The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 6 chapter 18 verses 586-602 Index

 Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary By Sor Marķa of Agreda

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 6 chapter 18 verses 586-602THE COUNCIL CONVENES ON THE FRIDAY MORNING TO SUBSTANTIATE THE CHARGES AGAINST THE SAVIOR JESUS; THEY SEND HIM TO PILATE J MOST HOLY MARY, WITH SAINT JOHN AND THE THREE MARYS, GOES FORTH TO MEET JESUS.

  INDEX            Book 6  Chapter  18    Verses:  586-602


586. At the dawn of Friday morning, say the Evan
gelists (Matth. 27, 1; Mark 15, 1; Luke 22, 66; John
11, 47), the ancients, the chief priests and scribes, who
according to the law were looked upon with greatest
respect by the people, gathered together in order to come
to a common decision concerning the death of Christ.
This they all desired; however they were anxious to
preserve the semblance of justice before the people. This
council was held in the house of Caiphas, where the Lord
was imprisoned. Once more they commanded Him to
be brought from the dungeon to the hall of the council
in order to be examined. The satellites of justice rushed
below to drag1 Him forth bound and fettered as He was ;
and while they untied Him from the column of rock,
they mocked Him with great contempt saying: "Well
now, Jesus of Nazareth, how little have thy miracles
helped to defend Thee. The power which Thou didst
vaunt, of being able to rebuild the temple in three days,
has failed altogether in securing thy escape. But Thou
shalt now pay for thy presumption and thy proud aspir
ations shall be brought low. Come now to the chief
priests and to the scribes. They are awaiting Thee to
put an end to thy imposition and deliver Thee over to
Pilate, who will quickly finish Thee." Having freed the
Lord from the rock they dragged Him up to the council.
The Lord did not open his lips; but the tortures, the
blows and the spittle, with which they had covered Him
and which He could not wipe off on account of his bonds,
had so disfigured Him, that He now rilled the members
of the council with a sort of dreadful surprise, but not
with compassion. Too great was their envious wrath
conceived against the Lord.
587. They again asked Him to tell them, whether He
was the Christ ( Luke 22, 1 ) , that is, the Anointed. Just
as all their previous questions, so this was put with the
malicious determination not to listen or to admit the
truth, but to calumniate and fabricate a charge against
Him. But the Lord, being perfectly willing to die for
the truth, denied it not; at the same time He did not
wish to confess it in such a manner that they could
despise it, or borrow out of it some color for their cal
umny ; for this was not becoming his innocence and wis
dom. Therefore He veiled his answer in such a way,
that if the pharisees chose to yield to even the least
kindly feeling, they would be able to trace up the mystery
hidden in his words; but if they had no such feeling,
then should it become clear through their answer, that
the evil which they imputed to Him was the result of
their wicked intentions and lay not in his answer. He
therefore said to them : "If I tell you that I am He of
whom you ask, you will not believe what I say; and if
I shall ask you, you will not answer, nor release Me.
But I tell you, that the Son of man, after this, shall
seat Himself at the right hand of the power of God"
(Luke 22, 67). The priests answered: "Then thou art
the Son of God?" and the Lord replied: "You say that
I am." This was as if He had said: You have made
a very correct inference, that I am the Son of God ; for
my works, my doctrines, and your own Scripture, as
well as what you are now doing with Me, testify to the
fact, that I am the Christ, the One promised in the law.
588. But this council of the wicked was not disposed
to assent to divine truth, although they themselves
inferred it very correctly from the antecedents and could
easily have believed it. They would neither give assent
nor belief, but preferred to call it a blasphemy deserving
death. Since the Lord had now reaffirmed what He
had said before, they all cried out : "What need have we
of further witnesses, since He himself asserts it by his
own lips?" And they immediately came to the unani
mous conclusion that He should, as one worthy of death,
be brought before Pontius Pilate, who governed Judea
in the name of the Roman emperor and was the tem
poral Lord of Palestine. According to the laws of the
Roman empire capital punishment was reserved to the
senate or the emperor and his representatives in the
remote provinces. Cases of such importance as involved
the taking away of life were looked upon as worthy of
greater attention and as not to be decided without giving
the accused a hearing and an opportunity of defense and
justification. In these affairs of justice the Roman peo
ple yielded to the requirements of natural reason more
faithfully than other nations. In regard to this trial
of Christ the priests and scribes were pleased with the
prospect of having sentence of death passed upon Christ
our Lord by the heathen Pilate, because they could then
tell the people, that He was condemned by the Roman
governor and that this certainly would not have hap
pened if He were not guilty of death. To this extent
had they been blinded by their sins and their hypocrisy,
that they failed to see how much more guilty and sacri
legious they would even then be than the gentile judge.
But the Lord arranged it thus, in order that by their
own behavior before Pilate they might reveal all their
wickedness more plainly, as we shall see immediately.
589. The executioners therefore brought our Savior
Jesus Christ to the house of Pilate, in order to present
Him, still bound with the same chains and ropes in which
they had taken Him from the garden, before his tribunal.
The city of Jerusalem was full of strangers, who had
come from all Palestine to celebrate the great Pasch
of the Lamb and of the unleavened bread. As the rumor
of this arrest was already spread among the people, and
as the Master of life was known to all of them, a count
less multitude gathered in the streets to see Him brought
in chains through the streets. They were divided in
their opinion concerning the Messiah; some of them
shouted out: Let Him die, let Him die, this wicked
impostor, who deceives the whole world. Others an
swered: His doctrines do not appear to be so bad, nor
his works ; for He has done good to many. Still others,
who had believed in Him, were much afflicted and wept;
while the whole city was in confusion and uproar con
cerning the Nazarene. Lucifer and all his demons were
very attentive to what was passing; for, seeing himself
secretly overcome by the invincible patience and meek
ness of Christ the Lord, he was stirred to uncontrollable
fury by his own pride and haughtiness at the haunting
suspicion, that such virtues could not be those of a mere
human being. On the other hand, he could not under
stand how his allowing Himself to be despised and illtreated
and his succumbing to so much bodily weak
ness and, as it were, total annihilation, could ever har
monize with his being true God; for, if He were God,
said the dragon to himself, his Divinity would never con
sent to such annihilation, and the power inherent in his
divine nature and communicated to the humanity, would
certainly prevent such weakness. Lucifer argued like
one who knew nothing of the suspension of the overflow
of the divine upon the human nature; which the Lord
had secretly ordained for the purpose of securing the
highest degree of suffering possible, as I have mentioned
above (No. 498). By these misgivings, the pride of
satan was lashed to still more furious efforts in the
persecution of the Lord so as to ascertain who this
One was that knew how to suffer torments in such a
manner.
590. The sun had already arisen while these things
happened and the most holy Mother, who saw it all
from afar, now resolved to leave her retreat and follow
her divine Son to the house of Pilate and to his death
on the Cross. When the great Queen and Lady was
about to set forth from the Cenacle, saint John arrived,
in order to give an account of all that was happening;
for the beloved disciple at that time did not know of
the visions, by which all the doings and sufferings of
her most holy Son were manifest to the blessed Mother.
After the denial of saint Peter, saint John had retired
and had observed, more from afar what was going on.
Recognizing also the wickedness of his flight in the gar
den, he confessed it to the Mother of God and asked
her pardon as soon as he came into her presence; and
then he gave an account of all that passed in his heart and
of what he had done and what he had seen in following
his Master. Saint John thought it well to prepare the
afflicted Mother for her meeting with her most holy Son,
in order that She might not be overcome by the fearful
spectacle of his present condition. Therefore He sought
to impress Her beforehand with some image of his suf
ferings by saying : "O my Lady, in what a state of suf
fering is our divine Master! The sight of Him cannot
but break one s heart; for by the buffets and the blows
and by the spittle, his most beautiful countenance is so
disfigured and defiled, that Thou wilt scarcely recognize
Him with thy own eyes." The most prudent Lady lis
tened to his description, as if She knew nothing of the
events; but She broke out in bitterest tears of heart
rending sorrow. The holy women, who had came forth
with the Lady, also listened to saint John, and all of
them were filled with grief and terror at his words. The
Queen of heaven asked the Apostle to accompany Her
and the devout women, and, exhorting them all, She
said : "Let us hasten our steps, in order that my eyes
may see the Son of the eternal Father, who took human
form in my womb ; and you shall see, my dearest friends,
to what the love of mankind has driven Him, my Lord
and God, and what it costs Him to redeem men from sin
and death, and to open for them the gates of heaven."
591. The Queen of heaven set forth through the
streets of Jerusalem accompanied by saint John and by
some holy women. Of these not all, but only the three
Marys and other very pious women, followed Her to
the end. With Her were also the angels of her guard,
whom She asked to open a way for Her to her divine
Son. The holy angels obeyed and acted as her guard.
On the streets She heard the people expressing their
various opinions and sentiments concerning the sorrow
ful events now transpiring in reference to Jesus of Naza
reth. The more kindly hearted lamented over his fate,
and they were fewest in number. Others spake about
the intention of his enemies to crucify Him; others re
lated where He now was and how He was conducted
through the streets, bound as a criminal ; others spoke of
the illtreatment He was undergoing; others asked, what
evil He had done, that He should be so misused ; others
again in their astonishment and in their doubts, ex
claimed: To this then have his miracles brought Him!
Without a doubt they were all impostures, since He can
not defend or free Himself ! All the streets and squares
were full of people and excited talk. But in the midst of
this excitement the invincible Queen, though filled with
the bitterest sorrow, preserved her constancy and com
posure, praying for the unbelievers and the evil-doers,
as if She had no other care than to implore grace and
pardon for their sins. She loved them as sincerely as
if She were receiving favors and blessings at their hands.
She permitted no indignation or anger to arise in her
heart against the sacrilegious ministers of the Passion
and Death of her beloved Son, nor any sign of such
feelings in her exterior conduct. All of them She looked
upon with chanty and the desire of doing them good.
592. Some of them that met Her on the streets, recog
nized Her as the Mother of Jesus of Nazareth and
moved by their natural compassion, said : "O sorrowful
Mother! What a misfortune has overtaken Thee! How
must thy heart be wounded and lacerated with grief!"
Others again impiously said: "-Why didst Thou permit
Him to introduce such novelties among the people? It
would have been better to restrain and dissuade Him ;
but it will be a warning for other mothers, and they will
learn from thy misfortunes, how to instruct their chil
dren." These and other more horrible sentiments were
expressed in the hearing of this sincerest Dove; but all
of them She met with burning charity, accepting the pity
of the kind-hearted, and suffering the malice of the
unbelievers. She was not surprised at the ingratitude
of the unresponsive and the ignorant; but implored the
eternal Father to impart suitable blessings to all.
593. Through the swarming and confused crowds the
angels conducted the Empress of heaven to a sharp turn
of the street, where She met her most holy Son. With
the profoundest reverence She prostrated Herself before
his sovereign Person and adored it more fervently and
with a reverence more deep and more ardent than ever
was given or ever shall be given to it by all the creatures.
She arose and then the Mother and Son looked upon
each other with ineffable tenderness, interiorly convers
ing with each other in transports of an unspeakable sor
row. The most prudent Lady stepped aside and then
followed Christ our Lord, continuing at a distance her
interior communication with Him and with the eternal
Father. The words of her soul are not for the mortal
and corruptible tongue: but among other prayers the
afflicted Mother said : "Most high God and my Son, I
am aware of thy burning love for men, which leads Thee
to hide the infinite power of thy Divinity beneath a form
of passible flesh (Phil. 2, 7) formed in my womb. I
confess thy incomprehensible wisdom in accepting such
affronts and torments, and in sacrificing Thyself, who
art the Lord of all creation, for the rescue of man, who
is but a servant, dust and ashes (Gen. 3, 19). Thy good
ness is to be praised, blessed, confessed and magnified
by all creatures; but how shall I, thy Mother, ever
cease to desire that all these injuries be heaped upon
me and not upon thy divine Person, who art the beauty
of the angels and the glory of the eternal Father? How
shall I cease to desire the end of these pains? With
what sorrow is my heart filled to behold Thee so afflicted,
thy most beautiful countenance so defiled, and when I see,
that to the Creator and Redeemer alone is denied pity
and compassion in such bitter suffering? But if it is
not possible, that I relieve Thee as Mother, do Thou
accept my sorrowful sacrifice in not being able to bring
Thee the relief which is due to the true and holy Son
of God."
594. The image of her divine Son, thus wounded, de
filed and bound, remained so firmly fixed and imprinted
in the soul of our Queen, that during her life it was
never effaced, and remained in her mind as distinctly,
as if She were continually beholding Him with her own
eyes. Christ our God arrived at the house of Pilate,
followed by many of the council and a countless multi
tude of the people. The Jews, wishing to preserve them
selves as clean before the law as possible for the cele
bration of the Pasch and the unleavened bread, excused
themselves before Pilate for their refusing to enter the
pretorium or court of Pilate in presenting Jesus. As
most absurd hypocrites they paid no attention to the sac
rilegious uncleanness, with which their souls were affected
in becoming the murderers of the innocent Godman.
Pilate, although a heathen, yielded to their ceremonious
scruples, and seeing that they hesitated to enter his pre
torium, he went out to meet them. According to the
formality customary among the Romans, he asked them
(John 18, 28) : "What accusation have you against this
Man?" They answered: "If He were not a criminal,
we would not have brought Him to thee thus bound and
fettered." This was as much as to say: We have con
vinced ourselves of his misdeeds and we are so attached
to justice and to our obligations, that we would not have
begun any proceedings against Him, if He were not a
great malefactor. But Pilate pressed his inquiry and
said: "What then are the misdeeds, of which He
has made Himself guilty?" They answered: "He is
convicted of disturbing the commonwealth, He wishes to
make Himself our king and forbids paying tribute to
Caesar (Luke 23, 2) ; He claims to be the son of God,
and has preached a new doctrine, commencing in Galilee,
through all Judea and Jerusalem." "Take Him then
yourselves," said Pilate, "and judge Him according to
your laws; I do not find a just cause for proceeding
against Him." But the Jews replied : "It is not per
mitted us to sentence any one to death, nor to execute
such a sentence."
595. The most holy Mary, with saint John and the
women who followed Her, was present at this interview ;
for the holy angels made room for them where they
could hear and see all that was passing. Shielded by
her mantle She wept tears of blood, pressed forth by
the sorrow which pierced her virginal heart. In her
interior acts of virtue She faithfully reproduced those
practiced by her most holy Son, while in her pains and
endurance She copied those of his body. She asked the
eternal Father to grant Her the favor of not losing sight
of her divine Son, as far as was naturally possible, until
his Death ; and this was conceded to Her, excepting dur
ing the time in which He was in prison. Considering it
but just, that amid all the false accusations of the Jews
the innocence of the Savior and the injustice of the
sentence should become known, the most prudent Lady
fervently prayed, that the judge be not deceived and
that he obtain clearest insight into Christ s being deliv
ered over to him by the envy of the priests and scribes.
In virtue of this prayer, Pilate clearly saw the truth,
was convinced of the innocence of Christ and of his
being1 a victim of their envy (Matth. 28, 18). On her
account also the Lord declared Himself more openly
to Pilate, although the latter did not co-operate with the
truth made known to him. It profited not him, but us;
and it served to convict the priests and pharisees of their
treachery.
596. In their wrath the Jews were anxious to dispose
Pilate favorably toward their project and they wished
him to pronounce the sentence of death against Jesus
without the least delay. When they perceived his hesi
tation, they ferociously raised their voices, accusing Jesus
over and over again of revolting against the government
of Judea, deceiving and stirring up the people (Luke
23, 5), calling Himself Christ, that is an anointed King.
This malicious accusation they pressed particularly, hop
ing to stir Pilate to fear for the temporal welfare of
his government, with which he was charged by the
Romans. Among the Jews the kings were anointed;
therefore they insisted, that Jesus in having called Him
self Christ, intended to constitute Himself as King, and,
as Pilate was a heathen and knew nothing of the anoint
ing of kings, they wished to persuade him, that calling
oneself Christ among the Jews was identical with calling
onself king of the Jews. Pilate asked the Lord : "What
dost Thou answer to the accusations which they bring
against Thee?" But the Savior answered not one word
in the presence of his accusers, causing much wonder in
Pilate at such silence and patience. But, desiring to
inquire more closely, whether Jesus was truly a King,
he withdrew from the clamoring Jews and brought
Jesus into the pretorium. There he asked Him face to
face: "Tell me, can it be that Thou art a King of the
Jews?" Pilate could not bring himself to think that
He was a King in fact; since he knew that Christ was
not reigning. Therefore he wished to find out, whether
Jesus claimed or really possessed any right to the title
of King. Our Savior answered him: "Sayst thou this
thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of Me?"
(John 18, 34). Pilate replied : "Am I a Jew? Thy own
nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee up to
me. What hast Thou done?" Jesus answered: "My
kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of
this world, my servants would certainly strive that I be
not delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not
from hence." The judge partly believed this assertion
of Jesus and therefore answered: "Art Thou a king
then?" Jesus answered: "Thou sayest that I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world.
Every one that is of the Truth, heareth my voice."
Pilate wondered at this answer and asked: "What is
truth?" But without waiting for an answer, he left Him
in the pretorium, and said to the Jews : "I find no cause
in Him. But you have a custom, that I should release
one unto you at the Pasch: will you, therefore, that I
release unto you the King of the Jews, or Barabbas?"
This Barabbas was a thief and murderer, who had killed
some one in a quarrel. All the people raised their voice
and said: "We desire that you release Barabbas, and
crucify Jesus." In this demand they persisted until it
was granted.
597. Pilate was much disturbed by the answers of
Jesus and the obstinacy of the Jews. For on the one
hand, seeing that they were so determined on the death
of Jesus, he well knew, that it would be difficult to satisfy
them without consenting to their demands; and on the
other hand, he clearly saw that they persecuted Him out
of mortal envy and that their accusations about his dis
turbing the people, were false and ridiculous (Matth.
17, 18). In regard to the imputation, that He had made
Himself King, he was likewise satisfied of the contrary
by the answers of Christ and by his humility, poverty
and patient forbearance toward their calumnies. By the
light and grace which Pilate received, he became fully
convinced that Jesus was truly innocent, although he
never pierced the mystery of his Divinity and the great
ness of this innocence. The living words of Christ
created an exalted idea of Him in his mind and made
him think that some great mystery was connected with
Him; therefore he desired to free Him and finally deter
mined to send Him to Herod. But all these shifts failed,
because Pilate made himself unworthy by his sin and
paid attention only to his worldly prospects, allowing
himself to be governed by them and not by the dictates
of justice, but more by the suggestions of Lucifer,
as I have related above (No. 423), than by the truth,
which he so clearly knew. Fully understanding the true
circumstances, he acted the part of a wicked judge in
continuing to treat the cause of an innocent Man with
those who were his declared enemies and false accusers.
Thus he committed the still greater crime of condemning
Jesus to such an inhuman scourging and then to death,
without having any other cause than to satisfy the Jews.
598. But though Pilate for these and other reasons
was a most wicked and unjust judge in thus condemning
Christ, whom he held to be a mere man, though good
and innocent; yet his crime was much smaller than that
of the priests and pharisees. And this not only because
they were moved by envy, cruelty and other vices, but
also because they sinned in not acknowledging Christ as
their true Messias and Redeemer, God and Man, such
as He had been promised in the Law, which they believed
and professed. For their own condemnation the Lord
permitted, that in their very accusations they called Him
Christ and anointed King, thus confessing with their
lips what they denied and discredited in their proceed
ings. They were bound to believe this truth, which they
confessed in their words, and thus come to the under
standing of the true anointment of the Savior, which
was an unction prefigured in the kings and priests of
the olden times and consisted in the anointment mentioned
by David (Ps. 44, 8) and different from theirs; namely,
the unction of the Divinity resulting from its union with
the humanity and by which Christ s soul was anointed
with the gifts of grace and glory corresponding to the
hypostatic union. All these mysteries of truth were
providentially hidden beneath the accusations of the
Jews, although they in their perfidy would not believe
them, and in their envy interpreted them falsely. For
they imputed to the Savior the desire of making Him
self king, without his being one, while just the contrary
was really the truth: He was in every respect the
supreme Lord, but did not wish to show or make use
of the power of a temporal king. He had not come
into this world to command men, but to obey (Matth.
20, 28). Still greater was the blindness of the Jews
in hoping for a temporal king as their Messias and at
the same time calumniously asserting that Jesus made of
Himself a king. It seems that they sought for their
Messias a King so powerful, that they would not be
able to resist Him; although they then would have to
receive a king by compulsion and not with the free will
benevolently desired by the Lord.
599. Our great Lady profoundly understood these
hidden sacraments and the wisdom of her chaste heart
made use of them to excite heroic acts of all the virtues.
Other children of Adam, conceived in original sin and
defiled by their own, are wont to be disturbed and op
pressed in proportion to the increase of sorrow and tribu
lation, and excited to impatience and other inordinate
passions; but most holy Mary, who was actuated not
by sin or its effects, or by mere nature, was impelled
by exalted grace to just the contrary course of action.
For the great persecutions and the vast waters of afflic
tion and sorrow extinguished not in her bosom the fire
of divine love (Cant. 8, 7) ; but they were new incen
tives to the fires of divine love in her soul, breaking forth
in petitions for the sinners so much the more ardently,
as the malice of men reached greater excesses. O
Queen of virtues, Mistress of creatures and sweetest
Mother of mercy! How hard of heart am I, how slow
and insensible, that my soul is not annihilated by sorrow
at what I understand of thy sufferings and those of
thy divine Son! That I still live, knowing all I do
know, should cause in me a sorrow unto death. It is a
crime against love and piety to beg favors from the inno
cent, whom we see suffering torments. With what truth
can we then say as creatures, that we love God, our
Redeemer, and Thee, my Queen, who art his Mother, if
Thou and He alone drink out the chalice of such tor
ments and pains, while we are draining the chalice of
the pleasures of Babylon? O that I might understand
this truth! O that it might penetrate into my deepest
heart and that it might pierce my very soul at the sight
of such inhuman torments of my Savior and his afflicted
Mother! How can I conceive, that any one can do me
an injustice in persecuting me, that they offend me by
despising me, that they insult me by abhorring me?
How can I complain of suffering, even if I am blamed,
neglected and contemned by the world? O great Chieftainess
of the martyrs, Queen of the courageous, Mis
tress of all the imitators of thy Son, if I am thy daughter
and disciple, as Thou condescendest to call me, and as
my Lord wishes me to merit, do not reject my longing
desire to follow thy footsteps on the way of the cross.
If in my weakness I have fallen, do Thou, my Lady
and Mother, obtain for me the courage of a contrite
heart, justly humiliated on account of its vile ingrati
tude. Gain for me through thy prayers the love of the
eternal Father, which is so precious, that only thy pow
erful intercession can obtain it and only my Lord and
Redeemer can merit it for me.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN OF
HEAVEN GAVE ME.
600. My daughter, great is the neglect and the inat
tention of men in failing to consider the works of my
most holy Son and to penetrate with humble reverence
the mysteries which He has concealed within them for
the salvation of all. But many do not know, and others
are astonished, that the Lord should have consented to
be presented as a criminal before iniquitous judges and
be examined by them as a wicked malefactor; that they
should have been allowed to treat Him as an ignorant
fool; and that He should not have made use of his
divine wisdom to defend his innocence, convict the Jews
and all his enemies of their malice, since He could so
easily have done it. But these sentiments of wonder
should be especially united to a deep veneration for the
judgments of the Lord, who disposed all things connected
with the Redemption according to his equity, goodness
and rectitude and in a manner befitting all his attri
butes, denying none of his enemies sufficient help to
follow the good, if only they wished to use their free
dom for that purpose. He wished all of them to be
saved (I Tim. 2, 4), and if not all of them attained this
salvation, no one can justly complain of his superabun
dant kindness.
601. But besides this, I wish, my dearest, that thou
understand the instructive lessons contained in these
works; for in each one of them my Son acted as Re
deemer and Teacher of men. In the silence and the
meekness, which He maintained during his Passion, per
mitting Himself to be reputed as a wicked and foolish
man, He left to mankind a lesson just as important as
it is unnoticed and unpracticed by the children of Adam.
Because they do not heed the contagion of Lucifer
through sin, which is perpetuated in the world, they do
not seek in the Physician the medicine of suffering, which
the Lord in his immense charity has left to the world
in word and deed. Let men then consider themselves
conceived in sin (Ps. 50, 7), and let them realize how
strong has grown in them the hellish seed of pride, of
presumption, vanity, self-esteem, avarice, hypocrisy,
deceitfulness, and all other vices. Each one ordinarily
seeks to advance his honor and vainglory, struggling
to be applauded and renowned. The learned and those
who think themselves wise, wish to be applauded and
looked up to, bragging about their knowledge. The
unlearned try to appear wise. The rich glory in their
riches and wish to be respected on their account. The
poor strive to be and appear rich, anxious to gain the
approbation of the wealthy. The powerful seek to be
feared, worshipped and obeyed. All of them are pur
suing the same deceit of seeking* to appear what they
are not in fact, and fail in reality to come up to what
they appear to be. They palliate their faults, extol their
virtues and abilities, they attribute to themselves the
goods and the blessings as if they had not received them
from God. They receive them as if they were their due
and not owing to his liberal kindness; instead of being
thankful for them they abuse them as weapons against
God and against their own selves. Commonly all are
swollen up by the mortal poison of the serpent and so
much the more anxious to drink it, the more deeply
they are already wounded and weakened by his lament
able assaults. The way of the cross and imitation of
Christ in humble Christian sincerity is deserted, because
they are so few that walk upon it.
602. In order to crush the head of Lucifer and over
come pride and arrogance, my Son observed this patient
silence in his Passion, permitting Himself to be treated
as an ignorant and foolish criminal. As the Teacher
of this philosophy and as the Physician of the sickness
of sin, He would not deny the charges nor defend or
justify Himself, nor refute those who accused Him,
showing us by his own living example, how to oppose
and counteract the intentions of the serpent. In the
Lord was that teaching of the wise man put into prac
tice: More precious is a little foolishness in its time
than wisdom and glory (Eccles. 10, 1) ; for it is better
that human frailty be at times considered ignorant and
wicked, than that it make a vain show of virtue and
wisdom. Infinite is the number of those who are en
tangled in this dangerous error, who, desiring to appear
wise, speak much and multiply words like the foolish
(Eccles. 1, 14). They only lose what they strive so
much to attain, since they become known as foolish.
All these vices arise from the pride rooted in human
nature. But do thou, my daughter, preserve the doc
trine of my divine Son and that which comes from me.
Abhor human ostentation, suffer in silence and let the
world consider thee ignorant; for it does not know
where true wisdom dwells.
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