THE MOST HIGH CELEBRATES A NEW ESPOUSAL WITH THE PRINCESS OF HEAVEN IN ORDER TO INAUGURATE THE NUPTIALS OE THE INCARNATION. HE ADORNS HER FOR IT.
70. Great are the works of the Most High, for all of them were and are executed with the plenitude of knowledge and goodness, ordained in equity and number (Wis. 11, 21).
None of them is faulty, useless or ineffectual, superfluous or vain; all are exquisite and magnificent, finished and executed according to the full measure of his holy will. Such He desired them to be, in order that He might be known and magnified in them.
But in comparison to the mystery of the Incarnation, all the works of God ad extra, although they are in themselves great, stupendous and marvelous, more to be admired than comprehended, are only a small spark, issuing from the unfathomable abyss of the Divinity.
This great sacrament of vesting Himself in a passible and mortal nature is pre-eminently the great work of his infinite power and wisdom and the one which immeasurably excels all the other works and wonders of his powerful arm.
For in this mystery, not merely a spark of the Divinity, but that whole vast volcano of the infinite Godhead, broke forth and communicated itself to men, uniting Itself by an indissoluble and eternal union to our terrestrial human nature.
71. If this wonderful sacrament of the King is to be measured only by his own vastness, it follows that the Woman, in whose womb He was to become man, deserved to be so perfectly adorned with the plenitude of his treasures, that no gift or grace within the range of possibility be omitted, and all these gifts be so consummate, that nothing is wanting to them.
As all this was reasonable and altogether befitting the greatness of the Omnipotent, He certainly fulfilled it in the most holy Mary, much better than king Assuerus did with the gracious Esther (Esther 2, 9), when he raised her to his magnificent throne.
The Most High visited our Queen Mary with such great favors, privileges and gifts, that the like was never even conceived in the mind of creatures, and, when She issued forth in the presence of the courtiers of this great King of the eternal ages (I Tim. 1, 17), they recognized and exalted in Her the power of God, at the same time understanding, that He, who chose to select a woman for his Mother, knew also how to make her worthy of assuming that position.
［经文〈弟茂德前书 1:17〉：愿尊崇和光荣归于万世的君王，那不死不灭，不可见的惟一天主，于无穷世之世！阿们。 ]
72. The seventh day of this mysterious preparation for the approaching sacrament arrived, and in the same hour as already mentioned, the heavenly Lady was called and elevated in spirit, but with this difference, that She was bodily raised by her holy angels to the empyrean heaven, while in her stead one of them remained to represent Her in corporeal appearance.
Placed into this highest heaven, She saw the Divinity by abstract vision as in other days; but always with new and more penetrating light, piercing to new and more profound mysteries, which God according to his free will can conceal or reveal.
Presently She heard a voice proceeding from the royal throne, which said: “Our Spouse and chosen Dove, our gracious Friend, who hast been found pleasing in our eyes and hast been chosen among thousands: We wish to accept thee anew as our Bride, and therefore We wish to adorn and beautify thee in a manner worthy of our design.”
73. On hearing these words the most Humble among the humble abased and annihilated Herself in the presence of the Most High more than can be comprehended by human power. Entirely submissive to the divine pleasure and with entrancing modesty, She responded: “At thy feet, O Lord, lies the dust and abject worm, ready is thy poor slave for the fulfillment of all thy pleasure in her. Make use, O eternal Good, of this thy insignificant instrument according to thy desire, and dispose of it with thy right hand.”
Presently the Most High commanded two seraphim, of those nearest to his throne and highest in dignity to attend on this heavenly Virgin.
Accompanied by others, they presented themselves in visible form before the throne, and there surrounded the most holy Mary, who was more inflamed with divine love than they.
74. It was a spectacle worthy of new wonder and jubilee for all the angelic spirits to see in this heavenly place, never touched by other feet, an humble Maiden consecrated as their Queen and raised to the closest proximity to God of all the created beings; to see that Woman, whom the world ignored and held in oblivious contempt, so highly esteemed and appreciated (Prov. 31, 10) ; to see our human nature in its first fruits receiving the pledge of superiority over the celestial choirs and already assuming its place among them.
［经文〈箴 31:10)〉：贤淑的妇女，有谁能找到？她本身价值，远胜过珠宝。 ]
O what a holy and just envy must such a strange wonder have caused in the ancient courtiers of that heavenly Jerusalem! What thoughts rose up within them in praise of its Author! What sentiments of humility did it awaken in them, subjecting all their high understandings to the decrees of the divine Will!
They saw that He was holy and just, who exalted the humble, who favored human lowliness and raised it above the angelic choirs.
75. While the inhabitants of heaven were lost in their praiseworthy admiration, the most blessed Trinity, (according to our imperfect mode of understanding and speaking), conferred within Itself, how pleasing in its sight was the Princess Mary, how perfectly and completely She had corresponded with the blessings and gifts confided to Her, how adequately She had augmented the glory of the Lord; and how free She was of any fault, defect or hindrance, that might compromise the dignity of her predestined Motherhood of the Word.
Accordingly the three Persons of the Trinity resolved to raise this Creature to the highest position of grace and friendship of God, such as no creature had ever or would ever attain; and then and there They gave to Her more than to all the rest of creatures together.
The most blessed Trinity was pleased and rejoiced in seeing that the supreme holiness of Mary was such as had been conceived and determined for Her in the divine intellect.
76. In correspondence with this holiness, and as a completion of it, and as a testimony of the benevolence with which the Lord wished to communicate to Her ever new influences of his Divinity, He ordained and commanded, that most holy Mary be visibly clothed and adorned with mysterious vestments and jewels, which should symbolize the interior graces and privileges of a Queen and of a heavenly Spouse.
Although such bridal adornment had already been conferred upon Her before that time, when She was presented in the temple (Part I, 436) ; yet now this was done under new and wonderful conditions; for it was to serve as the immediate preparation for the miracle of the Incarnation.
77. Presently therefore, upon the command of the Lord the two seraphim clothed most holy Mary with a tunic or ample robe, which, as a symbol of her purity and grace, was so exquisitely white and resplendent, that if one single ray of the light so profusely emitted by it would flash into the world, it would by itself give more refulgence than all the stars combined, even if they were all suns; and in comparison with it, all the light, which is known to us, would appear as darkness.
While the seraphim vested Her, the Most High gave Her a profound understanding of the obligation entailed thereby: namely, that She must make a befitting return to his Majesty, by proportioning her faithful love and the exalted perfection of her actions to that, which She had now learnt Nevertheless, the purpose, for which the Lord intended these blessings, that is his Incarnation through Her, continued to be hidden to her mind.
All the rest of the mysteries our Lady understood and for all of them She humiliated Herself with ineffable pruence, and She asked the divine assistance for corresponding to these favors and blessings.
78. Over this robe the same seraphim placed a girdle, as a symbol of the holy fear, which was infused into Her. It was very rich, with jewels of extreme refulgence and beauty.
At the same time the fountain of light bursting forth from the Divinity enlightened and illumined the heavenly Princess, so that She understood the exalted reasons, why God should be feared by all the creatures.
With this gift of fear of the Lord She was appropriately girded, as befitted a Creature, who was to treat and converse so familiarly with her Creator as his Mother.
79. Presently She perceived, that the seraphim adorned Her with most beautiful and abundant hair, held together by a rich clasp, more brilliant than pure and polished gold.
She understood, that in this embellishment was conceded to Her the privilege of spending her whole life in exalted and divine thoughts, inflamed by the subtlest charity as signified by the gold.
In connection with this privilege She was established anew in the habits of unclouded wisdom and science, exquisitely binding up the hair of exalted thoughts by an ineffable participation in the wisdom and science of God himself.
Sandals or shoes were also given to Her, to indicate, that all her steps and movements would be most beauteous (Cant. 7, 1), tending always to the high and holy aim of the greater glory of the Most High.
［经文〈雅歌 7:2〉：公主！你的脚穿上凉鞋，是多么美丽！ ］
And these shoes were laced with the especial grace of anxious diligence in doing good both before God and man (Luke 1, 39), as it happened when She hastened to visit saint Elisabeth and saint John; and thus this Daughter of the Prince issued most beautiful in her footsteps (Cant. 7, 1).
80. Her arms were adorned with bracelets, filling Her with magnanimity for undertaking great works in participation of the divine magnificence; and thus She always extended them toward courageous deeds (Prov. 31, 19).
Her fingers were embellished by rings, in order that in smaller or more inferior matters She might act in a superior manner, exalted in aim and purpose and in all respect making her doings grand and admirable.
To this they added a necklace, set with inestimable and brilliant jewels and containing symbols of the three most excellent virtues of faith, hope and charity in correspondence with the three divine Persons.
Conjointly with this gift they renewed in Her the habits of these most noble virtues, which She would especially need in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.
81. In her ears they hung earrings of gold, filigreed with silver (Cant. 1, 10), thus preparing her ears for the message, which She was shortly to hear from the archangel Gabriel, and at the same time they furnished Her with knowledge in order that She might listen attentively and give discreet and acceptable answers to the divine proposals.
Thus would the pure silver of her innocence resound in the ears of the Lord and re-echo, in the bosom of the Divinity, those charming and sacred words: “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.” “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1, 38).
82. Then they spread over her garment inscriptions, which at the same time served as embroidery or borders of the finest colors mixed with gold. Some of them bore the legend.: “Mary, Mother of God;” others: “Mary, Virgin and Mother.”
But these inscriptions were not intelligible to Her, nor were they explained to Her, but their meaning was known to the holy angels.
The different colors symbolized the habits of all the virtues in the most excellent degree and their active exercise, surpassing all that was ever practiced by the rest of the intellectual creatures.
And as a complement of all this beauty, they furnished Her as if with lotions for her face, by illuminating Her with the light drawn from the proximity and participation of the inexhaustible Being and perfection of God himself.
For as She was destined actually and truly to shelter within Her virginal womb the infinite perfection of God, it was befitting, that She should have received it beforehand by grace in the highest measure possible to a mere creature.
83. In this adornment and beauty our Princess Mary stood before the Lord so beautiful and charming, that even the supreme King could desire Her as Spouse (Ps. 44, 12).
I do not detain myself here in repeating what I have already said, what I will yet say in this history about her virtues; I only say that this adornment was accompanied by new features and effects altogether divine.
All this was proper to the infinite power and to its immense perfection and sanctity, which offer to our comprehension ever new fields of speculation.
And when there is question of this ocean of perfection in most holy Mary, we certainly can hope only to skirt its shores.
My understanding of that which I perceive, is always pregnant with vast fields of thought, on which I cannot expatiate.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE MOST HOLY QUEEN MARY GAVE ME.
84. My daughter, the work-shops and treasure-rooms of the Most High are those of a divine Lord and omnipotent King, and therefore without number or limit are the riches and treasures which they contain for the endowment of his chosen brides.
He can enrich innumerable others just as He has enriched my soul, and yet infinitely more will remain.
Although He will give to no creature as much as He has conferred upon me, it is not because He is not able or does not wish, but because no one will dispose himself for his grace as I did.
But the Almighty is most liberal with some souls and enriches them so munificently, because they impede his gifts less, and dispose themselves better than others.
85. I desire, my most beloved, that thou place no obstacle to the love of thy Lord; but I wish, that thou dispose thyself for the jewels and gifts, intended for thee in order to make thee worthy of his bridal chamber.
Remember that all the just souls receive this adornment from his hands, though each one according to the degree of the friendship and grace, which makes them capable of receiving them.
If thou wishest to attain the highest purity of that perfection and become worthy of standing in the presence of thy Lord and Spouse, strive to be robust and strong in love; and thou knowest, that this is augmented in the same degree, as mortification and self-abnegation are practiced.
Thou must deny thyself and forget all earthly things; thou must expel all thy meanings toward thyself and toward visible things, in the divine love solely thou must increase and advance.
Wash and purify thyself in the blood of thy Redeemer, Christ, and apply this cleansing many times by renewing thy loving sorrow for thy sins.
Thereby wilt thou find grace in his eyes and thy beauty will be desired by Him, and all thy adornments will be full of the greatest perfection and purity.
86. And as thou hast been so highly favored and distinguished by the blessings of the Lord, it is just that thou, more than many generations of men, give thanks and with incessant praises magnify Him for what, He has condescended to do for thee.
If this vice of ingratitude is so vile and reprehensible in the creatures, who owe Him little and in their earthliness and coarseness, forget the benefits of the Lord; greater will thy guilt be in falling short of thy obligations.
And do not deceive thyself with the pretext of being humble; for there is a great difference between thankful humility and humble thanklessness. Remember that the Lord very often shows great favors to the unworthy, in order to manifest his goodness and munificence.
Remember that the Lord very often shows great favors to the unworthy, in order to manifest his goodness and munificence.
On the contrary let no one become inflated, but let every one acknowledge so much the more his unworthiness, using it as a medicine and treacle against the poison of presumption.
But gratitude will agree with this humble opinion of self, since we must acknowledge, that every good gift comes from the Father of lights and cannot ever be merited by creatures (James 1, 17).
All have their source only in his goodness, binding us and obliging us to grateful recognition.