble Queen, haughty thoughts of pride and presumption. But instead of moving or persuading Her to any pleasure or consent in them, he drew forth in Her living darts of pain, that transfixed Her sincerest heart. Not all the torments of the martyrs were to Her so painful as these diabolical flatteries. In order to confound them, She excited acts of humility, annihilating Herself and debasing Herself in such an admirable and resistless a manner, that hell could not bear it nor remain longer in Her presence; for the Lord had ordained that satan and his ministers should recognize and feel these acts of humility. All the devils fled with dreadful howls, saying: “Let us away to the abyss, for less painful to us is the confusion of that place than the humility of this invincible Woman.” They left Her, and the most prudent Lady gave thanks to the Almighty for this first victory.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME.

453 My daughter, the pride of the devil includes a desire which the devil himself knows is absurd: namely, his desire that the Saints serve and obey him as god, and thus make him like to God in this respect. But the fulfillment of this desire is impossible, since it implies in itself a contradiction. The essence of holiness consists in the creature’s conforming itself to the Divine Will, loving God above all things in obedience, whereas sin consists in deviating from this rule by the love of some other object and obedience to the devil. But the uprightness of true virtue is so conformable to reason, that even the devil cannot ignore it. On this account he seeks, if possible, to cause the good to fall in order to satisfy his wrath and envy at not being able to draw them to his service, and satiate his intense desire of preventing the Glory of God in His saints, which he cannot appropriate for himself. Hence also his violent efforts to chop down to the earth some cedar of Lebanon in sanctity and to enslave those who have been the servants of the Most High. With this in view he exerts all his ingenuity and care, and often he seeks to induce his devotees to practice some of the moral virtues, even if only in appearance, as is done by hypocrites and as we have seen in the virgins of Diana.  He hopes thereby to have his share in what God loves and desires, and to sully and pervert what the Lord wishes to use as a channel for His purity.
454 Remember, My daughter, that the byways, snares and schemes of this serpent for the fall of the just are so numerous, that without the special favor of the Most High, souls could never know them, much less overcome them or escape his treacherous plots. In order to deserve this protection of the Lord, God wishes the creature on its part never to relax in vigilance, nor trust in its own strength, nor ever be remiss in asking and desiring this help; for without it, man can do nothing and will soon perish. What especially draws down Divine Clemency is fervor of the heart and promptness in Divine Worship, and above all, persevering obedience and humility, which give stability and fortitude against the assaults of the enemy, I wish to impress upon your mind, not for your discouragement, but for your advice and warning, that the works of the just, to which this serpent does not impart some of its poison, are very rare. For usually he tries with utmost subtlety to excite some terrestrial passion or inclination, by which he secretly deflects or perverts the intentions, preventing man from acting purely for God and for the legitimate ends of true virtue.  Since the cockle of some foreign affection, either in part or the whole, is thus sown with the wheat, it is difficult to detect, unless souls strip themselves of all earthly inclinations and examine their works in the Divine Light.
455 You are well warned, My daughter, against this peril and against the ceaseless efforts of the demons, which are more violent against you than against other souls. Let not your vigilance be less than his, and do not trust in the mere appearance of good intention in your works; for, though appearances must always be good and upright, yet this is not sufficient, nor can the creature always discern them. The devil often deceives the soul under the cloak of a good intention, proposing some apparently or remotely good end, in order to lead them into proximate danger; and thus it happens, that, enmeshed in this danger, the men never attain the good which drew them into action. At other times he prevents the soul, under cloak of this good intention, from examining into circumstances, which vitiate the act by imprudence in the performance. Then again, under the outwardly good intention, are often hidden the earthly passions and inclinations, which dominate the heart. Hence, amid so many dangers, you can find safety only in scrutinizing your actions by the light which the Lord infuses into the superior part of your soul; by it you will know how to distinguish the good from the evil, the truth from the falsehood, the bitter from the sweet, passions from right reason (Jer 15:19). Then the divine light in you will not be obscured by darkness, the eye will be single and will purify the body of Your actions (Matt 6:22), and you will be entirely and in all things pleasing to your Lord and to Me.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 5
Most Holy Mary returns from Ephesus; She continues to battle with devils; great storms at sea.
456 After the death of the unhappy Herod the primitive Church of Jerusalem enjoyed some measure of quiet and tranquillity for a considerable time. The great Lady of the world merited this favor through Her maternal solicitude and care. During this time St. Barnabas and St. Paul preached with wonderful success in the cities of Asia Minor, Antioch, Lystra, Perge and others, as is related by St. Luke in Acts 13 and 14  and in connection with the miracles and prodigies performed by St. Paul in those cities and provinces. The Apostle St. Peter, after his liberation from prison, fled from Jerusalem and retired to another part of Asia not under the jurisdiction of Herod. From that place he governed the faithful swelling the Church in Asia and those that were in Palestine. All of them acknowledged and obeyed him as the Vicar of Jesus Christ and head of the Church, believing that all he ordained and enacted upon earth was confirmed in heaven. With this firm faith they came to him with all their doubts and difficulties as to their supreme pontiff. Among other matters they asked him to decide the questions raised by some of the Jews concerning the endeavors and teachings of St. Paul and Barnabas as well in Jerusalem as in Antioch, in opposition to circumcision and the Law of Moses, as I will relate later on and as is recorded by St. Luke in Acts 15.
457 On this occasion the Apostles and disciples of Jerusalem begged St. Peter to return to the Holy City in order to settle these controversies and establish order, so that the preaching of the faith might not be hindered; for since the death of Herod the Jews had no one to assist them in their persecutions, and therefore the Church enjoyed greater peace and tranquility in Jerusalem. On the same grounds they also asked him to request the Holy Mother of Jesus to come to that city; for all the faithful longed for Her with loving hearts, expected to be consoled in the Lord and hoped for the prosperity of all the affairs of the Church through Her presence. On account of these appeals St. Peter resolved to return at once to Jerusalem, and before setting out, he wrote the following letter to the most Holy Queen.
458 Letter of St. Peter to most Holy Mary. “To Mary, the Virgin, Mother of God: Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, Your servant and the servant of the servants of God. Lady, among the faithful some doubts and differences have arisen concerning the Doctrine of Your Son and our Redeemer, whether the ancient Law of Moses is to be observed in conjunction with His teachings. They wish to know from us what is proper, and that we state to them what we heard from the Mouth of the Divine Teacher. In order to consult with my brethren, the Apostles, I am now setting out for Jerusalem and, for the consolation of all and by Your love for the Church, we entreat You likewise to come to that city, where, since the death of Herod, the Jews are more peaceful and the faithful more at ease. The multitude of the followers of Christ desire to see You and console themselves in Your presence.  When we shall have arrived at Jerusalem, we shall notify the other cities, and with Your assistance will be established what shall be conducive to the interests of the Holy Faith and to the excellence of the Law of Grace.”
459 This was the tenor and contents of the letter.  The Apostles usually observed the same method, addressing first the person or persons to whom they were writing, then mentioning the writer, or inversely, as is apparent in the letters of St. Paul, and of St. Peter and of the other Apostles. To call the Queen, Mother of God was agreed among the Apostles after they had composed the Creed; and in speaking of Her they used indiscriminately the term of Virgin or Mother, because it was very important that all the faithful of the Church should accept the doctrine of the virginity and maternity of the great Lady. Some of the other faithful called Her Mary of Jesus. Others less significantly called Her Mary, the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Such were the titles given to our Queen by the faithful in their conversation. The Holy Church, preferring the names given Her by the Apostles, calls Her Virgin and Mother of God, and to these it has added other titles, still more illustrious and mysterious. A messenger brought the letter of St. Peter to the Heavenly Lady, and in giving it to Her, he mentioned that it was from the Apostle. She received it on Her knees, in reverence for the Vicar of Christ, and kissed it; but She would not open it, because St. John was absent preaching in the city. As soon as the Evangelist returned, She as usual asked his benediction on Her knees, and handed him the letter, telling him that it was from St. Peter, the supreme High-Priest. St. John asked Her what it contained; but the Queen of all virtues answered: “You, My master, first read it and then tell me what it contains.” This the Evangelist proceeded to do.
460 I cannot restrain My wonder and confusion at the humility and obedience of the most Holy Mary in a matter of such a small consequence; for only Her heavenly prudence could inspire Her, the Mother of God, with the thought, that it would be more humble and submissive not to read this letter of the Vicar of Christ except in the presence and under the obedience of the one to whose guidance She had submitted Herself as Her superior. Her example reproves and stigmatizes the presumption of inferiors, who try to find excuses and pretenses for evading the humility and obedience due to their superiors.  But the most Holy Mary was a model and a teacher of holiness in all things, great or small. Having read the letter to Her, he asked Her, what She thought best to write to the Vicar of Christ. But also in this She did not wish to give any appearance of Her being his equal or superior, preferring to obey; and therefore She answered: “My son and master, you arrange whatever shall be proper; for I, as Your servant, will obey.” The Evangelist replied, that it seemed to him best to obey St. Peter and return immediately to Jerusalem. “It is right and proper to obey the head of the Church,” answered the purest lady; “let us prepare even now for our departure.”   
461 Thus resolved, St. John went out to seek passage for Palestine and to prepare whatever was necessary for a speedy departure. In the meanwhile, at the request of the Evangelist, most Blessed Mary called together the women who were Her acquaintances and disciples in Ephesus, in order to take leave of them and instruct them in what they must do to persevere in their Holy Faith. There were 73 of them, many of them virgins, among whom were also the 9 saved from the ruins of the temple of Diana. These and many others Mary Herself had converted and catechized in the faith; and She had formed of them a community in the house of their hostesses. Through this congregation of women the Heavenly Lady had begun to atone for the sins and abominations, perpetrated in the temple of Diana for so many ages, and She established the observance of chastity in community life in that very city of Ephesus where the devil had profaned it. Of all this, these women had been informed, though they did not know that She had destroyed the temple of Ephesus; for this remained a secret, in order that neither the Jews should find a pretext, nor the heathens be stirred to anger against the gentle Mother by their insane love of Diana. The Lord provided that the ruin of the temple should be looked upon as an accident and be soon forgotten, so that profane authors wrote nothing about it, though they had written much concerning the burning of the first temple.
462 The most Blessed Mary, in Her desire to console them for Her absence spoke to these disciples in sweetest words. She left them a paper, in which She had written with Her own hand: “My daughters, the Will of the Almighty calls Me back to Jerusalem. In My absence keep in mind the doctrine, which you have received from Me and which I heard from the Mouth of the Redeemer of the World. Look upon Him always as your Lord and Master and as the Spouse of your souls, serving Him and loving Him with all your heart. Remember the Commandments of His Holy Law, in which you shall be instructed by His ministers and priests, reverence and obey them in humility, without ever accepting other teachers, who are not disciples of Christ My Divine Son, or followers of His Doctrine. I shall always see that His ministers assist and protect you, and I shall never forget you or cease to commend you to the Lord. In My place will remain Mary, the elder; obey Her in all things with great respect, and she will care for you with the same love and solicitude as I have done. You will observe inviolate retirement and recollection in this house, and no man shall ever enter it; and if it is necessary to speak to anyone, it shall be in the portal, in the presence of 3 of Your number. Your prayers shall be uninterrupted and in private, reciting and singing those I have left you written in My chamber. Observe silence and meekness and treat your neighbors as you would be treated yourselves. Speak always the truth and be ever mindful of Christ crucified in all your thoughts, words and actions. Adore Him and confess Him as the Creator and Redeemer of the world; and in His Name I give you His blessing, and I ask Him to live in your hearts.”
463 These and other exhortations the most blessed Mother left for the congregation, which She had dedicated to Her Son and true God. The one She had appointed their superior was one of the pious women, who had offered Her hospitality and who owned the house.  This woman was well able to govern, for she had had much association with the Queen and had been well informed concerning the Law of God and its Mysteries.  She was called Mary the elder, because the most Holy Mother had given Her own name to many others in Baptism, communicating, as the Wise man says, without envy the excellence of Her name (Wis 7:13); as this one was the first thus baptized in Ephesus, She was called Mary the elder, to distinguish Her from the later ones.  The most Blessed Mary left them also in writing, the Our Father, the Creed and the 10 Commandments together with other prayers, which they were to recite vocally. To encourage them in these and other exercises She also left them a large cross made quickly at Her request by the hands of the Angels and set up in Her oratory.  Besides all this, as a kind Mother, and in order to bind them to Her still more, She distributed the things in Her possession, which, though of trifling human value, were nevertheless rich and inestimable to them as being pledges and proofs of Her maternal love. 
464 Moved to great pity because, having engendered them in Christ, She was now obliged to relinquish them as orphans, She took leave of them. They all prostrated themselves at Her feet with great wailing and abundant tears; for now they were to lose in one moment the consolation, the refuge and the joy of their heart. But on account of the continued solicitude of the most Blessed Mother for Her devout congregation all 73 afterwards persevered in the Fear of God and the Faith of Christ our Lord. Yet the devil raised up violent persecutions against them and against the inhabitants of Ephesus. Foreseeing this the prudent Queen fervently prayed for them before leaving and asked Her Divine Son to guard and preserve them, and to appoint some Angels for the defense of this small flock. All this the Lord granted Her according to Her wish; and She afterwards often consoled them by sending exhortations from Jerusalem and by charging the disciples and Apostles at Ephesus to watch over these virgins and retired women.  The great Lady continued this loving care during Her whole life.
465 When the day of departure arrived, the Humblest of the humble asked St. John for his blessing and with it they left for the ship, having remained in Ephesus 2 1/2  years. On leaving their dwelling all Her thousand Angels manifested themselves in visible human forms, but all of them were armed for battle and formed into squadrons. This unexpected sight gave Her to understand, that She was to be prepared to continue Her conflict with the great dragon and his allies. Before reaching the sea She saw a great multitude of the infernal legions meeting Her in various dreadful and terrific shapes; in the midst of them came a dragon with 7 heads, so horrible and huge as to exceed the size of a large ship, and so fierce and abominable as to cause torment by its mere presence. Against these formidable hosts the invincible Queen fortified Herself by the most firm faith and fervent love, repeating the words of Psalms and the sayings from the Mouth of Her Most Holy Son. She ordered Her Holy Angels to assist Her, for those terrific shapes naturally inspired Her with some human dread and horror. The Evangelist knew nothing of this conflict until the Heavenly Lady afterwards informed him and gave him an insight into it.
466 Our Blessed Lady embarked with the saint, and the ship’s sails were set. But it had proceeded only a short distance from the port, when those dragons of hell, making use of the permission given them, stirred up the sea by a tempest such as had not been seen before that time nor until now; for the Almighty wished to exalt the power of His Arm and the holiness of Mary and therefore He permitted such liberty to the malice and powers of the demons in this battle. The waves rose with terrific roarings, piling themselves upon the winds and apparently even upon the very clouds, forming with them mountains of water and foam, as if they were preparing for an onset to break the bounds of the abysses that imprisoned the ocean (Ps 13:9). The ship was lashed and battered to and fro, and it seemed a miracle that it was not shattered to splinters at each shock. Sometimes it was hurled up into the clouds, at others sent to plow up the sand of the ocean’s abysses; often its sails and masts were buried in the foaming waves. During some of the onsets of this unspeakably furious hurricane the ship was held in the air by the angels in order to save it from some of the vaster billows, which would inevitably have overhelmed and sent it to the bottom.
467 The mariners and passengers perceived the effects of this assistance, but remained ignorant of the cause; in their distress they were beside themselves, bewailing their ruin, which they deemed inevitable. The demons added to their terror; for, assuming human shapes, they loudly called upon the mariners as if from neighboring ships sent to their aid and urged them to forsake their ship and save themselves in the others. For though all the vessels suffered in this storm, yet the wrath of the demons and their power of doing harm was confined principally to the ship on which our Lady sailed and the distress and peril of the other vessels was not so great. The malicious designs of the demons were known only to the most Blessed Virgin and not to the sailors, and therefore they believed these voices as of true passengers and sailors.  Thus deceived they at times gave up caring for their own ship and left it to the fury of the sea, expecting to save themselves on one of the other ships. But the angels supplied their place directing and steering it when the sailors gave it up in despair to the destruction of the waves. 
468 In the midst of this confusion and distress the most Holy Mary preserved Her tranquility, serenely borne up by the ocean of Her magnanimity and virtue, but at the same time practicing all the virtues by acts heroic in proportion to the constraints of the occasion and the dictates of Her wisdom. As during this tempestuous voyage She personally experienced the dangers of navigation, which She had understood on Her former voyage by Divine inspiration, She was moved to new compassion for all voyagers at sea and renewed Her former prayers and petitions. The most prudent Virgin also admired the indomitable forces of the sea and was led to consider the Wrath of Divine Justice, so well represented by this insensible creature. And passing from these considerations to that of the sins of mortals, who drew it upon themselves from the Almighty, She entered into the most ardent prayers for the conversion of the world and the increase of the Church. For this She offered up the hardships of this voyage; since notwithstanding the tranquility of Her soul, She suffered much bodily inconvenience and still greater affliction at the thought that all Her fellow voyagers were made to suffer this persecution and tribulation from the devils on Her account. 
469 A large share of this suffering fell to the Evangelist St. John on account of his deep solicitude for his true Mother and Queen of the world. To this was added his own actual suffering.  All was so much the more dreadful to him, because at that time he did not know what was passing in the interior of the most Blessed Virgin. He sought a few times to console Her and console himself by assisting and comforting Her. Although the voyage from Ephesus to Palestine usually lasted only about 6 days, this one lasted 15, of which 14 were tempestuous. One day St. John was very much disheartened at the continuance of this measureless hardship and, no longer able to restrain himself, said “My Lady, what is this? Are we to perish at sea? Entreat Your Divine Son to look upon us with the Eyes of a Father and to defend us in this tribulation.” The Blessed Mother answered him: “Do not be disturbed, My son; for we must now fight the battles of the Lord and overcome His enemies by fortitude and patience.” I shall beg of Him that no one who is with us shall perish, and that He sleep not, Who watches over Israel (Ps 121:4); the strong ones of His court assist us and defend us; let us suffer for Him Who placed Himself upon the Cross for the salvation of all.” At these words St. John recovered the necessary courage.
470 The devils with increasing fury threatened the powerful Queen by telling Her that She would perish in this sea and not escape alive. But these and other threats were but spent arrows and the most prudent Mother despised them, not even listening to them, or looking upon them, or speaking to them a single word. They themselves on the other hand could not bear even to glance at Her face on account of the virtue of the Most High shining from it. And the more they strove to overcome this virtue, the weaker they became and the more were they tormented by those offensive weapons, with which the Lord had clothed His Holy Mother. But in all of this lengthened conflict He concealed from Her His purpose and also His Countenance, never showing Himself to Her in visions as had been usual.
471 But at the end of 14 days of this stormy voyage Her Divine Son descended and visited Her in person. He appeared upon the sea and saying: “My dearest Mother, I am with You in tribulation.” This vision and the words of the Lord, ineffably consoling on all occasions, were especially consoling to the Blessed Mother in this extremity; because help is more welcome in necessity. She adored Her Son and God and answered: “My God and only Good of My soul, Whom the winds and the sea obey (Matt 8:27), behold, My Son, our affliction. Let not the works of Your Hands perish.” The  Lord said to Her: “My Mother and My Dove, from You have I received human form; therefore I desire that all My creatures obey Your orders; command them as the Queen of all, for they are subject to Your will.” The most prudent Mother had desired the Lord to command the waves, as He had done in the storm on the sea of Galilee; but the occasion was different, since at that time there was no one else but He to command the winds and the sea. The Heavenly Mary therefore obeyed and, in the Name of Her Divine Son, She first commanded satan and his hosts instantly to leave the Mediterranean and cease to harass it. Immediately they fled in the direction of Palestine; for She had not commanded them to hell, not wishing to put an end to the battle. The enemies having retired, She commanded the waters and the winds to subside. They immediately obeyed, becoming tranquil and serene in the shortest space of time to the great astonishment of the passengers, who knew not the cause of this sudden change. Christ the Lord took leave of His Mother, having filled Her with blessings and joy and told Her to disembark on the next day. Thus it also happened; for on the 15th day after their embarkation, they arrived happily at port and left the ship. Our Queen gave thanks to the Almighty for these benefits and offered Him songs of thanksgiving and praise for having saved Her from the dreadful dangers. In this also the Evangelist joined, and the Blessed Mother thanked him for having accompanied Her in Her hardships. She asked his blessing and then they both set out for Jerusalem.
472 The Holy Angels accompanied their Queen in battle array as I have said; for also the demons were awaiting Her arrival resolved to continue the conflict as soon as She had reached the shore. With incredible fury they led on the assault by suggesting various temptations against all the virtues; but all their darts fell back upon themselves; they could make no breach in this Tower of David, of which the Spouse says, that it is furnished with the thousand shields and all the arms of the strong, (Song 4:4), and that it is fortified by towers of silver. Before entering Her house in Jerusalem the great Lady, in Her piety and devotion, yearned to visit the Sacred Places consecrated by our Redemption, which was also the last thing She had done on leaving the city; but as St. Peter, at whose call She had come, was waiting, and as She knew the proper order to be maintained in all the virtues, She preferred obedience to Her private devotions. Accordingly She went directly to the house of the Cenacle, where St. Peter then stayed, and falling on Her knees before him, She asked for his blessing and begged his pardon for not having complied sooner with his command. She sought his hand in order to kiss it as that of the High Priest; but She did not lay the blame for Her delay on the storm, nor did She mention any other circumstance in excuse. Only from the accounts furnished to him afterwards by St. John, did St. Peter learn of the hardships encountered on the voyage. The Vicar of our Savior and all the disciples and faithful of Jerusalem received their Teacher and Queen with indescribable joy, reverence and love, and they prostrated themselves at Her feet, thanking Her for having come to fill them with gladness and consolation and live where they could see and serve Her.

INSTRUCTION WHICH  MOST HOLY MARY, GAVE ME.

473 My Daughter, I desire that you continually renew the remembrance of what I have told you of these sacred mysteries of My life; for it is not My will that you be only an insensible instrument for manifesting them to the Church, but rather that you be the one, who before and above all others shall draw fruit from this new blessing by practicing My teachings and following My example. For this purpose has the Lord called you, and for it have I chosen you as My daughter and disciple. Since you have duly noticed My act of humility in not opening the letter of St. Peter without consent of My son John, I wish to dilate further upon the lesson contained in this instance. I desire you to notice that in those 2 virtues, humility and obedience, which are the foundation of Christain perfection, there is nothing small, and all that pertains to them is most pleasing to the Most High and draws down the most abundant reward of His generous Mercy and Justice.
474 Consider then, My dear, that, just as in the present condition of man nothing is more contrary to his nature than the subjection of his will to that of another, so nothing is more necessary than this subjection for the bending of that stiff-necked pride, which the devil seeks to stir up in all the children of Adam. Hence the enemies labor sleeplessly to induce men to follow their own judgment and will. Thereby the devils gain many triumphs and lead many souls into diverse roads of destruction; for in all states and conditions of life the devil seeks to instill this poison into mortals, secretly soliciting them to follow their own judgment and refuse to obey the laws and the will of their superiors, but rather to despise and rebel against it, perverting the order of Divine Providence for the well-ordering of all things.  And because men overthrow this Government of the Lord, the world is filled with confusion and darkness, created things are thrown out of order and subjected to opposite force without regard or attention to God and His Laws.
475 But though all this damage is odious in the Eyes of the Supreme Governor and Lord, yet it is especially displeasing to Him in religious, who, being bound by the vows of religion, seek to widen these restrictions or altogether free themselves from their obligations. I am not now speaking of those who transgress their rules in open daring or break their vows in small or in great things; this is nothing else than a dreadful temerity leading to eternal damnation. But, in order that they may not incur such a danger. I wish to exhort those who seek their salvation in religion, to guard themselves against entertaining opinions or explanations for relaxing the obedience due to their superiors in the Name of God, or against trying to determine what liberties they might take without committing sin by infringing on obedience and their other vows or against studying whether they may not act according to their own judgment in certain matters great or small. Such thoughts are never made for the better observance of vows, but always in order to stifle the remorse of conscience in breaking them. I remind them, that the demons seek to induce them to swallow these poisonous gnats, in order that, little by little, after being accustomed to those that seem insignificant, they may arrive at swallowing the camels of the more serious sins. Those who continually hover about the entrances to mortal sins, will, to say the least, make themselves liable to a strict inquiry by the Judge and thus receive the smallest reward. For they have studied all their lives to give to the Lord the least in their power to oblige Him.
476 These attempts to explain away the binding force of the love of God, tending to remodel it according to the inclinations of the flesh, are very abominable to My Divine Son and to Myself; for it is a sign of great disaffection to obey the Divine Law out of necessity, making it apparent, that only the fear of punishment urges one on, and not love toward Him Who commands, and that nothing would be done, if no punishment were in store. Many times, in the effort to avoid humiliation at the hands of the immediate superior, the subject appeals to the higher authority and thus asks for exemptions from those who have only a general information and cannot know or understand his particular needs or danger. It cannot be denied, that this is still a kind of obedience; but it is also certain, that it is a shift for greater liberty, diminishes the reward and incurs danger; since without doubt it is more meritorious to obey and subject oneself to the inferior authority, to those in a lower condition, and to those less favorably disposed to one’s own views and inclinations. I learned no such doctrines in the school of My Divine Son, nor did I show them in practice; for all things I sought the permission of those I held as superiors, never being without them as you has seen. Even for opening and reading the letter of St. Peter, the head of the Church, I waited to find out the will of his inferior, who was My more immediate superior.
477 My daughter,  I do not wish you to follow the teachings of those who seek liberty and license in following their own inclinations; but I choose you and exhort you to imitate Me and walk the secure path of perfection. Hankering after dispensations and exemptions perverts the Christian and the religious life. At all times you must live in humble and obedient subjection, and you must not hold yourself excused there from on account of being a superior, for you have your confessors and superiors. If sometimes in their absence you can not act in obedience, ask counsel and obey one of your subjects. For you, all of them should be as superiors; and let not this seem strange to you; since you are the least of the human born and should consider yourself so, humiliating yourself beneath them all in order to be My true follower, My disciple and daughter. Besides this you must punctually tell Me your faults twice a day and ask My permission for all that you are to do during each day, confessing also everyday the sins you commit. I shall exhort you, and command you what is proper, both through myself and through My ministers of the Lord; and you must not shrink to tell many others of your ordinary faults, in order that in all things and before all men you humiliate yourself in the Eyes of the Lord and in Mine. This science, hidden to the world and the flesh, I desire you to learn and impart to your nuns. In teaching you this lesson I wish to reward you for your labor in writing My life ; for by these instructions in so important a doctrine I wish to impress you, that, if you wish to imitate Me as you should, you must communicate or speak with no one, nor undertake anything, nor write letters, nor move about, nor allow any thoughts (if possible), except in obedience to Me and to those who govern you.  The worldly and carnal men call these virtues impertinent and vain observances; but their ignorant pride will have its punishment when, in the Presence of the Judge, truths will be revealed; then will be seen who were the ignorant and the wise, and those will be rewarded, who as true servants have been faithful as well in small as in greater things (Matt 25:21); when there is no remedy left, the foolish ones will know the damage done by their carnal prudence. 
478 As you were moved to a certain envy on learning that I Myself governed that congregation of women at Ephesus, I now advise you to have no such feeling.  Remember that you and your nuns have chosen Me for your Superior and special Patroness in order that I might govern you as your Queen and Lady; and I desire them to know, that I have accepted this office and have constituted Myself in it forever on condition, that they be perfect in their vocation and very faithful to their Lord, My Divine Son, to Whom I have assigned them as His spouses. Remind them often of this, so that they watch over themselves and retire from the world, despising it with all their hearts; that as My daughters they do not degenerate, living in recollection and peace; that they follow and execute the doctrines which I have given you in this history for you and for them and that they hold it in high veneration, gratefully writing it in their hearts. For in having presented to them My life for the rule and government of their souls, as it is now written by your hands, I am fulfilling My office as Mother and Superior, in order that as subjects and as daughters they may tread in My footsteps, imitate My virtues and correspond with Me in faithful love.
479 Another important lesson can you draw from this chapter, namely: those that do not obey willingly, when any adverse circumstance turns up in what is commanded, will immediately be cast down, afflicted and disturbed, and, in order to justify their impatience, they will blame the one that commands, and complain about him either to his superiors or to others, as if he who commands was responsible for the untoward accidents happening to the inferior, or as if he had it in his power to direct the government of the whole world according to the wishes of his subject. Indeed, many times God, in reward for complete submission, raises hindrances in order that the one who obeys may increase his merit and crown, at other times he punishes those who show any repugnance in obeying by withholding full success; and all these accidents can in no way be blamed upon the superior, who commands. The Lord simply said:  He who hears you, and who obeys you, hears and obeys Me (Lk 10:16). The labor connected with obedience always redounds to the benefit of those who obey; if they do not profit by their obedience, it is no fault of the one that commands. I made no complaints against St. Peter for asking Me to come from Ephesus to Jerusalem, although I suffered so much on the voyage; but I asked him pardon for not having fulfilled his command more expeditiously. Never show any grievance or sign of being displeased toward Your superiors, for this is a very ugly spirit and such liberty will destroy all the merit of your obedience. Look upon them with reverence, as taking the place of Christ, and your merit will be abundant. Follow My footsteps, My example and My doctrine, and you will be perfect in all things.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 6
The Visit Of The Most Blessed Mary To The Holy Places; She triumphs over demons;
She experiences A Beatific Vision; The Apostles Convoke A Council.
480 All our efforts are gloriously insufficient to describe the plenitude of perfection of all the deeds of the most Blessed Mary; for unfailingly, we are overcome by the grandeur of even the smallest virtue (if indeed there be any of them small) when we come to consider the matter upon which She wrought them. But our efforts, shall always be full of blessings for us, if, without presumptuously attempting to fathom this ocean of grace, we humble ourselves to glorify and exalt in Her the Creator and to discover more and more how we can imitate Her. I shall esteem myself very fortunate, if by making known the favors conferred by God upon our great Queen, I can show to the children of the Church something of what is so far above that for which I cannot find adequate and appropriate terms to describe; for in all that I can say, I shall still speak as one that is dull, stuttering and without fervor of devotion. Wonderful are the events which have been manifested to me for the purpose of being recorded in this and the following chapters.
481 After the most Blessed Mary had complied obediently with the will of St. Peter, as I have related in the preceding chapter, She thought it proper to satisfy Her piety in visiting the Sacred Places of our Redemption. She performed all Her works of mercy with such prudence, that She omitted none, assigning to each one its place in order that no circumstance necessary to bring it to perfection might be lacking. Applying Her heavenly wisdom, She first performed that which was greater and foremost in order, then what seemed of less importance; but, as well the one as the other, with all the attention of Her soul in the measure as each required. She left the Cenacle to visit the Sacred Places and was accompanied by all Her Holy Angels, as well as followed up by satan and his legions for further conflict. These dragons, forming in battle array and presenting the most fearful shapes, uttered their threats and suggested their temptations. But as soon as the great Lady approached any of the Holy Places to perform Her devotions, the demons fell back, repelled by Divine Power; they also felt themselves crushed by the hidden virtue communicated to these Holy Places through the Redemption of Christ. The devil, urged on by the temerity of his pride, attempted to come nearer; for, relying upon his permission to tempt and persecute the great Lady, he was anxious, if possible, to gain some victory over Her in the very places where he had been so signally vanquished; or at least to hinder Her from showing the veneration and worship required.
482 But the Most High ordained, that the power of His Arm against satan and his demons should be shown through this very Queen, and that Her exercises, which he tried to disturb, should be the sword with which he was to be overcome and cut down. And thus it happened; for the devotion and piety with which the Heavenly Mother worshipped Her Divine Son and with which She renewed the grateful remembrance of the Passion, caused such terror to the demons, that they could not tolerate it and they felt a force so oppressive and tormenting proceeding from Her, that they were obliged to recede still farther from the invincible Queen. They broke out into fearful roarings, audible to Her alone, and they exclaimed: “Let us flee from this Woman, our Enemy, who so confounds and oppresses us by Her virtues. We seek to blot out the remembrance and the veneration of these places, in which men were redeemed and in which we were despoiled of our dominion; and this Woman, being a mere creature, hinders our designs and renews the triumphs gained by Her Son upon the Cross.”
483 The most Holy Mary made all the Stations of the Holy Places in company of Her Angels; and having arrived on Mount Olivet, where Her Son ascended into heaven, the Lord Himself, in effable beauty and glory, descended from His Throne to visit and console His most pure Mother. He manifested Himself to Her with the affection and bounty of a Son, yet as the infinite and powerful God. He so filled Her with His Divinity and elevated Her above the terrestrial, that for a long time She was separated from visible things; and though She ceased not to attend to external works, She performed them with a greater constraint upon Herself, being completely spiritualized and transformed into Her Divine Son. Through Her Divine Son She perceived that these favors were part of Her reward for Her humility and obedience toward St. Peter and in attending upon his commands in preference not only to Her devotion, but also Her convenience. He also promised Her anew His assistance in Her battle against the demons and in immediate fulfillment of this promise, the Lord ordained that satan and his hosts should then and there become convinced of a power in Her such as they had not experienced before.
484 The Queen returned to the Cenacle and as the demons again sought to renew their temptations, they rebounded like inflated rubber balls, when thrown swiftly at a stone wall. These vainglorious hosts were hurled back upon themselves with greater force than that with which they had assaulted the most Holy Mary. They broke out in still more furious howlings and, driven to confess certain truths by their own dismay, they said: “O we unhappy ones, who are obliged to look upon such happiness of the human nature! What great excellence and dignity man has now attained in this pure Creature!  How ungrateful shall men be, and how foolish, if they do not profit by the blessings bestowed upon them in this Daughter of Adam! She is truly its salvation and our destruction. Great things Her Son does with Her; but She is not unworthy of them. A cruel punishment is this, that we must confess all these truths. O would that God conceal from us this Woman, who adds such torments to our envy! How shall we vanquish Her, if the mere sight of Her is insufferable to us? Let us console ourselves in the fact, that men lose so much of what this Woman merits for them, and that they foolishly despise Her. In them shall we avenge our injuries, through them we shall exercise our fury, filling them with illusions and errors; for if they but pay attention to Her example, all of them would profit by this Woman and follow Her virtues. But this is not enough to console me, (added satan) for this Woman, His Mother, can please God more than all the sins we can lead men into shall displease Him; and even if this were not so my position does not permit me to remain indifferent at seeing human nature so highly exalted in a mere weak Woman. This wrong is unbearable: let us return to persecute Her; let us give vent to the fury of our envy even inspite of torment; and though we all suffer by it, let our pride be not dismayed, for possibly some triumph may yet be gained over this our Enemy.”
485 The most Blessed Mary knew of and heard all these wrathful threats; but as the Queen of Virtues She despised them all. Without the least sign of disturbance in Her countenance, She retired to Her oratory in order prudently to confer with Herself concerning the mysteries of this conflict and concerning the difficult business now before the Church in seeking to end circumcision and the ancient law. In this the Queen of the Angels labored for a few days, engaged during Her retirement in continual prayers, petitions, tears and prostrations. In Her own affairs She also asked the Lord to stretch out His Almighty Arm against satan and grant Her the victory over him and the demons. Although the great Lady knew Him to be on Her side and that He would not leave Her in tribulation, She did not cease in Her prayers and She acted on Her part as if She had been the weakest of creatures in the time of temptation. She taught us what we ourselves should do in temptation, since we are so subject to them and so apt to be overcome. She prayed for the Holy Church, asking the Lord to grant to it His evangelical law, pure, unsullied, without wrinkle, and unhampered by the ancient ceremonies.
486 This petition the most Blessed Mary urged with the most burning fervor; for She knew that satan and all hell sought through the Jews to unite circumcision with Baptism and the rites of Moses with the Truths of the Gospel. The admission of these fallacies would help to maintain the Jews in their stubborn adhesion to the Old Law during the coming ages. One of the fruits and triumphs of the great Lady in Her battle with the dragon was, that circumcision was immediately rejected by the council of which I shall speak; and from that time on the pure grain of Evangelical Truth was separated from the dried and barren stubble of the mosaic ceremonies, as it is to this day in our Holy Mother the Church. All this the most Blessed Mary procured through Her merits and Her prayers. She knew, in the meanwhile, that St. Paul and St. Barnabas were hastening from Antioch to Jerusalem in order to confer with St. Peter and solve the difficulties raised by the Jews (Acts 15).
487 St. Paul and St. Barnabas were aware of the return of the Queen of Heaven when they came to Jerusalem. In his ardent desire of seeing Her, St. Paul with St. Barnabas at once sought Her presence, and they cast themselves at Her feet, shedding abundant tears of joy. Not less was the joy of the Heavenly Mother at meeting these Apostles, toward whom She bore a special love in the Lord on account of their zealous labors for the Exaltation of the Name of God and the spread of the faith. The Queen of the Humble desired them to present themselves first to St. Peter and the rest, and last to Her, judging Herself to be the least of all creatures. But they, preserving the proper order in their reverence and love, thought that none should be preferred to Her who was the Mother of God, the Queen of all Creation and the beginning of all our happiness. The great Lady prostrated Herself before St. Paul and Barnabas, kissed their hands and asked for their blessing. On this occasion St. Paul was favored with a wonderful ecstatic abstraction, in which were revealed to him great mysteries and prerogatives of this Mystical City of God, the Blessed Mary, and he saw Her as if She were completely invested with the Divinity.
488 Through this vision, St. Paul was filled with admiration and with incomparable love and veneration for the Heavenly Mary. Somewhat recovering himself, he said to Her: “Mother of all piety and clemency, pardon this vile and sinful man for having persecuted Your Divine Son, My Lord, and His Holy Church.” The Virgin Mother answered and said: “Paul, servant of the Most High, if He Who created and redeemed you, deigned to call you to His friendship and made you a vessel of election, how can I, His slave, refuse to pardon you? (Acts 9:15). My soul magnifies and exalts Him, because He wished to manifest Himself so powerful, liberal and holy in you.” St. Paul thanked the Heavenly Mother for the benefit of his conversion and for the other favors conferred upon him by Her in saving him from so many dangers. The same also St. Barnabas did, and both again asked for Her protection and help, which the most Holy Mother promised.
489 St. Peter, as the head of the Church, had called upon the Apostles and disciples then in and around Jerusalem, and convoked them to a meeting in the presence of the Queen of the World. In order that the most prudent Virgin, in Her profound humility, might not absent Herself from this council, St. Peter had interposed his authority as Vicar of Christ. All of them being gathered, St. Peter said: “My brethren and children in Christ our Savior, it was necessary that we meet in order to solve the difficulties and decide upon the affairs, which our most beloved brethren Paul and Barnabas have brought to our notice, and to determine other matters touching the increase of Holy Faith. For this it is proper that we engage in prayer to obtain the assistance of the Holy Spirit and we shall persevere therein for 10 days as is our custom. On the first and on the last day we shall celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass, by which we shall dispose our hearts to receive the divine light.” All of them approved of this arrangement. In order to celebrate the first Mass on the next day the Queen prepared the hall of the Cenacle, cleaning and decorating it with Her own hands and holding all things in readiness for the Communion of Herself together with the Apostles and disciples during those Masses. St. Peter alone celebrated, observing all those rites and ceremonies which I have described, when speaking of the Masses on other occasions.
490 The other Apostles and disciples communicated at the hands of St. Peter; then the most Blessed Mary, taking the last place. Many Angels descended to the Cenacle. All those present saw them and at the time of the consecration the Cenacle was filled with a wonderful light and fragrance, through which the Lord wrought wonderful effects in their souls. Having celebrated the first Mass, they agreed upon certain hours, in which they were to persevere together in prayer, as far as they could without neglecting the necessary ministry of souls.  The great Lady retired to a place, where She remained alone and motionless for those 10 days without eating or speaking to anyone. During that time She experienced such hidden mysteries as to move the Angels to astonishment; and I find myself unable to describe what has been manifested to me concerning them. I will briefly indicate a small part of these mysteries, for to state all is impossible. The Heavenly Mother having received Holy Communion on the first of the 10 days and retired to pray alone, at the Command of the Lord, was immediately raised up by Her Angels and others there present to the empyrean heavens. Since She was taken up body and soul, one of the Angels took Her shape in order that the Apostles in the Cenacle might not become aware of Her absence. They bore Her up with the splendor and magnificence described by me on other occasions, and on this occasion it was even greater on account of the designs of the Lord. When Mary arrived in a region of the air far removed from the earth, the Almighty Lord commanded satan and all his hellish hosts to come into the presence of the Queen into those higher regions. Immediately all of them came before Her and She saw them and knew them all just as they were and the condition they were in. The sight was somewhat painful to Her, because the demons are so abominable and disgusting; but She was armed with Divine Virtue, so that She could not be harmed by this horrible and execrable sight. Not so the demons; for the Lord gave them to understand by a special insight the greatness and superiority of that Woman, whom they were persecuting as their Enemy. They were made to perceive how foolishly presumptuous they had been in their attempts against Her. To their still greater terror they saw that She carried in Her heart the Sacramental Christ and that the whole Divinity held Her, enveloped in Its Omnipotence for their humiliation, overthrow and destruction.
491 The demons moreover heard a Voice proceeding from God Himself saying: “With this shield of My Powerful Arm, invincible and strong, I shall always defend My Church. This Woman shall crush the head of the ancient serpent (Gen 3:15), and shall forever triumph over its haughty pride for the glory of My Holy Name.” All these and other mysteries of the most Holy Mary the demons perceived and understood while they were gathered around Her in dismay. So great was the despair and crushing pain which they felt, that they, with loudest clamors, said: “May the power of the Almighty cast us immediately into hell, and let it not keep us in the presence of this Woman, who torments us more than the fire. O invincible and strong Woman, recede from us, since we ourselves cannot flee from Your presence, where we are bound by the chains of the Almighty. Why do You also torment us before our time? (Matt 8:29). You alone of all human nature are the instrument of the Omnipotent against us; and through You men can acquire the eternal blessings we have lost. Those that have sunk into despair of ever seeing God eternally, are now rewarded for the accredited good works of their Redeemer by the vision of You, which in our hate is to us a torment and chastisement. Release us, Almighty Lord and God; let this new punishment, in which You renew that of our fall from heaven, cease; for in it You execute the punishment You have threatened us with in this wonder of Your powerful arms.”
492 During these and other lamentations of despair the demons were held spellbound in the presence of the Queen for a long time, and although they made the most violent efforts to flee, they were not permitted to do it as fast as their fury urged them on. In order that the terror of the most Holy Mary might strike them so much the deeper and become the more notorious, the Lord ordained, that She herself should use Her authority as Queen in permitting them to leave. At the instant in which She did this, all of them cast themselves, with all the swiftness in their power, from the upper regions into the abyss. They gave forth dreadful howls, terrorizing all the damned souls with new punishments, and, full of dismay and torments in not being able to deny their defeat, they proclaimed in their presence the power of the Almighty and of His Holy Mother. Having won this triumph the most serene Empress proceeded on Her way to the empyrean heaven, where She was received with new and admirable jubilee, remaining there for 24 hours.
493 She prostrated Herself before the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity and adored Him in the unity of His undivided nature and majesty. She prayed for the Church, in order that the Apostles might understand and resolve what was proper for the establishment of the Evangelical Law and the termination of the Law of Moses.  In answer to these petitions She heard a Voice from the Throne, by Which the 3 Divine Persons, One after the Other and each One for Himself, promised to assist the Apostles and disciples in declaring and establishing the Divine Truth, assuring Her, that the Father would direct its establishment by His Omnipotence, the Son, as Head of the Church, assist it by His Wisdom, and the Holy Spirit, as its Spouse, by His Love and His enlightening gifts. Then the Heavenly Mother saw, that the Most Holy Humanity of Her Son presented to the Father the prayers and petitions, which She Herself had offered for the Church, and how, approving of them, He proposed the reasons why they should be fulfilled, in order that the Faith of the Gospel and His entire Holy Law might be established in the world in accordance with the decrees of the Divine Will and Mind.
494 Immediately, in execution of this Will and Proposal of Christ our Savior, the Lady saw issuing forth from the Divinity and Immutable Essence of God the form of a Temple or Church, beautiful, clear and resplendent as if built of diamond or of sparkling crystal, adorned with many enamels and reliefs to enhance its beauty. The Angels and Saints saw it and in astonishment exclaimed: “Holy, Holy, Holy and powerful are You, Lord, in Your works” (Rev 4, 8). This Church or Temple the Most Blessed Trinity placed in the Hands of the Most Holy Humanity of Christ, and, in a manner which cannot be described in words, He united it with Himself. Thereupon He turned it over to the most Holy Mother and as soon as Mary received it, She was filled with new splendor. She annihilated Herself within Herself and then saw the Divinity, clearly and intuitively, by eminent and beatific vision.
495 The great Queen remained in this joy for many hours, truly introduced into the cellar of fermented wine spoken of in the Song of Songs (8:2). Since what She experienced and received there surpasses all created thought or capacity, it suffices here to say, that anew was ordered in Her love (Song 2:4) and directed with new fervor toward the Church consigned to Her under the above symbol. Enriched by these favors, She was borne back by the Angels to the Cenacle, having in Her hands the Mystical Temple She had received from Her Divine Son. She remained in prayer during the other 9 days without motion and without interrupting the acts, in which She had been left by the beatific vision. They fall not within human thought, and can much less be indicated by human words. Among other things which She did, was to distribute the treasures of the Redemption among the children of the Church. Commencing with the Apostles and going through the different ages, She applied them separately to the just and the saints, according to the secret disposition of eternal predestination. The execution of these decrees Her Divine Son had consigned to the most Holy Mary, giving Her dominion over the whole Church and the dispensation of all the graces, that each one earns through the merits of the Redemption. Regarding a mystery so exalted and hidden, I cannot say more than this.
496 On the last of the 10 days St. Peter celebrated the other Mass and all received Holy Communion as in the first. Then, all being gathered in the Name of the Lord, they invoked the Holy Spirit and began to consult about the solution of the difficulties that had arisen in the Church. St. Peter, as the head and the High Priest, spoke first, then St. Paul and Barnabas, and St. Jacob the Less, as is related by St. Luke (Acts 15). The first decision of this council was, that the exact law of the circumcision and the Law of Moses should not be imposed upon the baptized; since eternal salvation was given through Baptism and Faith in Christ. Although St. Luke principally mentions only this decision, yet there were others, which defined certain matters concerning the government and the ceremonies of the Church, in order to stop some abuses introduced by the indiscreet piety of some of the faithful. This is held to be the first council of the Apostles, although they had also gathered to establish the Credo and other things as mentioned before. However, at that only the Apostles had convened, whereas now also those disciples took part, who could come. Also the manner of conferring and of resolving was different, being a formal decision, as is clear from the words of St. Luke: “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28).
497 Couched in these terms the decision of the council was sent by letter to the faithful and to the Churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia; and they remitted these letters through the hands of St. Paul and Barnabas and of other disciples. In order that the approbation of the Lord might not be wanting, it happened, that, both in the Cenacle at coming to their decision, and in Antioch when the letters were read before the faithful, the Holy Spirit descended in visible fire, so that all the faithful were consoled and confirmed in the Catholic Truth. The most Holy Mary gave thanks to the Lord for the blessings thus bestowed upon the Church. She immediately despatched St. Paul and Barnabas with the rest and for their consolation She gave them as relics part of the clothes of Christ our Lord and some objects She had still left of the Passion.  Offering them Her protection and prayers, She sent them filled with new consolation and spiritual force upon the labors still awaiting them. During all these days of the council, on account of the terror with which most Holy Mary had inspired him, satan and his ministers could not come near the Cenacle; yet they prowled about in the distance, without being able to execute any of their malice against its members. Happy age, and fortunate congregation!
498 Since, in spite of his continual prowling about the Queen and his roarings as of a hungry lion, satan saw that he could gain no advantage himself, he engaged some sorceresses, with whom he had made an express pact, and persuaded them to attempt the life of Mary by magic means. These unhappy dupes tried it in several ways; but their enchantments were of no avail. Many times, when they purposely placed themselves in the way of the Queen, they were struck dumb and motionless. The most Blessed Mary, in Her boundless charity, labored much to undeceive and convert them by kind words and deeds; but of the 4, who were thus sent on by the demon, only one was converted and received Baptism. And thus all his attempts came to naught, satan was so confused and enraged, that he would many times have given up tempting the most Blessed Mary, if his unquenchable pride had permitted him. The Lord Almighty ordained all this, in order that the victories and triumphs of His Mother might be more glorious, as we shall see in the following chapter.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS GAVE ME.

499 My daughter, in the constancy and invincible fortitude with which I vanquished the demons, you have one of the most urgent motives for persevering in grace and acquiring great crowns. The human nature and that of the angels (even though they be devils) are subject to contrary and opposite conditions; for the spiritual nature is indefatigable, and that of mortals weak and so prone to fatigue, that it soon tires and succumbs in labor. As soon as it finds any difficulty in the practice of virtue it is discouraged and turns back; what it pursues with pleasure on one day, it contemns the next; what seemed agreeable today, it finds hard tomorrow; now it wishes, then again it does not wish; sometimes it is fervent, sometimes lukewarm. But the demon is never fatigued or weakened in his efforts at tempting souls. The Almighty, however, is not wanting in His Providence; for He limits and restrains the power of the demons, so that they cannot pass the measure set for them, nor exert all their indefatigable powers for the persecution of souls. On the other hand He supports the weakness of men, giving them grace and strength to resist and overcome their enemies on the prescribed battleground.
500 Hence the inconstancy of souls in virtuously maintaining their position during temptation and in not bearing with fortitude and patience the inconveniences of doing good and fighting against the devil, is not excusable. The bent of passion, drawing man toward the sensible and pleasurable, suddenly presents itself across the path of duty and the devils, with diabolical astuteness, seek to exaggerate the hardship and disagreeableness of mortification, representing it as dangerous to health and life. Thus he deludes innumerable souls to precipitate themselves from one abyss to another. In this you have before your eyes, My daughter, a very common aberration of the worldly-minded, but which is very abominable in the Sight of the Lord and Myself. Hence it is, that many men are weak, wavering and indisposed toward the practice of virtue or penitential mortification for their sins. And the very ones who are so weak in doing good, are strong in doing evil. In the service of satan they are constant and are ready to undergo much more difficult and arduous tasks in sinning, than the Law of God commands for the practice of virtue. They show themselves tardy and imbecile in the work of saving their souls, eager and strong to load upon themselves eternal damnation.
501 Those who profess a life of perfection are liable in part to incur this damage also, if they unduly consider the hardships attached to such a life. Drawn into this deception, they either hinder their advance in perfection or afford satan many victories in temptation. In order that you, My daughter, may not incur this danger, you should consider the fortitude and constancy with which I resisted satan and all hell, and the magnanimity with which I despised his illusions and temptations, not permitting Myself to be disturbed, or to pay any attention to them; for this is the best way to overcome his haughty pride. Nor was I ever led by temptation to remissness in My labors or in My exercises; but I augmented them, together with My prayers, petitions and tears, as is necessary in the time of battle with those enemies. Hence I exhort you to do the same in eager watchfulness; because your temptations are not of the ordinary kind, but are directed against you in highest malice and astuteness. Of this I have warned you many times and this experience teaches you.
502 Since you has noticed the great terror caused to the devils at perceiving the Sacramental Lord resting in My heart, I wish to call your attention to 2 things. First, that for the overthrow of hell and for causing fear in the demons, all the Holy Sacraments of the Church are most powerful means; but above all, the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. This was one of the hidden purposes of the Lord My Son, in the institution of this sovereign mystery and of the other Sacraments. If in our time, men do not ordinarily feel these powerful effects, it is because in the frequency of the reception of the Sacraments much of the veneration and estimation in receiving them has been lost. But do not doubt, that souls who frequent them with devotion and piety, are formidable to the demons and that they exercise great power and dominion over them in the same way as you have seen and described it of Me. The explanation of this fact is: that this Divine fire, in pure souls, finds itself as it were in its own element. In Me it was active to the limit of possibility in a mere creature, and therefore I inspired such terror to the demons.
503 In further proof of what I said, I wish secondly to inform you, that these blessings were not to have an end with me; for in proportion God has wrought the same effects in other souls. In our own times it has happened that, in order to vanquish the demon, God showed and opposed to him a soul bearing within it the sacramental species and thereby so humiliated and annihilated the dragon, that for many days he dared not approach this soul and begged the Omnipotent not to be shown any soul bearing within it Holy Communion. On another occasion satan, in conjunction with some heretics and other bad Christians, schemed to do severe harm to these Spanish kingdoms; and if God had not cut them short through this same person, the whole of Spain would now be lost and in the hands of the enemies. The Divine Clemency interfered for its defense by showing this person to satan and his ministers after Communion. In their terrors the demons dropped their malicious designs for the immediate destruction of all Spain. I will not tell you who this person was; for it is not necessary, and I reveal this secret to you for no other purpose than to show how favorably the Almighty looks upon a soul which tries to merit its favors and worthily receives Him in Holy Communion; and how He manifested Himself liberal and powerful not only to Me, on account of My dignity and sanctity of Mother, but how He wishes also in other souls to be known and glorified as relieving the needs of the Church according to time and occasion.
504 From this you will understand, that, in the same proportion as the demons fear the souls that worthily receive Holy Communion and other fortifying Sacraments, so they exert all their powers to cause those souls to fall and to hinder them from accumulating all this strength of the Lord against them. Labor then against these tireless and astute enemies and seek to imitate Me in fortitude. I desire also that you hold in great veneration the councils of the Church and all such gatherings, and whatever is resolved and established by them; for the Holy Spirit assists at these councils and He fulfills his promise, that He will be with those who gather together in His Name (Matt 18:20). Hence what is thus ordained and commanded must be obeyed. Although in our times no visible signs of the assistance of the Holy Spirit occur in such councils, yet He does not fail to govern them invisibly; for signs and wonders are not anymore so necessary as in the first beginnings of the Church. Such as are necessary are not withheld by the Lord. For all these blessings exalt and praise His liberal kindness and mercy, and especially for those which He conferred on Me during My mortal life.
CITY OF GOD    THE CORONATION   BOOK 2
CHAPTER 7
The Most Holy Mary ends the battle with the demons, gloriously triumphing over them
as is described by St. John in Revelation 12.
505 In order to understand better the mysteries to be described in this chapter, it is necessary to presuppose what I have written in the Part 1, Book 1, Chapters 8-10 , where I explained Revelation 12 in so far as it was made, known to me at that time. Not only there, but during the whole course of this heavenly history, have I referred to the present chapters of this third part for a description of the battles of the most Holy Mary with satan and the demons, the triumphs She gained, and the state in which She was left by the Almighty after these battles for the rest of Her earthly life. Of all these sacred mysteries the evangelist St. John had a knowledge and he describes them in his Revelation (as I have stated at other times), especially in the 12th and 21st chapters. On these 2 chapters, I must discourse in this history for 2 reasons.
506 First, the secrets contained in them are so exalted and magnificent, that they can never be adequately explained or manifested; especially as the Evangelist, considering it as the Sacrament of the King and Queen, has enveloped them in such enigmatical and metaphorical language, as can be interpreted only through Divine Revelation when and how the Lord shall please; and in this the Evangelist followed the express commands of the most Holy Mary. Secondly, the proud rebellion of satan, although in general opposing the Supreme Will and Orders of the Most High and Omnipotent God, was especially directed against Christ our Lord and His Mother, to whose superiority and excellence the apostate angels do not wish to subject themselves. Also the first rebellion and war waged with St. Michael in heaven was in protest against their authority; but at that time they could not war with the Incarnate Word and with His Virgin Mother in person, but only against the mysterious sign or representation of that mysterious Woman, which they saw placed in the heavens as a prophetic symbol of all the Mysteries of the Incarnation to be enacted in Her womb. When the time came for the execution of all these Sacraments and for the Incarnation of the Word in Her womb, it was proper that this battle of the demons should be renewed and that Christ and Mary should triumph over them in person. For this the Lord, as well in heaven as afterwards in paradise, had threatened them with this enmity between the Woman and the serpent, and between the seed of the Woman and the serpent, in order that She might crush his head.
507 All this was fulfilled to the letter in Christ and in Mary; for of our great High Priest and Savior St. Paul says, that He was tempted in all things like we ourselves and for our example, but without sin; (Heb 4:15) and the same can be said of the most Holy Mary. The devil had permission to tempt Them after his fall from heaven, as I have said in the first Part Chapter 10. And because this battle with the most Holy Mary was to be a counterpart of the first one in heaven and was to be for the demons the fulfillment of the threat and menace contained in Her image, it was described and enveloped in the same enigmatical words. Having sufficiently explained about the first battle, I must now speak of what happened in the second. Although satan and his demons had already been punished in their first rebellion by the eternal loss of the beatific vision and hurled into hell, they were now punished anew in this second battle by additional accidental torments corresponding to their evil desires and attempts against the most Blessed Mary. The explanation thereof is, that the natural faculties of a creature draw satisfaction and contentment from their attaining what they strive after and this in proportion to the vehemence with which they have striven; and on the other hand, pain and disappointment in not attaining their object, or in experiencing opposite results. Now, the devils since their fall had desired nothing more vehemently than to see that One fall from grace, who was to be the medium of grace for the children of Adam. Hence it was an inconceivable torment for the infernal dragons to find themselves vanquished and foiled in the desperate desires and hopes entertained by them for so many ages.
508 The Heavenly Mother on the other hand, on account of the same and many other reasons, in the overthrow of the ancient serpent gained a most joyful triumph. For the conclusion of this battle, moreover, and for the state which She was then to enjoy during the rest of Her life, Her Divine Son held in readiness so many and such great blessings, as surpass all human and angelic capacity.  In order to say something of what I have been made to understand, the reader must remember, that, on account of our limited powers and capacity, we are constrained to use for the most exalted mysteries the same terms and words as we use for the more ordinary ones. Yet in what I am to speak of now, there is infinite latitude and extent of mystery, within which the Almighty can raise the creature from one state, which seems to us the highest, to one much more exalted, and from this again to a higher and more excellent state.  For, such a creature as Mary, after being destined and confirmed in this world of graces, gifts and favors, and after reaching (as She really did) all that is not God’s Essence, must at last embrace within itself a vastness of excellence so great, that, of its own Self, it constitutes a new hierarchy, greater and more exalted than all the rest of the creatures angelic and human.
509 Having premised all this, I will proceed to tell as well as I can, what happened to satan until his final overthrow through the most Holy Mary and Her Divine Son our Savior. The dragon and his demons were not yet entirely subdued by the triumphs related in the last chapter, when they were hurled down from the upper air into the abyss by the great Lady; nor by their ill-success with the sorceresses in Jerusalem. But, fearing in his malice that he should have little time left for his temptations and persecutions, the enemy, in his implacable malice, wished to make up for the shortness of time by an increase of fury and temerity. Hence he sought out other men, who, having been especially instructed by him in magic and witchcraft, were still greater sorcerers. To these satan gave special and minute directions how to take away the life of Her whom they held as their enemy. These ministers of evil attempted to fulfill their commission many times, making use of very powerful and pernicious charms. But none of them could in any way harm either the life or the health of the most Blessed Mary; for the effects of sin exerted no influence over Her who was sinless and who, moreover, for other reasons, was exempt and superior to all natural causes. Seeing this and finding his most deeply laid plans frustrated, the dragon visited those sorcerers with fierce and cruel punishments; for the Lord permitted this, because they had merited chastisement for their temerity and in order that they might know, what kind of master they served.
510 Full of this new fury, satan convened all the princes of darkness and reminded them of the many reasons they had since their fall from heaven, for straining all their forces and their whole malice in order to cast down this Woman, their Enemy; since they now clearly recognized in Her the One shown to them at that time. They all agreed with him and resolved to unite and assault Her alone, presuming that on some occasion or another they would find Her less prepared and bereft of Her defense. Mary being alone in Her oratory, they at once seized this opportunity and, emptying hell for this enterprise, they advanced upon Her in united multitudes. This battle was the greatest ever fought by a mere creature, from the first one in the empyrean heaven to the end of the world; and it was very much like that first one. In order to estimate the fury of satan and his demons, in coming to where the most Blessed Mary then was, one must consider their torments, as well in perceiving the divine power emanating from Her as in remembering how often they had been oppressed and vanquished by Her. But their wrath and envy conquered even these torments and drove them, in spite of their pains, to throw themselves as it were upon the bristling pikes and swords to avenge themselves upon the Heavenly Lady; for, not to make such an attempt, was a greater torment than any other.
511 The first assault of the demons was directed principally upon the exterior senses of Mary, consisting in terrific howlings and confused clamors. Arraying their hosts in the air, they produced such a fearful noise and trembling, that the machinery of the whole world seemed on the point of destruction. To make all this appear more real, they assumed diverse visible shapes, some of horrid and different kinds of demons, other of angels of light. In these shapes they pretended to begin a darksome and formidable contest or battle, seemingly without cause and so that only the confused and terrible noise could be heard. Thus they sought to produce fear or disturbance in the soul of the most Blessed Lady.  And truly they would have excited terror in any other, even the most holy creature, if left to the ordinary resources of grace, and no one could have encountered them without losing life; for this onset lasted for 12 whole hours.
512 But our great Queen and Lady remained immovable and serene, as tranquil as if She heard or saw nothing of all this; She was disturbed or altered in no way, showed no change in Her countenance, no traces of sorrow during the whole of this infernal uproar. Then the demons proceeded to other temptations directed against the internal faculties of the invincible Mother, pouring out their diabolical malice more than I can describe; for all that devilish multitude exhausted the full measure of their hellish astuteness in concocting their false revelations, lights and suggestions, their promises and threats in attempting to infect each of Her virtues by temptations to the contrary vice. I will not stop to enumerate in particular these temptations, as it is neither necessary nor convenient. But our Lady and Queen overcame them all, since in opposition to the vices She performed acts of the contrary virtues, which reached an excellence fully in proportion to the impulse and force of Her then acquired state of grace, gifts and perfection.
513 As one who was experiencing the strength of hellish malice and who knows the necessity of Divine assistance, She prayed on that occasion for all that are afflicted and tempted by the demon. The Lord granted Her the power of extending Her protection to all those who are tempted and who invoke Her intercession. The demons persevered in this battle until no kind of malice was left unattempted against the most pure Mother. Then She on Her part called upon the Divine Justice, asking God to rise up and judge His cause (Ps 74:22), that His enemies might be dispersed and those who abhorred His Presence be put to flight. To fulfill His judgment the Incarnate Word descended from heaven to Her retirement in the Cenacle, appearing to His Virgin Mother as Her sweetest and loving Son, and to the enemies as the severe Judge on the Throne of His Supreme Majesty. He was accompanied by innumerable Angels, by the ancient Saints, Adam and Eve and many Patriarchs and Prophets, and St. Joachim and Anne.  All these presented and manifested themselves to the most Blessed Mary in Her oratory.
514 Prostrating Herself as usual in deepest veneration and worship, the great Lady adored Her Son and true God. The demons did not see the Lord, though they were made aware of His Royal Presence and tried to flee from the imminent punishment. But the Divine Power detained them, fettering them in the manner in which their spirit nature permitted; and the ends of their fetters or chains the Lord placed into the hands of His most Blessed Mother.
515 Then a Voice issued from the Throne saying: “Today comes upon you the Wrath of the Almighty, and the fi