THE REST OF THE TWELFTH CHAPTER OF THE APOCA LYPSE isEXPLAINED.
106.“And there was a great battle inheaven; Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought andhis angels.” When the Lord had manifested these things to the good and to thebad angels, the holy prince Michael and his companions, with the permission ofGod, gave battle to the dragon and his followers.
It was a wonderful battle, for it wasfought with the understanding and the will. Saint Michael, burning with zealfor the honor of God and armed with divine power and with his own humility,resisted the arrogant pride of the dragon, saying:“Worthy is the Highest ofhonor, praise and reverence, and of being loved, feared and obeyed by allcreation.
He is mighty to work whatever Hedesires. He that is increate and without dependence on any other being, cannotseek any thing that is not most just. To us He gave grace such as we have,creating us and forming us out of nothing.
He can create other beings, as many andin what manner He pleases. It is reasonable that we, submissive and prostratein his presence, adore his Majesty and kingly grandeur. Come then, ye angels,follow me, let us adore Him, and extol his admirable and secret judgments, hismost perfect and holy works.
God is most exalted and above allcreatures, and He would not be the Most High, if we could attain or comprehendhis great works. Infinite He is in wisdom and goodness, rich in the treasuresof his benefits. As Lord of all and needing none, He can distribute them towhomsoever He wishes, and He cannot err in the selection.
He can love and confer his favor towhomsoever He chooses, and He can love whom He likes; He can raise up, createand enrich according as it is his good pleasure. In all things He will be wise,holy and irresistible. Let us adore and thank Him for the wonderful work of theIn carnation which He has decreed, and for his favors to his people and for itsrestoration to grace after its fall.
Let us adore this Person endowed withthe human and the divine nature, let us reverence It and accept It as our Head; let us confess, that He is worthy of all glory, praise and magnificence, and,as the Author of grace, let us give Him glory and acknowledge his power andDivinity.“
107. With such arms St. Michael and hisangels gave battle, fighting as it were, with the powerful rays of truthagainst the dragon and his followers, who on their hand made use ofblasphemies. But Lucifer at the sight of the holy prince, not being able toresist, was torn with interior rage and sought to fly from his torments;
it was the will of God, however, that heshould not only be punished, but also conquered, in order that by his fall hemight know the truth and power of God. Nevertheless he blasphemed and criedout: “Unjust is God in raising the human nature above the angelic. I am themost exalted and beautiful angel and the triumph belongs to me.
It is I who am to place my throne abovethe stars and who shall be like unto the Highest; I will subject myself to noone of an inferior nature, and I will not consent that any one take precedenceof me or be greater than I.“ In the same way spoke the apostate followers ofLucifer.
But St. Michael answered: “Who is therelike unto the Lord, who dwells in the heavens, or who to compare himself toHim? Be silent, enemy, cease thy dreadful blasphemies, and since iniquity hastaken possession of thee, depart from our midst, wretch, and be hurled in thyblind ignorance and wickedness into the dark night and chaos of the infernalpains.
But let us, O spirits of the Lord, honorand reverence this blessed Woman, who is to give human flesh to the eternalWord; and let us recognize Her as our Queen and Lady.“
108. The great sign of the Woman servedthe good angels as a shield and as arms of battle against the evil ones; for atthe sight of it, all their power of reasoning weakened and was brought to confusionand silence, since they could not endure the mysteries and sacraments containedin this sign.
And just as by divine power thismysterious sign appeared, so also now the other figure or sign of the dragonappeared, in order that thus transformed he might be ignominiously hurled fromheaven amid the fright and terror of his followers and amid the astonishment ofthe holy angels. All this was the effect of this new manifestation of thejustice and power of God.
109. It is difficult to describe inwords what passed in that memorable battle, since there is such a widedifference between our conceptions, founded on material objects, and thosewhich would be appropriate to the nature and operations of such great spiritsas these angels.
“But the bad ones did not prevail” forinjustice, lies, ignorance and malice could not prevail against equity, truth,light and goodness ; nor could these virtues be overcome by vices.
Therefore, it is also said : “From thattime on their place was not found in heaven.” Through the sins which thesedisgraced angels had committed, they made themselves unworthy of the eternalvision and company of the Lord. Their memory was blotted out from his mind,where they had been written by the excellences and graces of the nature givento them.
Having lost the right to the places, whichhad been reserved for them, if they had obeyed, it passed over to mankind. Toman these places were now transferred in such a way that the very vestiges ofthe apostate angels were blotted out and were no more found in heaven.
O unhappy wickedness and never to bedescribed misfortune, which drew after itself such a horrible and dreadfulchastisement! The Evangelist adds:
110. “And the dragon was cast out, thatancient serpent who is called devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world;and he was cast unto the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.” Theholy prince Michael hurled from heaven the dragon Lucifer with the invinciblebattle-cry: “Who is like unto God?”
So powerful was this cry, that it sufficedto precipitate that proud giant and all his host to the earth and cast him indreadful ignominy to the centre of the earth. From that time he began to becalled dragon, serpent, devil and satan, imposed upon him by the holy archangelin that battle as a testimony of his iniquity and malice.
Deprived of the happiness and honor, ofwhich he had become unworthy, he was despoiled also of his names and honorabletitles, acquiring in their stead such as designate his ignominy. The wickedplans which he proposed and enjoined upon his confederates, namely, that theyshould deceive and pervert all those that live in the world, manifestsufficiently his wickedness.
He therefore, who intended to scourgethe nations, was consigned to hellish regions, as Isaias says in the fourteenthchapter, to the profound abyss, and his cadaver was delivered to the moth andthe worm of his own bad conscience ; thus was fulfilled in Lucifer all that theprophet says in that chapter.
111. When the heavens had been clearedof the bad angels and the Divinity had been unveiled to the good and theobedient; when they were already admitted into glory and the bad oneschastised, then happened what the Evangelist farther says :
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying:Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our Lord, and the powerof his Christ ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accusedthem before our God day and night.” This voice, which the Evangelist heard wasthat of the Word, and all the holy angels heard and listened to it.
Its echoes reverberated through theinfernal regions and filled with trembling and fear the demons. They did not,however, understand its mystery in full, but only so much of it, as the MostHigh chose to manifest to them for their greater affliction and punishment.
It was the voice of the Son, who in thename of the humanity, which He was to assume, was asking the eternal Fatherthat the salvation, power and kingdom of his Majesty, and the reign of Christmight begin; since the accuser of the brethren of the same Christ our Lord,that is, of man, had been cast out.
It was like a petition before the throneof the most holy Trinity, that the salvation and power and the mysteries of theRedemption and Incarnation be put into execution. He asked that it be done somuch the sooner as Lucifer, being filled with fury, envy and wrath against thehuman nature, which the Word was to assume, was now infesting the earth.
Full of love and compassion the Wordcalls men his brethren. Lucifer is said to “accuse them day and night,”because, both during the day in which he still enjoyed divine grace in thepresence of the eternal Father and of the holy Trinity, he belittled us in hispride, and much more, in the night of his own darkness and of our fall, hepursues us unceasingly with slander and persecution as long as this world willendure.
The Word calls the works and mysteriesof the Incarnation and his Death “virtue”，“power”and “reign”，because in them, all these really had their beginning and in themwas manifested his great virtue and power against Lucifer.
112. This was the first time in whichthe Word in the name of his humanity interceded for men before the Divinity,and in which, according to our mode of conceiving such things, the eternalFather conferred with the other Persons of the blessed Trinity in regard tothis petition.
He also partly revealed to the holyangels the decree of this divine consistory, saying, in regard to thesacraments resolved upon: “Lucifer has raised the banner of pride and sin andwill persecute with all his malice the whole human race.
With cunning he will pervert many men,availing himself of their own passions for their destruction. In the blindnessof sin and vice men will prevaricate, heedless of danger. But his lying pride,his sins and vices, are infinitely distant from our nature and wishes.
We will therefore bring out the triumphof virtue and sanctity; for this purpose the second Person will assume humannature; He will exalt and teach humility, obedience and all the virtues, andthus will secure the salvation of mortals.
Being true God He will become humble andsubmissive. He will be the Just Man, the Model and Teacher of all virtues.These alone shall be accredited before our tribunal and shall always triumph overvices.
We will raise up the lowly and humblethe proud (Matth. 11, 28) ; we will make labors and endurance praiseworthy inour sight; we resolve to help the afflicted and the sorrowful. Let
them be corrected by afflictions andthereby advance in our grace and friendship and, according to theircapabilities, reach salvation in the practice of virtue.
Blessed will be they that weep (Matth.5, 3), and happy the poor and those that suffer for justice sake and forChrist, their Chief; and the insignificant ones shall be magnified, the meek ofheart exalted. The peaceful shall be loved as our sons. Most dear shall thosebe to us, who forgive and suffer injuries and love their enemies.
We will assign to them copiousbenedictions of our grace and an immortal glory in heaven. Our Only begottenwill put in practice these decrees, and those that follow Him shall be ourchosen ones, our cherished ones; they shall be refreshed and rewarded by Us;their good works shall be engendered in our own mind, which is the first causeof all virtue.
We give permission to the bad ones tooppress the good, thus helping them to gain the crown, while for themselvesthey increase the punishment. Let there be scandals (Matth. 18, 7) for thecommon good; unhappy be those that cause them, and blessed they that are provedby them.
The vain and the proud will afflict anddespise the humble; the great and the powerful will oppress the lowly andabject ones. They will give benediction instead of curses (I Cor. 4, 12). Whilethey are pilgrims, they shall be rejected by men, but afterwards they shall beranked with the angelic spirits, our sons, and they will enjoy the seats andcrowns, which the unfortunate and unhappy apostates have lost. The stubborn andthe proud shall be condemned to eternal death, where they will recognize theirfoolish proceedings and their perverseness.“
113. “In order that all may have a truemodel and superabundant grace, if they wish to use it, the Son will descend,capable of suffering and as a Redeemer, and He shall save men (whom Luciferdefrauded of their happy state) ; and He shall raise them up through hisinfinite merits.
We have resolved and determined upon thesalvation of men, through a Redeemer and Teacher, who shall be able topropitiate and to teach, who shall be born and live poor, shall die despised,condemned by men to a most ignominious and frightful Death; who shall beesteemed a sinner and a criminal, and yet shall satisfy our justice for theguilt of sin.
On account of hisforeseen merits We will show mercy and kindness. All will understand, thatthose who are humble and peaceful, those that practice virtue, that suffer andyet forgive, are the followers of Christ and our sons.
Nobody will be capableof entering by his own free will into our kingdom, unless he denies himself,and, taking up his cross, follows his Chief and Master (Matth. 10,22). Ourkingdom shall be composed of the perfect, who have legitimately labored andfought, persevering
to the end.
［经文〈玛窦福音 10: 22〉：你们为了我的名字，要为众人所恼恨；唯独坚持到底的，才可得救。〈玛窦福音 16: 24〉：耶稣对门徒说，谁若愿意跟随我，该弃绝自己，背着自己的十字架来跟随我，］
These will take part in the reign of ourChrist, now begun and determined upon. For the accuser of his brethren has beencast down; the triumph of Christ is secured; to Him belong exaltations andglory, since He is to wash and purify men with his blood.
Therefore only He shall be worthy toopen the book of the law of grace (Apoc. 5, 9), He is the way, the light, thetruth and the life (Joan 14, 6), through which men may come to Me. He aloneshall open the gates of heaven; He shall be the Mediator (I Tim. 2,5) and theAdvocate of mortals, in Him they will have a Father, a Brother (I Joan 2, 1),and Protector after having been freed from their accuser and persecutor.
And the angels, who like true sons, haveshared in the work of our salvation and power and have defended the reign of myChrist, shall likewise be honored and crowned through all the eternities ofeternities in my presence.“
114. This voice (which contains themysteries hidden since the constitution of the world and manifested by thedoctrine and the life of Jesus Christ), issued forth from the throne andimported more than I can explain.
Through it were assigned thecommissions, which the holy angels were to fulfill. Saint Michael and SaintGabriel were appointed ambassadors of the incarnate Word and of Mary his Mothermost holy ;they were to be ministers for all the mysteries of the Incarnationand Redemption.
With these two princes, many otherangels were assigned to the same service, as I shall explain
afterward (Nos. 201-206). Other angelsthe Almighty appointed as companions and guardians of the souls, to teach themand inspire them with the virtues and sanctity opposed to the vices, into whichLucifer had proposed to seduce mankind.
They were to guard and defend the soulsand to carry them in their hands (Ps. 90,12), in order that the just might nothurt their feet against the stones, which are the snares and the traps
laid by their enemies.
［经文〈圣咏 91: 12〉：他们把你托在自己的手掌，不使你的脚在石头上碰伤。］
115. Also other things were decreed onthis occasion of which the Evangelist says that the power, salvation, virtueand kingdom of Christ began. But among the mysterious works at this time wasespecially the designation and enumeration of the predestined in the secrettablets of the divine mind through the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, ourLord.
Oh the mysteries and the inexplicablesecrets, which then were evolved in the bosom of God ! Oh, happy lot of thechosen ones ! What can equal this in importance ! What sacrament is so worthyof the Omnipotence of God! How great was the triumph of the power of Christ!
Happy, infinitely happy, the members whothen were assigned and united to such a Head ! Oh great Church ! Oh mightypeople and holy congregation of such a Leader and Master! At the thought ofsuch exalted mysteries the judgment of the creature is rendered powerless, myunderstanding is suspended, and my tongue becomes mute!
116. In the consistory of the threedivine Persons the mysterious book spoken of in the Apocalypse was given and,as it were, delivered to the Only begotten of the Father; at that time it waswritten, closed, and sealed with the seven seals (Apoc. 5, 7), of which theEvangelist speaks.
［经文〈圣咏 91: 12〉：他于是前来，从坐在宝座上的那位右手中接了那书卷。］
When He was made human flesh He openedit, solving in their order the seals by enacting the mysteries of his Birth,Life and Death unto the consummation of all things.
That which the book contained were allthe decrees of the holy Trinity after the fall of the angels; namely all thatbelongs to the Incarnation of the Word, and the law of grace, the tenCommandments, the seven Sacraments and all the articles of faith, and what iscontained in them, the constitution of the whole militant Church.
To the Word as having assumed humannature and as the High Priest and holy Pontiff (Heb. 6, 20), was given thepower to communicate the necessary faculties and gifts to the Apostles and theother priests and ministers of the Church.
pontiff ：(1) 教宗；宗座。(2) 主教；教长；大司祭。原文拉丁文，直译为造桥者，引伸为教宗及主教乃天主与世人间的桥梁。这里称呼耶稣为教宗估计不合适，不如直接采用其直译，形容耶稣基督是天主和世人之间的神圣的造桥者。
117. This was the mysterious beginningof the law of the Gospel. In a most secret consistory of the Trinity it wasresolved and recorded in the divine mind, that those who would observe thatlaw, shall be written in the book of life. Here was the beginning of that lawand from the eternal Father the pontiffs and prelates have their power andtheir vicariate.
From his infinite power flows thevirtues of those that are meek, poor in spirit, humble and just. This is theirmost humble origin, and on that account it is true to say, that he who obeysthe superior obeys God (Luc. 10, 16), and he who despises them, despises God.All this was decreed and conceived in the divine mind and to Christ was giventhe power to open in its proper time this book of decrees, which was until thento be closed and sealed.
In the meanwhile the Most High gave histestament, that is the testimonies of his divine words in the natural laws andin the written laws, accompanying them with wonderful works and manifesting apart of his secrets through the Patriarchs and Prophets.
118. Through these testimonies andthrough the blood of the Lamb, it is said: “They (the just) overcame him (thedragon).” For although the blood of Christ was entirely sufficient andsuperabundant to enable all the faithful to overcome the dragon, their accuser,and although the testimonies and teachings of the Prophets are of great powerand help for eternal salvation ; yet the just attain the fruit of the Passionand Redemption, by cooperating of their own free will with these divine helps,conquering their own selves and the demons, and making use of grace.
They not only succeed in fulfilling theordinary commandments and counsels of God, but they go to the extent ofsacrificing their lives for the Lord (Apoc. 6, 9) in testimony of Him and inthe hope of the crown and triumph promised by Christ, as the martyrs did intestimony of the
faith and in defending his honor.
119. On account of all these mysteriesthe sacred text adds :“Therefore rejoice, O heaven, and all those that dwelltherein.” Rejoice, because thou art to be the dwelling place of the just, andof their Chief, Jesus Christ, and of his most holy Mother.
119. 由于所有这些奥秘，神圣的经文补充说：「为此，天堂和住在那里的，你们欢乐罢！」 欢乐，因为你是义人及他们的元首耶稣基督和祂至圣母亲的居所。
Rejoice, O heaven, because of all thematerial and inanimate creatures none obtained a better lot, for thou art to bethe house of God, who will endure through the eternal ages, and thou art toreceive as thy Queen the most pure and most holy Creature, that emanated fromthe power of the Most High.
Therefore rejoice, heaven and all thatdwell therein, ye angels and ye just, since you are to be the companions andministers of the Son of the eternal Father and of his Mother, and you are to beparts of that mystical body, whose head is Christ himself.
Rejoice, ye holy angels, because ministeringto them and serving them by your defense and custody, you increase youraccidental joy. Let the holy Archangel Michael, the prince of the celestialhosts, rejoice in particular because he defended in battle the glory of theMost High and his adorable mysteries, and because he is to be the minister ofthe Incarnation of the Word and a particular witness of all its effect to theend.
Let all his allies and all the defendersof Jesus Christ and his Mother rejoice, since during their ministry they do notlose the joys of essential glory already their own. On account of such divinesacraments let the heavens rejoice!