The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 6 chapter 20 verses 624-642 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 6 chapter 20 verses 624-642OUR SAVIOR, BY ORDER OF PILATE, IS SCOURGED. CROWNED WITH THORNS AND MOCKED. THE BEHAVIOR OF THE MOST HOLY MARY DURING THIS TIME.

  INDEX            Book 6  Chapter  20    Verses:  624-642


624. Pilate, aware of the obstinate hostility of the Jews
against Jesus of Nazareth, and unwilling- to condemn
Him to death, of which he knew Him to be innocent,
thought that a severe scourging of Jesus might placate
the fury of the ungrateful people and soothe the envy
of the priests and the scribes. If He should have failed
in anything pertaining to their ceremonies and rites, they
would probably consider Him sufficiently chastised and
cease in their persecutions and in their clamors for his
Death. Pilate was led to this belief by what they had
told him in the course of his trial; for they had vainly
and foolishly calumniated Christ of not observing tine
sabbath and other ceremonies, as is evident from his ser
mons reported by the Evangelists (John 9, 6). But
Pilate was entirely wrong in his judgment and acted like
an ignorant man ; for neither could the Master of all
holiness be guilty of any defect in the observance of that
Law, which He had come not to abolish but to fulfill
(Matth. 5, 7) ; nor even if the accusation had been true,
would He have deserved such an outrageous punishment.
For the laws of the Jews, far from demanding such an
inhuman and cruel scourging, contained other regula
tions for atonement of the more common faults. In still
greater error was this judge in expecting any mercy or
natural kindness and compassion from the Jews. Their
anger and wrath against the most meek Master was not
human, not such as ordinarily is appeased by the over
throw and humiliation of the enemy. For men have
hearts of flesh, and the love of their own kind is natural
and the source of at least some compassion. But these
perfidious Jews were clothed in the guise of demons, or
rather transformed into demons, who exert the more
furious rage against those who are rendered more help
less and wretched; who, when they see any one most
helpless, say : let us pursue him now, since he has none to
defend nor free him from our hands.
625. Such was the implacable fury of the priests and
of their confederates, the pharisees, against the Author
of life. For Lucifer, despairing of being able to hinder
his murder by the Jews, inspired them with his own
dreadful malice and outrageous cruelty. Pilate, placed
between the known truth and his human and terrestrial
considerations, chose to follow the erroneous leading of
the latter, and order Jesus to be severely scourged, though
he had himself declared Him free from guilt (John 19,
1). Thereupon those ministers of satan, with many
others, brought Jesus our Savior to the place of punish
ment, which was a courtyard or enclosure attached to
the house and set apart for the torture of criminals in
order to force them to confess their crimes. It was
enclosed by a low, open building, surrounded by
columns, some of which supported the roof, while others
were lower and stood free. To one of these columns,
which was of marble, they bound Jesus very securely;
for they still thought Him a magician and feared his
escape.
626. They first took off the white garment with not
less ignominy than when they clothed Him therein in
the house of the adulterous homicide Herod. In loosen
ing the ropes and chains, which He had borne since his
capture in the garden, they cruelly widened the wounds
which his bonds had made in his arms and wrists. Hav
ing freed his hands, they commanded Him with infamous
blasphemies to despoil Himself of the seamless tunic
which He wore. This was the identical garment with
which his most blessed Mother had clothed Him in Egypt
when He first began to walk, as I have related in its
place. Our Lord at present had no other garment, since
they had taken from Him his mantle, or cloak, when they
seized Him in the garden. The Son of the eternal Father
obeyed the executioners and began to unclothe Himself,
ready to bear the shame o-f the exposure of his most
sacred and modest body before such a multitude of people.
But his tormentors, impatient at the delay which modesty
required, tore away the tunic with violence in order to
hasten his undressing and, as is said, flay the sheep with
the wool. With the exception of a strip of cloth for a
cincture, which He wore beneath the tunic and with
which his Mother likewise had clothed Him in Egypt, the
Lord stood now naked. These garments had grown with
his sacred body, nor had He ever taken them1 off. The
same is to be said of his shoes, which his Mother had
placed on his feet. However, as I have said on a former
occasion, He had many times walked barefooted during
his preaching.
627. I understand that some of the doctors have said
or have persuaded themselves, that our Savior Jesus at
his scourging and at his crucifixion, for his greater humil
iation, permitted the executioners to despoil Him of all
his clothing. But having again been commanded under
holy obedience to ascertain the truth in this matter, I
was told that the divine Master was prepared to suffer
all the insults compatible with decency; that the execu-
tioners attempted to subject his body to this shame of total
nakedness, seeking to despoil Him of the cincture, which
covered his loins ; but in that they failed ; because, on touch
ing it, their arms became paralyzed and stiff, as had hap
pened also in the house of Caiphas, when they attempted
to take off his clothes (Chapt. XVII). All the six of
his tormentors separately made the attempt with the same
result. Yet afterwards, these ministers of evil, in order
to scourge Him with greater effect, raised some of the
coverings ; for so much the Lord permitted, but not that
He should be uncovered and despoiled of his garments
entirely. The miracle of their being hindered and para
lyzed in their brutal attempts did not, however, move or
soften the hearts of these human beasts; but in their
diabolical insanity they attributed it all to the supposed
sorcery and witchcraft of the Author of truth and life.
628. Thus the Lord stood uncovered in the presence
of a great multitude and the six torturers bound Him
brutally to one of the columns in order to chastise Him
so much the more at their ease. Then, two and two at
a time, they began to scourge Him with such inhuman
cruelty, as was possible only in men possessed by Lucifer,
as were these executioners. The first two scourged the
innocent Savior with hard and thick cords, full of rough
knots, and in their sacrilegious fury strained all the powers
of their body to inflict the blows. This first scourging
raised in the deified body of the Lord great welts and
livid tumors, so that the sacred blood gathered beneath
the skin and disfigured his entire body. Already it began
to ooze through the wounds. The first two having at
length desisted, the second pair continued the scourging
in still greater emulation; with hardened leather thongs
they leveled their strokes upon the places already
sore and caused the discolored tumors to break open
and shed forth the sacred blood until it bespattered and
drenched the garments of the sacrilegious torturers, run
ning down also in streams to the pavement. Those two
gave way to the third pair of scourgers, who com
menced to beat the Lord with extremely tough rawhides,
dried hard like osier twigs. They scourged Him still
more cruelly, because they were wounding, not so much
his virginal body, as cutting into the wounds already
produced by the previous scourging. Besides they had
been secretly incited to greater fury by the demons, who
were filled with new rage at the patience of Christ.
629. As the veins of the sacred body had now been
opened and his whole Person seemed but one continued
wound, the third pair found no more room for new
wounds. Their ceaseless blows inhumanly tore the im
maculate and virginal flesh of Christ our Redeemer and
scattered many pieces of it about the pavement ; so much
so that a large portion of the shoulder-bones were ex
posed and showed red through the flowing blood; in
other places also the bones were laid bare larger than
the palm of the hand. In order to wipe out entirely that
beauty, which exceeded that of all other men (Ps. 44, 3),
they beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, thus
leaving unwounded not a single spot in which they could
exert their fury and wrath against the most innocent
Lamb. The divine blood flowed to the ground, gather
ing here and there in great abundance. The scourging
in the face, and in the hands and feet, was unspeakably
painful, because these parts are so full of sensitive and
delicate nerves. His venerable countenance became so
swollen and wounded that the blood and the swellings
blinded Him. In addition to their blows the executioners
spirted upon his Person their disgusting spittle and loaded
Him with insulting epithets (Thren. 3, 30). The exact
number of blows dealt out to the Savior from head to
foot was 5,115. The great Lord and Author of all crea
tion who, by his divine nature was incapable of suffering,
was, in his human flesh and for our sake, reduced to a
man of sorrows as prophesied, and was made to expe
rience our infirmities, becoming the last of men (Is. 53,
3), a man of sorrows and the outcast of the people.
630. The multitudes who had followed the Lord, filled
up the courtyard of Pilate s house and the surrounding
streets ; for all of them waited for the issue of this event,
discussing and arguing about it according to each one s
views. Amid all this confusion the Virgin Mother en
dured unheard of insults, and She was deeply afflicted by
the injuries and blasphemies heaped upon her divine Son
by the Jews and gentiles. When they brought Jesus to
the scourging place She retired in the company of the
Marys and saint John to a corner of the courtyard.
Assisted by her divine visions, She there witnessed all
the scourging and the torments of our Savior. Although
She did not see it with the eyes of her body nothing was
hidden to Her, no more than if She had been standing
quite near. Human thoughts cannot comprehend how
great and how diverse were the afflictions and sorrows
of the great Queen and Mistress of the angels: together
with many other mysteries of the Divinity they shall
become manifest in the next life, for the glory of the
Son and Mother. I have already mentioned in other
places of this history, and especially in that of the Pas
sion, that the blessed Mother felt in her own body all
the torments of her Son. This was true also of the
scourging*, which She felt in all the parts of her virginal
body, in the same intensity as they were felt by Christ
in his body. Although She shed no blood except what
flowed from her eyes with her tears, nor was lacerated
in her flesh ; yet the bodily pains so changed and disfigured
Her, that saint John and the holy women failed to find
in Her any resemblance of Herself. Besides the tortures
of the body She suffered ineffable sorrows of the soul;
there sorrow was augmented in proportion to the im
mensity of her insight (Eccles. 1, 18). For her sorrows
flowed not only from the natural love of a mother and a
supreme love of Christ as her God, but it was propor
tioned to her power of judging more accurately than all
creatures of the innocence of Christ, the dignity of his
divine Person, the atrocity of the insults coming from
the perfidious Jews and the children of Adam, whom He
was freeing from eternal death.
631. Having at length executed the sentence of scourg
ing, the executioners unbound the Lord from the column,
and with imperious and blasphemous presumption com
manded Him immediately to put on his garment. But
while they had scourged the most meek Master, one of
his tormentors, instigated by the devil, had hidden his
clothes out of sight, in order to prolong the nakedness
and exposure of his divine Person for their derision and
sport. This evil purpose suggested by the devil, was well
known to the Mother of the Lord. She therefore, mak
ing use of her power as Queen, commanded Lucifer and
all his demons to leave the neighborhood, and imme
diately, compelled by her sovereign power and virtue,
they fled. She gave orders that the tunic be brought by
the holy angels within reach of her most holy Son, so
that He could again cover his sacred and lacerated body.
All this was immediately attended to, although the
sacrilegious executioners understood not the miracle, nor
how it had been wrought; they attributed it all to the
sorcery and magic of the demon. During this protracted
nakedness our Savior had, in addition to his wounds,
suffered greatly from the cold of that morning as men
tioned by the Evangelists (Mark 14, 55; Luke 22, 35;
John 18, 18). His sacred blood had frozen and com
pressed the wounds, which had become inflamed and
extremely painful; the cold had diminished his powers
of resistance, although the fire of his infinite charity
strained them to the utmost in order to suffer more and
more. Though compassion is so natural in rational crea
tures, there was none for Him in his affliction and neces
sity, except that of his sorrowful Mother, who tearfully
bewailed and pitied Him in the name of the whole human
race.
632. Among other divine mysteries, hidden to the
wise of this world, this also causes great astonishment,
that the wrath of the Jews, who were men of flesh and
blood like ourselves, should not have been appeased at
their seeing Christ torn and wounded by 5,115 lashes;
that the sight of a person so lacerated should not have
moved their natural compassion, but should arouse their
envy to inflict new and unheard of tortures upon the
Victim. Their implacable fury at once planned another
outrageous cruelty. They went to Pilate and in the
presence of his counselors said: "This seducer and de
ceiver of the people, Jesus of Nazareth, in his boasting
and vanity, has sought to be recognized by all as the king
of the Jews. In order that his pride may be humbled
and his presumption be confounded, we desire your per
mission to place upon Him the royal insignia merited by
his fantastic pretensions." Pilate yielded to the unjust
demand of the Jews, permitting them to proceed accord
ing to their intentions.
633. Thereupon they took Jesus tb the pretorium,
where, with the same cruelty and contempt, they again
despoiled him of his garments and in order to deride
Him before all the people as a counterfeit king, clothed
Him in a much torn and soiled mantle of purple color.
They placed also upon his sacred head a cap made of
woven thorns, to serve Him as a crown (John 19, 2).
This cap was woven of thorn branches and in such a
manner that many of the hard and sharp thorns would
penetrate into the skull, some of them to the ears and
others to the eyes. Hence one of the greatest tortures
suffered by the Lord was that of the crown of thorns.
Instead of a sceptre they placed into his hands a con
temptible reed. They also threw over His shoulders a
violet colored mantle, something of the style of capes
worn in churches; for such a garment belonged to the
vestiture of a king. In this array of a mock-king the
perfidious Jews decked out Him, who by his nature and
by every right was the King of kings and the Lord of
lords (Apoc. 19, 16). Then all the soldiers, in the pres
ence of the priests and pharisees, gathered around Him
and heaped upon Him their blasphemous mockery and
derision. Some of them bent their knees and mockingly
said to Him: God save Thee, King of the Jews. Others
buffeted Him; others snatched the cane from his hands
and struck Him on his crowned head ; others ejected their
disgusting spittle upon Him; all of them, instigated by
furious demons, insulted and affronted Him in different
manners.
634. O charity incomprehensible and exceeding all
measure! O patience never seen or imagined among
mortals ! Who, O my Lord and God, since Thou art the
true and mighty God both in essence and in thy works,
who could oblige Thee to suffer the humiliation of such
unheard of torments, insults and blasphemies? On the
contrary, O my God, who among men has not done many
things which offend Thee and which should have caused
Thee to refuse suffering and to deny them thy favor?
Who could ever believe all this, if we knew not of thy
infinite goodness. But now, since we see it and in firm
faith look upon such admirable blessings and miracles of
love, where is our judgment? what effect upon us has
the light of truth? What enchantment is this that we
suffer, since at the very sight of thy sorrows, scourges,
thorns, insults and affronts, we seek for ourselves, with
out the least shame or fear, the delights, the riches, the
ease, the preferments and vanities of this world? Truly,
great is the number of fools (Eccles. 1, 15), since the
greatest foolishness and dishonesty is to recognize a debt
and be unwilling to pay it ; to receive blessings and never
give thanks for them ; to have before one s eyes the greater
good, and despise it; to claim it for ourselves and make
no use of it; to turn away and fly from life, and seek
eternal death. The most innocent Jesus opened not his
mouth in those great and many injuries. Nor was the
furious wrath of the Jews appeased, either by the mock
ery and derision of the divine Master, or by the torments
added to the contempt of his most exalted Person.
635. It seemed to Pilate that the spectacle of a man
so illtreated as Jesus of Nazareth would move and fill
with shame the hearts of that ungrateful people. He
therefore commanded Jesus to be brought from the pretorium
to an open window, where all could see Him
crowned with thorns, disfigured by the scourging and
the ignominious vestiture of a mock-king. Pilate him
self spoke to the people, calling out to them: "Ecce
Homo," "Behold, what a man!" (John 19, 5). See
this Man, whom you hold as your enemy! What more
can I do with Him than to have punished Him in this
severe manner? You certainly have nothing more to
fear from Him. I do not find any cause of death in
Him. What this judge said was certainly the full truth ;
but in his own words he condemned his outrageous in
justice, since, knowing and confessing that this Man
was just and not guilty of death, he had nevertheless
ordered Him to be tormented and punished in such a way
that, according to the natural course, he should have been
killed many times over. O blindness of self-love! O
hellish malice of estimating only the influence of those,
who can confer or take away mere earthly dignities!
How deeply do such motives obscure the reason, how
much do they twist the course of justice, how com
pletely do they pervert the greatest truths in judging of
the just by the standards of the unjust! Tremble, ye
judges of the earth (Ps. 2, 10), look to it that the sen
tences you render are not full of deceit; for you your
selves shall be judged and condemned by your unjust
judgments! As the priests and pharisees, in their eager
and insatiable hostility, were irrevocably bent upon tak
ing away the life of Christ our Savior, nothing but his
Death would content or satisfy them; therefore they
answered Pilate: "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" (John
19, 6.)
636. When the Blessed among women, most holy
Mary, saw her divine Son as Pilate showed Him to the
people and heard him say : "Ecce homo !" She fell upon
her knees and openly adored Him as the true Godman.
The same was also done by saint John and the holy
women, together with all the holy angels of the Queen
and Lady; for they saw that not only Mary, as the
Mother of the Savior, but that God himself desired them
thus to act. The most prudent Lady spoke to the eternal
Father, to the angels and especially to her most beloved
Son precious words of sorrow, compassion and profound
reverence, possible to be conceived only in her chaste
and love inflamed bosom. In her exalted wisdom She
pondered also the ways and means by which the evidences
of his innocence could be made most opportunely mani
fest at a time when He was so insulted, mocked and
despised by the Jews. With this most proper intention
She renewed the petitions above mentioned, namely,
that Pilate, in his quality of judge, continue to maintain
the innocence of Jesus our Redeemer and that all the
world should understand, that Jesus was not guilty of
death nor of any of the crimes imputed to Him by the
Jews.
637. On account of these prayers of the most blessed
Mother Pilate was made to feel great compassion at see
ing Jesus so horribly scourged and illtreated and regret
at having punished Him so severely. Although he was
naturally disposed to such emotions by his soft and com
passionate disposition ; yet they were principally caused
by the light he received through the intercession of the
Queen and Mother of grace. This same light moved the
unjust judge after the crowning of thorns to prolong
his parley with the Jews for the release of Christ, as is
recorded in the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of saint
John. When they again asked him to crucify the Lord,
he answered : "Take Him yourselves and crucify Him,
for I do not find any cause for doing it." They replied :
"According to our law He is guilty of death, for He
claims to be the Son of God." This reply threw Pilate
into greater consternation, for he conceived it might be
true, that Jesus was the Son of God according to his
heathen notions of the Divinity. Therefore he withdrew
with Jesus into the pretorium, where, speaking with Him
alone, he asked whence He was? The Lord did not
answer this question; for Pilate was not in a state of
mind either to understand or to merit a reply. Never-
theless he insisted and said to the King of heaven : "Dost
Thou then not speak to me ? Dost Thou not know, that
I have power to crucify Thee and power to dismiss
Thee?" Pilate sought to move Him to defend Himself
and tell what he wanted to know. It seemed to Pilate
that a man so wretched and tormented would gladly ac
cept any offer of favor from a judge.
638. But the Master of truth answered Pilate with
out defending Himself but with unexpected dignity; for
He said: "Thou shouldst not have any power against
Me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore,
he that hath delivered Me to thee, hath the greater sin."
This answer by itself made the condemnation of Christ
inexcusable in Pilate; since he could have understood
therefrom, that neither he nor Caesar had any power of
jurisdiction over this man Jesus ; that by a much higher
decree He had been so unreasonably and unjustly de
livered over to his judgment; that therefore Judas and
the priests had committed a greater sin than he in not
releasing Him; and that nevertheless He too was guilty
of the same crime, though not in such high degree. Pilate
failed to arrive at these mysterious truths; but he was
struck with still greater consternation at the words of
Christ our Lord, and therefore made still more strenuous
efforts to liberate Him. The priests, who were now
Abundantly aware of his intentions, threatened him with
the displeasure of the emperor, which he would incur, if
fie permitted this One, who had aspired to be king, to
bscape death. They said : "If thou freest this Man, thou
|irt
no friend of Caesar; since he who makes a king of
iiimself rises up against his orders and commands." They
kged this because the Roman emperors never permitted
[nyone in the whole empire to assume the title or insignia
f a King without their consent and order; if therefore
Pilate should permit it, he would contravene the decrees
of Caesar. He was much disturbed at this malicious and
threatening intimation of the Jews, and seating himself
in his tribunal at the sixth hour in order to pass sentence
upon the Lord, he once more turned to plead with the
Jews, saying: "See there your King!" And all of them
answered: "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify
Him !" He replied : "Shall I crucify your King?" Where
upon they shouted unanimously: "We have no other
king than Caesar."
639. Pilate permitted himself to be overcome by the
obstinacy and malice of the Jews. On the day of
Parasceve then, seated in his tribunal, which in Greek
was called lithostratos, and in Hebrew gabatha, he pro
nounced the sentence of death against the Author of
life, as I shall relate in the following chapter. The
Jews departed from the hall in great exultation and joy,
proclaiming the sentence of the most innocent Lamb.
That they did not realize whom they thus sought to
annihilate was the occasion of our Redemption. All this
was well known to the sorrowful Mother, who, though
outside of the hall of judgment, saw all the proceedings
by exalted vision. When the priests and pharisees rushed
forth exulting in the condemnation of Christ to the death
of the Cross, the pure heart of this most blessed Mother
was filled with new sorrow and was pierced and trans
fixed with the sword of unalleviated bitterness. Since
the sorrow of most holy Mary on this occasion sur
passed all that can enter the thoughts of man, it is use-;
less to speak more of it, and it must be referred to the
pious meditation of Christians. Just as impossible is it
to enumerate her interior acts of adoration, worship,
reverence, love, compassion, sorrow and resignation.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE GREAT QUEEN AND LADY OF
HEAVEN GAVE ME.
640. My daughter, thou reflectest with wonder upon
the hardness and malice of the Jews, the weakness of
Pilate, who knew of their evil dispositions and permit
ted himself to be overcome, though fully convinced of
the innocence of my Son and Lord. I wish to relieve
thee of this astonishment by furnishing thee with in
structions and warnings suitable for making thee care
ful on the path to eternal life. Know then that the an
cient prophecies concerning the mysteries of the Redemp
tion and all the holy Scriptures were to be infallibly
fulfilled ; for sooner shall heaven and earth fall to pieces,
than that their words fail of their effect as determined
in the divine Mind (Matth. 24, 35; Acts 3, 18). In
order that the most ignominious death foretold for my
Lord should be brought about (Sap. 2, 20; Jer. 11, 19)
it was necessary that He should be persecuted by men.
But that these men should happen to be the Jews, the
priests and the unjust Pilate, was their own misfortune,
not the choice of the Almighty, who wishes to save all
(I Tim. 2, 4) . Their own wickedness and malice brought
them to their ruin; for they resisted the great grace
i Df having in their midst their Redeemer and Master, of
| <nowing Him, of conversing with Him, of hearing his
ioctrine and preaching, of witnessing his miracles; and
:hey had received such great favors, as none of the ancient
Patriarchs had attained by all their longings (Matth.
! 13, 7). Hence the cause of the Savior was justified. He
i nanifestly had cultivated his vineyard by his own hands
ind showered his favors upon it (Matth. 21, 33). But
i t brought Him only thorns and briars, and its keepers
ook away his life, refusing to recognize Him, as was
heir opportunity and their duty before all other men.
641. This same, which happened in the head Christ
the Lord and Son of God, must happen to all the mem
bers of his mystical body, that is, to the just and pre
destined to the end of the world. For it would be
monstrous to see the members incongruous with the Head,
the children show no relation with the Father, or the
disciples unlike their Master. Although sinners must
always exist (Matth. 18, 7), since in this world the
just shall always be mingled with the unjust, the pre
destined with the reprobate, the persecutors with the
persecuted, the murderers with the murdered, the afflict
ing with the afflicted ; yet these lots are decided by the
malice and the goodness of men. Unhappy shall be he,
through whom scandal comes into the world and who
thus makes himself an instrument of the demon. This
kind of activity was begun in the new Church by t
priests and pharisees, and by Pilate, who all persecut
the Head of this mystic body and, in the further cour
of the world, by all those who persecute its membe
the saints and the predestined, imitating and followin
the Jews and the devil in their evil work.
642. Think well, then, my dearest, which of these 1
thou wishest to choose in the sight of my Son and
If thou seest thy Redeemer, thy Spouse and thy Chie
tormented, afflicted, crowned with thorns and saturat
with reproaches and at the same time desirest to have
part in Him and be a member of his mystical body, it i
not becoming, or even possible, that thou live steeped i
the pleasures of the flesh. Thou must be the persecuted
and not a persecutor, the oppressed and not the oppressor;
the one that bears the cross, that encounters the scandal,
and not that gives it ; the one that suffers, and at the sam
time makes none of the neighbors suffer. On the co
trary, thou must exert thyself for their conversion and
salvation in as far as is compatible with the perfection
of thy state and vocation. This is the portion of the
friends of God and the inheritance of his children in
mortal life; in this consists the participation in grace and
glory, which by his torments and reproaches and by his
death of the Cross my Son and Lord has purchased for
them. I too have co-operated in this work and have paid
the sorrows and afflictions, which thou hast understood
and which I wish thou shalt never allow to be blotted
out from my inmost memory. The Almighty would in
deed have been powerful enough to exalt his predestined
in this world, to give them riches and favors beyond
those of others, to make them strong as lions for re
ducing the rest of mankind to their invincible power.
But it was inopportune to exalt them in this manner,
in order that men might not be led into the error of
thinking that greatness consists in what is visible and
happiness in earthly goods ; lest, being induced to forsake
virtues and obscure the glory of the Lord, they fail to
experience the efficacy of divine grace and cease to aspire
toward spiritual and eternal things. This is the science
which I wish thee to study continually and in which thou
must advance day by day, putting into practice all that
thou learnest to understand and know.
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