MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD

THE TRANSFIXION     BOOK 1  
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 
IMPRIMATUR: H.J. ALERDING, BISHOP OF FORT WAYNE, IND. 1912 

MODERN ENGLISH EDITION  for free download off the internet

THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD CONSISTS OF 4 VOLUMES
THE CONCEPTION, THE INCARNATION, THE TRANSFIXION, THE CORONATION.
EACH VOLUME IS DIVIDED INTO 2 BOOKS

  

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 1
THE LORD DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM OUR LADY.  EXPLANATION FOR THIS BEHAVIOR  

1 Already Jesus, Mary and Joseph had settled in Nazareth and thus changed their poor and humble dwell­ing into a heaven. In order to describe the mysteries and sacraments which passed between the Divine Child and His purest Mother before His 12th year and later on, until His public preaching, many chapters and many books would be required; and in them all, I would be able to relate but the smallest part in view of the vast­ness of the subject and the insignificance of such an ignorant woman as I am. Even with the light given me by this great Lady I can speak of only a few inci­dents and must leave the greater part unsaid. It is not possible or befitting to us to comprehend all these mysteries in this life, since they are reserved for the future life.

2 Shortly after their return from Egypt to Nazareth the Lord resolved to try His most Holy Mother in the same manner as He had tried Her in Her childhood and as was mentioned in The Conception Book 2 Chapter 27. Although She was now vastly grown in the exercise of Her love and wisdom, yet as the power of God and the object of divine charity is infinite, and as moreover the capacity of the Queen exceeded that of all creatures, the Lord wished to raise Her to a higher level of holiness and merit. Moreover, being a true Educator of the spirit, He wished to form of Her a disciple of such exalted knowledge, that She would truly be for us a perfect Teacher and a living example of His own doctrines. For such was to be Her office after the Ascension of Her Son and Re­deemer, as I will relate in Part 3. It was also befitting and necessary for the honor of Christ, our Redeemer, that the teaching of the Gospel, by which and on which He was to found the Law of Grace, holy, immaculate and without a wrinkle, should give full evi­dence of its efficacy and power in a mere creature, and that all its adequate and super eminent effects should be exhibited in someone, who could be a standard for everyone.  It is clear, that this creature could be none else than the most blessed Mary, who, as His Mother, stood so close to the Master and Teacher of all holiness.


3 The Most High therefore resolved that the Heavenly Lady should be the first disciple of His school and the first-born Daughter of the new Law of Grace, the most perfect copy of His ideals and the most pliant material, upon which, as on liquid wax, should be set the seal of His doctrine of holiness, so that the Son and the Mother might be the 2 true tablets of the new law of the world (Ex 31:18). For this purpose of the infinite wisdom, He manifested to Her all the Mysteries of the Evangelical Law and of His doctrine; and this was the subject of His instructions from the time of their return from Egypt until His public preaching, as we shall see in the course of this history. In these hidden sacraments the Incarnate Word and His Holy Mother occupied them­selves during the 23 years of their stay in Nazareth. As all this concerned the Heavenly Mother alone (whose life the holy Evangelists did not profess to narrate), the writers of the Gospel made no mention of it, excepting that which was related of the Child Jesus, when, in His 12th year, He was lost in Jeru­salem. During all those years Mary alone was the dis­ciple of Christ. In addition therefore to the ineffable gifts of grace and holiness, which He had conferred upon Her until their arrival in Nazareth, He infused into Her new light and made Her a participant in His Divine Knowledge, depositing and engraving into Her heart the whole law and doctrine of grace, which to the end of the world was to be dispensed by His Holy Church. This was moreover effected in such an exalted manner that no human thought or words can express it; and the great Lady was thereby filled with such wisdom and knowl­edge, that it would suffice to enlighten many worlds, if there were more than one.

4 In order to rear in the heart of the purest Virgin this edifice of holiness to a height beyond all that is not God, the Lord laid its foundations accordingly, trying the strength of Her love and of all Her other virtues. For this purpose the Lord withdrew Himself, causing Her to lose Him from Her sight, which until then had caused Her to revel in continual joy and delight. I do not wish to say, that the Lord left Her bodily; but, still remaining with Her and in Her by an ineffable presence and grace, He hid Himself from Her interior sight and suspended the tokens of His most sweet affection. The Heavenly Lady in the meanwhile did not know the inward cause of this behavior, as the Lord gave Her no explanation. Moreover Her Divine Son, without any forewarning showed Himself very reserved and withdrew from Her society. Many times He retired and spoke but few words to Her, and even these with great earnestness and majesty. But what was apt to afflict Her most, was the eclipse of the light by which She was accustomed to see re­flected as in a crystal the human operations of His Most Pure Soul. This light was suddenly dimmed so much, that She could not thenceforth distinguish them as a living copy for Her own actions.

5 This unannounced and unexpected change was the crucible in which the purest gold of the love of our Queen was cleansed and assayed. Surprised at what was happening, She immediately took refuge in the humble opinion She had of Herself, deeming Herself unworthy of the vision of the Lord, Who now had hidden Himself. She attributed it all to Her lack of correspondence and to Her ingratitude for the blessings She had obtained from the most generous and exalted Father of Mercies. The most prudent Queen did not feel so much the pri­vation of His delightful caresses, as the dread of having displeased Him and of having fallen short in His service. This was the arrow that pierced Her heart with grief. One filled with such true and noble love could not feel less; for all delight of love is founded in the pleasure and satisfaction given by the lover to the one beloved, and therefore he cannot rest, when he suspects that the beloved is not contented or pleased. The loving sighs of His Mother were highly pleasing to Her Most Holy Son. He was enamored with Her anew and the tender affection of His only and chosen one wounded His Heart (Song 4:9). But whenever the sweet Mother sought Him out in order to hold converse with Him He con­tinued to show exterior reserve. Just as the flame of a forge or a conflagration is intensified by the applica­tion of insufficient water, so the flame of love in the heart of the sweetest Mother was fanned to an intense blaze by this adversity.

6 The single-hearted Dove exercised Herself in heroic acts of all the virtues. She humbled Herself below the dust; She reverenced Her Son in deepest ado­ration; She blessed the Father, thanking Him for His admirable works and blessings and conforming Herself to His wishes and pleasure; She sought to know His Will in order to fulfill it in all things; She unceasingly renewed Her acts of faith, hope and burning love; and in all Her actions and in all circumstances this most fragrant spike­nard gave forth the odor of sweetness for Him, the King of kings, Who rested in Her heart as in His flowery and perfumed couch (Song 1:11). She persevered in Her tearful prayers, with continual sighing and longing from Her inmost heart; She poured forth Her prayers in the Presence of the Lord and recounted Her tribulation before the Throne of God (Ps 142:2). And many times She broke out in words of ineffable sweetness and loving sorrow, such as these:

7 "Creator of all the universe," She would say, "Eternal and Almighty God, infinite is Your wisdom and goodness, incomprehensible in essence and perfection; well do I know that My sighs are not hidden to You and that You know of the wound that pierces My heart. If as a useless handmaid I have fallen short in Your service and in pleasing You, why, O Life of My soul, do You not afflict Me and chastise Me with all the pains and sufferings of this My mortal life, so that I may not be obliged to endure the turning away of Your Eyes, though I have deserved this treatment through My default? All punishments would be less than this; for My heart cannot bear Your displeasure. You Alone, O Lord, are My life, My happiness, My glory, and My treasure. My soul counts for nothing all that You have created and their images do not live in My soul, except in order to magnify Your greatness and to acknowledge You as Creator and Lord of all. What shall I then do, if You, My Blessed Lord, the Light of My eyes, the Goal of My desires, the North star of My pilgrimage, the Life of My being and the Essence of My life, fail Me? Who will give fountains to My eyes to bewail My lack of correspondence to all the blessings I have received and My ingratitude for My benefits? My Lord, My Light, My Guide and Teacher on the way, Who by Your most exalted and perfect operations directs My fragile and lukewarm undertakings, how can I regulate My life, if You fail Me as My model? Who will guide Me securely through this desert? What shall I do and where shall I turn, if You deprive Me of Your assistance?"

8 Nor did this wounded Doe rest satisfied there­with, but, thirsting after the purest fountains of grace, She addressed Herself also to the Holy Angels and held long conferences and colloquies with them, saying: "Sovereign princes and intimate friends of the Most High King, My guardians, by your felicitous vision of His Divine Face (Matt 18:10) and the Ineffable Light (I Tim 6, 16), I conjure you to tell Me the cause of His displeasure, if such He has conceived against Me. Intercede for Me in His Real Presence, that through your prayers He may pardon Me, if I have offended Him. Remind Him, My friends, that I am but dust (Job 10:9), although I am formed by His Hands and have upon Me the seal of His Image; implore Him not to forget His needy one to the end, so that She may confess and mag­nify His Name (Ps 74:19). Ask Him to give back to Me the breath of life, which fails Me at the dread of having lost His Love. Tell Me, how and by what means I can please Him and regain the joy of His Holy Face?" The Holy Angels answered: "Our Queen and Sovereign, dilated is Your heart so that You can not be vanquished by tribulation; and none is so able as You to understand how near the Lord is to the afflicted, who call upon Him (Ps 40:17). Without doubt He recognizes Your affec­tion and does not despise Your loving sighs (Ps 38:9). Even shall You find Him a kind Father and His Only Begotten a most affectionate Son, looking upon Your afflic­tion." The lovelorn Mother replied: "Will it perhaps be presumption to appear before Him and prostrate My­self before Him, asking His pardon for any fault He might find in Me? What shall I do? What relief can I find in My anxieties?" And the Holy Princes answered: "A humble heart does not displease our King; upon it He fixes His loving regard and He is never dis­pleased by the clamors of those who act in love."

9 These colloquies and answers of the Holy Angels somewhat gladdened and consoled their Queen, since they confirmed Her in Her own interior conviction, that these sweetest sighs would excite the special love and delight of the Most High. They would not speak more openly, because the Lord on His own account wished to prolong these delights (Prov 8:31). Although Her Most Holy Son, on account of His natural love toward His Mother (a Mother only, not having any earthly father), was often deeply touched with compassion at seeing Her so afflicted; yet He would not show any signs thereof, hiding His compassion under a severe Counte­nance. Sometimes, when the most loving Mother called Him to His meals, He would delay; at other times He would partake of them without looking at Her or speak­ing to Her. But although the great Lady at such times shed many tears and lovingly sighed in Her heart, She always put upon Herself such restraint and weighed all Her actions so wisely, that, if it were possible for God to give way to wonder (which certainly He cannot), He would have yielded to such a feeling in the presence of such plenitude of holiness and perfection in this mere Creature. In as far as He was man, the Child Jesus delighted especially in seeing His Divine Love and Grace bring forth such abundant fruits in His Virgin Mother. The Holy Angels sang to Him new hymns of praise for this admirable and unheard-of prodigy of virtues.

10 Upon the request of the loving Mother St. Joseph had made a couch, which She covered with a single blanket and upon which the Child Jesus rested and took His sleep; for from the time in which He had left the cradle, when they were yet in Egypt, He would not accept any other bed or more covering. Al­though He did not stretch Himself out on this couch, nor even always made use of it, He sometimes reclined in a sitting posture upon it, resting upon a poor pillow made of wool by our Lady. When She spoke of preparing for Him a better resting place, Her Most Holy Son answered, that the only couch upon which He was to be stretched out, was that of His Cross, in order to teach men by His example (1 Pet 2:21), that no one can enter Eternal Rest by things beloved of Babylon and that to suffer is our true relief in mortal life. Thence­forward the Heavenly Lady imitated Him in this manner of taking rest with new earnestness and attention. When at night the time for repose had come the Mother of Humility had been accustomed to prostrate Herself before Her Son as He reclined on His couch, asking His pardon for not having fulfilled all Her duty in serving Him and for not having been sufficiently grateful for the blessings of the day. She poured out Her thanks anew and with many tears acknowledged Him as True God and Re­deemer of the world; and She would not rise from the ground until Her Son commanded Her and gave Her His blessing. This same behavior She observed also in the morning, requesting Her Divine Teacher and Master to impose upon Her all that She was to do during the day in His service; which Jesus did with tokens of great love.

11 But now He changed His bearing and manner to­ward Her. When the most innocent Mother approached to reverence and adore Him as She was apt to do, although Her tears and sighs issued ever more abundantly from Her inmost heart, He would not answer Her a word, but listened to Her unmoved, commanding Her to take Herself away. To see Her Son, the True God and Man, so different in His behavior and so distant in His action, so sparing of words, and, in all His exterior bearing, so changed, ineffably affected the purest and dove-like heart of the loving Mother. The Heavenly Lady examined Her interior, searched all the conditions, circumstances and sequence of Her actions and racked Her memory in Her inquiry into the celestial workings of Her soul and faculties. Although She could find no shadow of dark­ness, where all was light, holiness, purity and grace; yet, since She knew, as Job says, that neither the heavens nor the stars are pure in the Eyes of God (Job 15:15), and since He finds fault even in the angelic spirits (Job 25:5), the great Queen feared lest She should have over­looked some defect, which was known to the Lord. In this anxiety She, though filled with supreme wisdom, suffered agonies of love. For Her love, being strong as death (Song 8:6), caused in Her an emulation enkindled by an unquenchable fire of suffering and tribulation. This trial of our Queen lasted many days, during which Her Most Holy Son looked upon Her with incomparable pleasure, by which He raised Her to the position of a Teacher of all the creatures. He rewarded Her loyalty and exquisite love with abundant graces in addition to those, which She already possessed. Then happened what I shall relate in the following chapter.

INSTRUCTION BY MARY, THE MOST HOLY QUEEN OF HEAVEN

12 My daughter, I see that you are desirous of being a disciple of My Most Holy Son, since now you have understood and described My own behavior in this regard. For your consolation take notice, that He has exercised this office of Teacher not only once and not only at the time, when He taught His holy doctrine while yet in mortal flesh, as is related in the Gospels (Matt 28:20); but that He continues to be the Teacher of souls to the end of the world. He admonishes, instructs, and inspires them, urging them to put in prac­tice whatever is most perfect and most holy. Thus He acts toward all without exception, although according to His Divine Ordainment, and according to the disposi­tion and attentiveness of each soul, everyone receives more or less of the benefits (Matt 11:5). If you had always applied this truth, you would have known by abundant experience, that the Lord does not refuse to act as the Teacher of the poor, of the de­spised and of sinners, if they wish to listen to His secret doctrines. As you now desire to know what disposition He requires of you in order to have Him teach you to your heart's content, I shall in His Name inform you of it. I assure you, that if He shall find you well disposed He will, as a true and wise Teacher, communicate to you the plenitude of His wisdom and enlightenment.

13 First of all you must keep your conscience pure, undefiled, serene and quiet, keeping a constant watch against falling into any sin or imperfection throughout all the events of this life. At the same time you must withdraw yourself and disentangle yourself from all that is earthly, so much so that (as I have already formerly admonished you) you do not retain any image or mem­ory of human or visible things, but maintain the utmost sincerity, purity and serenity of heart. When you thus have cleared your interior from the images and shadows of earthly things, then you will pay attention to the Voice of your God like a beloved daughter, forgetting the voice of Babylon, the house of her father Adam and all the aftertastes of sin. I assure you, that He will speak to you words of Eternal Life (John 6:69). It will be your duty to listen to Him with reverence and humble gratitude; to appreciate His teachings, and to follow them in practice with all diligence and punctu­ality. Nothing can be hid from this great Master and Teacher (Heb 4:13), and He withdraws in disgust from those who are ungrateful and disobedient. No one must think that these withdrawals of the Most High always happen in the same way as they happened to Me. For the Lord withdrew from Me, not on account of any fault of Mine, but out of exceeding love. He is accustomed to withdraw from other creatures in order to visit them with merited punishment for their many sins, out­rages, ingratitude and negligence.

14 Therefore, My daughter, in gauging your reverence and esteem for the teaching and enlightenment of your Divine Master and for My own exhortations, you must take into account your omissions and faults. Moderate your inordinate fears and do not any more doubt that it is the Lord, Who speaks to you and teaches you, since His doctrine of itself gives testimony of its own truth and assures you, that God is its Author; for you see that it is holy, pure, perfect and without error. It inculcates whatever is best and reprehends your least fault, and your instructors and spiritual directors moreover approve it. As I am your Teacher, I wish that you also, in imitation of Me, come every morning and night humbly and sorrowfully to confess your faults, in order that I may intercede for you and as your Mother obtain for you the pardon of the Lord. As soon as you commit any imperfection, acknowledge it with­out delay and ask the Lord pardon, promising to amend. If you attend to these things, which I here tell you, you will be a disciple of the Most High and of Me as you desire to be. Purity of soul and Divine Grace is the most exquisite and adequate preparation for par­taking of the influences of Divine Light and science, and the Redeemer of the world communicates it to His true disciples.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 2
MARY IS INSTRUCTED IN THE LAW OF GRACE. ALL THAT HAD BEEN HIDDEN TO HER BECOMES VISIBLE
15 Human ingenuity has made long and copious in­quisitions into the nature and properties of love and into its cause and effects. In order to explain the holy and godly love of our Blessed Mother, I was compelled to add much to all that has been written and said concerning love; for, with the exception of the love existing in the Soul of Christ our Redeemer, there wasn’t anyone of all  humanity, who had love equal to the love possessed by that Heavenly Lady. Thus She merited the name of Beautiful Love (Sir 24:24). The object and end of Holy Love is the same in all, namely God in Himself and all the other creatures for His Sake; but the subject in which it exists, the source from which it flows, the effects which it produces, are widely different. Now in our great Queen all these elements of love attained their highest perfection. Purity of heart, faith, hope, filial and holy fear, knowledge and wisdom, remembrance and gratitude for the greatest benefits, and all the other sources of a most exalted love were Hers in boundless affluence and proportion. The flame of Her love was not enkindled or enflamed by the foolishness of the senses, which are without the guide and control of reason. Her holy and pure love entered by way of Her most exalted under­standing of the infinite goodness and ineffable sweetness of God; for since God is Wisdom and Goodness, He wishes to be loved not only with sweetness, but also with wisdom and knowledge of the one who loves.

16 These loving affections are more alike to them­selves in their effects than in their causes; for if they once take possession and subject to themselves the heart, they are hard to expel. From this fact arises the suffer­ing of the human heart in seeing itself forsaken and unnoticed by the one beloved; for this lack of proper correspondence implies the obligation of rooting out its own love. As this love has taken such entire possession of the heart, that it dreads a dispossession, although on the other hand reason urges it, such a violent strife is caused, as will resemble the agony of death. In the blind and worldly love this agony is but frenzy and madness. But in Divine Love this agony is highest wis­dom; for, since no reason can be found for expelling love, it is the height of prudence to search after means of loving more ardently and seeking to please the Be­loved more zealously. As also the will therein acts with fullest liberty, it happens, that the more freely it loves the highest Good, so much the more does it lose the power of not loving Him. In this glorious strife, the will, being the master and sovereign of the soul, becomes happily the slave of its love; it neither seeks, nor is it able to deny itself this free servitude. On account of this free violence, if the soul finds avoidance or with­drawal of the Highest Good that it loves, it suffers the pains and agonies of death, in the same manner as if its life were ebbing away. The soul's whole life is in its love and in the knowledge that it is loved.

17 Hence one can understand a little of the suffer­ings of the most ardent and pure heart of our Queen in the absence of the Lord and in the eclipse of the light of His love: it caused in Her agonies of doubt, whether perhaps She had not displeased Him. For as She was so to say a vast abyss of humility and love and as She did not know where the austerity and reserve of Her Beloved originated, She suffered a martyrdom so entrancing and yet so severe, as no human or angelic powers will ever be able to fathom. Mary who is the Mother of the Most Holy Love (Sir 24:24) and who reached the pinnacle of created perfection, alone knew how and was able to bear this martyrdom, and in it She exceeded all the sufferings of all the martyrs and the penances of all the confessors added together. In Her was fulfilled, what is said in the Canticles: "If a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing" (Song 8:7). For in it She forgot all the visible and created things and Her own life, accounting it all for naught, until She again found the grace and love of Her Most Holy and Divine Son, Whom She feared to have lost although She continued to pos­sess Him. No words can equal Her care and solicitude, Her watchfulness and diligence in trying to please Her sweetest Son and the Eternal Father.

18 This conflict having lasted over 30 days equaled many ages in the estimation of Her, who deemed it impossible to live even one moment without the love and without the Beloved of Her soul. After such delay (according to our way of speaking), the Heart of the Child Jesus could no longer contain Itself or resist fur­ther the immense force of His love for His sweetest Mother; for also the Lord suffered a delightful and won­derful violence in thus holding Her in such a suspense and affliction. It happened that the humble and sover­eign Queen one day approached Her Son Jesus, and, throwing Herself at His Feet, with tears and sighs coming from Her inmost heart, spoke to Him as follows: "My sweetest Love and highest Good, of what account am I, the insignificant dust and ashes, before Your vast power? What is the misery of a creature in comparison with Your endless affluence? In all things You excel our lowliness and Your immense Sea of Mercy overwhelms our imperfections and defects. If I have not been zealous in serving You, as I am constrained to confess, chastise My negligence and pardon it. But let Me, My Son and Lord, see the gladness of Your Holy Face, Which is My Salvation and the wished-for Light of My life and being. Here at Your Feet I lay My poverty, min­gling it with the dust, and I shall not rise from it until I can again look into the mirror, which reflects My soul."

19 These and other pleadings, full of wisdom and most ardent love, the great Queen poured humbly forth before Her Most Holy Son. And as His longings to restore Her to His delights were even greater than those of the Blessed Lady, He pronounced with great sweet­ness these few words: "My Mother, arise." As these words were pronounced by Him, Who is Himself the Word of the Eternal Father, it had such an effect, that the Heavenly Mother was instantly transformed and ele­vated into a most exalted ecstasy, in which She saw the Divinity by an abstractive vision. In it the Lord received Her with sweetest welcome and embraces of a Father and Spouse, changing Her tears into rejoicing, Her suf­ferings into delight and Her bitterness into highest sweetness. The Lord manifested to Her great secrets of the scope of His new Evangelical Law. Wishing to write it entirely into Her purest heart, the Most Holy Trinity appointed and destined Her as His First-Born Daughter and the first disciple of the Incarnate Word and set Her up as the model and pattern for all the Holy Apostles, Martyrs, Doctors, Confessors, Virgins and other honorable of the new Church and of the Law of Grace, which the Incarnate Word was to establish for the Re­demption of man.

20 To this mystery must be referred all that the Heavenly Lady says of Herself and which the Holy Church applies to Her in Sirach Chapter 24 under the figure of Divine Wisdom. I will not detain myself in explaining it, as by proceeding to describe this mysterious event, I shall make plain, what the Holy Spirit says in this chapter of our great Queen. It is sufficient to quote some of the sayings therein con­tained, so that all may understand something of this admirable mystery. "I came out of the Mouth of the Most High" says this Lady, "the firstborn before all creatures; I made that in the heavens there should arise Light that never fail, and as a cloud I covered all the earth; I dwelt in the highest places and My throne is in a pillar of cloud. I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and have walked in the waves of the sea, and have stood in all the earth: and in every people, and in every nation I have had the chief rule: and by My power I have trod­den under My feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. Then the Creator of all things commanded, and said to Me: and He Who made Me, rested in My Tabernacle, and He said to Me: Let Your dwelling be in Jacob, and Your inheritance in Israel, and take root in My elect. From the beginning (ab initio), and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Zion, and in the Holy City likewise I rested, and My power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of My God His inheritance, and My abode is in the full assembly of His saints" (Sir 24:5-16).
21 A little farther on Sirach continues to enum­erate the excellences of Mary, saying: "I have stretched out My branches as the turpentine tree,and My branches are of honor and of grace. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor: and My flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the Mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge and of holy hope. In Me is all the grace on the way and the truth, in Me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to Me, all you who desire Me and be filled with My fruits. For My spirit is sweet above honey, and My inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They who eat Me shall yet hunger, and they who drink Me shall yet thirst. He who harkens to Me, shall not be confounded: and they who work by Me, shall not sin. They who shall explain Me shall have life ever­lasting" (Sir 24:22-31). Let these words of Scrip­ture suffice for pious souls; for in them they will imme­diately recognize such a pregnancy of mysteries and sacraments referring to most Holy Mary, that their hearts will at once be lifted up and they will understand and feel to what an inexplicable greatness and excellence the teaching and instruction of Her Son have exalted the Sovereign Mother. By the decree of the Most Holy Trinity this Princess of Heaven was made the true Ark of the Covenant in the New Testament (Rev 11:19); and from the abundance of Her wisdom and grace, as from an immense ocean, all sorts of blessings, which were received and shall be received by the other saints until the end of the world, have overflowed.

22 The Heavenly Mother came out of Her trance and again adored Her Most Holy Son, asking His forgiveness for any negligence that She might have been guilty of in His service. The Child Jesus, raising Her up from the ground where She lay prostrate, said to Her: "My Mother, I am much pleased with the affection of Your heart and I wish You to dilate it and prepare it for new tokens of My love. I will fulfill the Will of My Father, record in Your heart the Evangelical Law, which I came to teach in this world. And You, Mother, shall put it in practice, with the perfection desired by Me." The most pure Queen responded: "My Son and Lord, may I find grace in Your Eyes; and govern My facul­ties in the ways of Your rectitude and pleasure. Speak, My Lord, for Your servant hears, and will follow You unto death" (1 Sam 3:10). During this conference of the Divine Child and His Holy Mother, the great Lady began again to see the Most Holy Soul of Christ and its interior operations.  From that day on this blessing increased as well subjectively as objectively; for She continued to receive clearer and more exalted light. In Her Most Holy Son She saw mirrored the whole of the New Law of the Gospel, with all its Mysteries, Sacraments and Doctrines, according as the Divine Archi­tect of the Church had conceived it and as He had, in His quality of Redeemer and Teacher, predisposed it for the benefit of men. In addition to this clear vision of this Law, which was reserved to Mary alone, He added an­other kind of instruction; for also in His own living words He taught and instructed Her in the hidden things of His Wisdom (Ps 51:8), such as all men and angels could never comprehend. This wisdom of which Mary partook without deceit, She also communicated without envy, both before and still more after the Ascension of Christ our Lord.

23 I well know that it belongs to this history to manifest the most hidden mysteries, which passed be­tween Christ our Lord and His Mother during the years of His boyhood and youth until His preaching; for all these years were spent in teaching His Heavenly Mother: but I must confess again, as I have done above that I, as well as all other creatures, are incapable of such exalted discourse. In order to do justice to these mysteries and secrets it would be necessary to ex­plain all the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures, the whole Christian doctrine, all the virtues, all the traditions of the Holy Church, all the arguments against errors and sects, the decrees of all the Holy Councils, all that upholds the Church and preserves Her to the end of the world, and also the great mysteries of the glorious lives of the saints. For all this was written in the purest heart of our great Queen and it would be necessary to add thereto all the works of the Redeemer and Teacher in multiplying the blessings and instructions of the Church; also all that the Holy Evangelists, Apostles, Prophets and ancient Fathers have recorded, and that which afterwards was practiced by the saints; the light given to the doctors; the sufferings of the martyrs and virgins; and all the graces which they received for bearing their sufferings and accomplishing their works of holiness. All this, and much more that cannot be enumerated here, most Holy Mary knew and personally comprehended and witnessed. It was She who gave proper thanks for it and corresponded with it in Her actions as much as is possible for a mere creature, co­operating with the Eternal Father as the Author of it all and with Her His Only Begotten Son as the head of the Church. These things I will explain farther on, in so far as it will be possible.

24 In attending to the instructions of Her Son and Teacher and in fulfilling all Her works with the highest perfection, She never failed in what concerned the outward service and the bodily needs of Her Son and St. Joseph.  To all Her duties She applied Herself without failing or neglect, providing for their food and their comforts, always prostrate on Her knees before Her Most Holy Son with ineffable reverence. She also sought to procure for St. Joseph the consoling dealings of the Child Jesus as if he had been His natural father. In this, the Divine Child obeyed His Mother, many times bearing St. Joseph company in the hard labor, which the Saint pursued with tireless diligence in order to sup­port with the sweat of his brow the Son of the Eternal Father and His Mother. As the Divine Child grew more, He sometimes helped St. Joseph as far as His strength would permit. At other times, as His activities were always kept a secret in the family, He would per­form miracles, disregarding the natural forces in order to ease and comfort him in his labors.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

25 I call you anew to be, from this day on, My disciple and My companion in the practice of the heavenly doctrine, which My Divine Son teaches His Church by means of the Holy Gospels and other Scrip­tures. I desire of you to prepare your heart with new diligence and attention, so that like a chosen soil, it may receive the Living and Holy Seed of the Word of the Lord producing fruits a hundred-fold (Lk 8:8). Make your heart attentive to My words; and at the same time, let your reading of the Holy Gospels be continual; medi­tate and ponder within yourself the doctrines and mysteries that you perceive therein. Hear the Voice of your Spouse and Master. He calls everyone and invites them to the feast of His Words of Eternal Life (Jn 6:69). But so great is the dangerous deception of this mortal life, that only very few souls wish to hear and understand the way of light (Matt 7:14). Many follow the delights presented to them by the prince of darkness; and those that follow them know not where they are led (Jn 12:35). But the Most High calls you to the paths of true light; follow them by imitating Me, and you will have your longings fulfilled. Deny yourself to all that is earthly and visible. Ignore it and refuse to look upon it. Have no desire for it and pay no attention to it. Avoid being known, and let no crea­tures have any part in you; guard your secret and your treasure (Matt 13:44) from the fasci­nation of men and from the devil. In all this you will have success, if, as a disciple of My Most Holy Son and of Me, you put in perfect practice the evangelical doctrine inculcated by Us. In order to compel yourself to such an exalted undertaking always be mindful of the blessing of being called by Divine Providence to the imitation of My life and virtues and to the following of My footsteps through My instruction. From this state of a novice, you must pass on to a more exalted state and to the full profession of the Catholic faith, conform­ing yourself to the Evangelical Law and to the example of your Redeemer, running after the odor of His oint­ments and by His truth in the paths of rectitude. By first being My disciple you should prepare yourself for becoming a disciple of My Son; and both these states should lead you to the perfect union with the Immutable Being of God. These 3 stages are favors of peer­less value, which place you in a position to become more perfect than the exalted seraphim. The Divine Right Hand has conceded them to you in order to dispose, pre­pare and enable you to receive proper light and intelli­gence for recording the works, virtues, mysteries and sacraments of My life. Freely and without your merit the Lord has shown you this great mercy, yielding to My petitions and intercessions. I have procured you this favor, because you subjected yourself in fear and trembling to the Will of the Lord in obedience to your superiors, who continued to give you express com­mands for the writing of this history. Your greatest reward is that you have learnt of the 3 stages or ways, which are so mysterious, hidden and exalted above carnal prudence and so pleasing to your Divine Master. They contain most abundant instruction as you have learned and experienced for the at­tainment of still higher ends. Record them separately in a treatise for itself, according to the Will of My Most Holy Son. Let its title be the same as what you have already mentioned in the introduction to this history: "Laws of the Spouse, crumbs of His chaste love, and fruits collected from the tree of life in this history."


CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 3
OUR LADY AND ST. JOSEPH GO TO JERUSALEM TAKING JESUS WITH THEM.
26 Some days after our Queen and Lady with Her Most Holy Son and St. Joseph had settled in Nazareth, the time of the year in which the Jews were obliged to present themselves before the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem, was at hand. This commandment obliged the Jews to this duty 3 times each year, as can be seen in Exodus and Deuteronomy. But it obliged only the men, not the women (Ex 23:17); therefore the women could go or not, according to their devotion; for it was neither commanded nor prohibited to them. The Heavenly Lady and Her spouse conferred with each other as to what they should do in this regard. The holy husband much desired the company of the great Queen, His wife, and of Her Most Holy Son; for he wished to offer Him anew to the Eternal Father in the Temple. The most pure Mother also was drawn by Her piety to worship the Lord in the Temple; but in things of that kind She did not permit Herself to decide with­out the counsel and direction of the Incarnate Word, Her Teacher. She asked His advice upon this matter. They finally arranged, that 2 times a year St. Joseph was to go to Jerusalem by himself, while on the third occasion They would go together. The Israelites visited the Temple on the feast of the Tabernacles (Deut 16:13), the feast of the Weeks, or Pentecost, and the feast of the unleavened Breads or the Pasch of the prepara­tion. To this latter the sweetest Jesus, most pure Mary. and Joseph went up together. It lasted 7 days and during that time happened what I shall relate in the next chapter. For the other solemnities St. Joseph went alone, leaving the Child and the Mother at home.


27 The holy spouse Joseph made these pilgrimages for himself and his Spouse in the Name of the Incarnate Word. Instructed by Him and furnished with His graces the Saint journeyed to the Temple, offering there to the Eternal Father the gifts always reserved for this occasion. Being the substitute of the Son and Mother, Who re­mained at home praying for him, he offered up the mys­terious sacrifices of his prayers and as he therein repre­sented Jesus and Mary, his offering was more accept­able to the Eternal Father than the offerings of the whole Jewish people. But whenever he was accompanied by the Incarnate Word and the Virgin Mother at the feast of the Pasch, the journey was a most wonderful one to him and to the heavenly courtiers, who, as I have already recorded of similar occasions, formed for them a most solemn procession. The 10,000 Angels accom­panied the 3 pilgrims, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in human forms, refulgent in their beauty and full of profoundest reverence, serving their Creator and their Queen. The distance between Nazareth and Jerusalem was in the neighborhood of 30 leagues and the Holy Angels, according to the command and disposition of the Incarnate Word, observed the same mode of accom­paniment both in going and returning.

28 They consumed more time in these journeys than in previous ones; for after they had come back from Egypt the Child Jesus desired that they journey on foot; and therefore all 3, the son and the parents made the pilgrimage afoot. And it was necessary to proceed slowly; for already the Child Jesus began to assume hardships in the service of His Eternal Father and for our advantage. He refused to make use of His immense power for lessening the difficulties of the journey, but undertook it as a man subject to suffering and allowed all the natural causes to produce their effects. One of these effects was the fatigue and exhaustion caused by travel. Although in His first journey the Heavenly Mother and St. Joseph eased His fatigue by sometimes carry­ing Him in their arms; yet this was but a slight allevia­tion and later on He always made the whole journey on foot. The sweetest Mother did not interfere, since She knew His desire of suffering; but ordinarily She led Him by the hand, and sometimes this was also done by St. Joseph. Many times, when the Child was fatigued and overheated, the loving and prudent Mother was moved to tender and tearful compassion. She inquired about His sufferings and fatigue and wiped His Divine Face, Which was more beautiful than the heavens and all its stars. She was accustomed to do this on Her knees and with ineffable reverence. The Divine Child would respond with much pleasure and speak of the de­light with which He accepted these hardships for the glory of the Eternal Father and for the good of men. With these conversations and conferences, varied by canticles of divine praise, they shortened much of their journey, as I have already mentioned in other places.

29 At other times, when the great Queen and Lady beheld on the one hand the interior activity of the Soul of Christ and on the other hand the perfection of His Deified Humanity, the beauty and activity of which mani­fested itself in the operations of Divine grace and in His growth as true Man, and when She pondered upon all this in Her heart (Lk 2:19), She exercised Herself in heroic acts of all the virtues and was inflamed with Divine love. She beheld also the Child as the Son of the Eternal Father and as the true God; without ever failing in the love of a true and natural Mother, She showed Him all the reverence due to Him as Her God and Creator. All this flowed naturally from Her spotless and pure heart. Very often the wind would flutter through the Hair of the Child Jesus as He walked along. His Hair grew to no greater length than was necessary and He lost none of it, except what the executioners tore out later on. Such little incidents were noticed by the sweet­est Mother and they afforded Her subjects for affec­tionate and sweet meditation. In all Her interior and exterior conduct, She was wonderful to the Angels and pleasing to Her Most Holy Son and Creator

30 During these journeys of the Holy Family Jesus and Mary performed heroic works of charity for the benefit of souls; They converted many to the knowledge of the Lord, freed them from their sins and justified them, leading them on the way of Life Eternal. But as it was not yet time for the Teacher of virtue to mani­fest Himself, all these works were done in secret. As the Heavenly Lady knew that such activity was enjoined upon Her Son by the Eternal Father, and that for the present it was to remain hidden, She concurred therein as the instrument of the Redeemer's Will, though in a covered and hidden manner. In order to govern Herself according to the dictates of the highest wisdom, the most prudent Lady always consulted the Divine Child concerning all Her activities on the way and concerning their stopping-places and their lodging-houses on their journey. The Heavenly Princess well knew that Her Son pre-arranged the occasions for His admirable works, which He foresaw and fore-ordered in His wisdom.

31 Hence they passed their nights sometimes in lodg­ing-places, sometimes on the open fields; but the Divine Child and His purest Mother never separated. At all times the great Lady attended upon Her Son and Master, watching His actions in order to imitate and follow them closely. She did the same in the Temple, where She joined in the prayers and petitions of the Incarnate Word to His Eternal Father and was witness to the humble and profound reverence, by which His Humanity acknowl­edged the gifts flowing from the Divinity. A few times the most Blessed Mother heard the Voice of the Father saying: "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased" (Matt 17:5). At other times She perceived and witnessed, how Her Most Holy Son prayed for Her to the Eternal Father and how He offered Her to Him as His true Mother and this knowledge was inexpressi­bly joyful to Her. She perceived also how He prayed for the whole human race and how He offered up all His works and labors for all these ends. In these peti­tions and offerings She accompanied, imitated and fol­lowed Him at all times.

32 It happened also at other times that the Holy Angels intoned hymns of sweetest harmony in honor of the Incarnate Word, as well when they entered the Temple as on their journey. The most fortunate Mother saw them and listened to them, understanding all the mysteries and being filled thereby with new light and wisdom. Her purest heart was inflamed and blazed up in divine love. The Most High showered upon Her new gifts and blessings, such as my inadequate tongue can­not clothe in words. But by them He prepared Her for the adversities, which She was to suffer. For, many times after these consolations, She beheld as in a pano­rama all the affronts, ignominies, and sufferings await­ing Her Most Holy Son in Jerusalem. In order that She might, already at that time, see all this with so much the more vivid sorrow, He was accustomed to enter upon His prayers in the presence of His sweetest Mother; and, as She was filled with the light of heavenly wisdom and with a divine love for God and Her Son, She was pierced with the sword of sorrow men­tioned by Simeon (Lk 2:35); She shed many tears in anticipation of the injuries to be borne by Her sweetest Son and at the thought of the sufferings and the igno­minious Death to which He was destined (Is 53:3). Her soul was filled with anguish, when She remembered, that the beauty of the Son of God, greater than that of all men, was to be disfigured worse than with leprosy (Wis 2:20; Ps 45:2) and that She Herself was to see all this with Her own eyes. In order to lessen Her sor­rows the Divine Child was inclined to turn toward Her, tell­ing Her to dilate Her heart with charity for the human race and together with Him offer to the Eternal Father all these sufferings for the salvation of men. Thus both Son and Mother made delightful offerings to the Holy Trinity, applying them for the benefit of the faithful, and especially for the predestined who would profit by their merits and by the Redemption through the Incarnate Word. Principally in these occupations the sweet­est Jesus and His Mother spent the days of their visits to the Temple of Jerusalem.

INSTRUCTION BY MARY, THE MOST HOLY QUEEN

33  My daughter, if you will deeply and attentively weigh your obligations, you will find very easy and sweet all the labors enjoined upon you by the commands and precepts of the Holy Law of the Lord. This must be the first step of your pilgrimage, as the beginning and foun­dation of all Christian perfection. But I have already many times reminded you, that the fulfillment of the Precepts of the Lord must not be cold and lukewarm, but most fervent and devoted. For this favor will pre­vent you from being satisfied with common virtue, and excite you to undertake works of purest love beyond that which God imposes upon you by command. For this is one of the artifices of His Wisdom, that He seeks to be obliged by His true servants and friends, in order that He may reward them, and this is what I desire of you. Remember, that the journey from the mortal to the Eternal Life is long, painful and dangerous (Matt 7:14): long, because it takes up the whole life, painful, on account of the hardships, dangerous, on ac­count of human frailty and the astuteness of the ene­mies. In addition to this the time is short (1 Cor 7:29), the end uncertain (Sir 9:2), being either very happy, or most unfortunate (Matt 25:31), while the one as well as the other termination is irrevocable (Sir 11:3). Since the sin of Adam, the animal and earthly life of man is burdensome for all those that subject themselves to it (Job 7:29), the chains of the passions are strong, the war against the lower nature continual; sensible pleasures are always present and easily fasci­nate the faculties of man, while that which is noble, as well as its immediate consequences, is often hidden from the gaze. All this fills the pilgrimage of life with haz­ardous dangers and difficulties.


34 Among all these dangers and difficulties not the least are those of the flesh; for its human weakness, always present and always active, withdraws many from grace. The shortest and the most secure course to fol­low, both for you and for all men, is to welcome bitter­ness and sorrow and put aside ease and pleasure of the senses, and inviolably to resolve not to allow them to become dissipated or enjoy greater freedom than the strict rule of reason permits. In addition to this you must continually seek after the greater pleasure of the Lord and aspire to the great last end of all your longings. For this purpose you must always be solicitous to imi­tate Me, for to this I call and invite you, desiring that you arrive at the summit of virtue and holiness. Con­sider the punctuality and fervor with which I achieved so many and so great results; not because the Lord urged Me on by His Commands, but because I wished to please Him more. Multiply your deeds of fervor, your devotions, and spiritual exercises.  In all things increase your prayers and sacrifices to the Eternal Father for the benefit of mankind. Help them also by the example and your exhortations wherever you can. Console the sorrowful, encourage the weak, help the fallen to arise; and for all of them offer, if necessary, your own life-blood. Above all strive to please My Most Holy Son, Who suffers so kindly the ingratitude of men, preserving them in existence and continuing to shower His favors upon them. Consider His invincible love toward them and how I imitated Him, and even now show toward them the same love. I desire of you, that you follow your sweet Spouse in His exalted charity, and also Me, your Teacher.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 4
JESUS GOES TO JERUSALEM WITH HIS PARENTS WHERE HE CONCEALS HIMSELF FROM THEM IN THE TEMPLE
35 As I have said, Mary and Joseph repeated their visit to the Temple at the feast of the unleavened Bread every year. Also when the Divine Child was 12 years old and when it was time to allow the splendors of His inaccessible and Divine Light to shine forth, They went to the Temple for this feast (Lk 2:42). This festival of the unleavened Bread lasted 7 days, ac­cording to the Command of the Divine Law; and the more solemn days were the first and the last. On this account our Heavenly Pilgrims remained in Jerusalem during the whole week, spending their time in acts of worship and devotion as the rest of the Jews, although on account of the sacraments connected with each of Them their worship and devotion was entirely different and greatly exalted above that of the others. The Blessed Mother and Holy Joseph received during these days’ favors and blessings beyond the conception of the human mind.
36 Having thus spent all the 7 days of the feast They returned home to Nazareth. When His parents departed from Jerusalem and were pursuing their way homeward, the Child Jesus withdrew from them without their knowledge. For this purpose the Lord availed Himself of the separation of the men and women, which had become customary among the pilgrims for reasons of decency as well as for greater recollection during their return homeward. The chil­dren who accompanied their parents were taken in charge either by the men or the women, since their company with either was a matter of indif­ference. Thus it happened that St. Joseph could easily suppose that the Child Jesus had remained with His most Holy Mother, with whom He generally remained. The thought that She would go without Him was far from His mind, since the Heavenly Queen loved and delighted in Him more than any other creature human or angelic. The great Lady did not have so many reasons for sup­posing that Her Most Holy Son was in the company of St. Joseph: but the Lord Himself so diverted Her thoughts by holy and divine contemplations, that She did not notice His absence at first. When afterwards She became aware of Her not being accompanied by Her sweetest and beloved Son, She supposed that the Blessed Joseph had taken Him along and that the Lord accom­panied His foster-father for His consolation.
37 Thus assured, Holy Mary and Joseph pursued their home journey for an entire day, as St. Luke tells us. As the pilgrims proceeded onwards they gradu­ally thinned out, each taking his own direction and join­ing again with his wife or family. The most Holy Mary and St. Joseph found themselves at length in the place where they had agreed to meet on the first evening after leaving Jerusalem. When the great Lady saw that the Child was not with St. Joseph and when the Holy Patriarch found that He was not with His Mother, they were struck dumb with amazement and surprise for quite a while. Both, governed in their judgment by their most profound humility, felt overwhelmed with self-reproach at their remissness in watching over their Most Holy Son and thus blamed themselves for His absence; for neither of them had any suspicion of the mys­terious manner in which He had been able to elude their vigilance. After a time they recovered somewhat from their astonishment and with deepest sorrow took counsel with each other as to what was to be done (Lk 2:45). The loving Mother said to St. Joseph; "My spouse and My master, My heart cannot rest, unless We return with all haste to Jerusalem in order to seek My Most Holy Son." This they proceeded to do, beginning their search among their relations and friends, of whom, how­ever, none could give them any information or any com­fort in their sorrow; on the contrary their answers only increased their anxiety, since none of them had so much as seen their Son since their departure from Jerusalem.
38 The afflicted Mother turned to Her Holy Angels. Those that carried the escutcheons inscribed with the Most Holy Name of Jesus (of which I spoke at the Cir­cumcision), had accompanied the Lord, while the other Angels still remained with the purest Mother; this was the order maintained whenever the Son separated from the Mother. These, who numbered 10,000, She asked, saying: "My friends and companions, you well know the cause of My sorrow; in this bitter affliction be My consolation and give Me some information con­cerning My Beloved, so that I may seek and find Him (Song 3:2). Give some relief to My wounded heart, which, torn from its happiness and life, bounds from its place in search of Him." The Holy Angels, who, though they never lost sight of the Creator and Re­deemer, were aware that the Lord wished to furnish His Mother this occasion of great merit, and that it was not yet time to reveal the secret to Her, answered by speaking to Her words of consolation without manifest­ing to Her the whereabouts and the activities of their Lord.  This evasive answer raised new doubts in the most pru­dent Lady. Her anxiety of heart caused Her to break out in tears and sighs of inmost grief, and urged Her onward in search, not of the lost drachma, like the woman in the Gospel, but of the Whole Treasure of heaven and earth (Lk 15:8).
39 The Mother of Wisdom then began to discuss within Her heart the different possibilities. The first thought which presented itself to Her, was the fear lest Archelaus, imitating the cruelty of his father Herod, should have obtained notice of the Presence of Jesus and have taken Him prisoner. Although She knew from the Holy Scriptures and revelations, and by Her conversa­tions with Her Most Holy Son and Teacher, that the time for His Passion and Death had not yet come and that the king would not take away His life, yet She was filled with dread at the thought, that they should have taken Him prisoner and might ill-treat Him. In Her pro­foundest humility She also had misgivings, lest per­chance She had in any way displeased Him by Her con­duct and therefore deserved that He should leave Her and take up His abode in the desert with His precursor St. John. At other times, addressing Her absent Love, She exclaimed: "Sweet Love and Delight of My soul! You are impelled by Your desire of suffering for men and by Your immense charity to avoid no labor or pain; but on the contrary, I fear, O Lord and Master, that You seek it on purpose (Is 53:7). Where shall I go and where shall I find You, Light of My eyes? (Tob 10:4). Do You wish to deprive Me of life by the sword of severance from Your Presence? But I do not wonder, O My Highest Good: You chastise by Your absence Her who did not know how to profit by Your company. Why, O My Lord, have You enriched Me with the delights of Your infancy, if I am so soon to lose the assistance of Your loving instruction? But, woe is Me! since, not being worthy to retain and enjoy You as My Son, I must confess, that I am obliged to thank You even for the favor of condescending to accept me as Your slave! If the privilege of being Your unworthy Mother, can be of any avail in finding You, My God and My Highest Good, O Lord, permit it, and make Me worthy of again finding You, so that I may go with You in the desert, to sufferings, labors, tribula­tions, or whatever You will. My Lord, My soul desires to merit at least in part to share Your sorrows and tor­ments, to die, if I do not find You, or to live in Your service and Presence. When Your Divinity hid Itself from My gaze, Your amiable Humanity at least remained; and, although You were austere and less kind to Me than You had been, I could throw Myself at Your Feet; but now this happiness is taken away from Me and I have lost sight entirely of the Sun Which enlightens Me, left only to groans and sighs. Ah Love of My soul! What sighs from the inmost of My heart can I send You as messengers? But I am not worthy of Your clemency, since My eyes find no traces of You."
40 Thus this sincerest Dove persevered in Her tears and groans without cessation or rest, without sleeping or eating anything for 3 whole days. Although the 10,000 angels accompanied Her in corporeal forms and witnessed Her affliction and sorrow, yet they gave Her no clue to find Her lost Child. On the third day the great Queen resolved to seek Him in the desert where St. John was; for since She saw no indications that Archelaus had taken Him prisoner, She began to believe more firmly, that Her Most Holy Son was with St. John. When She was about to execute Her resolve and was on the point of departing for the desert, the Holy Angels detained Her, urging Her not to undertake the journey, since the Divine Word was not there. She wanted also to go to Bethlehem, in the hope of finding Him in the cave of the Nativity; but this the Holy Angels likewise prevented, telling Her that He was not so far off. Although the Blessed Mother heard these answers and well perceived that the Holy Angels knew the where­abouts of the Child Jesus, She was so considerate and reserved in Her humility and prudence that She gave no response, nor asked where She could find Him; for She understood that they withheld this information by Command of the Lord. With such magnanimous rev­erence did the Queen of the Angels treat the Sacraments of the Most High and of His ministers and ambassadors. This was one of the occasions in which the greatness of Her queenly and magnanimous heart was made manifest.
41 Not all the sorrows suffered by all the martyrs ever reached the height of the sorrows of most Holy Mary in this trial; nor will the patience, resignation and tolerance of this Lady ever be equaled, nor can they; for the loss of Jesus was greater to Her than the loss of anything created, while Her love and appreciation of Him exceeded all that can be conceived by any other creature. Since She did not know the cause of the loss, Her anxiety was beyond all measure, as I have already said. Moreover, during these 3 days the Lord left Her to Her natural resources of nature and of grace, deprived of special privileges and favors; for, with the exception of the company and association with the Holy Angels, He suspended all the other consolations and blessings so constantly imparted to Her most holy soul. From all this we can surmise what sorrow filled the loving heart of the Heavenly Mother. But, O prodigy of holiness, prudence, fortitude and perfection! in such unheard of affliction and sorrow She was not disturbed, nor lost Her interior or exterior peace, nor did She entertain a thought of anger or indignation, nor allowed Herself any improper movement or expression, nor fell into any excess of grief or annoyance, as is so common in great affliction with other children of Adam, who allow all their passions and faculties to be disarranged, yea even in small difficulties! The Mother of all virtue held all Her powers in heavenly order and harmony; though Her sorrow was without comparison great and had pierced Her inmost heart, She did not fail in reverence and in the praise of the Lord, nor ceased in Her prayers and peti­tions for the human race, and for the finding of Her Most Holy Son.
42 With this heavenly wisdom and with greatest dili­gence She sought Him for 3 successive days, roam­ing through the streets of the city, asking different per­sons and describing to the daughters of Jerusalem the marks of Her Beloved, searching the byways and the open squares of the city and thereby fulfilling what was recorded in the Songs of Solomon (Song 5:10). Some of the women asked Her what were the distinctive marks of Her lost and only Son; and She answered in the words of the Spouse: "My Beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands." One of the women, hearing Her thus describing Him, said : "This Child, with those same marks, came yesterday to my door to ask for alms, and I gave some to Him; and His grace and beauty have ravished my heart. And when I gave Him alms, I felt myself overcome by compassion to see a Child so gracious in poverty and need." These were the first news the sorrowful Mother heard of Her Only begotten in Jerusalem. A little respite in Her sorrow, She pursued Her quest and met other persons, who spoke of Him in like manner. Guided by this information She directed Her steps to the hospital of the city, think­ing that among the afflicted She would find the Spouse and the Originator of patient poverty among His own le­gitimate brethren and friends (Matt 5:40). Inquiring at that place, She was informed that a Child of that description had paid His visits to the inmates, leaving some alms and speaking words of much consolation to the afflicted.

43 The report of these deeds of Her Beloved caused sentiments of sweetest and most tender affection in the heart of the Heavenly Lady, which She sent forth from Her inmost heart as messengers to Her lost and absent Son. Then the thought struck Her, that, since He was not with the poor, He no doubt tarried in the Temple, as in the House of God and of prayer. The Holy Angels encouraged Her and said: "Our Queen and Lady, the hour of Your consolation is at hand: soon will You see the Light of Your eyes; hasten Your footsteps and go to the Temple." The glorious patriarch St. Joseph at this moment again met His Spouse, for, in order to in­crease their chance of finding the Divine Child, they had separated in different directions. By another Angel he had now been likewise ordered to proceed to the Temple. During all these 3 days he had suffered unspeakable sorrow and affliction, hastening from one place to an­other, sometimes without his heavenly Spouse, some­times with Her. He was in serious danger of losing his life during this time, if the Hand of the Lord had not strengthened him and if the most prudent Lady had not consoled him and forced him to take some food and rest. His sincere and exquisite love for the Divine Child made him so anxious and solicitous to find Him, that he would have allowed himself no time or care to take nourishment for the support of nature. Following the advice of the holy princes, the most pure Mary and Joseph rushed to the Temple, where hap­pened what I will relate in the next chapter.

INSTRUCTION BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, MOST HOLY MARY

44 My daughter, by oft-repeated experience everyone knows, that they do not lose without sorrow what once they have possessed with delight. This truth, so well established, should convince men what little love they have for their God and Creator; since among the many who lose Him, there are so few who heartily grieve at this loss, and thereby show, that they have never pos­sessed or loved Him with a love flowing from grace. Just as they fail to grieve at losing the Highest Good, Which they do not hold in loving possession, so they also fail to seek after their God when they have lost Him. But there is a great difference in the manner in which men lose sight of their Highest Good; for it is not the same to lose sight of God for the purpose of being tried in virtue and love and to lose sight of Him in punish­ment for sins committed. The first is a contrivance of Divine Love and a means of communicating itself more abundantly to the one that longs for it and merits it. The second is a just punishment for outrages committed against God. In the first kind of absence the Lord humiliates the soul by holy fear and filial love leaving it uncertain, whether it has not given cause for His withdrawal (Prov 28:13). Although its conscience does not reprehend it, the loving and ingenuous heart knows its danger, feels the loss and thus, as the wise man says, is blessed (Sir 9:1)for it then lives in con­stant fear and dread of such a loss, knowing that man, until the end of this life, is uncertain, whether he de­serves love or hate in the Sight of God. During their mortal existence the righteous man and the sinner commonly share the same good and evil lot without much distinction.
45  This is the great evil which the wise man mentions as among the happenings under the sun; that the impious and the wicked harden their hearts in their malice and false security, seeing that the same mishaps befall both themselves and others, and that no one can tell with cer­tainty who are the chosen or the reprobate, the friends or enemies, of God, the just or the sinners; who are worthy of love and who of hatred. But if men would dispassionately and without deceit appeal to their con­science, it would answer each one truthfully what he should know (Lk 12:58)for when it cries out against sins committed, they would be foolish not to attribute the evils and adversities to themselves, or to fail to see themselves forsaken by grace and deprived of the Highest Good. If their reason were unbiased, the greatest source of misgiving would be, to be unmoved by the loss or by the cessation of the spiritual joys of grace. For the lack of this misgiving in a soul created and destined for Eternal happiness is a strong indication that the soul neither desires nor loves this happiness, and therefore it is a sign, that it does not seek it in earnest, so as to enjoy a well-founded prospect of once possessing the Highest Good. For you must remember, that this well-founded assurance, of not having forfeited it in this mortal life, can be attained by all faithful souls.
46 I was deprived of the bodily Presence of My Most Holy Son; but, although I was in hope of again finding Him, yet, in My great love, the uncertainty as to the cause of His withdrawal gave Me no rest until I found Him. In this I wish that you imitate Me, whether you lose Him through your own fault or by the disposition of His own Will. So great should be your dread of losing Him through your fault, that neither trib­ulation, nor trouble, nor necessity, nor danger, nor per­secution, nor the sword, neither height nor depth should ever withhold you from seeking after your God (Rom 8:35); for if you are faithful as you should be, and if you do not wish to lose Him, neither the Angels, nor the Principalities, nor the Powers, nor any other creature can ever deprive you of Him. So strong are the bonds of His love and its chains, that no one can burst them, except your own free will.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1

CHAPTER 5

OUR LADY AND ST. JOSEPH FIND JESUS IN THE TEMPLE.
47 In the foregoing chapter a partial answer might be found to the question raised by some, as to how the Heavenly Queen, who was so diligent and solicitous in attending upon and serving Her Most Holy Son, could ever so far lose Him out of sight as to leave Him in Jerusalem. Although it would be a sufficient answer to say that the Lord Himself brought it about, yet I will now explain more fully how it could have happened without any voluntary negligence or oversight of the loving Mother. It is certain, that besides availing Him­self of the great concourse of people, our Lord was obliged to use also supernatural means to elude the atten­tion of His solicitous Mother; for without it She could no more have lost sight of Him than of the sun, that lighted Her on the way. Therefore, at the parting of the men and the women, which I mentioned, the Al­mighty Lord visited His Heavenly Mother with an ab­stractive vision of the Divinity, which with Divine power centered and withdrew all Her faculties toward Her in­terior. She thus remained so abstracted, inflamed and deprived of Her senses, that She could make use of them only in so far as was necessary to pursue Her way. As to all the rest, She was entirely lost in the sweetness and consolation of the Divine vision. St. Joseph was guided in His behavior by the circumstances already mentioned, although he also was wrapped in a most exalted contemplation, which made more easy and mysterious his error in regard to the whereabouts of the Child. Thus Jesus withdrew Himself from both of them, re­maining in Jerusalem. When after a considerable while the Queen came to Herself and found Herself without the company of Her Most Holy Son, She supposed Him to be with His reputed father.
48 It was very near to the gate of the city, that the Divine Child turned and hastened back through the streets. Foreseeing in His Divine Foreknowledge all that was to happen, He offered it up to His Eternal Father for the benefit of souls. He asked for alms during these 3 days in order to ennoble from that time on humble mendacity as the First-Born of holy poverty. He visited the hospitals of the poor, consoling them and giving them the alms that He had received; secretly He re­stored bodily health to some and spiritual health to many, by enlightening them interiorly and leading them back to the way of salvation. On some of the benefactors, who gave Him alms, He performed these wonders with a greater abundance of grace and light; thus fulfilling from that time on the promise, which He was after­wards to make to His Church; that he who gives to the righteous and to the prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of the righteous (Matt 10:41).
49 Having thus busied Himself with these and other works of His Father, He returned to the Temple. On the day which the Evangelist mentions, it happened that also the Rabbis, who were the learned and the teach­ers of the Temple, met in a certain part of the buildings in order to confer among themselves concerning some doubtful points of Holy Scriptures. On this occasion the coming of the Messiah was discussed; for on account of the report of the wonderful events, which had spread about since the birth of the Baptist and the visit of the kings of the east, the rumor of the Coming of the Redeemer and of His being already in the world, though yet unknown, had gained ground among the Jews. They were all seated in their places filled with the sense of authority customary to those who are teachers and considered as learned. The Child Jesus came to the meeting of these distinguished men; and He Who was the King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16)the Infinite Wisdom Itself (1 Cor 1:24), and Who corrects the wise (Wis 7:15), presented Himself before the teachers of this world as an humble disciple, giving them to understand that He had come to hear the discussion and inform Himself on the question treated of, namely: whether the Messiah was already come, or, if not, con­cerning the time in which He should come into the world.
50 The opinions of the scribes were much at variance on this question, some of them answering in the affirma­tive, others in the negative. Those in the negative quoted some testimonies of Holy Scriptures and prophecies with the coarse interpretation reprehended by the Apostle: namely, killing the spirit by the letter (2 Cor 3:6). They maintained that the Messiah was to come with kingly magnificence and display in order to secure the liberty of His people by the exercise of great power, rescuing them in a temporal manner from the slavery of the gentiles; yet, that there were no indications of this power and freedom in the present state of the Hebrews and no possibility of throwing off the yoke of the Romans. This outward circumstance was an argument of great force among this carnal and blinded people; for they presumed, that the coming greatness and majesty of the promised Messiah and the Redemption was intended for themselves only; and they believed this Re­demption to be temporal and earthly, just as even now the Jews, in the obscurity which envelops their hearts (Is 6:10), continue to believe. For to the present day they have not yet come to realize, that the Glory, the Majesty, and the Power of the Redeemer, and the liberty which He is to bring to the world, is not of an earthly, temporal and perishable kind, but Heavenly, Spiritual and Eternal; and that it is not intended alone for the Jews, although offered to them before all other nations, but indiscriminately for the whole human race descended from Adam.
51 The teacher of truth, Jesus, foresaw that the dis­cussion would end with the confirmation of this error; for although some of the learned men inclined to the contrary opinion, they were but few; and they had now been silenced by the authority and specious arguments of the others. As the Lord had come into the world in order to give testimony of the Truth (Jn 18:37), Which He Himself was, He would not on this occasion, when it was so important to manifest the truth, allow that the deceit and error opposed to it should be con­firmed and established by the authority of the learned. His measureless charity could not pass by unnoticed this ignorance of His works and high purposes in these men, who were set as teachers of the people in matters con­cerning Eternal Life and its Author, our Redeemer. Therefore the Divine Child presented Himself to the dis­putants, manifesting the grace poured out over His lips (Ps 45:3)He stepped into their midst with exceeding majesty and grace, as one who would propose some doubt or solution. By His pleasing appearance He awakened in the hearts of these learned men a desire to hear Him attentively.
52 The Divine Child spoke to them as follows: "The question concerning the Coming of the Messiah and the answer given to it, I have heard and understood com­pletely. In order to propose My difficulty in regard to its solution, I presuppose what the Prophets say, that His Coming shall be in great power and majesty, which has also been confirmed by the testimonies brought for­ward. For Isaiah says, that He shall be our Law-Giver and King, Who shall save His people (Is 30:27), and David, that He shall crush all His enemies (Ps 95:3), Daniel, that all tribes and nations shall serve Him (Dan 7:14), Sirach, that He shall come with a great multitude of the saints (Sir 24:3). All the Prophets and Scriptures are full of similar promises, manifesting His characteristics clearly and decisively enough for all those that study them with enlightened attention. But the doubt arises from the comparison of these with other passages in the Prophets, since all of them must be equally true, though on account of their brevity they may appear to contradict each other. Therefore they must agree with each other in another sense, which can and must be found equally applicable in all the passages. How then shall we understand what this same Isaiah says of Him, that He shall come from the land of the living, and when He asks: who shall declare His generation? (Is 53:8), that He shall be satiated with reproach; that He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and that He shall not open His mouth? Jeremiah states that the ene­mies of the Messiah shall join hands to persecute Him and mix poison with His bread, and they shall wipe out His Name from the earth, although they shall not prevail in their attempt (Jer 11:19). David says that He shall be the reproach of the people and of men, and shall be trodden under foot and shall be despised as a worm (Ps 22:6); Zechariah, that He shall come meek and humble seated upon an insignificant beast (Zech 9:9). All the Prophets say the same concerning the signs of the promised Messiah."
53 "Hence," added the Divine Child, "how will it be possible to reconcile these prophecies, if we suppose that the Messiah is to come with the power and majesty of arms in order to conquer all the kings and monarchs by violence and foreign bloodshed? We cannot fail to see that He is to come twice; once to redeem the world and a second time to judge it; the prophecies must be applied to both these Comings, giving to each one its right expla­nation. As the purposes of these comings are different so must also the conditions be different; for He is not to exercise the same office in both, but widely divergent and opposite offices. In the first advent He is to over­throw the devil, hurling him from his sovereignty over souls obtained through the first sin. And therefore He must first render satisfaction to God for the whole human race; then also teach men by His Word and ex­ample the way of Eternal Life, how they are to overcome their enemies, serve and adore their God and Redeemer; how they must correspond to the gifts and use well the blessings of His Right Hand. All these requirements the Messiah must fulfill in the First Coming. The Second Com­ing is for the purpose of exacting an account from all men in the general judgment, of giving to each one the return for his works, good or bad, chastising His enemies in His Wrath and Indignation. This is what the Prophets say of His Second Coming."
54 "Accordingly, when we wish to understand how His First Coming shall be in power and majesty, or as David says, that He shall reign from sea to sea, that in His Advent He shall be glorious, as said by the other Prophets: all this cannot be interpreted as referring to visible and terrestrial sovereignty, with all its outward show of pomp and majesty; but of a spiritual reign in a New Church, which would be extended over all the earth with sovereign power and riches of grace and vir­tue in opposition to the devil. By this interpretation the whole Scripture becomes clear, while in another sense its different parts cannot be made to harmonize. That the people of the Jews are under dominion of the Romans and are in no condition to restore their sover­eignty, not only cannot be held as a proof of His not having come, but on the contrary, it is an infallible sign that He is already come into the world. For our Patri­arch Jacob has pointed out this very sign for the guid­ance of His posterity, commanding them to expect the Messiah as soon as they should see the tribe of Judah deprived of the scepter and sovereignty of Israel (Gen 49:10); and you must confess that neither Judah nor any other tribe of Israel can hope to recover or hold it. The same is also proved by the weeks of Daniel (Dan 9:25); which must certainly be now complete. Those who wish can also remember, that a few years ago a light was seen in Bethlehem at midnight and that some poor shepherds heard the message of the New-Born Redeemer; and soon after some Kings of the East came guided by a star, seeking the King of the Jews in order to adore Him. All this had been prophesied. Herod, the father of Archelaus, believing it an established fact, took away the life of so many children, hoping thereby to destroy the New-Born King, Whom he feared as his rival in the government of Israel"
55 Other arguments did the Child Jesus add, and while seeming to ask questions He taught with a Divine efficacy. The scribes and learned men who heard Him were all dumbfounded. Convinced by His arguments they looked at each other and in great astonishment asked: "What miracle is this? and what prodigy of a boy! From where has He come and Who is the Child?" But though thus astonished, they did not recognize or sus­pect Who it was, that thus taught and enlightened them concerning such an important truth. During this time and before Jesus had finished His argument, His most Holy Mother and St. Joseph Her most chaste spouse arrived, just in time to hear Him advance His last argu­ments. When He had finished, all the teachers of the law arose with stupendous amazement. The Heavenly Lady, absorbed in joy, approached Her Most Loving Son and in the presence of the whole assembly, spoke to Him the words recorded by St. Luke: "Son, why have You done so to us? Behold Your father and I have sought You sorrowing" (Lk 4:48). This loving complaint the Heavenly Mother uttered with equal reverence and affection, adoring Him as God and manifesting Her maternal affliction. The Lord answered: "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business ?"
56 The Evangelist says that they did not understand the mystery of these words (Luke 2, 50)for it was hidden at the time to most Holy Mary and St. Joseph. And for 2 reasons; on the one hand, the interior joy of now reaping what they had sown in so much sorrow, and the visible Presence of their Precious Treasure, en­tirely filled the faculties of their souls; and on the other hand, the time for the full comprehension of what had just been treated of in this discussion had not yet arrived for them. Moreover, for the most solicitous Queen there was another hindrance just at that time, and it was, that the veil, concealing the interior of Her Most Holy Son had again intervened and was not removed until some time later. The learned men departed, commenting in their amazement upon the wonderful event, by which they had been privileged to hear the teaching of Eternal Wisdom, though they did not recognize it. Being thus left almost alone, the Blessed Mother, embracing Him with maternal affection, said to Him: "Permit My long­ing heart, My Son, to give expression to its sorrow and pain; so that it may not die of grief as long as it can be of use to You. Do not cast Me off from Your Sight; but accept Me as Your slave. If it was My negligence, which deprived Me of Your Presence, pardon Me and make Me worthy of Your company, and do not punish Me with Your absence." The Divine Child received Her with signs of pleasure and offered Himself as Her Teacher and Companion until the proper time should arrive. Thus was the dove-like and affectionate heart of the great Lady appeased, and They departed for Nazareth.
57 But at some distance from Jerusalem, when They were alone upon the road, the most prudent Lady fell on Her knees before Her Son and adored Him, asking His Blessing; for She had not thus reverenced Him openly in presence of the people in the Temple, being always anxious to conduct Herself with the perfection of holiness. With loving tenderness the Child Jesus raised Her from the ground and spoke to Her words of sweet­est comfort. Immediately the veil fell, revealing anew His Most Holy Soul with greater depth and clearness than ever before. Then the Heavenly Mother read and per­ceived in the interior of Her Most Holy Son all the Mys­teries of His accomplishments during those 3 days in Jerusalem. She understood also all that had passed in the dispute with the doctors, what Jesus had said and why He did not manifest Himself more clearly as the True Messiah. Many other sacramental secrets He revealed to His Virgin Mother, depositing them with Her as in an Archive of all the Treasures of the Incarnate Word, in order that thence He might receive for all of them the return of honor and praise due to Him as Author of such great wonders. And She, the Virgin Mother, fulfilled all the expectations of the Lord. Then She asked Him to rest a while in the field and partake of some nourishment, and He accepted it from the hands of the great Lady, the attentive Mother of Divine Wisdom (Sir 24:24).
58 During the rest of the journey the Heavenly Mother discoursed with Her sweetest Son on the Mys­teries, interiorly manifested to Her concerning the dis­cussion with the teachers. He repeated by word of mouth, what He had shown Her interiorly. In particu­lar He told Her, that these doctors had not recognized Him as the Messiah because they were inflated and arro­gant in their own knowledge. Their understanding was obscured by the darkness of their pride, so that they could not perceive the Divine Light shining forth in such profusion from Him; while, if they had the humble and loving desire of seeing the truth, His reasoning would have sufficiently convinced them. On account of these obstacles they could not see it, though it was open before their eyes. Our Redeemer converted many souls to the way of salvation on this journey and, as His most Holy Mother was with Him, He used Her as an instrument of His wonderful works. By means of Her most prudent words and holy admonitions He enlightened the hearts of all to whom She spoke. They restored health to many of the sick. They consoled the afflicted and sor­rowful; and everywhere, They scattered grace and mercy without ever losing an occasion for doing good. Since I have described more particularly some of the wonders performed during other journeys, I do not stop to describe any more here; for many chapters and much time would be necessary to relate them all and there are other things more to the point to be related in this history.
59 They arrived at Nazareth, where they occupied themselves in what I shall record later on. The Evan­gelist Luke compendiously mentions all the mysteries in few words, saying the Child Jesus was subject to His parents, and that His Heavenly Mother noted and preserved within Her heart all these events; and that Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men (Luke 2:52), of which, as far as my understanding goes, I will speak later on. Just now I wish only to mention, that the humility and obedience of our God and Master toward His parents were the admiration of the Angels. But so was also the dignity and excellence of His most Blessed Mother, who thus merited that the Incarnate God should subject Himself and resign Himself to Her care; so much so, that She, with the assistance of St. Joseph, governed Him and disposed of Him as Her own. Al­though His subjection and obedience was to a certain extent a natural result of Her motherhood; yet, in order to make proper use of this maternal right and superior­ity, a different grace was necessary than the one by which She conceived and gave birth to Him. The graces nec­essary for such ministry and office were given to most Holy Mary in such abundance, that they overflowed into the soul of St. Joseph, making Him worthy of being the reputed father of Jesus and the head of this family.
60 To the obedience and subjection of Her Most Holy Son, the great Lady on Her part responded by heroic works. Among Her other excellences She conceived as it were an incomprehensible humility and a most heart­felt gratitude for having regained the companionship of Her Son. This blessing, of which the Heavenly Queen deemed Herself unworthy, vastly increased in Her most pure heart Her love and Her anxiety to serve Her Divine Son. And She was so constant in showing Her gratitude, so punctual and solicitous to serve Him, kneeling before Him and lowering Herself to the dust, that it excited the admiration of the highest Seraphim. Moreover, She sought with the closest attention to imitate Him in all His actions as they became known to Her and exerted Herself most anxiously to copy them and reproduce them in Her own life. The plenitude of Her perfection wounded the Heart of our Christ and Lord, and, accord­ing to our way of speaking, held Him bound to Her with chains of invincible love. (Hosea 11:4). His being thus bound as God and as Son to this Heavenly Princess, gave rise to such an interchange and Divine reciprocity of intense love, as surpasses all created understanding. For into the ocean of Mary's soul entered all the vast floods of the graces and blessings of the Incarnate Word; and this ocean did not overflow (Eccles 1:7), because it contained the depth and expanse necessary to receive them. But these currents turned back to their source like ebbs and tides of the Divinity held between 2 shores, the Son of God and His Mother. This explains the many repetitions of the humble acknowledgment of the Spouse: "My Beloved to Me, and I to Him, Who feeds among the lilies, till the day break and shadows retire." (Song 2:16). And elsewhere: "I to My Beloved, and My Beloved to Me" (Song 6:2); "I to My Beloved, and His turning is to Me" (Song 7:10).
61 The Fire of Divine Love, which burned in the Heart of our Redeemer and which He came to spread upon the earth, finding material so prepared and ready at hand as was that of the pure heart of Mary, produced such effects, as only the Lord Himself, Who was the Author of them, could properly estimate. There is but one thing, which I wish to record, having received an understanding thereof, that in the outward demonstration of His love for His most Holy Mother, He guided Himself not by the natural affections and inclinations of a Son, but by Her capability of meriting as a pilgrim in mortal life; for He well knew that, if in these demonstrations, He would allow His filial love for such a Mother to have full sway, He would impede Her merits by forcing upon Her the continual enjoyment of the delights of Her Be­loved. On this account the Lord restrained to a certain extent the human activity of His love and permitted His Mother, though She had reached the pinnacle of sanc­tity, to engage in meritorious labor and suffering by stopping now and then the flow of visible favors from His Divine Humanity. The Divine Child therefore maintained a certain reserve and modera­tion in His daily interaction. Hence, though the most assiduous Lady was so solicitous in serving and ministering to Him in all His needs, Her Most Holy Son indulged in no such outward tokens of His filial love as would have been an adequate return for Her loving service.
INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE MOST HOLY MARY, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
62 My daughter, all the works of My Most Holy Son and My own actions are full of mysterious instruction and doctrine for those who contemplate them dili­gently and reverently. The Lord absented Himself from Me in order that, seeking Him in sorrow and tears, I might find Him again in joy and with abundant fruits for My soul. I desire that you imitate Me in this mystery and seek Him with such earnestness, as to be consumed with a continual longing without ever in your whole life coming to any rest until you hold Him and can lose Him no more (Song 5:4). In order that you may understand better this Sacrament of the Lord, remember, that Infinite Wisdom made men capable of His Eternal Felicity and placed them on the way to this happiness, but left them in doubt of its attainment, as long as they have not yet acquired it, and thus filled them with joyful hope and sorrowful fear of its final acquisition. This anxiety engenders in men a lifelong fear and abhorrence of sin, by which alone they can be deprived of beatitude, and thus prevent them from being ensnared and misled by the corporeal and visible things of this earth. This anxiety the Creator assists by adding to the natural reasoning powers, faith and hope, which are the spurs of their love toward seeking and finding their last end. Besides these virtues and others infused at Baptism, He sends His inspi­rations and helps to keep awake the soul in the absence of its Lord and to prevent forgetfulness of Him and of itself while deprived of His amiable Divine Presence. Thus it pursues the right course until it finds the great goal, where all its inclinations and longing shall be satiated. 
63 Hence you can estimate the listless ignorance of men and how few stop to consider the mysterious order of the creation and justification and all the works of the Almighty tending toward this exalted end. From this forgetfulness flow so many evils endured by men while they appropriate so many earthly goods and deceitful delights, as if they could ever find in them their ultimate end. The height of perversity opposed to the order of the Creator, is that men in this transitory and short life rejoice in visible things as if they were their last end, while they ought, on the contrary, to make use of creatures to gain, not to lose, the Highest Good. Be mindful of this dan­gerous human folly. Consider all delights and joys of the world as insanity, its laughing as sorrow, sensible enjoy­ment as self-deceit, as the source of foolishness, which intoxicates the heart and hinders and destroys all true wisdom. Live in constant and holy fear of losing Eternal Life and rejoice in nothing except in the Lord until you obtain full possession of Him. Flee from conversation with men and dread its dangers. If sometimes God places you in the way of human contact for His glory and by obedience, although you must trust in His pro­tection, yet never be remiss or careless in guarding yourself from contamination. Do not trust your natural dis­position when there is question of friendship and close interaction with others; in this consists for you a greater danger; for the Lord has given you a pleasing and mild disposition, so that you may naturally incline toward Him, resist none of His intentions and make a proper return for the blessings bestowed upon you. But as soon as you give entrance to creatures into your heart you will certainly be carried away and alienated by them from the Highest Good, and you will pervert the intentions and operations of His infinite wisdom in your behalf. It would certainly be most unworthy of you to divert that which is most noble in your nature toward an unseemly end. Raise yourself above all created things, and above yourself (Lam 3:28). Per­fect the operations of your faculties and set before them the exalted perfections of your God, of My Beloved Son and your Spouse, Who is beautiful among the sons of men (Ps 45:3). Love Him with all the powers of your heart and soul. 
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 6
OUR LADY EXPERIENCES A VISION WHICH ASSIST IN MAKING HER A PERFECT COPY AND IMAGE OF THE EVANGELICAL LAW
64 In Chapters 1 and 2 of this book I began what I must now complete in the following chap­ters: but I do it not without misgivings as to my halting and inadequate powers of expression and with much more hesitation on account of the lukewarmness of my heart, all of which make me unfit to speak of the hidden interaction of the Incarnate Word with His most Blessed Mother. And especially do they make me unworthy of treating about that heavenly association of the Son and the Mother at Nazareth during the 18 years inter­vening between His dispute with the doctors at Jerusalem and the beginning of His public preaching in His 30th year. On the shores of this vast ocean of Mysteries I stand full of confusion and doubt, asking the Most High Lord from the bottom of my soul, to transfer my pen to the hands of an Angel, in order that no injustice may be done to the subject of the discourse; or that He Himself, the Most Powerful and Wise God, speak for me, enlighten my faculties, so that governed by His Divine Light, they may be fit instruments of His Will and truth and be free from the human frailty of an ignorant woman.
65 I have already said in former chapters, that our great Lady was the first and specially privileged Disciple of Her Most Holy Son, chosen among all creatures as the model of the new Evangelical Law and its Author, accord­ing to which He was to mold all the saints of the New Law and judge of all the results of the Redemption. In regard to Her the Incarnate Word proceeded like a most skillful artist, who understands the art of painting and all that pertains to it most thoroughly; who, throwing all his powers into one chosen work, seeks to gain from it alone renown and fame as from the full exposition of his art. It is certain that all the holiness and glory of the saints was the result of the love and merits of Christ: (Eph 2:3) but in comparison with the excellence of Mary, they seem insignificant and as it were only rough sketches; for in all the saints are found defects (1 Jn 1:8). But this living image of the Only Begotten was free from all imperfections; and the first strokes of His pencil in Her were of greater beauty than the last touches in the highest angels and saints. She is the model for all the perfection of holiness and virtues of all His elect, and the utmost limit to which the love of Christ can proceed in mere creatures. No one received any grace or glory that most Holy Mary could not receive, and She received all that others were incapable of receiving; and Her Most Blessed Son gave to Her all that She could receive and that He could communicate.
66 The multitude and variety of the saints silently enhance the Artificer of their great sanctity, and the great­ness of the highest is made more conspicuous by the beauty of the lowest: but all of them together are a glorification of most Holy Mary. For by Her incom­parable holiness they are all surpassed and they all par­take of so much the greater felicity as they imitate Her, whose holiness redounds over all. If the most pure Mary has reached the highest pinnacle in the ranks of the righteous, She may also on this very account be considered as the instrument or the motive power through which the saints themselves have reached their station. As we must judge of Her excellence (even if only from afar), by the labor which Christ the Lord applied for Her formation, let us consider what labor He spent upon Her and how much upon the whole Church. To establish and to enrich His Church He deemed it sufficient to spend only 3 years in preaching, selecting the Apostles, teaching the people, and inculcating the Evangelical Law by His public life; and this was amply sufficient to accomplish the work en­joined upon Him by the Eternal Father and to justify and sanctify all true believers. But in order to stamp upon His most Holy Mother the image of His Holiness, He consumed not 3 years, but 10 times 3 years, engaging in this work with all the Power of His Divine Love, without ever ceasing hour after hour to add grace to grace, gifts to gifts, blessings to blessings, and holiness to holiness. And at the end of all this He still left Her in a state, in which He could continue to add excellence after His Ascension to His Eternal Father as I will describe in the third part. Our reason is unbalanced, our words fail at the greatness of this incomparable Lady; for She is elect as the sun (Song 6:9); and Her effulgence cannot be borne by terrestrial eyes, nor comprehended by any earthly creatures.

67 Christ our Redeemer began to manifest His Designs in regard to His Heavenly Mother after They had come back from Egypt to Nazareth, as I have already mentioned; and from that time on, He continued to follow up His purpose in His quality as Teacher and as the Divine En­lightener in all the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. After they returned from Jerusalem in His 12th year, the great Queen had a vision of the Divinity, not an intuitive vision, but one consisting of intellectual images; one very exalted and full of the new influences of the Divinity and of the secrets of the Most High. She was especially enlightened in regard to the decrees of the Divine Will concerning the Law of Grace, which was now to be established by the Incarnate Word, and concerning the power, which was given to Him in the Consistory of the Most Blessed Trinity. At the same time She saw how for this purpose the Eternal Father consigned to His Son the 7-sealed book, of which St. John speaks (Rev 5:1), and how none could be found either in heaven or on earth, who could unseal and open it, until the Lamb broke its seals by His Passion and Death and by His doctrines and merits. For in this figure God wished to intimate, that the, secret of this book was nothing else than the New Law of the Gospel and the Church founded upon it in this world.
68 Then the Heavenly Queen saw in spirit, that, by the decree of the Most Blessed Trinity, She was to be the first one to read and understand this book; that Her Only Begotten was to open it for Her and manifest it all to Her, while She was to put it perfectly into practice; that She was the first one, who was to accompany the Word, and who was to occupy the first place next to Him on the way to Heaven, which He had opened up for mankind and traced out in this book. In Her, as His true Mother, was to be deposited this New Testament. She saw how the Son of the Eternal Father and of Herself accepted this decree with great pleasure; and how His sacred humanity obeyed it with ineffable joy on Her ac­count. Then the Eternal Father turned to the most pure Lady and said:

69 "My Spouse and My Dove, prepare Your heart for the plenitude of knowledge and for receiving the New Testament and Law of My Only Begotten in Your soul. Excite Your desires and apply Your mind to the knowledge and practice of Our teachings and precepts. Receive from Us the gifts of Our liberality and of Our love for You. In order that You may give Us fitting thanks, consider, that by the disposition of Our Infinite Wisdom, We have resolved to make You, a mere creature, the closest image and likeness of My Only Begotten, and thus produce in You effects and fruits worthy of His merits. Therein shall His Most Holy Name be magnified and honored in a fitting degree. Be mindful, therefore, My beloved and chosen Daughter, that a great preparation is required of you."

70 And the most humble Lady answered: "Eternal Lord and Immense God, in Your Real and Divine Presence I lie prostrate, acknowledging at the Sight of Your Infinite Being My own insignificance, which is mere nothingness. I perceive Your greatness and My littleness. I know that I am unworthy to be Your slave; and for the kindness with which You have looked upon Me, I offer to You the Fruit of My womb and Your Only Begotten and I implore Him to answer for His unworthy Mother and His hand­maid. My heart is prepared and it is overwhelmed with gratitude for Your Mercies and consumed with affection, as long as it cannot satisfy its vehement longings. But if I shall find grace in Your Eyes, I will speak, O My Lord and Master, in Your Presence, asking only this, that You do with Your slave whatever You wish and command; for no one is able to execute it unless You Yourself assist him, O Lord and Most High King. If You desire from Me a heart free and devoted, I now offer it to You, ready to obey You and suffer for You until death." Immediately the Heavenly Princess felt new influences of the Divinity, being enlightened, purified and spiritualized with such plenitude of the Holy Spirit as to exceed all that had happened to Her until that day; for this blessing was one of the most memorable ones for the peerless and sovereign Lady. Although all of them were exalted and without equal in any of the rest of creatures, reaching the highest perfection; yet in the participation of the Divine perfections there is no meas­ure, as long as the capacity of the creature to receive them does not fail. As this power of participation was so vast in this Queen and increased with each participa­tion, the great gifts merely disposed Her for still greater ones. The Divine Power, therefore, not finding in Her any obstacle, set all its treasures in motion and laid them up in the secure and most faithful depository of the most Holy Mary our Queen.

71 She issued from this ecstatic vision and returned  to Her Most Holy Son, prostrating Herself at His Feet and saying: "My Lord, My Light and My Teacher, behold Your unworthy Mother prepared for the fulfillment of Your Wishes; admit Me anew as Your disciple and servant and make use of Me as the instrument of Your wisdom and power. Execute in Me Your Pleas­ure and that of Your Eternal Father." Her Most Holy Son received Her with the majesty and authority of the Divine Teacher and instructed Her in most exalted Mysteries. In most persuasive and powerful words He explained to Her the profoundest meanings of the works enjoined upon Him by the Eternal Father in regard to the Redemption of man, the founding of the Church and the establishment of the new Evangelical Law. He de­clared and reaffirmed, that in the execution of these high and hidden Mysteries She was to be His Companion and Coadjutor, receiving and enjoying the first-fruits of grace; and that therefore She, the most pure Lady, was to follow Him in His labors until His Death on the Cross with a magnanimous and well prepared heart in invincible and unhesitating constancy. He added heavenly instruc­tion such as enabled Her to prepare for the reception of the whole Evangelical Law, the understanding and prac­tice of all its precepts and counsels in their highest per­fection. Other sacramental secrets concerning His works in this world the Child Jesus manifested to His most Blessed Mother on this occasion. And the Heavenly Lady met all His words and intentions with profound humility, obedience, reverence, thanksgiving and most ardent love.

INSTRUCTION THAT THE HEAVENLY LADY GAVE ME

72 My daughter, many times in the course of your life, and especially while you are writing this history of My own life, I have called upon you and invited you to follow Me by the closest imitation possible to you. I now renew this invitation and demand, for now you have by the condescension of the Most High received light and intelligence in this sacrament of His Powerful Arm in My heart: how He wrote therein the whole Law of Grace and all the doctrine of the Gospel, what effects this favor wrought in Me, and how I corresponded by the closest and most perfect imitation of My Most Holy Son and Teacher. The knowledge of all this you must consider as one of the greatest favors ever bestowed upon you by the Lord. For in it you will find the sum total and essence of the most exalted sanctity and perfection, re­flected as in the clearest mirror. The paths of Divine light will therein be revealed to you, whereon you can walk secure from the darkness of ignorance enveloping others.
73 Come then, My daughter, come and follow Me. And in order that you may imitate Me as I desire and that your understanding may be properly enlightened, your spirit sufficiently ennobled and prepared, and your will inflamed. Separate yourself from all earthly things as your Spouse wishes.  Withdraw yourself from what is visible, forsake all creatures, deny yourself, close your senses to the deceits and fabulations of the world (Ps 40:5). And I exhort you not to be troubled or afflicted very much in your temptations; for if they cause you to halt in your course, they will already have gained a great ad­vantage over you and they will prevent you from becom­ing strong in the practice of perfection. Listen therefore to the Lord Alone, Who is desirous of the beauty of your soul (Ps 45:12). He is liberal in bestowing His gifts upon it, powerful to deposit therein the treasures of His Wisdom, and anxious to see you prepare yourself to re­ceive them. Allow Him to write into your heart the Evangelical Law. Let that be your continual study, your meditation day and night, the sweet nourishment of your memory, the life of your soul and the sweet nectar for your spiritual taste. Thus will you obtain what the Most High and I require of you, and what you yourself desire.

                                                        CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1                                          CHAPTER 7
THE PURPOSES OF THE INSTRUCTION OF OUR LADY. HOW SHE PUT THESE INSTRUCTIONS INTO PRACTICE.
74 All free and voluntary causes must have some rea­sonable end or purpose, which move them to act, and having obtained a clear view of this end, they proceed to choose the means for obtaining it. This is certainly true of the works of God, Who is the first and primary Cause, and Who is Infinite Wisdom itself, disposing and executing all things and reaching from end to end in sweetness and power, as the wise man says (Wis 8:1). Nor does He seek the destruction and annihilation of any creature, but all of them He has made in order that they may enjoy life and existence. The more won­derful and excellent the works of the Most High, so much the more admirable and exalted are the ends to which they tend. Although the ultimate end of all things is the manifestation of His own glory; yet all are ordained according to infinite knowledge and are con­nected one with each other like the links of a chain. Thus all creatures succeed each other from the lowest to the highest and nearest to God, the Author of all.
75 All the excellence and sanctity of our great Lady is included in Her having been molded by God as the image or living stamp of His own Son; being so well adjusted and refined in grace that She seemed another Christ by communication and privilege (Gal 4:4). Thus was established a singular and heavenly association between Her and Her Son. She had given Him the form and existence of man, while the Lord gave Her that other highest spiritual existence of grace, so that there was a mutual correspondence and similarity of gifts. The ends that the Most High had in view were proportionate to this rare wonder and to this, the greatest of all His operations in mere creatures. In Chapter 2 and 6, I have said something concerning the honor of Christ and its being bound up with the efficacy of His doctrines and merits: that His honor required their power to be made known in His most Holy Mother, and that all the effects of the Evangelical Law and the fruits of His Redemption should redound to His glory by being ex­hibited in Her. More than in all the rest of His Holy Church and in all the predestined, was this to be found in the sovereign Lady, His Mother.
76 The second end, which the Lord had in view in this work, concerned likewise the ministry of the Re­deemer; for the work of our Redemption was to cor­respond with those of the Creation of the world, and the remedy of sin was to be correlative with its entrance among men. Therefore, it was befitting that, just as the first Adam had as a companion in sin our mother Eve, and was moved and abetted therein by her, causing the loss of the whole human race, so also, in the repara­tion of this great ruin, the second and Heavenly Adam, Christ our Lord, was to have as a companion and helper His most pure Mother. She was to concur and co-operate in the Redemption although in Christ alone, Who is our Head, existed the full power and adequate cause of the general Redemption. In order that this mystery might not want the proper dignity and correspondence, it was necessary that what was said by the Most High in the first formation of man, be also fulfilled in regard to Christ and His Mother: "It is not good for man to be alone: let Us make him a help like unto himself" (Gen 2:18). This the Lord in His Omnipotence did, so that, speaking of the second Adam, Christ, He could say: "This now is bone of My Bones, and flesh of My Flesh; She shall be called Woman because She was taken out of man" (Gen 2:23). I shall not detain myself in further ex­planation of this sacrament for it is clearly seen by reason enlightened by divine faith, and the resemblance between Christ and His most Holy Mother is clearly mani­fest.

77 Another motive for this mystery, though here men­tioned in the third place, is first in regard to the inten­tion; for it concerns the eternal predestination of Christ our Lord, which I have described in the first part of this history. The primary intention of the Eternal Word in assuming flesh and becoming the Teacher of men, cor­respond with the greatness of that very work, which was to be performed. This was the greatest of all His works and it was really the end for which all the rest were to be executed. Hence the Divine Wisdom so arranged mat­ters, that among mere creatures there should be one, who fully met His desire of being our Teacher and adopting us as His children by His grace. If the Creator had not thus formed the most Holy Mary and furnished Her with a degree of sanctity like to that of His Divine Son (according to our coarse way of speaking), the adequate motive for His Incarnation, so far as it is mani­fest to us, would have been lacking. Compare with this what is said of Moses, when he received the tablets of the Law written by the Finger of God: he broke them as soon as he saw the people in their idolatry, judging them too faithless to be worthy of such great benefit. Afterwards the Law was written on other tablets made by the hands of man, and these were preserved in the world. The first tablets, made by the Hands of God and having writ­ten upon them Law of the Lord, were broken by the first sin; and we would not have had any Evangelical Law, if there had not been other tablets, Christ and Mary, formed in another way; She in the ordinary and natural way, He by the consent and of the substance of Mary. If this great Lady had not concurred and co-operated as a worthy instrument, we other mortals would be now without this Evangelical Law.

78 In the plenitude of this Divine Science and Grace Christ our Lord attained all these sublime ends by teach­ing the most Blessed Mother the Mysteries of the Evan­gelical Law. In order that She might be proficient in all of them and at the same time understand them in their different aspects; in order that She might afterwards be Herself the consummate Teacher and Mother of Wis­dom, the Lord used different means of enlightening Her. Sometimes by abstractive visions of the Divinity, with which during this part of Her life She was more fre­quently favored; at other times by intellectual visions, which were more habitual though less clear. In the one as well as in the other She saw the whole militant Church, with all its history from the beginning of the world until the Incarnation; and what was to be its lot afterwards until the end of the world, and later on in Eternal Beatitude. This knowledge was so clear, distinct and comprehensive, that She knew all the righteous and the saints, and those who were to distinguish themselves afterwards in the Church: the Apostles, Martyrs, Patriarchs of the religious orders, the Doctors, Confessors and Virgins. All these our Queen knew in particular with all their merits and graces and the rewards apportioned to them.

79 She was acquainted also with the Sacraments, which Her Divine Son was to establish in the Church; their efficacy, the results in those that receive them, vary­ing according to the different dispositions of the recip­ients, and all their strength flowing from the sanctity and merits of Her Most Holy Son, our Redeemer. She was also furnished with a clear understanding of all the doc­trines, which He was to preach and teach; of the New and Old Testament, and of all Mysteries hidden under its different ways of interpreting them, the literal, moral, allegoric and anagogic; and all that the interpreters of the Scriptures were to write in explanation. But Her understanding of all these was much more extensive and profound than theirs. She was aware that all this knowl­edge was given to Her in order that She might be the Teacher of the whole Church; for this was Her office in the absence of Her Most Holy Son, after His Ascension into heaven. In Her the new children of the Church and the faithful engendered by grace were to have a loving Mother, who carefully nourished them at the breasts of Her doctrines as with sweetest milk, the proper food of infant children. Thus the most Blessed Lady during these 18 years of Her hidden relationship with Her Most Holy Son fed upon and digested the substance of the Evangelical Doctrines, receiving them from their Author, Christ, the Redeemer. Having tasted and well understood the scope and efficacy of this Law, She drew forth from it sweet nourishment for the primitive Church, whose members were yet in their tender years and unfit for the solid and strong food of the Scriptures and the perfect imitation of their Master and Redeemer. But since I am to speak of this part of Her history in its proper place, I do not expatiate farther upon this matter.

80 Besides these visions and instructions concerning Her Divine Son and His human nature, the great Lady had also 2 other sources of information that I have already mentioned. The one was the reflection of His Most Holy Soul and its interior operation, which She saw as in a mirror and in which was included at the same time a reflex image of all His knowledge of things created; so that She was informed of all the counsels of the Re­deemer and Artificer of sanctity and also of all the works, which He intended to undertake and execute either by Himself or by His ministers. The other source of infor­mation was His own spoken Word; for the Lord conversed with His most worthy Mother about all things concerning His Church, from the greatest to smallest, including also all the happenings contemporary with and bearing upon the different phases of the history of the Church. On this account the Heavenly Disciple and our Instructor was so imbued with His doctrine and so proficient in the most perfect practice of it, that the perfection of Her works corresponded with Her immense wisdom and science. Her knowledge was so clear and deep, that it comprehended everything and was never equaled by any creature, nor can it be conceived in its full extent either in thought or words. Neither was there anything lack­ing that is necessary, nor was there anything added that was superfluous, nor did She ever mistake one thing for another, nor was She in need of discourse or inquiry in order to be able to explain the most hidden Mysteries of the Scriptures, whenever such explanation was neces­sary in the primitive Church.

INSTRUCTION BY THE HEAVENLY MOTHER

81 The Most High, Who in sheer goodness and bounty has given existence to all creatures and denies His provi­dential care to none, faithfully supplies all souls with light, by which they can enter into the knowledge of Him and of Eternal life, provided they do not of their own free will prevent and obscure this light by sin or give up the quest of the Kingdom of Heaven. To souls, whom, according to His secret judgments, He calls to His Church, He shows Himself still more liberal. For with the grace of Baptism He infuses into them not only those virtues, which are called essentially infused and which the crea­ture cannot merit by its own efforts; but also those, which are accidentally infused and which it can merit by its own labors and efforts. These the Lord gives freely beforehand, in order that the soul may be more prepared and zealous in the observance of His Holy Law. In other souls, in addition to the common light of faith, the Lord in His clemency grants supernatural gifts of knowledge and virtue for the better understanding of the Evangelical Mysteries and for the more zealous practice of good works. In this kind of gifts He has been more liberal with you than with many generations; obliging you thereby to distinguish yourself in loving correspondence due to Him and to humble yourself before Him to the very dust.

82 In order that you may be well instructed and informed, I wish to warn you as a solicitous and loving Mother, of the cunning of satan for the destruction of these works of the Lord. From the very moment in which mortals begin to have the use of their reason, each one of them is followed by many watchful and relentless devils. For as soon as souls are in a position to raise their thoughts to the knowledge of their God and commence the practice of the virtues infused by Baptism, these devils, with incredible fury and astuteness, seek to root out the Divine Seed; and if they cannot succeed in this, they try to hinder its growth, and prevent it from bringing forth fruit by engaging men in vicious, useless, or trifling things. Thus they divert their thoughts from faith and hope, and from the pursuit of other virtues, leading them to forget that they are Christians and divert­ing their attention from the knowledge of God and from the Mysteries of the Redemption and of Life Eternal. Moreover the same enemy instills into the parents a base neglectfulness and carnal love for their offspring; and he incites the teachers to carelessness, so that the children find no support against evil in their education, but be­come depraved and spoiled by many bad habits, losing sight of virtue and of their good inclinations and going the way of perdition.

83 But the Most Kind Lord does not forget them in this danger and He renews in them His holy inspirations and special helps. He supplies them with the holy teach­ings of the Church by His preachers and ministers. He holds out to them the aid of the Sacraments and many other inducements to keep them on the path of life. That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number, are due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. For that saying of Deuteronomy is very true: "As the days of your youth, so also shall your old age be" (Deut 33:25). Hence the devils gain courage and increase their tyrannical in­fluence over souls in the early years of man's life, hoping that they will be able to induce men to commit so much the greater and the more frequent sins in later years, the more they have succeeded in drawing them into small and insignificant faults in their childhood. By these they draw them on to a state of blind presumption; for with each sin the soul loses more and more the power of resistance, subjects itself to the devil, and falls under the sway of its tyrannical enemies. The miserable yoke of wickedness is more and more firmly fastened upon it; the same is trodden underfoot by its own iniquity and urged onward under the sway of the devil from one preci­pice to another, from abyss to abyss (Ps 42:8): a chas­tisement merited by all those, that allow themselves to be overcome by evil-doing in the beginning. By these means the devil has hurled into hell so great a number of souls and continues so to hurl them every day, rising up in his pride against the Almighty. In this manner has he been able to introduce into the world his tyrannical power, spreading among men forgetfulness of death, judgment, heaven and hell, and casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and bestial errors, such as are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels. Therefore beware of this terrible dan­ger, and let not the memory of the Law of your God, His precepts and commands, and the truths of the Catholic Church and the doctrines of the Gospels ever fail in your mind. Let not a day pass in which you do not spend much time in meditating upon all these, my daughter; and exhort your religious and all those who listen to you to do the same. For your enemy and adversary is labor­ing with ceaseless vigilance to obscure your understanding in forgetfulness of the Divine Law, seeking to withdraw your will, which is a blind faculty, from the practice of justi­fication. This, you know, consists in acts of living faith, trustful hope, ardent love, all coming from a con­trite and humble heart (Ps 51:19). 
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 8
HOW OUR GREAT QUEEN PRACTICED THE TEACHINGS OF THE GOSPEL AS TAUGHT HER BY HER MOST HOLY SON
84 Our Redeemer advanced in age and Divine activity, leaving behind Him the years of His boyhood and fulfill­ing the task imposed upon Him by His Eternal Father for the benefit of mankind. He did not engage in the work of preaching, nor did He perform at that time such open miracles as afterwards in Galilee, or before, in Egypt. But under cover of secrecy He produced great effects in the souls and bodies of men. He visited the poor and infirm; He consoled the afflicted and sorrow­ful. By special enlightenment and holy inspirations He led many souls to the way of salvation, inducing them to turn to their Creator and to withdraw from the devil and the works of death. These labors were continuous and He was frequently absent from the house of the Blessed Virgin. Although the persons thus assisted were aware, that they were moved and converted by the Words and the Presence of Jesus, yet, as they were left in ignorance of the Mystery of His assistance and could ascribe it only to the agency of God Himself, they did not speak about it. The great Lady learned of these wonders by seeing them reflected in the Most Holy Soul of Her Son and by other means; and She adored Him and gave Him thanks for them prostrate at His Feet.

85 The rest of the time Her Most Holy Son passed with His Mother, instructing Her and engaging with Her in prayer. He spoke to Her of His solicitude for His cherished flock, of the merits that He wished to ac­cumulate for the benefit of souls, and of the means to be applied for their salvation. The most prudent Mother listened to all His Words and co-operated with His Divine Love and Wisdom, assisting Him in His office of Father, Brother, Friend, Teacher, Advocate, Protector and Re­deemer of the human race. These conferences They held either by conversation or by interior communications, for in both ways the Son and the Mother could hold con­verse with each other. Her Most Holy Son would say: "My Mother, the fruit of My works and the foundation upon which I wish to build the Church, is to be a Doctrine founded in Holy Science, which if believed and followed, shall be the life and salvation of men; an efficacious and Holy Law, which shall be capable of destroying the deathly poison of the devil, instilled by the first sin. I wish that men, by means of My Precepts and Counsels, become spirit­ualized and exalted to a participation and likeness of My­self, and that they, in their mortal flesh, become deposi­taries of My riches and afterwards participators of My Eternal Glory. I wish to give them the Law of Moses, so renewed and improved, that it shall contain also the precepts and counsels."

86 All these intentions of the Master of life His Heavenly Mother understood with profoundest insight and accepted with ardent love, reverencing and thanking Him in the name of all the human race. And as the Lord proceeded in all His instructions, She understood more and more fully the efficacy of all these sacraments, the powerful influence of the Evangelical Law and doctrine in obedient souls, and the rewards attached to it; and She labored in its practical fulfillment as if She were the representative of each one of us creatures. She knew all the 4 Gospels word for word as they were to be written, and all the mysteries, which were to be contained therein. She of Herself understood all the teachings of the Gospels; for Her knowledge was greater than that of its authors. She could have explained them without having seen the text. She knew also that Her knowledge was to be copied from that of Christ, engraved on Her soul, as was the Law of the Old Testament on the tablets in the Ark. Her knowledge was to serve as the original, legitimate and veracious manuscript of the New Law of Grace for the guidance of the saints and the just; for all of them were to copy the virtues and the holiness con­tained in this archive of grace, most Holy Mary.

87 Her Divine Teacher also instructed Her in Her obligation of practicing this Holy Doctrine in its entirety, so that the high purposes, which He had in view in mak­ing Her, partake in such exalted blessings and favors might be attained. If we were to relate here, how fully and exquisitely the great Queen corresponded with His designs, it would be necessary to describe Her whole life in this chapter; for it was a complete summary of the Gospel, copied from Her own Son and Teacher. All that this Holy Doctrine has effected in the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins and in all the just and the saints, which have lived and shall live to the end of the world, could not be described, much less understood, except by the Lord Himself. Yet we must consider, that all the saints and the just were conceived in sin and all of them placed some hindrance to grace; all of them could have attained higher grace and holiness and fell short in their correspondence with grace. But our Heavenly Lady had no such defects or failings; She alone was material adequately disposed and adapted for the power­ful activity of God and His blessings. She was the one who, without embarrassment and without opposition, re­ceived the impetuous torrent of the Divinity communi­cated to Her by Her own Son and God. From all this we may understand, that only in the beatific vision and in Eternal Felicity we shall be able to estimate, how much was due to this wonder of His Omnipotence.

88 Whenever I wish to explain some of the more important things manifested to me in this matter, I am at a loss what terms to use. For our great Queen and Lady observed the precept and doctrines of the Gospel accord­ing to the measure of Her profound understanding of them and no creature is capable of reaching the limits of the science and intelligence of the Mother of Wisdom in these teachings of Christ. Moreover, that which is under­stood of it exceeds the capacity of human words and speech. Let us take for an example the doctrine of that first sermon, which the Teacher of life gave on the moun­tain to His disciples, and which is recorded by St. Matthew (Matt 5). In it is contained the sum of Christian perfection, on which the Church is founded and which makes those blessed that observe them.

89 "Blessed are the poor in spirit," says our Lord and Teacher, "for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." This was the first and solid foundation of all evangelical life. Although the Apostles and our holy Father Saint Francis understood it in a most exalted manner, yet Mary alone penetrated and fully weighed the greatness of this poverty in spirit; and just as She understood it, so She practiced it to its last limits. Into Her heart the image of temporal riches found no entrance, nor did She feel the inclination toward them; but, while loving created things as the handiwork of the Lord, She at the same time detested them in so far as they were a hindrance or a burden to the love of God. She made use of them in moderation and only in so far as they were useful toward Divine Love. This admirable and most perfect poverty entitled Her to possess all things as Queen of Heaven and Earth. What I have said here in regard to poverty, though strictly true, is but little in comparison to what our great Lady really understood and practiced in regard to this poverty of spirit, the first beatitude.

90 The 2nd beatitude is: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth." By Her sweetest meek­ness the most Holy Mary excelled in the practice of this beatitude not only over all mankind, just as Moses excelled all men of His time, but She surpassed the Angels and Seraphim themselves; for this sincerest Dove, being yet in mortal flesh, was interiorly and exteriorly no more exposed to disturbance and excitement of Her faculties, than these pure spirits, who are not endowed with senses. In such an unlimited degree was She ruler of all Her bodily faculties and powers, as well as of the hearts of all with whom She had contact, that She possessed the earth in every day and reduced it to peaceful sub­jection. The 3rd beatitude is: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." The most holy Mary understood, more than any tongue can explain, the value and excellence of tears, and at the same time the foolishness and danger of laughter and human en­joyment. For, while all the children of Adam, though they are conceived in original sin and afterwards incur many other actual sins, give themselves over to laughter and merriment, this Heavenly Mother, being without sin at Her Conception and ever after, was aware, that this mor­tal life should be consumed in weeping over the absence of the Supreme Good and over the sins, which have been and are committed against God. For the sake of all men She wept over their sins, and merited by Her most inno­cent tears the great consolations and favors of the Lord. Her most pure heart was in continual distress at the sight of the offenses committed against Her Beloved and Her God; Her eyes distilled incessant tears (Jer 9:1), and Her bread day and night was to weep over the ingratitude of sinners toward their Creator and Redeemer (Ps 42:4). No creatures, not all of them together, wept more than the Queen of Angels, though for men, on account of their sins, there is abundant cause of wailing and weeping, while in Her there was cause only for joy and delight on account of Her treasures of grace.

91 The 4th beatitude, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall have their fill," helped our Heavenly Lady to enter into the understanding of this mysterious hunger and thirst. In Her this hunger and thirst for righteousness was greater than all the disgust ever entertained against it by the enemies of God. Hav­ing arrived at the pinnacle of righteousness and sanctity, Her desire for it increased in proportion; while the plenitude of graces, poured out upon Her in a continual stream from the treasury of the Divinity, satiated Her longing desires. As for the 5th beatitude: "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy," She possessed it in such a high degree, that She alone deserved to be called the Mother of Mercy, just as the Lord alone is called the Father of Mercies (2 Cor 1:3). She, who was most innocent and without any fault in the Eyes of God, exercised mercy in its highest degree for the benefit and for the salvation of the human race. As She knew by Her exalted science the excellence of this virtue, She never denied and never will deny mercy to anyone, whoever may ask; nor will She ever cease to seek out and hasten to the relief of the poor and needy, in order to offer them Her assistance.

92 Without compeer was She also in the exercise of the 6th beatitude: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." For She was elect as the sun (Song 6:9), a true imitation of the real Sun of Righteousness and an image of our material sun, which is not defiled by things beneath it. Into the heart and mind of our most pure Princess no touch of defilement has ever found entrance; on the contrary, defilement was made impossible in Her on account of the exquisite purity of Her thoughts and because, from the first moment of Her existence and many times afterwards, She was favored with the vision of the Divinity, although, being yet in a state of pilgrim­age, these visions were not continual. The 7th beatitude: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God," was conferred upon Her in admirable measure. She stood in need of this blessing in order to preserve the peace of Her heart and of Her faculties in the trials and tribulations of Her life and in the Passion and Death of Her Most Holy Son. Never was She inordinately disturbed, and She knew how to accept the greatest sufferings with supreme peace of mind, being in all things a perfect Daughter of the Heavenly Father. Yes, it was especially by the exercise of this beatitude, that She deserved to be called the Daughter of the Eternal Father. In the 8th beatitude: "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness sake, for theirs is the King­dom of Heaven," Mary reached the pinnacle of perfec­tion. For She alone besides God was capable of bearing with equanimity the Sacrifice of the Life and Honor of Christ our Lord, and the atrociousness with which it was consummated. For we must remember that She was the true Mother, as God was the true Father of His Only Begotten. This Lady alone imitated the Lord in His Pas­sion and understood fully, that to such extremes must be executed the Law of Her Divine Teacher in the Gospels.

93 In this manner I am able to explain part of what I have understood of the knowledge of the Gospel pos­sessed and put into practice by this great Lady. In the same way She comprehended the evangelical precepts, counsels and parables of the Gospel; as for instance, the precepts of loving enemies, pardoning injuries, doing good works in secret and without vainglory, avoiding hypocrisy; the counsels of perfection and the teachings contained in the parables of the recovered treasures, the lost pearl, the virgins, the seed scattered on the ground, the talents and all other parables of the 4 Gospels. All of them She understood, together with the doctrines that they inculcate, and the high ends that the Master had in view. She knew all things in the most holy and perfect manner, and thus She also accomplished them to the last point. Of this Lady we can say what Christ said of Himself: that She came not to abrogate the law, but to fulfill it.

INSTRUCTION BY MOST HOLY MARY

94 My daughter, it was proper that the Teacher of virtue should make known to us what He did, and that He should fulfill what He taught. For both word and action belong to the office of teaching. The words should instruct, while the example should move and give wit­ness to the teaching, in order that it may be accepted and practiced. All this was fulfilled by My Most Holy Son, and by Me in imitation of Him (Matt 5:9). As neither He nor I was to remain always upon this earth, He wished to leave behind Him the Holy Gospels as a summary of His life and of Mine, in order that the chil­dren of the light, by believing and practicing its teach­ings, might regulate their lives in imitation of His. For in it the practical results of the teachings of Christ are exhibited, such as they brought forth in Me by imitating Him. Of great value are the Sacred Gospels, and for this reason you must look upon them with utmost veneration. I call your attention to the fact, that My Most Holy Son and I are much honored and pleased to see His Divine Instructions and the accomplishments of His life properly esteemed and respected among men. On the other hand, the Lord considers the forgetting and the neglecting of the doctrines contained in the Gospels a great injury done to Him by the chil­dren of the Church in our times. For there are many who do not listen or attend to them, who give no thanks for this blessing, and who make no more of them than if they were pagan writings, or as if they did not contain in them the light of faith.

95 Your debt is great in this regard; for you have received insight into the veneration and esteem in which I held the Evangelical Doctrines, and you were made aware, how I labored in order to put them into practice. You have not been able to learn all of what I practiced and understood, as your capacity is too limited; yet re­member at least, that with no entire nation have I been so condescending as with you alone in lavishing this blessing. Therefore, be very careful how you corre­spond with it, lest you render fruitless the love that has been instilled into you for the Holy Scriptures, and particularly for the Gospels and their exalted doctrines. They are to serve you as a shining beacon light, and my life should be your model for forming your own. Take heed how important and necessary it is for your welfare to attend to this with all diligence; how much pleasure you can thereby give to My Son and Lord, and how I shall consider Myself obliged anew to treat with you as a Mother and as a Teacher. Fear the danger of not attending to the Divine Calls, for that is the cause of the loss of innumerable souls. Since you receive so many and so wonderful calls from your merciful and omnipotent God, how reprehensible will be your rudeness, how abominable you will make yourself to the Lord, to Me and the saints, if you fail to correspond with them!
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 9
HOW THE MOST HOLY MARY WAS INSTRUCTED IN THE ARTICLES OF FAITH 
AND WHAT USE SHE MADE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE
96 The unshakable foundation of our justification, and the beginning of all holiness in men, is the belief in the truths, which have been revealed by God in His Holy Church. Like a most skillful architect, the Lord has built His Church on a firm rock, in order that the storms and floods of Her earthly course of existence might find Her altogether immovable (Lk 6:48). Thus wisely provided with a firm foundation in Her Articles of Faith, the Evangelical Church is invincibly established as the only true one, the Roman Catholic Church. She is one in the unity of faith, hope and charity, to be found only in Her, one without the division or contradiction that reigns in the synagogues of satan. The sects and heresies are full of darkness and errors and are at war not only with each other and with right reason, but each one is at war with itself by maintaining contradictory and erro­neous doctrines at the same or different times. Against all these our Holy Faith shall ever remain victorious and the portals of hell shall never prevail against it in the least of its points (Matt 16:18); though, according to the prophecy of the Master of Life, the powers of hell incessantly winnow and sift it like wheat, as has happened to St. Peter and his successors.

97 In order that our Queen and Lady, this wonderful ocean of grace and knowledge, might receive adequate information concerning the Evangelical Law, it was neces­sary that She come into possession also of all the truths of the Catholic faith, which would in all times be believed by the faithful. She must be especially well instructed in the first principles of all Christian belief. For all truths, down to the very dogmas, which were to be defined and believed concerning Her own self, were within the capacity of most Holy Mary and could be entrusted to Her admirable wisdom. Hence, as I shall describe after­wards, She was informed of all tenets of the Catholic Faith together with the circumstances of time, place and manner of their publication as they became opportune and necessary in the course of the history of the Church. In order to instruct the Blessed Virgin especially in these articles, the Lord sent upon Her an abstractive vision of the Divinity, such as I have described on other occasions. In this vision were manifested to Her most hidden Mys­teries of His inscrutable Judgment and Providence. She became aware of the infinite bounty, whereby He estab­lished the blessing of infused faith and enabled man deprived of the vision of the Divinity, easily and quickly to come to the knowledge of God, without hesitation and without waiting or searching for this knowledge by limited and short-sighted investigation of natural science. For from the first dawn of reason, our Catholic Faith raises us immediately to the certain knowledge, not only of the Divinity in 3 Persons, but of the humanity of Christ our Lord and of the means of gaining Eternal Life. All this is not attained by the fruitless and sterile human science, unless the mind is impregnated with the force and virtue of Divine faith.

98 In this vision then, our great Queen clearly per­ceived all these Mysteries and all that is contained in them. She saw how the Holy Church propounded 14 special Articles Of The Catholic Faith from the very begin­ning, and how She afterwards, in diverse times, defined many truths and dogmas, which are contained in them and in the Holy Scriptures as in roots ready to be cul­tivated and to bring forth fruit. After seeing all this in Her vision, She saw it reflected also in the Most Holy Soul of Christ, where the whole fabric of Divine Teachings originated. Thereupon the Heavenly Princess entered into conference with Her Lord concerning the practical applica­tion of these Articles of Faith to Her life. He informed Her, that She was to be the first one, who should, in a singular and most perfect manner, believe and practically exhibit each of the Articles of Faith. In regard to The First Of Those 7 Articles that pertain to the Divinity, She understood that there is but one true God, independent, necessary, infinite, immense in His attributes and perfections, unchangeable and Eternal. She under­stood also how just and necessary it is for creatures to believe and confess this truth. She gave thanks for the revelation of this first article and begged Her Most Holy Son to continue to favor the human race by conferring upon men the grace of believing and accepting this truth. By this infallible, though obscure, light, She saw the wickedness of idolatry and wept with indescribable sorrow and bitterness over such aberration. In reparation She ardently exercised Herself in faith and worship of God, and performed many other acts inspired by Her intimate sense of this obligation.

99 Then proceeding to the Second Article, that God is the Father, She learned how it was to lead on men to the belief of the Trinity and other doctrines, which ex­plain the 3 Persons in one God, and how men are to come to the full knowledge of their last end, its proper attainment and enjoyment. She understood how the Person of the Father could not be born or proceed from the Others, and how He is, as it were, the origin of all else; hence She clearly saw how He created heaven and earth and all creatures and how He is without beginning and at the same time the beginning of all things. For this truth our Heavenly Lady gave thanks and in the name of the whole human race, began to shape Her actions in correspondence with this new knowledge. The Third Article, that there is a Son, the Mother of grace believed with particular clearness of comprehension, especially as regards the processions of the Deity ad intra. The first and most important of these acts ad intra is none other than the eternal generation of the Son. This takes place from all eternity by the operation of the Divine In­tellect through which the Son is engendered of the Father, being not inferior, but Equal in Divinity, Eternity, and Infinite Attributes. She believed and comprehended also in The 4th Article, that there is a Holy Spirit, the Third Person, proceeding from the Father and the Son as from one principle, by an act of the will, equal to the other Persons in all things and having only these per­sonal distinctions, which result from the emanations and processions of the Infinite Intellect and Will. Al­though, concerning these Mysteries, most Holy Mary possessed the knowledge, which She had already attained in Her former visions, it was supplemented in this vision by the knowledge of the circumstances and qualifications attached to these truths and Articles of the Catholic Faith, and by the discernment of the heresies, which the devil concocted and sowed in opposition to these Articles ever since he fell from heaven and knew of the Incarnation of the Word. In satisfaction for all these errors the most blessed Lady excited acts of supreme faith, in the manner already described.

100 Also The 5th Article, that the Lord is the Creator, most Holy Mary believed and understood. She perceived that the creation of all things, though it is attributed to the Father, is common to the 3 Divine Persons, in as far as They are One only God, Infinite, Omnipotent and the First Cause of the existence and preservation of all crea­tures; that no other being has the power to create or produce out of nothing any other being, even if there were question of an Angel creating the lowest worm. For only He, Who is independent of any inferior or superior cause can create. She understood the neces­sity of this Article of the Holy Faith for counteracting the errors of the devil, in order that God might be known and acknowledged as the Author of all things. In The 6th Article She understood anew all the Mysteries of predestination, vocation and final justification; how the reprobate, because they did not profit by the means of­fered to them by Divine Mercy, lose eternal happiness. The most faithful Lady perceived also how the work of sal­vation is common to the 3 Divine Persons; and how it per­tains especially to the Word in as far as He is man; because He was to be the price of the rescue, Who would be accepted by God in satisfaction for original and actual sins. The great Queen took notice of all the Sacraments and Mysteries accepted and believed by the Holy Church; and She accompanied the understanding of each of them with heroic acts of many virtues. In The 7th Article which contains the doctrine of God's activity in bringing about the eternal happiness of man, She understood all that pertains to the eternal felicity of mortal creatures in the fruition of the beatific vision; how important it is for them to believe in this truth in order to attain eternal happiness and how they should consider themselves not a progeny of this earth, but Citizens of Heaven, who are only making a pilgrimage and ought, therefore, be much consoled in this faith and hope of heaven.

101 Of The 7 Articles, Which Pertain To The Divine Humanity, our great Queen had a similar knowledge, yet accompanied by new affections of Her purest and hum­blest heart. That He was conceived as man by the opera­tion of the Holy Spirit She had experienced in Herself and She knew that this would be an Article of the Holy Faith. Indescribable were the effects that this knowl­edge wrought in the most prudent Lady. She humbled Herself below the most insignificant of creatures and to the very dust of the earth. She was profoundly pene­trated by the consciousness of having been created out of nothing. She completed the deep trenches and built the strong foundations of humility, upon which the Almighty was to erect the high and exquisite edifice of infused science and exalted perfection. She extolled the Almighty and gave thanks to Him for Herself and for the whole human race, because He had chosen such an excellent way of drawing toward Him the hearts of men by His Human Presence and by the intimate relations established with them by the Christian Faith. The same effects were produced in Her by The second Of These Articles, that Christ our Lord was born of Mary, a Virgin. She had full understanding of the Mysteries contained in this dogma: that She was the one chosen by God to retain intact Her Virginity and yet be also selected among all creatures as the Mother of the Lord; that as well the Almighty as She Herself should share in the dignity and excellence of such Divine handiwork; and that the Holy Church should believe and hold such a Doctrine as one of Her certain tenets. Enraptured by the consideration of these and many other truths, the Heavenly Lady excited within Herself such acts of exalted virtue as cannot be expressed by any human terms. She spent Herself in returning a full measure of praise, worship, and thankful acknowledgment for each of them, humbling Herself in proportion as She was exalted and annihilating Herself to the dust.

102 The 3rd Of These Articles is, that Christ our Lord underwent Suffering and Death; The 4th, that He descended into hell and freed the souls of the just, who were in limbo awaiting His coming; The 5th, that He rose from the dead; The 6th, that He ascended into heaven and is seated at the Right Hand of the Eternal Father; The 7th, that thence He is to come to judge the living and the dead in the general judgment in order to give to each according to His works. These truths, just as the others, the most Holy Mary believed and understood profoundly as well in themselves as in regard to the order, sequence and necessity with which they are to be held and believed by mortals. She alone made up for the faults of those who have not or will not believe in these truths and for the deficiencies caused by our slowness in believing them and by our lack of proper esteem, veneration and thankfulness due to these Divine teachings. The whole Church calls our Queen most fortunate and blessed, not only because She gave belief to the messenger of heaven (Lk 1:45), but because She unswervingly trusted in the fulfillment of the Mysteries wrought and accomplished in Her virginal womb; and She believed them both for Herself and for all the children of Adam. She was the Champion of the Divine Faith, who, in the sight of the heavenly court, unfurled the banner of Holy Faith to all the faithful on earth. She was the first Queen of the Catholic Faith in this world and was to have no equal. In Her all Catholics have a true Mother; and on this account, those that call upon Her, are especially Her children; for with­out a doubt this kind Mother and Commander of the Catholic Faith looks with an especial love upon those who follow Her in this great virtue of faith and who exert themselves in its spread and defense.

103 My discourse would be too prolix, if I were to say all that I have learned of the faith of our great Lady, of all Her penetration into the circumstances and secrets of these Articles of Faith, and into all the truths con­nected with these Catholic Doctrines. Certainly I have not words enough to rehearse the mysteries revealed to Her in Her conferences with Her Divine Teacher, Jesus, in Her humble and prudent inquiries, in the answers of Her Most Sweet Son, in the profound secrets laid bare before Her eyes, and in the Sacraments manifest only to Mother and Son. Moreover, I was informed that it is not proper to reveal all of them to men in this mortal life. But in most Holy Mary the whole of this New Testament was deposited and She alone pre­served it most faithfully, in order that She might in proper time dispense whatever the necessities of the Holy Church might demand. O most fortunate and happy Mother! For if a wise son is the delight of His father (Prov 10:1), who can describe the joy of this great Queen, when She saw the glory resulting to the Eternal Father through the work; of His Only Begotten, Who was also Her Son, and when She fully penetrated the vast Mysteries contained in the doctrines of the Holy Catho­lic Faith?

INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN ME BY THE HEAVENLY LADY

104 My daughter, mortal mind is not capable of com­prehending what I was made to feel through the infused knowledge and faith of the articles established by My Most Holy Son as those of the Holy Church, and what were the effects wrought thereby upon My faculties. Necessarily, therefore, your words fail you in seeking to declare what you have understood concerning them; for all the concepts of the mind fall short of compre­hending and expressing these Mysteries. But what I desire and command, is this; that you preserve with all reverence and solicitude the precious knowledge and understanding of these venerable Sacraments. For as Mother I remind and warn you of the cruel and cunning efforts of your enemies to rob you of them. Be ever on your guard, that they may find you full of strength, and that your domestics, which are the faculties of your body and mind, be clothed with the double vestments of interior and exterior watchfulness in order to be able to resist the onslaught of their temptation (Prov 31:17). The powerful arms for battling against those who make war on you, must be the doctrines of the Catholic Faith (Rom 1:17), for the firm belief in them and the continual exercise of them, the incessant meditation and remembrance of them, illumine the souls, drives away errors, disclose the deceits of satan and disperse his falsehoods just as the rays of the sun dispel the dark clouds. Moreover, all these exercises serve as substan­tial nourishment of the spirit to strengthen the soul for the battles of the Lord.

105 If the faithful do not feel these and even more wonderful effects of faith, it is not because faith has not the strength and efficacy to produce them, but it is because some of the faithful are so forgetting and negli­gent, while others give themselves up so much to a carnal and bestial life and thereby counteract the blessing of faith. They think so rarely of it, that they might as well not have received it at all. As they live like the infidels who have never enjoyed its advantages and as they gradually become conscious of their unhappy infi­delity, they fall into greater wickedness than the unbe­lievers. For such is the result of their abominable ingrati­tude and contempt for this exalted and sovereign gift. I ask of you, My daughter, that you give thanks for the blessings of Holy faith with profound humility and fervent love; that you practice it with unceasing and heroic acts; that you continually meditate on its mysteries. Thus shall you enjoy without hindrance its sweet and heavenly effects. The more vivid and penetrat­ing your knowledge of the Mysteries of faith, so much the greater and more powerful will be its effects upon you. If you concur with proper diligence, you will grow in the understanding of the exalted and won­derful Mysteries and Sacraments pertaining to the Essence of the Triune God, to the Hypostatical Union of the Divine and Human Nature, to the Life, Death and Resurrection of My Most Holy Son, and to the other activities of the God-Man. Thus will you taste of His sweetness and gather plentiful fruits of peace and of Eternal Life.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 10
MOST HOLY MARY IS ENLIGHTENED ON THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
106 Just as the Doctrines of the Catholic Faith pertain to the activity of the intellect, so the Commandments per­tain to the activity of the will. Although all free acts, as well those required by the practice of the infused, as those of the acquired virtues, depend upon the activity of the will-power, yet they do not all depend upon it in the same way; for the acts of faith proceed immedi­ately from the intellect, and depend upon the will only in so far as they are embraced by it with a sincere, pious and reverential affection. The obscure acts and truths of faith do not force their acceptance upon the intellect without co-operation of the will, and therefore the intellect waits upon the decision of the will. But in the exercise of virtues founded upon faith, the will acts for itself and relies upon the intellect only for guidance toward the accomplishment of that which was resolved upon. The will is so free and independent that it per­mits no commands of the intellect, nor any kind of vio­lence. This is the order established by the Lord, so that no one might be forced to serve Him unwillingly, through necessity, by compulsion or violence; but that, according to the Apostle, each one may serve God with unrestricted liberty and joyfulness.

107 After the Blessed Virgin had been instructed in the articles and dogmas of our Holy Faith, She was favored by another vision of the Divinity; similar to that mentioned in the last chapter. It was bestowed to Her for the purpose of renewing in Her the understanding of the 10 Commandments. In it were manifested to Her, with great clear­ness and fullness, all the Mysteries of the Commandments as they were propounded by Divine clemency for the guidance of men to eternal life and as they had been given to Moses on 2 tablets. On the first of these tablets were written the 3 precepts concerning the honor and worship of God, on the second, the 7 pertaining to our association with our neighbors. The Redeemer of the world, Her Most Holy Son, was to rewrite all of them in the hearts of men (1 Pet 1:4), while our Queen and Lady was to commence the practice of all that each one contained. She also understood their relation to each other, and how necessary they were to men in order to attain to the participation of the Divin­ity. She had a clear comprehension of the equity, justice and wisdom with which the Divine Will established them; and that they were a holy, immaculate, sweet, lightsome, pure, unerring and convenient law for the creatures. She saw how well-adjusted and conform­able they were to human nature, how well they can and ought to be embraced with joy and appreciation, and how their Author proffered the help of His grace for their observance. Our great Queen perceived in this vision many other exalted mysteries and secrets concern­ing the Holy Church, concerning those who, in it, would observe the Divine Commands, and those who would despise and transgress them.

108 The Blessed Lady issued from this vision trans­formed by an ardent and zealous love for the Divine Law. Immediately She sought to reproduce them in Her own soul, copying Her Most Holy Son, in Whose Soul She saw the Divine Laws clearly mirrored. At the same time, by abundant enlightenment, She was made aware how it pleased the Lord to make Her a living model of the observance of all these Commandments. It is true, as I have said several times, that our great Lady possessed a habitual infused knowledge of all these mysteries for Her contin­ual guidance; yet this habitual knowledge was renewed and intensified day by day. As the extent and depth of mysteries was so to say infinite, there always remained a measureless field of new secrets open for Her interior vision. On this occasion many new points were explained to Her by the Divine Teacher, and He pro­pounded to Her the New Law and precepts in their bear­ing upon each other and in the sequence, which they were to hold in the Militant Church of His Gospel. Also concerning each one of them separately, She obtained new and special enlightenments. Although our limited capacity and understanding cannot comprehend such high and sovereign sacraments, none of them were concealed from the Heavenly Lady. For we must not measure Her profound knowledge with the capacity of our short­sighted understanding. 


109 With a most humble and ready heart She sub­jected Herself to the observance of all His command­ments, and petitioned God to instruct Her and grant Her this grace to execute all that He had com­manded. The Lord answered Her as follows: "My Mother, You are the one whom I have eternally chosen and predestined for the greater pleasure of My Father, One in Divinity with Me. Our Eternal Love, Which urges Us to communicate the Blessings of Our Divinity to creatures and thus raise them to the participation of Our glory and felicity, has established this holy and pure law, by which mortals may attain the end for which they were created. This Our wish shall be fulfilled perfectly in You, My beloved Dove, for in Your heart Our Divine Law shall be written so clearly and deeply, that from the very beginning of Your existence to all eternity it shall not be effaced; and in no way shall it remain unfulfilled or ineffectual in You, as is the case with other children of Adam. Take notice, dearest Shulamite, that this Law is entirely pure and immaculate; and that therefore, We wish to deposit it in You, who are also pure and immacu­late and in whom all Our intentions and operations are glorified."


110 These words, which were realized in the Heavenly Mother without any hindrance, enriched Her with the full understanding and acceptance of the 10 Commandments and the mysteries contained therein. Directing Her intellect by the celestial light and conform­ing Her will to that of the Divine Teacher, She entered into the meaning of the first and most noble of all the commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind" (Matt 22:37), for in these words it was given afterwards by the Evangelists and long before by Moses in Deuteronomy. Her mind grasped it with all the qualifications added thereto by the Lord: that men should preserve it in their hearts, that the fathers should teach it to their children, and that they should meditate upon it in their houses and outside of them, on their journeys, during sleep and in their watching, and that they should incessantly have it before the eyes of their soul. Just as deep as was Her understanding of this commandment, so great was Her zeal in fulfilling all that the Lord wished to command thereby. Though no other child of Adam has succeeded in fulfilling it perfectly during mortal life, yet most Holy Mary succeeded, and more completely than the highest and most ardent Sera­phim, than all the saints and the blessed of heaven. I will not tarry in explaining this more fully, for in the first part of this history, when speaking of Her virtues, I have sufficiently discoursed upon the love of the Blessed Virgin. On this occasion particularly She shed the most bitter tears because of the sins which were to be com­mitted against this great Commandment; and She took it upon Herself to satisfy by Her love for the defects and faults of mankind.

111 Upon the first precept follow the 2 others, not to dishonor the Name of God by false and vain swearing, and to honor Him by observing and sancti­fying His feasts. These Commandments the Mother of wisdom understood and penetrated, engraving them in Her pious and humble heart and resolving to render supreme veneration and worship to the Deity. Deeply She pondered on the injuries committed by creatures against the Immutable Being of God and His infinite good­ness by false and vain oaths, or by blasphemies against God and against His saints. In Her sorrow on account of the presumptuous transgression of these command­ments by the rational creatures She conjured Her attend­ing angels in Her name to charge the guardian spirits of all men to prevent the committing of this outrage against God; to restrain men, by holy inspirations and by the fear of God, from perjuring or blaspheming His Holy Name. Moreover, She besought the Almighty to shower His blessings of sweetness on those, who abstained from vain oaths and who reverenced His Holy Name.


112 In regard to the keeping of the holidays, which is the 3rd Commandment the great Queen was made acquainted by Her guardian angel with all the feasts, which were to be instituted by the Church, and with the manner of their celebration and observance. As I have mentioned in its place, She had commenced to celebrate those, which commemorate the already consummated mysteries of Her life, such as that of the Most Holy Trinity, and those pertaining to Her Most Holy Son and the Angels. To celebrate these and other mysteries, afterwards solemnized by the Church, She invited the heavenly court, and, in union with them, She sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. The days which are especially assigned for the worship of God, She spent entirely therein; not that Her exterior activity ever interfered with Her interior attention, or hindered the flights of Her soul, but because She wished to sanc­tify the Feasts of the Lord in such a manner as was required by the New Law of Grace; and all this as the first disciple of the Redeemer of the world, She eagerly strove to fulfill.


113 The same understanding and knowledge most holy Mary possessed in regard to the 7 Command­ments, which concern our duties toward our neighbor. Regarding the 4th Commandment, to honor father and mother, She understood well who were to be included under the name of parents; how, after the honor due to God, that due to parents comes next; and how children are to render them this honor in all reverence; also what are the obligations of parents toward their children. She saw the justice of the 5th commandment, forbidding murder, since the Lord is the Master of Life and Being of man, and withheld power over it even from its owner, and therefore much more from any of his fellow beings. As life is the very first of the natural goods and the foundation of grace, She gave thanks to the Lord for having by His Commandment so bountifully protected it. She looked upon all men as creatures of His Hand, capable of His grace and glory, and purchased by the Blood of Her Son; and therefore She earnestly prayed for the faithful observance of this Commandment in the Church of God. Our most pure Lady understood the nature of the 6th Commandment in the same manner as the blessed, who need no precaution against human passions and can look upon it without being touched by it. The most Blessed Lady, altogether pre­served from the taint of sin, understood the nature of this Commandment even from a higher standpoint of grace than the saints. Such were the sentiments awak­ened in this great paragon of chastity while She excited love for it and sorrow for the impurities committed by men, that She wounded anew the Heart of the Almighty (Song 4:9); and, according to our way of speaking, con­soled Her Divine Son for the offenses of mankind against this precept. Since She knew that in the New Law of the Gospel the observance of this Commandment was to be carried so far as to make possible congregations of virgins and men, who would promise inviolate chastity by vow, She besought the Lord to guarantee them His unbroken blessings. The Lord granted this request of His purest Mother and He assured Her that, as a reward of virginal purity, its devotees should have the privilege of being the followers of Her, who was the Virgin Mother of the Lamb (Ps 45:15). With incomparable joy She gave thanks to the Lord for thus extending the practice of virginity, which She herself had inaugurated in the New Law. I will not stop to discourse upon the priceless value of this virtue, since I have already spoken of it in the first part and in other places.

114 Equally remarkable was Mary's understanding of the other Commandments, of the 7th: "You shall not steal"; of the 8th, "You shall not give false testimony"; of the 9th, "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife"; of the 10th, "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods and possessions." In regard to each of them She excited great acts of interior com­pliance with them and for each of them She praised and thanked the Lord, that He should have provided for men such wise and effectual means of attaining their eternal happiness through these beneficent and well adapted laws. For She saw, that by their observance, men would not only secure eternal reward due to them, but could also enjoy true peace and tranquility adapted to each one's state and circumstances. For if all rational creatures would submit to the just requirements of the Law of God, and would resolve to follow and observe His Com­mandments, they would enjoy that most delightful and exquisite happiness, which is produced by the testimony of a good conscience. There is no human delight, which can be compared to the consolation of having been faithful to the Divine Law in all things, great and small (Matt 25:21). This blessing we owe mostly to Christ, our Redeemer, Who confirmed us in doing good and thus secures for us sweet rest, and peace, and consolation, and many other blessings in this life. If any of us do not attain them, it is because we do not observe His Com­mandments. The labors, misfortunes, and unhappiness of people are the inseparable effects of the trans­gressions of mortals, and, though each one contributes His share in causing our misfortunes, yet we are so sense­less, that as soon as we are overtaken by any adversity, we begin to lay the blame on others, while we should lay it only on ourselves.
115 Who can estimate the evils of this life springing from dishonest dealings, forbidden by the 7th commandment, or from the absence of contentment with one's own lot in reliance on the help of the Lord, Who forgets not the birds of the air, or the smallest worm of the earth? What miseries and afflictions do not Christian nations suffer merely because their rulers are not satis­fied with the territories given into their charge by the Most High King? Seeking to extend their sway and influ­ence they have left in the world neither peace, nor quiet possession, nor any souls for the service of their Crea­tor. No less evil and discord is caused by false testimony and lies, which offend the infinite truth and hinder human association, sowing the seed of strife, destroying peace and tranquility in human hearts. Both the one as well as the other prevent the Creator from dwelling in them, as is His wish. Coveting another's wife and adultery vio­late the holy law of matrimony, confirmed and sanctified by the Sacrament, and how many hidden and open evils have they not caused, and do they not cause, among Catholics? If we consider how many transgressions are manifest to the eyes of the world, and how many more remain hidden to men, while they are not hidden to God, the Exact and Just Judge, Who punishes them even now, shall we not be convinced that He will be so much the severer in His punishments, the more He has overlooked our sins at present and the longer He has patiently allowed Christian countries to continue in existence?
116 All these truths our great Queen perceived in the Lord. Although She was aware of the wickedness of men in thus lightly throwing aside the respect and reverence due to their God after He had so kindly pro­vided for them such necessary laws and precepts; yet the most prudent Lady was neither scandalized at human frailty, nor did She wonder at man's ingratitude; but like a kind Mother, She pitied men, and with most ardent love She thanked the Almighty for His benefits trying to satisfy for the transgressions against the Evan­gelical Law and asking for the grace to observe them per­fectly. The summary of all these Commandments: to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves, the most Holy Mary comprehended perfectly; also the truth, that the proper understanding and practice of these 2 Commandments is the perfection of true virtue. He who practices them is not far from the Kingdom of God, and the observance of them is to be preferred to the offering of holocausts, as the Lord Himself teaches us in the Gospel (Mk 12:33,34). In the proportion as our Queen understood these precepts, so She put them into practice, fulfilling them as they are contained in the Gospel, without the omission of the least of its precepts or counsels. This Heavenly Princess put the teachings of the Redeemer more perfectly into practice than all the saints and faithful of the Holy Church.

 INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE HEAVENLY QUEEN

117 My daughter, when the Word of the Eternal Father assumed Human­ity in My womb, He came to enlighten those that walk in the darkness and in the shadow of death (Lk 1:79), and to restore them to their lost happiness. Hence, in order to be their light, their way, their truth and their life, it was necessary that He should give them a Law so holy, that it would justify them; so clear that it would enlighten them; so secure, that it would encourage them; so powerful, that it would move them; so efficacious, that it would help them; so truthful, that it would bring joy and delight to all that would observe it. The immaculate Law of the Gospel has in it the power to produce all these and other more wonderful effects; and God has created and constituted rational creatures in such a way, that all their happiness, corporal and spiritual, temporal and eternal, depends entirely upon observing this law. Hence you can judge of the blind ignorance with which their deadly enemies have fascinated mortals (Gal 3:1), since all men, in the inordinate desire and pursuit of happiness, neglect the Divine Law, where alone it can be found; and hence few really attain happiness.
118 Knowing this, prepare your heart so that the Lord may write in it His Holy Law. Forget and put away from you all that is visible and earthly, so that all your facul­ties may be free and unencumbered of any images except of those, which are fixed there by the Finger of God and are contained in the doctrine and precepts of the Gospel Truths. In order that your desires may not be frustrated, implore the Lord day and night, to make you worthy of the blessings and promises of My Most Holy Son. Remember that the negligence is more abominable in you than in others; for no one else has His Divine Love so urgently called, or assisted with the like blessings and helps. In the days of abundance as well as in the days of affliction and temptation remember your debt to the Lord and His jealous zeal, so that neither favors may exalt you nor sufferings and pain oppress you. In the one as in the other state, turn to the Divine Law written in your heart, observing it inviol­ably and incessantly with all attention and perfection. In regard to the love of the neighbors apply always the first law of doing unto others as you wish done to yourself, which is the standard of all relations with men. If you desire them to think and act well toward you, you yourself must do the same with your brethren. If you feel that they offend you in little things, avoid giving them any such offense. If you see others doing what seems evil and disagreeable to their neighbor, avoid it yourself; for you know how much it offends against the Law established by the Most High. Weep over your faults and those of your fellow men; because they are against the Law of God; this is true charity toward the Lord and toward your neighbor. Sorrow over the afflictions of others as over your own, for thus will you imitate Me.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 11
OUR LADY’S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE 7 SACRAMENTS AND THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

119 In order to complete the beauty and the riches of the Holy Church, it was proper that Her Founder, Christ our Redeemer, should institute the 7 Sacra­ments, which were to serve as the common treasury of all His merits. Yes, the Creator of all these blessings Himself was to remain really present in one of them as the nourishment and consolation of the faithful and as a pledge of their enjoying Him eternally face to face. For the perfection of the knowledge and grace of the most Holy Mary it was necessary that the fullness of these sacramental blessings be transplanted into Her dilated and ardent soul, in order that to its full extent and in the same manner as it existed in the Heart of Her Holiest Son, the Law of Grace might be written and recorded in the tablets of Her mind. In His absence She was to be the Teacher of the Church and She was to instruct the primitive Christians to venerate and enjoy these Sacraments with all the perfection possible.

120 By a new enlightenment, each of these Mysteries in particular was accordingly made manifest to the Blessed Mother in the interior of Her Most Holy Son. In regard to the first of these Sacraments She saw, that the ancient Law of Circumcision was to be honorably laid aside and to be replaced by the admirable and sweet Sacrament of Baptism. She was informed that the matter of this Sacrament was to be pure natural water and that its form was to contain the Names of the 3 Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, thus implicitly including faith in The Most Holy Trinity. She understood how Christ, its Author, was to impart to this Sacrament the power of taking away all sins and of perfectly sanctifying its recipient. She saw the admir­able effects it was to cause in men, regenerating them so as to constitute them adoptive children of God and heirs of heaven; infusing into them the virtues of faith, hope and charity with many other virtues, and impressing upon their souls the character of children of the Holy Church. This and all other effects of this Holy Sacra­ment were made manifest to most Holy Mary. There­upon She sought Her Divine Son with burning desire to be allowed to receive it in proper time; which He promised Her, and as I shall describe later on.

121 A like understanding the great Lady also received concerning the second Sacrament, that of Con­firmation. This is given in the second place, because Baptism is intended to engender the children of the Church, while Confirmation is to make them strong and courageous in confessing the faith received in Baptism, augmenting the first graces and adding thereto the graces suited to each one's state. She understood the form, matter, minister and effects of this Sacrament, and the character it impresses upon the soul; and how, by the Holy Oil and Chrism, which form the matter of this Sacra­ment, is typified the odor of the good works of Christ in which the faithful participate by faith, while the same only in a different way, is also indicated by the form of the Sacrament, namely, by the words used in its administration. Corresponding with these enlightenments, our great Queen elicited heroic acts of praise, thanksgiving and fervent petition, desiring that all men draw from these fountains of the Lord and enjoy these incomparable treasures, while acknowledging and confessing Him as the true God and Redeemer. She wept bitterly over the lamentable loss of so many, who, in spite of the preaching of the Gospel, feel not its healing powers.

122 In regard to the third Sacrament, that of Reconciliation, the Heavenly Lady saw the usefulness and necessity of this means of restoring souls to the grace and friend­ship of God, since by their frailty they lose it so often. She understood its requirements and the power of its ministers and the ease with which the faithful can secure to themselves its blessings. As the true Mother of Mercy She gave special thanks to the Almighty for providing such a powerful medicine against the repeated and daily faults of Her children. She prostrated Herself upon the ground and, in the name of the Holy Church, She reverently acknowledged the Sacred Tribunal of Con­fession, where the Lord, with ineffable kindness, relieved and solved all doubts of  souls in regard to their justi­fication or condemnation, leaving it to the judgment of the priests, whether they should grant or deny absolu­tion.

123 Especially deep was the intelligence of the most prudent Lady in regard to the sovereign Sacramental Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. Her penetration of its secrets surpassed that of the most exalted Seraphim. For to Her was manifested the supernatural manner of the Presence of the Humanity and Divinity of Her Son under the appearances of bread and wine, the power of the words of consecration, by which the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the Substance of His Body and Blood, while the appearances remained; how He could be present at the same time in so many diverse parts; how the Sacred Mystery of the Mass was to be instituted, in order that He may be consecrated and offered to the Eternal Father to the end of times; how He should be reverenced and adored in the Holy Sacra­ment in so many Temples of the Catholic Church through­out the world; what effects of grace He would produce in those, who were to receive Him more or less well prepared, and what punishments would come to those who receive Him unworthily. She was informed also of the faith of the believers and the errors of the heretics in regard to this mystery, and especially of the immense love of Her Son in thus resolving to give Himself as Food and Nourishment of Eternal Life to each one of His creatures.

124 By these and other enlightenments concerning the Most Holy Eucharist, Her most chaste heart was visited with new conflagrations of love beyond the con­ception of human intellect. Although She had invented new canticles of praise and worship at the enlighten­ments, which She had received concerning each Article of Faith and each Mystery; yet in considering this great Sacrament Her heart expanded more than ever before, and, prostrate on the ground, She spent Herself in new demonstrations of love, worship, praise, thanksgiving and humility; in sentiments of deepest sorrow for those, who were to abuse it for their own damnation. She burned with the desire of seeing this Sacrament instituted, and if She had not been sustained by the power of the Almighty, the force of Her affection would have bereft Her of natural life. Moreover the Presence of Her Most Holy Son was also calculated to moderate the excess of Her longings and enabled Her to abide the time of its institution. Even from that time on She wished to prepare Herself for its reception, and asked Her Son to be allowed to receive Him in the Holy Sacrament as soon as it should be instituted. She said to Him: "Supreme Lord and Life of My soul, shall I, who am such an insignificant worm and the most despicable among men, be allowed to receive You? Shall I be so fortunate as to bear You once more within My body and soul? Shall My heart be Your Dwelling and Taber­nacle, where You shall take Your rest and shall I thus delight in Your close embrace and You, My Beloved, in Mine?"

125 The Divine Master answered: "My beloved Mother, many times shall You receive Me in the Holy Sacrament, and after My Death and Ascension into heaven that shall be Your consolation; for I shall choose Your most sincere and loving heart as My most delightful and pleasant resting-place." At this promise of the Lord the great Queen humbled Herself anew and, pros­trate in the dust, She gave Him thanks, exciting the admiration of heaven itself. From that hour She began to dispose all Her thoughts and actions with the object of preparing Herself for the time when She would be allowed to receive Her Most Holy Son in the Holy Sacra­ment; and during all the years She never forgot, or interrupted these acts of Her will. Her memory, as I have already said, was more tenacious and constant than that of an angel, and Her intelligence was greater than that of all the angels; therefore, as She always bore in mind this and other mysteries, Her actions corresponded to Her great knowledge. From that time on also, She continually and fervently besought the Lord, that He give light to mortals in order that they might know and revere this, the greatest of all the Sacraments, and that they might receive it worthily. Whenever we receive this Holy Sacrament in proper disposition (and so it should be always), we owe it, next to the influence of the Redeemer, to the tears and prayers of this Heavenly Mother, who merited this grace for us. If anyone of us audaciously receives it in the state of sin, let him know that, besides the sacrilegious insult offered to His Lord and God, he also offends the most Holy Mother; since he despises and abuses Her love, Her pious desires, Her prayers, tears and sighs. Let us exert ourselves to avoid such horrible crimes.

126 In regard to the 5th Sacrament, that of Anointing of the Sick, most holy Mary understood the object for which it was instituted, its matter and form and the part borne by its minister. She saw that its matter must be the blessed oil of olives, serving as a symbol of mercy; that its form should be the words of supplication, spoken while the senses, with which we have sinned are anointed, and that none other than a priest could be its minister. She knew its object and results, which are the help afforded to the faithful in the danger of death, and strengthening them against the temptations and assaults of the devil, so frequent and terrible in the last hour. Thus he who receives this Sacrament worthily recovers the strength of soul, which has been lost by the sins pre­viously committed, and also, if it is useful, health of the body. At the same time the sick are moved to sentiments of devotion and to a desire of seeing God, while venial sins are forgiven together with some of the effects of mortal sin; it stamps upon the body the seal of heaven (though not an indelible one), so that the devil dares not approach where, by grace and by His Sacraments, the Lord has taken up His habitation. By the power of this Sacrament, the devil loses the authority and right acquired over man through original and actual sin, so that the body of the just, which is to rise and, with the soul, is to enjoy its God, may be properly marked for its union with its soul. All this the most faithful Mother and Lady knew and for it She gave thanks in the name of the faithful.

127 Concerning the 6th Sacrament, Holy Orders, She understood how Her Most Blessed Son, the provi­dent Founder of grace and of the Church, thereby con­stituted apt ministers of His Sacraments for the sancti­fication of His Mystical Body and for the Consecration of His Body and Blood; giving them a dignity above that of all men and of the angels themselves. This caused in Her such an extreme reverence for the dignity of priests, that She began from that moment to revere and honor them. She asked the Almighty to make them worthy and efficient ministers of His graces and to inspire the faithful with a high veneration for the priesthood. She wept over the faults as well of the priests as of the people in regard to their duties toward each other. But since I have already spoken of the great respect due to the priests, I will not now expatiate upon this subject. All the rest which pertains to this Sacrament, its matter and form, its effects and ministry, was likewise made known to the most blessed Mother.

128 She was also instructed in the great object of Matrimony, the 7th and last of the Sacraments; namely, to sanctify and bless the propagation of the faithful in the Evangelical Law and to be a symbol of the Mystery of the Spiritual Marriage and close union of Christ with His Church (Eph 5:32). She understood how this Sacrament was to be perpetuated, what is its matter and form; what great benefits resulted from it for the faith­ful children of the Church, and all the other mysteries concerning its effects, necessity and power. For all this She composed hymns of praise and thanksgiving in the name of the faithful, who were to share in its blessings. At the same time She was informed of the rites and ceremonies to be instituted by the Church in future times for the ministration of the Sacraments and for the well ordering of Divine Worship among the faithful: also of the Laws of the Holy Church for the government of the faithful, especially of the 5 Precepts of the Church: namely, to hear Mass on feast days; to confess and par­take of the Most Sacred Body of Christ at stated times; to fast on the appointed days; to give tithes and first-fruits of our earthly goods to the Lord.
129 In all these Precepts of the Church the most Blessed Lady perceived the Mysteries of our justification, the object of their establishment, the effects caused by them in the faithful, and the necessity of their existence in the new Church of God. She saw how necessary for the faithful was the first of these Commandments, estab­lishing Days consecrated to the Lord, that men might seek their God, assist at the Sacred and Mysterious Sacri­fice of the Mass, which was to be offered for the living and the dead; that they might renew the profession of faith and the memory of the Divine Passion and Death, by which we were redeemed; that they might, as much as possible, co-operate in the offering of this great sacrifice and partake of the blessings and fruits gained by the Church in the Most Sacred Mystery of the Mass. She saw also the necessity of stirring up our loyalty and fervor by Sacramental Confession and Holy Communion, in order to restore to us the friendship and love of the Almighty. For besides the danger incurred by for­getting or neglecting the use of these 2 Sacraments, men commit another injury by frustrating the loving desires of their God in establishing such Sacraments for our benefit; since such neglect cannot exist without great contempt of the divine goodness, either tacit or expressed, it is a very serious insult to God in the guilty ones.

130 She had the same understanding of the last 2 precepts: to fast and to pay tithes. She saw how neces­sary it was for men to vanquish their enemies by restraint and mortification of the passions, which cause so many unhappy and negligent Christians to lose eternal happiness. It is the disorder of the flesh, which foments these passions, and the flesh is subdued by fasting.   Herein the Teacher of life Himself has given us an example, although He had no need to conquer the disorders of sin. The paying of tithes most holy Mary recognized as specially ordained by the Lord, in order that thereby the faithful might acknowledge Him as the Supreme Creator and Lord of all, paying tribute to Him of their temporal goods and thanking Him for the gifts of His Providence in the preservation of life. He wished also that these offerings be appropriated for the sustenance and comfort of His priests. For, seeing that their sustenance is secured by the sweat of the people, they were to be thankful to the Lord for so abundantly supplying their needs and mindful of their obligation to seek the spiritual welfare of souls and to devote their whole life to the worship of God and the advance of His Holy Church.

131 I have tried to be very succinct in my explana­tions of these great Mysteries, which secretly transpired in the inflamed and magnanimous heart of the Queen of heaven, when the Almighty instructed Her in the Laws and Precepts of the New Church of the Gospel. The fear of being too long-winded, and much more that of committing an error, has prevented me from manifesting all that has interiorly been made known to me and all that I have understood in this matter; the light of our holy faith, assisted by Christian piety and prudence, will teach Catholics the greatest venerations for these high Mysteries; it will lead them to contemplate with lively faith the wonderful harmony of the Sacraments, Laws, Doctrines and Mysteries contained in the Catholic Church, and how she has governed herself steadily from the beginning and will govern herself to the end of the world. All this was treasured up admirably in the soul of the Blessed Lady and Queen. In Her, according to our way of speaking, Christ brought His Church to the highest purity and perfection. In Her He deposited all the riches of the New Law in order that She might be the first to enjoy them to their full extent and that She might fructify, love, increase them and render thanks for them in the name of all of the human race. She was also to weep over their sins, in order that the Flood of Mercy for the human race might not be impeded. The soul of Mary was to serve as the public record of all that God was to do for the Redemption of man, and the document, which was to bind Him to complete His Redemption. She was to be both the Coadjutor and the everlasting memorial of all the wonders He intended to work among us.

INSTRUCTION THAT THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME

132 My daughter, many times I have reminded you how injurious to the Almighty and how dangerous to men is the forgetfulness and the neglect of the mysterious and wonderful works of His Divine clemency toward men.  My maternal solicitude urges Me to renew in you the memory and the sorrow for this lamentable tendency. Where is the judgment and good sense of men, that they should forget their eternal welfare and the glory of their Redeemer and Creator? The gates of grace and of glory are open; and yet they not only do not enter, but they flee from light and life, and they shut them out from hearts dark­ened by the shadows of death. O more than inhuman cruelty of the sinner toward himself! Overtaken by the most dangerous and deathly sickness, He does not wish to accept the remedy so graciously offered to him! Who would not willingly be snatched from death and restored to life? What sick person would not be grateful to the physician for curing him of His sickness? If men know how to be thankful for the restoration of health, which is so soon to be again taken from them by death and only serves them to endure new labors and dangers, why are they so foolish and hard of heart as not to be thank­ful for or even recognize the blessings of Him, Who gives them Eternal Life and happiness, Who rescues them from pains without end and inconceivably great?

133 O My dearest daughter, how can I receive as children and be a Mother to those who thus despise My Dearest Son and Lord and all His clemency? The angels and saints of heaven understand His kindness, and they are astounded at the gross and dangerous ingratitude of men, and they see how the rectitude of Divine Judg­ments shall become manifest before the whole world. Already in previous parts of this history I have declared to you many of these secrets; and now I have made known to you still more, in order that you may imitate Me so much the more closely and weep with Me over this unhappy state of men, by which God has been, and is, so greatly offended. Weep over their sins and at the same time try to make up for them. I wish that you let no day pass without having given most humble thanks to His greatness; since He had instituted the great Sacraments and receives only abuse in return. Receive them with profound rever­ence, faith and firm hope. Especially must you be filled with highest esteem for the Sacrament of Penance and try to excite in you the dispositions and fulfill the requirements, which the Holy Church and its teachers point out as necessary for its worthy reception. Approach it with an humble and thankful heart day after day; and whenever you are conscious of any fault, do not postpone the remedy afforded by this Sacrament. Wash and cleanse your soul; for it is the most abominable carelessness to know oneself stained with sin, and to remain in such disgrace for a long time, yes even for an instant.

134 Particularly do I wish you to understand the Wrath of the Almighty against those who dare to receive the Sacraments unworthily, especially the August Sacra­ment of the Altar. O soul! How dreadful is this sin in the Eyes of the Lord and His saints! Yes, not only the receiving of Him unworthily, but the irreverences committed in His Real Presence on the Altar! How can they be called children of the Church, who, claiming to believe and respect this Mystery, not only neglect to visit Him in the many places where He is sacramentally present, but also dare to indulge in such disrespect toward Him as even the heathens are not guilty of against their false idols? This is a matter which could not be deplored sufficiently in many discourses; and I tell you, My daughter, that the men of the present age have so outraged the Justice of the Lord, that I cannot even manifest to them, what in My kindness I desire as a remedy of this evil. But let them know at present that His sentence shall be dreadful and without mercy, ren­dered against those wicked and faithless servants who are condemned by the words of their own mouth (Lk 19:22). This you can announce to all that will hear you; and counsel them to come at least once a day to the churches in which their God is sacramentally present, in order to adore and worship Him; and let them assist at the Sacrifice of the Mass, for men do not know how much they lose by their negligence in this regard.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 12
THE INCESSANT PRAYERS AND PETITIONS OF CHRIST, AND HIS MOST HOLY MOTHER, FOR OUR WELFARE
135 The more our limited discourse seeks to make clear and extol the mysterious works of Christ, our Redeemer, and of His most Holy Mother, the more evi­dent it becomes, that mere human words are far from being able to compass the greatness of these Sacraments; for, as Sirach says, they surpass all our words of praise (Sir 43:33). Nor can we ever fathom or compass them, and there will always remain many greater secrets than those we have sought to explain. For those which we do explain are very insignificant, and we do not deserve to comprehend, nor to speak about the few, which we attempt to fathom. Inadequate is the intellect of the highest Seraphim to weigh and pierce the secrets that passed between Jesus and Mary during the years in which They lived together. Especially is this true of the years, of which I am now speaking, during which the Teacher of Life instructed Her in everything that was to happen in the Law of Grace; namely, how much this New Law was to accomplish in this the 6th age of the world, which includes these 1657* years and all the unknown future until the end of the World. In all this the most Blessed Lady was instructed in the School of Her Divine Son; for He fore­told Her all by word of mouth, pointing out the time and place of each event, the kingdoms and provinces of their history during the existence of the Church. This was shown Her so clearly that if She had lived through our centuries in mortal flesh, She would have known all the individual members of the Holy Church with their features and names. This happened in regard to the persons, whom She afterwards saw and conversed with during Her life; for when they came into Her presence for the first time, She already knew them by Her interior faculties and merely began to know them by the experi­ence of the senses.  * Date this book was written.

136 Still, while the most Holy Mother of Wisdom so clearly understood these mysteries in the Soul of Her Son and in the operations of His faculties, She did not penetrate so deeply into these secrets as the Most Holy Soul of Christ, Which was beatifically united to the Divinity; for the Heavenly Lady was a creature and as yet did not continually enjoy the beatific vision. Nor did She always comprehend the image conceived in the beatific vision of this Divine Soul of Christ, for this happened only when She Herself was enjoying the intui­tive vision of the Divinity. But She beheld the imagin­ary species of the interior faculties of Christ concerning the mysteries of the Militant Church, and She understood also how they depended upon His Most Holy Will, that He decreed and controlled all its developments according to their proper time, place and occasion. She was made aware in like manner, how the Human Will of the Redeemer conformed itself to the Divine, and was governed by it in all its decrees and dispositions. The celestial harmony overflowed in the will and faculties of the Blessed Lady, leading Her to co-operate with the Will of Her Son, and through it, with the Divine. Hence there existed an ineffable similarity between Christ and Holy Mary and She was the helpmate of Christ in the building up of the New Law.

137 All these hidden sacraments ordinarily transpired in that humble oratory of the Queen, where the greatest of all mysteries, the Incarnation of the Divine Word in Her virginal womb, had taken place. Though it was such a narrow and poorly furnished room, consisting merely of the bare and rude walls, yet it enclosed the grandeur of Him Who is immense and shed forth all the majesty and sacredness, which since then is attached to the rich Temples and innumerable Sanctuaries of the world. In this Holy of Holies the High Priest of the New Law ordi­narily performed His prayers, which always concluded with fervent intercessions for men. At these times also He spoke to His Virgin Mother about all the works of the Redemption and communicated to Her the rich gifts and treasures of grace, which He had come to shower upon the children of light in the New Testament and in His Holy Church. Many times did He implore His Eternal Father not to allow the sins and the ingratitude of men to hinder their Redemption. As Christ in His fore­knowledge was always conscious of the sins of the human race and of the damnation of so many thankless souls, the thought of dying for them caused Him to sweat Blood many times on these occasions. Although the Evangelists, because they never intended to relate all the events of His life, mention this sweating of Blood but once before His Passion, it is certain that this happened many times and in the presence of His most Holy Mother.

138 During prayer our blessed Master sometimes assumed a kneeling posture, sometimes He was pros­trate in the form of the Cross or at other times raised in the air in this same position that He loved so much.  In the presence of His Mother He was habituated to ask: "O Most Blessed Cross! When shall your arms receive Mine, when shall I rest on you and when shall My Arms, nailed to yours, be spread to welcome all sinners? (Matt 9:13) But as I came from Heaven for no other purpose than to invite them to imitate Me and associate with Me, they are even now and forever open to embrace and enrich all men. Come then, all you that are blind, to the Light. Come you poor, to the Treasures of My Grace. Come, you little ones, to the caresses and delights of your True Father. Come, you afflicted and worn out ones, for I will relieve and refresh you (Matt 11:28). Come, you just, since you are My possession and inheritance. Come all you children of Adam, for I call upon you all. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6), and I will deny nothing that you desire to receive. My Eternal Father, they are the works of Your Hands, do not despise them; for I will offer Myself as a Sacrifice on the Cross, in order to restore them to righteousness and freedom. If they are willing I will lead them back to the Heart of Your elect and to their Heavenly Kingdom, where Your Name shall be glorified."

139 At all these prayers the beloved Mother was present, and in Her purest soul, as in the purest crystal, the light of the Only Begotten was reflected. His inte­rior and exterior prayers re-echoed in Her, causing Her to imitate His petitions and prayers in the same postures. When the great Lady for the first time saw Him sweat Blood, Her maternal heart was transfixed with sorrow and filled with astonishment at the effects caused in Christ, our Lord, by the sins and ingratitude committed by men, foreseen by the Lord and known to Her. In the anguish of Her heart She turned to Her fellow humans and exclaimed: "O children of men! Little do you understand how highly the Lord esteems His image and like­ness in you! For, as the price of your salvation, He offers His own Blood and deems it little to shed all of it for you. O could I but unite your wills with Mine, in order that I might bring you to love and obey Him! Blessed by His Right Hand be the grateful and the righteous among men, who will be faithful children of their Father! Let those be filled with light and with the treasures of grace, who will respond to the ardent desires of My Lord in regard to their salvation. Would that I could be the insignificant slave of the children of Adam and thereby induce and assist them to put an end to their sins and their own damnation! Lord and Master! Life and light of My soul! Who can be so hard of heart and so hostile to himself, that he should not feel himself urged on by Your blessings? Who can be so ungrateful and so unheedful, as to ignore Your most burning love? How can My heart bear with men, who, being so favored by Your bounty, are so coarse and rebellious? O children of Adam! Turn your inhuman cruelty upon Me. Afflict and insult Me as much as you will, only pay My beloved Lord the reverence and love, which you owe to His endear­ments. You, My Son and Lord, are Light of light, Son of the Eternal Father, Figure of His Substance (Heb 1:3), as everlasting, as immense, as infinite as He, equal to Him in essence and attributes, being with Him One God and One Supreme Majesty (Jn 10:30). You are chosen among thousands (Song 5:10), Beautiful above all the sons of men, Holy, Innocent and without defect of any kind. How then, Eternal God, can men ignore the object of their most noble love, the Principle, which gives them existence, the End wherein consists their eternal true happiness? O that I could give My life in order that all might escape their error!"

140 Many other sentiments of burning love, far beyond the powers of my heart and tongue, this Heavenly Lady uttered in Her dove-like sincerity; and in this love, and in profoundest reverence, She wiped the sweat from the Face of Her sweetest Son. At other times She found Him in quite a different condition, shining with glory and transfigured as afterwards on Mount Tabor (Matt 17:2), in the midst of a great multitude of angels, who adored Him and in the sweet harmony of their voices gave praise and thanksgiving to the Only Begotten of the Father made Man. These celestial voices our Blessed Lady heard and She joined Hers with theirs. At other times this happened while He was not transfigured; for the Divine Will ordained that the sensitive part of the Divine Humanity of the Word should sometimes have this solace, while at other times it should enjoy also the transfiguring overflow of the Glory of the Soul into the Body; yet this only at great intervals. But whenever the Heavenly Mother found Him in this state and beheld His glorified Body, or when She heard the hymns of the angels, She participated in these delights to such an extent, that, if Her spirit had not been so strong, and if Her Lord and Son had not fortified Her, She would have lost all Her natural powers; and even as it was, the Holy Angels had to support the failing strength of Her body on those occasions.

141 Many times, when Her Divine Son was in one of these states of suffering or joy, and was praying to the Eternal Father or, as it were, conferring with Him con­cerning the highest Mysteries of the Redemption, the Person of the Father approved or conceded His petitions for the relief of men, or showed to the Most Holy Human­ity of Christ the secret decrees of predestination, repro­bation or condemnation of some souls. All this our blessed Lady heard, humbling Herself to the dust. With unequaled reverence and fear She adored the Omnip­otent, and accompanied Her Son in His prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, offered up to the Eternal Father for mankind in praise of all His inscrutable judgments. Such secrets and mysteries the most prudent Virgin conferred in Her heart, and stored them up in Her memory, con­verting them into the material and nourishment of Her fiery love. None of these blessings and secret favors was in Her unprofitable or fruitless. To all of them She corresponded according to the inmost desires of Her Lord. In all of them She fulfilled the highest intentions of the Almighty, and all His works found due response from Her as far as was possible from a mere creature.

INSTRUCTIONS THAT THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME

142 My daughter, one of the reasons why men should call Me Mother of Mercy, is the knowledge of My loving desire, that all be satiated with the Flood of Grace and taste the sweetness of the Lord as I Myself. I call and invite all to come with Me to the Fountain of the Divinity. Let the most poor and afflicted approach, for if they respond and follow Me, I will offer them My protection and help, and I will intercede for them with My Son and obtain for them the hidden manna, which will give to them nourishment and life (Rev 2:17). Deny yourself and put off all the works of human weak­ness, and, by the True Light, which you have received concerning the works of My Son and My own, contem­plate and study yourself in this mirror, in order to arrive at that beauty, which the Most High King seeks in you.

143 Since this is the most powerful means for per­fection in your works, I wish that you write this advice into your heart. Whenever you must perform any interior or exterior work, consider beforehand whether what you are going to say or do corresponds with the activities of your Lord, and whether you have the intention thereby to honor your Lord and benefit your neighbor. As soon as you are sure that this is your motive, execute your undertaking in union with Him and in imitation of Him; but if you find not this motive let the undertaking rest. This was My invariable course in pursuing the imitation of My Lord and Teacher; though in Me there was no reluctance toward the good, but only the desire of imitating Him perfectly. In this imitation consists the fruit of His Holy Teaching, in which He urges us to do, what is most pleasing and acceptable to the Eternal God. Moreover from this day on be mindful not to undertake any work, not to speak or even think any of anything, without first asking My permission and consulting with Me as your Mother and Teacher. And as soon as I answer you give thanks to the Lord; if I do not answer after continued inquiry, I promise and assure you on the part of the Lord, that He will, nevertheless, give you light as to what will be according to His Most Perfect Will. In all things, however, subject yourself to the guidance of your spiritual director, and never forget this practice!
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 13
MOST HOLY MARY PLANS TO SUPPORT HER MOST HOLY SON AND ST. JOSEPH 
144 After Jesus had reached His 12th year our great Queen and Lady occupied Herself particularly in the exercises and the mysteries, which I have pointed out but could not fully describe in the foregoing chapters. In the course of time our Savior passed the period of His adolescence at 18 and His Blessed Mother (accord­ing to the dates given in Vol. 2:138 and 475), reached Her perfect growth in Her 33rd year. I call it that, because according to the division of man's life commonly accepted, the age of 33 years is that of full bodily growth and perfection, being the end of youthful vigor, or, as others would have it, the begin­ning of it. Whatever opinion is accepted, that is the end of natural perfection of the body and it lasts only a short time; for immediately corrupted nature, never remaining in the same state, begins to decline. Like the moon, which begins to lessen as soon as it has reached fullness, it never remains in the same state. From that time on the body does not grow in length, nor can the increase in bulk be called a perfection, being rather a defect of nature. On this account our Lord Christ died at the completion of His 33rd year; for His most ardent love induced Him to wait only until His Body should have attained its perfect growth and vigor and was in all respects most capable of bringing the perfect gifts of nature and grace to this sacrifice. Not because Divine Grace was in need of any growth in Him, but in order that His Human Nature might correspond with the perfection of grace and that nothing might be lacking even exteriorly to the completeness of His Sacrifice for mankind. In accordance with this, it is said, that the Almighty created Adam and Eve in the condition of a man and woman at the age of 33 years. It is true, of course, that in the first and second age of the world the life of man was much longer and, by dividing the periods of human life at that time, many more years would have to be counted for each period before the time of David than after that time, when old age begins at 70 years.

145 When therefore the Queen of Heaven arrived at Her 33rd year, Her virginal body had attained full natural growth, so well proportioned and beautiful, that She was the admiration not only of human beings, but of the angelic spirits themselves. She had grown in size and stature to the most perfect proportion in all the parts of Her body and most strikingly resembled Her Divine Son in features and complexion, when later on He arrived at that age; always, of course, taking into account, that Christ was the most perfect Man, while His Mother was the most perfect Woman. Other mortals, on account of the decline of the natural humors and temperature, ordinarily begin to deteriorate and gradu­ally approach decay as far as their body is concerned; the exquisite balance of bodily humors is disturbed and the earthly ones begin to predominate more and more; the hair begins to whiten, the countenance to wrinkle, the blood to cool, some of the strength to weaken; and the whole human frame, in spite of the greatest care, com­mences to decline toward old age and corruption. But in the most Holy Mary it was not so; for the wonderful beauty and strength, which She had attained at the age of 33 years, remained unchanged; and when She had reached Her 70th year, as I shall relate later on, She still retained the same beauty and entirety of Her virginal body as at the age of 33.

146 The Blessed Lady was well aware of this special privilege conceded to Her by the Most High and She rendered Him most humble thanks. She understood also that it was granted to Her in order that the like­ness of Her Most Holy Son might always be preserved in Her, though with the differences consequent upon Her different nature and longer life; for the Lord attained full bodily growth at 33 years, while She retained it during Her much longer life. St. Joseph, although he was not so very old at the time when our Blessed Lady reached Her 33rd year, was much broken and worn out as far as his body was concerned; for his continual cares, his journeys and his incessant labors for the sustenance of his Spouse and of the Lord had weakened him much more than his years. This was so ordained by the Lord, Who, wish­ing to lead him on to the practice of patience and of other virtues, permitted him to suffer sickness and pain (as I will relate in the following chapter). His most prudent Spouse, knowing that he was much weakened and always having loved and served him better than any wife ever did Her husband, spoke to him and said: "My spouse and My master, I am deeply obliged to you for the faithful labors, watchfulness and care you have bestowed on My welfare. For in the sweat of your brow you have until now supported Me, your servant, and My Most Holy Son, the True God, and in this your solici­tude, you have spent your strength and the best part of your health and of your life in protecting Me and attend­ing upon My welfare. From the Hands of the Almighty you shall receive the reward of your works and the bless­ings of sweetness that you deserve (Ps 21:4). But now I implore you, My master, rest henceforth from your labors since your impaired strength is not any more equal to them. I wish from now on to show My grati­tude by laboring in your service and provide for such sustenance as the Lord wishes us to have."
147 The Saint listened to the words of His sweetest Spouse with abundant tears of humblest acknowledg­ment and consolation. Although he at first earnestly entreated Her to be allowed to continue forever in His labors, yet at last he yielded to Her request and obeyed his Spouse, the Queen of the World. From that time on he rested from the hard labor of his hands, by which he had earned a livelihood for all 3. They gave away the carpenter tools as an alms, not wishing to have anything superfluous or useless in their house and family. Being thus at leisure, St. Joseph occupied himself entirely in the contemplation of the mysteries of which he was the guardian and in the exercise of vir­tues. As He had the happiness and good fortune of con­tinually enjoying the sight and the contact of the Divine Wisdom Incarnate, and of Her, who was the Mother of Him, this man of God reached such a height of sanctity, that, his Heavenly Spouse excepted, no one ever surpassed Him and he far outstripped all other creatures. The Blessed Lady, and also Her Most Holy Son, attended upon him and nursed him in his sickness, consoling and sustaining him with the greatest assiduity; and hence there are no words sufficiently expressive of the humility, reverence and love which all this caused in the simple and grateful heart of this man of God. He thus became the admiration and joy of the angels and the pleasure and delight of the Most High.

148 Thenceforth the Queen of the world took upon Herself the task of supporting by Her work Her Most Holy Son and Her husband, for such was the Will of the Eternal Wisdom in order to raise Mary to the very pin­nacle of all virtues and perfections and in order to fur­nish an example for the confusion of the daughters and the sons of Adam and Eve. The Lord set up for us as a model this strong Woman, clothed with beauty and fortitude. For at this age of 33 years She was to show Herself girded with strength and ready to extend Her hands to the poor, purchasing the field and cultivating the vineyard by Her own labor to bring forth its fruits. The heart of Her husband confided in Her, and not only that of Her husband, St. Joseph, but also that of Her Son, the true God Man, the Teacher of the poor and the Poor of the poor, and they were not deceived (Prov 31:10). The great Queen began to busy Herself much more in spinning and weaving linen and wool, thus mysteriously fulfilling all that Solomon says about Her in the Proverbs. But as I have explained this chapter of Scripture at the end of the first part, I shall not repeat it here, although much of what I said then pertains to this period of Her life when both inte­riorly and exteriorly She executed it in action.

149 The Lord was not lacking in ability to provide for His bodily living, that of His Blessed Mother and of St. Joseph; for not in bread alone does man live and is sustained (Matt 4:4); He could have created it by His mere word, as He Himself assures us. He could have each day created the necessary food; but then the world would have been deprived of this spectacle of His Holy Mother, Lady of the whole world, laboring for their sustenance; and the Virgin Herself would have been deprived of the reward due to these meritorious works. The Teacher of our salvation arranged all with admirable providence for the glory of our Queen and for our instruction. Her diligence and care in these employments cannot be expressed in words. She labored much: and because She always lived in retire­ment, that most fortunate woman assisted Her, of whom I have spoken before (Vol. 2:227, 423). This woman assumed some of the labor of the great Queen and performed the necessary errands. But Mary never used any command when in need of Her assistance, but spoke to Her in humble request and with the utmost con­sideration, always seeking to find out Her wishes by asking Her whether she would not like to do this or that. Her Blessed Son, like His Heavenly Mother, ate no meat; their nourishment was only fish, fruit and herbs, and these only in the greatest moderation. For St. Joseph She procured flesh meat, and, although their poverty and need was apparent also in this, yet it was seasoned by the good will and loving kindness with which She served it to Her spouse. The Blessed Lady slept but little, and often She spent the greater part of the night in work; for the Lord now permitted Her to spend more time in such employment than in Egypt. Sometimes it happened that with all Her diligence and labor She could not earn what was necessary; for St. Joseph now had need of more expensive nourishment and clothes than formerly. At such times Christ our Lord made use of His Almighty power in multiplying what was in their possession, or in commanding the angels to bring the necessaries from elsewhere. But more frequently He miraculously enabled His most Holy Mother to accomplish much in a short time by the labor of Her hands and thus multiply its results.

INSTRUCTION FROM THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

150 My daughter, in what you have written of My labors, you should have received a most exalted doc­trine for your imitation and direction; but in order that you may not forget, I will now give you a summary of it. I wish that you imitate Me in 3 virtues which you will find in what you have written: they are the virtues of prudence, charity and justice, so little taken notice of by men. Prudence should teach you to provide for the needs of your neighbor as far as possible in your state. Charity should make you diligent and zeal­ous in coming to their assistance. Justice should oblige you to fulfill the obligations of charity, as necessity and love itself point them out to you. You should be an eye to the blind, an ear to the deaf, and your hands should labor for those that are maimed (Job 29:15). Although, on account of your state of life, you must practice this doctrine principally and continually in a spiritual way, yet I desire that you take it to the heart also as far as the temporal and bodily needs of your neighbor demand, always striving to be most faithful in imitating Me. For I also provided for the necessities of My spouse, and held Myself ready to serve and sup­port him, deeming Myself obliged to; and I ful­filled this obligation with ardent charity until he died. Although the Lord had given him to Me for My sup­port, I faithfully provided for him by My labors as long as he was unable to perform this task himself. I judged it to be My duty thus to use the strength given to Me by the Lord and would have considered it a great fault not to do so with great assiduity.

151 The children of the Church pay no attention to this example and therefore they have fallen into a per­verseness that greatly exasperates the Righteous Judge. For, though all men, not only since the first sin by which all incurred work as a punishment, but also from the very first beginning, were created in order to work (Gen 2:15), nevertheless, work is not evenly distributed among men. The powerful and the rich and those whom the world calls lords and nobles all try to exempt themselves from this common law and try to throw this burden upon the humble and the poor of human society. The rich keep up their pride and ostentation by the labor and sweat of the poor, and the powerful draw their strength from the weakness and helplessness of the lowly. In many of the proud, by their haughtiness, this perversity reaches such extremes that they begin to think all this is due to them and they despise, oppress and trod under foot the poor (Jacob 2:6). They falsely suppose that others are created only in order that they themselves might enjoy leisure and delight and all the world's goods; and in addition to this, they do not even pay the small wages for these services. In this matter of not paying proper wages to the poor and to the servants and in matters of like sort you will find great crimes against the Order and Will of the Almighty. But let it be known that just as the rich pervert justice and reason and refuse to take their share in human labor, so also will Mercy be inverted for them, and be showered upon the despised and lowly (Wis 6:7). Those who in their pride gave themselves up to contemptible idleness, shall be chastised by the devils whom they have imitated.
152 Take heed against such deception; let the advantages of earnest labor be always before your eyes according to My example; separate yourself from the children of Belial, who so idly seek vain applause, and thus labor for naught. Do not deem yourself above others, because you are a superior, but deem yourself more lowly and humble, a slave of all the rest; diligently serving them all without distinction. If necessary, be ready to labor for their sustenance and be convinced that this is incumbent upon you not only as their superior, but also because the religious are your sisters, daughters of the Heavenly Father and creatures of the Lord your Spouse. Since you have received more than all the rest at His liberal Hand, you are also obliged to labor more than they. The weak and ailing relieve of bodily labor and do their work yourself. I wish that you not only avoid charging others with work which you can perform yourself and which belongs to you, but that you assume, as much as possible, that of all the rest, deeming yourself their inferior and their servant as I wish you always to consider yourself. Since you can not do all yourself, and since it is necessary that you dis­tribute bodily labor among your subjects, I exhort you to observe good order and equity, not putting more labor upon those who are too humble or weak to object; but I wish that you humiliate those who are of a haughty and proud spirit and are unwilling to occupy themselves in hard work. However, this must be done without exasperating them and with a gentle firmness, helping them to suppress their lukewarmness and lack of sub­jection by placing upon them the yoke of holy obedience in accordance with their profession. In doing this you confer upon them the greatest blessing and you only fulfill your own obligation; therefore, you should see to it that they understand you in that way. All this you will attain if you make no personal distinctions and assign to each one the work which she can do, and what is appropriate to her; obliging and compelling each one with equity and justice to abhor idleness and laxity, and let them see you engaged in the hardest and most difficult work. Thereby you will gain a humble liberty of commanding them; but what you can do yourself, command no one, in order that you may enjoy the fruit and the reward of labor in imitation of Me and in obeying all that I advise and remind you of.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 14
THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN NURSES HER SPOUSE ST. JOSEPH IN THE LAST YEARS OF HIS LIFE
153 A common defect in all of us that are called to the Light and to the profession of Holy Faith in the School of Christ, our Lord, is that of looking upon Him too much as our Redeemer and not sufficiently as our Teacher in our sufferings (Lk 24:26). We all desire to reap the fruit of salvation and enter the portals of grace and glory; but we do not with like zeal seek to follow Him on the Way of the Cross by which He entered and upon which He invites us to attain Eternal Glory (Matt 16:24). Although, as Catholics, we do not fall into such insane errors as the heretics; for we know and profess that without exertion and labor there can be no reward or crown (2 Tim 2:5); and that it is a blasphemy to avail oneself of the Salvation of Christ in order to sin without remorse or restraint. Nevertheless, as far as really practicing the works incul­cated by faith, some of the children of the Church differ little from the children of darkness; for they look upon difficult and painful works as unnecessary for the follow­ing of Christ and for participation in His glory.

154 Let us throw off this error in our practice and let us understand well that suffering was not only for Christ, our Lord, but also for us; that if He suffered labors and death as the Redeemer of the World, He suffered them also as our Teacher, thereby inviting us as His friends to enter upon the Way of His Cross; so much so, that His nearest friends receive the greatest share of suffering, and no one can merit heaven without the price of personal exertions. In imitation of His most Holy Mother, the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors and Virgins and all His followers have won their crown by labors and those that have been most prepared for suf­fering have obtained so much the more abundant reward and the higher crown. It might be objected that our Lord was at the same time God and Man, and that if He has given us the most conspicuous and wonderful example of suffering, He did it more in order to be admired than to be imitated. But this is only a bold and daring pretense on our part; for He can meet this objec­tion with the example of His Mother, our most pure and innocent Queen, with that of Her blessed spouse, and of so many men and women, weak and deficient as we ourselves, who were less guilty, but who have imitated Him and followed Him on the Way of the Cross. The Lord did not suffer only in order to excite our admira­tion, but in order that we imitate His example, and He did not let even His Divinity stand in the way of labor and suffering, but allowed sorrow and suffering to over­whelm Him in proportion to His innocence and sinless­ness.

155 Along this Royal Highway of the Cross the Lord led the spouse of His Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, whom He loved above all the sons of men. In order to increase His merits and crown before the time of His meriting should come to an end, He visited him in the last years of His life with certain sicknesses, such as fever, violent headaches and very painful rheumatisms, which greatly afflicted and weakened him. In the midst of these infirmities, he was suffering from another source, more sweet, but extremely painful, namely, from the fire of his ardent love which was so vehement, that the flights and ecstasies of his most pure soul would often have burst the bounds of his body if the Lord, Who bestowed them, had not strengthened and comforted him against these agonies of love. In these sweet excesses the Lord allowed him to suffer until his death and on account of the natural weakness of his extenuated body, this exercise was the source of ineffable merits for the fortunate Saint, not only because of the sufferings occasioned, but because of the love by which these sufferings were brought about.

156 Our great Queen, His Spouse, was a witness to all these mysteries; and, as I have already stated (Vol. II 368, 381, 394, 404), She knew the whole interior of the soul of St. Joseph, being thus rejoiced by the knowl­edge of having for Her spouse a man so holy and so beloved of the Lord. She beheld and comprehended the sincerity and purity of his soul; his burning love; his exalted and heavenly thoughts; his dove-like patience and meekness in his grievous ailments and exquisite suf­ferings. She knew that he never complained either of these nor of any of the other trials, nor ever asked for any relief in his needs and necessities; for he bore all with incomparable equanimity and greatness of soul. As his most prudent Spouse contemplated and weighed all these heroic virtues of St. Joseph, She grew to look upon him with such a veneration as cannot ever be properly estimated by anyone. She labored with incredible joy for his support and comfort; and the greatest of his comforts was that She should prepare and administer his food with Her own virginal hands. But as all Her service seemed little in the eyes of the Heavenly Lady compared to the necessities of Her spouse, She sometimes, in Her love for him, made use of Her power as Queen of all creation and com­manded that the food which She administered to him impart special strength and supply new life to this holy and just man of God.

157 This command of the great Lady, whom all creatures obeyed, was fulfilled; and when St. Joseph tasted the food, which bore these blessings of sweetness, and when he perceived their effects, he was apt to say to the Queen: "My Lady and Spouse, what celestial food is this which vivifies me, rejoices my senses, restores my strength and fills my soul and spirit with new delight?" The Empress of Heaven served him his meals on bended knees; and when he was much dis­abled and suffering, She took off his shoes in the same posture. At other times She supported him in Her arms. Although the humble Saint sought to rouse himself in order to forestall some of these ministrations of his Spouse, he could not altogether prevent them, for She was intimately aware of all his sufferings and weaknesses and of the circumstances and occasions when he needed Her assistance. At such times the Heavenly Nurse always hastened to assist him in his needs. Often also, as the Mother of Wisdom and of Virtue, She comforted him by words of sweetest consolation. In the last 3 years of his life, when his infirmities increased, our Queen attended upon him day and night and Her only other employment was the service and ministration due to Her Most Holy Son. Jesus sometimes joined and assisted Her in the care of Her holy spouse whenever He was not engaged in other necessary works. There was never a sick person, nor will there ever be one, who was so well nursed and comforted. Great was the happiness and worth of this man of God, St. Joseph, for he alone deserved to have for his Spouse Her, who was the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

158 But the Heavenly Lady was not satisfied with these proofs of Her devotion toward holy Joseph; She made use of other means for his relief and comfort. Several times She asked the Lord in Her ardent charity to impose upon Her the pains suffered by Her spouse and release him there from. To gain Her point, She, the Mother of all Sanctity, pleaded before the Most High, alleging that Her debt was greater than that of all the earthborn and that since She had not given the proper return, She was inferior to them, deserving all their sufferings and offered Her heart for all manner of pain and suffering. She pleaded also the sanctity of St. Joseph, his purity, innocence, and the delight of the Lord in this heart made according to that of his Son. She asked for many blessings for him and gave most heartfelt thanks for having created a man so worthy of His favors, so full of righteousness and holiness. She invited the Holy Angels to give thanks to God for him; and in contemplating the glory and wisdom of the Lord as shown in this man; She sang new hymns of praise. For on the one hand She saw the pains and sufferings of Her beloved spouse, which excited Her pity and condolence, and on the other hand She was aware of his merits and the delight of the Lord in this man, and how the Saint pleased and glorified his God by his patience. The Heavenly Lady exercised different virtues suitable to the occasion, and of so exalted a degree, that She excited the admiration of the angelic spirits. Yet greater should be the admiration of us ignorant men to see that a mere Creature so perfectly fulfilled so many different duties and that in Her the anxiety of Martha should not interfere with the contemplation of Mary. She imi­tated in this the activity of the supernal spirits, who guard and assist us without losing sight of the Most High (Matt 18:10). But Mary far excelled them in Her attention to God, while engaged in bodily labor, of which they were incapable. Though She was a child of Adam, She lived like a heavenly spirit, occupying the superior part of Her being in the exalted exercises of Her love and employing Her inferior faculties in works of charity toward Her spouse.

159 Sometimes, when the merciful Queen perceived the bitterness and severity of the sufferings of St. Joseph, She was moved to tender pity; and then She would humbly ask permission of Her Most Holy Son to be allowed to command the natural sources and occa­sions of these pains to disappear and thus put a stop to the sufferings of this righteous and beloved man of God. As all creatures obeyed the command of their great Queen, Her holy spouse was then immediately relieved and rested from his pains, sometimes for a day, sometimes longer, until his ailments, according to the decree of the Almighty, again assumed sway for the increase of his merits. At other times She asked the Holy Angels, to console St. Joseph and comfort him in his sorrows and labors, as the frail condition of his body demanded. Thereupon the angelic spirits would appear to St. Joseph in human forms, most beautiful and shining, and begin to speak to him of the Divinity and its infinite perfections. Then they would raise their voices in sweetest harmony of celestial music, singing hymns of divine canticles, by which they restored his drooping strength and inflamed the love of his purest soul. To rejoice him the more he was specially informed, not only of the source of these blessings and Divine favors, but of the great holiness of his virginal Spouse, of Her singular love and charity in conversing with him and serving him, and of many other excellences and privileges of the great Queen of the World. All this together caused such effects in St. Joseph, and so raised his merits before God, as no tongue can express, nor any human understanding in this life can compre­hend.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

160 My daughter, one of the virtuous works most pleasing to the Lord and most fruitful for souls, is the loving care of the sick. By it is fulfilled to a great extent that natural law which requires us to do to our neighbors what we wish them to do to us. In the Gospel this is adduced as one of the works for which the Lord shall give eternal reward to the righteous (Matt 25:34); and the failure to exercise this duty is alleged as one of the causes of the eternal damnation of the wicked. In the same place the justice of this retribution is also explained; namely, as men are the children of the Eternal Father, the Lord accounts any good or ill done to our neighbor as done to His own children, whose part He takes; for so it is customary among human parents. With regard to yourself you must moreover consider that you are the mother of your religious and that they, just as you yourself, are the spouses of My Blessed Son. The fact that they have received of Him fewer blessings should so much the more oblige you to serve and nurse them in their sickness. On this account I have on another occasion told you that you must consider yourself the infirmarian of all of them, as being inferior to them because of your great obligations. I assign to you thereby an office that is great in the House of the Lord. In order to fulfill its obligations do not charge others with the work that you can do yourself in the service of the sick; and whatever, on account of the duties of your office you cannot compass, be care­ful in commending to the special care of those who are appointed to discharge these duties by obedience. Besides common charity, there are other reasons why the religious should be attended to in their ailments with the greatest care and solicitude; namely, in order that their afflictions and necessities may not cause them to long to return to their parental homes and to the world. Be sure, that in this way much harm enters the cloister; for human nature is so adverse to suffering, that, rather than feel the lack of necessities, it will again face the greatest dangers of the soul.

161 In order to stir you on toward proficiency in the exercise of this doctrine, the charity that I showed toward My spouse, Joseph, in his ailments should serve you as a spur and encouragement. Very tardy is that charity (and even the politeness), which waits until the needy one asks for help. I did not wait, but hastened to assist before I was asked. My charity and attention anticipated the requests of My spouse and thus I con­soled him not only by My services but by My loving solicitude and attention. I shared his sufferings and hardships with heartfelt compassion; but at the same time I praised the Most High and thanked Him for the blessings of affliction conferred on His servant. If some­times I sought to relieve his pains, it was not in order to deprive him of the occasion of meriting, but that he might by this aid excite himself to glorify so much the more the Author of all goodness and holiness; and to these virtues I exhorted and encouraged him. With similar perfection should you exercise this noble vir­tue, providing for the needs of the sick and weak, com­forting them by your compassion and words of advice, doing them all kinds of good service, without wishing them to lose the reward of suffering. Let not your carnal love disturb you when your sisters fall sick, although they be those you love or need most; for thereby many souls, both in the world and in religion, lose the merit of their labors. The sorrow occasioned by the sight of sickness or danger in their friends, disturbs their equanimity and under the pretense of compassion, they begin to complain and refuse to submit themselves to the dispositions of Divine Providence. In all these things I have given you an example and I demand of you to imitate it perfectly by following My footsteps.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 15
THE HAPPY DEATH OF ST. JOSEPH. OUR LORD AND HIS MOTHER ASSIST IN HIS PASSING AWAY.

162 Already 8 years Saint Joseph had been exer­cised by his infirmities and sufferings, and his noble soul had been purified more and more each day in the crucible of affliction and of Divine Love. As the time passed his bodily strength gradually diminished and he approached the unavoidable end, in which the stipend of death is paid by all of us children of Adam (Heb 9:27). In like manner also increased the care and solici­tude of his heavenly Spouse, our Queen, assisting and serving him with unbroken punctuality. Perceiving, in Her exalted wisdom, that the day and hour for his depart­ure from this cumbrous earth was very near, the loving Lady spoke to Her blessed Son saying: "Lord God Most High, Son of the Eternal Father and Savior of the world, by Your Divine Light I see the hour approaching which You have decreed for the death of Your servant Joseph. I implore You, by Your ancient Mercies and by Your infinite bounty, to assist him in that hour by Your Almighty Power. Let his death be as precious in Your Eyes, as the uprightness of his life was pleasing to You, so that he may depart in peace and in the certain hope of the Eternal reward to be given to him on the day in which You shall open the gates of heaven for all the faithful. Be mindful, My Son, of the humility and love of Your servant; of his exceeding great merits and virtues; of the fidelity and solicitude by which this just man has supported You and Me, Your humble handmaid, in the sweat of his brow."

163 Our Savior answered: "My Mother, Your request is pleasing to Me, and the merits of Joseph are acceptable in My Eyes. I will now assist him and will assign him a place among the princes of My people (Ps 116:15), so high that he will be the admiration of the angels and will cause them and all men to break forth in highest praise. With none of the human born shall I do as with Your spouse." The great Lady gave thanks to Her sweetest Son for this promise; and, for 9 days and nights before the death of St. Joseph, he uninterruptedly enjoyed the company and attendance of Mary or Her Divine Son. By command of the Lord the Holy Angels, 3 times on each of the 9 days, furnished celestial music, mixing their hymns of praise with the benedictions of the sick man. Moreover, their humble but most precious dwell­ing was filled with the sweetest fragrance and odors so wonderful that they comforted not only St. Joseph, but invigorated all the numerous persons who happened to come near the house.

164 One day before he died, being wholly inflamed with Divine love on account of these blessings, he was wrapped in an ecstasy, which lasted 24 hours. The Lord Himself supplied strength for this miraculous experience. In this ecstasy he saw clearly the Divine Es­sence, and, manifested therein, all that he had believed by faith; the incomprehensible Divinity, the Mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, the militant Church with all its Sacraments and mysteries. The Blessed Trinity com­missioned and assigned Him as the Ambassador of our Savior to the Holy Patriarchs and Prophets of limbo; and commanded him to prepare them for their issuing forth from this bosom of Abraham to Eternal rest and happiness. All this most Holy Mary saw reflected in the Soul of Her Divine Son together with all the other mys­teries, just as they had been made known to Her beloved spouse, and She offered Her sincerest thanks for all this to Her Lord.

165 When Saint Joseph issued from this ecstasy his face shone with wonderful splendor and his soul was entirely transformed by his vision of the Essence of God. He asked his blessed Spouse to give him Her benediction; but She requested Her Divine Son to bless him in Her stead, which He did. Then the great Queen of Humility, falling on Her knees, besought St. Joseph to bless Her, as being Her husband and head. Not with­out Divine impulse the Man of God fulfilled this request for the consolation of his most prudent Spouse. She kissed the hand with which he blessed Her and asked him to salute the just ones of limbo in Her name. The most humble Joseph, sealing his life with an act of self-abase­ment, asked pardon of his Heavenly Spouse for all his deficiencies in Her service and love and begged Her to grant him Her assistance and intercession in this hour of his passing away. The holy man also rendered humblest thanks to Her Son for all the blessings of his life and especially for those received during this sickness. The last words, which St. Joseph spoke to, his Spouse were: "Blessed are You among all women and elect of all the creatures. Let angels and men praise You; let all the generations know, praise and exalt Your dignity; and may in You be known, adored and exalted the Name of the Most High through all the coming ages; may He be eternally praised for having created You so pleasing in His Eyes and in the sight of all the blessed spirits. I hope to enjoy Your sight in the heavenly fatherland."

166 Then this man of God, turning toward Christ, our Lord, in profoundest reverence, wished to kneel before Him. But the sweetest Jesus, coming near, received him in His Arms, where, reclining his head upon them, Joseph said: "My highest Lord and God, Son of the Eternal Father, Creator and Redeemer of the World, give Your blessing to Your servant and the work of Your Hand; pardon, O Most Merciful King, the faults which I have committed in Your service. I extol and magnify You and render Eternal and heartfelt thanks to You for having, in Your ineffable condescension, chosen me to be the spouse of Your true Mother; let Your greatness and glory be my thanksgiving for all eternity." The Redeemer of the world gave him His benediction, saying: "My father, rest in peace and in the grace of My Eternal Father and Mine; and to the Prophets and Saints, who await you in limbo, bring the joyful news of the approach of their redemption." At these words of Jesus, and reclining in His arms, the most fortunate St. Joseph expired and the Lord Himself closed his eyes. At the same time the multitude of the angels, who attended upon their King and Queen, intoned hymns of praise in loud and harmonious voices. By command of the Lord they carried his most holy soul to the gathering-place of the Patriarchs and Prophets, where it was immedi­ately recognized by all as clothed in the splendors of incomparable grace, as the putative father and the inti­mate friend of the Redeemer, worthy of highest venera­tion. Conformably to the will and mandate of the Lord, His arrival spread unutterable joy in this countless gather­ing of the saints by the announcement of their speedy rescue.

167 It is necessary to mention that the long sickness and sufferings which preceded the death of St. Joseph was not the sole cause and occasion of his passing away; for with all his infirmities he could have extended the term of his life, if to them he had not joined the fire of the intense love within his heart. In order that his death might be more the triumph of his love than of the effects of original sin, the Lord suspended the special and miraculous assistance by which his natural forces were enabled to withstand the violence of his love during his lifetime. As soon as this Divine assistance was with­drawn, nature was overcome by his love and the bonds and chains, by which this most holy soul was detained in its mortal body, were at once dissolved and the separa­tion of the soul from the body in which death con­sists took place. Love was then the real cause of the death of St. Joseph, as I have said above. This was at the same time the greatest and most glorious of all his infirmities for in it death is but a sleep of the body and the beginning of real life.

168 Her spouse having thus passed away, the great Lady began to prepare his body for burial according to Jewish custom. No other hands touched him than Her own and those of the Holy Angels, who assisted Her in visible human forms. In order that the utmost propriety might be observed by the Virgin Mother, God enveloped the body of Saint Joseph in a wonderful light, which hid all except his countenance; and thus his purest Spouse, although She clothed him for burial, saw only his face. Sweetest fragrance exhaled from his body and it remained so beautiful and lifelike, that the neighboring people eagerly came to see it and were filled with admira­tion. Accompanied by the Redeemer of the world, His most Blessed Mother and a great multitude of angels, and escorted by their friends and many others, the sacred body of the most glorious St. Joseph was borne to the common burying place. But on all these occasions and in these occupations, the most prudent Queen preserved Her composure and gravity, without allowing Her counte­nance to exhibit any unwomanly or disorderly excite­ment; nor did Her sorrow prevent Her from attending to all that belonged to the service of Her deceased spouse or Her Divine Son. In every one of Her movements was visible the royal and magnanimous behavior of the Queen of the human race. She reiterated Her thankful acknowl­edgment of the great favors done to Her spouse by the Son of God and, prostrate at His Feet in new abasement of humility, She said to Him: "Lord and Master of My whole being, My true Son, the holiness of My spouse Joseph might until now have detained You in My com­pany; though unworthy of it, I implore You by Your own goodness not to forsake Me now; receive Me anew as Your servant and look upon the humble desires and longings of My heart." The Savior of the world accepted this new offering of His most Holy Mother and He promised not to leave Her until the time when obedience to His Eternal Father would oblige Him to begin His life of public preaching.

TEACHING OF MARY, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

169 My dearest daughter, it was not without special reason that your heart was moved to great compassion and pity toward those who are at the point of death and that you are inspired with a desire to help them in that hour; for it is true, as you have perceived, that then the souls of men incur the most incredible and dangerous attacks from the devils, as well as from their own frailty and from the creatures around them. That hour is the great trial of life, upon which depends the last sentence of Eternal Death or Eternal Life, of Eternal Suffering or Eternal Glory. As the Most High has condescendingly filled you with these sentiments, I exhort you to exert all your powers and faculties to act accordingly. Remember, then, My friend, that when the devil and his satellites of darkness perceive, by the course of natural events, that anyone falls a prey to a dangerous and mortal disease, they immediately prepare to assail the poor and unbewaring soul with all their malice and astuteness in order to vanquish them if possible by various temptations. When­ever they see an opening for attacking the souls, they try to supply in fury and malice the shortness of time.

170 At such times they gather like bloodthirsty wolves and search out the natural and acquired failings in his nature, taking into account his inclinations, habits and customs, and where his passions cause him greater weakness, in order to direct toward this part the strongest battery and engines of war. Those that have a disorderly love of earthly life, they persuade that there is not such great danger and they prevent others from undeceiving them. Those that have been negligent in the reception of the Sacraments, they try to make still more careless and they place obstacles and difficulties in the way in order that they may die without them, or in order that they may receive them without fruit and with a bad disposition. Others they fill with false suggestions and shame in order that they may not confess their sins and open their conscience. Others they confuse and try to prevent from making proper restitution and thus unburdening their consciences. Others, who love vanity, they entangle, even at that last hour, in many vain and proud desires with regard to what is to be done for them after death. Those that have been avaricious or sensual, they seek to excite violently toward what they loved so blindly during life. In short, of all the bad habits and customs this cruel enemy avails himself in order to fill their minds with images of creatures and draw them away from their salvation or make them incapable of it. All the sinful actions and vicious habits of their previous life have become, as it were, pledges in the hands of the common enemy for the possession of the sinner and weapons for assault and battery in this tre­mendous hour of death. Every appetite, which has been inordinately indulged, is an avenue or bypath by which he enters into the citadel of the soul. Once in, he breathes forth his pestilential fumes, and raises the clouds of darkness, his proper work, so that the soul may not give heed to Divine inspirations, have no true sorrow for its sins, and do no penance for its wicked life.

171  Generally these enemies cause a great damage to the souls in that hour by exciting the vain hope of a longer life and being able to execute later on what God suggests to them by means of the Holy Angels. Giv­ing way to this deceit, they find themselves afterwards betrayed and lost. Just as great is the danger of those who have shown little esteem for the saving graces of the Sacraments; for this contempt is very offensive to the Lord and to the saints, and Divine Justice is inclined to punish it by leaving these souls to their own wicked counsels. This leads them to great neglect in profiting by this help. Thus they are themselves forsaken by the Lord in their last hour, in which they expected to pro­vide for their salvation. There are few among the just whom this ancient serpent does not furiously attack in their last agony. And if satan boasts of having ruined even saints at such times, what hope have the wicked, the negligent and sinful, who have spent their whole lives in making themselves unworthy of Divine favor and grace, and who are devoid of meritorious works to offset the assaults of their enemies? My holy spouse, St. Joseph, was one of those who enjoyed the privilege of neither seeing nor feeling the presence of the devil in his last hour; for as soon as they approached to deal with him as they do with the rest of men, they felt a powerful force, which kept them at a distance and the Holy Angels hurled them back into their abyss. Seeing themselves thus oppressed and crushed, they were seized with great uneasiness and confusion. Almost stupefied, the devil called a meeting of his followers in hell, in order to consult about this surprising event and in order to have them once more search the earth for the Messiah; and then happened what you shall relate later on in its place.

172 Hence you will understand the great danger in the hour of death, when both the good works and the bad will begin to show their effects. I will not tell you how many are thus lost, in order that your sincere love of God may not cause you to die of sorrow at this loss. But the general rule is: a good life gives hope of a good end; all other reliance is doubtful, and salvation resting upon it is very rare and merely acci­dental. The best precaution is to take a good start from afar; and therefore I admonish you, that, at the dawn­ing of each day, when you look upon the light, you seriously consider whether it may not be the last of your life, and, if it should be the last (for you do not know), that you place your soul in such a state as to be able to meet death with a smiling face. Do not delay even for one instant sorrow for your sins and a firm pur­pose of confessing them as soon as you find yourself guilty of any and of amending the least of your imperfec­tions. In all this be so careful that you leave not upon your conscience the smallest defect without being sorry for it and without cleansing yourself by the Blood of My Most Holy Son. Place yourself in such a condition that you are ready to appear before the Just Judge, Who is to examine and judge your least thoughts and all your movements.

173 In order that according to your pious wishes, you may help those who are in danger of death, you should give to others the same counsels that I have now given you. Exhort them to lead a careful life in order to secure a happy death. Moreover, say some prayers for this intention every day of your life, fervently asking the Almighty to disperse the deceits of the devils, to destroy the snares prepared against those who are in the throes of death, and that His Right Hand confound all the devils. Know that I have directed My prayers to that end for men and in this I wish you to imitate Me. That you may help them so much the more, I wish you to order and command the devils to depart from the sick and stop their persecutions; and you can very efficaciously use this power, even when you are absent from the sick, for you are to command them in the Name of the Lord, and you are to compel them to obey you for His greater honor and glory.

174 When your own religious are in danger of death, without exciting them, instruct them in what they are to do. Admonish them and help them to receive the Holy Sacraments, and see that they receive them fre­quently during life in preparation for a good end. Seek to encourage and console them, speaking to them of the things of God and His Mysteries contained in the Holy Scriptures. Exhort them to awaken their good inten­tions and desires and to prepare themselves to receive the light and the graces of the Most High. Excite them to hope, strengthen them against temptations and teach them how they are to resist and overcome them, seeking to understand them before they themselves manifest them to you. The Almighty will give you an understanding of them so that you may apply the right medicine to each; for the infirmities of the soul are hard to diagnose and cure. All that I now tell you that you must execute as the most beloved daughter of the Lord and in His service, and I will procure for you certain privi­leges for yourself and for those you desire to aid in that terrible hour. Do not stint your charity in these works for you shall work not by your own strength alone, but by the power which God wishes to exercise in you for His own glory.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 16
 SOME OF THE PRIVILEGES OF  SAINT JOSEPH, AND  THE AGE OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN AT HIS DEATH

175 The most fortunate of men, St. Joseph, reached an age of 60 years and a few days. For at the age of 33 he espoused the Blessed Virgin and he lived with Her a little longer than 27 years as Her husband. When St. Joseph died, She had completed the half of Her 42nd year; for She was espoused to Saint Joseph at the age of 14 (as stated in the first part, Bk 2, Chap. 22). The 27 years of Her married life com­pleted Her 41st year, to which must be added the time from the 8th of September until the death of Her blessed spouse. The Queen of Heaven still remained in the same disposition of natural perfection as in Her 33rd year; for, as already stated in Chapter 13 of this book, She showed no signs of decline, or of more advanced age, or of weakness, but always remained in that same most perfect state of womanhood. She felt the natural sorrow due to the death of St. Joseph; for She loved him as Her spouse, as a man pre­eminent in perfection and holiness, as Her protector and benefactor. This sorrow in the most prudent Lady was well-ordered and most perfect, but it was far from being therefore less deep; for Her love was great, yes so much the greater as She was well informed of the high rank he held among the saints, who are written in the Book of Eternal Life and in the Eternal Mind of the Most High. We do not lose without sorrow what we love in an ordinary manner; so much the greater will be our sorrow for losing what we love much.

176 It is not the purpose of this history to describe at length the perfections and excellences of St. Joseph, nor have I any commission to do so, except in so far as will suffice to point out his dignity and that of our Queen, to whose merits (next to those of Her Divine Son) must be ascribed the gifts and graces conferred by the Almighty upon this glorious Patriarch. The Heavenly Lady was either the instrumental or meritori­ous cause of the holiness of Her spouse, or at least the final object or purpose of this holiness. For all the vast perfection of his virtues and graces were conferred upon St. Joseph for the purpose of making of him a worthy protector and spouse of Her, whom God selected as His Mother. According to this standard and according to the love of God for His most Holy Mother is to be meas­ured the holiness of St. Joseph; and from my under­standing of this matter, if there had been in the world another man more perfect and more worthy, the Lord would have chosen this other one for the spouse of His Mother. Since he was chosen by God, Saint Joseph was no doubt the most perfect man upon earth. Having created and destined him for such a high end, it is cer­tain that God, in His Almighty Power, prepared and per­fected him in proportion to the exaltedness of his end. That is (according to our way of thinking), his holiness, virtues, gifts, graces and infused and natural habits were made to correspond by Divine influence with the end for which he was selected.

177 I perceive a certain difference in the graces given to this great Patriarch and those bestowed to other saints; for many saints were endowed with graces and gifts that are intended not for the increase of their own sanctity, but for the advance of the service of the Most High in other souls; they were, so to say, gifts and graces freely given and not dependent upon the holiness of the receiver. But in our blessed Patriarch all the Divine favors were productive of personal virtue and perfection; for the mysterious purpose, toward which they tended and helped along, was closely connected with the holiness of his own life. The more angelic and holy he grew to be, so much the more worthy was he to be the spouse of most Holy Mary, the depository and treasure-house of heavenly sacraments. He was to be a miracle of holiness, as he really was. This marvelous holiness commenced with the formation of his body in the womb of his mother. In this the Providence of God Himself interfered, regulating the composition of the 4 radical humors of his body with extreme nicety of proportion and securing for him that evenly tempered disposition which made his body a blessed earth fit for the abode of an exquisite soul and well-balanced mind (Wisdom 8:19). He was sanctified in the womb of his mother 7 months after his conception, and the leaven of sin was destroyed in him for the whole course of his life, never having felt any impure or disorderly move­ment. Although he did not receive the use of his reason together with this first sanctification, which consisted principally in justification from original sin, yet his mother at the time felt a wonderful joy of the Holy Spirit. Without understanding entirely the mystery she elicited great acts of virtue and believed that her son, or whomever she bore in her womb, would be wonder­ful in the Sight of God and men.

178 The holy child Joseph was born most beautiful and perfect of body and caused in his parents and in his relations an extraordinary delight, something like that caused by the birth of St. John the Baptist, though the cause of it was more hidden. The Lord hastened in him the use of his reason, perfecting it in his third year, endowing it with infused science and augmenting his soul with new graces and virtues. From that time the child began to know God by faith, and also by natural reasoning and science, as the Cause and Author of all things. He eagerly listened and understood profoundly all that was taught him in regard to God and His works. At this premature age he already practiced the highest kinds of prayer and contemplation and eagerly engaged in the exercise of the virtues proper to his youth; so that, at the time when others come to the use of reason, at the age of 7 years or more, St. Joseph was already a perfect man in the use of it and in holiness. He was of a kind disposition, loving, affable, sincere, showing inclinations not only holy but also angelic, growing in virtue and perfection and advancing toward his espousal with most holy Mary by an altogether irre­proachable life.

179 For the confirmation and increase of his good qualities was then added the intercession of the Blessed Lady; for as soon as She was informed that the Lord wished Her to enter the married state with him, She earnestly besought the Lord to sanctify St. Joseph and inspire him with most chaste thoughts and desires in conformity with Her own. The Lord listened to Her prayer and permitted Her to see what great effects His Right Hand wrought in the mind and spirit of the Patriarch St. Joseph. They were so copious, that they cannot be described in human words. He infused into his soul the most perfect habits of all the virtues and gifts. He balanced anew all his faculties and filled him with grace, confirming it in an admirable manner. In the virtue and perfection of chastity the holy spouse was elevated higher than the Seraphim; for the purity, which they possessed without a body, St. Joseph possessed in his earthly body and in mortal flesh; never did an image of the impurities of the animal and sensible nature engage, even for one moment, any of his faculties. This freedom from all such imaginations and his angelic sim­plicity fitted him for the companionship and presence of the most Pure among all creatures, and without this excellence he would not have been worthy of so great a dignity and rare excellence.

180 Also in the other virtues he was wonderfully distinguished, especially in charity; for he dwelt at the fountainhead of that living water, which flows on to Eternal Life (Jn 4:14); he was in close proximity to that sphere of fire and was consumed without resistance. The best that can be said of the charity of our Saint is what I have already said in the preceding chapter; namely, that his love of God was really the cause of his mortal sickness and of his death. The manner of his death was a privilege of his singular love, for his sweet sighs of love surpassed and finally put an end to those of his sickness, being far more powerful. As the objects of his love, Christ and His Mother, were present with him always and as both of Them were more closely bound to him than to any of the woman-born, his most pure and faithful heart was unavoidably consumed by the loving effects of such a close union. Blessed be the Author of such great wonders and blessed be the most fortunate of men, St. Joseph, who so worthily corresponded to their love? He deserves to be known and extolled by all the generations of men and all nations, since the Lord has wrought such things with no other man and to none has He shown such love.

181 I have particularly men­tioned the visions and revelations given to St. Joseph in the course of this history (Vol. 2:422, 423, 471); but there were many more than can be de­scribed, and the greatest of them all was his hav­ing known the Mysteries of the relation between Christ and His Mother and his having lived in their company for so many years as the putative father of the Lord and as the true spouse of the Queen of heaven. But I have been informed concerning certain other privileges conferred upon St. Joseph by the Most High on account of his great holiness, which are especially important to those who ask his intercession in a proper manner. In virtue of these special privileges the inter­cession of St. Joseph is most powerful: first, for attaining the virtue of purity and overcoming the sen­sual inclinations of the flesh; secondly, for procuring powerful help to escape sin and return to the friendship of God; thirdly, for increasing the love and devotion to most Holy Mary; fourthly, for securing the grace of a happy death and protection against the devils in that hour; fifthly, for inspiring the devils with terror at  the mere mention of his name by his clients; sixthly, for gaining health of body and assistance in all kinds of difficulties; seventhly, for securing issue of children in families. These and many other favors God confers upon those who properly and with good disposition seek the intercession of the spouse of our Queen, St. Joseph. I implore all the faithful children of the Church to be very devout to him and they will experience these favors in reality, if they dispose themselves, as they should in order to receive and merit them.

INSTRUCTIONS OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

182 My daughter, although you have described My spouse, St. Joseph, as the most noble among the princes and saints of the heavenly Jerusalem; yet neither can you properly manifest his eminent sanctity, nor can anyone know it fully before they arrive at the vision of the Divinity. Then all of them will be filled with wonder and praise as the Lord will make them capable of understanding this sacrament. On the last day, when all men shall be judged, the damned will bitterly bewail their sins, which prevented them from appreciating this powerful means of their salvation, and availing themselves, as they easily could have, of this intercessor to gain the friendship of the Just Judge. The whole human race has much undervalued the privi­leges and prerogatives conceded to My blessed spouse and they do not know what his intercession with God is able to do. I assure you, My dear, that he is one of the greatly favored personages in the Divine Presence and has immense power to stay the Arms of Divine Vengeance. I desire that you be very thankful to the Divine Condescension for giving you so much light and knowledge regarding this mystery, and also for the favor that I am doing you by this. From now on, during the rest of your  life, see that you advance in devotion and in hearty love toward My spouse, and that you bless the Lord for thus having favored Him with such high privileges and for having rejoiced Me so much in the knowledge of all His excellences. In all your necessities you must avail yourself of His Intercession. You should induce many to venerate Him and see that your own religious distinguish themselves in their devotion to Him. That which My Spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men, if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them. All these privileges were to be a reward for the amiable perfection of this wonderful saint and for his great virtues; for Divine Clemency is favorably drawn forth by them and looks upon St. Joseph with generous liberality, ready to shower down its marvelous mercies upon all those who avail themselves of his intercession.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 17
THE ACTIVITIES OF MOST HOLY MARY AFTER THE DEATH OF SAINT JOSEPH AND SOME OF HER DEALINGS WITH THE HOLY ANGELS

184 Christian perfection is all included in the 2 states of life known to the Church: the active and the contemplative life. To the active life belong all the opera­tions of the body and the senses, practiced in our association with our neighbor in temporal affairs. They embrace a wide field and include the practice of the moral virtues, which constitute the perfection of our active life. To the contemplative life belong the interior activities of the understanding and will, aiming at the most noble and the spiritual objects proper to the rational creature. Therefore, the contemplative life is more excellent than the active, and, as it is more quiet, more delightful and beautiful, it is also more desirable in itself. It tends more directly toward the highest end, that is God, since it consists in the deepest knowledge and love of God, and thus participates of the qualities of eternal life, which is entirely contemplative. These 2 lives, the 2 sisters Martha and Mary (Luke 10:41), the one quiet and thoughtful, the other solicitous and bustling; or those other 2 sisters and wives, Leah and Rachel: the one, fruitful, but ugly and with sore eyes, the other beautiful and gracious, but sterile in the beginning.  For the active life is more productive, though in it the soul is taken up with numerous and various occupations, during which it is kept in disturbance and cannot raise itself up to penetrate the high things of God; while the contemplative life is most beau­tiful, although, in the beginning, not so productive, be­cause its fruits are to be the result of prayer and merits. These presuppose great advance in the perfection and in the friendship of God, which draw down the liberality of God in favor of other souls, and produce the fruits of benediction, very copious and very precious.

185 The combination of these 2 lives is the summit of Christian perfection. But this combination is very difficult. We do not see both kinds of life united in one person, but existing in a remarkable degree separated in Martha and Mary, in Leah and Rachel, representing singly either the active or the contemplative life. In none of them could both the active and the contemplative life be properly represented on account of the difficulty of com­bining the practice of both in one subject to any great extent. Although the saints have labored much to attain this perfect combination, and all the teachers of spiritual life have sought to direct souls toward it; although there are so many instructions of learned and apostolic men and the examples of the Apostles and of the Founders of the holy religion, who have sought to join contem­plation with action as far as is possible with Divine grace; yet they always knew, that the active life, on account of the multitude of its interests and occupations concerning inferior objects, dissipates the heart and disturbs it, as the Lord tells Martha. Although those engaged in it may seek quiet and repose in order to raise themselves to the highest objects of contemplation, they never succeed in doing so during this kind of life without great diffi­culty and only for a short time, except by a special privi­lege of the Most High. On this account, the saints that wished to give themselves up to contemplation sought the deserts and solitudes, which are more favorable to that kind of life; and the other, that pursued the active life, and the care of souls by teaching and exhortation, set aside some of their time for retirement from exterior activity, and divided their days between contemplation and active life. By thus attending to both with perfec­tion, they attained the merits and reward of the 2 kinds of life, founded on love and grace as their prin­cipal support.

186 The most blessed Mary alone joined these 2 lives in a perfect manner: the highest and most ardent contemplation was not hindered by Her occupations in the active life. In Her was the solicitude of Martha without its excitement, and the quiet and rest of Mary without idleness of the body; She possessed the beauty of Rachel and the fruitfulness of Leah; and only this great and prudent Queen truly exemplified what these sisters mysteriously typified. Although She attended upon Her ailing spouse, and supported him and Her Most Holy Son by Her labor, She did not on that account inter­rupt or curtail Her heavenly contemplations, nor was She under any necessity of seeking solitude or retire­ment, in order to restore the quiet and peace of Her heart and raise it beyond the seraphic regions. Yet, when She found Herself alone and deprived of the company of St. Joseph, She so arranged Her exercises, as to spend Her time entirely in the interior activity of Divine Love. She immediately perceived, by Her insight into the interior of Her Most Holy Son, that such was His Will, that She should relax Her labors by which She had attended to the needs of St. Joseph through night and day, and that instead of this hard labor, She should now join His Majesty in His prayers and exalted works.

187 The Lord also reminded Her that for the moderate nourishment necessary to Them it would be sufficient to engage in labor only for a short time each day; for from that time on they were to eat only once a day at eventide, having until now followed another custom out of regard to St. Joseph and in order to keep him consoling company at mealtimes. Thenceforward Jesus and Mary ate but once a day at about 6 o'clock in the evening; many times their meal consisted merely of bread, at other times the Blessed Lady added fruits or herbs, or perhaps fish; and this formed the only refresh­ment of the Sovereigns of  heaven and earth. Al­though their frugality and abstinence had always been great, yet it was greater after they were left alone, and They never dispensed Themselves except in regard to the kind of food and in regard to the time of taking it. When They were invited, they ate a little of what was offered to Them, without abstaining entirely, commenc­ing to practice the advice which Jesus was afterwards to give to His disciples for their conduct while preaching the Gospel. The simple food used by the Heavenly Sovereigns was served by the great Lady to Her Divine Son on Her knees, having asked permission thus to serve it. Sometimes She also prepared it in that posture, moved thereto by the thought that it was to serve as nourishment of the True Son of God.

188 The presence of St. Joseph was no hindrance to the most blessed Mother in treating Her Son with all due reverence, not missing the least point of what this reverence toward Him demanded. But after the death of St. Joseph the great Lady practiced prostrations and genuflections much more frequently; for there was always more freedom for such actions in the presence of Her Holy Angels, than in the presence of Her spouse who was man. Many times She remained prostrate upon the ground until the Lord commanded Her to rise; very often She kissed His Feet, at other times His Hand, usually She was filled with tears of the profoundest humility and reverence. She always stood in the Presence of Her Divine Son in posture of adoration and most ardent love, awaiting His Divine Pleasure and intent upon imitat­ing His interior virtues. Although She had no faults, and was not guilty of even the least imperfection or negligence in the service and love of Her Most Holy Son, Her eyes (like those of the servant and of the anxious handmaid mentioned by the Prophet, only more de­votedly) were continually upon the Hands of Her Master, in order to obtain the graces She desired for assisting Her to greater perfection (Ps 123:2). It cannot enter into human thought what Divine science aided Her in understanding and performing so many and so great works in union with the Incarnate Word during the time They both lived alone together, without any other company than that of the Holy Angels of their guard and service. They alone were the eye-witnesses and were moved to admiration and to highest praises, to see themselves so inferior in wisdom and purity to a mere Creature who was worthy of such holiness: for She alone made a full return for the graces She received.

189 With the Holy Angels the Queen of Heaven entered into a sweet emulation and strife in regard to the ordi­nary and humble services which were necessary for the comfort of the Word of God and the well-ordering of Their little dwelling, for there was no one to attend to these things except the Heavenly Lady and those most noble and faithful vassals and ministers, who, for this purpose assisted in human forms ready and anxious to attend to all the work. The great Queen wished to per­form all the humble work Herself and with Her own hands to scrub the house and arrange its poor furnish­ings, wash the dishes and cooking utensils, and set the rooms in order; but these courtiers of the Most High, being truly courteous and more expeditious, though not more humble in their operations, usually anticipated these services before the Queen could find time to per­form them. Sometimes, and at certain periods, often, She would find them thus at the work which She was about to perform, the Holy Angels having begun it before­hand; but at Her word they desisted and allowed Her to satisfy Her humility and devotion in completing it Her­self. In order that they might not interfere with Her affectionate desires, She said to the Holy Angels: "Min­isters of the Most High, you are such pure spirits that you reflect the light of the Divinity for My illumination, and, therefore, these low and servile occupations are not suitable to your state, your nature and condition. These pertain to Me, who, besides being only of earth, am the lowest of mankind and the least of the servants of My Lord and Son. Permit Me, My friends, to perform the service to which I am bound, since I can thereby gain merits that, on account of your station and dignity, you do not need. I know the value of these servile works which the world despises, and the Lord has given Me this knowledge not in order that I may allow them to be done by others, but that I may perform them Myself."

190 "Our Queen and Lady," answered the angels, "it is true that in Your eyes and in the estimation of the Lord these works are as valuable as You know them to be; but if You do thereby earn the precious re­wards of Your humility, take notice that we would be deficient in obedience to the Lord if we would know­ingly omit any of these works permitted us by the Most High. The merits which You lose in not perform­ing this service, You, O Lady, can easily make up by the mortification of denying Yourself the desire of execut­ing them." The most prudent Virgin answered these arguments by saying: "No, My masters and sovereign spirits, you must not look upon these works in such a light; for if you consider yourselves bound to serve Me as the Mother of your great Lord, Whose creatures you are, remember that He has raised Me from the dust to this great dignity and that therefore My debt of gratitude for this benefit is greater than yours. As My obligation is so much the greater, My return must also be greater than yours. If you desire to serve My Son as His crea­tures, I likewise must serve Him on this account, and I am more bound to do so because I am the Mother of such a Son. Thus you will always find Me more obliged than yourselves to be humble, thankful and annihilated to the very dust in His Divine Presence."

191 These and similar sweet and admirable conten­tions were going on between most Holy Mary and Her angels; and the palm of humility always remained in the hands of their Queen. The world is justly ignorant of these mysteries, being unworthy of knowing them on account of its vanity and pride. Its foolish arrogance deems insignificant and contemptible these humble and servile occupations, while the courtiers of heaven who know their value appreciate them, and the Queen of Creation eagerly sought after them as very precious. But let us leave the world to its intentional or unconscious ignorance. Humility is not for the proud of heart, nor lowly service for purple and fine linen, nor scrubbing and washing for costly gems and silks, nor are the precious jewels of these virtues intended indiscrimi­nately for all men. But if the contagion of worldly pride enters into the schools of humility and contempt of the world, namely, into religious communities, and if this kind of humiliation is looked upon by them as a disgrace, we cannot deny that such sentiments are nothing but a most shameful and reprehensible pride. If we religious men and women despise the benefits of such humble occupations and count them a degradation like worldly people, how can we appear before the angels and our Queen, who esteemed as greatest honors those very works which we look upon as contemptible and dis­honorable?

192 My sisters, daughters of this great Queen and Lady, to you I speak, who are called and transported to the bridal-chamber of the great King to true joy and exaltation (Ps 45:16)! Do not allow yourselves to be robbed of your right to be called children of such a Mother! If She, who was the Queen of Angels and men, humbled Herself by engaging in such lowly and trivial occupations, in scrubbing and busying Herself in the most common handiwork, what presumption shall the haughtiness, vain pride and lack of humility of mere slaves appear to be in Her sight and in the Sight of the Lord God Himself? Far from our community be such treason, fit only for Babylon and its inhabitants. Let us feel honored by that which the exalted Queen esteemed as a crown of merit, and let it be for us a subject of most shameful confusion and a cause for dreadful reprehen­sion to be found lacking in the same zealous conten­tion of humility which She entertained with the Holy Angels. Let us eagerly seek after humble and servile occupation and let us cause in the angels and heavenly companions the same emulation, which was so pleasing to our Queen, and to Her Most Holy Son and our Spouse.

193 We must understand that without real and solid humility, it is audacious to seek the reward of uncertain spiritual or sensible consolations, and to strive after them is daring foolishness. Let us rather look upon our Heavenly Teacher who is the perfect example of a holy and perfect life. In the great Queen the favors and delights of heaven alternated with Her humble and serv­ile occupations for it happened many times when She was engaged in prayer with Her Son, that the Holy Angels in sweet, harmonious voices sang the hymns and canticles composed by Mary Herself in praise of the Infinite Being of God and of the Hypostatical Union of the Word with Human Nature in the Second Person of the Trinity. The Blessed Lady often asked the angels to repeat these hymns to Her Lord and Creator and, alternating the verses with them, She added new hymns. They obeyed Her, lost in admiration at the profound wisdom manifested in what She thus said and composed for them. Then, whenever Her Most Holy Son retired to rest, or during His meals, She commanded them, as the Mother of their Creator, solicitous to entertain Him, that they furnish sweet music in Her name and the Lord permitted it whenever She so ordered, therein yielding to the ardor of Her love and veneration, with which She served Him in His last years. In order to narrate all that has been revealed to me in this regard, a much longer discourse is necessary and much greater ability than mine. From what I have insinuated one can judge to some extent of other deep mysteries of this communication and find motive and occasion to magnify and extol the great Lady and Queen whom may all nations know and praise as blessed among creatures, as the Mother of the Creator and Redeemer of the world.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

194 My daughter, I wish that, before proceeding to narrate other mysteries, you understand well all that the Lord commanded in regard to My association with My holy spouse, St. Joseph. When I espoused Myself to him, God commanded Me to change the order of My meals and other exterior duties in order to accommodate Myself to his circumstances; for he was the head of the family, and, according to the common rule, I was the inferior. The same conduct was also followed by My Most Holy Son, though He was true God, yet He sub­jected Himself before the eyes of the world to him who was thought to be His father. As soon as We were alone after the death of My spouse, who was the occa­sion of this change in our lives, we returned to our former way of living. The Lord did not expect St. Joseph to accommodate himself to us, but that We should accommodate ourselves to him as the common order among men required. Nor did the Lord resort to miracles in order to escape the necessity of taking food or of following ordinary human occupations; for in all things, He acted as the Teacher of all virtues, and of all perfection, being an example to parents and children, to prelates, superiors, subjects and inferiors; to parents, in order that they may learn to love their children, help them, nourish them, exhort them, correct them and lead them on in the way of salvation without remissness or carelessness; to chil­dren, in order that they may learn to esteem, love and honor their parents as the instruments of their existence, diligently obey them according to the natural law, which requires and teaches obedience and repudiates the oppo­site as monstrous and horrible; to prelates and superiors, in order that they may love their subjects and direct them as their children; to inferiors, that they obey without resistance, even if they should in other respects be of higher and better condition in life; for in so far as the superior represents God, the prelate is always superior in dignity; but real charity must always teach both to be of one spirit.

195 In order that you may acquire this great virtue, I desire that you conform and accommodate yourself to your sisters and inferiors without affection of formality, and that you treat them with dove-like meek­ness and sincerity. Do you pray when they pray, work and eat, and take your recreation with them. For real perfection in a convent consists in conforming to the common spirit, and if you act thus, you will be guided by the Holy Spirit, Who governs all well-regulated com­munities. Following this order you can make progress in abstinence, eating less than the others, though the same amount of food is placed before you. Without being singular you can, with a little discretion, abstain from what you desire for the love of your Spouse and of Me. If you are not hindered by some grave infirmity, never absent yourself from the common exercises unless perhaps obedience to your superiors sometimes prevent you. Be present at all common exercises with special reverence, attention and devotion, for at such times you will most frequently be visited by the Lord.

196 I wish also that you learn from this chapter to conceal carefully the special works you undertake in imitation of My own; for, although I had no need of refraining from any work in the presence of St. Joseph, yet I was careful to add retirement as an additional observance of perfection and prudence, since retirement of itself makes good works more praiseworthy. But this is not to be understood of ordinary and obligatory works, since you must give a good example and let your light shine, avoiding any danger of scandal or cause for complaint. There are many works which can be done in secret and unobserved by the eyes of creatures, and which are not lightly to be exposed to the danger of publicity and ostentation. In your retirement you can make many genuflections; prostrate in the dust, you can humiliate yourself, adoring the Supreme Majesty of the Most High and offering your mortal body, which oppresses your soul, as a sacrifice for the disorderly inclinations against justice and reason. Thus you will not reserve any part of your being from the service of your Creator and Spouse, and you will force your body to make up the loss, which it causes to the soul by its passions and earthly affections.

197 With this object in view seek to keep it always in strict subjection, allowing it to partake only of those comforts that serve to keep it in proper condition for the activity of the soul and not to pander to its passions and appetites. Mortify and crush it until it is dead to all that is delightful to the senses, so that even the common actions necessary for life shall appear to you more painful than agreeable, taste more of bitterness than of dangerous enjoyment. Although I have already on other occasions spoken to you of the value of this morti­fication and humiliation, you should now, by this example that I have given you, be still more convinced of their great value. I now command you not to despise any of these acts or deem them of little consequence, but esteem all of them as precious treasures to be gained for yourself. In this you must be covetous and avaricious, eagerly grasping the occasions of doing servile work, such as scrubbing, cleaning the house, engaging in the most menial services, and attending upon the sick and infirm as I have said before. In all of these works place Me before your eyes as an example in order that My care­fulness and humility may urge you on, full of joy to be able to imitate Me, and shame for any negligence therein. If I, who never had displeased or offended the Lord since the beginning of My existence, judged this virtue of humility so necessary in order to find grace in His Eyes and be raised up by His Right Hand, how much more is it necessary for you to humble yourself to the dust and annihilate yourself in His Sight, who was con­ceived in sin and have so often offended Him? (Ps 51:7). Humiliate yourself to nothingness, and acknowledge that what being the Most High has given you, you have but ill employed, and that, therefore, your very existence should be a subject of humiliation to you. Thus will you at last find the treasure of grace.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 18
 OCCUPATIONS OF OUR QUEEN AND LADY  AND HER MOST HOLY SON, WHILE THEY LIVED ALONE TOGETHER
198 As I have already said in other places the knowledge of many of the sacramental mysteries of Jesus and Mary are reserved for the increase of the ac­cidental beatitude of the predestined in Eternal life. The highest and most ineffable of these mysteries took place during the 4 years in which they lived together after the death of St. Joseph and after the public preaching of our Lord. It is impossible for anyone worthily to understand such profound secrets: how much less can I, untutored as I am, manifest properly what I have been made to understand concerning them. But in that which I do manifest, will be seen the cause of my inability. The Soul of Christ our Lord was a most transparent and flawless mirror, in Which the Blessed Mother saw reflected all the Mysteries and Sacraments which the Lord, as the Head and Artificer of the Holy Church, the Restorer of the human race, the Teacher of Eternal Salvation and the Angel of the great council, wrought and accomplished according to Eternal Decrees of the Most Blessed Trinity.

199 In the execution of this work consigned to Him by the Eternal Father, Christ our Lord consumed His whole earthly life and lent to it all the perfection pos­sible to a God-Man. In the measure as He approached its consummation and the full accomplishment of its Sacraments, so also the force of His Divine Wisdom and Omnipotence became more evident. Of all these Mysteries our great Queen and Lady was the eyewitness and Her purest heart was their depository. In all things She co-operated with Her Divine Son, as His helpmate in the works of the reparation of mankind. Accordingly, in order to understand entirely the designs of Eternal Provi­dence and the process of dispensing all the mysteries of salvation, it was necessary that She comprehend also the things hidden in the science of Christ our Redeemer, the works of His love and prudence, by which He prepared the efficient means of attaining His high purposes. In the little that I can say of the works of most Holy Mary, I must always presuppose the works of Her Most Holy Son; for She co-operated with Him and imitated Him as Her pattern and model.

200 The Savior of the world was already 26 years of age; and in the measure as His Most Holy Humanity approached its perfect growth and its earthly end, Christ proceeded to manifest it by permitting His operations to show more and more openly the purpose of the Redemption. All these mysteries the evangelist Luke includes in those few words, with which he closes Chapter 2: "And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and man." Among men His Blessed Mother co-operated and grew in knowledge with the increase and progress of Her Son, without re­maining ignorant of anything that the Son of God and Man could ever communicate to a mere creature. Among these hidden and Divine Mysteries the great Lady also perceived during these years, how Her Son and true God began more and more to extend His plans, not only those of His Divinity, but of His humanity, so as to include all men in His Redemption as a whole; how He weighed its value in the Eyes of the Eternal Father, and how, in order to close the gates of hell and call men to Eternal Happiness, He had come down from Heaven to suffer the most Bitter Torments and Death; and how, in spite of all this, the folly and wickedness of those that were to be born after He had thus annihilated Himself on the Cross, would rather urge Him to widen the portals and open the lowest abysses of hell, consigning them to those horrible and dreadful torments, which their blind ignorance continued to disregard.

201 The knowledge and contemplation of this sad fate caused great affliction and sorrow to the human nature of Christ our Lord, and sometimes pressed forth a bloody sweat. In these agonies the Divine Teacher persevered in His petitions for all that were to be redeemed. In con­formity with the Will of His Eternal Father He desired with the most ardent love to be sacrificed for the rescue of men. For, as not all were to be saved by His merits and sacrifices, He knew, that at all events the Divine Justice must be satisfied and the offenses to the Divinity be made good by the punishment, which Divine Equity and Justice had prepared from all eternity for the infidels and the thankless sinners on the day of retribution. En­tering into these profound secrets by Her deep wisdom the great Lady joined Her Most Holy Son in the sorrowful contemplation and sighs for those unfortunates, while at the same time Her heart was torn by grief at the heavy affliction of the Blessed Fruit of Her womb. Many times the meekest Dove shed ensanguined tears, when She saw Her Son sweat blood in the agonies of His sorrow. For only this most prudent Lady and Her Son, the True God and Man, could ever justly weigh, as in the scales of the Sanctuary, what it meant, on the one hand to see God dying upon a Cross in order to seal up the infernal regions, and, on the other hand, the hardness and blind­ness of mortal hearts in casting themselves headlong into the jaws of eternal death.

202 In these great sorrows it sometimes happened, that the most loving Mother was overcome by deathly weaknesses, and they would no doubt have ended Her life, if She had not been preserved by divine intervention. Her sweetest Son, in return for Her most faithful and loving compassion, sometimes commanded the angels to console Her and take Her into their arms, at other times, to sing Her own heavenly canticles of praise in honor of the Divinity and humanity. At other times the Lord Himself took Her into His Arms and gave Her new celes­tial understanding of Her exemption from this iniquitous law of sin and its effects. Sometimes, thus reclining in His Arms, the angels sang to Her in admiration, while She, transformed and enraptured in heavenly ecstasies, ex­perienced new and exquisite influences of the Divinity. At such times this chosen One, this perfect and only One, was truly reclining on the Left Hand of the Humanity, while rejoiced and caressed by the Right Hand of the Divinity (Song 2:6); Her Most Loving Son and Spouse conjured the daughters of Jerusalem not to wake His Be­loved from Her sleep, which cured the sorrows and infirmi­ties of Her love, until She herself desired to be thus woken; and the supernal spirits broke forth in wonder, to see Her raised above them all, resting on Her Beloved Son, clothed in varicolored garment at His Right Hand, and they blessed and extolled Her above all creatures (Ps 45:10).

203 The great Queen was made acquainted with the deepest secrets concerning the predestination of the elect in virtue of the Redemption, and She saw them as they were written in the Eternal Memory of Her Son. She was enabled to see how He applied to them His merits and efficaciously interceded for their salvation; how His love and grace, of which the reprobate made themselves un­worthy, were awarded to the predestined according to their different dispositions. Among the predestined She also saw those, whom the Lord in His wisdom and solici­tude was to call to His apostolate and imitation, and how by means of His hidden and fore-ordained decrees, He began to enlist them to the Standard of His Cross, which they themselves afterwards were to unfold before the world; and how He pursued the policy of a Good General, Who, planning a great battle or conquest, assigns the dif­ferent duties to different parts of His army, chooses the most courageous and well-disposed for the most arduous positions. Thus Christ our Redeemer, in order to enter upon the conquest of the world and despoil the devil of his tyrannical possession by the power of His Godhead as the Word, disposed of this new army to be enlisted, assigned the dignities and offices of His courageous and strong captains and predestined them for their posts of duty. All the preparations and apparatus of this war were prearranged in the Divine Wisdom of His Most Holy Will just in the order in which all was to take place.

204 All this was also open and manifest to the most prudent Mother; and to Her was given, by infused species, to see and personally to know many of the pre­destined, especially the Apostles and disciples, and a great number of those, who were called to the Holy Church in the primitive and later ages. On account of this super­natural knowledge given to Her by God, She knew the Apostles and others before coming in contact with them, and just as the Divine Master had prayed and obtained for them their vocation before He called them, so also the Heavenly Lady had made them the object of Her prayers. Hence, in the favors and graces, which the Apostles received before hearing or seeing their Master, and which disposed and prepared them to accept their vocation to the apostolate, the Mother of Grace had like­wise co-operated. In proportion as the time of His public preaching drew nearer, the Lord redoubled His prayers and petitions for them and sent them greater and more efficacious inspirations. In like manner the prayers of the Heavenly Lady grew to be more fervent and effica­cious; and when afterwards they attached themselves to the Lord and saw Her face to face, She was prone to say of them as well as of many others, to Her Son: "These, My Son and Master, are the fruits of Your prayers and of Your holy desires." And She sang songs of praise and thanksgiving, because She saw His wishes fulfilled, and because She saw those, who were called from the begin­ning of the world, drawn to His following.

205 In the prudent contemplation of those wonders our great Queen was wont to be absorbed and to break out in matchless hymns of admiration and praise, per­forming heroic acts of love and adoring the secret judg­ments of the Most High. Entirely transformed and pene­trated by this fire, which issued from the Lord in order to consume the world, She was accustomed, some times in the secret of Her heart, at others in a loud voice, to exclaim: "O Infinite Love! O manifestation of goodness ineffable and immense! Why do men not know You? Why should Your tenderness be so ill repaid? O You labors, sufferings, sighs, petitions and desires of My Beloved, altogether more precious than pearls, than all the treasures of the world! Who shall be so unhappy and so ungrateful as to despise You? O children of Adam, whom can you find to die for you many times, in order that your ignorance might be undeceived, your hardness be softened and your misfortunes relieved?" After these ardent exclamations, the Blessed Mother con­versed with Her Son face to face, and the Most High King consoled and dilated Her heart reminding Her, how pleasing She Herself was to the Most High, how great a grace and glory were to be merited for the predestined in comparison with the ingratitude and hardness of the reprobate. Especially He showed Her the love of Him­self toward Her, that of the Blessed Trinity, and how much God was pleased with Her faithful correspondence and immaculate purity.

206 At other times the Lord showed Her, what He was to do in His public preaching; how She was to co­operate with Him and help Him in the affairs and in the government of the new Church. She was informed of the denial of St. Peter, the unbelief of Thomas, the treachery of Judas, and other events of the future. From that moment on the dutiful Lady resolved to labor zeal­ously in order to save that treasonous disciple, and She followed Her resolve, as I shall relate in its place. The perdition of Judas began by his despising Her good will and by conceiving against the Mother of Grace a sort of ill will and impiety. Of these great mysteries and sacra­ments the heavenly Lady was informed by Her Most Holy Son. So great was the wisdom and science deposited in Her, that all attempts at fully explaining them is vain; for only the knowledge of the Lord could exceed that of Mary, which far excelled that of all the Seraphim and Cherubim. But if our Lord and Redeemer Jesus, and Mary, His most Holy Mother, employed all these gifts of grace and science in the service of men; and if a single sigh of Christ our Lord was of incalculable value for all creatures, and if those of His Mother, though they had not the same value as His, being those of a mere creature, were worth more in the Eyes of God than the accomplishments of all creation taken together, to what an immense value will both their united merits swell, when we add together what Son and Mother did for us, in their petitions, tears, bloody sweat, fearful torment and Death of the Cross and all the other actions, in which the Mother joined the Divine Son as His helpmate and partaker of all His acts! O ingratitude of men! O hardness of our carnal heart, more than adamantine! Where is our insight? Where our reason? Where is even the most common compassion or gratitude of human nature? Is it not moved to pity and compassion by the sensible objects, the causes of its eternal damnation? Why then does it so completely forget to be moved by the life and sufferings of the Lord, the cause of everlasting happiness and peace in the life to come?

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

207 My daughter, it is certain, that even if you or anyone else were able to speak in the language of the angels, they would not on that account be able to describe the blessings and favors, which the Right Hand of the Most High showered upon Me in those last years of the life of My Son with Me. These works of the Lord are of an order, far above your capacity and that of the rest of mankind. But since you have received such special enlightenment concerning these sacraments, I wish that you praise and extol the Almighty for all that He did for Me and for raising Me out of the dust by such exalted favors. Although your love of the Lord must be spontaneous as that of a devoted daughter and of a most loving spouse, not selfish or forced; yet I wish, that, for the support of your human weakness and the strengthening of your hope, you fondly remember, how delightful the Lord is in His charity toward those who love Him with filial fear. O My dear Daughter, if men would place no hindrance by their sins, and if they would not resist this infinite bounty, how measureless would be the favors and blessings upon them! According to your way of understanding you must look upon Him as being out­raged and made sorrowful by the opposition of men to His boundless desires of doing them good. And they carry their opposition so far, that they accustom them­selves not only to be unworthy of tasting of His sweetness, but also not to believe, that others ever participate in His sweetness and blessings, which He desires so much to communicate to all.

208 Be careful also to give thanks for the incessant labors of My Most Holy Son for all men, and for what I have done in union with Him, as has been shown you. Catholics should bear in mind more constantly the Passion and Death of the Lord, because the Church so often re­calls it to their remembrance, although few show them­selves grateful. But there are still fewer who take thought of the other works of My Son and of Mine. For the Lord allowed not one hour, yes not a moment, to pass, in which He did not employ in gaining gifts and graces for rescuing all men from eternal damnation and making them participants of His glory. These works of the Lord God Incarnate will be witnesses against the forgetfulness and hard-heartedness of the faithful, especially on the Day of Judgment. If you, who possess the light and the doctrine of the Most High and My teachings, will not be grateful, your confusion will be even greater than that of others, since your guilt is more heinous. You must not only correspond to the many general blessings, but also to the special and particular ones, which you experience every day. Guard against the danger of forgetfulness and conduct yourself as My daughter and disciple. Do not delay for one moment to apply yourself to a good life in the best way possible to you. For this purpose attend well to the interior lights and to the instructions of your spiritual directors, the ministers of the Lord. Be assured, if you correspond to some of the graces and favors, the Most High will open up His Almighty Hands and fill you with riches and treasures.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 19
CHRIST  PREPARES FOR HIS PUBLIC PREACHING. HIS MOTHER ASSISTS HIM.

209 The fire of Divine charity burned in the Heart of our Redeemer and Master as in a closed furnace until the opportune time destined for its manifestation. For in due time He was to lay bare the burning love of His Heart by means of His public preaching and miracles, and at last even to break the vase of His Humanity in order to pour forth His charity. Although it is true, as Solomon says, that fire cannot be concealed in the bosom without burn­ing the vestments (Prov 6:27), and although the Lord always manifested His love, sending forth from Him its sparks and flames in all His undertakings since the moment of His Incarnation; yet, in comparison to what He was to accomplish in His chosen time and in comparison to the conflagration of His interior love, we may say that the flames of His love had until then remained covered and enclosed. The Lord had now reached perfect adolescence, attaining His 27th year. According to our way of speaking, it seemed as if He could not any more re­strain the impetus of His love and of His desire to fulfill the Will of the Eternal Father in accomplishing the salvation of men. He was filled with sorrowing love, prayed and fasted much, and began to mingle with the people and communicate with men. Many times He passed the nights in prayer on the mountains, and began to absent Himself two or three days from the house and from His most Holy Mother.

210 The most prudent Lady, by these absences and excursions of Her Son, foresaw the approach of His labors and sufferings. She already felt the sword, prepared for Her devout and affectionate love, piercing Her heart and soul, and was entirely consumed in most tender acts of love for Her Beloved. During these absences of Her Son Her heavenly courtiers and vassals, the Holy Angels, at­tended upon Her in visible forms, and the great Lady spoke to them of Her sorrows, and sent them as messen­gers to Her Son and Lord in order that they might bring Her news of His occupations and exercises. The Holy Angels obeyed their Queen and by their frequent messages She was enabled, in Her retirement, to follow the Most High King Christ in all His prayers, supplications and exercises. Whenever the Lord returned She received Him prostrate upon the ground, adoring Him and thanking Him for the blessings, which He had gained for sinners. She served Him as a loving Mother and sought to procure for Him the poor refreshment, of which She knew He stood in need as a true man subject to suffering; for often it happened that He had passed 2 or 3 days without rest, or food or sleep. As already described the most Blessed Mother was well aware of the labors and cares weighing down the Soul of the Redeemer. The Lord always informed Her of them, and of His new undertak­ings, of the hidden blessings communicated to many souls by new light concerning the Divinity and concerning the Redemption.

211 Full of this knowledge the great Queen was apt to say to Her Most Holy Son: "My Lord, highest and true happiness of souls! I see, Light of My eyes, that Your most ardent love for men will not rest or be appeased until it has secured Eternal Salvation for them; this is the proper occupation of Your charity and the work assigned to You by the Eternal Father. Your words and precious works must necessarily draw toward You many hearts; but, O My sweetest Love, I desire that everyone be attracted and that all of them correspond to Your solicitude and exceeding great charity. Behold Me, Your slave, O Lord, with a heart prepared to fulfill all Your wishes and to offer Her life, if necessary, in order that all creatures may submit to the longings of Your most ardent love, which so completely devotes itself to drawing them to Your grace and friendship." To this offering the Mother of Mercy was urged by Her ardent desire to see the teaching and labors of our Redeemer and Master bring forth their proper fruit. As the most prudent Lady fully estimated their value and dignity, She wished that they be lost for no one, nor that proper thanks for them should be lacking in men. In Her charity She wished to assist the Lord, or rather to assist Her fellowmen, who heard His words and witnessed His works, in corresponding to these favors and lose not their chances of salvation. She was consumed with a desire to render worthy thanks and praise to the Lord for His wonderful bounty toward souls, seeking to repay the debt of acknowledgment and grati­tude, not only for those mercies that were efficacious, but for those, which the guilt of men made inactive. In this thanksgiving the thanks of our great Lady were as hidden as they were admirable. For in all the works of Christ our Lord She participated in a most exalted degree, not only in so far as She co-operated as the cause, but in as far as the effects are concerned. She so labored for each soul, as if She Herself were the one to be benefited. Of this I will say more in the third part.

212 To this offering of the most loving Mother Her Most Holy Son answered: "My dearest Mother! already the time is come in which I must, conform to the Will of My Eternal Father and commence to prepare some hearts for the reception of My Light and Doctrine and for giving them notice of the opportune and foreordained time of the salvation of men. In this work I wish You to follow and assist Me. Implore My Father to send His Light into the hearts of men and awaken their souls, that they may with an upright intention receive the mes­sage of the Presence of their Savior and Teacher in the world." From that day on His Mother, according to His own desire, accompanied Him in all His excursions from the town of Nazareth.

213 Our Lord began to make these excursions more frequently in the 3 years preceding His public preach­ing and Baptism; in the company of our great Queen He made many journeys in the neighborhood of Nazareth and to the province of Naphtali, as was prophesied by Isaiah (Is 5:2), or other parts. In His conversation with men He began to announce to them the Coming of the Messiah, assuring them, that He was already in the world and in the territory of Israel. He told them of it without intimating that He Himself was the One they thus ex­pected; for the first testimony of His being Son of God, was given publicly by the Eternal Father, when the Voice from Heaven was heard at the Jordan: "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased" (Matt 3:17). Without especially announcing His true dignity, the Only begotten spoke of it in general terms, as one who knows with cer­tainty. Without performing any public miracles or using other outward demonstration, He secretly accompanied His teachings and testimonies by interior inspirations and helps, which He conferred on the hearts of those with whom He conversed and treated. Thus disposing their souls by faith, He prepared them to receive Him after­wards so much the more readily in person.

214 He made acquaintance with such, as, by His Divine Wisdom, He knew to be prepared and capable (or rather, less unsuited) to accept the seed of truth. To the more ignorant He spoke of the signs of the Coming of the Re­deemer known to all, such as the coming of the 3 Kings and the slaughter of the Innocents, and of similar events. With the more enlightened He adduced the testi­monies of the Prophets, already fulfilled, and He ex­plained to them these truths with the power and force of a Divine Teacher. He proved to them, that the Messiah had already come to Israel, and He pointed out to them the Kingdom of God and the way to reach it. As He exhibited in His outward appearance so much beauty, grace, peace, sweetness and gentleness of manner and of speech, and as all His discourse, though veiled, was never­theless so vivid and strong, and as He added thereto also His interior help of grace, the fruit of this wonderful mode of teaching was very great. Many souls forsook the path of sin, others began a virtuous life, all of them were instructed and made capable of understanding the great mysteries, and especially of believing, that the Messiah had already begun His reign.

215 To these works of mercy the Divine Teacher added many others; for He consoled the sorrowful, relieved the oppressed, visited the sick and grief-stricken, encouraged the disheartened, gave salutary counsel to the ignorant, assisted those in the agony of death, secretly gave health of body to many, helped those in great distress, and at the same time led them on to the path of life and of true peace. All those that trustfully came to Him, or heard Him with devout and upright mind, were filled with light and with the powerful gifts of His Divinity. It is not possible to enumerate or estimate the admirable works of the Re­deemer during these 3 years of public preaching after His Baptism. All was done in a mysterious manner so that without manifesting Himself as the Author of salvation, He communicated it to a vast number of souls. In nearly all these wonderful operations our great Lady was present as a most faithful witness and co-worker. As all of them were manifest to Her, She assisted and gave thanks for them in the name those who were thus favored by Divine bounty. She composed hymns of praise to the Almighty, prayed for souls as one knowing all their interior necessities, and by Her prayers gained for them new blessings and favors. She herself also undertook to exhort and counsel them, draw­ing them to the sweet teachings of Her Son and giving them intimation of the coming of the Messiah. Yet She practiced these works of mercy more among women, imi­tating among them the works of mercy, which Her Most Holy Son performed for men.

216 Few persons accompanied or followed the Savior and His most Blessed Mother in those first years; for it was not yet time to call them to a close following of His doctrines. He permitted them to remain in their homes, simply instructing and urging them to a more perfect life by His Divine enlightenment. The ordinary companions of the Heavenly Teachers were the Holy Angels, who served them as most faithful vassals and servants. Al­though they often returned from these excursions to their home in Nazareth, yet on their journeys They stood more in need of the ministry of these courtiers of heaven. Some of the nights they passed in prayer without any other shelter than that of the sky, and on these occasions the Angels protected them and sheltered Them from the inclemency of the weather, and sometimes they brought food. At other times the Lord and His Mother begged food, refusing to accept any money, or other gifts not nec­essary for their present nourishment. When at times They separated, the Lord Jesus visiting the sick in hospitals and His Mother other sick persons, innumerable Angels accom­panied Mary in visible forms. Through their mediation She performed some of Her works of charity and was kept informed of the activities of Her Most Holy Son. I do not dilate in particular upon the wonders performed by Them during this time; nor upon the labors and difficulties encountered on these excursions, in the taverns, and from the obstacles which the common enemy placed in their way; it is enough to know that the Teacher of life and His most Holy Mother were looked upon as poor pilgrims, and that they preferred the way of suffering, without evading any labor deemed advisable for our salvation.

217 In this hidden manner the Divine Master and His Mother spread the knowledge of His Coming to all sorts of persons; yet the poor were more especially the objects of His blessed solicitude. They ordinarily are more capable of God's truths, because they are less burdened with sin and endowed with more light, and because their minds are more free and unhampered by vain anxieties. They are likewise more humble and diligent in subjecting their will and understanding, and in applying themselves to an upright and virtuous life. Moreover, as during these 3 years Jesus did not preach openly, nor with mani­fest authority confirmed by miracles, He addressed Him­self rather to the humble and poor, who are led to the truth with less show of authority. Nevertheless the at­tention of the ancient serpent was much aroused by many of the accomplishments of Jesus and His Mother; for not all of His miracles remained concealed, though the power by which they were done was hidden. The devil saw that through His words and exhortations many sinners were brought to repentance, amended their life and escaped his tyranny; others advanced in virtue, and in all who listened to the Teacher of life, the common enemy noticed a great and unheard of change.

218 What enraged him most, was that he could not succeed in his attempts with those that were in the throes of death. Though he multiplied his cunning and malice in these last hours of the souls in this life, it often happened that this bloodthirsty dragon, having approached the sick in order to exert his malice, was interrupted by the en­trance of Jesus or Mary and felt a powerful force, which hurled him and his devils to the deepest caverns of hell. If Jesus or Mary had previously come to the sickroom, the devils could not enter and could exert no influence upon the sick person, who thus died in the powerful pro­tection of the Lord. As the dragon felt this Divine power without being able to account for it, he conceived an in­sane rage, and anxiously sought means of counteracting the damage. Then happened what I shall relate in the next chapter, as I do not wish to enlarge this present one.

TEACHING OF THE MOST HOLY QUEEN, MARY

219 My daughter, I see you astonished at the infor­mation, which I give you concerning the mysterious works of My Most Holy Son and concerning My own share in them. For you see on the one hand, how powerful they are for making an impression on human hearts, and on the other, that many of them have remained hidden until now. Your wonder should not be that men have not known these mysteries, but that, having been informed of so many others concerning the life and activity of their own and My Lord, they have held them in such contempt and forgetfulness. If they were not so ignoble of heart, and would lovingly contemplate divine truths, they would find in My Son's and in My own life, as far as they know it, most powerful motives for thankfulness. By the Articles of Faith and by the many other truths taught and preached in the Holy Church, many worlds could be converted. For these truths exhibit clearly, that the Only Begotten of the Eternal Father clothed Himself in the mortal flesh of sinful man in order to redeem the human race by the frightful Death of the Cross (Phil 2:7), acquiring for them Eternal life by the loss of His own, and recalling and liberating them from everlasting death. If this blessing were taken at its true value and mortals were not so ungrateful to their God and Savior and so cruel toward themselves, none would lose their chance of salvation or bring upon themselves eternal dam­nation. In your amazement then, My dear, weep cease­lessly over the terrible loss sustained by so many insane and thankless souls, who are forgetful of God, of their duty and of their own selves.

220 On former occasions I have already told you, that the number of those foreknown as doomed, is so great, and of those that save themselves is so small, that it is not expedient to say more in particular. For if you have the sentiments of a true daughter of the Church, the spouse of Christ, My Son and Lord, you would die at seeing such misfortune. What you may know, is, that all the loss and misfortune apparent in Christian nations and govern­ments, as well among chiefs as among subjects of the Church and of the secular state, all originate and flow from the forgetfulness and contempt of the Works of Christ and of the Works of His Redemption. If there were a way of rousing them to a sense of thankfulness and to a sense of their duty as faithful and acknowledged children of their Creator and Redeemer, and of Me, their Intercessor, the Wrath of the Divine Judge would be appeased, and there would be some diminution of the widespread ruin and perdition among Catholics. The Eternal Father, Who is justly zealous for the honor of His Son and rigorously chastises the servants, who know the Will of their Lord and refuse to fulfill it, would again be reconciled.

221 The faithful in the Church make much of the sin of infidels in taking away the Life of their God and Master. They are right in doing so, for it was a most heinous crime and merited the punishments decreed against them. But Catholics forget, that their own sins are rendered heinous by other elements of guilt sur­passing that of infidels; for although their error was culpable, they esteemed it as truth in the end; then also the Lord delivered Himself up to them, allowing them to fol­low the counsels of hell, by which they were oppressed for their sins (Lk 22:53). In our days, Catholics are not in ignorance, but in the fullness of the light, by which they know and understand the Divine Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. Saints, have founded the Holy Church, spread out, made illustrious by miracles, by holy writings, by the knowledge and procla­mation of truths unknown to the infidels. In spite of all these multiplied advantages, blessings, truths and enlight­enments, many live like pagans and as if they had not before their eyes so many inducements to draw them on and oblige them, nor so many chastisements to fill them with dread. How can Catholics then, under these circum­stances, imagine that the sins of others were greater or more grievous than their own? How can they presume that their punishment shall not be more lamentable? O My daughter, ponder well this doctrine, and be filled with a holy fear! Humiliate yourself to the dust and confess yourself the lowest of the creatures before the Most High. Look upon the Works of your Redeemer and Master. Imi­tate them and apply them sorrowfully to satisfy for your own faults in sorrow and penance. Imitate and follow Me in My ways, as far as you are enlightened from on high. And I wish that you labor not only for your own salvation, but also for the salvation of your brethren. This you must do by praying and suffering for them, charitably admonishing those you can, and eagerly do­ing for them more than is your duty. Show yourself even more anxious to benefit those who have offended you, be patient with all, and humiliate yourself below the most abject. According to the directions given you before, be solicitous to assist, with fervent charity and firm assurance, those that are in danger of death.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 20
The devil attempts to hinder the works of Christ and His Mother

222 The tyrannical sway of the devil over this world was not anymore so unobstructed as it had been in the ages preceding the Incarnation of the Divine Word; for from the hour in which the Son of the Eternal Father descended from heaven and assumed flesh in the bridal chamber of His virginal Mother, this strongly armed one felt a superior force, which oppressed and crushed him, as I have related in its place (Lk 11:21). After the birth of Christ he felt this power, when the Infant Jesus entered into Egypt (Vol. 2:130, 643), and on many occasions afterward this dragon was routed and overcome by the force of divine truth issuing from the great Queen. Comparing and connecting these past happenings with all the new experiences related in the foregoing chapter, the ancient serpent was beginning to be much troubled by his fears and suspicions, lest a new and vast force had established itself on the earth. But as the Sacrament of the Incarnation was deeply hidden from him, he lived on in his blind fury without suspicion of the truth, although, since his fall from heaven, he had most anxiously tried to ascertain when and how the Divine Word would leave heaven and assume human flesh; for this wonderful work of God was what his arrogance and pride feared most of all. This anxiety induced him to convoke the many council meetings, of which I have spoken in this history, and also the one of which I now speak.

223 Finding himself then full of uncertainty concerning the experiences of the devils and of himself with Jesus and Mary, this enemy of the human race questioned himself by what power he had been vanquished and put to flight in his attempts to ruin the dangerously sick and the dying and in his other encounters with the Queen of Heaven. As he could not clear the mystery for himself, he resolved to consult those of his associates who excelled in malice and astuteness. He gave forth a roar or tre­mendous howl in hell, using the language understood by the demons, and called together those who were subject to him. All of them having been gathered together, he made them a speech, saying: "My ministers and compan­ions, who have always followed me in my just opposition, you well know that in the first state in which we were placed by the Creator of all things, we acknowledged Him as the universal source of all our being and thus also respected Him. But as soon as, to the detriment of our beauty and pre-eminence, so close to the Deity, He im­posed upon us the command, that we adore and serve the Person of the Word, in the human form, which He in­tended to assume, we resisted His Will. For although I knew, that this reverence was due Him as God, yet as He chose to unite Himself to the nature of man, so ignoble and inferior to mine, I could not bear to be subject to Him, nor could I bear to see, that He did not favor me rather than the creature man. He not only commanded us to adore Him, but also to recognize as our superior a Woman, His Mother, a mere earthly creature. To these grievances I took exception and you with me. We ob­jected to them and resolved to deny Him obedience. On account of our behavior at that time we are punished and made to suffer the pains of our present condition. Al­though we are aware of these truths and acknowledge them with terror among ourselves, it will not do to con­fess them before men (Jacob 2:19). And this I put as a command upon you all, in order that they may not know of our present difficulty and weakness."

224 "But if this God-Man and His Mother are really to come, it is clear, that their coming into this world shall be the beginning of our greatest ruin and torment, and that, for this reason, I must seek with all my strength to prevent it and to destroy Them, even at the cost of overturning and destroying all the world. You all know how invincible has been my strength until now, since such a great portion of the world obeyed my command and is subject to my will and cunning. But in the last few years I have noticed on many occasions, that your powers seemed to have decreased and weakened, that you were oppressed and overcome, and I myself feel a superior force, which restrains and intimidates me. Several times I have searched with you through the whole world, trying to find some clue for this loss and oppression, which we feel. If this Messiah, Who is promised to the chosen people of God, is already in the world, we not only fail to discover Him on the whole face of the earth, but we see no certain signs of His coming and we perceive none of the pomp and outward show naturally attendant upon such a person. Nevertheless I have my misgivings, lest the time of His coming from heaven onto this earth be al­ready near. Therefore we ought all be eager to destroy Him and the Woman whom He shall choose for His Mother. Whoever shall distinguish himself in this work, shall not complain of my thankfulness and reward. Until now I have found guilt and the effects of guilt in all men, and I have seen no such majesty and grand magnificence as would induce the Word to become man and which would oblige mortals to adore Him and offer Him sacri­fice, for by this homage we shall be able to recognize Him. The certain indication of His coming and the distinguish­ing mark of the Messiah will no doubt be, that neither sin nor its consequences, common to other children of Adam, will ever be able to touch Him."

225 "So much the greater therefore," continued the devil, "is my confusion at present; for, if the Eternal Word has not yet come into the world, I cannot understand these new experiences, nor from where comes this strong op­position which overpowers us. Who drove us out and hurled us from Egypt? Who destroyed the temples and crushed the idols of that country in which all the inhabitants adored us? Who oppresses us now in the land of Galilee and its neighborhood, and prevents us from perverting many of those in danger of death? Who keeps away from sin so many souls as if they were with­drawn from our jurisdiction, and Who causes so many to better their lives and begin to seek the Kingdom of God? If this damaging influence is allowed to continue, great misfortune and torment may arise for all of us from this secret force, which we do not comprehend. It is necessary to put a stop to it and search anew all over the world, whether it does not contain a great prophet or Saint, who seeks our destruction; I have not been able to discover anyone to whom I could ascribe such a power. Only I have a great hatred against that Woman, our enemy, especially since we persecuted Her in the Temple and later on in Her house at Nazareth. For we have al­ways been vanquished and terrified by the virtue which shields Her and resists our malice. Never have I been able to search Her interior or come near Her. She has a Son, and, when Both of Them attended at His father's death, all of us were unable to approach the place where They were. They are poor and neglected people; She is an unknown and helpless little Woman; but I pre­sume without a doubt, that both Son and Mother must be counted among the righteous. For I have continually sought to draw them into the failings common to men, and yet I have never succeeded in causing them to commit the least of the disorderly or reprehensible of actions, which are so common and natural with other people. I know that the Almighty conceals from me the state of these souls; and this doubtlessly argues some hidden danger for us. Although the interior condition of some other souls has been concealed from us on certain occasions, yet this was but rarely and not in the manner as with these 2.  Even if this Man is not the Messiah, it is certain that They are righteous and our enemies, which is sufficient reason for persecuting Them and ruining Them, and especially for seeking to find out who They are. Follow me in the enterprise with all diligence, for I shall be your leader in our fight against Them."

226 With this exhortation the devil concluded His long speech, in which he gave to the demons much more infor­mation and malicious counsel. But I need not mention them here, since this history will contain other references to the hellish plots to make us understand the cunning of that venomous serpent. Immediately the prince of dark­ness, together with countless legions of evil spirits, issued forth from hell and spread over the whole world. They persisted in roaming through it many times, searching out in their malice and cunning all the righteous, tempting those they recognized as such and provoking them and other men to commit the evil deeds hatched out in their own in­fernal minds. But Christ our Lord in His wisdom con­cealed His own Person and that of His Mother for many days from the haughty devil. He did not permit him to see or recognize Him, until He went out to the desert, where He allowed and wished the devil to tempt Him after His long fast; and the devil did tempt Him, as I shall relate in its place.

227 When this meeting was held in the infernal re­gions, Christ, to Whom as our Divine Master all was known, resorted to prayer against the malice of the dragon and among other petitions He prayed as follows: "Eternal and Most High God and Father, I adore You and exalt Your Infinite and Immutable Essence; I confess You as the highest and boundless Good and I offer Myself in sacrifice to Your Divine Will for the vanquishing and crushing of the infernal powers and of their malicious counsels against My creatures. I shall battle for them against My and their enemies, and by My own works and victories I shall leave them an encouragement and example of what they must do, so that those who serve Me from their heart, may prevail against the devil's malice. Defend, My Father, souls from the snares and cruelty of the serpent and its followers, and grant to the righteous the power of Your Right Hand, in order that through My intercession and Death they may gain victory over their temptations and dangers." Our great Queen and Lady had a like knowledge of the evil counsels of the devil and saw all that passed in Her Divine Son and the prayer He offered. As the Coadjutor of His triumphs She joined in the prayers and petitions of Her Son to the Eternal Father. The Most High granted all of them, and on this occasion Jesus and Mary obtained immense assistance and rewards from the Father for those that battle against devils in the Names of Jesus and Mary. So great was the efficacy of their prayers, that all those who pronounce these Names in reverence and faith, overcome their hellish enemies and precipitously repel them in virtue of the prayers, tri­umphs and victories of our Savior and of His most Holy Mother. On account of the protection thereby offered to us against the arrogant giants of hell, and on account of all the other helps furnished us in the Holy Church of our Lord, no excuse is left us for not battling legitimately and valiantly, or for not overcoming and vanquishing the devil, as the enemy of the Eternal God and our own. For in this we should follow the example of our Savior according to our ability.

TEACHING OF THE MOST HOLY MARY, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

228 My daughter, weep with bitter sorrow over the stubbornness and blindness of mortals in not under­standing and acknowledging the loving protection, which they have in My Divine Son and in Me as a relief from all their troubles and necessities. My Lord spared Himself no exertion and left no means unemployed in order to gain for them inestimable treasures of Heaven. He garnered up His infinite merits in the Holy Church, the most important fruit of His Passion and Death; He left the secure pledges of His glorious love; and procured for them most easy and efficacious means in order that all of them might enjoy and apply them for their use and for their Eternal Salvation. He offers them moreover His protection and Mine. He loves them as children. He cher­ishes them as His chosen friends. He calls them by His inspirations. He invites them by His blessings and graces. He awaits them as a most kind Father. He seeks them as their Pastor. He helps them as the most Powerful. He rewards them as One possessing infinite riches, and governs them as a mighty King. All these and innum­erable other favors, which are pointed out by faith, offered by the Church and presented before their very eyes, men forget and despise; as if blind, they love the darkness and deliver themselves up to the fury and rage of those cruel enemies. They listen to his lies, obey his wicked suggestions and confide in his snares; they trust and give themselves up to the unquenchable fire of his wrath. He seeks to destroy them and consign them to Eternal Death, only because they are creatures of the Most High, Who vanquished and crushed this most cruel foe.

229 Guard yourself, therefore, against this deplorable error of the children of men and disengage your faculties in order that you may clearly see the differ­ence between the service of Christ and that of Belial. Greater is that difference than the distance between heaven and earth. Christ is Eternal Life, the True Light and the Pathway to Eternal Life. He loves with imperishable love, those who follow Him, and He offers them His life and His company; with it, an Eternal happiness, such as neither eyes have seen, nor ears have heard, nor ever can enter into the mind of man (1 Cor 2:9). The devil is dark­ness itself, error, deceit, unhappiness and death. He hates his followers and forces them into evil as far as possible, and at the end inflicts upon them eternal fire and horrid torments. Let mortals give testimony, whether they are ignorant of these truths, since the Holy Church propounds them and calls them to their minds everyday. If men believe these truths, where is their good sense? Who has made them insane? Who drives from their remem­brance the love, which they ought to have for themselves? Who makes them so cruel to themselves? O insanity never sufficiently to be bewailed and so little considered by the children of Adam! All their life they labor and exert themselves to become more and more entangled in the snares of their passions, to be consumed in deceitful vanities and to deliver themselves over to an inex­tinguishable fire, death and everlasting perdition, as if all were a mere joke and as if Christ had not come down from heaven to die on a Cross for their rescue! Let them but look upon the price, and consider how much God Him­self paid for this happiness, Who knew the full value of it.

230 The idolaters and heathens are much less to blame for falling into this error; nor does the wrath of the Most High enkindle so much against them as against the faith­ful of His Church, who have such a clear knowledge of this truth. If the minds of men, in our present age, have grown forgetful of it, let them understand that this hap­pened by their own fault, because they have given a free hand to their enemy the devil. He with tireless malice labors to overthrow the barriers of restraint, so that, for­getful of the last things and of eternal torment, men may give themselves over, like brute beasts, to sensual pleasures, and unmindful of themselves consume their lives in the pursuit of apparent good, until, as Job says (Job 21:13), they suddenly fall a prey to eternal perdi­tion. Such is in reality the fate of innumerable foolish men, who abhor the restraint imposed upon them by this truth. Allow me to instruct you, and keep yourself free from such harmful deceit and from this forgetfulness of the worldly. Let the despair­ing groans of the damned, which begin at the end of their lives and at the beginning of their eternal damnation, ever resound in your ears: "O we fools, who esteemed the life of the righteous as madness! O how are they counted among the sons of God, and their lot is among the saints! We have erred then from the path of truth and of justice. The sun has not arisen for us. We have wearied our­selves in the ways of iniquity and destruction; we have sought difficult paths and erred by our own fault from the way of the Lord. What has pride profited us? What advantage has the boasting of riches brought us? All has passed away from us like a shadow. O had we but never been born!" This, my daughter, you must fear and pon­der in your heart, so that, before you go to that land of darkness and of eternal dungeons from where there is no return, you may provide against evil and avoid it by doing good. During your mortal life and out of love, perform now that of which the damned in their despair are forced to warn you by the excess of their punishment.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 21
THE HOLY SPIRIT SENDS ST JOHN THE BAPTIST FORTH TO PREACH

231 I have already spoken of some of the favors con­ferred on St. John by the blessed Mary during Her so­journ in Egypt; also of Her solicitude for Her cousin Elisabeth and St. John, when Herod resolved to take away the lives of the Holy Innocents. I have also men­tioned, that the future Precursor of Christ, after the death of his mother, remained altogether in the desert until the time appointed by Divine Wisdom, and that he lived there more the life of a seraph than of a man. His con­versation was with the Holy Angels and with the Lord of all creation; this was his sole occupation and never was he idle in the exercise of his love and of the heroic virtues, which he began in the womb of his mother. Not for one moment was grace in him unprofitable, nor did he fail in the least point of perfection possible. His senses, being al­together withdrawn from earthly things, did not in any way hinder him; for they did not serve him as windows, through which the images of the deceitful vanities of the creatures are likely to bring death to the souls. Since this Saint was so fortunate as to be visited by the Divine Light before he saw the light of created sun of this world, he overlooked all that is seen by eyes of flesh, and fixed his interior gaze immovably upon the Being of God and His infinite perfections.

232 The Divine favors received by St. John exceed all human intelligence, capacity and thought. His holiness and exalted merits we shall understand in the beatific vision and not before. As it does not pertain to the object of this history to relate what I have seen of these mys­teries, and what the holy doctors and other authors have written of his prerogatives, I must confine myself to re­late that which is necessary for my present purpose; namely, what refers to the share of the Heavenly Lady in his exaltation; for through Her St. John received most inestimable favors. Among them not the least was Her sending food to him every day until he reached the age of 7 years, which She did by the ministry of the Holy Angels, as I mentioned above. From His 7th year until he reached the 9th, She sent him only bread; but after that year She ceased to send him any food. For She understood that during the rest of his stay in the desert, it, was the Will of Heaven and of himself, that he nourish himself by roots, wild honey and locusts, which he accordingly did until he came forth to preach. Yet, though Mary did not send him food anymore, She continued to send to him Her Holy Angels in order to con­sole him and inform him of the undertakings and mysteries of the Incarnate Word; but these visits happened no oftener than once a week.

233 These great favors, besides serving other ends, encouraged St. John to bear with his solitude, not that the desolation of his abode and the severity of his penance caused him any discouragement. His own wonderful holiness and grace were sufficient to make these desirable and sweet to him. But these tokens of love served to counteract the vehemence of his love, which drew him toward Christ and His Mother and to make their absence and the lack of their contact bearable to him. For there is no doubt, that restraining his desire for this interaction was a far greater pain and suffering to his loving soul, than all the inclemencies of his habitation, his fasting and penances, and the horrors of the lonely mountains, and would have been impossible if his Heavenly Lady and aunt had not assisted him by contin­ually sending Her Holy Angels to bring messages from his Beloved. The Great Hermit inquired into all the particu­lars of the Son and Mother with the anxious solicitude of a loving bridegroom (Song 1:6). He transmitted to them the messages of his ardent love and of the sighs that came from his inmost heart wounded by the absence of the Objects of his love. He besought the celestial Princess through Her messengers to send him their bless­ing and he asked the Angels to adore and humbly reverence the Lord in his name. He himself ceased not to adore Him in spirit and in truth from his solitude. He asked also the Holy Angels, who visited him and the others that attended upon him, to do the same. These were the ordi­nary occupations of the Precursor until he arrived at the perfect age of 30 years and in this manner he was prepared by Divine Providence for His appointed task.

234 The destined and acceptable time decreed by the Eternal Wisdom for sending forth St. John, the Har­binger of the Incarnate Word, the voice resounding in the desert, had now come (Is 40:3). As related by the Evangelists, in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the command of God came to John, the son of Zechariah in the desert (Lk 3:1). And he came to the banks of the Jordan, preaching the Baptism of Repent­ance for the remission of sins and preparing the hearts for the reception of the promised Messiah, pointing Him out, who had been expected for so many ages. This command of the Lord St. John heard in an ecstasy, in which, by an especial operation of the Divinity, he was enlightened and prepared by the pleni­tude of the light and grace of the Holy Spirit. In this rapture he obtained a deep insight into the Mysteries of the Redemption, and he was favored with an abstractive vision of the Divinity, so wonderful that he was trans­formed and changed to a new existence of sanctity and grace. The Lord commanded him to issue forth from the desert in order to prepare the way for the preaching of the Incarnate Word by His own, thus exercising the office of a Precursor and all that pertained to it; for he was now instructed and filled with most abundant grace for his work.

235 The new preacher St. John came from the desert clothed in camel skin, girded with a cincture or cord made likewise of leather. His feet were bare. His features were thin and emaciated. His appearance was wonder­fully graceful, modest and humble. His soul was filled with invincible and magnanimous courage. His heart was inflamed with the love of God and man. His words rang forth strong and forceful, piercing to the souls of his hearers like the sparks from the Immutable and Divine Essence of the Almighty. He was gentle toward the meek, loving toward the humble, wonderful in the sight of angels and men, terrible to the proud, dreadful to the sinners, and an object of horror to devils. He was a Preacher fit to be the instrument of the Incarnate Word and such as was needed for this people of the Hebrews, who were so hard-hearted, thankless and stubborn, and who were now cursed with heathen governors, avari­cious and proud priests, without enlightenment, without prophets, without piety, without fear of God, though they had been visited by so many calamities and chastisements for their sins. He was now sent to open the eyes of his people to their miserable state and prepare their hearts to know and receive their Savior and Teacher.

236 The anchorite John, many years before, had made for himself a large Cross, which he had placed at the head of his couch: with it he performed some exer­cises of penance and he was accustomed to place himself upon it in the form of one crucified, when he was en­gaged in prayer. He did not wish to leave this treasure in the desert; therefore, before issuing forth, he sent it by the hands of the Holy Angels to the Queen of Heaven and Earth and requested them to tell Her that the Cross had been his greatest and most beloved companion in his long banishment; that he sent it to Her as a precious treasure, because he knew what was to be wrought upon it by the Son of God, and also because the Holy Angels had told him, that Her Most Holy Son and Redeemer of the world often made use of a Cross like this, when per­forming His prayers in His oratory. The Angels had made this Cross fashioning it from a tree in the desert at his request; for the Saint had neither the necessary strength nor the instruments for this kind of work, whereas the Holy Angels lacked not the skill and needed no instru­ments on account of the power they have over material creation. With this present and message of St. John the holy princes returned to their Queen, and She re­ceived this token from their hands with innermost emo­tions of sorrow and consolation, at the thought of what mysteries were in so short a time to be enacted upon the hard wood of the Cross. She addressed it in words of tenderness and placed it in Her oratory, where She kept it ever afterwards together with the other Cross, which had been used by Her Son. At Her death the most pru­dent Lady left these Crosses, with other remembrances, to the Apostles as a priceless heritage, and by them they were carried through different countries where they preached.

237 In regard to this matter I had some doubts, which I proposed to the Mother of Wisdom, saying to Her: "Queen of Heaven and my Mother, most holy among the saints and chosen among creatures as the Mother of God Himself: being an ignorant and dull woman, I find a difficulty in what I have here written; if You give me permission, I would like to mention it to You, for You, O Lady, are the Mother of wisdom and have deigned to be my Teacher in the doctrine of Eternal Life and salva­tion. My difficulty is this: I see not only St. John but also You, my Queen, reverence the Cross before Your Most Holy Son had died upon it; whereas I have always believed, that until the hour in which He wrought our salvation upon sacred wood of the Cross, it had served as a gibbet of shame for the punishment of criminals and that therefore it was considered as a token of con­tempt and ignominy; and even the Holy Church teaches us, that all its value and dignity came to the Cross by its contact with the Body of the Redeemer and through its connection with Mystery of man's Redemption."

ANSWER AND INSTRUCTION GIVEN ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

238 My daughter, gladly will I satisfy your desire and answer your doubt. What you say is true: the Cross was ignominious before My Son and Lord honored and sanctified it by His Passion and Death and solely on ac­count of this Passion and Death the veneration and reverence shown to it by the Church is now due to it. If anyone, who was ignorant of the Mysteries, which were connected with it and which were so well known to Me and St. John, would have given it such reverence and honor as I have before the Redemption, he would have been guilty of error and idolatry; for he would have venerated a creature of which he did not know that it was worthy of such honor. But We showed this venera­tion to the Cross for several reasons: We knew for cer­tain, that the Redeemer was to accomplish His work upon the Cross. We knew also that, before dying upon it, He had begun to sanctify this sacred emblem by His contact in placing Himself upon it during His prayers and in offering Himself freely to die upon it. The Eternal Father moreover had accepted these foreseen works of the Cross from His Divine Son by an unalterable decree. All the actions and the contacts of the Incarnate Word were of infinite value and thus sanctified the sacred wood, making it worthy of reverence. Whenever I or St. John showed this reverence to the Cross, we had before our minds these Mysteries and Truths. We did not honor the Cross in itself, nor the material of which it was made; for veneration was not due to it until the works of the Redemption should have been completed upon it; but we waited for the formal exe­cution of the work intended to be performed upon it by the Incarnate Word. This was the real object of our reverence and veneration of the Cross. And this is also now the meaning and intent of the practice of the veneration of the Cross in the holy Church.

239 Accordingly you must ponder well your obligation and that of all the mortals in regard to the reverence and esteem due to the Holy Cross; for if I and the holy Pre­cursor, even before the Death of My Divine Son upon it, so eagerly imitated Him in His love and reverence of it and in the exercises which He performed in connection therewith, what should not the faithful children of the Church do after they have seen their Creator and their Redeemer crucified upon it, and when they have the Image of the Crucified before their very eyes? I desire, then, My daughter, that you embrace the Cross with bound­less esteem, that you use it as the priceless jewel of your Spouse, and that you accustom yourself to perform those exercises upon it, which are known and practiced by you, without ever of your own will forgetting or neglecting them as long as obedience will permit you. Whenever you approach such sacred exercises, let it be with a profound reverence and with a deep pondering of the Passion and Death of the Lord, your Beloved. Try to in­troduce the same custom among your religious, zealously exhorting them thereto; for no exercise is more proper to the spouses of Christ, and if performed with devotion and reverence, it will be most pleasing to their Lord. In addition to this, I wish that you, in imitation of St. John the Baptist prepare your heart for all that the Holy Spirit wishes to work in you for His own glory and for the benefit of souls. As far as depends upon you, love solitude and withdraw your soul from the confusion of created things. Whenever your duty to God forces you to deal with creatures, seek always your own sanctification and the edification of your neighbor, so that in your outward conversation and interaction the zeal of your spirit may shine forth. His exalted virtues now known to you and those resplendent in the lives of other saints, should serve you as a spur and as an example; seek, like a busy bee, to build up the sweet honeycomb of sanctity and innocence so much desired in you by My Divine Son. Distinguish well between the labors of the bee and of the spider: the one converts Her nourishment into sweetness useful for the living and the dead, while the other changes it into snare and venom. Gather the flowers of virtue from the saints in the garden of the Church, as far as your weak endeavors with the aid of grace will permit; imitate them eagerly and incite others by your eloquence, thus drawing blessings upon the living and the dead while you anxiously flee from the harm and damage of sinful deeds.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 22
OUR LADY OFFERS HER DIVINE SON FOR THE REDEMPTION OF MAN TO THE ETERNAL FATHER

240 The love of our great Queen for Her Divine Son must always remain the standard by which we must measure as well Her actions as all Her emotions either of joy or sorrow during Her earthly life. But we cannot measure the greatness of Her love itself, nor can the Holy Angels measure it, except by the love, which they see in God by the intuitive vision. All that can ever be expressed by our inadequate words, similes and analogies, is but the least portion of what this heavenly furnace of love really contained. For She loved Jesus as the Son of the Eternal Father, equal to Him in essence and in all the Divine Attributes and Perfections. She loved Him as Her own natural Son, Son to Her in as far as He was man, formed of Her own flesh and blood. She loved Him because as man He was the Saint of saints and the meri­torious cause of all other holiness (Dan 9:24). He was the most beautiful among the sons of men (Ps 45:3). He was the most dutiful Son of His Mother, Her most magnificent Benefactor; since it was He that by His Sonship, had raised Her to the highest dignity possible among creatures. He had exalted Her among all and above all by the treasures of His Divinity and by conferring upon Her the dominion over all creation together with favors, blessings and graces, such as were never to be conferred upon any other being.

241 These motives and foundations of Her love were established and as it were, all comprehended in the wisdom of the Heavenly Lady, together with many others, which only Her exalted knowledge could appreciate. In Her heart there was no hind­rance of love, since it was the most innocent and pure. She was not ungrateful, because Her profoundest humility urged Her to a most faithful correspondence. She was not remiss, because in Her the most abundant grace wrought with all its efficacy. She was not slow or careless, since She was filled with most zealous and dili­gent fervor; not forgetful, since Her most faithful memory was constantly fixed upon the blessings received and upon the reasons and the precepts of deepest love. She moved in the sphere of Divine Love Itself, since She remained in His Visible Presence and attended the School of Divine Love of Her Son, copying His works and His deeds in His very company. Nothing was lacking to this peerless One among lovers for entertaining love without limita­tion of measure or manner. This most beautiful Moon then, being at its fullness, and looking into this Sun of Righteousness just as it had risen like a Divine Aurora from height to height and reached the noontide splendor of the most clear light of grace; this Moon, Mary, detached from all material creatures and entirely transformed by the light of this Sun, having experienced on Her part all the effects of His reciprocal love, favors and gifts, in the height of Her blessedness, at a time when the loss of all these blessings in Her Son made it most arduous, heard the Voice of the Eternal Father, calling Her as once He had called upon Her prototype, Abraham, and demanding the deposit of all Her love and hope, Her beloved Isaac (Gen 22:1).

242 The most prudent Mother was not unaware, that the time of Her Sacrifice was approaching; for Her sweetest Son had already entered the 30th year of His life and the time and place for satisfying the debt He had assumed was at hand. But in the full possession of the Treasure, which represented all Her happiness, Mary was still considering its loss as far off, not having as yet had its experience. The hour therefore drawing near, She was wrapt in a most exalted vision and felt that She was being called and placed in the Presence of the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity. From it issued a Voice of wonderful power saying to Her: "Mary, My Daughter and Spouse, offer to Me Your Only Begotten Son in sacri­fice." By the living power of these words came to Her the light and intelligence of the Will of the Almighty, and in it the most blessed Mother understood the Decree of the Redemption of man through the Passion and Death of Her Most Holy Son, together with all that from now on would happen in the preaching and public life of the Savior. As this knowledge was renewed and perfected in Her, She felt Her soul overpowered by sentiments of subjection, humility, love of God and man, compassion and tender sorrow for all that Her Son was to suffer.

243 But with an undismayed and magnanimous heart She gave answer to the Most High: "Eternal King and Omnipotent God of Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, all that has being outside of You exists solely for Your Mercy and Greatness, and You are undiminished Lord of all. How then do You command Me, an insignificant wormlet of the earth, to sacrifice and deliver over to Your Will the Son, Whom Your condescension has given Me? He is Yours, Eternal Father, since from all eternity before the morning star You have engendered Him (Ps 110:3), and You beget Him and shall beget Him through all the eternities; and if I have clothed Him in the form of servant (Phil 2:7) in My womb and from My own blood, and if I have nourished His humanity at My breast and ministered to Him as a Mother; this Most Holy Humanity is also Your property, and so am I, since I have received from You all that I am and that I could give Him. What then can I offer to You that is not more Yours than Mine? I confess, Most High King, that Your mag­nificence and beneficence are so liberal in heaping upon Your creatures Your infinite treasures, that in order to bind Yourself to them You wish to receive from them as a free gift, even Your own Only Begotten Son, Him Whom You beget from Your own Substance and from the Light of Your Divinity. With Him came to me all blessings together and from His Hands I received immense gifts and graces (Wis 7:11). He is the Virtue of My virtue, the Substance of My spirit, Life of My soul and Soul of My life, the Sustenance of all My joy of living. It would be a sweet sacrifice, indeed, to yield Him up to You Who alone knows His value; but to yield Him for the satis­faction of Your Justice into the hands of His cruel enemies at the cost of His Life, more precious than all the works of creation; this indeed, Most High Lord, is a Great Sacrifice which You ask of His Mother. However let not My will but Yours be done. Let the freedom of the human race be thus bought; let Your Justice and Equity be satisfied; let Your Infinite Love become manifest; let Your Name be known and magnified before all creatures. I deliver Him over into Your Hands before all creatures. I deliver over into Your Hands My beloved Isaac, that He may be truly sacrificed; I offer My Son, the Fruit of My womb, in order that, according to the unchangeable decree of Your Will, He may pay the debt contracted not by His fault, but by the children of Adam, and in order that in His Death He may fulfill all that Your holy Prophets, inspired by You, have written and foretold."

244 This sacrifice with all that pertained to it, was the greatest and the most acceptable that ever had been made to the Eternal Father since the creation of the world, or ever will be made to the end, outside of that made by His own Son, the Redeemer; and Hers was most inti­mately connected with and like to that, which He offered. If the greatest charity consists in offering one's life for the beloved, without a doubt most Holy Mary far sur­passed this highest degree of love toward men, as She loved Her Son much more than Her own life. For in order to preserve the life of Her Son, She would have given the lives of all men, if She had possessed them, yes and countless more. Among men there is no measure by which to estimate the love of that Heavenly Lady, and it can be estimated only by the Love of the Eternal Father for His Son. As Christ says to Nicodemus (John 3:16): God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son in order that none of those who believed in Him might perish; so this might also be said in its degree of the love of the Mother of Mercy and in the same way do we owe to Her proportionately our salvation. For She also loved us so much, that She gave Her only Son for our salvation; and if She had not given it in this manner, when it was asked of Her by the Eternal Father on this occasion, the salvation of men could not have been exe­cuted by this same decree, since this decree was to be fulfilled on condition, that the Mother's will should co­incide with that of the Eternal Father. Such is the ob­ligation that the children of Adam owe to most Holy Mary.

245 Having accepted the offering of the great Lady, it was fitting that the Most Blessed Trinity should re­ward and immediately pay Her by some favor, which would comfort Her in Her sorrow and manifest more clearly the Will of the Eternal Father and the reasons for His Command. Therefore the Heavenly Lady, still wrapped in the same vision and raised to a more exalted ecstasy, in which She was prepared and enlightened in the manner elsewhere described (Inc: 623), the Divinity mani­fested Itself to Her by an intuitive and direct vision. In this vision, by the clear light of the Essence of God, She comprehended the inclination of the Infinite Good to com­municate His fathomless treasures to rational crea­tures by means of the works of the Incarnate Word, and She saw the Glory, that would result from these wonders to the Name of the Most High. Filled with jubilation of Her soul at the prospect of all these Sacra­mental Mysteries, the Heavenly Mother renewed the offer­ing of Her Divine Son to the Father; and God comforted Her with the life-giving bread of heavenly understand­ing, in order that She might with invincible fortitude assist the Incarnate Word in the work of Redemption as His Coadjutor and Helper, according to the disposition of Infinite Wisdom and according as it really happened afterwards in the rest of Her life.

246 Then most holy Mary issued forth from this ex­alted rapture in the description of which I will not further detain myself; for it was accompanied by the same cir­cumstances as the other intuitive visions already men­tioned. But by its effects and the strength imparted through it, She was now prepared to separate from Her Divine Son, Who had already resolved to enter upon His fast in the desert in view of receiving His Baptism. He therefore called His Mother and, speaking to Her with the tokens of sweetest love and compassion, He said: "My Mother, My existence as Man I derive entirely from Your substance and blood, of which I have taken the form of a servant in Your virginal womb (Phil 2:7). You also have nursed Me at Your breast and taken care of Me by Your labors and sweat. For this reason I account Myself more Your own and as Your Son, than any other ever acknowledged, or more than any ever will acknowledge himself as the son of his mother. Give Me Your permis­sion and consent toward accomplishing the Will of My Eternal Father. Already the time has arrived, in which I must leave Your sweet company and be­gin the work of the Redemption of man. The time of rest has come to an end and the hour of suffering for the rescue of the sons of Adam has arrived. But I wish to perform this work of My Father with Your assistance, and You are to be My companion and helper in preparing for My Passion and Death of the Cross. Although I must now leave You alone, My blessing shall remain with You, and My loving and powerful protection. I shall afterwards return to claim Your assistance and com­pany in My labors; for I am to undergo them in the form of Man, which You have given Me."

247 With these words, while both Mother and Son were overflowing with abundant tears, the Lord placed His arms around the neck of the most tender Mother, yet Both maintaining a majestic composure such as befitted these Masters in the art of suffering. The Heavenly Lady fell at the Feet of Her Divine Son and, with ineffable sorrow and reverence, answered: "My Lord and Eternal God: You are indeed My Son and in You is fulfilled all the force of love, which I have received of You: My inmost soul is laid open to the Eyes of Your Divine Wisdom. My life I would account but little, if I could thereby save Your own, or if I could die for You many times. But the Will of the Eternal Father and Your own must be fulfilled and I offer My own will as a sacrifice for this fulfillment. Receive it, My Son, and as Master of all My being, let it be an acceptable offering, and let Your Divine protection never be lacking to Me. It would be a much greater torment for Me, not to be allowed to accompany You in Your labors and in Your Cross. May I merit this favor, My Son, and I ask it of You as Your true Mother in re­turn for the human form, which You have received of Me." The most loving Mother also besought Him to take along some food from the house, or that He allow it to be sent to where He was to go. But the Savior would not consent to anything of the sort, at the same time enlightening His Mother of what was befitting for the occasion. They went together to the door of their poor house, where She again fell at His Feet to ask His Blessing and kiss His Feet. The Divine Master gave Her His blessing and then began His journey to the Jordan, issuing forth as the Good Shepherd to seek His lost sheep and bring them back on His shoulders to the way of Eternal Life, from which they had been decoyed by deceit (Lk 15:5).

248 When our Redeemer sought St. John in order to be baptized, He had already entered His 30th year, although not much of it had yet passed; for He proceeded directly to the banks of the Jordan, where St. John was baptizing (Matt 3:13), and He received Bap­tism at his hands about 30 days after He had finished the 29th year of His life on the same day as is set aside for its celebration by the Church. I cannot worthily describe the sorrow of most Holy Mary at His departure, nor the compassion of the Savior for Her. All words and description are far too inadequate to manifest what passed in the Heart of the Son and Mother. As this was to be part of their meritorious sufferings, it was not befitting that the natural effects of their mutual loves should be diminished. God permitted these effects to work in Them to their full extent, and as far as was compatible with the holiness of both Mother and Son. Our Divine Teacher found no relief in hastening His steps toward the goal of our Redemption, to which He was drawn by the force of His immense charity; nor was the thought of what He intended, a lessening of the sense of loss, which She sustained at His departure; for all this only made more certain and more conspicuous the tor­ments which He was to undergo. O my dearest Love! Why does not our ingratitude and hardness of heart al­low us to meet You with a responsive love? Why does not the perfect uselessness of man, and still more, his ingratitude, influence You to desist? Without us, O my Eternal Goodness and Life, You will be just as happy without us as with us, just as infinite in perfections, holiness and glory; we can add nothing to that which You have in Yourself, since You are entirely independent of creatures. Why then, O my Love, do You so anx­iously seek us out and care for us? Why do You, at the cost of Your Passion and the Cross, purchase our hap­piness? Without doubt, because Your incomprehensible love and goodness esteems it as Your own, and we alone insist in treating our own happiness as alien to You and to ourselves.

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

249 My daughter, I wish that you ponder and pene­trate more and more this mystery of which you have written, so fixing it in your soul, that you will be drawn to imitate My example at least in some part of it. Con­sider then, that in the vision of the Divinity that I had on this occasion, I was made to comprehend the high value that the Lord sets upon the labors, the Passion and Death of My Son, and upon all those who were to imitate and follow Jesus in the Way of the Cross. Know­ing this, I not only offered to deliver My Son over to Pas­sion and Death, but I asked Him to make Me His com­panion and partaker of all His sorrows, sufferings and tor­ments, which request the Eternal Father granted. Then, in order to begin following in the footsteps of His bitter­ness, I besought My Son and Lord to deprive Me of in­terior delights; and this petition was inspired in Me by the Lord Himself, because He wished it so, and because My own love taught Me and urged Me thereto. This de­sire for suffering and the wishes of My Divine Son led Me on in the way of suffering. He Himself, because He loved Me so tenderly, granted Me My desires; for those whom He loves, He chastises and afflicts (Prov 3:12). I as His Mother was not to be deprived of this blessed distinction of being entirely like unto Him, which alone makes this life most estimable. Immediately this Will of the Most High, this My earnest petition, began to be ful­filled. I began to feel the lack of His delightful caresses and He began to treat Me with greater reserve. That was one of the reasons, why He did not call Me Mother, but Woman, at the marriage-feast at Cana and at the Foot of the Cross (John 2:4, 19:26); and also on other occa­sions, when He abstained from words of tenderness. So far was this from being a sign of a diminution of His love, that it was rather an exquisite refinement of His affection to assimilate Me to Him in the sufferings that He chose for Himself as His precious treasure and inheritance.

250 Hence you will understand the ignorance and error of men, and how far they drift from the way of light, when, as a rule, so many strive to avoid labor and suffering and are frightened by the royal and secure road of mortification and the Cross. Full of this deceitful ignorance, they do not only abhor resemblance to Christ's suffering and My own, and deprive themselves of the true and highest blessing of this life; but they make their recovery impossible, since all of them are weak and afflicted by many sins, for which the only remedy is suf­fering. Sin is committed by base indulgence and is re­pugnant to suffering sorrow, while tribulation merits the pardon of the just judge. By the bitterness of sorrow and affliction the vapors of sin are allayed; the excesses of the concupiscible and irascible passions are crushed; pride and haughtiness are humiliated; the flesh is subdued; the inclination to evil, to the sensible and earthly creatures, is repressed; the judgment is cleared; the will is brought within bounds and its desultory movements at the call of the passions, are corrected; and, above all, Divine Love and Mercy are drawn down upon the afflicted, who embrace suffering with patience, or who seek it to imitate My Most Holy Son. In this science of suffering are renewed all the blessed riches of creatures. Those that flee from them are insane; those that know nothing of these things are foolish.

251 Exert yourself then to ad­vance in this knowledge, welcome labors and suffering, and give up ever desiring human consolations. Remem­ber also that in the spiritual consolations the devil con­ceals his pitfalls for your ruin and destruction, for you should know his continual attempts to ruin the spirit­ually inclined. The pleasures of contemplating and look­ing upon the Lord, and His caresses great or small, are so enticing, that delight and consolation overflow in the faculties of the mind and cause some souls to accustom themselves to the sensible pleasures of this exchange. In consequence thereof they make themselves unfit for other duties belonging to reasonable life of human creatures; and when it is necessary to attend to them they are annoyed, lose their interior peace and control, become morose, intractable, full of impatience toward their neighbors, forgetting all humility and charity. When they then perceive their own restlessness and its conse­quences, they blame all to their exterior occupations, in which the Lord has placed them for the exercise of their obedience and charity, failing to see or acknowledge that all their troubles arise from their lack of mortification and subjection to providence and from their attachment to their own selfish inclinations. The devil tries to be­guile them by mere desires for quiet and solitude and the secret communications of the Lord in solitude; for they imagine, that in retirement all is good and holy, and that all their trouble arises from inability to follow their pious desires in solitude.

252 In these very faults you have fallen sometimes, My daughter and from now on I wish that you guard against them especially. For all things there is a time, as the Wise Man says (Ecc 3:5), both for enjoying delightful em­braces and for abstaining there from. To seek to pre­scribe to the Lord a time for His intimate embraces is the error of souls only beginning imperfectly to serve the Lord and to strive after virtue; and similar is the fault of feeling too deeply the lack of these consolations. I do not tell you therefore purposely to seek distraction and exterior occupations, nor to find your pleasure in them, for this is nothing short of dangerous; but to obey with peace of mind whenever your superiors command, and willingly to leave the delights of the Lord in order to find Him again in useful labor and in the service of your neighbor. This you must prefer to retirement and to private consolations, and on this account you must not love them too much; for in the anxious cares of a superior you must learn to believe, hope and love so much the more deeply. In this manner you must find your Lord at all times, in all places and occupations, as you have al­ready experienced. I desire that you never consider yourself deprived of His sweetest Vision and Presence, or of His most loving communication, or that you doubt with pusillanimity, whether you can find and enjoy God outside of your retirement. All creation is full of His glory (Sir 42:16), and there is no void, and you live and move and have your being in God (Acts 17:28). Enjoy your solitude whenever He does not oblige you to these exterior occupations.

253 All this you will still more fully understand in the nobility of the love, which I require of you for the imitation of My Son and of Me. With Him you must rejoice sometimes in His youth; sometimes accompany Him in His labors for the salvation of men; sometimes retire with Him to solitude; sometimes be transfigured with Him to a new creation; sometimes embrace with Him tribulations and the Cross, following up the Divine lessons which He taught thereby; in short, I wish you to understand well, that in Me there was a continual de­sire to imitate, or an actual imitation, of all that was most perfect in His works. In this consisted My greatest per­fection and holiness, and therein I wish you to follow Me, so far as your weak strength, assisted by grace, will allow. For this purpose you must first die to all the inclinations of a daughter of Adam, without reserving in you any choice of desires, any self-constituted judg­ment as to admitting or rejecting the good; for you do not know what is befitting, and your Lord and Spouse, Who knows it and Who loves you more than you do yourself, will decide all this for you, if you resign yourself entirely to His Will. He gives you a free hand only in regard to your love of Him and in your desire to suffer for Him, while in all the rest your desires will only make you drift away from His Will and Mine. This will surely be the result of following your own will and incli­nations, desires and appetites. Deny and sacrifice them all, raising yourself above yourself, up to the high and exalted habitation of the Lord and Master; attend to His interior lights and to the truth of His words of eternal life (John 6:69), and in order that you may follow them, take up the Cross (Matt 16:24), tread in His footsteps, walk in the odor of His ointments (Song 1:3), and be anxious to reach your Lord; and having obtained possession of Him, do not leave Him (Song 3:4).

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 23
OUR LADY’S OCCUPATIONS DURING THE ABSENCE OF HER MOST HOLY SON

254 When the Redeemer of the world had left His most loving Mother, She felt Her­self as it were in an eclipse or under a shadow, caused by the transposition of the clear Sun of Righteousness, which had illumined and rejoiced Her; yet, though this might be true of Her senses, Her soul lost nothing of the light in which it bathed and in which it was raised above the burn­ing love of the Seraphim. As all the operations of Her fac­ulties, during the absence of the human personality of Her Son, concerned themselves with the Deity, She so ordered all Her activities that retired within Her dwelling and sepa­rated from all human contact, She might apply Her­self to the contemplation and praise of the Lord. She wanted to give Herself up entirely to the exercise of prayer and petition in order that the seed of the Divine Word and doctrine, which the Lord was to plant into the hearts of men, might not be lost on account of their hardness and ingratitude and not fail to give abundant fruit of eternal life and salvation of souls. By means of Her infused knowledge She knew the intentions of the Incarnate Word and therefore the most prudent Lady re­solved not to converse with anyone, in order to imitate Him in His fasting and retirement of the desert, as I will relate farther on; for She was a living image and faithful reproduction of Christ, whether He was absent or present.

255 Shut up in Her house during all the days in which Her Divine Son was absent, our Blessed Lady spent Her time in exercise of devotion. Her prayers were so ardent, that She shed tears of blood in weeping over the sins of men. She genuflected and prostrated Herself upon the ground more than 200 times each day; and this was an exercise, which She practiced with especial earnestness during all Her life, as an exterior manifesta­tion of Her humility, charity, reverence and worship of God. Of it I shall speak many times in the course of this history. Thus co-operating with Her absent Son and Re­deemer, She interceded so powerfully and efficaciously with the Eternal Father, that on account of Her merits and on account of Her presence here upon this earth, (according to our way of speaking) He forgot the sins of all men, who were then making themselves un­worthy of the preaching and doctrine of His Most Holy Son. Mary then, cleared away this hindrance by the clamors of Her burning charity. She was the Mediatrix, who merited and gained for us the blessing of being taught by our Lord Himself and of receiving the Law of His Holy Gospel from His own lips.

256 What time still remained after Her prolonged con­templations and exalted prayers, the great Queen spent in conversation with Her Holy Angels; for the Lord had commanded them anew to attend upon their Queen in bodily forms during all the time in which Her Son was to be absent. It is in this form that they were to serve His Tabernacle and guard the Holy City of His habitation. The ministers of God obeyed most diligently and served their Queen with admirable and befitting reverence. As love is so active and so impatient of the absence and privation of the object beloved, it finds its greatest comfort in speaking of its sorrow and rehearsing the cause of it, in renewing ever again the memory and discussing the excellences and conditions of the beloved; by such discourse it beguiles its sorrow, diverts its grief, and recalls to memory the images of Her well-beloved. Such was also the course pursued by the most loving Mother of our truest and Highest Good; for while Her faculties were overwhelmed by the immense ocean of the Divinity, She felt not the bodily absence of Her Son and Lord; but as soon as She again recovered the use of Her senses, which had been accustomed to His amiable Presence, and now found Herself deprived of it, She immediately felt the irresistible force of Her most intense, chaste and sincere love, unfathomed by any creature. It would have been impossible for nature to suffer such pain and still retain life, had it not in Her been divinely supported and strengthened.

257 In order to afford some relief to Her sorrow-laden heart, She therefore returned to Her Holy Angels and complained to them as follows: "You diligent min­isters of the Most High, fashioned by the Hands of My Beloved, My friends and companions, give Me intelli­gence of My cherished Son and Master; tell Me where He tarries, and inform Him that I am dying on account of the lack of His life-giving Presence. O sweet and bounteous love of My soul! Where are You, more beautiful than all the sons of men? Where do You lay Your Head? Where rests Your most sensitive and Most Holy Body from its fatigues? Who is there to attend upon You, Light of My eyes? How can My tears ever cease to flow, deprived of the clear light of the Sun, which illumined Mine? Where, O My Son, can You find repose? Where shall this Your lonely and poor little bee find You? What course shall this Your little bark pursue in the vast billows of this ocean of love? Where shall I find peace? O Beloved of My desires, to forget Your Divine Presence is not possible to Me! How then can it be possible to live in mere memory of You without actual contact? What shall I do? O who shall console Me and lend Me His company in this bitter solitude, Whom shall I seek among creatures, as long as You are absent, Who are the only One and all that My heart yearns after in its love? Sovereign spirits, tell Me, what does My Lord and My Beloved? Inform Me of His exterior movements, and omit nothing of His interior doings, as far as in the light of His Divinity is made clear to you. Point out to Me all His footsteps in order that I may follow and imitate Him."

258 The Holy Angels obeyed their Queen, consoling Her in the sorrows of Her mournful love, speaking of the Most High and repeating to Her most exalted praises of the Most Sacred Humanity of Her son and of all His perfections. They informed Her of all His occupations and undertakings, and of the places in which He wan­dered. This they did by enlightening Her understanding in the same way a higher angel is apt to enlighten those of an inferior order: for this was Her manner of communication with the angels, unhindered by Her body and the senses. The Heavenly Spirits communicated to Her the prayers of the Incarnate Word, His teachings, His visits to the poor and the sick, and other actions, so that the heavenly Lady was enabled to imitate Him in all these proceedings according to Her condition. She thus engaged in most excellent and magnanimous undertakings, as I shall yet describe, and by this means She was eased in Her sorrow and grief.

259 She also several times sent the Holy Angels to visit in Her name Her sweetest Son. On such occasions She gave them most prudent instructions, full of deep and reverential love: also supplying them with linen cloths and towels, prepared by Her own hands, in order that they might wipe the Divine Face of the Savior, when they saw him exhausted and covered with a bloody sweat; for the Blessed Mother knew, that He was thus overcome more and more often, as He approached the fulfillment of all the works of the Redemption. The Holy Angels obeyed their Queen therein with incredible reverence and holy fear, because they knew that the Lord Himself permitted it in order to yield to the ardent desires of His most Holy Mother. At other times, in­formed by the angels or by a special vision or revelation of the Lord, She knew of His prayers and petitions for mankind in the mountains: then She would perform the same prayers in Her house in the same posture and with the same words. Sometimes, when She saw that the Lord of all creation was lacking food, She also sent Him, by the hands of the angels, some nourishment, although this happened but seldom; for the Lord, as I have indicated in the foregoing chapter, did not always permit His Mother to act according to the promptings of Her love; therefore, during the 40 days of His fast, She did not send any food, because She understood such to be His will.
260 At other times the Heavenly Lady occupied Her­self in composing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to the Most High; this She did by Herself or in company and alternating songs with the angels. All these canticles were most exalted in style and contained the deepest mysteries. At other times She hastened to the assistance of Her neighbor in imitation of Her Most Holy Son. She visited the sick, consoled the sorrowful and afflicted, enlightened the ignorant, brought relief to them and enriched them with grace and bounty. Only during the time of the great fast of our Lord She retired and remained in Her house, as I have already mentioned. During this retirement, our Queen and Lady separated Herself from all human company and She was favored by almost continually recurring ecstasies, in which She received peerless gifts and treasures of the Divinity; for the Hand of the God imprinted and painted, as upon an admirably prepared canvas, the outlines and images of His infinite perfections. All these new graces and gifts She employed in working for the salvation of men, and all Her occupations and thoughts followed closely the activities of the Savior, as becoming the Coadjutor of the Lord in His labors for the Redemption of men. Although these benefits and close interaction with the Lord could not but bring Her a great and ever new joy and exultation of soul in the Holy Spirit, yet in the inferior and sensible parts of Her being She experienced the pains, which She had sought and asked of the Savior in union with Him and in imitation of His suf­ferings. In this desire of following Him in His suffer­ings, She was insatiable, and She besought the Eternal Father for this privilege with incessant and burning love. She renewed that most pleasing sacrifice of the life of Her Son and Her own, which She had made in accordance with the Will of God, and She was consumed with the desire of suffering with Her Beloved, enduring the great­est pains precisely because of the lack of such suffering.

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME

261 My dear daughter, the wisdom of the flesh has made men ignorant, foolish and hostile to God, be­cause it is of the devil, deceitful, earthly and rebellious to Divine laws (Rom 8:7). The more the children of Adam study and exert themselves to reach the evil objects of their carnal and animal passions, and to attain the means of indulging them, so much the more will they fall into ignorance of heavenly things, by which alone they can come to their true ultimate end. This ignorance and worldly prudence is still more abominable and still more hateful in the Eyes of God, when it occurs in the children of the Church. By what right can the children of this world call themselves sons of God, brethren of Christ and inheritors of His possessions? The adopted son must be, in all that is possible, like unto the natural son. A brother is not of different blood or position from that of his brother. One is not called an heir merely because he is in some way concerned with the possessions of his father, but because he has the full enjoyment and comes into the possession of the principal property of the testator. How then are those heirs of Christ, who love, desire and seek only earthly goods and are perfectly satisfied with them? How can those be His brothers, who so widely depart from His position, His teachings and His holy rule of life? How can they be similar to Him and claim to be His image and likeness, when they so often destroy in themselves all likeness of Him and allow themselves to be so often sealed with the image of the infernal beast? (Rev 16:2).

262 By heavenly light you know, My daughter, these truths, and how much I exerted Myself to make Myself the image of the Most High, namely, My Son and Lord. Do not think, that I have given you such deep insight into My works without some purpose; for it is My wish that this remain written in your heart and be forever before your eyes, serving you as a rule for all your conduct during the remainder of your life, which cannot be of very long duration now. Do not allow yourself to be retarded and snared away from My following by association with creatures; let them alone, avoid them, de­spise them in so far as they can hinder you on your way. In order that you may advance in My school, I wish to see you poor, humble, despised, abased yet always with a cheerful heart and countenance. Do not try to repay yourself with the applause or the love of any crea­ture, nor allow human sentiment to rule you; for the Most High has not destined you for such useless en­tanglements, or for occupations so lowly and adverse to the religious state to which He has called you. Think attentively and humbly of the tokens of His love received at His Hands; and of the treasures of His grace, which He has showered upon you. Neither the devil nor any of his ministers and followers is ignorant of them: they are filled with wrath against you and in their cunning they will let no stone unturned for your destruction. His greatest efforts will be directed against your interior, where he has planted his battery of cunning and deceit. Live well prepared and watchful against all his attacks, close the portals of your senses and preserve the authority of your will, without allowing it to be spent on human undertakings no matter how good and upright they may appear to you; for if in the least point you curtail the love which God requires of you, this very point will be seized upon by your enemies as a portal of entrance. All the Kingdom of God is within you (Lk 17:21), keep it there, and there will you find it, and in it all the good you desire. Forget not My teachings and discipline, lock it up in your heart and remember how great is the danger and damage from which I there­by wish to preserve you. That you are called to imitate and follow Me, is the greatest blessing, which you can ever desire. I am ready in My extreme clemency to grant you this blessing, if you dispose yourself to high resolves, holy words and perfect works, which alone can raise you to the state which the Almighty and I desire you to attain.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 24
OUR SAVIOR IS BAPTIZED BY ST. JOHN, ST. JOHN ASKS TO BE BAPTIZED BY THE SAVIOR

263 Leaving His beloved Mother in the poor dwelling at Nazareth, our Redeemer, without accompaniment of anyone, but altogether taken up with the exercise of His most ardent charity, pursued His journey to the Jordan, where, in the neighborhood of a town called Bethany, otherwise called Betharaba, on the far­ther side of the river, His Precursor was preaching and baptizing. At the first steps from the house, our Redeemer, raising His Eyes to the Eternal Father, offered up to Him anew with an infinite love, whatever He was now about to begin for the salvation of mankind: His labors, sorrows, Passion and Death of the Cross, assumed for them in obedience to the Eternal Will, the natural grief at parting as a true and loving Son from His Mother and at leaving Her sweet company, which for 29 years He had now enjoyed. The Lord of all creation walked alone, without show and ostentation of human retinue. The Supreme King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16), was unknown and despised by His own vassals, vassals so much His own, that they owed their life and preservation entirely to Him. His royal outfit was nothing but the utmost poverty and destitu­tion.

264 As the Evangelists have passed over in silence the undertakings of our Savior during His early years, and so many other circumstances of His life, which were most real and most worthy of our attention, and since our gross forgetfulness is so much accustomed to pass over un­noticed what has not been written, therefore we exam­ine and consider so little the immensity of His blessings and of His measureless love, by which He has enriched us so much and has sought us to bind us to Him with so many bonds of charity (Hosea 11:4). O Eternal Love of the Only begotten of the Father! O Delight and Life of my soul! How little known, and much less acknowl­edged, is Your most burning love? Why, O Lord and sweet love of my soul, why do You exhibit so many artifices of love, so many watchings and sufferings for those whom You need not and who will neither correspond nor attend to Your favors, not any more than if they had been offered but deceit or buffoonery? O hearts of men, more rude and fierce than that of wild beasts! What has hardened you so? What detains you? What oppresses you and makes you so sluggish that you will not follow thankfully in the ways of your Benefactor? O lamentable illusion and aberration of the human understanding! What mortal lethargy has come over it? Who has blotted out from its memory such infallible truths and such memorable benefits, and even your own true happiness? Are we of flesh and have we our senses? Who has made us more hard and insensible than are the rocks and stony mountain heights? Why do we not wake up and recover some of our sensibility at sight of the benefits of our Redemp­tion? At the words of a Prophet the dead bones came to life and moved about (Ez 37:10), but we resist the words and exertions of Him Who gives life and being to all. So defective is our earthly love; so great our forgetfulness!

265 Accept me then, O my Lord, and light of my soul, accept this vile wormlet of the earth, which creeps along in order to meet Your beautiful footsteps now begun in search of me! By them You raise me to the cer­tain hope of finding in You the truth, the way and the delights of eternal life. I possess nothing wherewith to repay You, my Beloved, except Your own goodness and love and the being which through them You have given me. Less than Your own Self cannot be paid for the infinite bounty You have shown to me. Thirsting after Your love I go to meet You on the way. Do not, O my Lord and Master, take away or deprive her of the vision of Your clemency, whom in her poverty You have sought so diligently and lovingly. Life of my soul and Soul of my life, as I have not been so fortunate as to merit to see You bodily in this life and in that blessed age of Your earthly life, let me at least be a daughter of Your Holy Church. Let me be a part of this Your Mystical Body and the congregation of Your faithful. In this life, so full of dangers, in this frail flesh, in these times of calamity and tribulations, do I live; but I cry out from its profound depths. I sigh from the bottom of my heart for Your infinite merits. That I shall share them, I have the assurance of faith, the spur of hope, and the claims of holy charity. Look down then upon Your humble slave in order to make me thankful for such great blessings, meek of heart, constant in love, and entirely comfortable and pleasing to Your Holy Will.

266 While proceeding on His way to the Jordan, our Savior dispensed His ancient mercies by relieving the necessities of body and soul in many of those whom He encountered at different places. Yet this was always done in secret; for before His Baptism He gave no public token of His Divine power and His exalted office. Before appearing at the Jordan, He filled the heart of St. John with new light and joy, which changed and elevated his soul. Perceiving these new workings of grace within himself, he reflected upon them full of wonder, saying: "What mystery is this? What presentiments of happi­ness? From the moment when I recognized the Presence of my Lord in the womb of my mother, I have not felt such stirring of my soul as now! Is it possible that He is now happily come, or that the Savior of the world is now near me?" Upon this enlightenment of the Baptist followed an intellectual vision, wherein he perceived with greater clearness the Mystery of the Hypostatic Union of the Person of the Word with the Humanity and other Mysteries of the Redemption. In the fullness of this intellectual light he gave the testimonies, which are recorded by St. John in his Gospel and which occurred while the Lord was in the desert and afterwards, when He returned to the banks of the Jordan. The Evange­list mentions one of these public testimonies as happening at the interpellation of the Jews, and the other when the Precursor exclaimed: "Behold the lamb of God…," as I shall narrate later on (Jn 1:36). Although the Bap­tist had been instructed in great mysteries, when he was commanded to go forth to preach and baptize; yet all of them were manifested to him anew and with greater clearness and abundance on this occasion, and he was then notified that the Savior of the world was coming to be baptized.

267 The Lord then joined the multitude and asked Baptism of St. John as one of the rest. The Baptist knew Him and, falling at His Feet, hesitated, saying: "I have need of being baptized, and You, Lord, ask Baptism of me?" as is recorded by St. Matthew. But the Savior answered: "Permit it to be so now, for so it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt 3:14). By thus hesitating to baptize Christ his Lord and asking Him for Baptism instead, he gave evidence that he recognized Him as the true Redeemer and there is no contradiction between this and what St. John records of the Baptist as saying to the Jews: "And I knew Him not; but He Who sent me to baptize with water said to me: 'He, upon Whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining, He it is that baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I saw, and I gave testimony that This is the Son of God" (John 1:33, 34). There is also no contradiction between these words of St. John and those of St. Matthew; for the testimony of Heaven and the Voice of the Eternal Father over Christ on the banks of the Jordan happened when the Precursor had the vision mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Hence he had not seen Christ bodily until then and could, therefore, deny having known Christ, at least in the same way as he then knew Him; for just because he knew Christ then both by sight and by intellectual vision, he prostrated himself at the Feet of the Savior.

268 When St. John had finished baptizing our Lord, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended visibly in the form of a dove upon His Head and the Voice of His Father was heard: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (Matt 3:17). Many of the bystanders heard this Voice, namely, those who were not unworthy of such a wonderful favor; they also saw the Holy Spirit descending upon the Savior. This was the most convincing proof which could ever be given of the Divinity of the Savior, as well on the part of the Father, Who acknowledged Him His Son, as also in regard to the nature of the testimony given; for without any reserve was Christ manifested as the true God, equal to His Eternal Father in substance and in perfection. The Father Himself wished to be the first to testify to the Divinity of Christ in order that by virtue of His testi­mony all the other witnesses might be ratified. There was also another mystery in this Voice of the Eternal Father: it was as it were a restoration of the honor of His Son before the world and a recompense for His hav­ing thus humiliated Himself by receiving the Baptism of the remission of sins, though He was entirely free from fault and never could have upon Him the guilt of sin (Heb 7:26).

269 This act of humiliation in receiving Baptism in the company of those who were sinners, Christ our Re­deemer offered up to the Eternal Father as an act of acknowledgment of the inferiority of His human nature, which, in common with all the rest of the children of men, He had derived from Adam. By it He also insti­tuted the Sacrament of Baptism, which was to wash away the sins of the world through His merits. By thus humili­ating Himself in this baptism of sins, He sought and obtained from the Eternal Father a general pardon for all those who were to receive it; He freed them from the power of the devil and of sin, and regenerated them to a new existence, spiritual and supernatural as adopted sons of the Most High, brethren of their Redeemer and Lord. The past, present and future sins of men always remaining in the Sight of the Eternal Father, had prevented the effects of this Baptism; but Christ our Lord merited the application of this so easy and delightful remedy, so that the Eternal Father was obliged to accept it in justice as a complete satisfaction according to all the require­ments of His equity. Christ was also not deterred from thus securing this remedy by His foreknowledge of the abuse of Holy Baptism by so many men in all ages and of its neglect by innumerable others. All these im­pediments and hindrances Christ our Lord removed by satisfying for their offenses, humiliating Himself and assuming the form of a sinner in His Baptism (Rom 8:3). This is the meaning of the words: Permit to be so now for so it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then in order to honor the Incarnate Word and in recompense for His humiliation, and in order to approve of Baptism and establish its wonderful efficacy, the Eternal Father gave forth His Voice and the Holy Spirit descended. Thus was Christ proclaimed as the true Son of God, and all 3 Persons of the Holy Trinity ratified the Sacra­mental Rite of Baptism.

270 The great Baptist was the one who reaped the greatest fruit from these wonders of Holy Baptism; for he not only baptized his Redeemer and Master, saw the Holy Spirit and the celestial light descending upon the Lord together with innumerable angels, heard the Voice of the Father and saw many other Mysteries by Divine revelation: but besides all this, he himself was baptized by the Redeemer. The Gospel indeed says no more than that he asked for it, but at the same time it also does not say that it was denied him; for, without a doubt, Christ after His own Baptism, conferred it also on His Precursor and Baptist. It was He that instituted this Sacrament afterwards as He made it a general law and enjoined the public ministration of it upon the Apostles after the Resurrection. As I shall relate later on, it was also the Lord Who baptized His most Holy Mother before its general promulgation, and He, on that occasion, established the form in which Baptism was to be admin­istered. These facts were made known to me, and also that St. John was the first-fruit of the Baptism of Christ our Lord and of the new Church, which He founded in this Sacrament. Through it, the Baptist received the character of a Christian together with a great plenitude of grace, since he had not upon him original sin; for he had been justified by the Redeemer before he was born, as was said in its place. By the answer of the Savior: "Permit it to be so now, that all righteousness be ful­filled," He did not refuse, but He deferred St. John's Baptism until He Himself should have been baptized and have fulfilled the requirements of God's righteousness. Imme­diately after His own Baptism He baptized St. John, gave him His blessing, and took off for the desert.

271 Let us return now to the main subject of this history, namely, to the occupations of our great Queen and Lady. As soon as Her Most Holy Son was baptized, although She knew by heavenly light of His movements, the Holy Angels who had attended upon their Lord brought Her intelligence of all that had happened at the Jordan; they were those that carried the ensigns or shields of the Passion of the Savior, as described in the first part. To celebrate all these Mysteries of Christ's Baptism and the public proclamation of His Divinity, the most prudent Mother composed new hymns and canticles of praise and of incomparable thanksgiving to the Most High and to the Incarnate Word. All His actions of humility and prayers She imitated, exerting Herself by many acts of Her own to accompany and follow Him in all of them. With ardent charity She interceded for men, that they might profit by the Sacrament of Bap­tism and that it might be administered all over the world. In addition to these prayers and hymns of thanksgiving, She asked the heavenly courtiers to help Her in magni­fying Her Most Holy Son for having thus humiliated Him­self in receiving Baptism at the hands of one of His creatures.

INSTRUCTION WHICH MOST HOLY MARY, GAVE ME

272 My daughter, since in recounting to you the works of My Most Holy Son I so often remind you how thankfully I appreciated them, you can understand how pleasing to the Most High is the faithful correspond­ence on your part, and the great mysteries of His blessings connected with it. You are poor in the house of the Lord, a sinner, insignificant and useless as dust; yet I ask you to assume the duty of rendering ceaseless thanks for all that the Incarnate Word has done for the sons of Adam and for establishing the holy and immaculate, the powerful and perfect law for their salvation. Especially should you be thankful for the institution of Baptism by which He frees men from the tyranny of the devil, fills them with grace, clothes them with righteousness and assists them to sin no more. This is indeed a duty incumbent upon all men in common; but since creatures neglect it almost entirely, I enjoin you to give thanks for all of them, as if you alone were responsible for them. You are bound to the Lord for other things to special thank­fulness, because He has shown Himself so generous to none among other nations as He has with you. In the foundation of His Holy Law and of His Sacraments you were present in His memory; He called and chose you as a daughter of His Church, proposing to nourish you by His own Blood with infinite love.

273 And if the Author of grace, My Most Holy Son, as a prudent and wise Artificer, in order to found His Evangelical Church and lay its first foundations in the Sacrament of Baptism, humiliated Himself, prayed and fulfilled all righteousness, acknowledging the inferiority of His human nature; and if, though at the same time God and Man, He hesitated not to lower Himself to the nothing­ness of which His Purest Soul was created and His Human Being formed: how much must you humiliate yourself, who have committed sins and are less than the dust and despicable ashes? Confess that in justice you merit only punishment, the persecution and wrath of all creatures; that no mortal who has offended His Creator and Redeemer can say in truth that any injustice or offense is done to them if all the tribulations and afflic­tions of the world from its beginning to its end were to fall upon them. Since all sinned in Adam (1 Cor 15:22), how deeply should they humiliate themselves when the Hand of the Lord visits them? (Job 19:21). If you should suffer all the afflictions of men with the utmost resignation and at the same time would fulfill all that I enjoin upon you by My teachings and exhortations with the greatest fidelity, you nevertheless must esteem yourself as a useless and unprofitable servant (Lk 17:10). How much then must you humiliate yourself when you fail so much in your duty and in the return due to all the blessings received from God? As I desire you to make a proper return both for yourself and for others, think well how much you are obliged to annihilate yourself to the very dust, not offering any resistance, nor ever being satisfied until the Most High receives you as His daughter and accepts you as such in His own Presence and in the celestial vision of the Triumphant Jerusalem.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 25
OUR REDEEMER GOES TO THE DESERT, WHERE HE GAINS GREAT VICTORIES OVER OUR VICES.

274 By the testimony which the Eternal Truth had chosen to give of the Divinity of Christ our Savior, His Person and His teachings were so fully accredited be­fore men that He could have immediately begun His public life and His Divine activity and miracles, so that all should have recognized Him as the Natural Son of the Eternal Father, as the Messiah of the Jews, and the Savior of men. Nevertheless the Divine Teacher of all holiness did not wish to commence His preaching nor to be known as our Redeemer without having first triumphed over our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil in order that afterwards He might so much the more easily overcome the hellish deceits continually spread about by satan. By His heroic exercises of virtue He wished to give us the first lesson of a Christian and spiritual life and to teach us by these triumphs of Chris­tian perfection, how we are to strengthen our weakness and discourage our common enemies by continued battle and victories, lest we be otherwise delivered over to them by the fluctuations of our own wills. Although the Lord, as being God, was infinitely above the devil and, as man without deceit of sin, Supremely Holy and the Master over all creation (1 Pet 2:22); He never­theless wished to overcome in His Human Nature, by His personal righteousness and holiness, all the vices and their author; and, therefore, He offered His Most Holy Human­ity to the buffetings of temptation, concealing His supe­riority from His invisible enemies.

275 By His retirement Christ our Lord began to con­quer and taught us to conquer the world; for it is an established fact that the world is accustomed to forsake those whom it does not need for its earthly purposes, that it does not seek those who themselves do not seek it. Therefore, he who really despises the world must show His contempt by ceasing to have any connection with it in His affections and aspirations. The Lord vanquished also the flesh, teaching us to overcome it by imposing upon His Most Innocent Body such a severe and prolonged fast; though His Body showed neither rebellion toward the good nor any inclinations to evil. The devil He van­quished by the preaching of the truth, as I shall explain more fully afterward; for all the temptations of the father of lies are liable to come cloaked and veiled in deceitful snares. That the Lord should not enter upon His public teaching and make Himself known to the world before He had gained His triumphs over the Body is another warning and admonition against the weakness of our flesh. He wished to caution us against the honors of this world, even those that accrue to us from super­natural favors, as long as our passions are not con­quered and as long as we have not vanquished our common enemies. For if the applause of men finds us unmortified and still living under the influence of the enemies within our own selves, the favors and blessings of the Lord offer us little security and the wind of vain­glory may overturn even the towering mountains of virtues. It imports much to all men to remember that we carry the treasures of heaven in most fragile vessels (2 Cor 4:7); that, if God wishes to glorify His Name by our weakness, He will know by what means He shall draw His activities to light. Avoidance of the enemy alone is incumbent upon us and most suitable.

276 Without delay Christ our Lord pursued His jour­ney from the Jordan to the desert after His Baptism. Only His Holy Angels attended and accompanied Him serving and worshipping Him, singing the Divine Praises on account of what He was now about to undertake for the salvation of mankind. He came to the place chosen by Him for His fast: a desert spot among bare rocks, where there was also a cavern much con­cealed. Here He halted, choosing it for His habitation during the days of His fast (Matt 4:1). In deepest humility He prostrated Himself upon the ground, which was always the prelude of His prayer and that of His most Blessed Mother. He praised the Eternal Father and gave Him thanks for the works of His Divine Right Hand and for having according to His pleasure afforded Him this retirement. In a suitable manner He thanked even this desert for accepting His Presence and keeping Him hidden from the world during the time He was to spend there. He continued His prayers prostrate in the form of a Cross, and this was His most frequent occupation in the desert; for in this manner He often prayed to the Eternal Father for the salvation of men. During these prayers, for reasons, which I shall explain, when I come to the prayer in the garden, He sometimes sweated blood.

277 Many of the wild beasts of the desert came to the neighborhood now inhabited by their Creator; for He sometimes walked about in these regions. With an admirable instinct they recognized Him and gave forth their voices, moving about as if in testimony of His Divinity. But the birds of heaven of which great multitudes gathered around the Savior, were especially eager in their demonstrations, manifesting their joy at the Blessed Presence of their Divine King and Lord by their sweet and loud singing and in divers other ways. After the Savior had begun His fast He persevered therein without eating anything for 40 days, offer­ing up His fast to the Eternal Father as a satisfaction for the disorder and sins to which men are drawn by the so vile and debasing, yet so common and even so much esteemed vice of gluttony. Just as our Lord over­came this vice so He also vanquished all the rest, and He made recompense to the Eternal Judge and Supreme Legislator for the injuries perpetrated through these vices by men. According to the enlightenment bestowed to me, our Savior, in order to assume the office of Preacher and Teacher and to become our Mediator and Redeemer before the Father, thus vanquished all the vices of men and He satisfied the offenses com­mitted through them by the exercises of the virtues con­trary to them, just as He did in regard to gluttony. Although He continued this exercise during all His life with the most ardent charity, yet during His fast He directed in a special manner all His efforts toward this purpose.

278 A loving father, whose sons have committed great crimes for which they are to endure the most hor­rible punishment, sacrifices all His possessions in order to ward off their impending fate: so our Most Loving Father and Brother, Jesus Christ, wished to pay our debts. In satisfaction for our pride He offered His profound humility; for our avarice, His voluntary pov­erty and total privation of all that was His; for our base and lustful inclinations, His penance and austerity; for our hastiness and vengeful anger, His meekness and charity toward His enemies; for our negligence and laziness, His ceaseless labors; for our deceitfulness and our envy, His candid and upright sincerity and truthfulness and the sweetness of His loving association. In this manner He continued to appease the Just Judge and solicited pardon for us disobedient and bastard children; and He not only obtained this pardon for them, but He merited for them new graces and favors, so that they might make themselves worthy of His company and of the vision of His Father and His own inheritance for all eternity. Though He could have obtained all this for us by the most insignificant of His works; yet He did not act like us. He demonstrated His love so abundantly, that our in­gratitude and hardness of heart will have no excuse.

279 In order to keep informed of the undertakings of our Savior the most blessed Mary needed no other assistance than Her continual visions and revelations; but in addi­tion to all these, She made use of the service of Her Holy Angels, whom She sent to Her Divine Son. The Lord Himself thus ordered it, in order that, by means of these faithful messengers, both He and She might rejoice in the sentiments and thoughts of their inmost hearts faith­fully rehearsed by these celestial messengers; and thus They each heard the very same words as uttered by Each, although both Son and Mother already knew them in another way. As soon as the great Lady understood that our Redeemer was on the way to the desert to ful­fill His intention, She locked the doors of Her dwelling, without letting anyone know of Her presence; and Her retirement during the time of our Lord's fast was so complete, that Her neighbors thought that She had left with Her Divine Son. She entered into Her oratory and re­mained there for 40 days and nights without ever leaving it and without eating anything, just as She knew was done by Her Most Holy Son. Both of them observed the same course of rigorous fasting. In all His prayers and exercises, His prostrations and genuflections She fol­lowed our Savior, not omitting any of them; moreover She performed them just at the same time; for, leaving aside all other occupations, She thus profited by the in­formation obtained from the angels and by that other knowledge, which I have already described. Whether He was present or not, She knew the interior opera­tions of the Soul of Christ. All His bodily movements, which She had been accustomed to perceive with Her own senses, She now knew by intellectual vision or through Her Holy Angels.

280 While the Savior was in the desert He made every day 300 genuflections, which also was done by our Queen Mary in Her oratory; the other por­tions of Her time She spent in composing hymns with the angels, as I have said in the last chapter. Thus imi­tating Christ the Lord, the Holy Queen co-operated with Him in all His prayers and petitions, gaining the same victories over the vices, and on Her part proportionately satisfying for them by Her virtues and Her exertions. Thus it happened, that, while Christ as our Redeemer gained for us so many blessings and abundantly paid all our debts, most Holy Mary, as His Helper and our Mother, lent us Her merciful intercession and became our Mediatrix to the fullest extent possible to a mere crea­ture.

INSTRUCTIONS WHICH THE QUEEN AND LADY GAVE ME

281 My daughter, corporal penances are so appro­priate and fitted to mortal creatures, that the ignorance of this truth and the neglect and contempt of bodily mortification cause the loss of many souls and bring many more into the danger of Eternal loss. The first reason why men should afflict their body and mortify their flesh is their having been conceived in sin (Ps 51:7). By this original sin, human nature is depraved, filled with passions, rebellious to reason, inclined to evil and adverse to the spirit (Rom 7:23). If the soul allows itself to be carried away by them, it will be precip­itated by the first vice into many others. But if this beastly flesh is curbed by mortification and penance, it loses its strength and acknowledges the authority of the spirit and the light of truth. The second reason is that no one has altogether avoided sinning against God; and the punishment and retribution must inevitably correspond to the guilt, either in this life or the next; therefore, as the soul commits sin in union with the body, it follows that both of them must be punished. Interior sorrow is not sufficient for atonement, if the flesh seeks to evade the punishment corresponding to the guilt. Moreover, the debt is so great and the satisfac­tion that can be given by the creature so limited and scanty that there remains continual uncertainty whether the Judge is satisfied even after the exertions of a whole lifetime: hence, the soul should find no rest to the end of life.

282 Even though divine clemency is so liberal with men, that, if they try to satisfy for their sins by penance as far as their limited capacity goes, God remits their offenses and in addition thereto has promised the guilty ones new gifts and graces and eternal rewards, yet His faithful and prudent servants, who really love their Lord, are constrained voluntarily to add other penances; for the debtor who merely wishes to do what he is obliged to and adds nothing of His own freewill, cer­tainly pays His debts, but will remain poor and destitute, if after payment of His debts nothing remains. What then are those to expect, who neither pay nor make any efforts towards paying? The third reason for bodily mortification, and the most urgent one, is the duty of Christians to imitate their Divine Teacher and Master. Moreover, My Divine Son and I, without being guilty of any faults, or bad inclinations, devoted ourselves to labors and made our lives a continual practice of pen­ance and mortification of the flesh. It was thus that the Lord saw fit to attain the glory of His Body and of His Holy Name, and He wished Me to follow Him in all things. If We then pursued such a course of life because it was reasonable, what must be thought of those who seek naught but sweetness and delight, and abhor all penances, affronts, ignominies, fasting and mortifica­tion? Shall then only Christ, our Lord, and I suffer all these hardships while the guilt-laden debtors and deservers of all these punishments throw themselves head over heels into the filth of their carnal inclinations? Shall they employ their faculties, given to them for the service of Christ, My Lord, and for His following, merely in dancing attendance on their lusts and the devil, who has introduced evil into the world? This absurd posi­tion, maintained by the children of Adam, is the cause of great indignation in the Just Judge.

283 It is true, My daughter, that by the bodily afflic­tions and mortifications of My Most Blessed Son, the de­fects and deficiencies of human merits have been atoned for; and that He wished Me, as a mere creature and as one taking the place of other creatures, to co-operate with Him most perfectly and exactly all in His penances and exercises. But this was not in order to exempt men from the practice of penance, but in order to encourage them to it; for in order merely to save them, it was not necessary to suffer so much. Our Blessed Savior, as a true Father and Brother, wished also to enhance the labors and penances of those who were to follow in His footsteps; for the efforts of creatures are of little value in the Eyes of God unless they are made precious by the merits of Christ. If this is true of works which are entirely virtuous and perfect, how much more is it true of those which are infected with so many faults and deficiencies, even in the greatest acts of virtue, as ordi­narily performed by the children of Adam? For in the works of even the most spiritual and virtuous persons many deficiencies occur. These deficiencies are made good by the merits of Christ, our Lord, so that the works of men may become acceptable to the Eternal Father. But those who neglect good works and remain altogether idle can by no means expect to apply to themselves the good works of Christ; for they have in themselves nothing that can be perfected by the works of Christ, but only such things as deserve condemnation. I do not speak now, My daughter, of the damnable error of some of the faithful, who have introduced into the works of penance the sensuality and vanity of the world, so that they merit greater punishment for their penance than for their sins, since they foster in their penances vain and imperfect purposes and forget the supernatural ends of penance, which alone give value to penance and life to the soul. On some other occasion, if necessary, I will speak of this error; deplore this blindness and labor with great zeal; for if your labors were even as great as that of the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, they would be no greater than they should be. Chastise your body with ever greater severity, and remember that you are deficient in many things, while you have but a short life and are so weak and incapable of repaying your debts.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 26
THE LORD IS TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL.  HE VANQUISHES HIM.

284 In Chapter 20, I have related how the devil came forth from the infernal caverns in order to find and tempt the Divine Master. I mentioned also that the Lord concealed Himself in the desert, where, after a fast of 40 days, He permitted the tempter to approach Him, as told by the Evangelists (Matt 4:2). Coming to the desert and finding the object of his search alone, the devil was highly rejoiced; for he found Jesus separated from His Mother, whom he and his satellites esteemed their Enemy on account of the defeats they had suffered at Her hands. As he never had entered into any contest with the Lord, and as Mary was absent, the dragon in his pride accounted his victory secure. But when the devil and the other demons ob­served their Opponent more closely, they began to feel great fear and discouragement. Not because they recog­nized His Divinity, for of this they had no suspicions as long as they saw Him so despised; nor because of any pre­vious experience with Him, for as yet they had measured their forces only with the Heavenly Queen; but because they saw manifested in His exterior so much reserve and so much Majesty, and because His actions were so per­fect and heroic, that they inspired great fear and dread. His behavior and His condition were totally different from those of other men, whom they had tempted and easily overcome. The devil conferred about these matters with his demons, saying: "What manner of Man is this, who is so adverse to the vices by which we assail other men? If He is so forgetful of the world and has His Flesh in such entire subjection and control, how shall we find any opening for our temptations? How shall we hope for victory, if He has deprived us of the weapons, by which we make warfare among men? I have many misgivings about this contest." So great is the value and power of contempt of the world and subjection of the flesh, that they fill with terror the devil and all hell; and the devils would not rise up against us in such pride, if they would not find men subject to these tyrants before he comes to tempt them.

285 Christ the Savior permitted the devil to remain under the false impression, that He was a mere human creature though very holy and just; He wished to raise his courage and malice for the contest, for such is the effect of any advantages espied by the devil in his attacks upon the victims of his temptations. Rousing his cour­age by his own arrogance, he began this battle in the wilderness with greater prowess and fierceness than the devils ever exhibited in their battles with men. The devil and his satellites strained all their power and malice, lashing themselves into fury against the superior strength, which they soon found in Christ our Lord. Yet our Savior tempered all His actions with Divine Wisdom and Goodness, and in justice and equity con­cealed the secret source of His infinite power, exhibiting just so much as would suffice to prove Him to be a man so far advanced in holiness as to be able to gain these victories against the infernal foes. In order to begin the battle as man, He directed a prayer to the Eternal Father from His inmost Soul, to which the intel­ligence of the devil could not penetrate, saying: "My Father and Eternal God, I now enter into battle with the enemy in order to crush his power and humble his pride and his malice against My beloved souls. For Your glory and for the benefit of souls I submit to the daring pre­sumption of the devil. I wish thereby to crush his head in order that when mortals are attacked by his tempta­tions without their fault, they may find his arrogance already broken. I implore You, My Father, to remember My battle and victory in favor of mortals assailed by the common enemy. Strengthen their weakness through My triumph, let them obtain victory; let them be en­couraged by My example, and let them learn from Me how to resist and overcome their enemies."

286 During this battle the Holy Angels that attended upon Christ were hidden from the sight of the devil, in order that he might not begin to understand and suspect the Divine power of our Savior. The Holy Spirits gave glory and praise to the Father and the Holy Spirit, Who rejoiced in the works of the Incarnate Word. The most Blessed Virgin also from Her oratory witnessed the battle in the manner to be described below. The tempta­tion of Christ began on the 35th day of His fast in the desert, and lasted to the end of the fast, as related by the Evangelists. The devil assumed the shape of a man and presented himself before the Lord as a stranger, who had never seen or known Him before. He clothed himself in refulgent light, like that of an angel, and, conjecturing that the Lord after His long fast must be suffering great hunger, he said to Him: "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread" (Matt 4:3). By thus cunningly resting his advice on the supposition of His being the Son of God, the devil sought some information on what was giving him the greatest concern. But the Savior of the world answered only in these few words: "Not in bread alone does man live, but in every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God." Christ took the words from Deuteronomy 8. But the devil did not penetrate into the meaning given to these words by Christ for the devil understood Him to mean, that God could sustain the life of man without bread or any other nourishment. But though this was also the true signifi­cation of these words, yet our Divine Master included a much deeper meaning; desiring by these words to say to the devil: This Man, with Whom you speak, lives in the Word of God, Which is the Divine Word, hypo-statically united to His Humanity. Though that was pre­cisely what the devil desired so much to know, he did not deserve to understand the words of the God Man, because he did not wish to adore Him as true God.

287 The devil found himself repulsed by the force of this answer and by the hidden power, which accompanied it; but he wished to show no weakness, nor desist from the contest. The Lord allowed the devil to continue in his temptation and for this purpose permitted Himself to be carried by the devil bodily to Jerusalem and to be placed on the pinnacle of the Temple. Here the Lord could see multitudes of people, though He Himself was not seen by anyone. The devil tried to arouse in the Lord the vain desire of casting Himself down from this high place, so that the crowds of men, seeing Him un­hurt, might proclaim Him as a great and wonderful man of God. Again using the words of  Holy Scriptures, he said to Him: "If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down, for it is written (Ps 91:11): that He has given His angels charge over You, and in their hands they shall bear You up, lest perhaps You dash your foot against a stone" (Matt 4:6). The heavenly spirits who accompanied their King, were full of wonder, that He should permit the devil to carry Him bodily in his hands, solely for the benefit of mortal man. With the prince of darkness were gathered innumerable devils; for on that occasion hell was almost emptied of its inhabitants in order to furnish assistance for this enterprise. The Author of Wisdom answered: "It is also written: You shall not tempt the Lord your God" (Deut 6:16). While giving these answers the Redeemer of the world exhibited a matchless meekness, profoundest humility, and majesty so superior to all the attempts of satan, as was of itself alone sufficient to crush the devil's arrogance and to cause him torments and confusion never felt before.

288 Being thus foiled, he attacked our Lord in still another way, seeking to rouse His ambition by offering Him some share in his dominion. For this purpose he took the Lord upon a high mount, from whence could be seen many lands, and said to Him with perfidious daring: "All these will I give to You, if falling down, You will adore me" (Matt 4:9). Exorbitant bold­ness, and more than insane madness and perfidy! Offer­ing to the Lord what he did not possess, nor ever could give, since the earth, the stars, the kingdoms, princi­palities, riches and treasures, all belong to the Lord, and He alone can give or withhold them when it serves and pleases Him! Never can the devil give anything, even not of the things of the earth, and therefore all His promises are false. The King and Lord answered with imperial majesty: "Be gone, satan, for it is written: The Lord your God you shall adore, and Him only shall you serve." By this command, Christ the Redeemer took away from the devil permission further to tempt Him, and hurled him and all his legions into the deepest abysses of hell. There they found themselves entirely crushed and buried in its deepest caverns, unable to move for 3 days. When they were permitted again to rise, seeing themselves thus vanquished and annihilated, they began to doubt whether He, Who had so overwhelmed them, might not be the Incarnate Son of God. In this doubt and uncertainty they remained, without ever being able to come to certain conviction until the Death of the Savior. The devil was overcome by hellish wrath at his defeat and was almost consumed in his fury.

289 Our Divine Conqueror Christ then sang hymns of praise and thanks to the Eternal Father for having given Him this triumph over the common enemy of God and man; and amid the triumphal songs of a multi­tude of angels, He was borne back to the desert. They carried Him in their hands, although He had not need of their help, since He could make use of His own Divine Power; but this service of the angels was due to Him in recompense for enduring the audacity of the devil in carrying to the pinnacle of the Temple and to the moun­tain top the Sacred Humanity of Christ, in Which dwelt substantially and truly the Divinity Itself. It would never have entered into the thoughts of man, that the Lord should give such a permission to satan, if it had not been made known to us in the Gospels. But I do not know which deserves the greater astonishment: that He should consent to be carried about from one place to another by the devil, who did not know Him; or that He should allow Himself to be sold by Judas, or to be received in the Holy Sacrament by this treacherous dis­ciple and by so many sinful members of the Church, who do know Him to be their God and yet receive Him unworthily. What we certainly must wonder at, is that He permitted as well the one as the other and that He continues to permit it for our benefit and in order to draw us to Him by His meekness and by His patient love. O sweetest master of my soul ! How sweet, and kind, and merciful are You toward souls! (Joel 2:13). Out of purest love You descended from heaven to earth for them, You suffered and gave away Your Life for their salvation. Mercifully You wait for them and bear with them, You call and seek after them. You receive them and enter into their hearts; You yield Yourself entirely to them and anx­iously desire them to be yours. What transfixes and bursts my heart, is that, while You seek to draw us to You out of pure love, we flee from You and respond to all Your excesses of love only by ingratitude. O immense love of my God, so badly repaid and so little acknowledged! Give me, O Lord, fountains of tears to weep over this wrong, which is so deeply to be deplored, and let all the righteous of the earth help me. When the Lord had been carried back to the desert, the angels, according to the Gospel, ministered unto Him (Matt 4:11) for at the end of His temptation and fast they served Him with a celestial food, in order that His Sacred Body might again be invigorated. Not only were the angels present to rejoice at this divine banquet, but also the birds of the desert came in order to contribute to the recreation of their Creator by their harmonious songs and graceful movements; and in their own way the wild animals of the desert joined them, throwing off their native wildness and producing their joyful antics and sounds in acknowledgment of the victory of their Lord.

290 Let us return to Nazareth, where, in Her oratory, the Princess of the Angels had witnessed the battles of Her Most Holy Son. She had seen them all by the heavenly light already described and by the uninterrupted mes­sages of Her angels, who brought them back and forth between the Savior and the Blessed Queen. She repeated the same prayers as the Lord and at the same time. She entered likewise into the conflict with the dragon, al­though invisibly and spiritually. From Her retreat She anathemized and crushed the devil and his followers, co-operating in all the undertakings of Christ in our favor. When She perceived that the devil carried the Lord from place to place, She wept bitterly, because the malice of sin reduced the King of kings to such mis­use. In honor of all the victories, which He gained over the devil, She composed hymns of praise to the Divinity and the Most Holy Humanity of Christ, while the angels set them to music and were sent with them to congratulate Him for the blessings won for the human race. Christ on His part sent back the angels with words of sweet consolation and rejoicing on ac­count of His triumphs over the devil.

291 And since She had been His faithful companion and sharer in His labors and fasts of the desert, the Lord sent Her some of the celestial food and com­manded the angels to present and minister it to Her. Wonderful to record, the great multitudes of the birds that had gathered around the Savior, flew after these angels with an exceedingly swift flight, and entered the dwelling of the Queen of Heaven and Earth; and while the Blessed Lady partook of the food sent to Her by Her Son, they sang and chirped before our Lady in the same way as they had done in the Presence of the Savior. The most Holy Virgin tasted the heavenly food, now even more precious to Her, since it came from and was blessed by the Hands of Her Son; and by it She was again rejoiced and strength­ened after Her long and rigorous fast. She gave thanks to the Almighty and humiliated Herself to the very earth; and the acts of Her virtue were so heroic and excellent, that our words and conceptions are not able to encompass them. We shall see them in their true light, when we shall rejoice with the Lord; then we shall give glory and praise for these ineffable bless­ings, as is due Him from all the human race.

QUESTION WHICH I ASKED THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

292 Queen of all the Heavens, Your kind condescension emboldens me to ask You, as my Teacher and Mother, for information concerning a certain doubt raised in my mind by the mention of the celestial food, which the angels served to the Savior in the desert. I understood it to be of the same quality as that served to You and to the Lord on other occa­sions, when the ordinary food was lacking. I have called it celestial food, because I had no other name for it; yet I do not know if that name is appropriate. For I am uncertain whence this food was procured and what was its nature. In heaven I understand, there is no need of bodily food, for there the earthly mode of sustaining life is not continued. Although the blessed enjoy also sensible delight from created objects, and also the taste must have its proper function in heaven just as the other senses, I suspect that its pleasures are not derived from the eating of food, but from some overflow of the soul's glory into the body and its senses. Thus the grossness and imperfection of the senses in mortal life have no share in their Heavenly activity and in its objects. Of all this, I, being so ignorant, desire to be informed by your motherly kindness and condescension.

ANSWER AND INSTRUCTION GIVEN ME BY THE HEAVENLY LADY

293 My daughter, you have well doubted: for it is true, that in heaven no material food or nourishment is used, as you have already understood and declared. The food that the angels brought to My Holy Son and to me was truly a heavenly food, and I Myself have suggested this name to you, because the strength of this food is heavenly and not earthly, where everything is gross, very material and limited. It will help you to understand something of the quality of this food, and the manner of its creation, when I tell you, that the Lord, to supply our needs, made use of some created material, most ordinarily water, on account of its clearness and simple composition; for the Lord does not require complicated matter for His miracles. At other times it was bread or some kinds of fruit. These materials He furnished with such a power and such qualities of taste that they exceeded, as heaven does the earth, all the delicacies here below. There is nothing in the world that can be compared to them; for all other food is insipid and weak in comparison to this celestial food. To understand this the better, con­sider the examples mentioned in Holy Scripture: for instance the food given to Elias, by the strength of which he walked for 40 days and nights to Mount Horeb; the manna, which was called the Bread of Angels, because they prepared it by condensing the vapors of the earth (Ex 16:14) and thus condensed and shaped like grain, they showered it upon the earth. It possessed a great variety of tastes, as Scripture tells us, and it was very nourishing to the body. Also the water converted into wine by the Most Holy Son at the nuptials of Cana was of such good taste and strength, that it excited the admiration of the guests (Jn 2:10).

294 In the same way as the Lord gave a supernatural excellence to the water and turned it into a most sweet and delicate liquor, so He also gave a spiritual strength to the bread or the fruit. Such nourishment restored the waste of bodily strength and delighted the senses in an admirable manner, renewing their vigor and fitting them for labors and difficulties without causing the least loathing or inconvenience. The Holy Angels ministered this kind of food to My Most Holy Son after His fast, and this My spouse Joseph  and I received on different occasions. The Almighty showed the same favor also to some of His friends and servants, rejoicing them with heavenly food, although not so frequently and in so wonderful a manner as He did Us. Your doubt is then answered; but now listen to the instruc­tion pertaining to this chapter.

295 In order to understand better what you have written, you must keep in mind 3 motives of our Lord in entering upon this battle with the devil, and this understanding will furnish you great light and strength against satan and his followers. His first motive was to destroy sin and the seeds of sin, sown in the human nature by satan in the first transgression of Adam. These seeds are the  7 Mortal (Capital) Sins: Pride, Envy, Avarice, Anger, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth, being the 7 heads of the dragon. The devil appointed an infernal chieftain over each one of these sins in the battle of hell against the human race, and the evil spirits were distributed into squad­rons under these leaders in order to maintain the sort of orderly confusion, which I have described in the first part of this heavenly history (Part I, No. 103). Accordingly My Divine Son entered into conflict with each one of these princes of darkness, vanquishing them and destroying their power. In the Gospels only 3 temptations are mentioned, being those which are more manifest to the senses; but the conflict and the triumph was far more extensive, for Christ our Lord overcame all these princes and their vices. He overcame pride by His humility; anger, by His meekness; avarice, by His contempt for riches; and all the other vices, by their corresponding virtues. The greatest defeat and con­sternation, however, overtook these enemies at the Foot of the Cross, when they became certain that it was the Incarnate Word Who had conquered and crushed them. Since that time they are timid in entering into conflict with those men, who rely on the power and triumph of My Son.
296 The second motive for engaging in this conflict was obedience to the command of the Eternal Father, Who not only wished Him to die for men, and redeem them by His Passion and Death, but also to enter into battle with the devils and vanquish them by the force of His incomparable virtues. The third motive, and the one that was consequent upon the second, was to fur­nish mankind an example and a model for triumphing over their enemies and to take away from all men any cause of wonder or surprise at being tempted and per­secuted by the devils. He wished that all should have this consolation in their temptations and conflicts, that their Redeemer and Teacher first suffered them in His own Person (Heb 4:15); for, though in some respects His temptations were different from ours, yet in sub­stance, they were entirely the same, only of greater satanic force and malice. My Lord permitted the devil to strain all his powers in his battle with Him, in order that by His Divine power He might crush and enfeeble hell in its battles against mankind, making it easier for us to overcome them, if we wish to avail our­selves of the advantages gained by this very conflict of our Redeemer.
297 All men have need of this instruction, if they are to vanquish the devil; but you, My daughter, need it more than many generations on account of the wrath of this dragon against you and on account of your natural weakness in battle, when not assisted by My teaching and this example. Before all see that you keep in subjection your flesh and the influences of the world. Mortify your flesh and flee the world by retiring from creatures to the interior of your soul, thus conquering both these enemies and preserving the blessed light of grace, which you receive there, and loving nothing except in as far as well ordered charity permits. For this purpose renew in yourself the memory of the narrow path pointed out to you; for the Lord has given you a natural faculty of ardent love, and We wish that you consecrate this faculty entirely to the love of God. Consent not to any movement of your appetites, no matter in how small a matter; and allow your senses no liberty, except for the exaltation of the Most High, or for suffering or doing something for the benefit and love of your neighbor. If you obey Me in all things, I will see that you are protected and strengthened against this cruel dragon for the battles of the Lord (1 Sam 25:28). A thousand shields will surround you both for defense and offense against the devil. Accustom yourself always to use against him the words of Holy Scripture, not deigning to exchange many  words with such an astute enemy. Weak creatures should not indulge in conferences or arguments with their mortal enemy and the master of lies; since even My Divine Son, Who was all-powerful and infinitely wise, did not do so. In this He gave souls an example how circumspectly they are to act with the devil. Arm yourself with living faith, unwavering hope and love of humility, for these are the virtues by which the dragon is crushed and vanquished and against which he dares not make a stand. He flees from them because they are powerful weapons against his pride and arrogance.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 27
CHRIST CALLS HIS FIRST DISCIPLES 

298 Christ our Redeemer, having triumphed over the devil and all his vices and having attained the high and mysterious ends of His retirement and fast in the desert, now resolved to leave His solitude in order to pursue the further works enjoined upon Him by the Eternal Father for the Redemption of man. In taking leave of the desert, He prostrated Himself upon the ground, praising the Eternal Father and giving Him thanks for all that He had done through His Sacred Humanity for the glory of the Divinity and for the benefit of the human race. He added also a fervent prayer for all those who would, in imitation of Him, retire either for their whole life or for some time, into solitude, and far from the world and its allurements follow Him in contemplation and holy exercises for their spiritual advancement. The Father in Heaven promised His favors and His words of Eternal life as well as His special helps and His blessings of sweetness to all those, who on their part dispose themselves properly to receive and correspond with them. Having said this prayer the Savior, as true man, asked permission to leave the desert and attended by the Holy Angels He departed.

299 The Master returned to the Jordan, where His great Precursor St. John was still preaching and baptizing. By His presence and appearance there He wished to secure new testimony of His mission and Divinity through the mouth of St. John. Moreover He was drawn by His own love to see and speak with him, for during His Baptism the heart of the Precursor had become inflamed and wounded by the Divine Love of the Savior, which so irresistibly at­tracted all creatures. In the hearts which were well disposed, as was that of St. John, the fire of love burned with so much the greater ardor and violence. When the Baptist saw the Savior coming to him the second time, His first words were those recorded by the Evangelist: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world." Saint John gave this testimony while pointing out the Lord to those who were listening to his instruc­tions and were receiving Baptism at his hands. He added: "This is He of Whom I said: after me there comes a Man, Who is preferred before me; because He was before me. And I knew Him not; but that He may be made manifest in Israel, therefore I am come baptizing with water."

300 These words the Baptist spoke, because before Jesus had come to be baptized, he had not seen Him, nor received any revelations concerning His coming, as was the case on this occasion and as I have said in Chapter 24. He continued to speak of Christ, telling the bystanders how he had seen the Holy Spirit descend upon the Lord in Baptism, and how he had given testimony of His being Christ the Son of God (Jn 1:29-32). For while Jesus was in the desert the Jews had sent to him the embassy from Jerusalem, which is spoken of in Chapter 1 of the Gospel of Saint John, asking him, who he was and the other questions there recorded. The Baptist answered that he was baptizing in water, but that in their midst had been One Whom they knew not (for Christ had been among them at the Jordan). This One, Saint John said, was to come later, whose shoe-latches he was not worthy to loosen. Hence, when St. John again saw the Savior returning from the desert, he called Him the Lamb of God and referred to the testimony, which shortly before he had given to the Pharisees, at the same time adding, that he had seen the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, as had been promised him by revelation before­hand. Both Sts. Matthew and Luke also men­tion, that the Voice of the Father was heard at His Baptism, whereas St. John the Apostle mentions only the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove; for he wished to record merely the words of St. John to the Jews in regard to Christ.

301 The Queen of Heaven, in Her retirement, knew of this faithful testimony of the Precursor in denying, that he himself was the Christ and in asserting the Divinity of Her Son. In return She begged the Lord to reward His faithful servant John. The Almighty granted Her prayer, for the holy Baptist was raised above all the woman-born in the esteem of the Most High. Because St. John refused the honors offered to him, the Lord conferred upon him the highest honor that is possible to give to a man next to the Redeemer. On this occasion, when the Baptist saw the Savior the second time, he was filled with new and vast graces of the Holy Spirit. Some of the bystanders, when they heard him say: "Behold the Lamb of God..." were strongly moved and asked him many questions; but, the Savior, permitting him to inform his hearers of the truth as explained above, turned away and left this place to go to Jerusalem. Jesus was but a very short time near the Precursor. He did not go directly to the Holy City; but for many days He tarried in smaller towns, teaching the people and in a veiled manner telling them, that the Messiah was already in the world. He directed them on the way of salvation, and induced many to seek the Baptism of John, in order to prepare themselves by penance for the coming Redemption.

302 The Evangelists say nothing of the time and of the undertakings of Christ immediately after His fast. But I have been informed, that the Savior remained about 10 months in Judea before He returned to Nazareth in order to see His Blessed Mother. Nor did He enter Galilee until He had again allowed Himself to be seen by St. John, who for the second time proclaimed Him as the Lamb of God. This time it was done in the hear­ing of Andrew and the first Apostles; and immediately afterward He called Philip, as related by John the Evan­gelist (John 1:36-43). These 10 months the Savior spent in enlightening  souls and preparing them by His helps, His teaching and admirable blessings, stirring them up from their stupor, so that afterwards, when He should begin to work miracles, He might find them more ready to believe and follow Him as their Re­deemer. Many of those whom He had during this time catechized and instructed, really became His followers. He did not speak with the Pharisees and scribes during this time; for they were not so well disposed to believe that the Messiah had come. They did not admit such belief even afterwards, when this truth had been con­firmed by His preaching and when His miracles and other testimonies had so clearly given witness to Christ our Lord (Matt 11:5). To the humble and the poor, who on account of their station of life merited to be the first to be evangelized and instructed (Lk 4:18), the Savior preached during these 10 months in the kingdom of Judea; to them He showed His merciful liberality not only by individual instruction, but also by His hidden favors and private miracles. Hence they received Him as a great Prophet and a Holy Man. He stirred the hearts of many to forsake sin and to seek the Kingdom of God, which was now approaching.

303 Our Blessed Lady remained during all this time in Nazareth, knowing of all the activities of Her Son; She was kept informed of them not only by the Divine Light, of which I have spoken, but also by the messages brought to Her by Her thousand angels, who, during the absence of the Redeemer, always appeared to Her in bodily forms. In order to imitate Him perfectly, She left Her solitude at the same time as the Savior. Though She could not grow in love, yet, after the overthrow of the devils through our Lord's fasting and other virtues, She manifested it by greater fervor. The Heavenly Mother having received new increase of grace, ardently set about imitating all the works of Her Son for the benefit of the human race and acting as His messenger in the manifestation of His office as Re­deemer of mankind. Accompanied by Her angels, filled with the plenitude of wisdom and furnished with the power of Queen of the Universe, She went forth from Her house in Nazareth to the neighboring places and per­formed great miracles, although in a hidden manner, just as the Incarnate Word was doing in Judea. She spoke of the advent of the Messiah without revealing who He was; She instructed many in the way of life, drew them from their sins, put to flight the devils, enlightened the erring and the ignorant and prepared them for the Redemption by inducing them to believe in its Author. To these Spiritual Works of Mercy She added many bodily blessings, healing the sick, consoling the afflicted, visiting the poor. Though She labored mostly among the women, yet She benefited also many of the men, who, if they were despised and poor, were not deprived of Her aid and of the happiness of being visited by the Sovereign of the Angels and of all the Universe.

304 In imitation of all that the Lord was doing in Judea, She also went about on foot spending nearly all this time on Her excursions, yet She returned a few times to Her dwelling in Nazareth. During these 10 months She ate very little; for, as I have indicated in the preceding chapter, She had been so satiated and strengthened by the celestial food sent to Her by Her Son from the desert, that She was enabled not only to travel afoot to many places and over great distances, but also to abstain from other nourishment. The Blessed Lady likewise knew of the undertakings of St. John while preaching and baptizing on the banks of the Jordan. Several times She sent him a multitude of Her angels in order to encourage him and thank him for the loyalty he had shown to Her Lord and Son. In the midst of all these occupations the loving Mother suffered great agonies of desire to enjoy the Divine Presence of Her Most Holy Son; while the Heart of Jesus in return was wounded by the clamors of Her chaste and heavenly love. Before returning to visit Her and before begin­ning His public preaching and miracles, happened what I shall relate in the following chapter.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

305 I will give you 2 important lessons deducted from this chapter. First, love solitude and seek it with particular affection in order that you may partake of the blessings promised and merited by My Divine Son for those who imitate Him. As far as possible, when you are not obliged to converse with your neighbor in virtue of obedience always try to be alone; and when you are obliged to come out of your retire­ment and solitude, carry it with you in the secret of your heart in such a manner that your senses and your occu­pations shall not deprive you of it. Attend to your out­ward employments as if they were to be done only in passing, and consider your retirement as something which is to be permanent; for this purpose you must not allow the images of creatures to enter your mind, for, very often, they occupy the mind more completely than the objects themselves, and they always embarrass the soul and take away from it the liberty of the heart. It is unworthy of you to let your heart be interested in anything or be taken up by anyone. My Divine Son wishes to be in it all alone and this is also what I desire. My second lesson is that you learn to set a proper value on your soul, in order to preserve it in its purity and innocence. Over and above this, however, although it is my will that you labor for the justifica­tion of all men, I wish that you, in imitation of My Son and of Me, busy yourself especially with the poor and despised of this world. These little ones often beg for the bread of counsel and instruction (Lam 4:4), and they find none to give it to them, as do the rich and powerful of the earth who have many to advise them. Of these poor and despised ones, many come to you; admit them with true compassion; console them kindly, so that, in their simplicity, they may follow enlightened counsel, for counsel is to be administered to the better instructed in a different way. Seek to gain those souls, who, on account of their temporal necessities, are so much the more precious in the Eyes of God. I wish that you labor incessantly, that they and all others may not waste the fruit of Redemption; nor do you ever rest from this labor; be ready even to die, if necessary, to ad­vance this enterprise.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 28
CHRIST BEGINS TO SELECT HIS DISCIPLES AND BEGINS TO PREACH.

306 Our Savior, having visited the villages in Judea for 10 months after His fast, now resolved to manifest Himself to the world; not that He had spoken ex­clusively only in private of the truths of Eternal Life; but He had not until then proclaimed Himself publicly as the Messiah and the Master of Life, whereas now the time for doing so, according to the decrees of Infinite Wisdom, had arrived. Hence the Lord sought again the presence of His Precursor John, in order that through his testimony (since such was his office in the world), the light might be manifested in the darkness (Jn 1:5). By Divine revelation the Baptist knew of this visit of the Savior and of His intention to make Him­self known to the world as the Redeemer and the true Son of the Eternal Father. When, therefore, St. John saw Him coming he exclaimed in wonderful joy of his spirit to his disciples: "Behold the Lamb of God…." This testimony referred not only to His previous identical words in regard to Christ, but also presupposed the more particular instructions that he had given to his close disciples. It was as if he said to them: Here now you see the Lamb of God, of Whom I have spoken to you, Who has come to redeem the world and open the way to Heaven. This was the last time that the Baptist saw the Savior in the natural way; but Christ appeared to him just before his death, as I shall relate farther on.

307 The first 2 disciples of Christ who were with St. John at the time, heard this testimony and, moved by it and by the light and grace interiorly imparted to them, they began to follow the Lord. Benignantly turn­ing to them the Lord asked them, who they sought (Jn 1:38). They answered that they wished to know where He lived; and the Lord bade them follow. They were with Him that day as St. John tells us. One of them, he says, was St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter; the other he does not mention. But I was made to understand that it was St. John himself, who, in His great modesty, did not wish to give His name. These 2, then, St. John and St. Andrew, were the first fruits of the Baptist's apostolate, being the first of the disciples of the Baptist who followed the Savior in con­sequence of his express testimony and without being outwardly called by the Lord. St. Andrew imme­diately sought his brother Simon and took him along, saying that he had found the Messiah, Who called Him­self Christ. Looking upon Peter He said: "You are Simon the son of Jonah: you shall be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter." All this happened within the confines of Judea and on the next day the Lord entered Galilee. There He found St. Philip and called him to His following. Philip immediately sought Nathaniel and brought him to Jesus, telling him what had happened and that they had found the Messiah in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. Nathaniel, having spoken with the Lord as recorded in Chapter 1 of Saint John's Gospel, joined as the 5th of the Disciples of Christ.

308 With these 5 disciples, the first stones in the foundation of the new Church, Christ, the Savior, entered Galilee for the purpose of beginning His public preaching and baptizing. In the Apostles thus called He enkindled, from the moment of their joining the Master, a new light and fire of Divine Love and showered upon them the sweetness of His blessings (Ps 21:4). It is not possible worthily to describe the labors under­gone by the Divine Teacher in the vocation and educa­tion of these and of the other disciples, in order to found upon them the Church. He sought them out with great diligence and solicitude. He urged them on frequently by the powerful and efficacious help of His grace. He enlightened their hearts and enriched them with incom­parable gifts and blessings. He received them with ad­mirable kindness. He nourished them with the sweetest milk of His doctrines. He bore with them with invincible patience. He caressed them as a most loving father caresses his tender and darling sons. As our nature is base and uncouth material for the exalted and ex­quisite aspirations of the Spirit, and as they were to be not only perfect disciples, but consummate masters of perfection in the world and in the Church, the work of transforming and raising them from their rough natural state into such a heavenly  position by His instructions and example, necessarily was a vast enterprise. In the performance of this work the Lord has left a most exalted example of patience, meekness and charity for all the prelates, rulers and whoever is charged with the guidance of subordinates. Not less sig­nificant for us sinners are the proofs of His fatherly kindness; for He was not satisfied with simply bear­ing with their faults and defects, their natural inclina­tions and passions; but He allowed His tender kindness to overflow thus wonderfully toward them, in order that we might be cheered on to trust Him and not per­mit ourselves to be dismayed amidst the countless imper­fections and weaknesses natural to our earthly exist­ence.

309 By the means already mentioned the Queen of Heaven was informed of all the wonderful activities of our Savior in the vocation of the Apostles and dis­ciples and in His public preaching. She gave thanks to the Eternal Father for these the first disciples, acknowl­edging and admitting them in imitation of Her Son as Her spiritual children, and offering them to the Divine Majesty with new songs of praise and joy. On this occasion of the choice of the first disciples She was favored by a new revelation of the Most High in which She was informed again of His holy and eternal de­cree concerning the Redemption of man and of the manner in which it was to be executed in the preaching of His Most Holy Son. He said to Her: "My Daughter and My Dove, chosen out of thousands, it is necessary that You accompany and assist My Only begotten and Yours in the labors which He is about to undertake in the work of the Redemption. The time of His Suffering is come and I am about to open up the stores of wis­dom and goodness in order to enrich men by My treas­ures. Through their Redeemer and Teacher I wish to free them from the slavery of sin and of the devil and to pour out the abundance of My grace upon the hearts of all those who prepare themselves to know My Incarnate Son and to follow Him as their Head and Guide upon the way of Eternal Salvation. I wish to raise from the dust and enrich the poor, cast down the proud, exalt the humble and enlighten the blind in the darkness of death (Is 9:2). I wish to set up My friends and chosen ones and make known the greatness of My Name. In the execution of this, My Holy and Eternal Will, I wish that You My cherished and chosen One, co-operate with My Son, that You accompany Him, follow and imitate Him, and I will be with You in all that You shall do."

310 "Supreme King of the Universe," most Holy Mary answered, "from Whom all creatures receive their being and preservation, although I am but vile dust and ashes, I will speak in Your Presence according to Your condescension (Gen 18:27). Accept, O Most High Lord and God, the heart of Your handmaid, which is prepared to sacrifice itself for the accomplishment of Your pleasure. Receive the holocaust, not only of my lips, but of my inmost soul in obedience to the orders of Your Wisdom manifested unto Your slave. Behold Me prostrate before Your Presence and Supreme Majesty. Fulfill Your will and pleasure entirely in Me. I desire, O Almighty God, if it is possible, to suffer and to die either with or instead of Your and My Son. This would be the fulfillment of all My desires and the excess of My joy, that the sword of Your Justice strike rather Me, since I am closer to guilt. He is sinless as well by nature as also by the prerogatives of the Divinity. All crea­tures are infinitely distant from His dignity; yet it is also true that any of the acts of Your Only Begotten is abundantly sufficient for the Redemption, and that He has done much for men. If on account of this it is possible for Me to die in order to save His priceless life, I am prepared to die. But if Your decree is unchangeable, grant Me, Most High God and Father, if possible, that I pour out My life with His. But in this also will I submit to Your Will, just as I am ready to obey You in follow­ing Him and in sharing His labors. Assist Me with the power of Your Right Hand in order that I may hasten to imitate Him and fulfill Your pleasure and My own longings."

311 I cannot further describe in words what I under­stood concerning the heroic and wonderful acts per­formed by our Queen and Lady on this occasion; how fervently She desired to die and suffer on receiving this command of the Most High, either in order to exempt Her Most Holy Son from death or at least to share His Death with Him. Hence, if fervent acts of love, even when they are directed toward things impossible, so highly oblige God, that if they arise from a true and upright heart, He accepts them as really effective and as worthy of full reward. What must have been the merits of the Mother of Grace and Love in thus offering Her life as a sacrifice of Her love? Neither human nor angelic intellect shall ever reach this exalted sacrament of love. It would have been sweet to Her to suffer and die; but it occasioned Her much more pain not to be permitted to die with Her Son, or to be alive while She saw Him suffer and die, as I shall record later on. Hence, one can form some estimate how closely allied in glory Mary must be with Christ and how simi­lar Her grace and sanctity was to that of Her model, Christ; for in all things She corresponded to His love and rose to the highest point imaginable in a mere creature. In these sentiments our Queen issued forth from Her vision, and the Most High again commanded Her angels to assist and serve Her in what She was to do. They, as the most faithful ministers of the Lord, obeyed, ordinarily accompanied Her in visible forms and served Her wherever She went.

INSTRUCTION WHICH OUR QUEEN AND LADY GAVE ME

312 My daughter, all the undertakings of My Most Holy Son prove His Divine Love toward men and how dif­ferent this love is from that which they have among themselves. Mortals are ordinarily so small-minded, niggardly, avaricious and sluggish, that they are usually not moved to love anyone unless they see some advan­tage in the objects of their love. Hence the love of creatures is founded upon the good thought to be in that which they love. But Divine Love, having its foun­tain within itself, and being capable of affecting its own wishes, does not seek the creature because it is worthy, but it loves creatures in order to make them worthy of love. Therefore, no soul must despair of the Divine Goodness. Yet no one must on that account have a vain and presumptuous trust, expecting Divine Love to work in it effects of grace of which he is altogether unworthy; for in these gifts of His love the Most High follows a course of equity most mysterious to the creature. Al­though God loves them all and wishes all to be saved, yet in the distribution of these gifts and effects of His love He undeniably applies a certain measure and weight of His sanctuary, by which He dispenses them. Now, as man cannot penetrate or comprehend this secret, he must take care not to forfeit or lose the first grace and first vocation; for he does not know whether he will not lose the second by His ingratitude, and he can be certain of not losing the second only by making use of the first grace. The soul can know for certain only this: that grace will not be denied if the soul does not make itself unworthy. These workings of Divine Love in the soul are accompanied by interior enlightenment, so that in the presence of this light, men are re­proved for their sins and convinced of their evil state and of the danger of eternal death. But human pride makes many of them so foolish and base of heart that they resist this light; others are hard to move and never fail to have some vain excuse for their negligence; whence they counteract the first effects of the love of God and make themselves unfit for future graces. Now, without the help of grace, men cannot avoid evil, nor can they do good, or even know it; thus many cast themselves from abyss to abyss. For, since they coun­teract and repel grace, and thus are unworthy of fur­ther help, they inevitably draw upon themselves ruin by falling from sin to sin.

313 Be attentive, therefore, My dear, to the light which has excited your heart to the love of the Most High; for by the enlightenment which you have re­ceived in the history of My life, even if you had no other light, you are placed under such great obligations that if you do not correspond with them in the holi­ness of your life, you shall be more reprehensible in the Eyes of God and in Mine, and in the presence of angels and men, than anyone else. Let also the conduct of the first disciples of My Most Holy Son, and the promptitude with which they followed Him, serve you as an example. Although His forbearance and kind instruction were a special grace, they faithfully cor­responded to it and followed the teachings of their Mas­ter. Their human nature was weak, yet they did not make themselves incapable of receiving further blessings of God's Right Hand and they set their desires toward much higher aims than their weak strength would be able to attain. In order to bring this faithful love in you to its greatest perfection, I wish that you imitate Me in all the works, which I have performed on this occasion, and in the desire to die for My Divine Son or with Him, if it had been permitted. Prepare your heart for what I shall yet reveal to you of the Death of the Lord and of My own life in order that you may in all things do what is perfect and holy. Consider, My daughter, that I have a complaint against mankind, of which I have spoken to you at other times, and which ap­plies to nearly everyone; that they neglect and forget to inform themselves of what I and My Most Holy Son have done for them; that they do not weigh gratefully the blessings of each hour, nor seek to make a proper return. See that you do not thus offend Me, since I have made you a sharer in these exalted secrets and sacraments, wherein you find so much light and in­struction and the practice of the highest and most ex­cellent virtues. Raise yourself above yourself, labor dili­gently in order that you may receive more and more grace, and, by corresponding with it, gather much merit and eternal rewards.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 1
CHAPTER 29
CHRIST RETURNS TO NAZARETH AND BAPTIZES HIS MOTHER

314 The mystic edifice of the Militant Church, which aspires to the most exalted Mysteries of the Divinity, is founded entirely upon the Holy Catholic Faith, estab­lished by our Redeemer and Master, its wise and pru­dent Architect. To insure this firmness in the first foundation stones, His disciples, He began immediately to imbue them with the truths and mysteries relating to His Divinity and Humanity. In order to make Him­self known as the Messiah and the Redeemer of the world, Who had descended from the Eternal Father to assume human flesh, it was urgently nec­essary to explain to them the manner of His Incarna­tion in the womb of His most Blessed Mother. It be­hooved Him, therefore, in order that they might know and venerate Her as a true Mother and Virgin, to speak to them of this Heavenly Mystery together with what relates to the Hypostatic Union and the Redemption. With this heavenly doctrine, then, were nourished the first-born sons of the Savior and, before the Apostles came into the presence of the great Queen and Lady, they had already conceived most exalted ideas of Her celestial excellences. They had been informed that She was a Virgin before, during and after Her parturition, and they had been inspired by Christ with the pro­foundest reverence and love and filled with the desire of immediately seeing and knowing such a Heavenly Creature. Christ thus aimed not only to satisfy His own zeal in extending the honor of His Holy Mother, but also to excite in His Apostles the highest veneration and reverence toward Her. Although all of them were divinely enlightened, yet St. John began to distinguish himself in this love of Mary before all the rest; from the very first words of the Master concerning the dignity and excellence of His purest Mother, he grew in the loving esteem of Her holiness; for he was selected and prepared for greater privileges in the service of his Queen, as I shall relate and as is recorded in the Gospels.

315 The 5 disciples of the Lord begged Him to grant them the consolation of seeing and reverencing His Mother. In accordance with their petition, He jour­neyed directly to Nazareth through Galilee, continuing to preach and teach publicly on the way and proclaiming Himself as the Master of Truth and Eternal Life. Many, carried away by the force of His doctrines and by the light and grace overflowing into their hearts, began to listen to Him and to follow Him; though He did not, for the present, call any more to be His disciples. It is worthy of notice that though the 5 disciples had conceived such an ardent devotion to the Heavenly Lady and though they saw with their own eyes how worthy She was of Her eminent position among creatures, yet they all maintained strict silence about their thoughts. By the disposition of Heaven they seemed as if mute and ignorant in all that concerned the publication of what they thought and felt in regard to Her excellences; for it was not befitting that these Mysteries of our Holy Faith should be proclaimed to all men indiscriminately. The Sun of Righteousness was now dawning upon souls (Mal 4:2), and it was necessary that its own splendor should shine forth to illumine all the nations; and although its resplendent moon, His Mother, was now in the fullness of Her sanctity, it behooved Her to reserve Her light for the night, in which the Church should deplore the ab­sence of that Sun from the Eternal Father. And this office She fulfilled, as I shall relate in the third part; for then the splendor of the great Lady broke forth, while before that time Her holiness and excel­lence were manifested only to the Apostles, in order that they might know and reverence Her, and that they might listen to Her as the worthy Mother of the Re­deemer of the world and as the Teacher of all virtue and perfection.

316 The Savior then pursued His way to Nazareth, instructing His new children and disciples not only in the Mysteries of Faith, but in all virtues by word and example, as He continued to do during the whole period of His evangelical preaching. With this in view He searched out the poor and afflicted, consoled the sick and sorrowful, visited the infirmaries and prisons, per­forming miracles of mercy as well for body as for soul. Yet He did not profess Himself as the Author of any miracles until He attended the marriage feast at Cana, as I shall relate in the next chapter. While the Savior proceeded on His journey His most Holy Mother pre­pared to receive Him and His disciples at Nazareth; for She was aware of all that happened, and therefore hos­pitably set Her poor dwelling in order and solicitously procured the necessary food beforehand for their entertainment.

317 When the Savior of the world approached the house, His Blessed Mother awaited Him at the door, and, as He entered, prostrated Herself on the ground, adoring Him and kissing His Hands and Feet, while She asked for His blessing. Then She sounded the praise of the Most Holy Trinity in exalted and wonderful words, and also of His Humanity in the presence and hearing of the new disciples. This She did not without mysterious purpose on Her part; for, besides showing to Her Divine Son the honor and adoration due to Him as the true God Man. She wished also to make a return for the praise with which Her Son had exalted Her in the eyes of His disciples. Thus, just as the Son had in Her absence instilled into their minds the reverence for the dignity of His Mother, so the most prudent and faithful Mother, in the presence of Her Son, wished to instruct them in regard to the worship due to their Divine Master, as to their God and Redeemer. The profound humility and worship with which the great Lady received Christ the Savior filled the disciples with new devotion and reverential fear for their Divine Master. Henceforth She served them as an example and model of true devotion, entering at once into Her office as Instructor and spirit­ual Mother of the disciples of Christ by showing them how to converse with their God and Redeemer. They were immediately drawn toward their Queen and cast themselves on their knees before Her, asking to be re­ceived as Her sons and servants. The first to do this was St. John, who from that time on distinguished himself in exalting and reverencing Mary before all the Apostles, while She on Her part received him with a special love; for, besides his excelling in virginal chastity, he was of a meek and humble disposition.

318 The great Lady received them all as Her guests, serving them their meals and combining the solicitude of a Mother with the modesty and majesty of a Queen, so that She caused admiration even in the Holy Angels. She served Her Divine Son on Her knees in deepest reverence. At the same time She spoke of the Majesty of their Teacher and Redeemer to the Apostles instructing them in the great doctrines of the Christian faith. Dur­ing that night, when the Apostles had retired, the Savior went to the oratory of His purest Mother as He had been accustomed to do, and She, the most Humble among the humble, placed Herself at His Feet as in the years gone by. In regard to the practice of humility, all that She could do seemed little to the great Queen, and much less than She ought to in view of His infinite love and the immense gifts received at His Hands. She confessed Herself as useless as the dust of the earth. The Lord lifted Her from the ground and spoke to Her words of life and eternal salvation, yet quietly and serenely. For at this period He began to treat Her with greater reserve in order to afford Her a chance of merit, as I have mentioned when I spoke of this depart­ure for the desert and for His Baptism.

319 The most Blessed Lady also asked Him for the Sacrament of Baptism, which He had now instituted, and which He had promised Her before. In order that this might be administered with a dignity becoming as well the Son as the Mother, an innumerable host of angelic spirits descended from heaven in visible forms. Attended by them, Christ Himself baptized His purest Mother. Immediately the Voice of the Eternal Father was heard saying: "This is My Beloved Daughter, in whom I take delight." The Incarnate Word said : "This is My Mother, much beloved, whom I have chosen and who will assist Me in all My works." And the Holy Spirit added: "This is My Spouse, chosen among thousands." The purest Lady felt and received such great and numerous effects of grace in Her soul, that no human words can describe them; for She was exalted to new heights of grace and Her holy soul was made resplendent with new and exquisite beauty of heaven. She received the characteristic token im­pressed by this Sacrament, namely, that of the children of Christ in His Holy Church. In addition to the ordi­nary effects of this Sacrament (outside of the remis­sion of sins, of which She stood in no need), She merited special graces on account of the humility with which She submitted to this Sacrament of Purification. By it She accumulated blessings like to those of Her Divine Son, with only this difference: that She received an in­crease of grace, which was not possible in Christ. There­upon the humble Mother broke out in a canticle of praise with the Holy Angels, and prostrate before Her Divine Son, She thanked Him for the most efficacious graces She had received in this Sacrament.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

320 My daughter, I see you much moved to emula­tion and desire by the great happiness of the disciples of My Most Holy Son, and especially that of St. John, My favored servant. It is certain that I loved him in a special manner; because he was most pure and candid as a dove; and in the Eyes of the Lord he was very pleasing, both on account of his purity and on account of his love toward me. His example should serve you as a spur to do that which My Son and I expect of you. You are aware, My dear, that I am the most pure Mother and that I receive with maternal affection all those who fervently and devoutly desire to be My chil­dren and servants in the Lord. By the love which He has given Me, I shall embrace them with open arms and shall be their Intercessor and Advocate. Your poverty, uselessness and weakness shall be for Me only a more urgent motive for manifesting toward you My most liberal kindness. Therefore, I call upon you to become My chosen and beloved daughter in the Holy Church.

321 I shall, however, make the fulfillment of My promise depend upon a service on your part: namely, that you have a true and holy emulation of the love with which I loved St. John, and of all the blessings flowing from it, by imitating him as perfectly as your powers will allow. Hence, you must promise to fulfill all that I now command you, without failing in the least point. I desire, then, that you labor until all love of self die within you, that you suppress all the effects of the first sin until all the earthly inclinations con­sequent upon it are totally extinguished; that you seek to restore within you that dove-like sincerity and sim­plicity which destroys all malice and duplicity. In all your activities you must be an angel, since the condescen­sion of the Most High with you was so great as to furnish you with the light and intelligence more angelic than human. I have procured for you these great blessings and, therefore, it is but reasonable on My part to expect you to correspond with them in your works and in your thoughts. In regard to Me you must cherish a continual affection and loving desire of pleasing and serving Me, being always attentive to My counsels and having your eyes fixed upon Me in order to know and execute what I command. Then shall you be My true daughter, and I shall be your Protector and loving Mother.

END OF THE TRANSFIXION BOOK 1 

BEGINNING OF THE TRANSFIXION  BOOK 2

THE SACRAMENTAL MYSTERIES OF THE LIFE OF THE MOTHER OF GOD FROM
THE RETURN OUT OF EGYPT UP TO HER DIVINE SON’S ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.

   THE TRANSFIXION    BOOK 2 

The Marriage at Cana; How Most Holy Mary Accompanied the Redeemer of the World In His Preaching; the Humility shown by the Heavenly Queen in regard to the Miracles Wrought by Her Divine Son; the Transfiguration of the Lord; His Entrance Into Jerusalem; His Passion and Death; His Triumph over satan and his demons by His Death on the Cross; the Most Sacred Resurrection of the Savior and His Wonderful Ascension into Heaven

 
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2

CHAPTER 1

CHRIST MANIFESTS HIMSELF BY HIS FIRST MIRACLE AT THE REQUEST OF HIS MOST BLESSED MOTHER

322 The evangelist, St. John, who in Chapter 1 of his Gospel, mentions the calling of Nathaniel, the 5th disciple of the Lord, begins Chapter 2 with the words: "And the third day, there was a marriage at Cana of Galilee; and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited and His disciples to the mar­riage" (Jn 2:1). Hence it appears that the Blessed Lady was in Cana before Her Most Holy Son was invited to the wedding. I was ordered by my superiors to in­quire how this harmonizes with what I have said in the preceding chapter and to ascertain what day was meant. Then I was informed that, notwithstanding, the dif­ferent opinions of the commentators, this history of the Queen and that of the Gospels coincided with each other, and that the course of events was as follows: Christ the Lord, with the 5 Apostles or disciples on entering Galilee, set off directly to Nazareth, preaching and teaching on the way. On this journey He tarried only a short time, but at least 3 days. Hav­ing arrived at Nazareth He baptized His Blessed Mother, as I have related, and thereupon immediately went forth to preach with His disciples in some of the neighboring places. In the meanwhile the Blessed Lady, being invited to the marriage mentioned by the Evangelist, went to Cana; for it was the marriage of some of Her relatives in the 4th degree on Her mother's, St. Anne's, side. While the great Queen was in Cana, the news of the Com­ing of the Redeemer into the world and of His having chosen some disciples had already spread. By the dis­position of the Lord, Who secretly ordained it for His own high ends, and through the management of His Mother, He was called and invited to the wedding with His disciples.

323 The third day mentioned by the Evangelist as the wedding day of Cana is the third day of the week, and, although he does not say this expressly, yet like­wise he does not say that it was the third day after the calling of the disciples or His entrance into Galilee. If he had meant this he certainly would have been more explicit. According to the ordinary course, it was im­possible that Jesus should be present at a wedding on the third day after His entering Galilee from Judea at the place where He chose His first disciples; for Cana lay within the limits of the tribe of Zebulon, near the boundary of Phoenicia, far northward from Judea and adjoining the tribe of Asher, a considerable distance from the place where the Savior entered from Judea into Galilee. If the wedding at Cana had been on the third day after the calling of the first disciples, then only 2 days intervened, whereas the journey from Judea to Cana required 3 days; moreover, He would first have to be near Cana in order to receive such an invitation, which would likewise require some time. Then, also, in order to journey from Judea to Cana, He would have to pass through Nazareth, for Cana is nearer to the Mediterranean sea and to the tribe of Asher, as I have said; hence His Mother would certainly have known of His coming, and therefore would have awaited His arrival instead of going on Her visit to Cana. That the Evan­gelist does not mention the visit of the Lord to Nazareth, nor the Baptism of the Blessed Lady, was not because it did not really happen, but because He and the other writers confine themselves to that which pertains to their purpose. St. John himself says that they omit the mention of many miracles performed by the Lord (Jn 20:30), since it was not necessary to describe all of them. From this explanation it will be seen that this history is confirmed by the Gospels themselves and by the very passage in question.

324 While, therefore, the Queen of the World was in Cana, Her Most Holy Son was in­vited to the marriage together with His disciples; and as in His condescension He had brought about this invitation, He accepted it. He went to this wedding in order to sanctify and confirm the State of Matrimony and in order to begin to establish the authenticity of His doctrine by the mira­cle which He was to perform and of which He was to declare Himself openly as the Author. As He had already proclaimed Himself as the Teacher by admitting His disciples, it was necessary to confirm their calling and give authority to His doctrine in order that they might receive and believe it. Hence, though He had performed other wonders in private, He had not made Himself known as the Author of them in public, as on this occasion. On this account the Evangelist says: "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Gali­lee" (Jn 2:11). This miracle took place on the same day on which a year ago had happened the Baptism of Jesus by St. John. This day was also the anniversary of the adoration of the Kings, and, therefore, the Holy Church celebrates the 3 mysteries on one and the same day, January 6. Our Lord had now completed the 30th year of His life and had begun His 31st year 13 days before, being those from the Nativity to Epiphany. 

325 The Master of life entered the house of the marriage feast saluting those present with the words: "The peace of the Lord and His light be with you," literally fulfilling them by His arrival. Thereupon He began to exhort and instruct the bridegroom concern­ing the perfection and holiness of His state of life. In the meanwhile the Queen of Heaven instructed the bride in a similar manner, admonishing Her in sweetest and yet most powerful words concerning Her obligations. Both of the marriage couple afterwards fulfilled most per­fectly the duties of their state, into which they were ushered and for which the Sovereigns of heaven and earth strengthened them. The Lord had not come to this wedding in order to disapprove of matri­mony, but in order to establish it anew and give it credit, sanctifying and constituting it a Sacrament by His Divine Presence. Our Savior, having exhorted the bride­groom and bride, added a fervent prayer addressed to the Eternal Father, in which He asked Him to pour His blessings upon the institution for the propagation of the human race in the New Law and to vest this state with Sacramental Power to sanctify all those who would receive it worthily in His Holy Church.

326 The Blessed Virgin, co-operating in this work and in all others for the benefit of the human race, knew of the wishes and the prayer of Her Divine Son and joined Him therein; and as She took upon Herself the duty of making a proper return, which is so much neglected by many, She broke out in canticles of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for this benefit, and the Angels, at Her invitation, joined Her in the praise of God. This, however, was known only to the Lord and Savior, Who rejoiced in the wise behavior of His purest Mother as much as She rejoiced in His. Then They spoke and conversed with those that came to the wed­ding; but always with a wisdom and gravity worthy of Themselves and with a view of enlightening the hearts of all that were present. The most prudent Lady spoke very few words and only when She was asked or when it was very necessary; for She always listened and at­tended without interruption to the actions and sayings of the Lord, treasuring them up and meditating upon them in Her most pure heart. All the words and be­havior of this great Queen during Her life furnish an exquisite example of retirement and modesty; and on this occasion She was an example not only for the reli­gious, but especially for women in the secular state, if they could only keep it before their mind in similar circumstances (such, for instance, as this marriage feast afforded), thus learning to keep silence, to restrain them­selves, compose their interior and allow no levity or looseness to creep into their exterior deportment. For never is moderation more necessary than in times of danger; and in women the most precious adornment and the most charming beauty is silence, restraint and modesty by which many vices are shut out and by which all virtues of a chaste and respectable woman receive their crowning grace.

327 At table the Lord and His most Holy Mother ate of some of the food, but with the greatest moderation; yet also without showing outwardly their great absti­nence. Although when They were alone They did not eat of such food, as I have already recorded, yet these Teachers of perfection, Who wished not to disapprove of the common life of men, but wished to perfect it, accom­modated Themselves to all circumstances without any extremes or noticeable singularity wherever it was pos­sible to do so without blame and without imperfection. The Lord not only inculcated this by His example, but He commanded His disciples and Apostles to eat of what was placed before them on their evangelical tours of preaching and not to show any singularity in their way of life, such as is indulged in by the imperfect and those little versed in the paths of virtue; for the truly poor and humble must not presume to have a choice in their food. By Divine arrangement and in order to give occasion to the miracle, the wine gave out during the meal and the kind Lady said to Her Son: "They have no wine." And the Lord answered: "Woman, what is that to Me and to You? My hour has not yet come." This answer of Christ was not intended as a reproach, but contained a mystery; for the most prudent Queen had not asked for a miracle by mere accident, but by Divine light. She knew that the opportune time for the Manifestation of the Divine Power of Her Son was at hand. She, who was full of wisdom and knowledge concerning the works of the Redemption and was well informed at what time and on what occasions the Lord was to perform them; therefore, She could not be ig­norant of the proper moment for the beginning of this public manifestation of Christ's power. It must also be remembered that Jesus did not pronounce these words with any signs of disapproval, but with a quiet and loving majesty. It is true that He did not address the Blessed Virgin by the name of Mother, but Woman; however, this was because, as I have said before, He had begun to treat Her with greater reserve.

328 The mysterious purpose hidden in this answer of Christ was to confirm the disciples in their belief of His Divinity and to show Himself to all as the True God, independent of His Mother in His Being and in His Power of working miracles. On this account, also, He sup­pressed the tender appellation of Mother and called Her Woman, saying: What does it concern You or what part have We, You and I, in this? As if He wanted to say: The power of performing miracles I have not re­ceived from You, although You have given Me the human nature in which I am to perform them. My Divinity Alone is to perform them and for it the hour is not yet come. He wished to give Her to understand that the time for working miracles was not to be de­termined by His most Holy Mother, but by the Will of God, even though the most prudent Lady should ask for them at an opportune and befitting time. The Lord wished to have it understood that the working of mir­acles depended upon a higher than the human will, on a Will Divine and above that of His Mother and alto­gether beyond it; that the will of His Mother was to be subject to that which was His as the true God. Hence Christ infused into the minds of the Apostles a new light by which they understood the Hypostatic Union of His 2 Natures, and the derivation of the Human Na­ture from His Mother and of the Divine by Generation from His Eternal Father.

329 The Blessed Lady well understood this mys­tery and She said with quiet modesty to the servants, "Do whatsoever He tells you." In these words, showing Her wise insight into the Will of Her Son, She spoke as the Queen of the whole human race, teaching us mortals, that, in order to supply all our necessities and wants, it was required and sufficient on our part to do all that the Savior and those taking His place shall command. Such a lesson could not but come from such a Mother and Advocate, who is so desirous of our welfare and who, since She so well knew what hindrance we place in the way of His great and numerous miracles for our benefits, wishes to instruct us to meet properly the beneficent intentions of the Most High. The Redeemer of the world ordered the servants to fill the jars or water pots, which according to the Hebrew custom had been provided for the occasion. All having been filled, the Lord bade them draw some of the wine into which the water had been changed, and bring it to the chief steward of the feast, who was at the head of the table and was one of the priests of the Law. When this one had tasted of the wine, he called the bridegroom in surprise and said to him: "Every man at first sets forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse, but you have kept the good wine until now."

330 The steward knew nothing of the miracle when he tasted of the wine; because he sat at the head of the table, while Christ and His Mother with His disciples occupied the lower end of the table, practicing the doc­trine which He was afterwards to teach us; namely, that in being invited to a feast we should not seek to occupy the better places, but be satisfied with the lowest. Then the miracle of changing the water into wine and the dignity of the Redeemer was revealed. The disciples believed anew as the Evangelist says, and their faith in Him was confirmed. Not only they, but many of the others that were present, believed that He was the true Messiah and they followed Him to the City of Caper­naum, where the Evangelist tells us He, with His Mother and disciples went from Cana. There, accord­ing to St. Matthew, He began to preach, declaring Himself the Teacher of men. What St. John says of His manifesting His glory by this sign or miracle does not contradict His having wrought miracles before, but supposes them to have been wrought in secret. Nor does he assert that His glory was not shown also in other miracles; but infers merely that Jesus did not wish to be known as their Author, because the right time determined by Divine Wisdom had not come. It is certain that He performed many and admirable wonders in Egypt; such as the destruction of the temples and their idols. To all these miracles most Holy Mary responded with heroic acts of virtue in praise and thanksgiving to the Most High, that His Holy Name was thus gloriously manifested. She was intent on encouraging the new believers and in the service of Her Divine Son, fulfilling these duties with peerless wisdom and charity. With burning love She cried to the Eternal Father, asking Him to dispose the hearts and souls of men for the enlightening words of the Incarnate Word and drive from them the darkness of their ig­norance.

INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

331 My daughter, there is no excuse for the forget­fulness and negligence shown by each and every child of the Church in regard to the spread and manifestation of the glory of their God by making known His Holy Name to everyone. This negligence is much more blamable now, since the Eternal Word became Man in My womb, taught the world and redeemed it for this very purpose. With this end in view the Lord founded His Church, enriched it with blessings and spiritual treasures, assigned to it min­isters and endowed it with temporal riches. All these gifts are intended not only to preserve the Church in its present state, but to extend it and draw others to the regeneration of the Catholic Faith. All should help along to spread the Fruits of the Death of their Re­deemer. Some can do it by prayer and urgent desires for the exaltation of His Holy Name; others by alms­giving, others by diligent preaching, others by fervent works of charity. But if this remissness is perhaps less culpable in the ignorant and the poor, who have none to exhort them; it is very reprehensible in the rich and the powerful, and especially in the ministers and pre­lates of the Church, whose particular duty is the ad­vancement of the Church of God. Many of them, for­getting the terrible account which they will have to render, seek only their own vain honor instead of Christ's. They waste the patrimony of the Blood of the Redeemer in undertakings and aims not even fit to mention. Through their fault, they allow innumerable souls to perish, who by proper exertions could have been gained for the Holy Church. Or at least they lose the merit of such exertions and deprive Christ of the glory of having such faithful ministers in His Church. The same responsibility rests upon the rulers and the powerful of the world, who receive from the Hands of God, honors, riches and temporal blessings for advanc­ing the glory of the Deity, and yet think less of this obligation than of any other.

332 Grieve for all these evils. Labor, as far as your strength will allow, that the glory of the Most High be manifest, that He be known in all na­tions, and that from the very stones may be generated sons of Abraham (Matt 3:9), since of all this you are capable. Implore Him to send able workers and worthy ministers to His Church in order to draw men to the sweet yoke of the Gospel; for great and plentiful is the harvest, and few are the faithful laborers and zeal­ous helpers for harvesting it. Let what I have told you of My maternal and loving solicitude in gaining fol­lowers for My Son and in preserving them in His doc­trine and companionship, be to you a living example for your own conduct. Never let the flame of this charity die out in your heart. Let also My silence and modesty at the wedding feast be an inviolable rule for you and your religious in all exterior actions, in retirement, mod­eration and discretion of words, especially in the pres­ence of men; for these virtues are the court dress, with which the spouses of Christ must adorn themselves in order to find grace in His Divine Eyes. 

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2
CHAPTER 2
OUR LADY ACCOMPANIES HER SON IN HIS PREACHING TOURS 
333 It would not be foreign to the purpose of this history to describe the miracles and the heroic works of Christ, our Redeemer and Master; for in almost all of them, His most blessed and holy Mother concurred and took a part. But I cannot presume to undertake a work so arduous and so far above human strength and capacity. For the Evangelist St. John, after having described many miracles of Christ, says at the end of his Gospel, that Jesus did many other things, which, if they were all described, could not be con­tained in all the books of the world (Jn 21:25). If such a task seemed so impossible to the Evangelist, how much more to an ignorant woman, more useless than the dust of the earth? All that is necessary and proper, and abundantly sufficient for founding and preserving the Church has been written by the 4 Evangelists; and it is not necessary to repeat it in this history. Yet in order to compose this history and in order not to pass over in silence so many great works of the exalted Queen, which have not been mentioned, it is necessary to touch on a few particulars. Moreover, I think, that to write of them and thus fasten them in my memory will be both consoling and useful for my advancement. The others, which the Evangelists recorded in their Gospels and of which I have not been com­manded to write, are better preserved for the beatific vision, where the saints shall see them manifested to them by the Lord and where they will eternally praise Him for such magnificent works.

334 From Cana in Galilee Christ, the Redeemer, walked to Capernaum, a large and populous city near the Sea of Tiberius. Here, according to St. John (Jn 2:12), He remained some days, though not many; for as the time of the Passover was approaching., He gradually drew near to Jerusalem in order to cele­brate this feast on the 14th of the moon of March. His most Blessed Mother, having rid Herself of Her house in Nazareth, accompanied Him thenceforth in His tours of preaching and of teaching to the very Foot of the Cross. She was absent from Him only a few times, as when the Lord absented Himself on Mount Tabor (Matt 17:1), or on some particular conversions, as for instance that of the Samaritan woman, or when the Heavenly Lady Herself remained behind with certain persons in order to instruct and catechize them. But always after a short time, She returned to Her Lord and Master, following the Sun of Righteousness until It sank into the abyss of Death. During these journeys the Queen of Heaven proceeded on foot, just as Her Divine Son. If even the Lord was fatigued on the way, as St. John says (Jn 4:6), how much more fatigued was this purest Lady? What hardships did She not endure on such arduous journeys in all sorts of weather? Such is the rigorous treatment accorded by the Mother of Mercy to Her most delicate body! What She endured in these labors alone is so great that not all men together can ever satisfy their obligations to Her in this regard. Sometimes by permission of the Lord, She suffered such great weakness and pains that He was constrained to relieve Her miraculously. At other times He commanded Her to rest at some stop­ping-place for a few days; while again on certain occa­sions, He gave such lightness to Her body, that She could move about without difficulty as if on wings.

335 As I have already mentioned, the Heavenly Lady had the whole doctrine of the Evangelical Law written in Her Immaculate Heart. Nevertheless She was as solicitous and attentive as a new disciple to the preaching and doctrine of Her Divine Son, and She had instructed Her Angels to report to Her, if necessary, the sermons of the Master whenever She was absent. To the sermons of Her Son She always listened on Her knees, thus according to the utmost of Her powers showing the reverence and wor­ship due to His Person and doctrine. As She was aware at each moment, of the interior operations of the Soul of Christ, and of His continual prayers to the Eternal Father for the proper disposition of the hearts of His hearers and for the growth of the seed of His doctrine into Eternal Life, the most loving Mother joined the Divine Master in His petitions and prayers and in secur­ing for them the blessings of Her most ardent and tear­ful charity. By Her attention and reverence She taught and moved others to appreciate duly the teaching and instructions of the Savior of the world. She also knew the interior of those that listened to the preaching of the Lord, their state of grace or sin, their vices and virtues. This various and hidden knowledge, so far above the capacity of men, caused in the Heavenly Mother many wonderful effects of highest charity and other virtues; it inflamed Her with zeal for the Honor of the Lord and with ardent desires, that the fruits of the Redemption be not lost to souls, while at the same time, the danger of their loss to souls through sin moved Her to exert Herself in the most fervent prayer for their welfare. She felt in Her heart a pierc­ing and cruel sorrow, that God should not be known, adored and served by all His creatures; and this sorrow was in proportion to the unequaled knowledge and un­derstanding She had of all these mysteries. For the souls, that would not give entrance to Divine Grace and virtue, She sorrowed with ineffable grief, and was inclined to shed tears of blood at the thought of their mis­fortune. What the great Queen suffered in this Her solicitude and in Her labors exceeds beyond all measure the pains endured by all the martyrs of the world.

336 All the followers of the Savior, and whomever He received into His ministry, She treated with incom­parable prudence and wisdom, especially those whom She held in such high veneration and esteem as the Apostles of Christ. As a Mother She took care of all, and as a powerful Queen She procured necessaries for their bodily nourishment and comforts. Sometimes, when She had no other resources, She commanded the Holy Angels to bring provisions for them and for the women in their company. In order to assist them toward advancing in the spiritual life, the great Queen labored beyond possibility of human understanding; not only by Her continual and fervent prayers for them but by Her precious example and by Her counsels, with which She nourished and strengthened them as a most prudent Mother and Teacher. When the Apostles or disciples were assailed by any doubts, which frequently happened in the beginning, or when they were attacked by some secret temptation, the great Lady immediately hastened to their assistance in order to enlighten and encourage them by the peerless light and charity shin­ing forth in Her; and by the sweetness of Her words they were exquisitely consoled and rejoiced. They were enlightened by Her wisdom, chastened by Her humility, quieted by Her modesty, enriched by all the blessings that flowed from this storehouse of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For all these benefits, for the calling of the disciples, for the conversion and persever­ance of the just, and for all the works of grace and virtue, She made a proper return to God, celebrating these events in festive hymns.

337 As the Evangelists tell us, some of the women of Galilee followed Christ the Redeemer on His journeys. St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke tell us that some of those whom He had cured of demoniacal pos­session and of other infirmities, accompanied and served Him (Matt 27; Mark 15; Luke 8); for the Master of Eternal Life excluded no one from His following, imitation and doctrine. Hence some of the women at­tended upon Him and served Him from the very begin­ning of His preaching. The Divine Wisdom so ordered it for certain purposes, among which was also the de­sire to provide proper companions for His Blessed Mother during these travels. Our Queen interested Herself in a special manner in these pious and holy women, gathering them around Her, teaching and catechizing them and bringing them as listeners to the ser­mons of Her Divine Son. Although She Herself was fully enlightened and instructed in the evangelical doc­trine and abundantly able to teach them the way of Eternal Life, nevertheless, partly in order to conceal this secret of Her heart, She always availed Herself of the sayings of Christ in His public preaching as a text for Her instructions and exhortations, whenever She taught these and many other women who came to Her either before or after hearing the Savior of the world. Not all of them followed Christ, but through the efforts of the Heavenly Lady all of them received sufficient knowl­edge of the sacred mysteries for their conversion. Thus She drew innumerable women to the knowledge of Christ, to the way of Eternal Salvation and evangelical perfection; though the Evangelists say no more of them than that some of them followed Christ. It was not necessary for the Evangelists to go into these particulars in their histories. The admirable works of the Blessed Lady among women stopped not short with merely teaching them Divine faith and virtues by word of mouth, but She also taught them to practice the most ardent charity by visiting the sick in the infirmaries, the poor, the imprisoned and afflicted; nursing with Her own hands the wounded; consoling the sorrowful and giving aid to those in necessity. If I were to mention all these works, it would be necessary to fill the greater part of this history with discourse on them, or to make it much more extensive.

338 Nor are the innumerable and vast miracles of the great Queen during the public preaching of Christ our Lord recorded in the Gospels or in other histories; for the Evangelists spoke only of the wonders wrought by Christ and in so far as was useful to establish the faith of the Church. It was necessary that men should first be well established and confirmed in this faith, before the great deeds of the most Holy Mother should become manifest. According to what has been given me to understand, it is certain that She brought about not only many miraculous conversions, but also She cured the blind and the sick, and called the dead to life. That this should be so was proper for many reasons: on the one hand, She was the Assistant in the principal work for which the Incarnate Word came into the world, namely in His preaching and His Redemption; for thereby the Eternal Father opened up the treasures of His Omnip­otence and Infinite Goodness, manifesting them in the Divine Word and in the Heavenly Mother. On the other hand, She, as His Mother, was to resemble Her Son in the working of miracles, increasing the glory of Both; for in this way She accredited the dignity and doctrine of Her Son and eminently and most efficaciously assisted Him in His ministry. That these miracles should remain concealed, was due both to the disposition of Divine Providence and to the earnest request of Mary Herself; hence She performed them with such a wise secrecy, that all the glory redounded to the exalta­tion of the Redeemer in Whose Name and virtue they were wrought. The same course She also maintained in Her instructions; for She did not preach in public, or at any pre-arranged place or time, or to those who were attended to by the appointed teachers and min­isters of the Divine Word. The Blessed Lady knew that this kind of work was not incumbent upon women (1 Cor 14:34). She contented Herself with the assist­ance She could render by private instruction and con­versation, which She did with celestial wisdom and efficacy. By this assistance and by Her prayers, She se­cured more conversions than all the preachers of the world.

339 This will be better understood if we remember that, besides the heavenly influence of Her words, She possessed a most intimate knowledge of the nature, dis­position, inclinations and bad habits of all men, of the time and occasion best suited to bring all to the way of eternal life, and that to this knowledge were added the most fervent prayers and the exquisite sweetness of Her conversation. All these gifts were animated by Her most ardent charity and the desire to bring souls to salvation and to the friendship of the Lord, and, therefore, the results of Her labors were exceedingly great. She rescued innumerable souls, drawing them on and enlightening them. None of Her petitions were denied Her and none of Her efforts failed of the holy effects which She asked for them. As, then, the work of salvation was the principal object of all Her endeavors, She without a doubt performed greater deeds than can ever be understood by men in this life. In all these labors the Heavenly Lady proceeded with the great­est gentleness, like the simplest dove, with extreme pa­tience and forbearance, overlooking the imperfections and rudeness of the new faithful; enlightening the ignorance of the vast number of those that came to subject them­selves to the doctrines of the Redeemer. On all occa­sions She preserved the quiet high-mindedness of a Queen; yet at the same time only She, in imitation of the Savior, could ever have joined with it such perfection of humility and sweetness. Between Themselves They treated all with such great kindness and fullness of charity, that no one could ever be excused from humble subjection to such Teachers. They spoke and conversed and ate with the disciples and with the women that followed them. (Matt 9:10; John 12:2; Luke 5:29; 7:36), observing all due moderation and reserve, so that no one found it strange, or doubted that the Savior was a true Man, the natural and legitimate Son of the most Holy Mary. It was for this purpose also, that the Lord treated other guests with such affability, as is recorded in the Holy Gospels. 

INSTRUCTION WHICH THE MOST HOLY QUEEN MARY GAVE ME

340 My daughter, it is true that I labored more than is known or imagined by mortals in following and ac­companying My Divine Son to the Foot of the Cross; nor were My anxieties for their welfare any less after His Death, as You will be made to understand in writing the third part of this history. Amidst all My labors and hardships I was ineffably rejoiced in spirit to see the Incarnate Word working for the salvation of men and opening the book sealed by the 7 Mysteries of His Divinity and Sacred Humanity. The human race owes Me no less for My rejoicing at the welfare of each one, than for My solicitude in procuring it, because both sprang from the same love. In this I wish you to imi­tate Me, as I have so often exhorted you. Although you do not hear with your bodily ears the sermons of My Divine Son, nor His own Voice in preaching, you can yet imitate Me in the reverence with which I listened to Him; for it is the same One Who speaks to your heart, and Who teaches you the same doctrine. Therefore, I exhort you whenever you recognize the enlightening Voice of your Spouse and Pastor, to kneel down in reverence and listen to His Words, adoring Him full of thankfulness and writing His counsel in your heart. If you happen to be in a public place, where you can not show this external reverence, do it interiorly and obey Him in all things as if you were present at His very preaching; for, just as hearing Him then without obeying Him would not have made you happy, so you can now make yourself blessed by executing that which you hear Him say to you interiorly, even though you do not hear Him with your bodily ears. Great is your obligation, since most extraordinary is the kindness and mercy shown to you by the Most High and by Me. Don’t be dull of heart, lest you remain poor amidst such riches of Divine enlightenment.

341 But you must listen reverently not only to the interior Voice of the Lord, but also to the voice of His ministers, preachers and priests, whose words are the echoes of the Most High and the aqueducts through which the blessed doctrine of life and the perennial fountains of Divine truth flow to the souls. God speaks in them and the Voice of His Divine Law resounds. Hear them with such reverence, that you are unwilling to look for any error, nor presume to pass judgment on what they say. For you all must appear wise and elo­quent, and in everyone of them hear only the Voice of Christ, My Son and Lord. Be warned not to fall into the foolish presumption of the worldly, who with very reprehensible vanity and pride, most hateful in the Sight of God, despise His ministers and preachers, because they do not speak in accordance with their de­praved taste. When they go to hear the divine truth, they judge only of the expression and style, as if the Word of God were not simple and strong (Heb 4:12), depending not on oratorical and artful arrangement of words, adjusted merely to the weakness of those that listen. Do not count this as an unimportant advice; listen to all that I say to you in this history, since, as a careful Teacher, I wish to inform you of little things as well as of great, of unimportant as well as of im­portant points. Remember, that to perform anything with perfection is always great. I also exhort you to treat affably the rich as the poor, without the accepta­tion of persons so common among the children of Adam. My Divine Son and I rejected and condemned all such distinction, showing ourselves equally kind to all, and even more so to those who were most despised, indigent and afflicted (Jacob 2:2). Worldly wisdom looks upon the person, not at the state of the souls, nor at virtue, but at outward ostentation; but heavenly prudence con­siders the image of God in all. Just as little should you wonder that your sisters and neighbors perceive your defects of nature, such as are derived from the first sin, your infirmities, fatigues, your appetites and other short­comings. Sometimes the hiding of these defects is hy­pocrisy and lack of humility. The friends of God should fear only sin and should desire to die rather than commit it. All the other defects do not sully the con­science and it is not necessary to conceal them.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2
CHAPTER 3 
THE HUMILITY OF OUR LADY
342 The principal lesson to be learned from the history of the most Holy Mary (if it is attentively studied), is a clear demonstration of the profound humility of the Queen and Mother of the humble. This virtue in Her is so ineffable, that it can never be suffi­ciently extolled or duly appreciated; for it will never be understood in all its perfection either by angels or men. But just as the sweetness of honey is added to medicines in order to relieve the bitter­ness of taste, thus humility was mingled in all the virtues and actions of the most Holy Mary, perfecting them and rendering them agreeable to the wishes of the Most High and pleasing to men; so that on account of Her humility the Almighty looked upon Her with pleasure and all the nations call Her blessed (Luke 1:48). The most prudent Lady lost not a single chance, occasion, time or place during Her whole life for performing all the acts of virtue possible to Her; but it is a greater marvel that none of Her actions or virtues ever was found lacking in the least point of humility. This virtue raised Her above all that was not God; and just as by humility Mary conquered all creatures, so, in a certain sense, by the same virtue, She also overcame God Himself, causing Him to find such complaisance in Her, that no grace which She chose to ask either for Her­self or for others was ever denied Her. She subdued all creatures to Her wishes by Her humility, for in the house of Her parents, as I have related in the first part, She won over Her mother, St. Anne, and the servants to permit Her to practice humility; in the Temple, the maiden and Her companions at last yielded to Her self-abasement; in matrimony, St. Joseph allowed Her to perform the humblest services; the angels gave way to Her desire for lowly occupations; and the Apostles and Evangelists obeyed Her in not proclaiming Her praises to the world. By Her humility She moved the Father and the Holy Spirit, and even Her Most Holy Son, to ordain that Her dignity should remain concealed to the world, and that She should be treated in such a way as not to cause men to praise Her for being the Mother of Him Who wrought such great miracles and holy doctrines.

343 Such profound and exquisite humility could be practiced only by the most humble among the humble; for neither the other children of Adam, nor the angels themselves could ever be placed in similar positions for practicing it, even if they should not fall short on ac­count of the inferiority of nature. We will understand this better when we consider how the poison has so deeply entered the rest of men by the first bite of the ancient serpent, that, in order to counteract it, the Divine Wisdom has appointed the bad effects of sin itself as a remedy. For our own and proper defects, brought home to each one's consciousness, are intended to make sensible of the inherent degradation of our present state of existence, which we would otherwise continue to ignore. It is manifest that we have a spir­itual soul, but it belongs to the lowest order of spiritual beings, while God occupies the highest and the angels an intermediate degree; and as regards the body, we are made not only of the lowest elements, that is of earth, but also of its most unclean constituents, that is of its slime (Gen 2:7). All this was arranged not in vain by the Eternal Wisdom and Power, but with a great pur­pose, intending that the slime of the earth should al­ways take its proper place and be satisfied with the lowest position, no matter how much it might find itself embellished and adorned with grace. For it must bear all these graces in a vessel of clay and dust (2 Cor 4:7). We all lose sight of this truth and of our lowliness, so inherent in our human nature; and in order to keep alive the sense of our vileness and degradation, it is necessary that we experience the attacks of our pas­sions and the disorder of our actions. And even our daily experience in this regard is sufficient to bring us to our senses and to make us confess our perversity; we still lay claim to the full excellence and distinction of a noble humanity, while we are but dust and slime of the earth, and, moreover, by our actions prove our­selves unworthy even of this lowly and earthly exist­ence.

344 The most Holy Mary alone not having on Her the touch of Adam's guilt nor experiencing any of its foul and dangerous consequences, was proficient in the art of true humility and carried it to its highest per­fection; and just because She understood to its fullest extent the position occupied by a mere creature, She humiliated Herself more than all the children of Adam, though they are burdened not only with terrestrial ori­gin, but with their own sins. Other men, if they be­come humble, were first humiliated and must confess with David: "Before I was humbled, I offended;" and "It is good for me that You have humbled me, that I may learn your justification" (Ps 119:67,71). But the Mother of humility did not enter into Her humility by being humbled; She was humble without ever being humiliated. She was never degraded by guilt or pas­sion, but always generously humble of Her own accord. Though the angels cannot be properly compared with men, being of a superior hierarchy and nature, and free from passions or guilt of sin; yet these sovereign spirits could not attain the humility of most Holy Mary, even if they did humble themselves before their Creator as His creatures. That the Blessed Lady was of terrestrial and human make was for Her a motive and a means of excelling the angels in self-abasement, since they could not make their higher spiritual nature serve as a reason for abasing themselves as much as the Blessed Queen. Moreover, She possessed the dignity of being the Mother of God and the Queen of the Angels and of all creation, and none of them could ever claim such a dignity and excellence, which enhanced any act of humil­ity on the part of the Blessed Virgin and made Her humility surpass all perfection of this virtue ever at­tained by any other creature.

345 There was in Mary an excellence of humility altogether singular and peculiar to Her; for neither the full knowledge that She was the Mother of God, nor the consideration of all the wonders that She wrought, or that were wrought by Her Divine Son, nor Her position as the keeper and dispenser of all Divine Treasures, as the most immaculate among all creatures and as the most powerful and most favored of all God's creatures, could ever cause Her heart to forsake the place She had chosen in estimating Herself as the lowest of all the handiwork of the Most High. O rare humility! O fidelity never experienced among men! O wisdom which even the angels themselves cannot aspire to! Who that is acknowledged by all as the most highly exalted of all creation, can ever in his own mind belittle himself and count himself as the most insignificant? Who, like She, can conceal from himself the praise which all unite in giving? Who, in imitation of Her, can be so contemptible in his own eyes, while for the rest he is so admirable? Who, singled out for high distinction, does not lose sight of lowliness, and who, invited to a like position, can thus select the most lowly, not by necessity or in sadness, nor with impatient pro­test, but with all his heart and with the sincerest content! O children of Adam, how slow and dull we all are in this heavenly science! How necessary it is that the Lord conceal from us our own blessings, or accompany them with some burden or counterweight, lest we frustrate all His goodness toward us and lest we be prevented from scheming some robbery of the glory due to Him as the Author of all good in us! Let us then understand what a dastardly humility ours is, and how precarious, if we ever have it at all; for the Lord (let us so express it), must use much circumspection and care in entrusting us with any advantage or virtue on account of the weak­ness of our humility and seldom does our ignorance fail to indulge itself with some petty theft on such occasions, or at least with a vain complacency or inconsiderate joy.

346 The humility in the conduct of the most Holy Mary in regard to the miracles of Christ our Lord was a source of great admiration to Her Holy Angels; for they were not accustomed to behold in the children of Adam, and not even among themselves, such self-abasement united to such great perfection and magnificence of activity. Nor did the miracles of the Savior, in Whom the Holy Angels expected and had already experienced proofs of His Omnipotence, excite their admiration so much as the peerless fidelity with which the most Blessed Virgin referred all miraculous works to the glory of God and by which She esteemed Herself so unworthy of them, that She deemed His not omitting them on ac­count of Her demerits, a special favor of Her Divine Son. Such humility She practiced in spite of the fact that She, by Her constant prayer, was precisely the instrumental cause of nearly all the miracles wrought by the Lord; not to mention this other fact that if the Heavenly Mother had not intervened between Christ and the human race, the world would never have come into the possession of the Gospel, nor ever merited to ex­perience any of its effects.

347 The miracles and accomplishments of Christ our Lord and Savior were so new and unheard of in the world that great admiration and honor could not but have been the result for His most Holy Mother; for She was not only known to the Apostles and disciples, who acknowl­edged Her as the true Mother of the Redeemer, but by the new faithful, who all came to acknowledge Her as the true Mother of the Messiah and many times con­gratulated Her on account of the wonders wrought by Her Son. All this, however, was for Her a new occa­sion of humility; for She always humbled Herself to the dust and debased Herself in Her own mind beyond all conception of created mind. Yet with all Her humil­ity She did not show Herself slow and ungrateful in the acknowledgment of all the favors lavished upon Her; for in humiliating Herself at sight of all the great works of Christ, She rendered worthy thanks to the Eternal Father for each one of them and thus filled out the great void of ingratitude of the human race. And by means of the secret communication of Her purest soul with that of the Savior, She sought to divert toward God, Her Son, the honor attributed to Her by His hearers. This happened on some occasions which even the Evangelists mention. For instance, when the Jews attributed the healing of the deaf mute to the devil, the Lord incited a woman to exclaim: "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the paps that gave You suck," the humble and attentive Mother, hearing these words of praise, begged Her Divine Son to divert this praise from Her, and the Lord acceded to Her request in such a way, that He turned these words into a still greater, yet, at that time a hidden, praise. For the Lord answered: "Yes rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it" (Lk 11:27). By these words He neutral­ized the praise given to Her as Mother, but enhanced it in application to Her as a Saint; directing the attention of His hearers to the essential of all virtue, in which His Mother was distinguished above all others and most wonderful, though at the same time none of His hearers perceived this hidden signification.

348 Another instance of this kind is mentioned by St. Luke, when he says that someone interrupted the preaching of the Lord by the message that His Mother and His brethren had arrived, and that they could not come near to Him on account of the press of the multi­tude. The most prudent Virgin, fearing lest those within hearing would break out in applause at seeing the Mother of the Savior, asked Her Son to prevent such an event. The Lord again yielded, and said: "My mother and My brethren are they who hear the Word of God and do it" (Lk 8:21). In these words likewise the Lord did not deprive His Mother of the honor due to Her on account of Her holiness; but referred it to Her above all others; yet in such a way that the attention of the by­standers was diverted from Her, and She, on Her part, gained Her object of seeing the Lord alone praised and acknowledged for His works. I wish to mention that these events, as I have been made to understand, happened on different occasions and at different places. Accordingly St. Luke records them in Chapters, 8 and 9, though St. Matthew refers to the wonderful cure of the possessed mute in Chapter 12, and immediately adds that the Savior was notified of the presence of His Mother and His brethren, who wished to speak to Him. On this account and on account of what else is said there, some commentators have thought that both the above-mentioned incidents took place at one and the same time. But having again been ordered to ask by my superiors, I was told that they were separate events, happening at different times; which can also be deduced from the balance of the con­text of these chapters; for St. Luke mentions the inci­dent of the exclaiming woman after having related the healing of the possessed deaf-mute. The other incident he relates in Chapter 8, after the Lord had preached the parable of the seed; and both of them followed immediately after what the Evangelist had said before that.

349 In order to understand more fully the perfect accord of the Evangelists and the reason why the Blessed Queen came to Her Son on those occasions, I wish to state that the Virgin Mother frequented the sermons of Christ our Savior for 2 reasons. Some­times She wished to hear Him, as I have stated above; at other times She sought Him in order to ask some favor for souls, either regarding their conversion or the cure of the sick or afflicted; for the kindest Lady took the remedy of all such evils into Her own hand, just as She had done at the marriage-feast of Cana. Being made aware of these and other pressing necessi­ties either by the Angels or by Her interior light, She was accustomed to approach the Lord; and such was also the object of seeking the Master on the occasions mentioned by the Evangelists. As this happened not only once but many times, and since the crowds attending the sermons of the Lord were often very great, He was notified on these and many other occasions not men­tioned, that His Mother and His brethren were seeking Him, and on these 2 occasions He spoke the words recorded by St. Luke and St. Matthew. There is nothing strange in his having repeated the same words on 2 different occasions; for He also repeated on sev­eral occasions this other saying of His: "Because every one who exalts himself shall be humbled; and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11; 18:14), which the Lord used in the parable of the publican and the Pharisee, as also in that of the guests invited to the marriage, as can be seen in Luke 14 and 18  and Matthew 23.

350 Blessed Mary practiced humility not only Herself, but She was the great Teacher of Humility for the Apostles and disciples; for it was necessary that they be well founded and rooted in this virtue in order to receive the gifts and to work the wonders, not only later on in the foundation of the Church, but even now, in the first beginnings of their duties as preachers of the word (Mark 3:14). The holy Evangelists tell us that the Lord sent before Him the Apostles (Lk 9:2), and afterwards, the 72 disciples, and that He gave them power to expel the demons from the possessed and to cure the sick. The great Mother of the Humble coun­seled and exhorted them with Words of Eternal Life, how they were to govern themselves in performing these miracles. By Her teaching and intercession the spirit of wisdom and humility was deeply planted into their hearts, so that they well understood how entirely these miracles are wrought by Divine power and that all the glory of these works belonged to the Lord Alone. They understood that they themselves were merely the instru­ments; that, just as the brush does not deserve the glory attached to a work of art, nor the sword that of vic­tory, but all belongs to the artist or to the wielder of the sword; so all the honor and praise due to their miracles belonged to the Lord and Master, in Whose Name they performed them. It is worthy of notice that none of these lessons given to the Apostles before being sent to preach are mentioned in the Holy Gospels; but this was intentional, because all these instructions were given to them by the Blessed Lady. Yet when the disciples re­turned to their Master, and full of exultation told Him that they had subjected to themselves the demons in His Name (Lk 10:17), He reminded them that He had given them this power and that they should not be elated except in having their names recorded in heaven. So feeble is our humility, that the Savior was obliged to apply such corrections and antidotes in order to preserve it in His own disciples.

351 But afterwards, in order that they might be worthy founders of the Holy Church, the science of humility, taught them by Christ the Lord and His Holy Mother, was still more necessary; for then they were to perform still greater miracles in the Name of Christ and in confirmation of the faith and of their evangelical preaching. The heathens, being accustomed blindly to give divine honors to anything great or strange, and seeing the miracles wrought by the Apostles, were only too ready to adore them as gods. Thus when they saw St. Paul and St. Barnabas in Laconia cure the man crippled from his birth (Acts 14:9), they proclaimed the one as mercury and the other as jupiter. Later on, when St. Paul survived the bite of a viper while all others who had been bitten had died thereof, he was called a god (Acts 28:6). All these miraculous events and occasions most Holy Mary foresaw in the fullness of Her knowledge and as the Assistant of Her Divine Son in the establishment of the Law of Grace. During the time of His preaching, which lasted 3 years, Christ went to celebrate the Passover 3 times, and the Blessed Lady ac­companied Him each time, being present when in the first year He used the whip to drive the sellers of sheep, pigeons and cattle from the House of God. In all the activities of the Savior in the city and in His sufferings, the great Lady accompanied Him with admirable affec­tion and heroic acts of virtue according to Her condition and circumstances; and She conducted Herself with sublime perfection, especially in regard to the practice of Her most ardent charity, which She derived from the Lord Himself. Since She lived only in God, and God in Her, the charity of Christ burned in Her heart and left Her to seek the good of Her fellow-men with all the powers of Her body and soul.
INSTRUCTION FROM THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
352 In his malice and astuteness, the ancient serpent strains all his powers to destroy humility in the human heart, sowed by the Redeemer as a seed of holiness in the heart; and in its place he seeks to sow the cockle of pride (Matt 13:25). In order to root out these and allow free growth to the blessing of humility, it is necessary that the soul consent and seek to be humiliated by its fellow-creatures and that it ask the Lord incessantly and in all sincerity of heart for this virtue and for the means to attain it. Very rare are the souls that apply themselves to this science and reach the perfection of this virtue; for it requires entire conquest of one's whole self to which few at­tain, even among those who profess to be virtuous. This contagion of pride has so deeply penetrated into the human faculties, that it is communicated to nearly all of man's undertakings and there is scarcely one among men who is without pride, just as the rose never grows with­out thorns or the grain without husks. On this account the Most High makes so much of the truly humble; and those who entirely triumph over pride, He exalts and places with the princes of His people, esteeming them as His favored children and exempting them from the jurisdiction of the demon. Thus it comes that the devil dares rarely approach them, because he fears the humble and their victories over him more than the fires of hell.

353 I desire, my dear, that you attain the inestim­able treasure of humility in all its fullness, and that you offer to the Most High a docile and yielding heart, in order that He may impress upon it, like on soft wax, the image of My own most humble activity. As you have been informed of such deeply hidden secrets con­cerning this sacrament, you are under great obligations to correspond to My wishes, not losing the least occa­sion of humiliation and advancing in this virtue. Neg­lect none of them, since you know how much I sought after them, who was the Mother of God Himself, most pure and Full of Grace. The greater My preroga­tives, so much the greater was My humility, because in My estimation they far exceeded My merits and only increased My obligations. All you children of Adam (Ps 51:5), were conceived in sin, and there is none who has not sinned on his own account. If none can deny this infection of his nature, why should not all humiliate themselves before God and before men? Lowering themselves to the very dust and placing them­selves in the last place is not such a great humiliation for those who have sinned, for even then they will always be more honored than they deserve. The truly humble must lower themselves beneath that which they have deserved. If all creatures would despise and abhor them, or offend them; if they would consider themselves worthy of hell-fire, they would only fulfill justice, but not the requirement of humility, since that would only be admitting their deserts. But real, deep humility goes to the length of desiring a greater humiliation than that due to one's self in justice. On this account there is no mortal who can attain to the kind of humility which I practiced, such as you have understood and described; but the Most High will be satisfied with and ready to reward the efforts of those who humble them­selves as far as they can and as they deserve in justice.

354 Let then sinners admit their baseness and understand how they make of themselves monsters of hell by imitating the devil in his pride. For pride found him beauteous and endowed with great gifts of grace and nature; and although he dissipated these blessings, he had nevertheless possessed them as his own. But man, who is mere slime, and moreover has sinned and is full of ugliness and baseness, is a monster, if he bloats himself up in vain pride. By such absurdity he surpasses even the devil; since man possesses a nature neither so noble, nor was ever gifted with such grace and beauty as satan. The devils despise and laugh over men, who in such inferiority swell up in pride; for they can well understand this vain and contemptible madness and delirium. Mind well therefore, My daughter, this lesson, and humiliate yourself lower than the earth, showing just as little sense of in­jury as the dust, whenever the Lord, either Himself or through others, sends you humiliation. Never judge yourself injured by anyone nor consider yourself offended; if you abhor pretense and lying, remember, that the greatest offense is to aspire after honor or high position. Do not attribute to creatures that which God brings about in order to humiliate you or others by affliction and tribulations; for this is protesting against mere in­struments, while it is Divine Mercy which inflicts punish­ment on men for their humiliation. This, if they would only understand, is really what is happening by the disposition of the Lord to the kingdoms of our day. Humiliate yourself in the Divine Presence for yourself and for all your fellow-men, in order to placate His Wrath, just as if you alone were guilty; and as if you never had made any satisfaction; since during mortal life no one can ever know whether he has satisfied for his transgressions. Seek to appease Him as if you alone had offended him; and in regard to the gifts and favors which you have received and continue to receive, show yourself grateful as one who deserves much less and owes much more. By these considerations humiliate yourself more than all others, and labor without ceasing to cor­respond to the divine clemency, which has shown itself so liberal toward you.

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2
CHAPTER 4
The devil is disturbed by the miracles of Christ.  Herod beheads St. John

355 The Redeemer of the world, departing from Jerusalem and traveling about in Judea for some time, pursued the work of preaching and performing miracles. While He was baptizing and at the same time commis­sioning His disciples to baptize (John 3 and 4). His Precursor also continued to baptize in Ainon on the banks of the Jordan near the city of Salem. But the Baptisms of the Lord and those of St. John were not of the same kind: for St. John continued to give only the baptism of water and of penance, while our Lord administered His own Baptism, that of real pardon of sins and justification, such as it is now in the Church, accompanied by the infusion of grace and of the virtues. To the mysterious power and effects of the Baptism of Christ was moreover added the efficacy of His words and instructions confirmed by the wonder of His miracles. On this account more disciples and followers soon gathered around Christ than around St. John, in ful­fillment of the words of the Baptist, that Christ must grow, while he must be diminished (Jn 3:22). At the Baptisms of the Lord His most Holy Mother ordinarily was present and She beheld all the great results of this regeneration in the favored souls. With the same gratitude as if She Herself were receiving the benefits of the Sacrament, She gave thanks for them, breaking forth in canticles of praise and exercising heroic virtues as a thank-offering to the Author of them. Thus in all these wonderful activities She gained for Herself incom­parable and unheard of merits.

356 When by Divine permission satan and his fol­lowers arose from the ruinous defeat which they had experienced at the triumph of Christ in the desert, and when they returned and saw the works of the most sacred humanity, Divine Providence ordained, that, though always remaining ignorant of the principal mys­tery connected with Christ they should nevertheless see enough to lead to their entire discomfiture. The devil therefore perceived the great results of the preaching, the miracles, the Baptism of Christ our Lord, and how by these means innumerable souls were withdrawn from his jurisdiction and from the shackles of sin in the reformation of their life. The same effects he recognized also in the preaching of St. John and in his baptism. Although he remained ignorant of the essential difference be­tween these 2 Preachers and their baptisms and at the same time had no doubts about the final overthrow of his dominion, if their activity should continue. Hence, satan could not but be full of fear and unrest; knowing well that he was too weak to resist the Power of Heaven, which he felt was exerted against him in these new Preachers and their doctrines. These considera­tions filled his proud mind with great apprehension, and therefore he called another meeting of the princes of darkness and said to them: "Strange things happen in the world during these years, and everyday they multiply, so that my fears lest the Divine Word has come into the world according to the promise are grow­ing more and more harrowing. I have searched the face of the whole earth and cannot find Him. But these 2 Men, who are preaching and depriving me every day of many souls, excite within me great misgivings; the one I could never overcome in the desert, and the other vanquished all of us, so that even now we are disheart­ened and crushed. If They continue as They have begun, all our triumphs will turn to confusion. They cannot Both be the Messiah, and I cannot as yet be sure that either one of them is He; but to draw so many souls from a life of sin, is a work not equaled by any to this day. It supposes a new power, which we must investi­gate and trace to its source; and we must destroy these 2 Men. Follow me and assist me with all your strength, astuteness and sagacity; because otherwise they will frustrate our intentions."

357 These ministers of evil therefore came to the determination of persecuting anew our Savior Christ and His Precursor St. John; but as they had no knowledge of the Mysteries of  Divine Wisdom, all their great projects and resolves were vain and without firmness. They were sadly misled and confused on the one hand, by so many miracles, and on the other hand by outward appearances entirely different from those which they had attributed to the Incarnate Word at His coming into the world. In order that his malice might find some enlightenment, and in order that his companions, who were to spy out and discover what secret power had so discomfited them, might be more successful in assisting him, satan ordered meetings of the demons to be held, in which they were to communicate to each other what they had seen and understood concerning recent events; and he offered them great rewards and preferments in his hellish dominions for good service. For the purpose of throwing them into a still greater doubt and con­fusion, the Lord permitted the hellish fiends to imagine greater holiness in the life of St. John the Baptist. He did not perform the same wonders as Christ; but the outward signs of his holiness were very remarkable and his exterior virtues were wonderful. God also con­cealed some of the more extraordinary wonders per­formed by Jesus from the dragon, and there was a great similarity between Christ and St. John in regard to certain particulars which came to the knowledge of the devil, so that he remained in doubt and could not come to a certain decision as to which of Them really de­served to hold the office and dignity of Messiah. "Both," (he said to himself) "are great Saints and Prophets; the life of the One is that of the common people, but yet extraordinary and strange in some respects; the other performs many miracles and his doctrine is nearly the same. Both cannot be the Messiah; but let Them be whoever They may, I recognize Them as my great Ene­mies and as Saints, and must persecute Them until I have undone Them."

358 These suspicions of the devil began from the time when he saw St. John in the desert leading such a wonderful and unheard of life even from his childhood, and at the time he thought that his virtues were greater than that of a mere man could be. On the other hand he also learned of some of the accomplishments and of the heroic virtues of the life of Christ our Lord, which were not less wonderful, and the dragon compared them with those of John. Yet as the Savior lived a life more of the common order among men, satan was more anxious to find out who this John could be. With this desire he incited the Jews and the Pharisees of Jerusalem to send the priests and Levites to St. John in order to ascertain who he was (Jn 1:19) whether he was Christ, as through satan they were led to suspect. And the devil's suggestions must have been very persistent, since they knew that the Baptist was of the tribe of Levi, and hence, as was well known, could not be the Messiah; for according to the Scriptures and according to their knowledge of the law and of revealed truth, the Messiah was to be of the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10). But the devil troubled their minds so much, that yielding to his astute malice, they asked this question. The devil pursued a double object; for if John was the Messiah, he wanted him to reveal it. If not, he wanted to diminish his influence with the people, who believed him to be the Messiah. Or he wished St. John to fall into a vain complaisance or at least usurp, either wholly or in part, the honor thus held out to him. Hence the demon eagerly listened to every word of the answer given by St. John.

359 But the holy Precursor answered with heavenly wisdom, confessing the truth in such a way that the astuteness of the enemy was foiled and his uncertainty was greater than before. He answered, that he was not Christ. Then they asked again, whether he was Elias. Since it was written of Elias, that he was to come before Christ and as the Jews were so dull as not to know how to distinguish between the first and second coming, they asked him, whether he was Elias. He answered: "I am not," adding: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord," as said the Prophet Isaiah (John 1:20, 21). All these questions were put by the messengers through instigation of the devil; for he expected that if St. John was a holy man, he would tell the truth, and therefore reveal clearly who he was. When he heard St. John call himself a "voice," he was much taken aback, suspecting in his ignorance that he meant to call himself the Eternal Word. His restlessness was augmented the more, when he reflected on the apparent unwillingness of St. John to reveal himself to the Jews. Hence he suspected, that his having called himself a "voice" was only a covered way of speaking. The devil argued, that if St. John had called himself openly the Word of God he would have thereby revealed his Divinity; hence, in order not to discover himself, he had assumed the name "voice" in­stead of "word." Into such confusion of mind did the devil fall concerning the Mystery of the Incarnation; and, while he believed the Jews had been deluded and misled, he himself was cast into a much greater error by his false theology.

360 Thus deceived, his fury against the Baptist out­grew all bounds. But remembering his defeats in the battles against the Savior, and conscious of having had just as little success in leading St. John into any grave fault, he resolved to make war upon him by another channel. And he found such a channel already prepared. The Baptist had reprehended Herod for his disgraceful and adulterous connection with Herodias, who had openly left her husband, Philip, his brother, as is related by the Evangelists (Mk 6:17). Herod was aware of the holiness of St. John and of his say­ings; he held him in fear and veneration and listened to him with pleasure. But whatever force the truth and the light of reason exerted in Herod, it was readily per­verted to evil by the malicious and boundless hatred of the wicked Herodias and her daughter, who was like her mother in morals. The adulterous woman was deeply degraded by her passions and sensuality, and therefore lent herself readily as an instrument of demoniac malice. This woman, having been previously instigated by the devil to procure the death of St. John in different ways, now incited the king to condemn him to death. He that had called himself the voice of God and who was the greatest of woman-born, was therefore taken prisoner. The anniversary of the unfortunate birthday of Herod was to be celebrated by a banquet and ball, given by him to the magistrates and nobles of Galilee, of which he was king. The degraded Herodias brought her daughter to the feast, in order to dance before the guests. The blinded and adulterous king was so taken in by the dancing girl, that he promised her any gift or favor she desired, even if it were the half of his king­dom. She, directed by her mother (and both of them by the devil), asked for more than a kingdom, yes, more than many kingdoms, namely, the head of John the Bap­tist, and that it be given to her immediately on a plate. The king commanded it to be done on account of the oath he had taken and because he had subjected himself to the influence of a vile and degraded woman. Men are accustomed to consider it an unbearable offense to be called a woman, because they think it denies them the superiority deemed peculiar to manhood; but it is a greater disgrace to be governed and led about by women's whims; for he that obeys, is inferior to the one that commands. And yet many are thus degraded without adverting thereto, and so much the greater is their degra­dation, the more immodest the woman they follow; for, having lost the virtue of modesty, nothing remains in a woman, which is not most despicable and abominable in the Sight of God and man.

361 During the imprisonment of St. John brought about by Herodias, he was much favored by our Savior and by His Mother. Our Lady comforted him many times by sending Her Holy Angels, sometimes also order­ing them to prepare and bring him nourishment. The Lord also conferred on him many interior graces and favors. But the devil who wished to destroy him, gave no rest to Herodias until he should see him dead. He eagerly seized the occasion of the banquet, inciting Herod to utter that foolish promise and oath for the sake of Herodias' daughter and confusing his mind so that he impiously looked upon a failure to fulfill his sworn promise as a sin and as a dishonor, and thus in his blindness he delivered the head of the Baptist to the dancing girl, as is related in the Gospel. At the same time the Queen of the World was, in the usual manner, made aware of the interior will of Her Most Holy Son, that the hour of martyrdom had arrived for the Baptist and that he should give his life in testimony of the truths he had preached. The most pure Mother prostrated Herself at the Feet of Christ our Lord and tearfully im­plored Him to assist His servant and Precursor in that hour, to comfort and console him, and that his death might be so much the more precious in His Eyes in view of his suffering for the honor and defense of the truth.

362 The Savior responded to Her petition with much pleasure, saying that He would fulfill it entirely and bidding Her immediately to accompany Him on a visit to St. John. Then Christ and His Holy Mother were miraculously and invisibly borne to the dungeon cell where St. John lay fettered in chains and wounded in many parts of his body; for the wicked adulteress, wish­ing to do away with him, had ordered some of her servants, (6 on 3 different occasions), to scourge and maltreat him, which they actually did in order to please their mistress. By these means this tigress had attempted to murder the Baptist before the banquet at which Herod commanded him to be beheaded. The devil incited these cruel henchmen to assail St. John with vilest insults and bodily ill treatment for they were most wicked men, fit servants of such an accursed and infamous adulteress. The Presence of Christ and His Blessed Mother filled that foul prison of the Baptist with celestial light. While the other parts of the palace of Herod were infested by innumerable devils and syco­phants more criminal than the state prisoners in their dungeons below, the cell of St. John was entirely sanc­tified by the Presence of the Sovereigns of Heaven, Who were accompanied by a great host of angels.

363 As soon as the Precursor beheld before him the Redeemer and His Mother in the midst of the angelic hosts, his chains fell from him and his wounds were healed. With ineffable joy he prostrated himself on the ground and in deepest humility and admiration asked the blessing of the Incarnate Word and His Blessed Mother. Having fulfilled his request, they remained for some time holding heavenly converse with Their friend and servant, which I cannot all repeat here, though I will mention some of what impressed itself more vividly on my dull mind. In kindest tone and manner the Savior said: "John, My servant, how eagerly you press on to be persecuted, imprisoned and scourged, and to offer your life for the glory of My Father even before I Myself enter upon My sufferings! Your desires are quickly approaching their fulfillment, since you are soon to enjoy your reward in suffering tribulations such as I Myself have in view for My humanity; but it is thus the Eternal Father rewards the zeal with which you have fulfilled the office of being My Precursor. Let your loving anxieties now cease and offer your neck to the axe; for such is My wish, and thus shall you enjoy the happiness of suffering and dying for My Name. I offer to the Eternal Father your life, in order that Mine be yet prolonged."

364 The sweetness and power of these words pene­trated the heart of the Baptist and filled it with such delights of Divine love, that for a time he could not give any answer. But being reinforced by Divine grace and dissolved in tears, he thanked his Lord and Master for the ineffable favor of this visit, which was now added to so many other great ones he had received at His Hands; and with sighs of love from his inmost soul he said: "My Eternal God and Lord, I cannot ever merit pains or sufferings worthy of such a great consolation and privilege as that of enjoying Your Divine Presence and that of Your exalted Mother, My Mother; altogether un­worthy am I of this new blessing. In order that Your boundless mercy may be exalted, permit me, Lord, to die before You, so that Your Holy Name may be made more widely known; and look with favor on My desire of en­during the most painful and lingering death. Let Herod and sin, and hell itself, triumph over me in my death, for I offer my life for You, my Beloved, in the joy of my heart. Receive it, my God, as a pleasing sacrifice. And You, Mother of my Savior and my Queen, turn Your most loving eyes in clemency upon Your servant and continue to show him Your favor as a Mother and as the cause of all blessing. During all my life I have despised vanities and loved the Cross, which is to be sanctified by my Redeemer; I have desired to sow in tears; but never could I have merited the delight of such a visit, which has sweetened all my sufferings, gladdened my bondage and makes death itself more pleasing and ac­ceptable than life."

365 While They were yet engaged in this conversa­tion, 3 servants of Herod entered his prison with a hangman ready to execute upon him the implacable fury of the cruel adulteress. St. John presented his neck and the executioner fulfilled the impious order of Herod by cutting off his head. The High Priest Christ at the same moment received in His Arms the body of the Saint, while His Blessed Mother held his head in Her hands, both of Them offering this victim to the Eternal Father on the altar of Their Sacred Hands. This was possible not only because the 2 Sovereigns of the world were invisible, but also because the servants of Herod had be­gun to quarrel as to which of them should flatter the in­famous dancer and her mother by bringing them the head of St. John. In their dispute one of them, without paying attention to any other circumstance, snatched the head from the hands of the Queen of Heaven and the rest of them followed in order to offer it on a plate to the daughter of Herodias. The sacred soul of the Bap­tist, in the company of a multitude of angels, was sent to limbo, and its arrival renewed the joy of the holy souls there imprisoned. The Sovereigns of Heaven re­turned to the place, where they had come. Of the holi­ness and excellence of the great Precursor many things are written in the Church, and although I have been in­formed of several other mysteries concerning him, which I could relate, I cannot depart from my original purpose or extend this history in writing of them. I wish only to say, that the fortunate and blessed Precursor of Christ received great favors at the Hands of Christ the Redeemer and His Holy Mother during the whole course of his life, in his happy birth, his stay in the desert, his preaching and in his holy death. Such wonders were wrought for no other man by the Right Hand of God.
INSTRUCTION GIVEN BY THE MOST HOLY QUEEN MARY
366 My daughter, you have been very short in de­scribing the mysteries of this chapter; yet a great lesson is contained therein for you and all the children of light. Write it in your heart and notice well the great difference between the innocence and holiness of the Baptist, who was poor, afflicted, persecuted and imprisoned, and the abominable wickedness of Herod, the powerful king, who was flattered and served in the midst of his riches and base pleasures. Both were of the same human nature, but entirely different in the Sight of God, accord­ing as they used ill or well their free will and the created things around them. The penance, poverty, humility, contempt, tribulations of St. John, and his zeal for the glory of My Divine Son, merited for him the singular favor of dying in Our Arms. Herod, on the contrary, by his hollow pomp, his pride, vanity, tyranny and wicked­ness was struck down by the minister of God in order to be punished in the eternal flames. Remember that the same happens now and always in the world; although men do not pay attention to it or fear it. They fear the vain strength of the world, not reflecting that it is but fleeting shadow and withering grass.

367 Just as little do men think of the ultimate end, and of the abyss, into which vices draw them even in this world. Although the devil cannot take away man's liberty, nor ever completely sway his free will, yet, by leading them into so many and grievous sins, he obtains such an influence over it, that he is enabled to use it as an instrument of the evil he proposes. In spite of wit­nessing so many and such terrible examples, men remain callous to the fearful danger to which they expose them­selves by their sins in imitation of Herod and his adulter­ous concubine. In order to cast souls into this abyss of wickedness, satan meets them with the vain pride and honor of this world and with its base pleasures, repre­senting them as alone important and desirable. Thus the ignorant children of perdition loosen the bonds of reason in order to follow the degrading pleasures of their flesh and be enslaved by their mortal enemy. My daughter, the Savior and I have taught the way of humility, of contempt, and tribulation. This is the royal road, on which We first walked, and of which We have set Our­selves up as Teachers. We are the Protectors of all the afflicted and ill-used, ready to assist by miraculous and special favors all those who call upon Us in their neces­sities. Of this assistance and protection the followers of this world and its vain pleasures deprive themselves, since they hate the Way of the Cross. To the Cross you were called and invited, and on account of it you are favored with the sweetness of My loving guidance. Fol­low Me and labor to imitate Me, since you have found the secret treasure (Matt 12:44) and the precious pearl, for the possession of which you must despise all that is earthly and give up all human freedom in so far as it is contrary to the pleasure of My Most Exalted Lord.
CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2
CHAPTER 5
CHRIST BLESSES THOSE APOSTLES DEVOTED TO HIS MOTHER
368 One of the great miracles of Divine Omnipotence and a wonder of wonders was the conduct of the most Holy Mary toward the Apostles and disciples of Her Son and Savior Christ. A full account of Her wisdom is im­possible to human tongue, and if I would wish to de­scribe no more than what I have been made to under­stand concerning this matter, I would be obliged to write a large volume. I will touch upon it in this chapter and as occasion requires in the rest of this history. All that I can say is very little, yet from it the faithful can infer enough for their instruction. All those whom the Savior received into His celestial school, were to see and treat familiarly His most Blessed Mother. Hence He infused into their hearts a special reverence and devotion toward that Blessed Lady. But though this infused reverence was common to all, it was not equal in all the disciples; for the Lord distributed His gifts according to His free will in reference to their dispositions and in accordance with the duties and offices for which each one was destined. By conversation and familiar association with their great Queen and Lady their reverential love and devotion was to grow and increase; for the Blessed Lady spoke to all, loved them, consoled them, instructed and assisted them in their necessities, without ever permitting them to leave Her conversation and presence unreplenished by interior joy and consolation greater than they had asked for. Yet the measure of good fruit derived from them was dependent upon the disposition of the heart of those that received these favors.

369 They were all enabled to begin their relationship with the Mother of God in high admiration of Her pru­dence, wisdom, purity, holiness and great majesty, and were made sensible of an inexpressibly humble and pleasing sweetness in Her. This was so ordained by the Most High, because as I have said in Transfixion Book 1 Chapter 22, it was not yet time to reveal this Mystic Ark of the New Testament to the world. Thus, just as the Lord, however much He wished to break forth in Her praise, could not manifest it in words and concen­trated it within His Heart; so the holy Apostles, sweetly constrained into silence, found a vent for their fervent feelings in a so much the more intense love of most Holy Mary and praise of Her Creator. As the great Lady, on account of Her peerless insight knew the natural disposi­tion of each of the disciples, his measure of grace, his present condition and future office, She proceeded ac­cording to this knowledge in Her petitions and prayers, in Her instructions and conversings with them, and in the favors She obtained for each in support of his vocation. Such a loving zeal in the conduct of a mere Creature so entirely pleasing to the wishes of his Lord, excited a new and boundless admiration in the Holy Angels. Of no less admiration was the hidden providence of the Almighty by which the Apostles were made to correspond to the blessings and favors received by them at the intercession of the most holy Mother. All this caused a divine harmony of action, hidden to men and manifest only to the heavenly spirits.

370 Specially signalized for the reception of these sacramental favors were St. Peter and St. John; the former because he was destined to be the Vicar of Christ and head of the militant Church and because he therefore deserved the special reverence and love of the Holy Mother; the latter because he was to take the place of the Lord after His Passion in attending upon and con­versing with the Heavenly Lady upon earth. As there­fore the government and custody of the Mystic Church, namely of Mary Immaculate and of the visible militant Church, namely the faithful on earth, was to be divided between these 2 Apostles, it was no wonder, that they should be singularly favored by the great Queen of the world. But as St. John was chosen to serve Mary and attain the dignity of an adopted son of the Queen of Heaven, he at once began to experience special urg­ings of grace and signalize himself in the service of the most Holy Mary. Although all the Apostles excelled in devotion to the Queen beyond our power of understand­ing or conception, the evangelist St. John penetrated deeper into the mysteries of this City of God and re­ceived through Her such celestial enlightenment as to excel all the other Apostles. This is also evident from his Gospel (John 21:20). All the heavenly insight therein manifested he received through the Queen of Heaven, and the distinction of being called the beloved disciple of Jesus, he gained by his love toward the most Blessed Mother. As this love was reciprocated by the Heavenly Lady, he became the most beloved disciple both of Jesus and Mary.

371 The Evangelist besides chastity and virginal purity, possessed some other virtues which were es­pecially pleasing to the Queen; among them were a dovelike simplicity, as is manifest from his writings, and a great gentleness and humility, which made him most meek and tractable. The Heavenly Mother always looked upon the peaceful and the humble as the most faithful imitators of Her Divine Son. On this account the Blessed Queen favored St. John above all the other Apostles and he himself became more and more anxious to serve Her with ever increasing reverential love and affection. From the very first moment of his vocation St. John com­menced to excel all the rest in piety toward the Mother Mary and to fulfill the least of Her wishes as Her most humble slave. He attended upon Her more assiduously than the rest; and whenever it was possible he sought to be in Her company and take upon himself some of the bod­ily labors connected with Her present life. Sometimes it happened that the fortunate Apostle competed with the Holy Angels in his zeal for thus assisting the great Queen; while She still more eagerly sought to perform these works of humility Herself; for in this virtue She triumphed over all other creatures and none of them could ever hope in the least to surpass or equal Her in acts of humility. The beloved disciple was very diligent in re­porting to the Heavenly Lady the works and miracles wrought by the Savior, whenever She Herself could not be present, and in informing Her of the new disciples converted by His teaching. He was constantly alert and studious to serve Her in the least of Her wishes, fulfilling each one of them with a loving eagerness.

372 St. John also distinguished himself by the reverence with which he spoke to Mary, for in Her pres­ence he always called Her "Lady," and in Her absence he entitled Her "Mother of our Master Jesus." After the Ascension of the Lord when speaking of Her, he was the first to call Her "Mother of God and of the Redeemer of the world;" and when speaking to Her, he addressed Her "Mother" and "Lady." In Her honor he invented also the other titles calling Her "The propitiation for sin" and "the Queen of Nations." In particular St. John invented the title "Mary of Jesus," as She was often called in the primitive Church; and he gave Her that name, because he knew that the sound of these words awoke the sweetest memories in the heart of the Blessed Virgin. I also desire to give joyful thanks to the Lord, that without my merits He has called me to the light of holy faith and to the religious life, which I profess under this very name of Mary of Jesus. The other Apostles were well aware of the favor in which he stood with most Holy Mary, and they often asked him to be their messenger in their behalf for what they desired to say or ask of their Queen. The gentle intercession of this holy Apostle often pro­cured for them tokens of the loving kindness of the sweetest Mother. Concerning this relationship of St. John with the Mother of Grace, I will say more in the third part and it would be easy to write an extensive history in merely mentioning the favors and blessings obtained by St. John from this Queen of the world.

373 Next to St. Peter and St. John, St. Jacob was most beloved by the Blessed Mother. He was the brother of St. John, and, as we shall see from some instances to be related in the third part of this history, he obtained admirable favors at the hands of the great Lady. Also St. Andrew was among those especially favored by the Queen; because She knew of his great devotion to the Passion and Cross of Christ and of his being destined to die on it like his Divine Master. I will not stop to speak of Her love toward the other Apostles, for She regarded them all with great affection, some on account of one virtue, some on account of another, and all of them because of their connection with Her Most Holy Son. This affection toward them She showed with rarest prudence, humility and charity. Magdalene also had a share in Her special love; for Mary knew that the love of this woman for Her Son was most ardent and that this great penitent was eminently chosen for the manifestation of the magnificence of God's Mercy toward men. Most Holy Mary distinguished Her before the other women in Her familiar relationship and enlightened Her in regard to most exalted mysteries, by which She in­flamed still more the love of Magdalene toward Jesus and toward Herself. The holy penitent consulted the Heavenly Lady in regard to her desire of retreating into solitude in order to live in continual contemplation and penance; and the sweetest Mother instructed her in the deep mys­teries of solitary life. This life She afterwards em­braced with the consent and blessing of the Queen. Later on Mary visited her in her retreat in person and by means of the angels often encouraged and consoled Magdalene in the horrors of the desert. The other women, who were in the company of Jesus, were much favored by the most Blessed Mother.  All of them and all the disciples of the Lord experienced Her incomparable kind­ness and they were filled with an intense devotion and affection toward the Queen and Mother of Grace. They drew of the Treasures of Grace from Her as from a storehouse, where God had laid up His gifts for the whole human race. I do not dwell longer on this doctrine, for, aside of its being unnecessary since it is expounded by our Holy Church, it would consume much time to do it justice.

374 I will, however, say something of that which has been made known to me concerning the wicked apostle judas; for it belongs to this history and less is known of him. It will at the same time be a warning to the obstinate and an admonition for those little devoted to the most Blessed Mary; for it is a sad truth that there should be anyone who entertain little love toward a Creature so lovable, and one whom the Infinite God Himself loves without bound or measure; whom the Angels love with all their heavenly powers, the Apostles and Saints from their inmost souls, whom all creatures should eagerly strive to love, and who never can be loved according to Her merits. Yet this unhappy apostle strayed from the royal road of Divine Love and its bless­ings. The understanding, which has been given me con­cerning this defection for the purpose of making it known in this history, is contained in the following paragraphs.

375 Judas was attracted to the School of Christ our Teacher by His forceful doctrines, and was filled with the same good intentions which moved the others. Powerfully drawn by these motives, he asked the Savior to admit him among His disciples, and the Savior received him with the Heart of a loving Father, Who rejects none who come to Him in search of truth. In the be­ginning judas merited special favors and forged ahead of some of the other disciples, deserving to be numbered among the 12 Apostles; for the Savior loved his soul according to its present state of grace and his good works, just as He did the others. The Mother of Grace and Mercy observed the same course with him, although by Her infused knowledge She immediately became aware of the perfidious treachery with which he was to end his apostolate. She did not, on this account, deny him Her intercession and maternal love; but She applied Herself even more zealously to justify as far as possible the cause of Her Divine Son against this perfidious and unfortunate man, in order that his wickedness, as soon as it should be put into action, might not have the shadow of an ex­cuse before men. Well knowing that such a character as his could not be overcome by rigor, but would only be driven by it to so much the greater obstinacy, the most prudent Lady took care, that none of the needs or the comforts of judas should be ignored and She began to treat him, speak and listen to him more gently and lovingly than to all the rest. This She carried so far, that judas, when the disciples once disputed among them­selves concerning their standing with the Queen (as, ac­cording to the Evangelist (Lk 22:24), it happened also concerning the Redeemer), never experienced the least jealousy or doubt in this matter; for the Blessed Lady in the beginning always distinguished him by tokens of special love and he, at that time, also showed himself thankful for these favors.

376 But as judas found little support in his natural disposition, and as the disciples, not being as yet con­firmed in virtue and not as yet even in grace, were guilty of some human failings, the imprudent man began to compliment himself on his perfection and to take more notice of the faults of his brethren than of his own (Lk 6:41). He permitted himself thus to be deceived, making no effort to amend or repent, he allowed the beam in his own eyes to grow while watching the splinters in the eyes of others. Complaining of their little faults and seeking, with more presumption than zeal, to correct the weaknesses of his brethren, he committed greater sins himself. Among the other Apostles he singled out St. John, looking upon him as an meddler and accusing him in his heart of ingratiating himself with the Master and His Blessed Mother. The fact that he received so many special favors from Them was of no avail to deter him from this false assumption.  Yet so far judas had committed only venial sins and had not lost sanctifying grace. But they argued a very bad disposition, in which he willfully persevered. He had freely entertained a certain vain complacency in himself; this at once called into existence a certain amount of envy, which brought on a calumnious spirit and harshness in judging of the faults of his brethren. These sins opened the way for greater sins; for immediately the fervor of his devotion decreased, his charity toward God and men grew cold, and his interior light was lost and extin­guished; he began to look upon the Apostles and upon the most Holy Mother with a certain disgust and find little pleasure in their association and their heavenly activity.

377 The most prudent Lady perceived the growth of this defection in judas. Eagerly seeking his recovery and salvation before he should cast himself entirely into the death of sin, She spoke to him and exhorted him as Her beloved child and with extreme sweetness and force of reasoning. Although at times this storm of torment­ing thoughts, which had begun to rise in the heart of judas, was allayed; yet it was only for a short time, and soon it arose and disturbed him anew. Giving entrance to the devil into his heart, he permitted a furious rage against the most meek Dove to take possession of him. With insidious hypocrisy he sought to deny his sins or palliate them by alleging other reasons for his conduct; as if he could ever deceive Jesus and Mary and hide from Them the secrets of his heart. Thereby he lost his in­terior reverence for the Mother of Mercy, despising Her exhortations and openly reproaching Her for Her gentle words and reasonings. This ungrateful presumption threw him from the state of grace. The Lord was highly incensed and deservedly left him to his own evil counsels. By thus designedly rejecting the kindness and the inter­cession of most Holy Mary, he closed against himself the gates of mercy and of his only salvation. His disgust with the sweetest Mother soon engendered in him an ab­horrence of his Master; he grew dissatisfied with His doc­trines and began to look upon the life of an apostle and interaction with the disciples as too burdensome.

378 Nevertheless Divine Providence did not abandon him immediately, but continued to send him interior as­sistance, although in comparison with former helps they were of a kind more common and ordinary. They were, however, in themselves sufficient for his salvation, if he would have made use of them. To these graces were added the gentle exhortations of the kindest Mother, urging him to restrain himself and to humble himself and ask pardon of his Divine Master. She offered him mercy in His Name and Her own kind assistance in ob­taining it, promising to do penance for him, if he would consent to be sorry for his sins and amend his life. All these advances did the Mother of Grace make in order to prevent the fall of judas. She was well aware, that Not Seeking To Arise From A Fall And To Persevere In Sin Was A Much Greater Evil Than To Have Fallen. The conscience of this proud disciple could not but reproach him with his wickedness; but becoming hardened in his heart, he began to dread the humiliation, which would have been to his credit, and he fell into still greater sins. In his pride he rejected the salutary counsels of the Mother of Christ and chose rather to deny his guilt, protesting with a lying tongue, that he loved his Master and all the rest, and that there was no occasion for amending his con­duct in this regard.

379 It was indeed an admirable example of patience and charity which Christ, our Savior, and His most Blessed Mother gave us in their conduct toward judas after his fall into sin; for as long as he remained in their company, They never showed exteriorly any change or irritation in their behavior toward him, nor did They cease to treat him with the same kindness and gentleness as all the rest. This was the reason why the wickedness of judas, who necessarily showed signs of his evil state in his daily conversation and association, remained so long concealed to the Apostles. For it is not easy, and perhaps not possible, continually to cover up or hide the tendencies of one's mind. In matters not depending upon deliberation we always act according to our character and our habits, and thus we disclose them at least to the watchful eyes of those with whom we have much contact. But as all of the disciples witnessed the constant affability and love of Christ our Redeemer and His most Blessed Mother toward judas, they suppressed their sus­picions and ignored the exterior proofs of his wickedness. Hence all of them were much disturbed and agitated, when at the last Supper the Lord told them, that one of them was to betray Him (Matt 24); and each one searched his soul, whether the accusation could refer to his own self. St. John, on account of his greater intimacy, had some suspicion of the wicked deeds of judas and he was made more restless by his love; there­fore Jesus pointed out the traitor, but only by a sign, as is related in the Gospel (Jn 13:26). Before that time the Lord had not given the least intimation of what was passing in the heart of judas. This forbearance was yet more wonderful in the most Blessed Mary, who, though the Mother of Christ and a mere Creature, saw his perfidious betrayal close at hand and about to cause the Death of Her own Son, Whom She loved so tenderly as a Mother and as a Handmaid.

380 O ignorance and folly of men! How differently do we behave, if we are slightly affronted, though we de­serve it so much! How unwillingly do we bear with the weaknesses of others, though expecting all men to bear with ours! How grudgingly we pardon an offense, though daily and hourly asking the Lord to pardon us our own! (Matt 6:12). How prompt and cruel are we in making known the faults of our brethren, yet how resentful and angry at any word of criticism against us! None do we measure with the same measure with which we desire to be measured, and we do not wish to be judged by the same standard as we judge others (Matt 7:1, 2). All this is perversity and darkness, a breath from the mouth of the hellish dragon, who wishes to stem the flow of the most precious virtue of charity and disconcert the order of human and godly reasonableness; for God is charity, and he who exercises it perfectly is in God and God is in him. The devil is wrath and vengeance and all those that yield to these vices follow him, who is leading them on to all the vices opposed to the good of the neighbor. Though the beauty of this virtue of charity has always filled my heart with the desire of possessing it fully, nevertheless I see, as in a clear mirror, that I have arrived not even at a beginning of this most noble virtue as exhibited in these wonders of godlike charity toward the most ungrateful disciple judas.

381 In order that I may not incur the blame of con­cealing what belongs to this chapter, I will mention another cause of the ruin of judas. When the number of the Apostles and disciples increased, the Lord resolved to appoint one of them to take charge of the alms re­ceived; thus to supply the common needs and pay the imperial tribute. Jesus made known His wishes to all indiscriminately without addressing Himself to anyone in particular. While all of them feared such an office and sought to evade it, judas immediately strove to obtain it. In order to secure his appointment he humbled himself so far as to ask St. John to speak to the most Holy Queen and induce Her to arrange this matter for him with Her Son. St. John yielded to the request of judas and spoke to the most prudent Mother; but She, knowing that this request of judas was not proper or just, but proceeded from ambition and avarice, did not wish to propose it to the Divine Master. The same kind of influence judas sought to bring into play through St. Peter and other Apostles, without success; for the Lord in His goodness wished to stay his ruin, and justify His cause before men, if He should grant the request. At this resistance the heart of judas, already corrupted by avarice, instead of quietly yielding, was consumed with unhappy desires for the office, and the devil stirred up thoughts of vilest ambition, such as would have been most improper and wicked in anyone, and hence were much more culpable in judas, who had been a disciple in the school of highest perfection and who had lived in the light of the Sun of Justice and its beautiful Moon, Mary! Neither in the day of abundant graces, when the Sun Jesus lighted his paths, nor in the night of temp­tations, when the Moon Mary disclosed to him the wiles of the poisonous serpent, could he have failed to become aware of the wickedness of such suggestions. But, as he flew from the light and cast himself willfully into dark­ness, he presumed to ask most Holy Mary in a direct manner for Her influence in obtaining his object. He had lost all fear and hid his avarice in the cloak of virtue. Approaching Her, he said that he had made his request through St. Peter and St. John, with the sole desire of diligently serving Her and his Divine Master, since not all would attend to the duties of this office with proper solicitude; and that, therefore, he now asked Her to obtain the position of purser for him from the Master.

382 The great Lady answered him with extreme gentleness: "Consider well, My dear, what you ask, and examine whether your intentions are up­right. Ponder well, whether it is good for you to seek that which all your brethren fear and refuse to accept, unless they shall be compelled thereto by the command of their Lord and Master. He loves you more than you love yourself and without doubt knows what will benefit you.  Resign yourself to His Most Holy Will, change your purpose, and Seek To Grow Rich In Humility And Pov­erty. Rise from your fall, for I will extend you a helpful hand and My Son will show you His loving mercy." Who would not have yielded to these sweetest words and such urgent advice, spoken by such an amiable and heavenly Creature as was most Holy Mary? But this fierce and adamantine heart was not softened or moved. On the contrary, the soul of judas was offended and enraged against the Heavenly Lady for thus offering him a means of escaping from his dreadful danger. Bound­less ambition and avarice roused his fury against Her who seemed to hinder him in his projects and he con­sidered Her well-meant advice as an insult. But the most meek and loving Dove pretended not to notice his obstinacy and said nothing more to him at that time.

383 After his interview with most Holy Mary, the avarice of judas would not allow him to rest; casting off all modesty and natural shame (and the least spark of faith), judas now resolved to apply to his Divine Master and Savior. Clothing himself like a consummate hypocrite in the garb of a sheep, he went to his Master and said: "Master, I wish to fulfill Your wishes and serve You as Your purser and as the dispenser of the alms which we receive; I will look to the interests of the poor, fulfilling Your doctrine that we should do unto others as we wish them to do unto us, and I will see to it that alms are distributed according to Your wishes, more profitably and orderly than hitherto." Such reason­ing the specious hypocrite boldly used, committing many enormous sins in one and the same act. For, first of all he lied, concealing his real intention. Then, being am­bitious of an honor which he did not merit, he neither wished to appear in his true light nor did he wish to be in truth what he merely pretended to be. He also blamed his brethren, discrediting them and praising him­self, the ordinary course of those who are ambitious. What is specially to be noticed in this conduct of judas is that he showed his loss of infused faith; for he at­tempted to deceive Christ, his Divine Master, by wear­ing the cloak of hypocrisy. For, if he had firmly believed that Christ was true God and Man Who penetrated into the secrets of the heart, he could not have hoped to be able to deceive Him; nor would he have attempted such double dealing, not only because he would have known Christ as the Omniscient God, but because he would not have hoped to impose upon the infused and beatific science of Christ as man. Hence judas had lost belief in all these prerogatives, and to his other sins, added the sin of heresy.

384 What the Apostle says in his first letter to Timothy was literally fulfilled in this treacherous dis­ciple: "... those who will become rich, fall into tempta­tion and into the snares of the devil and into many un­profitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition. For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith and have entangled themselves in many sorrows" (I Tim 6:9). All this happened to the perfid­ious and avaricious disciple, and his avarice was so much the more blamable, since he had the striking and admir­able example of Christ and of His Mother and that of the whole apostolic company before his eyes; and they all accepted only very moderate alms. But the wicked dis­ciple imagined that on account of the great miracles of his Master and the multitudes which followed and gathered around Him, the alms and offerings would in­crease and he could have at his disposal large amounts. Seeing that his expectations were not realized, he was much disappointed, as he plainly showed on the occa­sion of the anointing of the Lord by Mary Magdalene (Mk 14:4).  His desire of gathering in alms induced him to estimate the value of the ointment at 300 denari and to complain that this money was withheld from the poor, among whom it could have been distributed. He was moved to say this because he regretted very much not to lay hands on it himself; little cared he for the poor. He was highly incensed against the Mother of Mercy because She distributed such generous alms among the poor; against the Lord because He would not accept large donations, and against the Apostles and disciples because they did not ask for them. All this vexed him sorely because his purse was thereby kept empty. Some months before the Death of the Savior, he began frequently to avoid the other Apostles, absenting himself from their company and from the Redeemer; for the association with them was getting irksome to him, and he joined them only in order to collect what donations he could. During these times of absence the demon inspired him with the thought of breaking entirely with the Master and of delivering Him over to the Jews.

385 But let us return to the answer given to judas by the Master, Whom he asked to make him purser. We shall see how hidden and terrible are the judgments of the Most High. The Redeemer wished to ward off from him the danger which lay behind this request and which threatened the avaricious apostle with final perdition. In order that judas might not excuse himself under plea of ignorance, the Lord answered him: "Do you know, judas, what you seek and what you ask? Be not so cruel toward your own self as to solicit and seek to obtain the poison and the arms which may cause your death." Judas replied: "Master I desire to serve You by employing my strength in the service of Your faithful followers and in this way I can do it better than in any other; for I offer to fulfill all the duties of this office without fail." This daring presumption of judas in seeking and coveting danger, justified the cause of God in allowing him to enter and perish in the danger thus sought and coveted. He resisted the light (Sir 15:17), and hardened himself against it, water and fire was shown him, life and death. He stretched forth his hand and chose perdition. The Justice of the Most High was made clear and His Mercy was exalted, since He had so often presented Himself at the portals of this hardened heart, whence He had been spurned in order to make way for the devil. Later on I will mention further particu­lars of the wickedness of judas as a warning to mortals; for I do not wish to prolong this chapter too much and they will fit better into other parts of this history. What mortal, subject to sin, will not be seized with great fear when he thus sees one of his fellow-beings, who belonged to the School of Christ and of His Blessed Mother, who was reared in the light of His doctrines and miracles, who performed the same wonders as the rest, in so short a time pass from the condition of an apostle into that of a devil, transform himself from an innocent sheep into a ravening and bloodthirsty wolf? From venial sins, judas proceeded to most grievous and horrible crimes. He yielded himself to the devil, who already suspected that Christ was God and who began to exercise the wrath he had against the Lord upon this unfortunate disciple strayed from the little flock. If then the fury of satan is just as great and much greater after having learnt to his cost that Christ is the true God and Redeemer, what hope has the soul of escaping this inhuman and cruel enemy who so ve­hemently and furiously seeks our Eternal Damnation?

INSTRUCTION GIVEN BY THE MOST HOLY QUEEN OF HEAVEN

386 My daughter, all that you have written in this chapter is a most important warning for all those that live in the flesh and in the imminent danger of losing their eternal happiness. It should teach them to seek My most kind and powerful intercession and to fear the Judgments of the Most High; for in this lies an effica­cious means of salvation and of meriting higher reward for the Lord. I wish to remind you once more, that among the secrets revealed to the beloved John at the last Supper, was also this, that he had become the beloved disciple of Christ on account of his love toward Me, and that judas fell because he despised the mercy and kind­ness which I had shown him. At that time, also, the Evangelist understood other great mysteries communi­cated and wrought in Me; that I should take part in the labor and suffering of the Passion and that he should have special charge of Me. My dear, the purity which I require of you must be greater than that of an angel; and if you strive after it you will become My dearest child, as St. John, and a most beloved and favored spouse of My Son and Lord. His example and the ruin of judas should continually serve you as a stimulus and as a warning, to seek only after My love and to be sincerely thankful for the love shown you without your merit.

387 I wish you also to understand another secret hidden from the world; namely, that one of the most vile and horrible sins before the Lord is the little esteem in which the righteous and the friends of the Church are held, and especially the little veneration shown toward Me, who was chosen for His Mother and am the cause of the happiness of all men. If the failure to love the enemies and contempt of them is so displeasing to the Lord and to the saints of heaven (Matt 18:35), how shall He bear with such treatment of His most dear friends, whom He holds as the apple of His Eye and in deepest affection? (Ps 34:16). This counsel you can never bear in mind too much in this mortal life, and it is one of the signs of reprobation to hold in abhorrence the righteous. Beware of this danger and judge no one, especially those that reprehend and admonish you (Matt 7:1). Do not allow yourself to desire worldly things, least of all any office of superiority; a desire which allures the human sense, disturbs the judgment and obscures reason. Envy no one his honor, nor the possession of any earthly thing, nor seek to obtain from the Lord anything else than His love and friendship. Man is full of blindest inclinations, and if he does not restrain them, he will begin to ask for that which will cause his eternal perdition. Sometimes the Lord, accord­ing to hidden judgments, grants these petitions in punish­ment for wicked desires and of other sins, as it happened with judas. Such souls receive earthly reward for any good actions which they may have performed during mortal life. If you will look into the deceptive course of the lovers of this world, you will see that they con­sider themselves fortunate, whenever they attain all that they desire according to their earthly inclinations. This only hastens their greater misfortune; for they, having received their reward, cannot expect any in  eternal life. But the righteous, who despise the world and meet with many adversities, are withdrawn and shielded from danger, because the Lord denies them the temporal goods, which they desire and ask for. In order that you may not fall into such danger, I exhort and com­mand you never to hanker after nor to seek earthly possession. Separate yourself from all; preserve your will free and independent; Never Desire For Anything Beyond What Is God's Pleasure, For He Will Assume Charge Of All Those Who Resign Themselves To His Divine Providence. 

CITY OF GOD     THE TRANSFIXION       BOOK 2
CHAPTER 6
THE TRANSFIGURATION;  THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM  BEFORE THE PASSION;

 MARY MAGDALEN ANOINTS HER SAVIOR

388 Our Redeemer and Master Jesus had already consumed more than 2½ years in preaching and performing wonders, and He was approaching the time predestined by the Eternal Wisdom for satisfying Divine Justice, for redeeming the human race through His Passion and Death and thus to return to His Eternal Father. Since all His works were ordered with the highest wisdom for our instruction and salvation, the Lord resolved to prepare and strengthen some of His Apostles for the scandal of His Passion by manifesting to them beforehand in its glory that same Body, Which He was so soon to exhibit in the disfigurement of the Cross. Thus would they be reassured by the thought, that they had seen It transfigured in glory before they looked upon It disfigured by His Sufferings. This He had promised a short time before in the presence of all, al­though not to all, but only to some of His disciples, (Matt 16:28). For His Transfiguration He selected a high mountain in the center of Galilee, 2 leagues east of Nazareth and called Mount Tabor. Ascending to its highest summit with the 3 Apostles, Peter, and the 2 brothers Jacob and John, He was transfigured before them (Matt 17:1; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:28). The 3 Evangelists tell us that besides these Apostles, were present also the 2 Prophets, Moses and Elijah, discoursing with Jesus about His Passion, and that, while He was thus trans­figured, a Voice resounded from Heaven in the Name of the Eternal Father, saying: "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, hear Him."

389 The Evangelists do not say that most Holy Mary was present at this Transfiguration, nor do they say that She was not there; this did not fall within their purpose, and they did not think it proper to speak of the hidden miracle by which She was enabled to be there. For the purpose of recording this event here, I was given to understand that at the same time in which some of the Holy Angels were commissioned to bring the souls of Moses and Elijah from their abode, others of Her own guard carried the Heavenly Lady to Mount Tabor, in order to witness the Transfiguration of Her Divine Son, for without a doubt She really witnessed it. There was no necessity of confirming the most Holy Mother in Her faith, as was necessary with the Apos­tles; for She was invincibly confirmed in faith. But the Lord had many different objects in view at His Trans­figuration; and there were special reasons for His not wishing to celebrate this great event without the pres­ence of His most Holy Mother. What for the Apostles was a gratuitous favor, was a duty in regard to the Queen and Mother, since She was His Companion and Co-partner in the works of the Redemption even to the Foot of the Cross. It was proper to fortify Her by this favor against the torments in store for Her most holy soul. Moreover, She was to remain on earth as the Teacher of the Holy Church, therefore it was proper that She should be one of the eye-witnesses of this great Mystery. To grant such a favor was easily within the power of Her Divine Son, since He was accustomed to lay open to Her all the workings of His Divine Soul. Nor would the love of such a Son permit Him to withhold that favor from His Mother; for He otherwise omitted nothing whereby He could in any way demonstrate His tender love for Her, and this certainly would be a token of highest esteem for Her excellence and dignity. I have, therefore, been informed that for these reasons and for many others not necessary to mention here, most Holy Mary assisted at the Transfiguration of Her Divine Son, our Redeemer.

390 During this Transfiguration the Blessed Mary saw not only the humanity of Christ our Lord trans­formed in glory, but She was favored by an intuitive and clear vision of the Divinity Itself; for the Lord wished Her to partake of the privilege implied in being present at this event in a more abundant and distin­guished manner than the Apostles. Moreover, there was a great difference between Her insight and that of the Apostles into the glory of the Transfigured Body; for the Apostles were not only asleep, (Luke 9:32), when Jesus at the beginning of this mysterious glorification retired to pray, but they were also seized with such fear at the Voice resounding from Heaven, that they fell with their faces to the earth and rose not until the Lord Himself spoke to them and raised them up (Matt 17:6). The Blessed Mother, on the other hand, witnessed and heard all these events without undue excitement; for, besides being accustomed to such great manifestations of glory, She was Divinely forti­fied and enlightened for looking upon the Divinity. Hence She was enabled to look fixedly upon the Glori­fied Body, without experiencing the terror and weak­ness of the senses which overtook the Apostles. The most Blessed Mother had already on other occasions seen the Body of Her Divine Son glorified, as was re­lated in other parts of this history (Nos. 695, 851); but on this occasion She looked upon Him with much greater enlightenment and with a mind much more alert to all the wonders hidden therein. Hence, also, the effects caused in Her by this vision were such that She was totally renewed and inflamed by this communication with the Divinity. As long as She lived She never lost the impression caused by the Sight of such Glory manifested in the Humanity of Christ. The memory of it greatly consoled Her in the absence of Her Divine Son, whenever His Glorious Presence was not otherwise felt by Her, as we shall see in the third part of this history. Yet on the other hand the memory of this glorious Transfiguration of Christ also made Her feel so much the more deeply the maltreatment experienced by Christ in His Passion and Death.

391 But no human ingenuity can suffice fully to de­scribe the effects of this glorious vision of Her Son on Her most holy soul. With inmost gratitude and deepest penetration She began to ponder upon what She had seen and heard; exalted praise of the omnipotent God welled forth from Her lips, when She considered how Her eyes had seen refulgent in glory that same Bodily Substance, Which had been formed of Her blood, carried in Her womb and nursed at Her breast; how She had with Her own ears heard the Voice of the Eternal Father acknowledge Her Son as His own and appoint Him as the Teacher of all the human race. With Her Holy Angels She composed new canticles to celebrate an event so full of festive joy for Her soul and for the Most Sacred Humanity of Her Son. I will not expatiate upon this Mystery, nor discuss in what the Transfiguration of the Body of Jesus really consisted. It is enough to know that His Holy Face began to shine like the sun and His garments became whiter than the snow (Matt 17:2). This outward splendor was merely the effect of the glory of His Divinity always united to His Beati­fied Soul. At His Incarnation, the glory which would naturally have been communicated permanently to His Sacred Body, was miraculously suspended for the time of His natural life: now, this suspension of His Divine Glory ceased and the Body, for a short time, was allowed to share the glory of His Soul. This is the splendor which became visible to those who were present. Im­mediately after the miraculous suspense, the Divine Glory was again confined only to His Soul. As His Soul was always in the beatified state, so also His Body, according to the common order, should have continually shared in this glory, and therefore this transient glorification of His Body was likewise a miracle.

392 After the Transfiguration the most Blessed Mother was brought back to Her house in Nazareth; Her Divine Son descended the mountain and im­mediately came to visit Her in order to take final leave of His parental province and set out for Jerusalem. There, on the following Passover, which was to be for Him the last upon earth, He was to enter upon His Passion. Having spent only a few days at Nazareth, He departed with His Mother, His disciples and Apostles and some of the holy women, traveling about through Galilee and Samaria before entering Judea and Jerusa­lem. The Evangelist St. Luke writes of this journey where he says, that He set His Face toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51); for He journeyed to Jerusalem with a joyous Face and full of desire to enter upon His Sufferings, in order thereby, according to His own most ardent and generous desire, to sacrifice Himself for the human race. He was not to return to Galilee, where He had wrought so many miracles. Knowing this at His departure from Nazareth, He glorified His Eternal Father and, in the Name of His Sacred Humanity, gave thanks for having, in that house and neighborhood, re­ceived the human form and existence which He was now to deliver over to Suffering and Death. Of the prayers of Christ our Lord on this occasion I will record as far as I can the following one:

393 "My Eternal Father, in compliance with Your Will I gladly haste to satisfy Your Justice by suffering even unto Death. Thus shall I reconcile to You all the chil­dren of Adam, paying their debts and opening to them the gates of heaven which have been closed against them. I shall seek those who have turned away and lost them­selves, so that they may be restored by the force of My love. I shall find and gather together the lost of the house of Jacob (Is 56:8), raise up the fallen, enrich the poor, refresh the thirsty, cast down the haughty and exalt the humble. I wish to vanquish hell and enhance the glories of the triumph over satan (1 John 3:8), and over the vices which he has sown into the world. I wish to raise up the Standard of the Cross, beneath which vir­tue, and all those that put themselves under its protec­tion, are to fight their battles. I wish to satiate My Heart with insults and affronts, which are so estimable in Your Eyes. I wish to humiliate Myself even to Death at the hands of My enemies, in order that Our chosen friends may be consoled in their tribulations and that they may be honored by high rewards, whenever they choose to humiliate themselves in suffering the same persecutions. O Beloved Cross ! When shall you re­ceive Me in your arms ? O sweet ignominies and affronts! When shall You bear Me on to overcome Death through the sufferings of My entirely guiltless Flesh? You pains, affronts, ignominies, scourges, thorns, torments, Death, come to Me, Who wish to embrace you, yield yourselves to My welcome, since I well understand your value. If the world abhors you, I long for you. If the world, in its ignorance, despises you, I, Who am truth and wis­dom, love and embrace you. Come then to Me, for in welcoming you as Man, I exalt you as the True God and am ready to efface the touch of sin from you and from all that will embrace you. Come to Me, you pains, and disappoint Me not; heed not My Omnipotence, for I shall permit you to exert your full force upon My humanity. You shall not be rejected and abhorred by Me as you are by mortals. The deceitful fascination of the children of Adam in vainly judging the poor and the afflicted of this world as unhappy, shall now disappear; for if they see their True God, their Creator, Master and Father, suffering horrible insults, scourging, the ignominious torment and destitution of the Cross, they will understand their error and esteem it as an honor to follow their Crucified God."

394 These are some of the sentiments which I have been made to perceive in the Heart of the Master of Life, our Savior. The sufferings of His Death on the Cross show (as my words cannot express), how great was the love with which He sought and underwent them. Notwithstanding all this, our hearts are weighed down by sin entangled in vanities (Ps 4:3). Though we have life and truth before our eyes, we are neverthe­less carried away by our pride and repelled by humility, ravished by what is pleasurable and full of abhorrence for what is painful. O lamentable error! To labor much in order to avoid laboring a little, to exhaust our­selves entirely, merely in order to avoid a small incon­venience, to foolishly resolve on suffering eternal shame and confusion, just in order to evade a slight dishonor, or in order not to forego one hour of vain and apparent honor! Who that claims the use of his reason, can say that he loves himself by following such a course? No mortal enemy of his can ever do him a greater harm than he does himself by doing what is displeasing to God. We hold those as our enemies who flatter and entertain us while they have treason in their hearts; and we would call those foolish who would allow themselves to be betrayed by an insignificant pleasure and delight. If we judge right in this, as we really do, what shall we say of the judgment of those who are devotees of the world ? Who has intoxicated them? Who has thus deprived them of their reason? O how great is the number of fools!

395 Most Holy Mary alone of all the children of Adam adjusted Her whole life according to the will and conduct of Her Son, without departing in the least from the closest imitation of His life and fulfillment of His doctrine. She was that most prudent creature, full of knowledge and wisdom, who could make up for our ignorance and foolishness and gain for us eternal truth in the midst of our darkness. This happened also on the occasion of which I have spoken, for the Heavenly Lady, being the mirror of Her Son's Soul, saw all the affection and love actuating His interior. Since this was also the guide of Her activity, She entirely con­formed to them and with Him addressed Her prayers to the Eternal Father as follows: "Most High God and Father of Mercies, I confess Your Infinite and Immutable Essence. Eternally do I praise and exalt You, for in this place, after You had created Me, You have deigned to glorify the power of Your Arm by raising Me to the dignity of Mother of Your Only Begotten and mag­nified the outflowing of Your ancient mercies with Me, Your humble slave, and because Your and My Only Begotten in the Flesh which He assumed from My substance, has condescended to retain Me in His most delightful com­pany for 33 years, permitting Me to enjoy His graces, His teachings and His guidance for the enlighten­ment of the soul of Your handmaid. Today, My Lord and Eternal Father, I leave My country and I joyfully follow My Son and Master in order to be present at the Sacrifice of His Life and of His Human Existence for man­kind. There is no sorrow like unto My sorrow at see­ing the Lamb, Who takes away the sins of the world, delivered over to bloodthirsty wolves; at seeing that One subjected to Suffering, Torment, and Death, Who is the Living Image and Figure of Your Substance (Heb 1:3); Who is engendered of You from all eternity, and equal to You through all the ages; at seeing that One sub­jected to insult and Death of the Cross, Whom I have given life in My womb, and at seeing the beauty of that Face obscured by filth and wounds, Which is the joy of My eyes and the delight of all the angels. O would it were possible, that I receive the pains and sor­rows which await Him, and that I might suffer death in order to save His Life! Accept, Heavenly Father, the sac­rifice of My sorrowing affection, which I offer in union with Him, in order that Your Holy Will and pleasure may be fulfilled. O how quickly flee the days and hours, which shall end in the night of My sorrow and bitterness! It will be a fortunate day for the children of men, but a night of affliction for My sorrow-laden heart, so soon to be deprived of its illuminating Sun. O children of Adam, so deeply lost in error and so forgetful of yourselves! Awake at last from your heavy slumber and recognize the weight of your sins in the devastation they are about to cause in your God and Creator ! See their dire effects in My mortal sorrow and bitterness of My soul! Begin at last to take heed of the damage wrought by sin!"

396 I cannot worthily express all the thoughts and affections of the Queen of the world in this Her de­parture from Nazareth, Her prayers and petitions to the Eternal Father, Her most sweet and sorrowful conversa­tions with Her Divine Son, the greatness of Her grief and the vastness of Her merits. For, on account of the con­flict between the love of a true Mother, by which She naturally desired to preserve Him from the terrible tor­ments, and the conformity of Her will with that of Jesus and of His Eternal Father, Her heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow, prophesied by Simeon (Luke 2:35). In Her affliction She complained to Her Divine Son in words of deepest prudence and wisdom, yet also of sweetest sorrow, that She should be unable to prevent His Sufferings, or at least die with Him. These sor­rows of the Mother of God exceeded the sufferings of all the martyrs who have died or will die for love of God to the end of the world. In such a state of mind and affection the Sovereigns of the world pursued their way from Nazareth toward Jerusalem through Galilee, which the Savior was not to revisit in this life. As the end of His labors for the salvation of men drew to a close, His miraculous works increased in number, and, as the sacred writers of the Gospels relate, they became especially numerous in the last months intervening be­tween His departure from Galilee and the day of His entrance into Jerusalem. Until that day, after having celebrated the feast of the Passover of the Tabernacles, the Savior traveled about and labored in Judea, awaiting the appointed time, when, according to His Will, He was to offer Himself in Sacrifice.

397 During these journeys His most Holy Mother accompanied Him, except on a few occasions, when They separated in order to attend to the welfare of souls in different localities. On such errands St. John was deputed to accompany Her and administer to Her needs. From that time on St. John received most exalted en­lightenments in regard to the great mysteries and hidden sacraments of the most pure Virgin and Mother. Among the wonders wrought by the most prudent and powerful Queen at this time, were those of most exalted flights of charity in procuring by Her petitions and prayers the justification of souls; for also She, just as Her Most Holy Son, now began to be more lavish in Her blessed benefactions to mankind, bringing many to the path of Eternal Life, curing the sick, visiting the poor and the afflicted, the destitute and the infirm, assisting the dying with Her own hands, especially those that were most forsaken and afflicted with greater suffering and pain. Of all these works in his special office of attending upon the Blessed Mother, the beloved disciple was a witness. But as the force of Her love, at the prospect of seeing Her Divine Son leave Her to return to His Eternal Father, had now increased a thousand fold, the Blessed Mother had such a yearning desire of being in His Presence, that She often swooned away in ecstasies of love and affec­tion, whenever She was obliged to endure His absence for any length of time. The Divine Master on His part, Who as God knew all that passed in the heart of His beloved Mother, faithfully corresponded with Her feelings. Speaking to Her those words, which were now fulfilled to the letter: "You have wounded My Heart, My Sister, My Spouse, You have wounded My Heart with one of Your eyes;" for, as if wounded and overcome by His own love, He was drawn again to Her presence. According to what has been made known to me, Christ our Lord, in as far as He was Man, could not ever have left the pres­ence of His Mother, if He had given full sway to His love for a Mother who loved Him so much. Hence it was natural that He should hasten to relieve and con­sole Her by His Divine Presence and contact. The beauty of the most pure soul of His Mother refreshed Him and made all His labors and hardships appear sweet to Him. He looked upon Her as the choice and only fruit of all His exertions, and the mere presence of Mary repaid Him for all His bodily Sufferings.

398 Our Savior continued to perform His miracles in Judea. Among them was also the resurrection of Lazarus in Bethany, where He had been called by the 2 sisters, Martha and Mary. As this miracle took place so near to Jerusalem, the report of it was soon spread throughout the city. The priests and Pharisees, being irritated by this miracle, held a council (Jn 9:17), in which they resolved upon the Death of the Re­deemer and commanded all those that had any knowl­edge of His whereabouts, to make it known; for after the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus retired to the town of Ephraim, until the proximate feast of the Passover should arrive. As the time of celebrating it by His own Death drew near, He showed Himself more openly with His 12 disciples, the Apostles; and He told them pri­vately that they should now get themselves ready to go to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man, He Himself, should be delivered over to the chiefs of the Pharisees, bound as a prisoner, scourged, and ill-treated unto the Death of the Cross (Matt 20:18). In the meanwhile the priests kept a sharp watch to find Him among those who came to celebrate the Passover.  He again visited Bethany, 6 days before the Passover where He had called Lazarus to life, and where He was entertained by the 2 sisters. They arranged a banquet for the Lord and His Mother, and for all of His company. Among those that were at table with Them, was also Lazarus, whom He had brought back to life a few days before.

399 While our Savior, according to the custom of the Jews, was reclining at this banquet, Magdalene, filled with Divine enlightening and most magnanimous sentiments, entered the banquet hall. As an outward token of her ardent love toward Christ, her Divine Master, she anointed His Feet and poured out over them and over His Head an alabaster vase filled with a most fragrant and precious liquor, composed of spikenard and other aromatic ingredients. Then She wiped His Feet with her hair just as she had done at another occasion in the house of the Pharisee, (Lk 7:38). Although the other 3 Evangelists in relating this second anointment, apparently differ as to some of the circumstances; yet I was not informed that they refer to different anointments or speak of more than one woman, but that they refer only to Magdalene, who was moved to these acts of devotion by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and by her own burning love toward Christ the Re­deemer. The fragrance of this ointment filled the whole house, for She had procured a large quantity, and of the most precious kind; nor did she stint it in any way, but broke the vessel in token of her generous love and de­votion to the Master. The avaricious apostle judas, who wished to get possession of the ointment in order to sell it for the increase of his purse, began to criticize this mysterious anointing of his Master and also to stir up some of the other Apostles under pretext of poverty and of charity toward the poor (Jn 12:5). These, he said, are defrauded of their alms by this lavish ex­pense and waste of so costly an article. At the same time all this had been ordained by Divine Providence, while judas acted only as an avaricious and disgruntled hypocrite.

400 The Teacher of Truth and Life defended Magdalene against