THE EXPLANATION OF THE TWELFTH CHAPTER OF THE APOCALYPSE IS CONCLUDED.
120. “Woe to the earth, and to the sea,because the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he hathbut a short time.” Woe to the earth, where so many sins and such wickednessshall be perpetrated! Woe to the sea, which refused to pour forth its floodsand annihilate the transgressors at the sight of so great offenses against itsCreator, and to avenge the insults against its Maker and Lord!
But more woe to the profound and ragingsea of those that follow the demon, after he had descended in their midst inorder to war against them with great wrath and with such unheard of cruelty !
It is the wrath of the most ferociousdragon, and greater than that of the devouring lion (I Pet.5, 8), who attemptsto annihilate all creation and to whom all the days of the world seem a shorttime to execute his fury.
Such is his hunger and thirst to dodamage to the mortals, that all the days of their life do not satisfy him, forthey come to an end, whereas he desires eternal ages, if possible, in order towage war against the sons of God.
But incomparably greater than againstall others is his rage against that most blessed Woman, who was to crush hishead (Gen. 3, 15). Therefore the Evangelist says:
121. “And when the dragon saw that hewas cast unto the earth, he persecuted the Woman, who brought forth theMan-child."
When the ancient serpent saw the mostunhappy place and state to which he had fallen, and that he was hurled from theempyrean heaven, he broke out in so much the greater rage and envy, like a wildbeast tearing its own entrails.
Against the Mother of the Word incarnatehe conceived such a furious rage, as no human tongue or intelligence can everdescribe or understand.
But to a certain extent this anger canbe surmised from that which followed immediately after that dragon foundhimself hurled with his hosts to the infernal regions. I will describe thisevent, as far as I can, and as far as it has been made plain to myunderstanding.
122. During the whole first week of thecreation of the world and its contents Lucifer and the demons were occupied inmachinations and projects of wickedness against the Word, who was to becomeincarnate, and against the Woman of whom He was to be born and made man.
On the first day, which corresponds toSunday, were created the angels; laws and precepts were given to them, for theguidance of their actions. The bad ones disobeyed and transgressed the mandatesof the Lord.
By divine providence and dispositionthen succeeded all the other events, which have been recorded above, up to themorning of the second day, corresponding to Monday, on which Lucifer and hishosts were driven and hurled into hell.
The duration of these days correspondsto the small periods, or delays, which intervened between their creation,activity, contest and fall, or glorification.
As soon as Lucifer with his followersentered hell, they assembled in general council, which lasted to the morning ofThursday.
During this time Lucifer exerted all hisastuteness and diabolical malice in conferring with the demons and concoctingplans to offend God so much the more deeply, and to obtain revenge for thechastisement, to which he had been subjected.
They came to the conclusion and resolvedthat the greatest vengeance and injury against God would be to impede theeffects of the love, which they knew God bore toward mankind.
This they hoped to attain by deceivingmen, and persuading them, or even, as far as possible, compelling them toneglect the friendship of God, to be ungrateful toward Him, and to rebelagainst his will.
123. “This we must strive to do,”said Lucifer,”toward this end we must apply all our forces, all our solicitude and knowledge.We will subject the human creatures to our influence and will, in order todestroy them.
We will persecute this race of men andwill deprive them of the reward promised to them. We will exert all ourvigilance, to prevent them from arriving at the vision of God, which was deniedus unjustly.
I will gain greattriumphs over them ; I will destroy them all and subject them to my designs. Iwill sow new sects and errors, and set up laws contrary to those of the MostHigh in all things.
Iwill raise up from among men false prophets and leaders, who will spread thesedoctrines (Act 20, 30) and I will scatter this seed through them and afterwardsI will assign to them a place in these profound torments.
I will afflict the poor, oppress theafflicted, and persecute the timid. I will sow discord, excite wars, and stirup nations against each other. I will raise up proud and haughty men to extendthe dominion of sin and after they shall have executed my designs, I will burythem in this eternal fire, and in so much the greater torments, the morefaithfully they followed me. This is my kingdom and this is the reward which Iwill give to those who follow me.“
124.“I will wage fierce war against theincarnate Word, for although He is God, He is also man, and therefore of alower nature than mine. I will exalt my throne and my dignity above his; I willconquer Him and will humble Him by my power and astuteness.
The Woman who is to be his Mother shallperish at my hands. What is one Woman against my power and greatness? And you,ye demons, who were injured together with me, follow me and obey me in thepursuit of this vengeance, as you have followed me in disobedience ! Pretend tolove men, in order to destroy them ;
serve them, in order to ruin them anddeceive them ; help them, in order to pervert them and draw them into these myhellish regions.
No human tongue can explain the maliceand fury of this first council of Lucifer and his hosts against the human race,which although not yet in existence, was to be created.
In it were concocted all the vices andsins of the world, thence proceeded lies, sects and errors ; all iniquity hadits origin in that chaos and in that abominable gathering, and all those thatdo evil are in the service of the prince of this assembly.
125. Having closed this meeting, Lucifersought permission to speak with God, and his Majesty, for his own exalted ends,gave him permission. This was allowed in, the same manner in which satan spoketo God when he asked permission to persecute Job (Job 1, 6), and it happened onthe day which corresponds to our Thursday.
He addressed the Most High in thefollowing words :“Lord, since Thou hast laid thy hand so heavily upon me inchastising me with so great cruelty, and since Thou hast predetermined all thatThou desirest to do for the men whom Thou art to create;
and since Thou wishest to exalt andelevate so high the incarnate Word and enrich the Woman, who is to be hisMother, with all thy predestined gifts, be now equitable and just ;as Thou hastgiven me permission to persecute the rest of men, give me also permission totempt and make war against Christ, the Man-God and the Woman, who is to be hisMother; give me freedom to exert all my powers against Them.
Other things Lucifer said on thatoccasion, and, in spite of the great violence occasioned to his pride by thehumiliation, he humbled himself nevertheless in order to ask for thispermission.
His wrathful anxiety to obtain what hedesired was so great that he was willing to subdue even his arrogance, thusforcing one iniquity to yield to another. He knew too well that without thepermission of the omnipotent Lord he could attempt nothing.
In order to be able to tempt Christ ourLord, and his most holy Mother in particular, he was willing to humiliatehimself a thousand times, for he feared the threat, which had been made, thatShe should crush his head.
126. The Lord answered: “Thou must not,satan,ask such a permission as due to thee injustice, for the incarnate Word isGod and Lord most high and omnipotent, though He is at the same time true man,and thou art his creature.
Even if the other men sin and subjectthemselves to thy will, this will not be possible in my Onlybegotten made man.Though thou mayest succeed in making men slaves of sin, Christ will be holy andjust, segregated from sinners. He will redeem them, if they fall.
And this Woman against whom thouhast such wrath, although She is to be a mere creature and a true daughter ofman, is to be preserved by my decree from sin. She is to be altogether mineforever and on no account or title shall any one else be allowed to have partin Her.“
127. To this satan replied: “But whatwonder that this Woman should be holy, since no one on this earth will beallowed to draw Her to the contrary, or persecute Her and incite Her to sin ?This cannot be equity, nor just judgment, nor can this be proper and praiseworthy.“
Lucifer added yet other blasphemies inhis arrogance. But the Most High, who disposes all things with wisdom, answeredhim: “I will give thee permission to tempt Christ, so that He will be anexample and a teacher in this to all the rest of men.
I also give thee permission to persecutethe Woman, but thou must not touch Her in regard to the life of her body. It ismy will, that Christ and his Mother be not exempt from temptation, and thatThey be tempted by thee like the rest of men.” This permission was morepleasing to the dragon than that of being free to persecute all the rest of thehuman race.
In this he resolved to use more carethan in the pursuit of any other project, as afterwards really happened. To noone else than himself was he resolved to confide its execution. Therefore theEvangelist proceeds to say:
128.“He persecuted the Woman, whobrought forth the man-child.” For with the permission of the Lord, he waged unheardof war and persecution against Her, whom he thought to be the Mother of Godincarnate.
128、“ 牠就去追赶那生了男婴的女人。” 因为在天主的允许下，牠对那位降生成人的天主的母亲，发动了闻所未闻的战斗和迫害，
But since these persecutions and battleswill be described later (No. 692-697, Part II 340-371; III 451-528), I willonly say here, that they were beyond all conception of man. Equally admirable,was her glorious resistance and victory over them.
Therefore in order to describe themanner in which She defended Herself, he says :”There were given to her twowings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place,whereshe is nourished for a time and times.”
These two wings were given to the mostholy Virgin before She entered upon the combat, for She was prepared by specialgifts and favors. The one wing was an infused science, which revealed anew toHer vast mysteries and sacraments; the other was a new and sublime humility, aswill be explained in its place (Part II 335-339, PartIII 448-450).
With these two wings She took her flightto the Lord, her proper habitation, for in Him alone She lived and in Him wascentered all her attention.
She flew like the royal eagle, withoutever directing her flight towards the enemy, being alone in her flight andliving in seclusion from all earthly things, solely in communion with her lastEnd, which is the Divinity.
In this solitude She ”was nourished fora time and times,” for though this nourishment lasted all her life, yet it wasmore abundant in the times of her great battles with satan. In those times Shereceived favors more proportioned to the greatness of the conflict.
By “time and times“is also understoodthe felicity, by which her victories were rewarded and crowned.
129.“And half a time from the face ofthe serpent.” This half a time was that, in which the most holy Virgin was freefrom the persecution of the dragon and far from his sight during this life;
129. 「和半段时期，远离那蛇的面。」 这半段时间，是指至圣童贞一生同世人一样诞生于罪的世界，但原罪的烈焰却不能损其毫发，也远离了那龙的视线。
for, having conquered him in herbattles, She was, by divine providence and as Victress, freed from them. Thisfreedom was conceded to Her in order that She might enjoy the peace and quiet,which She had merited after having conquered the enemy, as I will describefarther on (PartIII, 526). Concerning the time of the combat the Evangelistsays:
130. “And the serpent cast out of hismouth after the woman, water, as it were, a river, that he might cause her tobe carried away ; and the earth helped the woman and the earth opened her mouthand swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”
130. 「那蛇遂在女人后面，从自己的口中吐出一道像河的水，为使那女人被河水冲去；可是大地却援助了那女人，大地裂开一个口，把那条龙从口中所吐出的河水吸了去。」（默示录12: 15-16）
All his malice and all his forcesLucifer exerted and directed against the Mistress; for all those, who were evertempted by him, seemed to him of less importance than most holy Mary.
With the same force as the current of agreat swift river, so the malice, and the lies, and the temptations flowed fromthe mouth of that dragon against Her. But the earth helped Her; for the earthof her body and of her inclinations was not cursed, nor did the sentence andpunishment, which God hurled against Adam and Eve, touch Her in any way.
For in it our earth is cursed andproduces thorns instead of fruit. It is wounded in its very nature by itsinclination to sin “fomes Peccati” (Gen. 3, 17), which continues to assault usand causes opposition.
［经文〈创世纪 3: 17〉：后对亚当说：「因为你听了你妻子的话，吃了我禁止你吃的果子，为了你的缘故，地成了可咒骂的；你一生日日劳苦才能得到吃食。」
The devil avails himself of theseinclinations for the ruin of men, for he finds within us arms for his offensivewarfare; and catering to our evil inclinations by his false representations andapparent sweetness and delight, he draws us toward sensible and earthly things.
131. But the most blessed Mary, the holyand sanctified earth without touch of bad inclinations or evil dispositions,was free from all danger of corruption arising from the earth. On the contrary,since all her inclinations were most orderly, composed and obedient to grace,the earth of her body was in perfect harmony with her soul.
Thus this earth opened its mouth andswallowed up the stream of temptations which the dragon raised up for Her invain; for he found that material indisposed and unfomented for sin, unlike theother offspring of Adam.
Their terrestrial and disorderlypassions are more adapted to produce the floods of temptation, than to absorbthem, since our passions and our corrupt nature are always in opposition tovirtue. On account of the futility of his efforts against this mysteriousWoman, Scripture says:
132.“And the dragon was angry againstthe Woman : and he went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep thecommandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
The dragon, having been gloriouslyovercome in all things by the Queen of all creation and dreading the furioustorments of his own confusion and the ruin of all hell power, fled from Her,determined to make cruel war against the other souls belonging to thegeneration and race of the most blessed Mother.
These are the faithful, who are markedwith the testimony and the blood of Christ in Baptism as keepers of hiscommands and constant witnesses. For all the wrath of the demon turned so muchthe more toward the holy Church and its members, when he saw, that he would beunable to gain any advantage over Christ and his most holy Mother.
Especially does he war against thevirgins of Christ, and with a more particular hatred does he seek to destroythe virtue of virginity or chastity, this being the seed and the inheritance ofthe most chaste Virgin and Mother of the Lamb. On account of all this theEvangelist says :
133. “And he stood upon the sands of thesea.“This is the contemptible vanity of the world, on which the dragon feedsand which he eats like hay. All this passed in heaven and many mysteries weremade manifest to the angels in the decrees of the divine Will regarding theprivileges reserved for the Mother of the Incarnate Word.”
I have been short in describing what Isaw; for the multitude of the mysteries has made me poor and halting in thewords needful for their manifestation.