|Devotion to Our Lady||
THE ANNUNCIATION (PART 1 of 3)
THE BLESSED TRINITY SENDS THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL AS A MESSENGER TO ANNOUNCE TO OUR LADY THAT SHE IS CHOSEN AS THE MOTHER OF GOD.
Taken from The Mystical City of God by the Venerable Mary of Agreda:
For infinite ages had been appointed the convenient hour and time, in which the great mystery of piety (1 Timothy 3:16), which was approved by the Spirit, prophesied to men, foretold to the angels, and expected in the world, was to be drawn from the hidden recesses of the divine wisdom in order to be appropriately manifested in the flesh. The plenitude of time (Galatians 4:4) had arrived, that time which until then, although filled with prophecies and promises, was nevertheless void and empty. For it wanted the fullness of the most holy Mary, by whose will and consent all the ages were to receive their complement, namely the Eternal Word made flesh, capable of suffering and redeeming man.
Before all ages this mystery was prearranged in such a way, that it should be fulfilled through the mediation of this heavenly Maiden. Since now she existed in the world, the Redemption of man and the coming of the Only-begotten of the Father was not longer to be delayed. For now He would not need to come and live as if by sufferance merely in tents (2 Kings 7:6) or in a strange house; but He could enjoy a free welcome as in His temple and as in His own house, one that had been built and enriched at His own preordained expense, more so than the temple of Solomon at the expense of his father David (1 Paralipomenon 22:5).
In this predetermined time then the Most High resolved to send His Only-begotten Son into the world. And comparing, (according to our way of understanding and speaking), the decrees of His eternity with the prophecies and testimonies made to man from the beginning of the world, and all this together with the position of sanctity to which He had raised most holy Mary, He judged that all the circumstances were favorable for the exaltation of His Holy Name, and that the execution of His eternal will and decree should be made manifest to the angels and be commenced by them.
His Majesty spoke to the archangel Gabriel in such words or language as He was accustomed to use in intimating His will to the holy angels. Although God usually illumines the holy spirits by commencing with the higher angels, who in turn purify and illumine the others in their order down to the least among them, thus making known the revelations of the Divinity; yet, on this occasion, this usage was not maintained, for the holy archangel received his message immediately from the mouth of God.
At the bidding of the divine will the holy Gabriel presented himself at the foot of the throne intent upon the immutable essence of the Most High. His Majesty then expressly charged him with the message, which he was to bring to the most holy Mary and instructed him in the very words with which he was to salute and address her. Thus the first Author of the message was God Himself, who formed the exact words in His divine mind, and revealed them to the holy archangel for transmission to the most pure Mary. At the same time the Lord revealed to the holy prince Gabriel many hidden sacraments concerning the Incarnation. The Blessed Trinity commanded him to betake himself to the heavenly Maiden and announce to her, that the Lord had chosen her among women to be the Mother of the eternal Word, that she should conceive Him in her virginal womb through operation of the Holy Ghost without injury to her virginity. In this and in all the rest of the message, which he was to declare and manifest to this great Queen and Mistress, the archangel was instructed by the Blessed Trinity Itself.
Thereupon His Majesty announced, to all the other angels, that the time of the Redemption had come and that He had commanded it to be brought to the world without delay: for already, in their own presence, the most holy Mary had been prepared and adorned to be His Mother, and had been exalted to the supreme dignity. The heavenly spirits heard the voice of their Creator, and with incomparable joy and thanksgiving for the fulfillment of His eternal and perfect will, they intoned new canticles of praise, repeating therein that hymn of Sion: "Holy, holy, holy art Thou, God and Lord Sabaoth (Isaias 6:3). Just and powerful art Thou, Lord our God, Who livest in the highest (Psalm 112:5) and lookest upon the lowly of the earth. Admirable are all Thy works, most high and exalted in Thy designs."
The supernal prince Gabriel, obeying with singular delight the divine command and accompanied by many thousands of most beautiful angels in visible forms, descended from the highest Heaven. The appearance of the great prince and legate was that of a most handsome youth of rarest beauty; his face emitted resplendent rays of light, his bearing was grave and majestic, his advance measured, his motions composed, his words weighty and powerful, his whole presence displayed a pleasing, kindly gravity and more of godlike qualities than all the other angels until then seen in visible form by the heavenly Mistress. He wore a diadem of exquisite splendor and his vestments glowed in various colors full of refulgent beauty. Encased on his breast, he bore a most beautiful cross, disclosing the mystery of the Incarnation, which He had come to announce. All these circumstances were calculated to rivet the affectionate attention of the most prudent Queen.
The whole of this celestial army with their princely leader holy Gabriel directed their flight to Nazareth, a town of the province of Galilee, to the dwelling place of most holy Mary. This was an humble cottage and her chamber was a narrow room, bare of all those furnishings which are wont to be used by the world in order to hide its own meanness and want of all higher goods. The heavenly Mistress was at this time fourteen years, six months and seventeen days of age; for her birthday anniversary fell on the eighth of September and six months seventeen days had passed since that date, when this greatest of all mysteries ever performed by God in this world, was enacted in her.
The bodily shape of the heavenly Queen was well proportioned and taller than is usual with other maidens of her age; yet extremely elegant and perfect in all its parts. Her face was rather more oblong than round, gracious and beautiful, without leanness or grossness; its complexion clear, yet of a slightly brownish hue; her forehead spacious yet symmetrical; her eyebrows perfectly arched; her eyes large and serious, of incredible and ineffable beauty and dovelike sweetness, dark in color with a mixture tending toward green; her nose straight and well shaped; her mouth small, with red-colored lips, neither too thin nor too thick. All the gifts of nature in her were so symmetrical and beautiful, that no other human being ever had the like. To look upon her caused feelings at the same time of joy and seriousness, love and reverential fear. She attracted the heart and yet restrained it in sweet reverence; her beauty impelled the tongue to sound her praise, and yet her grandeur and her overwhelming perfections and graces hushed it to silence. In all that approached her, she caused divine effects not easily explained; she filled the heart with heavenly influences and divine operations, tending toward the Divinity.
Her garments were humble and poor, yet clean, of a dark silvery hue, somewhat like the color of ashes, and they were arranged and worn without pretense, but with the greatest modesty and propriety. At the time when, without her noticing it, the embassy of Heaven drew nigh unto her, she was engaged in the highest contemplation concerning the mysteries which the Lord had renewed in her by so many favors during the nine preceding days. And since, as we have said above, the Lord Himself had assured her that His Only-begotten would soon descend to assume human form, this great Queen was full of fervent and joyful affection in the expectation of its execution and inflamed with humble love, she spoke in her heart : "Is it possible that the blessed time has arrived, in which the Word of the Eternal Father is to be born and to converse with men? (Baruch 10:38). That the world should possess Him? That men are to see Him in the flesh? (Is. 40. 5). That His inaccessible light is to shine forth to illumine those who sit in darkness? (Isaias 9:2). O, who shall be worthy to see and know Him! O, who shall be allowed to kiss the earth touched by His feet!"
"Rejoice, ye heavens, and console thyself, O earth (Psalm 95:11); let all things bless and extol Him, since already His eternal happiness is nigh! O children of Adam, afflicted with sin, and yet creatures of my Beloved, now shall you raise your heads and throw off the yoke of your ancient servitude! (Isaias 14:25). O, ye ancient Forefathers and Prophets, and all ye just, that are detained in limbo and are waiting in the bosom of Abraham, now shall you be consoled and your much desired and long promised Redeemer shall tarry no longer ! (Aggeus 2:8). Let us all magnify Him and sing to Him hymns of praise! O who shall be the slave of her, whom Isaias points out as His Mother (Isaias 7:4); O Emmanuel, true God and Man! O key of David, Who art to unlock Heaven! (Isaias 22:22). O eternal Wisdom! O Lawgiver of the new Church! Come, come to us, O Lord, and end the captivity of Thy people; let all flesh see Thy salvation!" (Isaias 40:5).
In these petitions and aspirations, and in many more too deep for my tongue to explain, the most holy Mary was engaged at the hour, when the holy angel Gabriel arrived. She was most pure in soul, most perfect in body, most noble in her sentiments, most exalted in sanctity, full of grace and so deified and pleasing in the sight of God, that she was fit to be His Mother and an instrument adapted for drawing Him from the bosom of the Father to her virginal womb. She was the powerful means of our Redemption and to her we owe it on many accounts. And therefore it is just, that all generations and nations shall bless and forever extol her (Luke 1:48).
For the reception of the message of the archangel and for the execution of the exalted mystery, which was to be wrought in the heavenly Lady by her consent, His Majesty left her without any other aid than the resources of her common human nature and those furnished her by the faculties and virtues of her ordinary condition, such as have been described in the first part of this history (Part I, 674-714). The Most High disposed it thus, because this mystery was to be enacted as a sacrament of faith conjointly with hope and charity. And therefore the Lord provided her with no special aid, leaving her to her belief and hope in His divine promises.
INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
My daughter, with special affection I manifest to thee now my will and desire that thou make thyself worthy of the intimate and familiar converse with God, and that for this purpose thou dispose thyself with great zeal and solicitude, weeping over thy sins, and forgetting and rejecting all the visible things, so that thou have no thought henceforth for any other thing outside of God.
Therefore thou must begin to practice all that I have taught thee until now, and whatever I will yet teach thee in the balance of this history. I will accompany thee and guide thee on the course with which thou must maintain in this familiar conversation and in regard to the favors, which thou receivest through His condescension, entertaining Him in thy heart by means of the faith, light and grace given to thee. If thou dost not first conform to this my admonition, and prepare thyself accordingly, thou wilt not reach the fulfillment of thy desires, nor shall I reap the fruit of my instructions, which I give to thee as thy Teacher.
Since thou has found, without any merit of thine, the hidden treasure and the precious pearl of my teachings and instruction (Matthew 13:44), despise all other things, in order to possess and secure for thyself this prize of inestimable value; for with it thou shalt receive all other goods and thou wilt make thyself worthy of the intimate friendship of the Lord and of His perpetual indwelling in your heart. In exchange for this great blessing, I desire that thou die to all earthly things and that thou offer the thankful love of an entirely purified will. In imitation of me be thou so humble, that as far as thou art concerned, thou be persuaded and convinced of thy entire worthlessness and incapability, not meriting to be considered even as a slave of the servants of Christ.
Remember, I was far from imagining, that the Most High had designed me for the dignity of Mother of God; and this was my state of mind although He had already promised His speedy coming into the world and although He had commanded me to desire after Him with such great affection, that on the day before the execution of this mystery I thought I would die and my heart would burst with loving sighs, if the divine Providence had not comforted me. He dilated my spirit with the firm hope, that the Only-begotten of the eternal Father would descend from Heaven without delay; yet on the other hand, my humility inclined me to fear, lest my presence in the world might perhaps retard His coming. Contemplate then, my beloved, this secret of my heart, and what an example it is for thee and for all the mortals. And since it is difficult for thee to understand and describe such high wisdom, look upon me in the Lord, in order that by His divine light, thou mayest mediate and comprehend the perfection of my actions; follow me by imitating me, and walk in my footsteps.
THE ANNUNCIATION (PART 2 of 3)
MARY LISTENS TO THE MESSAGE OF THE ANGEL, THE MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION TAKES PLACE BY THE CONCEPTION OF JESUS IN HER WOMB.
Taken from The Mystical City of God by the Venerable Mary of Agreda:
The Eternal Word had awaited and chosen, as the most opportune time and hour for His descent from the bosom of the Father, the midnight of mortal perversion (Wisdom 18:14), when the whole posterity of Adam was buried and absorbed in the sleep of forgetfulness and ignorance of their true God, and when there was no one to open his mouth in confessing and blessing Him, except some chosen souls among His people. All the rest of the world was lost in silent darkness, having passed a long, drawn-out night of over five thousand years. Age had succeeded age, and generations followed upon generations, each one in the time predestined and decreed by the Eternal Wisdom, each also having an opportunity to know and find Him, its Creator; for all had Him so near to them, that He gave them life, movement and existence within their own selves (Acts 17:28). But as the clear day of His inaccessible light had not arrived, though some of the mortals, like the blind, came near to Him and touched Him in His creatures, yet they did not attain to the Divinity (Romans 1:23) and, in failing to recognize Him, they cast themselves upon enjoying the sensible and most vile things of the earth.
The day then had arrived in which the Most High, setting aside the long ages of this dark ignorance, resolved to manifest Himself to men and begin the Redemption of the human race by assuming their nature in the womb of most holy Mary, who was now well-prepared for this event. The the Son was sent by the Eternal Father, from whose intelligence He proceeds, and that the Father sent Him by the intervening operations of the Holy Ghost. As it was the Person of the Son which came to be made man, this same Person, before descending from the heavens, made a conditional request, on account of His foreseen merits, that His salvation and satisfaction of the divine justice for sins be extended to the whole human race. He desired the fiat or ratification of the Eternal Father, Who sent Him, for the acceptance of this Redemption by means of His most holy works and His Passion, and through the mysteries, which He was to enact in the new Church and in the law of grace.
The Eternal Father accepted this petition and conceded all that was proposed and asked for the mortals, and He Himself confirmed the elect and predestined souls as the inheritance and possession of Christ forever. Hence, Christ Himself, Our Lord, through St. John, says that He has not lost, nor has He allowed to perish, those whom the Father had given Him (John 18:9). In another place it is said: that no one shall snatch His sheep from His hands, nor from those of His Father (John 17:12). The same would hold good of all those that are born, if they would avail themselves of the Redemption, which could be efficacious for all and in all; since His divine mercy desired to exclude no one, if only all of them would make themselves capable of receiving its benefits through the Redeemer.
All this, according to our way of understanding, happened in Heaven at the throne of the most Blessed Trinity as a prelude to the fiat of the most holy Mary. At the moment, in which the Only-begotten of the Father descended to her virginal womb, all the heavens and the creatures were set in commotion. On account of the inseparable union of the divine Persons, all Three of Them descended, though the Word alone was to become incarnate. And with the Lord their God, all the hosts of the celestial army, came from Heaven, full of invincible strength and splendor. All the material heavens showed deference to their Creator, and, together with the inferior elements, opened up and parted as it were, for His passage; the stars shone with greater brilliancy, the moon and sun with the planets hastened their course in the service of their Maker, anxious to witness the greatest of His wonderful works.
Mortals did not perceive this commotion and renewal of all the creatures; both because it happened during the night, as well as because the Lord wished it to be known only to the angels. These with new wonder praised Him, knowing these profound and venerable mysteries to be hidden from men. For they knew that men were far removed from understanding these wonderful benefits, so admirable even in the eyes of angelic spirits. To these angelic spirits alone was assigned the duty of giving glory, praise and reverence for these benefits to their Maker. However, in the hearts of some of the just the Most High infused at that hour a new feeling and affection of extraordinary joy, of which they became conscious.
In the other creatures there was a similar renovation and change. The birds were more joyous; the plants and trees gave forth more fruit and fragrance; and in similar proportion all the rest of the creatures received and felt some kind of vivifying change. But among those that received the greatest share, were the Fathers and Saints in Limbo, whiich was where the Archangel Michael was sent with the glad message, in order to console them and cause in them the fullness of joy and praise. Only for Hell it was a cause of new consternation and grief; for at the descent of the Eternal Word from on high, the demons felt an impetuous force of the divine power, which came upon them like the waves of the sea and buried all of them in the deepest caverns of their darkness, without leaving them any strength of resistance or recovery. When, by divine permission, they were again able to rise, they poured forth upon the world and hastened about to discover what strange happening had thus undone them. However, although they held several conferences among themselves, they were unable to find the cause.
The divine Power concealed from them the sacrament of the Incarnation and the manner in which most holy Mary conceived the incarnate Word. Not until the death of Christ on the Cross did they arrive at the certainty, that He was God and true man.
In order that the mystery of the Most High might be fulfilled, the holy Archangel Gabriel, accompanied by innumerable angels in visible human forms and shining with incomparable beauty, entered into the chamber, where most holy Mary was praying. The great modesty and restraint of the Princess of Heaven did not permit her to look at him more than was necessary to recognize him as an angel of the Lord.
Recognizing him as such, she, in her usual humility, wished to do him reverence; the holy prince would not allow it; on the contrary he himself bowed profoundly as before his Queen and Mistress, in whom he adored the heavenly mysteries of his Creator. At the same time he understood that, from that day on, the ancient times and the custom of old whereby men should worship angels, as Abraham had done (Genesis 28:2), were changed. For as human nature was raised to the dignity of God Himself in the person of the Word, men now held the position of adopted children, of companions and brethren of the angels, as the angel said to Evangelist, St. John, when he refused to be worshipped (Apocalypse 19:10).
The holy Archangel saluted our and his Queen and said: "Ave gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus" (Luke 1:28). Hearing this new salutation of the angel, this most humble of all creatures was disturbed, but not confused in mind (Luke 1:29). This disturbance arose from two causes: first, from her humility, for she thought herself the lowest of the creatures and, thus, in her humility, she was taken unawares at hearing herself saluted and called the "Blessed among women"; secondly, when she heard this salutation and began to consider how she should receive it, she was interiorly made to understand by the Lord, that He chose her for His Mother, and this caused a still greater perturbance, having such an humble opinion of herself. On account of this perturbance the angel proceeded to explain to her the decree of the Lord, saying: "Do not fear, Mary, for thou hast found grace before the Lord (Luke 1:30); behold thou shalt conceive a Son in thy womb, and thou shalt give birth to Him, and thou shalt name Him Jesus; He shall be great, and He shall be called Son of the Most High," and the rest as recorded of the holy Archangel.
Our most prudent and humble Queen, alone, among all the creatures, was sufficiently intelligent and magnanimous to estimate, at its true value, such a new and unheard of mystery; and, in proportion as she realized its greatness, so she was also moved with admiration. But she raised her humble heart to the Lord, Who could not refuse her any petition, and, in the secret of her soul, she asked new light and assistance by which to govern herself in such an arduous task; for, in order to permit her to act in this mystery solely in faith, hope and charity, He had left her in the common state and suspended all other kinds of favors and interior elevations, which she so frequently or continually enjoyed. In this disposition she replied and said to holy Gabriel, what is written in St. Luke: "How shall this happen, that I conceive and bear; since I know not, nor can know, man?" At the same time she interiorly represented to the Lord the vow of chastity, which she had made and the espousal, which His Majesty had celebrated with her.
The holy prince Gabriel replied (Luke 1:24): "O Lady, it is easy for the divine power to make thee a Mother without the cooperation of man; the Holy Spirit shall remain with thee by a new presence and the virtue of the Most High shall overshadow thee, so that the Holy of holies can be born of thee, who shall Himself be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth has likewise conceived a son in her sterile years and this is the sixth month of her conception; for nothing is impossible with God. He that can make her conceive, who was sterile, can bring it about, that thou, O Lady, be His Mother, still preserving thy virginity and enhancing thy purity. To the Son whom thou shalt bear, God will give the throne of His father David and His reign shall be everlasting in the house of Jacob. Thou art not ignorant, O Lady, of the prophecy of Isaias (Isaias 7:14), that a Virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son, whose name shall be Emmanuel, God with us. This prophecy is infallible and it shall be fulfilled in thy person. Thou knowest also of the great mystery of the bush, which Moses saw burning without its being consumed by the fire (Exodus 3:2). This signified that the two natures, divine and human, are to be united in such a manner, that the latter is not consumed by the divine, and that the Mother of the Messias shall conceive and give birth without violation of her virginal purity. Remember also, O Lady, the promise of the Eternal God to the Patriarch Abraham, that, after the captivity of his posterity for four generations, they should return to this land; the mysterious signification of which was, that in this, the fourth generation, the incarnate God is to rescue the whole race of Adam through thy cooperation from the oppression of the devil (Genesis 15:16). And the ladder, which Jacob saw in his sleep (Genesis 28:12), was an express figure of the royal way, which the eternal Word was to open up and by which the mortals are to ascend to Heaven and the angels to descend to earth. To this earth the Only-begotten of the Father shall lower Himself in order to converse with men and communicate to them the treasures of His Divinity, imparting to them His virtues and His immutable and eternal perfections."
With these, and many other words, the ambassador of Heaven instructed the most holy Mary, in order that, by the remembrance of the ancient promises and prophecies of Holy Scripture, by the reliance and trust in them and in the infinite power of the Most High, she might overcome her hesitancy at the heavenly message. But as the Lady herself exceeded the angels in wisdom, prudence and in all sanctity, she withheld her answer, in order to be able to give it in accordance with the divine will and that it might be worthy of the greatest of all the mysteries and sacraments of the divine power. She reflected that, upon her answer, depended the pledge of the most Blessed Trinity, the fulfillment of His promises and prophecies, the most pleasing and acceptable of all sacrifices, the opening of the gates of paradise, the victory and triumph over Hell, the Redemption of all the human race, the satisfaction of the divine justice, the foundation of the new law of grace, the glorification of men, the rejoicing of the angels, and whatever was connected with the Incarnation of the Only-begotten of the Father and His assuming the form of servant in her virginal womb (Philipians 2:7).
A great wonder, indeed, and worthy of our admiration, that all these mysteries and whatever others they included, should be intrusted by the Almighty to a humble Maiden and made dependent upon her fiat. But befittingly and securely, He left them to the wise and strong decision of this courageous Woman (Proverbs 31:11), since she would consider them with such magnanimity and nobility, that perforce His confidence in her was not misplaced. The operations, which proceed within the divine Essence, depend not on the cooperation of creatures, for creatures have no part in them and God could not expect such cooperations for executing any works within Himself; but in the works outside of Himself and such as were contingent, among which that of becoming man was the most exalted, He could not proceed without the cooperation of most holy Mary and without her free consent. For He wished to reach this pinnacle of all the works outside Himself in her and through her and He wished that we should owe this benefit to this Mother of wisdom and our Reparatrix.
Therefore this great Lady considered and inspected profoundly this spacious field of the dignity of Mother of God (Proverbs. 21:11) in order to purchase it by her fiat; she clothed herself in fortitude more than human, and she tasted and saw how profitable was this enterprise and commerce with the Divinity. She comprehended the ways of His hidden benevolence and adorned herself with fortitude and beauty. And having conferred with herself and with the heavenly messenger Gabriel about the grandeur of these high and divine sacraments, and finding herself in excellent condition to receive the message sent to her, her purest soul was absorbed and elevated in admiration, reverence and highest intensity of divine love.
By the intensity of these movements and supernal affections, her most pure heart, as it were by natural consequence, was contracted and compressed with such force, that it distilled three drops of her most pure blood, and these, finding their way to the natural place for the act of conception, were formed by the power of the divine and holy Spirit, into the body of Christ Our Lord.
Thus the matter, from which the most holy humanity of the Word for our Redemption is composed, was furnished and administered by the most pure heart of Mary and through the sheer force of her true love. At the same moment, with a humility never sufficiently to be extolled, inclining slightly her head and joining her hands, she pronounced these words, which were the beginning of our salvation: "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum" "Be it done unto me according to Thy word" (Luke 1:31).
THE ANNUNCIATION (PART 3 of 3)
GOD TAKES HIS THRONE IN MARY'S SOUL AND WOMB.
Taken from The Mystical City of God by the Venerable Mary of Agreda:
At the same moment, with a humility never sufficiently to be extolled, inclining slightly her head and joining her hands, she pronounced these words, which were the beginning of our salvation: "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum" .. "Be it done unto me according to thy word!" (Luke 1:31).
At the pronouncing of this "fiat", which was so sweet to the hearing of God and so fortunate for us, in one instant, four things happened. First, the most holy body of Christ Our Lord was formed from the three drops of blood furnished by the heart of most holy Mary. Secondly, the most holy soul of the same Lord was created, just as the other souls. Thirdly, the soul and the body united in order to compose His perfect humanity. Fourthly, the Divinity united Itself in the Person of the Word with the humanity, which together became one composite being in hypostatical union; and thus was formed Christ true God and Man, our Lord and Redeemer.
And as the works of the Most High are perfect and complete (Deuteronomy 32:4), the plants and trees come forth from the hands of His Majesty bearing fruit, and they would have borne them continually without intermission, if sin had not changed the whole nature, as I will expressly relate in another treatise, if it is the will of the Lord; now however I will not detain myself therewith, since it does not pertain to our subject.
In the same instant, in which the Almighty celebrated the nuptials of the hypostatic union in the womb of most holy Mary, the heavenly Lady was elevated to the beatific vision and the Divinity manifested Itself to her clearly and intuitively. She saw most high mysteries, of which I will speak in the next chapter. The mysteries of the inscriptions, with which she was adorned and which the angels exhibited, were made clear to her each in particular. The divine Child began to grow in the natural manner in the recess of the womb, being nourished by the substance and the blood of its most holy Mother, just as other men; yet it was more free and exempt from the imperfections, to which other children of Adam are subject in that place and period. For from some of these, namely those that are accidental and unnecessary to the substance of the act of generation, being merely effects of sin, the Empress of Heaven was free.
She was also free from the superfluities caused by sin, which in other women are common and happen naturally in the formation, sustenance and growth of their children. For the necessary matter, which is proper to the infected nature of the descendants of Eve and which was wanting in her, was supplied and administered in her by the exercise of heroic acts of virtue and especially by charity. By the fervor of her soul and her loving affections the blood and humors of her body were changed and thereby divine Providence provided for the sustenance of the divine Child. Thus in a natural manner the humanity of our Redeemer was nourished, while His Divinity was recreated and pleased with her heroic virtues.
Most holy Mary furnished to the Holy Ghost, for the formation of this body, pure and limpid blood, free from sin and all its tendencies. And whatever impure and imperfect matter is supplied by other mothers for the growth of their children was administered by the Queen of Heaven most pure and delicate in substance. For it was built up and supplied by the power of her loving affections and her other virtues. In a like manner was purified whatever served as food for the heavenly Queen. For, as she knew that her nourishment was at the same time to sustain and nourish the Son of God, she partook of it with such heroic acts of virtue, that the angelic spirits wondered how such common human actions could be connected with such supernal heights of merit and perfection in the sight of God.
The heavenly Lady was thus established in such high privileges in her position as Mother of God, that those mentioned, convey not even the smallest idea of her excellence, and my tongue cannot describe it. For, neither is it possible to conceive it by the understanding, nor can the most learned, nor the most wise of men find adequate terms to express it. The humble, who are proficient in the art of divine love, become aware of it by infused light and by the interior taste and feeling, by which such mysteries are perceived. Not only had most holy Mary become a Heaven, a temple and dwelling place of the most Holy Trinity, transformed thereto, elevated and made godlike by the special and unheard of operation of the Divinity in her most pure womb; but her humble cottage and her poor little oratory was consecrated by the Divinity as a new sanctuary of God. The heavenly spirits, who as witnesses of this marvelous transformation were present to contemplate it, magnified the Almighty with ineffable praise and jubilee; in union with this most happy Mother, they blessed Him in His name and in the name of the human race, which was ignorant of this the greatest of His benefits and mercies.
INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Thou art filled with astonishment at seeing, by means of new light, the mystery of the humiliation of the Divinity in uniting Himself with the human nature in the womb of a poor maiden such as I was. I wish, however, that thou turn thy attention toward thyself and consider, how God humiliated Himself, and came into my womb, not only for myself alone, but for thee as well. The Lord is infinite in His mercy and His love has no limit, and thus He attends and esteems and assists every soul who receives Him, and He rejoices in it, as if He had created it alone, and as if He had been made man for it alone.
Therefore, with all the affection of thy soul, thou mus consider thyself as being thyself in person bound to render the full measure of thanks of all the world for His coming; and for His coming to redeem all. And if, with a lively faith thou art convinced and confess, that the same God who, infinite in His attributes and eternal in His majesty, lowered Himself to assume human flesh in my womb, seeks also thee, calls thee, rejoices thee, caresses thee, and thinks of thee alone, as if thou wert His only creature (Galatians 2:20); think well and reflect to what His admirable condescension obliges thee. Convert this admiration into living acts of faith and love; for, that He condescends to come to thee, thou owest entirely to the goodness of the King and Savior, since thou thyself couldst never find Him nor attain Him.
Considering merely that what this Lord can give thee outside of Himself, it will appear to thee grand, even when thou perceivest it only by a mere human intelligence and affection. It is certainly true that any gift, from such an eminent and supreme King, is worthy of all estimation. But when thou beginst to consider and know by divine light, that this gift is God Himself and that He makes Thee partaker of His Divinity, when thou wilt understand, that without thy God and without His coming, all creation would be as nothing and despicable in thy sight; thou wouldst want to enjoy thyself and find rest only in the consciousness of possessing such a God, so loving, so amiable, so powerful, sweet and affluent; who, being such a great and infinite God, humiliates Himself to thy lowliness in order to raise thee from the dust and enrich thy poverty, performing toward thee the duties of a Shepherd, of a Father, a Spouse and most faithful Friend.
Attend, therefore, to all the consequences of these truths. Ponder and confer within thyself about this sweetest love of the great King for thee; how faithful He is in His gifts and caresses, in His favors, in the works confided to thee, in the enlightenment of thy interior, instructing thee by divine science in the infinite greatness of His Being, in His admirable works and most hidden mysteries, in universal truth and in the nothingness of visible existence.
This science is the first beginning and principle, the basis and foundation of the knowledge which I have given thee in order that thou mayest attain to the decorum and magnanimity, with which thou art to treat the favors and benefits of this thy Lord and God, thy true blessedness, thy treasure, thy light and thy Guide. Look upon Him as upon the infinite God, loving, yet terrible. Listen, my dearest, to my words, to my teachings and discipline, for therein are contained the peace and the enlightenment of thy soul.