the most high manifests himseLf to His beeoved MARY, OUR PRINCESS, BY CONFERRING ON HER AN EXTRAORDINARY FAVOR.
728. Already our heavenly Princess felt that the day of the clear vision of the Divinity was approaching and that like the harbingers of early dawn, the rays of the divine light were breaking upon her soul.
Her heart began to be inflamed by the nearness of the invisible fire, which illumines but does not consume; and made attentive by this new clearness, She questioned her angels and said to them: “My friends and lords, my most faithful and vigilant sentinels, tell me: what hour is it of my night?
And when will the bright light of the day arise, in which my eyes shall see the Sun of justice which illumines them and gives life to my affections and my I soul ?”
The holy princes answered Her and said: “Spouse of the Most High, thy wished-for light and truth is near; it will not tarry long, for already it approaches.”
At these words the veil which hid the view of these spiritual substances was slightly lifted; and the holy angels became visible, showing themselves as during her first years in their own essence, without hindrance or dependence of the bodily senses.
729. With these hopes and with the vision of the heavenly spirits the anxieties of most holy Mary concerning the sight of her Beloved were somewhat allayed.
But this kind of love seeks after the most noble Object, and without It, although enjoying the presence of the angels and saints, the heart, wounded by the arrows of the Omnipotent, will not come to rest.
Nevertheless, our heavenly Princess, rejoiced by this alleviation, spoke to her angels and said to them: “Sovereign Prince and flames of that inaccessible light, in which my Beloved dwells, why have I for so long a time been unworthy of your sight?
Wherein have I been displeasing to you and failed to satisfy you?
Tell me, my lords and teachers, wherein I have been negligent, in order that I may not again be forsaken by you through my own fault.”
“O Lady and Spouse of the Almighty,” they answered, “we obey the voice of our Creator and are governed by his holy will, and as his spirits, He commissions us and sends us out in his service.
He commanded us to conceal ourselves during the time in which He himself withdrew from sight. But though hidden we remained present, solicitous for thy protection and defense, fulfilling his command by remaining in thy company without being visible.”
730. “Tell me then, where is my Lord at the present time, my highest God, my Maker. Tell me, whether my eyes shall see Him soon, or whether perhaps I have displeased Him, in order that I may, as a most insignificant creature, bitterly bewail the cause of this punishment.
Ministers and ambassadors of the highest King, be moved by my afflicted love and give me tokens of my Beloved.”
“Soon, O Lady,” they answered, “Thou shalt see Him whom thy soul desires, let thy sweet sorrows turn to hope; our God will not withhold Himself from those that seek Him so truly; great, O Mistress, is his loving Goodness with all those that cling to Him and He will not be niggardly in satisfying thy wishes.”
The holy angels openly called Her Mistress, as they were sure of her most prudent humility and as they could conceal the full meaning of this title under pretense of her position as Spouse of the Most High; for She knew that they had been eye-witnesses of the espousal, which his Majesty had celebrated with their Queen.
And as his wisdom had ordered, that in all else, except in the title and dignity of Mother of the Word, which was to remain concealed to Her until the proper time, the holy angels were to show Her great reverence; so they were solicitous to give Her many tokens of respect, although they covertly honored Her much more for what they knew in secret, than for that which they manifested to Her openly.
731. During these conferences and loving colloquies the heavenly Princess awaited the approach of her Spouse and her highest delight, while the seraphim, who attended Her, commenced to prepare Her by new enlightenment of her faculties; a sure pledge of the beginning of the Good for which She hoped.
But as these favors augmented the fire of her love without allowing Her as yet to reach the desired end, they only augmented the heartrending anguish of her love, and with sighs She spoke to the seraphim, saying: “Most exalted spirits, who stand close to my highest Good, ye clear mirrors, whence reflected I was wont to see Him in the joy of my soul, tell me, where is the light which illuminates you and fills you with beauty?
Tell me, why does my Beloved tarry so long? Tell me, what hides Him, and why my eyes cannot see Him? If it is through my fault, I will amend my ways; if I do not merit the fulfillment of my wishes, I will conform myself to his will; and if He seeks his pleasure in my sorrow, I will suffer in the joy of my heart; but tell me, how can I live without having my own life? How shall I direct myself without light ?”
732. To her sweet complaints the holy seraphim answered: “Lady, thy Beloved is not absent when for thy good He tarries and withholds Himself; in order to console his beloved, He afflicts them, in order to give so much the more joy, He aggrieves them, in order to be sought after, He withdraws from them. He wishes that Thou sow in tears (Psalm 125, 5), and so gather afterwards the sweet fruits of sorrow. If the Beloved did not hide Himself, He would not be sought after with that anxiety which is caused by his absence, nor would the soul renew its affections, nor increase in the appreciation due to that Treasure.”
［经文〈圣咏 126:5〉：那含泪播种的人，必含笑获享收成； ］
733. They transmitted to Her that light, of which I have spoken (No. 625), in order to purify her faculties;not because there were any defects to be remedied, for She could not be guilty of any defects.
On the contrary all her actions and operations during the absence of the Lord had been meritorious and holy.
Nevertheless it was necessary that She be endowed with new gifts, in order to tranquilize her spirit and her faculties, which had been moved by affectionate labors and anxieties during the absence of the Lord, and also in order to withdraw Her from her present state and raise Her to a position, where She could enjoy new and different favors, for in order that her faculties might again be proportioned to the high Object and to the manner of enjoying It, they must necessarily be renewed and redisposed.
All this the holy seraphim proceeded to do with Her in the manner already described in book second, chapter fourteenth. When the Lord conferred upon Her the final adornment and the quality necessary for the immediate vision about to take place.
734. As far as I can explain, this successive elevation of the faculties of the heavenly Queen engendered those particular affections and sentiments of love and virtues which the Lord desired, and in the midst of these elevations his Majesty withdrew the veil.
Then after his long concealment He manifested Himself to his only Spouse, his beloved and most holy Mary, by an abstractive vision of the Divinity.
Although this vision was given through abstractive images and not intuitive, yet it was most clear and exalted in its kind. By it the Lord dried the continual tears of our Queen, rewarded her affection and her loving anxiety, satisfied all her desires and overwhelmed Her with delight as She reclined in the arms of her Beloved (Cant. 8, 5).
Then was renewed the youth of that aspiring Eagle, winging its flight into the impenetrable regions of the Divinity (Psalm 102, 5), and by the after-effects of this vision She ascended whither no other creature can ascend, or no other intellect can reach outside of God's.
［经文〈圣咏103: 5〉：是他赏赐你一生幸福满盈，是他使你的青春更新如鹰。 ］
735. The joy which filled the most pure Mistress on the occasion of this vision must be measured as well by the extreme sorrow through which She had passed as by the accumulation of merits which She had gained. I can only say that, in so far and by how much sorrow had abounded, so also now overflowed her joy; and that her patience, her humility, her fortitude, her constancy, her loving anxieties were the most remarkable and the most exquisite that ever until that time or ever after could have existed or can exist in any creature.
This most unparalleled Lady alone could understand the excellence of that wisdom and could appreciate the greatness of the loss sustained in being deprived of the vision of God and in being far from his presence.
She alone having suffered and measured this great loss in humility, and with fortitude, to make it conducive to her sanctification by ineffable love, and afterwards to appreciate the blessings and the joy of its recovery.
736. Being then elevated to this vision and having prostrated Herself in the divine presence, the most holy Mary said to his Majesty: “Lord and most high God, incomprehensible and highest Good of my soul, since Thou raisest up such a poor and worthless worm as myself, receive, O Lord, in humble thankfulness of my soul, the homage due from me to thy goodness and glory, together with that which thy courtiers render unto Thee; and if any of the service which came from me, so low and earthly a creature, has displeased Thee, reform that, which in my works has been unsatisfactory to Thee, my Lord.
O Goodness and Wisdom incomparable and infinite, purify my heart and renew it, in order that it may be pleasing, humble, penitent and acceptable in thy sight. If I have not borne the insignificant troubles and the death of my parents as I should, and if I have in anything erred from that which is pleasing to Thee, perfect my faculties and all my works, O most high God, as my powerful Lord, as my Father, and as the only Spouse of my soul.”
737. To this humble prayer the Most High answered: “My Spouse and my Dove, the grief for the death of thy parents and the sorrow occasioned by the other troubles is the natural effect of human nature and no fault;
and by the love with which Thou has conformed Thyself to the dispositions of my Providence in all things, Thou hast merited anew my graces and my blessings, I am the One that distributes the true light and its effects by my wisdom;
I am the Lord of all, that calls forth the day and the night in succession; I cause tranquillity and I set bounds to the storms, in order that my power and my glory may be exalted and in order that through them the soul might steer more securely with the ballast of experience and hasten more expeditiously through the violent waves of tribulation, arriving at the secure harbor of my friendship and grace, and obliging Me by the fullness of merit to receive it with so much the greater favor.
This, my Beloved, is the admirable course of my wisdom and for this reason I concealed Myself during all that time from thy sight; for from Thee I seek whatever is most holy and most perfect. Serve Me then, my beautiful One, who am thy Spouse, thy God of infinite mercy and whose name is admirable in the diversity and variety of my great works.”
738. Our Princess issued from this vision altogether renovated and made godlike; full of the new science of the Divinity and of the hidden sacraments of the King, confessing Him, adoring Him, and praising Him with incessant canticles and by the flights of her pacified and tranquilized spirit. In like proportion also was the increase of her humility and of all the other virtues.
Her most ardent prayer was to penetrate more and more deeply into that which is most perfect and most pleasing to the will of the Most High, and to fulfill and execute it in her actions. Thus passed a number of days, until that happened, which is to be related in the next chapter.
INSTRUCTION GIVEN ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, OUR MISTRESS.
739.My daughter, many times I shall repeat to thee the lesson containing the greatest wisdom for souls, which consists in the knowledge of the cross, in the love of sufferings, and in putting this knowledge into practice by bearing afflictions with patience.
If the condition of mortals were not so low, they would covet sufferings merely for the sake of their God and Lord,who has proclaimed them to be according to his will and pleasure; for the faithful and loving servant should always prefer the likings of his lord to his own convenience.
But the worldlings in their torpidity are moved neither by the duty of conforming to their Father and Lord, nor by his declaration that all their salvation consists in following Christ in his sufferings and that his sinful children must reap the fruit of the Redemption by imitation of their sinless Chief.
740. Accept then, my dearest, this doctrine and engrave it deeply into thy heart. Understand that as a daughter of the Most High, as a spouse of my Son, and as my disciple, even if from no other motive, thou must acquire the precious gem of suffering and thus become pleasing to thy Lord and Spouse.
I exhort thee, my daughter, to select the sufferings of his Cross in preference to his favors and gifts and rather embrace afflictions than desire to be visited with caresses; for in choosing favors and delights thou mayest be moved by selflove, but in accepting tribulations and sorrows, thou canst be moved only by the love of Christ.
And if preference is to be given to sufferings rather than to delights, wherever it can be done without sin, what foolishness is it, when men pursue so blindly the deceitful and vile delights of the senses, and when they abhor so much all that pertains to suffering for Christ and for the good of their soul?
741. Thy incessant prayer, my daughter, should be always to repeat: here I am, Lord, what wilt Thou do with me? Prepared is my heart, I am ready and not disturbed; what dost Thou wish me to do for Thee?
These sentiments should fill thy heart in their full and true import, repeating them more by sincere and ardent affection, than by word of mouth.
Let thy thoughts be exalted, thy intentions most upright, pure and noble, desiring to fulfill in all things the greater pleasure of the Lord, who with measure and weight dispenses both sufferings and the favors of his graces.
Examine and search within thyself without ceasing, by what sentiments, by what actions, and in what occasion thou mayest guard against offense and in what thou canst please thy Beloved most perfectly, and thus learn what thou must strive to correct or what thou must aspire to within thyself.
Every disorder, be it yet so small, and all that may be less pure and perfect, see thou curtail and expunge immediately, even though it seem allowable or even of some profit; all that is not most pleasing to the Lord, thou must consider as evil, or as useless for thyself; and no imperfection must appear small to thee, if it is displeasing to God.
With this anxious fear and holy solicitude thou shalt walk securely; and be certain, my dearest daughter, that it cannot enter into the mind of man, what copious reward the most high Lord reserves for those souls that live in this kind of attention and solicitude.