The School of Saints “My most holy Son and myself are trying to
find, among those who have arrived at the Way of the Cross, some soul, whom We
can instruct systematically in this Divine Science; and whom We can withdraw
from the worldly and diabolical wisdom, in which the sons of Adam, with blind
stubbornness, are rejecting the salutary discipline of sufferings. If thou
wishest to be our disciple, enter into this school, in which alone is taught the
Doctrine of the Cross and the manner of reaching true peace and veritable
delights. With this wisdom, the earthly love of sensible pleasures and riches
is not compatible; nor the vain ostentation and pomp, which fascinates the
bleary-eyed worldlings, who are so covetous of passing honors, and so full of
ignorant admiration for costly grandeur” (Our Lady to the Venerable Mary of Agreda). The Science of Saints “My daughter, in all that thou art made to understand and write concerning these mysteries, thou drawest upon thyself, and upon mortals, a severe judgment, if thou dost not overcome thy pusillanimity, ingratitude and baseness, by meditating day and night on the Passion and Death of Jesus crucified. This is the great Science of the Saints, so little heeded by the worldly, it is the Bread of Life and the Spiritual Food of the little ones, which gives Wisdom to them and the lack of which starves the lovers of this proud world . In this science I wish thee to be studious and wise, for with it thou canst buy thyself all good things. My Son and Lord taught us this Science when He said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one cometh to My Father except through Me’ (John 14:6). ” (Our Lady to the Venerable Mary of Agreda).
THE SEVENTH SORROW OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Mary sees Jesus placed in the Tomb
When Mary sat on that hill-top, and enthroned the Dead Christ upon her knee, she left an inexhaustible legacy of blessings behind her to all generations. It was not for herself, but for us, that she sat there, and rested for a moment. But the time has now come, and she signifies with calm self- collection to the disciples round to form the procession to the tomb.
There was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, John and Magdalen, the devout women who had come up to the Cross, some of the trusted servants of Joseph and Nicodemus, and to these was now added the converted centurion who at the moment of our Lord's death, had confessed that He was the Son of God. Perhaps also some of the apostles and other disciples may by this time, as some of the saints have conjectured, have been gathered to the Cross.
The rude world intruded not upon the silence of that wonderful procession. The multitude had long since flowed back, like an ebb tide, from that sacred hill. The earthquake had sobered many hearts, which diabolical possession had maddened in the morning. The crowded city had enough to think of for itself. For there had been processions also in the streets of Jerusalem, strange processions, such as made men seek their homes, and close their doors, and speak low, and think of God. A shadow was over all hearts. The dead had walked. The earthquake had burst the tombs open, and had awakened their inmates, and like those impatient prognostics which so often usher in a divine work, there was a resurrection before the time. The old saints of the land, the dead of other generations, had gone about the city, and had been seen of many, with their beautiful threatening faces speaking unutterable silent things. The memory of the day hung like a cold stone around the souls of many.
In others it was burning like a hot restless fire, the harbinger of converting grace. Many wept, many more were sad, and all were weary, dulled by a shadow, oppressed by a divine terror. Hell had lighted a volcano in the people during the morning. Now it was burnt out, and human nature could hardly find its place again in many of the hearts from which it had been so awfully displaced. There was therefore no interruption from the city. The city was brooding over itself, like a disconsolate bird over its robbed nest. The very trumpets of Titus, who was to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD, were almost in its ears, and might have been heard by prophetic listening. Poor Jerusalem! God has loved thee long, and loved thee with a mysterious fondness; but today’s disloyalty has filled up thy measure, and thy doom has received its orders, and is now upon its way. From the top of that hill, brown in the dusky twilight, they are carrying to His tomb the Body of thy rejected King!
A deeper shadow of sorrow had never fallen upon men, than the gloom which fell on those who now were carrying the body of Jesus from the top of Calvary to the garden-tomb. There was grief enough to have darkened a whole world in Mary s single heart. Human suffering is not infinite; but it is near upon it, and she had come now to its very uttermost extremity. There was only one sacrifice she could make now, and she was in the very act of making it. She was going to put away from herself and out of her own power, to hide in a rocky tomb and let Roman soldiers come and keep watch over it, that Body which though it was dead was more than life to her. Then indeed she would stand upon the highest pinnacle of evangelical poverty, to which God had promised such mighty things. She would only keep for herself that which she could not part with, and would not have parted with if she could, a broken heart utterly submerged in such waters of bitterness as had never flowed round any living creature heretofore. There never would have been joy on this planet again, if her accumulated woe had been divided into little parcels, and distributed to each child of Adam as he comes into the world.
She has explored now all the vast realms of pain. She has sounded the depths of every heart-ache man can know. She has traversed vast regions of suffering which none ever traversed before her, and whither none can follow her. She has been with the Incarnate Word in abysses of His Passion, which theology has never named, because not even saints have ever imagined their existence. She has exhausted all the possibilities of mortal anguish. Her dolors have out-reached the tall science of the angels. They are known to none but Jesus and herself. At this present moment she is drawing near to the term of that which is so nearly infinite. The mystical border is close at hand. The outside of possible suffering, like the end of space, is inconceivable. A few more footsteps, and she will have reached that indescribable point of human life. Who would have dreamed of such a possible suffering as the Dead Body of the Living God? There is only one suffering beyond it: it is the parting with that Body, and going back into the world alone, in such a solitude as never creature knew before.
Below you will find an account of the Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord, together with some comments of Our Lady, as related by Our Lady to the Venerable Mary of Agreda, taken from the book, The Mystical City of God.
THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD : Volume 3 : The Transfixion Book 2: "Jesus is Placed in Tomb"
Some time passed, during which the
sorrowful Mother held at her breast the dead Jesus, and, as evening was far
advancing, St. John and Joseph besought her to allow the burial of her Son and
God to proceed. The most prudent Mother yielded; and they now embalmed the
sacred body, using all the hundred pounds of the spices and the aromatic
ointments brought by Nicodemus. Thus anointed the deified body was placed on a
bier, in order to be carried to the sepulcher. The heavenly Queen, most
attentive in her zealous love, called from Heaven many choirs of angels, who,
together with those of her guard, should accompany the burial of their Creator.
Immediately they descended from on high, in shapes visible to their Queen and
Lady, though not to the rest. A procession of heavenly spirits was formed and
another of men, and the sacred body was borne along by St. John, Joseph, Nicodemus
and the centurion, who had confessed the Lord and now assisted at His burial.
They were followed by the blessed Mother, by Mary Magdalen and the rest of the
women disciples. Besides these a large number of the faithful assisted, for
many had been moved by the divine light and had come to Calvary, after the
lance thrust. All of them, in silence and in tears, joined the procession. They
proceeded toward a nearby garden, where Joseph had hewn into the rock a new
grave, in which nobody had, as yet, been buried or deposited (John 19:41). In
this most blessed sepulcher they placed the sacred body of Jesus. Before they
closed it up with the heavy stone, the devout and prudent Mother adored Christ
anew, causing the admiration of men and angels. They imitated her, all of them
adoring the crucified Savior now resting in His grave; thereupon they closed
the sepulcher with the stone, which, according to the Evangelist, was very
heavy (Matthew 27:60).
At the same time the graves, which
had opened at the Death of Christ, were again closed; for among other mysteries
of their opening up, was this, that these graves as it were unsealed themselves
in order to receive Him, whom the Jews had repudiated, when He was alive and
their Benefactor. At the command of the Queen many angels remained to guard the
sepulcher, where she had left her heart. In the same order and silence, in
which they had come, they now returned to Calvary. The heavenly Mistress of all
virtues approached the Holy Cross and worshiped it in deepest reverence. In
this Joseph and all the rest of the mourners followed her. It was already late
and the sun had sunk, when the great Lady betook herself from Calvary to the
house of the Cenacle in the company of the faithful. Having brought her to the
Cenacle, St. John, the Marys and the others took leave of her with many tears
and sighs and asked for her benediction. The most humble and prudent Lady
thanked them for their service to her divine Son and the consolation afforded her;
she permitted them to depart with many hidden and interior favors and with the
blessing of her most amiable and kindest heart.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE MOST HOLY QUEEN GAVE ME
Consider also the anxious and ever ready
providence of the Most High in coming to the aid of the creatures, that call to
Him in true confidence. This thou hast seen in my behalf, when I found myself
afflicted and at a loss concerning the proper burial of my divine Son. In order
to come to my assistance in this plight, the Lord showed His sweet love by
moving the hearts of Joseph and Nicodemus and of the other faithful to assist
me in burying Him. By their opportune help, I was so much consoled in this
tribulation, that, on account of their behavior and my prayer, the Most High
filled them with wonderful influences of the Divinity, by which they were
regaled during the time of taking Jesus from the Cross and His burial; and,
from that time on, these faithful were enlightened and filled with the
mysteries of the Redemption. This is the admirable disposition of the sweet and
powerful providence of God, that, in order to bind Himself to do good to some
of his creatures, He sends affliction upon others, thus giving an occasion for
the practice of benevolence, so that at the same time those in necessity may be
benefited. Thus the benefactor, on account of the good work he does and on
account of the prayer of the poor, is rewarded by receiving graces of which he
otherwise would not be worthy. The Father of mercies, Who inspires and assists
the good work done, afterwards pays for it as if it were due in justice. For we
can correspond to His inspirations merely according to our insignificant
abilities, while all that is really good, comes entirely from His hands (James
Consider also the equity maintained
by this Providence, in compensating the injuries received in patient suffering.
For after my divine Son had suffered death, amid the contempt, dishonor and
blasphemies of men, the Most High at once provided for an honorable burial, and
moved many to confess Him as the true God and Redeemer, to proclaim Him as
holy, innocent and just, and, at the very time when they had finished their
frightful crucifixion, to adore Him as the Son of God. Even His enemies were
made to feel within themselves the horror and confusion of their sin in
persecuting Him. Although these benefits availed not all men, yet all of them
were effects of the innocent Death of the Lord. I also concurred in my prayers,
in order that the Lord might be acknowledged and honored by those known to me.