The most high commands the most HOLY MARY to ENTER The STATE OE MATRIMONY AND HER RESPONSE TO THIS COMMAND.
742. At the age of thirteen and a half years, having grown considerably for her age, our most charming Princess, most pure Mary, had another abstractive vision of the Divinity of the same order and kind as those already described.
In this vision, we might say, happened something similar to that which the holy Scriptures relate of Abraham, when God commanded him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the only pledge of all his hopes.
God tempted Abraham, says Moses (Gen. 12, 2), trying and probing the promptness of his obedience in order to reward it. We can say the same thing of our great Lady, that God tried Her in this vision, by commanding Her to enter the state of matrimony.
Thence we can also understand the truth of the words: How inscrutable are the judgments of the Lord and how exalted are his ways and thoughts above our own (Rom. 11, 33) !
As distant as heaven is from earth, were the thoughts of most holy Mary from the plans which the Most High now made known to Her, by commanding Her to accept a husband for her protection and company; for as far as depended upon her will She had desired and resolved during all her life not to have a husband (433, 586) and She had often repeated and renewed the vow of chastity, which She had taken at such a premature age.
743. As already mentioned, the Lord had celebrated his solemn espousal with the Princess Mary (435) when She was brought to the temple, confirming and approving her vow of chastity, and solemnizing it by the presence of the glorious hosts of angels.
The most innocent Dove had withdrawn Herself from all human intercourse, relinquishing entirely all that might be called worldly interest and attention, or love and desire of creatures.
She was altogether taken up and transformed by the pure and chaste love of that highest Good which never fails, knowing that She would be only more chaste in its love, more pure in its contact, and more virginal in its acceptance.
When therefore, without any other explanation, the command of the Lord reached Her, that She now accept an earthly spouse and husband, what surprise and astonishment was it to this heavenly Maid, who, in her fixed confidence was living so secure in the possession of God himself as her Spouse and who now heard from Him such a command?
Greater was this trial than that of Abraham (Gen. 22, 1, etc.), for he did not love Isaac in the same degree as most holy Mary loved inviolate chastity.
744. Nevertheless at this unexpected command the most prudent Virgin suspended her judgment, and preserved the calmness of her hope and belief more perfectly than Abraham.
Hoping against hope (Rom. 4, 18), She made answer to the Lord saying: “Eternal God and incomprehensible Majesty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things contained therein, Thou, O Lord, who weighest the winds (Job 28, 25), and by thy commands settest bounds to the sea and subjectest all creation to thy will, canst dispose of me, thy worthless wormlet, according to thy pleasure, without making me fail in that which I have promised to Thee;
［经文〈罗马书4:18〉：他在绝望中仍怀着希望而相信了，因此便成了万民之父，正如向他所预许的：“你的后裔也要这样多。经文〈约伯记 28:25〉：当他划定风的重量，规定水的定量， ］
and if it be not displeasing to Thee, my good Lord, I confirm and ratify anew my desire to remain chaste during all my life and to have Thee for my Lord and Spouse; and since my only duty as a creature is to obey Thee, see Thou to it, my Spouse, that according to thy Providence I may escape from this predicament in which thy holy love places me?’
There was, however, some uneasiness in the most chaste maiden Mary, as far as her inferior nature was concerned, just as happened afterwards at the message of the archangel Gabriel (Luke 1, 28,29) ; yet, though She felt some sadness, it did not hinder Her from practicing the most heroic obedience which until then had fallen to her lot, and She resigned Herself entirely into the hand of the Lord.
［经文〈路 1:28–29〉：天使进去向她说：「万福！充满恩宠者，上主与你同在！」【在女人中你是蒙祝福的。】她却因这话惊惶不安，便思虑这样的请安有什么意思。 ］
His Majesty answered her: “Mary, let not thy heart be disturbed, for thy resignation is acceptable to Me and my powerful arm is not subject to laws; by my disposition that will happen, which is most proper for Thee.”
745. Consoled only by this vague promise of the Lord, most holy Mary recovered from her vision and returned to her ordinary state.
Left between doubt and hope by the divine command and promise, She was full of solicitude, for the Lord intended that She should multiply Her tearful sentiments of love and confidence, of faith, humility, of obedience, of purest chastity and of other virtues, impossible to enumerate.
In the meantime, while our great Lady applied Herself to vigilant prayer, and to her resigned and prudent sighs and solicitude, God spoke in sleep to the high priest, saint Simeon, and commanded him to arrange for the marriage of Mary, the daughter of Joachim and Anne of Nazareth; since He regarded Her with special care and love.
The holy priest answered, asking what was his will in regard to the person, whom the maiden Mary was to marry and to whom She was to give Herself as Spouse.
The Lord instructed him to call together the other priests and learned persons and to tell them that this Maiden was left alone and an orphan and that She did not desire to be married; but that, as it was a custom for the firstborn maidens not to leave the temple without being provided for, it was proper She should be married to whomever it seemed good to them.
746. The highpriest obeyed the divine order and, having called together the other priests, he made known to them the will of the Most High, informing them of the favor in which his Majesty held this Maiden, Mary of Nazareth, according as it had been revealed to him.
He told them that as She was an inmate of the temple and was now without parents, it was their duty to provide for Her and find a husband worthy of a Maiden so modest, virtuous and of such unimpeachable conduct as was hers in the temple.
Moreover, as Mary was of noble lineage and as her property and other considerations made this marriage particularly important, it was necessary to consider well to whom She was to be entrusted.
He added also that Mary of Nazareth did not desire to be married; but that at the same time it would not be proper to dismiss Her from the temple unmarried, since She was an orphan and a firstborn daughter.
747. Having conferred about this matter among themselves the priests and learned men, moved by divine impulse, concluded that, in a matter where so much was involved and where the Lord himself had favorably interfered, it would be best to inquire farther into his holy will and to ask Him to designate in some manner who should be the most appropriate person to be the spouse of Mary.
Knowing that her spouse must be of the house and of the race of David in order to comply with the law, they appointed a day, on which all the free and unmarried men of that race, who then might be in Jerusalem, were to be called together in the temple. It happened to be the very day on which our Princess completed her fourteenth year.
As it was necessary to notify Her of the result of their conference and to ask Her consent, the highpriest Simeon called Her and informed her of their intention to give Her a spouse before dismissing Her from the temple.
748. The most prudent Virgin, with a countenance betokening virginal modesty, answered the priest with great composure and humility: “Sir, as far as my inclinations are concerned, I desire to preserve perpetual chastity during all my life; for I wished to dedicate myself to God in the service of this holy temple in return for the great blessings which I have received in it; I never had the intention or the desire to enter the state of matrimony, since I consider myself incapable of fulfilling the duties connected with it.
This was my inclination, but thou, my master, who art to me in place of God, wilt teach me what is according to his holy Will.”
“My Daughter,” answered the priest, “thy holy desires are acceptable to the Lord; but remember, that no maiden of Israel abstains from marriage as long as we expect the coming of the Messias conformably to the divine prophecies.
Therefore all who obtain issue of children among our people, esteem themselves happy and blessed.
In the matrimonial state Thou canst serve God truly and in great perfection; and in order that Thou mayest obtain a companion according to the heart of God and who will be conformable to thy wishes, we will pray to the Lord, as I have told Thee, asking Him to single out a husband for Thee, who shall be pleasing to Him and of the line of David; do Thou also pray continually for the same favor, in order that the Most High may favor Thee and may direct us all.”
749. This happened nine days before the one appointed for the execution and realization of their resolve.
During this time the most holy Virgin multiplied her prayers, beseeching the Lord with incessant tears and sighs, to fulfill his divine pleasure in that which She had so much at heart.
On one of those nine days the Lord appeared to Her and said to Her: “My Spouse and my Dove, let thy afflicted heart expand and let it not be disturbed or sad; I will attend to thy yearnings and to thy requests, I will direct all things, and will govern the priests by my enlightenment; I will give Thee a spouse selected by Myself, and one who will put no hindrance to thy holy desires, but who, by my grace will prosper Thee in them.
I will find for Thee a perfect man conformable to my heart and I will choose him from the number of my servants; my power is infinite, and my protection and aid shall never fail Thee.”
750. The most holy Mary answering said: “Highest Good and Love of my soul, Thou well knowest the secret of my bosom and my desires, which Thou hast excited in me from the first moment of the existence received from Thee; preserve me, then, my Spouse, pure and chaste, as I have desired for Thee and through Thee.
Do not despise my sighs and deprive me not of thy countenance. Remember, my Lord and God, that I am but a useless wormlet, weak and despicable on account of my insignificance; and if I should fall away from virtue in the state of matrimony, I shall disappoint Thee and my desires; provide Thou for my security and be not deterred by my demerits. Although I am but useless dust (Gen. 18, 27), I will call on thy greatness, O Lord, trusting in thy infinite mercies.”
751. The most chaste Maiden also approached her holy angels, whom She surpassed in sanctity and purity, and conferred with them many times concerning her anxieties in regard to the new state, which She was expected to enter.
One day the holy spirits said to Her: “Spouse of the Most High, since Thou canst not ignore this title, nor much less the love which He, who is almighty and unfailing in his truth, has shown Thee, let thy heart, O Mistress, be at peace; for sooner will the heavens and the earth fail, than the fulfillment of his promises (Matth. 24, 27).
All the events of thy life succeed each other according to the foreknowledge of thy Spouse; and his powerful arm, which governs the elements and all creatures, can suspend the forces of the impetuous waves and temper the vehemence of the elements, so that neither fire will burn nor the earth show its weight.
His high judgments are secret and holy, his decrees are most just and wonderful, nor can creatures comprehend them; though they must revere them.
If his Majesty wishes that Thou serve Him in matrimony, it will be better for Thee to please Him therein, than to displease Him in some other state of life.
He will no doubt provide for Thee the most holy and perfect; trust Thou securely in his promises.”
This advice of the angels quieted somewhat the anxieties of our Princess.
She asked them anew for protection and assistance, and that they present to the Lord in her name her entire subjection to that which his divine pleasure should ordain in her regard.
Instruction Given To Me By The Princess Of Heaven.
His Majesty commanded me to enter the state of matrimony and at the same time concealed from me the sacrament dependent upon entering it.
Matrimony was required, in order that my parturition might be respectable in the eyes of the world, and that the Word, made incarnate in my womb, might be reputed as the son of my husband, since at the same time the world was to remain ignorant of this mystery.
It was also a suitable means to conceal this mystery from Lucifer and the demons, who in such rage were bent on wreaking their fury upon me.
When they saw me enter the married state as other women, their fury was appeased, not thinking it compatible, that She should have a husband, who was to be the Mother of God himself; Lucifer himself was somewhat quieted by this means and made a truce with his malice.
The Lord had also other ends in view, which have become manifest, although, on account of circumstances, they were hidden to me at that period of my life.
753. I wish Thee to understand, my daughter, that the certain prospect of being espoused to any man, without at the same time knowing the mystery concealed from me by the Lord, was the greatest sorrow and affliction, which until then I had ever experienced; and if the divine power had not strengthened me in this pain, and had not given me some kind of confidence, although it was only obscure and undetermined, I would have lost my life in this suffering.
But from this event thou shouldst learn how complete must be the resignation of the creature to the will of the Most High, and how it must restrict its shortsighted judgment and guard against scrutinizing the secrets of a Majesty so exalted and mysterious.
If any danger or difficulty seems to present itself in that which the Lord commands, let man confide in Him and firmly believe that he was not placed therein in order to be forsaken, but in order that he may come forth victorious and triumphant, if he cooperates on his own part with the assistance given by the Lord.
Whenever the soul seeks to scrutinize the decrees of his wisdom and satisfy itself before it obeys and believes, let it be convinced that it defrauds the Creator of its glory and honor, and at the same time loses for itself the merit of its works.
754. I was aware that God is superior to all creatures and that He had no need of our foresight; for He seeks only the subjection of our will, since the creature cannot give Him counsel, but only obedience and praise.
And although, on account of not knowing what He wished of me and ordained for me in the state of matrimony, the love, which I had for chastity caused me much affliction; yet that grievous sorrow did not make me curious and inquisitive, but served to make my obedience more excellent and pleasing in his eyes.
By this example thou thyself must regulate the subjection to that which thou perceivest to be according to the pleasure of the Lord thy Spouse, resigning thyself entirely to his protection and confiding in the firmness of his promises.
And wherever thou hast the approbation of thy priests and superiors, allow thyself to be governed without any resistance to their commands and to the divine aspirations.