THE BLESSED TRINITY SENDS THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL AS A MESSENGER TO ANNOUNCE TO MOST HOLY MARY THAT SHE IS CHOSEN AS THE MOTHER OEF GOD.
109. For infinite ages had been appointed the convenient hour and time, in which the great mystery of piety (I Tim. 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 (Gal. 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 Onlybegotten 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 (I 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.
110. In this predetermined time then the Most High resolved to send his onlybegotten 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.
111. 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.
112. 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 (Is. 6, 3).
Just and powerful art Thou, Lord our God, who livest in the highest (Ps. 112, 5) and lookest upon the lowly of the earth. Admirable are all thy works, most high and exalted in thy designs.”
113. 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. Enchased 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.
114. 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.
115. 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 .
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 Onlybegotten 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).
［经文〈巴路克 3:38〉：从此智慧在地上出现，与世人共相往还。 ]
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? (Is. 9, 1-2). O, who shall be worthy to see and know Him! O, who shall be allowed to kiss the earth touched by his feet!”
117. “Rejoice, ye heavens, and console thyself, O earth (Ps. 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! (Is. 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! (Agg. 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 (Is. 7, 4) ; O Emmanuel, true God and Man!
O key of David, who art to unlock heaven! (Is. 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!” (Is. 40, 5).
［经文〈依撒意亚 22:22〉：我要将达味家室的钥匙放在他肩上；他开了，没有人能关；他关了，没有人能开。经文〈依撒意亚 40:5〉：
118. 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).
What happened at the entrance of the heavenly embassy, I will relate in the following chapter.
119. I wish only to state here a fact worthy of admiration, that 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.
Thus prepared She experienced what I shall try to relate in my inadequate and limited terms.
The greatness of these sacraments makes my ability to explain them appear so much the more insufficient.
INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
120. 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 intercourse 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.
121. Since thou has found, without any merit of thine, the hidden treasure and the precious pearl of my teachings and instruction (Matth. 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.
122. 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 Onlybegotten 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 breast, 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.